By Harry Austin Clapp
No use looking in the dictionary for the definition of hectic, for you will learn nothing Hectic in this place, means a hot bunch of good time. It means an increase of affection. The making of new, felicitious, joyous, charming tics. The sports. A passionate, loving, happy discovered friendships. All this was planting and the growth of newly brought to us when the caravan led by Chester A. Boren arrived in Collegeport. The trekkers: Fred Ballhorst, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Seymour, Floyd Sargeant, Margery Sargeant, Inez Sargeant, Margaret Gilmore, Everett Sargeant, Venette Johnson, all from the tribal grounds of the Illini. Messrs. Boren and Sargeant are in charge of the townsite and engaged in the business of promoting the erection of the sanitarium and viaduct. It was a sight seeing and business journey and much has been accomplished towards the development of plans that will yank this community from the dumps and establish it in its proper place. We, meaning I and the Miserable Wretch, have been accustomed to retire to our nightly siesta about nine in the P.M., but not this week, for we seldom hit our bale of hay before two in the A.M. of the next day. It was like a three ring circus only this was at least a five ringer. Something doing every moment. I took the four Sargeant kids (including Johnnie) and introduced them to the Red Bird and the Olive Flower and at once, business began.
When these young folks arrived, they said "Dad, for goodness sakes, how long will we have to stay in this dump?" Dad shook his head in sorrow and gloom and replied "O, perhaps three days." After they met the Red Bird and the Olive, the sun shone brighter, the fresh breeze from the bay brought new delightful perfumes and now as they leave, Collegeport has been sold again and they long to return, especially does Everett for from all appearances, though he takes his body back to Galesburg, he leaves his heart in Collegeport. Parties in Palacios and here, swimming in the translucent waters of the bay, crabbing, fishing, trips about the county, filled the time to repletion. Margery was the successful crabber, for when they saw her cute feet, for simply stepping on them, they gave up and jumped into her sack without a protest. I don't blame them at all, for I, too, would jump into her sack a willing prisoner for life.
Inez was the champion dare devil when it came to swimming, for at one time she braved the vicious, angry seas, and waded way out, until the water was knee high and that don't mean very deep. Margaret Gilmore borrowed a pair of my shoes to use in floundering, for she did not care to get her tootsies wet. Stepping in a hole to escape an angry flounder, that from her description must have weighed one hundred pounds, she fell into the bay and lost my shoes, so although I know the location, I must go in bare feet. If it be true that Everett returns to Illinois a man without a heart, he may take comfort in knowing that his heart is in safe hands, hedged about by a ring. If Everett wants to know how to removed a ring, he is instructed to consult with Harry Lewis Eisel, Sr. or Harry Austin Clapp for both have had experience.
We all hope that Fred Balhorst will return and become a member of the community. We need such men as Fred for he has the reputation of being a very successful farmer. He knows how to do things and has been prosperous as a corn grower and a hog producer. Come on back home Freddie. The week ended in a delightful crab gumbo dinner at the Eisel home and as we gathered about their hospitable board, we all will only say that when making up a bouquet of feminine grace, one only is obliged to add Frances and Elizabeth to Inez, Margaret, Venette and Margery to have something that not only delights the eye, but gladdens the souls craving for the beautiful. Six fine, clean, wholesome, intelligent, sweet girls. Impressible and susceptible as I have always been, there is no wonder that I have fallen again. Well, anyway, this all makes me think of the bonus army who are seeking what they term relief.
[Paragraphs about politics omitted.]
Mrs. Richard Corporon entertained a party at forty-two Thursday night and I am informed that an enjoyable evening was had by those present.
The Hug the Coast Highway is the result of organization. From the time it leaves Palacios it is no longer hugging the coast for it goes way back twenty, thirty, fifty miles from the coast and may no long be considered the third line of defense. It thus loses its military value. To be a true coast hugger, it should have crossed the bay on a viaduct at the foot of Central Street and on east across the Colorado River, intersecting the Matagorda-Bay City road at Gulf, pass through Gulf and keeping the coast in view, follow it to Freeport and on then to Houston. We so very much desire the viaduct connecting Palacios with Collegeport, so that we, meaning I and the Miserable Wretch, may walk to service at St. John's Chapel, that I am giving notice, that in the near future an effort will be made to organize the bay shore drive from Palacios to Freeport. Citizens along this route may therefore take notice and sit up on their haunches and get ready to participate. This will be a true Hug the Cost and a dependable third line of defense. The ceremony celebrating this magnificent bay shore drive will start at Collegeport and the procession of several thousand automobiles will be lead by I and the Miserable Wretch on foot. Therefore the drivers of autos are warned to drive slow so as to not to over-ride us footers. We will cross the viaduct to Palacios and then on to Freeport.
