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.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bowden Furniture Stores

I began to write this piece thinking about the connection to the families about whom I wrote last month.  Many of my Bowden and Routh families owned furniture stores, and I believed this would be a topic that might be of interest to my readers.  It has turned into much, much more.

I grew up in the furniture business in Stephenville, Texas.  My father had Ficke Furniture Store from about a year after the War was over (World WarII) until 1958 when we moved to Mineral Wells.  We had a farm between Stephenville and Hico, and on the side of a hill facing Highway 281, he wrote in rocks “Ficke Furniture Store”.

Daddy, who was a cowboy and banker, didn’t mean to be in the furniture business, I don’t think, but my grandfather, Marvin Tilden (Doc) Bowden had been in the furniture business most of his life, and I guess he sold Daddy on the idea.

I have googled Bowden Furniture and have discovered a lot of Bowden stores and Bowden-style furniture all around the country.  I remember that when we first moved to Mineral Wells in 1958 there was a Bowden Furniture store in Weatherford, and I believe, when Raf and I moved back here in 1980, it was still there.  It’s gone now, and I think the building is, as well.  (Someone correct me on this, please!)

I have even found a furniture repair store in Great Bowden in Leicestershire, England, from where some of our Bowden family came!  They advertised on Facebook!

In a history book about Missouri, I found the story of Richard N. Bowden who was born in Montreal, Canada, the son of Lorenzo Bowden who was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, England, 1838.  In 1865 the Bowden family came to America for better prospects and settled in Brookfield, Missouri, where first Lorenzo was a carpenter and cabinet maker for three years, then opened a furniture store until 1892 when he sold it to his son Richard.  Richard married Vina B. Ives, daughter of Homer D. and Mary Eastman Ives.  The Bowdens were quite successful, both on business and in society, and Richard became mayor of the city of Brookfield.  The Bowdens had three children, Lorenzo Ives, an aviator in World War I, Homer Ives, a graduate of Missouri University in 1916, and Mary Elizabeth.  Richard was a Mason, and Vina was a member of the P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization).

However, before I can talk about local, or family-owned, furniture stores, I want to look at the furniture business in Texas, in general.

When pioneers began to come to Texas, if there were families, they mostly brought their household furnishing, and until about 1870 most furniture purchased in Texas was made by local cabinetmakers.

Censuses, and other records, indicate that there were about 1,000 cabinetmakers making furniture in Texas between 1839 and 1880.  The first recorded Texas cabinetmaker was William P. Lang in Houston.  By 1880, however locally made furniture was being replaced at a high rate of speed by imported, factory-made furnishing.

In the early years there was at least one cabinet shop in each Texas county, and most towns had several.  The areas where most of the cabinet makers worked were the Piney Woods of East Texas, the Blackland Prairie south of the Red River in North Texas, and the German settlements between the Brazos and the Colorado rivers in Central Texas, and the majority of the cabinet makers in Texas were Southerners with a significant minority being of German extraction.  In 1860 while only six percent of the state’s population were German Americans, thirty-three percent of the cabinetmakers were German.

Early furniture makers were also trained as builders of houses, cotton gins, wagons, and coffins, and many were, indeed, undertakers.  They used hand tools and foot-powered lathes and produced such things as chairs, tables, beds, wardrobes, bureaus, settees, day beds, desks, and cupboards, but little upholstered furniture was made until around 1870 when Will Howe and William Patch of Galveston began making day beds upholstered with horsehair stuffed with Spanish moss.

Wood, of course, was obtained locally from pine forests or from the hardwood forests along rivers and creeks, the primary varieties being pine, cedar, and walnut.  Pine furniture was painted with an oil-based paint or grained to imitate the more expensive woods, and it was often finished with glossy varnish made of copal.

Texas furniture copied Plain Grecian or Restoration styles, and the German cabinet makers often worked in the Biedermeier style or in the German peasant form, Brettstuhl.  Mexican cabinet makers copied styles developed along the Rio Grande valley.  In the 1880s Wenzel Friedrich established a furniture factory in San Antonio where he use animal horns for a rustic style which was popular in Europe and the Far East.

