Tuesday, December 27, 2011

1905 :: Killing at Vogel Mine


Dallas Morning News. December 27, 1905. Fatal Result of Mexican Fight. Special to The News. Cameron, Tex., Dec. 26. -- Deputy Sheriff M.M. Johnson returned yesterday from Rockdale with Salvador Rodriquez, charged with killing John Martinez at the Vogel coal mine Sunday. The prisoner was placed in the county jail. His left arm was accidentally shot by himself, the ball passing through it and making a bad wound. Sheriff Johnson reported there was little to be learned about the killing, as it occurred in a Mexican camp.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

1895 :: The Cozy Corner


Dallas Morning News. December 22, 1895. The Cozy Corner. LENA MAY WIESE, Jones' Prairie, Milam Co., Tex. -- You see, Mr. Big Hat, I've made a resolve similar to Laurence C. Fountain's, though I don't write quite so often or regularly as he does. I notice that a great many of the cousins who write quite often steadily improve and I thought that by writing oftener than two or three times a year I might also improve. School has begun. I may get to go after christmas for a few months. Mr. Big Hat, if you get tired of printing my letters, just tell me to stop and I will do so. I will endeavor to give the cousins a description of my county. Milam county was created in 1836. It is one of the group of central Texas counties and is situated on the Brazos river, which forms its eastern boundary. The surface of the county is rolling and in many places hilly and broken. The county is about equally divided between woodland and prairie. The soil of the prairie varies. On the river and creek bottoms, it is a rich loam, producing cotton, corn, oats, potatoes, sugar cane, fruits and vegetables abundantly. Stockraising is carried on in connection with the farm. The Gulf, Aransas Pass, International Great Northern, Colorado and Santa Fe railroads cross the county. The principal towns and villages are Rockdale, Cameron, Milano, Gause, Lilac, Leachville, Branchville and Maysfield. Cameron is the county seat and has 2000 or 3000 inhabitants. Rockdale is the largest town. A coal mine is being worked there. Maysfield has 300 or 400 inhabitants and Jones' Prairie has about 300. The county has two private and one national banks. There are five or six weekly newspapers published in the county. The churches and schools are good. Almost all denominations have churches in the county. Our county superintendent is pastor of Maysfield Presbyterian church, which is about five miles from my home. I live about a mile and a half from Brazos river. The bridge which spanned Brazos river about three miles from my home fell about two years ago and killed over a hundred head of cattle. It fell the same day that Richmond bridge fell. The country about my home is rich in coal. Papa's land has coal on it. It looks like beds of charcoal. A coal mine is being worked about two miles from my home on the Brazos river and a railroad has been constructed to it. I'm going to walk to see it some time and I'll describe it to the cousins if they wish. I live nearly eight miles from Calvert, in Robertson county. I would describe it to the cousins, for it is quite a large manufacturing town, has an oil mill and ice factories and splendid schools, if I wasn't afraid Peggy would get my letter, that is. If she doesn't get it anyway. A handsome iron bridge spans the Brazos between Jones' Prairie and Calvert. Mr. Big Hat, what has become of Sallie? Did she ever get scared at any more ghosts?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

1921 :: Funeral of Mrs. Elizabeth Simms


Dallas Morning News. December 20, 1921. SIMMS. -- Rockdale, Texas. Dec. 19. -- The funeral of Mrs. Elizabeth Simms, who died Saturday, was held at the family residence Sunday afternoon, with a large concourse of sorrowing friends and relatives in attendance. Funeral services were conducted by the Rev. E.D. Hamner of Austin, a former pastor, assisted by the Rev. Mr. Weaver, present pastor of the Christian Church, of which Mrs. Simms was a member. Mrs. Simms was married to E.C. Simms and moved to Milam County in 1899, living on a farm near Tracy, but later removing to Rockdale, where she has since resided. She was a daughter of J.A. Hargrove and was born near Chappell Hill, Washington County. She leaves seven children, all living, all of whom were present at the funeral. her findagrave page

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

1900 News Clippings


Rockdale Messenger, Thursday, December 6, 1900.

Cameron - J. B. McKinney was awarded the contract of keeping in running order the courthouse clock.

Marriage - Cameron - Frank Peoples and Miss Ethel Carter were married last Wednesday at the home of Tom Peoples in Cameron.

Marriage Licenses: Ben Burkely to Minnie Davis; James Riskup to Katerine Salac; B. F. Peoples to Ethel Carter; J. E. Griffin to Ora B. Little; W. T. Graves to Annie A. Powers; Solon Walker to Ella Keith; A. R. Rhodes to Sallie Harris; Spencer Brown to Lula Griffin; R. L. Coker to Lonie Gutherie; M. A. Taylor to Irene Westbrook; T. C. Westbrook to Annie Taylor; Pete Nichols to Ella Smith; A. T. Griffin to Marilla Donaldson

Suicide - Mrs. Edward Gandy of Lone Oak, a Dallas suburb, committed suicide by taking chloral. She and her husband had lived unhappily, and a short time ago, separated. Mrs. Gandy going to live with her mother. She grieved over her domestic troubles and left a written statement.

Assault - A desperate attempt, which may prove fatal, was made in Granger to murder Henderson Key. [very lengthy article]

Death - In a difficulty near Hempstead, Hez Harvey, Sr., about age 70, was shot and killed by John Renecke, who was badly wounded.

Death - Elmer Mayes, age 17, was found lying dead near a pond a few miles from Paris with a charge of shot in his breast. He was supposed to have met death while crawling after ducks and dragging his gun.

Death - D. W. Silvey, and old citizen of Milam county, fell while carrying a bucket of swill to his hogs and struck the bucket with his side, rupturing a gall cyst, from which he died within 24-hours.

Suicide - G. E. Ollard, a stranger, was found dead in his bed at a rooming house in Houston. An empty chloroform bottle was found on a table and it is supposed he swallowed the contents with suicidal intent.

Death - Bushdale - Twin infants of Henry Beckhaus were buried here last Wednesday.

Death - In this issue will be found a large ad on the 9th page of the Monarch saloon, which since the death of John Brown has been ably managed by T. E. Neeley.

MILAM COUNTY TEXAS - Newspapers: Gleanings from the Rockdale Messenger 1900. File contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by Lynna Kay Shuffield.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

1897 :: Death of V.B. Orr




Dallas Morning News. Veteran Crosses Over. Was Member of Jeff Davis' Regiment in the Mexican War. 

Rockdale, Tex., Nov. 28. -- Mr. V.B. Orr died at his residence in this city yesterday evening at the age of 71 years. Deceased was a veteran of both the Mexican and confederate wars, having served through the Mexican war in in Jeff Davis' Mississippi regiment and in the confederate war in Col. H.L. Muldrow's regiment in the western army. He emigrated to Texas from Tuxilo, Miss., in 1882 and settled in Rockdale, which place he made his home up to the time of his death. He leaves a large family connection and a host of friends in this county. He was an honored member of the Knights of Honor and will be buried with the ceremonies of that society.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

1943 :: Funeral Home Burns


Dallas Morning News. November 26, 1943. Funeral Home Burns. Rockdale, Texas, Nov. 25 (AP). -- A fire of undetermined origin Thursday gutted Phillips & Luckey funeral home, causing damages estimated at $25,000. The house was filled with people, gathering for a funeral service when the fire broke out. No one was injured. Several bodies were carried to safety.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

1922 :: New High School


Dallas Morning News. November 6, 1922. Rockdale's New $75,000 High School Dedicated. Special to The News. Rockdale, Texas. Nov. 5. -- Although Rockdale's new $75,000 high school building has been completed and occupied by the faculty and pupils for several weeks, the house-warming under the auspices of the Parent-Teacher Association was not held until Thursday, when the new auditorium was more than filled by 500 persons, among them were Ben Loewenstein Sr. and the Rev. W.E. Copeland, who were members of the first Rockdale School Board, elected in 1888, and are the only survivors of that board. The first school building was erected in 1884. The Parent-Teacher Association was organized about a year ago. The old high school building had long since outgrown the scholastic needs of Rockdale. Bonds for the new building were voted by Rockdale people more than three years ago. Construction of the new building was delayed for more than two years in the Supreme Court because of the mandamus suit against the Attorney General, who had refused to approve the bonds, due to an election technicality. The mandamus suit was a friendly one.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

1960 :: Death of Johnny Horton


Dallas Morning News. November 6, 1960. Singer Dies In 2-Car Collision. Milano, Texas. (AP) -- Singer Johnny Horton, 30, who became famous for his recording of "The Battle of New Orleans," died as two cars collided head-on here Saturday.

