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Monday, October 6, 2014

More People of Old Sugar Land

I have to start off with sad news, unfortunately.  I received news from Charles Farrugia, that his great-uncle, Gilbert Kadlecek (SLHS '48), passed away recently.  Click this link to view the obituary Charles sent me.

I also received word that Olga Mutina, long-time resident on The Hill, died last month.  Click this link to view an obituary.  I know her sons, Louis (DHS '67) and David (DHS '70).  I don't know her younger children, Johnny, Ricky, Susan, and Donald, but I presume they are Dulles alums.

My heart-felt condolences go to the Kadleceks and Mutinas at this sad time in their lives.

My thanks go to Jean McCord Babineaux (SLHS '47) for the next two photos.

Ralph McCord, Sammy Norvic, & Earl Tise, Jr. in front of the Sugar Land Drug Store in 1942.

Louise Stephenson Hall, Jean McCord Babineaux, & Walterene Stephenson Farrell on April 9, 1944.

I'm pretty sure Randy Kozlovsky (DHS '67) gave me these photos, so I'll thank him for providing them.  I think they were taken in the '50s.  Maybe he'll give me the details.

I think that's Randy's mother on the left.  One of the other women is his aunt, but I'm not sure which.

Randy's father is holding his trophy catfish.  I'm not sure who the little girl is. 

I want to thank Linda Cruse Wilson (DHS '65) for this photo.  It shows Diane Broughton Lundell (DHS '65), Becky Cutia, and Linda.

Finally, I saw this article in The Houston Chronicle.  Kind of a stretch, but since it involves Alex and the Freeman Post, it qualifies as old Sugar Land.

Thompson Chapel Missionary Baptist Church

On Sunday, September 28th I attended services at Thompson Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, which celebrated its 134th anniversary.  I've talked with my brother Bruce, and we think it may be the oldest active church in Sugar Land.  We need to do more research, but there's good reason to think we're correct.

Click here to view a bulletin from the service, which includes a history of the church.  I recognize several names listed in the history and mentioned during the service.

I took a hand-held camera to record the service.   I haven't finished editing the video, but I've prepared a short preview.

Click here to view a short video of the 134th anniversary celebration at Thompson Chapel Baptist Church.  

My thanks go to Rev. Henry Hollis and Pamela Moore for inviting me to the church festivities.

More Images of Old Sugar Land

Click this link to view photos of the first service at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in Mayfield Park in 1955.  These undated photos were taken a few years later, judging by the trees.  Although it has changed considerably, this church still stands at the corner of Avenue E and Ash St.

This next series of photos shows the truck weighing station at the west gate of the Imperial refinery.   This plot of land is now covered by the Distribution Warehouse, which is the western-most building standing on the Imperial site.  I will try to find the name of the gate man.  (If anyone recognizes him or other men in these pictures, I'd appreciate ids.  I can read the calendar, which indicates the indoor photo was taken in September 1962.)

This last photo shows gate man, Tillman Lewis.  Click this link to view a short bio on Tillman LewisI'm not certain, but I think he is watching monitors on the back gate on the north side of the refinery complex.  His office may be located in the liquid-sugar fleet loading station.

The liquid-sugar loading station is just below and to the right of the tankers.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Some of you may have watched the recent Ken Burns documentary, The Roosevelts.  I haven't seen the first episode dealing with TR's early life, but I've seen the others.   Even if you missed the documentary, you may know that the Democratic Party held it's 1928 presidential nominating convention in Houston.

Jesse Jones built a temporary, wooden convention hall on the site where the Sam Houston Coliseum and Music Hall stood for many years.  (The temporary hall was demolished in 1936.  The Coliseum and Music Hall opened in 1937.)  This site is now the location of The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.

The Democratic Party nominee was Alfred E. Smith of New York.  His running mate was Senator Joseph T. Robinson of Arkansas.  FDR gave Smith's nominating speech.

