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Collegeport Articles

September 1935


By Harry Austin Clapp


[Local information taken from longer article.]


When the four gentlemen from Springfield visited Collegeport, they wanted to see what I looked like, to gaze on the miserable wretch, to look Jimmy over and to see my only "vice," but as they were leaving one said "Where is Jed Prutz? Wish we might see him." I told them that Jed passed most of his time fishing and I had no idea where he was. After they left, I thought I would hunt up the old rascal, so I went down to their shack and found Aunt Prue folded over a washboard washing her neighbor's clothes. As I said "Good morning, Aunt Prue," she straightened up, took her swab from her pocket, dipped in her snuff and slowly and generously painted her toothless gums. Asking where I could find Jed, she said, "I don't know nuthin' about that lazy rat. I just told him to clean out and git fur from my site and he took his fishin' poles and straipsed adown the slue, and thet's whar you best look fur him." Leaving Aunt Prue in the suds, I walked for over a mile along the slough and at last found Jed flat on his back on some grassy bank, a big chaw of "mule" in his mouth and enjoying his life as he always has done. When I spoke, he rolled over and ejected a big jag of juice into the flowing stream which widened circle upon circle until lost in the flood.


He stroked his walrus mustache and said, "Boy, I is shure glad to see ye. Wondered where you might be." "Jed," I asked, "what do you think of the depression?" [Jed's opinion not included.]


Friday night, September 20, 1935, Mopac House will hold a community social. It will be a box supper affair and everyone, old and young, will be expected to bring a box of eats which will be sold, the funds to be used for the piano payments. Several stunts will be arranged for. It is suggested that every person present over the age of 35 will dress and appear as young as possible and those under that age will appear as old as possible. Elaborate costumes are not to be encouraged, for we wish it to be an old-fashioned young-old gathering. Therefore, wear your old-fashioned duds. Mrs. King will be there with her aides and some bottles of pop, and it is good pop, well aged. If any person has suggestions as to stunts, send them in to Mesdames Hurd and Liggett or to H. A. Clapp and they will have a place on the program. This will be social gathering to which all are invited. Here is the chance for Ben Mowery, Hugo Kundinger, Carl Boeker, George Harrison, Doctor Wagner, Jack Barnett, Duncan Ruthven to appear like sweet little boys, and Jimmy Gartrell, Eugene Wilson, Arthur Liggett to appear as old fogies. Ethel Nelson may make up as a 60-year-old sweet old lady. Hey? No admission except the box of grub.


When children come home and bring the grandchildren, the home is filled with laughter and joy. All this came to the Mowery home when Mr. and Mrs. Watson Barker (Ruth Mowery) surprised the Mowery family by bringing along the two beautiful kiddies for grandparents to play with. Kids lucky enough to have as beautiful a mother as these little Barkers have, are bound to be sweet and beautiful. Thus the Mowery family is happy for a week.


Friday us Homecrofters celebrated a double birthday with the miserable wretch and Mary Louise being the celebrants. No use giving out ages, but both may vote provided they comply with the law. My sweet daughter had the day off and spent it in Houston and usens just had a quiet happy day reviewing the past years and visiting childhood scenes, ever and anon allowing thoughts to wander to Houston, where our hearts were. In the p. m. came Sue Mansfield and Roberta Liggett, the latter to buy pop and the former to rope and brand some roaming stock. As I review the years that are now in the past, it seems to me that God has allowed us to walk in the green pastures and drink from crystal still waters. The most sensible merchant in Matagorda County is Nestor of the Palatial Palacios Pharmacy. It is his custom each year to lock the store and dwelling, fill up the old bus with gas, load in the family and away somewhere, some place for a vacation. Returns, opens up, resumes business full of pepper sauce and ready to dispense cold drinks or fill prescriptions.


Mr. F. M. Pine has wrecked his barn and removed the material and now plans some extensive alterations and improvements on the house.


Gus Franzen's baby brother would look swell at the social, the twentieth, dressed in knee pants; that is, provided he shaves his legs.


The library committee plans to open the library about the time school begins. Books have been overhauled, repaired, provided with new tabs and placed on proper shelves. The library will look nice when the work is finished.


Trucks are hauling in extra machinery to the oil well by means of which they hope to conquer the heaving shale. Many mule teams are busy with Fresnos digging extra pits.


Tribune of Friday greeted its readers with a streamer headline announcing the Gulf Sulphur company had started four new crews to drilling new wells at Gulf and that production work would begin very soon. This company has become a major operator in Matagorda county and pays more than half our tax bill and, listen, many of those who are continually fighting them have paid no taxes for several years. They are delinquent, but the sulphur company is not and never will be on that list. It has given employment to many men and it has been generous to its employees. It has given aid to most of the civic, educational, athletic, commercial organizations of the county. It is a friendly corporation and realizes that it is a part of our section. Instead of being a soulless corporation with its stock held by a few, it has more than fifty thousand partners, most of them holders of a few shares. Instead of heckling this organization, we should stand by and aid it in all possible manner. Wish we had several corporations of the same breed.


