Tom B. Anderson Remembers
Biography of the Anderson Family and How Well I Know
This is the history of my family as I know it. Written
in the year 1975 A.D., parts of it told to me by my mother and father in
years gone by and what I know of it on my own.
Howdy folk[s] and hope you can enjoy all or even a
part of this.
My name is Thomas Benjamin Anderson. I was born here
in Denison, Texas, January 8th, 1904, at 229 West Monterey Street. I am
the youngest child of six boys and two girls. Our last home place was at
1031 West Bullock Street, from 1911 to 1949. Our mother died in 1944, and
our father died in 1949.
My home is at 622 North Chandler Avenue. I drew the
plans for the home I live in, had it built, and moved into it on February
the 1st, 1935.
My Parents and Their Children
Now my father, Robert Lee Anderson, known all his
life as "Bob", was born in Shelbina, Missouri, July the 12th, 1864. He
came to Texas at the age of six years with his father, mother, three brothers,
and two sisters in two covered wagons. He also was the youngest of six
children. Denison was not here at that time, but they came through a little
town known as Red River City, located one mile south of Red River at what
is now the M.K.T and Frisco railroads. Neither of these railroads was here
at that time. They traveled on to Dallas, Texas, where my Grandfather Anderson
got a job hauling the red rock to build what is now the old courthouse,
which one thinks of as a castle and which the city is contemplating tearing
down, I guess to make way for progress.
They returned two years later, as talk was going around
that a new town was being laid out south of Red River City, and my Grandfather
Anderson wanted to be one of the first to be here if that was true. And
it was. The new town was named "Denison", after a Mr. Denison, an eastern
railroad man and financier.
My grandparents moved into a two-story house with
a dog trot through the lower floor. (A dog trot was an open space about
twelve feet wide and the length of the house, for coolness.) It was located
in a cotton field where the Saint Xavier's chapel and junior school is
now. The location would be about 324 West Morton Street.
My father remembered a log cabin located about what
is now 527 West Gandy Street with a large oak tree in the one-way dirt
road in front of it. The tree divided the road going on either side of
it. This log cabin remains today with a house built around it .
He also remembered well a log cabin of two rooms with
a dog trot between them, way out in the country where he would go to hunt.
These two log rooms are still there with a house built around them and
are located at 1401 West Walker Street today. These log rooms have a basement
under them, and this place was built as an Indian fort. The Carlat family
lived in this house from 1918 to 1961, forty-three years. This place had
a good spring [Miller Spring] just down the hill west, which was a good
spring and also a good well for drinking water.
My father was a barefoot boy, standing in front of
the first city lot sold in Denison, at 201 West Main Street. As time passed
on, my grandmother kept boarders, and one man owned her $35.00 and told
her he didn't have the money at that time, but would give her two deeds
for two lots on Main Street. She would not accept them and said they would
never amount to anything and she thought the town would not amount to anything
either. The man finally paid her. These deeds turned out, in years to come,
to be 315 and 317 Main Street or at this date and time to be K. Wolen's
My father was sent to a meat market just across the
alley and avenue behind the National Bank, 230 West Main Street, which
was a store at the time, to get some meat for breakfast. As he stepped
off the wooden sidewalk to the alley, he fell over a dead man. Being just
at daybreak, it frightened him so, he ran home without the meat.
As time went on, his oldest brother ran a dairy, and
he worked for him and delivered milk to what was known then as the Nelson
House, later to become the State National Bank, and the old building was
torn down to build what is now  there [since demolished and replaced
by Nations Bank].
Then time went on, as years do, and he went to work
for Mullens Grocery Store, 325 West Main Street, and I have a picture of
him standing in front of this store with some other men. He was quite a
young man then. At this time I own this building at 325 Main Street, the
one I have the picture [of] with my father in it.
By 1875, Red River City was all but gone. That vicinity
was then known as Duck Creek for many years after that. That was the name
of the little creek that ran along there and still does. A store was on
the west side of the creek and road then and was known as the Duck Creek
Store. It was there until 1956. In 1908, the river got so high the water
came up to this little store. The store was operated by the McCoy family
and last by their daughter, Neva McCoy. She worked also for years at the
Waples-Platter Grocery Company.
Now about my mother. She was born in Shelbyville,
Kentucky, Lucy Ann Bodkin, April 28th, 1867. She came to Denison on the
railroad in 1879 at the age of twelve years. She came with her father,
mother, three sisters, and six brothers. Mother was the fourth child.
My Grandfather Bodkin first bought land which is now
the two square blocks from Hull Street to Monterey Street, from Mirick
Avenue to Barrett Avenue. He built a house at 630 West Texas Street, which
was located on just a dirt road, and the only house close to their house
was a two-story brick stucco on a lot at 630 West Hull Street, the only
part of the two blocks he did not buy. At this time the house is still
there. The house at 630 West Texas was always known as the Old Home Place.
It had four rooms with a lattice-covered walkway about ten feet long out
to a separate room that was used for the kitchen. Besides my grandfather
and grandmother living in it as their home, two of the boys and one of
the girls lived in it as their home. In later years it was owned by this
girl, Sadie Stanford, and used as a rent house and sold in the middle thirties.
