By Harry Austin Clapp
[Local information taken from longer article.]
The ceremony which united that young, tender, innocent, blushing Fredda Ball [Fred Ballhorst] and Terry Lasher [Jerry Lashbrook] last Sunday night was the scene of a happy, hilarious time, but tragedy hovered over the scene--a pitiful tragedy. Mr. A. D Hensley, District Clerk, was here Sunday and he informed me that the situation no doubt would be investigated by the District Court. The County Judge states that the person who performed the ceremony has never qualified as a judge. The County Auditor states that no bond has ever been filed or approved. The County Clerk says no license was ever issued. The County Treasurer states that no fee has ever been received by that office. Clearly this person acted outside the law. Interviewing the minister, we have the information that this person never has been ordained. The District Clerk is of the opinion that the members of the canning club, including the Home Demonstration Agent, may be indicted as accessories before the fact. Nasty mess. But the tragedy is not to the living, for if the union results in a child or mayhap twins, trips, quads, or quints, the poor children will be illegitimate and without a name. My heart pleads goryblood as I contemplate this terrible tragedy. It will take more than the twenty dollars secured from the exhibition to clear all the violators of the law.
As I sit at my Corona this 24th of July my thoughts fly back forty years to the day I was married to my adorable miserable wretch. For that many years we have traveled life's way up hill, down hill, some days drinking bitter waters, other time sipping the sweets of life but always walking the road hand in hand and never forgetting that we had taken on a contract that could only end with the end of life. No man every enjoyed the companionship of a more loyal, lovable, patient, contented, helpful woman. She has been wonderful and never once has she strayed or forgotten the promise she made. Of myself that cannot be said for like the magnetic needle I have at times been deflected, but always come to rest pointing to the north where my heart was welcomed.
Out of all the fortunes given to us, we have enjoyed a wide travel experience which has taken us to all the important cities from Boston to San Francisco and the cities of Mexico and the woman partner has visited the five [countries] continents of the globe. This has given us both an education that may not be acquired in any other way. It has broadened our view point of life, made us more tolerant and added to our ability to extract from life much more of value.
We have had a very happy successful married life and now that we are near the time when the evening shades are pulled down, we have no regrets. We have lived richly and enjoyed the fruits we found along the way. I ask you what more can a man ask? Isn't it a wonderful thing when a woman stands by a man for forty years always loving, always giving, always trusting. And we men in our carelessness give back so little. Well, anyway, folks, it has been a wonderful rich life just to be Mrs. Clapp's husband, which I'll be after Thursday, August 2nd. And with all this I have my "vice."
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, August 1, 1935
One is not obliged to go far from the Midcoast to be impressed with the change in conditions. Leaving Matagorda county I saw grass in abundance. Everywhere it waved in the breeze inviting live stock to generously feed. But I saw small amounts of feedstuffs. Down here we depend on all-year-round pasturing. In the back country they must produce feed. Guess we are lucky, even if we do not always realize it. I am informed that Texas has the greatest feed crop in its agricultural history. Taking 100 as a base, it amounts to 180, and we will have at least a third more than we have animals to utilize it with, hence many farmers, especially in the West, are planning to import cattle with which to feed the surplus.
Our trip took us to the short course and the Texas Writers’ Conference. It was a great show with an attendance of seven thousand. They came in busses, cars of recent make, cars of good old age. They came from all parts of the state, eager, determined men and women and kids, but they came and they were busy from early get up to late lay down. Sunday night the Brazos Ministerial association held a big service in the stadium with an audience of 4000. Every minister in the county took part. Harry Knowles of Houston delivered the sermon and a big mixed choir furnished the music. Monday night the Gainesville community circus gave their performance to 9000 people. The college paid the circus the sum of $700 for the show and turned into the extension department a profit of $1200. It was a real circus with clowns, trick dogs, bareback riding, trapeze, wire walking stunts. The performers are citizens of Gainesville. They provide their own costumes, have no pay and all profits go to the fund for extensions. It is conceded that nowhere in the nation is there an organization that even approaches this great community aggregation.
Tuesday night we had the opportunity to hear Bishop Quin, a chicken dinner at the Bentley home, a watermelon party at the Person home and the annual Connor reception. We ate watermelon and went to the Connor home. Here we found handsome women, beautifully gowned, stalwart men and the usual cultured people of the college, who annually gather here to pay respects to Mr. and Mrs. Connor.