Nineteenth Century Texas cabinet makers were often chair makers who used a turning lathe and a draw knife to make light ladder-backed chairs with rawhide or woven corn shuck bottoms.  Anderson Dorris, a Tennessean who immigrated to Lockhart, Texas, along with his son, John, made 450 hide-bottomed chairs and sold them for $1.50 each.  There were at least forty other men who, between 1850 and 1880, styled themselves chair makers on the Census.

Another chair maker, Henry Journey, established a cabinet shop in Galveston in 1850. He employed twenty men.  Not only did he make chairs, he made case furniture and operated a blacksmith shop, a livery stable, and a lumber yard, and built wooden buildings.

H. H. Ward opened a similar establishment in Austin in 1840, and by the 1860s and 1870s Texas cabinet makers were competing with importers by employing more workers, and, by adding animal and steam powered machines to their shops.

William Sheppard opened at shop in Tyler.  He came from Kentucky in the mid-1850s.  At first he used hand tools, but by 1860 he was in partnership with J. C. Rogers, and they had a horse powered lathe and three employees who made bedsteads, wardrobes, and bureaus.  They also had a retail department, or furniture store.  By 1870 they had moved to Mechanicsville, outside Tyler, where they had a fifteen horse powered steam engine, four lathes, two boring machines, a tennoning machine, and ten employees.  They retailed $5,500 a year, but by 1880 they had gone out of business. 

Other leading East Texas cabinetmakers, and the approximate dates during which they worked, were Abner Stith, Henderson, 1848–52; George W. Blake, San Augustine, 1850–70; J. George Woldert, San Augustine, 1842–55; Ransom Horn, San Augustine, 1850–60; Frederick Wolz, Marshall, 1851–71; W. J. Foster, Crockett, 1860–70; Hugh Hopkins, Huntsville, 1856–68; and Frank Creager, Huntsville, 1860–74. The Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville also manufactured furniture using convict labor.

By 1870 Paris, Texas, in Lamar County, was the cabinet making center of Texas.  Willet Babcock’s shop there used horse powered machinery and employed twelve men and three women and made $7,990 a year making furniture that included 400 bedsteads.  In 1875 Babcock set up an eighteen horse powered steam engine, and by 1880 he employed thirty-two in Paris, as well as owning a smaller factory in Clarksville.  However, he died in 1881, and both factories closed.

James W. Rodgers, also in Paris, had four employees and produced $2,600 worth of furniture in 1870.  He added steam power in 1879 and had a lumber planing mill as well as a furniture factory.  He died in 1891, but his business continued under the name Rodgers Wade Furniture Company and is still in business today as a manufacturing facility.

Other leading Blackland Prairie cabinetmakers, and the approximate dates during which they worked, were James B. Shanahan, Clarksville, 1844–57; Jasper Longe, Clarksville, 1860–83; W. T. Skinner, Carter (Denton County), 1858–62; H. P. Davis, Fairfield, 1858–62; William W. Smith, White Oak (Hopkins County), 1850–60; W. B. Crawford, Mesquite (Navarro County), 1858–62; Peter Wetsel, McKinney, 1849–70; Isaac Crouch, McKinney, 1866–71; James Foster, Mantua (Collins County), 1868–72; John H. Spading, Waxahachie, 1860–78; Moses Mock, Hillsboro, 1868–72; James R. Manning, Sulphur Springs, 1868–72; and William Anderson, Waco, 1860–82.
Leading cabinetmakers in the Brazos-Colorado region, and the approximate dates during which they worked, were Heinrich Umland, Bellville, 1850–69; Johann Umland, Chappell Hill, 1854–81; Helmut Conrad Kroll, Chappell Hill, 1858–60; Caspar Witteborg, Chappell Hill, 1854–66, and Brenham, 1866–77; Charles Blank, Brenham, 1858–82; Joseph Massanari, Brenham, 1868–72; Heinrich Harigel, La Grange, 1851–92; Frederick Buntzel, Cat Spring, 1854–72; Gottfried Buescher, Industry, 1859–76; and H. Spencer Huby, Hempstead, 1855–62.

