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The village, first named Post Oak in 1853, changed its name to Lavernia in 1859; the village of Lavernia changed its name to La Vernia in 1937. The name La Vernia is a treasure, a mysterious legacy from the pioneers who first settled the area.
La Vernia’s history began as a story passed down through the generations, carefully told by elders, and remembered by the young. The stories told of a group of settlers who, some 150 years ago, came to the frontier in East Bexar County and made it their home. They built churches, schools, plantations, homes, businesses, and a way of life modeled after their experiences in the old southern states of Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas.
Historian Deed L. Vest in A Century of Light: History of Brahan Lodge No. 226 wrote in 1959 of these settlers, “Early settlers were the Rector, Tiner, Brown, Morgan, Newton and Wiseman families. Stalwart, religious, intelligent, and of strong character, these early settlers contributed much to the establishment of Brahan Lodge, the churches, and the schools in the frontier district.” This small but determined group of individual drew upon their spiritual, intellectual and political resources to wield an influence far beyond their numbers.
Their sons were killed and wounded during the Civil War, and they struggled through the Reconstruction that followed. La Vernia witnessed the start of many cattle drives that traveled up the trails to points north. The days of the Wild West brought the jingle of spurs and the smell of gun-smoke to La Vernia.
The history of La Vernia is filled with interesting characters whose stories are still repeated by the elders to the children. One of these stories recounts how La Vernia got its name. Eventually, the story found its way into print.
The Wilson County Directory published in 1937 wrote a brief history of La Vernia stating that its name was derived from the Spanish “El Verde” meaning “the green”.
Gail Shriber, Wilson County Historian, wrote some times later: “The small settlement was called “Post Oak” until government mail service was established on 2 February 1853 when sometime later, a fact was brought to light by the Rev. Robert McCoy, of another by the name of Post Oak in Jack County. Either Rev. McCoy or R. W. Wiseman (both having moved here with their families in 1851) suggested the name be changed (This was in May 1859) to La Verdear (to grow green) for a grove of Evergreen Oaks growing on the McCoy farm near by. The pronunciation was soon corrupted to “La Vernia”.