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Collegeport Articles


December, 1931


By Harry Austin Clapp


[Local information taken from longer article about Thanksgiving and how the food for the pilgrims was so scare that each one was given only six kernels of corn at a time.]


A man was in the Collegeport Pharmacy the other day and looking over the cigars noticed the William Penn cigars and said he "I never heard of that cigar. Did William Penn make it? O, yes, I see his picture on the cover. I did not know he made cigars. Where is his factory?" Shows that there is still opportunity for education at work.


Tuesday a brisk norther, first of the season, blew in to refresh us but thanks to the gods of storm it was a dry one. Temperature down to 47 so that was not much punishment.


Thursday, as has been the custom for twenty-two years, people assembled at Citrus Grove for the annual community dinner. As one glanced at the table groaning with food, one could not think of depression for that old party had evidently not stopped at Citrus. The attendance, because of the inclement weather, was cut down some but over one hundred were present. Had I know that the maker of those Famous Carrie Noodles was to be present, nothing could have kept me away from those noodles. In the afternoon the weather cleared so after all it was a fine day. As usual, the train crew were well fed as the evening train stopped at that station.


We, meaning I and the Miserable Wretch, staid at home and had a dinner that cost fifteen cents with enough left over for two more meals. It was generous in quantity and more filling than six grains of corn. What was it? Take another guess. We are saving our turkey for December 25th, when the light of our lives will be home.


Here is a good joke on the Tribune typesetter. Last week,, commenting on Ann Batchelder's two dozen oysters, my copy read "That quantity would not even start the miserable wretch for she would eat that many raw and follow up with fried and stewed oysters." It appeared "she would follow up with friend and stewed oysters." This error, would not be subject to criticism, had he informed our readers how the friend was to be eaten, stewed or raw.


The Franzens were happy because Arnold and Clifford came and they had a united family. The Hurds were overjoyed because they had Vernon and Bill. We are glad that the merchants of Palacios are waking up to the value of the viaduct. It has been a great work [week?].


More next hebdomad. [week]


The Daily Tribune, December 1, 1931



By Harry Austin Clapp


[Local information taken from longer article.]


I forgot to mention last week that a most charming Thanksgiving dinner was served by the Hugo Kundingers in honor of Mr. and Mrs. George Hubert of Houston and Mr. and Mrs. Fred Stafford of Galveston. The latter will be remembered as Ruth Hubert when she lived here and used to deal out delicious soda at the Pharmacy. The appointments of the table were beautiful. White linen, gleaming silver and cut glass and flower decorations, but the principal object was the piece de resistance, eight big fat mallard ducks. The rest of the cuisine was appropriate for the occasion and the visitors enjoyed a delightful visit.


Thursday, the Missouri Pacific sent a motor car for service on the Collegeport branch. This cuts out two jobs, but it is still more than the people of this community deserve. The Mopac has been much more loyal to us than we have been to them.


The Wednesday Tribune carried a very interesting article which suggested the value of a weekly auction to which any farmer or person might bring articles they wish to turn into cash. There is not a farm in the country that does not have some tool, chickens, pigs, calf, hay, eggs, that by the use of such an auction might be brought to bring cash to the seller and use to the buyer. I have read in bulletins of auctions in various portions of the country that have been so successful that they are permanent features. It will for a small fee, bring the buyer and seller together on a common basis and should receive the support of the business men and chambers of commerce. I wonder why all these auctions are to be held in Bay City. Why not rotate and have one at Palacios, at Blessing and Markham and even at Collegeport and thus give those merchants an opportunity to enjoy trade results. Hope the promoter, whoever he may be, will read this.


Mrs. Hugo Kundinger journeyed to Aransas Pass this week to see the new baby recently arrived in the Dewald home. Mrs. Dewald will be remembered as Fay Wood who visited here frequently with her Aunt Mrs. Haisley.


Thursday, a motor care arrived to take the place of the regular steam train. The motor has been regeared for hauling loads and on Thursday morning it went out with six cars of rice. But unlike the cat, it did not come back, for the heavy load simply pulled the guts out of the masheen or in other words stripped the gears, so it goes to the shop for a general overhauling. The Mopac should buy some of the Mercury tractors and trailers for they always go and come back.