Wednesday night the big 4-H banquet given by Farm and Ranch. Doctor Walton was the toastmaster. After the banquet all adjourned to the stadium, where 169 boys and girls who had made greatest achievement in 4-H work received the gold stars. Two hundred Frank Briggs told me, were eligible, but only 169 were present.
Thursday night the writers held their annual banquet at the Country club, with 100 present, among them being Commissioner of Agriculture McDonald, Frank Briggs, Marsh Holland and Peggy Morris of Farm and Ranch, Ben Harigal of LaGrange, Austin Callan, Arthur LeFevre and scores of others. No set program, but many humorous tales were told and an evening of hilarious fun was enjoyed. Closed with a dance.
Friday the writers’ annual “bull pen” was held in front of the hospital, and here the old timers renewed their youth.
Saturday we took on the return trip and glad to get back to rest after a very busy and hectic week.
One of the features of the Writers’ Conference was the able and instructive address on “The National Constitution” delivered by Eugene Wilson. This earned comment in the Houston and Bryan papers.
Wednesday the writers held a memorial service in memory of Phoebe K. Warren. Very beautiful and impressive.
The twenty-sixth annual short course was unique in many respects. The old-time cheery greetings were given. Old friends met and exchanged views and this, I think, is one of the blessings God gave those who attended. Everywhere, every place, every time something worth while was presented. One was amazed at the multitude of instructive opportunities the Texas Writers, under the leadership of Miss Katherine Pollard, chairman of the publicity committee, arranged with the Associated Press to handle two stories each day. No one can even hazard a guess how far this went, but we do know that each day members of the conference were busy telling the world about the short course. The only people I saw from Matagorda county were F. O. Montague and Leola Cox Sides. The latter acted as though she was mighty glad to see my face and her face was a pleasant thing to rest my eyes on. I had small time to visit the various groups. In fact, this is an impossibility if one is closely associated with any certain group as I was. The writers’ sessions closed Thursday with election of officers, which resulted in electing E. S. Shoaf, Wood county democrat, president, Katherine Pollard vice president and Nell Bentley secretary. This closed my official life and I am now only Mrs. Clapp’s husband. With my downfall went Cora B. Moore, my very dear “vice.” I feel mighty sorry for Cora, for she sure did love the position of “vice.” I have always tried, that is, most always, to be decent, but I must confess that I have learned to love “vice.” I have never been as tired in my life as on my return to peaceful Homecroft. Once a year is sufficient plenty and enough. Just think of 5000 folk attending Sunday night service, 8000 at the circus and 7000 every day milling about the campus, attending the group meetings. Determination to learn something of value was printed in glowing letters across faces and flashed from happy faces. We are going to have a great world in a few years and these boys and girls will be the leaders.
Come down and dance at Mopac house Thursday night to the tuneful music of Merton Smith’s Incomparable Royal Texans. Thursday night, the 8th.
Matagorda County Tribune, August 8, 1935
THOUGHTS ABOUT CHEESE
By Harry Austin Clapp
[Local information taken from longer article.]
Tuesday we were delighted to have the opportunity to entertain at luncheon, Mrs. Ross Chitwood (Frances Eisel) and her sister, Elizabeth. Elizabeth is well known wherever Thoughts go as my redbird, and when I look at her flame of gold bronze, I felt that she was rightly named. Two splendid girls and Collegeport may be proud that it had much to do with the development of their character.
From Decatur, Illinois, I have this interesting epistle: "I see by the papers there is some possibility of doing something with land in your locality. We read Thoughts and Mr. C. enjoys your articles very much and says to tell him to tell us about the oil well every week." All I know is that the well is shut down waiting the arrival of some special machinery by the use of which they hope to pass through the shale and perhaps produce a gusher. This is gossip, and facts are difficult to obtain.
