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