Sunday, March 18, 2018

Kerrville, 127 years ago this month

Kerrville Paper March 28 1891
Front page, Kerrville Paper, March 28, 1891
Click to enlarge 
This week a kind friend brought by a copy of the Kerrville Paper dated Saturday March 28, 1891, almost exactly 127 years ago. The newspaper is in remarkably good shape.
It's a four-page newspaper, with pages measuring 17 by 24 inches, which is a huge sheet when compared to today's newspapers. It offered its readers a range of local and state news, a poem, a serialized work of fiction, a few jokes, and advertisements from national and local firms.
The variety of stories and advertisements would have been quite entertaining, especially in a world which lacked radio, television, or the Internet.
The biggest local story was on the front page: that week Masonic Lodge 697 was organized here in Kerrville, and the editor of the newspaper, Ed Smallwood, was installed as W. Master. Other officers included W. E. Stewart, a prominent pharmacist; John Vann, who would serve as Kerr County sheriff; Nathan Herzog, who worked in Charles Schreiner's store; Richard Laird; Dr. J. D. Everett; William Robinson; P. Smith; and Henry Candlin.
That last name, Henry Candlin, might be familiar. I wrote about Henry Candlin a few weeks ago, a man of whom I had never heard until some of his descendents stopped by the shop with a photograph of his house at the intersection of Main and Washington streets.
Henry Candlin Family Kerrville 1892
Henry Candlin and family
around 1892
Henry Candlin was born in England and lived in Kerrville for almost 20 years, from 1880 to 1899. He had a scientific mind; he sent specimens of local blotched water snakes (Nerodia erythrogaster transversa) to the Smithsonian, and was also Kerrville's official weather observer.
This issue of the Kerrville Paper mentions Henry Candlin three times. First, as the newly installed Tiler at the newly constituted Masonic Lodge.
Second, he gives an account as corresponding secretary of the Bible Society, which aimed to "place a Bible in every home and one for every child who can read." These Bibles were sold at cost, but should a family not have enough money to purchase a copy, one was given to the "free of any charge whatever."
Lastly, Henry Candlin is mentioned in a large advertisement on page 4. "Hy. Candlin, House Painter and Decorater; Kerrville Paint Shop, South of Post Office." The advertisement promised Candlin would do first-class work, and painted not only houses, but also carriages and signs. "My work," the advertisement states, "can be seen on some of the principal buildings in Kerrville."
So with this one copy of the Kerrville Paper we learn a lot about our mystery man Henry Candlin.
The other big story on the front page was of a robbery of the stage between Comfort and Fredericksburg, which was "held up [Wednesday] by a lone highwayman. There was but one passenger in the stage. No resistance was offered by either the passenger or the driver."
Although the robber searched through the mail sack carried by the stage, nothing was taken from it, "as there were no money packages found among it."
The entire haul for the robber was four dollars, taken from Mr. J. D. Price of Jackson, Michigan, who was quoted as saying he "threw up his hands because he had nothing to throw down on the robber."
Many of the local advertisements were for firms unknown to me. Crooks Bros., dealers in General Merchandise, had a store near the depot.
The Globe Grocery Store had just opened in the Masonic Building, which still stands in the 200 block of Earl Garrett Street. The Globe offered "Staple and Fancy Groceries at prices that will astonish the natives."
The New York Store, which can be seen in one of the photographs in my collection, was advertising its Spring 1891 goods. Suits, shoes, dress goods, and novelties at the store which was the "leader in low prices."
A new Spanish-language newspaper for Kerrville was mentioned: "E Promotor." I wonder if any copies still exist.
I'm thankful to the kind friend who sent me this copy of the Kerrville Paper. I've certainly enjoyed reading it and I'm thankful she shared it with all of us.
Until next week, all the best.

Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who relies on the kindness of others to add to his collection of Kerrville and Kerr County historical items. This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times March 17, 2018.





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