Grandfather Bodkin gave all of his children a lot
in this block, and these were all sold. My Aunt Sadie bought the Old Home
Place from her mother and father around the year 1904. My Grandfather Bodkin
had bought a farm around 1895, west of Denison where Loy Lake is and extending
about a mile or more farther on out the road on both sides. This was known
as the Old Eighty-Foot Road. About a mile or more beyond the lake is the
last part of this land he owned. It is on the left side of the road, and
you can still see the little log cabin which was their kitchen and dining
room, and you can see how small it was. Then they had a wood-covered walkway
from it to a living room and a bedroom, a large barn, smoke house, and
a deep well of good water which was also used as a place to keep milk and
butter. I have eaten many good meals in this little cabin! They lived on
this farm until 1911, when my grandfather died. My grandmother went to
live with my Aunt Sadie at 201 West Sears Street until her death in 1926.
There was only one hundred and eighty acres left in the farm, and it was
rented out until the early 1930s, when it was sold.
Well, my father and mother met and were married October
1st, 1884. Father was twenty years old, and Mother was seventeen. They
had a family of six boys and two girls. Their names were as follows, from
oldest to youngest: Geno Manard, Richard Deboe, Nettie Emagene, Robert
William, Ray Alexander, Joe Marion, Daisy Marie, Thomas Benjamin. Geno
had one daughter, Gevevieve. Richard had one girl, Dixie Ray, and two sons,
James and Robert. Nettie had two children, Betty Jane and James. Joe had
one son, Joe, Jr.
Around the year 1900, my father went to work for the
M.K.T. ("Katy", as it became known as) Railroad. He was a fireman. Our brother
William died when he was nine years old, but all [the rest] of us boys,
at one time or another, worked also for the Katy Railroad. Geno was a brakeman;
Richard (or "Dick", as we called him) was an air brake man; Ray worked for
Kellogg's office in Parsons, Kansas; Joe was a car inspector; and I was
with the freight department.
It seems we lived all over town in the early years.
We lived in the 600 block Texas Street, on a lot given to my mother by
her father. A small house was built on it by my father, only four rooms,
and this is where my sister Nettie was born. This little house, in years
gone by, was moved to the 1100 block South Scullin Avenue and is there
as of today.
Then we lived in a two-story house at what is now
the entrance to Munson Park. Then [we moved] to a house in the 100 block
East Walker Street - a long house fronting the street with dormer windows
in the center of the house. This is where my brother Robert William (or
Pete, as the family called him) died in 1903. This house is there today
but is about to fall down.
Then we moved to 229 West Monterey Street; this is
where I was born. We lived there two or three years, then moved to 215
West Heron Street and lived there until 1911, when we moved to 1031 West
Bullock Street. That was our last home place until our father died and
that place was sold in 1949.
A Katy engine turned over at Greenville, Texas, and
my father, being the fireman, was hurt, and that ended his railroad career.
This was in 1913. He did other things as I will tell about later on, but
the last thing he did was run a little grocery store at the homeplace for
a number of years, until he retired in 1930.
Memories of Denison
Now I will try to tell you all I can remember and
know about Denison. I recall things that happened since I was about five
or six years old. Many things that happened there is no use to try to tell
about, as it is all kid stuff and does not matter.
I remember well Haley's Comet in 1910, it was truly
something to see, it will appear again in 1986, or so says the World's
I remember the first filling station in town, operated
by W. E. Harris at 630 West Main Street. A little wooden building on an
angle with the corner. He lived in a five-room house facing the avenue,
on the alley.
I remember the big Campbell Grocery Store at 830 West
All the streets were either dirt or gravel. Main Street
was the first paved with brick, and I helped my father haul the brick to
pave the 600 block Main Street.
I remember a monument works was in the middle of the
600 block and was first located at 601 West Main Street. It was called
I remember a lumber yard at 600 West Main Street which
later became the Ford Motor Company, owned by H. E. Pearce.
Across Mirick Avenue at 530 West Main was the Brooks Tone
Airdrone [sic], all open air and you sit on boards as bleacher seats. It
was a rowdy little place, and at the time the main headline girl was Ruby
Darby. This was when the chorus girls did what they called "Balling the
Jack", quite entertaining to the menfolk, and that was about all there
Across Main Street north of there was a large vacant
lot or lots with a tent skating rink and a small art gallery (photographer).
These vacant lots went to the three-story building that is still there,
and this was the Brooks Tone Opera House.
The large building now on that corner, known as the
Barrett Building or Drug Store, was built at first as our Y.M.C.A. and
was later sold or taken over by the Praetorian Insurance Company. I could
have bought it at one time for $17,000; this was about 1935 or '36. The
Kraft Cheese Company bought it later and made an office building out of
it. When Kraft left here, Barrett bought it, and I know of its selling
to a California buyer for $120,000, and Barrett took it back. At this writing
, his widow still owns it.
At 508 and 510 Main Street was the Halton Undertaking
Parlor, who later sold to John Swank. He sold to Short & Murry, and
it is now Bratcher Funeral Home on Woodard Street. I, at one time, owned
these two buildings, 508 and 510 Main Street, and sold them to Walter Jennings
in about 1959 or 1960.
