In writing this Birthday present to the one hundred and fifty year old town of Seguin one thing remained uppermost in my mind. Let this history be fun, not scholarly. Thus it is unencumbered by footnotes, end notes, and the bibliography is only representative of all the sources used. My intention was for the history of Seguin to be logical, chronological, thematic, and written in an easy prose so that young and old could appreciate the heritage of Seguin.
The journey into Seguin's past has been delightful. The roads of serious and casual research have taken me to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., the National Archives, the State Library and Archives, and countless trips through Seguin and Guadalupe County. Never once was I disappointed with the wealth of material and the willingness of people offering their assistance.
As best as possible the material herein has been subjected to analysis. Lon Tinkle, a noted author in Texana literature, once stated that "Texas History is part myth, part reality." There can be no arguing his observation. On the other hand, events can be checked, crosschecked, re-checked, and if the apparent evidence still stands, then the myth or reality becomes recorded for posterity. Thus, if there is myth within these pages, then so be it. They have withstood a discerning eye, and perhaps we are a little better off.
One of the banes in writing local history is what to include, what to cull. A local politician offered me some encouragement about that. The advice was an axiom - "writing a local history is like being in local politics. If you can't take the criticism then don't do it." There are many reasons why not everyone, not every club or organization, not every event can be included. The main reason is space limitation. Every effort has been made to ensure that a fair representation of all that has been Seguin has been included by a representative of that club, organization, ethnic group, or institution. This history is an outline, then, of all walks of life in Seguin. To be sure, as time goes on and updates of Seguin's continuing history are written, inclusion of those events left out may then be included. There may be some question as to why the oak tree is a part of the title rather than the pecan tree. There are several reasons. First, the pecan tree is the State tree, thus it has its place in Texas history. Second, the pecan tree is an economic tree, especially in this region. On the other hand the oak tree is a cultural part of Seguin's history. It was under the oak trees near the Ranger Station that the Charter for Seguin was drawn. The hanging tree, by the Plaza Hotel for so many years, was an oak tree. The "Whipping Oak" in the city square still has the rings affixed to it when criminals were lashed in public. It was an oak tree that saw the first church services in Seguin, and some of the first governmental meetings. I especially thank Betty Grossman of Seguin for her pen and ink sketch of the live oak tree. She has captured the spirit and the strength of the tree and its relationship with Seguin.
There are many acknowledgments to be made, yet again space becomes a hindrance. Nelda Kubala of Leon's Studio has been a staunch supporter of this project. Her advice, insight, and valuable collection of photographs are a highlight, for which I am most appreciative. To the Executive Board of Seguin State Bank and Trust Company goes a heartfelt thanks. Their generous support in paying for the printing of this history made this effort possible. Anne Brawner's help with the history of Black education, along with Henry F. Wilson, Coleta Byrd and Evelyn Little greatly guided me. (As a note on the use of terms describing the American Negro in our history, I have used three terms: Negro, Black, and colored. Lord McCaulay, eminent British historian, once commented that in writing of people who had preceded us was "to place ourselves in their situation, to put out of our minds all that knowledge which they could not have and which we, however negligent we may have been, could not help having." Thus, this historian, in Chapter Seven, chose to use the word "colored" rather than the current Black or Negro, and no slight is intended.) The Bicentennial Committee's work was a valuable assistance. I wish I could have met Mrs. Willie Mae Weinert and Reverend Fitzsimon, just to say hello and thanks for their early works. Joe Comingore's keen observations helped immensely. He made me think more than twice when the pen scratched the paper. A warm thanks goes to my Texas History students for their thoughts and observations over the years. A special thanks goes to Dorothy Hawkins who did the typing of the drafts and final copy. Her patience with my brand of hieroglyphic penmanship and idiosyncrasies was a big help. For the tedious job of indexing and proofreading I thank not only my parents, Ed and Polly Gesick, but all the others too. And finally to my wife, Diane, and the children, thank you. I appreciate Diane's research for the School District on the biographies of the schools named after a local person. I appreciate, even more, her letting me use the material.
One final note. The proceeds from the sales of this history do not go to the writer or to any club or organization. After the recovery of publishing costs, the monies will be held in a special account for projects involving the historic preservation of Seguin. Clubs or organizations doing work in historic preservation for Seguin may be aided, within limits.
Now, it is time to invite the reader for a journey through Seguin's past. It is a heritage that is proud. Come, join me.
March 2, 1988