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Collegeport Articles

 June 1935

By Harry Austin Clapp

[Local information taken from longer article.]

He was weary in body, but strong in spirit. His saddle bore all he owned and the luggage consisted of his vestments, a few clothes and priceless communion vessels. This traveler was the Reverend Caleb Ives intent on carrying the work of Jesus to the new settlement. Arriving, he was given hearty welcome and finding eleven souls, he at once organized Christ Church Parish, the first to be organized in this new land. This then is the first Church and the First Parish to be given life in what is now Texas. To honor these pioneer folk, June 16, a new caravan will make the journey, but it will roll along on rubber, over splendid cement pavements and what required days in the old time, will this trip be covered in minutes. This is Matagorda’s great part in the Centennial celebration about which all Texas is concerned. It is an interesting historical fact, that the first celebration of the Holy Communion in the Republic of Texas took place in Matagorda, as did the first Episcopal Convention of the clergy at that time numbering three men. The Diocese of Texas was organized in Matagorda January 1, 1849.

The program for the day will begin at 10 a. m. with a sermon by the Right Reverend Harry Moore, Bishop of Dallas. Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion. At 12:30 p. m. a barbecue luncheon will be served to all registered guests. At 2 p. m. visits will be made to places of historical interest in and around Matagorda. At 8 p. m. a brief meeting of the Southwest Convocation will be held. Everyone, regardless of religious or political faith is invited to join this celebration, so join the caravan and make the pilgrimage to Matagorda June 16, 1936, letting Reverend Paul E. Engle of Bay City, know of your intention to be present. Short talks by visiting Bishops, the Clergy, Reverend DuBoise, Murphy, Roy Miller and Eugene Wilson will delight the caravaners. Bring along your lunch basket, so you may participate in the community dinner. You are therefore cordially invited to attend the Centennial Pilgrimage to Christ Church, Matagorda, Texas, “Mother Parish” of the State of Texas, June 16, 1936.

Sincerely yours,

The Rt. Rev. Clinton S. Quinn, D. D.
The Rt. Rev. W. T. Capers, D. D.
The Rt. Rev. Harry T. Moore, D. D.
The Rt. Rev. E. Cecil Seaman, D. D.
The Rt. Rev. F. B. Howden, D. D.

P. S.—Reverend Paul Engle, Bay City, wants to know “effen youall goes or not.”

School is out and so Elliott Curtis, desiring activity, employs himself as an onion picker and when tired of that, breaks wild horses. Because of his weight, something like three hundred pounds, the horse soon gets tired of his attempts to throw the rider and settles down to a staid old hoss. Proves that even a teacher is good for other purposes.

Well, May 25, Collegeport’s Birthday, dawned as usual with heavy threatening clouds, heavy mud roads and the usual rain so I did not expect much of a crowd. At 11:30 put on rubber boots, a raincoat, grabbed my basket of digestibles and plowed through the mud to the Community House, where I arrived about noon. No one there, so waited until 12:30 p. m. and no one appearing, the program opened with Invocation, the singing the Doxology and Nearer My God to Thee. My lunch bag contained seven boiled eggs, six four-inch latticed dewberry pies, six sandwiches, head lettuce, young onions, six cup custards, sweet pickles. After luncheon was a waiting period, but as one o’clock approached and I was still solo, I gave the Benediction and closed the exercises. When I arrived at the postoffice about 1:15 found the Corporon Klan consisting of Percy, Gaines and Richard with their families and lunch baskets, but when informed that the affair was over, they returned to their homes. At 1:45 came the Reverend and Mrs. Paul Engle, the former all ready to give an address so they too, turned about then took the cement trail to Bay City. Well anyway, the string that attaches us to that day in May 1909 was not broken and so the day passed with the usual downpour of water which was not needed.

Some days ago the local postoffice was flooded with notices from the San Antonio office that first class mail was held for postage due in the sum of one and one-half cents. I guess all of us hastened to send the required postage and secure the letter.

