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Matagorda County Tribune

Collegeport Columns

November, 1928

By Harry Austin Clapp

[Collegeport information was abstracted from the longer article.]

At the last meeting of the League a pump was ordered for the community house and a little bird told me that before many moons a sink would be installed. Good news for Mrs. Roy Nelson and the other ladies who use the kitchen most. Just another little thing the League is doing.

A letter from Mr. Cottingham, of Kansas City, asks if the "nine-foot sidewalk" is finished. Wrote him that it was not, but work was going on at the rate of about 3,960 feet, 2 inches per day.

Last week two men came here for a short visit and as I looked at them and talked with them I could see that their souls lifted to the clouds and they saw the beauties that God has bestowed upon us and I wondered why most of us stick our feet in the mud and looking only at the earth deprive ourselves of the vision of what might be if we, too, could only lift our souls to the clouds.

Last week I mentioned the perculiar fish that Doc Harkey hooked and that escaped by turning itself inside out, and now a reader of the Tribune asks how he (the fish) reversed the process, and the answer is, by the simple method of swimming backwards.

A big wooly worm crawling on the window. Along comes Mr. Arigope Riparia (writing spider) and tackles Mr. Worm, and a real fight follows, but Mr. Arigope is too agile for the worm and at the end of each attack, he has fastened a little portion of his web, and at last the worm is all bound up in a silken strong and ceases his struggle. The spider has made her egg sack and filled it with eggs, little pearls that will hatch out into little Argiones. It is about three fourths of an inch in diameter and about one inch long and pear shaped with a very narrow neck through which the mother spider placed her eggs. It is strongly guyed with silken threads so that in the strongest winds it hardly sways. Looks like a yellow silk purse that might have been lost by some fairy. Perhaps it was.

Over in San Antonio they stage a "beautiful back" contest. To be one of the judges would be a pleasant job.

Received a "Babygram"yesterday announcing the arrival of Anna Claire Herrmann at Dallas, October 27th, and weighing 8 1/2 pounds. This will mean little to some readers, but to the oldtimers it will mean that Anna Van Ness is now the mother of two girls.


First arrived Barbara Jane;

Now comes Anna Claire.

I wonder where

They got the name?


Sweet little Anna Claire,

Looking up with baby stare.

Remember I'm your Uncle Unc,

Your very own Rinky Dune!

--Fragments From Hack.

Well, anyway, there is one thing about rayon that appeals to me; it gets next to the skin.

Roy Nelson says that he read so much about R. J. R. that he bought a sack and found it the rottenest tobacco he ever used. Just shows that his taste needs some cultivation.

No person who has heard Honey Boy Evans sing "Come Take a Trip in My Airship" can help but wish he might have been spared to see present day aviation. If there is a heaven I am sure that Honey Boy is there and inviting the angels to "come take a trip in my airship."

Stanley Wright and Roy Nelson stepping out in new cowboy boots.

Taken from the New York Tribune of November 1st, 1912: "Miss Ethel Nelson, a girl with a beautiful lyric coloratura voice, made her debut in grand opera in the new Metropolitan last Thursday night. Miss Nelson recently returned from a European tour and will take a well earned vacation with her folks at Collegeport, Texas. The beauty, sweetness and color of Miss Nelson's voice was discovered in 1928 while she was singing "Brighten the Corner Where You Are" at the local Sunday school. Old residents will remember how sweet her voice was as a little girl and how she was always willing to take her part in local entertainments. (I ought to have a whole chocolate bar for this.)

There is such a thing as celebrating hallowe'en safely and sanely, but this year the boys went too far when they destroyed school, library and church property, for which their parents must pay. To cap the outrage obscene words were chalked on part of the library property. Yet, some folks will say, "O, we must remember, boys will be boys."

Woman's Union met with Mrs. Haisley this week, who supplied much work for the members.

Say boy, but it is now my intention to feed my face on some of Mrs. Nelson's chicken noodles next Tuesday. I sympathize, commiserate, pity, condole, all those who have never had the opportunity to fill their tummies with these consummate, transcendent, peerless Carrie Nelson noodles. When the bell rings, tell 'em I'll be there, and bring the miserable wretch, but I won't feed her on noodles, for they make women wild.

