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Monday, April 21, 2014

Old Sugar Land Residents

I'm saddened to report the deaths of more long-time residents of Sugar Land.  The first is a long-time friend of the Kelly family, Carl Batten.  Some of you may have known him through Imperial, the Lions Club, the A&M former students association, or his daughters Debbie (DHS '74) and Donna, who is also a Dulles graduate, but I'm not sure of her graduation year.  Our families were good friends, so I'm very sorry to hear this news.  Here is an obituary.

Carl Batten on the left with Franklin Lubajosky at the Imperial Personnel Office sometime around 1960.

Carl Batten on the left between Jim Skiles and Bobby Borowski.  Bill Little is on the right.  Date & location are unknown.

Some of you will remember Vic Novosad, Sugar Land Postmaster.  He died earlier this month.  My sincerest condolences go to his family.  Here is an obituary.

Vic Novosad is second from the right.

Finally, I want to extend my sympathy to the Williamson-Wise family on the death of Estelle Williamson.  She lived on The Hill for many years, was a member of Sugar Land's First Baptist Church, and worked as a school nurse at Lakeview Elementary.  I know her husband worked at the prison farm, and her children, Lowell and Annette, were graduates of Dulles High School.  Here is an obituary.

Elmo & Winkie Ordeneaux Celebrate Their 70th Wedding Anniversary on May 4th

Now this is something to celebrate.  Many old timers in the Stafford, Missouri City and Sugar Land area know the Ordeneaux family.  Roddy (DHS '63), Greg (DHS '68) and Paula (DHS '71) were classmates with several of us.  Their parents will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary on May 4th at Saint Theresa's Church Hall in Sugar Land.

Greg has asked me to post the following invitation to drop by and wish them well.  (No gifts.)

I want to be the first to offer my congratulations and best wishes to this extraordinary couple! 

Lamar Homestead Park Dedication, April 26th at 10:00 in Richmond, Texas

Fort Bend County is opening a new park at the location of Mirabeau B. Lamar's Homestead in Richmond, just south of Highway 90A along the Brazos River.  The Lamar High School Band and Choir will participate.  Refreshments are included.  Stop by if you are in the area. 

1971 Viking Yearbook - Part 1

I want to thank Betty Ann Jenkins Williams (DHS '71) for letting me scan her sister Denise's 1971 Viking annual. It has many good photos in it, so I'll post more in the future. Click on the photo to view the album.

The Bookmobile

There has been an extended conversation on Facebook about the old Fort Bend County Library Bookmobile.   A surprising number of people still have their old library cards.  Bunnye Buehring Clark posted a scan of hers, which I've included here, plus a couple of photos from the '63 Sugar Land Elementary yearbook.

More Images of Old Sugar Land

A couple of us are trying to determine when the Sugarland Industries planted the pecan orchard south of Cleveland Lake.  I'm still not sure of the date, but the following photo shows what I think are pecan trees on the south bank of the lake.  I could be completely wrong, or the annotation could be wrong.  All I can say is other photos of the area taken in the '20s don't appear to show large trees.


I think this photo of ground-breaking for the Sugar Land School gym was taken in early 1932, just a few months before W. T. Eldridge, Sr. died.  He his the man spading up some dirt.  M. R. Wood is the man in the white suit just to the left of Eldridge.  He's holding a straw hat in his left hand.  Gus Ulrich is the man in the white shirt standing in line with the telephone pole.  I think E. O. Guenther is barely visible over Eldridge's shoulder.

This is a ground view of the bridge that appears in the photos below.

I posted this aerial a couple of weeks ago.  I've blown up the right-hand side in the next photo.

In the lower left you can see three men standing in the street, watching the plane carrying the photographer pass overhead.  Also note the railroad arrangement - no crossing barrier.  And, notice Highway 90A is a crude, dirt road although the cement bridge over Oyster Creek has been constructed.  I'll post photos of the paving project next week.

More from the Memoir of Dilue Rose Harris, Early Resident of Fort Bend County

I saw Joe Bono (DHS '66) last week, and he said he has enjoyed reading excerpts from Dilue Rose Harris's memoir of life in early Fort Bend County.  I thought I'd post another short piece involving frontier justice.

Just a reminder that the Harris family lived south of Oyster Creek somewhere in the vicinity of the intersection of Dulles Avenue & Highway 6.  She mentions neighboring families, whose land grants were in the Missouri City - Dewalt area.  You'll also read that David Burnet and William B. Travis participated in the court case.  Burnet was the provisional governor of Texas during the Revolution and, of course, Travis was commander at the Alamo.  He had not reached his 27th birthday at his death in March 1836.

At the end of this excerpt she says her father and Mr. Ben Fort Smith had a good laugh and called the incident a farce.  I can see why they felt that way, but I think it was hardly a farce.  I think it was an interesting application of frontier justice, one that runs counter to today's impressions.

The trouble between Mr. A___ and Mr. M___ did not end with this trial.  I'll post more about the final resolution in the future.