Across the street from Halton's was a picture show,
507 and 509 Main Street, and it did not have a top on it, it was an open
The Denison Hotel was on the corner of 500 Main Street,
and it burned in 1919.
At 501 Main was the Esler Paint Shop.
At 430 Main was Hickey and Whitten Undertakers. (Hickey
in later years became my brother-in-law.)
At 431 Main was a drug store and confectionary.
At 424 Main (now the Rialto Theatre) was Mosse and
Company Harness and Buggy Shop. The sidewalk was large white stones about
2 x 5 feet. There was a water well about where the front of the stage of
the theatre is now. The water was fine, and I have had many good drinks
from this well.
At 420 Main Street, upstairs, was the office of the
Southwestern Telephone and Telegraph Company. The phone was then called
the "new phone". Where the phone office is now was a vacant lot. The "old
phone" office was upstairs across the alley behind the State National Bank.
At 425 Main was George Shields Undertaker.
At 410 and 412 was S. H. Kress and Company.
At 413 Main was the Aladdin (later the Rex) Theatre.
At 400 Main was the Palace Hotel, and [at] 401 and
403 was the Charles H. Jones Furniture Company.
At 328 and 330 was James Boyd Clothing Store.
At 331 was the big Security Building. The front part
of the main entrance was the First State Bank. It was first built five
stories high and was the tallest building in Texas. The entrance to the
main building and elevator was on the side and toward the back. It was
an office building of all sorts. The fifth floor was taken off before I
was born, about 1900. They thought it might fall, as it was only fifty
feet wide. It was cracked in time, and people thought it might fall down
at any time and should be condemned. It was torn down in the fifties (1958
to be exact) and they could hardly knock it down with a crane and large
We will go back to the 700 block Main Street. All
the north side. This was where the first free school in Texas was built,
and I have a picture of same. It was built long before I was born, but
I remember seeing it. The school that stands there now was built in 1911
and opened in September 1912.
The Queen Theatre was the west half of the K. Wolens'
Store at 315 Main. The east half of the store, 317 Main, was an eight-chair
barber shop run by Louis Thayer.
At 309 Main was a confectionary known as "Tony's Palm
Garden". This was the finest of its kind in the town. If you had a date
or even with your wife, you had to go to Tony's.
Madden's Department Store was from 301 to 307 Main
Street. [It was] a two-story building and was the largest store in town.
The men's department of Madden's was 307 Main. This was closed and moved
into the big building, and Esler Paint and Paper Store was there for several
years, until closed and now occupied by Texas State Optical.
The State National Bank was and still is  at
300 West Main Street, but the west twelve feet of the old building was
an open-front fruit stand and confectionary run by the Balsano Brothers.
Later this was the Cafe DeLuxe. One of our ex-mayors, Clarence Scott, ran
it for awhile. The last ones to own it were Louis Boarey and Albert Linden.
Then the bank took it over for enlargement.
The National Bank of Denison was at 230 Main Street,
and Walter Hibbard was the president. He also owned the Denison Grocery
At 231 Main Street was the Denison Bank and Trust
Company. This building was three stories high and used for office space.
The McDougall Opera House was in the middle of the
200 block Main Street, on the north side, upstairs over the Reynolds and
Tinsman drug stores and the U.S. Clothing Store. Later it was made into
a dance hall. I have danced there a few times also.
At 204 Main was the Mackey Telegraph and Cable Company,
and 212 was the Western Union Telegraph Company.
At 217 was Fred Marcus, Jeweler.
A five-cent picture show was at 210 Main Street, the
A drug store was at 200 Main, and a grocery store
was at 201 Main Street, Akers Grocery.
At 130 West Main Street was a picture show and vaudeville
house, the Majestic.
At 128 was the Texas Traction Company or the Interurban
Station. This electrical car ran to Dallas and Waco. These cars made their
last run in January 1949. The station was last located at 100 West Woodard
I can remember the Old Denison Opera House at 114
West Woodard Street where the Babcock office building is now. I remember
and knew the two Babcock brothers, F. O. and J. E., when they opened their
first store across the alley from the Madden's Department Store, in a very
Stegar Lumber Company was at 131 West Woodard Street.
A coal and wood yard was at 231 West Woodard, where
the post office is now. It was [then] across the avenue at 301 Woodard
I remember in the 300 West Woodard Street, known as
the Munson Block, when the post office was on the corner, Chris Waltz next,
the Herald office next, the Denison Light and Power next, the City Water
Company next, and the Y.M.C.A. and rooms in the three-story part.
A wagon yard, or to make this plain to young people,
a wagon motel, was at 331 Woodard Street, where the Denison Herald is now.
I remember the large McCarthy home at 401 West Woodard
Street, now a funeral home. I remember the Doctor Alex Acheson home on
the complete 1400 block Woodard Street.
When the St. Patrick Catholic Church burned in 1911.
When Dr. Booth lived at 501 [West] Crawford Street.
When the XXI Club was at 901 West Gandy Street.
