Another one solved!! This is one of my unidentified photos in my glass negative collection I have previously posted. I have had so many people help me with the photos and locations and appreciate all the help! Unfortunately the photographer is still unknown but thanks to J. T. Koenig, President of the Rosenberg Family Association this is his ancestor’s house built in the King William Historic District in San Antonio, Texas.
This is the Axel Meerscheidt home. Axel was the son of Arthur Meerscheidt and Amanda Caroline von Rosenberg of Fayette County Texas and was a large part of the King William Historic District in San Antonio, Texas. You can see more about this family at the links:
Below is the photo he shared with me.
Here is what I found on an Internet search. This is from the King William Association. I am so happy to find all this history!!
I bought the Stieren House at 503 East Guenther Street four years ago. Upon moving in, I read Mary V. Burkholder’s book, Down the Acequia Madre, and I learned many historical facts about the house. It was built in 1891 by Carl Stieren, who lived here with his wife Hedwig. Carl was a lumberman and entered into business with the Meerscheidt brothers, Axel and Paul, who owned a large area spanning 33 acres, south and east of South Alamo Street. Together they sold lots and built houses in the area, developing the Meerscheidt River Subdivision where my house stands today.
As a newcomer to the King William Historic District, I became enthralled by the history of our neighborhood and was floored when I received an intriguing letter in the mail. The letter began, ”I am a relative of Axel (Alexander) Meerscheidt.”
The letter was from Neale Rabensburg of La Grange, Texas, and it contained an old photograph (above) of what he thought might be my house. The picture was taken in the 1890′s and was published in The Story of My Life, an autobiography by Erna Meerscheidt, Axel’s daughter.
While visiting San Antonio and researching his family history, Mr. Rabensburg saw my house and thought he might have found his ancestor’s homestead – the house Axel Meerscheidt built for his family. In her book, Erna notes that their home backed up to the river and that she was born in the master bedroom of the house on July 24, 1893.
I immediately responded to Neale’s letter and told him what I knew about the Stieren family living here, and I referred him to Burkholder’s book. He was one step ahead of me as he had just finished reading the book’s description of my house. He was surprised to read that Hedwig Stieren had lived here. He told me that Erna Meerscheidt’s mother, Olga Meerscheidt, was Hedwig Stieren’s older sister! The story took a new twist. Carl Stieren and Axel Meerscheidt were brothers-in-law! Could they have all lived in the same house?
The fact that my address was different was bothersome but Mr. Rabensburg and I thought that the similarity between the houses merited further research. In the 1894 City Directory of San Antonio, Mr. Rabensburg had found that Axel Meerscheidt lived at 515 East Guenther. I quickly realized that 515 East Guenther no longer exists! I took Neale’s photograph across the street to my neighbor, the savvy architect Charles Schubert who knew at first glance that the house in the photograph was not my house.
My curiosity led me to the San Antonio Conservation Society Library. Conservation Society volunteer Frederica Kushner was very helpful and soon found the 1952 Sanborn Fire Insurance map that cracked the case.
The Axel Meerscheidt house was next door to mine where the condominiums are today. The estate was huge and labeled with two addresses; 515 East Guenther and 101 Crofton. Unlike the houses surrounding it on the map, the Meerscheidt house was barely visible because of an attempt by a 1950′s cartographer to cover it with glue and paper. The attempt was proof that the house was there in 1952 when the map was printed but gone by 1957 when the map was amended. Further research in the city directories confirmed that the house met its demise in 1957. We also came across a 1942 newspaper article reporting a small fire at 101 Crofton which had apparently become the Convent of the Sisters of Guadalupe! More research will have to be done to find out exactly what happened to the house.
I told Mr. Rabensburg, “At least we have a photo of the house and we know exactly where it stood. It makes perfect sense that Axel Meerscheidt would have had the largest estate and the grandest house in the area! He certainly must have been a leader in the community!”
Mr. Rabensburg sent me a newspaper article printed in 1936 that confirmed my beliefs. The San Antonio Express article meticulously recounts a visit by President Benjamin Harrison in 1891. It was the first time a President of the United States had ever visited San Antonio. The city was in a tizzy. The very first Battle of Flowers Parade was planned to honor the President. Rain forced a cancellation of the parade and moved the reception indoors to the Grand Opera House (site of today’s Ripley’s Believe it or Not). Every seat in the Opera House was filled to the rafters.
The article detailed the seating arrangement at the event: “the President occupied the center seat of the front row. On his right sat in order, Postmaster General John Wannamaker and Secretary of Agriculture Jeremiah McLain Rusk and on the President’s left sat Mayor Bryan Callaghan and Axel Meerscheidt, the latter representing the commercial bodies of the city.”
The Meerscheidt Homestead is a piece of the San Antonio puzzle that we did not know was missing. Thanks to Neale Rabensburg, our history is now a bit more complete.
- Belinda Valera Molina
More about the Meerscheidt Family
In last month’s newsletter, Belinda Molina wrote about the Axel Meerscheidt house that once stood next door to her house on E. Guenther. Sadly, the Meerscheidt house burned in the 1950′s. Belinda has communicated with Neale Rabensburg, a descendent of the Meerscheidt family, who has generously shared excerpts from the memoir of Erna Meerscheidt. Erna, daughter of Axel and Olga Meerscheidt, grew up in the house.
THE STORY OF MY LIFE
By Erna Meerscheidt Weeks Bouillon
“……..but after my grandfather’s death [Dr. O. Remer of New Braunfels], grandmother [Franciska Schleier] moved to San Antonio where several of her children had settled. My father [Axel Meerscheidt] had a darling little house built for my grandmother across the street from this large home in the Meerscheidt Addition [515 E. Guenther, later changed to 101 Crofton]. Our home was really a mansion, built in red brick with white rock, around curved windows, and the curved entrance door. It had a marble foyer and beautiful, stained glass windows. The mansion has now been turned into a chapel by the Catholics. It was of French architecture, located in an exclusive residential district named after my father, the Meerscheidt Addition.
