1930s Fayette County, Texas News

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Weimar Mercury
January 30, 1931


C. A. Young and son, W. S. Young, who live above West Point, were in LaGrange Thursday afternoon—paying taxes, they said at the rate of $2.14 on the hundred. And this reminded Mr. C. A. Young of the fact that his father, A. W. Young, who owned 640 acres of land, paid a total of $2.90 per year taxes in his time.

A. W. Young, by the way, who has been dead for thirty-three yours, came with his father Samuel Young to Fayette county from Tennessee in 1840, when he was 17 years of age. Every one of his six children—three boys and three girls—and his widow, too—still live on the A. W. Young estate near West Point. Also seven of the nine grandchildren live there.

The A. W. Young estate was divided among the wife and the children before the death of the original settler. His widow. however, was left In control and still has a right to collect rent on every acre.

The Youngs are therefore one of the old families of Fayette county of 91 years residence.  LaGrange Record.

Weimar Mercury, April 17, 1931


Recently an attractive stage curtain was installed in our school building. Not only will this curtain be an attractive addition. but it will greatly facilitate the presentation of programs which are given occasionally during the school term. The writer experiences pleasure in mentioning that this curtain was prepared by the Horak Scenic Studios of Weimar and made possible by the following list of progressive business establishments:

Baca's Band and Orchestra.
E. J. Knesek.
Hotman & Zdaril.
Industry Co-operative Association. Rek"s Service Station.
Rud. A. Baca.
F. J. Piwetz, Jr.
E. Sarrazin.
LaGrange Cotton & 0il Mfg. Co.
Day and Night Service Station.
E. C. Minssen.
E. Lindemnn Store.
R. B. Spacek.
Lee Heinsohn.
Mrs. C. J. Klimicek.
Emil Zapalac.
Zekner Garage.
The Albrechts.

The board of trustees and the patrons of the school are especially desirous of expressing their heartfelt appreciation to Mr. Beck of the Horak Studios for his efforts in obtaining contributors, and to all the contributors for making this curtain available in our school.

Since it is believed that the willingness of the contributors was prompted by a feeling of appreciation for past benefits rather than for benefits to be derived in the future, we feel even more grateful to those who were responsible for the installation of this equipment in our school.—Willow Springs Corr. LaGrange Journal

Transcribed by Dorothy Albrecht

The La Grange Journal, Thursday, May 28, 1931

Sladczyk Home Scene of Bridge Party

Mrs. Hy. Sladczyk and her daughters Mesdames John Berry, Max Melcher and Lee Koenig entertained their friends Tuesday afternoon at the spacious Sladczyk home with the popular game of “bridge.”  The home was decorated in larkspurs and lace handerchief flowers, the colors of red and white being dominent.

A salad course with ice cream and cake was served on attractive trays with fruit drops in nut cups as an aftermath.  Mrs. W. L. Shaw and Mrs. Fannie Haidusek received high scores.
Contributed by Rob Brown

The La Grange Journal
Thursday, May 31, 1931

Married Sunday

Friends of Miss Marguerite Schroeder and Frank J. Willman were agreeably surprised with an announcement of their wedding which took place Sunday morning at 9:30 o’clock at the Methodist parsonage at Schulenburg, Rev. Wm. Weisemann performing the ceremony. The parents of the bride were the only witnesses.

A trip to San Antonio and Mason where Mr. Willmann’s parents reside was taken by the newlyweds. They will reside here.

The Journal, proud of the friendship of the young couple, adds to the foregoing the pleasure it experiences at witnessing the announcement of their wedding, and offers its congratulations.
Contributed by Rob Brown

Dallas Morning News
April 19, 1933

Three Held After Burned Body Found

Schulenberg, Texas April 18 (AP)
A sheriff's posse Tuesday dug up the charred body of Henry Stoever, 58, hired man on the farm of Mrs. Anton Dach, 36, five miles northwest of here. Stoever had been employed on the farm for three years and disappeared several weeks ago.

The body was buried beneath seven feet of dirt and a new chicken house had been erected on the spot, according to Deputy Sheriff, T. J. Flournoy of Lagrange, who, with Sheriff Will Loessin and a posse of officers, conducted the search for the missing man.

Mrs. Dach, according to Deputy Flournoy told different stories about the disappearance of Stoever. The woman and two men were removed to Lagrange, where they were held for further questioning, officers said.

All newspaper articles about the Stoever/Dach murder contributed by Vanessa Burzynski.

Dallas Morning News
April 19, 1933

Death of Farm Hand Under Investigation

LaGrange, Texas April 19 (AP)
District Attorney Fred Blundell of Lockhart arrived here Wednesday and began an investigation into the unexplained death and burning of Henry Stoever, 58, hired man on the farm of Mrs. Anton Dach, near Schulenberg.

Stoever's body, burned almost beyond recognition, was found buried seven feet deep under a newly-constructed chicken house on Mrs. Dach's farm. The body was unearthed by Sheriff Will Loessin of Lagrange, who became suspicious of Stoever's absence since Feb. 24.

The Sheriff said notes due Stoever to the amount of $550 were found in possession of Mrs. Dach. The woman, according to the Sheriff, said Stoever transferred the notes to her just before he disappeared.

The La Grange Journal, Thursday, April 27, 1933

A “Battle” Dance

Mr. and Mrs. F. W. Hunger, assisted by O. A. Hunger, threw open wide the gates of hospitality to the numerous young folks of La Grange when on Saturday night, April 22, they honored “The Three Lucky Pals” – their daughter Regina Hunger, Virginia Elizabeth Frede and William Gates Philips, all 1933 seniors – with a “battle” dance in the beautiful, spacious store building just recently erected by Otto A. Hunger.

