If you have been following our blog, you may have read a series of posts I wrote in 2009 called “The Perils of 401 King William,” a five-part series relating the story of Villa Finale’s many owners. It’s fascinating that despite the home’s many high-profile occupants, very few early photographs of the property are known to exist. Until this week, the earliest photograph our staff had ever seen of the house dated to about 1915 when the property was owned by Eva and Dwight Potter.
Earlier this week I received an email from Frederick and Patsy White; Patsy is the great-granddaughter of Dillard R. Fant, one of the twelve owners of 401 King William Street. Fant was a well-known trail boss who is credited with extending the famous Chisholm Trail to Corpus Christi. His wife, Lucy, daughter of original Texas settlers, was involved in many charitable organizations in San Antonio. The couple had ten children; Patsy White’s grandmother, Lucille, was number eight. You can read more about the Fants’ ownership of the house in my original blog post here.
I personally have been fascinated with the history of Villa Finale’s ownership and have given presentations on the subject, sharing the few photographs we have in a PowerPoint presentation. You can imagine my excitement when I discovered Frederick and Patsy were kind enough to forward snapshots of the Fant family taken on the property during their ownership … this was a thrill! My excitement was doubled when Anita South, whose husband is a great-grandson of Dillard Fant, forwarded various snapshots of the family. It’s amazing how you can read about these people from the past, but it isn’t until you see their images that they really come to life.
On behalf of Villa Finale’s staff, I would like to thank Patsy, Frederick and Anita for helping us with our ongoing research into Villa Finale’s ownership. Dillard R. Fant and his family are definitely an important part of the home’s long and fascinating history.