Sunday, December 24, 2006

Cross Plains: A Year After the Fire

December 27, 2006 Tells a Tale of Survival

Driving up Main Street through the business district, the Christmas lights twinkle and shine and the store window sport holiday scenes and greetings. Some say the Higginbotham's store windows are the prettiest they've ever been. It's hard to tell that one year ago two days after Christmas half of Cross Plains was charred blackened ruins, the aftermath of a devistating wildfire that took two lives and destroyed 116 homes and the United Methodist Church. It's hard to tell - until you reach the high school and look across main street to lot after lot of vacant land, land that for decades was filled with homes and families.

Now dotted with new homes, construction, and FEMA trailers, Cross Plains has made an amazing comeback in a short period of time. This, despite the predictions of one Dallas paper that too much was gone of Cross Plains for the town to rebuild and bounce back. Some folks left, some moved a few miles out to the country, many have rebuilt or are rebuilding.

Gone, too, from Cross Plains are the old delipatated buildings - gas stations and business of times past left to disrepair and ruin. When cleaning up the aftermath of the fire, Callahan County's men in orange were dispatched to tear down and remove the town's building eyesores, as well.

Cross Plains has risen from the ashes. And while December 27, 2005, will be remembered as Cross Plains' darkest hour, December 27, 2006 tells a tell of survival, as residents gather for a Victory Celebration and Hamburger Supper.

Read what today's Abilene-Reporter News says about Cross Plains one year later

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Alpine: Hub of the Big Bend region

If highways are spokes connecting the rim of destinations in the Big Bend Region of West Texas, then Alpine is the hub of the wheel.

From Del Rio, two hundred miles of great highway take travelers to Alpine. And from there travelers can easily travel south to Big Bend National Park (80 miles), north to Fort Davis (26 miles), west to Marfa (26 miles), or east to Marathon (31 miles). But its geography may not be the chief asset of Alpine.

Now, with a population hovering at 6,500, Alpine is growing, but no one seems interested in too much growth and a loss of small town, friendly identity. Still, according to the Handbook of Texas, “Alpine is listed as one of the fifty safest and most economical places for retirement in the United States.”

Climate plays a big role in Alpine’s popularity, aptly named for the cooler temperatures there at 4,481 feet above mean sea level. (Del Rio International Airport is 1,002 feet above MSL.) “We have more than 400 motel and hotel rooms,” Austin enthused, adding that the lodging accommodations range from modern to historic.

Read the full story from

Read the Handbook of Texas Online Article on Alpine

Texas Wreaths Across America observation honors veterans

Ceremony held at Houston National Cemetery

TEXAS -- With honor and reverence for U.S. veterans, Capt. Eric Thompson of the Texas Wing's Thunderbird Composite Squadron opened the Wreaths Across America ceremony Dec. 14 at Houston National Cemetery with a moment of silence. The day started amid dense fog, but about an hour before the ceremony began the fog lifted and revealed a beautiful mild, sunny day. Five wreaths were laid by active duty and retired military personnel from each branch of the military.

A sixth wreath, representing prisoners of war and the missing in action, was Col. Robert Eldridge, Texas Wing commander, addresses the audience at Wreaths Across America at Houston National Cemetery. laid by former U.S. Marine Corps. Sgt. Ron Ridgeway. who was held in Viet Nam as POW or five years. He endured torture, loss of comrades and loneliness.

Read full article

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

San Felipe High School, Del Rio, Texas 1940 Football Team

View the Photograph

In the photo: Andres Sanchez, Manuel Castano, Efrain Longoria, Severo Fuentes, Jesus Cardenas - captain, Leopoldo Gloria, Petronilo Guajardo, Victor Contreras, Joe Martinez - coach, Cesar Padilla, Manuel Aguilar, Arturo Aguilar, Oscar Sigala, Felix Soto, Oscar Coronado, Ramon Mendez, Armando Fernandez, Marco Pena, Cipriano Sarzoza, Wenceslao Castellanos and Inocente Martinez.

