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San Antonio Commits to Expanding Green Spaces | SA2020

San Antonio Commits to Expanding Green Spaces | SA2020 | SAN ANTONIO XYZ | Scoop.it
Summer is always a time to head outside and soak up some sun, but San Antonio has got us thinking about outdoor spaces even more lately. Our city is making some
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San Antonio: So much more than the Alamo

San Antonio: So much more than the Alamo | SAN ANTONIO XYZ | Scoop.it
There are so many things to do in San Antonio - museums, lively districts, shopping, great dining, outdoor activities and exploring the beautiful River Walk.
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Research on San Antonio neighborhoods leads to discovery of settlements started by former slaves

Research on San Antonio neighborhoods leads to discovery of settlements started by former slaves | SAN ANTONIO XYZ | Scoop.it
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — For years, retired Air Force Maj. J. Michael Wright wondered why all the property in his Northeast Side subdivision had been developed except for a single acre-size lot, fenced in and packed with trees and thorny brush. Carlson researched deeds and records for the area, including the late 1800s U.S. census, and found tantalizing clues that the cemetery might once have been part of a long-lost African-American settlement connected to the community of Wetmore, northeast of what's now San Antonio International Airport. As Wright and Carlson continued their hunt in the early days, online and in person, they talked to former gravediggers, funeral home directors, genealogical societies and state experts. Fly secured a grant from the San Antonio Conservation Society for travel expenses, research and reproduction copies. Fly said some records kept on African-Americans from that time period list only a first name and no information on where the person was born. Fly found a key common factor in the Wetmore area settlements: they all were started by former slaves, emancipated on June 19, 1865, 21/2 years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Descendants of the Winters family have a copy of the emancipation letter where E.C. Alsbury freed their ancestor Robert "Bob" Winters from slavery. In the letter, Alsbury credits Winters for "faithful service" and gives him possession of two horses. A treasure trove of information came from a handmade book and a 9-foot-long family tree produced by descendant Edward Winters, who spent years poring over deeds, treaties, archives and other records and talking with now-deceased family members. The retired major and the archivist slogged through calf-high grass on an easement to climb over the chain link fence into the thorny chaparral, where they scoured for anything that might shed light on the area's history. Crawling under a tree, Carlson found a chunk of stone with worn letters spelling "Green" carved into the surface that could have been a headstone. Maps prepared by LostTexasRoads.com show survey lines of the graveyard from a 1908 Bexar County deed record matching the Bexar County Appraisal District Record of the property as "Lot P-99 (CEMETERY)." Becoming a land owner during that era for any woman would have been difficult, said Carey Latimore, associate professor and chairman, department of history at Trinity University. Turns out the Hockley descendants hadn't staked a claim on the land because they thought they would be charged back taxes they couldn't afford; they weren't aware that cemeteries are exempt from property taxes by state law. Family lore has it that when the modern-day subdivision was going up in the early 1980s, the driver of a bulldozer clearing the land uncovered human bones and walked off the job, refusing to continue. Recently, relatives from the two clans met Home Owners Association president Connie Smith at the gated cemetery that sits near the entrance to the neighborhood. Despite not knowing anything about the people buried there, she and neighbors would gather on the weekends to clean the cemetery. Nearby, Cynthia Young Miller recalled how, as a child, she'd walk with her family down a road, now Tavern Oaks Street, during funerals to the sprawling oak tree in the cemetery that served as a landmark. [...] Fly points out that it was Wright's passion and persistence that put the spotlight on the Hockley cemetery and led to more details about the other local black communities. When you read different versions of the Texas Constitution, it says if a person owned real property they were entitled to vote.
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