The color scheme, being a Mexican one, was tastefully carried out by draperies of green crepe, paper garlands, and floating balloons on white walls and ceilings, with large white pendant globes illuminating same.  Large floor baskets with asparagus ferns and red and white roses were alternately and attractively placed among pot plants of sprengeri, ferns and cactus.

The opening was staged with a grand march at 8:15 o’clock; music for the occasion was played by our ever-willing and talented young musicians, Joseph Schuhmacher, Harvey Dippel and Wilbur Zapp.

After this games of various kinds were arranged in the rear part of the building for those who do not dance; while the joyful tones of  laughter and the gliding of gracefulness to the beautiful strains of music from famous dance orchestras over the Philco radio, which was provided by Mr. Geo. Adamcik, and the large Edison phonograph with loud speaker attached, donated for use by Mr. O. E. Stolz when static threatened to destroy the music, told of the pleasure of others.

At 10 o’clock the battle was raging at its height when the bombs bursted and confetti and streamers were seen flying in abundance.

Throughout the evening refreshments consisting of iced friut punch were lavishly served in punch cups from large crystal punch bowls, presided over by Mrs. C. W. Amberg and Mrs. F. W. Hunger.

Everyone departed at a late hour, thanking the host and hostess for the wonderful hospitality and great enjoyment which shall always remain in their memory as one of youth’s most enjoyable days.        —One Present.
Contributed by Rob Brown

Dallas Morning News
May 7, 1933

Lagrange Woman Indicted

Lagrange, Texas, May 6 (AP)
The Fayette County grand jury Saturday indicted Mrs. Marie Dach on three counts for the slaying of Henry Stoever. Mrs. Dach was arrested a month ago and held in the county jail. A short time later she began to refuse food but broke her fast after thirteen days.

Dallas Morning News
May 23, 1933

Slaying is Admitted at Mrs. Dach's Trial

LaGrange, Texas May 23 (AP)
Mrs. Maria Dach, 36 year old farm woman, replied in German "I am guilty. I did it." Tuesday when the indictment charging her with the slaying of Henry Stoever, 56, was read at her trial.

Procedings got under way after a day and a half had been taken to select the jury. Victor Kruschke, 13, a neighbor's son opened the State evidence with testimony that before Jan. 13 he went to sell flower seeds to Mrs. Dach and saw and discussed a hole four by six feet near the Dach home with her and Stoever. Both said it was to be used for flowers.

Joe Krischke, 50, the boy's father, the next witness testsified he knew the parties involved well and said he saw a fire at midnight, Feb. 24, where two weeks later a chicken house was built and where later the charred remains of Stoever were found.

Dallas Morning News
May 26, 1933

Woman is Sentenced to Chair; Is Second Such Case in Texas

Lagrange, Texas, May 25 (AP)
Without show of emotion, Mrs. Maria Dach, 36-year old farm woman who speaks but little English, Thursday heard a jury sentence her to death for slaying Henry Stoever, 58-year old farm hand.

Defense attorneys who presented Mrs. Dach's claim that she shot Stoever in defense of herself and her children, announced they would file a motion for a new trial and should that be denied, would appeal the decision.

It was the second time as far as court records showed that a woman had been given the death penalty in Texas. In the previous case, that of Mrs. Clara Uhr, convicted for the ax slaying of her husband, a life imprisonment term was substituted when she pleaded guilty at a second trial. Mrs. Uhr is now in prison at Huntsville.

Mrs. Dach claimed she lived in fear of Stoever, who had aided her about the farm for three years and that he attacked her last December. Stoever was shot and killed as he slept. His body was dug up from a seven-foot deep pit on the woman's farm April 18 after officers began an investigation at the instance of Stoever's two brothers. Over the pit a chicken house had been erected. Until the body was found, burned badly, Mrs. Dach maintained that Stoever had burned a calf in the fire pit. Later she was quoted as having declared she burned the body because she didn't want her children to see it.

When a deputy read the indictment at the trial, Mrs. Dach replied in German: "I am guilty, I did it."

She was brought to the jail here from her farm several days after the body was found and immediately refused food. She held out for thirteen days, then began to eat slowly. She cried constantly and asked to see her children, a son and two daughters.

Dallas Morning News
May 27, 1933

Woman Sentenced to Chair is Still on Hunger Strike

Mrs. Marie Dach Reads in German Bible in Jail Cell's Solitude

LaGrange, Texas, May 26 (AP)
In the solitude of a jail cell, the widow, Marie Dach, 36, sentenced Thursday to die for the fire-pit murder of Henry Stoever, 58, sought solace in prayer Friday night as she continued her hunger strike.

'I will not eat" she said to Jailer R. G. Koenig in German. The widow speaks but little English and said she did not know what the jury's verdict was until she was told by Koenig in her native language. The jailer said he informed her of the death sentence just before he placed her in her cell.

"It is no use to live any longer," she said. "It is about all over with me, I fear. I will take no food until I know what they are going to do with me."

Only a few mouthfuls of soup and a small amount of coffee has been consumed by the widow since her arrest April 18 after Sheriff Will Loessin dug up the charred and bullet marked body of Stoever in a pit on the Dach 160-acre farm near Schulenburg. Mrs. Dach has lost fifty pounds in the interim.

La Grange Journal
Thursday, August 10, 1933

Miscellaneous Shower

Thursday evening, Mrs. Geo. Giesber entertained for her friend, Miss Lorine Kruse, with a miscellaneous shower. She was assisted by her mother, Mrs. Wm. Loessin.

The spacious home was decorated with large pink and white zinnias, in tall flower baskets, placed at every point of vantage.

The diversion for the evening was the ever popular game of “bridge”; after four games had been played refreshments consisting of pink and white brick cream and Angel Food cake was served on decorated trays.

High score (a set of China bread and butter plates) was awarded to Mrs. Foy English, and [low] (a China platter) to Mrs. Chas. Ehlert; the two presented the awards to the bride-to-be. The hostess’ gift to the bride was a set of China dinner plates.