In a few days along came a beautiful flowered card giving notice of the arrival of Mary Ann Waters on May 15th, 1936, and weighing six pounds and one ounce. Don’t forget that ounce for it adds sweetness to the Angel girl that God gave to Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Waters. When I read the name Mary Ann I thought of the time of one ring circuses and singing clowns and one that all clowns sang about Mary Ann.

“My Mary Ann is a teacher
In a great big public school
And she gets six thousand dollars
Every year for teaching Greek and Latin
As well as Hindostan
Such is the education of
My Mary Ann.”

Now who knows but that this little Mary Ann will grow up and become as accomplished a teacher as her mamma was. Her mamma was half French and half Austrian, sturdy stock, but the mamma was born in America.

Louise Walter was raised in Collegeport, became a teacher in the local school and by her sweet intelligence and charm was endeared to all who knew her. Swell girl was and is Louise. I hope that after while Mary Ann will have a brother. Grandpa and Grandma are so proud that they hesitate to associate with people who have no grandchildren. You see, had the parents used a printed card and enclosed it in an unsealed envelope one and one-half cents would have carried it but they wrote in the name, date and weight and it became first class matter and required three cents. Cost me five cents to find out what it was all about and glad was I to learn that Raymond and Louise had at last made the grade and here I give hearty good wishes and the development of a lovely daughter into a useful woman.

Wednesday we were delighted to have a visit from Frances Mayfield, one time our County Health Nurse. Frances drove all the way from Corpus Christi, in about two and half hours and then hung up on the culvert in front of Homecroft. There her car stuck until half after five when, with the help of Andy Jones, we got the Ford V-8 into the yard. Frances has made good recovery from the terrible accident which required many months before she was able to resume her work. We had a joyous twenty-four hours and watched her leave with regret.

Frances King and Rosalie Nelson home from San Marcos. These girls are making good and soon Texas will have two more accomplished teachers. Have not seen Rosalie, but Frances looks like a fine full blown yellow rose. If I had a brother, I would see that he met Frances.

Saturday and Sunday were perfect days and we soon forgot the long rain period. That is the way with us humans. Warm sun riding high in azure blue. Birds singing happily as they seek desirable places for nesting. Flowers look up with shining faces all adrip with diamond sparkles. Grass looking fresh and green and gently waving in the cool breeze. The tide softly purrs along the shore of Pilkington slough. Little wavelets, with musical notes spray along the seawall. Fish give joyous leaps. Dogs bark a new note. Hens are busy singing their song. Children are laughing. Crawfish casting up their protection levees. Well it looks as though “God is high in His Heavens. All is well with the world.”

The Matagorda County Tribune, June 4, 1936

By Harry Austin Clapp

June 16th is a historic date, for on that date two wonderful characters first saw the light. I refer to Gustave V of Sweden, the great King who invaded Germany and carried to a successful conclusion that great war for the preservation of his religion. Successful even though it cost his life, and it is also the birth date of that other character known as the writer of Thoughts. On that day he will reach four years of life beyond the three score and ten. Isn’t that a very wonderful thing? The writer of this column never engaged in war, but he has taken much from life. He has seen the wheel go round and round. He has witnessed the development of a new civilization. The telegraph, telephone, autoe, airplane, radio, streamline trains, air condition, making ice by boiling water, hard surfaced roads, television and many other things that to the present generation appear common.

He is well pleased with life and so on this day he accepts the temptation to write one more word about the great day on June 16th, when the great caravan will start for Matagorda. If one will sit by the side of the road on next Tuesday, one may see the race of men go by. One covered wagon will follow another, until a vast congregation will gather at the mouth of St. Mary’s Bayou and there participate in Matagorda County’s part in Texas’ great Centennial celebration. This then is a fine invitation for all readers of this column to go to Matagorda June 16th, and meet the writer of Thoughts. It will be a gala day filled with pleasant home coming thoughts and the privilege of coming close to God, for who can participate in the Communion of that day and not feel the near presence? Not only will there be plenty of food for hungry souls, but barbecues and lunch baskets will satisfy the cravings of the human tummy. Friends will meet and exchange merry greetings. Visits will be made to historic places. Places until this day unknown to most of the visitors. We have been so busy with the daily problems of life that most of us have forgotten what happened in Matagorda one hundred years ago, but when the shades of night are drawn on that day all of us will remember. Religious freedom and history was written in indelible characters that day when Father Ives founded the first Episcopal Parish in Texas. So then, come on down June 16th, and “Meet Us Face to Face.” This is the last shot.