Those who do not enjoy this week's string of slum are advised to try it on their piccolos. It may sound better played.

The Daily Tribune, November 6. 1928

By Harry Austin Clapp

[Collegeport information was abstracted from the longer article.]

Well, anyway, Rev. Merriman I. Smith last Sunday regaled his congregation with some more "new thought," his theme being "Rising Up," and although I was not present, the miserable wretch was and she reported that it was one of the best sermons she had ever listened to. She came home filled up with the ideas given and although I received the sermon second hand, I was impressed with the fact that it was a pity that every church goer in Matagorda county could not have heard it.

Have been on the house roof looking for leaks and patching them up. Finding leaks in a shingled roof is about as difficult as finding salvation in this age of several hundred sects.

Ora and Oscar [Chapin] are sure fine correspondents. They have been away about sixty days and we have received one picture card. Maybe they will reform some day.

I am writing this sheet of copy Tuesday, Nov. 6, and the rain is pouring in sheets which means a small vote in this box, but here is one consolation--"It won't be long now," as the cat said when her tail was caught in the wringer. The miserable wretch put on rubber boots and accompanied by her boy husband, walloped to the polls and voted as straight as possible. Well anyway, now that it is all over I thank the Lord for one thing and that is we will get rid of a lot of excess prophets. Governor Smith proved his sportsmanship with the congratulatory telegram he sent to Hoover. He is a swell loser. I admire him. Considering the landslide, it will require courage to wear a brown derby from now on. This boy, gave Hoover 39 and Smith 15 which is about all that could be expected.

Just learned of the death of D. P. Moore and I feel that I have lost a good friend. During my public work it was my duty to solicit subscriptions from him and he never turned me down. He always gave liberally and willingly. He always had a smile and a happy word to say. He was a public spirited man always willing to serve. A lovable and loving character has passed over the river and he will be missed by many people of this county. I shall miss him whenever I visit Bay City. And a voice said:

"Something hidden, Go and find it. Go and look beyond the Ranges

Something lost behind the ranges, Lost and waiting for you to find it."

And then the same day comes the announcement of the death of Dr. Frank Crane. I never saw him but I have read so many of his writings that I feel that another friend has gone away.

The Woman's Club met this week with Mrs. Frank King with a Thanksgiving program sponsored by Mrs. Harry Austin Clapp, sometimes known as the "miserable wretch." Refreshments were "a la King," which is sufficient, adequate, ample description to partake of Mrs. King's hospitality.

Well, anyway, I lunched with the Woman's Union last Tuesday and consumed, absorbed, devoured a liberal quantity of those world celebrated Carrie Nelson Noodles. Judd Mortimer Lewis will never know what a real satisfied feeling is until he fills his frame with Nelson Noodles. He may write about Mollie's Punkin Pie, but Nelson Noodles outclass such common food in every way. Come on down Uncle Judd and live right.

The Collegeport Airport is open. At least a plane landed here Friday from Kelly Field to take on a passenger. The passenger failed to keep his date so the plane leaped into the sky and away for Kelly Field. Furnished the burghers material for talking and it will last about a week.

Ben R. Mowery has gone back to his crooked stem pipe.

Mrs. Crane still taking in the cream without which Morning Glory butter could not be made.

Gus Franzen looking for his boys from Houston.

Believe it or not, it is true, Mrs. Boeker, at the Woman's Club, won first in the contest of making as many words as possible from the word "Thanksgiving." She made 78 while Mrs. S. W. Corse won the booby, making 20. The latter received as the booby prize an elegant radio set with accessories, and the former a crate of kid glove oranges. Some prizes even if they were filled with all-day suckers.

Seth Corse has a new gas stove for the P. O. and will not shiver this winter.

The Utsey and Real families are loading out and going back to Leon county, but others are coming in so the population is about the same.

F. L. Jenkins has rented his farm and is loading for Dilley, Texas, where he will develop his farm near that place. Sorry to have his family leave.

The "nine-foot sidewalk" is appreciated these days of mud and soft roads.

Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Soekland, Jr., are certainly additions to our group of young people. Splendid, well behaved, young people and wish we had more like them.

Judging from the number of families coming in we will have an enlarged cotton acreage this season. Glad some are Bohemians for they are a thrifty people.

Jack Holsworth says he will have a vacation during the holidays and I wonder if Verner Bowers will enjoy the same privilege?

Geese coming in every day and the hunters are getting good bags.

The Daily Tribune, November 17, 1928


  By Harry Austin Clapp


The other day while strolling along the Collegeport Ship Channel I met a funny looking man, dressed in a garb strange to me. He had peculiar shoes of red leather, pointed at the toes and at the end little bells. His head covering was a beautiful white turban and his body was covered with a yellow robe that in the sunlight glinted like gold. His face was lean and brown, shaved smooth, and it required only a glance to see that I was in the presence of a strong character.


By his side was a large, brown, earthen jug, enrapped with a covering of woven reeds, but the thing that attracted my attention was a peculiar shaped utensil, the use of which I had no idea. He introduced himself as Aladdin and explained that in his hand he held the Magic Lamp. He gave it to me and told me that all I had to do was to rub it vigorously and I would see what I would see. I sat by his side along the banks of the slough and, following his instructions, I rubbed the lamp and it seemed to glow and take on a luster, brilliancy, radiance, and this is what I saw:


I found myself in San Francisco and could hardly realize that it was the year 1948 and that I had been away from Collegeport twenty years, and so I said to the miserable wretch, "suppose we take a trip to Collegeport?" and she, as always ready to wander, consented and we started. Years of experience taught me that when a woman consented it was time to act and so I called at the office of the Aviation company and engaged passage which included stateroom and meals.


Early Monday morning we were at the port and as the sun tipped the range, bathing the valleys in a shower of sunlight the big ship started. Looking up from the salon she looked like a gigantic silver fish. Space forbids a detailed story of what we saw en route so it will suffice to say that at noon Tuesday we left the ship which was in express service, at Houston, and from that place we had to take the local which served from Houston to Brownsville. Up to this time I had always traveled by air express and I was a bit puzzled as to the manner of disembarking local passengers. In 20 minutes after leaving Houston, Palacios was in sight and across the bay Collegeport. The airport is located where the fig orchards used to be opposite the old Chapin home and is perhaps one hundred feet high. In front is a moving platform about one thousand feel long which moves at about ten miles an hour. The airship simply, slows down to that speed and skimming close to the platform passengers step from the ship to the platform and then to another slower moving and so on until they reach the stationary plat and then descend by means of an elevator. An adaptation of the moving sidewalk and the ship goes on its way.


Collegeport is now a town of five thousand people and secured its first growth by the location of a parts factory by the Ford Motor Company. Several buildings four stories high, I saw, and one of them is still occupied by Verner Bowers and another store is presided over by Mrs. Crane, but it is now known as Crane-Bachman & Co., and carries a large stock. I was surprised to find that Ora and Oscar Chapin had returned and Oscar was operating a seven-chair barber shop.


The only Hugo has one of the finest drug stores I ever saw in a town of this size, and he was glad enough to see me that he mixed up one of his new drinks.


The Soeklands, who bought a farm some twenty years ago, are running over five thousand laying hens.


Burton D. Hurd and Dena H. are living in the old home with Vernon and several grand-children.


Seth Corse is still post master, but has an assistant in the person of his grandson, Seth Corse Duller.


All the former large tracts of land have been cut up and are now occupied by farms.


Roy Nelson and Stanley Wright are in the pure bred Hereford business and run fewer cattle and make more money.


The Liggetts have settled down to cow milking and I saw in their barn about thirty as fine Holstein-Friesians as could be found any place.


What used to be Pilkington slough has been cleaned out, dredged to a depth of twenty feet and ships of good size tie up at the dock of a big Rayon factory located where the Yott warehouse used to be. It employs a large force.