The accident on an overpass here in Central Texas also injured guitarist Gerald D. Tomlinson, 30, of Shreveport, La., reported in serious condition; Tilman Franks, 46, also of Shreveport, who was Horton's manager, and James E. Davis, 19, of Brady, a Texas A&M student who was alone in the other car.

The injured were taken to a Cameron hospital. Franks and Davis were believed to have escaped serious injury. A doctor said Tomlinson suffered compound fractures of both legs and might lose one of them.

Horton was at the wheel as he and his companions left Austin, where he filled an engagement Friday night. He was en route to Shreveport to discuss plans for a movie.

The singer, a former star of the national radio program "Louisiana Hayride," originating in Shreveport, had made his home in the Louisiana city the past eight years. He was born in Hollywood, but spent most of his early life in Rusk.

Horton was the husband of Mrs. Billie Jean Horton, who was the wife of Western singer Hank Williams until his death from a heart attack in 1953.

Other survivors are the couple's two small daughters, Zanina and Melody; his step-daughter, Jerry Lynn, and his mother, Mrs. John L. Horton of Rusk.

The funeral service will be held in Shreveport. Arrangements were incomplete.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

1895 :: The Cozy Corner


Dallas Morning News. November 3, 1895. The Cozy Corner. JESSIE WILBURN, Rockdale, Milam Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: After a few weeks' absence from among you I now take my seat to encourage all and I hope Mr. Big Hat will encourage me, providing I need any. I guess Peggy had a nice little time eating my other letter, as I never saw it in print, but hope to see this one published. This week appeared Bessie Bee. Mr. Big Hat and all the cousins will be so sorry to loose [sic] her for a year. Our school will commence Monday and I will be glad. We will have a new lady teacher this year. We have moved since I wrote last. I will describe my new home next time I write. Cousin Rudolph, come again, I think your letters are so interesting, especially when you write about hunting. Success to Mr. Big Hat and dear cousins.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

1939 :: J.H. Bonds Buried


Dallas Morning News. October 30, 1939. J.H. Bonds Buried. Special to The News. Rockdale, Texas. Oct. 28. -- Funeral services for John H. Bonds, 86, citizen of Rockdale for more than fifty years, were held at the family home. Burial was in Oak Lawn Cemetery. Born in Columbus, he lived in Milam County since a boy of 14. He drove with his father and mother over the Chisholm Trail with herds of cattle. For a long time he was city marshal of Rockdale. Ten years ago he and his wife celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. Surviving are three daughters, Mrs. J.W. Garner, Mrs. Susie Williams and Miss Maude Bonds, Rockdale; a son, B.F. Bonds, Cameron; five brothers, W.A. Bonds, Cameron; M.M. Bonds, Rawlings, Wyo.; Boyd Bonds, San Gabriel; Thomas Bonds, Wilson, and Scott Bonds, Levelland; two sisters, Mrs. Fanny Anthony, Southland, and Mrs. Allie Pruett, Conoly. [his Find-A-Grave memorial page]

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

1934 :: Theodore Crohn Dies of Heart Attack


New York Times. October 18, 1934. Retired Merchant and Stock Broker -- Once Owned Stores in Denver and Texas. Special to The New York Times. Cedarhurst, L.I., Oct. 17. -- Theodore Crohn, retired merchant and stock broker, died last evening at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Moses L. Roth, 28 Spruce Street, at the age of 86. Healthy and active, Mr. Crohn was stricken suddenly with a heart attack and died before a physician could be summoned.


Early last week he returned from a trip to Detroit, where he passed a month at a son's home, and last Thursday he observed his eighty-sixth birthday, playing contract bridge at night.


Arriving in New York when he was a boy from his birthplace in Germany, Mr. Crohn witnessed the Civil War draft soldiers training in what is now Central Park. Shortly after the war the oil boom that was starting in Oil City, Pa., attracted him to that place, and subsequently he went West, first settling in Denver and later in Rockdale, Texas. In both places he established stores. While in Texas he married the late Leah Baum of New York.


Soon after his marriage he again journeyed to New York and bought a seat on the Consolidated Stock and Petroleum Exchange, which later became the Consolidated Stock Exchange. He was a trader for forty-three years, relinquishing his membership during the World War, prior to the closing of the Exchange.

Mr. Crohn was one of the founders and president for several years of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, East Eighty-fifth Street. He is survived by six sons and five daughters.
The funeral will be held at 10:30 o'clock tomorrow morning at the residence. Burial will be in Union Field Cemetery.



Saturday, September 10, 2011

1887 :: Drought and Death


Dallas Morning News. September 10, 1887. Rockdale Notes. Rockdale, Tex., Sept. 9. -- Rain is greatly needed here for stock and domestic purposes. Nearly all the cisterns in town are dry and private and public wells are worked to their full capacity.

An infant son of Mr. J.O. Sitman died yesterday of diphtheria and was buried today. Also an infant of Dr. A.C. Spratt was buried to-day.

Friday, September 2, 2011

1939 :: Death of E.B. Phillips


Dallas Morning News. September 2, 1939. E.B. Phillips, 67, Died; Leader at Rockdale. Special to The News. Rockdale, Texas, Sept. 1. -- E.B. Phillips, 67, widely known businessman of this city, died in a hospital at Brenham Thursday night. Funeral services will be held here at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Mr. Phillips was born in Alabama, but came to Texas when a young man and had been active in the progress and development of Rockdale, Milam County and this section of Texas for forty years. He taught school in his early years. He had served as trustee of the Rockdale School Board and had been president of the Milam County School Board many years, holding that position at the time of his death.

His varied career had included the hardware business, coal mining and farming. He also was a mortician and for the past several years had devoted most of his time to that work. He was president of the Burial Associations Union of Texas.

Mr. Phillips is survived by his wife, Mrs. Minnie Perry Phillips; two daughters, Mrs. Laurence Warren of El Paso and Mrs. J.B. Newton of Rockdale, and one brother, R.K. Phillips of Weatherford.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

1892 :: Two Deaths at Rockdale (Young and Vick)


The Galveston Daily News. Wednesday, August 31, 1892. Mortuary. Two Deaths at Rockdale. Rockdale, Tex., Aug. 30. -- Died, Sunday morning, in Rockdale of consumption, Mr. Robert N. Young. The funeral took place Monday at Milano, Tex., under the auspices of the Knights of Honor of that place.

