Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor Wilson County, Texas on its sesquicentennial year. It was 150 years ago when Wilson County was founded in south Texas by an act of the state legislature. The area is rich in culture and history and serves a great part to the state of Texas.
Before the founding of the county, the first Spanish explorers traveled through the area in the early eighteenth century and used the land mostly for ranching. Most notably, the birthplace of commercial ranching took place at Rancho de las Cabras. This was a ranching outpost for Mission San Francisco de la Espada where the first ranches and cowboys settled near Floresville in Wilson County. By the 1800s, Anglo American, German and Polish settlers began moving into the area. Soon after, the state Legislature founded Wilson County on February 13, 1860. The county was named after James Charles Wilson, who was an early settler of Texas and a state legislator.
Throughout the years, Wilson County has played a significant role in south Texas history. After the Civil War, Wilson County's population underwent the greatest growth due to the completion of the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway, which reached Floresville in 1886. By the early nineteenth century, farmers who were once known for cotton crops as the most important cash crop, then diversified into a wider range of peas, watermelons, and peanuts. Today, some call Floresville the ``Peanut Capital of Texas.'' One of the county's best known natives is John Connally, who was born in 1917 near Floresville. Later Connally served as governor and survived a shot during President John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963. One hundred and fifty years has shaped the county and development of Texas through its historical sites, involvement in diversified farming, ranching, and even oil discovery.
Wilson County includes towns and cities such as Carpenter, Floresville, La Vernia, Pandora, Poth, Saspamco, Stockdale, Sutherland Springs, Grass Pond Colony, Kicaster, Doseido Colony, and Sandy Hills. It totals 809 square miles and has a population of more than 40,000.
From a legacy in ranching, to its honorable natives and rich historical culture, Wilson County celebrating its sesquicentennial year is a milestone for the county and for Texas. I am honored to have had this time to recognize Wilson County on its sesquicentennial year. I thank you for this time, Madam Speaker.
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