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Dean Eanes Merck Family




Dean and I, who will be celebrating our fifty-second wedding anniversary on October 8, 1984, have lived in the Collegeport area longer than any of its residents.


Dean, the son of pioneers Mr. and Mrs. B. V. Merck, was born in Independence, Oklahoma, on July 20, 1907, and came to Collegeport in September of 1909. I am the daughter of pioneers, Mr. and Mrs. Gust Franzen, Sr., and was born in Essex, Iowa, on July 25, 1907, arrived in Collegeport with my folks on December 24, 1909, and spent the first night in Hotel Collegeport.


Dean attended the Collegeport School to the tenth grade. He was always mechanically-minded; worked for the Ford Assembly Plant in Houston and the Collegeport Fig Orchard in the 1920s. When he first became a farmer he raised Cotton, corn, maize, and peanuts. In 1938 he became a rice farmer and was chosen Rice Farmer of the Year in 1976. In his youth he played baseball on the Palacios and Bay City teams where it was not uncommon to hear, "Home run, Deanie Boy." For years he enjoyed flying his planes until he was restricted because of his heart condition. He has been very active in the community. He is an Elder in the Presbyterian Church and served as chairman of the building committee in 1955 when the present church was built and also on the Sadie-Ellen Hall committee when it was added to the church in 1969. The hall was named after Mrs. B. V. (Sadie) Merck and Mrs. Gust (Ellen) Franzen, our mothers. Dean served as school trustee. He is a member of the Volunteer Fire Department which was organized in our dining room. He is currently chairman of The Mopac House Foundation.


I attended the one-room school in DeMoss through the seventh grade. In 1921, I transferred to the Bay City High School. I remember the terrible flood in Bay City in May of 1922 when the Colorado River overflowed; when people traveled around town in boats.


In 1924 I accompanied Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Foulks, whose four children I took care of for my room and board, to Houston where I enrolled in Central High School. i can recall coming home on the train from Houston for the Christmas holidays in 1924 when everything was covered with ice following the most severe sleet-storm this country has experienced. I wondered how Louise Walter and I were going to get home as it was impossible for cars to travel on the frozen mud-roads. That night when the train pulled into the station, there stood Papa, bundled in all the clothes he owned, with that everlasting smile, saying, "Come, girls, I have rigged up the sled and you can get between the hay bales and cover up." And there he stood driving the team some four miles to our home. The next morning we saw dead animals all over the country.


Arnold, my brother, and I entered Rice Institute (University) in 1935 when our pastor, Reverend Paul Janes, influenced us to attend that college. I was graduated during the Great Depression in 1929 when jobs were not available anywhere. I thought to myself, I am never going back to live in the country nor am I going to marry a farmer. I spent the summer with my folks and helped pick cotton, hoping for something better. One day, Frank King, Collegeport School trustee, came by and asked, "Do you have a Teacher's Certificate?" When I asked him why, he told me that two of the teachers who had been hired had been hurt in a car wreck and had resigned. I spent five years in the school with a salary of $100.00 per month. I was living at home and when it rained I would ride Lulu to Collegeport.


I am a history buff--I have collected so much history about Collegeport which was founded on May 25, 1908, and opened on May 25, 1909. I have a collection of the Collegeport Chronicles and The New Era papers printed in Collegeport which i have had laminated or silk-screened for safe keeping; also, numerous pictures and articles about the Gulf Coast University of Industrial Arts, clippings and reports pertaining to the area. I spend lots of time with folks who are interested in our Collegeport history. I was an active member of the Home Demonstration Council and the American Red Cross. After Hurricane Carla in 1961, I bought supplies for the Mopac Kitchen and for weeks people came there to have dinner and supper while restoring the homes. (The Red Cross paid for the food.) I have held all of the offices of the Matagorda County Historical Society and Commission of which I am a charter member. Locally I am an Elder and clerk in the Presbyterian Church and secretary of the Women's Club and the Mopac House Foundation.


As you know, I married the farmer, Dean Merck. We have a son, Dean Franzen Merck (b. 1933), a civil engineer with the Texas Highway Department. He is married to the former Nelda Fay Wells, daughter of Rob and Ruby Wells. They have three sons: Mark who farms here with his grandfather; Russell, who went to work for General Electric Company in Lyn, Massachusetts, following graduation from Texas A & M; and Galen, a high school senior, who lives with his parents in League City, Texas.


Dorothy Merck - 1984

Historic Matagorda County, Volume II, pp 355-356



Copyright 2008 - Present by the Merck Family
All rights reserved

Mar. 02, 2008
Mar. 02, 2008