The handling of our mail by what is known as a "Star Route," presents some desirable features but will we be willing to pay the cost? Such service will give us nothing we do not now enjoy and it will result in a cost which no intelligent thinking man can easily contemplate. The railroad is now carrying the mails as it has done for many years, but modern, easy transportation for the individual has gradually eaten away its income until it is apparently gasping a last breath. Take away the mail service income and we may expect the closing of our station, the throwing of the agent out of the job, the loss of express service, the loss of a daily train.
Since our old train service has been discontinued, I have been in close touch with railroad executives and there is at present a strong prospect that this fall our old train will be put back provided nothing is done to further eliminate revenue. The men who operated that train drew pay to the amount of over twelve hundred dollars per month and considerable of that sum was spent in the community. We have lost that, but there is an opportunity to recover it. Lest we go too far with plans to cut from the railroad the last of their steady revenue let us give serious thought to the cost. Do we as a community wish to pay? Do we desire to live in a railroadless community. Some no doubt do not care so long as they as individuals may profit. No town was ever built on selfish desires. We must hang together or believe it or not we surely will hang separately. Think hard my friends before going farther on the road to community destruction.
The shade of sorrow was drawn across our community Monday and all mourn the passing of one of our most prominent figures. No person can live in a community twenty-two years and all that time be an important figure in every civic work and not be missed and mourned. Minnie L. Keeler was born in Montpelier, Vt., March 2, 1862. Seth W. Corse was born in the northern part of the same state close to the Canadian border. Time passed and they met, loved and were married October 15, 1885. For some twenty years, they made their home in Montpelier and finally removed to Collegeport where they have since resided. For forty-seven years, Minnie and Seth have together walked the paths of life. Roses richly laden with the perfume of joy and happiness have been plucked along the path. Thorns have pricked at times as a reminder that life is not all pleasure, but the path widened, flowers grew more abundantly, the perfume of the joy and peace that comes with the fading years was theirs in an abundant measure and so this day when Seth Corse has come to the parting of the way, he may truly say that in the possession of this woman and his life with her God has been lavish in His blessings. All I can say after a friendship lasting all these years is a prayer that God will receive into His loving care the soul of Minnie and that He will watch over and hold close and enrich the soul of Seth who is left to finish the journey.
This union was blessed with four children, but two of them passed away early in life. The two daughters living are Mrs. Charles E. Duller (Lena) of Blessing and Mrs. Major Lincoln Putman (Pearl) of the U. S. army stationed at Manila, P. I. Ever since coming to this community, Mrs. Corse has been an active participant in every civic movement. She was a charter member of the Woman's Club and served several terms as president. Past president of the County Federation of Women's Clubs, delegate to the district conventions and delegate of the state conventions. She was one of the women who organized the club library and was faithful in her interest in that work until her last day. She was also active in church and Sunday School work. Several years ago, President Coolidge appointed her postmaster of the local office and as such has given us splendid postal service. Always a leader in these efforts, she was ever ready to advise with her associates and act as the majority deemed best for the community.
With the passing of Minnie L. Corse, this community has lost a dependable leader, so no wonder that we all mourn. The funeral service was held in Blessing at the home of Mrs. Charles Duller, with Reverend Ray of Palacios reading the service. The only music was the singing of her favorite song Tennyson's "Crossing the Bar." This was at her request. Something like forty autos brought friends from all portions of the county and they came with hearts filled with sorrow and sympathy. Interment was in the Palacios cemetery. Requiscat in peace.
Whose sudden visitations daze the world,
Vanish like lightning, but they leave behind
A voice that in the distance far away
Wakens the slumbering ages."
--Sir H. Taylor.
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, August 4, 1932
By Harry Austin Clapp
[Local information taken from longer article.]
A West Texas woman reader of the Tribune writes "Your thoughts were fine last week. You said 'speaking of grocery store counters, that reminds me that 37 years ago to day' and told about your marriage. I don't see why counters should remind you of her." If the readers will come to Collegeport and visit with us Homecrofters, I will explain the connection.
The Junior Christian Endeavor, under the direction of Frances Eisel, held a picnic on the north bay shore Wednesday. They were liberally supplied with delicious eats, went in bathing, caught a few crabs and some jiggers and returned home vowing they had never had such a time in all their young lives. Miss Roberta Liggett is in bed nursing a cooked tummie and blistered back and several others are using same treatment. A bright sun on a sparkling water paints delicate skins in brilliant colors.
A Texas reader of the Tribune sends this to me. It is called "The Buck's Grabber's Creed" written by R. C. Spinning and taken from the Kiwanis Magazine.
"O, Lord, deliver me, I prey, from berds that feel that they
was meant, to do the grate big things in life to be the
dollar, not the cent, the fellows who are apt to feel
that jobs which they shood ot to do are far beneath
there mitey class, & pass the bukk to me and you, but give
me, Lord, the gi who thinks he aint to good to do his
part, & bukkels into every job--& does his best, with all
his hart, the praktiss that this berd will git in doing things
that maybe small, will make him reddy for the
job the uther berd cant tutch at all
And help me, Lord, to be this gi that grabs each buck as it come ni."
