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Sunday, January 2, 2022

Top Ten Kerr County History Stories of 2021

Ingram Dam, 1968.  Click on any image below to enlarge.

2021, what a year. It was the first year since I began writing this column, back in 1994, that I missed a deadline. Two, in fact, both while I was in the hospital back in March. All mended, now.
It’s fun to look back over some of the history we discovered together during the last 12 months, and count up the number of times each of my columns was read online, determining which of these proved the most popular with my readers. Click on any link below to read the stories.

Here are the top 10 columns of 2021:

Number 10:
New details revealed about Kerrville’s Union Church,” published in February. 
According to an article published in the Kerrville Times in March, 1928, two volunteers, “Mrs. Scott and Miss Gill, drove from house to house, not only in Kerrville, but throughout the county soliciting funds. It was hard work. People were poor, some did not believe in churches.”
The original church cost $190 to build, which was the low bid presented by A. Allen & Co. The building was completed just before Christmas, 1885. It was located on Clay Street, on a lot donated by Charles Schreiner, between Main and Jefferson streets. Today the Union Church stands on the campus of Schreiner University.

Number 9:
The Mosty Family of Kerr County: Generations of Service,” published in January. Leroy Mosty, of Mosty’s Garage, at the corner of Water and Lemos streets in downtown Kerrville, loaned me a nice book the other day. It’s called ‘Mosty: From There … To Here.’
It’s a brief history of the Mosty family, as remembered by Harvey Mosty.
This family has had a great impact on the history of our community. Harvey Mosty was a nurseryman, and, with his brother Lee, of Center Point, was credited as offering the “first soft-shell pecans on native stock.”  Generations of Mostys have added to the story of Kerr County.

Number 8:
Amazing Aerial Photos from 1972,” published in May. When it comes to old photographs of Kerr County, I have a pretty good mental inventory of what images I have in my collection. I was surprised, however, when I was moving a box of photographs into a new container and found a bulky sleeve of negatives I’d never seen before. The sleeve is marked 1972, and it contains aerial images of several hill country towns, including Hunt, Ingram, Center Point and Kerrville.

Number 7:
Our part of the Guadalupe River,” published in June. According to the Handbook of Texas, the river got its name from Alonso De Leon in 1689, when he named it the Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe. De Leon was familiar with the lower stretches of the river. It was called other names by the Spaniards, including the San Augustin and the San Ybon. The earliest reference to our part of the river, at least above the mouth of the Comal, was in 1727, when Pedro de Rivera y Villalon wrote about it.

Number 6:
Solved: The Case of Kerrville's Missing Mill,” published in October. There was once a water-powered mill near Starbucks, back in the 1860s. I could never find it on a map. The mystery has been solved, thanks to Gary Saner and Bryant Saner. Gary pointed to an article his brother Bryant published about the mill in 2005. I found a few of the original, hand-cut limestone blocks after reading Bryant’s article.

Number 5:
The 1968 Grand Opening of Gibson's Discount Center in Kerrville,” published in April. Who doesn’t love Gibson’s? I found some photographs of its grand opening in my files.

Number 4:
Five Million for Kerr County History,” published in November. Many of us have dreamed of a history museum for our area. Several local private foundations provided the funds for the construction to begin. The new museum will be housed in the home of A. C. and Myrta Schreiner, between the library and our print shop, and is owned by the City of Kerrville.

Number 3:
A Kerrville love story, written in stone, in the form of a cottage,” published in June. When Nellie Jensen married Richard Holdsworth, Richard was described as ‘not a social mixer’ by one of his nieces. That niece also wrote “Richard, who had grown up almost a recluse, blossomed under [Nellie’s] care.” He made so many friends he was mayor of Kerrville in 1933.
When Nellie died, in 1936, Richard had a building built at Westminster Encampment in Nellie’s memory. That building still stands, and is on the campus of Schreiner University.

Number 2:
A letter returns to Kerrville -- over 100 years after it was mailed,” published in April. Gentle Reader, this was one of the saddest columns I’ve ever written. The letter, dated November 11, 1918, the day World War I ended, was from Elizabeth Baker to her son, Sidney Baker, who was a soldier fighting in France. 
“Dear Son,” she wrote, “I write to you to let you know we have received the news we have peace and I never was as happy in my life. Oh if I could just be with you all to rejoice, but have the pleasure of thinking you won’t be killed now, and … you will be home in honors someday.”
Elizabeth Baker did not know her son Sidney had been killed in France on October 15, only a few weeks before the end of the war. A downtown street is named in Sidney Baker’s honor, along with a street named for Francisco Lemos, and one for Earl Garrett.

And the most popular column of 2021:
The Case of the Missing Kerr County Mill,” published in March. Yep, it’s about the same 1860s mill which I was having a hard time locating. Publishing this story inspired Gary Saner to send me the clues which solved the case.
Thanks for reading – and for allowing me to have a place in our community’s newspaper.
Until next week, all the best.

Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who collects items from the history of Kerr County and Kerrville. If you have something you’d care to share with him, it would certainly make he’d certainly like it. Happy New Year! This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times

My coffee-table history books on Kerr County make great gifts. Free shipping. Click here for more information. Each book filled with over 100 historic photos.

January 1, 2022.

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