More Del Rio, Texas Old Postcards and Photographs

More Texas Old Photos

Del Rio & Val Verde County Texas - TXGenWeb site

Friday, September 15, 2006

Beaumont to Honor Big Bopper with Historical Marker

Memorializing Chantilly Lace at Forest Lawn

BEAUMONT - Nearly 48 years after his death in rock 'n' roll's first major tragedy, pop star J.P. Richardson - known better as The Big Bopper - will have something more than a headstone to mark his place in Beaumont's history.

Next week, the day before a Port Arthur concert pays tribute to the Beaumont radio deejay who struck gold with the 1959 hit, "Chantilly Lace," a historical marker will be installed at Forest Lawn Cemetery.

But the plaque won't be at Richardson's grave. It will be erected nearby at a specially chosen site where the remains of The Bopper (and possibly his widow Teetsie) will be moved later.

Richardson was only 28 on the snowy night in Clear Lake, Iowa, when a small plane carrying The Bopper, and rockers Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens crashed minutes after take-off. The Feb. 3, 1959, tragedy was later immortalized by singer Don McLean as "the day the music died" in his pop dirge "American Pie."

Read full story in the Beaumont Enterprise

Friday, August 18, 2006

Hurricane Alicia, now only a footnote

Twenty three years ago today Hurricane Alicia crashed through the Texas Coastline. Folks in Galveston, Seabrook, and Baytown remember it well.

21 people lost their lives. Another 3000 were injured or became ill. The Red Cross sheltered or fed 63,000 people. Over 2000 homes were destroyed and another 3,000 suffered major damage. Over 18,000 families suffered some kind of loss. The price tag for the costliest hurricane in Texas History: over $2 billion.

In Baytown, Alicia brought the end to the Brownwood subdivision, which had been slowly subsiding into the bay.

In downtown Houston, shards of glass became deadly missiles when hundreds of window panes were broken out of skyscrapers by gravel blown from nearby rooftops. The windows were designed to withstand hurricane winds but not impact
from debris. The result was huge piles of broken glass in the streets below.

On Galveston's West Beach, Alicia moved the public beach boundary back an average of 150'. The storm surge scoured up to 5' of sand from the beach and left several homes in front of the natural vegetation line and technically on the public beach.
Read more from USA Today

Some photos from Alicia

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Hubbard, Texas 125 Years Old

Hill County Town of Hubbard turns 125

The town was once called Slap Out.

Central Texans who have passed through the Hill County town of Hubbard are probably unaware that it was once named for a store whose owner apparently had trouble keeping his shelves stocked.

The community’s moniker stuck until 1881 when a rail depot was opened and the town was officially founded as Hubbard, according to the Handbook of Texas Online. The town was named for former Texas governor Richard B. Hubbard, who was present at the depot dedication.

On Saturday, the 1,500-resident city celebrates its 125th birthday with a daylong party at the city park.

Read full article from the Waco Tribune

Early 1900s street view of Hubbard, Texas from Texas Old Photos

Azle Cemetery Vandals Caught

Teens Arrested for Destruction in Ash Creek Cemetery

Five teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of vandalizing more than 70 graves -- and causing an estimated $100,000 in damages -- at Azle's Ash Creek Cemetery, police said.

"It was damage for damage's sake," Azle police Chief Steve Myers said of the crime spree Wednesday night. "They pushed over headstones, broke others, threw the broken pieces at other headstones and destroyed stone vases meant for flowers."

The cemetery is the oldest in Azle, with graves dating back to the 1870s. The man the town is named after, Azle Stewart, is buried there.

Read full article from the Star Telegram

Angelina County: Looking to Go Wet

Great Grandpa Would be Rolling Over in His Grave

Across South, Push Is On to Make Dry Areas Wet

The issue is now playing out in Lufkin, an old railroad town in the heart of the Texas Bible Belt 115 miles northeast of Houston. On a recent Monday night, 175 citizens gathered at the town’s civic center to voice their opposition to a referendum proposal, scheduled for a vote in November, that would allow sales of beer and wine in stores and drinks in restaurants all across Angelina County. Lufkin is the county’s largest town, with 35,000 people.

