THE FRANCITAS BEE
the final history of the gulf coast development is written the names of W.
F. Schwind and John G. Maher will stand out very prominently in the story.
In the founding of Francitas they have erected a monument to their
industry and their ability which will endure for all time.
When the final history of the gulf coast development is written the names of W. F. Schwind and John G. Maher will stand out very prominently in the story. In the founding of Francitas they have erected a monument to their industry and their ability which will endure for all time.
In the world of modern colonization their work is recognized as an achievement unsurpassed. In such a short period of time that it seems incredible they have builded a thriving little city of 450 people, all happy and contented, and so fairly laid is the foundation that to picture the future of this city, as we see it, would cause our readers to doubt our conservatism.
Messrs. Schwind and Maher not only founded Francitas, but since it has been turned over to the property owners, they have stood by it and have been first in development work and first in lending a helping hand when aid and encouragement were needed.
There were many who believed
that when the sale of town lots and farms constituting the original
Francitas tract had been concluded these two men would move out to other
fields and leave the people to work out their own salvation. But such has
not been the case. Mr. Maher is now developing a 30 acre tract which he is
having planted to orange, fig and pecan trees, and Mr. Schwind has broken
out a considerable acreage just north of the city limits which he will
plant trees. They have two blocks planted to orange trees and flowers and
garden on the north side of the railroad track and are now preparing the
ground to plant trees on both sides of the tracks clear through the city
limits. It takes only an ordinary imagination to picture what this will
mean to the city in the course of a few years. Passengers going through on
trains will travel down a solid lane of orange and fig trees,
The fact that they refused to sell land along the railroad right of way indicates the good judgement of the two men. It means the first sight of Francitas will be pleasing to the stranger. There will never come a time when poor tumbled down shacks will make their appearance along the railroad as is so often the case in the ordinary country town.
It will be pleasing to the
friends of Messrs. Schwind and Maher, though no surprise, that their
reputation for honesty and industry and square dealing in
Mr. Schwind is a Missourian,
having been born at
Mr. Schwind's father is a
Methodist minister, now living in
Colonel Maher first saw the
light of day in old
Colonel Maher studied law and was admitted to the bar and began practice after retiring from the office of county clerk. He has served as court reporter for Judge Kincaid, now congressman, Judge Westover and Judge Harrington.
Both Mr. Schwind and Colonel
Maher have been prominent in democratic politics for years. Both have held
positions in the state committee, and during Governor Shalleberger's
administration Mr. Schwind declined an invitation to accept a lucrative
position with the state. Both have been staunch followers and friends of
Colonel Bryan. Just at this time Colonel Maher is receiving considerable
notice by reason of his advocacy of the nomination of Governor Harmon.
Both served during the Spanish-American war with a
was voted at the opening of Francitas,
was voted at the opening of Francitas,
Among the speakers who have
places on the program are: Ex-Governor Shallenberger, W. H. Thompson,
Nebraska's "Little Giant;" James C. Dahlman, a Texan, now mayor
of Omaha, Judge P. James Cosgraye, A. L. Bixby, Former Labor Commissioner
W. M. Maupin, Colonel John G. Maher, Colonel W. F. Schwind and others of
Nebraska; E. S. Stockwell of Alvin; R. H. Bushway of Algoa; a
representative of the Alvin-Japanese Nursery; representative of the
Chamber of Commerce, Houston; representative of the Galveston Commercial
club; county officers and others. Special vocal music by Mrs. H. C.
The last day of the celebration,
Tuesday, will be devoted to the big barbeque. There is nothing more
enjoyable than a real barbecue and as the people here have had experience
in that one, this last day will be a mighty enjoyable one. The program
will be started at
Saturday afternoon and this period will be devoted exclusively to
will be one year ago, come December 9, since the train load of people from
the northwest landed in Francitas to build a town. There was here at the
time the Nebraska Inn, the lumber yard, the canning factory building, a
store building, five cottages and an artesian well. These were presented
to the town by Messrs. Schwind and Maher and the proceeds of the sale of
the buildings is being used for the construction of a school house and
It will be one year ago, come December 9, since the train load of people from the northwest landed in Francitas to build a town. There was here at the time the Nebraska Inn, the lumber yard, the canning factory building, a store building, five cottages and an artesian well. These were presented to the town by Messrs. Schwind and Maher and the proceeds of the sale of the buildings is being used for the construction of a school house and other improvements.