Then I have this from a Tribune reader in St. Louise: "I have just read this week's column and note that you will soon be a past president. Am enclosing news clipping of this Missouri woman, who has just been taken on a joyride because she is the best country newspaper correspondent. Thought you might get something out of it. The enclosed editorial states the case. Country correspondence is what makes the paper interesting to its readers. Most readers don't care how rotten the country is run, but they do care what folks in their county are doing. If I ever have the luck to live any length of time in Matagorda County, I will know most of the folks there because I have read about them for twenty-five years and will know who I will like and who I won't. So you have done a good service with your column and whether you get any recognition for it or not, I know that a lot of people appreciate it. Just on the side, I think it's too bad to waste a round of night clubs of New York on a nice old lady from Missouri. I'll bet you could have got a lot more fun out of it." The old lady referred to is Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Mahnky of Oasis, Missouri. She has been writing a column for her county paper, the Forsyth Republican, for forty-four years and never missed an issue. She was selected as the greatest country correspondent in the United States and awarded a trip to New York with generous trimmings and safe conduct to her home. I had no chance on this trip, because I've been writing only twenty-five years, but by golly or by gosh, I would have enjoyed holding a swell blond on my knee while I listened to the chirping and looked at the caperings of twenty or thirty half-clad specials. While doing that and ever and anon burying my face in a tall glass in which tinkled cooling ice, Collegeport would fade from my view and with it the miserable wretch and "vice." No guy can hold a swell blond and think of the folks back home. Maybe it's a good thing for New York that the editors chose Mrs. Mary Elizabeth. I hope she had a swell time and arrived home safe.
Dancing at Mopac House Thursday night, August 15, 1935, with Merton Smith's Incomparable Royal Texans and their cacophonic rhythm. This will be the first of a series which will run once a month during the fall and winter season. Music will begin at 9 p. m. and continue until 1 a. m. The cost per ticket for this dance has been placed at the minimum of 2 1/2 mills per minutes, which is low for so much delicioso amusement. Besides this, every mill placed in the box helps pay for the piano. The Collegeport Woman's Club will be on hand with a cage of cold ice and plenty of drinks. Door opens at 8:30 or close by. I hope the boys who hang around and never spend a cent are so tired they have to hang on to the beautiful Mopac sign will bring their crutches.
Writing about crutches causes me to inform nonresident owners that the oil well is still shut down and I have no information as to when work will begin. The property is in charge of C. W. Boeker, who watches on a twenty-four-hour-shift. Don't know when he sleeps, but will find out soon and report.
Much to our delight, we have our fine daughter home for eight days, 192 hours, or to be exact, 11,520 minutes. Every tick of the clock has spelled a delicious moment. God has been very generous to us and so we give daily thanks for this sweet girl who is our daughter. Sunday she left and as I write, is back on her job as private secretary for Dean Brooks, dean of the school of arts and sciences at A. and M.
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, August 15, 1935
By Harry Austin Clapp
[Local information taken from longer article.]
This morning I arose from a taxed bed, put on taxed BVD's, a taxed shirt, taxed trousers and taxed shoes. Men who slaughter beeves no longer prepare the hides, for the sale price is too low; but shoes, God save the Queen, they are taxed. I grabbed a taxed milk bucket and milked a taxed cow, which I fed on taxed fee. I brought the milk in and strained it through a taxed cloth into a taxed pan, and then sat down to breakfast with toast made from taxed wheat, taxed sugar in the coffee, taxed bananas on the side, taxed bacon. Satisfying my appetite, I loaded a taxed pipe with taxed R. J. R., and reading a taxed paper (I blew smoke rings in the center of which I saw additional plans for taxes. After viewing the new plans for taxation, flying around like little angels, I sat down before my taxed Corona to write my daily letter to my sweet daughter. To the postoffice, where I bought a taxed stamp. Taxed? You bet, to the tune of one-third. Our postage bill runs about $60 per annum, 99 percent being used by Ben Mowery for feeding his family and his fine pooches. That 33 1/3 per cent is an additional tax of $20 per annum. It comes slow, day by day, and causes little pain, but, boy it sure comes to twenty simoleons per annum. The only thing I used this morning that was untaxed was a piano stool, now used for a milking stool, which was given to the miserable wretch fifty-five years ago, a glorious time when vicious taxes were unknown, and even that had tacks in the top with tore a hole in my taxed trousers. Therefore it appears impossible to avoid these damned taxes unless and until we have a congress and a president pledged to a balanced budget and a cessation of chimerical schemes. God hasten the day.
We are a tax-ridden folk and will continue to be until we cease chasing after the unattainable and go back to the vulgar past and be content with the obtainable. God has been good to us as a nation and He will continue to be good, but don't forget, good folk, God is too busy to attempt to head us off in our wild scramble for the unattainable. He will allow us to wallow out from the mire of the mess we have made.
Just wanted to get this stuff off my mind. Maybe some will like it.
For the benefit of the society column, will state that Mr. William Korn is no relation to Bill Corn. Also, Mr. Fred Ballhorse is not kin to Fred Baldhorse. Might as well get things down right.