Little Roy Loessin, dressed as a sailor, entered the roomand after saluting Miss Kruse, presented her with a picture of a ship, with the following inscription on the sail:

“Your ship has come a-sailing in,
And so you should at once begin
To search its cargo thru and thru,
And find the gifts it holds for you.”

Curtains were parted, revealing a large sail boat decorated with white crepe paper, and baby ribbon, and pink sail, adrift on a sea of blue and green maline. Blue crepe paper representing the sky formed the background. At the extreme front of the boat stood a large kewpie, with pink maline bows and white sailor hat. Above the sail of the boat was a silver pennant bearing the inscription: “Maggie”, a nickname for the bride. The “boat” was truly loaded with a cargo of beautiful and useful gifts and kind thoughts these gifts conveyed.
Contributed by Rob Brown

Dallas Morning News
August 25, 1933

Woman Starves Self to Death to Avoid Penalty for Murder

Lagrange, Texas Aug. 24 (AP)
Self-imposed starvation brought death to Mrs. Maria Dach, 36-year old German farm woman, Wednesday night as she sought through the courts to avoid paying the supreme penalty for the slaying of Henry Stoever, her 58-year old helper.

For days she was unconscious on the cot in her jail cell. A physician watched her closely and then began to treat her for a stomach ailment. Frequently she broke her fast to nibble at the food the jailer brought her, but she lost weight and her 100 pounds Wednesday offered a sharp contrast to the 200 pounds of three months ago. She had eaten only three meals in thirty-seven days.

"The food makes me sick, " she would say at mealtime.

The first thirteen days after she was convicted last May 25 Mrs. Dach refused food altogether. Finally she was pursuaded to eat a few vegetables, but she quickly began fasting again.

Mrs. Dach accepted her death sentence without show of emotion but clung to her claim that she shot Stoever in defense of herself and her children. She insisted that she lived in fear of him as helped about the farm after he attacked her last December.

Stoever was shot and killed as he slept and his body was dug up from a seven-foot pit on the woman's farm several months later after officers began an investigation at the request of two of Stoever's brothers.

Mrs. Dach's three children were present at the time of their mother's death. The body was sent to Schulenburg for burial.

All newspaper articles about the Stoever/Dach murder contributed by Vanessa Burzynski.

The La Grange Journal, Thursday, September 7, 1933

Will Visit Fair

Mrs. O. L. Amberg left for Houston, Wednesday morning, where she will visit briefly with her three daughters, Mrs. F. W. Koehler and Misses Stella and Elviera Amberg.  Next Saturday, in company with Misses Stella and Elviera, Mrs. Amberg will leave Houston for Chicago to attend the Century of Progress Fair, and visit for a week or ten days with her brother, Gus. Prause, formerly of La Grange.
Contributed by Rob Brown

The La Grange Journal
October 13, 1933

Of Historical Interest

By Leonie Rummel Weyand

Two Surviving Members of Fayette County Ox-Team Caravan to Mexico

Memories of the days when great cotton caravans meandered through miles of bandit-infested mesquite and cactus to bring fantastic profits to their owners still live vividly in the minds of George Huebner and John Speckels now living in La Grange. These two are the only living survivors of the Fayette county crew who so deftly handled ox-teams with the chant, “Haw”, “He”, and “Gee.” The redoubtable two have lived to see this mode of transportation superceded, first by railway, then by truck, and now by the unbelievably fast air express. Not that they are impressed by these fast moving contraptions. Oh, no! They see in the slow moving ox-teams which they so skillfully manipulated, disciplinary value to the young entirely absent in the breezy transportation used by the younger generation. In fact, these stalwarts attribute much of the jazziness of the present generation to the devilishly fast machines which enables the young folks to be “On again, off again, gone again, Flannigan.” These hardened ox-team drivers further contend that the hazardous occupation of hauling cotton to Mexico during their ‘teen years when boys of today haven’t yet finished high school, developed in them brawn and grain and fortitude to see a disagreeable thing thru. These two boys, all in their eighties and as tough as pine knots, are brilliant examples of the efficacy of their “take ‘em young and treat ‘em rough” theory.

George Huebner, one of the two who did teamstering duties during the sixties, has a remarkable memory and a ready flow of picturesque words. He lives about twelve miles from La Grange on a rich black land farm, an inheritance from his pioneer father. Near his home is the burial ground of the unfortunate Men of Mier, who were executed in Mexico and those of the Dawson Massacre. Members of the Huebner family were present at the burial in September, 1848.

Until recently, Huebner’s physical vigor was a match for his alert mentality. A year ago, against the advice of his children, he attempted to break a wild horse which promptly threw him. An injured leg now hampers his movements but in no way diminishes his remarkable energy.

Huebner has no patience with the mamby-pamby “finickyness” of the present generation. “I wonder”, he says, “How they would have survived just one trip to the Mexican border.” He made five. “The dust”, he continues, “was awful—like a dense cloud. We looked like mounds of earth slowly moving along.” Huebner’s description of the dust menace is borne out by a story appearing in the Houston Tri-Weekly Telegraph of April 29, 1863. “The drought extending from the mouth of the Rio Grande to within thirty miles of the Nueces, has proved to be the most thorough vegetation destroyer of any kind that has visited the country in years. The country begins to look as if seared with red hot irons. Surface water sink holes give a feeble supply of water highly impregnated with offensive gases and saline properties. Oxen by droves are falling by the wayside, never again to bear the yoke or put their shoulders to the cotton loaded wheels. Rain we must soon have or the transportation jig will assuredly be up; the dust of the earth filling the eyes, nose, mouth and hair – making one feel gritty often and dusty always – dust of which a man eats his peck monthly and breathes daily – a terrible, inhuman, diabolical dust. A kingdom for a shower is the standing offer.” And not a shower bath, girls.