Click the link below to view silent footage of the 1928 convention.  You'll get a glimpse of FDR giving his speech toward the end.  (For those of you who saw the Burns documentary, Louis Howe is the tubercular looking fellow shown briefly about midway in the film.)

The Burns documentary included a couple of excerpts of FDR's memorable Fireside Chats.  Click the link below to hear his first chat on the Banking Crisis, which he delivered early in his first term (March 12, 1933).  It's not long and worth hearing.

Prison Farm News From the Late 1890s

I've come across three articles about the prison farm west of Sugar Land while researching old newspapers.  The first one comes from The Sunday Gazetteer published in Denison, Texas on Sunday, March 18, 1894.  

At this point in Texas history, the state employed a convict leasing system, in which convicts were leased to private businesses at a fixed daily rate to perform various types of labor. Some worked for railroads; others worked for manufacturers, but most worked as unskilled farm laborers.  The state operated conventional prisons in Huntsville and Rusk, but a large number of convicts were scattered across the state in private labor camps.

The heirs of Ambrose Littleberry Ellis and Edward H. Cunningham owned most of the land that now constitutes Sugar Land.  Both used convict labor in their operations.  This article gives you a snapshot of their involvement in convict leasing.  I recognize additional Fort Bend County landholders in the list: T. W. House and C. W. Riddick. Some of the others may have been Fort Bend County plantation owners, but I'm not sure.  You'll notice there were just under 4,000 prisoners in the state penal system.  Over half (2,158) were located in the prisons at Huntsville and Rusk.

The next article is rather long, a little odd, and only mildly interesting, except for the final 3 paragraphs which give a quick sketch of Sugar Land in 1896.  Like the other two articles I found, this one comes from The Portal To Texas History.  Click here to view the whole article which was published in the Fort Worth Gazette on Thursday, January 9, 1896.  It begins at the top of the third column, but since it's long, I'll summarize it for you.  

The State of Texas sued L. A. Whatley, Prison Superintendent, and Reddin Andrews, a prison sergeant, for $75.  The State claimed both men conspired to pay Andrews a month's wages for work time he didn't perform.  The article is unclear on how this came about, but the State claimed fraud and wanted it's money.

The newspaper explains that the trial was held in the depot at Sartartia (the old Walker Railroad Depot), which sat by the tracks roughly where the entrance to Central Unit 1 is now sited.  This makes sense because that's approximately where the alleged crime was committed.  The accused brought many friends and jammed them into that little building.  The State was represented by the County District Attorney, who wanted the trial delayed and moved to Richmond.  The defense team said no, but it sounds like they were overruled and the trial was moved.  (I haven't yet found a follow-up article, so I don't know how it all turned out.)

The proceedings were concluded pretty quickly, but it was close to lunch time, and there was no place for the famished crowd to find some nourishment.  I've clipped the final paragraphs that explain what they did.  W. O. Ellis was old Colonel Ellis's son, who would eventually die in a shoot out with a prison guard.  However, on that day he fed some peckish visitors.  Colonel Ed Cunningham was renowned for his hospitality, so the crowd that walked to Sugar Land was, no doubt, amply rewarded.  The Riddicks seem to have been equally generous hosts.  Sounds like none of the visitors left Sartartia that day with an empty stomach.

This final article comes from The Houston Daily Post, published on Monday, January 4, 1897.  Click here to view the complete version at The Portal To Texas History.  I've clipped just a couple of excerpts.  The first shows that Cunningham was by then the largest lessor of convict labor in the state.  The Ellis family doesn't appear in the list.  

If you look at the complete article, you'll see there are 'Contract' and 'Shared' Farms - Cunningham is listed under Contract Farms.  I'm not sure what the distinction is.

This excerpt gives a brief description of the Harlem Prison Farm and its financial performance.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Updates on Recent Posts

I've mentioned recently that Haroldetta Robertson has a piece of the 1927 Richmond Bridge demolished in 1987.  She has graciously provided the following photos of that big event.
View looking east toward bridge.

View looking east toward bridge.