Say, these here lin-o-type fellers are strange critters. Listen: not long ago giving the arrival of trains at El Maton my copy read “Train 11 arrives at 11:33 A. M.” The types made it “1-33 P. M. Tough on the boy who wanted to use that train. I wrote about the “Angel Child of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Waters. The type man made it an “Angle” Child and what that is I do not know. Writing about the celebration at Matagorda, I wrote “Reverend Paul Engle wants to know ‘effen youall goes or no.” When I wrote that I turned to the MW and said “I’ll bet it when set will appear with a “t” on the no.” She refused the bet and sure enough it appears “effen youall goes or not.” Such errors with copy often spoils the thought that the writer wished to convey. Wish the feller who purrs over those keys would just follow copy sometimes.

If one places a slice of bread on the breast of a river, one need not expect it will return, but if the bread is cast on the bosom of a tidal sea where the tides ebb and flow, it is sure to return and so when I received the following I knew my bread had returned. This is the bread “I want to thank you for the nice gift. It is such remembrances as yours that makes graduation a happy time.—Abel King.” A postal signed “Your Vice informs me that she has escaped from the Huntsville Pen and is hiding some place in the Palo Duro State Park.” In the foto is a tall column of rock structure and on top of it I can see a speck which I assume is this criminal. I shall send it to the proper authorities so that they may catch this person and put her in shackles.

Saturday morning came Frances Mayfield for a week end visit and so we once more enjoyed her presence in our home. Monday morning early she hit the road on her business of Supervisor of Local Health Nurses.

This week will be short for the past week has been a week of difficult living for I have been in a health condition I may describe as about 49 ½ percent. This copy is written with difficulty. Next week may be better and for that I hope. Great thing this “Hope.” What would be world become without “Hope.” It is the Star in the East that guides our ship into heaven.

The Woman’s Union met the past week with Mrs. Liggett.

Mrs. Anna D. Crane, accompanied with her daughter Mrs. Richard Corporon and son, left Friday for a month’s visit with relatives in Wisconsin.

The Girl Reserve delegates to the camp are off for a two week’s stay.

Farmers are elated because the anti Montague movement has subsided and he is to be retained.

Mrs. Thomas Fulcher has returned home and is making a fine recovery much to the delight of her many friends.

Andy Jones caught a ten pound drum the other day after quite a tussle. Us Homecrofters care little for a drum.

Jimmy has been chasing around with wild women and was away from home for twenty four hours. He is now on leash which he does not enjoy.

Well the cat and the hen hatched out ten cute little bantam chicks and all doing well. The cat appears to be very proud of her part in the hatch and mothered the chicks until we took them into the house. Believe it or not, but the cat helped to make the hatch.

The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, June 11, 1936

By Harry Austin Clapp

[Local information taken from longer article.]

The school board made a very generous and gallant gesture when they elected Frances King to a place on the faculty. Frances has been studying to be a teacher and I congratulate her on her first success.

Thursday the Woman’s Club met and appointed Mrs. Clapp delegate, and Mrs. Slone, alternate, to the meeting of the County Federation. Because of illness in her family, Mrs. Clapp was unable to go so the report was read by Mrs. Slone in such a splendid manner that she becomes good timber for the delegacy next meeting.

A freak wind tore down on us the other night, out of a clear sky with stars shining brightly. At times the gale reached a velocity of fifty miles. Lasted about an hour and then went back from whence it came. Since then a dull north breeze has brought dust in so that the atmosphere is all a haze and the sky takes on a coppery appearance. Hope for Good Gulf Breeze.

Saturday I was suddenly stricken with a severe illness from which I have not recovered and this copy is written under compulsion for it is hard to make the left brain operate, so take it or leave it for I am unable to make the physical effort required.

