Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Boys from Ingram (and Pebble)

Four young men from Ingram died in World War I.  They are Monroe Ernest Dowdy, Louie Robert Floyd, Grover Kile Hollomon, and William A. Johannessen.

Monroe Ernest Dowdy was born February 14, 1888, in Kerr County to Richard Balem and Leila McKeen Dowdy and died October 10, 1918, in France. He was buried at Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial, Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, Departement de la Meuse, Lorraine, France.
He lived in Ingram and worked as a laborer for Ed Ragland in Mountain Home.
Dowdy was a Private, Company G, 127th Infantry, U.S. Army.

Robert Louis Floyd  (appears in official records as Louie R. Floyd) was born November 9, 1893, to George W. and Mary E. Floyd, and died September 23, 1918, in Texas.  He is buried in Nichols Cemetery. On October 18, 1918, the Kerrville Mountain Sun reported that he had died of pneumonia "Over There".

Grover Kile Hollomon was born January 15, 1890, in Kerrville, to George R. and Delilah Hollomon and died October 2, 1918, overseas.  He farmed with his father before being called up.
The following appeared in the Kerrville Mountain Sun for July 23, 1920.
"Bodies of two more soldiers from Overseas.
"Friday of last week, the bodies of Harvey L. Merritt and Grover Hollomon were brought from overseas to Kerrville and Saturday were buried at Nichol's [sic] Cemetery near Ingram. Corporal Tracht accompanied the bodies from Hoboken, N.J., to Kerrville and the Ward Undertaking Company had charge of the remains.
"These bodies of dead soldiers are shipped here in the cement casket, which was described recently in The Sun.  The weight of the casket is over 500 pounds. 
Harvey Merrit and Grover Hollomon both died of pneumonia in October, 1918.
"There were a number of relatives to meet the remains at Kerrville and accompany them to the cemetery. "

Jacob Harvey Merritt was born July 12, 1893, in Kerr County, and died October 10, 1918, overseas.  He is buried in Nichols Cemetery.
Harvey Merritt was a stock farmer.
When he registered for the draft he gave his address as Pebble.  Pebble was west of Hunt along the South Fork of the Guadalupe and it would make more sense to place Merritt on that blog page, but because of the news story above I've added him here.  The Pebble post office closed in 1918.

The November 28, 1918, Kerrville Mountain Sun  reported his death this way: "Harvey Merritt Killed in Action.  Mr. and Mrs. B. F. Merritt of the Upper Guadalupe have received word from Washington advising them that their son, Private Harvey Merritt had been killed in action in the battlefields of France.  Harvey was one of the last of the Kerr County boys to answer the call to service and had been in France only a few weeks when he was killed. Thus another of our splendid young men has paid the supreme sacrifice and added another gold star to Kerr County's glorious banner which will be held with honor and esteem and preserved as an heritage to future generations as a part of the victory that followed our immortal flag across the seas."

William A. Johannessen was born March 19, 1895, in Blanco County, died October 28, 1917 at Fort Logan, Colorado, of typhoid fever and is buried in Nichols Cemetery. He was a member of Co. L, 1st Infantry Division, U.S. Army. Fort Logan was a recruit depot at that time.

His father James Peter Johannessen was born in Norway.  His mother Elizabeth Loretta Stokes was born in Texas.  The family first appears in the 1910 U.S. Census in Kerr County.  I have not found any other information about him. One of the challenges of researching this surname is that it is frequently misspelled in the newspaper. Some of the variants include Johannesen, Johannesson and Johanneson.

This record was changed on May 8, 2017, to reflect newly located information about William A. Johannessen.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Boys from Hunt

Two young men from Hunt, William Edmond Caddell and Randolph Davis, were among the Kerr County World War I dead.

William "Edmond" Caddell, the son of Martin Ernest "Mark" Caddell and Wilhelmina "Minnie" Josephine Hagemann, was born January 29, 1895, in Kerr County. He farmed in the Hunt area.
Edmond Caddell died on Oct. 20, 1918, reportedly of emphysema, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
He was a Private, Company K, 122nd Infantry 31st Division, US Army.

Reprinted here is a letter he wrote to his brother Jim. Jim was 17 years older than Edmond.  Camp Travis was in San Antonio and is now part of Fort Sam Houston.