The Woman's Union planned to have their annual bazaar on Thursday, but because of the inclement weather, postponed the affair a day and the gods were with them for Friday was a day of beauty on the earth and in the sky. Balmy South winds blew refreshingly from the sparkling waters of the bay. Birds sang. Flowers nodded in the breeze. All nature seemed to say "this is the day." Many beautiful gifts were on sale and for the inner man were provided oysters, stewed, fried and raw with pie, cake and coffee on the side. Result about fifty-five sileleans added to the treasury. These women are always doing something for the church and during a year turn in more than a modest sum.


Friday, the library let out sixty books. Our people appear to appreciate this service and they should give it hearty support for it is a free public library supported and operated by the devoted women of the Collegeport Woman's Club. I am informed that fines have been collected in sufficient sum to allow the purchase of about ten new books. So even the finers are doing their bit.


The Dickdorothys and Dorothydicks are moving this week from the Isaac Miller place to their own property near Citrus Grove.


Saturday being Trades Day in Bay City, our burg was a cemetery, for not even a dog appeared on the streets until mail time when we suffered the usual traffic congestion. We sure need a traffic officer. Twenty to thirty cars parked in a space of two hundred feet means congestion anywhere.


As this is being written, a norther is blowing with water and the air is filled with the same. Mighty unpleasant weather, but just what we expect in the winter season.


I am writing this on the second day of Advent and even if the viaduct was in operation, I do not think that we, meaning I and the miserable wretch, would use it this day.


Friday the senior and junior boys and girls basketball teams drove to Midfield where they battled with the Midfielders. Bay View seniors won 8-2 while Bay View juniors won 19-4. The senior girls' team was defeated. The junior team did not play. A little more coaching and we will have some teams hard to beat.


The Daily Tribune, December 11, 1931


Thoughts About the Great Birthday
By Harry Austin Clapp

[Local information taken from a longer article about the birth of Jesus.]

Mr. and Mrs. Boeker, Sr., are now established in the Urban house, and the Emmitt Chiles family have moved into the Thomas McMillan Clark house, while the Robert Murry’s have left the Slough Ranch and moved into the Travis house. This about completes the week’s moving.

If the weather in Bay City was anything like it was in these parts Santa Claus had a tough time getting his bag of tricks into the city limits. Rain, rain and more rain and the dirt roads a mess of slime and mud.

The Woman’s Club planned their usual Christmas party for this Thursday but because of the very nasty, ugly weather, in the air and on the ground it was given up. The King’s Daughters were to meet also, but they were wise enough to declare all bets off.

Arthur Matthes sent me a barrel of that fine eight cent kerosene in a big Sinclair truck which promptly stuck in our yard and required a tractor to haul it out. When I look at the big hole it left I think of Arthur and Paul.

Well, folks, when you read this Mary Louise will be home and you will know that we will be enjoying one swell Christmas time. Our girl sure has the homing instinct, much to our delight.

Bill Hurd and I have organized a secret society by which we intend to disobey some of the requirements of social customs or in other words we are bolshevicks. Any one desiring to be relieved of a most distressing custom, especially in the winter time, will do well, to write Bill for particulars as to the requirements for joining up.

On this the fourth Sunday of Advent the Lord sent us a bright blue sky and a warming sun and for that we are more than thankful. Hope the sun shines for all the holiday week for we need it if autoes are to operate on dirt roads. What a blessing this “nine-foot sidewalk” is. Another blessing will be the viaduct. Up to date I have received two blats from Palacios. After while those boys will make up to the possibilities of the viaduct and help build it so that we, meaning I  and the Miserable Wretch, may walk to service at St. John’s Mission. And maybe we might buy a slice of bacon or a quart of oysters or stop at Nestor’s for a dish of cream.

P. S.—Which means I forgot to state that Bill Hurd sez wimmen are not allowed in our club especially Grandmothers and Mothers cuz they don’t realize the dangers us fellers have to meet in the winter season.

The Daily Tribune, December, 1931?


By Harry Austin Clapp


[Local information taken from longer article.]