Went over to Palacios, now a town of about ten thousand. The only men I found whom I used to know were Duncan Ruthven and George Harrison. Duncan operates a very large oyster packing house, while George has entire charge of all the roads in three counties under the Federal regulations. Palacios enjoys deep water, and ships flying the flags of five nations were in harbor while I was there.


But, say Bay City knocked my eye out. I used to wonder why any one picked that location for a town, but there it stands with fifty thousand population. The Tribune is still operating, which is strange to me, as I quit sending "Thoughts" to it more than twenty years ago. Carey Smith wears a full beard that comes to his waist and is a very dignified old gentleman.


Went into the First National Bank to get a check cashed and saw Jim Lewis. He weighs over two hundred pounds, is chairman of the board and thus is at the head of a bank with a capital of $500,000. Bay City supports six big banks with a combined capital of about $3,000,000. It is some city full of life and activity. Mills of all kinds, cotton seed mills, mills making cloth, sugar refineries and the big Rugeley gin handled ten thousand bales last season.


Doc Harkey, still manager of the big chamber of commerce, told me that the population of Matagorda county was about 250,000 and that the last season 125,000 bales of cotton were ginned.


The people of the town of Matagorda, in appreciation of the magnitude of the shell business under the management of George Culver changed the name of the town to Culver.


But to go back to Collegeport. The fig business started about twenty-two years ago by Doctor Van Wormer developed beyond his wildest dreams, and last year the factory put up 2,000,000 pounds of various fig products. It operates the year round now on sea foods and truck products and employs about two hundred people. I am very glad that Doctor Van made good and so are the folks who stuck by him and followed him.


What used to be called the "nine-foot sidewalk" is now a solid cement road thirty-two feet wide as, indeed, are all other county roads, but they are used mostly for heavy trucking as few automobiles are used now. Mr. John Heisey and Mr. John Carrick are the only men who operate autos. All others use airplanes of different sizes.


The town boasts of five churches--St. Mary's Episcopal Chapel, St. Patrick's Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist.


Much to my surprise and delight I saw a magnificent building bearing a sign "Home of the Collegeport Industrial League," and on inquiry found it was the gift of Dr. Van Wormer. It supplies all community needs and is well equipped and open day and night. I remember that more than forty years ago I was one of the original incorporators of this organization.


The Woman's Club, Woman's Union, which, by the way, is a real union of all church women, the King's Daughters are housed in the League building.


Saw Hugo Kundinger on the beach playing with seven kiddies and with great pride he informed that they were all his.


I saw a big, modern school house with domestic science, vocational and manual training departments with something like thirty teachers and much to my surprise Miss Baird was the superintendent. Building in the Spanish Mission style, built about a patio in which I found a fountain and many flowers. The two Ruths were teachers of biology.


I saw a large factory, bearing the sign "Home of Whang, the Harmless Snake," and on investigating I learned that some years ago Carl Boeker had found a new plant called the Whang Berry Tree. It was found in the Colorado river bottoms and had leaves about five feet long by two feet in width. A chemical analysis disclosed the fact that it tasted and looked like tobacco, having the same flavor and producing the same soothing effect, it was not only harmless, but a refreshing stimulant. Ben Mowery tried it and declared it the equal of Old Briar, and Seth Corse said it was almost as good as R. J. R. So Ben Mowery financed the idea with result that now there are many factories licensed to make the finished product. This factory in Collegeport being the parent company.


Many other interesting things I saw, but carried out the first vision of Burton D. Hurd more than forty years ago, but Aladdin seemed a bit impatient, so I gave back the magic lamp and as I ceased to rub, it took on a dull, pearly lustre. He tenderly placed it in the big earthen jar, stepped into a little pea green boat and down the channel he drove and into the bay and following in the wake of a big steamer, he turned and waved his hand at me, a smile lightened his lean, brown face and he was lost in the spray of the dancing waves. I wonder if I shall ever see him again and have once more an opportunity to rub the magic lamp.


Well, anyway, when it was all over and I went up town for my daily letter from M. B. F., I saw Louis Walter with a new pair of yellow shoes and a new cob pipe.


Mrs. Ash brought in the mail and folks waited for the distribution and I was back on earth. No magic lamp but still I knew we all have the magic of nature, which if we co-operated in a determined manner would bring to us all that the magic lamp brought to me.