View looking east toward bridge.

Many thanks to Jackie James (SLHS '57) for sending me this obituary for Bruce Edwards, Jr.

Bruce Franklin Edwards, Jr. passed away after battling three kinds of cancer for over 10 years on Sunday, August 3, 2014 in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas where he had lived for the past 5 years after retiring. Bruce was born on March 27, 1947 in Bryan, Texas. He is the son of Dorothy Louise Bynum and Bruce Franklin Edwards, Sr.

The Edwards, Sr. family moved to Sugar Land, Texas in 1949 where Bruce grew up. He graduated from Dulles High School, Sugar Land, Texas in 1965 and from Texas A & M University in College Station, Texas in 1969 with a degree in architectural construction. Throughout his career he worked for several construction companies in Houston, Texas, retiring from Tellepsen Builders after 25 years in 2010 as a Vice President.
He married Carmen Thompson Edwards In 1969. They resided in Sugar Land, Texas until moving to Arkansas. Throughout his life, Bruce enjoyed many different hobbies including golf, sailing, hunting, fishing, and stained glass making.
He was preceded in death by his father Bruce Franklin Edwards, Sr., his mother Dorothy and his grandson, Dustin Tyler Edwards.
He is survived by his wife Carmen, his son, Chris and family of Beebe, Arkansas and his daughter, Traci Lockwood and her husband Jason and family of Sugar Land, Texas, his brother Randy and his wife Jan of Sugar Land, Texas and Rick and his wife Karry of Sandy, UT, four grandchildren, Kaylyn and Bryson Edwards and Tyler and Emma Lockwood and numerous nephews and nieces plus great and great great nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held August 16th, 2014 at 10:00 AM at Village United Methodist Church, 200 Carmona Road, Hot Springs Village, AR 71909.  In lieu of flowers, there will be a memorial established in Bruce's name at Village United Methodist Church where he was a member.
Finally, I want to thank Tommy Laird (DHS '67) for sending me information on Morris Hite, President of TracyLocke and good friend of the Laird family.

More People of Old Sugar Land

Many of you will have heard that Fred Mora, Sr. (SLHS '59) passed away last weekend.  Here is an obituary in case you missed it.  My sincerest condolences go to Modesta, their children, and the extended Mora family.

I want to thank Bill Fisher (DHS '71) for letting me use these images he posted on Facebook.

The first two show some of his classmates when they were in the 8th grade at Dulles Junior High.

L-to-R: Emily Neal, Sara Butts, Michelle Jons, & Tuta Hightower.

L-to-R: Larry ?, Jimmy Payne (back), Kenneth Meyer (bottom), & Buster Corrick.

This last one shows his 5th grade class at E. O. Jones Elementary in Missouri City.  They had participated in a project to raise money for improvements at the San Jacinto Monument.  Notice the banner in front.

Top Row: Tommy Clifton, Vincent Medina, Johnny Joe Arias, Tony Guerrera, Joe Arriaga, Tom Jacobi. Fourth Row: Ms. Kaough, Mr. Robb, Rose Medrano, Marcella Padilla, Marsha Ferguson (?), Ms. Tucker. Third Row: James Wosnitzky, Linda Cortz, Sally Rodriguez, Joseph DuBois, Vincent Morales, Rebecca Chahin, Linda Hitt. Second Row: Cecilia Court, Lee Elkins, Beth Baxter, Dolores Durdin, Sarah Butts, Michelle Jons, Bernadette Harriman, Debbie Craven. Bottom Row: Carl James, Kenneth Meyer, Grady Hernandez, Bill Fisher, Weldon Sheard, John Guilen.

This final photo comes courtesy of Linda Kruse Wilson (DHS '65).  It shows members of her class when they were in junior high way back when.
L-to-R: Stephanie Youngblood, Pat Sanders, Edith Lafferty, Joan Davis, Helen Pausewang, Linda Kruse, & Susan Kuykendal.

