Bay City Abstract & Title Company — History

Bay City Abstract & Title Company and its predecessors have been providing professional abstract and title insurance services to businesses and residents of Matagorda County and Bay City, Texas, since 1898.  Founder, William Cash, and his new bride, Ora, came to Bay City in 1889 via Houston, Galveston and Wharton.  When they arrived, they found a small community of a few hundred residents.

Mr. Cash’s new business was named, The Bay City South Texas Abstract and Title Company.  He was always quick to adopt the latest technology and he had the first telephone in Bay City.  He also brought in the first new typewriters to Bay City for use in the business.  Mrs. Cash assisted in running the abstract plant and her husband often said there was no county in Texas with better records.

Matagorda County Courthouse, Bay City, Texas
Confederate Statue, Bay City, Texas

In 1941, Judge Arthur Harris, Sr., acquired Bay City South Abstract and Title Co., and he operated the abstract plant from his law offices on the second floor of the LeTulle Building, on the northwest corner of 6th Street and Avenue F.  In November, 1944, Mr. Harris employed Miss Clara Mae Miller to help in the plant, and she married Hans Hiltpold and resided in Markham.

Nearly all property changing hands in those days had a title examination based on abstract of title and there were very few title insurance policies issued during that time period.

In late 1949 and early 1950, three major oil companies, Skelly Oil Company, Stanolind Oil Company, and Tidewater Oil Company, began purchasing leases on land located in Bay City and the surrounding area.  Judge Harris was the local legal counsel for these companies and he assumed the responsibility for obtaining proper leases.  It was a huge task, and Judge Harris and his employees devoted a tremendous amount of time and effort to this task.

Judge Harris died in 1953 and ownership of Bay City South Abstract and Title Co., passed to his son, Arthur Harris, Jr.  Later, Mr. Harris bought the building located at 2228 Avenue G. and moved his law office and the abstract plant to that location.

Gradually, the practice of title examination and the issuance of title insurance policies became more common and replaced the old practice of relying on abstracts of title.  Also during this period, Bay City South Texas became an agent licensee for Stewart Title and Guaranty Company.

St. Marks, Bay City, Texas

On New Year’s Eve in 1972, Arthur Harris, Jr., was killed in a tragic automobile accident, and later that year his widow, Mrs. Lois Harris, sold the abstract company to Mr. Vernon A Leissner.  Mr. Leissner was a well-known local realtor and rancher.

Mr. Leissner was optimistic about the future of Bay City and Matagorda County and he added to the staff of the abstract company.  At that time, the employees were Clara Mae Hiltpold, Dolores Barron, Carol Nauman, and Ann Blackman, and they were aided part-time by Betty Mott.

The business thrived under Mr. Leissner’s leadership, and he added Alamo Title Insurance of Texas as an underwriter.  Clara Mae Hiltpold retired in 1987.  Carol Nauman married Garvin Suggs and left to raise a family.  In 1982, Minnie Ball and Ann Bartosh were added to the staff, and Teri Cartwright joined the staff as Escrow Officer.  Minnie Ball retired in 1990.

After 20 years of dedicated service to the Bay City Community and to the Company, Mr. Leissner sold the plant to Robert J. Wilkinson and his wife, Peggy Wilkinson, in May of 1992.  Ann Bartosh managed the Company from May 1992 until her retirement January 1, 2006.  Teri Cartwright took the reins as manager at that time and continues to run the Company, with Escrow Officers Cindy Herzik, Kaci Mendez, and Sara Shirley, along with Mindy Hurta as Receptionist/Escrow Assistant.  Hollie Boyett handles Bookkeeping and Quality Control.  Julia Harper is our Archive Clerk.

Bay City Abstract & Title Company has been providing professional, friendly title services since 1898, well over 120 years!  Let us put this experience to work for you in your next property transaction.  Call us at 979-245-6321.

Bay City Abstract & Title Company ~ 2021 Avenue G, Bay City, Texas, 77414
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