Galveston was a prosperous cabinetmaking center between 1840 and 1850, as well as a major furniture importing center where showrooms were set up with furniture from New York and sold to wealthy customers in San Antonio, Gonzales, and Austin.   Leading Galveston cabinetmakers, and the approximate dates during which they worked, were Daniel Lochied, 1848–52; Helmut Conrad Kroll, 1848–58; Johann Friedrich Ahrens, 1845–70; and Ernest Beck, 1868–72. Because of the availability of imported furniture, cabinetmaking in Galveston declined in the mid-1850s.
In Austin there was a small cabinet making industry from its founding in 1839, and by 1860 there were ten cabinet shops.  By 1870 there were two large shops in Austin, still using hand tools but making $9,000 worth of furniture a year.  The railroad arrived in 1871, and by 1880 there was no one in Austin who described himself as a cabinet maker.  Austin's leading cabinetmakers, and the approximate dates during which they worked, were Thomas Bostick, 1854–58; J. W. England, 1858–68; W. W. Evans, 1866–72; and Joseph Hannig, 1865–72. Hannig was the husband of Susanna W. Dickinson, one of the survivors of the Alamo.
Aesthetically the finest of Texas furniture was made by the German born cabinet makers of the Hill Country.  They usually employed only one person and did not use power machinery.  They had been trained, for the most part, in the guild system of Europe and held master cabinetmaker’s papers.   For example, Johann Michael Jahn, who had a shop in New Braunfels from 1844 until his death in 1883, served as an apprentice in Prague and received his Tischlermeister's (master tablemaker's) papers in Switzerland. Franz Stautzenberger, who made furniture at Clear Spring in Guadalupe County, was employed as a cabinetmaker at the court of the Duke of Nassau before coming to Texas in 1845. The Hill Country cabinetmakers often made highly sophisticated furniture, working largely in walnut and pine. They developed a distinct regional style, and their furniture is easily recognizable. The leading Fredericksburg cabinetmakers and the approximate dates during which they worked were Frederick Winkel, 1845–52; Friedrich Gentmann, 1860–70; Johann Adam Kunz, 1845–61; William Leilich, 1845–70; Johann Martin Loeffler, 1859–92; John Petri, 1858–62; Christof Shaeper, 1845–72; Jacob Schneider, 1853–72; Christian Staats, 1845–85; John Peter Tatsch, 1852–85; and Carl Wendler, 1858–62. Other leading Hill Country cabinetmakers outside of Fredericksburg, in addition to Jahn and Stautzenberger, were Eugen Ebensberger, New Braunfels, 1860–70, and Heinrich Scholl, New Braunfels, 1846–80.
By 1930 there was a nation-wide interest in the collection of Texas furniture.  The Winedale Historical Center, San Antonio Museum Association in Fayette County, and the Pioneer Museum in Fredericksburg have excellent collections of Texas furniture making.
Now back to my family’s furniture business.  My father, grandfather, and various great grandparents and uncles, sold furniture.  However, so far as I can tell, none of them made any of the furniture they sold.  However, this continues the furniture business in my family.
1938 City Directory of Brownwood, Texas, shows that M. T. Bowden and his wife Lora, my grandparents, owned a furniture store in Brownwood.  Shortly after that, however, they retired to Stephenville where my mother and father lived.  Daddy had worked in the Brownwood store before moving to Stephenville to work in the bank.

My grandfather’s building in downtown Brownwood, Texas, is still there, although it certainly doesn’t operate as a furniture store any longer.  He built it just west of the jail house where his father-in-law, RD Routh lived as the jailer until he died at age 90 in 1944.  And my father’s building is still in Stephenville, and it is now used as a deli.

I’m proud that my family was a part of the history of Texas furniture makers and furniture sellers, and I hope you have enjoyed reading a part of this history.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Dicey, Texas

Dicey, Texas, is on a spur off Farm Road 730 about eight miles northeast of Weatherford in northeastern Parker County. It is northwest of Lake Weatherford.  The first settlers moved near the present site of Dicey ca 1850. This group established one of the earliest churches in Parker County, and soon a community developed around it.  Land for a cemetery was given to Clear Fork Baptist Church by  William Baker Family in 1869.  Originally the settlement was called Power after minister, Parson Power. Later the name Dicey was chosen in honor of the wife of pioneer settler W. G. Puryear. A post office was established there in 1891 and discontinued in 1929. Throughout its history Dicey served area farmers as a church and school community. The population never exceeded more than about 100, and it  was reported at sixty-three from the mid-1920s through the mid-1940s, when it dropped to just over twenty.  There is a cemetery there and still a small community of houses at the Dicey site.