"Camp Travis Texas 


Dear Brother Sister an family with the greatest of pleasure I will answer your most kind and welcome letter which I rec'd the other day. I got my razor and everything all right well I sure feel tuff at the present I got my last shot of vaccianation this eve. How are you all I am all OK at present with the exceptions of feeling a little tuff Say If you all want to ever see me any more Send me a telegram that Jim is pretty bad of and he wants me to come you will hafto have some Doctor to sign his name to the telegram.

"Thats the only way I can come for they wont let me off any other way.

"Send it to Camp Travis 77 Co 20 T R Bn 165 D B Camp Travis Texas and pay the call there and send me about 10 or 15 dollars in the telegram. for I will hafta have money to come on for am nearly busted. dont wait one minute about sending that telegram for I may be gone if you dont. Tell Mina I dont know where Ben is him and Frank is both in the army now.

"Where is my girl at I wrote to letters one to her and one to the other one and one to Simpson also and havent heard from either one yet. well I will register this so you will be sure and get it.

So I will close

Your Bud


Randolph Davis was born February 21, 1896, in Kimble Co., to James Leonard and Mollie G. Davis, and died October 21, 1918, in Europe.  A farmer, he is buried in the Conn Family Cemetery in Hunt.

The following obituary appeared in the Kerrville Mountain Sun for July 16, 1920:
"June 30, 1920, the remains of Private Randolph Davis were assigned a permanent resting place, at the Conn cemetery, the writer officiating.
"Randolph Davis was 25 years old' was born in Kimble county, but had spend most of his life in Kerr.  He entered the U. S. service July 15, 1918 and served in the infantry with Company 9 of the 2nd division.
"After leaving training camp and made the voyage overseas he was attacked by a severe case of pneumonia, which proved fatal.
"The deceased is survived by his mother, Mrs. Mollie Davis; by full brothers, Mike, Clarence and Charles; half brothers, Robert, Abner, Ben, John and Jim; sisters, Matilda, Mary and Lizzie, and one step-brother Humphrey McKenney.  His father, James Davis, died Jan. 29, 1919, and before passing away requested that the remains of Randolph be brought back to Texas for burial.  The family used every means possible to comply with his desire. Private E. Major accompanied the remains from the east to Kerr county and as the casket was being lowered, he lifted from it the U.S. flag and presented it to the family.
"The vacancy made by the departure of Randolph is very keenly felt, but those of us who know that God does all things well must resign our wills to His will and expect Him to make our individual lives what they should be. (Roger C. Walker)"
Roger C. Walker was the pastor at the Ingram Baptist Church.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Boys from Center Point

Three of the nineteen Kerr County World War I war dead were from Center Point.  They were Jay Lynzy Cowden, Albert Feller, and Jefferson Davis Leavell. Their stories are told here.

Jay Cowden was born February 6, 1896, to Washington P. and Mary Jane Green Cowden, possibly in Wilbarger County, and died January 17, 1918, in France. His body was repatriated and buried in the Center Point Cemetery. 
His four brothers also served. 
Jay Cowden was a Private First Class, Company E, 141 Infantry, 36 Division of the U. S. Army.

This interesting item appeared in the January 22, 1942, Kerrville Mountain Sun, "The cottage owned by Mrs. P. W. Rogers on Jay Cowden Street is being remodeled and decorated. It will be occupied by Mr.  and Mrs. Elmo Moss."
I wonder where Jay Cowden Street was.

Albert Feller was born February 7, 1896, in Killeen, to Hugo and Laura Feller and died September 29, 1918, in an infirmary in France.  Before the war he was a farm hand for Fred Vaughn at Center Point.
He was a member of Co. D,  the 163rd Infantry, U.S. Army.

On January 13, 1922, the Kerrville Mountain Sun reported "The remains of Albert Feller arrived Tuesday from France and interment took place Wednesday afternoon at the Holloman[sic] burial ground, two and a half miles south of Kerrville.  Services were conducted by Rev. J. Grady Timmons, and several of the American Legion attended from Kerrville as well as a number of others.  Albert Feller was born February 7th, 1896, and died in France September 29th, 1918.  His death was caused by illness."

