Nov 18 2014
After the Civil War, John Humphrey purchased the site of Cottage Hill and reopened its post office and store. Humphrey was an ambitious man. He planned to make Cottage Hill an important crossroads. He proposed a road connecting New Braunfels to the Rio Grande Valley that passed through Cottage Hill, Floresville and Live Oak. John Humphrey and his plans were consumed by violence. 
 
An incident in 1876 outraged the public. Tom Secrest and William Irvin were killed in a gunfight that began over an invitation to a party at the home of Burrell Lann. Irvin, angered at not being invited, issued threats to Secrest and Lann through friends and acquaintances. A few days before the killings, Irvin sent a written challenge to Secrest. Secrest’s response was that he would "see" Irvin at Humphrey’s store.
 
On the day of the killing, Secrest and Lann were inside Humphrey’s store along with James Applewhite, John Spears, Albert Atkinson. When Irvin rode his horse to the front Humphrey’s Store, Secrest step to the front door and fired his shotgun at the still mounted Irvin. Both Irvin and his horse were killed by the blasts. Irvin, who was also carrying a shotgun, fired off one barrel but with no effect. As Secrest leaned over Irvin's body to inspect his work, a bullet fired from inside the store pierced his heart.
 
James Applewhite was taken before the grand jury but was released for insufficient evidence. The population divided into factions and a feud raged on. 
 
In 1877, the assassination of John Humphrey marked the formal demise of Cottage Hill. On his regular mail run to San Antonio two assailants stepped from the bushes and opened fire at Humphrey. Before he could turn his wagon and flee he was shot in the wrist and abdomen. He returned to the home of his relative John Draper in San Antonio where a doctor pronounced him “beyond help.” 
Humphrey Will

"Imminent Danger of Death"

Humphrey, who was a widower, wrote his will and gave custody of his minor children to Draper. Humphrey stated that the assailants were unknown to him, they uttered not a single word, demanded nothing, their goal was assassination. Humphrey died a day later.
 
Highway bandits, common at time, were suspected of the act. Some blamed the Silesians who coveted Humphrey's post office for their own community. The fact that within the space of a few days, the post office was transferred to the Silesian community of St. Hedwig and simultaneously, a separate road, by passing Cottage Hill and connecting St. Hedwig to San Antonio was created added to the suspicions.
 
Now with a post office, several stores, cotton gins, pottery, brickyard, an active church and school St. Hedwig prospered. Cottage Hill declined. And yet, outlaws continued to gather. Violent young men, many from area families, formed gangs. They would become notorious throughout Texas.
 
Cottage Hill came into existence and disappeared within 25 years.