Monday, August 10, 2015

A Handwritten Treasure

My fellow local history sleuth Lanza Teague let me copy a paper her aunt, Anna Belle Council Roland, wrote several decades ago, a monograph titled "The Growing Pains of a Shingle Camp: the Story of a Town."
I love documents like these -- because it's inevitable I find in them something new about our community's history.
Take, for instance, the layout of Kerrville soon after its founding.
Ms. Council quotes Albert Enderle, an early settler of Kerrville:
"I came to Kerrville in the fall of 1873. The town was very small, there being about 20 to 25 houses, I suppose. Captain Tivy's house being on the outskirts of town on that side. His field ran from Main Street down Tivy Street to Water Street to Quinlan Creek."
Captain Tivy's house was likely the Tivy Hotel, which originally occupied the corner of Main and Tivy Streets. In 1873, it was on the eastern edge of town.
Mr. Enderle continues:
"From the Ice Plant [which was near the intersection of Washington and Water streets] to A Street was another field. This field belonged to Christian Dietert."
In fact, during this time, the Dietert family operated the Kerrville post office. Christian was the postmaster, but his wife, Rosalie, actually did the work and ran the office. Their home was near Spring Street, opposite the front doors of the Notre Dame Catholic Church sanctuary.
"Mr. Stanford had a field between Earl Garrett and Washington streets, from Jefferson Street to the hill." Mr. Stanford's house was on the corner of Washington and Jefferson streets, about where the First Presbyterian Church sanctuary stands today.
"D. Michon had a field between Sidney Baker and Clay Street from the railroad track to the old cemetery." The railroad track would have been along today's Schreiner Street; the cemetery is still there, across Holdsworth Drive from the football stadium. I believe I've seen a tombstone there with the Michon family name; that stone is in French.
Mr. Enderle's description continues: "The land between Quinlan and Town Creek was covered with timber. It was owned by Mr. Bowman who later sold it to Dr. G. R. Parsons and Captain Charles Schreiner. Dr. Parsons took the upper part, which is called Parson's Addition.
"Christian Dietert had a saw mill where the ice plant is now [near today's intersection of Washington and Water streets, on the bluff by the river]. Lots of cypress logs were scattered about the place which were sawed into lumber.
"The post office was back of the Wall residence near the river. The mail was brought on horseback about twice a week from Comfort. Mr. Dietert was postmaster for about twenty years.
"Faltin and Schreiner had a store where the Charles Schreiner Company is now. It was a lumber building about 16x30 feet with a shed room about 8x30 feet.
"The courthouse was a one room log house about halfway between Sidney Baker and Earl Garrett facing Jefferson Street. The jail was about 30 feet back from the site of the present jail. The jail was a small rock building of two stories. The prisoners were let down with a ladder and the ladder was pulled up again. It was enclosed with cedar posts about 24 or [2]5 feet high and the posts were pointed on top.
"Mr. and Mrs. Hughs had a boarding house where the Dixie Theater now is. [This would have been in the 800 block of Water Street, where the River's Edge Gallery is today.]
Most of that block's interior, behind the buildings, "was all covered with cedar poles.
"John E. Ochse had a store where the Catholic church is," Enderle said. That would have been the old Catholic church on the corner of Washington and Main streets, which is now used for administrative offices.
There's a lot of material in Ms. Council's report, and I'll cover some more next week. Until then, all the best.

Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who learned a lot from Annie Lee Herring.  This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times August 8, 2015.

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