”You see, my father had studied architecture at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. He had been sent from Texas, where the schools were very poor at the time, to live with his Aunt Emma Koerber and his Uncle Karl, an attorney. Their home was in the Black Forest in Germany, Bad Harzburg. He was around thirteen or fourteen years old when he went over [to Germany from Texas] and remained about ten years. He did not practice as an architect in San Antonio but used his knowledge of it by opening up exclusive residential districts and having a beautiful house or two built in each to encourage others to buy property and settle in these districts. He did very well, and traveled to Europe with his whole family every few years.
“In the evenings in the summer when it was so very hot, we children were allowed to stay up late. It would have been impossible to sleep anyway. With mother and father, we would sit on the upstairs long gallery and sing. The southern skies on a warm night were very dark with many stars twinkling like lightning bugs. Father often went down to the little corner beer parlor two blocks away and brought back a little pail of beer. Mother and father would each have a large glass of beer so it was real cozy. I don’t remember that we children had anything to drink, although we might have been given lemonade.
“The property of the estate ran down to the river about one hundred feet back. Large pecan trees grew in the back. There was a steep drop to the river. We had a heavy rope with a huge knot at the end on which we took turns sitting. The other children would run way back, give a push and out we would swing over the river’s bank. This was fun, and we could hardly wait for our turn.
“We had a great deal of help—in the house and yard—and German cooks my father imported from Germany when on a trip there. Dressmakers also came into our home in those days since clothes were made at home and not in factories as now.
“I wore white dresses until I was four or five years old. The ironing woman would hang rows and rows of beautifully ironed frocks and petticoats and panties on lines in the ‘ironing kitchen’ as it was called. It was a beautiful sight to behold. It was a kitchen because there was a stove to heat the irons—no electric irons in those days.
“We went to Germany when I was five years old, then the next summer we traveled through many parts of Europe bringing to me additional unforgettable memories. I shall never forget sitting with my sister Emita and a tutor, a young, energetic teacher, on three wrought iron chairs with a wrought iron table very near the Radau River’s edge, studying arithmetic, Bible study, German reading and the writing of German script.
“When we returned to my Aunt Emma’s home after the following summer’s travel to say good-bye to her, the tutor asked my father to take him back to San Antonio. He offered to pay all of his own expenses and father took him.
“Not long after we returned to San Antonio, my father heard at the German social club he belonged to that the Menger Hotel on the San Antonio River needed a greeter to meet all travelers. The tutor applied, got the position, and did so well that he soon became the manager of the social activities of the hotel. He made many new plans such as serving meals outside along the river bank at noon and in the evenings. At night the Japanese lanterns, which he instigated, lit the river bank. This became a tradition continuing to this day all along the San Antonio River as it winds through the city.”
There was a pamphlet written and printed by John W. Hunter, the publisher of the Menard County Enterprise in 1905 that names Menardville – Summerland. The below pages are from the Don Wilkinson collection and are a Special Edition about our little valley town and are possibly written by Mr. Hunter. These could be from multiple publications and at different times and dates but what a great description of the people and town in our part of Central Texas in the Edwards Plateau.
This is another unidentified glass-plate negative photo from the late 1800′s. The seated gentleman is the same man in the Nic Tengg blog post.
I am still trying to identify the photographer. Great photo!
Nic Tengg started his business in San Antonio in 1874. Here is one of my glass-plate negative photos and you can see a safe behind the stand-up desk with the name Nic Tengg.
Wonder who took this photo, when and where this is located? Could any of these men be one of the five sons of Nic Tengg?
Here is an 1895 map of San Antonio made by Nic Tengg showing his address as 220 West Commerce Street, San Antonio, Texas.
You can click the map and go to a larger photo.
I found the two below photos on Flickr and the invoices for Nic Tengg with 218 West Commerce Street, San Antonio, Texas.
In my research for the date of my glass-plate negative photo of the Alamo; (http://blog.wilkinsonranch.com/2011/09/23/my-research-and-images-of-the-history-of-the-alamo/) it shows that the named business; Nic Tengg was located for over a half century on the south side of West Commerce, just east of Oppenheimer Bank in what was originally called “The Old Curiosity Shop” by Julius Berends. Nic bought this business in 1874.
Nicolaus Tengg was born in Austria on 6 December 1847, son of Eva Meyer and Thomas Tengg, both born in Austria. His family moved to San Antonio in 1852 by way of Indianola. He went to German-English school and then to St. Mary’s College. He worked for Julius Berends, a bookseller and stationer whose business was established in 1854. It was San Antonio’s first book store which he called “The Old Curiosity Shop”. Berends was very successful and his store was a gathering place for German intellectuals. Berends and his friends organized the Krankenkassen Verein, the Casino Society, and the German-English School, for which he served as director for 15 years. The building still stands today as a reminder of the high educational standards of those early German immigrants. It was built by Johann Kampmann.
In 1874, Berends returned to Germany and Nic bought his business and Nic Tengg’s bookstore became an institution in downtown San Antonio and remained a family enterprise throughout its ninety-year existence, eventually involving several of Nic Tengg’s sons. He was a bookseller, stationer and printer also map maker. The business was located on the same block for over a half century on the south side of West Commerce, just east of Oppenheimer Bank. At one time Nic served as Secretary of the old German-English school established by Berends and other members of the immigrant community. He was first secretary of San Antonio’s Turnverein.
On July 19, 1927, Nic Tengg , widower, died from a cold that developed into bronchitis at his home on 326 East Crockett Street. He was buried on 21 July 1927, in a family plot in the City Cemetery No. 1, at the far west end. He married Louise Plumzer on 27 August 1866, she was a member of a German-immigrant family. They had 9 children, 5 sons and 4 daughters. Their eldest son was named Julius (1867-1966) in honor of Julius Berends. The Nic Tengg business was closed by the family in 1964.
Some of this information came from the personal files of Mary El-Beheri, Julius Berends’ biographer.
1903 UDB Hugo Schmeltzer Building Alamo San Antonio TX
Sold Date: 05/01/2009
Channel: Online Auction
An undivided back card with a black and white view of Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, Texas. The Alamo itself can be seen to the right. In the middle of the shot is the Hugo Schmeltzer Building, with the Post Office behind it. Nice details. The image is marked “7 Nic Tengg” in the lower right corner. There is no further publishing information. This card was sent from San Antonio to East Saint Louis, IL in 1903.
