Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Discovering Relatives in Unexpected Places

I have posted a slightly different version of this on a different blog I manage, but have put here as well because of the Kerr County connection.

Yesterday I met with a neighbor, a descendant of Charles Schreiner, to discuss a Texas historical marker application he is working on for a cemetery in Kerrville. While chatting, he pulled out this 1880 family photo from the Great Western Cattle Trail.
I was stunned when I read the back:

This picture is taken from on old Tin-Type photo “Schreiner and Lytle Herd” 1880.
Third man from left is Alex Crawford
Sixth man from left is Alex Maltsburger. [sic.  should be Maltsberger]
Seventh man from left is Will Hale.
Eighth man from left is Sebe Jones.
All these men drove “Trail Herds” for Captain Schreiner for several years. 
Original photo taken near Doan’s Store, Red River Crossing.

    Above notes drafted by Nell Schreiner Labatt
(Several of the men in the above photo also appear in this photo.)

The above Alexander Perry Maltsberger is a kinsman of mine, not real close (2nd cousin, 3x removed), but a relative nonetheless.
I'm not from around here, but occasionally I'll discover some relative who was. A while back I discovered a very distant relative, William H. Furr, who served on the Kerr County Commission in the 1940s.

The following item appeared in True West Magazine, June 1964  "Old Time Ranchmen of the Southwest":
With brand ALX, Alex Maltsberger,  was a pioneer cowboy who entered the Panhandle in 1880 as a traildriver for Schreiner, Light, and Lytle, who were some of the largest South Texas trail outfits.  In Lipscomb Co, he served as the first sheriff and worked  for the Box T.  Later he was a Cherokee Strip rancher on the John Chisholm Trail near the Cimarron.  Some of his friends were Sebe Jones, Alex Crawford, Charles Schreiner, Sam Cupp, John McQuipp and Charles Rynearson.  Sebe Jones and Alex shot it out with and captured horse thieves in South Texas.  Vigilantes took the prisoners and hung them in  a pecan tree on Turtle Creek as Sebe and Alex were on the way to Kerrville with the men.
I live in on a tributary of Turtle Creek, and like many of my neighbors have a pecan tree on our property.

Charles Schreiner is an important historical figure in the region with whom I previously had no known connection.  Because of my genealogical research I now know my relative worked for Schreiner as a young man and apparently had a close friendship. And I now have a photo of Alex.  It encourages me to keep researching. You never know where the path may lead.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Miniature Golf

In doing some research for a program I did for the Kerr County Historical Commission ("Entertaining Kerrville: Saloons, Pool Halls, Theatres and Eating Establishments") today, I learned that several miniature golf courses opened in Kerrville the same time.  It was a short-lived fad.  After a burst of excitement, there was no mention for four years, when a newspaper article in passing mention the  fad. It was so short-lived there don't seem to be photos from the time.

The year was 1930. That year miniature golf courses opened downtown, one at the Blue Bonnet Hotel and one at the St. Charles Hotel. The St. Charles course was nine holes.  It started near the sidewalk on Water Street and extending through the rear court and back of the J.C. Penney Company store (which was located in the 700 block of Water Street.)  Rock masons constructed the borders and stone hazards.  Granite from Gillespie Co., and rocks "of attractive color and formation from Kerr Co." were used. There were also water hazards.  The one at the Blue Bonnet was 18-holes and was independent of the hotel. It had sand and water hazards, “requiring the use of niblicks and mashie-niblicks to break the monotony of putting.” It also had water hazards.  The course was on a vacant lot just east of the hotel along the banks of the river. Both miniature links would be visible from Water Street, “which carried heavy tourist traffic from the Old Spanish Trail.”

There were at least two other mini golf courses operating at the same time, one at 367 Junction Highway and one at the corner of Water and Houston streets. None lasted very long.
If you look on the Sanborn map for 1930, you can see the miniature golf next to the Blue Bonnet and the one at Water and Houston.  Houston Street was renamed Rodriguez Street in 1973 in honor of Rev. E. E. Rodriguez. Two blocks of Rodriguez Street have been turned into parking for Crenwelge and HEB.

There have been other attempts to establish mini-golf in Kerrville. As much fun as it is, they just don't last.

UPDATE: April 18, 2018
Joe Herring found an accidental photo of the mini-golf course at the Blue Bonnet Hotel. You can see it in the upper left corner of this photo of the Cascade pool--which also now dates this photo.

