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WEESATCHE, TX

WEESATCHE, TEXAS. Weesatche (Wesatch, Wesatche), on State Highway 119 thirteen miles north of Goliad in northern Goliad County, was established in the late 1840s or early 1850s. It was originally named Middletown, since it was midway between Goliad and Clinton on the Old Goliad Road. Early census information is inaccurate, but school rolls indicate that of ten county schools, two were in the Weesatche area and enrolled fifty-one children. The Middletown post office was established on November 22, 1855. The name, however, generated confusion with another Middletown, Texas (in Comal County), prompting residents to rename their town after the huisache, or sweet acacia tree, common in the area. The new post office was named in May 1860, but its designation was misspelled, "a monument to the bold, independent phonetic way that Texans often spell their place names," according to Texas journalist Frank X. (Francis) Tolbertqv. Oldtimers persisted in calling their town Middletown into the twentieth century; local stories tell that Main Street divided the designations, with Weesatche on the north side and Middletown on the south. The 1860 census lists a population of 586, but the figure included residents of the surrounding area. One town dweller was Dr. Joseph H. Barnard, noted chronicler of the battle of Coleto and resulting Goliad Massacre in 1836. The doctor had returned to Goliad County about 1846 after serving in the state legislature.

The Weesatche post office was discontinued during the Civil War but reestablished in 1870. During Reconstruction the Goliad County Regulators, a group of vigilantes led by Jack Helm, an appointee of Joseph J. Reynolds, was based at Weesatche and cruelly but successfully restored order. In 1884 the town had a population of 100, a stonecutter, a photographer, a school, a hotel, Methodist and Christian churches, a steam gristmill, and a cotton gin; the town shipped cotton, wool, and hides. By 1892 the population had grown to 200; new establishments included a saloon, a second mill and gin, and St. Andrews Lutheran Church, organized in 1891 by Rev. Theodore N. Ander, who left Ander, Texas, to become the regular pastor. The church still provided a community focus in 1990. A dance hall built in the early 1900s remained popular in 1986. The population stayed at 200 throughout the early decades of the twentieth century but decreased to 140 by the late 1940s. Business establishments also dwindled; the last cotton gin burned in the 1930s. The students of Weesatche High School, established in 1924, were transferred to Goliad in 1938, and in 1963 the remaining schools were closed after 100 years, when Weesatche Common School District was annexed to Goliad ISD. The town experienced new growth, however, in the 1960s and 1970s. The present volunteer fire department was organized in 1953. The population was listed as 516 from 1970 through 1986. In 1990 it was 525. The population dropped to 411 in 2000.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Goliad County Historical Commission, The History and Heritage of Goliad County, ed. Jakie L. Pruett and Everett B. Cole (Austin: Eakin Press, 1983). Frank X. Tolbert, "Tolbert's Texas" Scrapbook, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Craig H. Roell

Citation

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

Craig H. Roell, "WEESATCHE, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlw11), accessed October 01, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.