In his smooth flowing style, Huebner tells the following story of his cotton hauling experiences:

“Slave owners in Fayette county gave the Confederacy all the cotton they could spare. Those not owning slaves were forced to suffer confiscation of one-half of their cotton crop. Hauling cotton was a branch of military service that found favor among some Fayette county citizens; for, in spite of the long, hazardous journey, it was safer than serving in the army.  Before being permitted to haul cotton, the teamster had to procure a detail, a contract with the government which pledged the teamster to haul at least five bales of cotton to Mexico, the round trip not to take longer than three months. The contract provided that certain contingencies such as a broken wheel, lost oxen and failure to secure food for the animals would be considered legitimate reasons for a tardy return. Some of ---------- abandoned the ox-team, and proceeded on by steamer to New Orleans where they joined the Union forces. These men later drew fat pensions. Christian Lomaun, and expert ox driver of the sixties, whose partner left his ox team in Brownsville, performed the unusual feat of driving back both ox-teams from the border.

Since it was impossible to maintain a check on the drivers, killing time systematically was the order of the day among some of them in order to increase the time between trips and to postpone compulsory military service. The teamsters received for services rendered, twelve cents per pound of cotton transported—but in Confederate money.

Fayette county teamsters hauled to Mexico not only cotton raised in Fayette county, but also cotton that was raised in East Texas and in Louisiana. Cotton raised in these two sections was not hauled directly to Mexico, but was dumped at certain convenient concentration points, from which, it was relayed to its destination. These points were Alleytown, Bernard, Columbus in Colorado county, and La Grange and Round Top in Fayette county. There were two cotton agents in Fayette county, Judge J. C. Stiehle, stationed in La Grange, and A. Meerscheidt, at Round Top. Cotton sent to Fayette county was hauled to one of the following places for re-shipment to Mexico: Brownsville, Mier, Rancho Davis, Laredo or Eagle Pass.

A cotton convoy usually consisted of from three to fifteen wagons. From five to seven yoke of oxen were necessary to pull one wagon. It was necessary for teamsters to take along sufficient food for the entire trip, for often food was not available. Procuring enough food for men and oxen was often quite an undertaking.

The difficulties of the Confederate, state and county governments were by no means ended when the cotton had been hauled to the border. Here the cotton was likely to seized by the Mexicans, the Federals, or even by the Confederates. On one occasion a convoy of eighteen wagons from Fayetteville was captured by Mexican bandits. The Mexicans stripped the teamsters of everything - - cotton, wagons and ox-teams. The men had to thumb a ride home or walk. Bryan Lane, an unfortunate member of this party, was killed by the Mexicans and, as a warning to future teamsters, was buried with his hands and feet sticking out of the ground.

The Fayette County Commissioners in 1863 conceived the idea of buying cotton and selling it to Mexico for relief of the county’s destitute war widows and orphans. In accordance with this plan, they bought thirty-two bales of cotton from William J. Russel to haul it to Mexico. At King’s Ranch, the party was seized by General Bee, who had been forced to evacuate Brownsville as a result of the Federal invasion. Negroes, teams and cotton, according to Russel, were impressed into service by General Bee, who compelled Russel to sell him the cotton at fifty cents per pound, Confederate money. When Russel made his report to the Commissioners’ Court, they agreed to let him keep the money given him by Bee as a remuneration for freight charges.

Still another large shipment of cotton that was a total loss to the owner, belonged to William Neese of Warrenton. He had sent thirty-eight bales of cotton to Mexico with the following teamsters in charge: J. C. Moss, F. Holman, Conrad [Tiemann] and Mano Garbardes. In Brownsville, Neese’s cotton was taken away from him by order of General Brown, the Federal Commander in charge of the Forty-third Indiana Infantry, the Sixty-second Ohio (a colored regiment), and the Second Texas Regiment. It was the colored Major of the Ohio contingent who actually took possession of the cotton.

The fraud in the cotton business which aroused such indignation among the soldiers and patriotic citizens of Texas was not entirely absent in the Fayette county teamsters’ trade. A Confederate law prohibited teamsters from carrying more than ten bales a trip, and special agents were placed at Flatonia and at Gonzales to supervise the transportation. By splitting with them, it became an easy matter to arrange with the agents to carry an extra bale or two, and with cotton selling at forty cents per pound, such a rascally procedure was highly profitable.

The second of the surviving teamsters, John Speckels, eighty-five, and a peppy as a sophomore, recalls that the Confederate government sponsored the first trip of cotton hauling that he made to Mexico. The ------unsatisfactory schedule, Speckels, explained, was due to the fact that the necessary food for the men and oxen through the long desert stretches along the last part of the journey was not promptly furnished by the Confederate government. During the waiting period, perhaps the most satisfactory of all to the men, hunting parties were organized, which netted rich bags of wild turkey and plenty of deer. Deer and turkey meat with rye coffee and bread made a satisfying meal. The Speckels lad was unfortunate and contracted measles on the trip. A rain storm came up and the sick boy spent the night trying to hold a flapping wagon cover back in place. He suffered a relapse and as a result his hearing today is slightly impaired.

The exhausted men and oxen finally reached Eagle Pass. The place named as a cotton depot by the Confederate government. Here the Confederate officials ordered machinery to be placed on the wagons and delivered in San Antonio on the return trip. A sturdy band of German farmers, all neighbors of his father, were Speckel’s next companions on a cotton hauling trip to Mexico. By agreeing to turn over over one-half the profits to the government, Speckels secured permission to take cotton to Mexico.  The hazardous journey was safely negotiated. The cotton was sold in Rio Grande City for thirty-one cents per pound. The youth carried the money paid him for his father’s cotton (in Doubloons) safely in his belt. The same financial success that attended Speckels’ trip to Mexico has followed him throughout life. His business ability has made profitable all his ventures. Speckels, in addition to the part that he played in transporting cotton during the Civil War, has assisted materially in the industrial development of Fayette county. He represented his county in the State Legislature during the years 1895-97.