Jefferson Davis Leavell was born November 16, 1895, in Center Point to William Tighe and Piety Catherine Page Leavell.  He died in France December 1, 1918.  He seems to have moved around a bit.  In 1910 he was living with his family on Main Street in Kerrville. By the time he registered for the draft he was living in Ozona and working for James Mitchell as a ranch laborer. His name did not appear in the earliest lists of Kerr County war dead.
The September 9, 1920, Kerrville Mountain Sun reported "The remains of Pvt. Jeff Leavell were brought from France for burial in Glen Rest Cemetery.  The body arrived last Friday afternoon, accompanied by a military escort and interment was made Saturday at 4 p.m. following a ??? [unclear] at the residence of J. D. Leavell. "

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Boys from Camp Verde

The names of two men from the Camp Verde community appear on the World War I memorials in Kerr County.  They are William Milton Reeves (aka Milton Alfred Reeves) and William Eddie Burleson.

William Eddie Burleson was born December 16, 1892, in Texas to Zack and Ida Burleson and died  September 26, 1918, at Camp Dix in New Jersey.  Before the war he was a farmer in Camp Verde and  claimed exemption from the draft on the basis of growing crops. Clearly the draft board did not consider that to be an excuse because on October 4, 1918, the following item appeared in the Kerrville Mountain Sun:

"Kerr County Boy Falls Victim to Influenza
Kerr County again has been made to feel sad when on September 26, death claimed another one of her noble sons, William Eddie Burleson, who had left his home and loved ones and had entered the service of his country to fight for freedom for all. Young Burleson was born December 16, 1892 at the old Vasbinder home on Spring Creek.  He entered the service, August 12, 1918, being sent to Camp Cody, N.M. for a short while and from there transferred to Camp Dix, N.J. where he became the victim of influenza which caused his death. In a letter from this young soldier to his mother, which was written just a few days before his death, he stated that he would be crossing the ocean by the time the letter should reach her. Besides many other relatives the deceased is survived by father, mother, and two sisters, all of the Camp Verde community. In addition to the ceremonies of the Woodmen of the World, under whose auspices funeral services were conducted, Judge H. C. Jeddie made an address."
The tombstone erroneously gives his date of birth as September 16, 1892.

Milton Reeves appears on Kerr County War Memorials as William Milton Reeves. His headstone reads Milton Alfred Reeves. In the 1900 census his name is reported as Milton A. Reeves and in 1910 as Milton Alfred Reeves. However, on his draft registration he gives his name as William Milton Reeves.
He was born February 24, 1896, in Bandera to Robert and Ruth Reeves and died October 11, 1918, in Brest, France.  His body is said to have been returned to Camp Verde. There is a marker for him in the Camp Verde Cemetery.
Prior to the war he was a farmer living with and working for his brother Dell Reeves in Camp Verde.

The following report of his death appeared in the Kerrville Mountain Sun, November 28, 1918.
"William Reeves Pays Supreme Sacrifice.
A telegram was received from the Department at Washington recently announcing the sad news that William Milton Reeves had died in France of pneumonia on the 11th day of October.
Milton Reeves was the son of R. P. Reeves and was only 22 years of age, the youngest of the Reeves brothers. He left Kerrville on the 27th of June with a smiling face, to fight for freedom for all, and was "Over There" only a few days when he was called Home.
Milton's many friends are sad to learn of his untimely demise.  He was a true Woodman of the World and a noble-hearted younge man.  It hurts Kerr County to give up such as he.  He is survived by five brothers and one dear sister. His brother Tom is in France."

Sadly his brother Tom, who served with the Army in France, died while stationed in Kansas, en route home. He is also buried in the Camp Verde Cemetery.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Why is there no George Wells Street?

As I said in my previous post concerning the World War I dead of Kerr County, I had heard, and newspaper reporting implies, that Sidney Baker, Earl Garrett, and Francisco Lemos were the only three who lived in Kerrville, that the others were county residents. That may not be so.
There was a man named George S. Wells as well. 

George S. Wells was born August 5, 1894, and died January 25, 1917, before official American involvement (which came 6 April 1917).   He is buried at Glen Rest Cemetery in Kerrville.

