Herman Brose Vezey (1894-1963)

From Linda Holcomb

Herman Brose Vezey came to Sweeny, Texas in 1913 as a farmer when the town was a small community. He lived there 50 years and watched that little community grow.

He served his country in World War I and was a sergeant in the Signal Corps. He was the U.S. Postmaster in Sweeny during the 1940's and 1950's (1941-1958). He served as Bank Director of Citizen State Bank, as City Secretary, held many offices in the Lions Club and American Legion and was president of both.

Mr. Vezey thought that having churches for Sweeny was important, so he donated the land on which to build Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church. He helped build the first church in Sweeny, the old First Baptist church. He also contributed funds to help build every church in Sweeny.vezey1

Herman gave land near the Methodist Church for both the original Boy Scout House and the Girl Scout Little House to be built on. When volunteers were unable to complete the Boy Scout House, Mr. Vezey gave of his own money to pay to have it finished. He was a Charter member of the Sweeny Boy Scouts, and in 1943 he organized a troop and found men to assist him. Mr. Vezey became Scoutmaster, an office he kept for ten years. Later he was presented highest scout awards from the Boy Scout council for his outstanding work and leadership as Scoutmaster and founder of the Sweeny Boy Scouts. Jerry Gerlich presented him with a Boy Scout book in appreciation of his work. He assisted in buying 50 tents for the Boy Scouts which were given to a unit at Camp Karankawa. He contributed to funds of the Boy Scouts for 24 years. He built large boxes for the Girl Scouts to transport their equipment in and drove his car to take the Girl Scouts to camps, the Icecapades, the zoo, the Shamrock Hotel, and other field trips.

Mr. Vezey was a charter member of the Sweeny Cemetery Association and was a Director since it was first organized.

When industry moved to Sweeny, Mr. Vezey asked the citizens to contribute funds to have the town incorporated. He also donated money to have the town incorporated. He helped in the movements of the city which brought doctors and dentists here and to acquire fire protection with the purchase of fire equipment, the organization and establishment of the Sweeny Bank, holding the position of Bank Director and highest stockholder at the bank until his death in 1963. When the general practice doctor moved, Mr. Vezey gave money to help a new young doctor (Dr. Fletcher Hester) and his wife come to Sweeny.

After Mr. Vezey's death, Cecil Allen, President of Citizens State Bank, said Herman made many anonymous donations into people's bank accounts when he heard of
people's needs. No one was turned away empty handed when they asked for financial help whether great or small. Peter Craine, a kind and hard working man who sometimes worked for the Vezeys, would knock on the back door and ask to speak to "Mr. Herman". When "Sunny Jim" Reynolds didn't have enough money to give a girl a scholarship, "Mr. Herman" would give him the money for the scholarship.

Herman Vezey may be most remembered because of the story that Leon Hale wrote in a Houston newspaper on Tuesday, April 27, 1965 about Sweeny's Unknown Soldier. Mrs. Elizabeth (Joe) Schuchardt, a Texas history teacher at Sweeny Junior High School and Mrs. Sybil LeBlanc, the owner of the floral shop told this story:

The late Herman Vezey was the leading authority on the Unkown Soldier. He would tell Mrs. Schuchardt about the soldier and she would pass along the story to to her history classes. Sometimes, Mr. Vezey would go to her classroom and tell the story. The man came off a troop train. The train was passing through Sweeny just after World War I and he apparently stepped off the train, to get some fresh air, because he was sick. Sweeny townspeople found him wandering about after the train had pulled out. Obviously he was very ill, so they took him to a doctor, who wasn't able to save him. The man died in Rosie's Hotel on Main Street, and nobody ever knew his name. Mr. Vezey bought a plot and paid the expenses for him to be buried in the Sweeny cemetery, and his remains have been there now for these many years. The grave remained unmarked for many years until Mrs. Holcomb relayed the story to Mrs. Kennedy. Now on Veterans' Day a wreath-laying ceremony is held and a little American flag is stuck in the ground at the spot.