Read full article from the New York Times

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Palo Duro Canyon - an Awesome Place

Palo Duro Canyon is one awesome hole on the ground

Leon Hale visits Palo Duro Canyon.

PALO DURO CANYON — My guess is that a great many Texans don't know that this great hole in the ground exists.

My guess is that he's right.

Read the article from today's Houston Chronicle.

Visit Leon Hale's blog at:

Monday, August 07, 2006

Cross Plains: Rising from the Ashes

It's been seven months since a wildfire devastated the small Central Texas town of Cross Plains, killing two elderly women, destroying 117 homes, levelling the United Methodist Church, and changing life in this town of 1000 people.

After a million dollars in donations, volunteers from various Texas churches, work crews from the prisons near Abilene, much hard work, determination and prayer, Cross Plains has made a comeback.

Read the story in today's Houston Chronicle.

And, two different stories in from yesterday's Fort Worth Star Telegram that are being picked up in newspapers from California to North Dakota to Pennsylvania.
On Solid Foundation, Up from the Ashes

The second article features an interview with our friend and Cross Plains Volunteer Fire Chief Bob Harrell.

On a side note, among the list of churches taking turns furnishing lunch for the workers at the First Baptist Church in Cross Plains is the Cottonwood Baptist Church, from the community of Cottonwood, about 100 people, a few miles north of Cross Plains. The Cottonwood Volunteer Fire Control Group was one of the first responders to the Dec 27, 2005 Cross Plains fire.

More about Cottonwood at

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

History of Fort Davis & the Davis Mountians

They used to be the Apache Mountains...

A Look at the History of the Davis Mountains from, part of a continuing series about the "Triangle" area of Alpine, Fort Davis and Marfa

They were not called the Davis Mountains until after Fort Davis was established in 1854. They were the Apache Mountains then because that's who owned them.

War chiefs Victorio, Juh, Mangas Coloradas, Nicolas and Nana roamed them and enough Comanches were raiding Mexico for this part of deep West Texas to be on Great Comanche Trail.

To put it in modern terms, conditions were unfavorable for economic development. Built on 500 acres in a box canyon near Limpia Creek, soldiers were needed to protect stagecoaches, wagon trains, railroad surveyors and eventually settlers.
Read the full article from
Photograph of Mitre Peak near Ft. Davis from Texas Old Photos

A Birds Eye View of Texas

Take a look at Texarkana in 1888, Dallas in 1892, Cuero in 1881 or any of the other sixty birds eye views of Texas cities on line at The Amon Carter Museum website, Texas Bird's-Eye Views.

View the website

Texas Bird’s-Eye Views is a Web site dedicated to the study and appreciation of the Texas city views in the museum’s collection, along with a number of additional Texas views from private lenders and outside institutions. From the website:

Bird’s-eye views, many of which are more than three feet wide, appear as something between a panoramic view and a map, as though they were drawn by the artist while he was suspended in a hot-air balloon. In fact, they were drawn by hand using, most often, two-point perspective to produce a three-dimensional rendering. The city views are surprisingly accurate (even to the point of documenting the presence of a tree in the middle of Gonzales Street in Cuero) and represent a much neglected source for understanding the history of Texas.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Foundation representing BNSF Railway Company supplied a grant for the project.

Historic Bridges to be Replaced

Washington County to Replace Two 100-year-old Railroad Bridges

Two railroad overpasses that are more than 100 years old - one at North Berlin Road (Railroad Milepost 128.6) and the other two miles away on Old Gay Hill Road (Railroad Milepost 130.6) - are about to begin “a fast track” to being replaced by modern bridges ...

County Judge Dorothy Morgan and Precinct Three Commissioner Kirk Hanath, in
whose precinct both historic overpasses reside, both appeared ready “to virtually jump with joy” as four resolutions clearing the way for this complex project to proceed all passed by unanimous court votes.

Read full article from the Brenham Banner

Remembering a 40 Year Old Tragedy

A Sad Thing to Remember....

August 1, 1966, the Beatles were on the radio, Ed Sullivan on TV, and at the University of Texas in Austin students were making their way to their Monday morning classes. Charles Whitman, a student at the university, made his way to the 28th floor observation deck of the univerity's bell tower, a perfect vantage point for what was to follow.

