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Collegeport Articles


September, 1934


By Harry Austin Clapp


No trouble to find women. They are every where every place. I counted fourteen in the post office lobby last night from the age of four up and only three boys dared intrude. But finding a man, Ah, that is something else. Where can one be found? When I was a boy, I read how Diogenes went about with a lantern hunting for an honest man. The use of a lantern suggested a dark night. I find by a little reading that Diog did not hunt in the night, but used a lantern in the bright light of day. He did not hunt for an honest man. He hunted for A MAN, and was not successful. On being asked what he was seeking, he replied "A Man?" He had found children in Sparta and women in Athens, but a man he had never seen. Diogenes taught in the streets and public places, speaking with plainness, often with rudeness and lived as a voluntary outcast until he was ninety years old. It is reported that he wrote several works, but none is extant. This puts a new light on Diogenes and what he was seeking.


Had he appeared in Collegeport on Thursday, he might have found a man without his lantern and then the old boy might have taken a well earned rest. On that day an auto came to Homecroft and soon a stranger used the knocker on our door. He was well dressed, smoothly shaved, hair well brushed, dark complexion, quiet and soft spoken. He looked and acted like a gentle man.


He stated that he was in the business of eye examination, the fitting of lenses and had for sale optical instruments of various kinds including microscopes, telescopes, field glasses, reading glasses. He asked if my glasses were satisfactory and I told him they were not. He asked what I paid for them and who made the examination and I answered his questions. Here I thought is another faker who will find fault with my lenses and state that he can give me something better. I was mistaken for once--once only. I have listened to the tale of callers so many times. He took my lenses and after careful examination, he handed them back and said, "Mr. Clapp you have as fine lenses as is possible to make. They are excellent, the price is low, the frames are substantial and well made. It would be impossible for me to improve on the service these lenses give you. I feel quite certain that you have some defect in your sight and no lenses will give you better service until the defective sight is remedied."


We had a pleasant visit and when he departed, I turned to the miserable wretch and said "If Diogenes were here he could find a man. I do not know this man's name or address or where he went, but in my opinion if any person in this county contacts him, they may feel sure of honest treatment. He not only looked like a gentle man, but acted like one and in my judgment, he is A MAN.


In this changing day men seem to grow crafty, suspicious, afraid to trust the other fellow and the other fellow is afraid to trust him with even his thoughts. It is therefore sort o' refreshing to meet a man who appears to be honest, decent, trusty. We are glad he called and if he by chance reads these lines, he may consider it an invitation to drop in and sit at our oaken board.


An Episode of a day.


In one of this month's magazines appears a picture of Oscar Odd McIntyre with his Aunt Emma. Aunt Emma is a sweet little, O, say about ninety pounds and looks comfy and I bet she is a swell auntie. She looks like a Dresden doll. Oscar is dolled up in the latest and his Fedora hat pulled down on one side in a coquettish way which covers one eye and one ear. He looks like the town's final effort to turn out some thing hot. He's a card all right.


Mr. Wooten, under contract as superintendent of our school, resigned and it became necessary to scout about for another super. He was found at Rockdale and his name is Cherry. A right tantalizing name and I hope it turns out to be a red, sweet cherry. Balance of the family will be composed of the Misses Bell of Black Cat fame, Harris of the doll eyes, Chapman the Juno, Parker and Mansfield. Of the two latter deponents knoweth not, but until proof to the contrary, that they are beautiful, capable and sweet. But the best and greatest thing about the faculty is Principal Curtis. When he is around, one knows that a full yard is offered or a full bushel, anyway, he makes four full pecks and a bit more. He does double duty. He teaches and coaches and should have double pay.


Have asked several of the kids, "school opens in a few days. Are you glad?" Most of them reply "No I am not. I wish there was no school. I just hate to study" but some of them say "O, yes, I am glad for I am tired of vacation and much wish to study and make my grade." Just two kinds of kids and very likely two kinds of parents.


Miss Frances King enters the San Marcos College this week. Frances has developed an ambition to be a school teacher. If I could shuck off a few years, I would enter her class.


County Superintendent-elect Tom Hale and his charming wife are here for a few days visit with the Fulcher family. The Fulcher family gave to the world some very sweet daughters.


