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Skidmore Float in Beeville Parade in 1916
Photograph of the Skidmore float in the 1916 parade in Beeville. The Bee County Fair Association was organized in 1890. One of the features of the Fair was the spectacular parade with decorated floats pulled by both horses and automobiles, and bands furnishing music for the pageant. The first fair grounds were located about two miles west of the city on what is now known as Viggo Road. Farmers and ranchers exhibited agricultural products and livestock, and the women displayed articles of clothing which they had made by hand. After a few years, the annual fair succumbed because of lack of interest only to be revived in 1912, on a much larger scale. The exhibits building was then located about three blocks west of Poesta Creek on the left side of Corpus Christi Street. The big social event was the crowning of the Queen of the Fair, held in the Grand Opera House. During World War I the fair was dormant because so many of the young men were in the armed forces. At the end of the war it was revived and continued until 1933.
Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church
Photograph of the Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church congregation standing outside in front of the church before their Sunday Services. The church was organized in 1884. Behtlehem Baptist is the oldest African-American congregation in Beeville. Charter members included Matthew Broadus, Peter Flannigan, L. Broadus, Martha Bess, M. Peters, Salanas Davis, and Edna Canada. Served originally by a circuit pastor, the congregation held Sunday services in a schoolhouse donated by Captain A.C. Jones. The church purchased land from Jones and built its first sanctuary in 1893. In 1926, the original white-frame structure and its two towers were replaced by a larger, but smaller structure. The church has been replaced several times since then, including its most recent construction in the 1980’s. It is located at 108 North Burke Street.
Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church Historical Marker
Photograph of the historical marker for the Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church in front of the modern day Bethlehem Baptist Church. The church was organized in 1884. Behtlehem Baptist is the oldest African-American congregation in Beeville. Charter members included Matthew Broadus, Peter Flannigan, L. Broadus, Martha Bess, M. Peters, Salanas Davis, and Edna Canada. Served originally by a circuit pastor, the congregation held Sunday services in a schoolhouse donated by Captain A.C. Jones. The church purchased land from Jones and built its first sanctuary in 1893. In 1926, the original white-frame structure and its two towers were replaced by a larger, but similar structure. The church has been replaced several times since then, including its most recent construction in the 1980’s. It is located at 108 North Burke Street.
Jones Chapel Methodist Church
Photograph of Jones Chapel Methodist Church, an African American church that has served the African American community of Beeville for more than 100 years. The church is located on 115 North Leverman Street. Jones Chapel Methodist met in an old school house until they built a sanctuary in 1889, on land donated by Captain A. C. Jones to three former slaves, who served as trustees of the new church. Charter members included Classie Douglas, Ann Felix, Felix Garner, Lawson Glenn, Serena Hodge, Ellen Jones, Ben Lott, Leanna Lott, Mose Lott, J. J. McCloud, Carrie McCampbell, P.M. McCarty, Kimmie Nancy, Elvira Newton, Rebecca Simms, Wesley Simms, I.E. Starnes, George Steward, Katy Ware, Sam Ware, Harriet Williams and Mary Williams. Many of the early members were former slaves. In 1926, the present frame church was built on the original site, where the congregation fervently serves the African American community of Beeville.
Jones Chapel Methodist Church Historical Marker
Jones Chapel Methodist met in an old school house until they built a sanctuary in 1889, on land donated by Captain A. C. Jones to three former slaves, who served as trustees of the new church. Charter members included Classie Douglas, Ann Felix, Felix Garner, Lawson Glenn, Serena Hodge, Ellen Jones, Ben Lott, Leanna Lott, Mose Lott, J. J. McCloud, Carrie McCampbell, P.M. McCarty, Kimmie Nancy, Elvira Newton, Rebecca Simms, Wesley Simms, I.E. Starnes, George Steward, Katy Ware, Sam Ware, Harriet Williams and Mary Williams. Many of the early members were former slaves. In 1926, the present frame church was built on the original site, where the congregation fervently serves the African American community of Beeville. It is locate at 115 North Leverman Street.