Here is his obituary from the February 1, 1917 Kerrville Mountain Sun
"George Wells, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ed. Wells of this city died at Brownsville last Thursday after an operation for appendicitis at the Army hospital.  He was stationed with the National Guard at Corpus Christi, being a member of Company B, Second Texas Infantry, when he took sick.  The body was brought to Kerrville, arriving here on Saturday, and on Sunday the funeral was held from the Presbyterian Church, Rev. W. P. Dickey conducting the service.  The Woodmen of the World, of which he was a member, then took charge of the body and tenderly laid him to rest in Glen Rest Cemetery.
The family have the deepest sympathy of our entire citizenship in the loss of their son, who was a young man with a bright future and well liked by all who knew him."

Brother Erwin Charles Wells also registered for the draft--on 15 Sept 1918.  Erwin was a drug clerk at Rawson's drug store and later became a pharmacist there.

The history I've been able to find suggests that George Wells lived in Kerrville before he joined the armed forces.

Their parents were Egbert G. and Elizabeth Wells. Egbert's name appears as both Ed G. and as Elbert in the US Census records.  Egbert, a native of Missouri, was a machinist at the Schreiner windmill shop.  Elizabeth was a Texan. In 1900 the family lived in Kerrville, exact location unknown; in 1910 they were on Main Street; by 1920 they were at 408 Jefferson Street where they continued to reside for some years.  George was with them in the household in 1900 and 1910.

Egbert G. Wells died 2 Jan 1943 at the age of 88 and was buried at Glen Rest. His obituary named his widow and surviving children: son Ervin C. Wells and three daughters, Mrs. C. M. Francis of Chicago, Illinois, Mrs. W. A. Jacoby and Mrs. G. H. King of San Antonio. No mention was made of other children. 
Elizabeth Schmidt Wells died at the age of 85 in 1948 and is also buried at Glen Rest. Her obituary in the 9 December 1948 Kerrville Mountain Sun stated she had made her home in Kerrville for more than 50 years, and for a number of years lived in the 400 block of Jefferson Street. She moved to San Antonio after the death of her husband and youngest daughter Bonnie Lee Wells (which occurred in 1942).  This is the only mention of a deceased child in either obituary. 

If the Wellses lived in Kerrville for more than 50 years prior to 1943, that would mean they were here before 1893.  George Wells was born in 1894. So why was George Wells not honored with a street named for him? Is it because he didn't die overseas?

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Other 16

You don't have to live in Kerr County long before you learn about Francisco Lemos, Sidney Baker, and Earl Garrett--three young Kerrville men who died while in service to their country in World War I.  Streets in Kerrville were named for them. 
Did you know there were sixteen others from Kerr County who also died and are remembered on the various memorial plaques?

They are:
William Eddie Burleson of Camp Verde
William Milton Reeves of Camp Verde (also known as Milton Alfred Reeves)
Jay Lynzy Cowden of Center Point
Albert Feller of Center Point
William Edmond Caddell of Hunt
Randolph Davis of Hunt
Monroe Ernest Dowdy of Ingram
Louie Robert Floyd of Ingram
Grover Kile Hollomon of Ingram
William A. Johannessen of Ingram
Jacob Harvey Merritt of Pebble (near Hunt)
Leonard Miles Denton of Turtle Creek
Robert Emerson Spicer of Turtle Creek
George S. Wells of Kerrville

Edwin John Kaiser (Born in Fredericksburg he lived and worked in Harper, but he registered for the draft in Kerr Co. Lived in the Reservation community.)
Jefferson Davis Leavell (Born in Center Point, but he was drafted from Ozona, Crockett Co.)

I had heard, and newspaper reporting implies, that Baker, Garrett, and Lemos were the only three who lived in Kerrville, that the others were county residents. That may not be so.
There was a man named George S. Wells and his is a curious case. More on that in another post.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

808 Earl Garrett Street

A note on the back of the photograph indicates this Tudor-style house at 808 Earl Garrett was built in 1916 by Otto Schwethelm at the time of his marriage to Ysabel Faltin, of Comfort. They lived here until 1943.  This was a substantial house for its time. In 1930 it was valued at $10,000.  Otto Schwethelm was a rancher and banker and worked for the Schreiner Bank for 46 years.  At the time the house was built, he was an assistant cashier at the bank.
He died at the age of 89 in 1981.  She died at the age of 96 in 1991. They are buried together at Glen Rest Cemetery.
The Schwethelms were charter members of a dance club known at the German Club of Kerrville.  I learned about the club from a January 14, 1984, article in the Kerrville Mountain Sun marking its 50th anniversary.   You did not have to be German heritage to belong. "German" referred to a "French-style dance" called the German popular when the Club was organized in in 1934.   When the dances first began they were held on one of the Real ranches in Upper Turtle Creek about 17 miles from town. Otto Schwethelm told a tale that when some of the men got out to open the seven gates on the way, they "took a drink at each one and arrived at the dance in high spirits."
(Just a bit of local color for you.)

