Nov 18 2014
Immediately to the north and east of the settlement, plantations modeled on the successful operations of the Old South were created. The planters who counted their wealth in African slaves purchased large tracts of land. Erastus Beall and his sons Sebastian, Benjamin, Frank and William established a plantation immediately east of the settlement. North of the settlement, Charles G. Napier, who referred to himself as a "self-styled agriculturalist" from Walker County Georgia, owned a plantation. 
 
Napier in later years became a renowned agricultural writer for the San Antonio Express newspaper. He may have been the first of the Cibolo planters to abandon the plantation model on the Cibolo. He recognized the irregular rainfall patterns that would not support consistent cotton crops. Napier sold much of his land to settlers from Upper Silesia who created the village of St. Hedwig. 
 
Augustine (Gus) Gildea, years later, recalled his days as a youngster at Cottage Hill. He remembered Confederate volunteers marching and performing drills at Cottage Hill in 1861, before travelling to the killing fields of the Civil War. 
 
William A. Jackson, the postmaster, sold his store and flock of sheep and marched off to war. Daniel Ross Coodey, returned to the Cherokee Nation and helped form the Cherokee Mounted Rifles. As a Captain, he commanded a company of the Cherokee Mounted Cavalry during the War.
 
At the close of the Civil War, the defeated Confederates returned to find their lands abandoned. Plantations were being broken into smaller plots and sold as small farm. The Silesians began purchasing the plantation lands around Cottage Hill. Their large extended families provided the labor to work the land. The Silesians also welcomed the newly freed African slaves into their community.
 
The residents at Cottage Hill resented the relationship between the Sileasians and the freedmen. The San Antonio newspapers referred to the community as “a community of freedmen, both black and white.” The Silesians created stores and businesses in their community, however, they were still dependent on Cottage Hill for their mail. 
 
During the late 1860s and 1870s a few white tenant farmers operated around Cottage Hill. It also became the gathering site for ex-confederates. Many of the new tenants came from nearby Karnes and Dewitt County. They brought with them the feuds and outlawry that had become endemic to those counties. Cottage Hill became known for violence; it was a place where scores were settled.
Tax Notice
Notice to Taxpayers (San Antonio Daily Express, 27 September 1875)
Precinct #4, Gregerio Martinez, Calaveras, October 26, J. Humphrey, Cottage Hill,
October 27, Kiolbassa and Bro., St. Hedwig City, October 28 & 29.