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Collegeport Articles


January, 1930

Thoughts About A Comma
By Harry Austin Clapp

[Local information taken from a longer article.]

For several years George Serrill has sent us a calendar. He began with one about five feet long and each succeeding year sent a smaller one. This year he sends one the size of a postal card. I suppose that is to punish us for not taking out that tornado insurance or failing to be Aetnaized.

Sunday, the people of this vicinity expected to have the pleasure of hearing Hubert Travis as the preacher, and so folks came from miles around. The Bradens, Hubert Arthur and Ruth Mathis and children, R. E. Coffin and daughter, Lois, Margaret Holsworth came from Chicago, Mary Louise from San Antonio, Homer Goff and family from Houston and others to make up an audience but no Hubert, so they had their own program and the miserable wretch informs me that Homer Goff’s voice was like the voice of an angel. The Coffin family were guests at Homecroft Sunday, much to our delight and Mary Louise and Lois had a busy time discussing old (?) times when they were small girls. This visit helped to heap our platter of Christmas tide joys to the over flow.

Tuesday, Mary Louise gave a luncheon in honor of Miss Ethel Nelson and that night she in turn was the guest of Ruth Mowery at a last of the year party. She saw the old year go and the new year come and when she arrived home at one o’clock in the morning of January 1, 1930, she found I and the miserable wretch waiting for her so she could have our greetings.

Monday night Louise Walter held a bridge party, which Mary Louise attended under the escort of Clifford Franzen. O, say, the box of Famous Carrie Nelson Noodles which I have received as a Christmas gift from my good friend of twenty years, served for dinner Sunday and although the table was filled with other viands I saw nothing but noodles and so stretching my tummy to the limit.

The Houston Chronicle and the Post-Dispatch are offering gifts to the first baby born in Houston in the new year. The gifts consist of 24 quarts of milk, a set of rattles, pair of baby shoes, a small wagon, et cetera and other things a day old baby has no use for.

These papers would have done a very fine act had they agreed to finance that baby through college. Either one of these publications could have done it and never missed the money. Each of them will spend more than such a sum on some damned gimmicks.

Well, anyway, the day came, the beautiful, warm, sunny first day of the new year, and with it over one hundred folks with their budgets and baskets of food to attend the twentieth annual community dinner. The table was loaded as usual with roast turkey, roast chicken, roast wild duck and geese, roast beef, veal and pork, potatoes, salads, fruits, cakes, pies, but crowning them all was a big tank of the Famous Carrie Nelson Noodles. I was one of the first in line and keeping my eye on those delicious, superlative, golden noodles I loaded my plate, scorning the common foods and soon was busy absorbing that nourishing, satisfying, gratifying, comforting nutriment. All other foods “done lost their flavor.” The world looked good to me all things took on a rosy sheen and my soul was filled with delight and I said:

“No cool gray tomes for me!
Give me warmest red and green,
A cornet and a tambourine,
To paint my Jubilee.
For when pale flutes and oboes play,
To sadness I become a prey.
Give me noodles, violets and May
But no gray skies for me.”

After dinner those present were regaled, entertained, delighted, with floods of reason, optimistic bouquets, by Messrs. Haisley, Sims, Mowery, Franzen, Cottingham, Liggett and others. It was a great day for the College Sports, but it is now a great opportunity for Bay City business men to resolve that they will employ this year that great fundamental force in business, viz: advertising. The largest business in the world was built by advertising and big business builds big towns. Bay City will continue to be a twenty-five miles from the bay until by persistent, clever, truthful use of the daily and weekly press she forces the attention of others upon her business houses. I’ll bet a plate of those Famous Noodles that if every business house in Bay City will drop all kinds of advertising for six months that their sales and deposits will drop fifty per cent.

The press is of incalculable value, but it is not the news events that makes it so. It is because the columns of paper carry to the outside world the business expression and invitation of the local houses. Such business news in well displayed advertisements, is decisive in its influence, not only by directing trade or deposits to the advertiser but the continuous invitation for visits of investigation. It is, therefore, a good time to resolve. Don’t forget that no house can afford to overlook a great fundamental fact.