Died, Sunday afternoon, in Rockdale of typhoid fever. Wm. H. Vick, Jr., in the 20th year of his age. The deceased was an exemplary young man; was connected with the International and Great Northern freight office here and a son of Dr. John Vick of Albany, Tex.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

1882 :: Burial of Samuel Cohen


Galveston Daily News, Friday, August 25, 1882. Rockdale, Tex., Aug 24 – Sam Cowen, one of our merchants, died to-day, and was buried this afternoon according to the Jewish Rites in the Jewish Cemetery, Rockdale, Milam County, Texas.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

1948 :: Death of E.H. Balhorn


Funeral services for E.H. Balhorn, 55, who died Friday night [August 1948] in a Cameron hospital from a heart ailment, were held here [Rockdale] Saturday. Burial was in Oak Lawn Cemetery, with Masons in charge. Balhorn was widely known among grocers, as he had been a representative of large wholesale houses since a young man. At the time of his death he was connected with a St. Louis firm. He leaves his wife, a son, Edward Balhorn of Beaumont; two grandchildren; three sisters, Mrs. Ray Humphrey of Beaumont, Mrs. C. F. Tuberville of Oklahoma City and Mrs. Will Gray of Yoakum, and a brother, William Balhorn, Cameron. Dallas Morning News. August 17, 1948. E. H. Balhorn, Rockdale, Dies of Heart Ailment. Special to The News. Rockdale, Texas, Aug. 16.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

1958 :: Amelia W. Williams



Amelia W. Williams, educator and historian, daughter of Thomas Herbert and Emma (Massengale) Williams, was born in Maysfield, Texas, on March 25, 1876. 

Several generations of the family were planters in South Carolina until after the Civil War, when her father established a plantation on the Little River in the blacklands of Milam County.

Amelia, the oldest of seven children, was early recognized as a potentially outstanding scholar and so was given the best education available from local teachers. She attended Stuart Seminary in Austin and graduated from Ward (later Ward-Belmont) Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1895 with a liberal arts degree.

By the time she turned twenty-two both of her parents had died, leaving her the guardian of four younger sisters and manager of a 2,000-acre plantation. After rearing her younger sisters Amelia Williams was able at last to work toward her academic goals.

She passed exams for temporary certification and taught history and English in rural schools in San Gabriel, Marlo, Branchville, Baileyville, Calvert, and Cameron. Attending college during the summers, she earned a B.A. at Southwest Texas State Normal School in 1922, a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Texas in 1926, and the Ph.D. in 1931. From 1925 until her retirement in 1951, Williams taught American and English history at the University of Texas.

As a student of Eugene C. Barker, she investigated Texas history, doing primary research on the Alamo. Her M.A. thesis, "The Siege and Fall of the Alamo," incorporating much of this material, was expanded into her Ph.D. dissertation, "A Critical Study of the Siege of the Alamo and of the Personnel of its Defenders," which established her as the authority on this subject. Five chapters of the dissertation were published in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly in 1933 and 1934. In 1935 she published Following General Sam Houston, 1793–1836

From 1938 to 1943 Williams and Barker collaborated on the eight-volume edition of The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813–1863. Her tact was credited for having convinced Houston's descendents to grant access to portions of his correspondence, an act that Barker's disdain for Houston had precluded for many years.

Williams was an honorary lifetime member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and also held membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the Order of the Eastern Star. She was a Presbyterian and a Democrat. She died in Austin on August 14, 1958, and was buried near Maysfield. The Barker Texas History Center at the University of Texas at Austin contains her papers.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Milam County Heritage Preservation Society, Matchless Milam: History of Milam County (Dallas: Taylor, 1984). National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 44. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Jane Smoot [her niece, who is still living in Austin, Texas as of this date]
 
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Jane Smoot, "WILLIAMS, AMELIA WORTHINGTON," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fwi83), accessed August 10, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.









1946 :: Rockdale Undertaker Dies



Dallas Morning News. August 14, 1946. Rockdale Undertaker, P.E. Luckey, Dies. Rockdale, Texas, Aug. 13 (AP). -- P.E. Luckey, 67, senior partner of the Phillips & Luckey funeral establishment here, died at his home Tuesday. Burial will be here Wednesday afternoon. Survivors include his wife, four sons and a daughter.





Perry Emmett Luckey, the son of John Millard and Rachel Garner Luckey was born February 28, 1879 in the Millerton Community of Milam County. The old Luckey homestead was located on much of the land where the Sandow Strip mine is now located. On June 1, 1902, he was married to Mary Draper Carter. Her parents were Sinclair Blake and Tennie Love Carter who immigrated to Texas from Mississippi in 1877 and settled in the Tracy Community of Milam County. Mr. Carter was a Confederate veteran and he and his wife had experienced much hardship during the Civil War.


The Luckeys were parents of four sons: Darrell Emmett, Harold Milton, Donald Carter, Edward Earle; and one daughter, Bertha Lucille. The Luckeys were members of the Methodist Church. For a number of years, Mr. Luckey was associated with Henne and Meyer Hardware and Undertaking Company in Rockdale. These two men were pioneers in the burial insurance business and worked toward the enforcement of having burial insurance legalized in Texas. Later they founded the Phillips and Luckey Burial Association.


Mr. Luckey was a quiet and unassuming man and he had a steadfast devotion to principal. His heart was supercharged with love for his fellowman. He was a greatly beloved citizen of Rockdale.


From Matchless Milam, History of Milam County Texas, compiled and edited by Milam County Heritage Preservation Society, A Texas Sesquicentennial Edition.






Thursday, August 11, 2011

1754 :: San Xavier Missions


On this day in 1754, Pedro de Rábago y Terán took over as commander of San Francisco Xavier de Gigedo Presidio, the military post at the San Xavier missions (near the site of present-day Rockdale, Milam County, Texas). He replaced José Joaquín de Ecay Múzquiz, who had been sent in 1753 to assist Capt. Miguel de la Garza Falcón in investigating the murder of a priest and a soldier at Candelaria Mission. Nothing better illustrates the animosity that often existed between missionaries and soldiers than events at the San Xavier missions. Felipe de Rábago y Terán, Pedro's nephew, had served so poorly that conditions at the missions were deplorable when Ecay Múzquiz arrived. The nadir had come with the murder of Father Juan José Ganzabal and the soldier Juan José Ceballos, on May 11, 1752. Commandant Felipe, who had debauched Ceballos's wife, blamed the violence on the Coco Indians. But evidence uncovered by Ecay Múzquiz and others strongly suggested that Felipe himself was behind the murders. When the elder Rábago y Terán replaced Ecay Múzquiz, he was unable to reverse the general decline. The San Xavier missions were abandoned in 1756, and their property was moved to Santa Cruz de San Sabá Mission, which was itself destroyed by Indians in 1758. From Texas Day By Day

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

1914 :: Death of Mrs. M.C. Rasbury


Dallas Morning News. August 10, 1914. Deaths. Rasbury. -- Rockdale, Milam Co., Tex., Aug. 9. -- Mrs. M.C. Rasbury died at the family home here at 7:30 o'clock Friday, aged 72 years. She had resided in Rockdale for thirty-three years and reared a large family. The surviving children are Judge Charles A. Rasbury of Dallas, E.L. Rasbury of Thorndale, Mrs. E.H. Wynne of Temple, Mrs. C.M. Sessions and L.L. Rasbury of Rockdale.

1912 :: Blood Poison Kills Woman


Dallas Morning News. August 10, 1912. Blood Poison Kills Woman. Chicken Bone in Throat Ends Life at Temple. Special to The News. Temple, Tex., Aug. 9. -- The death of Mrs. L.L. Rasbury of Rockdale occurred here last night from blood poisoning caused by a small chicken bone having lodged in her throat about ten days ago. An operation was performed, but too late to prevent infection. Deceased is survived by her husband and a boy of 12 years, both of whom were here when the end came. Those also here were Hon. Charles A. Rasbury of Dallas, Mr. and Mrs. C.M. Sessions of Rockdale and Miss Maggie Buntin and Mrs. Adams of Flatonia, the two latter being sisters of decedent. The remains were forwarded to Rockdale for burial.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

1914 :: Death of John T. Gambill, Sr.