School opens Monday, the 9th, much to the delight of a few pupils and disgust of others.


Frances King and Rosalie Nelson leave this week for school at San Marcos. The school requires that all students know how to swim, so Rosalie's first lesson will be from that book. If she will keep her mouth closed, she will float and soon learn to paddle. Frances has taken several medals for her accomplishments in the water. Probably forty or fifty, or something like that. Oh, yes, she is some fish. Two fine girls and the community has good reason to be proud of them. Sorry they must miss the social Friday night, the 9th.


A big Royce drove into our yard Sunday and there we found three delightful friends who drove all the way from Bay City to see us. Callie Metzger, for twenty-five years our good friend and well-wisher. Ruby Hawkins, looking years younger and sparkling like the ruby from which he was named. Mrs. A. D. Hensley makes me think of a beautiful calm. She has a soft, low, sweet voice and is so placid that I often wonder if the waters are ever stirred. We had two hours of joyous conversation, led principally by the miserable wretch, who once in a great while allowed me to say just a word. You see she, having just enjoyed a birthday, feels extra chipper. Fine friends of many years which we like to review. Guess the mousetrap is working. Wish my "Vice" had been in the bunch.


Friday night, the 20th, Mrs. Liggett will be there with her choir, and we will have some community singing. This will give Carl Boeker, Walter Wilkinson, North Cable and Brimberry a chance to tune in.


The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, September 5, 1935



By Harry Austin Clapp


[Local information taken from longer article.]


The Barker family with the little Barkers left Monday morning for the home place.


Thursday night, the 12th, the Woman's club, keeping its annual custom, tenders a reception to the school faculty. The affair is free to all our people and a goodly crowd is expected.


Friday night, the 29th, will occur the first community neighbor get-together social at Mopac House. Good stunts, much singing and a general good time is on the bill. Ben Mowery and North Cable will, if possible, be induced to sing a duet which alone will be worth driving miles to hear. Their voices blend into a sweet harmony that entrances. Hugo Kundinger will deliver the principal monologue. The lunch boxes will be there so all may have an opportunity to push good food into their faces. Mrs. Liggett's choir will be on hand to lead the singing. Friday night, the 20th of September, 1935. Make a cross on your almanac and be on hand.


"The warm summer air

Has worked wonders up there

In our beautiful willow tree.

All is life, all a-bloom,

On each branch hangs a plume.

As I look at the waving willow tree,

In memory I go back many a day

When looking as far as I could see

Way up in the tree was my baby.

'Oh, Daddy, can't you see

'Way up in the willow tree.' "


I wonder if the merchants of Palacios realize that by mail service we are just as near Dallas as Palacios. Yesterday I received mail from Palacios and Dallas both postmarked the day before. When the causeway is open for traffic, a full day will be cut from the present schedule and the two towns will really be neighbors. Isn't it a nasty mess when it takes an hour to visit a point five minutes distant? Some day we will all wake up, rub our eyes and wonder why we allowed such a situation to exist.


School opens this day with an almost new faculty and even as I write, I see children with their books hastening to the study room. I read in the papers that the WPA regional board has approved a grant of $35,000 for the construction of a new and modern school building. This is a much needed improvement and will provide labor for the local boys. I am pleased with this promise. Of course, the project must pass the scrutiny of the state board, the Washington board and the president, but no doubt it will stand the test and soon we will have the pleasure of seeing the new building being erected. I have not seen the plans, but am informed that they are beautiful and useful. It is all good business and the local board is entitled to congratulations. The regional board allowed projects to the sum of $10,000,000 for every conceivable plan, but turned down a request for $400 for painting Mopac House. A case of swallowing a camel and gagging on a gnat. Well, Mopac, with the aid of George, will hunt another way, for it is impossible to sit idly by and see Mopac go to ruin. Too valuable a community asset.


The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, September 12, 1935



By Harry Austin Clapp


[Local information taken from longer article.]


Attached to the silent Alamo light plant at Mopac House is what is called a crank. It is a geared contrivance which is really an auxiliary crank. The real crank which provides power to crank the auxiliary is supplied in the person of Henry Legg. Without Henry, the auxiliary crank would be of small use, but when Henry puts out his storage battery power, presto, the Silent Alamo begins to purr and there is light. The Mopac management hopes Henry will enjoy a long life and wax exceedingly strong. Henry is, therefore, thanked for his willingness to help out in the frequent emergencies. Hard to get another as good a crank as is Henry Legg. He is not only an accommodating grocery clerk, but a very splendid crank.