Mary Louise was with us for 655, 200 golden seconds, each one a brilliant diamond of love and affection. When the train pulled out we stood there with moist eyes and now:

“It seems as if the moon at night
Shines brighter since you went,
And that the stars more grandeur give
To all the firmament.
The reason? When I had your eyes
To laminate the night,
Their light which shone alone for me,
Made stars and moon less bright.
And when I had your smile by day
I cared not if the sun
Arose or set—nor if the day
Had ended or begun.
But now you’re gone—Like common men.
I turn to nature’s light,
And think the sun your smile by day
The stars your eyes at night.”

Collegeport is always up to date and now she has a strike. The landlord on the first day of the new year boosted the rent on all three of the rooms in the Sholl block and the tenants thinking that January first with a decreasing trade volume was a helluva time to increase rents simply struck and refused to pay. Looks as though all would acquire lots close by and build their own business places. There be many guys who delight in taking the joy out of life. I have gobs of sympathy for the fellow who dates his letters 1929. I have slipped a coupla times but am trying to reform.

Bay City will start about right if she has Mrs. Emma Lewis Carlton for her Postmistress. Emma Lee has the poise, charm, refinement and ability to make for Bay City a splendid functionaire. I’ll bet before she is in office thirty days she will arrange to sell twenty-five 2c stamps for fifty cents. The day she assumes office the Bay City office will pump into the first class division. Think I’ll write Herbert about this matter.

The Daily Tribune, January, 1930

Oil Interest Alert Near Collegeport

Collegeport, Jan. 8.—For several weeks crews have used dynamite in testing this section for oil. Something like 20,000 acres are under lease by four major companies.

Although no development work is being done or even started, considerable interest has been aroused during the last few days. The Braden estate sold one-half of the one-eighth royalty on 20 acres for $520, and $3700 was paid for the same interest in the Brown tract of 100 acres, while $13,000 was paid for a similar interest in the 120-acre O’Neith [Oneth? O’Neal?] tract.—Houston Chronicle.

Palacios Beacon, January 9, 1930


By Harry Austin Clapp


[Local information taken from longer article about procrastination.]


Well, anyway, this had nothing to do with the quite serious accident that befell Elizabeth Eisel. She fell with an arm full of wood, at the school house and cut her face seriously and the inside of her mouth much worse. The wounds became infected and the result is that Elizabeth has a badly swollen face.


Roads are drying out and it will not be long before Brigadier General Punchher in charge of local highways with be out with his grader.


Ben Mowery stayed home this week and attended to the weather bureau and reaching out into the ether he brought the news that we would be visited by a norther on Wednesday and Thursday morning it would freeze to the coast. It did to the tune of 24 degrees. Who was it that sung the song "The Sunny Southland?" For me the Island of Tahiti where clothing is not required and fires are only used for cooking.


Gus Franzen walked a mile for a fag [cigarette] and it satisfied him because there was not a cough in a carload and then he reached for a Lucky and graduated into a man's size cigar. Looks becoming and comfortable.


The publisher of the Tribune received a letter the other day which began "I am enclosing payment of this year's subscription." He enjoyed listening to that song for it meant money with which to buy paper for next week's issue. But here is where by interest comes in. "After a whole weeks eager anticipation between time clock punches, life wouldn't be worth living if "Thoughts" were not waiting for me every Saturday night. Then, too it supplies the reason for the dear old regular family quarrel over who's going to get it first." Say, boy, that bouquet of flowers sure was filled with rare fragrance, aroma, incense, redolence.


"He has the alchemist's secret who changes one sad note to song; he has the touch of Midas who makes all bright and golden someone's day."


Breathing the delicate perfume sent to me in this bouquet from the soul of the sender, I can live another day although a stiff norther is blowing.


