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LOYAL VALLEY, TX

LOYAL VALLEY, TEXAS. Loyal Valley is a community just east of Interstate Highway 87 near Cold Spring Creek in a valley circled by low hills in the southeastern corner of Mason County. One of the oldest communities in the county, it was settled around 1858 by German settlers from the Fredericksburg area, including Henry and Christian Keyser, John Kidd, and a Mr. Gertsdorff. John O. Meusebach moved to Loyal Valley from Fredericksburg in 1869. He laid out the town, operated a store and nursery there, and later served as postmaster and as justice of the peace. He is also said to have built a Roman-style bathhouse, which was still standing in 1976. Some sources say that Meusebach gave the town its name because of the mutual cooperation and loyalty between the local settlers. Other sources say Meusebach chose the name to proclaim the loyalty of the area to the Union during the Civil War.

Loyal Valley was once the leading town in that section of the Fisher-Miller Land Grant. During the 1870s difficulties with the Indians caused settlers from outlying communities to move to Loyal Valley for protection. It was also a stagecoach stop on the route between San Antonio and the western forts. It had a hotel, which was run by the Buchmeyer family and later owned by Charlie Metcalf, and a saloon. Horseraces were often held on the flats outside of town. A Loyal Valley post office was established in 1868 with Solomon Wright as postmaster; the office was discontinued in 1919. The first school was started in 1870; later Phillip Buchmeyer (or Burchmeier) built a one-room stone structure, which was still standing in 1980. By the early 1900s Loyal Valley had a church, a school, and a number of stores. Cotton, cattle hides, and livestock were the main products of the area. Revival meetings were often held in a nearby brush arbor, and in 1908 the town organized its own baseball team, called the Loyal Lads.

The community was still active in the 1930s, though gas stations had replaced the stables. Some of the older sandstone buildings still stood. The surrounding area was one of the best hunting spots in the county, and each November deer hunters would flock to the local hotels. At one time Loyal Valley was on the San Antonio highway; in the 1950s, however, the road was rerouted, bypassing the town. The estimated population of Loyal Valley in 1904 was 194, a figure that declined to twenty-five by 1933. The number of residents rose again to 100 in 1941 and was 150 for a number of years after 1974. The old hotel had become a private home by the 1970s and was still standing during the mid-1980s. A community hall served the area in 1985. In 1990 and again in 2000 the population of Loyal Valley was fifty.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

T. Lindsay Baker, Ghost Towns of Texas (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1986). Margaret Bierschwale, "Mason County, Texas, 1845–1870," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 52 (April 1949). Kathryn Burford Eilers, A History of Mason County, Texas (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1939). Mason County Historical Book (Mason, Texas: Mason County Historical Commission, 1976). Mason County News, Centennial Edition, June 19, 1958. Stella Gipson Polk, Mason and Mason County: A History (Austin: Pemberton Press, 1966; rev. ed., Burnet, Texas: Eakin Press, 1980).

Alice J. Rhoades

Citation

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

Alice J. Rhoades, "LOYAL VALLEY, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hll70), accessed July 31, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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