Us Homecrofters had a swell time at the Louie Duffy ranch. A splendid dinner ending with as good ice cream as I ever ate. Sparkling conversation and it was with regret that we started for Homecroft. Mrs. James Louis Duffy is a fine cooker and Louise is a swell cuckoo.
Monday night about fifty gathered at the Mrs. Helen Holsworth home to honor Rev. and Mrs. Paul Jaynes and Mr. F. M. Pine. Mr. Jaynes had his first pastorate in the local church and is now stationed in New Jersey. Mr. Pine, for years a resident, moved to California about ten years ago and is now spending a few weeks of delight with old friends. The entertainment consisted of the Collegeport plan of bringing enough for yourself and for another, so this meant an abundance of delicate and delicious eatables. This community is famous for the abundance of food always provided.
Thursday the King's Daughters met at the Liggett home. I was fortunate enough to have an invitation and enjoyed the lavish and generous luncheon provided by the Daughters of the King. About forty of these dames were present and saw that I was well served. When the Liggetts or Hurds entertain the girls of the King's House, I have the opportunity to fill up. God be praised, that I have two good friends.
The dance at Mopac House Thursday night was a frost. Only twelve and one-half tickets sold, and so the Incomparables were disgusted and the house management was filled with nausea, repugnance and distaste. Most of the time only one couple occupied the floor, and at no time did I see more than six at one time. Seats all well filled with those who spent the time visiting and few spending a cent. Outside about thirty cheap sports hung around, filling the windows with observers and not even buying a nickel bottle of pop. We sure have a hot bundle of cheap fellows, and no wonder the bird utters scream after scream. If the people of this burg think we are going to open Mopac House free of charge so they can have a get-together place for community gossip, they have just one more guess and they are out. Mopac House must be supported or it closes for good-bye all. Several boys failed to bring crutches and being too tired to stand attempted to drape themselves from the beautiful Mopac House sign. The Woman's Club did a fair business on pop, which was cold as north pole bergs. In as much as it was demonstrated that our folks desire a social evening, we will have one next month. If any wish to dance, they may to the music of the piano. If they wish to walk about, go ahead, BUT EVERYONE except nursing babes will be required to spend ten cents for admission. The gang of boys who, having a parasitic nature, just hang around and are not wanted unless they wish to help support the house. It costs money for lights, janitor service, etc., etc. Thursday night the house took $2.85 out of which an expense of $2.10 must be paid. I sure have small use for a small sport.
Saturday we are called upon to vote on several proposed amendments to the Texas constitution, among them the repeal of the prohibition amendment. In my opinion this is a necessity. We have prohibition and yet the state is flooded with liquor. Here in this little community, it may be had any hour of the day. Plenty in the county. Just as easy to have a drink of booze as a drink of water provided one knows where and how. It is just as impossible to prohibit the use of alcoholic drinks as to control human passions. It has often tried and always failed. The next recourse is control. A vote for repeal means this and so I vote for the repeal of the prohibition amendment.
Raymond Hunt has finished his training period at the San Diego naval training school and now expects to go to the plane carrier Ranger. He is home on a ten day furlough and looks fine in his navy uniform. He looks well groomed, well fed and likes his job. He is ambitions and a good student and will, ...
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, August 22, 1935
Nine members and one visitor, Mrs. Raymond Waters of New Braunfels, attended the Home Demonstration club meeting at the Community House Tuesday afternoon, August 13.
Plans were made to have our "achievement day" the fourth Tuesday in September. The various committees were assigned their duties to carry out in preparation for the event.
Mrs. Anna D. Crane, delegate to the short course, gave a detailed report of her trip.
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday August 22, 1935
By Harry Austin Clapp
[Local information taken from longer article.]
Sue Mansfield, one time of Collegeport but now of Bay City, has been spending a few days here caring for her local interests. Being satisfied that things were rocking along in right good style, she left for her home at 12:21 1/2 a. m. Friday. The local society column of The Tribune will now pick up. Can't expect Mirth to lay down his Corona or Silent Remington to record "business visitors on our streets." Not much Mirth in such stuff and Mirth is not much if not mirthful.