Brownsville, on Texas soil, and Matamoras just across the Rio Grande, on the Mexican side, formed the hub of the contraband cotton trade during the war days. These two places became the Sodom and Gemorrah of the Southwest. It was said of Brownsville that it was at that time the rowdiest town in the most lawless state of the Confederacy. And Matamoras, her sister city and Mecca for the riff-raff and adveuturers of three nations, did her worst to outdo her American twin in sin. As a result of the cotton boom, Matamoras mushroomed in population from eight thousand to forty thousand almost overnight. Men made millions in the cotton business. The Stillman and Ranger fortunes are brilliant examples. The Ranger Brothers bought 650 bales of cotton from the Willis family in Houston, at six cents a pound. The Willis’ were forced to sell at a sacrifice to prevent confiscation by the Confederates, but neither side could confiscate cotton owned by Gus. Ranger because he was a German Jew and an alien. He carted the cotton at once to Matamoras, from whence he succeeded in shipping it to England when cotton prices were at their peak. He was said to have received the fabulous price of a dollar and eighty cents per pound. He became later one of the “cotton kings” of the world.

People from every corner of the globe rushed to Matamoras, lured thereto by fantastic tales of immense fortunes made with effortless ease. Union sympathizers and draft evaders drank beer with cotton agents, importers and merchants of all nations. There was just one person who was “persona non grata” and that was an abolitionist. Any person was privileged to shoot him down at sight, and all the year-round was open season on these vermin and conviction for such sport was unknown.

Business was good in Matamoras during the war. Importers who opened with well-stocked shelves often had to close within a week because their merchandise stocks were completely sold out. The town was filled to overflowing with goods of all descriptions, and people rented and moved into thrown-up shanties. Even then, constantly arriving merchandise could not be housed. Owners were forced to stack their goods on the ground and expose it to nature in the raw – which is never mild. Ingenious Yankees shipped in a big lot of tarpaulins which were hired out to the merchants at a dollar a night. Harrassed merchants used them to cover a valuable store load of imported goods.

Such is the picture painted by George Huebner and John Speckels of the thriving business in contraband cotton hauling and trading between Texas and Mexico during -------- .

Contributed by Rob Brown

La Grange Journal
January 25, 1934, Page 8


Andrew Dotson and Olar Lee Slater (colored).
Lovis Scott and Christina Beasley (colored).
R. L. Scott and Mabel M. Moore (colored).

Transcribed by Connie F. Sneed

La Grange Journal
Thursday, February 1, 1934, Page 1


Disagreement between three Negroes, A.L. Carter, Hy Murphy and Turner Krumplin, resulted seriously for the latter two. Carted used his black-handled pocket knife in order to settle the fight and made a good job of it, cutting both severely, placing them in a serious condition. The Sheriff’s office was notified and deputies went to the scene. Carter was brought to La Grange and placed in jail.

Transcribed by Connie F. Sneed

La Grange Journal
Thursday, February 1, 1934, page 1



Two Negroes, engaged in a fight for possession of a pistol Sunday afternoon late, in front of the Negro barber shop in the old Carter building, created an usual flurry. The gun belonged to Jack Dotson, and in the argument with Albert Taylor, he pulled the fire arm, but could not use it as he desired.

What the trouble was all about is immaterial, as he jerked it from his pocket the other Negro grabbed his arm and the fight for possession began. Suddenly the gun was discharged; the bullet raced around the last rib, left breast, of Dotson, and the fight was over. Dotson became feint when he saw the blood staining his shirt and he had to be revived.

Taylor was placed in jail and Dotson taken to the County Hospital for treatment. He will recover.

Transcribed by Connie F. Sneed

La Grange Journal
February 8, 1934, page 8


Obediah Dickerson and Emma Jones (colored).
Deatrice Thomas and Pearlie Duncan (colored).

Transcribed by Connie F. Sneed

La Grange Journal
February 22, 1934, page 8


Judge Moore and Katie Thomas (colored).
Charlie B. Thompson and Alma Davis (colored).
James Harold and Elvie Bowls (colored).
Vastine Hall and Mollie Mae Griffin (colored).

Transcribed Connie F. Sneed

La Grange Journal
Thursday, March 1, 1934, page 1


Efforts to have a new school for the colored, started several months since have been fruitful, all arrangements were completed this week work was begun.

During the progress of razing the old building and erecting the new school, the faculty of the colored school will have their pupils in the Negro lodge hall, and in the parsonage near the old school. The school term with be completed without interruption.

Edwin Pohl, architect, will hold the position of foreman for the construction work. CWA will add its part by furnishing labor and a portion of the material.

The new school building will consist of 5 recitation rooms, library and auditorium, and will be built in front of the present site, thus giving more play room to the rear and from off the street.

To those who were instrumental in securing the new building under the provisions of the present, a vote of thanks will be offered. The old school building has served its purpose.

Transcribed by Connie F. Sneed

La Grange Journal
March 8, 1934, page Two


Construction of the Negro school building is progressing nicely. The old building has been razed, the material of which was good, will be used in building forms; the joists and rafters are also to be utilized. Digging of the foundation has been completed and the work of pouring concrete is now in force.

Gary Stewart, manual training teacher and his boys, will construct a manual training building from the old lumber, not used in the new building.

La Grange will have one permanent improvement to point to with pride, as a result of CWA help.

Transcribed by Connie F. Sneed

La Grange Journal
March 29, 1934, page 8


Arthur S. Clarkson and Sewilla Caldwell (colored).

