The Blackland Museum

The Blackland Museum Striving to preserve the history of Taft, the Coastal Bend and San Patricio County of Texas, the Blackland Museum remains a free admission attraction with the generous support of patrons, members and fans since 1979.
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The Taft Blackland Museum is 501-c-3 non-profit history museum which offers Free Admission to all patrons, open fours days a week. We accept monitary gifts and maintain support through donations and generous giving from members, the general public and private contributions. Without your help we could not exist.

Empire Builders of South Texas – DARIUS CIRIAQUE RACHAL – Confederate – Part IIIn 1856, Juan Nepomuceno Seguin, then Jus...
08/09/2020

Empire Builders of South Texas – DARIUS CIRIAQUE RACHAL – Confederate – Part II

In 1856, Juan Nepomuceno Seguin, then Justice of the Peace in San Antonio, liquidated many of his land grants given to him by the Republic of Texas. Edward and Frank White purchased two sections of his land at White Point, totaling 16,000 acres.

By 1857, young Darius Ciriaque Rachal of Liberty, Texas joined the White brothers as cattle driver, overseeing their herd they had purchased in Liberty and guided it back to White Point in San Patricio County. He remained working for them for the next three and a-half years.

The 1860 elections caused political upheaval across the States and territories of the United States. Texas, considered itself a Southern State, supporting the position of slavery. Most Texans had pretty much made up their minds that if Lincoln were elected, Texas would secede from the Union. They were bent on protecting their position on slavery.

By February 1, 1861, Texas followed through. Later that year the Confederate War Department formed the 5th Texas Infantry Regiment. Darius C. Rachal would join the 5th Texas Infantry (later to be known as the “Bloody Fifth) on July 11, 1861 in Washington County, and served under General John Bell Hood.

Unit records describe the following: 5TH TEX. VOL. INF. REGT. COMPANY F – “COMPANY INVINCIBLES”; RACHAL, DARIUS C. – “Detailed to Ambulance Corps, Aug., 1862: Appt. Cpl., Feb., 1863: Granted furlough "of indulgence" to Tex., Feb., 1864: went AWOL, did not return to Co.” It was discovered that he had joined a part of the 5th serving Robert E. Lee.

Darius was involved in the Battle of the Wilderness. He saw combat at the second Battle of Manassas, Antietam, and then at Gettysburg where a bullet went through D. C. Rachal's hat and grazed his head. He later fought hand-to-hand combat at Chickamauga and the Battle of the Wilderness. On April 9, 1865, he was present at Appomattox for the surrender of the Army of Virginia to General Grant.

Within three months he had returned to White Point, a little older and a lot wiser.

Empire Builders of South Texas – DARIUS CIRIAQUE RACHAL - Part IBy Patrick King, MAIn the Federal Reporter, page 163 and...
08/02/2020

Empire Builders of South Texas – DARIUS CIRIAQUE RACHAL - Part I
By Patrick King, MA

In the Federal Reporter, page 163 and 164, documented on March 27, 1885 at Shelby, Texas by the District Court Judge, Darius C. Rachal’s total land ownership was recorded at approximately 16,000 acres of land. That translated into 25 square miles. Adequate to be considered a small but significant cattle empire. The only thing it lacked was a town.

Born on January 23, 1841 to Louis Ciriaque Rachal and Marie Anais Compere Rachal in Natchitoches, Louisiana, a multi-lingual speaking family, (French, English, and Cajun). Darius would grow up surrounded by one sister, Ezilla and three living brothers, Francois, Edward, and Albert Pierre. Francois being born first in 1840, Darius was second born. Two other brothers were born in 1842 and 1847 but died young. His family relocated to Liberty, Texas by 1850.

Working around cattle for most of his youth, he became an experienced cowhand by eighteen years old, proving quite capable of controlling livestock.

In 1857, two brothers, cattlemen from San Patricio County, Texas, Edward, and Frank White arrived at Liberty, to take ownership of a small herd of beef, intending to guide them back to San Patricio County to their land at White Point. They also needed experienced cattle drivers. Darius, hearing word of a possible job, applied for the position. He was determined and had extensive knowledge. The brothers took note of his abilities and hired him on the spot. Thus, began a relationship between the White Brothers and Darius that would eventually make him a respected landowner, cattleman and community builder in his later life.

