Sunday, February 25, 2018

A surprising find in downtown Kerrville

Home of Henry and Clara Candlin, around 1895,
on the western corner of Washington and Main Streets, Kerrville.
Click on any image to enlarge.
Henry Candlin and his wife Clara King Candlin moved to Kerrville in 1880, and left in 1899, moving to Greeley, Colorado. While here they had eight children, seven sons and one daughter.
A few of their descendants were in town recently, from Austin and Florida, and a friend sent them by the print shop. The descendants showed me a photograph of the Candlin's house in Kerrville, and I didn't recognize the structure. Looking at the building, I doubted it was in Kerrville. It looked like a German immigrant's house to me, like you'd see in Fredericksburg or Comfort.
Until the descendants' visit, I'd never heard of the Candlins.
Looking into their story, however, I'm surprised I had not. They were a very interesting couple.
Both were born in England. He was from Nottinghamshire, England; his ancestral home was on a street called The Cranny, in Offord Cluny, Huntingdon, England. She was from Swindon, Wiltshire. Her father was a Methodist Wesleyan minister, and they were married in London at the Wesleyan Chapel in 1879.
The Candlin Family, around 1892
In 1880 they moved to Kerrville. They lived in a house on the corner of Main and Washington streets, where Craig Leslie has his law office today. When I pulled out my old maps of Kerrville I found, to my surprise, a structure on that corner which had the exact same footprint as the house in the photograph.
So I was wrong: the house in the photograph which I suspected of being a German immigrant's house elsewhere was actually here in Kerrville, about a block from the Kerr County courthouse.
Henry Candlin was the first official Department of Agriculture weather observer for our community. His name can be found in newspapers statewide beside his reports of the temperature, rainfall, observations about crops and their prospects. He authored Kerrville's first Climate and Crop Report in October, 1896.
He was interested in science beyond meteorology. He provided two specimens of a river snake (natrix fasciata transvera Hallowell) to the Smithsonian Institution; one he collected from the Guadalupe, the other from Quinlan Creek. They were little black water snakes with yellow spots and a yellowish belly, perhaps called either a Blotched Watersnake or a plain-bellied water snake. I'm sure you've seen relatives of the long-absent specimens along the riverbank.
Henry Candlin was also a charter member of the local Masonic Lodge.
The Candlin home is circled above.
The family suggested he was city clerk here, which is possible. The City of Kerrville was incorporated in 1889. He also taught stenography and shorthand from his Kerrville home, according to an 1895 advertisement I found.
After moving to Greeley, Colorado, Henry Candlin focused on the temperance movement, and was active in the Loyal Temperance Legion. He also taught Sunday School in the Methodist Church.
The couple knew their share of tragedy. One of the couple's sons, Victor Gladstone Candlin, died in France during World War I and is buried there. Another son, Percy Raymond, was killed in an industrial accident. Both men were born here in Kerrville.
Henry Candlin died in 1931; his widow, in 1943. Both passed away in Greeley.  Their house on Main Street in Kerrville was replaced by a gas station in the 1930s.
Now that I know where the Candlin's home was in Kerrville, I have spotted it in the background of several other downtown photographs. It's nice to fill in a spot on the map with a good image of their home. I'm thankful for the friend who sent the Candlin's relatives my way.
Until next week, all the best.

Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who is often surprised by new discoveries of Old Town Kerrville. This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times February 24, 2018.

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