Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Children of Levin Routh - NOT S.L. or D.L.

Children of S. L. Rouths, All in 80's, Hold ReunionTaken from the Brownwood Bulletin, September 18, 1941

Two sisters and abrother, native Texans, whose parents, Mr. and Mrs. D. L. Routh, settled in Collin County in 1847, and later moved to Brown County. Left to right: Mrs. W. J. Inman, Fort Worth, 83; R. D. Routh, Brownwood, 87; and Mrs. Mollie Faulkner, Blanket, 80.

Four brothers, veterans of Texas' first oil boom, Spindletop, 1901, who recently had a reunion at Electra. Left to right: Frank Palmer, Smithfield; W. E. Palmer, Electra; Bob Palmer, Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Charles Palmer, Seminole.
The children of Mr. and Mrs. S. L. Routh, Missourians, who settled in Collin County, at Blue Ridge in 1847, got together recently in Brownwood for a visit, and a photograph for the West Texas Pioneers column. They are R. D. Routh, 87, of Brownwood, Mrs. W. J. Inman, 83, of Fort Worth, and Mrs. Mollie Faulkner, 80, of Blanket.
Collin County was frontier for a long time after the Routh family arrived but when the section got sort of crowded, Mr. Routh, a stock raiser, decided to move again. That was in 1873, and they went to Brown County, where there were few settlements, and Brownwood was just a cluster of small houses, mostly built of logs.
Indians were annoying the settlements, and the scattered stock ranches, and R. D., the oldest child of the family, (actually, R. D. was the sixth of eight children) then 19, joined the Texas Rangers. He now is one of the oldest former Rangers. There were some United States soldiers on out farther west, at Fort Concho, but the main burden of protecting the settlers tnad their stock against Indian depredations fell on the Rangers.
Warning Signs
Mrs. Inman recalls that the nearest she ever came to seeing a live Indian was the shadow of one, prowling around the house, one moonlight night. She saw a dead one, which the Rangers had killed, then hanged to a tree and left for a while as a warning to other redskins that might have been in the neighborhood.
When the Rouths moved their cattle and household possessions to Brown County they had a choice of two shopping centers for their supplies, Waco or Fort Worth, either of them pretty fair trips for the wagons.
Mrs. Inman, who was Mattie Routh, was first married to Joe Knight of Fort Worth, when she was 16 years old.
"We were lucky," she says, "for a circuit rading preacher came along soon after we became engaged, and we got married at home. The preachers were only around every several weeks; sometimes months elapsed between their visits, and young folks wanting to get married would sometimes have to ride a long ways if they wanted a preacher or could have to go to a county seat, and be married by a justice."
Father Gold Hunter 
Mr. Knight, who also was a stock raiser, died several years after their marriage. He and his father were well known early-day stockmen of Tarrant and Palo Pinto Counties. His father was known as Captain Knight. He headed a party of gold seekers from the MiddleWestern States to California in 1849, and the gold-seeking adventure was over, and he had turned to "fortune hunting" on the rich, free grass of West Texas.
Mattie Routh Knight married W. J. Inman, who did his pioneering in the railroad business in the late Nineties, and since that time Mr. and Mrs. Inman have been in and around Fort Worth the most of the time.
Mrs. Faulkner, whose husband also was a stock raiser and farmer, has lived uninterrupted in Brown County since 1873.
Oil Pioneers
Texas oil field pioneers, the four Palmer brothers, held a reunion recently in Electra, pioneer oil town of Northwest Texas. The reunion was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Palmer, 12 miles northeast of Electra, on the Rec River Valley farm which now occupies the attention of the former oil field worker.
The other brothers, all of whom were born in Arkansas, But who have lived in Texas for more than half a centurn, are: Frank Palmer of Smithfield, Charles J. Palmer of Seminole, and Bob Palmer of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The bringing in of the Lucas gusher at Spindletop found the Palmer boys living on the Gulf coast. The fmaily home, at Rosenberg, had been destroyed during the great Galveston flood of 1900, and the youngest boy, Don, was killed.
Many Spindletop boom stories were recalled by the brothers at their reunion, and these oil field adventures were the last they shared jointly, for they seperated in 1904 at Sour Lake. Bobquit the oil fields and moved to Tennessee, when he married a Tennessee girl who had been visiting in East Texas.
The other three at various times engaged in railroading, or were in various oil fields, before finally settling down, and, incidentally, going "back to the land". Frank operates a diary farm in Tarrant County and Charles raises cattle and wheat in Gaines County.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Allie Segars

This was first published several years ago.

This month a dear friend died.  Her name was Allie Segars, and she meant a lot to so many people in Palo Pinto County that I wanted to dedicate this column to her and to her family, some of the early settlers of this area.  

