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Saturday, June 27, 2015

1901 :: Death of Long John Williams

Long John Williams, an old Confederate veteran died at his home near Rockdale on the 13th. inst. Williams was a noted character in that section. When the civil war broke out he swore he would never cut his hair till the Confederacy was established. Since 1861 he has never allowed his hair trimmed. He was a native Texan, 6 ft. 6 inches high, spare built, and as tough and wiry as a broncho. He was a good citizen, a brave soldier and a fearless fighter. Southern Mercury. (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 21, No. 26, Ed. 1 Thursday, June 27, 1901

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

1948 :: Death of Robert Lee Yoakum

Robert Lee Yoakum, 16 year old student of Rockdale high school and son of Mr. and Mrs. George Yoakum, was killed Monday afternoon between 2:30 and 3 p.m., when he came in contact with a live wire while moving a house at Caldwell.

Young Yoakum was working with his father and a brother, George Jr., on a house-moving job. The wire across the highway was believed to be dead at the time the house was being moved under it. 

George Yoakum, Jr. was knocked out but not seriously injured and does not remember what happened, he said.

Funeral services for Robert Lee Yoakum were conducted from the Phillips and Luckey Chapel Tuesday at 3:30 p.m., with Rev. Howard Mitchell officiating and burial at Oak Lawn Cemetery. A huge crowd attended, attesting to the popularity of young Yoakum. 

Pallbearers were fellow teammates of the 1948 football team: Walter Heckendorn, James Caffey, Henry Hall, Jack Crane, H.D. Maxwell Jr. and George Haley.

A star athlete and member of the FFA judging team that won second place this year, Robert Lee Yoakum was one of the favorite students of the entire Rockdale high school among both students and teachers. "He was always so willing, so able, and he will be sorely missed," in the words of so many of his friends in school.

He was active in all school activities, lettered in football, and played basketball and tennis. He was named a Lone Star Farmer at the State FFA convention at Houston last week, and during the year served the local chapter as reporter. He had always been very active in chapter work. He was an individual prize winner at the soil conservation contest at Taylor last fall.

Robert Lee Yoakum was born Nov. 2, 1931, near Rockdale, and would have been seventeen years old next November. He would have been a member of the R.H.S. senior class this coming term.

Besides his mother and father he leaves three brothers: Herbert, Vernon and George Yoakum Jr., and two sisters, Mrs. James Burch of Meridian and Mrs. John Yoakum of Rockdale, besides a number of other relatives. Rockdale Reporter, June 24, 1948

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

1910 :: Night Passengers

Rockdale Reporter and Messenger
June 23, 1910

I will deem it a special favor if those intending to leave Rockdale on the night trains would purchase their tickets and check their baggage the day before. This will be of great convenience to the public and the ticket agent.

C.A. Brown,

Agent I.&G.N. Railroad.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

1895 :: Rockdale Daily Banner

Dallas Morning News. Rockdale, Milam Co., Tex., June 19. -- The first issue of the Rockdale Daily Banner made its appearance yesterday. It is a five column folio evening paper, devoted mainly to local news. It met with a warm reception by the business men. Daily Morning News, June 21, 1895

1877 :: A Prosperous City

Rockdale - A Statesman Attache Takes a Glimpse at the Place and Some of its Business Men.

Weekly Democratic Statesman

Austin, Texas
Thursday, June 21, 1877

Rockdale, Texas, for a long time the terminus of the International and Great Northern Railroad, is a prosperous city of nearly two thousand inhabitants and is the shipping point for most of the cotton and other produce raised in Cameron and the adjoining counties.

A representative of this paper spent a very pleasant as well as a profitable day, last week, in this pretty little city, and was astonished at the amount of business done, as well as the large stocks carried by the merchants.

Everybody looked happy, and the prospects for trade were never better.

We will only mention a few of the principal merchants and business men and do up the rest at some future time.

Rockdale has only one bank, under the firm name of J.S. Perry & Co. The business is managed by Mr. E.E. Wynne. This firm does a general banking and exchange business and is reliable.

H.P. Hale & Co. carry a full stock of general merchandise under the management of Mr. E.M. Scarbrough.

Mr. H. Goldsticker, the wholesale and retail dealer in liquors, cigars and tobacco, can be found on the corner of Main and Cameron streets, and he is always pleased to serve his friends with the best of whisky, wine and lager beer.

Mr. John Redding is the largest saddle and harness dealer.

The firm of Giles & Wolf keeps a large stock of hardware, stoves and tinware; they sell as low as the lowest.