Transcribed by Connie F. Sneed

La Grange Journal
April 12, 1934, page 7


Several Negro choirs will be at the African Methodist Church near the cemeteries East end of the city, Thursday night of this week. A special invitation is extended to our white friends to be present, if they enjoy good singing. Such songs as are in general favor with the public, and which the colored can sign so well, will be rendered.

Transcribed by Connie F. Sneed

La Grange Journal, April 19, 1934, Page Two

Quietly Married

Monday evening, April 16, at 8:00 o’clock, Miss Vlasta Sula and Ben Halamicek were quietly married; Rev. Father Klobouk read the words that united them for life.  The wishes of their many friends are extended this young couple for a long, happy and prosperous married life.

Justice Court

Pleas of guilty for the week by the following:

E. Margaritis, gaming; fined one dollar and costs.

Henry Konvicka, disturbing the peace; fined five dollars and costs.

Joe Muzny, disturbing the peace; fined five dollars and costs.

Married at Mason

Edwin Drab of La Grange and Miss Carey Strange of Llano were married at Mason last Sunday morning; Rev. Hall, Baptist minister spoke the words that made the couple happy.  The bride is a daughter of Mrs. J.C. Strange of Llano, and a sister to Mrs. A.L. Carson of La Grange. The young husband is a son of Wm. Drab

The young couple will make La Grange their home, occupying an apartment with Mrs. and Mrs. Carson.  Congratulations are offered for a happy married life.
Transcribed By Connie F. Sneed

La Grange Journal, April 26, 1934, Page Six

Negro Minstrel For Next Friday Night

The young folks of Winchester will present their  negro minstrel at the courthouse on Friday  night of this week, April 27.  There will be 16 characters on the stage; as the show is given for laughing purposes, those who attend will find themselves asking for towels to remove the tears.  There will be a laugh from the opening number until the close.

The first act will be principally jokes and songs; the second act will be a Dixie court scene and the third and old-time dance.  Price of admission will be .10  and .15 the entertainment will last for 2 1/2 hours.  Saxophone and piano music between acts.

Come out, everybody!  This will be the best Negro minstrel ever offered in Winchester.

Transcribed by Connie F. Sneed

Weimar Mercury
15 Jun 1934


Memorial services were conducted on Wednesday in Columbus, by the James Asbury Tait Chapter, Daughters of the War of 1812, Houston, at the grave of Mrs. Phrynetta Adeline Mahon, daughter of Umbleton Gregory, who served in the War of 1812 from Virginia. Umbleton Gregory's last resting place is in the cemetery at Fayetteville and a notable occasion of a few years ago was the marking of his grave with a bronze tablet, giving particulars of his service, same being furnished by the United States government.

Mrs. Mahon passed away April 2, and is survived among other relatives by her sister, Mrs. M. A. Zumwalt of Columbus, likewise a real daughter of the War of 1812, among the few in Texas.

Mrs. Mahon and Mrs. Zumwalt attended Rutersville College when Rev. Chauncey Richardson was president of the institution, the family living in that vicinity when first coming to Texas in 1845, later removing to Ross Prairie, near Fayetteville.—LaGrange Journal.

The La Grange Journal
Thursday, October 17, 1935


Friday evening of last week installation ceremonies were held at the city park and the local Boy Scout troop was made an organization.

District Promotion Chairman P. T. Beach had charge, and presented the charter to Chairman L. W. Stolz. C. V. Batot, Scout Master, presented certificates and badges. Many witnessed the ceremonies.

The roster includes Ted Beach, Wayne Dickerson, Leerie and Kervin Giese, Alfred Ehlers, Sidney Herzik, J. C. Yeary, Manuel Palmer, Robert Pieratt, Leroy Sulik, Leon Schultz, O. T. Willrich, Ralph Walter, Thurston Pierce, Lynn Grasshoff, Charles Schaefer and Charles Wern.
Contributed by Rob Brown

The Schulenburg Sticker
Friday, January 3, 1936

Fritz Michalke and Mrs. Julia Harmon United in Marriage

The many friends of Mrs. Julia Harmon and Fritz Michalke were pleasantly surprised to learn that they were united in marriage on last Tuesday evening at about seven-thirty. The wedding took place in the Lutheran parsonage with Rev. Helm pronouncing the holy vows. The bride, daughter of Mrs. George Vogt, was born and educated in Schulenburg. She graduated from the Schulenburg Public School and later went to work in Sugar Land. For the past few years she has made her home here and has been working at the P. B. Department Store. The groom comes from a good family near Borden and has been employed here by Schwartz Brothers for the past fourteen years. Witnesses to the wedding were Miss Ruth Vogt, sister if the bride, and Hugo Stanzel. The happy couple left shortly after the ceremony for San Antonio and other points. The Sticker, in common with their many friends, offers best wishes for a long and happy wedded life.
Contributed by Rob Brown

The La Grange Journal, Thursday, January 23, 1936


Fritz Vogt was advised Tuesday of the marriage of his son, John, to Mrs. Mozelle Golson of Austin.  The occurred at San Marcos, Wednesday of last week.

All friends join the Journal in extending congratulations to John and bride.
Contributed by Rob Brown

The La Grange Journal, Thursday, March 12, 1936

Victor Sladczyk, in the employ of Max Melcher, with the Humble Oil Agency, fell while at work at the tank house in the eastern part of the city, his back striking the platform edge.  He has been suffering considerable pain since the accident.

Contributed by Rob Brown

The La Grange Journal
April 2, 1936, pg. 1

Negro Woman Shoot Strait When the Proper Time Comes

M. L. Tompkins, negress, and wife of the principal of the negro school at Schulenburg, and Pauline McIntyre, negress are in jail at the writing, Saturday, charged with intent to murder. The green eyed monster is said to be responsible for the two woman going on a rampage.