Allie was born in Brad, Texas,November 10, 1921, to Emil and Donnie Laura Christian Haberthur,  She had three brothers and three sisters.  Her sister, Julia Price, still lives in Palo Pinto.

Alle’s father, Emil Haberthur, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on November 23, 1876, to Emile and Emma Louise Brake Harberthus.  He appears to have been one of seven children.

Emil’s father, Emile, was born in Switzerland in 1848 and arrived at the port of New Orleans on October 14, 1872, at the age of 24.  He arrived on the ship Saxonia which had departed from Hamburg, Germany.  The Saxonia traveled to France, then Spain, and finally Havana, Cuba, before arriving in New Orleans.  By 1880 Emile and his family had moved from New Orleans to Dallas, Texas, where they appear on the 1880 Federal Census.  In Dallas, Emile was listed as a boot and shoemaker in the 1888 city directory.

Emile’s father was Swiss, but his mother, Elizabet, was listed on the Federal census as being German.

Emma Brake was born in Germany about 1853.  She married Emile on March 22, 1873, in New Orleans.

Allie’s mother, Donnie Laura Christian,  was born June 4, 1995, in Texas.  Her parents were John Wesley Christian and Laura Mattie Christian.  John Wesley Christian was born in Bowie.  He was a farmer whose father was from Tennessee, and whose mother was from either Tennessee or Missouri.  He died in Mingus in Palo Pinto County on July 30, 1920, a year before Allie was born.

John Wesley’s parents were John Christian and Margaret E. Skelton or Garrison.  John Wesley and Laura Mattie moved to Palo Pinto County by 1880 where the Federal Census shows them with their children William W., Margarete E., and Ettie D. living.  Twenty years later the census lists them still in Palo Pinto County with children Garrett, Thomas, Donnie, and Lawrence.

The Mineral Wells Index printed the following obituary for Allie on January 9:  

“Allie G. Haberthur Segars, 91, passed away Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, in Palo Pinto. Service will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 600 NW 6th St., Mineral Wells under the direction of White's Funeral Home. Interment: Brad Cemetery. Visitation: 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at White's Funeral Home.

“Allie G. Haberthur Segars was born Nov. 10, 1921, in Brad to Emil and Laura Christian Haberthur. She went to school in Brad, Palo Pinto and Weatherford then back to Palo Pinto, finishing high school in Gordon. She lived with her sister, Ruby and husband, Lloyd Price.
“While in Gordon High School she met Howard "Red" Segars, they dated until August of 1940, married and lived in Ranger for a while before going to Dallas, where Red worked in defense. He worked there until Uncle Sam called him into the United States Army for three years in the South Pacific theater. For 20 years they lived in and out of San Antonio. While there their daughter was born. Their son was born in Winchester, KY, while on one of their construction jobs.
“Tired of travel and having a desire to be closer to aging parents, they moved to Palo Pinto. They built a convenience store – "Red's Drive In" – and lived there the rest of their lives.
“Allie was a 50-year member of the Eastern Star Lodge and a member of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Mineral Wells. She worked in the Altar Guild for over 25 years. Allie was also a member of the Palo Pinto County Historical Association and enjoyed showing visitors through the museum. She had donated family articles to the museum.

“Allie is best remembered for her homemade bread. It was a gift to the sick, lonely and bereaved instead of a bouquet of flowers.
“She loved her home in Palo Pinto that she and Red built in 1968 and had lived there to the day of her death. Allie had close caring, loving neighbors who took care of her in times of need. She loved flowers and a beautiful lawn; taking care of her home and yard were her greatest pleasures.
“Allie was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Howard "Red"; three brothers; and two sisters.
“Survivors: son, Michael Segars of Fort Worth; daughter, Linda and husband Ed Tracht of San Clemente, CA; sister, Julia Price of Palo Pinto; seven grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; numerous nieces, nephews, friends and acquaintances.”
Allie’s obituary in the Mineral Wells Index told about her marriage to Howard “Red” Sears and about their wonderful life together.  It told of Allie’s work at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Mineral Wells where she served as Altar Guild Mistress for over 25 years.  It told of her love for her family and friends and about her association with  the Palo Pinto County Historical Association and about her love for the place where she was born, raised, lived, and untimately died.  But words cannot describe the beauty of Allie Segar’s personality and life.  She was quite extraordinary, one of a kind, and she will be sorely missed by her family, her friends, her church, and her community, but as someone said last Sunday at church, Allie is now dancing up in heaven, glad to be with her Lord and with Red once again.

Allie, may you rest in peace, and my light perpetual shine upon you.

Now for a letter I received some time ago.