This is in my personal collection; postcard by Nic Tengg.
Paula Allen – Paula Allen
Web Posted: 02/14/2010 12:00 CST
A photo of the San Antonio post office from a viewbook published by bookseller Nic Tengg in 1907.
PHOTO COURTESY OF NIC TENGG (MY NOTE: you can see this building in my blog post http://blog.wilkinsonranch.com/2011/06/26/help-me-to-identify-texas-1800s-glass-negatives/)
I found a book of very sharp, clear photos of San Antonio in a shed behind my house with some of my parents’ belongings and wonder what it might be worth. The publisher is Nic Tengg; on the same page, it says Albertype, Brooklyn. The first page has a picture of the Alamo. The rest are photos of the (Spanish colonial) missions, courthouse, post office, Sunset Depot, San Pedro Park and other places around San Antonio, attached to the pages like in a scrapbook. There is an introduction that refers to San Antonio as “the largest and oldest city in Texas” and gives the population as 53,321 from the 1900 census. Can you find out anything about this book?Norbert Bustos
Known as souvenir viewbooks, albums like this were published from the late 19th through early 20th centuries. For tourists who didn’t have cameras, they provided an elegant alternative to carrying home a sheaf of postcards. The publisher of your book was Austrian-born local bookseller/stationer Nic Tengg (1847-1927), who also published postcards and maps, printed brochures and letterhead stationery, and sold other paper goods and books in his shop at 220 W. Commerce St.
Its printer was the Albertype Co., which operated from 1890 to 1952 in Brooklyn, N.Y., as a postcard and viewbook publishing company, says the introduction to a finding aid for a collection of photos held by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, www.hsp.org. Founded by Adolph and Herman L. Witteman as Witteman Bros., the company changed its name to emphasize its process — “the technological innovation of the collotype or albertype to photomechanically reproduce images.” According to this document, Adolph Witteman and other photographers took photographs in cities and towns all over the United States, producing more than 25,000 collotypes of these images, which were “distributed across the United States in the form of postcards and viewbooks.”
Books of this kind “are sometimes rare, depending on the title,” says Ron Tyler, Ph.D., director of the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth. “The (highest) value, of course, would be placed on books that are complete and in good condition.”
Your book, according to comparisons with similar volumes in local libraries, is one of many different versions Tengg published. The San Antonio Conservation Society has the 1905 edition, which does not include an introduction.
“Many of the pictures were the same, although not always in the same order,” says Beth Standifird, Conservation Society librarian, who examined your copy. “A few pictures differed in the angle or place from which they were taken, (but) the scrapbook-style format was the same.”
The Texana/Genealogy Room at the central San Antonio Public Library also has a copy, cataloged as “San Antonio,” by Nic Tengg, published in 1907 by Tengg. Texana Manager Frank Faulkner saw your copy and says it’s from the 1907 edition, which has the introduction you quote. Both your book and Texana’s have green paper covers, about the weight of construction paper; both fasten on the left side with a string threaded through holes punched in the paper.
“However, the ‘San Antonio’ (title) on a good copy is indented with white paint in the letters,” says Faulkner. The white coloring is missing from your copy, as are two of the 23 pictures.
At the DRT Library, archivist Caitlin Donnelly and librarian Martha Utterback would like to see your copy, which sounds similar to the “San Antonio Album,” an undated book in the library’s collection that seems to match your book in some respects. The sequence of photos in both books is similar, although the Album doesn’t have an introduction and has hard, red covers. Another book there, “Picturesque San Antonio Texas,” has paper covers like yours, but its photo of the post office is not labeled in the lower right-hand corner as yours is. Donnelly suggests you visit the library on the Alamo grounds to compare the two books and to pick up a copy of the DRT Library’s list of appraisers. This list does not constitute any endorsement by the DRT, but could help you get started on finding the value of your book.
You may also stop by the History Shop, 713 E. Houston St., where Jim Guimarin has handled San Antonio photo books at prices ranging from $25 to $400. “Normally, anything less than original makes it half or more (of the possible top value),” he says. At the time of this writing, a Washington, D.C., bookseller was offering a copy of “Picturesque San Antonio, Texas, Photo-Gravures,” published in 1904 by Tengg, with “original green wrappers (faded and soiled), ties lacking, spine very worn,” for $165 at Advanced Book Exchange, www.abebooks.com.
E-mail questions to Paula Allen at history email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/sahistorycolumn.
Menard County and the town of Menard were given the name of a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, member of the Texas Congress, and founder of Galveston, Michel B. Menard (1805-1856) (research shows his middle name to be the family patronymic Brindamour after his grandfather Jean Baptiste Menard called Brindamour, but historians have published it as Branamour or Branaman). Colonel Menard never came to Menard and died in 1856 two years before the State Legislature honored him during the 7th Legislature on January 22, 1858. The county residents attempted to organize the county government June 25, 1866, but when the attempt failed the legislature placed Menard County under the jurisdiction of Mason County. So if I understand correctly, the first deed records of the county are located in Mason. Menard County residents finally elected their own officials in 1871. The county seat was originally named Menardville when the site was laid out in 1858. The town is located on the banks of the San Saba River.
You can read more about the forming of our county at the link at the Portal of Texas History, The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 Volume 4: http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6730/m1/935/?q=Menard
In the west part of the county was Camp San Saba which was first established on March 14, 1852 and was abandoned in 1859 but regarrisoned in 1868, at that time named Fort McKavett in honor of Captain Henry McKavett of the 8th New York Infantry, who was killed in the Battle of Monterrey, September 21, 1846. The fort was abandoned June 30, 1883. Thankfully in 2014, you can visit in Menard County the Fort McKavett State Historical Site along with the Presidio de San Saba.
Here is an article from newspaper THE MENARD NEWS – Centennial Edition published November 11, 1971, as a Souvenir Keepsake Edition.