Believe it or not, but I am unable to tell which Dorothy said "I'd rather have a ring on the finger than two in the store." It may be Dorothy Dick, perhaps it was Dorothy Steve, perchance it is Dorothy Dean.


This prediction is made on the 16 to January and it may be depended on. Beginning January 25 and lasting for four days we will have a mild period. Fair to moderate winds. Soft, balmy winds along the gulf border states. Don't thank me, until the 29 when stormy weather will visit us again.


Us Homecrofters (meaning I and the miserable wretch) had a very happy two-hour visit with the Franzen family who called on us Wednesday. Hope they come often.


It is claimed that a stenographer always makes a good wife because she is used to dictation.


I ran across the word "tmpathy" the other day and wondered what the hell it meant. I find it don't mean a thing except, "the ___ (paper torn) of the emotional feelings to the external object which serves as their visual or auditory stimulus." It is so plain that I shall find opportunity to use it so you readers better look out or the visual auditory will get you.


The King's Daughters held their regular monthly meeting with Mrs. Carl Boeker. The annual report of the retiring secretary was read and accepted and much other business transacted. The election of officers for the new year resulted in selecting Mrs. Anna D. Crane, president; Mrs. Roy Nelson, vice-president; Mrs. J. J. Harbison, secretary and Mrs. Reba Wright, treasurer. The annual report showed that the organization had contributed to the support of two orphan homes, a twenty dollar payment on the church fund, care of the cemetery and considerable other work along those lines. I did not care much for gatherings where noodles are absent.


Ben R. Mowery stayed home this week and attended to the weather business and as a result we had the mercury down to 10 Friday morning. The day before heavy mist, rain, sleet, hovering clouds. This is supposed to be the champion low temperature for this section during the past fifty years. Palacios was eight degrees but that is because it is on the wrong side of the bay. Suffering snails, but it was cold. I can find no prayer that fits the period as the Litany and there I find:


"Good Lord, deliver us, from lightening and tempest; from plague, pestilence and famine; from battle and murder and from sudden death," and so I ask that God deliver us poor sufferers way down in the sunny southland from the grip of winter.


Mrs. Carrie Nelson has a large generous, warm heart and has taken four kids to raise. They belong to the Capra Hicks family. If she plans to bring them up on noodles, I wish she would take me to raise.


The Daily Tribune, Jan. 22, 1930



By Harry Austin Clapp


In the year 1904 my business as manager of the Antigua Copper Company of Sonora, Mexico, took me to New York for some months. The company's attorney was Mr. Henry J. Dexter with offices at 52 Broadway. The company also had an office in Nassau Street. One Saturday, Mr. Dexter asked me to meet him at my hotel the next morning and accompany him to the Sunday School lead by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., at the Fifth Avenue Baptist Church. I accepted the invitation, I think, from curiosity more than for any other reason and went with him. The church was not a very elegant building, looked a bit shabby to me, but it was large and spacious. I found perhaps five hundred men gathered and soon a young man appeared in front of and the Sunday School opened. John D. Jr., was about five feet eight inches tall, rather stocky build with a pronounced wide jaw line and a rather pugnacious chin.


A choir or quartette supplied the music and when the time arrived for taking the offering, Mr. Rockefeller said, "men this is your school and not mine. I am only the leader. It costs about thirty dollars each session. I want each of you to place in the offering not more than ten cents, less if you wish, but remember that if you do not do this it will not be your Sunday School. If I pay the bills it will be mine."


