Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 2, Number 2, May, 1992 Page: 106
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
As my father was running along the courthouse, he met up with Judge
Mayes, who was the county judge. My father asked Judge Mayes where the fire was.
Judge Mayes, in his taciturn manner, replied that the war was over. My father returned
home and told us the water was overflowing it's banks at the north bridge. Yet the fire
bell kept ringing and we were quite puzzled over this. Soon we could hear cars honking
and occupants shouting happily. A number of cars passed our house and one shouted,
"Oh you Huns." We then found out that the war was over and not the water overflowing.
The families of Germanic abstraction were generally considered to be the
Matzke, Mattern, Richter, Burgers, Glogers, Bradens as I recall. But while researching
family history at the Clayton Geneology Library in Houston, and perusing a census record
of 1870, I was surprised to see many families in Columbus who were not generally
considered to be of German abstraction and that they and their forbears came from
Prussia, and other German states. So being branded "Huns" was quite a shock to me
when we had Liberty Bonds signs in the window of our house and also indications that
our family had men in the service
If I had a hero in my boyhood, it would be Brandon Fitzpatrick. Brandon was
a huskily built Irishman who had served in the army. He had many war tales to tell and
I hung on every word and was fascinated by his exploits. He lived over the fire station
and he had a large trunk full of war trophies. He had a German gas mask, a helmet, one
of their rifles with a bayonet attached, a German uniform and other items. I wonder what
has become of these war trophies.
I remember another incident of World War I. We were Catholic and attended
St. Anthony Catholic Church, which was then a wooden structure facing Bonham Street
instead of Bowie Street. From the front door to the gate in the fence was about 20 or
25 feet. The sidewalk was fairly wide and laid out in 2 Y2 to 3 foot squares. The squares
were alternately in red and black color - in the cement, I presume. I was an altar boy
as was Skeeter [Cyril Charles] Gloger and Sammy Tait. Father [F. S.] Strobel was the
priest. One morning I came to Mass and the sidewalk had been painted a dark gray as
I recall. I asked Father Strobel why the sidewalk was repainted. He said that it had been
pointed out to him that red and black colors were the colors in the German flag and he
thought it best to change the color for fear that people might think the church was
indicating some allegiance to the German nation.19
14. The Depot
There were two passenger trains through Columbus each day - one east and
one west. There were many freight trains each day. The west bound passenger train
came through about 1:30 p. m. and 2:00 p. m.20 Before train time, cars began to park
along the row of white posts marking the area where the baggage cars would unload the
19 According to Memorial of Dedication St. Anthony's Church, an 88 page booklet published in
1961, Father F. S. Strobel took charge of the parish, then known as St. Matthias', on May 8, 1913 and left
in January 1920. The Colorado Citizen of January 16, 1920 reports that he was to say his last Mass in
Columbus on January 18, 1920. The name "St. Anthony" was not applied to the parish until 1930 when,
after a fire on March 2, 1929 had severely damaged the church building, the Catholic Church Extension Society
donated a substantial amount of money toward the construction of a new facility with the condition that the
perish be renamed in honor of St. Anthony of Padua.
20 There were actually four passenger trains, three west bound and one east bound, that passed
through Columbus during the author's youth. The west bound train the author refers to was scheduled to
arrive in Columbus at 1:53 p. m. until May 1918, when the arrival time was changed to 1:58 p.m. At the
same time, the east bound train's scheduled time of arrival was changed from 4:45 p. m. to 11:58 a. m. The
other two west bound trains came through in the early morning hours, one scheduled for 2:50 a. m. (until May
1918 when the time was changed to 2:38 a. m.) and the other for 3:53 a. m.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 2, Number 2, May, 1992, periodical, May 1992; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151385/m1/38/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed July 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.