A good prayer and a good creed and I thank the Texas reader for sending it to me.
Those Republicans in Bay City sure have their nerve. I read in the paper an account of the Republican County Convention. It said that Hon. J. J. called the meeting to order; Hon. W. W. W. was elected County Chairman; Hon. R. O. K. was elected County Secretary and Hon. W. W. was a delegate to State Convention. Now I don't object to this Honorable business at all provided it is well distributed. It is all any of them will receive so let em have it. What I object to is the way they treat us Precinct Chairmen, for we are not even entitled to be called mister. Our names appear as W. P. B; H. A. C. and so fourth and so long. Appears to me that the fellows up in Bay City should pass out a few Honorables to us privates for we do most of jimmying and get most of the kussin.' It's a hard job to round up the rannies out of the bush. If we are not Honorables, at least dub us Excellencies.
Mr. and Mrs. Andes drove down from Lincoln, Illinois, to have a "visita" with Mrs. Andes' sister Mrs. Carl Boeker. This is not Mrs. Andes first trip to the little burg that lovingly snuggles close to the bay shore. She is therefore prepared for a beautiful time. They can't stay away after once drinking the water that flows from our artesian wells.
Six people appear to be ambitious to destroy what railroad facilities we now have, drive twenty people from our community, deprive the rice growers and cattlemen of shipping facilities and in fact they appear to contemplate with undisguised pleasure the transforming of this community into a railroadies burg. Last week I mentioned something about the price we would be called on to pay if a Star route is established. In addition, I will state now that if the road is abandoned, it will mean quite a cut in school funds, for the railroad company pays considerable taxes in this county and some of the tax is on the fifteen miles of track between Collegeport and Buckeye and the equipment used. We need every penny we can scrape if the school board is to go ahead with their plans for an affiliated school. We can not afford to lose any portion of the funds. Think this over. Last Monday information came to me that our old train service would be back in about thirty days. This means that the crew and their families will live here, pay rent, board, buy food, gas, lube, cold drinks, cigs, and to make it short, spend considerable of their wages right here. It also means the employment of an engine watchman and in the end will effect the lives of about twenty five people. This will not come to us if the last steady income is taken from the railroad. No one with more than a fourteen year brain can contemplate this with pleasure. It is a community tragedy. I hope the patrons of this post office will meditate, ponder well, reflect, before they are drawn into such community destruction. Our railroad gone, it will require two thousand one hundred trucks to haul the rice and cattle out. Consider the cost to our "nine-foot sidewalk" which is barely able to stand the present light traffic. No pavement and no money to build anew and back to dirt roads we go. It might be well if the officials of the Bay City Post office play in their own yard and allow us to play in our yard. I expect criticism, animadversion, censure, but what care I? I have never been a knocker. I have always stood for forward movement. I desire to keep all we have and acquire more. Always it is faith in someone or something that inspires us to lift our work above the commonplace.
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, August 11, 1932
By Harry Austin Clapp
[Local information taken from longer article.]
Mr. Floyd Sargeant with his son, Everett, two daughters and Miss Venette Johnson left here Sunday morning for their home in Galesburg, Ills. Sunday night they stopped with some kin folk at Jacksonville, Texas, and left their car parked by the side of the house. On the rear was their trunk, containing the girls dresses and several suits belonging to the men, cameras, several purses, hose, shoes and in fact all their belongings except what they wore for the trip. In the morning the trunk was gone and the car had been stripped of everything of value. Surprising that such a crime could be committed in a town as large as Jacksonville. They had such an enjoyable time in Texas and it is just too bad that on their last day some miscreant should rob them of all they had. I am very glad that Frances and Elizabeth were not in that trunk for I sure would miss them.
The Boren portion of the caravan, consisting of C. A. Boren, Miss Margaret Gilmore and Fred Ballhorst, left Collegeport Sunday night by a route that takes them to Fort Worth and Tulsa. I am informed that several farmers have applied for land on the townsite for the planting of corn and cotton. Waving crops will look much better than fields of weeds and huisache.
When the proposed Star Route is in operation and there is no longer a daily train service, shippers of poultry, eggs and other L. C. L. freight, will enjoy trucking it at extra expense to Bay City or Palacios. And people who have bought articles that must come by freight in L. C. L. lots will enjoy going to Buckeye or El Maton for their freight and especially will they take pleasure in paying for the extra haulage. Figure it up one side and down the other and the cost of a star Route will be so excessive that our folk will be on their knees begging for the return of rail service. We have it now, so let us encourage it instead of strangling it to death.