Saint Rose Cemetery
Photograph of Saint Rose Cemetery, an historical African-American cemetery in Beeville. St. Rose Cemetery located at 1302 East Hefferman St, lies on a 2.5-acre tract. In 1901, Nancy Williams, a former slave, was the first person buried in the new cemetery. Mose Lott and Allen Canada, builders of the first school for African Americans in Beeville, are also buried here. Since this picture was taken, the Lott-Canada Alumni Association erected brick pillars with brass plaques at both entrances to replace the wrought iron sign which had been donated by the Juneteenth Committee. The dirt road has also been replaced with a paved road by the county. In 2008 a dedication ceremony was held after Saint Rose was desigated a Texas Historical Cemetery.
Dedication of Marker for Saint Rose Cemetery in Beeville, Texas
Saint Rose Cemetery was designated a Texas Historical Cemetery during a dedication ceremony in August 2008. Dr. Barbara Welder, chair of the Bee County Historical Commission, spoke at the dedication which was attended by Lawrence Oaks, Executive Director of the Texas Historical Commission. This historical African American burial ground was formally deeded in 1921. However, some burials took place prior to that; with the earliest known burial being that of a former slave, Nancy Williams, dating from 1901. Among the prominent individuals interred here are Mose Lott and Allen Canada, the two men who built the first Beeville schoolhouse for African Americans; several veterans of conflicts dating back to World War I; and Mrs. Mary Canada, who was a mediator between the black and white communities during the “incident free” desegregation of the Beeville Independent School District.
Lott-Canada School
The original school for Black Americans was founded in 1876 in the Stephen Canada store seven miles above Beeville. In 1886, when the Methodist Church was moved to make room for the railroad depot, lumber from what is known as the “old Methodist Church” was given to build the second school for the Black American children. Mose Lott and Allen Canada were the carpenters who built the school at 107 Burke Street. The school operated at this location until it burned around 1929. Built in 1931, this third school was named “Lott-Canada” in honor of the builders of the former school. The Lott-Canada School was partially funded by the Rosenwald Foundation and the building was named for the CEO of Sears at the time. In the fall of 1955, students were transferred to BISD, where integration was peacefully concluded. In 1960, the school was closed; however, it continued to serve the community as the Special Education Building for the school district until it was leased to Coastal Bend Community College in 2008. Today is it used by the college for Customized and Continuing Education, Adult Basic Education/GED, and English as a Second Language classes. Of the 450 Rosenwald schools built in Texas, Lott-Canada is one of only forty known to be standing. Members of the Lott-Canada Alumni Association have created an exhibit in the school that details the building’s history and contains artifacts from the old school days donated by former students. In 2008 the school was awarded a Texas Historical Marker and is on the National Register.
Professor William E. Maddera
Photograph of Professor William E. Madderra, a Latin and Greek scholar, and a master mathematician. Professor W.E. Madderra, one of the most brilliant and intellectual teachers, started his teaching career in Beeville in 1898, In 1999, Mr. Madderra moved to Nacogdoches to serve as superintendent, however he returned after a year when his uncle, Superintendent T.G. Arnold, became ill. In 1900 the board named him superintendent, a position he held until his death in 1936.
The Wood Ranch
Photograph of Glen Clare on horseback working cattle on the Wood Ranch Southeats of Beeville. Across the bottom of the picture are the words "The Wood Ranch, with Glen Clare, southeast of Beeville."
Cattle Round Up On the Brown Ranch
Photograph of cowboys herding cattle on the Ed Brown Ranch. The Brown family has been in Bee County for several generations. Austin II's great grandfather operated the mercantile store on the square in town. Austin I, his son, was in the bulk fuel business. As a wholesale dealer for Magnolia, which later became Mobil, he delivered kerosene and gasoline to farm families with a wagon and team. Every time he made a dollar or two, Austin Brown I bought a little piece of land. He began putting the ranch together in 1924. The headquarters operation, where their preconditioning facility is located, is in Bee County, but they lease several other ranches in South Texas. Early on, like many South Texans, the Browns ran Brahman cattle. In 1945, Ed bought some registered Hereford cattle from a man in the area. He began crossing these Herefords with the Brahman cattle and ended up with a "tiger stripe-looking animal," Austin says. "My grandfather found out right quick that the first cross (F-1) was one of the best animals ever developed for Texas." Eventually the Browns phased out the Brahman cattle altogether and began building their Hereford program. Today they continue to maintain a base herd of 200 registered Hereford cows.