Deaths. Special to The News. Gambill -- Cameron, Milam, Tex. Aug. 3. -- John T. Gambill Sr. died at Rockdale Saturday and was buried yesterday morning. The deceased was in the Confederate army and was well-known and highly esteemed in this county. He is survived by a large family. Dallas Morning News, August 4, 1914



Tuesday, July 26, 2011

1984 :: Joinerburgers


The Rockdale Reporter, July 26, 1984. Joinerburgers: what was the recipe? by Bill Cooke. Happy Days (circa 1950's) had Arnold's, the hang-out hamburger place. Rockdale had one, too, in the late 1940's and through 1952. It was Joiner's Cafe, although it was more commonly called Joinerburger's. . . . Ira Joiner was the proprietor of Joiner's Cafe in a small frame building that butted right up against what is now (1984) Richard Thrasher's downtown Promenade mall. Through the years that big corner building housed a car dealership and later a hardware store, with Joiner's Cafe securely affixed to its west side. Mr. Joiner served a full lineup of hamburgers and other short orders but his cafe became best known in these parts for his Joinerburger which he produced with his "secret" recipe. For Rockdale teenagers, Joiner's was the hang-out because it was the only such place. We're talking pre-Dairy Queen, folks. Joiner's was, pure and simple, an Arnold's-before-its-time. . . . Ira Joiner sold his cafe to Red Smith in 1952 and moved to Florida for a brief retirement. Then he opened another Joiner's Cafe . . . in Lampasas (Texas). After several successful years in that city, he sold out, retired and moved back to Rockdale, only to die within a month, according to his brother, Quintus W. Joiner, and sister, Alice Fleming, both of Rockdale. . . . I can still almost taste those Joinerburgers. Wonder what was in that recipe?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

1907 :: Man with balloon


Dallas Morning News. July 21, 1907. WANTED -- Man with balloon to make three ascensions at Rockdale, Tex., July 24, 25 and 26. Wire quick. W.E. Gailtur [Gaither?], Rockdale, Tex.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

1837 :: Powers - Wheelock Marriage


New York Spector (New York, NY), Thur., 20 July 1837, p. 2, c. 7. Married. In Milam county, Texas, Mr. A.J. Powers to Mrs. Annette Kimble, daughter of Col. E.L.R. Wheelock.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

1878 :: The Notorious Ache


The Galveston Daily News. Friday, July 19, 1878. Milam County. Rockdale Messenger: On Saturday last an officer came down the International with the notorious Ache, against whom there are 32 indictments. He hails from Williamson county, and had taken refuge in the Cherokee nation, where he was captured. He has broken jail and escaped from officers more than once.

The Galveston Daily News. Friday, August 22, 1879. The Hanging of Bunk Ake Tomorrow. Austin, Aug. 21. . . . There is general interest about the hanging; people are coming in from all directions to see it. The gallows which was erected in the jail yard was taken down this afternoon and disappeared. This mystifies the sight-seers. The sheriff proposes to track the law which requires privacy. The governor this afternoon was again interviewed in Ake's behalf, and wll read the papers to-night. Ake stiffens his neck and declines to be converted. A colored preacher of his acquaintance wanted to pray for him, which service he declined, charging the reverend parson with having taught him to steal.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

1905 :: Show Card Writer


Dallas Morning News. July 16, 1905. Show card writer and sign painter (colored) wants position as porter in store. 8 years' experience; will write cards and do porter work; specimen of work sent if requested; best reference. C.M.W., P.O. Box 72, Rockdale, Tex.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

1896 :: The Cozy Corner


Dallas Morning News, June 28, 1896. The Cozy Corner. KATIE PLEASANT, Rockdale, Milam Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and Miss Big Bonnet: I have been a silent little girl in your department. I am a pupil at the Rockdale public school. I am in the fourth grade. We have a red-headed teacher. But I need not be talking about her having a red head, for I have one, too. Our school will be out in two more weeks. I am so glad of it. We are having some hard lessons now. My mother lives in the country on a large farm. She hasn't but two children, sister Ruth and myself. My father has been dead six months to-day.

Friday, June 24, 2011

1948 :: Ford Showing in Rockdale


The Rockdale Reporter, June 24, 1948. Ford Showing Here Friday and Saturday Draws Record Crowd. More than 3500 attended the Gaither Motor Company showing of the new 1949 Ford here last Friday and Saturday as they saw and rode in the new model. . . . The local firm joined the 6500 Ford dealers throughout the country to play host to the public for the first time since before the war.

The local show was in typical carnival fashion. Pennants and banners decorated the showroom, balloons and favors were given away, and the Salty Swing Band played for the Saturday afternoon showing. . . .

"I have been a Ford dealer for thirty-seven years and I can truly say that the public acceptance of this all new Ford is the biggest thing I have ever seen happen in the Ford Business," Mr. Gaither, one of Texas' oldest dealers, concluded.

Friday, June 17, 2011

1931 :: Birth of future Mrs. L. Ron Hubbard


Eighty years ago today . . . on the 17th day of June . . . in the year 1931 . . . a baby girl is born in Rockdale, Texas . . . the proud parents are Harry Hughes Whipp and his wife, the former Mary Catherine Hill (born in Rockdale in 1898) . . . other members of the family living in Rockdale at the time include an older sister, Nancy Catherine . . . as well as the maternal grandma, Catherine M. Hill nee Walden . . . this baby girl is given the name Mary Sue . . . her maternal grandparents were in Rockdale before 1900, which is when her Grandpa Hill is enumerated as a book seller . . . in 1910, he is listed as the owner of a book store in Rockdale . . . by 1934, when Mary Sue's little brother, Harry, is born, the family is living in Harris County, Texas . . . 


Mary Sue Whipp would grow up to become the 3rd and final wife of Lafayette Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology . . . it has been said of the Hubbards that . . .  

They were indeed an unlikely couple – a flamboyant, fast-talking extrovert entrepreneur in his forties and a quiet, intense young woman twenty years his junior from a small town in Texas. But anyone who underestimated Mary Sue made a big mistake. Although she was not yet twenty-four years old, she exercised considerable power within the Scientology movement and people around Hubbard quickly learned to be wary of her. Fiercely loyal to her husband, brusque and autocratic, she could be a dangerous enemy. . . . 



Monday, June 13, 2011

1884 :: Jones Marriage


The Athenian, Friday, June 13, 1884. Monday last Mr. J. A. Jones and his bride were welcomed to their home in Athens. They were married in Rockdale May 28th, but the torrents of rain which had fallen had caused several washouts along the line delaying the happy couple until June 9th.

Friday, June 10, 2011

1999 :: Looking back at 1949


The Rockdale Reporter, June 10, 1999. Word from the wife by Peggy Cooke. Roberta Pounders was at the office looking through some 50-year-old issues of The Reporter to get some information and ideas for the 50th reunion of the Class of 1949 and this weekend's Homecoming celebration. I had to look over her shoulder — I love looking at the old newspapers — and I was fascinated, not so much by the news items, but by the advertising.

