Community > History of San Benito > 1920s
Colonel Samuel A. Robertson
Col. Robertson (1867-1938) is given credit for founding the township of San Benito, Texas in 1904. Born in DeWitt, Missouri, Col. Robertson entered the railroading business at a young age, building railroad yards and laying tracks in much of the Midwest, South, and Southwest of the country. In 1903 he obtained a subcontract for track laying, surfacing and bridge construction of the St. L.B.&M extension from Corpus Christi to Brownsville. With $12,000 borrowed capital and failing equipment, Col. Robertson led his brave crew through harsh conditions in south Texas.
Traversing the territories of the Rio Grande Valley, Col. Robertson noticed the peculiar topography around modern-day San Benito and the opportunity that the Resaca presented. As he built the railroad “spider web” in San Benito he joined forces with James Landrum and Oliver Hicks to form the San Benito Land & Water Company, which laid the infrastructure for an agriculture economy.
Col. Robertson was the first leader of San Benito, holding posts of mayor, sheriff, and postmaster. Besides his work in San Benito, he also did business in Padre Island. He joined the military and lived many adventures on both sides of the border. However, he was known as a just and fair man, often championing the cause of the less powerful. He led an effort to rid the area of the local Ku Klux Clan.
He settled in San Benito in his landmark home, still standing on the corners of Sam Houston and Adele streets. He married his first wife, a Miss Adele Wedegartner, in 1901. After her death he re-married to Miss Maria Seidler in 1922. Neither marriage produced children.