Several years ago I wrote a column on Dicey for Painted Post Crossroads.  I publish many of  my columns at http://oakcottage-tx.com/ , and because of that I received the following email:

"Having recently retired, I've begun working on my family tree.  I knew my mother, Denye Altera (Hughes) Sowell, was born in Dicey, Texas, in 1904.  But since I couldn't find Dicey on my Texas map to learn the name of the county, I checked the internet.  To my surprise there was your article - Chasing our Tales, Dicey, Texas, Parker County!  The information about the general store brought back memories of my mother telling about her father  either running or owning a general store in Dicey. His name was George Taylor Hughes. He died in 1924, before I was born.  Do you have information about my Hughes family branch in Dicey? - Lyles Sowell, RipNTana@msn.com"

I don't have any information on George Taylor Hughes, so if any of you out there do, please contact Lyles!

I did, however, find some information about the Hughes family in Palo Pinto County.  This is the genealogy of the family of Emory Woodley Hughes:

Generation No. 1

1. EMORY WOODLEY1 HUGHES was born September 17, 1852 in ,Jackson, AL, and died December 13, 1915 in Dodson Prairie, Palo Pinto, TX. He married (1) ELIZABETH VICTORIA JAMES May 21, 1874 in ,Williamson, TX. He married (2) HARRIET MELINDA (HATTIE) BURNS December 22, 1887 in ,Erath, TX.


i. MATTIE BELL2 HUGHES, b. February 25, 1875, Smithville, Bastrop, TX; d. February 04, 1954, Alamogordo, Otero, NM; m. (1) RICHARD YARBROUGH SOUTHERN, August 10, 1893, Palo Pinto, Palo Pinto, TX; m. (2) GROVER CLEVELAND WILLIAMS, May 04, 1935, Dallas, Dallas, TX.

ii. JOHN O. HUGHES, b. October 1877, ,,TX; d. August 05, 1905, ,Erath, TX.

iii. EDGAR D. HUGHES, b. September 10, 1879, ,Lampasas, TX; d. March 25, 1940, ,Jones, TX; m. SARAH BERTON (SALLIE) COX, Abt. 1905, ,,TX.

iv. SAMUEL HUSTON HUGHES, b. September 16, 1883, ,Smith, TX; d. October 05, 1938, Village Bend, Palo Pinto, TX; m. SUSAN EMILY (SUE) VAUGHAN, August 10, 1913, ,Palo Pinto, TX.

v. EMORY CHRISTIAN (JINKIE) HUGHES, b. October 12, 1885, ,Brown, TX; d. July 04, 1950, ,Titus, TX; m. (1) MABLE PEARL STRANGE, August 04, 1912, Gilmer, Upshur, TX; m. (2) ELLEN WRIGHT, Not Married.


vi. JAMES RUBEN2 HUGHES, b. October 11, 1888, ,Erath, TX; d. September 22, 1958, Sanatorium, Tom Green, TX; m. GEORGIA BENNETT BUNNELL, May 05, 1910, ,Erath, TX.

vii. RACHEL ANN HUGHES, b. February 24, 1890, Stephenville, Erath, TX; d. March 04, 1964, Stephenville, Erath, TX; m. (1) JOE LOMAS, ,,TX; m. (2) COLUMBUS OTTO SNIDER, October 18, 1908, ,Palo Pinto, TX; m. (3) RUPERT HUDSPETH, October 09, 1956, ,Palo Pinto, TX.

viii. ELISHA WOODLEY HUGHES, b. February 20, 1892, Stephenville, Erath, TX; d. July 17, 1952, Ranger, Eastland, TX; m. (1) LILLIAN BIRCH, ,,TX; m. (2) ELLEN WRIGHT, May 16, 1914, ,Titus, TX.