Beeville Opera House
The Grand Opera House was a three-story building located on the corner of Washington and Bowie Street. Owners were A.F. Rees and E.J. Kinkler. Murray Eidson was the manager. His family owned the 1880's opera house located on the courthouse square. The Grand Opera House opened in January 1908 with W.B. Patton in a comedy, The Slow Poke. Admission prices were 75 cents, $1, and $1.50. There was a balcony, and four boxes, or loges. Some of the best dramas, comedies, and musical plays that came south were shown. William Jennings Bryan delivered his famous "Prince of Peace" address in the Opera House. People came from Goliad, San Patricio, Live Oak, Karnes, and Refugio counties, and Beeville became an entertainment center. The Grand Opera flourished for about eight years, but with the coming of movie theaters attendance begin to drop, and many of the big stage shows stopped coming south. In December 1919 a fire destroyed the building.
McClanahan House
Photograph of the two story McClanahan house located on 206 East Corpus Christi Street. The McClanahan House is the oldest business structure in Beeville. The building, the second store built in Beeville by George W. McClanahan, was erected around 1867 on the east side of the courthouse square, near Poesta Creek. The house served as general store, lodging house, and post office. It was built in the pioneer western style, with southern porches. McClanahan was Beeville’s first merchant; he was among the first to buy auctioned lots in the newly formed town of Beeville in 1859. McClanahan also served as schoolteacher, postmaster, county clerk, innkeeper, and Sunday school superintendent. After McClanahan’s death, L.F. Roberts purchased and operated the store for many years. In 1962, the building was purchased by the Historical Society for $600, and moved to its present site. The building is still the “home” of the society, and meetings are held there periodically.
Cotton Hauled by Mules in Oakville
Photograph of James and Lee Crawford Brother's Freight Co. located in Oakville, Texas. In the foreground, loads of cotton are piled onto mule-drawn wagons. F. H. Church stands in front of the mules in the foreground. Three wagons are visible in front of wooden building. The driver of the first wagon is James Crawford. The photograph was taken at or near where Monroe Fink's office is now. If cotton was hauled to the coast for shipment, it came through Beeville.
Cotton in Front of Wimmer Store in Oakville, Texas 1907
Photograph of loads of cotton piled onto mule-drawn wagons outside of Wimmer Store in Oakville,located in Live Oak County, Texas. The wagon driver is Lee Crawford. Similiar scenes took place across Bee County in the early 1900's.
Last Known Veterans of the 1836 Texas Revolution
1906 photograph of veterans of the Texas Revolution. Pictured are W. P. Zuber of Austin, J. W. Darlington of Taylor, Aca C. Hill of Oakville, S. F. Sparks of Rockport, L. T. Lawlor of Florence, and Alfonso Steel of Mexia. "We'll rally 'round the flag boys, we'll rally once more". The Texas Veterans Association, an organization of those who had served prior to, during, and immediately after the Texas Revolution, held its first convention in Houston on May 13–15, 1873, with about seventy-five veterans present. After 1876 the annual meetings, held in some seventeen different Texas cities, always took place in the week including April 21, San Jacinto Day. At the Goliad meeting in 1906 only six of the last ten known survivors of the Army of the Republic of Texas were present: William P. Zuber, Alfonso Steele, John W. Darlington, Asa C. Hill, S. F. Sparks, and L. T. Lawlor. The association dissolved in Austin on April 19, 1907, during its thirty-fifth annual convention. With its dissolution its work was taken over by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. The stories of some of these men can be found in the Handbook of Texas.
Aerial View of Bee County College
Photograph of an aerial view of Bee County College. In 1965 the voters of Bee County named the entire county as a college district and issued bonds in the amount of $1,500,000 for a junior college. One hundred acres of land was donated for the college campus by the widow of A.C. Jones II, and her three living children, Mrs. W.M. Thompson, W.W. Jones II, and Mrs. H.B. Hause. In the fall of 1967 the first classes of Bee County College were held. Today the college is named Coastal Bend College and includes campuses in Beeville, Alice, Kingsville, and Pleasanton.