The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, June 18, 1936

By Harry Austin Clapp

When a man reaches and safely passes the seventy-fourth milestone, he may be forgiven if he stops a moment and gives thanks to God for all the mercies, pleasures, joys, muffled sorrow, luxury, food, clothes, shelter, friends, that He has given so generously. I have received much from life. In a financial way I have made much more than many other men and I have spent it, I have lost it in foolish investments, I have lost it by listening to the urging of friends in distress, but after all I am the gainer for I have had the privilege of taking from life many things that may not be reckoned in cash. Things that are lasting and so long as I live bring after day happy memories. Life has been good. I have lived in the finest hotels from New York to San Francisco. I have traveled on the finest trains. I have visited 42 of the 48 states and have crossed this nation from ocean to ocean and from the Canadian border to way south of the southern line many times. I have slept on hundreds of miles of trail in Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Sonora and Sinaloa. I have been a welcomed guest in the native villages of Mexico and have made good friends among the Yaqui Indians and remember some with special regard, Eduaro and Sanatana and Ecinor. With these men, I have traveled the trails of Mexico sleeping at night by their side and always receiving loyal service. I have enjoyed contact with these people. It has added to the fullness and richness of life this contact with a simple, honest people. I have met scores of college men, engineers, men skilled in great works, men of wide world travel, men of highest education, scholars, the intelligence of the new world that came to me forty years ago. I have met sweet beautiful women old and young. Many of them fascinating and terrible when one tried to resist allurements of sex. I have met three presidents, Grant, McKinley and Roosevelt and have sat at meat and drink with a Comptroller of the Currency and also visited with a member of the Supreme Court. Yes I have met many great men and I have, in mining camps, met the scum of the earth, men who for ten cents would slit a throat. Among them I have found friends. I have met and found good things in dance hall girls. I have met and found friendship among the great and successful and in this state I have found some wonderful friends, sweet friends greatly prized because of their always giving me more than I gave them. Selfish? Not at all, for is it not true that he who gives receives ten fold? Well, let that pass.

June 16th, was the anniversary of my birth and so on that day I journeyed to Matagorda where 1500 people came to meet me or maybe I was there to meet 1500 people. It was the Great Pilgrimage to Christ Church and glad I was that I was permitted to make the trip. There I met at least two score of friends, many of whom I had not seen for twenty years. My friend, Dick Zieske andwife, from the Bellville Times. They, being fine church folks, drove all that distance to be present at this Centennial program. Mrs. Doctor Sloan and Doctor Percy Sloan, Leone Yerxa and too many to name in this space. We were generously and sweetly entertained at the Morgan Smith home and the contact was most charming. Had a cold bottle of beer at the ice plant and on my refusing a second, Dick Zieske said “You can’t stand on one leg,” so I had to take on a second leg which was not at all difficult. The Hoods, Burks, Farwells, St. Aubins from Palacios, scores from Bay City and then my good friend, Ed Baker, brought us home.

A very wonderful birthday and I thought of my sweet mother and how tenderly she loved me. Passed these forty-eight years and every day missed. That evening I sat in my easy chair and as the smoke from my old pipe floated in the air my gaze rested on a peaceful scene. The green grass stretch away to the horizon. The rabbits played in the yard. A mother quail with perhaps a dozen little chicks rambled across my vision. A mockingbird perched on the chimney top and sang his song. A dozen blackbirds fluttered in the willow tree and whistled their clear sparkling notes. Flowers nodded in the gentle breeze. Jimmy barked in joy. My little bantam rooster crowed a good night. A peaceful scene, the end of a very wonderful day. The end of seventy-four years. Who would fail to return thanks for all that God gave during that life time? I know that I did.

While I was ill last week, my good and cherished Colored friend, Leanna, came to see me and she said “I’m havin’ Andy (her husband) go down to the slough and catch you some of them sweet little fishes you loves to well.” Who knows but that Jesus used the same kind of sweet little fishes when he fed the multitudes. If Andy makes a good catch, they will be sweet little fishes because Leanna thought of me.