The reception to the school faculty went off in grand style. About 120 patrons, teachers, pupils were present. Mrs. Hurd introduced a very pleasing stunt consisting of giving out strips of paper, each bearing a line of some well-known song. The game was for those having the slips to hunt up others until the song was complete, and then the group assembled at the piano and sang the song. This produced much fun and laughter. Mrs. Liggett, with her choir, led in community singing and in this all joined with much gusto. Mrs. King, with her aides, produced a big bucket of punch and with it served real cookies so those present munched cookies and drank punch. It was a real hearty welcome and a promise of co-operation. Only two members of the board of seven graced the occasion with their presence. Thanks to Vern Batchelder and Mrs. Liggett for showing their interest. The absent five should be remembered and no doubt they will.... Lights out at about 11 p. m. and everyone went home after a very pleasant and happy evening.


Next week, Friday the 20th, we will have a community social with box lunches and pies for the items of principal interest. This means eats and our people, being fond of eating, no doubt will be out in goodly numbers. Mrs. Hurd will be there with her box of tricks and Mrs. Liggett with her fine choir and, believe it or not, that choir can sing. I hope to have the pleasure of hearing Roberta Liggett and Ethel Nelson sing that sweet song "I Shall Not Be Moved." Everybody invited to come and bring a box or a pie, any kind of pie, so long as it is apple, cherry, punkin, apricot, mince, berry, cream or lemon. If an apricot pie is offered, I am in advance making a bid, or maybe I will be attracted by an apple pie. Friday night, the 20th.


The other day at the postoffice, I was informed that it was rumored that those who failed to bring a pie or box would be charged two bits for admission. This is too silly, foolish, witless, absurd, stupid, childish and whatnot, for who has a teaspoon of brains to believe. The social is free, free, F-R-E-E to all the community. Pie or no pie, box or no box, all are welcome. Don't give a thought to such frivolous rumors.


When fellows stay out all night chasing wild women, they are sooner or later to meet up with Old Man Trouble. That is the experience of our pooch, Jimmy. The other day after giving him a bath, which he enjoys, he was turned loose to dry off and presto, Jimmy was out of sight. The next day he came back on three legs. Fine he had those three, else a crutch would have been handy. One eye closed from a swell bite. Wounds on his body and a very dirty, disreputable member of the canine tribe. His wounds were dressed, his game leg fixed up and a good bath and he began to look once more like a real gent. This wild woman business never pays, as many a member of the human family well knows. Jimmy is a tame pooch this day.


I am informed that if the PWA project for funds with which to build a new schoolhouse are approved, that local labor and trucks must register in sufficient number to do the work and transport the material. Registration appears to be slow. Looks like our men don't care to work on a government project at government pay and yet many of them expect to live from relief. I am informed that any man who refuses to register for this work and thus earn his pay will be refused future relief. Relief is an easy graft so long as it can be worked, but once shut down and a howl will be heard in the Land of the Free and the Brave.


The first week of school passed off without incident and now the pupils are down to hard work, each one striving to make the grade. Mr. Elliott Curtis, who does the coach work, tells me that soon they will need some cash for athletic equipment. I am sure that the response will be generous for this community has always, in the past, appeared eager and willing to provide the funds. Looking over the faculty, one is assured that good work will be done. We have one teacher with an experience of twenty-two years. Some have been here two and three years, others are on the faculty for the first time, but all appear determined to give the patrons generous service. If they do, everything will be jake when the year is finished and they may expect renewals.


We are fortunate to have Vern Batchelder as president. He shows much interest and is guiding the school destiny along right lines. I also give congratulations on the addition of Mrs. Liggett as a member. This woman has advanced ideas about educational work and will be a valuable member. Wish we had five more like these two.


The library looking sweet, spick and span, will open Friday afternoon from two to five. One hundred and six new books have been added and several more are to be ordered, among them "Victory," by Conrad, and "Return of the Native," by Hardy. Much work has been done during the vacation time and books arranged so as to be easily accessible. This is the only free public library in the county. No membership fee, no dues, no charge of any kind except fines if books are kept out longer than two weeks. Our people should appreciate this library and some of them do.


Three friends all out touring. One writes, "Seeing Mexico. Wish you were with us." Another writes, "Looking at the national capitol. Wish you were with us." The third sends us the third picture with these words, "Touring Pennsylvania. Wish you were with us." Reminds of the fellow who hunted his friend Bill and found him in hell. He shouted down, "How do you like it, Bill?" And Bill replied, "Looking about hell. Wish you were with us." We have the picture cards to prove this and you may believe it or not. Makes no difference to us Homecrofters.