In ninety minutes, Whitman wiped out the lives of 17 people, injured another 30 or so by-standers and changed the lives of countless parents, friends and students forever.

40 years ago today. The UT Massacre shocked and appalled people across the country. It was the nation's worst mass shooting at the time.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Matagorda Cemetery: Another Marker for History

Matagorda Cemetery, Matagorda listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Matagorda Cemetery — founded in 1830 and one of Texas’ oldest — has been placed on the prestigious National Register of Historic Places.

Local historical group officials expect two other Matagorda County sites will soon share the notable recognition — the Hensley-Guzman House, built in 1905, and the World War II-era Bay City U.S.O. Building, today’s Bay City Service Center. The 7.2-acre cemetery, at the northeast edge of Matagorda, was first used soon after the town was founded in 1829.The cemetery, which received a Texas Historical Marker in 1970, shows the town’s remarkable, with grave stone inscriptions telling about frontier hardships.

The marker’s text said those buried include: victims of 1862 yellow fever epidemic; soldiers of the Texas Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War; also Karankawa Indian victims. Early Texas leaders buried at the cemetery include Texas Secretary of Navy, Samuel Rhoads Fisher — a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence — Texas’ first Lt. Governor, Albert Clinton Horton, and George Morse Collinsworth, who commanded the Texans at the capture of Goliad in 1835.

The National Register of Historic Places is a service of the National Parks System. Visit their website

Read full article from the Bay City Tribune

Is there a Jasper County Clerk in your Ancestry?

Jasper County Needs Photos of Past County Clerks

Jasper County needs photos of former County Clerks to hang in County Clerk's office.

Photos needed: Hannibal Good (1856-1870), W.H. Truett (1871-1874), A.J. Rigsby (1881-1894), A.L. Mays (1909-1916) and N.B. Hart (1939-1948.)

Efforts to place framed photographs of past Jasper County Clerks in the Jasper County Courthouse clerk's office are underway, according to current County Clerk Debbie Newman.

Newman said that if anyone has a photograph of those individuals that they are willing to share, the picture can be scanned and returned to the owner. Pictures can be mailed to Jasper County Clerk, P.O. Box 2070 or 121 N. Austin, Room 103, Jasper, TX 75951 or call (409)384-2632 for instructions.

Read full article from the Jasper Newsboy

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Genealogy Conference at Angelina College, Lufkin

Finding Your Roots in East Texas...

The tenth annual Genealogy Conference starts this weekend at Angelina College. Hundreds of people will attend a variety of workshops to learn the latest techniques for tracing their family tree.
There are many ways to research your roots, including county records, a genealogy center or public library. Research can take weeks, months or years depending on how far back in time you want to go.
The two-day event kicks off Friday morning with seminars on going digital and using maps in genealogy. The conference will be held in the Community Services building.

Read full article from KTRE Lufkin-Nacogdoches

St. Mary's Church School San Antonio - Seventh Grade Boys 1931

At Texas Old Photos

St. Mary's Church School, San Antonio - Seventh Grade Boys 1931

View the photo

In the photo: Paul Moore, Francis Martinez, Allen Butler, Pat O'Hagan, Thomas Hanley, John Nigro, John Dailey, Alfred Hudson, John Paul Warnken, John Kleeman, James Carter, Clarence Hummel, Alan Sturrock, Edward Little, Joseph V. Cummings, Andrew Cadena, Dexter Hanley, J. P. Ruth, Horace Boykin, Eugene Epps.

More Texas Photos

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Williamson Creek Cemetery, South Austin

153-year-old cemetery is rejuvenated

Young Latter-day Saints volunteers pitch in to restore Williamson Creek Cemetery, a historic African-American graveyard in South Austin.

350 youth volunteers of 20 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints congregations from Austin and San Antonio revitalized the 153-year-old African American cemetery on Little Texas Lane, near Stassney Lane and Interstate 35

About 260 slaves are buried at the cemetery. The first was James P. Eagle, who died in 1863, said Tony Jones, president of the cemetery association. Jones is a descendant of Alfred Overton, a slave freed by the Emancipation Proclamation who died in 1913.

