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Collegeport Articles

 May 1936

By Harry Austin Clapp

[Local information taken from longer article.]

Collegeport Day falls on Monday May 25, and for this reason it is suggested that the town’s birthday be celebrated on Tuesday. Monday is not a convenient day for manifest reasons. It is suggested that the usual get together community dinner be served; that we have an address by some speaker in the after dinner hour; that the Girl Reserves have a meeting in the early evening; that Mopac House be opened for a dance from nine until twelve. This program is being carried out partially and more complete information will be given next week.

June 16th, will occur the great trek or pilgrimage to Christ Church, Matagorda. Every one is invited to participate in this Matagorda County Centennial feature. In as much as it is impossible for the committee to feed the multitude that will be present, it is suggested that each group bring a basket of food which will be amalgamated with the other baskets and with the twelve yearlings, the several tons of ice, the six carloads of bread, the twelve barrels of pickles, the three hundred pounds of coffee, the ten barrels of sugar and the fifty gallons of rich cream, it is felt that hunger will be just unknown. A splendid program is being arranged and a regular gala day for all parts of Texas. This is a celebrated anniversary of the establishment of the first protestant church in Texas. Take a day off and remember that you will also on that day celebrate the seventy fourth birthday of the writer of “Thoughts.”

It is with sorrow that I write of the passing of two persons who for many years were identified with the community life. Mrs. D. H. Morris died Sunday, April 26th in Houston, age 68 years. She was our neighbor for many years and here her children were born and grew up. D. H. Morris operated a store next place east of the present Boeker store. Left to mourn the passing of the mother is Adolph, Albert, John, Fanny May and Lizzie Will, all married and among them five grandchildren.

The same day chronicled the passage of one of the most substantial characters. P. A. Richman was born in Des Moines, Iowa, March 10th, 1856, and was therefore more than four score years of age. The funeral was held from the Taylor Brothers Funeral Home, Palacios, at 4 p. m., April 28th. The long line of autos bearing several hundred folks to the cemetery testified the place Mr. Richman held in the affections of the people of this section. Left here to mourn his passing are Mrs. Richman, two sons and a daughter. Mr. Richman has for years been a successful farmer of rice and has been identified with agricultural development in a practical way. We sent to the bereaved ones in both these families our sympathy and good wishes for the years left to them.

Under date of April 19th, and mailed at Opelousas, Clifford and Odessa [Franzen] invite me to “come up and see us some time.” And now I understand that Clifford raided the Magee peach orchard and carried the delicious peach to Houston where he was married to her Sunday the 26th. The entire Franzen family went up to witness the ceremony. Clifford is a splendid young man and Odessa has secured a good husband. In Odessa, Clifford has gained a sweet, dainty, cultured young woman, who unless I am no longer a judge, will meet the married situations and care for them in a practical way ad be a home keeper and loyal pard. Still, at the same time I am feeling a bit sore, for have not received that foto of me between two peaches.

Looking over the figures for the voting at the White Man’s Union Primary I wondered at the huge vote and it appears to me that every one who had slipped his diddie or was not nailed up in his coffin was allowed to vote.

Along about 1911 I took a contract from a Kansas Homeseeker to supply 10,000 trifoliata trees. I bought the seed and drilled it and soon had what looked like a billion plants. My party planned to bud these young plants with Satsuma buds and after planting twenty acres for himself place balance on the market. Before delivery was made my contract died and his estate refused to carry on so I was left with my billion trees. One day along came a bunch of snoopers of the Federal Department of Agriculture and looked over my trees and ordered them destroyed. This was a kindly act and I thanked them. I hardly knew how to clean them out. The other day came a big car with the insignia of the Federal Department emblazoned on the door and two fine young men alighted and introduced themselves as W. K. Klore of Rio Hondo and Wallace Red of Houston, representing the Federal Department and informed me that because of my history, they thought I might still have some trifoliate and sure enough they found ten thrifty plants but none diseased. They promised to have them destroyed and I hope they will for it will save me doing it. They are working under the U. S. Department of Agriculture employees relief labor in Matagorda County and through them I was supplied with the following information by Henry W. Bond, headquarters in Bay City and supervisor of the project in Matagorda County. The U. S. Department of Agriculture has employed 25 relief laborers in Matagorda County to eradicate citrus canker. Additional men will be employed next week. Citrus canker is the most dreaded disease of citrus trees and approximately $5,000,000 has been spent on the work. The disease has been eradicated in all of the United States except the Gulf Coast area of Texas and Louisiana where it is rapidly being stamped out. This work is being done as a protection to our great citrus industry in the Rio Grande Valley and should receive the co-operation of all citizens. In order to eradicate this disease, the infected tree must be destroyed. Citrus trifoliate is very susceptible to the disease and as they are of no commercial value they are being destroyed by relief labor as a preventative measure against another outbreak of the disease. I shall willingly give my co-operation in this necessary work.