Odds & Ends

I recently received a copy of the Hall Lake HOA newsletter, which included an article about bobcats sighted in the area.  Many of you know that Hall Lake is on the east side of Brooks Street not far from its intersection with Highway 6.

You may ask yourself, "Bobcats?!"  The answer is yes.  My nephew, Ryan Kelly, shot this photo of a bobcat in 2011 near Faith Lutheran Church, which is roughly across from Camilia Street in Brookside (just north of Hall Lake).

He said the cat was chasing a squirrel, which scrambled up a telephone pole and got away.  He was sitting in his truck as he took this photo with his cell phone.

The Sugar Land Heritage Foundation has items for sale on its Web site.  Click here to go to their Store page.

A new item is their 2014 Christmas ornament commemorating the Palms Theater.  

They also have a new supply of coasters depicting colorful, historic scenes of old Sugar Land.  You can find them on the Store page, too.

Richmond Reenacts The Jaybird - Woodpecker Battle

On August 16th Richmond reenacted the Jaybird - Woodpecker Battle, which occurred exactly 125-years earlier. If you want more background on the original event, click this link to an article in the Handbook of Texas.  

If you'd like to read an excellent book on the battle and the aftermath, you can read Pauline Yelderman's definitive history, "Jaybird-Woodpecker War," which the Fort Bend County Historical Commission has recently reprinted.  Copies are available at the Fort Bend County Museum, the Rosenberg Railroad Museum, the Old Foster Community Museum, and the Sugar Land Heritage Society.

Old Stuff

My thanks go to Richard Bunting (DHS '67) for sending me an email message with these images.  I can honestly say I remember all of this old stuff, except item #4.  I'm not sure what that thing is.  It wasn't part of my childhood.

We had a Veg-o-Matic, which I took to Mrs. Frierson's English class when I was in the 8th grade.  If done in an elementary school setting, you'd call it 'show and tell.'  We were too sophisticated for that, so Mrs. Frierson told us it was a chance to polish our presentational skills.  My presentation went well ("it slices, it dices") until I cut my finger, and Mrs. Frierson made me wind it up quickly so I could go to the nurse's office.

Click on the image below to view the album.

A Couple of Items from the Portal to Texas History

I found two more interesting items from the Portal to Texas History.  They come from a copy of The Texas Sun, published in Richmond on October 20, 1855.

The first item is a notice announcing the sale of land owned by Mirabeau B. Lamar, 2nd President of the Republic of Texas.  This land was formerly owned by Jane Long.  It is now the location of Lamar Homestead Park between the county office complex and the Brazos River just south of Richmond.

The second item is an announcement of the new railroad being extended from Stafford to Richmond.  The work wasn't complete, but it was nearly so.  Notice Benjamin Franklin Terry and William Kyle of Sugar Land are the contractors.

Of course, this railroad was the Buffalo Bayou-Brazos-Colorado RR, precursor of today's Southern Pacific line that runs through the middle of Fort Bend County.

Sugar Land Elementary 1960 Annual

I want to thank Tommy Laird (DHS '67) for letting my use his scan of the 1960 Sugar Land Elementary Annual.  Lots of knuckleheads in there.  Click here to view the annual.

Rice whips Santa Clara 27 - 7 in New Rice Stadium on Sept 30, 1950

Nearly 64 years ago to the day Rice University (then Institute) played its first game in Rice Stadium.  The Owls defeated Santa Clara 27 - 7.  Click this link to read a brief account of the game.

It was Rice's homecoming game, and since it was a special occasion they had a celebratory parade down Main St.  Click this link to view a few photosClick this link to read a special edition of The Thresher, Rice's student newspaper, which gives more details on the big event.  Notice page 4 has a short article about A&M's new Memorial Student Center, which had opened, but was not quite finished.  Also notice the abundance of cigarette ads.