Leanna Ivory Lott, Wife of Mose Jackson Lott
Photograph of Leanna Ivory Lott, wife of Mose Lott holding their daughter Nealie Lott. Leanna Lott was a charter member of Jones Chapel Methodist Church. In 1886, her husband, Mose Lott, and Allen Canada build the first school in Beeville for Black children.
Allen Canada
In 1876, Stephen Canada conducted a school for Black Americans in his store seven miles above Beeville. After lumber from the old Methodist Church was donated for a school for Black American children, Stephen Canada and Mose Lott were the carpenters who built the school at 107 Burke Street. In 1931, a new school was built for Black American children. This new school was named the Lott-Canada School in honor of these two men. In this picture Stephen Canada is standing with three children from the Cox family.
Mrs. Mary Canada
Mary Lee Pettus Canada’s obituary. Mary Lee Canada was a respected resident of Beeville for more than sixty years. Born in Goliad on September 26, 1884, Mary Lee Pettus married Elvy Canada in 1909 and moved to Beeville. She was a member of Bethlehem Baptist Church and was the first Worthy Matron of the Golden Leaf Chapter # 593, Order of the Eastern Star which had been organized in Beeville in 1928. She and Elvy had one daughter, Alma Hampton, who worked the summers in the fields to earn money for her first tuition at Guadalupe, a school for blacks in Seguin, and taught school for forty-two years. Mary Lee Pettus Canada died on June 20, 1964.
Mrs. Alma Lee Urps Hampton
Photograph of the front page of a funeral pamphlet for Mrs. Alma Lee Urps Hampton. Alma Lee Hampton was born on June 16,1902 to Mary (Pettus) and Dave Urps. She was reared by her mother and stepfather, Elvy Canada, a member of a pioneer Bee County family. As a child she attended Lott Canada School when it was a school with no name and only two teachers for about forty students. She was often taken out of school to chop cotton. She worked in the fields during the summer to earn money for her first year’s tuition at Guadalupe, a school for blacks in Seguin. With the support of her husband, Mitchell Hampton, a railroad man in Skidmore, and her mother, Mary Lee Pettus Canada, she earned her teaching certificate and bachelor’s degree from Texas Southern University in Houston. She began her teaching career in a one-room schoolhouse in 1926, and continued teaching for forty-two years. She went to Del Mar in Corpus Christi to fulfill her dream of learning piano, and later utilized this talent as pianist for the old Anderson chapel in Skidmore. Mrs. Hampton passed away March 7, 1998. The services were held at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Beeville.
American Legion Post 818 and Lymas Langley, Jr.
Photograph of commander Lymas Langley Jr. burning the note for Legion Hall Post 818. American Legion Post 818 was named for an African-American man, Charles Major Lytle, who was killed while in defense of his country in World War II. The late Judge James R. Dougherty, prominent Beeville attorney, oil producer and philanthropist, donated several lots on which to build a Legion Post Hall. He also donated some money to help pay for the construction work. The post was completed in 1952 on West Hefferman St. The members sold barbecue dinners and paid out the indebtedness. The post was organized in 1946 with sixteen charter members. Lymas Langley Jr. as the first commander. Son of noted cowboy, Lymas Langley, Sr., Lymas Langley, Jr. was also a charter member of the Board of Community Council in 1965. He, along with George Hodges and Willie Walker, were in charge of the 1925 "Juneteenth" celebration, and he operated a restaurant on West Corpus Christi St. After Langley died in 1971, Camp Ezell, in his book The Historical Story of Beeville, Texas noted that Lymas Langley, Jr. was the most effective peacemaker of Bee County and the seeds of wisdom, understanding and kindness he instilled in whites, blacks, and people with Spanish surnames will live indefinitely.
Mrs. Lymas (Johnnie) Langley, Jr.