The Tompkins woman, using a .38 caliber revolver went to the negro school at the noon hour last Thursday and shot—she shot five times at the object of her search—Irene Philips, a teacher in the same school. She was arrested by Patrolman Schuck. Sheriff Loessin brought the woman to La Grange.

Pauline McIntyre, using a shot gun fired one shot at her husband, Elmo McIntyre, and brought him down. Deputies Flournoy and Koenig brought the McIntyre woman to La Grange. This shooting occurred at the McIntyre home in West Point, Friday afternoon.

Both the wounded negress and McIntyre at the La Grange Hospital, in a serious condition.

Transcribed by Stacy N. Sneed

The Schulenburg Sticker
Friday, June 26, 1936

Vogt – Olle Nuptials Sunday

At an impressive ceremony Sunday at high noon the marriage of Miss Emma Olle, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Otta Olle of Flatonia, and Robert Vogt, son of Mrs. George Vogt of Schulenburg, was solemnized. Rev. E. McDonald, of the First Methodist Church of Flatonia, read the marriage vows in the presence of immediate relatives and close friends of the couple. Miss Stella Bittner sang “I Love You Truly” accompanied on the piano by Mrs. Dora McCall, who also rendered the “Bridal Chorus” from Lohengrin and the Mendelsohn “Wedding March”. The couple pledged their troth before a beautifully improvised altar in the living room, outlined against a setting of coral vine and Woodwardia fern in tall floral baskets. Lighted tapers in tall bronze candlebra illuminated the altar space during the ceremony. The bride wore an informal two-piece frock of British tan embroidered lace with accessories of white. Her shoulder corsage was of white carnations. Following the ceremony, a dinner was served and immediately afterwards the couple left on a wedding trip to Dallas to attend the Texas Centennial Exposition. Upon their return they will make their home in Schulenburg. The bride is a popular Flatonia girl and for the past several years has been in the employee of the Alexander Grocery Company in La Grange. She is a very talented young lady and was extensively entertained with a number of bridge parties and showers preceeding her marriage. Mr. Vogt, “Bob” as he is known to his many friends here, is a young man of admirable traits. He is known and liked by a large circle of friends here. He is an employee of the State Highway Department. The Sticker extends congratulations.
Contributed by Rob Brown

La Grange Journal, September 3, 1936 pg. 1

Monument Hill Shaft Over 40 Feet High

Houston Wade, here last Saturday, informed the Journal that the design drawn for the shaft to be erected on Monument Hill south of LaGrange shows the shaft will be more than 40 feet high and of a very attractive design. The design in now in the safe of L. W. Stolz, manager of Stolz Memorials, the largest marble yard in Texas, an cannot be had until his return at the week-end. Hence the description the Journal would like to make will have to be postponed until a later issue.

The shaft will be of a very substantial nature, and will be spotted with several plaques, the chief one being large and containing the names being large and containing the names of all the men of the ill-fated Mier Expedition; another will have the name of Gen. Waddy[sic] Thompson, United States Embassador [sic] to Mexico at the time of the incarceration of the Mier and Santa Fe prisoners, and through whose influence several of the prisoners were released and permitted to return home.

The name of another will be found also on a placque[sic], this man, as we recall being a brother to one of the Mier prisoners.

Just when work is to begin and the time set for completion of the shaft was not made know to the Journal, but once it is started it will be rushed to completion. Mr. Wade also stated that arrangements were in the making for the placing of markers at Round Top and Fayetteville, and at such time celebrations would be held at each place.

The Journal will endeavor to keep its readers informed as to the dates rendered. In the meantime let us not forget that Mr. Wade has, without time and much worry assisted in getting these markers and has also written the inscription of many others, in other counties, and at Houston.

First Meeting of Jewish Women Held

The Tri-County section (including Fayette, Colorado and Lavaca counties) of the National Council of Jewish Women held its first formal meeting in La Grange, a the home of Miss Essie Alexander, Wednesday, August 26. The state president, Mrs. I. A. Victor of San Antonio, installed the following officers: Mrs. E. Lauterstein of Weimar, first vice president; Mrs. Geo. Lauterstien of La Grange, second vice president; Mrs. Hirsch N. Schwartz of Schulenburg, secretary; Miss Gertie Alexander of La Grange, treasurer; and Mrs. Klein of Columbus, parliamentarian.

The president appointed various committees to take care of activities in which the Council intends to participate. The next meeting will be held at the home of Mrs. H. Gindler of Weimar, September 30.

Both transcribed by Stacy N. Sneed

The La Grange Journal
Thursday, April 15, 1937


The Fair Grounds, always an agreeable place to have a picnic, was used Sunday by members of the Willrich family, descendants of the late Mr. and Mrs. Otto Willrich and relatives. There was present, a total of 33 members of the family. From other cities there came Louis Willrich and family, Sam Sengelmann and family and Arthur Sladczyk and family of Houston; Mr. and Mrs. Otto Sladczyk of Yoakum. The reaining members of the Sunday crowd are local.
Contributed by Rob Brown

La Grange Journal, November 18, 1937

Injured In Fall

Hy. Sladczyk, one of our oldest citizens, is abed at this writing, suffering from an injury received last Thursday.  While at the home of his daughter he accidentally fell in the bathroom, and injured his back.  He was fortunate, however, as to escape breaking his hip, an affliction that has befell many of our older citizens in recent months.
Contributed by Rob Brown

Weimar Mercury
15 Apr 1938, page 5


Twenty-five million years ago, when LaGrange was on the gulf coast (and scientists will testify this is no April Fool story), there roamed in this section a three-toed animal about the size of a sheep, the predecessor of today's horse.

A few days ago, while on the Colorado River near Ellinger, Clarence Hubenak, Ellinger school boy, found the partial remains of one of these animals in a fine state of preservation. They were six teeth of the upper jaw of the horse, petrified to be sure, and encased in a hard stone that had during the course of time replaced the softer jaw bone.