First Decade 1871 to 1881
Menard County was created by the 7th Legislature on January 22, 1858. Until that time the area now known as Menard County had been a portion of Bexar County. Official organization of the county was delayed until 1871, following a failure in 1866 of the citizens to gather the necessary votes for a permanent organization. Further attempts at county establishment were delayed until the close of the Civil War. In the meantime, the settlement of Menardville was considered to be the county seat. This small village was very near to the geographic center of the 900 square mile county. The State Legislature proclaimed that the new county be named Menard in honor of Col. Michel Branaman Menard, a man of extraordinary aid in the development of early Texas. He was best-known for laying out and helping to establish the city of Galveston, and for serving in the Texas government. He died in 1856, several years before the organization of Menard County. The fact that the Legislature so-honored him is a great tribute to his enduring courage and noble character.
May 22, 1871 was the date set for the meeting called to further plans for the organization of the infant county. Three justices of the peace were present, presiding justice Captain J. J. Callan, Thomas J. Reese, and William I. Vaughn. The fourth justice, George Paschal, did not attend this meeting. The first two official county appointments were made by the group, Willie Prescott as Clerk and Louis Wilson as Sheriff.
The order for Menardville to be the seat of justice was handed down on May 29, 1871. An ad valorem tax of one-sixth of one percent was affixed with a county road tax of one-sixteenth of one percent. The first road commissioner was William Tipton. The first courthouse was a picket house.
Pioneer life in early Menardville was hard. The settlers worked hard to provide their families with food, with homes, which were usually picket houses with dirt floors and no room to spare, and to protect them from Indian raids which continued until 1875, although the biggest attacks were in the time of 1869-70. These Indians raided every light of the moon, stealing horses and murdering anyone caught in their way. It is claimed that the soldiers at nearby Ft. McKavett in the western part of the county did little to protect the settler. It was necessary for the early pioneers to depend on the Texas Rangers in the area.
There was little opportunity for an active social life in the early days. Social activities included quilting bees, dances, croquet games, and horse racing at the Ranger Station. These events were few and far between, forcing the settlers to enjoy them all the more. One treat was watching the stage as it went through town, with seldom a stop longer than just to toss off the mailbag and grab the out-going bag. Travel was held to the minimum, considering it took four days to travel from Menardville to Austin.
One of the first hotels in the thriving little community was Deckers’ Hotel, where you could get a room and three meals for $1.00 a day. That hotel was located on San Saba Avenue in later-day Menard.
In spite of hardships and Indian perils, there were about 15 or 20 students in the school.
Officials during the first decade of organized government included:
Commissioners of Precinct 1 – J. J. Callan, P. H. Mires, Jno. T. Scott, E. S. Ellis, E. Vanderstucken, Commissioners of Precinct 2 – Thomas J. Keese, O. Striegler, Peter Robertson, Jno. Campbell, Commissioners of Precinct 3 – George Paschal, W. M. Holmes, Wm. Lehne, Jno. Flutsch, and Sam’l Wallich; Commissioners of Precinct 4 – W. J. Vaughan, Isaac Sellers, Jos. M. Jackson, F. M. Kitchens, W. J. Wilkinson and D. P. Key.
Chief Justices – Captain J. J. Callan, P. H. Mires, and Jno. T. Scott.
County Judges – Samuel Wallich and A. B. Wyatt.
Sheriffs and Tax Collectors – Louis Wilson, J. L. Howard, C. P. Nunley, J. W. Cart, W. C. Harter, J. N. Blakeley, J. H. Comstock, and H. W. Merrill.
District and County Clerks – Willie Prescott, John McNeese, Thomas Cunningham, C. M. Hubbell and R. P. Beddrow.
County Treasurers- Jno. Bradford, Richard Robertson, E. S. Ellis, Wm. J. Vaughan, and W. W. Lewis.
Tax Assessors – L. J. Decker and Jos. Layton.
County Attorneys – C. C. Callan, Geo. W. Dexter, J. D. Hill, and Jno. Alex Smith.
Justices of Peace – James Moorhaus and W. W. Lewis.
Postmasters – Lee C. Blake, when post office was established in 1868, John Bradford, Willie Prescott, John McNeese, John T. Scott, Ludwig Decker, and V. D. Stucken.
Col. Michel B. Menard, whose portrait appears in the courthouse, was born in Canada of French parentage in 1805, and came to Texas in 1833, after a number of years previously spent among the Shawnee Indians. He gladly cast his fortune with the struggling Texas colonists to break the yoke of Mexico.
Fitted by inclination and natural endowment, his great industry and capacity enabled him to render conspicuous service to the Texas Patriots in this great cause that had its happy termination in San Jacinto.
This picture is an enlargement from an old daguerreotype of Col. Menard, formerly owned by Col. Thomas F. McKinney of Galveston and Austin, whose close personal friend and business associated he was. The owners of this original, relative of Col. McKinney, have taken pleasure in cooperating with Judge J. M. Matthews so that people of Menard County could have this authentic likeness of one of the most heroic and outstanding characters of early Texas history and in whose honor the County and County seat have been named. Picture by Jordon Co, Austin, Texas.
You can also see another photo of Michel B. Menard, founder of the town and namesake of Menard County at the Galveston County Historical Museum.
You may go to the below link at findagrave and see the headstone and burial place of Col. Menard.
|Birth:||Dec. 5, 1805
|Death:||Sep. 2, 1856
Galveston County Texas, USA
Indian trader, entrepreneur, and founder of the Galveston City Company; namesake of Menard County, Texas. There is a historical marker honoring Michel B. Menard in Galveston, Galveston County, Texas at the Old Catholic Cemetery.
More about the sketch of life of Michel B. Menard is found at this link. http://scholarship.rice.edu/handle/1911/37463
A historical report about the uncle of Michel B. Menard, Pierre Menard has the below information.