Photograph of Mrs. Lymas Langley, Jr. standing beside the dedication marker of her husband Lymas Langley Jr. The marker says "Beeville Volunteer Ambulance Service Building Erected 1971 Dedicated in Memory of Lymas Langley, Jr."
Bee County College Drawing
Print of a Bee County College in Beeville, Texas. The print depicts a quadrangle on the college campus surrounded by buildings and lined with trees. The original watercolor was created by Richard Lewis. In 1965 the voters of Bee County named the entire county as a college district and issued bonds in the amount of $1,500,000 for a junior college. One hundred acres of land was donated for the college campus by the widow of A.C. Jones, Mrs. W.M. Thompson, W.W. Jones II, and Mrs. H.B. Hause. In the fall of 1967 the first classes of Bee County College were held. Today the college is named Coastal Bend College and includes campuses in Beeville, Alice, Kingsville, and Pleasanton.
McClanahan/L.F. Roberts Dry Goods
McClanahan/L.F. Roberts Dry Goods. Now located at 206 E Corpus Christi Street, the McClanahan House is the oldest business structure in Beeville. The building, the second store built in Beeville by George W. McClanahan, was erected around 1867 on the east side of the courthouse square, near Poesta Creek. The house served as general store, lodging house, and post office. It was built in the pioneer western style, with southern porches. McClanahan was Beeville’s first merchant; he was among the first to buy auctioned lots in the newly formed town of Beeville in 1859. McClanahan also served as schoolteacher, postmaster, county clerk, innkeeper, and Sunday school superintendent. After McClanahan’s death, L.F. Roberts purchased and operated the store for many years. In 1962, the building was purchased by the Historical Society for $600, and moved to its present site. The building is still the “home” of the society, and meetings are held there.
Snowfall at the Leverman House
Photograph of the Leverman House after a snowfall. In the 1920’s, Fritz Leverman, owner of the Ideal Meat Market, and Jim Ballard were natural comedians who lifted their customer’s spirits with their stories. Mr. Leverman also served as Fire Chief.
The Rees Home
Photograph of the Rees Home,500 East Corpus Christi Street. Later owned and occupied by the family of Richard McCord.
Paul Bauer and Son Saddle Shop, Beeville
Photograph of three men standing inside of the Bauer Saddle Shop located at 328 N Washington St. The founder of the Bauer Saddle Shop, Frederick Bauer, a renowned saddler in Germany arrived in Galveston in 1855 and opened his first saddler in Yorktown. The Bauer’s made their famous Bauer saddles for over one hundred years, and worked in several Texas towns before settling permanently in Beeville. Paul Bauer was listed as a saddler in the 1910 City Directory, and his son, Fred, was listed in later directories through 1948. The last Bauer saddle was made by Fred in 1950, the year he died.
Saint Mary's Academy 1916
Photograph of the students that attend Saint Mary's Academy in 1916. Saint Mary’s Academy was opened in the fall of 1896 by the Sisters of Divine Providence as Beeville's first parochial school. Within a year a large two-story day and boarding school were added. Fire destroyed the academy building in December of 1930. St. Joseph’s School was built on the same location (400 N Tyler St). In 1996, Our Lady of Victory Catholic School and St. Joseph’s combined to form the new St. Mary’s Academy on the same location as the early founding school.
Jim Ballard and his Horse Charlie
Photograph of Jim Ballard standing in front of his horse, Charlie. Hallettsville native, James Tiberius “Jim” Ballard took advantage of government loans after President Woodrow Wilson’s election in 1912, and purchased a drugstore in Beeville. This was the beginning of Ballard Drug, the town’s oldest drugstore. Jim Bullard was given the title of “Champion Yarn Teller” by his friends. He served as a City Councilman, Mayor of Beeville, and Vice President of First National Bank. In 1972 his daughter, Mrs. Alice Ballard Broocks of Beeville, published a collection of Mr. Ballard’s favorite stories. Jim Ballard died in 1962 at the age of 89.
