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.

Texas Independence Trail Region

Map of Victoria County

Topics (click on a topic to jump to that section).
Camp Henry E. McCulloch | Camp Victoria | de la Garza, Carlos | De Leon Plaza | De Leon, Agapito | De Leon, Felix | De Leon, Home of Empresario Martin | Fort St. Louis | Guadalupe River | Memorial Square | Mission Espiritu Santo Cattle Ranch | Pioneer Marker | Round Top House, Site of | Victoria Advocate | Victoria County | Former Victoria County Courthouse | Victoria County Monument
Camp Henry E. McCulloch

Marker Title: Camp Henry E. McCulloch
Address: US 87, 0.1 mi. N of city limits (4.1 mi. N of courthouse).
City: Victoria
County: Victoria
Year Marker Erected: 1963
Marker Location: US 87 0.1 mile N of Victoria city limits (4.1 miles north of courthouse).
Marker Text: October 1861, on this site in Nuner Mott, a valley extending southwest in Victoria County, seven infantry and two cavalry companies of the 6th Regiment Texas Infantry trained in this camp of instruction commanded by Col. R.R. Garland. Co. A, of Port Lavaca, under A. Ham Phillips, and Co. B, Victoria, under Jacob Rupley, were joined for eight months by troops from nearby towns. The 6th on May 22, 1862, was ordered to Gen. Van Dorn at Arkansas post, where it was captured. Less than 100 of the 643 men survived the war. (1963)

Camp Victoria

Marker Title: Camp Victoria
Address: US 87N at Spring Creek Rd
City: Victoria
County: Victoria
Year Marker Erected: 2004
Marker Location: E side of US 87N, N of Spring Creek Rd.
Marker Text: Camp Victoria Although the town of Victoria had been established in 1824, it was all but abandoned during the Texas Revolution in 1836, as settlers fled east during the Runaway Scrape. After the Revolution's successful close at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, the Texas Army followed the retreating Mexican troops, stopping in nearby Goliad to bury the hundreds of Texans who had been killed there. Led by Gen. Thomas J. Rusk, the 300 remaining Texas troops set up camp here in early June 1836, along Spring Creek at a site called Camp Victoria. While encamped here, Rusk received a message from Henry Teal and Henry W. Karnes, both imprisoned in Matamoros. The message, hidden in the handle of a whip, became known as the "Whiphandle Dispatch." It warned of a potential attack by a reassembling Mexican army. Rusk requested help from Gen. E.P. Gaines of the U.S. Army, who sent troops from Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky to Rusk at Camp Victoria. By August, the Texan Army had swelled to more than 2,500 men, the largest gathering of Texan troops during the Revolution. Faced with a much larger army and new military objectives, Rusk complained to provisional Texas President David G. Burnet, who sent Mirabeau B. Lamar to take over command. The troops refused to recognize Lamar, and he returned to Texas government headquarters at Brazoria. Rusk resumed command over an increasingly restless army, with some troops talking of arresting Burnet and his cabinet. Brig. Gen. Felix Huston replaced Rusk and began preparations for an expedition against Matamoros. Troops and supplies were moved to El Cópano (50 mi. SE). The preparations proved unnecessary; neither the expedition nor the Mexican invasion took place. (2004)

Carlos de la Garza

Marker Title: Carlos de la Garza
City: Victoria
County: Victoria
Year Marker Erected: 1999
Marker Location: 21 mi. S of Victoria on US 77; W on FM 445 to San Antonio River Rd; S on San Antonio River Road to de la Garza Cemetery.
Marker Text: A fourth-generation Tejano rancher, Carlos de la Garza was born into a family that was prominent among the colonies in Refugio, Goliad and Victoria. He and Tomasita Garcia were married in 1829; they settled on the family ranch at Carlos Crossing near this site. A community called Carlos Rancho developed at the crossing. Here de la Garza operated a commissary and oversaw his extensive holdings. In 1834, as a member of the Power and Hewetson colony, he obtained the title to a league of land including the old de la Garza Ranch. When the Texas revolution broke out in 1835, de la Garza served as a captain in the Mexican Army. When the people of La Bahia abandoned the town during its occupation by Texian military forces, de la Garza granted them asylum at Carlos Rancho. In the spring of 1836 de la Garza led about 80 ranchers known as "Guardia de Victoria" who served as scouts and advance cavalry for General Jose de Urrea's advancing Mexican Army. He played a significant role in the events that disastrously divided Fannin's command at Refugio and in those that led to the Mexican victory in the Battle of Coleto. After Fannin's surrender, de la Garza influenced Urrea to spare the lives of his neighbors during the Goliad Massacre. De la Garza's loyalty to Mexico was not held against him, and he became a prominent citizen of the Republic and later the state of Texas. After the revolution he continued ranching, operated a ferry at Carlos Crossing, participated in battles against Indians and allowed his rancho to serve as a place of refuge for settlers in difficult times. He died in 1882 from an old arrow wound. (1999)