ix. MARVIN EARL HUGHES, b. October 12, 1894, ,Erath, TX; d. July 02, 1971, Ft. Worth, Tarrant, TX; m. LINNIE BLUE, August 21, 1923, ,Palo Pinto, TX.

x. WILLIAM BENJAMIN HUGHES, b. April 12, 1896, ,Erath, TX; d. November 25, 1961, Dallas, Dallas, TX; m. CLARIS SUEDELL FOREMAN, August 12, 1923, ,Palo Pinto, TX.

xi. JOSIE ESTELL HUGHES, b. November 01, 1898, ,Cooke, TX; d. July 04, 1975, Mineral Wells, Palo Pinto, TX; m. (1) EPHRAIM WYATT WITT, 1927, ,,TX; m. (2) JOE HOUSTON BALENTINE, 1955, Strawn, Palo Pinto, TX.

xii. JESSIE MAY HUGHES, b. February 11, 1900, Stephenville, Erath, TX; d. March 31, 1986, Abilene, Taylor, TX; m. (1) WILLIE KINDRED (BILL) FELTS, ,,TX; m. (2) GRANVILLE BARRON, December 12, 1918, ,Palo Pinto, TX.

Next I discovered a bit of information about Dicey.  John Albright Long was born in 1839 and buried in the Dicey Cemetery in 1922.  He was married to Emily Hartsfield, and their children were Thomas Samuel, born 1861; James Sherwood, born 1863; and Emily, born 1869.  Then John Albright married Mary Hartsfield McLarty (could this be his first wife's married sister?), and their children were Mary Effie, born 1871; John Franklin, born 1874 in Parker County; Walter Josiah, born 1876 in Parker County; and Harriet, born 1878 in Parker County.

Thomas Samuel Long married Alice Young in 1884 in Parker County.  Their children were John Wesley, born 1885 and Samuel Thomas, born 1887.  Then Thomas Samuel married Elizabeth Young (again, as sister of his first wife?).

Do you have information on the Hughes family or on Dicey, Parker County, Texas?  If so, let me know and we will put it in the column!

"Hello Sue,  I'm looking for a couple of families buried in Palo Pinto County but don't know where. John Wesley and Elizabeth J (Mackey) Weddle and Alexander & Delilah (Short) Mackey. Is there by chance a common index for all of Palo Pinto County cemeteries? Thanks for your help. Tom Clark, TClark36@aol.com , Dallas, Texas."

"Dear Sue,

I have a query about WARD and HUMPHREYS families. One is of James J. Ward, Jr, an early settler and cattle rancher.  He moved to the area in 1856.  He claimed all the land between Mineral Wells and Santo.  His family's two-storey sandstone home was near Lone Camp.  He and his wife are buried near the old home.  I have information about Tom and Sarah Humphreys.  She was James' daughter. I am sure there are descendants in or around the Palo Pinto area.  Thank you, Troy D. Splawn, Troy.Splawn@okdhs.org "

"Hello Sue,

I enjoy reading your "Chasing Our Tales."  Keep up the good work.  Do you have a mailing list?  If so, I'd like to add my name to it.

"I wanted to let you know that I am the great-great-granddaughter of Thomas Fielder Weldon.  His daughter Nancy Matilda Weldon married my great-grandfather, Spencer P. Elliott.  I believe Spencer and Nancy lived in the Palo Pinto County area from about 1899 to about 1910.  I believe 4 of their children were born there, one being my grandfather Alvin Gilbert Elliott.  Have you come across any information or stories on them?  Do you know of any good online resources on Palo Pinto County that I might help me find info on them?  I'm relatively new to genealogy, so I always ask for tips.