When the big Charles H. Jones home was at 1103 West
I remember the John L. Higginson Livery Stable was
at 300 West Woodard Street. For the young folk, this was a place where
they kept horses and rented you a horse and buggy. It was later destroyed
by fire. The Higginson house is still located at 1002 Morton Street.
The Elmer E. Davis Livery Stable was at 230 West Chestnut
Street. There was a fire here one time, desroying some of the finest horses
The G. A. Jones Hardware Co. was at 321 West Main
Street. (I own this building and the one at 325 West Main Street also.)
[I remember] when the Old M. E. [Methodist Episcopal]
Church South was at 430 West Chestnut Street.
[I remember] when my Uncle John Anderson owned a wagon
yard at 431 West Chestnut Street.
I remember the big Vorwarts Hall (a German lodge)
was at 400 West Chestnut Street. This at one time was used as the National
[I remember] when the Crystal Ice Company was owned
by Pat Tobin in the 100 block East Woodard Street. Pat Tobin was the engineer
on the first train ever to come into Denison, Christmas night 1872; and
his grandson was Tobin Williams, and he was the brakeman on the last passenger
train to come into Denison from the north in July 1965.
I remember when the Diamond Ice Company was at 100
West Crawford Street and was owned by S. C. Knaur.
The Hall-Leeper Hardware Company was at 101 West Chestnut
When Forest Park had a large ball park, the (T.O.)
Texas-Oklahoma League started. Here is where Rogers Hornsby started his
baseball career. Roy Finley, a lawyer, was the manager of this baseball
club, and I saw Ty Cobb play ball here.
I remember when the John Holden Blacksmith Shop was
at 204 West Chestnut Street. His son, Charles Holden, is still living and
worked all his life with his father and continued with the shop after the
death of his father. Charles retired in 1950. They shoed more horses and
sharpened more plows than any blacksmith in North Texas. I don?t think
there ever was a horse born that Charlie could not shoe. To the young folk,
this was "have a horse shod".
I remember [that], from Acheson Street north to almost
the Cotton Mill south, from Fannin Avenue on the east to the Frisco Railroad
on the west, was the T. V. Munson nurseries.
I remember when the fire station was in the 300 block
Chestnut Street, where the Chevrolet garage is, and horses were used to
pull the wagons. They had a steam pump engine that was a thrill to see
the horses run with, while the smoke poured out. On top of the station
was a large bell. It could be heard all over town. It would signal the
fire, then ring one at a time to signal the ward it was in, as l, 2, 3,
etc. John Cooper was the fire chief, and Don Freels was chief of the south
side station at 114 West Texas Street.
I remember Forest Park well. A large colonial bandstand
where a concert was held at least once a week. A spraying water fountain
in a large fish pond, and a nice little zoo with quite a number of animals.
I remember seeing and saying hello to William F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) and
Lucille Mulhall. They were here with the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Show
in Forest Park. They were in the back seat of a big rubber-tired carriage
with the top down. The seats faced each other, and [it was] pulled by two
white horses. It was parked in front of the main entrance of Forest Park,
waiting for the parade to start. I was with my father, and he talked to
them awhile. That is when he [Buffalo Bill] said to me, "Hello, little
boy, how are you?" This was in 1912, and I will remember it all my life.
His white hair down to his shoulders, his mustache, and his goatee. He
died in 1917 in Denver, Colorado, and was buried with his wife on top of
Lookout Mountain. I have been to their graves several times.
I remember when a little streetcar ran from the Depot
to the West End at 1500 West Bond Street and out to the Madonna (or, then,
the City) Hospital.
I can remember when Randell Lake was built in 1910.
I remember going out there with my father in a buggy.
I also remember Woodlake, about five or six miles
south of Denison on the Interurban. This is where everyone went. It was
a summer picnic place for all. You could swim [and] boat, and it had a
large casino where you could dance and they had shows, they had tree and
lawn swings and just about everything you wanted for entertainment. On
Sundays they would run excursion cars to the lake, and everybody, almost,
in town was there. It closed around 1920, or maybe a year or so sooner
I can remember the Liberty Bell coming through Denison
in 1915 from the World's Fair in San Francisco, California. In 1951, I
went through Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I touched
the bell then, as it was not encased in glass, and at the time it was on
the main floor, just in front of the main rostrum.
I remember in 1919 when a woman was going with a married
man of the State National Bank, and as she went up the steps of the bank,
the man's wife met her on the steps and killed her by shooting her with
a pistol. My brother, Joe, worked for John L. Swank, Undertaker, at this
time and went down and picked up the body.
I remember when a fight started in a beer joint and
Dale Ford ran out and was standing behind a telephone post, and one man
shot at the other man and Dale was accidentally hit and killed.
I remember when we had no traffic lights, and you
could make a U-turn at any intersection on Main Street.
I remember seeing Jack Dempsey in an exposition fight
with the Sells-Floto Circus here.
I remember when you could get a shave for 15¢
and a haircut for 25¢.
I remember when boarding houses were very popular
and downtown dining rooms (Jaccard's and Rentz's, 200 and 100 blocks Main
Street) were very popular. You would eat family style fine meals and all
you could eat for 50¢.
