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LETULLE, VICTOR LAWRENCE

LETULLE, VICTOR LAWRENCE (1864–1944). Victor Lawrence LeTulle, merchant, banker, farmer, rancher, and philanthropist, was born in Columbus, Texas, on July 5, 1864, the son of Victor D. and Helen Maria (Webb) LeTulle. His father, who moved to Texas from Virginia by way of California, served as a captain in the Confederate Army. Victor L. LeTulle was the great-grandson of Samuel B. Webb of Revolutionary War fame. He attended public schools in Colorado County, after which he became a farmer. On January 29, 1890, he married Sarah West Bell, daughter of Sarah Catherine Green and Nathan Edward Bell, a veteran of Hood's Texas Brigade who came to Colorado County from Virginia. Mrs. LeTulle died on May 24, 1933, and two years later LeTulle married her sister, Estelle Bell Fate. This marriage was dissolved the following year. No children were born to either marriage.

In 1890 the LeTulle family moved to Matagorda County and settled near Caney, where LeTulle began acquiring vast landholdings for farming and ranching purposes. He registered the Circle and 7VL as his brands. He moved to Bay City in 1900, when the town was only six years old, and began farming rice in 1901. He purchased a canal system from Ross S. Sterling and installed some 334 miles of waterways capable of irrigating more than 100,000 acres a year-at that time considered to be the largest privately owned irrigation system in the world-and gave impetus to the rice-farming industry in Matagorda County, once the third largest producer in Texas (see RICE CULTURE). LeTulle sold the system in 1931. He was founder and president of a mercantile company and served as president of the First National Bank for twenty-one years. He was a Mason and member of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.

He gave a farm of about 9,000 acres, a hospital, and a dormitory (a memorial to his first wife) to Buckner Orphans Home (see BUCKNER BAPTIST CHILDREN'S HOME) in Dallas and made monetary gifts to Memorial Hospital in Houston. In Bay City he donated land for a public park and the local hospital, gave a gas utility system to the city, and built the First Baptist Church auditorium as a memorial to Sallie LeTulle. He died on May 1, 1944, in Houston and was buried in Cedarvale Cemetery, Bay City.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

James Lewellyn Allhands, Gringo Builders (Joplin, Missouri, Dallas, Texas, 1931). Junann J. Stieghorst, Bay City and Matagorda County (Austin: Pemberton, 1965). Clarence R. Wharton, ed., Texas under Many Flags (5 vols., Chicago: American Historical Society, 1930).

Frances V. Parker

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Frances V. Parker, "LETULLE, VICTOR LAWRENCE," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fle37), accessed April 18, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on September 29, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.