This from way up north just in time for my birthday “I do enjoy your Thoughts and I remember quite a number of the names and it keeps me in touch with you and the things you do.” Here is another received from East Texas on my birthday, “These birthdays remind us of milestones along the road and while you have had an imposing number they have also been ear-marked with records of your constructive deeds and be studded with the gems of thought from your brilliant mind and bedecked with the flowers of your gentle soul. I thank God for the inspiration they have been to me and may the line stretch on our’s into a future rich in joys for you and yours and inspiration to your friends.” Also came a letter from E. O. Taulbee, president of the Gulf Coast Development Association announcing that he had sent me one of the first copies of the press of the new booklet describing the beauties and advantages of the Gulf Coast. The book is printed on beautiful stock, is from the Tribune shop and is a fine specimen of the craftsman’s art. Well illustrated and written in a terse, concise statement of concrete facts it is certain to receive attention from those fortunate enough to receive a copy. No excess of optimism, not a line of pessimism, just plain easily understandable facts. It is a credit to the writer of the copy and I give my congratulations to the organization that sponsored this charming gesture of invitation to the world to visit the Gulf Coast. Forty thousand copies are ready for distribution at the Centennial Exposition. By same mail came a copy of the Tyler Journal from Henry Edwards its publisher and creator. I have enjoyed the privilege of knowing Henry Edwards well and have admiration for him. The Tyler Journal with its 73 pages, is filled with interesting matter about the Journal’s territory, Tyler, Smith County. Written in Henry’s inimitable style the reader is seduced from page to page as the story of the section involved is revealed. It is beautifully printed as is everything that comes from the Journal press for Henry is a stickler for perfection. I give him my hearty congratulations and wish him continued success in the wonderful work he is doing to elevate and promote the lives of those engaged in agriculture. Henry, I am glad that I have enjoyed the privilege of knowing you and trust that the coming years will allow me further joys in the contact.

Well, after all the things that interest the folks of this community, is the marriage in Houston of Vernon King Hurd to Mrs. Valerie Blakeway of Matagorda. A surprise to many especially because of the suddenness with which all plans were carried out. They will be away about three weeks on a trip as far north as Chicago and on return will live in Palacios where the groom is interested in the building of a damn and causeway across the bay.

Roberta Liggett and Irwon Blackwell have returned from the Girl Reserve camp and report something a bit more than glorious. Hope they learned and brought home something useful to those members who are obliged to remain at home. Dry weather continues and adds to the hazards of crop growing. A good rain would be welcome and mean the germination of much seed now resting in the ground.

The library is closed for the summer, but those in charge will have plenty of work, repairing books, putting them in order and getting this splendid collection ready for the coming season.

Frank Carr, a son of our old time friend, Bert, is a husky fellow of about six feet of good feeling youth, was here Friday inducing our folk to buy refrigerators. The way he put up his prospects the necessity of a purchase made it difficult to resist. The last time I remember seeing him he was just a kid running about Bay City and asking Bert for a nickel. Glance over him today. He says that the monthly payments are so small that one will not know one is paying them. Isn’t that nice?

A letter from a business man in Palacios resents my comment on the failure to print congratulatory advertisements regarding the beautiful Arnold store. He says no grocery man has solicited and even had they been, none could have paid the bill and then it would have been of no value except to the Beacon. Guess he knows what he wrote about, but I still think the Arnold store, the sweetest thing in Matagorda County.

Saturday night, in time for Dad’s Day, we went to El Maton where we met the ten P. M, bus and met our grand girl, Mary Louise, home for a two week’s vacation. Gosh, boys, but she sure looked swell to me. Head up, eyes bright, face aglow with happiness it once more seeing her parents. We have her safe in her own home for fourteen days we shall revel in family joys.

One of the pleasures of Tuesday was again meeting Mr. and Mrs. F. Cornelius of the Juanita ranch and writing about them must with reluctance record that Mr. and Mrs. James Louis Duffy moved to Beeville where Louie has located on a ranch of 2700 acres and will breed high bred Herefords. We shall miss these fine young folks and their frequent visits to our home.

The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, June 25, 1936


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October 25, 2009
October 25, 2009