Galveston: Hawkins Cottages & Manuel's Cafe

My brother Bruce has done some research on Galveston and found two relics from our personal history.  Our paternal grandparents took us to Galveston for a week's vacation every summer from the early 1950s to the mid 1960s.  Each year we stayed at Hawkins Cottages on the Seawall Boulevard at 14th St.  

It was very basic, which was exactly what our grandmother wanted.  She didn't want to worry about messing up a room with tracked-in sand or wet swim suits on the floor.  She also wanted a kitchen so we could cook gumbo, fry fish, or boil crabs -- whatever.  The rooms had linoleum tile floors which were easy to sweep clean.  We brought our own water because Sugar Land water was the best in the world, and Galveston's was pretty bad.  No maid service and no air conditioning.  Since we were there for the bracing Gulf breeze, who wanted air conditioning?

Our favorite dining spot was a restaurant called Manuel's Cafe on the Seawall Boulevard at 61st Street.  It was famous for its stuffed flounder, definitely my favorite.  Bruce found the following postcard, a miniature menu, on eBay and bought it for me.  I think it comes from the 1950s, but I don't have a precise date.  It's a treasured blast from the past.

Monday, September 22, 2014

More People of Old Sugar Land

I have some sad news to report since my last post in August.  First, long-time Sugar Land resident Lawrence Alaminsky passed away.  Here is an obituary.  Several years ago I posted this short interview with him and Eileen.  It came from a Brookside Subdivision newsletter.

Luther Jordy (SLHS '58) also died recently.  Click here to view an obituary.

My classmate, Cheryl Bailey Hansen (DHS '68), died in mid August.  Thanks to John Frierson (DHS '68) and Marsha Bauman Shaw (DHS '68) for sending information.  Click here for an obituary.  Some of you may remember her brother Johnny (deceased) was in the Class of '64 at Dulles.  Her younger brother James was in the Class of '70.)  I've included a couple of photos.

Class of '68

Cheryl with John Frierson at the '67 Dulles Prom

Finally, some of you may know that Bruce Edwards, Jr. (DHS '65) died in early August.  He and his wife Carmen retired to Arkansas several years ago.

Class of '65

At an Interscholatic League Contest in 1965

My sincerest condolences to Carmen, their children, Randy, Rick, and the extended Edwards family.  Also, my best wishes to Tom Hansen, James, Cheryl's children and her extended family, plus the Jordy and Alaminsky families in their time of grief.

Sugar Land Heritage Foundation Announces the Location of the Sugar Land Museum

In case you missed it, the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation announced the permanent location of the Sugar Land Museum on September 17th.  It will be located on the 2nd floor of the Container Warehouse on the old Imperial refinery site.  The Container Warehouse is the two-story, red-brick building directly behind the sugar silos.  

They'll have more news about the Museum in coming months, but here's a short video I made of the ceremony.

Catching Up After A Long Hiatus

I took some time off and then was swamped with work, so I have some catching up to do.  First, I want to thank Marsha Krause Smith (DHS '68), Tommy Laird (DHS '67), and especially Wayne Boehm (SLHS '55) for help in identifying people in the following Imperial Awards Banquet photo from 1962.

L to R: W. H. Louviere, Sr., Dorothy Jean Kruse Boehm, Curt Schwalbe, Jim Skiles, Julius Johec, W. H. Louviere, Jr., Donald Hoke, Billy C. Smith, and Domingo Garcia.

They celebrated their 5th anniversary with Imperial Sugar that night in 1962.

Travis Gandy (DHS '64) pointed out James Boyd in the photos of Harold Willey's retirement party.

Harold Willey with James Boyd

Wayne also pointed out E. J. Gaiennie in the following photograph.  He's on the far left.  he began working in the Char House when it opened in 1925 and served as a supervisor until his retirement in the 1960s.

And finally, I need to correct a story I posted a few months ago.  I said Haroldetta Robertson's brother-in-law, Henry Robertson (SLHS '51), gave her a relic from the old Richmond bridge built in 1925.  It was a different b-i-l: Herman Klawitter.  But as I said, she still has the relic in her backyard.