Prof. Elijah Rudd of the La Grange High School faculty took the finding to Dr. Ball at A. and M. College and Dr. Warner at Sam Houston State Teachers' College, each of whom, after an independent examination, pronounced the remains to be six upper right jaw teeth of the horse of the middle miocene age, when gulf coast waters lapped at the shore of what is now La Grange.

How did they arrive at the age of the remains? The stone that replaced the jaw bone and encases the teeth was formed only during the miocene age, fixed by geologists at 25,000,000 years ago. —LaGrange Record.

The La Grange Journal, Thursday, October 13, 1938


Miss Regina Hunger, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F. W. Hunger, has been added to the faculty of the Yoakum schools.  Miss Regina recently received her degree at the San Marcus college.
Contributed by Rob Brown

The La Grange Journal, Thursday, October 27, 1938


Mrs. Geo. Willrich, Miss Olivia Schaefer, Mrs. Arthur Pohl and Miss Ida Reichert of La Grange, and Mrs. Marie Lanaux of California, spent the past week in New Orleans, in attendance upon the Eighth National Eucharistic Congress.

Incidentally, points of interest in the old historical city were visited, and the memory of Jackson’s defeat of the British general and his horde of soldiers recalled.  The historic battle of New Orleans was fought Jan. 8, 1814, two days after the treaty of peace had been signed at Utrecht.  Communication was not as fast then as it is today.
Contributed by Rob Brown

The La Grange Journal, Thursday, January 19, 1939

Willrich – Korenek

Rev. Paul P. Kaspar, priest in charge of the St. Peter and St. Paul Catholic church at Plum, united in marriage Werner G. Willrich of La Grange and Miss Antonia, daughter of J. B. Korenek of Plum, Monday morning January 16, at 8:00 o’clock.  Subscribed to the marriage register as witnesses, are the names: Frank Mechura and Arnold Krenek.

Werner is employed at the La Grange Produce Company station on Jefferson street, a son of Geo. Willrich, Jr., of near La Grange; the bride, until recently employed as saleslady at the New York store; both have many friends in La Grange who join the Journal in extending sincere wishes and congratulations.

Contributed by Rob Brown

1940s News

The La Grange Journal, Thursday, January 20, 1949 p.4


Trees have always played an important role in man’s life.  One such is a gnarled oak that stands on a downtown street in La Grange only a few miles from the site of the La Grange station on Shell’s McCamey – Houston pipeline.  From this point citizens of La Grange and Fayette County have marched off to war since 1842.

The station, established in 1929, is located eight miles from town on ground formerly a part of the Colonel Moore estate.  Moore was one of the original settlers and a maker of Texas history.  In 1928 construction was started on the 446-mile Houston refinery upon its completion.  La Grange became one of the seven intermediate pumping stations.

The original station included three 300-hp Allis-Chalmers electric-driven reciprocating pumps (one a standby unit); a pump house; an auxiliary building; one 37,500-barrel steel riveted tank; four cottages and one dormitory.  The line’s through-put was 36,000 barrels daily, a figure which has been maintained through the years.  Since the original installations were made, the Standby Allis-Chalmers pumping unit became more urgently required elsewhere, was removed and the 37,500-barrel tank was replaced by a 10,000 barrel floating-roof tank after it became unserviceable.

The Station complement includes: L.H. Gibson, station chief engineer; C.W. Jackson, N.S. Hine, J.W. Lang and W.M. Baker, station engineers; and H.L. Plagens, yardman.  Station Chief Engineer Gibson reports that the station was down only 41 hours during 1948.

La Grange is one of the oldest towns in Texas, and is the county seat of Fayette County.  Many interesting chapters of the State’s stirring history have been written there.  The first rural mail route in Texas was established in La Grange, and part of the town’s Methodist Church has been standing for 100 years.  Fayette County today is the largest poultry producing center in the ….and ranks 11th in the United States. (sic)

A visitor to La Grange is always impressed by the oak tree growing in one of the downtown streets and finds upon inquiry that this has been the site of many historic gatherings.  When the town was first settled in the early part of the nineteenth century, this tree was in its youth.  It was the meeting place for the discussion of local happenings of a struggling community harassed by Indian raids from the north.  Four generations of men have marched off to battle from this spot.  The first group was Captain Dawson’s band of 53 men who went to the defense of General Woll at San Antonio.  Of these 53 men from Fayette County, 41 were killed battle; 10 were taken prisoners and only two escaped to return to their homes.  After Texas gained its independence from Mexico by defeating General Santa Anna, the Mexicans often formed expeditions to fight the people then living on the frontiers of the new nation.

In the same era of retaliatory raids upon the early settlers of the Texas frontiers, another group of men from the County left to fight these marauders.  Their fate is recorded in the accounts of the Battle of Fort Mier, better known as the Black Bean Massacre.  In this encounter, the Texans were captured and taken to Mexico.  The prisoners overpowered their guards and escaped, only to be later re-captured.  It was decreed by the Mexicans that every 10th man was to be shot, as determined by a bean lottery.  Blindfolded, the men drew beans from a jar to determine their fate-black beans meant death; white meant life.  Seventeen drew black beans and were shot.  During the war between the U.S. and Mexico, their bones were exhumed and returned to La Grange where a joint monument was erected on the public square.  Vandals destroyed this first memorial, but a new one was erected later on its present site.

At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, two companies of troops were formed from La Grange and Fayette County.  These men left for service from under the oak.  Not again until 1917 did soldiers depart for war from La Grange, but this time the oak was the place for many good-byes as the men entrained for Camp Bowie to become a part of the famed 36th division.  During World War II, the oak was once more the departure point for troops leaving to fight the Axis.

Today this oak is a living symbol to these men and their community.

Transcribed by Carolyn Heinsohn