Mr. Vezey wrote all over the country, spending a lot of his time and money over a period of many years trying to establish the identity of the soldier. He always said that somebody, somewhere, was looking for that fellow to come home. Not a hint of who he might have been was turned up, though. Since it was so long ago, nobody around Sweeny now can remember what he loooked like, or where the train was going or where it came from. Nobody knows what he died of. Nobody knows how old he was. But Herman Vezey was doubtless right. Even today, that soldier probably has people living somewhere and they may still wonder what happened to him. Possibly they received a report that was wrong. A report that said he was killed in action or missing in action. Such errors were made even in World War II.

In 2001, when Linda Holcomb, Mr. Vezey's daughter was talking to Rhonda Kennedy (Rotary President) about donating two benches on Main Street and placing them near the former post office (where Mr. Vezey had worked) and the Western Store (built and owned by Vezey until his death) Mrs. Holcomb happened to mention The Unknown Soldier. Mrs. Kennedy had not heard of this story and sought out information at the Brazoria County Courthouse As a result of this verification, on Veterans' Day on November 11, 2001 a special ceremony was held at the gravesite of the Unknown Soldier in Sweeny.

More from Linda Holcomb

Yes, those are his parents and he came to Sweeny with them. I got to enjoy visiting with Mary for a few years before her death. Didn't meet his dad. Mama met
both of them when Mr. Vezey brought his wagon to Markham, picked up Mama, and took her back to Sweeny to meet them during the horse & wagon days. Since the distance was so far between Sweeny & Markham, the young sweethearts went their own ways, only to reunite in 1949 when he was a patient at a Bay City hospital where she worked. They married in August of 1950 and both lived in Sweeny on the Vezey home site until their deaths in 1963 and 1985. Herman didn't have children of his own, but was greatly loved by Fannie's 2 daughters, Linda and Anita.

Herman Brose Vezey and his wife, Fannie, are in the Sweeny Mausoleum located in the center of the Sweeny Cemetery on the "new" side between 2nd St (524) and the Backyard Park. The building and surrounding property (cemetery) are maintained by the Sweeny Cemetery (of which Mr. Vezey was a charter member). The building was built by an individual, not the cemetery association. The Vezeys paid a lifetime contribution for cemetery upkeep. Even though there are 2 plaques on the outside of the building, not all the names are listed. The names are listed inside the building on each individual place. Mr. Vezey's parents are buried in the old part of the cemetery. I had never thought about taking a picture, but that is a possibility: one inside and one outside.

















Herman Vezey in the 1910 United States Federal Census
Name Herman Vezey
[Herman Vicey]
Age in 1910: 16
Birth Year: abt 1894
Birthplace:  Kansas
Home in 1910: Clear Creek, Payne, Oklahoma
Race: White
Gender:  Male
Relation to Head of House: Son (Child)
Marital Status: Single
Father's name: William Vezey
Father's Birthplace: Illinois
Mother's name: Mary Vezey
Mother's Birthplace: Ohio
Household Members
Name Age
William Vicey 52
Mary Vezey 45
Edward Vezey (Brother) 23
Paul Vezey (Brother 17
Ruth Vezey (Sister) 10
William E Vezey in the 1920 United States Federal Census
Name: William E Vezey
Age: 63
Birth Year: abt 1857
Birthplace: Illinois
Home in 1920: Sweeny, Brazoria, Texas
House Number:  X
Race: White
Gender: Male
Relation to Head of House:  Head
Marital Status: Married
Spouse's Name: Mary L Vezey
Father's Birthplace: New Hampshire
Mother's Birthplace: Vermont
Able to Speak English: Yes
Occupation: Farmer
Employment Field: Own Account
Able to Read: Yes
Able to Write: Yes
Household Members:
Name Age
William E Vezey 63
Mary L Vezey 55
Paul G Vezey (Brother) 28
Ruth E Vezey (Sister) 18

 1930 CENSUS




His father died in 1922, mother in 1955