Thursday us Homecrofters were entertained by a dinner party at the Ramsey poultry farm. It is not necessary to state that the principle article on the ancient mahogany was from the poultry pens of this celebrated farm. Dumplings, light as an Angel’s kiss floated in delicious golden gravy (O, gravy) cream spuds whipped in feathery lightness. Grand dewberry pie, coffee from Rio or some other good coffee place, Holstein cream. O, boy, I am telling you that it was a grand event and we are thankful that we were favored.

Mr. Ainsworth brought us a mess of new spuds of the red variety. I am fond of red so that made the spuds extra fine. Also a sack of snap beans all from his wonderful garden down by the bay shore.

We have received an invitation to attend the Sixtieth Annual Commencement at College Station May 28th, 29th and 30th. The Baccalaureate Sermon will be delivered by the Right Reverend William Theodotus Capers D. D. Episcopal Bishop of West Texas. Address by Colonel Ousley, journalist of Ft. Worth. Conferring the degrees, Honorable F. M. Law, President Board of Directors.

The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, May 7, 1936


By Harry Austin Clapp

[Local information taken from longer article.]

“Jes want to lay in the sun and snore
Give me that and I craves no more
Jes to lay there and sleep and laze
Watchin’ the fall of the evenin’ haze.
That’s all I wants.

To see my cork a bobbin’ in the slough
Watchin’ it turn roun’ and circle through
Boy, I tell you that’s life to me
And there’s nuthin’ more in life to see.
That’s all I wants.

Jes now a cat grabs onto my worm
Doggone it, now I has to take my turn
An try to land that hungry cat
How I hates to git up and do my act
That’s all I wants.

Go away cat! Go away trout and let me sleep
Youall go rushin’ way down the deep
All I want is to lay here and snooze
Youall stay home and root the ooze.
That’s all I wants.

The flowers close their eyes, the day is through
And they looks up and smiles at the sky’s blue
Then why can’t I keep lazin’ along
Enjoyin’ my sleepin’ happy, lazy song?
That’s all I wants.”

--Fragments from Hack.

When my “Vice” got through with her wonderful poem, she felt relieved, so I now know all about the feeling. Just had this jingle in my head and now it’s gone and I feel relief.

After weeks of negotiating, I have succeeded in acquiring all the stock of the celebrated Ramsey farm. Added to my poultry pens I now have quite a bunch of extra fine hens. The stock I secured from the Ramsey farm consists of very heavy, producing hens. Maybe some day I will have an egg and then us Homecrofters will eat once more.

For two days we have enjoyed (?) a stiff thirty-five mile gale which is not as pleasant as might be. High tide, big waves dashing against the sea wall, barometer normal, expecting it will end in rain.

I am informed that the school board has employed Elliott Curtis as superintendent, Miss Ross, Mrs. Hensley and the fourth teacher from Wharton. Also North Cable retained as janitor.

No sooner did the men return and begin work on the oil well than orders came to cease operations and begin to take down and move all buildings, equipment of all kinds and take down the derrick and that is now going on and yet my friends inform me that the Conoco still plan on starting another hole in the near future. Hope so, but no one knows although many act wise and make a guess.