The Matagorda County Museum, Thursday, September 19, 1935



By Harry Austin Clapp


[Local information taken from longer article.]


Several years ago I heard a song by Ethel Nelson and Roberta Liggett. It has repeated in my memory day by day. Friday night at the social, on my request, they sang it again. This is the chorus.


"I shall, I shall, I shall not be moved.

"I shall, I shall, I shall not be moved.

Like a tree by the water

I shall not be moved."


The Tribune Wednesday carried some interesting oil news and that about the Continental operations east of Collegeport was interesting news to us. The Tribune reporter just did not know--only thought he did. The Continental is not drilling on Boeker No. 2, but is located on the Fief tract and it is not now drilling, but is preparing to do so some time during the next two or three weeks. At present, the place is occupied principally by a watchman. Some extra tanks are being made. Might as well have this correct. The well is located southeast of Collegeport and is equipped in a splendid manner.


Monday, much to our pleasure, we had as visitors the Misses Ruth and Naomi Harrison of Palacios, George Heidenreich of Chicago, the latter en route to Mexico City. Hope he goes by train instead of airplane. They brought us a sample of "Tap-a-can," which is a nifty way of dispensing the article that made Milwaukee famous. The Harrison girls are planning to enter the Texas University at Austin, and were much pleased that they were to live at Grace Hall. Marion Harrison is at Cornell as a fish.


C. W. Boeker graduated from the Palacios high school with honors. The school is supposed to be an affiliated school, but he took his credits to the A. and M. and they were not recognized, and C. W. was informed that he needed an additional one and a half credits. It appears strange that what is supposed to be an affiliated school is not recognized by a major institution. According to this, the two young girls now at San Marcos would be unable to even look at the university. The local school is supposed to be an affiliated and accredited school and its gradates with the prescribed credits should have prompt access to any major institution, but they are denied under the rather severe rules and requirements of the majors. This being so, one wonders why affiliation?


Some time ago I received a letter from Mrs. Waggoner, and much to my distress the letter has been mislaid. I desire to make reply, and if Mrs. Waggoner reads this and will write me again, I shall be more careful and give prompt reply. This is my only way of making contact for I do not have the address.


The library opened Friday and let out fifty-one books. The new books were speedily grabbed up and soon were exhausted. The library looks spick and sweet to the credit of the library board. It is reported that Rosalie Nelson and Frances King are now living in the San Marcos dormitory and settled down to college life. Nostalgia! They endured a severe attack of nostalgia, but have made good recovery.


Just as a pigeon seeks the home loft, so Mrs. Lutie Ramsey seeks the quiet and comfort of the Ramsey farm. She arrived for a stay that we trust will last at least until the flowers bloom again next season. It is good to see her back with her cheery smile. Things are due to look up around Ramsey farm.


Saturday came Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Goodman of Houston for a week-end. Twenty-five years ago Mr. Goodman was editor of the Southern Farmer and they lived here for about three years during which time they were active in all civic work. They brought us a large collection of books and looking them over it appears that we will be able to add to the library about sixty choice volumes of first-class fiction. Isn't this grand? Sunday, much to our regret, they journeyed back to the home base. We had a happy time with these old friends and hope they will not forget that a hard road runs from their door or our door.


Friday night was social night at Mopac House. The light burned brilliantly. The singing, led by Mrs. Liggett's choir was swell. The speeches by Hugo Kundinger, Vern Batchelder, the singing by Carl Boeker, Ben Mowery, North Cable and Seth Corse was tantalizing, so much so that all of them were fined for their absence. Ruby Lee Corporon and Elaine Hendricks brought boxes of excellent food and many pies were there. All this was sold by auction and brought in about five frog hides. Messrs. Fox and Slone bought the boxes and therefore had the girls and plenty of good food. I was lucky enough to bid in a huge lemon pie from the Liggett kitchen and Mrs. Cherry made a gorgeous peach pie and when I write gorgeous, I mean it was showy, magnificent, resplendent, rich. It went to the Fox & Slone combination, for they seemed to have the only cash. My lemon pie had a flaky crust, about two inches of lemon gooey topped by an inch of frothy goodness. I allowed the miserable wretch a small slice, just to show that I still adored her. About forty were present and all seemed to enjoy the affair. Something like it will be on card next month and I am here making a date for Mopac House for Thanksgiving night. That day I suppose the Citrus Grove folk will hold their usual community dinner so at night Mopac House will hold forth. Some sort of interesting program will be provided.


Ethel Nelson and Georgia Alice Jones appeared beautifully gowned in an attempt to simulate old age or something else and both looked cute. Ethel made me think of a Mexican senorita. Plenty of rain this week, which interferes with rice threshing and cotton picking. It is rumored that the oil well will begin to operate in a week or ten days.


The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, September 26, 1935



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