The other 540 people buried there are slave descendants, one of whom was buried last year.
Read full story from the Austin American-Statesman

Texas Ranger James Elijah Keese Honored in Bandera

Remembering an Early Texas Ranger: James Elijah Keese 1832-1896

Although his body has been buried for nine decades, the memory of James Elijah Keese was resurrected last week. More than 200 descendants and friends gathered for a dedication ceremony honoring his duties as a Texas Ranger.

Born in 1832 in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., Keese was one of six children to Thomas Jefferson and Eleanor Campbell Keese. The family found its way to the Republic of Texas in 1842.

Keese joined the Texas Rangers in 1851, at the age of 18. He was stationed at Fort Merrill in Nueces County. In 1864, he and two brothers, Oliver H.P. and Thomas Harrison, joined the 2nd Frontier District of Brown County as Confederate soldiers. Their company's duties entailed protecting the settlements from Indians and Union forces.

With his wife, Eleanor Lavina Lewis, Keese moved to Bandera County in December of 1871. Together, they raised 10 children - some of whom remained in the county
to raise their own families.

Read full article from the Bandera Bulletin

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Odessa: 125 Years of Train Service

Odessa Celebrates 125th Anniversary of the Laying of the Railroad Tracks
With the invention of cars and diesel engines, the steam locomotive of the 19th century is virtually extinct. But several Odessa organizations are pausing to remember the train industry and all it has meant — and still means — for West Texas.

The Odessa Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Heritage of Odessa Foundation, the Ector County Historical Commission and Main Street Odessa have scheduled a commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the laying of tracks on the land that is now Odessa.
Read full story from the Odessa American Online.

Odessa Depot photo from
Texas Old Photos

Friday, June 23, 2006

Del Rio: Turning History into a Parking Lot

Veterans Monument Moved and Football Stadium Turning into Parking Lot at San Felipe High School (now San Felipe Middle School)

The football stadium, which was built in the 1940s, was built as a memorial to World War II Veterans. New construction is turning that memorial into a parking lot and the monument near it moved to another location at the school.
A monument once located near the football field where the parking lot is being constructed states “San Felipe High School proudly pays homage to the memory of these valiants who gave their last full measure of devotion to their country.” Under that statement are the names of 24 Del Rioans who perished in WWII and the Vietnam Conflict.

That monument was relocated to the front of the school near its main entrance so two instructional buildings could be constructed.

Lupe De Hoyos, an ex-board member .... said that if an agreement between persons who would like to preserve the football field and school administration cannot be reached, the Exes and other veterans’ organizations may ban together and file an injunction to halt construction of the parking lot.

Read the full story in the Del Rio News Herald

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Cisco Junior College, Cisco, Texas Class of 1943

At Texas Old Photos

View the photo

In the photograph: Robert Blackstock, Wilburn Ghormley, Jimmy Newbury, Evan Threatt, Yyonne Morris, Jack Chambliss, Lois June Allen, Paul Huntington, Ralph Huntington, Lois Dunham, Wren Threatt, Bill Cash, Helen Draganis, Totsy Threatt, Mrs. Pearl Pence.

More Texas Old Photos

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

SouthEast Texas Genealogical & Historical Society in the news

Finding family a passion for local group

The society covers the ten counties located in the Southeastern corner of Texas bordering Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico. Represented in this district are: Chambers County, Hardin County, Jefferson County, Jasper County, Polk County, Orange County, Liberty County, Newton County, San Jacinto County & Tyler County

Read the article from the Mid County Chronicle, Nederland, Texas

Visit the SouthEast Texas Genealogical & Historical Society website

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Mineola, Texas Old Postcards & Photographs

View the collection

Collection of old photographs - early 1900s views of Mineola, Texas including the New Bailey Hotel, Methodist Church and Parsonage, several street scenes, the Union Depot and a baptism in a creek near Mineola.

