Goforth settlement

About 10 years ago, Goforth community descendants ceased their annual reunion at Martin Church. About 10 years ago, Goforth community descendants ceased their annual reunion at Martin Church.[/caption]

Gay Goforth grew up in a family of storytellers. Now, she would like to tell the story of her family through the former cotton boomtown in which her ancestors settled near present-day Kyle.

Gay is the great-granddaughter of J.T. Goforth, who founded a settlement and cotton-ginning business in northeast Hays County in the late 1800s.

Hays County was a cotton hub from the late 19th to early 20th centuries, and the Goforth Supply Co. was among the most bustling of its companies at one point, according to the Texas State Historical Association.

The company enjoyed some of its most profitable years during the turn of the century, but with soil exhaustion taking a toll on the crop yields, its prominence eventually diminished. A flood further exacerbated conditions in 1913, according to the association's website.

By 1981, the townsite featured only a cemetery.

Gay purchased the land in 1984. She said she wanted to preserve the history of the site lest it be "lost to the ages."

The time is right, she said, for the land to be turned over to the city of Kyle.

"Many generations will be very pleased to put this land to public use," Gay said.

She is in the process of donating a five-acre plat on which the townsite once stood to the city of Kyle. The old postal office, school and store are gone now, and all that remains are the remnants of a stone foundation, said Kerry Urbanowicz, Kyle Parks and Recreation Department director.

The City Council accepted Gay's donation in a Nov. 6 meeting, and the agreement deeding the property to the city has been signed by both sides, she said. She decided she would donate the land—at the intersections of Goforth Road, Foster Place and Palomino Road—with the intention that it be used as a "park or other city public use" and on the condition that the name Goforth be used in the naming of the facility, her Oct. 15, 2013, letter to Mayor Lucy Johnson states.

"I think the city can use the property for a public purpose that honors the historical nature of that area," Gay said.

It remains unclear, however, when the city will put it to use. As it stands, the property is situated outside of the city limits in Kyle's extraterritorial jurisdiction. There is also the issue of funding.

Mayor Lucy Johnson said she is happy for the donation, but there are no plans for how it will be used.

"We have a lot of time to decide what we'd want that property to be for," she said.

The Goforth name is perhaps unremarkable to current inhabitants of the Kyle and Buda area who might only associate it with the name of a road. But through a portrait of the town, building foundations that still exist and historical images she has seen, Goforth vividly endures in Gay's mind.

Gay, who lives in Austin, said she is fine with any use the city of Kyle decides is appropriate so long as the history is preserved.

"It's easy to lose the image of what these places were like before they were modern places," she said.

But "history provides (the) flavor" to the once-bustling site.
By JJ Velasquez
The Central Austin editor since 2016, JJ covers city government and other topics of community interest—when he's not editing the work of his prolific writers. He began his tenure at Community Impact Newspaper as the reporter for its San Marcos | Buda | Kyle edition covering local government and public education. The Laredo, Texas native is also a web developer whose mission is to make the internet a friendly place for finding objective and engaging news content.


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