It has been a year of
experiences for all of us, and not unpleasant experiences. The town has
watched the arrival of every new family and given its members a royal
welcome, until now to keep an accurate record of our growing population is
a task. George Papineau was early on the ground and looked after the
construction of the company buildings. James Miller came with him. Both
were preceded by Charles O. Hardy, who assisted S. L. Chalk in surveying
the tract. He is our most worthy postmaster. G. J. Phelps came down from
To secure a post office required
a long, hard struggle. While waiting for the postal authorities to act on
the petition, mail for Francitas was delivered at Blessing and was carried
over here by whoever happened along. The courtesy of George Walker,
Blessing's postmaster, made his arrangement much more pleasant for our
people. The depot was just as slow about being opened. It had been built a
month before the agent was appointed. But we have an agent in W. L. Beatty
worth waiting for and the depot is one of the prettiest on the
Colonel L. Ward, the original
owner of the lands upon which this city is located, is one of the very
prominent and very big men of
Hon. G. J. Phelps is the real
builder of Francitas. As the resident manager for Messrs. Schwind and
Maher he has given his personal attention to the development of the town,
the construction of roads, and streets and drainage ditches. He came here
when the only building in the town was the section house. When the First
State Bank was organized he was unanimously elected president, and his
name at one inspired the utmost confidence in the institution. Mr. Phelps
loves every foot of ground in this great district and his knowledge of the
country has given him confidence in its future. In partnership with his
son, Vernon Phelps, he is developing a 22 acre orange orchard. Mr. Phelps
works for Francitas all the time. He has, by repeated appearances before
the county commissioners' court, made it a mark of interest to our county
dads. Having handled big business all his live, he has found the great
work of building a town most congenial, though strenuous. His great, big,
broad, mind, his face, his human sympathy, have combined to make him our
natural leader and the position has been accorded him by unanimous
consent. Mr. Phelps is a fine, substantial citizen. Mrs. Phelps is the
president of the Lincoln Women's club, the largest in the
of the chief factors in the development of the Francitas Farms is the
Francitas Land and Development company, R. C. Young, president and general
manager; John M. Young, treasurer, and Robert Young, secretary. This
company had its tent pitched and was signing contracts to grow orange and
fig orchards before the formal opening of the town. While the auction sale
was in progress it purchased one of the best business lots in town, and
day and night it has been busy.
One of the chief factors in the development of the Francitas Farms is the Francitas Land and Development company, R. C. Young, president and general manager; John M. Young, treasurer, and Robert Young, secretary. This company had its tent pitched and was signing contracts to grow orange and fig orchards before the formal opening of the town. While the auction sale was in progress it purchased one of the best business lots in town, and day and night it has been busy.
During the past eleven months the company has broken more than 600 acres of ground, planted many orchards to oranges and figs and has hundreds of lots under its contracts.
When the company first started out it employed local men to do its plowing, but its increased business demanded greater equipment, and now the company mans its own mule teams and plows.
Ralph C. Young, the general
manager of the company, is all the time a booster, day and night, and he
has urged development and hustled the business to such an extent that many
who would simply have let their land lay idle and held it for investment
have planted trees and are growing crops. He is one of the greatest
enemies of the hook worm in all
Mr. Young is a surveyor of ability and has done much work in that line since moving here. Optomistic [sic] at all times he is the kind of men needed in a new country. His company has the confidence of the people here and those who entrust it with work will never regret it, for the company will deliver the goods.
John M. Young is the field man of the company. He superintends the workmen and sees to it that every acre of ground that is broken is broken right and that every tree that is planted, is planted right. And he knows when things are right. He has full charge of the equipment and when he puts the outfit to work it works.