I remember hay rides, when a flat-bottom wagon filled
with hay took boys and girls for a ride on moonlight nights.
I remember when a couple got married, a crowd would
charivari them, making noises with pans, horns, singing, etc.
I remember the first airplane to fly over Denison
was in 1911. The pilot's name was Caliph Rogers, advertising Vim-Fizz,
a grape soft drink.
I remember the old Edison phonograph with the cylinder-like
record and the diamond needle, and the large metal horn swung by a brace
and chain to produce the sound.
I remember mayors as far back as Flem Coleman; and
I remember the law back to Oscar Poff, Boyd Craig, Upshaw, Dishner, Ira
Jesse, Dee Burris, Billy Hughes, and others.
I remember bankers such as G. L. Blackford, Tom Foley,
Walter Hibbard, Henry Etter, Ralph Geisenhorner, and a few more.
I knew a few lawyers also: Jeff Hassell, John Suggs,
Roy Finley, Judge Pearson, Judge Howell, Saunders Freels, N. H. L. Decker,
E. J. Smith, and a few more.
I knew a few railroad men, too: E. E. Hanna, Frank
Grace, J. J. Gallagher, Charlie Birge, Dick Jones, R. S. King, Geo. Luckie,
and J. P. Hayden working for the railroad. I could go on and on with this.
I helped build the Katy terminal, west of town, and
walked from my home at 1031 West Bullock Street, to the terminal and back
again in the evenings. I did this for $2.00 per day.
Most all old business men, doctors, and lawyers I
have mentioned above and will mention below, are dead now. Here are a few
business men I knew very well: W. A. Peck, Sidney Smith, Scott & Jennings,
P. W. Burtis, Floyd Thompson, Tony Giarraputo, James Boyd, W. J. Green,
C. D. Kingston, Dick Boyd, P. W. Tapp, Sidney Elkin, B. F. Bledsoe, L.
B. Eastham, W. E. Willis, T. E. Lackey, D. Baker, F. H. Kohfeldt, Fred
Marcus, Clifford Esler, E. E. Regensberger, J. F. Tinsman, J. W. Madden,
Tom Dollarhide, Charles Harris, Nat Kinder, R. M. Noe, S. Harris, C. H.
Crittenden, Charles H. Jones, A. G. Reynolds, B. J. Lindsey, Charles A.
Johnson, J. P. Pollard, W. D. Collins, Luther Cherry, John Rockwell, J.
R. Handy, A. B. Boyer, W. H. Halton, Bill Ashburn, Con Quinn, C. J. O'Maley,
Harry Tone, Con Corcoran, Elmer Wood, Leo Short, George Shields, A. P.
Wood. Also B. W. Baldwin, Walter and Fred Jennings (who are still living),
and many others.
Now a few doctors: Dr. Alex Acheson, Dr. Seay, Dr.
Freels, Dr. James, Dr. Freeman, Dr. Mayes, Dr. Lee, Dr. Jamison, Dr. Paul
Pierce, Dr. D. D. Crawford, Dr. Meador, Dr. W. D. Blassingame, Dr. Sneed,
Dr. Long, Dr. Walker, Dr. Roy, Dr. Gilmore, and many others.
And now some very fine school teachers of yesteryear,
ones I knew well. Miss Jennie and Rachel Watson, Miss Ollie Bird, Miss
Mildred Walker, Miss Ida Shreaves, Miss Mariah K. Watts, Miss Jennie Jackson,
Miss Inez Cartwright, Miss Elizabeth Roy, Mrs. Kitty Memnaugh Corcoran,
Mrs. Beaulah McCaughey Asply, Mrs. Bess Coppin Weicher, Miss Mary Moore,
Mr. B. McDaniel, and Professor F. B. Hughes.
Some of the schools were: High, Stevens, Peabody,
Houston, Central Ward, Lamar and the Cotton Mill. Most of them are still
being used, but all have been rebuilt or remodeled.
I remember a narrow concrete viaduct beginning at
the southeast corner of Forest Park and ending where the south end of the
one is now. It was in a more or less "S" shape. I remember this one well.
I also remember the railroad strike in 1922 when the
Katy machine shops were moved away from here to Belmead, in what you would
say overnight. It was done without the public ever knowing it.
I also remember when Denison was a real railroad town.
It had five railroads : M.K.T., Missouri-Kansas-Texas; the K.O. & G. (Kansas,
Oklahoma and Gulf); the T. & P., Texas and Pacific; the H. & T.
C., Houston and Texas Central; the Frisco; and also the Texas Traction
or (Electric) Service Company (the Interurban).
The busiest place in town was the Katy Depot, when
a passenger train was either coming in or going out every hour, and Red
Caps (colored boys with red caps) were running everywhere carrying luggage
and waiting on people. These trains brought through here such [celebrities]
as President Howard Taft, President Franklin Roosevelt, President Harry
Truman, General (and later President) Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower
was born here, and now his birthplace is a shrine. Heavyweight champion
Joe Louis, James J. Braddock, and John Phillip Sousa. He [Sousa] played
a concert at the high school that night in about 1922 or 23. I saw Roosevelt,
Eisenhower, Louis, Braddock, and Sousa. And, while mentioning these, I
have seen Jack Dempsey, Wallace Berry, Mary Pickford, Dale Robertson, Buddy
Rogers, John Barrymore, Nelson Eddie, Eddie Cantor, Al Jolson, Mae West,
Mickey Rooney, Victor Mature, George Jessell, and John Wayne. All these
were the good old days, and I remember them well.
