Nov 18 2014
Civil War 
 
The Civil War came to Texas at daybreak, on Feb. 16, 1861 when Ben McCulloch with about 1,000 Texan militiamen demanded the surrender of U.S. Troops stationed in San Antonio. This would become a watershed event in the history of La Vernia. The American Civil War although fought on faraway battlefields changed the course of La Vernia’s history.
 
The leaders of La Vernia were active and influential in Texas State politics and supporters of secession. Claiborne Rector and R. W. Brahan were delegates to the Secessionist Convention of 1861. The community rallied to the cause and men immediately volunteered for service with the Confederate States of America. The men of this community joined the ranks of units mustered all over Texas. They may be found in Terry’s Texas Rangers, Parson’s Texas Cavalry, Luckett’ Brigade, Walkers Division, Irelands Company, and the Cibolo Guards. 
 
However, Company F, 4th Texas Infantry, called the “Mustang Grays” was formed and led by Captain Edward H. Cunningham. Under the command of General John Bell Hood’s Texas Brigade, it stands as a singular legend of the Civil War. Cunningham and his men reported to Richmond Virginia in late September 1861. Hood’s Brigade participated in every major engagement of General Lee’s army except Chancellorsville. It was present at thirty-eight engagements from Eltham’s Landing May 7, 1862 to Appomattox Court House May 7, 1865. 
 
Captain Cunningham served on the headquarters staff of General John Bell Hood. The casualties suffered by this heroic unit were devastating to the community of La Vernia. At Gaines Mill, Virginia John F. Brooks, Charles McAlister, T. J. McCann, and Augustus Dial were wounded; L. P. Lyons, Daniel McAlister, Thomas Cunningham, C. F. Henderson, and M. Pickett were killed. At Sharpsburg, Maryland L. P. Hughes and R. H. Skinner were wounded; B. G. Henderson was killed. At the Wilderness Campaign, Virginia R. W. Murray was wounded; Charles Brown and A. T. Cohea were killed. Haywood Brahan was wounded at Appomattox, Virginia. Eli Park was killed at New Market Heights, Virginia. Jack Sutherland was wounded at Darbytown, Virginia. W. F. Floyd and J.C. Murray were killed at Gettysbury, Pennsylvania. John D. Murray was wounded at several engagements. J. B. Currie was wounded at Chickamauga, Tennessee/Georgia. Recorded with no injuries were W. A. Bennett, E. T. Kindred, T. P. Camp, Calvin and William Goodloe, William Morris, James O. Wiseman, John Maddox and M. Crenshaw. 

Reconstruction
 
After the war, the presence of an occupying United States Army created tensions throughout Texas and the Cibolo Valley was no exception. A wave of violence threatened the community when in early June of 1867 members of the Taylor family from DeWitt County, murdered a freed slave in La Vernia. Federal troops were dispatched to investigated the incident and suppress the violence. Slave patrols, established by the planters before the War, were re-organized as minutemen militias that began policing the surrounding area. 
 
Confrontation with outlaw bands persisted throughout the 1870s and culminated on July 2, 1880 when Dr. James McMahon was murdered at his home. The local surgeon and postmaster was mortally wounded by Richard Newsom a member of an outlaw gang operating from Cottage Hill, a community across the Bexar County line, about six miles west of La Vernia. 
 
Within days after the murder, Guadalupe, Bexar, and Wilson County officials met at Midway School near La Vernia to end the activity of these outlaws. A petition was gathered and sent to Governor Oran M. Roberts seeking his help. This request brought the attention of state and federal authorities to the area. The gang was brought to justice by the end of 1881, allowing the law-abiding citizens of La Vernia to live without the constant threat of organized violence.