The White brothers owned around 16,000 acres, 25 square miles along the edge of Nueces Bay of San Patricio County. They had acquired it from Texas’ War of Independence hero Col. Juan Seguin shortly before he left Texas for Mexico. Sequin had been awarded the land by the Republic of Texas around 1838 shortly after Texas had won its independence, receiving the title for two tracts of land side by side, both being 8,000 acre tracts each, on the White Point peninsula.

Darius would continue with the White Brothers, driving their herds to various markets until 1861.

Empire Builders of South Texas – Joseph F. Green – Part IIIBy Patrick King, MAAugust 1900, with Joseph Green firmly in p...
07/25/2020

Empire Builders of South Texas – Joseph F. Green – Part III
By Patrick King, MA

August 1900, with Joseph Green firmly in place running the daily operations, and his son-in-law Charles Taft as president of the Pasture Company, David Sinton seemed content knowing his investments were in good hands. On August 31, 1900 at age 92, David Sinton died in Cincinnati, Ohio, never once having visited Texas.

Before the first decade was over, Charles Taft would become embroiled in a law suit against the Aransas Pass Harbor and Deep Water Channel Company in a dispute over 10,000 acres the Pasture Company had put up as promissory as a reward if the Harbor Company finished the deep water channel in the allotted time. They did not and Taft sued and lost.

Green, would stay focused on an empire. The Pasture Company would adopt the name The Taft Ranch. Green supervised the operations of the ranch and set in motion the building of numerous industries and enterprises for the company. He continued Fulton’s breeding program introducing short horn bulls, of four different stocks. He created a dairy, a creamery, a cotton gin, cotton seed oil manufacturing, a lard company, a packing house, and encouraged outside businesses to set up shop in all the company towns.

He built his own mansion, La Quinta, in Gregory by 1906. During his tenure, he addressed the issues of new roads, fresh water, sanitation, education, and health care.

Unexpectedly, in the summer of 1918, the stockholders of the Company held a meeting to discuss the future of the domain. They wanted their dividends. A decision was reached to end it all. Green was to close out the empire.

Time had other plans, by November of 1926, Joseph grew sick. He was sent to Temple, Texas to have his tonsils removed. He underwent surgery on the 18th but, sadly by the 20th was dead.

His funeral service was held in Gregory. His burial procession was the longest ever seen, a mile-long train of mourners drove to Taft; hundreds attended. An empire builder was laid to rest. His name remains, his legacy continues today.

Empire Builders of South Texas – Joseph F. Green – Part IIBy Patrick King, MA.1896, at age 40, a city slicker lawyer, Jo...
07/20/2020

Empire Builders of South Texas – Joseph F. Green – Part II
By Patrick King, MA.

1896, at age 40, a city slicker lawyer, Joseph Green was looking down the barrel of a life he had never envisioned or even fathomed he would be involved with. He oversaw a massive cattle enterprise in west Texas, owned by a multimillionaire industrialist who had never wrangled a steer, much less shoveled cow biscuits, branded a calf or sat around a campfire eating burnt beans. His boss, David Sinton, a wealthy pig iron baron who had developed an interest in ranching through the books he had acquired, would never once set foot in Texas, even though he had a town named after him.

Every week Green stayed in constant contact with Sinton via telegraph and telephone, often reporting to Sinton’s son-in-law Charles Phelps Taft. The Catarina Ranch would never develop like the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company, an empire of cattle, agricultural business endeavors, towns, and largely affecting thousands of individual lives, while influencing the course of entire counties.

Green’s job focused on the purchase, sale, and breeding of beef. He oversaw dozens of employees. During the latter end of the 1890’s, Green familiarized himself with Sinton’s business links in Texas. Sinton was the chief stockholder of the CFPC. His son-in-law Charles Taft was interim President of that company. Green set about building a mansion at Catarina for Charles Taft, the Taft House, who would never live in it.

A little over four years after his arrival at Carrizo Springs, Sinton requested Green to attend a pivotal stockholders meeting in Rockport, scheduled for June 30, 1900. Sinton held complete trust in Green’s leadership and asked to him to step up to the next level, to be an empire builder.

At that meeting, Green was unanimously elected as superintendent and general manager of the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company, while keeping his position as manager of the Catarina. On July 23, 1900, Joseph, his wife Jennie and his two daughters, Anna and Fay found themselves in Gregory, Texas as the new head of the CFPC. On August 31, 1900, David Sinton slipped into eternity.

