TWENTY‑ONE YEARS AGO"

(From the Beeville Bee, Friday, 3 May 1907, front page)

 

The Bee Looks Back to the Days of Its Infancy Interestingly

 

With its last number the BEE began its twenty‑second year.  For twenty‑one years it has hebdomenally chronciled the doings of the town and county, and contains for that time the county's history. A copy of its first issue shows an entire change in the personnel of the business men of the town in the twenty‑one years that have elapsed since its first number.

 

Capt A. C. JONES, for many years Beeville's leading merchant, had gone out of the mercantile business twenty‑one years ago. When the first number of the BEE was printed, the business of the town, as well as for many years after, was wholly confined to two blocks on the square. L. F. ROBERTS conducted a mercantile establishment on the east side in the building now occupied by Dr. MOFFETT as a residence. A. P. SMITH was his clerk. Will SMITH carried on a grocery business and a saddle shop under the same roof on the corner where he afterwards erected a new building, which he some years later sold to PATTERSON & BLAIR and was used by them as a saloon. Robert HODGES acted as Mr. SMITH's clerk and Tom SONLEY ran the saddlery. Mr. SMITH was also county treasurer. H. T. CLARE & Sons had just built the livery stable now owned by TEAS & SCOGIN. It was run by the Messrs. CLARE until about ten years ago, and has had several owners since then. Just north of the CLARE stable stood the BARCLAY hotel, run by Mrs. C. M. BARCLAY, now deceased. It was shortly afterwards bought by R. H. NATIONS of Oakville and moved to the corner where it now stands and additions made to it.

 

Back of SMITH's grocery store was a small building owned by G. F. MILLS, a veteran of the English

navy who operated both a restaurant and a barber‑shop under the same roof. He is now a resident of Alice and has been for some years. The building next to the grocery and fronting the square had just been sold by Capt. SLAVETCHEK to Sheriff D. A. T. WALTON, who had used it as a shoe shop. Mr. WALTON purchased the lot and building for $400, about half its value. In explanation of SLAVETCHEK selling so cheap, it was said he violently opposed the coming of the railway for which the citizens had subscribed a large bonus and declared he would move away. He did not, however, and is on this side of the vale of tears and the only artizan of Beeville of twenty‑one years ago now here. The building now occupied by CLEM's restaurant then contained the town's only butcher shop. It was run by CREADY & EVERHARDT. The latter was from Goliad and shortly sold to John ZOWARKA who became sole proprietor and retired on competence several years ago. AL CREADY the other proprietor has been dead some years.

 

The building so long occupied by A. PRAEGER as a hardware store, twenty‑one years ago was occupied with a similar business belonging to LITTLE & MITCHELL. Bob LITTLE, the senior partner, after the sale of the business about a year afterwards, built the Queen Hotel. He is now a resident of Oregon. D. P. MITCHELL only a couple of years ago removed from here. He is a resident of Coleman. The only drug store of the town was owned by R. B. SKAGGS. He died in the summer of 1886 and his business was sold to John R. MARTIN of St. Mary's who conducted it for a number of years at the same stand and then built the brick in which the PARTAIN Drug Co., his lineal successors are. The original building was in time acquired by A. P. SMITH and moved to Washington street, where it is occupied by CRAVEN & Co.

 

The next building then on the north side of the square is now occupied by Paul BAUER, the saddler. T. J. SKAGGS carried on a dry goods business on the lower floor. He is now a resident of Mexico. The upper floor was used by the BEE and it was from there it was issued for several months until removed to the upper floor of a new building erected in the rear of the CLARE livery stable where it made its home until it acquired its present location in 1890. The next building on the north side of the square occupied the site of PRAEGER's hardware store. It had been occupied by its owners, R. W. ARCHER and F. O. SKIDMORE with a stock of dry goods but they had some months before closed out their stock. The rear of the building was used for the post office. John W. FLOURNOY was postmaster, but the work of the office was performed by R. W. ARCHER. Mr. FLOURNOY was devoting his time to the study of law and was admitted to the bar that summer. Other members of the bar here at that time were W. S. DUGAT, now deceased, and J. C. BEASLEY. The latter had just returned from a two year's residence in Abilene and during his absence Beeville afforded but the one lawyer. Mr. BEASLEY's eldest son and present law partner was just beginning to learn to talk and his second son, Robert, was an infant in arms. The next building in order was the ELLIS hotel. It was then a two story and a half structure, the latter lighted by dormory windows.