No one listening to him could fail to be impressed with his earnestness. He was a forcible speaker and a very attractive leader. After I had attended several times, Mr. Dexter introduced me to John D. Jr., and when he found that I was from Mexico, his face brightened up and he told me that he had some interests in Sonora and that led to a conversation that lasted about ten minutes. From that time, during the next four or five months, there was hardly a Sunday when I did not have some conversation with him. On the right of the big main auditorium was a large reception room and I noticed that quite a number of men and women frequented this room during our session. One Sunday John D. Jr., asked if I would like to meet his father. Of course I would like to meet John D. Sr., and we passed into the room and I was introduced to the father. He seemed a trifle smaller than the son and was very spare built with a lean face. His eyes were piercing and seemed to look through one, instead of at one. His face had a shrewd, almost what I might say foxy look, but with that it was a kindly face, with twinkles in his eyes at times. I talked with him perhaps five minutes most of the time about Mexico. The difference between the two as I saw it, was that the father would buck the line and break through regardless of cost, while the son would use diplomacy, give and take, but just as certainly going through. One Sunday it was announced that our leader would depart that week for his vacation abroad and that the class was invited to a reception at the father's home. Henry and I went, of course, for who would turn down such an invitation.


If we expected a great of display of wealth, we were disappointed. The house was elegant, splendidly furnished, but nothing lavish. The service was quiet and never intrusive. Mrs. Rockefeller was a small, rather plump woman, with a warm, generous smile for her guests. I liked her from the first glance for she looked so womanly, so motherly, so radiant with happiness. Refreshments consisted of cakes and tea. Simple things for such a house, but its owner was a simple man. Shaking hands with these two men I gained these impressions: John D. Jr. gave a warm, generous, almost lingering grasp. His hand was a warm one, a very friendly one, while his father's, though vigorous was a short grasp, with long slender fingers that suggested claws. His hand had not the warm feeling of the other. The junior looks and acts like his mother and no doubt inherited his warm, generous nature from her. The sister, Edith, (Mrs. McCormick) looks like the father, and no ___ __ very much like him. (paper creased)


If any man attended the Sunday School thinking to profit in a financial way, he was doomed to a disappointment for business was noted for its absence. I think John D. Sr., is a very fine old gentleman, a gentle man, a lovable man in many ways. He is accused of being grasping, cruel and wolf-like in his dealings but in my opinion is that he is like others, connected with the Standard Oil Company, the victim of a machine which they no longer are able to control. The system is greater than the master.


The junior is a wonderful character, steady as an old clock giving many of his busy hours to religious works. How different his useful life is from many another rich man's son. America may well be proud of Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., for he is an American through and thorough. I am glad that I had the privilege of meeting these two American gentlemen. I am glad to meet that sweet, dear mother. I am glad I could see the family home life. As I write, I have pleasant memories of those days of 1904.


Well, anyway, here is a tip for those who are unfortunate enough to have what is called colds by many unromantic folks. If you wish to be fashionable, just say "I have a slight coryza." It gives distinction and marks one as being quite ultra. In Madison County it was Mary Ethel but down here in Collegeport such common names are taboo, so it becomes Mary Ethyl.


Ought to be good gas. Much to my delight, Elizabeth Eisel has escaped permanent facial marks from her late accident and now the right cheek is just as adorable as the left one. Interested San Antonians take notice. My prediction for four days of warm weather comes true only two days ahead of my schedule. The severe cold spell, lasting a week or ten days played the dickens with citrus fruit, figs, palms. Several hundred cattle gave up the struggle and now men are busy with skinning knives salvaging what they can.


While men were skinning cattle, Ruth Mowery took an ice pick and going out on the icy bay picked out seven big red fish and a tub full of trout and mullet. She also remembered that when she came here from the north she brought her sled so used it for the first time, sailing before the north wind on the frozen bay.


I notice that the Central Power & Light Co. will spend $7,000,000 in improvements. The article mentions nearly every district except the Collegeport district and I wonder when they will wake up to the fact that down here are several hundred folks who would adore electric service and ask God's blessing on the whole crew from Samuel Insull, all the way down to Vance Porter.


Mary Louise reports that because of frozen water pipes, the people of San Antonio have gone back to the dear old Saturday bath.


This Mo-Pac station has agent changes so often that none of the burghers have opportunity to get acquainted with them. Two this week.


