Nov 18 2014
The first documented use of the spelling “La Vernia” occurs in the 1870 Federal Census. In 1877, the newspaper, Sutherland Springs Chronicle refers to the community with both spellings. Both spellings continue to occur through the early 1900s with the spelling “La Vernia” used with increasing frequency. World War I, Draft Registration Cards from Wilson County exhibited the two spellings with equal frequency. Individuals with the same surname chose different spellings, as in the case of Leo Wiseman who used “Lavernia” and Walter Wiseman who used “La Vernia”. 
 
Other questions regarding the origin of “La Vernia” seemed to arise. The reference to a Spanish origin seems questionable. In the 1860 census Lavernia enumerated no individual with a Hispanic surname. Antonio Thomas, although not possessing a Hispanic surname, was the only individual indicating that he was born in Mexico. In the same Census the town of Lodi, near present day Floresville enumerated over 200 individuals with Hispanic surnames. Additionally, according to scholars of the Spanish language “El Verde” or “La Verdear” are unusual usage at best, and incorrect at worst.
 
After an inspection of the record several conclusions seemed appropriate:
 
• “Post Oak” was both the legal name and the commonly used name for the community until May 1859.
 
• The name “Lavernia” was a specific choice, and not a corruption of another term. 
 
• The choice in 1859 was “Lavernia”, not “La Vernia”.
 
• “La Vernia” evolved from an initial choice of “Lavernia”.
 
The question remained about the origin of the term “Lavernia”. Census records in 1860 for the community were searched for “Lavernia” as an individual name or surname. Census records for 1850 were searched both for Texas and the states of origin for the early settlers; no record for a person named Lavernia could be found, that was related to the community. Similarly, no reference could be found to any other community with the name Lavernia.
 
An obscure article in the San Antonio Daily Herald of March 18, 1859 provided a new area for research. The article, written by the editorial staff, referred to one of Lavernia’s young men: “We have received through Mr. Haywood Brahan, son of Maj. Brahan, of this county, a number of the “Southern College Magazine, a literary monthly, edited by the students of the Weslayan University, Florence, Ala., of which institution young Mr. B. is a student. On looking over its contents we find that the articles evince much ability and are characterized by much good taste. The work is now in its fourth year, and speaks well for the literary talent of the Institution under direction of which it is published.” 
 
Other characterizations of the early settlers of Lavernia showing interest in literary works came from Deed L. Vest’s, A Century of Light: “…practically all the settlers in La Vernia and Bethesda were literate. Some of them, such as William R. Wiseman were men of considerable education.” He also wrote of Joseph R. Polley, another of Lavernia’s young men as “Literary, fun-loving”. Perhaps “Lavernia” had its origin in the literature of the day.