Duval County was bustling place in 1880, Part 2

One year after the railroad reached Benavides, the town began to gain importance in Southern Duval County. A post office opened in Benavides on January 18, 1881 with Jacob William Toklas serving as the first Postmaster. The day before, the post office at Realitos closed. Later that year the post office in Borjas also closed.

As one of his final acts, County and District Clerk Andrew Valls submitted the names of S. A. Mattasson, Cenobio Cuellar, G. W. Davidson, Charles Roach and Manuel G. Diaz, to the Secretary of State as justices of the peace and notary clerks. In October, James D. Latta notified the Secretary of State that the Duval County Commissioners Court had appointed him as Duval County and District Clerk to replace Valls who resigned. He also tendered his notary Public seal.

The year 1881 ended with a report from Piedras Pintas of yet another Indian raid that resulted in the death of 31 persons, the wounding of two and several going missing.

Hugo Heldenfellls of Beeville built San Diego’s the first Duval County courthouse in 1882. On February 15, 1882, the Stockmen’s Convention in Austin named Norman G. Collins to its permanent executive committee. That same year voters promoted Collins to State Senator.

Two important future politicians arrived in Duval County. John Buckley, who would serve as sheriff, moved to San Diego from Washington, Texas. He was looking for more suitable climate for asthmatic condition. Buckley’s fame would come much later as the grandfather of the nation’s premiere conservative William F. Buckley.

The future Duke of Duval, Archie Parr, also came to Duval County in 1882. Parr, who a friend described as being “free from so many vices and common here,” moved to the county from Calhoun County. The friend also described Pass as “red faced, Irish look, country boy, affable, [and] stubbornly honest.”

With the sheep industry a vital part of Duval’s growing economy, it was not surprising that a newspaper dedicated to the interests of woolgrowers debuted in the county in November 1882. The Bell Punch began publishing every Monday in San Diego with B. W. Johnson as editor. Johnson and the Bell Punch pulled no punches with their views.

“The sheep men of this district spend their money at home and deserve protection, let the voters put the back in motion and protect them from free trade Finlay,” wrote the Bell Punch. George Finlay was opposing the Punch’s candidate Tom P. Ochiltree for the 7th Congressional District. “Ask any successful wool grower and they will tell you that to succeed you must be on the saddle or on foot day and night, that the harder the weather the more you are exposed to the wind…you’re living in most instances is black coffee, dry bread and meat all year round and you carry your life in your hands…”