Thursday I joined the King's Sons and went to the home of the famous Carrie Nelson noodles. Did I eat noodles? Rub the magic lamp. The table was loaded with every eatable imaginable from fried chicken to "punkin" pie. Baked apples from the kitchen of Mrs. Liggett looked like great balls of red jelly. Thirty-five of the King's Daughters including the "Lady from the White House" and eight of the King's Sons were present. How I wish Burton D. could have been present, for he enjoys good eats.


Merriman L. Smith took the Boy Scouts on a fourteen-mile hike Friday. All came in with heads erect.


Burt Hunt moving his blacksmith outfit back and will re-open his shop and garage.


Verner Bowers taking a trip to El Campo. Thought we had plenty of girls here.


Geese coming in small bunches, but plenty of quail.


John Heisey mowing yards and making the burg look slick.


Fine improvements on the Soekland farm. Soon there will be chickens a plenty.


The Ackermans moving from the Slough ranch to the Olsen place. Hope Mrs. Ackerman will continue me as her partner in the goose business.


Matagorda County Tribune, November 23, 1928

Edwin A. Holsworth


Mr. Edwin A. Holsworth, seventy-two years old, former prominent Joliet resident, died Nov. 22, 1928 , at his home in Collegeport.


Mr. Holsworth was for many years owner of the Holsworth foundry in Joliet , Ill. He was born in Bloomington , Ill. , January 22, 1857 , and moved with his parents to Joliet . As a young man, Mr. Holsworth was a prominent baseball player, playing with the Chicago White Sox and the St. Louis team.


He was married to Helen Pettigren of Chicago in 1892. In 1897 he established the Holsworth Foundry and remained in that business until 1910 when he moved his family to Collegeport, where he has since resided.


Mr. Holsworth has been in ill health for several years. He is survived by his widow, a son, Mason Standish (Jack) Holsworth, and a daughter, Margaret, all of Collegeport.


Mr. Holsworth was for years a prominent member of the Commercial Club of Joliet.


Funeral services were held at his home and immediately the family left with the remains for Joliet , Ill. , where he was laid to rest beside his father and mother. Masonic services were held at the Masonic Temple and at the grave on Monday afternoon.


Mr. Holsworth was one of Collegeport's pioneers and one of this county's best citizens.


Matagorda County Tribune, November 30, 1928

By Harry Austin Clapp


The Ford Motor Company, in a full page advertisement in The Saturday Evening Post, advises people to take a trip in one of their airships to Matagorda Bay. If folks come now they will have wild goose for dinner for "Soups On."

I never could understand how a modern girl climbs in a rumble seat without showing her--well, any way, I don't see how she gets in. Any one tell?


Last week I mentioned that Ora and Oscar [Chapin] had been away sixty days and had not written a letter to me. The other night a fine, big, newsy letter arrived. Just proves that "it pays to advertise."


Merriman L. Smith and his Boy Scouts putting on an Indian Trail game.


A woman reader of "Thoughts" writes: "Thoughts every week, when we come home. At noon the paper is here and I read it before I eat, so you see how I enjoy them, for you know how I love to eat." I'll bet she is good enough to eat for she is one sweet girl, if I do say it, as I shouldn't be hitched up to the miserable wretch.


Here comes a letter from Bert Carr and he has the nerve to ask me what "Thoughts" will be this week. Why, dog-gone it, don't he know that if I would give this tripe up in advance Carey Smith would fire me at once? Well, anyway, Bert says he likes the dope and he wishes both of us many good things. I have voted for Bert for about twenty years and hope he will give me the opportunity to cast many more votes. Some how I have always liked this kuss.


For the benefit of a West Texas reader will say that F. L. Jenkins has rented his place to a farmer from Leon. Only one of the Reals left and he returned to Leon. The Harveys are still on the Welsby place. One of the Reals lives in the Chain [Crane?]  house and he is the engine watchman.


The Carl Boekers moved into the Cottingham house.


The lots west of the Chapin house are planted to onions and the crop is a very thrifty one.


