San Patricio County Historical Markers

Michael has a BA in History & American Studies and an MSc in American History from the University of Edinburgh. He comes from a proud military family and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Middle East and Asia. His passion is travel, and he seizes any opportunity to share his experiences in the most immersive way possible, whether at sea or on the land.

Map of San Patricio County

Topics (click on a topic to jump to that section).
Angelita | Battle of San Patricio | Old Cemetery on the Hill | Site of Indian Point Mass Grave of 1919 Hurricane Victims | Meansville and Kaleta | Reef Road | San Patricio County | Courthouses of San Patricio County

Marker Title: Angelita (Littlest Angel)
Address: US 77 about 1 mi. N of IH - 37
City: Odem
County: San Patricio
Marker Location: US 77 about 1 mile north of junction with I-37, 4 miles south of Odem.
Marker Text: Angelita was one of several rural communities which grew up in San Patricio County after the Civil War. A schoolhouse was erected in the 1880s and was the center of community life. After the arrival of the St. Louis, Brownsville, and Mexico Railroad in 1904, a town was platted and businesses were established. The railroad station at Angelita provided a shipping point for agricultural products and cattle from nearby farms and ranches. The relocation of the post office and school to Odem in 1916 caused the town of Angelita to decline and eventually vanish. (1988)

Battle of San Patricio

Marker Title: Battle of San Patricio
Address: FM 666, at Courthouse grounds
City: San Patricio
County: San Patricio
Year Marker Erected: 1994
Marker Location: Old courthouse grounds, FM 666, San Patricio.
Marker Text: The battle of San Patricio was fought in the streets of Old San Patricio at 3:00 A.M. on February 27, 1836. The general council of the provisional government of Texas had instructed Francis W. Johnson and Dr. James Grant to lead an independent military force against Matamoros, Mexico. Although many of the troops left the command to follow Sam Houston, who opposed the expedition, about 60-70 men remained. Mexican general Jose Urrea, who learned of the plan from his network of spies, sent word to San Patricio settlers loyal to Mexico, instructing them to leave a light burning in their homes as a signal to Mexican troops to spare them. After attacking a small force at Garza's Ranch (4 miles south), the Mexicans struck San Patricio, killing 16 and taking 30 prisoners. Johnson, working late with a candle burning, and four others in his house escaped. The Mexican troops then proceeded to Agua Dulce Creek (about 20 miles south) and attacked the remaining Texan forces under Grant's command on March 2. Grant and 11 others were killed, seven were captured, and six escaped. Together with those captured at Garza's Ranch and in San Patricio, they were imprisoned in Matamoros and remained in captivity until January 1837.

Old Cemetery on the Hill

Marker Title: Old Cemetery on the Hill
Address: Main St.
City: San Patricio
County: San Patricio
Year Marker Erected: 1990
Marker Location: Old Courthouse grounds, FM 666, San Patricio.
Marker Text: This cemetery is believed to have been used for generations by Indian tribes and Mexican settlers who lived in this area previous to Anglo colonization. Following the establishment of San Patricio de Hibernia in 1830 by empresarios John McMullen and James McGloin, the colonists continued to use the old cemetery on the hill. According to local oral tradition, early graves in the cemetery were marked by wooden crosses and stones bearing Spanish and English inscriptions. Among those interred here are Lt. Marcelino Garcia, who as killed at the battle of Lipantitlan in 1835. Also buried here are soldiers who died in the battle of San Patricio on February 27, 1836; James McGloin, whose grave was never marked; victims of diseases such as scarlet fever; men killed fighting duels; and many early settlers and their descendants. After a new cemetery was consecrated at San Patricio by father Antoine Maury in 1872, the old cemetery on the hill was used infrequently. The old cemetery was neglected for many years until restoration efforts were begun in the 1960's. Some tombstones were destroyed or lost over the years, but the historic graveyard is now maintained.

Site of Indian Point Mass Grave of 1919 Hurricane Victims

Marker Title: Site of Indian Point Mass Grave of 1919 Hurricane Victims
City: Portland
County: San Patricio
Year Marker Erected: 2000
Marker Location: US 181 access road (Old Hwy. 35), at N end of bridge (E side of highway).
Marker Text: In the early morning hours of Sunday, September 14, 1919, a hurricane made landfall in Corpus Christi after gathering strength in the Gulf of Mexico for two weeks. Crowds packed the North Beach area for their last weekend of the summer season, most continuing to ignore the last-minute evacuation warnings of police officers, firefighters and soldiers from Fort Brown. The rapidly rising water blocked vacationers from escaping to higher ground. As the water rose, people climbed to their rooftops and tied ropes to themselves and their children so that they might not be lost. A giant wave of water carrying oil from ruptured tanks on Harbor Island, timber from Port Aransas and cotton bales from a dock in Corpus Christi crashed down on North Beach, sweeping its victims into the black waters of Nueces Bay. On Monday morning the sun rose on a scene of terrible destruction. Though the official death toll was 284, estimates place the actual number, including those lost at sea, at one thousand. In the ensuing days, the survivors worked together to rebuild their homes, rescue the injured and bury the dead in mass graves, some containing more than fifty bodies, using farm implements as undertaking tools. A month later the bodies were removed to Rose Hill Cemetery in Corpus Christi and other sites as requested by friends and family members. Property damage and crop losses were estimated at twenty million dollars. The great storm of 1919 was the worst disaster to hit Corpus Christi in the twentieth Century. The mass graves at Indian Point were about one hundred yards east of this site. (2000)

