The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Helen Jones coined the phrase which David Murrah chose as the title of the
book. Helen remarked that "oil, taxes, and cats" were a "theme of conversation"
(p. 183) with Christine, who loved felines and took in hundreds of strays. Miss
DeVitt was a difficult character, and Murrah does not hesitate to tell of her iras-
cibility and procrastination.
Eventually Christine created the CH Foundation. Her sister set up the Helen
Jones Foundation, and Helen's daughter Dorothy formed the Plum Foundation.
All have given generously to charitable causes, including Texas Tech University.
While Murrah's account covers the chronological history of the Mallet Ranch,
he emphasizes the influence of the DeVitt family in its creation and manage-
ment. From business records, family letters, and interviews, he has put together
a fascinating story of a ranch and family that have heretofore escaped the atten-
tion paid to the Slaughters, Waggoners, Burnetts, etc. This account corrects that
oversight.
Tarrant County Junior College J'NELL L. PATE
A Century in the Works: Freese and Nchols Consulting Engineers, 1894-1994. By Si-
mon Freese and Deborah Lightfoot Sizemore. (College Station: Texas A&M
University Press, 1994. Pp. xix+435. Foreword, preface, acknowledgments,
notes, bibliography, index. ISBN o-890o96-561-7. $34.50.)
This study details the evolution of a partnership into a major regional consult-
ing engineering business over a hundred-year period. In essence, it is the mem-
oir of a company; coauthor Simon Freese is a senior partner in the firm of
Freese and Nichols.
He and Deborah Lightfoot Sizemore trace the history of the firm, which was
founded by John B. Hawley in Fort Worth in the late nineteenth century, from a
one-man firm involved primarily with Fort Worth's water and sewage works to a
company heavily involved in water resource development throughout Texas.
The book details the early activities of the firm during the 192os and its trials
during the depression years. It also provides an interesting view of the Great De-
pression and World War II from an engineer's perspective. After the war, Freese
and Nichols became deeply involved in devising the Texas Water Plan, reflecting
the pro-development mentality of the day.
During the 196os, the engineering profession became more aware of the
changing definition of environmentalism, which now encompassed the broader
social aspects of engineering projects. While Freese sometimes expressed his
frustration with environmental groups which held up projects, the company did
attempt to comply with the archeological and scientific guidelines of the envi-
ronmental protection laws. Freese's view of environmental engineering was,
however, anthropocentric: "The fundamental purpose of environmental engi-
neering is to preserve human health and well-being." This statement could have
been the company's motto.
Freese and Sizemore describe the professional careers of the principals and
many of their personal characteristics and interests. The authors tend to omit

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101216/. Accessed September 17, 2014.