In the Edward G. Mason’s Early Chicago and Illinois – Chicago, 1890 (Chicago Historical Society’s Collection, vol. IV) it reads: Two of Pierre Ménard’s brothers, Hypolite and Jean François, followed him to Illinois and settled at Kaskaskia. The former was a successful farmer, and the other a famous navigator of the Mississippi. Both led useful and honored lives, lived to an advanced age, and both rest near their brother Pierre in the old cemetery at Kaskaskia. A nephew, also, Michel Ménard, having as well the family patronymic of Brindamour, who was born at LaPrairie, December 5, 1805, made his way to Illinois at the age of eighteen. For several years he was employed by his uncle Pierre in trading with Indians. He obtained great influence among them, and was elected chief of the Shawnees. It is said that he almost succeeded in uniting the tribes of the Northwest into one great nation, of which he would have been king. In 1833, Michel went to Texas, was a member of the convention which declared its independence, and of its congress. A league of land was granted to him, including most of the site of the City of Galveston, which he founded, and where he died in 1856. It is related that the Indians said of him, as of his uncle Pierre, whom in many respects he resembled, “Ménard never deceived us.”
More can be read about Pierre Menard and the letters from Pierre Menard’s parents in Chicago Historical Society’s possession.
I just came across a wonderful piece of information about the history of the telegraph here in Texas. Written in the history book in 1922 by J. Marvin Hunter, Pioneer History of Bandera County Seventy-five Years of Intrepid History on page 90, there is a one page story titled Furnished Telegraph Posts.
In 1875 the United States Government constructed a telegraph line from San Antonio to Fort Mason and Fort McKavett, and on to Fort Concho. George Hay and Charles Schmidtke of Bandera took the contract to furnish posts for the line from San Antonio to Fort McKavett, a distance of 175 miles.
They received ninety-eight cents each for the posts delivered along the route. Schmidtke and Hay employed crews of choppers and put them in the cedar brakes of Bandera, Kerr, Gillespie, Mason and Menard counties, paying these hands from twenty-five cents to seventy-five cents per post for cutting them. The firm supplied more than 12,000 posts, twenty feet long and better than two inches at the top. It required more than six months time to cut the poles and place them on the right-of-way, where soldiers with government teams erected them. Mr. Hay says they cleared over $3,000 on the contract, and were not obliged to give bond, as the government often required.
Previous to getting this contract Schmidtke and Hay had purchased a great many cattle on credit, drove them up the trail to Kansas, and lost money on them, and the government contract for posts helped to put them on their feet once more.
My husband’s grandmother was Laura Forrest Harryman Bradford (1895-1988). Her parents were William Albert Harryman (1858-1944) and Margaret Bell Pate (1860-1955). W. A. Harryman’s father was Andrew Jackson Harryman.
Andrew Jackson Harryman was born 1 Mar 1834 in Cole Camp, Benton County, Missouri to Simpkin Harryman (1794-1853) and Elizabeth Nancy Proctor (1794-1874). Simpkin was the first born child of John Culport Harryman (1772-1853) and Mary Brown (1777-1853). John’s parents were David Harryman (1737-1840) and Maude Adams (1750-1797). Mary’s parents were Edward Brown (1734-1823) and Margaret Durbin (1736-1795) and she was the younger sister of Joshua Brown who is my 4th great grandfather. His grandson was Joshua D. Brown, the first settler of Kerrville. Imagine my surprise to find the link to our families when doing genealogy research.
A. J. was a confederate soldier from 1863 to June 1865 in Captain A. C. Jones’ Company – Col. Santos Benevides, Regiment on the Rio Grande, Co. G, Calvary.
Andrew Jackson married his first wife Malinda Duren (1830-1866) in Benton County, Missouri on 28 Jan 1857. They had four children; the first were twins William Albert Harryman and sister Elizabeth Alminda “Eliza” Harryman born 30 Jan 1858 in Cole Camp, Benton County, Missouri. Their next two children were born in Goliad, Goliad County, Texas. On 6 Feb 1866, in Weesatchee, Goliad County, Texas Malinda died at age 35 years 2 months and 22 days.
On 11 Aug 1867, in Goliad, Goliad County, Texas A. J. married Laura Randall Vance (1839-1880) and they had eight children all born in Goliad. Their third born was a set of twins in 1871, Martha and Mary. On 4 Apr 1880, Laura died in Goliad; possibly during childbirth.
On 3 Oct 1883, A. J. married Louisa Jane Finch (1849-1930) in Goliad. They had two more children, two sons born in El Paso, El Paso County, Texas.
Andrew Jackson died 21 October 1914 in Runge, Karnes County, Texas and buried in Kenedy, Karnes County, Texas.
The Harryman generations had a long line of twins. Simpkin Harryman had twin sisters; his son Andrew Jackson Harryman had twin sisters and A. J.’s his first born children were twins. Again his second wife Laura Randall Vance and A. J. had eight children and their fourth born were twin girls.
Below is an early 1900 photo of an event in Bandera County, maybe a church revival or reunion. On the bottom right kneeling is Andrew Jackson Harryman holding a young boy on his lap.
Notice this is one of the first “Photoshopped” photos with the two men placed onto the photo and a new photo taken and printed. This is a large cardboard backed photo that was folded and damaged.
A. J. Harryman had quite a history.
I recently came across this little article written by J. Marvin Hunter in Volume 6 Number 5, page 207, Frontier Times Magazine, February 1929. The heading reads; Published Monthly at Bandera, Texas Devoted to Frontier History, Border History, Border Tragedy and Pioneer Achievement.
When deer hunters flock to Southwest Texas there are related many startling tales of individual prowess with the gun. But an authentic claim that tops all others is advanced by John L. Menges, 78, a resident of Menard.
Menges taught General George A. Custer how to shoot deer and was with the famous Indian fighter when he brought down his first buck, a 12-pointer, while stationed in Texas.
Menges was a freighter, carrying provisions by ox-cart between towns and forts in West Texas. Custer was stationed at Fort Mason and Fort Concho to protect the settlers against Indians. Though a good rifle shot Custer complained that he was unable to kill a deer. Menges undertook to show him and succeeded.
Wild game was plentiful in that day, buffalo and deer, disappearing when cattle was brought in. Menges learned to read while driving an ox cart and killed his first deer at the age of 11. He shot it at 94 paces by moonlight, he says.
To the fact that he was sick the day Custer left this section, Menges attributes the fact that he is alive today. He had been invited to accompany Custer as a scout but was unable to go because of illness. Going into the far West, Custer was killed at the Battle of The Little Big Horn.
Menges’ father was a deserter from the Imperial German Army, who migrated to Texas and settled near where Gonzales now is. Menges has spent his entire life in the Southwest and boasts that he has never been lost. He was born November 30, 1851, at Fredericksburg, Texas.