Election day passed quietly with a small vote caused by few poll tax payers and a general non-interest. Every amendment carried by a substantial vote. The following is the vote:
No. 1, for 25, against 6
No. 2, for 26, against 8
No. 3, for 26, against 11
No. 4, for 22, against 11
No. 5, for 23, against 11
No. 6, for 21, against 13
The vote on the prohibition amendment is surprising, for this community is considered as being a very dry community. Several rockribbed church folk voted wet simply because they had given the subject considerable study and believed repeal would be best for the moral and financial structure of the state government. One or two actually believed that if the vote went dry that almost at once liquor would disappear from the state. Fifteen years of experiment refutes that idea. Everyone knows that booze is everywhere and easily obtained and whether the vote is dry or wet makes no difference to the men who desire liquor, but if it votes wet, it makes a big difference in the quality and also in the size of the state's exchequer. My friend Andy, going fishing on Sunday was asked "Andy, do you fish on the Sabbath day?" He replied, "Yes, sah, I goes fishin' on Sunday, but I takes my Bible by mah side." Lots of people violate laws and customs by taking their Bible by their side.
Gust Franzen is having a happy time introducing his "baby brother" to the local gente. "Baby Brother" is a strapping big Swede about six feet two, and Gust may easily stand under his outstretched arm.
Went to Bay City as a "business visitor on our streets" and delivered the voting box of precinct. 7. Bay City looks like a rare jewel. Everyone seems busy minding their own business and as much of other folk's as possible. The owners and clerks in some stores reminded me of a spider sitting in his web waiting for a fly to become entangled. Most of them seldom advertise, as they are willing to let the other fellows spend such foolish money and bring in the flies which they hope to catch in their special web.
Had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Hagar of the Pig-Wig. I first saw him with a broom sweeping the floor and I thought he was a clerk cleaning up, but he was the boss-man. Mighty pleasant man and a believer in telling folk about the wonders of that store.
Called on Mr. Penny Mansfield, another wide-awake merchant and the daddy of the ubiquitous Sue Mansfield, who sits at the society desk of The Tribune. Most of Sue's business is in Collegeport so she is busy. The Penny Store is loaded with splendid merchandise, plenty of polite help and it is a credit to the manager.
Met Mr. and Mrs. Freeman of Sargent. They both read "Thoughts" which shows they know good literature and are entitled to belong to the literati.
Called at the Bachman store, a sparkling jewel among the others. Clean stock, immaculate store, exquisite service, fair prices. A pleasure to buy at Bachman's.
When I returned, I had four callers. Four gentlemen from Springfield, Illinois, all readers of "Thoughts." they wanted to see what the writer feller looked like, so trekked down here. Also they wanted to see the miserable wretch. They left Springfield at 3 a. m. Sunday morning and slept at Marshall, Texas. Their names are Charles W. Hartman, Sr., Charles W. Hartman, Jr., Charles J. Baumann and Noble Baumann. When fellows will drive 1800 miles to see the writer of "Thoughts," it must be true that it was a damn fine mousetrap. They also inquired where they might see my "Vice." Well, I kept that precious well concealed for fear that someone will steal her. I believe that when a man has a "Vice" he should not allow it to be exhibited. It certainly is pleasing to know that so many Tribune readers read with interest and pleasure the weekly stuff that dribbles from my Corona. Don't take much to suit many folk. Guess I'll write one more string. The Springfield boys tell me that Doctor Van is still going strong and I am glad to know it, even if it does come second hand. Wish Margaret would make us a visit so I could take her to the gin.
Saturday the Woman's Union held a bake sale and luncheon, which as usual fattened the exchequer of that fine organization. Verl Hill, who carries the "male" and also the female, is moving into the Hugo Kundinger north shore residence.
Several have asked when we will have another dance. In reply will say that we are trying to interest the WPA in giving us funds for paint and for a floor finish, so am unable to reply. We will have some entertainment in September so we can have a get-together and have some fun.
The men who planned to build an oyster house on this side have given it up and are building across the bay north of the Allen camp. If the weather continues dry much late cotton will make, which will please the farmers.
I am informed that the oil well will become active in a few days, as men are now on the ground preparing for going down. A 30,000 barrel gusher would be a pleasant sight.
My Friend Andy brought in a large lot of shrimp yesterday and they say the bay is filled with this fine seafood. Oh, yes, we had a mess and fried in sweet Holstein butter and they were delicious or something like that.
Saw good old scout Ed Taulbee and caught him taking a drink of ice water and this on the day that Texas is free. Well, anyway, Eddie is going after things we Matagordians need and he will deliver.
George Harrison walking about the courthouse with a cane and looking pretty swell. He is rapidly recovering from his operation, thanks be to our Good Father in Heaven.
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, August 29, 1935
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