Mr. J.O. Sitman carries a stock of groceries that will please those wanting good and fresh goods at living prices.

The Grangers run a grocery and feed store on the corner of Main and Milam streets, opposite the depot. Mr. J.A. Hargrove is in charge and assisted by the "Louisiana tiger." This house is very popular.

Mr. Solon Joynes, the commission merchant, deals very largely in all kinds of farm and mill machinery. He also buys produce, paying the best prices.

Isaacs & Coffield are wholesale and retail druggists, and have a well selected stock of goods.

The Osborne Brothers run the lumber yard near the depot.

W. Max & Co. are now the owners and proprietors of the Max House and restaurant. Mr. George B. Randle, late of Austin, is in charge, and knows how to keep a hotel. The table will compare with the best in Texas. "Slim Jim" is the chief cook, if not bottle washer, and does things up in brown style.

J.J. Mosely keeps a first-class livery and feed stable, and fits people out either for the city or country.

Messrs Witcher & Co., retail liquor dealers, carry a full stock and do a live business.

Mr. A. Kaiser does the leading business in clothing, dry goods, boots, shoes, etc.

Dr. W.A. Brooks is the proprietor of the "Brooks House." His rooms are good and the table first-class.

M.L. Kritser's livery and feed stable and wagon yard are convenient to the Max House. He carries on an open and shut game; that is, he opens to many customers, treats them well, and shuts down on much filthy lucre.

Mrs. E.S. Lapper [sic, i.e., Loper] presides over Rockdale's most fashionable millinery and dressmaking establishment, and puts to shame many city emporiums.

Only one paper -- a wonder to be told -- is published in Rockdale. Mr. Enoch Breeding is publisher of the Messenger, and he makes it a live, newsy paper.

The leading physician of the city is Dr. A.C. Walker, who is besides a pleasant gentleman.

Rockdale has passed through the period that distinguishes new railroad towns, and is now as quiet and law-abiding a place as any in Texas. This fact is to be attributed both to the character of its citizens and the excellent administration of Hon. F.A. Hill, its mayor.

Once in a while some one of the Statesman will take Rockdale in, and its resources and progress will be more extendedly noticed.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

1929 :: Death of Steve N. Wilson

Rockdale Reporter. -- Steve N. Wilson, a resident in and near Rockdale since the late seventies died Wednesday noon at the hospital at Cameron, where he was taken following a stroke of apoplexy about ten days ago. Funeral services, in charge of the local Masonic Lodge, were held Thursday evening at 6:00 o'clock from the home of his sister-in-law, Mrs. R.S. Wilson in Rockdale, burial being made in the family burial ground at the Old City Cemetery.

At the grave the Rev. Chas. F. Smith, of the Methodist Church of Rockdale gave a scriptural reading and offered a soulful prayer. The Masons then took charge, using the impressive ritual of that order. The casket and grave were covered with beautiful floral tributes, sent by friends, relatives and fraternal organizations, which speak in language that only flowers can speak of the esteem in which deceased was held by those who knew him best.

Mr. Wilson was one of the younger representatives of pioneer families in East and Central Texas. He was born in Marshall, Texas, and was the fifth son of a family of nine children. He came to Rockdale in the late seventies, when the town was but a village, where he was actively engaged in various business enterprises, until he retired to his ranch-home south of Rockdale, where he led the life of a refined southern gentleman, keeping in touch with public policies, and sharing his comradeship and time with his son, his books, his flowers, and made frequent excursions here for visits with relatives and friends. He was a good man, devoted father and brother, a loyal friend who was ready to lend a word of cheer and helpful hand to all who passed his way.

At an early date he married Miss Bertie Boone, daughter of Major and Mrs. Hannibal Boon, of Navasota. To this union three children were born one dying in infancy. The wife died leaving the young son, Jason Boone Wilson and daughter, Nell Wilson, who were reared by their father and his devoted sister, Mrs. C.A. Duffy, who claimed them as her very own.

Mr. Wilson was a highly patriotic citizen, who in his younger days served in Company B of the Old Texas Ranger force, under the now famed Col. Baylor. He was a member in standing of the Woodmen of the World, and a long time member of the Masonic Lodge and it was his request that the Masons conduct the service at his funeral.