How many know the meaning of “cul de sac.?” It is a place where one is unable to go farther and a splendid example of “cul de sac” is this burg of Collegeport. We live at the end of the road and in a “cul de sac.” The only expectation of relief rests in the construction of the proposed dam (some spell it damn) across the bay. When that is completed we will be able to live by the road and watch the race of men go by.

We have received an invitation to be present at the A. & M celebration of “Mother’s and Dad’s” day lasting all day Saturday and Sunday. An elaborate program completely filling both days has been arranged and music will have large part in the event. I am glad they recognize the “old man.” What could we do without Daddy?

Collegeport has been honored by the selection of Mr. W. H. Boeker as a delegate to the State Democratic Convention. No democratic convention can be a success without plenty of whiskey and there being oceans of it so we trust Mr. Boeker keeping faith with the home folks will remember that we are strict pros. While Democrats are lovers of 100 per cent proof, us Republicans adore the more refined drinks of gin and rum and so our convention ship will be launched in a tub of these delicious stimulants. And by the way, I hope that before June 6th, that some one will drink enough gin to feel wicked enough to give the G. O. P. elephant a swift kick just below the caudle appendage.

Saturday night, en route to the dance at Palacios, came Vernon Hurd and Mrs. Valers Blackwell for an almost midnight call. Came about 9:30 and stayed an hour. A very pleasant visit was enjoyed and we hope we will again be honored.

The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, May 14, 1936

By Harry Austin Clapp

The past week has been one of a well filled program. Five young people finished the high school course and honoring them each day has been one of program, banquets, luncheons, picnics. Some of them, no doubt, consider that they are through. Others feel that they are just beginning. To me these youths have finished the first lap in the race of life and have reached the fork of the roads. One leads on to the gratification of new ambition for increased education. The other fork leads back to a rather uneventful life with perhaps some material success, but withholding a broader and more satisfactory existence. As they stand here at the forks, trembling, hesitating. I wish I might be by their side and give them a leaf from my own life. Each must choose. It is of course quite tempting when an offer is made of a position, of farming, or some other business, for then such person looks mostly to quick present returns in coin. I am inclined to believe that the one who acquires additional education, will be the one who goes farthest and wins the race. It is a critical time in the life of youth, this coming to the fork of the road and we trust that the wise choice will be made.

My great grandfather used to tell me the story of the barber who placed a sign outside his shop reading, “What do you think? I’ll shave you for nothing and give you a drink.” While doing the shaving act, his partner would go out and change the punctuation so it read “What! Do you think I’ll shave you for nothing and give you a drink?” Our local barber gave me a swell hair cut the other day, refused pay, and as I was ready to leave handed me a drink. That’s the sort of service our local tonsorial artist gives and that’s the reason he keeps his trade.

I am rejoicing because for the first time I know exactly where to find my “vice.” After galloping all about the country, she has been caught and is in the Huntsville pen. She reports that they feed her well and that all is well. From what I learn, she must be employed in the wagon shop. It is just where she belongs and I am glad that at last she has been apprehended. Now when I wish to see her I just know where she may be found. This gal has caused me much grief and worry, but from this hour I shall be calm. Warden, please allow me to see number 71,444.

The Baccalaureate sermon for the class of 1936 was delivered Tuesday night by Reverend Geo. Gillespie of Palacios. The auditorium was well filled and this, in spite of the rains and poor road conditions. Reverend Gillespie has rendered a similar service on previous occasions and always delivers a message of faith in the future. His words do not fail to send youth away with new impressions of the problems of life. The room was profusely decorated with wild and cultivated flowers in pots and masses.

A pilgrim is a fellow who visits a holy place or a shrine and a Pilgrimage is the act of walking or using an auto for the purpose of visiting the holy place. June 16th, the holy place and shrine will be Christ Church, Matagorda, and it is expected that several hundred pilgrims will be present that day to honor the early boys who started the first Protestant church in Texas. According to latest advices there will be foodlets in abundance with plenty to drink and a delightful musical and speaking program is being arranged. It will be a gala day, a day to meet old friends, renew old contacts and glorify Matagorda’s part in Texas’ Great Centennial of which it is a part. One hundred years ago the settlers made the journey.