The Kraft Cheese Corporation is building a new cheese factory in Victoria. The new plant is auxiliary to the one up in Denison and with the one in Bonham will form a triumvirate of model cheese making units for Texas. With the Victoria plant to service southeast Texas and with the Denison and Bonham plants, Texas becomes an important and model cheese producing state with Texas made cheese the equal of any produced elsewhere. At the opening, officials of the company and press agents will be present, and cheese will be glorified from that tantalizing Old English right down the list, each product better than the rest.


Wonder why the Bay City Chamber of Commerce allowed this project to slip by.


Work on Mopac House has progressed well during the past week. Roof rafters are ready for raising, studding all cut, windows and the frames ready to erect and now we wait for cement. Another week will see timbers in the air. A first class pit type privio is being built on lines furnished by sanitary engineers. Don't know when we will have the opening, but it is going to be an event in the life of the community.


This being a president is great stuff. Yesterday I went over to the Mopac House works and one of the men from Ashby greeted me with "Good morning Mr. President." Being president is a grand thing and if the reader doubts it go ask Vice President Cora B. She fells a bit swelled also.


As a matter of economy, it is a first class idea to have birthdays bunched up. This is to have as many as possible on the same day. It saves considerable good frog skins. I therefore, arranged to have the miserable wretch born on August 30th, 1867 and Mary Louise on August 30th, 1910. By this arrangement, I save quite a bit of cash which is necessary these days. Mary Louise, being in San Antonio, I had to buy postage stamps from that grasping postmaster Ben R. Mowery, for the refuses to allow me to frank any mail, the stingy wretch. I gave the MW a utensil which will enable her to do one certain part of work in less time giving her more time for other work. I detest to see an idle woman about the house. God made women for help meets and they should be kept employed. One has to watch an idle woman. Never know what she does or where she wents.


Well, we had friendly calls and a big layer cake and a pork roast from Mrs. L. E. Liggett and a big angel food cake from Mrs. A. D. Jackson of Bryan. These gifts solved the food question for the day and when we retired to our bundle of shucks, we acknowledged that we had enjoyed a very happy birthday.


Friday Mary Louise journeyed to Bryan and Saturday morning took up her new duties as secretary to Dr. T. B. Brooks, Dean of the School Arts and Sciences.


"Soon as the evening shades prevail

The moon takes up the wondrous tale,

And nightly to the listening earth,

Repeats the story of their birth."


Much to our delight on Sunday came for a short visit Mr. and Mrs. Kay Legg, Mr. and Mrs. McRea of Hockley and their two daughters Zadie Zee and Sunshine. Kay had the smile I have known for twenty five years. Theora never looked so swell and the McRea family are interesting folk. I see small change in Viola except that she has matured like a ripe peach.


"Zadie Zee and Sunshine bright

You bring to me radiant star light

When I look on your bonny heads

Life's blues turn to brilliant reds

Zaide Zee, Ah, Zadie Zee, 'tis true

That I shall always love you

But Sunshine you're a heart so bright

And I'll love you day and night."

--Fragments From Hack.


The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, September 6, 1934



By Harry Austin Clapp


[Local information taken from longer article.]


Mesdames Mowery and Boeker journeyed to Houston Monday to see the bright lights and the Labor Day parade. They report that a feature of the parade was a group of men with the right arm in a sling and with them a banner "This is what the NRA did to us." Of course the tying up of the arm was only a symbolic gesture.


Much to our delight, County Agent F. O. Montague and his son, Frank O. Montague, Jr., visited us Monday in time for the luncheon hour. The senior was here on official business, distributing cotton sales certificates. The junior went down to the slough and investigated crabs. He caught several, each of them weighing less than twenty-seven pounds and brought two of the monsters up to the house. The heavy load left Frank Jr. completely exhausted. Well, anyway, we had a happy visit with these good friends.


Monday afternoon came big black clouds from the northwest and with it a stout wind and downpour of rain which soaked the ground and roads a plenty. The rain was not enjoyed by cotton and rice men.