Fishing must be good down the bay for E. L. Hall reports that his party took about 175 pounds the other day among them being two twenty five pound Gulf Mackeral. The fish were packed in ice and taken to Mart by the visitors who were much pleased with their fishing trip
Friday, the Army from Camp Hulen worked out a military problem on a location between Victoria and Cuero and returned to camp late that night. About nine PM us Homecrofters retired to our couch as usual, but about ten o-clock were awakened by the lights of an auto. A voice at the door announced a caller and to our delight it was Major Latson who drove over for a visit. Major Latson at home in Amarillo is just plain Doc. Latson and wears civics, but down here he wears more harness than any bull fighter. The Major is a genial and well met gentleman and over a midnight lunch and intellectual conversation, or colloquy, as some might say, we had an enjoyable two hours and it was with regret that we heard him crank up his auto and depart where duty called.
Thursday night, under the moonlight, on the bay shore a the Holsworth home, a lawn party was given in honor of M. A. Travis and Paul Janes, both at one time pastors of the local church. It was also an honor for Jay Tee Morrow who has been spending the summer here in charge of the church. He will leave in a few weeks for a training at a seminary in Chicago. About fifty were present and an enjoyable time was had.
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, August 18, 1932
By Harry Austin Clapp
[Local information taken from longer article.]
"Elizabeth had a dear little dimple,
In the midst of her sweet chin
To me it always was a riddle
Why it was in the middle
Of that wonderful sweet little chin
But alas and alack, now the dimple
Is just a pompous, haughty pimple,
In the middle of her sweet chin."
--Fragments From Hack.
The Ramsey farm made its first shipment of sweet potatoes Saturday, August 20th. On that date two potatoes were sent to market. Fine, well formed, with exquisite flavor and excellent texture and color. This shipment marks an epoch in our farm history.
The King's Daughters met at the Hurd home Thursday, with an attendance of thirty seven, most of them being guests. The splendid repast always served by this organization draws the hungry from far and near. This time fried chicken was first on the menu. I had a special invitation, but finding no Famous Carrie Nelson Noodles, would be exposed before my gaze, thought best to stay at home and help the miserable wretch wash out some duds.
Friday night the regular "sing-song" was given at the Community House. The program was under the direction of Jay-Tee and was of more than usual excellence. About one hundred were present. Another will be given this week and soon after Jay-Tee will leave, much to our sorrow. This young man, who some day will make his mark as a preacher, has accomplished some excellent work in this community. He has unusual ability in bringing people together and holding them. The people of this town are going to miss the cheery presence of this talented, some time splendid preacher.
The army camp is over. The last troop train has departed. No longer is heard the rattle of soldier equipment, the boom of big guns, the tat-tat of machine guns and the City By The Sea may turn over and take another snooze. When they found out that we would not be present at the review, they wired Washington for a special inspector and he came by plane. He found most of the outfit packed and ready for the home trip. An order was barked and unpacking and inspection was the business of the camp.
From appearances, most all of us felt Saturday morning--the 13th, that a storm was brewing, but few expected that it would come so soon. All day the wind was variable with frequent shiftings. Night fell with increasing wind velocity and about midnight the storm, a true hurricane, struck us at about a 65 mile clip. Fortunate for us, we were just outside the destructive area so only suffered trifling damage. The roof of the chicken house at the Ramsey farm was torn off and the building dropped from its supports. A few trees lost their limbs, cotton was blown down and considerable ready to pick, blown from the bolls. Rice suffered also in some cases, ripe grain being blown fro the straw. Water poured into most of our houses and few took off their clothes that night. The next morning, all was quiet and serene and the day was one of beauty. Not so well did the people around Angleton and Freeport fare, for they were hit with repeated blows by the storm demon which lashed that section with unusual severity. Death, destruction, suffering, was left after it passed. Man is so helpless when the forces of nature are loosed. All he can do is to look up to his God and pray for aid.
That morning the Carl Boeker family, accompanied by their guests Mr. and Mrs. Andes, went a fishing in a motor boat down to the pass. There they were caught by the storm and the boat, although anchored by two big anchors weighing something less than a ton, dragged and was soon dashed on the beach where it was continually covered with the heavy seas. A fine way to pass the night, but they did and arrived back Sunday afternoon none the worse. Since then, the men have been swaggering about with a seaman's rolling walk, hitching up their britches, spitting from the corner of their mouths and giving an impression of hard boiled seamen. The women of the party also hitched up their, O, well, I don't know what they hitch, but anyway, they also attempt to make every one believe they are still walking the deck of a wind tossed and sea swept ship. They went a fishin' but all they got was back. This is the song Ruth Boeker sings
"I love, O, I love to ride
On the fierce, foaming, bursting tide,
Where every mad wave drowns the moon,
Or whistles aloft his tempest tune,
And tells how goeth the world below,
And why the sou'west blasts do blow."
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, August 25, 1932
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