A picture is worth 1,000 words

Dillard R. Fant in front of Villa Finale, ca. 1904.

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.

Lucille Fant and James South, ca. 1905.

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.

Fant family, ca. 1890s.

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4 Responses to “A picture is worth 1,000 words”

  1. Richard Hudson Says:

    I am writing a history of Live Oak County and would like to speak with a descendent of D. R. Fant. There is a small community in the northeastern part of Live Oak that is named after Dillard Fant. Also, I understand that George West purchase much of his massive ranch from Fant. Here is my email addess: rehudson@mail.com. Thank you. REHud

    • Sylvia Gonzalez-Hohenshelt Says:

      Hello Mr. Hudson:
      I will forward your contact information to Fant descendants. Please let us know if there’s any other way we can be of help. — Sylvia

  2. Bart Ewald Says:

    As a child I grew up neighboring an elderly couple, John and Virginia Burriss. Recently I came across some books that Mrs. Burriss had given me, and many have names and dates written in them, I assume to show ownership or to notate the passing of a present. I decided to do a little research two weeks ago, and found out that Mrs. Burriss was the daughter of Nevitte Ragland McMaster, grandaughter of Virginia Fant Ragland, making her a great granddaughter of DR Fant. At least I think that is right, from what I pieced together at the Oak Hill Cemetery in Goliad. The Fants and Raglands must have been pretty close as families, since they share the same plot at Oak Hill.

    Saddens me that I never discussed more of her family with her. She must have had a remarkable life, as her parents both died of some epidemic that swept through Goliad in 1896. I seem to remember her telling me she was raised by the Raglands. She must have also been in her mid teens about the time the devastating cyclone ripped through Goliad. I was just wondering if any of the other Fant descendents remembered anything about the Burrisses and would care to share a little with me.

    Thank you

    Bart Ewald

    • Sylvia Gonzalez-Hohenshelt Says:

      Hello Mr. Ewald:
      I will forward your comment to the Fant family in the hopes that they may have some information for you. Thank you for the reminiscences!


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