Matagorda County Historical Marker Narrative

506 S Bay Boulevard                     28°41’58.28N      96°13’02.23W
 


Cates-Price House                 Death of Mr. John Price
 


Charles A. Siringo, in his book A Lone Star Cowboy, writes of the Price's home which Jake visited on Siringo's trip to Matagorda County in 1912-1913...

It seems that these Russian wolf hounds enjoy sleeping on valuable rugs. While on our trip in southern Texas, Eat 'Em Up Jake [Siringo's Russian Wolf-Hound] had several fine parlor doors thrown wide open, so that he could stretch out on valuable rugs, the kind women folks thinking he made a fine picture while thus taking a restful dog nap.

At one of these swell homes in Palacios, Texas, owned by Mr. and Mrs. John T. Price, Jake was in the habit of slipping away from me, so as to stretch himself on a fine brussels carpet. Even if his feet were muddy, good Mrs. Price would throw the door open when he stood on his hind feet and rapped or admittance.
 



Charles Siringo in front of the Hotel Palacios - 1912-1913 trip to Matagorda County
Horses Rowdy & Pat and Irish Wolfhound Eat 'Em  up Jake
Photo courtesy of Donald Harvey & Betty Rusk

 


PRICE – FARWELL HOUSE

By Mary Belle Ingram & Madonna Gann

 


Palacios, situated in the southwest portion of Matagorda County, was an ideal setting on Tres Palacios Bay, an inlet of Matagorda Bay for the development of a new town at the beginning of the twentieth century. According to an article appearing in the Special Illustrated Edition of the Palacios Beacon of 1909, "the whole coastal belt from the Sabine to the Rio Grande was one vast cattle range in the late 1800's."

           
Palacios, "The City-By-The-Sea," dates back to 1901 when a large tract of land, 20,000 acres known as "Bull Pasture," was offered for sale by the estate of Abel H. "Shanghai" Pierce. W. C. Moore, a Houston real estate man, obtained an option and formed The Texas Development Company with other interested developers, who purchased the land and subdivided it into 160 acre tracts. Out of this vast acreage, the town of Palacios was laid out on a choice one mile square tract of land on Tres Palacios Bay at Hamilton Point which was sold by a subsidiary TRDC called Palacios City Townsite Company. The townsite company began immediately promoting and selling lots to settlers from the north.

           
On July 15, 1903, land was donated to the New York, Texas and Mexican Railway for a right-of-way, and the railroad to Palacios was built the following year. It later became the Southern Pacific Railway.

           
By 1909, Palacios had grown to a ton with over 2,000 population and was incorporated as a city of over 1,000 at an election held May 18, 1909. The City-By-The-Sea was becoming well known as a health resort and with the Texas Baptist Encampment opening in 1906 bringing thousands for summer camp and excursion trains bringing visitors to the new town, it became known throughout Texas.

           
With the promotion efforts of the Palacios Townsite Company, settlers from the north and east began coming to Palacios, buying property and building their homes. Two such people were John T. Price, who came from Arkansas and Tennessee, and H. W. Farwell, from St. Paul, Minnesota. John T. Price was in the lumber business and H. B. Farwell was manager of the Palacios Townsite Company. Each made a notable contribution to the early growth of Palacios.

           
John T. Price (1875-1921) married Opal Cates (1883-1980) in Tiptonville, Tennessee December 22, 1904 and by 1906, they had moved to Palacios to make their home. They built their honeymoon cottage at Fifth and Duson Street, Block 53, Lots 1 and 2, Town of Palacios overlooking Tres Palacios Bay.

           
The house was a one-story frame house of eclectic mixture of bungalow with a low pitch hip roof, multi-lighted sash windows in broad grouping of 2's and 3's with a central gabled dormer over inset front porch.

           
The book, Inside Texas: Culture, Identity, and Houses, 1878-1920 by Cynthia A. Brandimarte writes about this Price house:

           
Palacios is located along the Gulf Cost midway between Galveston and Corpus Christi... The bungalow appeared in this region in the first decade of the twentieth century. A new style of house that had been winning favor since the popularization of British design reforms in the 1880's and 1890's, it had gained early popularity in the Midwest and California. These homes, too, were generally built without the use of architects and interior designers, the occupants chose the interior finishes and furnishings.