Several new families moving in.


Carl Boeker opens his hunting club.


Matagorda Bay claimed five victims during the past week, two being aviators from Kelly Field and three duck hunters. Dangerous business fussing around Matagorda Bay during northers which kick up a nasty sea for small craft.


Thursday was Thanksgiving Day and the Citrus Grove community held their annual community dinner. This has been their day for twenty years.


They simply cannot stay away. Another old timer returns and buys 80 acres across from the Haisley farm. O. Gableman by name, says he has found no better country for farming.


As I write I learn that Mr. E. A. Holsworth, one of the original settlers of Collegeport, has solved the problem of life and death. At three o'clock on Thursday afternoon he hailed the boatman and crossed over the river.


He knows now if the hope we hug to our breasts, of a life hereafter, is true or not. E. A. Holsworth came to this town abut 19 years ago, built a beautiful home on the bay shore, engaged in the business of farming and for some years in merchandising. He was active in all civic affairs and was greatly loved by those who knew him best and they affectionately called him Dad and by this name he was generally known. He leaves his widow, Helen Holsworth, his son, M. S. "Jack" Holsworth, who is actively engaged in colonizing a large tract of land near town, and a daughter, Margaret, who, at one time, was in charge of the local school and now a teacher in the Chicago schools. A man has not lived in vain who can give the world such fine children. For three years Mr. Holsworth's health has been delicate, always slipping day by day and it seemed to his friends that he was only waiting:

"Only waiting 'till the shadows

Are a little longer grown,

Only waiting 'till the glimmer

Of the day's last beam is flown;

'Till the night of earth is faded

From the heart once full of day;

'Till the stars of Heaven are breaking

Through the twilight soft and gray."


Every man, woman and child of Collegeport will miss "Dad" Holsworth. Funeral services by Rev. Merriman L. Smith were held at the residence Friday and final interment in Joliet, Ill., his old home. Many old friends from Palacios, Blessing, Houston were present to pay their last respects.


The town is again filled up with workers on the "nine-foot sidewalk" and they do say that in three weeks the walk will be finished.


Emmitt Chiles put in a bid on 7.71 miles of dirt road running from the Army Camp to the underpass on the Mopac railroad and he made the grade. Bid was a bit over $30,000. Every one is pleased at his success.


Judd Mortimer Lewis sends out another wall abut the good old "punkin" pie. Abajo "punkin" pie. Judd should visit Collegeport, fill his front with famous Carrie Nelson Noodles and finish up with a pipe loaded with R. J. R., or if he can't stand that, take a whiff of "Whang, the Harmless Smoke." With this prescription under his belt "Platinum Points" would come easy.


Local merchants sell R. J. R. at ten cents the bale straight over in Palacios one may buy seven bales for forty-five cents. Wonder why our locals do not wake up and make an effort to keep trade at home. At the least figure, $2,000 per month goes away for food and feed stuffs.


Arthur Soekland working over the postmasters auto.


Burt Hunt back to stay and all are pleased, for Burt if a good fellow.


Tom Fulcher looking for a telegram.


Thirty books given out at the Library Friday.


Ben R. Mowery and Merriman L. Smith accompanied Mrs. Holsworth and Jack as far as Bay City.


Roy Nelson and Stanley Wright working their cattle. Fine, fat fellows they are.


Mrs. John B. Heisey calling on the Homecrofters.


Saw twenty big geese in the flats along Pilkington slough. They stretched their necks and looked me over while I crept as close as possible. They seemed to have no fear for they knew I had no gun.


A big, blue crane visits our barn lot each night and flies away early in the morning.


While looking for the cows the other night got up more than forty quail in a bunch. Look better to me flying happily away than stretched out on brown toast.


Saw a hawk strike a quail and on my approach he flew and I found that the head had been taken off. In about an hour only a pile of feathers.


Saw an armadillo lumbering along.


A big, brown field rat scurrying in the grass.


A flock of gulls soaring overhead their white feathers glinting in the sunlight.


Frost on the grass glistens and sparkles like diamonds of iridescent hue.


The Matagorda County Tribune, November 30, 1928




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