Meansville and Kaleta

Marker Title: Meansville and Kaleta
City: Odem
County: San Patricio
Year Marker Erected: 2000
Marker Location: Park Avenue (US 77) in Welder Park, Odem
Marker Text: Col. William Marshall Means, a veteran of the Battle of San Jacinto, came to San Patricio County with his family in the 1850s and settled southeast of present Odem. Means was county sheriff from 1862 to 1867. The center of the community was a two-story building erected by the Methodist congregation in 1874. It also served as a schoolhouse, ecumenical church and community center. By January 1876, the community was thriving and headed for a promising future when three of Col. Means' sons went on a shooting spree in Papalote in Bee County. A posse which included San Patricio County Sheriff Ed Garner tracked them to their father's ranch, where Col. Means was killed. In August, Ed Garner was shot as he attended church services. Alley Means was convicted of murder, but later pardoned by Gov. John Ireland. The townspeople lived in fear until the Texas Rangers ordered the Means families to leave the area. By the early 1880s they had sold their San Patricio County holdings. The school building was sold in 1881. Kaleta (5 miles SE) Several families settled in the area that became known as Kaleta in the late 1880s and shortly thereafter built a one-room school. The Kaleta school may have been established to fill a void left by the closing of the Meansville school. Frank S. Rachal served as first postmaster in 1894. The school closed in 1910 and the post office was discontinued in 1914, but the stagecoach line continued to deliver local mail to the home of former postmaster J. D. Willis and his family. By the time of the devastating 1919 storm, the stage line had closed and Kaleta had disappeared from the map. (2000)

Reef Road

Marker Title: Reef Road
Address: US 181
City: Portland
County: San Patricio
Year Marker Erected: 1989
Marker Location: US 181 access road, at north end of bridge from Corpus Christi, Portland, (on east side of highway).
Marker Text: Early settlers in the eastern and central areas of San Patricio county faced difficulty traveling across Corpus Christi Bay to Corpus Christi, the main center for trade. The Reef Road, which according to local tradition was discovered by Indians, was the shortest and most favored route. Consisting of oyster shell reefs close to the water's surface, the road was passable only at low tide. Construction of the railroad (1887) and first causeway (1915) across the bay signaled a decline in usage of the road, but it remains an important part of the county's history.

San Patricio County

Marker Title: San Patricio County
Address: Main St.
City: San Patricio
County: San Patricio
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: Old courthouse grounds, FM 666, San Patricio
Marker Text: Spanish exploration and activity in the area dated from 1519, through 1821, when Mexico won its independence. In 1828, James McGloin and John McMullen received a Mexican land grant here, to which they brought Irish colonists. County was created in 1836; named for St. Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland. Organized in 1837, with San Patricio as county seat. Southern boundary of the county, the Nueces River, played a major role in events leading to the war with Mexico (1846-48), including the crossing of the river by Zachary Taylor's Army, which had traveled across the county. County seat was moved to Sinton in 1893. Erected by the State of Texas-1973

Courthouses of San Patricio County

Marker Title: Courthouses of San Patricio County
Address: FM 666
City: San Patricio
County: San Patricio
Year Marker Erected: 1986
Marker Location: Old Courthouse site, FM 666, San Patricio
Marker Text: Eight structures have served as the seat of local government for the people of San Patricio County since its earliest settlement. A building known as the "Log Courthouse" was constructed in San Patricio in the early 1830's to serve the people of the San Patricio colony, although the county of San Patricio was not created until 1837. County records reveal that court was held in a new frame courthouse in 1853. Sometime prior to the Civil War, construction began on a stone courthouse, but it was never completed due to the unsettled times of the war. Records show that many local residents used stones from the construction site to build chimneys for their homes. In 1872 a new courthouse was completed and housed court for the first time on July 15. Two jury rooms built on the square in 1876 were used as a courthouse after a fire in 1889 destroyed the 1872 building. Following the relocation of the county seat to Sinton in 1894, a new courthouse was built in that city. It was replaced by a new structure in 1927. A replica of the 1872 courthouse, built here on its original site using specifications in commissioners court records, was dedicated in 1986.

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