Dear Sue, Wynelle, Don, and Others,  I thoroughly enjoy your interesting and sometimes personal articles in the North Texas Star.  I receive the weekly Claude Times and with Goodnight being only eleven miles east, have had a life long love of Charles Goodnight.  I can remember growing up hearing my great aunt, Lena Hickox Bishop, telling me about personally knowing the Colonel.  By the way, she did extensive genealogical research on both Hickox and Buchanan.  They go back to Wild Bill Hickox and President Buchanan.  I have copies of both.  If you’re ever in Claude you must visit the museum.  It is exceptionally good and has so much on Charles Goodnight.  Pertaining to October 2012 Chasing Our Tales, my grandmother (mother’s mother) grew up in Bowie as a Jones before moving to Claude.  My mother, along with her three sisters, did extensive research on the Jones family while making long trips through the southeast USA.  If you are interested in any of the family history feel free to contact me, between my brother and myself, we have dozens of boxes of genealogy and pictures.  Sincerely, Von Dunn, Weatherford, Texas.”

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Air Attack on Tarleton State University

The Tarleton Side of the thing

A JTAC cadet guards the airplane from NTAC after the crash landing on campus.
It may be right or it may be wrong; it may be good or it may be bad;
but right or wrong, good or bad,
it has always been done this way.
We like it done this way and
we plan to continue to do it this way.
— L.V. Risinger
Traditions and Legends
Airplane Incident
At the height of the Tarleton-North Texas Agriculture College rivalry, frequent raids by opposing students were common . Bonfires were the primary objectives, and as described in the J-TAC newspaper, the students were driven by “the desire to cause premature conflagration of the accumulated rubbish .”
On November 29, 1939, two days before the traditional football game, and in retaliation for the burning of the NTAC bonfire by Tarleton students the night before, an NTAC student and an accomplice flew over the Tarleton campus and attempted to bomb the bonfire . In their efforts to repel the air attack, Tarleton students on guard threw various objects at the plane . L . V . Risinger hurled a 2 x 4 into the air which struck the propeller and disabled the aircraft . The pilot glided over what is now the Trogdon House and crash-landed in a clump of trees . While the NTAC student and his buddy were launching the air attack, three truck loads of NTAC students were attempting to invade campus by land . Both the land and air attacks were repulsed . The NTAC students were captured, given a block-T haircut, and sent on their way . The Homecoming bonfire has been dedicated to L . V . Risinger, defender of our bonfire, who died in 1994 .

