Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 3, Number 3, September, 1993 Page: 122
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
as a public home for the aged. Until that time, only persons who took the pauper's oath
had been admitted to the farm. Afterward, any person could be admitted with approval
from Knight. It would be up to Knight to iron out the terms of all admissions, including
those of paupers sent to the farm by the commissioners court.26
Joe Knight died in a Houston hospital on August 3, 1962. A month later,
on September 10, 1962, Knight's widow, Lillie Bell, appeared before the commissioners
court and announced that she was planning to move to Houston and could no longer run
the nursing home. She was replaced by Wanda Bryant, who already operated the San
Jacinto Hotel in Weimar. Bryant immediately announced plans to upgrade the facility,
but quit after little more than a year, in March 1964. She was replaced by Dorothy Pinn,
a licensed vocational nurse then working in the clinic in Columbus. A year later, the
county decided to close the facility, which was by then being known as the Sunny Hill
Nursing Home. On June 1, 1965, the county entered into a contract with Columbus
Convalescent Home, Inc., to provide housing and care for its two remaining aged paupers
for $50 per person per month. The same day, the seventeen remaining residents of the
county farm, fifteen of whom were paying their own way, were transferred to the
Columbus Convalescent Home. Pinn voluntarily terminated her contract with the
The commissioners discussed renting the farm property as a residence, then,
on November 8, 1965, decided to lease it to William Lavo Wegenhoft. On August 12,
1968, with the property still under lease to Wegenhoft, the commissioners raised the
question of selling the farm. On January 13, 1969, they agreed to advertise for bids.
Three months later, on April 14, 1969, they received five bids, ranging from $6,120 to
$1 2,060, but rejected all five as too low. Three days later, spurred by an intense negative
reaction to the rejection of the highest bid, which had been submitted by Dan Prause,
the commissioners met again to reconsider the question. Prause had stated that he
intended to erect a nail factory on the site, and his lamentation that, since his bid was
rejected, "This is an industry Colorado County will certainly lose," made headlines in The
Colorado County Citizen. At the second meeting, thirteen Columbus businessmen,
including Samuel King Seymour, Jr. and Ellis G. Miller, appeared before the court to urge
it to sell the property to Prause. County Judge Charles D. Rutta was firmly convinced
that the property could be sold for more money, but the three commissioners that were
present unanimously voted to approve the sale. The sale was finalized on April 29,
26 See Commissioners Court Minute Book 18, pp. 84-85, Office of the County Clerk, Colorado
County, Texas and The Colorado County Citizen, February 16, 1956 and May 17, 1956.
27 See Commissioners Court Minute Book 19, pp. 377 and 383, Commissioners Court Minute Book
20, pp. 31-34, 199-201, Office of the County Clerk, Colorado County, Texas, and The Colorado County
Citizen, August 9, 1962, October 1, 1962, March 5, 1964, March 19, 1964, May 20, 1965, and June 10,
28 See Commissioners Court Minute Book 20, pp. 277, Commissioners Court Minute Book 21, pp.
205, 325-327, 330-331, and Deed Book 279, pp. 288-289, Office of the County Clerk, Colorado County,
Texas, and The Colorado County Citizen, June 17, 1965, April 17, 1969, April 24, 1969
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 3, Number 3, September, 1993, periodical, September 1993; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151389/m1/14/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed April 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.