Texas Old

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Georgetown, Texas Seventh Graders 1930


View the photo

Class roster: Ford Ainsworth, Hazel Beaver, Alma Birklebach, Benton Bishop, Billy Cardwell, Will Dean Case, Virginia Chastain, Lester Cloud, Helen Davis, Elizabeth Eanes, Iva Lee Edwards, Helen Evans, Francis Fahrenthold, Bernice Forsvall, Harold Gustafson, Mildred Gustafson, Howard Hardcastle, Dan Hill, Walter Holybee, J. B. Jenkins, Lambert Johnson, Charlie Kelly, Oscar King, Alexandria Lehmberg, J. D. Logan, R. E. Logan, Oscar Marshall, Doris Evelyn May, Gregory Meyer, Leland Munson, Lucille Nichols, Allene Palm, Harry Percy, J. L. Perry, Annabell Peterson, Ruben Peterson, Pauline Purcell, Thomas Purl, Oliver Risinger, Alta Belle Robbins, Ralph Rogers, Frank Sellers, Thomas Shell, Frances Ray Standlee, Wilbur Towns, Edwin Vinther, Margaret Waite, and Dorothy Whitted

Texas History & Genealogy Blog

Artifact Thieves Face the Law in West Texas

Arrowheads, Tomahawk, Antique Guns, a Winchester Rifle and a Bowie Knife stolen from the Stillwell Museum and the Fort Davis Historical Museum.

Thieves now face the Grand Jury. Which might be a better plight than facing a group of angry Texans...

Authorities say the robberies started April 11 at the Stillwell Museum in the Big Bend area when the suspects stole items including arrowheads, a tomahawk,
money from a donation box and several guns, including an 1895 Winchester rifle.

[The thieves] are accused of breaking into glass displays at the Fort Davis Historical Site Museum the next day. They're accused of taking six 19th century guns, a Bowie knife and a donation box, the news release said.
Read full article from the Star-Telegram

Texas History & Genealogy Blog

Headstone Stolen from Unknown Cowboy Grave

"Unknown Cowboy" headstone stolen from the Belcherville Cemetery in Nocoma.
It was a simple stone, the kind seen all over this tiny cemetery northwest of Nocona. It marked the burial spot for a ranch cowboy. He worked less than a full day for the ranch and was killed in a fall from a bucking horse and buried. No one knew his name.

The stone, stolen in the last few weeks, read plainly, "Unknown Cowboy."

The grave of the unknown cowboy was unknown to a lot of people here; the Belcherville Cemetery is in a remote part of the county. Belcherville is only a bend in the road with a couple of houses on either side. The cemetery is about a mile and a half from the hardtop.

Read full article from the Fort Worth Star Telegram, June 17, 2006

Texas History & Genealogy Blog

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Indianola Washed Away in 1875 & 1886

Indianola: Now only a Memory

More than 100 years before Hurricane Katrina, a hurricane washed away great Texas city. Indianola, on the South Texas Coast, near Matagorda and Port Arthur, was hit with a major hurricane in 1875, then devastated again in 1886.

Today some people call Indianola a ghost town.
Truth is, there’s not much of a town here at all.
It’s hard to believe that Indianola was once a major Texas city, a rival to places like Galveston and a smaller port city called Houston.
And looking closely at the tombstones and you’ll notice so many people died on the same day, Sept. 16, 1875.
On that day, historians said, just a short walk from Indianola’s oldest cemetery, the waves and the winds picked up.

Read full article from KHOU-TV, Channel 11, Houston, Texas

Indianola before the Storm photo from

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Mineola Opens Railroad Museum

Hundreds Gather in Downtown Mineola for Museum Opening

A big museum opening in Mineola paid tribute the history of railroads in East Texas. Hundreds gathered downtown this morning for the opening of the old depot station, which is now Transportation Plaza, a railroad museum that doubles as a functional Amtrak stop. The Wood County Pilot's Association held an honorary fly-over.

The plaza is a six-year, $800,000 project. Displays and vintage photographs show how important the railroad was to the development of East Texas. The city hopes the nostalgia of the past will now blend with future Amtrak runs through Mineola.