Arlington Side of incident

The winds of wars were swirling in Europe. Germany had overrun Poland. The Soviet Union had just invaded Finland. The Great Depression was in full force, and the U.S. national unemployment rate was 17.2%. The year was 1939, the month late November. Arlington was a small rural town surrounded by cotton farms. Just south of the town, was the North Texas Agricultural College (NTAC, forerunner of UTA), a part of the Texas A & M System. On the NTAC campus, the students (all male students were cadets) were at fever pitch, preparing for the coming battle, not the war in Europe, but the big football game with John Tarleton State College (JTAC), a sister institution in the Texas A & M System (now Tarleton State University in Stephenville).
The rivalry between the two schools was intense, partly because of history and tradition, partly because the cadets had few other diversions. Most of the students were desperately poor and could not afford off-campus entertainment of any type. BY 1926, the rivalry between the two schools had become so "spirited" that the two schools cancelled all scheduled football games from 1927 to 1933. The football rivalry resumed in 1934, apparently without any loss of mutual antagonism for the opposing college. Each year, cadets at both schools built a huge pile of logs, scrap lumber, and wooden boxes for a great pre-game bonfire and homecoming celebration to inspire their respective football teams. Students made frequent attempts to raid the other campus and set fire to its "pile" ahead of schedule. According to the Tarleton Student Handbook (which counts this story as one of it's major traditions), the students were driven by "the desire to cause premature conflagration to the accumulated rubbish."
On Monday, November 27, 1939, a raiding party from Tarleton burned NTAC's bonfire "pile" and then burned Tarleton's initials into the NTAC football field as an added insult. The students at NTAC were greatly agitated by these hostile actions, and after some "inspirational potions" a large group of NTAC students retaliated. A freshman cadet from Caddo Mills, Chester Phillips Jr., took the lead. Chester happened to be a student pilot. The plan of attack involved both air and land operations, with a coordinated assault.
Selecting cadet James E. Smith from San Antonio as his co-pilot and bombardier, Chester rented a small Taylorcraft airplane (single engine, two-seater), loaded it with a sackful of phosphorous "bombs," and took off for the Stephenville campus. Simultaneously, three truckloads of NTAC cadets departed by ground. Meanwhile, word of the impending attack had reached Dean Edward E. Davis at NTAC. Alarmed, he telephoned a warning to Tarleton, and dispatched Major Max Oliver, the NTAC Commandant, to bring the errant raiders home.
Tarleton students were lying in ambush to repel the attack. The small plane flew low over the bonfire pile and James attempted to drop the phosphorous bombs on the target. According to some reports, one of the bombs set fire to the Tarleton "pile," but the defenders quickly extinguished the fire. While most of the bombs missed the wood pile, the sticks and boards hurled up at the airplane did not. One of the Tarleton defenders, L.V. Risinger, hurled a 2X4 into the air. It struck the propeller and brought the small plane down. Chester managed to fly the "wounded" plane over what is now the Hall of Presidents, barely clear a rock fence, and crash-land into a clump of trees. (Or some say, come to a stop three feet away from crashing into the rock wall). Chester and James survived the crash, only to be captured by the Tarleton defenders. Meanwhile, the three truckloads of cadets likewise fell into ambush, and most of the attackers were captured. Each of the captured cadets had a block-T cut into his hair, according to Col. Charles McDowell (a JTAC defender and later the Professor of Military Science at UTA). Several of the JTAC students climbed atop the bonfire pile to make speeches about the "spirit" between the two schools, and to tell their defeated rivals to "take your plane and go back home." The NTAC boys were treated to hot coffee and doughnuts and set loose to return to Arlington. A picture of the crashed airplane appeared in the next issue of Life Magazine, according to some accounts (but we have not been able to find any issue with the photo).
According to the Fort Worth Telegram, discipline and quiet reigned on both campuses the next day. Chester and his bombardier, James, had to appear before the Federal Civil Aeronautics Authority for a routine investigation into the incident. Dean Davis of NTAC told the Dallas Morning News that, "There is no ill will between the student bodies, but the enthusiasm gets out of hand, interferes with normal school work and might result in an unfortunate accident. It is all in fun now, and no one has been hurt, but such raids as were made by Tarleton boys and the one made at Stephenville Tuesday night by our students could very well result seriously." He added, "There is a possibility that the athletic contests will be suspended between NTAC and Tarleton."
The much anticipated football game was held as planned in Arlington, Thursday, November 30, 1939. Arlington's great opportunity for redemption and revenge reverberated in the stadium, but this was not the year. The Tarleton "Plowboys" beat the NTAC "Hornets" 7 to 0. Afterwards, officials of the two schools held a meeting in Stephenville to discuss disciplinary actions and future relationships between the two schools. Faculty committees of both schools agreed to eliminate the traditional bonfire preliminaries to the annual football game. They also agreed that the 1939 football game would be the last Texas Conference contest for each school. However, athletic relations of the two schools would continue, with faculty supervision of pre-game activity. The matter of disciplinary action toward the student raiders from both schools was left to the individual schools.
NTAC executives ratified the actions of the Stephenville conference and instructed the discipline committee of North Texas Agricultural College to confer with the 30 or so students who were known to have participated in the raid. The discipline committee, which included Dean Davis and Major Oliver, decided to expel James Smith for the remainder of the semester, and to recommend the suspension of Chester Phillip's flying license for six months to the FCAA for violating flying rules of safety. For the other students there would be a discussion on behavior and a warning against similar activities in the future. At John Tarleton, Dean J. Thomas Davis (the brother of NTAC's Dean Davis) said that he was not certain that any severe discipline would be meted out.
Chester Phillips, Jr. did not let this incident daunt his flying career. With U.S. involvement in World War II fast approaching, Chester joined the Army Air Corps, as did many of the young cadets at both schools. He trained military pilots, and when the war began in earnest he was shipped out to Shipdam, England. According to a Blackie Sherrod column in the Dallas Morning News, Chester was assigned to a B-24 Liberator, called the "Little Beaver." German submarines at the time were causing havoc to Allied shipping, and Chester's mission in May of 1943 was to destroy the submarine pens at Kiel. He and his crew encountered German fighter planes and heavy anti-aircraft flak. Chester and several of his crew were killed instantly. Others bailed out and were held as POWs for the rest of the war. Chester is buried somewhere in Belgium.
Many of the other bonfire raiders and defenders also served their country well and still remember the incident. Col. Charles McDowell, now in the UTA Foreign Language Dept. (Soviet Studies) was one of the JTAC bonfire defenders who helped to bring the plane down. He remembers his group of defenders throwing everything that they could get their hands on up at the plane as it came over. L.V. Risinger, the young man reportedly responsible for the successful 2X4, became a hero at Tarleton. The present day Homecoming Bonfire is dedicated to him. He died in 1994. James Smith left UTA and almost assuredly fought in World War II, although his trail has been lost.
Aaron Williams, a native of Greenville and a relative of Chester Phillips, told Blackie Sherrod that "If Chester were here, he probably would get a good chuckle to know that people are still talking about his airplane antics." Chester and all the others who participated in the abrupt ending of the flight would also be amazed at the variety and the disparity in the details remembered and recounted over time.