April 1934 - Trouble between Mr. A__ and Mr. M__

There has been considerable trouble between two of our neighbors.  Mr. A___ accused Mr. M___ of marking and branding his yearlings.  Father tried to settle the trouble, but did not succeed.  A___ went to Harrisburg and complained to J. W. Moore, the Mexican alcalde.  The court came to our house and sent for the defendants.  They did not try the case that evening, but let M___ go home till next day and sent for all the men in the neighborhood.  The court was composed of Judge David G. Burnet, John W. Moore, the Mexican alcalde, and others.  The lawyers were William B. Travis, Patrick Jack, and his brother, W. H. Jack, and R. M. Williamson, nicknamed Three-legged Willie ...

The next day the men began to arrive early.  Several ladies came with their husbands to visit mother.  M___, the accused, was the first man on the ground, and by one o'clock there were twenty-five or thirty present.  Mr. Moses Shipman came early.  He lived five miles below our house.  He had four grown sons, who came with their father.  Mr. Shipman was horrified that one of the neighbors should be accused of stealing.  He said that if M___ was found guilty, he wold be sent to Anahuac or San Antonio, and probably to Mexico to work in the silver mines.  He said he would much rather have paid A___ for the yearling than to have a family left destitute in the neighborhood.

Mr. Smith prepared dinner for the crowd.  The trial began at eleven o'clock, and the defendant plead not guilty.  Mr. A___ proved that a yearling with M____'s mark and brand was sucking his cow.  W. B. Travis was attorney for M___, and Patrick Jack for A___.  After argument on both sides, the jury pronounced the defendant guilty.  W. B. Travis gave notice of an appeal.  Judge Burnet granted the accused a second hearing.  Mr. Ben Fort Smith proposed to the court to adjourn till everybody present should have dinner.  He got A___ to one side, bought the cow and yearling, sent A___ home, and when the case was called again there was no evidence against M___.  Mr. Smith claimed the cow and yearling.  He said the branding had been done through a mistake and the defendant was discharged.  Judge Burnet admonished him to be more careful in the future.  Mr. Smith and father had a good laugh after the trial.  Father said it was the most perfect farce he had ever seen.  All the men in the neighborhood were rejoiced at the way it terminated.

More People of Old Sugar Land

A. H. Weth was Imperial Sugar's chief engineer for many, many years.  I don't know the exact dates, but he worked for Imperial from the 1920s to the 1960s.  He's an interesting man, so I'll have more to say about him in the future.  

Terrell Smith gave me copies of the first four photos, so I want to thank him for them.  They show locations at a place Mr. & Mrs. Weth owned in Central Texas.  At least one of my high school friends was a guest of the Weths in the Hill Country back when my friend was a young boy.  He has fond memories of those visits.

Mr. A. H. Weth on the left & Mr. W. H. Louviere, Sr. on the right.  Mr. Louviere was President of Imperial Sugar in the 1950s & '60s.

An undated photo of Jane McMeans & Boots Helmcamp inside the old Sugar Land Depot, I think. 

An undated photo of Mr. & Mrs. George Morales, Sr.

An undated photo of Mr. & Mrs. Heywood Davis.

A photo of Dugan Hightower showing Sonny Astorga & Leon Anhaiser how to run fast, probably in the spring of '57.

Charlie Thomas & two unidentified men at an opening day for Sugar Land Little League.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Gloria 'Tuggie' Laperouse Krehmeier (SLHS '48)

Many of you know Gloria 'Tuggie' Laperouse Krehmeier (SLHS '48) died last weekend.  The Krehmeier-Laperouse families were close friends of the Kelly-Rachuig families, so we're very saddened by the news.

Here are a few pictures of Tuggie over the years.  Click here to view an obituary.
9th birthday in 1939.

Wynelle Laperouse Roberts, Sally Rachuig Kelly, Mayme Rachuig Hause, Tuggie Laperouse Krehmeier, Robert Allen Laperouse, and Nona Laperouse on a picnic in Hermann Park, around 1940.

Tuggie Laperouse Krehmeier (r) with my aunt and classmate, Mayme Rachuig Hause.

Tuggie Laperouse Krehmeier (r) with Marjorie Wappler Buchanan.

1948 SLHS Prom - photo courtesy of Wooley family. (Tuggie is on the far left.)

The Imperial Crown, early 1970s, when Tuggie was a refinery tour guide.

More Images of Old Sugar Land

The first photo seems to be a very early photo of the Cunningham Sugar Refinery.  It may show the refinery just after it was built in the mid 1890s.  The camera is looking northeast from the location marked in the second photo, which was taken roughly 30 years later.

I included notes of annotations on the reverse side of the 2nd print.  I know the photo was taken before 1923 because the Three-Bay Warehouse has not been built.  Notice the location of the mule barn on the south side of the railroad tracks.  We know that location was the first home of the Sugar Land Motor Company.  The wooden railroad depot appears in the photo.  It was replaced in 1927 by the stucco building which was moved to Commerce Green Blvd. in 1985.  The wooden depot sat much further east than its replacement.  The 'new' depot was located nearer Ulrich St., which does not appear in the photo.

The last photo shows construction of Pan House No. 1 in 1927.