Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000 Page: 7
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Consider the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County, Texas
In the same spirit, the Germans of Columbus organized a large-scale, continuing
festival, which they called the Volks Fest. The First Grand Volks Fest was held on April 23
and 24, 1872. Volunteers spent weeks organizing and advertising the event, and enclosing
and preparing the grounds on which it was to be held, the area north of Columbus known as
the grove. The Volks Fest began with a parade through Columbus. The town's commercial
buildings were draped with German and American flags. The parade was led by the Colum-
bus Brass Band. The band was followed by an elaborately decorated wagon, dubbed the
"Watch on the Rhine,"on which the queen of the festival rode. Then came the committee
that organized the festival, several wagons decorated to represent the various industries of
the country, two baseball teams (named the Colorado Base Ball Club and the Pioneer Base
Ball Club), several wagons representing agricultural products, the local German singing club,
the Allemannia Brass Band from La Grange, thirty-two small girls each costumed to repre-
sent one of the states of the union, a decorated wagon carrying the queen of the tournament
and her ladies of honor, and finally, the Knights of the Tournament, a procession of the
participants in the upcoming contest. When the parade reached the grove, three men, Rich-
ard V. Cook and John T. Harcourt, each a former state senator from Columbus, and Gustav
A. Loeffler, a Houston man concerned with promoting and managing immigration to Texas,
made speeches. After lunch, the two baseball teams played a game, with the Pioneer club
winning. The baseball game, which was probably the first ever played in the county, was
followed by a dance. The second day of the festival opened with another baseball game, this
one between the Island City Base Ball Team and the Houston Base Ball Club. After the
game, the tournament began. Organized to resemble a medieval tournament, the participants
each paid a rather-high $4 entry fee. Each adopted a fanciful nickname, among them "Knight
of the Lone Star Banner," "Knight of the Garter," "Knight of the Alamo," and "Knight of the
Forest." The Knight of the Farmer, James William Guynn, won first prize, a new saddle, and
his brother-in-law, the Knight of Colorado, Walter Eldridge "Dick" Bridge, took second
prize, a silver pitcher. The festival closed with a sack race, a race of children across an
obstacle course of ropes, and two "Fat Men's" races, which drew between them a total of
February 15, 1872, February 22, 1872, February 27, 1873. The organizers of the German Casino were
Sophus Johann Theodor Harde, George Witting, Robert P. Tendick, Charles Schmidt, Theodore Oswald,
Simon Thulemeyer, and William Beethe; those of the German Germania were Harde, Witting, Johann
Zwiegel, Helmuth Kulow, and Friderich Gustav Schultz. The earliest known appearance by a dramatic
company at the Casino Hall featured an actor named Vining Bowers on March 1, 1872.
7 Colorado Citizen, February 22, 1872, March 14, 1872, March 28, 1872, April 4, 1872; La
Grange New Era, March 15, 1872, April 19, 1872, May 3, 1872; AMembers of the Texas Legislature,
1846-1962 (Austin: n. p., c. 1963), pp. 39, 45, 51. The festival grounds contained a platform for the
speakers, a platform for dancing, and a refreshment stand. Harcourt was state senator in the Ninth and
Tenth Legislatures, which met under the state's Confederate government; Cook was state senator in
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000, periodical, January 2000; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151408/m1/7/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed April 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.