           
The Reuben Anderson Cates (Opal's parents) home was constructed in 1910 and the John T. Price home in 1906 by a builder unknown. The couples themselves, however, were responsible for the furnishings. In order to decorate in sympathy with the new lines, materials and spaces of bungalows, the owners had to master a different vocabulary of suitable furnishings.

           
John T. Price was active in the lumber business, having started his business career in lumber at the age of fifteen. He immediately opened the John T. Price Lumber Company in Palacios as well as nearby communities that were coming into existence because of the coming of the railway; namely, Blessing, Collegeport and Bay City.

           
John T. Price and his wife, Opal Dean Cates, and their family lived in this house until 1920 when it was sold to H. B. Farwell who moved it that same year to 308 South Bay Boulevard, Block A, Lot 4 and 30' of Lot 5 some three blocks from the original location. The Farwell family lived there until 1946.

           
Herbert Bradford Farwell (1854-1943) and his wife, Mary Estelle [Braun] (1859-    ), were in Palacios by 1905, with Farwell coming to manage the Palacios City Townsite Company. He was one of the founders of the Palacios Business Men's League, one of five citizens to sign the application of the "Board of Trade" which later became the Palacios Chamber of Commerce. He was a stockholder in the Palacios State Bank and Trust. Farwell was interested in gardening and planting palm trees, orange and fig trees, and had a strawberry field which he shared with the neighbors. Today, the fruits of this labor can be seen in the surroundings of this house. They had one son, Neal Bradford Farwell, who served in the United State Navy. Estelle Farwell researched and read a paper entitled "Palacios Founders" at the Wednesday Club on November 1, 1933, in which she told of the early history of Palacios.

           
The Farwell Estate was in possession until 1946 at which time the house was sold to W. A. Suggs who lived there until 1947. At that time, it was sold to Amos E. Duffy (1887-1969) and his wife, Helen Gould Gilbert (1887-1969). Amos E. Duffy was born in the historic town of Matagorda and his forefathers came to the town from Ireland in 1845. Duffy was the Matagorda postmaster for twenty-three years and also a merchant and a mortician. In 1930, Duffy formed a partnership with D. D. Rittenhouse establishing the A. E. Duffy & Co Funeral Home. In Palacios, after the marriage of Duffy's oldest daughter Trude Ann to Thomas S. Brandon, Brandon and Duffy became partners and in 1936 the funeral home became Brandon Duffy Funeral Parlor with parlors in both Palacios and Matagorda. The Duffy's bought the house in 1947 and the Duffy family lived there until 1957 at which time it was purchased by Nelle Elizabeth Kimball.

           
Nelle Elizabeth Kimball (1928-1986) owned the home until her death and at that time her brother-in-law, Jerome B. Kimball, Jr. (1935-2001) and his wife, Bonnie, became owners. The home was sold to W. R. Mote and D. Durham in 2000. They have spent the past three years (2002-2004) with extensive restoration in restoring the original floor plan. Structural timbers are cypress and the floors are pine except in the living and dining rooms which are maple, laid out in a descending rectangular pattern. The original pass through cabinet between dining room and kitchen has been restored. The well in the basement retains three original walls of oyster crete. Some of the plumbing fixtures are original which were originally lighted by gas.

           
During World War II, the upstairs was converted into an apartment. Much time and thought have gone into restoring the mood of the "arts and crafts style," with attention to ample light, air, and bay views from all rooms. The furnishings are of various periods from the 18th to 21st centuries.

  

Dedication of the Recorded Texas Historic Landmark marker for the Price – Farwell House was held March 4, 2006. The Price – Farwell House is located at 308 South Bay, Palacios, Texas.

 



 


PRICE-FARWELL HOUSE

IN 1901, THE PALACIOS CITY TOWNSITE BEGAN SELLING LOTS FOR THE NEW “CITY BY THE SEA,” LAID OUT ALONG TRES PALACIOS BAY. THREE YEARS LATER, THE NEW YORK, TEXAS & MEXICAN RAILWAY BUILT A RAIL LINE INTO TOWN, AND WITHIN TEN YEARS PALACIOS WAS THE SITE OF THE TEXAS BAPTIST ENCAMPMENT AND PROMOTED WIDELY AS A HEALTH RESORT TOWN.