As I sit at my desk looking out into the storm which for ten days has beaten against the window, I wonder what has become of Zack Zackers, the man who used to make and distribute "Cracked Crackers." If he reads this hope he will send a postal card.


Mrs. S. W. Corse is spending a week with her daughter, Mrs. Charles Duller of Blessing, Texas.


Collegeport is normal again for the steam train is back and its whistle is welcome to all.


Several parties of Houston hunters here for a quail shoot. Birds appear to be abundant, but the cover is rank and affords fine shelter, so a good dog is a necessity. Many geese and ducks are taken daily. From reports of guns it appears that considerable hunting goes on before sunrise and during the night.


Mrs. Hermann Real greets me with a smiling face, and a hearty "Good morning Mr. Clapp," which is quite a contrast with the usual grunt and "howdy" given by some of the pupils.


Burton D. Hurd and son are busy getting affairs in shape for opening their business along about January 1, 1932, and commuting to Bay City each day.


Let everyone remember the community dinner on the first day of the new year. Never a break for twenty-three years. Bring your baskets of digestible eatables, see old friends and rub against each other. In this way we acquire a polish.


Joe Frank Jenkins went hunting the other night. Got lost, rain, cold, wind, built fire, shivered, wet to the bone, stayed out until morning and not until daylight did he know his way home. I bet a dollar that Joe Frank, Jr., would not have been lost. Anyway he stayed home and took care of mama.


I have often heard it stated that when one has once tasted the waters from the Collegeport artesian wells that one would always return for another draught. This appears now to be a truism, for after an absence of two years, here returns the Carl Boeker family for another drink of our wonderful water. And it is rumored about that father and mother Boeker will be here for the winter season. If they stay that long they will come back.


The Blessing basketball team was scheduled to play the Bay View team on Van Wormer Field Friday, but weather caused rain checks to be issued and so we will have to put off giving the Blessing team a wallop until a later date.


No club meetings this week, which gives the women a vacation.


Vernon King Hurd left Wednesday for Quincy and Chicago to close up some business that requires immediate attention. He will return shortly and get ready for the operation of the Burton D. Hurd & Son organization.


Well, yes, to come to think of it, we have had about three weeks of lowering skies, wet air and mud and we all feel that a sight of the sun would be relished.


Mr. Thompson, who has been living in the Van Ness house, has moved his farming tools and household goods to Buckeye where he will farm rice the coming season on the Stoddard Ranch.


In spite of the rain and road condition the, the library did a good business Friday under the direction of Mesdames Liggett and Wright.


I read in farm notes that Frank Montague is very much interested in the Christmas plans of Bay City. Fine plans, but I fear they will play the dickens with the small local Sunday school over the county and will cause many of them to give up on Christmas plans. Every kid will be crazy to go to Bay City and see Santa fly in on his plane. The old boy used to be content with Dancer and Prancer and his sleigh, but not in this day of progress.


Wonder how many Palacios business men read the article in Tuesday's Tribune telling what Bay City merchants are doing to attract trade. It stated that the fine roads make it easy to visit Bay City. It is the truth. It is easy and therefore we "go to town." A viaduct across the bay spanning three-fourths of a mile, places one hundred and fifty square miles of territory in the grasp of Palacios. Here lives a trade population of one thousand people, who because of no viaduct, take the easy way, the line of lest resistance, and spend most of their money in Bay City. With easy communication provided this will naturally just cross the bay, because the distance would be shorter and the way easy. No one is going to drive thirty miles for a slice of bacon when it may be obtained with a five mile drive. And besides this it means that we, meaning I and the Miserable Wretch, will be able to walk to the service at St. John's Chapel. Palacios men, remember "The bird of time has but a little way to flutter and the bird is on the wing."


If the Palacios folk do not wake up to this viaduct matter, I shall begin to think they are suffering from an attack of poliomyelitis.


The Daily Tribune, Tuesday, December 15, 1931


Miss Beryl Bell Honored

One of the most beautiful events of the season was the tea and shower in honor of Miss Bell, of the faculty of the Bay View schools, Collegeport, upon her resignation as teacher of English in the high school, where for the fourth consecutive year Miss Bell has been a most successful teacher, member of the social activities, including church, school, community and as the greatly loved leader of the Girl Reserves since their organization.