De Leon Plaza

Marker Title: De Leon Plaza
Address: 100 N. Main St.
City: Victoria
County: Victoria
Year Marker Erected: 1998
Marker Text: Originally called "Plaza De la Constitucion" by Martin De Leon, the founder of Victoria, this square was included as part of an early 1830s survey of Victoria by Jose M. Carbajal, son-in-law of De Leon. Carbajal's survey expanded on the founder's basic design for the city, which followed the style of traditional Spanish municipalities. A water well lined with brick was placed in the center of the square in 1850. By 1872 a windmill stood over the well; twelve years later it was replaced by a standpipe. Other improvements included a bandstand in the 1870s, hitching racks in 1897; a Confederate memorial status, "Last Stand" by Pompeo Coppini, dedicated in 1912; and lamp standards in 1923. In that year the standpipe was removed and the bandstand was relocated to the center of the plaza. Sidewalks were added by the Public Works Administration in the 1930s. Through the efforts of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the site was renamed De Leon Plaza as part of a plaza beautification project in 1941. As a gathering place, summer concert arena, exposition site, and town center, De Leon Plaza continues to serve the people of Victoria as it has for generations. The plaza stands as a reminder of the rich heritage of the city and its founder. (1998)

Agapito De Leon

Marker Title: Agapito De Leon
City: Victoria
County: Victoria
Year Marker Erected: 1972
Marker Location: Evergreen Cemetery, N. Vine & W. Red River Sts. (De Leon Pathway, Lot 1, Section 1).
Marker Text: (1808-1836) Born in Texas; fourth son of Empresario Don Martin De Leon, founder of De Leon Colony and city of Victoria. Agapito De Leon was active in the colony's affairs, a Texas patriot during the War for Independence from Mexico, a skilled Indian fighter, engaged in cattle, horse, and mule business. He was assassinated by Mabry ("Mustang") Gray, leader of a gang systematically robbing Texans of Mexican descent, after close of War for Independence. Recorded-1972

Felix De Leon

Marker Title: Felix De Leon
Address: Evergreen Cemetery, N. Vine & W. Red River streets
City: Victoria
County: Victoria
Year Marker Erected: 1972
Marker Location: Evergreen Cemetery, Vine St. and Red River Sts., Victoria.
Marker Text: (1806-1850) Born in Texas; third son of the Empresario Don Martin de Leon, founder of De Leon Colony and City of Victoria. Felix de Leon was held hostage on a pirate ship about 1822, to force his father to comply with buccaneer demands. Later he became active in Colony's affairs. A skilled Indian fighter, he served Texas' cause in War for Independence. His business was supplying horses, mules, and cattle to the New Orleans market. (1972)

Home of Empresario Martin De Leon

Marker Title: Home of Empresario Martin De Leon
Address: Church & Bridge St.
City: Victoria
County: Victoria
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: Church & Bridge St., Victoria
Marker Text: Born at Burgos, Mexico, 1765. Appointed Captain in the Spanish Army, 1790, for bravery displayed in Indian fighting. Received a grant in 1824 to settle 41 families in Texas. Established the town of Victoria. Received an additional grant in 1829 to settle 150 families. Died in Victoria, 1833. His colony was the only one in which Mexican customs and traditions prevailed. 1936

Fort St. Louis

Marker Title: Fort St. Louis
Address: SW corner of FM 444 & US 59
City: Inez
County: Victoria
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: SW Corner of intersection of FM 444 & US 59, Inez.
Marker Text: Thirteen miles southeast of Inez is located the site of Fort St. Louis. First French settlement in Texas attempted by Rene Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle in 1685. Devastated by the Karankawa Indians, burned by members of the Alonso De Leon Expedition in 1689. On its remains the Spaniards constructed Presidio de Nuestra Senora de la Bahia del Espirtu Santo, Marquis of Aguayo and Father Fray Agustin Patron, O.F. M. In 1722 as a protection for the mission of Nuestra Senora del Espiritu Santo de Zuniga for the civilizing and Christianizing of the Indian tribes of the vicinity moved to Mission Valley on the Guadalupe River near the present Victoria in 1726; moved finally to Santa Dorotea in Goliad near the San Antonio River in 1749. More on La Salle Shipwreck Project

