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MEANSVILLE, TEXAS. Meansville was three miles southeast of the site of present-day Odem in south central San Patricio County. One of the first settlers in the area was William Means, who arrived before the Civil War. Means was elected county sheriff in 1862 and served until 1867. The center of the community seems to have been a two-story building erected in 1874 that doubled as a school and church on the lower floor and a lodge hall on the second. Methodists, Disciples of Christ, and Baptists held church services in the building. A Mr. Cherry operated a store nearby. A notation in the commissioners' court minutes in 1881 gave permission to sell the building for $300, saying that it had been abandoned as a school.

The night of January 30, 1876, precipitated a series of events that brought the community to an ignominious end. Three of Means's sons on a spree in the Bee County town of Papalote shot up a general store, then fled to their father's ranch. A posse gave chase, with the aid of San Patricio county sheriff Ed Garner, and in the confrontation that ensued at the Means's place Means was killed. His sons swore vengeance. On a Sunday in August of the same year, the Means boys ambushed the unarmed Ed Garner in church, gunning him down in front of his family and neighbors.

The community lived in fear of further violence. In 1879 Texas Rangersqv arrived to help persuade the Means clan to move on, and oral tradition has it that the founding family cleared out of the county with all their worldly possessions packed in twenty-three wagons. All that remains of the community today is the Meansville Cemetery, which has been restored by the Odem Historical Society and the San Patricio County Historical Commission.

Keith Guthrie, History of San Patricio County (Austin: Nortex, 1986).
Keith Guthrie

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Keith Guthrie, "Meansville, TX," accessed November 19, 2017,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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