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Collegeport Columns

March, 1936


By Harry Austin Clapp


The past week has been full of delight and transport. The bill opened on Sunday with a raid made by the Merck clan. The clan consists of sixteen sons and daughters, nine grandchildren and father and mother. I am glad that all are not voters, for we have enough democrats in this section without all this crowd of democratic prospects. I have many fine friends among the democrats and am sorry they are in such bad company. Well, anyway, when a big auto as long as a freight car rolled into our yard and began to disgorge I soon found we had Mr. Rowan McRee (Theora Merck) and two daughters, Zadie Z. and Sunshine from Hockley; Mr. Jack Martin (Elvie Merck) and two sons, Jack, Jr. and Jerry, from Houston; and the mother of the Merck clan, in the person of Sadie Merck. The latter slipped in unobserved and it was some time before I recognized this timid little person, but she was right there proud as could be with her fine brood. The time passed so happily and so quickly, and before we realized its passing the car had been loaded and away. Mr. and Mrs. Merck have sixteen children and children-in-laws, and nine grandchildren, and so with the parents they represent twenty-seven democrat votes. Terrible thing to contemplate. We have seen these kids grow up, marry and bring back their children and we have always enjoyed their visits. Each year they come in twos and threes or bunches and make us a visit and they are all delightful occasions.


"Love came to me at twilight

Softened by "Sunshine" bright,

I cannot choose between Zadie Z

And Sunshine demure and wee,

So guess I'll hold them in heart's embrace

And see who will win this lover's race."


The Merck's have Gerald, John, Dean, Jessie, Viola, Theora, Elvie, Bessie, all happily married and all have children except Bessie and Jessie. Nice bunch of kids and no wonder little Miss Sadie is a proud mother.


Well it took all day Monday to recover from this joyful visit and then on Tuesday came Mrs. George Duffy, of El Campo, and Mrs. Leo Duffy (Myrtle Fulcher) and took us to spend the day at the Juanita Ranch as guests of Mr. and Mrs. F. Cornelius, Sr. Mr. Cornelius is eighty-six years of age, the father of seventeen children, of which thirteen are living. He came here from Germany at the age of eighteen, without any knowledge of English and two empty hands, but with a willingness to work. From that early time he was employed at any work that came to him, learned the language, saved his money, accumulated property, raised a large family, and started them all on life's way and now living at ease and in plenty on his home ranch. He is erect, straight as an arrow, looks about sixty or less, active, full of interesting tales of the old time cattle trails, a business he has followed with success all these many years. A well-read man who takes an active interest in life. He teaches a Sunday School class, reads extensively, votes the democratic ticket and with that exception is a first class good old scout. The Juanita ranch is a hospitable place and we passed a most happy day and turned back home with regret. The ranch house is surrounded with great live oak trees, from which hangs long streamers of Spanish moss. He keeps about one hundred and fifty sheep just for recreation. The garden contains a liberal planting of cabbage, lettuce, carrots, turnips, potatoes, onions and not only supplies the family table, but as gifts to the many guests, as we well know. In the smoke house hangs great coils of sausage and other meats, all the handiwork of this man and his splendid wife. Splendid wife? Well you will agree if you had the pleasure of sitting at their table. We had the best smoked spare ribs, sausage, sweet and Irish potatoes, salads, cakes, pies, coffee, etcetera, that any table or any queen might serve. A radio furnished news of the day and swell music and no wonder that Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius enjoy life. This visit was made at his request, for the thought of the writer, but I thought, and desired to meet the writer of this column. I don't know what he thought of the writer, but I thought, as I looked at him and listened to his words that I was in the presence of one of the men who have made this section what it is this day. Mrs. Cornelius looks to be about thirty. She speaks three languages, is an extensive reader of good books, she is active, alert, clear sighted, keen-eyed, and an interesting talker. She is a fit companion for the head of the Cornelius clan. As a home keeper she is in the number one class. We have been privileged to spend a profitable day at the Juanita ranch and we hope that some day these fine folk may sit at our oaken board and partake of our humble fare. I talked little, for with the miserable wretch present, I had little use for my tongue, so I was content to listen.


A day of rest and then accepting the courtesy of the Cherry family, we journeyed to Palacios as guests of the Palacios Chamber of Commerce. The annual banquet was held in the beautiful new pavilion. This building is not only beautiful, but lovely, charming, beauteous, and no wonder the local folk are proud of it. Soon as the causeway is in operation we intend to cut in and claim it as our own. Decorations were in harmony with the structure. Music, extra fine, as given by Heart's Delight Millers. This was a string orchestra and is the first time I have heard strings in many years. I am a lover of the violin and bass viol and enjoyed every number. I am surfeited, cloyed, overfed with the blaring saxophone. Music, " I am voice of the Universe, Priestess of Earth, Life's Lyric of Love, and I. Song of the angels in the house of good, the snare and delusion of hell." And so I enjoyed the music even if I did not draw a bag of flour. Tables for four, arranged in rows across the spacious floor seated about two hundred and fifty guests. Service superb. Menu consisted of chicken a la king, diced potatoes, corn, fruit salad, hot rolls, apple pie and coffee. Program was opened by President Koerber who gave a report of the Chamber's operations during the year with an exhibit of what he hopes for the future. It was a clean-cut statement of worthy ambitions. George Orrison, as toastmaster, took over the program and apologized for the enforced absence of General Hulen and Roy Miller and then introduced a gallery of extras who satisfied all present with their sensible talks. Among them were James Sartwelle of the Port City Packing Plant; George D. Wilson, chairman of the Centennial Executive Committee of the Houston Chamber of Commerce; Hagood Ashburn, manager Houston Chamber of Commerce Roads Department; Dave Quickley, of Port Lavaca; E. O. Taulbee, president Bay City Chamber of Commerce and headliner of the Gulf Coast Development Association. Keep your eye on Mrs. Taulbee's boy Eddie.