Guadalupe River

Marker Title: Guadalupe River
Address: S. US 59 at Guadalupe River
City: Victoria
County: Victoria
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: S. US 59, at river, Victoria
Marker Text: Discovered in this vicinity on April 14, 1689 by Alonso de Leon. Named in honor of "Our Lady of Guadalupe" patron saint of Mexico. Here at a ford, used since Indian days, Empresario Martin de Leon founded the town of Victoria in 1824. 1936

Memorial Square

Marker Title: Memorial Square
City: Victoria
County: Victoria
Year Marker Erected: 1968
Marker Location: 400 block of N. De Leon
Marker Text: Once the oldest public burial ground in Victoria, this square was laid in 1824 when Martin de Leon founded the town, then located in the Mexican State of "Coahuila and Texas". In early years the cemetery included the block to the east, and many Victoria pioneers were interred here. Burials of soldiers in the Texas Revolution took place in 1836 and later. The cemetery was only occasionally used, however, until 1846, when an ordinance was passed deterring burials in family cemeteries, possibly to combat a cholera epidemic. Many who succumbed were citizens but some were soldiers, under General Zachary Taylor. As the community grew, a larger plot (now Evergreen Cemetery) was purchased in 1850. Later in the Civil War, Confederate soldiers were interred here, but after the war some members of the Federal Army of Occupation unfortunately destroyed many headstones, so that today most of the gravesites are unknown. As burials here gradually ceased, the ground came to be used for other purposes and since 1899 has been designated Memorial Square. It is today devoted to the preservation of monuments to Texas history and to the remembrance of Texas' honored dead. 1968

Mission Espiritu Santo Cattle Ranch

Marker Title: Mission Espiritu Santo Cattle Ranch
Address: 3377 Lower Mission Valley Road
City: Victoria
County: Victoria
Year Marker Erected: 2000
Marker Text: Traditionally recognized as the first great cattle ranch in Texas, Espiritu Santo Ranch traces its history to the Spanish Mission of Nuestra Senora del Espiritu Santo de Zuniga, established on Garcitas Creek in present Jackson County in 1722. It was moved to this site along the Guadalupe River in 1726, and this area of Victoria County has been known as Mission Valley since that time. The mission's principal secular activity was cattle ranching, largely developed at this site. After the mission relocated to present Goliad County in 1749, its ranching operation grew to an estimated 40,000 head of cattle and was influential in the development of the famed Texas longhorn breed. In 1833, Felix de Leon received a Spanish land grant that included the former Espiritu Santo property in Victoria County. Abner McDonald purchased the land at a public auction in 1841, and sold it to J. O. Wheeler in 1850. Quincy Davidson purchased the property in 1867. The 1870 census listed Davidson as the wealthiest landowner in Victoria County, and by 1878 the "Victoria Advocate" reported that he owned 59,989 of the 61,161 head of cattle then in Victoria County. The Davidson family retained ownership of the land for 97 years, gradually selling off large tracts. Much of the area surrounding the present ranch property remains known as the Davidson lands. In continuous operation as a cattle ranch since the 18th century, Espiritu Santo Ranch and the ruins of the 1726 mission complex have provided a wealth of archeological evidence of the Spanish Colonial period. It represents a tangible link to the frontier and to the earliest history of ranching in Texas. (2000)

Pioneer Marker

Marker Title: Pioneer Marker
City: Victoria
County: Victoria
Year Marker Erected: 1947
Marker Location: Memorial Square, 400 block of E. Commercial
Marker Text: To the memory of Texas soldiers and Victoria pioneer families who still lie buried in this sacred soil. A tribute from Colonel James W. Fannin Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas 1947.