Wednesday we were fortunate to have as a caller our old time friend John Reynolds. From his looks, I believe that Mrs. Reynolds, knowing how scare men are, feeds him well. John still sells Southwestern Life policies, but informed me that they had a policy that would interest me. It guarantees life. One pays a year's premium and the company guarantees to keep one alive one year. In order to keep receiving the annual premiums, the company must keep the subscriber living. I am taking out a ten year policy, which will carry me to the 82 age and then if I'm satisfied with life and the miserable wretch is still with me, I'll renew for fifteen years. It's bound to become a great seller and John is fortunate to be the exclusive agent in the coast section.


A few days ago we mentioned the Penland twins and now comes the last arrival with Gerald Wells as the proud father and she who one time was Mamie Franzen as the imperious mother. This new child arrived Friday the 7th and I am informed that she weighs 8 1/2 pounds with out her undies and this is pretty good for the first time.


Gust and Ellen Franzen now have a grandchild of each sex and I wonder which one they love most? We have in the Franzen family a splendid illustration of what the famous American Melting Pot accomplishes. Gustave and Ellen Franzen came here from Sweden with empty hands. They worked, they saved, they accumulated, not only money, but the respect of those near them. To day they are honored with eight fine children, two grandchildren, a good home, comfortable finances, the respect of all who know them. They have lived a fine American life and if this new grandchild lives in the same way, she is going to be a credit to her family. I, therefore, send congratulations to the parents and wish them many years of enjoyable association with their daughter.


Mr. and Mrs. Boeker Sr., having spent three months visiting in Illinois, returned Friday bringing with them their son, Hubert, and Mrs. Lashbrook. They all come back.


Real old timers will no doubt remember Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Goodman. They lived in the house occupied by the McCune family. They lived here when the burg had only two autoes; when it boasted of three hotels; when Legg & Paine ran a fine dray line and

Tom Morris operated a bus between depot and hotels; when Herbert Adams was postmaster and Sterling sold groceries in competition with Clark and Yerxa and the latter doing a $50,000 business; when Charles Duller was cashier of the local bank; when Theo Smith & Son operated a fine hardware and lumber business and Bob Price was manager for the local yard of the Price Lumber Co.; when Lena Corse, Myrtle Morris, Martha Powers tapped the keys for the Hurd Land Co.; when Charles Heck pulled the throttle on the Frisco branch; Geo. Duckworth sold tickets and Tom Waite punched them; when Manuel Glaros was captain of the Dena H and took people to the O'Neal's on Sunday for fish dinners; when we had four round trips per day between here and Palacios by boat; when we had no cement roads; when 450 people lived on the townsite; when we had two school teachers and one all time preacher; when Roy Nelson was not a cattle baron but the prize chicken raiser; when Mr. Wright ran a milk route; when Wolpert ran an ice wagon with dispensable daily delivery; when the telefone company had forty subscribers; when we had a pleasure pier and pavilion; but why go on with such a tale of retrogression. The Goodmans were here to see us and look the burg over. Mr. Goodman said that this was the pleasantest spot on the gulf coast and that if we had cement roads twenty years ago, most of the people would have staid. They went over to Palacios, 32.6 miles distant, to visit the chapel which was formerly located here. We have a long hill to climb before we are back where we were in those days.


The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, September 13, 1934



By Harry Austin Clapp


[Local information taken from longer article.]


Tuesday I received a beautiful picture card from a sweet girl friend which showed her holding roses in each hand and standing between two jackasses. She writes "Will see you soon. It's me holding the flowers." Since when have I not been able to distinguish between chicken and a jackass? My sight is failing, but I am still able to pick out some fine pullets even if I do have a wooden leg, half a brain and a weak back.


Came a brace of four trout and a flounder from my fisher maid Louise Sharp and since feasting on them my brain seems to be enlivened, quickened, exhilarated. Nothing like fish to boost up the old brain cells.


Had a beautiful visit from Ruth Harrison and Dorothy Hood. The miserable wretch served a delightful luncheon and we kept up a gabfest until late in the afternoon. Ruth soon goes back to Rice and Dorothy back to her position in Chicago. Much to my disgust, Mrs. Lutie Ramsey announces that she will leave her sea side home and go to the land of the Illini for a stay long or short. This means we will no longer enjoy those fine lines.