ca 1988
Bobbie Baldwin was the next owner, living here from 1944 until 1949 when he sold to H. W. Harlin. Harlin was a rancher who lived part-time in Kerrville. In 1952 he sold to Arthur W. Brock, who in 1954 received a permit for additions to the property.  He was a career Air Force Colonel.  The Kerrville Times reported that during his last four years he served as director of the intelligence division of the Air Force.  Brock sold to James Clanton in 1961. In 1964 Clanton in turn sold to William M. Tomlinson who owned it about three years. The next owner was Robert Nuetze. The Nuetzes occupied the house until 1977. There were a series of short-term occupants after that and in 1983 Olde House Partnership obtained a permit to convert the house into the current apartment units at a cost of $30,000.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

19th Century Commercial Buildings in Kerrville

Following up the list of 19th century residential properties in Kerrville, here is a list of non-residential and commercial buildings constructed in Kerrville in the 19th century. If I've forgotten something I'm sure you'll remind me!

I have not blogged about all these yet.  One day...

631 Water Street
701 Water Street (Pampell's Opera House)
709 Water Street (The Favorite Saloon)
816 Water Street (Rock Drug Store) (now the telephone co. equipment building)
824-826 Water Street (The Old Bakery)
201 Earl Garrett Street (Weston Building)
208 Earl Garrett Street (1882 Schreiner Store)
211 Earl Garrett Street (Masonic Building) 
241 Earl Garrett Street (Guthrie Building)
415 Clay Street  (Beitel's Lumberyard "Old House")
415 Clay Street (Dietert Mercantile)
305 Tivy Street (Old Tivy Hotel)
1009 Barnett Street (Old Tivy High School)
corner Broadway and Travis Street (Old Union Church)

816 Water Street is now the telephone equipment building, but behind part of that 1960s facade is history.  The original outline of the old Rock Drug building is clearly seen in aerial views.

The oldest building on this list is the 1875 Favorite Saloon.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

1312 Water Street

The original address for this house was 1212 Water Street.  The streets in this area were renumbered about 1929.

This house at 1312 Water Street has some characteristics that have caused me to think this might be a 19th century house.  However, continued research indicates that it is more likely this was built by Ben Davey sometime between 1910 and 1914.  Here's my reasoning:

The legal description of this property is Block 10, Lot 17, Tivy Addition.  On July 31, 1907, Sid Peterson sold lots 9 and 10 for $525 to J. H. Chapman.  On Oct 16, 1907, J. H. and Ida Chapman sold lots 9 and 10 for $550 to Oscar P. Garrett, an average of $225 per lot.
Oct February 25, 1910, Garrett sold these two lots to Miss Mabel Grace Davey for $600. At the time she was a 23-year-old schoolteacher at Tivy. On June 10, 1914, she married Robert B. Knox.
On January 31, 1920, R. B. and Mabel Knox sold just lot 10, the one this house stands on, to John F. and Visa Surber for $600. Note that the value of the property had doubled in the intervening ten years. This suggests that the house was built in that time period.
ca 1932.  Courtesy, Kerr County Historical Commission Collection
Mabel's father Ben Davey was a building contractor. He very likely built this house for her, perhaps in anticipation of her marriage.
Ben Davey was at one time in partnership with Bruno Schott, veteran Kerrville builder. Many of the early buildings in the area were constructed by the firm.

John F.  and Visa Ann Surber, the next owners, and their heir Annie Rotge together owned the house for fifteen years. He had been a farmer but by 1920 he was no longer working.
In 1936 Charlie Hansen, an employee at the VA Hospital, purchased it.  He died in 1961, but his family owned it another six years until 1967. The Hansens owned the property the longest--31 years.

Over the next dozen years there were four separate owners.  It continued to be residential property until D. K. Livingston bought it in 1979. Liquidation Outlet opened here at the end of that year--the first of a series of small businesses located here ever since.