For instance, Stricker's Variety Store sold everything from soup and something to cook it in, to clothing, linens, "things electric" (that's what it said in the ad), hardware items, and on and on. Today's big superstores have nothing on Stricker's. Their slogan was, "Yes, you'll find it at Stricker's!" A few items from their quarter page advertisement were --

  • electric irons
  • alarm clocks
  • toasters
  • soldering irons
  • electric switches and plates
  • fluorescent lamps
  • Romex (what's that?)
  • wash cloths and bath towels
  • can cutters
  • rotary egg beaters
  • dishes of various kinds
  • oil cloth
  • coffee pots and dripolators
  • double boilers
  • tea kettles
  • dish pans
  • brooms and mops
  • window shades
Also . . .
  • men's khaki pants
  • undershirts and shorts
  • socks and gloves
  • men's and boy's T-shirts
  • dress shirts
  • ladies (get this) "new" brassieres
  • sweaters
  • belts
  • panties and gowns
  • slips and nylon hose
  • handbags
  • barrettes
Also . . .
  • cabinet hinges
  • hasps
  • drawer pulls
  • Bibb washers
  • shoe soles and nails
  • wrecking bars
  • hack saws
  • levels
  • glass cutters
  • dozens of tools
. . . and that was just a few of the items they offered.

McLeod & Timmerman Grocery & Market had specials on --

  • sugar — 10 pounds for 88¢
  • Oxyod, Duz or Super Suds — large size 37¢
  • dry salt bacon — pound for 45¢
  • pickles — 22 ounce jar 33¢
  • Texas oranges — 8 pound bag 25¢
  • bread — large loaf 18¢
  • sardines — 2 flat cans 25¢
Rockdale Dry Goods and proprietors W.H. (Brit) Hensley and L.C. Mehaffey (the forerunner to Mehaffey's) advertised a special on Women's nylon hosiery — irregulars 95¢ and first quality, $1.10.

In one lead story, there was an urgent call for rooms in town as the La-Tex Pipe Line Co. of Houston would have 125 working men in Rockdale the next week looking for a place to stay. Rockdale was to be headquarters for the entire job from Hearne to San Marcos if living facilities could be found. The story said office space was secured "over the bank" and storage for trucks and tools in "the rear of Salisbury's Garage." They were asking for anyone with a spare room — or even a bed for one, two or more men to call the office.

The Kay Theatre advertised Courage of Lassie and a Saturday double feature with Fit for a King and Hittin' the Trails with Joe E. Brown and Tex Ritter with a Hop Harrigan serial and a cartoon at no extra charge. On Sunday, Centennial Summer with Linda Darnell, Cornell Wilde and Jeanie Crane.

Perry Hardware & Furniture advertised . . .

  • flour sifters for only 25¢
  • five-strand brooms 85¢ each
  • white cups and saucers, set of 6, for 95¢
Louis G. Gest Buick Sales & Service advertised the new Buick for 1949 with white sidewall tires available at no extra cost. New Dynaflow Drive -- where there is no gear shifting -- you just step on the gas! And Gaither Motor Co. offered bargains in used cars from $395 to $850.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

1974 :: Rockdale Homecoming


Rockdale Reporter, Thursday, June 13, 1974. Record Crowd Attends Homecoming. Rockdale's Homecoming at Fair Park Sunday (June 9, 1974) drew an estimated crowd of 400, the largest since the Homecoming Association was organized in 1933. With Rockdale celebrating its Centennial year this week, the Homecoming had particular appeal to former residents, and local residents turned out in large numbers to greet the "Homecomers."

They came from all parts of Texas and from California, Kentucky, New York, and Louisiana. The guest register showed Houston listed more than any other city. Mrs. Hazel Largent Benjamin, of Torrance, Calif., was awarded a Centennial souvenir for the visitor coming the greatest distance -- 1661 miles. Similar awards went to the oldest man and oldest woman present -- both from Rockdale. They were Jack Richards, 89, and Mrs. Lillie Martin, 92.

The event saw visitors start arriving at Fair Park at mid-morning. Following some two hours of visiting and talking over old times, a barbecue chicken lunch was served in Fair Park pavilion by the women of the New Salem Home Demonstration Club. Helmer Dahl, of Hutto, organist, provided background music.

W.H. Cooke emceed a short program that included the presentation of awards and election of officers for the Homecoming Association. "We held the program to a minimum to give visitors and local citizens a maximum time for visiting and talking over old times," he said. Glenn Hodges told the visitors about Rockdale's new $2.5 million hospital now under construction.

In the election of officers, Cooke was named president, succeeding Hugh Estell, this year's president, who was moved to the office of vice president being vacated by Cooke. Mrs. Cooke was named corresponding secretary, replacing Mrs. Hugh Estell who has been serving in this capacity. She was unable to attend this year's Homecoming, having had surgery at Richard's Hospital the previous Friday. Mrs. Louise Sessions was reelected recording secretary and Miss Emma Hardie was reelected to the treasurer's post.

The meeting disbanded shortly before 2 p.m., but the "visiting and yarn spilling" continued for another hour for many. Others participated in various events of the Rockdale Centennial program during the remainder of the afternoon. The museum and art show were open downtown, and many visitors joined the tour of Alcoa's Rockdale Works, "the nation's largest aluminum smelter." Many stayed for the community-wide church services at the football field at 6 p.m. The old homes tour also drew many former residents.

Retiring president Estell said the Association finished the Homecoming year "in the black" for the first time. He reported $386 in the collection box for those attending. "After paying all bills," Estell said, "the Association has a balance of approximately $75 on hand." The Association's income comes from membership dues which are $5 a year. Estell and incoming president Cooke said membership cards will be mailed to out-of-town residents who request membership, although this is not a requisite for attending the annual Homecoming.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

You're an old Rockdalian if you remember . . .


Rockdale Reporter. In June of 1996, Bill Cooke published the following list of rememberings as originally shared by Wiley Gilmore while addressing his RHS Class of 1951 reunion on the 8th and 9th of that month . . . Bill said that . . . Wiley's words will rekindle memories for the natives of our town and will serve as a history lesson for the non-natives . . .

You're an old Rockdalian if you remember . . .

  • taking piano lessons from Mrs. Sledge, Mrs. Perry or Miss Catchings
  • buying a block of ice from Mack Davlin's little ice house across the street from the post office
  • when the Rockdale economy was influenced more by the weather than by a corporate decision in Pittsburgh
  • when the town's Aggies ate a side order of crow along with their turkey after Thanksgiving (this menu has included more beef in recent years)
  • your choices for swimming were a stock tank, the Gabriel or the pool in Cameron
  • the Plunkett Stage Show which came to town for a few days every summer
  • when Rockdale had three movies theaters -- two indoors, one out
  • when the Rockdale football team made the front page of The Reporter just for scoring, much less winning (that was, of course, before the Tigers of '50 & '51, who were strong)
  • when the fastest-traveling (good) news in town was that Ashby's Confectionery had gotten a shipment of Hershey bars
  • the only real barbecue was cooked by Mr. Lee Caywood
  • George Sessions Perry -- two bonus points if you knew the real names of the Rockdale people George wrote about in his novels
  • the unique ammunition Stricker's Variety Store advertised once -- & only once -- in The Reporter (editor's hint -- the item involved the word 'shotgun')
  • barber Arch Holley giving you your first barbershop shave free (applied only to boys, of course)
  • Maxie's Sweet Shop, Stein's Bakery & Red Smith's Place -- also Weems, McVoy's, Backhaus Bros., M&T, and Holley's Red & White groceries
  • riding a school bus driven by Mr. Beard, Mrs. Kirchenwitz, Mrs. Lynch, Mr. Alford or Mr. Gross -- in my case it was Mr. Dewitt Kornegay's bus, with the ever-present threat of a roadside breakdown or getting whipped by Toughy Hunt
  • when the girls who were the best dancers went to the Baptist church & the girls who were the best piano players went to the Church of Christ
  • when people uttered the words Republican & communist with the same tone of disgust
  • playing racially integrated baseball on the playground of the old Minerva school long before Jackie Robinson set foot on Ebbetts Field for the Brooklyn Dodgers
  • special teachers, including but not limited to Mizz Dee McCoy, who loved you like a grandmother before moving you out of fifth grade & into the hostile world of junior-high -- Mr. Arthur Winkelman who dispensed a lot of citizenship skills & compassion along with occasional whacks with his board Excalibur -- & Loween Malachek reading Damon Runyon's short story about Dancing Dan every year the last day before Christmas break -- I owe her many debts I can never repay
  • special childhood friends -- mine was Frank Poncho Thompson who later made the supreme sacrifice for his country in Korea -- Poncho & I rode the school bus together, did crazy things like give each other models of German & Japanese airplanes for birthdays & Christmas -- he & I competed fiercely for everything -- once, in the third or fourth grade, we had a 'rasslin match for the favors of Nan Jones -- she spurned us both, grew up & married an engineer & served many years on the Austin school board
  • the start of World War II -- I was seven years old when America got involved -- we attended a little Methodist church in Minerva & one of the young men of the congregation went off to war -- he asked the members, as a commitment of support, to sing God Be With You Till We Meet Again at the close of each Sunday service until he returned -- Charles Hickman Trotter & his brother, Billy, both returned from the war safely