Mopac House has received most of the inside finish on walls. Outside walls all on and waiting for shingles for roof and cement for floors. A fine job thus far. Strong and substantial. Trussed roof and sturdy 2" x 4" studding.


Coach Curtis viewed it and said, "why can't we use this for basket ball?" and I replied it may be used for that or any other proper community activity. When finished it will have a formal opening and then will be available. We hope to have a lighting plant installed very soon. We do not know just how or where it will be obtained, but as we all know, there are several methods by which a cat may be skinned.


A nasty hornet stung one of my sweet girl friends just above the left knee. I envied that hornet for would have enjoyed taking a bite from the right knee.


"A sweet, dimpled, luscious knee,

A hornet,

With a pricker at the end of his tee.

He buzzed about that dimpled knee

And said,

I'll hang around and more I'll see.

Just above that knee he selected a spot

And inserted,

His stinger with an end that was hot.

The hornet certainly had good taste


Had he waited and shown less haste

He might have enjoyed a sweeter bite

By nibbling

Just a bit farther to the right."


Clifford Franzen came from Port Arthur to visit his niece Mary Louise Wells and found her for a weekend in Bay City. Mary Louise came home the other day and said in her own language that she had enjoyed her visit in the City not far from the Bay. Hope she likes it here and decides to stay. Clifford, tiring of picking cotton and pitching horse shoes, goes back to his job with the Texas Company. After hours he hangs about several peach orchards and nibbled on the luscious fruit. I'd like to take a bite or two or three myself.


My imitibable and irresistible friend, Jean, has progressed so far that she dares to send me her love. It has taken her a long time to get up to this courageous point and she better watch my work next time I am with her. I get crazy over some of my girls. Guess I'll go shopping with Jean and buy a pound of cheese. Cheese makes a rarebit and take a rarebit, a tankard of golden brew and a beautiful girl and what more does a man want in this world? All right Jean, let's go cheese shopping.


School opened with a snap Monday morning. The faculty, so far as I am able to judge, is excellent. Mr. Cherry, the superintendent, appears to be a type of man we need and I hope he likes the school and the school likes him and that we have a successful year. Regardless of the feelings of the last two years, it is time for us patrons to stand for and aid the new faculty.


Mesdames Liggett and Clapp and Miss Roberta Liggett represented the Collegeport Woman's Club at the County Federation of Woman's Clubs which met in Palacios Saturday. A delicious luncheon was served and a most enjoyable program was rendered. Considerable business was transacted, resolution adopted. The M. W. was much pleased with the address of Eugene Wilson, who explained the nature and intent of the amendments which will be voted on in November. She has fallen for this boy and told me that he was so sweet looking, so clean, so intelligent, and such a charming personality. I okehed the statements for once she told the truth. Mesdames Hall, Wagner and Sissons invited her to attend the dances, the kind that are on the square and not on a pivot and when she told how difficult it was to go over because of there being no causeway, she was invited to bring her sweeter half along and stay all night. Mighty fine, but not one of them mentioned meals. A room is all right, but boy I want my vittles and I wants 'em strong. I can sleep on the scales, but bring me my eats. If they will amend their invitation to include vittles, I guess I'll be there. She visited the Arnold store and told me how clean it was and how the goods were displayed in an attractive manner. She asked "did you ever go into a grocery store soon as the door was opened in the morning and smell that stale, dank, musty air?" I replied that I had. Well, said she "I bet when the Arnold store opens you will smell sweet savory odors of delicate bread, pies, cakes, doughnuts.


Goods nicely displayed, alert service, prices generous. I guess from what the M. W. told me and the doughnuts she brought, that for twice she told the truth.


Much to our delight, the week ended with a call from our friends of twenty-five years the Farwells. About the first [people] we met when we came here in January, 1909, and firm friends every since. It was a joy to have them in our home and the hour passed too quickly. Thus ended another week.


The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, September 20, 1934



By Harry Austin Clapp


[Local information taken from longer article.]


Each day I have been watching the work on Mopac House and have been interested in the comments of the workers.


They draw thirty cents per hour for an eight hour day. This is the regulation and good or poor as workers all receive the same. Some are worth more, but most of them would be richly paid at one dollar per day.