 

The upper part had no partitions and was known as "Room No. 40", because it was the custom of the proprietor, when crowded, to put as many guests there to sleep as could find room on mattresses laid on the floor. The same year it was transformed into its present shape, and had a number of owners before being acquired by J. C. SHORT ten years ago.

 

Washington street, leading north from the ELIAS hotel, was then the road that led to Mineral and Oakville, and was overhung with guisache and mesquite bows. A stable occupied the southwest corner of the hotel block and the balance was a cabbage patch. The public school building, an unceiled, box structure, stood in the center of the block now occupied by the Aransas railway depot. On the west side of the square, was a low, two story frame structure once used as a court house. It belonged to the Masons, the lodge room being in the upper part. The lower floor was used by G. H. CRAIGIE, a Canadian painter, who was believed to have been lined with metal because he could drink the alcohol that rose on his paint bucket overnight. He drifted away shortly after the railroad came, as did A. M. FAULCONER, a builder and contractor the railway era found here. The Masonic building was mysteriously burned a year or so later, the lot sold to B. CAHN of Rockport who erected a metal clad building on it and ran a business on it several years. The property was bought some years ago by J. J. MEINRATH and the building removed to the corner of St. Marys & Hefferman. The next and only other building on the west side was a small office that had been occupied by Dr. McGREW for some years up to his death a year or so before the railway carne. On the south side the entire block was occupied by the modest cottage and out buildings that had been for many years the homestead of Capt. A. C. JONES. It continued to be until he built his suburban home twelve years ago. Three physicians were amply sufficient to attend to the ills of the entire county at that time. Dr. BRASHAER was located at Mineral City, and Drs. Julius NOTT and T. W. JOHNSON at Beeville. Of the three the latter is the only survivor.

 

Among the local advertisers in the first number of the BEE aside from those mentioned, were J. T. BYUS, general merchant at Mineral, now dead, and W. B. HATCH in a like line at Papalote. Mr. HATCH is still in the land of the living, hale and hearty, but retired from business. John IMPSON offers to do contracting work, and R. McMENEMY advertises all kinds of blacksmith work. Both these worthy citizens are now dead. Jas. GEORGE is another contractor advertising. He built a large two story business house on the corner of the block across the railway, opposite Ben MATTINGLY's property. It burned down and he moved away. Hugh MOORE, a real estate man, extols the advantages of southwest Texas in a column advertisement for which he never paid. He was a newcomer and spent so much time in telling others how to run their affairs that he neglected his own, played out and left after a few months' residence. T. P. BRUNDRETT advertises the HALLIDAY windmill. The mill is no longer sold in this section, but Mr. BRUNDRETT is still in the windmill business. The court director of twenty‑one years ago showed that H. Clay PLEASANTS was district judge, S. F. GRIMES district attorney, W. R. HAYES county judge, R. E. EEDS county and district clerk, D. A. T. WALTON sheriff, W. M. SMITH treasurer, W. S. HOWARD assessor and R. W. FENNER surveyor. Four of the seven are yet alive, and two, Messrs. SMITH and FENNER hold the positions they did then.

 

Instead of the nine church buildings that Beeville now has, twenty‑one years ago there were but two. the Methodist and Baptist, with services alternating. Rev. J. F. DENTON was pastor of the Methodists and Rev. G. H. M. WILSON of the Baptists. The latter survives and is still engaged in church work in this section. The public school of Beeville twenty‑one years ago showed an enrollment of sixty pupils. It now aggregates nearly 800.

 

Early file copies of the BEE show many changes in the twenty‑one years the paper has been published, and many things have been printed and forgotten not only by those to whom they were news when fresh from the press but even by the person who wrote them. Twenty‑one years in future seems a long time; in the past they are quickly lived over. In the twenty‑one years of the BEE's existence it has seen the population of the town change several times. Some who migrated here and lived long enough to become identified with the place have either died or moved away, their places filled with others and been forgotten, and it may be said that the Beeville of the past is only preserved in the files of the paper that began its existence with the railroads that made the county accessible and has since been a faithful exponent of the progress of the town.

 

‑ End ‑

 

Submitted by:  Kay Pacheco