Read full story from KLTV Channel 7 Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville
Union Depot, Mineola 1908, photo from

Monday, June 05, 2006

Eastern Tarrant County Preserving Old Buildings

Local Historical Societies Fight to Keep Old Structures Alive

Richland Hills Historical Society, Southlake Historical Society, Colleyville Historical Preservation Committee, Bedford’s Historical Foundation and the Arlington Historical Society work to keep older historical buildings from being bulldozed to make way for modern buildings.

In Bedford, three buildings — the former 1940s-era Barr-Simmons Grocery Store and two houses used by local businesses — will be replaced with office buildings off Bedford Road. Owner Buddy Bice has said he plans to demolish them because they are hazardous, and insurance companies have refused to insure them because
of their condition.

In Southlake, the 135-year-old White’s Chapel United Methodist Church plans to demolish a 93-year-old chapel and replace it with classrooms and a new wedding chapel. Church officials have said the original chapel is beyond salvage; it has black mold, a sinking floor and electrical problems.

In Colleyville, the Cavender-Gilbert House, built in 1906, is in the pathway of planned town homes. The house, named after its first two owners, still has its original windows and doors.

View full article at

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Don't Mess With a Texas Courthouse

Officials in Crane County Receive a Message from the Texas Historical Commission

Officials in Crane are taking a second look at recent improvements that were made to the county’s courthouse. Since October, a series of renovations have been made to the 58-year-old structure.

The Texas Historical Commission recently informed the county that the changes violated its codes. The county is looking at a $198,000 bill to fix it.

Most prominent among the violations was the addition of a pitched metal roof over the courthouse’s existing flat roof, said Lyman Labry, a regional architect with the commission. “That was a fairly substantial alteration to the appearance of the courthouse,” Labry said. Also at issue were changes with fa├žade tile over the building’s main entry. Labry said existing tile was covered with ceramic tile of a different size and color.

Crane County has been given six months to a year to remove pitch groove from the roof and change the color of the tile, Labry said.

Read full article in the Odessa American, June 3, 2006

Crane County Court House, 1950s photo from Texas Old Photos

Friday, June 02, 2006

Friendship Baptist Church Celebrates 133 Years

Ulysses S. Grant was president of the United States. The country was still recovering from the Civil War. The stock market had just crashed. Railroads were heading West. And, in the small town of Corine, near Jacksonville, Texas a group of Baptists came together and the the Friendship Baptist Church was formed. On Oct. 11, 1873, the church was admitted into the Cherokee County Missionary Baptist Association beginning the first of the Friendship Baptist Church's 133 years.

Friendship Baptist Church was admitted into the Cherokee County Missionary Baptist Association on Oct. 11, 1873, and has served the surrounding area and supported missionaries from Cherokee County to the far reaches of the world. Worship services have been housed in various buildings from a log cabin to the present modern comfortable facilities. Baptisms have been conducted in the Neches River, Carey Lake, creeks, streams, sister churches in Jacksonville and in the church’s own baptistery for many people beginning a life of worship and service to God. Some members have served as long as 50-85 years at this church.

A large number of present and former members attended the Corine School, which was located near the church. Friendship has been the starting place for many marriages during its history. Corine Cemetery documents family names from the early days of the community and upkeep of the cemetery is provided by donations and memorials.

Happy Birthday, Friendship Baptist Church. And, here's to another 133 years.

Read full story in the Daily Progress, Jacksonville, Texas

Hats Off to Kendall County TXGenWeb

Announced June 1, 2006

Kendall County TXGenWeb site received the Mike Basham TXGenWeb County of the Month Award for May 2006.

The Kendall County site features lots of information for the researcher and includes special features such as the 1880-1890 Tax Roll, Probate Records, Stagecoach Stops, Railroad Depots, in a easy to use layout. Kendall County is located in the Central Texas Hill County, north of San Antonio and includes the cities/towns of Boerne, Comfort, Sisterdale, and Kendalia.

Visit the Kendall County TXGenWeb site

Missing Graves in Grand Prairie

Imagine that you've buried a loved one and then go back a month or so later and you can't find the gravesite. Several families in the Grand Prairie are dealing with the loss of a loved one all over again.