"I've made contact with Robin Hildebrand who is related to the Weldons through one of your 'Chasing Our Tales' stories.  She has been a blessing to me on info on the Weldon side of the family.  Thank you!!  I look forward to your next story!!!!! Sincerely, Theresa, theresas_tree@yahoo.com  "

"I enjoyed the story about Star Route. Oliver Louis was a neighbor of my brother's while he lived on Northwest 23rd Street. I don't remember how I got to know Oliver, but I remember going fishing on his place west of Palo Pinto. I Knew Cora Jean working in the office at the Dunlop Tire Store, and Maurice would come in the back of the store where we were working. After I left Dunlop's I still would go back and talk to Cora Jean.  She would bring me up to date on her kids. She did like to talk about her kids. You knew she loved all of you with an unconditional love. Cora Jean will always have a special place in our memories. She was a "people" person and was a great asset to Hamilton's tire store.  Junior and Lula Masterson, mastersn@flash.net "

"I am looking for the following family connected to me: the burial of Amanda C. Elder and that would have been around the 1900 in Mineral Wells, Texas, also maybe a marriage. I am also looking for information on a Lillie L. Beaty  who died 1955. She may and may not have died in Texas. Any help on a Sterling Elder and Amanda.  They are listed in the 1880 census. Hope to find the resting place of Amanda and also Lillie. Thank you for your time .Contact me, Judy Knox, at azrolly@aol.com ."


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Billy the Kid Days - In Hico, Texas???

The “Wild West”, as it has come to be known, was from 1865 to 1900. It was during this time that ‘Billy the Kid’, aka William H. Bonney, Henry McCarty, Kid Antrim and William Antrim, made his mark in the New Mexico Territory. It has been said that Billy once boasted that he had killed 21 men, one for each year of his life.

While fact and myth are often difficult to separate, it seems Billy the Kid earned his reputation as one of the Southwest's most prolific killers. History records that in a period of just 4 years, he fought in at least 16 shootouts, killed at least 4 men himself, and assisted in the murder of at least 5 others. Not quite the 21 he bragged about.

For a time Billy enjoyed the hospitality of John S. Chisum, who was then challenging the monopoly of Lawrence G. Murphy and his associates over government beef contracts in New Mexico. The Kid's direct involvement in the struggle started when he went to work for John Tunstall and Alexander McSween, leaders of the Chisum crowd. Bad relations between rival factions culminated in the murder of Tunstall by Murphy partisans on February 28, 1878. Billy was arrested by Sheriff William Brady, a Murphy tool, and consequently cast his lot with McSween and Dick Brewer, Tunstall's foreman. In the resultant feud, known as the Lincoln County War, Billy rode with a vigilante group called the Regulators, which had a cloak of legality since Brewer was the appointed constable. In March the Regulators captured two of Tunstall's murderers, whom Brewer wanted to incarcerate in Lincoln. However, both men were killed, probably by Billy, before they ever reached town, thus giving the Murphy faction another grievance against the McSween group. Later Billy and five companions ambushed and killed Sheriff Brady and his deputy, George Hindman, on Lincoln's main street.

On July 14, 1881, Sheriff Pat Garrett, together with two deputies, sat in a darkened bedroom at the Fort Sumner ranch home of Billy's friend, Pete Maxwell. Garrett was asking Maxwell about Billy's whereabouts when Billy, in his stocking feet, unexpectedly entered Maxwell's quarters, spotting, but not recognizing Garrett in the dim light.

"Quien es? Quien es?" -- "Who is it? Who is it?" were the last words Billy ever uttered. Garret pumped two shots from his revolver, one of which went straight into Billy's heart. Billy the Kid was buried the next day at Fort Summer cemetery between his two outlaw pals, Tom O'Folliard and Charlie Bowdre, where his grave can be seen to this day. Although he didn't live to celebrate his 22nd birthday, Billy the Kid remains one of the notorious legends of the American West.

There are those who still question whether Henry McCarty or William H. Bonney, Jr. (the name he used at his trial), was Billy the Kid's true name. Others maintain that Billy the Kid was, in fact, Ollie L. "Brushy Bill" Roberts, who actually escaped Pat Garrett's bullets, hid out in Mexico and the Desert Southwest, rode in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, and finally died in Hico, Texas in 1950.

Was Billy really a cold bloodied killer or just a good boy gone bad. The myth was enhanced even more in 1950 when Ollie L. (Brushy Bill) Roberts, an elderly ex-lawman from Hamilton County, Texas, claimed that he was Billy the Kid and petitioned the governor of New Mexico for a pardon for crimes committed under that name. Although a hearing was granted through the efforts of Roberts' attorney, William V. Morrison, no conclusive proof was ever brought forth and no pardon was granted. While waiting to hear from the governor, Brushy Bill had a heart attack and fell dead on the sidewalk in front of the post office in Hico on December 26, 1950.