Site of Round Top House

Marker Title: Site of Round Top House
Address: SW corner of S. Main & Juan Linn Streets
City: Victoria
County: Victoria
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: SW Corner of S. Main and Juan Linn, Victoria
Marker Text: The Citadel of Victoria. Built before the year 1836 by Placido Benavides, son-in-law of Martin De Leon. The house served as a place of refuge for the citizens of Victoria during the Comanche raid of 1840. (1936)

Victoria Advocate

Marker Title: The Victoria Advocate
Address: 311 E. Constitution
City: Victoria
County: Victoria
Year Marker Erected: 1989
Marker Location: 311 E. Constitution, Victoria.
Marker Text: The second oldest newspaper in continuous operation in Texas, the "Victoria Advocate" began as the weekly "Texan Advocate" in 1846. The first issue was published on May 8, 1846, the same day as the Battle of Palo Alto, first battle in the Mexican War. An extra edition was printed to inform local citizens of the event. The newspaper's first publishers were Thomas Sterne (1818-1906) and John Davis Logan (1818-1878), both experienced newspapermen. They changed the name of the paper in its first year to the "Texian Advocate" in response to requests from early Texas pioneers. Sterne and Logan sold the newspaper in 1853. Both became ranchers, and Logan later operated the "Daily Herald" newspaper in San Antonio. Later editors and publishers included Sam Addison White, Victor Marion Rose, Frank R. Pridham, Edward Daniel Linn, John L. Bartow, Louis Nicholas Hofer, and James McDonald. It was during White's ownership that the newspaper was renamed the "Victoria Advocate" between 1859 and 1861. McDonald introduced the "Daily Advocate" in 1897. Both daily and weekly editions were published until 1943. Growing with the city, the "Advocate" has served the citizens of Victoria for well over a century. (1989)

Victoria County

Marker Title: Victoria County
Address: NE corner (inside loop) of US 77-US 59 junction, at W city limits
City: Victoria
County: Victoria
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: W. of Victoria limits-US 77/US59 junction -NE corner (inside loop).
Marker Text: In this county the first European settlement in Texas, Fort St. Louis, was built by the French explorer La Salle in 1685. Between 1722 and 1726 a Spanish presidio and the Mission of Espiritu Santo were established. Settled by colonists under Martin De Leon in 1824 who named his capital later the county seat, Victoria. From it the county, created March 17, 1836, took its name. (1936)

Former Victoria County Courthouse

Marker Title: Former Victoria County Courthouse
Address: 101 N. Bridge Street
City: Victoria
County: Victoria
Year Marker Erected: 1961
Marker Location: Courthouse Square, 101 N. Bridge St., Victoria.
Marker Text: Used as Courthouse for 74 years (1893-1967), this handsome building replaced structure erected during third year of statehood--1849. Plans for the massive building were prepared by J.R. Gordon, architect for many courthouses in Texas. Style is castellated Richardsonian Romanesque; clock tower shows excellent detailing. One of Texas' oldest counties, Victoria was site of skirmishes in 1836 Texas War for Independence. Structure now office building. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark-1961

Victoria County Monument

Marker Title: Victoria County Monument
City: Victoria
County: Victoria
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: Memorial Square, W. Power St. between W. Commercial & De Leon.
Marker Text: Center front: Under the Mexican Government Victoria was a district in 1832, a Municipality in 1835. Under the Republic of Texas Victoria County was created March 17, 1836 with Victoria as the County Seat. Its Territory has since been materially reduced through the creation of other counties. The principal industry of the people of the region during the 19th century was cattle raising. Here that industry had its origin in Texas, and Victoria County continues to the present day to be the leading cattle county of the state. Left Front: Victoria County, early home of the Karankawa Indians. Region roamed by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca in 1534-1535, the first white man and companions to travel from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. Site of the first French settlement in Texas attempted by Rene Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle and companions who built Fort St.Louis on Garcitas Creek in 1685. Devastated by the Karankawa Indians burned by members of the Alonso De Leon expedition in 1689. On its remains the Spaniards constructed Presidio de Nuestra Senora de Loreto de la Bahia Del Espiritu Santo. Right Front: As a protection for the Mission de Nuestra Senora del Espiritu Santo de Zuniga both established by Joseph De Azlor, Marquis of Aguayo and Father Fray Agustin Patron, O.F.M. in 1722. Both moved to Mission Valley on the Guadalupe River in 1726. Moved finally to Santa Dorothea no Goliad near the San Antonio River in 1749. The area embraced by this county settled by the Colony of Martin De Leon, empresario in 1824 the region was settled by Martin De Leon, empresario, in 1824 who named the seat of his colony Guadalupe Victoria in honor of the president of Mexico, hero of its struggle for Independence. (1936)

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