Nancy Sutton lives one and half miles from the school truck. She has walked this three miles every day since school began last fall and never missed a day and has never been tardy. We doff our hat to Nancy Sutton with her red blazed head.

Wednesday night, in spite of the muddy roads and heavy rain, a goodly audience gathered at the Church house to honor the five young folk who finished the high school grades. Decorations from the night before with beautiful additions made the auditorium a bower of beauty. The following program was rendered:

Invocation – Burton D. Hurd
Processional – Senior Class
Salutatory – Aaron Penland
Class History – Billie Crabill
Prophecy – Abel King
Will – Gifford Sherrill
Solo – Miss Sue Mansfield
Address – John H. Cherry
Valedictory – Irene Blackwell
Presentation of Diplomas – Elliott Curtis
Benediction – Mrs. L. E. Liggett

Because of decreased scholastic population, this will be the last high school commencement until and when we can secure an increase in scholastic population and much to our regret it becomes necessary to send our high school pupils to another school. Blessing, Palacios, Markham and Bay City are bidding for the business. Most of our folk prefer Palacios, but the final decision rests with the board. The board was organized with Mrs. Frank King as President and M. S. Holsworth as Secretary. It is hoped that arrangements can be made for the collection of delinquent taxes and thus provide the funds needed for the coming session.

Thursday night the Girl Reserves tendered a banquet in Mopac House in honor of the graduates. Tables were laid for fifty services. Streamers in the national colors depended from the ceiling to the tables and the tables were covered with white linen and the red, white and blue prominent. Flowers, both wild and cultivated, in profusion. The menu consisted of a salad, pressed meat loaf, string beans, scalloped potatoes, hot buns, butter, little cups filled with candy mints, ice cream and Angel food cake. All very beautiful and the service rendered by the pretty girl reserves was all that might be asked for. Mrs. Eleanor Chapman Lloyd acted as toastmistress and she handled the job to perfection in a very graceful and gracious manner. She is a sweet young woman and many of us regret that she will now leave us. The program was as follows:

Invocation – Harry Austin Clapp
Welcome Song – Girl Reserves
Welcome to Seniors – Roberta Liggett
Introduction of Seniors -
Response – Irwon Blackwell
Talk, Veni, vide, vici – Elliott Curtis
Solo “I am Dreaming of You” – Miss Sue Mansfield
Talk – Mrs. Burton D. Hurd
Song, “The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You” – Banqueters
Talk – John H. Cherry

The auditorium was brilliant with the electric light and with the colorful decorations the scene was one of beauty, in other words it was a swell banquet and reflected great credit on the Girl Reserves. But back there in the kitchen was found the girls behind the guns, in the person of Mesdames Liggett, Gutger, Jones, Nelson, Lashbrook. Upon these faithful souls was the work of hundreds of dishes, glasses, silver and they did it as they always do. How could we ever do without these faithful, sweet, willing, wonderful women. Guess the machine would stop ticking. Sitting here I can see no one to take their places. Place cards were big red stars entwined with a scroll bearing the numerals 1936 and name of the guest. We give honor to this Centennial Class and pray that where ever the life line leads that God will go with them and richly bless them.

Friday noon the Woman’s Club, sponsors to the Girl Reserves, tendered a luncheon to the Girl Reserves and their mothers. Mrs. Burton D. Hurd, President of the Club, presided. Mrs. Hurd delivered a splendid message to the Reserves and Mrs. L. E. Liggett gave an interesting report of the Mother’s banquet she attended in Bay City. Each person present gave a tribute to mother or daughter, or both. This affair was given out as a “bastemente” but it proved to be a Royal Repast which would have honored a King.

Friday night two bus loads went to Bay City to attend the County graduation exercises from seventh to eighth grade. Saturday, accompanied by several teachers, two bus loads drove to Hurd’s Landing and enjoyed a real picnic under the beautiful oaks and by the side of the Palacios River. Thus ended the festivities of the week.