And as we go separate ways from this reunion today, it may be appropriate to remember the words of that hymn & to ask that . . .

God be with us all . . .
until we meet again . . .

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Singer's Grill


The Rockdale Reporter, June 7, 2001. Singer's Grill by Bill Cooke. . . . Back in the late 1940s, Tommy Thompson and Vera Prestridge Thompson Miller’s downtown Singer’s Grill featured a country / western band every morning. The 30-minute session was broadcast live over KTAE radio in Taylor. . . . Veteran musicians Bill Dowdy and Jimmy Hester of Lexington played rhythm guitar and sang in that Singer’s Grill band. Dowdy remembers most of the others who played too, including the late, and legendary, Perk Williams of Chriesman. Williams later was the fiddler / vocalist with Jimmy Heap and the Melody Masters of Taylor, a band that also broadcast live over KTAE for a half hour each weekday at noon, and became Central Texas’ top dance band.

The Singers Grill band was called "Tommy Thompson and the Boys" and it played from about 1948 through 1950. "Tommy wasn’t a musician," Dowdy notes, "but he ‘fronted’ the band with his cigar." Dowdy remembers most of the musicians who came and went. In addition to Williams the list includes Jay Bird Thomas, drums; Hub Sutter, clarinet; Bill Dessens, fiddle (now with the River Road Boys of Houston, a premier western swing band); Smoky Wilson, lead guitarist; Wally Bryant, bass; and Cotton Collins, fiddle. "Most of ‘em, but not all, have passed on," said Dowdy, who is 79 going on 39, still playing several times a week.

Singer’s Grill was so named by its first owner, Charlie Moore who loved to sing and did so at the drop of a hat. He even organized and led a short-lived Rockdale community chorus. Vera and Tommy bought the cafe from Moore and moved here from Franklin in 1947. Vera ran the restaurant and a dress shop next door for many years. Both businesses burned in 1973 and Vera moved to other locations. NBC Bank now [2001] occupies the space where Singer’s Grill and Vera’s Heaven to Seventeen were.


Monday, June 6, 2011

1880 :: The Day the James Boys Rode into Rockdale



The Rockdale Reporter. June 6, 1974. The Day the James Boys Rode into Rockdale. It was back in the year 1880 that Frank and Jesse James and three members of their gang paid a visit to Rockdale . . . . but very few people knew about their visit or who they were. The following letter from Ruth (Williams) Wildman (1905-1993), a former Rockdalian now [1974] living at 5133 Lindsay in Houston, tells an interesting story about the visit of the James gang.



My father, Edward Williams, came to Rockdale as a very young boy. Having been born in Yazoo City, Mississippi, he crossed the Mississippi River on a ferry with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Shark Williams. The family settled on a farm near Schulenberg, but later looked for greener pastures. They bought a farm near Rockdale, and there my father grew up and lived his entire life, except for one brief business adventure. Yes, a business adventure. He came into town when he was 21 years old, the year was 1880. He opened a wagon yard, and the story he told was:

On a cold winter's evening, five men rode into his wagon yard and asked what he would charge to feed and keep their horses. He gave then his price, and they replied, "Sell us a barrel of corn, and we will feed our own horses." This he did, but he locked their saddles and bridles up for the night. Each saddle had a Winchester buckled to it.

The men told my father they were going to the telegraph office to send a wire. They left and did not return until late the next afternoon. They paid my father, but asked him if he would go buy them a loaf of bread. When he returned with the bread, they were saddled and ready to ride.

One of the horses began to act-up, and one man said, "Here, trade horses with me," so they traded. As they rode out of the gate, my father remarked to the one who was on the pitching horse, "I'd sure like to own that horse." The man replied, "Yes, and a lot of others." Then the man pulled his coat back and showed my father a big side gun, and said, "They don't allow this in this town, but I'd like to see them help it." Then they rode away unnoticed, as they had ridden in.

In the meantime, there was another businessman there, under the name of Bell. He ran a livery stable. About six months to a year later, Mr. Bell decided to leave town, but before he left he said the five men who rode in that day were Frank and Jesse James, and three of their gang. They had spent the night and the following day with him. He said they spent the night talking of old times, and they rested all day. They were his friends. He was a former member of the gang, and his name was not Bell.

My father said later, "I always knew they were the James Boys." He said, "It was Frank who traded horses with Jesse, and it was Frank who showed me the side gun."

One more thing, the wagon yard was located where Phillips and Luckey Funeral Home is now [1974].



Note from the Keeper of this blog . . . back in 1974, Rockdale was celebrating its 100th birthday . . . and this was one of the local history articles that ran in the Rockdale Reporter . . . which is now celebrating the 100th anniversary of being owned and operated by the Cooke family of Rockdale . . . there seem to be quite a few stories about the James Gang among the families of the Rockdale area . . . our Henry line came to Texas from Kentucky . . . a story that has been passed down in our family says that members of the James Gang stopped for a visit at the Henry homestead in Milam County . . .





1922 :: Rockdale Woman has an Old Paper



Dallas Morning News. Rockdale Woman has an Old Paper. Copy of Galveston News of June 6, 1888, has Much of Interest Now

Special to The News. Rockdale, Texas. -- An interesting relic of the early days of Rockdale is a copy of the Galveston Daily News of June 6, 1888, the paper having been carefully preserved by Mrs. B.B. Baxter, widow of the late B.B. Baxter, well-known cotton factor of Rockdale in its earlier days. Mrs. Baxter lived here for the last forty-seven years, having reared a large family of sons and daughters, including B.B. Baxter of Fort Worth, E.F. and Dr. T.D. Baxter of Chilton, Charles L. Baxter of Chicago and Mmes. W.M. Wells of Morgan, Texas, and W.D. DeGrassi of Amarillo.

Doubtless the paper owes its long life, for a newspaper, to the fact that it contains a column write-up of the most disastrous fire which destroyed the Mundine Hotel, a three-story brick structure, causing the loss of life which led the reporter to say, "It almost surpasses human conception as to a building with such numerous avenues of egress that of thirteen people only two should have escaped. The only rational theory advanced is that the fire originasted about the staircase in the first story, and a comparatively small space being to the top of the house operated as a flue, filling the house with a volume of smoke so dense that the inmates were only awakened to suffer almost instant suffocation."

