David Barkalow was just hunting for a little historical background on his Bexar County neighborhood, putting his love for history into a practical use. But the 2016 MA in History graduate never expected to uncover a defunct college from San Antonio’s long-ago history.
Barkalow, who also earned a BSOE degree from the San Antonio campus in 2010, said he started the research out of curiosity about the history of Timberwood Park, one of the largest subdivisions in San Antonio. The culmination was a presentation in September to a packed crowd of more than 100 and a request to repeat the presentation in November to new audiences.
“When researching the General Land Office (GLO) records for the first property owners in the area, I found something interesting,” says Barkalow, who has worked for USAA for 17 years. “A large portion of our subdivision listed the owner as Guadalupe College, with supporting documents stating trustees of Guadalupe College."
Barkalow discovered that Guadalupe College had land designations in at least 10 counties, set aside during the term of Governor Mirabeau Lamar in an act approved Jan. 30, 1841, to create a college in Gonzales. Trustees for the college were also designated. Later documents noted that a February 1852 act transferred the land for Guadalupe College to the “body corporate of Gonzales College,” repealing the act from 1841.
Construction for Gonzales College began in 1851, funded primarily through private donations. State land grants helped the school to expand, though Barkalow said he could find no journal articles to back that claim. Regardless, the college had a short life. A steep enrollment decline after the Civil War and a severe drought which crippled the farm economy in the area around the college were two chinks in the armor that could not be overcome.
“Some resources tout Gonzales College as the first college in Texas to confer a bachelor’s degree to a woman. Although Gonzales College did not survive, the land-grant funds were an admirable attempt to promote education in a state struggling to thrive,” Barkalow notes.
He also shared interesting facts about the area like its past residents – “including a famous doctor, a very wealthy northern couple who decided to become Texas ranchers, and direct ties to the current Texas Speaker of the House” – and its early history as part of the Mission San Antonio de Valero’s ranch land.
The presentations included the history as well as historical sites within the 3,500-lot subdivision and were highly successful. He included information on a small cemetery located in the area and the families represented by the 25 people buried between the 1850s and the 1920s. The historic cemetery was opened after the presentation for visitors to peruse.
Barkalow said a random question in a course near the end of his undergraduate classwork piqued his interest in studying further, and he’s always had a love for history. When WBU launched the MAH program just a few years later, he jumped in. He credits the research project with further intensifying his desire to teach history adjunctly. He also said the degree helped him improve his comprehension, writing and communication skills and his confidence, and he continues to conduct research and write.
He is currently compiling an article on the Timberwood Park research to submit to the Texas State Historical Association so others can access his findings. His first article, on the private Friesenhahn Cave, was published recently on the TSHA’s Handbook of Texas Online site and can be read here.
From the History Files
Sarah Tucker Wayland may not have gotten the limelight her husband did, but Dr. James Henry Wayland’s wife was anything but a demure, silent woman. Like most pioneer women of the South Plains, she had to be tough, enduring life in a newly settled area with few amenities,
By all accounts, Sarah was just as much the philanthropist as her husband, with the gifts to begin the college that would bear their names being just as much her sacrifice as his. While she never worked outside the home, she did plenty of hard labor inside the Wayland homestead, located near the draw on what is now Fifth Street. She raised several children, watched her eldest die in childbirth, then took on the raising of her granddaughter afterward. While her husband was traveling across the barren West Texas land to check on patients, it was Sarah holding down the fort at home
Alongside the busy duties of pioneer housewife, Sarah helped her husband with his business ventures and served her church as pianist for 50-plus years.
In 2011, Wayland honored the unique contributions of Sarah, whom her husband affectionately called “Sally,” by starting a women’s philanthropy group called the Sally Society. Open to anyone interested in supporting the unique needs of students and improving Wayland’s living and learning environments, the program requires annual gifts of at least $1,000 to the specific fund. The dues-paying members then work together to decide how to use the funds raised annually to bless the campus.
The Sally Society’s yearly signature project is the Power of the Purse, a luncheon that includes a silent and live auction of handbags in a wide range of prices and styles. The themed events are a great way to fellowship with area women and raise funds to benefit Sally projects.
To learn more about membership in the Sally Society, click here or email Laurie Hall, membership chair.
Meet your Alumni Board
Since graduating from Wayland in 1989, Stacie Jackson Hardage has been close to her alma mater for many of those years. Her service extends past years on the alumni board to include membership in the Sally Society women’s philanthropy group, generous giving, and supporting her husband, Tim, in his role as a member of the Wayland Board of Trustees. Her daughter Ashley Hardage Edlin is an alum and now a faculty member, and younger daughter Carley is a senior at WBU.
“Wayland’s impact on me as a student continues to affect me even today. Wayland is a family,” says Stacie. “I am a very family-oriented person, and when I left my family to go to college I gained a whole new family. I believe family teaches you the most about life, life skills and relationships.
“My roots at Wayland run very deep and what I learned during my time at WBU has helped me in my personal relationships and my professional relationships. “
Stacie’s adult life mirrors her student persona: she was involved in several student organizations and worked in the Student Activities office, both sources of her favorite college memories and some great life lessons about responsibility and scheduling. Those also provided opportunities to connect in unique ways.
“Through my jobs in traffic and parking and off-campus housing, I met and got to visit with so many people. Some of those I developed lifelong friendships with and am still in contact with to this day,” she says.
Stacie loves her board service role because it “gives me an opportunity to give back to the university that gave so much to me.”
“I love being involved with the things of Wayland and interacting with alumni and current students as well,” she said. “Wayland is just an overall great place to be, and I’m thankful for the continued opportunities to be involved, to love, and support such a fine institution.”
Help honor distinguished alums
As we begin to prepare for Homecoming 2018 in Plainview, we are seeking your help in honoring alumni from around our campuses, and that is changing for the coming year as well.
Instead of just having all alums competing for the three awards we currently give out, we have added a Distinguished Alumni Award for each of our extension campuses. Our hope is that we will be able to shed light on the amazing accomplishments of even more of our alumni. Honorees from each campus will be honored at that campus’ graduation ceremony in the spring, then recognized as a whole at homecoming.
Click here to complete a nomination form for yourself or fellow classmates for this award. The form is super simple and easy to submit, and you can turn in as many as you like.
The dates for Homecoming 2018 are set for October 26-27, and we’re already planning some fun activities for our honor class graduates – 1968, 1978, 1988, 1998 and 2008 – as well as others who we would love to see on campus again.
We’re working on a short poll to gauge your interest in some ideas for the weekend’s format, and will send it to everyone soon. We want to shape this event to be the best ever, and we need your help to do that! No matter where you attended Wayland, homecoming is for you!
Newly rebranded alumni magazine coming soon
We all need a little makeover from time to time, and the alumni magazine for Wayland is getting one as well. Be on the lookout for the magazine to hit your mailbox in mid-January 2018. Until then, make sure your mailing information is updated with us so you receive one. You can do that using this easy online form found here.
Not interested in receiving a print copy? Prefer to read it online? Drop me an email and let me know you prefer an email reminder when the issue goes live online. You can also read any archived copies at our website here.