The McKinney Home
Photograph of the McKinney home located on 211 East Cleveland Street. Built by Robert and Phoebe Porter McKinney on their ranch in northern Bee County in the 1890’s. It was torn down, the boards were numbered, and it was rebuilt again at its present location. The house was occupied by Frank McKinney, former Tax Collector of Bee County
Sheriff D. A. T. Walton's Home
Photograph of Sheriff D. A. T. Walton's home. A native of Alabama, D.A. Dalton came to Bee County in 1860. He had served with a ranger company for a while before coming to Bee County. After locating here he became engaged in cattle raising. The town of Walton, later named Normanna, was named in his honor. In 1876 he was elected sheriff and served as sheriff for sixteen years. After his defeat in 1894, he moved to Brewster County, where he again served as sheriff.
Santos Jaramillo in a Cotton Field 1940s
Photograph of Santos Jaramillo standing in a cotton field in the 1940's.. In 1937, Santos Jaramillo started his Jaramillo Cattle hauling with a bob-tailed truck. He soon had a fleet of big cattle trailers, taking cattle to market from ranches all over South Texas, and even by ferry from St. Joseph Island. After WWII, the railroad’s agricultural customers began to see the advantages of shipping by truck. While shipping by rail was less expensive, trucking was faster. Without the regulations of having to stop to feed and water the cattle, the truckers took cattle from the ranch to market in half the
Santos Jaramillo at Viva Downs, Beeville, Texas 1974
Two photographs of Viva downs in Beeville, Texas. The top photograph is of two horses on the race track. In the bottom photograph, the winning horse, Zipolo Honey, and his jockey stand beside the horse's owner Santos Jaramillo along with the horse trainers, Pancho Garza and Pete de Luna. In 1937, Santos Jaramillo started Jaramillo Cattle hauling with a bob-tailed truck. He soon had a fleet of big cattle trailers, taking cattle to market from ranches all over South Texas, and even by ferry from St. Joseph Island. After WWII, the railroad’s agricultural customers began to see the advantages of shipping by truck. While shipping by rail was less expensive, trucking was faster. Without the regulations of having to stop to feed and water the cattle, the truckers took cattle from the ranch to market in half the time.
Mineral Mercantile Store
Photograph of a man and a woman embracing in front of the Mineral Mercantile Store. Mineral The first Anglo settlers to the Mineral area date back to 1845 when President Anson Jones granted a large track of land to the heirs of Henry Coley. After the Civil War, Refugio resident Thomas Howard and son-in-law, Lyman Blackman, begin a freight route from Saint Marys hauling lumbar and other supplies into the Mineral area. They then returned with hides and other products for export. While digging water wells a vein of hot mineral water with 16 different minerals was struck by William and Susan Sanford. Overnight Mineral became a tent city in 1877 as people came because of the healing powers they thought the mineral water contained. The Sanford Hotel, several stores, churches, a grist mill, a school in the drug store, and a post office sprang up at Mineral City. As the medicinal power of the water withered, along with the by-passing by the railroad, floods, and fires, Mineral also withered. In 1952 the South Texas Children’s Home was established near the old “city”, one store, two Baptist churches, and less than 100 residents were all that remained.
Mercantile in Mineral
Photograph of the Mercantile Store in Mineral, Texas. The first Anglo settlers to the Mineral area date back to 1845 when President Anson Jones granted a large track of land to the heirs of Henry Coley. After the Civil War, Refugio resident Thomas Howard and son-in-law, Lyman Blackman, begin a freight route from Saint Marys hauling lumbar and other supplies into the Mineral area. They then returned with hides and other products for export. While digging water wells a vein of hot mineral water with 16 different minerals was struck by William and Susan Sanford. Overnight Mineral became a tent city in 1877 as people came because of the healing powers they thought the mineral water contained. The Sanford Hotel, several stores, churches, a grist mill, a school in the drug store, and a post office sprang up at Mineral City. As the medicinal power of the water withered, along with the by-passing by the railroad, floods, and fires, Mineral also withered. In 1952 the South Texas Children’s Home was established near the old “city”. By 1958 one store, two Baptist churches, and less than 100 residents were all that remained.