I had the pleasure of meeting many aspirants for county offices, among them that charming young lady, Mrs. Eidman. S. O. Eidman is a wise old boy taking her along on these trips Rose Langham Newman wants to continue in the treasurer's office and so she was there looking like a rose. The miserable wretch was in her element and had many dancing partners, so she had a happy time, but glad to get back to her old man, when the curtain fell on the last act. Mr. and Mrs. Farwell with dancing feet, Mr. and Mrs. de St. Aubin, Good old Doc Wagner, as frisky as ever, having a fine time in the absence of friend wife. My old friend Mrs. Dismukes, of Beacon fame, and I hope all read the Beacon this week with that fine column about the proposed dam and causeway. Good stuff and should jar Palacios business men into activity to secure something of great value to that burg. The building of this dam means that Palacios will emerge from the village class into a sure enough city and still be by the sea. My old time friend, Duncan Ruthven and wife, Aimee Hall, Patricia Martyn, Eleanor Harper, Tom Hale, skipping about as active as a young boy. Many of the stay-at-home court house crowd are losing out by failure to mix in. If they want votes, they simply must mix in and hug and kiss the babes. Now take me, for example, I am not standing for any office, but I did hug a few babies and managed to kiss several and it made no difference whether their hair was like spun candy or black as a raven's wing. It's the spirit that counts with me. Collegeport was represented by Mr. and Mrs. Cherry, Mr. and Mrs. Vern Batchelder, Burton D. Hurd, Vernon K. Hurd and Mr. and Mrs. Harry Austin Clapp. As a summing up, I give this selection, "The thing that marks one community finer  than another does not lie in its soil, its climate, its commerce, its public building, or any other material thing. It lies in the spirit of its citizens. Their willingness to give of their intelligence, their courage, their leisures and their effort, in order that each may do his share of the social overhead, and make his real contribution to the public welfare, is the measure of civic quality." It is the spirit that counts.


The Matagorda County Tribune, March 5, 1936



By Harry Austin Clapp


Thoughts come from the somewhere and go out to the everywhere. To record my thoughts I use my Corona, but his week Corona is in the shop. It needs adjusting, aligning, cleaning, oiling, compensating, atoning. Hope you will get the idea. I write this scrib with faultering pen and one eye because I do not wish to miss a week after years of being present and, of course, the publisher has no desire to lose so valuable a contribution. Corona will return soon and then more Thoughts. Thank you all, good readers, for your patience during my impatience. I do not know how I shall compensate the Corona expert for compensating my Corona, but it will require about seven green frog skins. However, I should not worry for does not the twenty-third Psalm say, "I shall not want?"


But to get back we have the work "boost." A good word. It means "to lift or push from behind, as one who is endeavoring to climb; to push up; hence, to assist in overcoming obstacles, or making advancement." By boosting the plan for this dam proposition we have the opportunity to aid in providing a much needed traffic facility or in plain words a causeway. We should work with and on all who oppose. For this, let us for one time stand together. Oil well still working. Pulling pipe. May shoot. If a success a flowing well, if not, may abandon or move derrick and begin a new hole. Nothing more known by the outsiders. Some leasing.


Hope this keeps the space until Corona comes home.


The Daily Tribune, Thursday, March 12, 1936

Collegeport Home Demonstration Club


Collegeport Home Demonstration Club met at the Community House Tuesday, March 10, at 2 p. m. Seven members present. Our president and reporter were absent on account of sickness.


Miss Sides met with us and gave a demonstration on cooking mild flavored vegetables. All enjoyed the meeting.


Mrs. Roy Nelson, Vice-President


Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, March 19, 1936



By Harry Austin Clapp


"What! No Corona?" I asked our venerable postmaster, and he sadly shook his head, his long gray tobacco stained beard waving in the spring breeze. Therefore again I am forced to the last good quill.


Last week my two hens laid two eggs, each one inch long and half inch in diameter. Swell eggs and we are very proud of such elegant eggs.


Officer Ainsworth, our new constable and oyster provider, has some queer customers. One man, not satisfied with ten to the pint, demanded larger oysters. He was supplied with two oysters that filled a pint jar. I have the shell. It is nine inches long, four inches wide, and the oyster weighed three-fourths of a pound.


Well the long expected Hill baby arrived last Monday, the 9th. Six and a half pounds, named Nina Le Verle. We congratulate the proud parents.


We expect our causeway to be open for traffic in about twelve months.


Oil well closed down, only one man on duty. Rumor says the derrick will be moved about 200 feet and a new hole put down.


Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, March 19, 1936




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