Family searches for mother's burial spot

Loved ones who buried Okenetta Piper on April 1 said they were shocked when they couldn't find the spot where she was laid to rest on a recent visit to Southland Memorial Park in Grand Prairie.

Piper's daughter and son-in-law came back on Mother's Day to mark her grave with flowers until the headstone was ready but said they weren't sure where to place them.

"All of the sudden it's like she's not here no more," said Reshard Bradford, son-in-law. "She's out here, but now she's not out here. She's supposed to be in 443, but no one knows what 443 is."

Read full story from WFAA News, May 31, 2006

More complaints of missing graves arise

The Rodriguez family said they buried their father at Southland Memorial Park 11 months ago and captured the day on tape. While they said they thought they knew the exact spot where he was laid to rest, they now said they are unable to find where he was buried.

"We don't know where he's at," said son Chris Rodriguez.

Deborah Whittington said she believes her father ended up in a roadway after he was buried at the cemetery.

"I just wanted to see my dad rest in peace wherever he is," she said.

Two women who buried their sister at the cemetery said they also were unable to find her burial site.

"I don't even come here anymore because it's kind of pointless if you can't find the gravesite," said sister Shelby Record.

Many of the families were shocked to find that there were others in the exact same dilemma.

"We're not alone in this, but something needs to be done" Whittington said.

Read full story from WFAA News, June 1, 2006

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Sam Houston: Three Wives and a Mistress Called Texas

Sam Houston's Personal Life Lives up to the Tall Texan

Who was the most intriguing person in Texas history? No one can discount Sam Houston's positions of great power and prestige, but one might argue that even with all of Houston's political success and drama, his personal life is the most intriguing.

After all, Houston didn't have just one wife or two, but three wives.

His first marriage, to a gorgeous blonde half his age, ended quickly and mysteriously. While people from that day to the present have speculated on what happened, it will probably always remain an enigma.

After the disastrous first marriage, Houston escaped the questions by fleeing to Indian country. Here, he took a second wife, Diana Rogers, but she could not hold the Tall Texan, when that most alluring of all mistresses, Texas, began to call his name.

Read full story in the Beaumont Journal, May 31, 2006

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Going Back in Time in South Central Texas

Cuero, Nordheim, Yoakum & Yorktown highlight History in June

"Back Thru Time History Celebration" is planned for each weekend in June at locations all across South Central Texas. Businesses, museums, libraries, history related organizations, antique stores, main street programs, chambers of commerce and others interested in celebrating the history of the area are participating.

Cuero, "The Way Life Ought To Be," is home to the DeWitt County Courthouse, currently being restored, and the DeWitt County Historical Museum. The Museum, located at 312 Broadway, will be open Sunday, June 4, between 1 pm and 5 pm. The building, built by Captain Sheppard, weathered the 1886 hurricane in Indianola before being relocated to Cuero.

Nordheim, "A Small Town with a Big Heart" located off Hwy 72 between Yorktown and Runge, hosts a number of historical sites and places of interest. Saturday, June 3, visitors can also tour Nordheim Historical Museum.

Yorktown, "A Texas Pioneer Settlement," is the oldest incorporated town in DeWitt County, was established in 1848. Yorktown Historical Museum, located in buildings originally owned and operated by Eckhardt & Sons as their mercantile store, will be open both Saturday, June 3, 10 am to 4 pm and Sunday, June 4, 12 noon to 4 pm.

Yoakum, "The Leather Capital of the World," also celebrates the tomato industry with the Tom Tom Festival, June 2-3. Yoakum Heritage Museum, 312 Simpson Street, is open from 1 pm to 4 pm, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and from 10 am to 4 pm on Friday.

Read full article in the Cuero Record, May 31, 2006

DeWitt County Court House before restoration and Nixon, Texas images courtesy of

Galveston Hurricane 1900

More than 6,000 men, women and children lost their lives on September 8, 1900 the day of the Great Storm - the Galveston, Texas Hurricane of 1900. 106 years later the images are still haunting, the story still chilling of how this Katrina-like storm ripped through the prosperous island city. website from the Galveston Daily News

At Texas Old Photos - 1900 Galveston Hurricane Photos