San Domingo Schoolhouse
Photograph of the small, wooden San Domingo school. This schoolhouse was built by Mrs. John (Sallie) Pettus in 1859 on the west side of the Dry Medio, and moved in 1867 to between the Medio and Dry Medio Creeks. The schoolhouse was moved again in 1870 to the banks of Toro Creek. Miss Gussie Hitchens, who later married John W. Flournoy, was the first teacher. In the late 1870’s the schoolhouse was moved to the San Domingo community about two miles west of the present Normanna town site.
Normanna School
Photograph of an angled view of the Normanna school which is the first school in Normanna. This first school for Normanna was constructed in 1889 at the site of the present school, on the corner of Main and Live Oak Streets. Along with its function as a school, it was also used as a church, community center, and for other purposes. In the 1900's a two-story schoolhouse was erected, and in 1926 a new schoolhouse was built. In the late 1930's, the Normanna school was consolidated with the Pettus and Tuleta schools.
R.J. Bradford Store in Nomanna
Photograph of a store built by R. J. Bradford in Normanna. The words "R. J. Bradford Dealer in General Merchandise" can be seen above the awning.
Normanna Gin 1910
Postcard of the cotton gin in Normanna in 1910. Santa Domingo was the community’s first name. It was located nine miles north of Beeville where the Santa Domingo Creek joined the Medio Creek, and was settled about 1848. Jose Maria Uranga’s eleven leagues, the largest single Mexican grant in Bee County (1831), covered much of the community. In 1874 it was known as Walton Station after the sheriff of Bee County, D.A.T. Walton. In 1893 a Norwegian colony moved into the area and settled two miles east of Walton. That settlement is still called the Colony. A Walton post office was established in 1894, but another Texas town already had the name of Walton, so the town became Normanna. (Norwegian for “far north or one from the far north”.) In the early days Normanna had three churches, two doctors, two schools, a hotel, a weekly newspaper, five general stores, a drugstore, a gin, barbershop, a tin shop, a saloon, dance hall, the post office and a general store.
Swan Store in Normanna
Photograph of a group of men of the Swan Store in Normanna. Mr. and Mrs. C.I. Swan and family moved from Illinois to Normanna in 1889. For many years they were leaders in the community, and he is known as the “father of Normanna”. Mr. Swan served as county commissioner of Precinct Two for several years. Mrs. Swan taught in the Normanna Public School. She also organized the Normanna Country Woman’s Club, the first country club to federated in Texas. He died in 1918, and she in 1935. The store in the picture was owned by John Swan. Pictured from left to right are Dayton Roberts, James W. Robinson, Jim Sheive, Jim Moore, Sam Bridge, Dolph Garner, Henry Nutt, John Swan, Kay Smith, Mr. Lawrence, and Llywelyn Roberts (barefoot boy).
Sheive's Meat Market in Normanna
Photograph of Sheive's Market in Normanna owned by Jim Sheive. The Sheive family were in Normanna by 1867.
Hatch/Long Store in Papalote
Photograph of M. Long's grocery and general store in Papalote, Texas. The store's first owner,William B. Hatch, originally from Tennessee and a veteran of the Confederacy, was one of the earlier merchants in Papalote. In 1873, he moved his family to the present townstite of Papolate to take over the management of a branch of the mercantile store he, and a partner, S. G. Borden, owned in Sharpsburg. Later he sold his interest in the Sharpsburg store for full ownership in the Papalote business. For many years his story served as post office and voting place. W. B Hatch operated the store until 1898 when he sold it to L.N. Scofield of Sinton. Mr. Schofield then sold the store to W.M. Long in 1901. Mr. and Mrs. Long operated the store until his death in 1929. Mrs. Long, and her son, W. C. Long, continued to operate the store and service station, which has been added to the business after the advent of the automobile. In 1946 Mr. Long closed the business for about six months after her son went into the cattle business. At the insistence of friends, Mrs. Long reopened the store and operated it until 1951 when it was closed for good.
J. F. Ray House in Pettus
Photograph of J. F. Ray's home in Pettus, Texas. James F. Ray built his home long before the townsite was subdivided.