The first passenger train came into Denison on Christmas
Eve, 1872, run by Pat Tobin. and this of course I don't remember. But I
do remember the last passenger train from the North came in in July 1965,
and Pat Tobin's grandson was the brakeman on it, Tobin Williams.
My oldest brother, Geno, opened the first drive-in
sandwich shop in Denison in 1924. He later opened a dance hall and night
club next door. This was on the corner of Scullin Avenue and Hanna Street.
The name was Oak View Inn. This was about 1926. Orchestras such as Jack
Gardner, Ted Feo Reta, Nat King Cole, Lawrence Welk, Skinny Ennis, Bob
Wills, and many others played there.
I remember when the Denison Hospital opened in 1911
and when the Katy Hospital opened in 1921. The grand opening night of the
Katy Hospital Wayne King played for the formal opening, and it was quite
I remember when Waterloo Pump Station was working
at full blast, pumping water from the Waterloo Lake to a standpipe located
in the intersection of Acheson Street and Tone Avenue. The station was
just across the street north of what is now the National Guard Armory Hall.
Also south of the armory hall, and just before you go under the Katy Bridge,
was the old Sand Springs, where hundreds of people went to get jugs of
the good water to drink. I remember when the dam of Waterloo Lake broke
in 1920 and it washed out roads, bridges, farmland, and followed creeks
until it found its way to Red River.
I also remember some of our good neighbors: the Brights,
Thomases, Hills, Stumps, Fords, Lambs. I went with the youngest Lamb girl.
She was my first childhood sweetheart. That was long ago. The Terhunes,
Bakers, Moores, Fritzes, Rones. The little Rone boy, Malden, was my age,
ten years old, when he killed himself with a little single-shot .22 rifle
accidentally. The Allison and Kidd families. We knew all of them from 1911,
when we moved to Bullock Street.
J. C. Kidd, the only boy of that family, and I grew
up together. He had two sisters, and all that family is gone now but him;
he is about one year older than I. We had some great times and lots of
fun when we were boys together. He had a Model T Ford touring car, and
it is a good thing it could not talk; that would not do. We went to Paris,
Texas, about 1920 to see two girls and brought them back with us. We left
there at twelve noon, and it rained on us all the way back home and, having
good luck, we arrived home that night at twelve midnight. A trip no one
could ever forget. We did not drive a mile over any paved road, and the
old road went around "Hell's half-acre", so to speak. We came over the
old Bells highway, through Ambrose. And by the way, he went with and married
this girl and had one son; and, believe it or not, they are still married,
and he and Bessie, his wife, are the best friends I have in the world.
And, oh yes, the other girl we brought back was my girlfriend and was J.
C.'s wife's aunt. There was not much difference in their ages. She was
a wonderful girl, and they came to visit her sister and stayed a month
I can remember when we had manufactured gas, and you
had to put 25¢ in the meter for several days' [worth] of gas. The
plant was in the 500 block South Mirick where the T.P. & L. warehouse
Also [I remember] when the light company had carbon
arc lights for the streetlights.
[And I recall] when the Conway Oil Company was the
old cottonseed oil mill.
I can remember the old hide house at 130 South Houston
I can remember the first automobile in Denison. It
was owned by Dr. H. W. James. It was a Scripts-Booth. My aunt's, Mrs. Kimble,
funeral was the first automobile funeral in Denison. This was in 1915.
I remember the flu epidemic in 1917 (*he meant 1918)
when six or eight people died each day.
I remember a large three-story wooden building, known
as Jacob's Well. It was like an old hotel, so to speak, located at 701
South Lamar Avenue. He claimed [that] the water from the well and his treatments
would cure about anything wrong with you.
I remember the city reservoir located in the 1600
block Woodard Street.
I remember the Jack Dempsey-Gene Tunney and the long-count
fight at Soldiers' Field in Chicago in 1927. Tunney won.
I remember the old cotton compress next to the Katy
Railroad from Sears Street to Morton Street.
I remember when radio first came into home use in
1919-20 and 1921, where we used only headphones and called it a crystal
I remember when the first electric light hung from
the ceiling on a single wire and socket with tipped-end globes. Some of
the finer homes had gas lights as well as electric. They hung as chandeliers
with two electric globes and two gas lights in glass colored shades.
The modern bathroom had a commode with a pull-chain
box mounted almost to the ceiling. You heated the water, or some had a
gas heater mounted at the end of the tub with a spout over the tub. Most
bathrooms had a tub only, no toilet, and you went to the alley to a so-called
outdoor toilet. I remember when some of the buildings on Main Street had
outdoor toilets on the alleys.