Hattie, she who bosses the Collegeport Palatial Pharmacy from the garage in the rear to the gas pump in front, has developed a new ice cream confection which has been named "Delicado." She gave me the recipe in confidence and if I violated her confidence in this column, Bay City dispensers would be busy supplying it over their bars. Keeping it a secret, Bay City people must come down the "nine foot sidewalk" and after taking on a load must turn around and go back the same way instead of crossing the causeway and going around the scenic loop. It is a tantalizing fascinating frozen ambrosia. One taste and the call is for more. Just say "Delicado" when you see Hattie the next time. Sold in glasses and spoon provided without extra for the inculpation.


Monday night the Woman's Club tendered a reception to the teachers. About one hundred twenty five were present. Mrs. Liggett, as president, opened the program and then turned it over to Mrs. Burton D. Hurd, chairman of the entertaining committee. Each of the teachers, with Harris of the teasing eyes, Chapman the Juno, The Bob cats Bell ringer, the Penny representative, the missionary Parker, little boy blue who does the coaching and the red, sweet Cherry who is head boss spoke briefly. Most of them expressed themselves as happy to have their jobs. Mr. Cherry gave us the pleasure of hearing good English, something we have not enjoyed for several years. Punch was served by Mesdames Nelson, King and Guyer, but it had little punch. A quart of Old Holland Gin or San Crusian Rum would had added to the flavor and given it a real punch. With this addition, we might have worked up a dance. When the trustees were called upon, only one responded and that was Gust Franzen. One more sneaked in after roll call. Our trustees are timid mortals. The best part of the evening was the spirit of optimism, the friendly feeling that was evidenced by every one. It appears that about one hundred percent of our people are now interested in school.


When I see a woman who is well along in years trying to shuck off the lines of age and attempting to appear young, I think it would be a fine plan for her to sit down some day and count the buttons on her tail. That tells the tale of the tail.


Looks to me as though before spring opens, I'll join the financial nudist colony. The miserable wretch has cut down my dole. At times she does not even allow me money for R. J. R.


Several times in a while, Mirth writes something that sparkles and twinkles and produces a thrill. One of these sparkles appeared in a recent issue of the Tribune. It was about the planting of flowers and plants in the school yards to replace the bare, vacant, desert places that we dignify as a campus. He thinks such work would encourage and develop culture and a love for the beautiful. He is right, but in my opinion, the first place to plant bloom is in the souls of the parents.


Not all children have parents who have ideals for the things that are lovely, charming and graceful. If this is true, how is it possible for the children to appreciate the beauty of flowers and foliage? We have in the local school as good a janitor as is to be found. He loves flowers and shrubs and has planted borders and beds and placed young trees about the school yard. Do you think the rough necks appreciate this attempt to beautify? Not any. Instead, they have pulled flowers and shrubbery up by the roots and cast them away. They tramp on pretty flower beds, they rip up young trees. Just an exhibition of kid fun of course. It is just awfully cute, but it discourages and annoys the man who, loving bloom, spends so much time growing them. Superintendent Cherry should apply a stout cherry club to a certain portion of the anatomy where nerve forces would quickly transmit the message to the brain. Here in this community, we will never be able to have flowers and trees with flowing leaves until the parents begin to love such things and teach their children to do the same. If beauty is found in the home, it will follow the children to the school campus and they will delight in building fragrant bloom.


Charles Rutherford of Nevada, Mo., one of the original old timers, has been spending a few days calling on his many old friends. Charles is now 78, but is real pert and brags that he uses no spectacles. He says there is more grass in Collegeport, than in half the state of Missouri, and that our folk don't know how well off they are.


Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Franzen here for the week end to make a call on Mary Louise Wells. I guess Arnold waited until cotton was all picked before making the visit.


The Tribune carried a splendid report of the Federation meeting held in Palacios a week ago, but failed to mention the two spot lights. Two young men kindly gave their talent pleasin. I refer to the piano playing of Mr. Lee and the singing numbers by Mr. Appleton. Way above the average and each rendering his number with true tones. Two graceful numbers and greatly enjoyed by those who appreciate good good music.


The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, September 27, 1934




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