Jim Anderson McCampbell, later a judge in Nueces County, bought 2,000 or more acres of ranchland in southern Live Oak County sometime in the 1800s. This property became home to the small community of Anna Rose.
Once slaves were freed, McCampbell brought Zella McCampbell, his natural daughter then free, to Live Oak County. When Zella was of age, McCampbell went back East and asked Tom Weston, a part Cherokee free man, to come to Live Oak County with him to be Zella’s husband.
Tom and Zella married even though, at the time, it was illegal for anyone with Caucasian blood to marry a person with Negro blood. McCampbell thought because they were both mulatto, it was a good match. The people of Live Oak County accepted their marriage.
Tom and Zella Weston raised their family on the ranch. Tom raised cattle, horses, watermelon, and corn. McCampbell set up a school for their children and other children living near Anna Rose. At a later time there were two schools, one black and another for Mexican and whites. They were known as the Anna Rose Common School District. By 1944, it consolidated with George West Independent School District.
In A Little Corner of Texas, David Robinson, a descendant of Jesse Robinson, one of Texas Original Three Hundred and an original Texas Ranger, writes about his very brief encounter with Tom Weston before his death.
Sometime after McCampbell’s death, David’s father, Alfred, the son of Jesse Robinson, helped Tom find Judge McCampbell’s will deeding the land to Tom and Zella as promised. The promise for the property was that they take care of McCampbell until his death. During the Robinson’s visit with Tom much later, David remembers Tom’s speaking warm heartedly about his Cherokee heritage. Robinson says Tom “was well respected – a man of the old school".
Jesse Robinson led quite a colorful life and spent his last years long after Texas won independence with his son Alfred in Live Oak County near Anna Rose where he lived until he died. Jesse was honored with a Texas Historical Marker at Latham Cemetery by the Live Oak County Historical Commission in 1973.
Three of the six Weston children, Pinkie, Norwick (Nob), and Atlee became renowned throughout Live Oak county. The brothers were known for their knowledge and skill as cowboys and ranch foremen. Atlee drowned crossing cattle on the Nueces when it swelled after a rain. Pinkie married Romano Chapa. He was from Mier, Mexico, so their marriage was illegal also. Pinkie was well known for Mexican "bailes" or dances she organized. She spoke fluent Spanish and folks came from far to her dances and held her in “high esteem”. She and Romano ranched about 600 acres they inherited from her parents.
Anna Rose at one time had a post office, store, dance hall, school and cemetery. A few of Pinkie and Romano's children remained in Anna Rose for some time, but by the next generation, most were gone. Today, there is little to show except the quaint cemetery with the beautiful old stucco surrounding unmarked graves most likely the earliest family and a few other marked gravestones.
Hudson, Richard and Janis. Live Oak County, Images of America. Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, South Carolina. 2013. 21.
Robinson, David. A Little Corner of Texas. John Hadden Publishers, Tulsa. 1991. 144-150.
Sparkman, Ervin L. The People’s History of Live Oak County, Texas. Ide House, Mesquite. 1981. 186-187
Lindholm, Thelma et. al. The History of the People of Live Oak County, Texas. Self-Published by the Live Oak County Historical Commission, 1982. 9, 25, 27, 28, 33.
The Honorable Jim Huff, County Judge for Live Oak County, welcomes you to the Live Oak County Historical Commission (LOCHC) Website. The Live Oak County Historical Commission is an arm of the Live Oak County Commissioners' Court; appointees are selected at the beginning of odd numbered years and serve two year terms. Judge Huff and the Live Oak County Commissioners support and approve actions of the LOCHC in coordination with the Texas Historical Commission (THC).
Live Oak County Commissioners:
Precinct 1: Richard Lee
Precinct 2: Donna Kopplin Mills
Precinct 3: Willie James
Precinct 4: Emilio Garza
The Commissioner's Court is committed to the preservation of our county's history. Judge Huff and your local commissioner welcome suggestions.