I remember when most homes had wells for water, or
big cisterns dug in the ground, bricked or cemented; caught drain or rain
water; and used hand pumps for certain usage of water. [I remember] when
wells were dug under the house or porch before it was built, and hand pumps
[were] used to bring up the water. [I remember] when there were very few
hydrants in the homes. Some homes had only a tub in the bathroom, [while]
in many, many others you bathed in a No. 3 washtub. Ninety-five percent
of washing clothes was done by heating water in an iron pot in the yard
and using tubs and washboards.
I can remember the Old Park Hotel located across Crawford
Street in front of Forest Park, at 309 and 311 Crawford Street. It was
three stories high and ran back to the alley. Mrs. M. L. McDaniel was the
proprietor. There was a large cage of birds, squirrels, and other small
animals out on the sidewalk. This hotel was the stopping place of all the
vaudeville people who came to town in those days.
I can remember the Red River Bottling Works located
in the 100 block East Woodard Street. My uncle, George Stanford, my mother's
brother-in-law, was quite a gambler in those days, and this was around
1910, but I cant be exact. The owner wanted to sell this business to him,
and he said he would shoot him high dice on the head of a barrel, and if
he lost, he would pay him double, or if he was high, he got it for nothing.
My uncle won the business, and a year or so after that, sold it to another
I remember the City Bottling Works [was] located in
the 200 block West Owing Street and was run for several years by Ike Rotchenstein.
In 1910 my brother Dick, Earl Gardner (uncle to Keith
Hubbard), Cliff Adrin, Clyde VanStone, George Whitney and Barney Stetz
built a houseboat in the back yard of Cliff Adrin, who then lived at 204
West Hull Street. The boat was two feet deep, eight feet wide, and twenty-four
feet long. It drew about three inches of water. The Perkins Bros. Department
Store (located where Nathan Crouch Furniture store is at this writing)
furnished the canvas for the boat to advertise their business. The boat
was put in Red River at Carpenters Bluff, east of Denison. Their intentions
were to go to New Orleans, but they got as far as Fulton, Arkansas, about
three hundred miles downriver, and as the river was so low, they had to
give up due to sand bars and little water. They gave the boat to a farmer
and all came home on a train.
I remember when the 100 block West Main Street was
a very nice block in town. There was the Antlers Hotel, the Brucker Hotel,
the Ourand Hotel in the Lebrecht Building, Rentz's Dining Room, two jewelry
stores, O'Maley's Pawn Shop, H. Tone Real Estate, F. Kohfeld Real Estate,
and many other nice stores.
I remember when a very few phones were in the town
and the phone company used a few girls as operators, who were called
I can remember an old song, "Hello, Central, Give Me Heaven".
I remember when we had very few paved streets and
hardly no sidewalks at all.
I remember when we had six schools in the city limits.
We had two colleges, but only one I can really remember, Draughon's run
by Professor J. W. Adamson. The other was Harshaw's at 900 West Main Street,
but it closed before I could remember it.
I can remember when the city limits went from Washington
Street on the north, Tenth Avenue on the east, Hanna Street on the south,
and Maurice Avenue on the west. The town was laid off like a checkerboard.
The only crooked street was Heron. The 500 and 600 blocks, crossing Mirick
Avenue at the H. & T.C. Railroad crossing.
I remember tent shows in Forest Park called Chautauquas.
I remember also the Old Settlers' Picnic once a year
in Sherman, the county seat. Some people would go and stay the whole week.
I remember when you had to buy all your schoolbooks
at Puckett's in the 400 block or Yeidel's Book Store in the 200 block Main
I remember one of the liveliest sections of our town
was on South Armstrong Avenue, between Nelson and Shepherd streets. Sugar
Bottom. This little place was on the map of our town in early days.
I remember when there were no funeral homes. they were
funeral parlors. Funerals were held in the homes and sometimes in churches.
Most of the bodies were embalmed in the home.
I remember when women wore dresses one inch from the
ground, and when they dressed up, they had what was called leg-of-mutton
sleeves and their hats were called "picture hats", some twenty inches or
more across. The elite always carried small parasols. I also remember hobble
skirts for women.
I remember when there were four 5 & 10 cent stores
on Main Street at one time: S. H. Kress in the 400 block, and Gaffey Brothers,
F. W. Woolsworth, and H. T. Bledsoe in the 300 block.
There were eight picture shows on Main Street at one
time, and four banks.
I remember when teachers were the masters of schools.
When you finished the country school, you got to the city school the best
way you could, and that was mostly walk.
Denison Before I Was Born
I will touch a little on the history of Denison before
I was born, but it is all true.
A wooden viaduct crossed the Katy Shops in the same
place where the viaduct is now, where the W. J. Smith tie plant is.
Located on West Morton Street was the city fairgrounds,
and a horse-race track was there.
A baseball park was located in the 1300 block Bullock
Street on the north side of the road and taking in some of the 1200 block
and all of what is now the 1600 block South Woodlawn Boulevard.
A saloon was at 1031 West Bullock Street, the location
of our last home place, and a lot of the lumber of this saloon was built
into our home.
Oak Wood Cemetery was the first cemetery in Denison.
