Nov 18 2014
Post Oak becomes Lavernia
 
The name “Post Oak” was used for the community until 1859 when confusion with other communities named Post Oak caused the Post Office Department to recommend a change. The community postmaster at that time, Connally F. Henderson, submitted an application for the name “Lavernia.” The choice was deliberate and well documented in governmental records, correspondence, and newspapers of the day. 
 
The name has been a unique choice, no other community named Lavernia, has ever existed in the United States. Unfortunately, within three years after choosing the name “Lavernia,” Connally F. Henderson, its postmaster, was buried with other Civil War casualties of the Battle of Gaines Mill in Virginia, taking with him the secret of the name “Lavernia.”
 
The origin of the name La Vernia is elusive. Its association with the community comes from two separate legends; the most popular is the speculation that the original “Lavernia” was derived from “La Verde” Spanish for the “the green.” This understanding led to the community changing the original spelling of its name from “Lavernia” to “La Vernia” in 1937. 
 
The second legend attributes the origin to the original founders of the community who were university-educated men, readers of the classics, who chose the name “Lavernia” for its spiritual inspiration. Lavernia was the village in the Italian Apennines where on September 14, 1224 tradition has it that St. Francis of Assisi received the stigmata, the marks of Christ's wounds; an event described by Dante in the "Divine Comedy.”
 

The Plantation
 
The earliest settlers were planters from the southern states who brought with them the plantation model for growing cotton using African slaves. For the first few years the settlers experienced good rainfall and harvested large yields. However, the drought of 1857 emphasized the erratic and sparse average rainfall that made farming unpredictable. The unpredictability of the climate coupled with the high cost of slaves in Texas and the ease with which slaves could escape to freedom in Mexico caused many planters to abandon the plantation model and explore other opportunities.
 
Rounding up and branding the wild cattle in the area became the focus of many in the community, as evidenced by the registration of brands and marks with the Bexar County Clerk. Some families, like the Bristers and Bealls, move west, establishing vast cattle ranches in what would become Live Oak and Atascosa counties. 
 
Indians
 
The early settlers endured the hardships of the frontier: droughts that withered crops, floods that inundated the Cibolo Valley, washing away homes, livestock, and dreams. The most terrifying hardship for the settlers was the return of Indian tribes to their traditional hunting grounds along the Cibolo. Indian incursions were reported in 1848, 1849, and 1850. 
 
Not until 1855, and after the valley was settled, was there another raid. Lucy, an African slave girl for the Elam plantation, was attacked and killed by a mounted party of Indians as she carried water to field hands. About a mile above Post Oak on Dry Hollow Creek a boy, Jewett McGee, the son of a local pastor, and Pendleton Rector were caught in the open by the same group, Rector escaped, young McGee was killed. Men from the community chased the raiders deep into the post oaks with no success.