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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Smiley in Gonzales County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Old Smiley Lake and Townsite

 
 
Old Smiley Lake and Townsite Marker image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, February 8, 2021
1. Old Smiley Lake and Townsite Marker
Inscription.  

Attracted by abundant water from a natural lake, settlers began moving to this area in the late 1840s. Ranching provided the earliest commerce. In addition to cattle and sheep, ranchers raised racing horses for sale in the southern states. Cattlemen brought their herds to the lake area until they were ready for transfer to Belmont (20 Miles North), where a branch of the Chisholm cattle trail was located.

George W. Colley, considered to be the founder of Smiley Lake community, moved here in 1879. Near his home he built a steam-powered cotton gin and sawmill. He was joined later by Major W.M. Phillips who opened a mercantile establishment here in 1883. The settlement of Smiley Lake, named for early pioneer Jim Smiley, was located on the Cuero-Rancho trade route between San Antonio and the Gulf Port of Indianola.

The village once had a saddle factory, blacksmith shop, wire fence plant, newspaper, general stores, drugstore, school, Baptist church, an I.O.O.F. Lodge and a Post Office established in 1884. When the Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio Railroad completed lines nearby in 1906, the town of Smiley was moved to the
The view of the Old Smiley Lake and Townsite Marker by the road image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, February 8, 2021
2. The view of the Old Smiley Lake and Townsite Marker by the road
present location (One Mile North).
 
Erected 1980 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 3812.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceRailroads & StreetcarsRoads & VehiclesSettlements & Settlers.
 
Location. 29° 15.743′ N, 97° 38.338′ W. Marker is in Smiley, Texas, in Gonzales County. Marker is at the intersection of Farm to Market Road 108 and Bowman Lane, on the right when traveling south on Highway 108. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Smiley TX 78159, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Smiley United Methodist Church (approx. half a mile away); First Baptist Church of Smiley (approx. half a mile away); First Baptist Church of Nixon (approx. 7½ miles away); Rancho (approx. 7.9 miles away); 1835 Attack at Sandies Water Hole (approx. 10.6 miles away); Gonzales - San Antonio Road (approx. 10.6 miles away); Westhoff (approx. 11.2 miles away); Rev. Alejo Hernández (approx. 11½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Smiley.
 
Also see . . .  Smiley, TX.
Smiley, also known as Smiley Lake, is at the intersection of U.S. Highway 87 and Farm roads 3234 and 108, twenty-one miles south of Gonzales
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in southwestern Gonzales County. It was established in the early 1870s, when trader and sheepherder John Smiley settled by a long narrow lake that became known as Smiley's, Smileys, or Smiley Lake. The lake became an important watering point for cattle herds on the way to market, and several businesses, including a cotton gin and a sawmill, were started in the community by the early 1880s. The names Smiley Lake and Smiley seem to have been used interchangeably during the early years, but by 1900 the community was labeled Smiley on maps.  Source: The Handbook of Texas
(Submitted on February 23, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 23, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 23, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 54 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 23, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.
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Mar. 6, 2021