League City honors historically black family by naming future street

LEAGUE CITY, TX (KTRK) — A future street in League City will be named after an African American who played a huge role in the area’s growth and development. The story of Alexander Winfield remained largely unknown until his great-granddaughter’s efforts to recover the lost history caught the attention of the city’s mayor.

More than 20 years ago, after the death of her mother, Deborah Konrad began to deal with the ancestral history of her family. She noted that Winfield, her maternal great-grandfather, wasn’t just a Buffalo Soldier who fought in the Civil War in 1863. He was also an important and influential figure in League City’s early days.

“He was born in Sussex County, Virginia in 1847. But he made it to Ohio pretty quickly, which leads me to believe he probably wasn’t enslaved. We believe he was released very early. “He settled in LaGrange in 1873 and met my great-grandmother, Rose Booker. Something brought him to League City, and I think it was the settlement of the black cowboys in Texas City.”

Konrad said Winfield bought land in 1904 and her family worked as farmers and laborers. She said he also started the first Methodist Church in League City, which was later moved to Dickinson.

“So what did he contribute? Certainly, a worker. It takes a lot of people to build a city and Alex Winfield, his descendants, his children, they helped with that,” said Konrad. “League City was made and put together by many hands. In my opinion they are all important. My family may not have had the highest jobs. But they were necessary.”

When Mayor Pat Hallisey first learned of Winfield’s story four years ago, wanting to find a way to honor the family’s legacy, he approached the city council with a street naming proposal. His original plan was to rename a portion of Hobbs Road from Ervin Street to FM 517 Winfield Road. Konrad said Hobbs Road was actually named after Obie Hobbs, Winfield’s son-in-law.

“The question was always, ‘Why was Obie honored before Alex (Winfield)?’ Oral tradition says that[Winfield]wasn’t anyone who was subservient, and it makes sense. If he had never been enslaved and trained in the army, it would be hard to get someone like that to bend,” she said. “I think that’s one of the reasons why I think his story has been lost.”

According to the Houston Chronicle in June 2021, Councilman Larry Millican said renaming a major street in the city would be confusing. Councilor Hank Dugie offered an amendment to the ordinance that would instead name a brand new street after Alexander Winfield, which angered Mayor Hallisey. The council eventually voted 5 to 2 to accept the amendment.

“This is a significant part of League City’s history and we had to record it. I was quite convinced that we need to do something substantial to keep the name alive here in the city because our history is being eroded by massive growth and if we don’t do anything to preserve our history, it will be lost forever.” , he said.

The mayor says future Winfield Road will be near the Gulf Freeway between Cracker Barrel and Space Center RV Park. It makes a 90 degree turn and then leads to Hobbs Road. The road is currently at the design stage and is expected to be completed in the next few years. Konrad says she hopes this dedication will encourage others to learn about their ancestors’ legacy and share their family history.

“I appreciate Mayor Pat for learning and advancing the story because of his recognition of our family. A few years ago a Winfield Day was declared and at Christmas the Winfields were the grand marshals of the parade. It gives you the sense of history that you belong to. “Tell your story. Our stories are who we are and no one can tell them like we can.”

For stories about Houston’s diverse communities, follow Rosie Nguyen on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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https://abc13.com/league-city-alexander-winfield-deborah-konrad-mayor-pat-hallisey/12080076/ League City honors historically black family by naming future street

Dais Johnston

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