Robert E. Young is traveling in
It has been a good thing for
Francitas that such a company does business here. The members of it
invested much money in their equipment and their work and their
advertising literature before they received one cent of returns, but no
one even heard one pessimistic note from their headquarters. Their work
shows for itself and when the crowds get here December 9th, among them
will be many who have contracted with this company for trees, and they
will discover their faith has been vindicated. To the Francitas Land
Improvement company Francitas is the "Capital of the World."
Absence of More than Quarter Century Miss Ella Labouve Returns.
voice choked with emotion occasioned by the awakening of slumbering
memories as she gazed upon the delapidated building which was her home, in
the edge of the timber which skirts the Caranchua a mile and a half south
of town, Miss Ella Labouve of Houston told her story of the early days of
the Francitas country, during a recent visit here.
"I have never been back to the old home since I left it so many, many years ago that I can scarcely remember the time," said Miss Labouve, "but I have always wanted to visit it again, and if possible to own it. So overpowering became the desire to again stand in the old yard where our family had enjoyed life, that I could not resist the temptation longer. So here I am."
Labouve was the daughter of Captain Victor Labouve of
"When we lived on the Caranchua," said Miss Labouve, "there
was only one road in the state, and that ran into
parents came by boat from
"We had no schools here then of course and the children of our family were taught by a teacher who stayed at the house with us."
those days the cow boys use to come to see my sisters and all of them wore
big spurs and pistols. Father always took their pistols at the door and
placed them in his room and kept them until the boys left. At Christmas
time we used to do alot of visiting, and there would be parties at
practically all of the homes in the county. Among the homes here in those
days that I recall were the Chivers, Roland Duprey, the Billips, the
Branch place, the Ward place, the mother of L. and Leander Ward--now
occupied by Henry C. Coates, the Mitchells and Pierces and others. Roland
Duprey lived below Red Bluff and I believe now lives in
these homes the latchstring always hung on the outside and all were given
"In our family there were eleven children and all of us grew to be men and women in the little home down on the river. Two brothers died there, one of measles and one of an absess, they with my father are buried in the little cemetery there in the woods. One of my sisters married Mr. John Logan, now of Blessing. Our nearest doctor was six miles away, Dr. Pilkington, if I remember his name correctly."
father raised a company to fight in the war of
the death of my father my mother kept the place running for some time, but
as my brothers preferred raising cattle to farming we decided to sell out.
The place is now owned by Dr. Brooking, he having bought it from the man
to whom mother sold."
bought from Abel Pierce the lumber of which our house was built. The
lumber was shipped from
I hear of women coming to a new town like Francitas and getting home sick,
I wonder what they would do if they had to go through the pioneer days of
my mother. She was young when she moved here and had not been reared to
work. I never recall hearing a complaint from her. She was always cheerful
and kept our home full of sunshine all the time. And your Francitas is one
of the most healthful places in the world."
was never any sickness in our home, except when my brother had measles and
another brother had an absess, caused by a bruise."
wish that I was in a position to do something for Francitas. I love the
town and I want to see it prosper. It is very gratifying to me to see what
a beautiful place it is and to hear of the plans for its future."
Among Miss Labouve's close relatives still living are Mrs. A. K. McDonald, Mrs. F. Sparks, Mrs. L. Keiser, sisters, and Valcourt Labouve, a brother of Houston, Mrs. Killingsworth of Ganado; Mrs. E. M. Yeamans of College Port, sisters; Henry Labouve of Austin, and a brother in New Orleans and a brother in Edna.
T. Joines of LaWard was a Francitas visitor Tuesday having spent the day
with his son, George Joines.
December third Evangelist W. A. Boggess will be here to preach for the
people, and will continue the services over Francitas Day, December tenth.
and Mrs. Richa celebrated their silver wedding anniversary Tuesday night.
The reception was held from
until eleven, and a large crown of their friends
called and paid their respects. Music was furnished by
The ladies will serve oyster on Thanksgiving
evening at the home of Mrs. Baer, from
all during the evening, and at
there will be a short program given by the little
folks. The public is cordially invited. The proceeds of the evening will
go to buy stoves for the new church.
Photo of Eleanor Josephine Elina LaBauve courtesy of Louis Keizer
Copyright 2004 -
Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
Jan. 10, 2005