While he admits that his aim is not as accurate as it was 60 years ago, he still can bring down a deer better than most hunters. He has a special hunting license from the state.
I found that John Ludalfh Menges was born 30 Nov 1852 in Fredericksburg, Gillespie, Texas and lived in Junction, Kimble, Texas and died 6 Feb 1941 in Odessa, Ector, Texas and raised his family in Junction. I find this to be quite a story and a way to share some photos of George Armstrong Custer (1839-1876). I did find this blog and reference to the books published by Custer.
In 1871 General Custer began to contribute articles on frontier life to the “Galaxy,” which were published in book-form under the title “My Life on the Plains” (New York, 1874). He was engaged on a series of “War Memoirs” for the “Galaxy” at the time of his death. He occasionally contributed articles on hunting to “Turf, Field, and Farm” and “Forest and Stream.” His life has been written by Frederick Whittaker (New York, 1878). http://www.georgearmstrongcuster.com/
1859 ca. United States Military Academy Cadet George Armstrong “Autie” Custer
1859 Feb 17 West Point New York cadet George Armstrong Custer
1862 staff of Brigadier General Andrew Porter with George A. Custer reclining with a dog (hand-colored from slightlywarped.com)
1864 c Virginia, George A. Custer at his headquarters with dog at his feet by Brady & Co.
1864 General Custer and wife Libby photo by Mathew Brady Library of Congress
1865 Aug 8 Alexandria, Louisiana – Brevet Major-General George Armstrong Custer, US Army before leaving for Texas during Reconstruction
1874 George Armstrong Custer and wife Elizabeth Clift Bacon at Fort Abraham Lincoln Dakota Territory
1875c George Custer center with wife to his right and 7th Cavalry officers and wives near Fort Abraham Lincoln (from Facebook True West Magazine)
1875c George Custer was off climbing Harney Peak when his officers gathered for this drinking party during the Black Hills Expedition. Sitting in the front, by one of the guidons, is Fred Grant, son of President Ulysses S. Grant. ( True West Archives)
The fateful day of the Battle of Little Bighorn occurred on June 25, 1876. Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, along with five companies of the 7th Cavalry attacked the village of the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne Indians along the Little Bighorn River in southeastern Montana and all the soldiers were killed.
I am trying to find a copy of a brochure written by John W. Hunter that was a souvenir for the Confederate Veterans’ reunion held in July 1905, at Menardville. Unsure how many were printed for this special event. It is filled with local history and would be quite something to read. Here is more about it in the Texas Historical Association Quarterly. Let me know if you have one!
Page 226, The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 9, July 1905 – April, 1906
I am looking for an original of the below Menardville Public School photo.
Earlier this week I was contacted by two different Menard folks hoping I might have a photo of the 1890 wooden Menardville School. John Warren Hunter was the principal. A lady had contacted them looking for the photo; she had the caption but no photo. This is the same location as the Menard Elementary and Junior High School in 2014. The Frontier Times magazine article says this wooden building was replaced around 1902 with a rock building.
Here is the photo from the Don Wilkinson Collection and unfortunately the quality is not very good and looks to be from a newspaper article. Below you will see the “newly” found caption. It would be wonderful if we can find an original copy.
Caption for Photograph of Menardville School, 1890 Photograph Missing
PUPILS IN MENARDVILLE SCHOOL, 1890
Bottom row, left to right: Jimmie Bevans, Bart Bourland, George Wyatt, Bob Crawford, Gus Hunter, Joe Wilson, Jim Mann, Willie Strom, Tom Scruggs, Marvin Hunter, John Wilson, Wecka Mears, Willie Bevans, Dan Murray, Bob Russell, Ransom Moore.
Second row, left to right: Jennie Russell, Maggie Bourland, MaryJane Wilkerson, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Ellen Wyatt, Gillie Somerville, Unknown, Ella Crawford, Annie Lou Mears, Annie Murray, Maggie Johnson, Louvina Somerville, Aunt Lula Maddox, Birdie Scruggs.
Third Row (standing) left to right: Miss Alma Owens, assistant teacher; Cora Hunter, Emma Chisum, Ruth Moore, Annie Strom, Nellie Schuchard, Lovie Hunter, Natha Lewis, unknown, Mel Bradford (?), Alma Gay, Unknown.
Fourth row, (standing), left to right: Charlie Strom, unknown, Walter Mann, Frank Strom, Tom Russell, Clay Mann, Ed Mears, unknown, Nettie Wilson, unknown, unknown, Otto Rau, J. W. Hunter, principal; unknown.
On stairway: Left to right: Max Russell, Judge J. D. Scruggs, unknown.
Signed: Many thanks! M. Wiseman
More information was found on this site: http://www.aliciasniche.com/txmenard/school/schoolinfo.htm
September 6, 1884, “Professor” John Warren Hunter, from Mason, opened the Menard school. While I’m not sure what this school was named, I found that it was originally located near the courthouse.
October 2, 1884, “The citizens of Menardville have recently subscribed very liberally towards building an addition to the school house, which is at present entirely too small for the number of pupils in attendance. A few more dollars are needed still.”
Menard News and Messenger-
June 18, 1936
One of the first schools, as remembered by some of the pioneers of Menard County, was a picket, one-room structure situated west of where the West Texas Utilities Company is now located. George Chew and Professor Nunley were among the first teachers.
A few of the pioneers were taught under the massive burr oak tree which is still standing east of Menard in Sam Willman’s yard.
At a later date, a lumber two-story building was erected on the location now occupied by the present Menard Grammar School. Dances were often held in this building.
August 23, 1884 (4-5)
Menardville, Menard Co.
Submitted: August 16, 1884
September 6, 1884 (4-5)
Submitted on September 1, 1884
Prof. Hunter recently of Mason has arrived and will open his school today. He has flattering prospects for a fine school and comes here highly recommended.
More about J. Marvin Hunter and family.
Publishing icon J. Marvin Hunter left behind words, artifacts for public to savor
EDITOR’S NOTE — This is the 175th of a series of articles marking Kerr County’s 2006 sesquicentennial.