The hostesses were Misses Chapman, Harris, Mansfield, Parker and Mrs. Elliott Curtis with Mrs. Burton D. Hurd whose home was the scene of the party and well adapted for the elaborate decorations which carried the Yuletide suggestions throughout spacious rooms. Wreaths hung from many windows and doors, the reception hall was profuse in its garlands of graceful Christmas greens, candles and tapers of red reflecting the same glow that rose from the fire place with its huge Yule-log burning joyfully.

The hostesses met the incoming guests who eagerly awaited the coming event, which soon appeared in the person of Santa Claus, himself, bells, pack well filled, book and pencil in hand, in search of “Good little boys and girls.” Moving among the many guests, Santa wrote names, received requests for gifts, some of which he bestowed immediately, as he said, in order to “save time.” His amazement at the great number of “girls” and not one boy caused him to go on a search from room to room and returning with Miss Bell whom he led directly under the mistletoe! Before the merriment had subsided at Santa’s bold venture, he asked the honoree to have a cup of tea and the dining room doors slid back, revealing a perfect riot of color in the table with its centerpiece a snow bound mirrored lake holding a table tree flanked with tall red tapers, banks of autumn leaves, yupon and trailing Spanish moss while at the farther end of the room stood a tree reaching from floor to ceiling and all laden with gifts, large and small. Here Santa Claus (Mr. Elliott Curtis), principal of the grade school, presented the “whole tree” to the honoree. Miss Bell, whose surprise and emotions were allayed by the first presentation of a beautiful gift from her own Girl Reserves, who held the privilege of serving dainty refreshments.

The many guests remained until darkness closed, so long did it take for the viewing of the beautiful and numerous gifts whose response could be little more than a trembling smile and a word of regret and love for those whom she has known so long and served so faithfully, but whom she is leaving for all time.

Matagorda County Tribune, December 27, 1931

Why Is An Auction?
By Harry Austin Clapp

Ever since I was a kid I have been more or less familiar with sales but I never gave a thought to why is an auction, what is an auction, or how is an auction. Looking into the why and what's, I find that what is known as an auction is about as old as Anne and that means as old as the hills or more so. This method of selling property has been used by man for countless ages. Saturday, January 9 Burton D. Hurd & Son will start a regular monthly sales by the auction method and when Burton Hurd showed me letters of commendation in support from such men as Henry Rugeley, F. B. Cobb, William Cash, George Burke, John Sutherland. I just thought “I’ll not write a letter but will call their bid and write a story about auctions.”

Now in the first place just what is the auction? It is an increase, a public sale, where the price is called out and the article to be sold is adjudged to the last increaseor of the price or in other words to the highest bidder. The dict. tells me that it is a “public sale of property to the highest bidder especially by a person licensed and authorized for the purpose; a venue.”

“Ask you why Phyrne the whole auction boys.” –Pope

In this country it is customary to say “sales at auction” but over in England they say “sales by auction.” While we sell to the highest bidder I find that in the Dutch auction, a public offer of property is at a price above its value then gradually lowering the price ‘till some one accepts that as the purchaser. But whatever the method by which the price is arrived at, the auction means bringing the possessor of an article which he desires to sell into the presence of a buyer who wishes the article. This then in short is what the Hurds have planned to do and so on Saturday, Jan. 9, they will open the first public auction in Matagorda County. Any person, anywhere, regardless of county lines is invited to bring any article of furniture, livestock, poultry, eggs, butter, feed, hay, or hay or grain, implements to this auction where a buyer will sure be on hand to pay cash for the article he desires. Burton D. Hurd and Son have worked out a comprehensive plan for this sale and others that will follow each month. It is an opportunity that our people should grasp. One fine thing about auctions is that it entitles the auctioneer to be called Colonel and so on the first day Col. Ray Phillips will be on hand with stentorfonic voice and persuasive words to secure for the seller the high price and delivered to the buyer the article needed. It provides an opportunity to transfer an unneeded article into real cash and to give the buyer something he needs. Thus two persons are favored. The idea appeals to me as it must to others.