LUMBERMAN JOHN T. PRICE (1875-1921) AND HIS WIFE, OPAL DEAN (CATES) (1883-1980) MOVED FROM TENNESSEE TO PALACIOS IN 1906. THEY BUILT THIS RESIDENCE ON THE CORNER OF FIFTH AND DUSON STREETS, OVERLOOKING TRES PALACIOS BAY. THEY LIVED IN THE HOME UNTIL 1920, WHEN HOWARD [HERBERT] BRADFORD FARWELL AND WIFE MARY ESTELLE PURCHASED IT AND MOVED IT THREE BLOCKS TO THIS SITE. H. B. FARWELL (1854-1943) CAME TO PALACIOS IN 1905 TO MANAGE THE PALACIOS CITY TOWNSITE COMPANY, AND HE BECAME A PROMINENT BUSINESS LEADER IN THE COMMUNITY. THE FARWELL FAMILY RETAINED OWNERSHIP OF THE PROPERTY UNTIL 1946. LATER OWNERS INCLUDED AMOS AND HELEN (GILBERT) DUFFY, AND NELLE ELIZABETH KIMBALL.

THE PRICE-FARWELL HOUSE REPRESENTS A MAJOR SHIFT IN TRADITIONAL RESIDENTIAL DESIGN. THE BUNGALOW BECAME A PROMINENT HOUSE FORM IN THIS REGION IN THE EARLY PART OF THE 20TH CENTURY. SUCH HOUSES WERE OFTEN BUILT BY CONTRACTORS FROM SET PLANS OR PATTERN BOOKS, WITH OWNERS RESPONSIBLE FOR CHOOSING INTERIOR DETAILINGS AND FINISHES. THE HOME EXHIBITS BOTH NEOCLASSICAL AND ARTS AND CRAFTS INFLUENCES. DESIGN ELEMENTS INCLUDE A PYRAMIDAL ROOF, FRONT-FACING CENTRAL DORMER, CLASSICAL COLUMNS, SYMMETRICAL FACADE, THREE-BAY PORCH AND MULTI-PANE WINDOW PATTERNING.

RECORDED TEXAS HISTORICAL LANDMARK--2004

Marker inscription typed by Faye Cunningham




Herbert Bradford Farwell



Mary Estelle Braun Farwell

Photos courtesy of Ric Farwell
 


H. B. Farwell

Funeral services for Mr. H. B. Farwell were held in the Palacios Funeral Home Saturday afternoon at 4 o’clock conducted by Rev. George F. Gillespie.

Mr. Farwell was born in Maine in January [12], 1855, and would have been 89 years of age his next birthday. As a young man he served an apprenticeship in a dry goods business in Boston where he remained for some time. He and a young friend decided to go west locating in St. Paul, Minn., where he engaged in the furniture business. In this he was quite successful and after a good many years he decided to retire from the business and came to Texas in 1906 and became interested in the building of Palacios which has been his home ever since.

He was a member of the Palacios Townsite Company and served as manager a number of years. He was also interested in the bank and was president of the Palacios State Bank for some time. He took a keen interest in everything for the advancement of Palacios. The coming of the sewerage system, National Guard Camp, paved highways and all civic improvements were given his loyal support.

In 1920 Mr. Farwell purchased the John T. Price cottage at the corner of 5th and South Bay, which he moved to the corner of 4th and South Bay where he and Mrs. Farwell have made their home during the intervening years.

Mr. Farwell took great pride in the landscaping of his property which was and still is one of the prettiest homesites in Palacios. Being endowed with good health up until a very late age, he did all the work about his home. He enjoyed his flowers and shrubbery and sharing them with his friends was a great pleasure.

Mr. and Mrs. Farwell attended the same school in early life in Maine, and were married at an early age. They have one son, Neal, …[who] was a Captain for many years. A grandson, Charles Farwell, is a lieutenant commander in the Navy and is now an instructor at Annapolis.

The sympathy of the entire community goes out to Mrs. Farwell in her bereavement.

Palacios Beacon, October, 1943

[Date of death: September 30, 1943, Nightingale Hospital, El Campo, Wharton County, Texas]

[Mr. and Mrs. Farwell are buried beside his parents in Walnut Hill Cemetery, Yarmouth, Cumberland County, Maine.]

Courtesy of Ric B. Farwell
 


Mary Estelle Braun Farwell


 


Neal Bradford Farwell - Son of Herbert Bradford and Mary Estelle Brann Farwell
 


 

 

Copyright 2009 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

Created
Mar. 5, 2009
Updated
Nov. 4, 2011
   

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