Sweeny Post Office History


There are some historical references to post office(s) in the area in the early days before 1900. For instance, looking in Catherine Bannister's "I am Mary Parks Sweeny" presentation here said to be taken from Mary's writings in a Sweeny family scrapbook which is missing and may have been dissembled at some point. Mary (1833-1874) was the 2nd wife of Jordan Woodson Sweeny (1822-1875), son of John Sweeny Sr (1783-1855) for whom the town of Sweeny is named.

Mary mentions a post office (probably unofficial) at the plantation of her brother-in-law in Chance's Prairie (Old Ocean). Mary died in 1874 which suggests there was some kind of post office serving the area before 1874.

"John Sweeny (Jr), a bachelor lived' on his large plantation, known as Chance's Prairie. Mr. Samuel Chance, also a single man, and from whom the prairie was named, lived with him. Brother John ran a large commissary and post office station on his place and here we would go to get all of our mail and supplies. The mail was brought by boat to East Columbia and then carried by man on horseback to Matagorda Texas. This mail carrier stopped at brother john’s for the night and then on both the trip to and from Matagorda." Pic2

 John Sweeny Jr home @ Chance's Prairie. Assume commissary & "post office" were in an out building.

 photo courtesy Brazoria County Historical Museum


The United States Postal Service lists an official "Sweeny" post office in 1895/1897 before service was moved to East Columbia. This must be that same location in Chance's Prairie with John Sweeny Jr now serving as the official postmaster. He died in 1899.

From ancestry.com copy of handwritten government records

All U.S., Appointments of U. S. Postmasters, 1832-1971  



From United States Postal Service website HERE


Wire 1909

Pic5 In the summer of 1909, a post office was established inside the Travis Logan Smith store in its original location on the south side of the railroad tracks. William L Sweeny (1855-1923) was appointed Post Master. William was the son of Jordan Woodson Sweeny (1822-1975) & the grandson of John Sweeny Sr (1783-1855). He was a bachelor living out by Black's Ferry and said to have been a quite a character. See Maxey Brooke Conversations HERE and Sweeny Speaks HERE for sordid details.
Store & Post Office originally across the RR tracks  


From 1976 This is Sweeny, a bicentennial project HERE

Pic6 Note: USPS lists the date as July 23, 1909

 From ancestry.com handwritten post office records



From Maxey Brooke Sweeny Speaks HERE. These dates vary slightly with USPS dates but are close.

Pic7A Wire

Between 1912-1914

Shortly after the platting of the city of Sweeny in 1911, the Smith Store building (and its post office) was moved across the railroad tracks to its present location at the corner of Main & Avenue A. The Post Office (11) is seen on the left side of the store building with its own entrance in the following 1917 photograph. There was a lumber yard next door where the two next generation post offices would later be located.

Pic8 image courtesy of Brazoria County Historical Museum

Travis Logan Smith succeeded William L Smith as postmaster in 1913 and was succeeded by his son John Randolph Smith in 1920.


Between 1936 & 1940

Looking at land history, It is believed that postmaster John Randolph Smith built a new wooden building next door to his store sometime between 1936 & 1940 which then housed the post office. John remained as postmaster until December 20, 1940 when Herman Vezey took over. There is a picture of Herman in this new wooden building so we know it was in place in 1940. Otherwise, little is known about that building. Part of that structure with the hip roof appears to have been retained or moved to the back of the lot as the "new" brick post office was built around and in front of it in the late 1950s. Pic9
Pic10 Photograph courtesy of Linda Holcomb from items saved by Fanny, Mrs Herman Vezey (1902-1985). Clerk Bertha Vezey Webb (Herman's sister) not shown.



In 1957, a new brick post office was built around/in front of the old wooden one. It can be surmised that a lease arrangement between the Smith family and USPS dictated that the P O remain open when the remodel and addition took place thus the  remodel project around the old building. So the post office continued to operate during the construction as detailed in the following article.


Facts article 24 July 1957 courtesy of Linda Holcomb from items saved by Fanny, Mrs Herman Vezey (1902-1985)


Pic12   Pic13
    December 2016 photograph SweenyTexasHistory.com
Linda2   LindaPic
  Images by Linda Holcomb

The combination mailboxes were taken out & given to another post office at this time. In the 1950's, clerks working with Postmaster Herman Vezey were his sister, Bertha Vezey Webb, and Frank Duncan. House to house mail delivery was done by Claude Bledsoe.



According to Linda Holcomb, when the new post office was built on 2nd Street, lettering was put outside that said "Sweeney" which was later corrected. Note that the 3rd "e" used by the Sweeney family Virginia ancestors was dropped by most of their descendants in Brazoria County. The mistake is understandable.

Pic15   Pic16
Google Earth







Land records are not much help on Post Offices because most all of them are leased facilities.

On the store and P.O. property.

  • T L Smith Sr. buys lots 13-16 in 1912. (store was not moved before this and Mrs Ellis confirms it was across the tracks when she arrived in 1912).
  • T L sells lots to wife Nettie L  in 1914 for $87.50 and other considerations. Deed not clear if store had been relocated or not, however the word premises is in the document suggesting to me the store has been moved to the new location.  (Reason unknown for separate husband wife estates but might have something to do with a dissolved partnership between T L and brother J G)Pic20
  • In 1921 and after his mother Nettie's death J R relinquishes to his father T L his rights to all of his mothers estate with the exception to the stock of goods in the store.
  • T L and Nettie Smiths holdings were vast plus there was evidence (lawsuit) of a family feud so I never found the document where J R ended up with the store property, but it is clear he did.
  • J R leases 30' X 70' in front of store in 1932 to Texas Co. for a penny a gallon gas they sell. (not related to post office, just info)
  • J R buys from Bernard River Development Company lot 17 and 1/2 of 18 in 1936.
  • Sometime, the Smith family picks up the other 1/2 of lot 18 and 1/2 of lot 19. (did not find this record but not important)
  • All of the above stay in Smith family until 1993 when E C Parker Jr. (J R's son in law) sells lots 16 (1/2 of 16), 17, 18 and 1/2 19 to D R Alford.
  • Alford estate sells same lots to Keva Labeth in 2007.
  • Sweeny Library moves into store building in 1966.

So, using appraisal maps and Google;

  • The old Post Office attached to the Smith store is on 1/2 of lot 16. 
  • The new hip roof post office is on the other 1/2 of 16 and maybe part of 17
  • The remodel and addition (brick) of hip roof  P.O and later Bulldog Café is on 1/2 of 16 and all of 17 possibly part of 18.

 Therefore it can be surmised;

Sometime after J R buys lot 17 and 1/2 of 18 in 1936 but before 1940 (Mr. Vezey picture inside) the hip roof P O was built.

Also it is thought the old hip roof building was still in use as part of the overall building as recently as when it was the Bulldog Café. It can be seen in the 2016 photograph of the rear.