By Irene Van Winkle
West Kerr Current
This photograph shows the family of J. Marvin Hunter and his wife, Susie Rogers, with their young family. Their children are, from left, Myra Jennette “Nettie,” Rachel, Jay Marvin, Jr. and John “Warren.” In his 64-year publishing career, he owned and/or published 16 newspapers, and printed numerous books and other historical publications. His legacy remains in Bandera housed at the Frontier Times Museum.
As publisher, editor and/or owner of 16 newspapers across Texas and beyond, along with authoring many books, and a popular monthly magazine, few rural newspapermen rivaled John “Marvin” Hunter, Sr. (1880-1957) for prolific output.
With a firm belief that better things were to be found over the next hill, Marvin had frequent bouts of wanderlust. He got ink in his blood at his father’s newspaper. Intense curiosity and boundless energy served him well to help small towns toot their horn.
His friends included statesmen, professors, outlaws and lawmen. Marvin finally made Bandera, Texas his home, and left a permanent impression, seen today at the Frontier Times Museum. Many relatives, including Ruth Dewoody Hay and Joy Hickman Short Putnam, maintain his memory and admire all that he left behind.
“Grandpa Hunter was a great promoter. He would come to a town, write stories about it, and would get it believing in itself,” Ruth said.
Besides the 1953 Bandera Centennial special edition, probably his best known publication (and now sought-after) was Frontier Times Magazine, which debuted on Oct. 1, 1923. The magazine followed two earlier efforts, Hunter’s Magazine (co-founded with his father in 1910) and Hunter’s Frontier Magazine (1916). It was filled with tales of the wild and blood-thirsty frontier, often submitted by old-timers, alongside vivid photographs, images and graphics.
In 1955 it was sold, and two years later it was a companion to True West magazine. Under various owners and editors, the magazine reappeared on and off until 1985.
In his 64-year career, Marvin owned and published these papers: The Saturday Gazette and The Mason Spy in Mason, Texas, the Comfort Times, the Bland Herald and Carlsbad Headlight in New Mexico, the Menard County Enterprise, Kimble County Crony, Garden City Gazette, the Melvin Advocate, Harper Herald, Ozona Optimist, the Big Lake Crony, Sonora New Era, Bandera New Era and the Bandera Bulletin.
He wrote at least eight books, and numerous shorter historical publications. In his fascinating autobiography, “Peregrinations of a Pioneer Printer,” the opening paragraph revealed his personality:
“My life has been quite an eventful one, largely because of the fact that I have lived in what might be termed two periods — the pioneer period and the modern period. I was born in Loyal Valley, Texas, the 18th day of March, 1880. I was so small that I do not remember the occasion. My wife says she is surprised that I do not remember it, as I have often spoken of incidents that I remembered which occurred even before I was born.”
He said that back in his Scottish and Irish roots, the Hunter family had intermarried with the Calhouns (first spelled Cohoon, then Colquhoon and Calhoon). In Colonial days, apparently, three Hunter brothers — William, Jesse and James — had come to America before the Revolutionary War. On the Warren side, a General Warren had fallen at the Battle of Bunker Hill, and in his honor, many descendants in Marvin’s family bore the Warren name.
Marvin’s parents, John Warren Hunter and Mary Ann Calhoun, were first cousins. His paternal grandparents were Thomas Hunter and Jane Calhoun, who moved from Tennessee to Alabama. John was born in Rogersville, Ala. in 1846. 10 years later, his father moved to Texas and remarried. The family, which consisted of at least two other sons — Augustus Warren and James — came to Hunt County, and then to Hopkins County near Sulphur Bluff where they were farming when the Civil War broke out.
Marvin said his father did not get along with the new stepmother so he took off on his own by age 15. John hauled cotton and freight with a mule train from North Texas to Brownsville, which had not been blockaded. His brother, James, joined the Confederates and served four years with Forrest’s Cavalry.
Learning his parents had died, in 1868, John rode three weeks on horseback from Sulphur Springs to Troy, Tenn. There, he met Mary Ann who was well-educated, and whose parents objected to the illiterate “wild Texas boy.” They wed anyway and moved to Booneville, Ark. near James.
John farmed on a rented patch of land, while Mary Ann taught, but after the crops failed, their lack of income prompted a new plan. Mary Ann taught John the ornate “Spencerian” handwriting method. He became proficient and engaged 11 students in a nearby community for a 10-day session, at $1 per student.
His classes were so successful, he was asked to teach a second session, and another in his hometown, so he taught one group in the day and another at night. Both of them teaching, Marvin said, “was sufficient to keep the wolf from the cabin door.”
Then, Mary Ann taught John reading and math, and he passed the the district school board examination and was qualified to teach third grade. They stayed in Booneville as the family grew. There were three daughters — Alice Carey, Cora Luby and Lillian Lenoir. Sadly, they lost a girl named Texas at 2 years old.
Yearning for a more “pioneer” life, they relocated to Gillespie County in 1877 with a mere $4 in cash. However, he soon was hired to teach school in Spring Creek, Squaw Creek, Willow City and Loyal Valley. 1879 proved to be a bust for crops, so between school sessions, John hauled bones to Austin for $7 per ton, and then freighted 135 miles from Austin to Mason.
The following March, Marvin was born, named for Methodist Bishop Marvin. Marvin may have inherited his itchy feet from his father, as the family moved again in the fall, this time to Voca in McCulloch County, where John taught. Three years later, they were at Camp San Saba. In 1884, they moved yet again, to Mason. Their home was formerly the Mason News-Item printing office, where little Marvin got his first taste of printers’ ink after upending an ink bucket over his head.
“My good mother had a task getting me separated from that ink,” he wrote.
Soon, though, they were in Menardville (now Menard), and by then another daughter, Mary Lois, had arrived. After being dismissed by two disgruntled trustees a year later, John took the family to Fort McKavett. Here, Marvin witnessed the killing of desperado John Vaden by bartender Ben Daniels. Years later, Daniels was appointed U.S. Marshal in Arizona and New Mexico by President Theodore Roosevelt.