The other day a woman who had read about the auction in The Tribune said to me “do you mean that Burton D. Hurd & Son will sell anything?” I replied “Madam, it means just that. They will offer for sale any article from a needle to a cake of ice, from a mouse's tail to the tusk of an elephant. Right before your eyes you will see the Colonel with his magic change these things into real cash.” After a while she said, “I believe I'll take a sewing machine to Bay City.” That's the spirit that makes an auction a success. Remember the date, Saturday, Jan. 9 in the year 1932. Send your listings to Burton D. Hurd & Son, Collegeport Texas.

The Daily Tribune, December 29, 1931


By Harry Austin Clapp


As a usual thing writing this column meant exhaustion, debilitation, enervation, or in other words a terrible drain on a brain half of which is diseased. This week I feel great relief for my copy is already supplied by two letters, which I received during the week. They are such splendid letters, that I desire my readers to share in the joy and delight which I experienced. I received several letters from Tribune readers, and wish space permitted the use to them all, but two will have to suffice. A reader, from the middle west writes: "No doubt you have read about the so called depression which has settled heavily on the middle west and various other parts of the United States, excepting possibly around Collegeport. Nearly everyone who has a job is afraid he will lose it, and every one who has no job is afraid he will never find one.


Naturally the favorite topic of conversation when one man meets another is where are we headed and what are we going to do when we get there. One of my close friends said to me the other day 'I suppose a man as smart as you are has provided a substantial umbrella for the rainy day that is ahead.' I answered him promptly that I had provided such an umbrella and that this provision had been made more than twenty years ago, when looking forward to just such a time as we may be approaching.


At that time I bought a quarter section of beautiful prairie land in Matagorda County, being convinced that here was the place that one might live in comfort and be relatively very happy, when all else failed. I had been convinced upon a careful personal investigation, covering several trips into the Collegeport country, that here it was possible with a minimum effort to provide one's self with the food and clothing necessary to an existence and to have in addition, extremely favorable climatic conditions, insuring great comfort of body and mind. I was convinced that even though age might come on before the necessity might arise, that even then a man possessed of life enough to want to live and get the greatest good out of what is left, can find there the very agreeable conditions under which to live. I explained to my friend, that this was my umbrella for the rainy day and I have never lost faith in its availability. I explained that even such feeble physical efforts as I might be capable of, could dig in and dig out, a very good living and provide ample necessities for a very satisfactory living. I felt therefore that I could get away from the worry of bank failures, slow pay of creditors lack of sales, unemployment and all of the other worries that the average business man has to cope with.


If business, as it is still called in the United States, should continue to toboggan and a complete smash up is inevitable, I hope to avail myself of the umbrella and land quietly and comfortably in the Collegeport country with my family and have reasonable expectations of adding years to my life, by being relieved of the daily scramble for existence, as we know it here. My excuse for writing is to express my appreciation to you for your newspaper articles, during the past years which I have read with great interest, in which your faith in the Collegeport country has never failed, thus furnishing an inspiration to continue to depend on that country as an ultimate life raft. I shall hope that you and your wife may have many years of usefulness and as a further testimony of my appreciation of your efforts in keeping alive the spirit of Collegeport, I am sending you a little Christmas present which has not cost me very much, but which I hope will be able to afford you a few hours of pleasure. I have read with interest that you will have your daughter with you at Christmas time and I know what a great joy this will be to you and Mrs. Clapp. If no other Christmas remembrance comes to you I feel sure the visit of Mary Louise would make it a great Christmas. With best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all I am." I assure the writer of this splendid letter, that I will load up the old corn cob and as I blow rings of smoke into the air in them I shall see his face and those of his fine family and shall have dreams of the day when they will all be here so we may have daily contact. And here is another which carried us farther on the "Magic Carpet" to more delectation.