Friday, April 13, 2018


I just want to say thanks to all my loyal readers.
This blog has now exceeded 50,000 pageviews.  As my friend Joe Herring has observed about his own blog, which reached that milestone sometime back, that is an extraordinary number for a blog that covers a very narrow topic, in my case vintage and historic buildings in a small town in Texas, especially considering how infrequently I've posted of late. 
So, thanks to all of you.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Holy Cross Lutheran School

The local public schools have educated most children in the area, but there have been other schools, private and parochial, to serve the educational desires of some families.  One of those schools has been Holy Cross Lutheran School.

A friend sent me this photo of the entire student body of Holy Cross Lutheran School 1950-51. (Since she shared the photo, I decided to blog about it.)
The man on the far right was Vernon Doering, principal and teacher then. The woman on the left is probably the other teacher. Can anyone ID her?
Holy Cross Lutheran School opened on September 8, 1947.  It advertised for primary grades "Qualified teacher...Christian Atmosphere...Individual attention." One teacher, essentially a one-room schoolhouse, the first year. As the school grew teachers were added.
The first teacher was Miss Dorothy Jane Stratman of Houston and graduate of St. John's College, Winfield, Kansas. Only the first three grades were offered that first year, with plans to expand to include Kindergarten through elementary.
The next year, July 1948, Vernon Doering was installed as the teacher at Holy Cross Lutheran School. He received his Bachelor of Education degree at Concordia College, River Forest, Ill. He had taught school for four years in Houston, was married and had one child. An additional teacher, Mrs. Lawrence Luckemeyer, was hired to teach primary and kindergarten. She may be the woman in the photo above.
In 1949 they expanded to 5th grade, and to 6th in 1950.
This above photo, from the same friend, is 1952-53.  Looks like it was a bright, sunny day. The newspaper reported over 60 children had enrolled for the year.
In the early years there was no tuition charge, but parents were asked to help as they could.
The school continued as a grade school until about 1996, when it became a preschool only, closing permanently in 2009.

 If you have any corrections or want to identify people please post below or  email dgaudier at gmail.com.  This address is just for my blogs and may not get checked frequently.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Gibson's Discount Center

I just read in the Community Journal that Gibson's is celebrating its 50th anniversary. I enjoyed the article and have a little to add to it.

This is the perfect opportunity to share a 1972 photo I found in the Schreiner University archives. It is in a photo collection whose name seems to have been lost in a file transfer. :(
If I can find the information, I'll give proper credit.

The very first mention I could find of Gibson's in Kerrville is in the December 13, 1967, Kerrville Mountain Sun.
Mr. and Mrs. Morris Harris announced this week that they have obtained the Gibson Discount franchise for Kerrville, and having a gigantic new building under construction to house the firm. ... B.W. Moller, of Victoria, is the owner of the building, and has leased it to Morris Harris. The building is located at 101 West Main Street, between West Main and West Water Streets along the banks of Town Creek.  Alamo Steel Builders of San Antonio are the contractors, and the cost was filed at $90,000.
Around May 1, 1968, R. J. "Jim" Angell opened a pharmacy inside Gibson's.  That year Gibson's sponsored a Little League team, the first of many.

The Kerrville Gibson's is the only remaining store of what was once a chain of more than 400 stores. It's a real treasure to the community. As I have learned, if you're looking for some hard-to-find item,  always check Gibson's!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

853 Clay Street

This house at 853 Clay, at the corner of Myrta Street, was erected between 1922 and 1925 by the Kerrville Lumber Company for Raymond A. Franklin and his wife Kate. At the time Franklin was superintendent of schools for Kerrville, a position he held for 15 years. He was about 22 when he took the job. When he left he was earning the princely sum of $3,000 a year.
Mrs. Franklin taught at Franklin Junior High School for 10 years. One of her classes interviewed pioneer settlers and produced a history of Kerr County based on these oral histories.  The Kerrville Genealogical Society has a copy.
FJHS was named for him, at the students’ request, during his tenure.  In December 1935, after Franklin spent three weeks at the Veterans Hospital, a special meeting of the school board was called. The Franklins resigned and left town and the junior high school was renamed Tivy Junior High School.