Surviving are his son, Jason Boone Wilson of Rockdale; a daughter, Mrs. L.H. Ham of Hope, New Mexico; a brother, John Wilson, and sister, Mrs. C.A. Duffy, of Vivian, La. He is also survived by several grandchildren and nieces and nephews. Cameron Herald (Cameron, Texas), June 20, 1929

Sunday, June 14, 2015

1942 :: Smaller Homecoming

Gas, tire rationing 

cause for smaller 
1942 Homecoming

By Lucile Estell

The minutes of the Rockdale Homecoming Association for June 14, 1942, read as follows:

Do you recall how very hot were June 12th and 13th, 1942, but on the evening of June 13 a lovely breeze blew up and Sunday, June 14th, the day for the ninth annual meeting of the Home Coming Association was wonderfully cool and comfortable.

On account of restrictions of travel because of rationing of gas and tires and necessary conservation of same, most everyone feared the crowd would not be up to former meetings. 

The crowd began to gather around 11 o’clock and by 12 a fair representation of the membership was present and the number continued to increase. Though the crowd was smaller yet not less enthusiastic.

1875 :: Name Change

On June 14, 1875, the city council, under the guidance of the first mayor, Alfred A. Burck, passed an ordinance changing the name of the town of Rockdale to the City of Rockdale, in accordance with the town's increase in population and corresponding legislative act regarding the incorporation of cities of one thousand or more inhabitants.

A History of Rockdale, Texas 1874-1974

Saturday, June 13, 2015

1974 :: Rockdale Homecoming Association

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 10, 2015

1915 :: Death of Mrs. E.H. Wynne

After a long period of suffering Mrs. E.H. Wynne passed away Tuesday afternoon and the funeral services were held Wednesday afternoon at 4 o'clock at the First Methodist church, the pastor officiating. Burial was in the City cemetery. Mrs. Wynne before her marriage was Miss Rasberry and was for many years a teacher in the public schools of her home town, Rockdale. She was prominent in church and social work and her demise is mourned by a wide circle of friends. 

Mrs. Wynne was confined to her bed from the first of February, the physicians preparing her for a serious surgical operation which was never undertaken on account of her weakened condition which gradually diminished until the end came. . . . Rockdale Reporter and Messenger, June 10, 1915

Monday, June 8, 2015

1928 :: Death of Henry Hairston

Dallas Morning News. Mr. Henry Hairston, a citizen of Milam county was killed two miles north of Chriesman at 1:00 o'clock Sunday afternoon by a southbound freight train. The engineer reported he saw him lying beside the track and blew the whistle to awaken him, and just as the engine neared him he seemed to awaken and raised his head causing it to be struck by the front of the engine, killing him instantly. His brother, County Commissioner of Rockdale, was notified of the accident and arrived here about 4 p.m. and had the body removed to Caldwell to be prepared for burial by an undertaker, before being taken to Milam county, his former home, for burial. The Caldwell News and The Burleson County Ledger, June 8, 1928 

1882 :: Respect for H.P. Hale

Dallas Morning News. The Rockdale Messenger turns its column rules as a mark of respect for General H.P. Hale, of Rockdale, who died on the 28th of May. Austin Weekly Statesman, June 8, 1882

Saturday, June 6, 2015

1960 :: Galveston Accident

Walter Davenport, a Galveston ambulance driver, answered an accident call and recognized one of the dying victims as his own daughter. While pulling the two victims from the wreckage of their automobile, Davenport suddenly cried, "Good Lord, that's my daughter." 

The girl, Elizabeth Sue Davenport, 17, and her escort, Edgar Lee Henry, 20, both died at a hospital several hours after the two-car collision at an intersection. Henry's family lives in Rockdale, Texas, but he had been living in Galveston for some time. 

Driver of the other car involved in the wreck was indentified as J.... T P.... of Houston. Police said skid marks indicated Price ran a stop sign. He was charged with two counts of neglicent homicide and one of failure to yield right-of-way. 

Davenport, after finding his daughter and her companion in their wrecked car, continued with his work, placing them in his ambulance and taking them to the hospital. El Paso Herald-Post, Courier Gazette, Pampa Daily News, June 6, 1960

1876 :: Postmaster Antony

Milton Antony (1824-1885) was the third Postmaster in Rockdale, beginning on the 6th of June in 1876. His term ended one month after the entire wooden portion of Rockdale burned in March of 1877.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

1895 :: Stubblefield - Fraim Wedding

Dallas Morning News. Milano, Tex., June 2. -- Mr. John Stubblefield and Miss Annie Fraim were married here to-day at the First Baptist church, Rev. J.D. Shelton officiating. The Galveston Daily News, June 3, 1895