Empire Builders of South Texas – Joseph F. Green – Part 1.By Patrick King, MAHis name was Joseph French Green. He was bo...
07/12/2020

Empire Builders of South Texas – Joseph F. Green – Part 1.
By Patrick King, MA

His name was Joseph French Green. He was born in Troy, Ohio, April 5, 1856. His parents would soon relocate to Lebanon, Ohio where Joseph would grow up, attend schools, and eventually, by eighteen years old marry Ms. Jennie Saucer, a young, well-educated librarian who worked at the high school he graduated from.

After graduation he certified as a schoolteacher. He went on to teach elementary school in Illinois for two years. While engaged in primary education Joseph and his brother Zelora Green came across an opportunity to become entrepreneurs. They started up a ceramic tile manufacturing company.

The business became quite lucrative, but it was not the aspiration that Joseph had completely envisioned for himself. He had a bigger dream. He was fascinated with Law. Having the financial means to achieve his desire, in 1881, leaving his business to his wife and brother he entered the Valparaiso Indiana School of Law. By 1885, he began his own law firm.

Over the next three years Joseph built a powerful reputation in the courts. He concentrated on civil cases and won each one. By 1888, he would cross paths with Mr. David Sinton of Cincinnati Ohio, in a difficult lawsuit brought against him. Green worked a miracle.

Sinton was so impressed by Green’s performance he offered him a much higher paying job working for him. By years end Joseph would find himself managing a large farming/mining and legal operation Sinton owned in Oakland, Illinois.

At 39 years of age, with many good years still facing him, Joseph found himself struggling with Rheumatoid Arthritis. His doctors told him he had to move to dryer climates. When he informed David Sinton he must quit, Sinton presented a perfect solution.

By May of 1896, Joseph was sitting behind a large wooden desk at Carrizo Springs, Texas gazing out the windows of the foreman’s office, looking over the vast sprawling grass lands of far southwest Texas in Dimmit County, on David Sinton’s 224,000-acre cattle ranch, the Catarina. Joseph fit in nicely managing this small empire.

Shapers of South Texas – Influences of the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company – ConclusionBy Patrick King, MAOn the 9th day ...
07/05/2020

Shapers of South Texas – Influences of the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company – Conclusion
By Patrick King, MA

On the 9th day of May 1880, the State of Texas, by order of the Secretary of State, John Templeton, issued a 50-year Charter of operation for the South Texas cattle business named The Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company. It started as a partnership among investors whose initial goal was to control and harvest free range, wild, unclaimed Spanish Long Horn cattle, left over from Spain’s occupation of Tejas. The Charter gave the company autonomy to operate as a cattle enterprise which extended to all its future leadership and policy makers for the company; these unanimously deciding, under vote, whether to continue the business or dissolve it at the end of its term of operation.

On December 31, 1929, at 11:00 P.M. one hour before midnight, in compliance with the decisions reached by the Stockholders in December 1918, the members of the Board of Directors, cast their final votes for closure. On January 15, 1930, at 3:30 P.M. at the County Court House, in Sinton Texas, representatives of the CFPC, presented papers of dissolvement. There was no fanfare nor fond farewells. Handshakes were exchanged and an era of American Cattle raising history ended with a sigh.

What should this company be remembered for? For starters, but for the 50-year Charter, there would be no cities known today as Sinton, Gregory, Portland, or Taft. The Charter allowed these towns to exist. Although its initial intent was to supply beef to a hungry nation, the company found itself introducing the first banking and telephone systems, hospitals, auto repair shops, artesian well drilling, introducing electricity, creating an infrastructure for safe travel, supplying meat, dairy production, farming, cotton, crop productions, hybrid beef breeding, starting cotton gins and oil extraction plants. They brought in lumber, industry, mercantile trade and created the means for each town to thrive. Among its lesser known accomplishments, it contributed to the development of a deep-water channel at Aransas Pass, and helped in the creation of a causeway between Portland and Corpus Christi, over Nueces Bay.

This was the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company.

Shapers of South Texas – Influences of the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company- Facing FutureBy Patrick King, MABy 1871, the ...
06/28/2020

Shapers of South Texas – Influences of the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company- Facing Future
By Patrick King, MA

By 1871, the dream was a good one, buy cheap land, partner up with like minded entrepreneurial people, cash in on free open range beef, butcher them out, ship the meat to a hungry market and make lots of money. It was a “Get Rich Quick” concept, birthed at the onset of the Gilded Age, and supported by the protocols of that era – Those who have, build fortunes by the sweat of those who have not.

