Historic Kerr County photographs available!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Kerr County's foremost historian

Clarabelle Barton Snodgrass, in 2011, at Kerrville's Tivy School
Clarabelle Barton Snodgrass, who recently turned 99 years young, had a fun birthday party last weekend, held at the Turtle Creek School where she had once attended classes.
Mrs. Snodgrass is the foremost historian of our county. Among her many accomplishments are the publication of the Kerr County Album, which so many of us have used as a resource; spearheading the effort to save the Tivy School, which is now the home of the Kerrville Independent School District's administrative offices; and many interesting articles and books about our local history.
Her most recent book, "The Last Bale of Hay," was published just this year and tells the story of her early years and of her family, especially her parents. My copy was a gift from Lanza Teague, one of my fellow Kerr County history geeks.
The attractive book has 202 pages of very useful information about our community, including rare Kerr County photographs, many published there for the very first time.
I believe the book is available at Wolfmueller's Books on Earl Garrett Street, across from the Kerr Arts and Cultural Center.
I'm very impressed by Mrs. Snodgrass' memory -- she can remember where everything was, who worked where, who lived where, and even what happened when. I can barely remember what I had for breakfast this morning.
The book is written in an easy style, as if you were sitting in Mrs. Snodgrass' living room, listening to her tell you a story.
And the stories she tells!  A whole parade of Kerr County characters pass through the pages of her book. Her family, of course, but also others like several of the Schreiners, Starr Bryden, John Leavell, the family of Florence Butt, the Bernhards making sausage around a table, stories about Pampell's, about her neighbors in town, about schools and the price wars between the H. Noll Grocery Company and a little store called Mrs. Brown's.
Mrs. Snodgrass attended the Turtle Creek School, starting in the winter of 1921, when she finished first grade there. Her teacher was Miss Hattie James. While there she was promoted from second to fourth grade.
During her fifth grade year, Kerr County lacked the funds to pay a teacher for a full school term at Turtle Creek, so young Clarabelle attended the Scofield School for Girls for several months. That school was on the hill where highways 16 and 173 split south of town, one heading to Medina, the other to Bandera. The old school building is still there, though I hear it is in sad disrepair.
She attended Tivy in 1926, and graduated in 1930.
She got her driver's license at 13, given special permission to drive so young since she needed to travel from Turtle Creek to Tivy to attend school, driving a Ford coupe with one seat inside and a rumble seat outside in the back.
Her memories of life in the 1920s and 1930s in Kerr County are quite remarkable. Though her childhood was really not that long ago, life was so different then. Her family's ties to agriculture -- both in ranching, farming, and in the bountiful gardens they raised -- gave young Clarabelle so many happy memories. The stories of neighbors, both in the country and in town, reflect a simpler time, when neighbors spent time with each other, and joined in working together.
The book is very good, and we are lucky to have it. I'm thankful Mrs. Snodgrass took the time to write down her memories of life in Kerr County, and I'm sure people will be reading the book, and enjoying her stories, for many years to come.
Until next week, all the best.
Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who likes Kerr County stories. This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times October 20, 2012.


1 comment:

  1. I remember Clarabelle from the old days.

    She and her husband owned a trailer (Airstream, I believe). They often hitched the trailer and took off on an adventure.

    One thing that I remember about Clarabelle is that she was always happy.

    ReplyDelete

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