My father bought $200.00 worth of stock in one of
the largest manufacturing plants here, and after all stock was sold and
it ran for awhile, then it closed down, and my father, along with many
others, lost everything. It seemed to open somehow, later on, and has run
My father bought a team and wagon and helped build
the old Colbert Road Bridge in 1914-15. I did know about this, and while
he owned the team and wagon is when he helped haul the brick to pave the
600 block Main Street, as I have told of helping him do this. He later
sold the wagon and team, as time went on.
At 1531 West Morton Street was a saloon owned by Ed
Ford. Later [it] was operated as a grocery store. Ford had two boys and
There was a little engine and one or two coaches as
needed on a narrow-gauge railroad, known as the Dummy Line. It ran from
town out by the ballpark and on out the Sixty-Foot Road, or 75-A or Woodlawn
Boulevard, and around the Cotton Mill district, back to town.
In 1892, a Doctor Haynes and his wife built and lived
in a large two-story house in the 2500 block Woodlawn Boulevard, and her
sister and husband lived in one just like it about 250 feet north of them.
The doctor was out of town; and his wife, sister, and brother-in-law came
home this night about ten o'clock on the little train, and her sister and
husband bid Mrs. Haynes goodnight and went on to their home. When Mrs.
Haynes went into her home, she was murdered, robbed of her diamonds
and jewelry, and dragged into a cellar, at the back of the house. Her body
was found the next day. That same night a woman was murdered at 205 West
Morton Street, and two other women were murdered in a bawdy house in the
100 block West Skiddy Street, now Chestnut Street. No one was ever convicted
for the four crimes. They tried one man but failed to convict him for lack
In 1911, Dr. Haynes' house was bought by R. S. Legate
and moved into town and placed next door to the new library and was torn
down just this year, 1975, to give more room for the library. R. S. Legate
was a president of the National Bank of Denison, Texas. We then (1911)
lived at 1031 West Bullock Street. As they moved the house into town,
they left it at the side of our house for one night, and all the children
in the neighborhood thought it was haunted. In 1920, Mrs. Haynes' sister's
house, of course belonging to someone else, was destroyed completely by
fire. Dr. Haynes' house, such as the foundation, etc., can still be seen
as of now.
My Life After I Was Grown
Now a little part of my life after I was grown. I
worked for Fairview Cemetery in 1920, mowing grass six days a week with
a push mower for $9.00 per week. I went to work helping build the Katy
terminal in 1922-23, doing plumbing work. I went to work for the Katy Railroad
in July 1924. This was the year the Denison Hotel was finished and opened.
I worked for the Katy until 1929, then went to Halton's Music Shop until
1930. I went to Dallas and bought the cigar stand in the Linz Building,
and in 1931 I married Mrs. Lottie Rockwell, of the Rockwell Jewelry Store.
I stayed in the cigar stand until I sold it, returning to Denison, where
I went into the monument business at 430 West Chestnut Street, where the
Texas Power and Light Company is today. I opened this business in February
1934 and stayed in this business until I sold out and went to Lockheed
Aircraft army rejection and inspection booth in 1943 and stayed there until
I retired in 1947.
I might mention here, in the nine years in the monument
business, I lost $1.50. This is a little record by itself.
My wife, Lottie Rockwell, died in 1958; and I married
Glenna Carlat Derebery, cashier of the State National Bank, and am still
married to her. She is from the 1401 Walker Street home, I mentioned earlier;
and I might add here, she is a Catholic and I am a Presbyterian, if that
I was appointed to the Fairview Cemetery Board in
August 1959 and was there three years and three or four months or longer, the
minutes would give the exact date, retiring in 1947.
I have been working on old clocks as a hobby and still
fool with them, but not all the time. Three years ago, 1972, I had a pretty
bad heart attack and have had two more since then, but I think I have overcome
this ailment by now, or at least I hope so.
Well, this is about all I can talk about. But I just
have to add this: I was against the highway bypassing our city, and it
was defeated the first time voted on but finally passed at the last vote.
The business men in time will hate this, and time only will tell. This
way, no one can see our town (though we have little to see), and no one
will stop to spend any money, but maybe our business men, by then, won't
need any money.
And I just have to tell everyone that I, along with
ten or twelve others, some $25,OOO worth, was against our Main Street as
you see it today [serpentine], but the big ones, as you would know them,
made up this difference, and our Main Street is like it is. They did not
ask the taxpayers if they wanted it, they did it anyway.
I have been in the 48 of the continental United States,
Canada, Mexico, and Catalina Islands. I have done a little, it seems, of
what everyone else has done a lot of. Well, I have told all I know about
my family, Denison, and myself, that I know or should tell, at least. Anything
else in the last few years, you know about anyway. I hope you enjoyed it.
It was the best I could do.
* Grandfather Anderson: born in 1819, died in 1900.
* Grandmother Anderson: born in 1830, died in 1907.
* Grandfather Bodkin: born in 1837, died in 1911.
* Grandmother Bodkin: born in 1836, died in 1926.
Last, and thanking you very much for your patience,
I might mention for the last thing, my mother and father were members of
the Armstrong Avenue Church of Christ, and I believe that we are one of
the oldest, if not the oldest, families in Denison, having been here since
before the first city lot was sold, and that is quite awhile.
Thank you very much.
Thomas B. Anderson