Marcelina, one mile south of the site of present Falls City in Karnes County, was platted in 1857 by James Rumsey Skiles, owner of 1,500 acres of land adjoining the south bank of the San Antonio River. He named the townsite after nearby Marcelina Creek. The site was in a bend of the river, where the headquarters of Rancho de la Mora, belonging to the San Antonio de Valero Mission, had been located in the eighteenth century. It was hoped that traffic between San Antonio and Goliad would be diverted to the new community. Skiles built a mansion, with adjoining quarters for his slaves, on a hill overlooking the valley; he also built a gristmill on the river at a place commonly called Skiles Falls. But the Civil War intervened, the slaves were freed, and the town withered before it grew. The gristmill continued to be used until the turn of the century. A post office operated as Skiles from 1887 to 1893, when it was moved and changed in name to Falls City. In 1990 the ruins of the Skiles mansion and gristmill were still visible.
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Robert H. Thonhoff, History of Karnes County (M.A. thesis, Southwest Texas State College, 1963).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Robert H. Thonhoff,
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 22, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
March 1, 1995