Then, as now, The News ran a column called "State Press," under which caption were numerous comments and quotations from various State journals, some of which have long gone the way of all flesh. Among those quoted are the Rockdale Messenger . . . Dallas Morning News. February 20, 1922.




Saturday, June 4, 2011

1925 :: Reporter looks back at 1888


The Rockdale Reporter. 1925. Old Paper Gives Account of Epochal Event in History of Rockdale. 37 Years Ago Mundine Hotel Burned in Rockdale. Through the kindness of Y.A. Gjedde the Reporter editor has been privileged to peruse a copy of the old Rockdale Messenger, published by Enoch Breeding, of date June 7, 1888, in which is printed an account of the burning of the Mundine Hotel in Rockdale. The fire occurred at 4:00 a.m. on Monday, June 4, 1888, and eleven people lost their lives in the flames, as follows:
  • Isaac Crown, Rockdale business man
  • Pemberton Pierce, a traveling man
  • J.F. Brisco, wife and two children. Brisco was a barber and with his family was to have moved to Taylor the next day.
  • Mrs. W.A. Brooks and four children. Mrs. Brooks is described in the story as being "a lady who had been a kind mother to all of us for lo, these many years, until we had all learned to love her."
Of the thirteen people sleeping in the hotel that night only two escaped, one being D.M. Oldham, a traveling man, who got out through an upstairs window, and Dr. Brooks, who was rescued by D. Sanford. The account of the fire is written in a somewhat flamboyant style, and the writer was evidently much agitated, the story being rather incoherent. It is not made plain just who Dr. Brooks was. His rescue and the account of the death of Mrs. Brooks and children are treated in separate paragraphs and no connection established between them. 

The style of the writer is entirely different from present-day newspaper style. The story gives little details of property loss, merely stating that the post office and store of T.B. Kemp were destroyed, and that an adjoining building owned by J.R. Rowland was damaged by the falling walls of the hotel. V.B. Orr, a jeweler, is mentioned as having sustained a heavy loss. The story closes with the following paragraph:

"If we have not told all this terrible story, let the conditions and circumstances under which we write suffice. There was only one of those who perished, but was an intimate and a friend of ours. The pen fails to transcribe the words we would write."
Other items contained in this copy of the Messenger, printed 37 years ago, included:

  • an account of the marriage of Mr. C.A. Duffy to Miss Dedie Wilson. Mr. Duffy was described as the representative of the Missouri Glass Works, and Miss Wilson as one of Rockdale's most esteemed young ladies
  • the death of a child of N.P. Crump
  • the birth of boy babies in the homes of Luther Davis and T.J. Woody
  • the removal of the post office to the Messenger building, "around the corner"
  • the return from Wooten Wells of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Isaacs [findagrave]
  • the visit of R.H. Hicks and G.B. Randle to Galveston
  • the receipt by the editor of a 29-inch turnip and six Irish potatoes weighing near four pounds
A perusal of the advertisements showed that:

  • bottle beer was for sale at the Rockdale Saloon at 5¢ a glass
  • Hawkes' spectacles could be purchased at Douthit's drug store
  • board and lodging could be had at J.H. Simmons, six miles south of town, at the rate of $10 per month or $3 per week by those who desired to stop there and drink the mineral water from the well on that place
  • Wallace & Company handled lumber
  • John G. Brown sold all kinds of good whiskey
  • Isaacs & Lockett were dealers in general merchandise
  • J.P. Heywood sold millinery and fancy goods
  • T.B. Kemp dealt in dry goods and groceries
  • Geo. W. Williams sold farm implements
  • Wolf & Winterberg were house and sign painters
Another display ad on the front page announced the democratic ticket of Cleveland and Thurman, giving woodcut engravings of each. Among the professional cards were those of:

  • Dr. E.W. Allen, dentist
  • Dr. J.H. Wilson, physician
  • Thos. A. Pope, physician
  • Henderson, Henderson & Mcalla, attorneys
  • A.G. Wilcox, attorney
  • A.C. Walker, G.A. Trott, B.F. Lee, P.A. Horton and J.B. Stone, physicians
Advertising rates were quoted at one dollar per single column inch. (Present-day advertisers take notice.) T.B. Kemp's produce quotations were as follows:
  • Butter 12½¢ per pound
  • eggs 7¢ per dozen
  • chickens, each 10¢ to 16¢
  • turkeys, per dozen, $3 to $7
  • hides, 3¢ to 5¢ per pound
  • corn 60¢ per bushel
  • sweet potatoes 40¢ per bushel
  • pecans 5¢ pound
  • J.H. Hill was mayor
  • J.R. Arthur, city marshal
  • Solon Joynes, R.H. Ames, J.G. Brown and Joe Lowenstein were aldermen
  • H.C. Travers was postmaster
  • Rev. J.H. Stribling pastor of Baptist church
  • Rev. N.F. Law, pastor Methodist church
  • Rev. T.C. Brittle, pastor Episcopal church
  • Rev. W.E. Copeland, pastor Cumberland Presbyterian church

No less than nine separate and distinct lodge directories were given. The paper consisted of four pages of six columns each, and much of the inside space was devoted to politics, including a two-column interview with Harry Tracy on the subject of the Farmers Alliance.


The brittle and yellowed original of the above 1925 newspaper clipping belongs to Iola Avrett nee Christian of Rockdale.


Friday, June 3, 2011

2011 :: Rockdale Homecoming



Rockdale Reporter. May 19th, 2011. Rockdale Homecoming ahead on June 12th. Rockdale’s 77th annual homecoming is set for Sunday, June 12, at the Patterson Civic Center. Judith (Lumpkins) Slusher, Rockdale Homecoming Association president, said activities begin at 9:30 a.m. with exhibits and visiting. A catered lunch will be served at 12:30 p.m. Price is $10 and there will be no pre-sale of tickets. Honors class will be the 50-year RHS Class of 1961. There will be displays of memorabilia both days at the I&GN Depot Museum, and the Kay Theatre will also be open.


The second annual Big Blue Band Reunion is scheduled for Saturday, June 11, for the Patterson Civic Center, according to Jim Perry, former director. Perry and former directors Bill Grusendorf and Don Thoede plan to attend. The first reunion, held last August, drew a crowd estimated at 450. “The reunion gets under way at 1 p.m. and continues until ‘whenever’,” Perry said. Perry said donations will be accepted to cover the $425 cost of renting the venue. A concession stand will be open, staffed by the Matinee Musical Club.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

1910 :: Dr. Sessions stuck in river


Google Books. Texas State Journal of Medicine. Dr. I.P. Sessions, of Rockdale, was injured during the early part of June [1910], during a trip in his automobile. When crossing the Nueces river they got into water over the engine and extinguished the spark. Dr. Sessions got out into the water to crank the engine when the lever slipped, struck him in the side, and fractured a rib. The party was compelled to remain in the river until late that night. [Click HERE to visit his findagrave memorial page.]

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

1892 :: Judge Walker's Funeral


The Galveston Daily News. Tuesday, May 31, 1892. MORTUARY. Judge Walker's Funeral. Rockdale, Tex., May 30. -- The remains of Judge Richard S. Walker arrived here Saturday from Cincinnati, O., on the 12 m. express in charge of his son, Dr. A.C. Walker, and were buried at 4 p.m. in Rockdale city cemetery by the side of his wife's grave. The body was followed to the grave by a large concourse of citizens in carriages. The funeral exercises were performed by Rev. W.E. Copeland, assisted by Rev. B.B. Baxter, Sr. His son, John C. Walker, of Galveston is here. [Click HERE to visit his findagrave memorial page.]

