Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rare items recently added to Kerr collection

Very rare issues of "Pioneer History"
 Often I am blessed by the kindnesses of others, and very often in relation to my "hobby" of collecting Kerrville and Kerr County historical items.
Over the last few weeks several important additions have been made to this collection, and I'm thankful for each of them.
Two long-time friends gave me an extremely rare set of "Pioneer History" supplements to the Kerrville Times, published by James J. Starkey.  Mr. Starkey made lasting contributions to our understanding of the pioneer history of our community, through publications like these "Pioneer History" supplements, but also later, after he passed away in 1954.  It's my understanding Starkey was hard at work on a history of our community in the last months of his life, and it was upon Starkey's notes Bob Bennett relied as he wrote "Kerr County," the book which remains the best history of our area.
The set I received has been fascinating to study, and I'm sure you'll be reading stories gleaned from them in this column over the next weeks.  So many of the items in them I have never seen anywhere else.
Frontier Times Magazine
Another couple, family friends for many years, read in this column I'd been loaned a stack of "Frontier Times," a magazine published by J. Marvin Hunter of Bandera in the early-to-middle part of the last century.  These very rare magazines are interesting for many reasons, because they tell the story of pioneers in frontier Texas; I like them best for the first-person articles about those days.  It's one thing to read about history from an author or columnist; it's quite another to read about what happened from someone who was actually there.
Needless to say, I've spent a nice amount of time going through the magazines, and I haven't even scratched the surface yet.
The couple even brought by some Tivy "Antlers," yearbooks from years ago, including the one labeled Vol. 1, No. 1.  I spent many a happy hour going through the pages of those old yearbooks.  And they brought by some mementos of the old Y. O. Ranch Social Club.
What an unbelievably generous gift they brought by the shop!  And I look forward to sharing some of the stories I find here in the column.
Separately, a local businessman brought by a very old business ledger and some business documents from a Kerrville lumberyard.  The ledger records sales in 1897 and 1898, and includes the accounts of almost everyone in town, from the wealthy to those of more modest means.
Surprisingly, I found Miss Susan Tivy had an account with the lumber firm.  Her brother, Captain Joseph Tivy, served as Kerrville's first mayor and donated the land for the public school here, and in return many of our schools, including the current high school, were named for him.
Lumber Company Ledger
By 1897, the date of the ledger, both Joseph Tivy and his wife, Ella, were dead.  Miss Susan Tivy was near the end of her life.  It was interesting to me to find her in the ledger; it appears she bought materials for repair work on the old Tivy Hotel.  In 1901, Susan Tivy would join the other two Tivys in the small family plot atop Tivy Mountain.
Other materials in the lumberyard items were checks, invoices, paid bills, and other business documents.  It has been very interesting studying these.
And yesterday a photographer friend brought by some images which are dear to me for the memories they bring back: photographs of the old decorations which once adorned the walls in the theater of the Arcadia Theater.  Those were knocked down years ago, in one of the several efforts to restore the old theater.  Seeing them sure made me smile; I'll publish them later online so you can remember what that place once looked like, too.
Other items have come in over the last few weeks, and I'm sure I'm forgetting something.
I hope to find a safe place for these items where they can be enjoyed by the public, available for study, and help preserve the story of our lives here in this little river valley.
Until next week, all the best.
Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who collects Kerrville and Kerr County historical items. This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times May 4, 2013.

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1 comment:

  1. Can hardly wait to read your posts on this trove of history that you've been recently blessed with. Was in Kerrville three days this past week, but what I really enjoy is your sharing the old Kerrville with us, the Kerrville a lot of us fondly remember. .... Don


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