Sutherland Springs, first county seat of Wilson County ( 1860) was founded about 1849, when John Sutherland moved to the area and began developing the sulphur springs. However, the settlement near the future townsite, which was to become known as " Old Town", was begun as early as 1831.
John Sutherland was born May 11, 1792, near Danville, Virginia. He helped minister to the sick garrisoned in the Alamo, in 1836, when the approach of the Mexican Army was known, Dr. Sutherland ( with an injured leg) then served as a messenger between San Houston and David G. Burnet. Burnet appointed him his private secretary.
Some believe that Dr. Sutherland noticed the springs on his way to the Alamo, then later moved his family here.
In 1837 Sutherland moved his family to Egypt, Texas, where he practiced medicine. In 1840 he moved to some sulphur springs on the Cibolo River in Wilson County at the site that became Sutherland Springs, where Sutherland was postmaster.
In 1860 Sutherland Springs was made county seat; but during the reign of William Longworth in about 1867, he concieved the idea of selling the county seat to Sutherland Springs. The people refused. Longworth then loaded all county books and records in a cart drawn by oxen and moved the county seat to Lodi. The citizens of Sutherland Springs were outraged, so an election was held to select a site within five miles of the center of the county. The town lost the election. Sutherland Springs became the county seat again for a few months in 1871. Then former County Judge Andrew G. Pickett had a brick courthouse built in Floresville to permanently house the records.
The railroad came through in 1909 and bringing more tourist helped make Sutherland Springs a resort town. A 52 room hotel was built and opened in 1910. During the horse and buggy days the Old Hotel Sutherland was a weekend rendezvous for people all over the Unitied States, some as far as from Mexico, England and Canada. Sutherland Springs had a 100 acre park and was known as
" Saratoga of the South".
The resort and town declined with many events happening. In 1913 the river flooded over its banks into many homes; doing much damage tot he park, filling the pool and springs with mud. In 1919 during World War I there was an outbreak of flu. Many people lost their children during this time. Some losing two to the children in one household. A fire in 1927 burned down several blocks. Then came the Depression in 1929, putting many businesses out of business, with each disaster families moved out alittle at a time. Therefore ,now we have a " Ghost Town".
We have two towns; New Town and Old Town. Old Town is known as the area on top of the hill where the community building and Hwy 87 is located, because Dr. John Sutherland's Headquarters were located there and that is where the postoffice was located. When the Post Office was being formed Dr. Sutherland had to give the community a name and that is how we got the name " Sutherland Springs".
New Town is the lower area across the river. Known as "New Town" because it did not get formed until the early 1900's. So, it was considered new, even though currently it has the old buildings and is known as the Ghost Town, it is actually called "New Town".