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Helena in Karnes County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Thomas Ruckman

(November 8, 1826 - December 2, 1914)

 
 
Thomas Ruckman Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Anderson, April 5, 2019
1. Thomas Ruckman Marker
Inscription.  

Founding father of Karnes County, Ruckman was born in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. He graduated in 1848 from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) and taught in South Carolina for a year. But the lure of Texas - then a frontier state where land was cheap and opportunity boundless - brought him on Christmas morning, 1850, to San Antonio.

In 1851 he started a trading post in the little Mexican settlement of Alamita, located on the Old Ox-Cart Road between San Antonio and Goliad. Other businessmen followed his example, and soon Ruckman was able to build a gristmill near the San Antonio River, enlarge his store, and erect a stately home.

Soon after, Ruckman took as partner Dr. L. S. Owings, and together they foresaw a metropolis arising at this important and inviting roadstop. Their store once stood near the site of this marker.

In 1852, they laid out a new town, which they named "Helena", in honor of Owings' wife. When Karnes County organized in 1854, Helena was chosen county seat.

Ruckman was postmaster here, 1854 to 1857, and he continued nearly 40 years as leading merchant
Thomas Ruckman Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Anderson, April 5, 2019
2. Thomas Ruckman Marker
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and banker. In 1872, he helped found the Helena Academy.

He is buried in the Masonic Cemetery of Helena.
 
Erected 1968 by State Historical Survey Committee. (Marker Number 5473.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers.
 
Location. 28° 57.044′ N, 97° 49.195′ W. Marker is in Helena, Texas, in Karnes County. Marker is on Farm to Market Road 81 south of County Road 302, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Karnes City TX 78118, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Helena (within shouting distance of this marker); Ox-Cart Road (within shouting distance of this marker); Helena Union Church (within shouting distance of this marker); Old Helena Courthouse (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); St. Joseph's School (approx. 4.7 miles away); Immaculate Conception Church (approx. 4.8 miles away); Town of Panna Maria (approx. 4.8 miles away); Panna Maria, Texas (approx. 4.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Helena.
 
Also see . . .  Ruckman, Thomas - The Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) (Submitted on April 17, 2019, by Brian Anderson of Kingwood, Texas.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 25, 2020. It was originally submitted on April 17, 2019, by Brian Anderson of Kingwood, Texas. This page has been viewed 197 times since then and 74 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 17, 2019, by Brian Anderson of Kingwood, Texas.

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Aug. 9, 2022