Saturday we had the pleasure of a call from Melvin Spoor and we were pleased to see him and to know that he thought of us. He was here for the purpose of taking Mrs. Spoor back to Sandy Point. She taught here the past two years and by her work in the community has endeared herself to our folk.

Monday being the 25th of May our people will hold their annual Collegeport Birthday party and have a community dinner to which all are invited. Might be a good time for some of the Court House crowd to make us a visit. This has been an annual event for twenty-seven years. There may and there may not be a dance that night in Mopac House. There will be if we can arrange for music and sufficient interest is shown. No orchestra desires to play unless they are properly paid. If the young folk of this place wish to dance that night it might be well for them to indicate their wishes to the manager of Mopac House.

Every day the climate program calls for an electric storm with much rain. This has been going on for weeks and many farmers are quite disgusted.

Mopac changes time Sunday the 17th and our mail beginning Monday will leave the post office at ten a. m., instead of two p. m. and arrive at noon instead of 3:30.

The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, May 21, 1936

By Harry Austin Clapp

[Local information taken from longer article.]

I am asking God to spare my life so that June 16th I reach my seventy-fourth birthday, the day when several hundred will join me at Matagorda. It is a great Centennial event and God willing, I’ll be there and meet Ed Baker and Mrs. George Culver. It appears to me impossible to make a closer contact with God than during the Eucharist service. Then prayer brings a freshness, a cleanliness, a satisfying, a relief from sin. Man leaves this service another being. Well now that I have relieved myself of a few thoughts about prayer, suppose we pray.

“O living Christ, make us conscious now [of] Thy healing nearness. Touch our eyes that we may see Thee; open our ears that we may hear Thy voice; enter our hearts that we may know Thy love. Overshadow our souls and bodies with Thy presence that we may partake of Thy strength, Thy love and Thy healing life. Amen.”


Here I give some facts not generally known. When our present commissioner took the office, precinct three did not own one penny worth of equipment. When it needed tools, they were borrowed from the county’s general tool chest. Today precinct three owns for its sole use tools to the value of $20,000. Up until a few years ago the largest sum at the disposal of the commissioner was $7,000. Last year he spent on his precinct about $27,000. It seems to be true that the “proof of the pudding is in the eating.”

Every other day the Chronicle carries a short skit “Pull Up A Chair.” The other day it told the story of a meeting of ladies who played a game which required each of them to wear something that suggested the name of a book. One elderly lady displayed across her breast a picture of the Dionne quints and underneath the words, “It can’t happen here.” This referred to Sinclair’s book by the same name. As I laugh at that tale, My thoughts went back to 1900 in Cripple Creek to a similar meeting of ladies. Displayed on a table were various articles, each suggesting the name of some Colorado town. Among those articles was a safety pin. All guessed and failed, except the one bright eyed little lady who looking it over said “Aspen.” Who do you suppose that lady was? She was the one you folks know as the miserable wretch. You bet I was proud of my lady.

The new Missouri Pacific schedule effective Sunday the 17th is as follows so far as we are interested.

South Bound
No. 11 arrives El Maton 1:33 a. m.
No. 15 arrives El Maton 12:04 a. m.

North Bound
No. 12 arrives El Maton 5:32 p. m.
No. 16 arrives E. Maton 4:37 a. m.

Numbers 15 and 16 will not stop at El Maton except to discharge passengers holding tickets issued by a division point or a connecting line. The local mail leaves the postoffice at 10 a. m. and arrives as 12:05 p. m.

Thursday the King’s Daughters held their regular monthly meeting in the Church House with good attendance. The usual feast of good eatables and the interesting religious program filled the hours. Taking advantage of their presence, the Reserve Sponsors decided who of the Reserves would attend the camp this year as a result Misses Roberta Liggett and Irwon Blackwell were designated. These girls will have about two weeks of camp life and should learn many new ideas about the reserve work.

The library was open Friday, but because of the closed school, few books were placed out. The library will be open in June, but closed during July and August. These two months are busy ones for those in charge for during this period, books are repaired, out books called in and a general house cleaning is indulged in.