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

1924 :: Rev. W.E. Copeland Dies in Rockdale




Dallas Morning News. May 25, 1924. Page Four. Rev. W.E. Copeland Dies in Rockdale

Special to The News. Rockdale, Texas, May 24. -- The Rev. W.E. Copeland, 85 years old, died at 8 o'clock Friday night at the home of his daughter, Mrs. C.K. Stribling of this city. Dr. Copeland was a veteran of the war between the States, losing a leg in the battle of Gaines Mill, Virginia. He served as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church here for more than forty years. He was a member of Hood's Texas Brigade and life chaplain of the organization. He was a native of Scotland and was educated at Edinburgh University, coming to America when a very young man. Dr. Copeland is survived by three sons, Robert, John and James Copeland, and one daughter, Mrs. Stribling. Funeral services will be held at the Presbyterian Church and burial will take place Sunday afternoon at 3 o'clock.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

1899 :: Death of Dr. Stephen Colquitt Cawthon


The Rockdale Messenger, Thur., May 18, 1899. Death - After a long and lingering affliction, Dr. Stephen Colquitt Cawthon died Monday evening at 3 p.m., at the home of his father-in-law, J.R. Rowland on Burleson St. The doctor's oldest sister, Miss Mary had been with him for several months and his youngest sister, Miss Missouri of DeFuniak Springs, FL arrived that morning and was with her brother just 5-hours before his death. Mrs. Alice Lee of Waxahachie came in on the morning of the 16th to attend the funeral. He leaves a wife and sisters. The funeral was Tuesday evening at 4:30 p.m., after which the Woodsmen of the World took charge and interred the remains in the city cemetery.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

1896 :: The Cozy Corner


Dallas Morning News. May 10, 1896. The Cozy Corner. RUSH WITCHER, Rockdale, Milam Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I have been reading the Cozy Corner and think it very interesting. I live eight miles from Rockdale, in the black land. I have not been in Texas long. My home is in Mississippi. My brother, myself and a friend are "keeping batch." We do our own cooking. We hunt and fish some and live very happy. But we are not old bachelors. We do not aim to keep batch always. My friend is a subscriber to your paper. I like it very much. My age is 17 years.

ANNIE LAURA BLOCKER, Rockdale, Milam Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: It has been a long time since I wrote. It has been raining for three days and I have to stay in out of the mud. Our school closed the 27th day of March, and I was so sorry. I think Mr. Big Hat is so kind to give the cousins a whole page. My papa takes The News and he says he can't do without it. I have got a little pig and his name is Joe. I hope Peggy is sick when my letter arrives. I help mama do the housework. I will answer Fannie Chernosky's riddle. It is a watermelon. My age is 8 years.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

1908 :: Moving Picture Outfit For Sale


Dallas Morning News. May 5, 1908. FOR SALE. -- First-class, complete moving picture outfit, now in operation at Rockdale, Tex. Good chance for right man. Box 41. Rockdale, Tex.

1910 :: Birth of G.S. Perry



One hundred and one years ago today . . . on the 5th day of May . . . in the year 1910 . . . a baby boy is born in Rockdale, Milam County, Texas . . . he would later write of his own birth as follows . . .


Then, in the third year of this tripartite union of Andrew Perry and Laura Van de Venter and Maie Van de Venter, an event occurred which the local press, with its usual carelessness, probably described as "blessed." At eleven o'clock on the morning of May 5, 1910, a son was born, red and squalling. The parents, wishing to commemorate Granny's late husband and also to honor an old friend, Dr. Sessions, named this strident, wriggling little creature, who would henceforth participate in the already adequate pandemonium of the household, George Sessions Perry.

As in the case of all other family offices that appeared to Granny either important or interesting, she immediately took over the management of this new member. She washed it, fed it lukewarm malted milk, and talked to it so constantly that the tiny brain, unable to effect other means of escape, simply succumbed to merciful sleep. At other times, fed and wanting diversion, the baby clutched its empty nursing bottle and sent it sailing at its Granny's head.


By 1912, after interminable sieges of colic and a few spasms induced by eating banana skins, the baby began to have a little smudge of personality of its own. And as this personality took shape, so did the struggle between it and its Granny Van for the control and direction of its existence.


From My Granny Van, The Running Battle of Rockdale, Texas by George Sessions Perry . . .



Friday, April 29, 2011

1936 :: 4 Die in Texas Tornadoes


Dallas Morning News. April 29, 1936. Tornadic winds slashed through Southeast Texas Tuesday killing four persons and injuring at least a dozen others during a driving rainstorm which soaked most of the State. Freakish twisters took the lives of two Negroes on the Simms ranch, six miles northwest of Rockdale, and two others in Eastern Wharton County. . . . The body of a negro woman named Sullivan [sic] was found in the splintered ruins of her home on the Simms ranch. In a near-by field was sprawled the battered body of her son. . . .



New York Times. April 29, 1936. Rains Valued at Millions Help the Prospects for Crops. Dallas, Texas, April 28. -- Tornadic winds slashed through Southwest Texas today, killing four persons and injuring at least twelve as much-needed rains soaked most of the State, the "dust-bowl" area of Oklahoma and Southern Louisiana. As farmers and stockmen valued the rain at millions of dollars, twisters hit Eastern Wharton County and a ranch six miles northwest of Rockdale, Texas, killing four Negroes. Considerable damage was done in the affected areas. . . .

Thursday, April 28, 2011

1886 :: A Deluge of Rain and Hail


New York Times. April 29, 1886. Houses Damaged, Orchards Destroyed, and Cattle Killed. Rockdale, Texas, April 28. -- The most destructive rain and hail storm ever known in this section of Milam County visited Rockdale and vicinity yesterday afternoon. About half an hour before the storm burst upon the town the sky became almost black. The deluge of water led many to suppose a waterspout had burst. The roofs of many houses offered only partial protection against the downpour, as the water pounded through nearly every flat roof in the town. Following the deluge came a phenomenal hailstorm, which destroyed every sign of vegetation for miles around. The orchards were literally stripped of all small twigs and limbs, and many trees were barked and killed. Thousands of the hailstones were an inch in diameter. They tore through roofs, puncturing even the tin roofs and breaking the window shutters. Scarcely a single window pane on the west side escaped destruction. Following the rain and hail came a severe gale. The damage to dwelling houses and orchards within the immediate vicinity of Rockdale will exceed $15,000. The storm moved eastward, devastating fields and orchards in its path. No loss of human life is reported, but a large number of cattle was killed.

Friday, April 15, 2011

1932 :: Mrs. Mary L. Perry Is Buried at Austin


Mrs. Mary L. Perry Is Buried at Austin. From the Austin Bureau of The News. Austin, Texas, April 14. -- Funeral services were held Thursday for Mrs. Mary Lucinda Perry, 89. She was born in Starkville, Miss., April 7, 1843, and married to J.W. Perry Oct. 25, 1866. After her marrige she moved to Texas and settled at Lexington, Lee County, and later in Caldwell and Rockdale, where she lived for thirty-nine years. Fourteen years ago Mrs. Perry moved to Taylor, where she made her home with a daughter, and nine years ago she came to Austin. Surviving are six children, Ira Perry and Mrs. John Landis of San Antonio and E.H. Perry, Mrs. L.B. Baker, Mrs. E.E. Shropshire and Miss Rosalie Perry, all of Austin. Six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren also survive her. Dallas Morning News, April 15, 1932