"Dear Homecrofters: Your outstanding Christmas card, came to hand this day. It is precious and the fact that you remembered me with one of them is more precious still. Wouldn't it be a wonder experience, if for just a 'we sma' bit of time, we had the power to give into the possession of our friends the lovely things we wish for them? Do you know what I would bestow upon the Homecrofters? You are so rich already, in the riches that count, it would only be possible to bestow upon you such mundane things as riches, and the best things that go with the same. What we long for that we are--and so I am a good fairy,that is bringing to you in her heart the sweetest joys your lives can hold--please accept them."


Such letters warm the cockles of one's heart. A cockle, let it be known, is a wrinkle, so you know what I mean. On this, the first Sunday after Christmas, there are no cockles in my heart, thanks to these two thoughtful friends. The letters brought me gladness, delight, rapture, ecstasy and are pearls, which I add to my string and day by day, I run them over and again enjoy renewed transport.


Yes, we had a wonderful Christmas with gifts in profusion and abundance, but the best of all was the presence of our daughter, Mary Louise, who is a continued comfort and joy. It is with genuine gratitude that we give thanks to the good God, who provided these wonders for our comfort. We are rich, simply overwhelmed with wealth, the wealth which no man may steal, for robbers may not break into our store house of Heart's Desire and take from us those precious gifts. Friends, Yea in countless numbers. Food? Clothing? Shelter? Love for our children and kin and friends? Yes, a thousand times. We are content. We have peace, contentment, satisfaction in life. What more may we desire? We have them all. We have seen much more in our travels. We have met many fine men and women. We have been around the ring. We have jumped through the hoop. What more can we wish for?


The weather was not very propitious, friendly, suspicious, but just the same this burg pulled off its regular Christmas tree celebration and all the kids were remembered with nuts, candy and fruit. On the tree was a big box of those famous Carrie Nelson Noodles. I was not present, but my agent was, so when my name was called she yelped "present" and I got them there noodles.


Gerald Merck and family, Glendale Welsby and family, Arnold and Clifford Franzen came to the home nest and the Eisel family were glad to enjoy the presence of George Hetherington. Guess everyone, old and young, rich and poor, had a fine Christmas day for if any person was forgotten, I know not their name. No depression in this man's town. If this fact could be known over the country, people would flock here so that they too might enjoy the comforts we have. Not much money to be sure, but plenty of food, clothing, fuel, shelter and "some spendin' change," rattles around in our pockets. It's great to be alive, and have health and digestion.


Bay View High School let out Wednesday and will not reassemble until the fourth day of January, giving teachers and pupils a much needed rest, especially the teachers for bells are tired of ringing and nestors tired of nesting and so ad fin.


The month of rain has put a grand season in the ground, which is pleasant for the farmer, but it sure has been one helluva time for autoists and footers. The last few days have been gee-lo-rious with bright sunny days and moonlight nights.


Mrs. Vernon King Hurd arrived at half past one Friday morning, in time for a real old Christmas at the Hurd bayshore home. I am glad she arrived on a moonlight night and awakened to a warming sun and the singing of birds. Our only Margaret arrived from Chicago to spend the week with her mother, Mrs. Helen Holsworth. We are all proud of this girl, dubbed by herself in a facetious and merry way as "Collegeport's Old Maid." When I pray, I sure will ask God to give us a few more such fine old girls. We need 'em.


I fully expect that Bill Hurd's mother will attempt to break up our club. No use to break in, for wimmin is not aloud. All Bill has to do is to sit pretty and keep still about the secrets of the organization and remember that spring will soon be here with warm water in the bay. Us fellers has got to stand together. And now we face a new year for when this is in type, 1932 will be ready for us. I wonder what it will bring to us?


Of course, some sunshine and some rain. Some sorrow and some pain. But much of joy and happiness will also come to us and in a great measure it is in each of us to drink a full cup of life's delights. To all the Tribune readers I send fine wishes for the new year and may the days be happy ones to you all. When you want a vacation come on down and play in our yard.


"Ring out false pride in place and blood,

The civic slander and the spite;

Ring in the love of truth and right

Ring in the common love of good.


Ring in the valiant man and free,

The larger heart, the kindlier hand;

Ring out the darkness of the land,

Ring in the Christ that is to be."

--Alfred Tennyson.


The Daily Tribune, Tuesday, December 29, 1931




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