Oil Well
Photograph of the Maggie Ray McKinney Oil Well, the first oil well in Bee County. On December 29, 1929 as the Houston Oil Company drilled for gas, the first oil well in Bee County was brought in on the JJ McKinney land east of Pettus. Humble Oil and Refining Company completed McKinney No. 1 Oil Well, Bee County, January 31, 1930. The discovery brought a rush of people to the community of Pettus. The discovery of oil relieved the pressure of depression. By 1937, the county boasted of 53 gas fields, with 212 wells, and 62 oil fields, with 456 wells, producing 1,863,806 barrels of oil. Oil and gas are still important industries in Bee County.
First Oil Well in Bee County: Maggie Ray McKinney 1929
Photograph of the Maggie Ray McKinney Oil Well in Pettus, Texas in 1929. There are cars parked around the well as people came to the well to see it "brought in." On December 29, 1929 as the Houston Oil Company drilled for gas, the first oil well in Bee County was brought in on the JJ McKinney land east of Pettus. Humble Oil and Refining Company completed McKinney No. 1 Oil Well, Bee County, January 31, 1930. The discovery brought a rush of people to the community of Pettus, and relieved the pressure of the Great Depression. By 1937, the county boasted of 53 gas fields, with 212 wells, and 62 oil fields, with 456 wells, producing 1,863,806 barrels of oil. Oil and gas are still important industries in Bee County.
Celebrating the First Oil Well in Bee County - Maggie Ray McKinney #1 Celebration Barbecue
Photograph of people that attended a barbecue held by the McKinney Family in celebration of the new oil well Bee County. More than 500 people attended the event. On December 29, 1929 as the Houston Oil Company drilled for gas, the first oil well in Bee County was brought in on the JJ McKinney land east of Pettus. Humble Oil and Refining Company completed McKinney No. 1 Oil Well, Bee County, January 31, 1930.
Pettus Hotel and W.T. Roberts Store
Photograph of Robert's Store on the left and the Pettus Hotel on the right. In 1888 W.T. Roberts moved his family from San Domingo to Pettus where he bought a hotel, and on April 6, 1891 opened a store. This store burned down in 1901. He rebuilt in 1903, and the first telephone in the area was located in the store. Several years later a switchboard was installed in the Roberts Hotel with Miss Lula Roberts as operator. In 1929 or 1930, a disastrous fire burned the hotel and some seven business houses. Mr. Roberts’ store did not burn. In 1932 W.T. Roberts Company built the first brick business house in Pettus. It continue to operate until 1965,
John F. Pettus Homestead
Postcard of the John Pettus Homestead, the name sake of Pettus, Texas. Virginian, John Freeman Pettus, was one of Stephen Austin’s original “Old Three Hundred” settlers. Mr. Pettus’ land grant was in Goliad, but he bought thousands of acres near what is now Pettus in north Bee County because he needed more grazing land. He paid 25 cents to $1.25 per acre. In order to watch his stock Mr. Pettus built an adobe one-room cabin with a chimney. Here he lived for approximately twenty years, but went home on weekends to stay with his family. Over time more people moved to the area and established a community, which was named Pettus in honor or John Pettus, the first land owner. John Pettus daughter Sarah married John Sutherland Hodges, and the young couple came to live near her father. They built a five or six-room cottage. The lumber for the cottage was brought by wagon train from Saint Mary's. The wagons were pulled by oxen. The Hodges family lived here until the land was purchased by the late G.A. Ray St. in 1895. Mr. Ray built a two-story house on the same spot as the Hodge/Pettus house and used some portions of the cottage in his house.
Section House in Pettus
Postcard of the 1886 Railroad Section House in Pettus. On May 17, 1886, the first passenger train backed into Pettus. A depot and a section house had been built; a well was dug, and a cedar tank had been erected just north of the depot, where the train got water. A section house was where the crew foreman and his family normally lived. Most meals and other get together would take place for all the railroad workers at the section house. There was usually a bunk house where the crews slept near the section house. A tool shed would also be nearby to store the tools used to maintain tracks along the section, and there had to be a source of water. The spacing of the camps was based on the distance a locomotive could travel on a tank of water and how far a maintenance crew could travel by handcart in one day.