Many movies have been made about Billy and a TV series about him ran for a while. Dozens of books have also been written about Billy the Kid.

Some legends just live on and this one seems to get bigger with the passing of time. For the past 55 years a feud has been going on between Hico, Texas and Ft Sumner, New Mexico as to who has the burial place of the real Billy the Kid.

Several years ago my wife and I visited the Billy the Kid Museum in Ft Sumner. While there I saw an old news clipping about Billy’s tombstone being stolen and later found in the front yard of a house in Granbury, Texas. When I told the curator that I lived 30 miles from Granbury, he paused, took a deep breath, looked me straight in the eye and said; “Tell me something. With everything you have to brag about in Texas, why do you come out here and steal the only thing we have to brag about?” Hmmm…. What could I say to that?

A Texan will throw a party at the drop of a hat and the Billy the Kid saga is a good reason to party. Each spring Hico has the Billy the Kid Days celebration the first weekend in April. People come from far and wide to this celebration. One of the venders told me that she had talked to the curator of the Billy the Kid Museum in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, who was there checking things out. (Maybe trying to get some ideas for a celebration of their own.)

Hico has a Billy the Kid Museum of their own which is open weekends the year-round. Author W. C. Jameson was at the museum signing his latest book, “Billy the Kid, Beyond the Grave.” Of course I had to have one.

They had Pecan Street barricaded for two blocks and the venders had their displays set up down the middle of the street. Midway there was a tent and bandstand set up with music by such bands as the “New Blue Grass Combination” and “The Texas Trail Hands.” The “Uncle Bill Roach Band”, Mike Slagle from Granbury was the band leader, had a stand set up and were handing out free CD’s of their latest number, “Ballad of Billy the Kid.”

Another vender was Lacy Killian of Cleburne who has the Rockin’ K Rustic Western & Ranch Décor and Accessories place north of town on Hwy 174.

To go along with the celebration, they had an antique/classic car show in the Hico City Park. There must have been close to 50 cars on display. I remember a lot of the old cars, among them the Hudson. The Hudson Hornet was quite a car in its time. Someone at the car show had a Hudson pick-up, the first pick-up I had ever seen made by Hudson. You live and learn.

At one time Hico was a booming little town. Shortly after the turn of the century, Hico was buying and shipping more grain than all other towns combined on the Texas Central Railroad. According to early day reports, by 1907, more cotton was bought right off wagons on main street than in any town in the world. By 1908 Hico received 25,000 to 40,000 bales of cotton a year. There were 95 businesses including a candy factory, six hotels, a broom factory and ten grocery stores. Recreation in the early period of Hico included an Opera House, the Palace Theater and a Roller Rink which was located south of the railroad depot under a tent.

After the cotton market died and the railroad shut down, Hico lost a lot of its businesses and today is a friendly, turn-of-the-century western town bordering the Bosque River offering Texas's only "Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame", Billy the Kid Museum, nine antique/craft shops, handcrafted chocolate shops, leather and knife craftsmen, great restaurants, free Saturday night music and carriage rides.

The Koffee Kup café is a great place to eat in Hico. They make some great cream pies and they were advertising “Coconut Pie to Die For” on their marque.

For more information on Hico, check out: http://www.hico-tx.com.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Online Genealogy Sources

GENUKI                   http://www.genuki.org.uk/
Cindi’s List               http://www.cyndislist.com/
LDS                         https://www.familysearch.org/
Find A Grave           http://www.findagrave.com/
Genealogy.com http://www.genealogy.com/
USCensus Project    http://www.us-census.org/
USGenWeb              http://usgenweb.org/
Tombstone Project http://usgwtombstones.org/
Genealogy Search:  http://www.genealogysearch.org/
PublicProfiler          http://worldnames.publicprofiler.org/

Monday, July 6, 2015


This is a new blog called Chasing Our Tales.  It will include historical and genealogical stories endeavoring to assist and enlighten readers about who we all are and where we come from.