The time for the Great Pilgrimage to Christ Church Matagorda is nearer and on June 16th, several hundred people will be present to honor those who one hundred years ago established the church. All the Bishops of Texas will be present and many Priests of the Church. The program will include Baptismal and Confirmation service and the Holy Eucharist. Several addresses and many fine songs will round out a program of interest. O, by the way, we must not forget the barbecue, for that means a well filled tummy and with that most any man is ready for praise or song. Put in plenty of lube, water and gas, and don’t forget to blow up the tires and then roll on rubber over Matagorda’s swell pavements. The fathers made the trip with ox teams or horseback over poor trails.

For twenty four hours, beginning Saturday, we have enjoyed a downpour of rain that is estimated to have been twelve inches. Everything is flooded—bar pits overflowing, roads a sea, Pilkington slough overflowed its banks and formed a huge lake that extended from the bay way beyond the Collegeport store. Floods cover the fields and many acres of crops are in ruins. Farmer who have not planted will be unable to do so for many days if at all. In 1909 on May 25th we had a similar rain. It came at night after the festivities of Collegeport’s first birthday. Us Homecrofters were ready to go back to Chicago, but were assured by G. M. Magill that it was only a shower so accepting his word, we stayed and have since been several such showers. If fish follow up into our present lake, some of them may be caught when the water goes out and perhaps we will have fish for dinner. At this moment it looks bad for a successful Collegeport Day on the morrow, but some two will be there and the day observed.

A letter from Lutie Ramsey announces her safe arrival at Springfield. Hope she enjoys the visit, and that this fall we may have her back on the Ramsey farm.

Our commissioner, George Harrison, here Friday looking over the road conditions and planning considerable new work.

Machinery being moved from the oil well, but rumor persists that a new hole will be drilled. One of the major companies here with two big trucks, one marked “Explosives” and the men have put down many test holes covering the town site. Hope they have good results for we all need some oil. It is reported that the final approval of the dam project has been received and now engineers are at work making plans and specifications and it is reported unofficially that work will begin sometime in July.

When the dam is completed and the road bed provided, there is a chance for this burg to put on its party clothes. The Palacios Chamber of Commerce is distributing some beautiful road maps which are a credit to the Chamber. They neglected to put Collegeport on the map and as I observed the neglect felt pretty sore. It was not a fine thing to do. They should have been more thoughtful. Guess we will get out a folder and leave off “The City By The Sea.” They also left off College Station. I wonder howinthehell any one can find College Station with this imperfect map. College Station polls 680 votes and could feed the entire Palacios population at one time in the mess hall and do it in twenty minutes. It has a population of more than five thousand and its post office does more business in a day than Palacios does in a week and yet it has no place on the map. O well, some day those boys will wake up and realize that shrimp fishing is not the only thing in life.

The business men of Palacios showed how small they are, when they refused to publish congratulations to the new Arnold store. It was a time for showing of a spirit of good fellowship but they failed to respond. No wonder the Beacon solicitor feels a bit azure. I have used the hammer freely, but guess no harm has been done. Just passing along advice that if any of you readers plan to visit Texas this year and wish to see the greatest Agricultural College in the world and “Big Little Collegeport” do not use a Palacios road map. Use a Missouri Pacific folder which locates both these important places.

Missed a little bantam the other day. Barn cat looked extra well fed. Decided cat had killed and eaten hen so put her to trial and she was convicted and sentenced to execution. Just before the shot was fired, found the hen in a hidden nest on more eggs than she could cover and draped around her much like a fur boa about a lady’s neck was Mrs. Cat purring away and trying to help make the hatch. Pardon issued. Cat is full of kittens and not of chickens. When hatch is completed, which will be the mama the hen or the cat?

The Matagorda “Treasure” Rose Langham Newman, sent me a sweet birthday card just thirty days in advance, but I hereby give thanks for the beautiful remembrance. Great to have remembering friends. Hope Rose will meet me at Matagorda June 16th.

The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, May 28, 1936


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