For a time, the family fluctuated between Mason and Menardville. In 1891, John bought the Menardville Record and put Marvin to work, the beginning of his career. A year later, John established the Mason Herald, publishing it for 18 years.
Among his forays in journalism, Marvin served a short stint in the 1890s at the fabled Tombstone (Arizona) Epitaph, but hated it, calling Tombstone “disreputable” and “about the deadest town in the world.”
He first married Hattie Westerman who died shortly after they married in 1901. Two years later, he married Susie Rogers and they had four children: John Warren, Myra Jennette “Nettie,” Rachel, and Jay Marvin, Jr.
Marvin was involved in whatever community he lived. In Melvin, where he bought out the Melvin Rustler, he served as Justice of the Peace and postmaster. He joined fraternal organizations such as the Masons, Oddfellows and Woodmen of the World. But, above all those groups, he said faith in God was his standard.
At age 40, he realized the family needed to settle down, and he purchased the Bandera New Era in 1924. The depression came, and despite a drought, Bandera was spared its worst. Marvin’s observations eerily paralleled the mood of today’s economy:
“The whole country was in turmoil, and for a time it looked as if revolution was imminent. Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president of the United States, and while some of the policies he advocated were not sound, the coffers of the government were opened and Roosevelt played Santa Claus to relieve much of the distress. The public is too familiar with the effects of government extravagance and its consequences to require comments at my hands, so I will leave that description to other writers of history.”
Ruth Hay, who came from Dilly, married Marvin’s grandson, Ray Marvin Hay in 1952. They met through Marilyn Hunter, her roommate at Texas State College for Women in Denton. Marilyn was Warren’s daughter, and Ray Marvin’s first cousin. His grandfather on the Hay side was the brother of Marilyn’s grandmother. Ray’s mother was Marvin’s daughter, Nettie. Incidentally, the Hay family had come to the area with the Lyman Wight Mormon Colony in 1854.
“Ray was out of college, and a year older than me,” Ruth said. “He was printing the Bandera Bulletin with his grandfather and his mother.”
After dating for two years, they wed. Ruth worked at the newspaper, too, when their only child, Tom, was little. She recalled that “Grandpa Hunter” typed with only the index and middle fingers of each hand. She also worked at the printing business, and learned to do many things. Then, Ruth began teaching math and physics at Bandera High School, which she continued for 13 years. She later returned to the Bulletin for two years, until the Hunters sold it.
Ray Marvin volunteered as an EMT, in addition to his printing and newspaper businesses, Ruth said, which meant he often slept little. He was also the first mayor of Bandera to serve, but not the first mayor per se.
“Marvin was the first one ever elected,” Ruth said. “The town held an election, and on one ballot, they voted on whether to incorporate the town and who would be mayor. Marvin ran for mayor, and won, but the election to incorporate did not pass.”
Joy, who was born in Lockhart, was married to Bill Short, Rachel’s son, for 35 years, although they later divorced amicably. They met at Sul Ross University, married, and in 1950, moved to Bandera. They had five children — artist Susie, teacher Annette Lee, Les, a contractor, Clare Jill, who works at Bandera Electric Cooperative, and Jake, who’s in finance.
She was the first licensed administrator of Hilltop Village Nursing Home. Joy also is an avid historian, with active memberships in the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the Kerr County Genealogical Society. She spends many hours volunteering at the Kerr Regional History Center.
Ruth said that one of Marvin’s best friends was Noah Hamilton Rose.
“They were both born in Loyal Valley, and Noah worked for John in his print shop,” she said. “They were lifelong friends, and Noah became a well-known photographer, who had businesses in San Antonio, California and Del Rio. People in California bought copies of his photographs (of Wild West characters), and often they were used for the movies.”
All of Marvin and Susie’s children learned about the business, and were trained as printers and newspaper workers. Nettie set type and was a reporter at the New Era. Rachel became an expert linotype operator and set all of the type on the weekly paper and the Frontier Times Magazine. In 1928, with his father’s help, Jay Marvin published the London Graphic, 24 years after Marvin first published it.
Son Warren published the reincarnated Harper newspaper for 10 years. He became well-known in his own right as an artist. His first major painting — a herd of Longhorn cattle swimming across the Platte River — hangs at the Frontier Times Museum, and was done when Warren was only 13, according to an interview Marvin had with Bill Reddell in his San Antonio Express column, The Bill Board.
“That boy was determined to become an artist,” Marvin told Reddell. “He had never seen a herd of longhorns nor the Platte. He had the scene described to him and started to work.” His first commissioned work, for which he got $50, was for John A. Miller, who said he’d pay for a good painting of a real Texas Longhorn.
“Old Warren took his easel down by the creek and started to work,” Marvin added. “I’d go get him for supper sometimes. Once I went after him and caught him chasing a cow back and forth along the creek. I hollered at him to cut it out. Runnin’ a cow doesn’t do ‘em any good.”
Warren replied that he was studying the muscles in the animal’s hind quarters. After publishing the Harper Herald his father had founded, Warren sold it and attended Chicago Art Institute. He became established as an artist, opening a studio in San Antonio’s La Villita section. In addition to the historical marker for the museum, Warren’s own was dedicated there last fall.
In 1957, Marvin died in Kerrville after becoming ill while visiting a sister.
The Frontier Times Museum, located on 13th Street, contains a diverse collection of about 40,000 artifacts — everything from a South American child’s shrunken head and 400 bells, to many of Noah’s photographs of outlaws, lawmen and pioneers, reflecting the spirit of the Old West. It is open daily except Sunday, and admission prices are a bargain.
Constructed from an attractive fieldstone, the museum opened on May 20, 1933, in the midst of the Great Depression. Marvin devised ingenious fundraising plans for the initial construction, and for later expansions, tied in with his books and newspaper.
Later, the museum was bought by Foster Doane. After his death, his widow remarried and moved away. Ruth said she “gave it to the community, or people, of Bandera.”
I have a blog post about Noah Rose at this link: http://blog.wilkinsonranch.com/2011/11/20/noah-hamilton-rose-famous-menardville-photographer/
Below is from the July 1937 Frontier Times magazine; The Country Schools of Fifty Years Ago written by J. Marvin Hunter with great information about Menardville and Mr. Hunter.