On On Oct 6, 1922, J. M. Hamilton and his wife Mary Hamilton transferred a lot on Clay Street (Cage Addition, part of lot 14,  Block G) to their daughter Kate Franklin and her husband R. A. Franklin for $1.
The deed record is confusing on this next part, but it appears that on October 12, 1922, the Franklins contracted with Kerrville Lumber Company to buy lumber on credit to erect a dwelling house. The lumber company then sold the note to H. C. Robinson.  I initially assumed they then immediately erected the house, but it does not appear on the November 1924 Sanborn Fire Insurance map, which suggest it was not yet built. Perhaps the lumber was not released until it was paid for. The lien was released by H. C. Robinson to Kate Franklin and husband on July 16, 1925. This is the probable date construction began.
The Franklins sold this property in July 1937 to S. S. Webster of Harlingen. Webster had lived in Kerrville before, having built the Caroline Courts several years earlier.  In May 1938 Webster obtained a building permit for a dwelling on Myrta Street at a cost of $750.  This may have been a small secondary residence behind the main house.  At some point Webster poured concrete for a sidewalk from the front door of the house to Clay Street and inscribed his name “S S Webster”.  It is visible today.

Sanborn map of 853 Clay Street in 1930

We know they were living at 853 Clay Street before 1930 because of this item in the March 6, 1930, Kerrville Mountain Sun:
Mrs. Ann Hudspeth, West Texas Pioneer, Buried Here Tuesday
Funeral services were held Tuesday for Mrs. Ann Elizabeth Hudspeth, 85, a pioneer of West Texas, who passed away Monday at the home of he  daughter, Mrs. J. M. Hamilton, in Austin.  The services were held Tuesday afternoon from the home of Raymond A. Franklin, 853 Clay Street, conducted by Rev. J. B. Alford of Austin. Interment was made in Glen Rest Cemetery, under direction of the Kerrville Funeral Parlor. … in 1895 they moved to Kerrville where the aged lady made her home until three years ago. Her husband [James A. Hudspeth] preceded her in death on August 7, 1920. He was a discharged Confederate soldier from Arkansas.  [Raymond Franklin was a grandson.]

The Franklins sold this property in July 1937 to S. S. Webster of Harlingen. Webster had lived in Kerrville before, having built the Caroline Courts several years earlier.  In May 1938 Webster obtained a building permit for a dwelling on Myrta Street at a cost of $750.  This may have been a small secondary residence behind the main house.  At some point Webster poured concrete for a sidewalk from the front door of the house to Clay Street and inscribed his name “S S Webster”.  It is visible today.

In April 1944 S.S. Webster and his wife sold the property to C.A. Sackrey. The Sackrey family initially came to Kerrville for health reasons, but daughter Emma did not survive. They decided to stay and moved from a rental on Golf Street to this house they purchased. Then in September 1946 C.A. Sackrey and his wife sold the house to Mrs. Ruth V. Roome, former postmistress of Bandera.

The Kerrville Times reported the following on March 24, 1949. "Mr. and Mrs. Bill Arnold have purchased the residence of Mrs. Ruth Rhome at the corner of Myrta and Clay Streets and will move into the place within the near future.  The house was built by Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Franklin several years ago.”
The Arnolds are mentioned often in the old newspapers, being very active in the Baptist church, the PTA, and other organizations.  The February 20, 1952 Kerrville Times reported  Mrs. Bill Arnold was hosting a Conversational Spanish-English class at her home at 853 Clay through the Tivy Elementary PTA.

In August 1965 Bill A. Arnold and wife sold the house to Richard L. Reeves whose heirs own the property today.

Census Notes:
The 1930 census shows Raymond Franklin owned and lived in a house at 103 Jefferson St. valued at $7500. I think the Jefferson Street address is wrong.  The last page of the census in each district is commonly a list of people who got missed the first time around. There are several families listed at this address. Most likely the census taker was sloppy or trying to get done by the deadline and simply listed names with no effort to provide addresses.

I think there is also an error in the1940 Census. It shows Samuel S. Webster lived at 583 Clay in 1940. This family group is also out of order. Note the address is anagram of 853, which other records indicate is where her really lived. He was born ca 1875 in Tennessee, wife Sarah and operated a tourist court in 1940.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Oak Hill Addition

Oak Hill Addition

This small Kerrville subdivision sits on the former site of Oak Hill, the Remschel family home.
Streets include the even numbers of the 600 block of Myrta Street and all of Remschel Street.
Henry Remschel, a pioneer lumber dealer was the first mayor of Kerrville. Born in 1860, he died in 1938 and is buried at Glen Rest next to his wife Mattie May Remschel.
The house rambled as he added on to it over the years.
This property was first subdivided beginning in 1928, cutting out lots 20 and 21 of block 2 for his daughter Kate, lots 6 and 7 of block 1 to Street Hamilton, and another lot to the "Public". More pieces were cut out in 1936.