Rising from a “Wild West” start, one that saw the parent partnership begin as land and cattle thieves themselves, forcibly stealing the Rincon land from John Welder in 1872, then building a questionable business rapport with neighboring cattle baron, Richard King, who had built his own reputation and empire by bullying, intimidation, and scare tactics, those first builders and shapers had little concept of what their future would bring them.

At first, they concentrated on cheap land, expanding their territorial control. Cattle came free, descendants of the Spanish Longhorns. Tens of thousands of heads were scattered across 200,000 acres.

By 1890, the Longhorn fell out of favor. Shorthorns, and meat producing strains such as the Santa Gertrudis beef raised at the King Ranch, were in high demand. By 1900, the CFPC faced an uncertain future, their original intent was to operate as a cattle ranch, but societal upheavals pushed it into a different focus. They had land, plenty of it, and people wanted land.

By 1909, the issue between cattle and land took a different tact. At costs between $82,000 to $1,000,000 per industrial complex, the CFPC redefined itself by building enterprises throughout the cities of Taft, Sinton, and Gregory.

First came the packing house, then public services such as banks and mercantile stores, hospitals, hotels, telephone exchanges, machine shops, cotton gins, oil manufacturing, hardware, lumber, dairy and manufacturing, all purposely designed to help a new commodity take hold and prosper…Facing Future, and facing the end of its 50 year charter, the CFPC invested itself in the prospect of…the people of South Texas.

Shapers of South Texas - Influences of the CFPC – Horsepower vs Horse PowerBy Patrick King, MAThe Coleman-Fulton Pasture...
06/21/2020

Shapers of South Texas - Influences of the CFPC – Horsepower vs Horse Power
By Patrick King, MA

The Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company was a unique cattle empire. It was created at a time when major technological changes were unfolding. The first 20 years of its existence were done on horseback, buggy or wagon. The leadership which took the company into the 20th century faced much different contests. Theirs were technological challenges.

As the business pushed through the 19th century, it became apparent it had to tackle certain concerns head-on or become bogged down in fast disappearing antiquations. Some issues were simple, others were far more complicated.

Throughout the 1880’s and 90’s connecting travel routes across the ranch’s far flung properties consisted of cattle trails, narrow wagon paths and old Spanish trading routes. There were no paved asphalt roads as we know them today.

If you had to cross a river without a bridge, you waded across or were carried over by a barge or flatbed ferry. The issue of safe roads was tackled in 1913, when a paving system was created by the ranch when they constructed 60 miles of graded roads after applying crushed oyster shells over a bed of crushed caliche. This was fine for buggies and wagons, but, when Ford and Buick introduced inflatable tires on their cars, tire repairs became a nightmare.

Durable bridges were a pressing issue in San Patricio County. Washed out roads made safe transportation impossible. So, permanent bridges started appearing as early as 1916. The company began building the county’s first infrastructure.
Automobiles became a huge issue, especially repairing them.

By 1914, the CFPC had shifted from renting cars from the Franklin, Overland and Ford Companies and purchased five cars for company leaders. They also purchased one truck for hauling meat from the packing house in Taft to local butcher shops.

The one thing these vehicles all in common was, they broke down. So, by that same year the Company created the very first auto repair shop in San Patricio County and established it in the town of Gregory. The original building still stands today on site.

Address

301 Green Ave
Taft, TX
78390

General information

The Taft Blackland Museum is a two-story structure located at 301 Green Ave. in Taft, Texas and is the largest museum in San Patricio County. Housed in the last headquarters of the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company (1871-1930), the Museum features a large collection of historical displays from the Taft Ranch including documents, map archives, a research library, historical displays from the city of Taft, an argicultural barn featuring displays of early farm emplements used on the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Co. farms, photo's, rare art pieces, donated private collections and much more. The Museum is dedicated to preserving and dislaying the history of the giant cattle business that helped develope and shape the County of San Patricio between 1871 and 1930, as well as many of the small towns and cities which sprung from the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company's years of operation, such as Aransas Pass, Rockport, Portland, Ingleside, Gregory, Taft, Sinton, Odem and several others. The hours of operation for the general public are: Thursday and Friday 10-4, Sat. 10-5. Closed Sunday and all major holidays.

Opening Hours

Thursday 10:00 - 16:00
Friday 10:00 - 16:00
Saturday 10:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(361) 528-2206

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