Last night I received a letter addressed to Mr. Edwin Clapps and the writer wound up by sending regards to Mrs. Clapps. Here I sit smugly thinking that every one in Bay City knew who Harry Austin Clapp was and now this letter from the Bay City Chamber of Commerce. Looks as though the secretary does not read the local paper so I advise the secretary to go over to the Tribune office and read the files for the past three years. By reading "Thoughts" the secretary will have a literary banquet and will be eligible to the literati. This is to notify the secretary that while there be six of us "Clapps," I am only one insignificant Clapp, and as Byron once said:


"What is the end of fame? 'Tis but to fill a certain portion of uncertain paper."


The other day I received a chain letter which promised me some wonderful luck in eight days (count 'em) provided I did not break the chain and also a threat that dire things would come to me if I failed to do so. Eighty names were attached to this letter. I was asked to copy nine times and mail to nine friends. I began to figure and found that if each of eighty wrote nine letters and each of the eighty times nine wrote nine letters over five million letters are now on their way. Thousands of valuable hours were spent in making copies, more than one hundred thousand dollars spent in postage. How much better if this had been used to relieve distress or to educate children. The list sent me ends with Harry A. Clapp, and there it ends, so far as I am concerned, for the chain is broken and now come on you bad luck, seek me out and we shall see which is the better fellow.


I never was superstitious, so broken chain, dangle and sway in the wind. The chain was started by a Colonel in the American Army in France. I think he must have been gassed. Say, boys, I have found out something new. It is a dingus that the girls wear for sort of lingerie or longeray or whatever that is and it is called a "scanty' because there is little to it. A new thingabob will come out in the spring called "nothing" because it is only about the size of a dollar and is attached to the body with a fine silk thread. About time in my opinion that skirts be longer.


The Daily Tribune, January 28, 1930


Collegeport High School Chronicle


Editor: Frances Eisel

Assistant Editor: Frances King

Contributors: Mamie Franzen, Ruth Mowery, Gladys Harbison


This was one of the coldest weeks that the students of Collegeport can remember. But, some of the students from the north say this freezing weather seems like home. Especially Ruth, who has tried out the bay on her sled which she brought from Iowa. We envy her good sporting.


The following have been absent this week because of the bad weather--that is part of the time: Hutchins and Frances King, Jimmie Murry, Mary Ethyl Goode, C. R. Boeker, Norman Carrick, Ruth Mowery, Pat and Julian Jenkins and Herman Real.


We wonder if Mary Ethyl's absence has caused Jimmie to be so blue.


We are glad to say that our girl at school with the bright face last week continues to carry it. We wonder why, ask her.


The high school and the seventh grade are planning a debate for next Friday afternoon. The subject is "Resolved that the railroad is more useful to man than the steamboat."


The other day when Frances Eisel was asked what "humidity" was, she replied, "It is something which pertains to humans."


If you want to take skating lessons go to Frances King for all kinds of directions. But you must furnish your own pillows.


Mamie Franzen came rigged up to school the other day in enough clothes to warm a dozen. Maybe it is more comfortable to wear dad's clothes on a cold day.


Mr. Harbison replied to an inquiry made as to the beauty of the cowlick on the back of his head. "It is just nature."


Miss Dorothy spent Monday and Tuesday nights with Ella Maye Chiles because of the bad road.


The sunshine was welcomed back Thursday and Friday. We are in hopes of losing some of the coughs that we have acquired during the spell of cold weather--due to exposure. Perhaps we will be able to get to work on our basket ball courts if old King Sol will only stay with us for a while.


Friday morning, Jan. 24, Mamie Franzen, president of the Current Events Club, presided at the regular meeting. After finishing the topics new officers were elected. The following were elected: Raymond Hunt, president; Gladys Harbison, vice president; Leslie Lee Chiles, secretary. We are expecting great work from them. Let's see it at once.


Miss Dorothy entertained her room with a party at her home Saturday afternoon.


The Daily Tribune, Tuesday, January 28, 1930



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