by Barbara J. Wood
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Vivian luker cradle roll certificate first baptist church

Vivian Luker 1917 Cradle Roll Certificate

Vivian Luker 1917 Cradle Roll Certificate....... issued by the First Baptist Church Stockdale Wilson County Texas during Sunday School.  Certificate reads " Stockdale Baptist Bible School  This Certifies that Vivian Luker is a member of the Cradle Roll Department. Born June 27th 1917 Entered September 29th 1917 ". The vintage certificate for the three month old infant was signed by: Mrs. John McIntire, J.H. Bain, &  R.T. Deel?
Wording from Texas Historical Commission Marker:
Stockdale Baptists organized their church in 1874 in a picket building. They met there or in a mill house or schoolhouse for years. The Rev. L. S. Cox was the first pastor. In 1885, under Pastor E. Norwood. The congregation erected its first church building, but this soon (1886) was damaged in a storm. Services were held in a cotton warehouse while the church was being rebuilt. In 1910, while The Rev. J. A. Morse was pastor, present site was bought and the third sanctuary built. Under leadership of The Rev. Charles Bowes, the present building was completed in 1953. The Rev. Charles Young was pastor (1966) when current parsonage was erected on site of the 1885 church.
Stewardship and enrolment have grown during the century. The congregation began in 1916 to sponsor a Mexican mission, erecting a mission hall in 1919. Present mission church was built in 1964, during the pastorate of The Rev. Kenneth Wellman.
The congregation has ordained several ministers: The Rev. Marshall Smith (1918), the Rev. Celestino Grasciotti (1924), the Rev. Bryan Teague (1928), the Rev. Jesse Jasso (in the mission, 1962), the Rev. Antonio Del Carmen (1970), and the Rev. Crus Casarez (1973). The Rev. John Hallum is the present pastor.
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Charlie Hild and Maude Yvonne Hild

An 85 year old photo..... is shared by Debbie Steenken.  The farmer proudly holding his baby daughter is Charlie Hild. The baby is Maude Yvonne Hild. She is more interested in the working mules. The photo was taken in 1937 about 1.5 miles past the Y  (Highways 87 & 97 intersection) going from Stockdale Wilson County Tx to Floresville Wilson County Tx. [Debbie thanks for sharing such a great photo]
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Joseph Daniel Odom

A young lad back in the late 1920's or early 1930's posing with his bicycle in a vintage photo shared by reader, Gay Lynn Olsovsky. The lad is Joseph Daniel Odom. " JD "  appears dressed-up in his attire with the Buster Brown cap. The scenery appears to be the old Odom homeplace in Wilson County Texas . (Thanks Gay!)
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The Flores Land

THE FLORES LAND .... A newspaper article (Wilson County News) dated Wednesday June 23, 1993 was shared by Kevin Stanush The writer of the article was Earl Gilley and Kevin's cousin. Mr. Gilley was a lovely gentleman respected & loved by many.... he and Mildred, his wife.

History of African American Families

HISTORY OF AFRICAN AMERICAN FAMILIES .... living in Sutherland Springs Wilson County Texas written by Vera Williams Watson. (COURTESY / Sutherland Springs Historical Museum )

Elliott Tanner Garner

A gentleman who touched many lives in Wilson County Texas with his compassion & kindness .... Who remembers him? Pop Garner ( Elliott Tanner Garner) was the Janitor for many years at the Floresville Junior High.  (Thank you Patty Flora Sitchler  for sharing pictures of your uncle)
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Rex McCloskey

It didn't take long for this Wilson County Texas farmer to get his varmints for the day! Who is this sharp shooter? Kevin Wagenfuehr  guessed " Rex McCloskey" right off!  On the back of the picture is written, "One morning's catch". Thanks Alan Peschke for sharing this photo.

Elder & Derum family

Anyone gathering family ancestral lines of Wilson County Texas residents Elder & Derum?   The Portal to Texas History photograph of five children posing together made in Wilson County, Texas. The three in the back row are identified as Fay, James, and Sidell Elder, and the baby and girl in the front row are Roberta and Annie Derum.  There is no date nor additional information.

Johann Richter

JOHANN RICHTER OF WILSON COUNTY TEXAS .... Johann Richter and his family immigrated to Texas in 1855 from Prussia. This region is now in Poland, called Silesia. They settled in Yorktown after landing in Indianola. Johann lost his wife en route to America and three years later married for the second time and had a large family.  
Sometime in the 1870s, the family moved to Wilson County and settled three miles west of Stockdale, where he purchased large tracts of land on either side of the Cibolo Creek. The sons of Johann purchased more land in the area to the north. The family was heavily involved in agricultural pursuits. 
After a storm destroyed the Catholic Church in Stockdale in 1886, Johann donated three acres of land for the second St. Mary's Church on his property. Vincent Richter donated one acre for the Richter Cemetery. The church remained here until 1951 when it was moved to Stockdale. A community school was built across the railroad track from the school. This little area early on was known as Prairie Lea, but later changed to the Richter Community. 
There are many descendants of Johann Richter living in Wilson County and in other parts of the United States in many varied professions.
...... taken from the Wilson County Sesquicentennial 1860-2010
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James Hemby Sr. Family

JAMES HEMBY SR. FAMILY .... 1897 portrait 
(Wilson County Sesquicentennial 1860-2010)

Circle C Band – Carrol Sammons

CIRCLE C BAND  ...  good old country-western music where one tapped their foot, twirled the girls, as they two-stepped across the saw-dusted dance floor.  
Carrol Sammons 87 years old began playing the guitar when he was about 13 years old when his Uncle Garvie Odom gave him his first guitar. His uncle had shown him the chords and Carrol would go home practicing on his uncle's guitar which was given to him.
"Carrol Sammons formed the Circle "C" Band, and played for countless local musicians and national celebrities. Though he retired, Sammons' band as of recently still plays locally. They used variations on the name Circle "C" Band; Circle "C" Boys, Circle "C" Gang; the Bunkhouse Boys or Bunkhouse Band. About 1949, "Lee Harmon" Boazeman heard Sammons play at a dance, then called to ask Carrol to play guitar with his Bunk House Boys. Sammons said Harmon was his best friend, the best singer he'd ever heard.
The early Circle "C" Band had a musical theatrical show in Dallas theaters, initially called "Hayloft Hoedown."
"About 1952, in addition to playing dances locally, Carrol played guitar for Texas Top Hands band Leader "Easy" Adams on a daily live Western Swing and Country music show on San Antonio radio station KONO. Sammons preferred to play lead guitar, but says "Easy" Adams made him sing one or two songs on air every week. In those days, the band performed live, on the radio. On occasion, they were taped to play later, just as when the band recorded, the entire band played and recorded all at once."
"Also in the early '50's, popular San Antonio radio personality KMAC disc jockey Charlie Walker heard Carrol's band play and hired them to perform live on his radio show. The band also played on a weekly television show, "Ranch House Party" on Channel 5 KEYL, performing in the studio next to Channel 4's Red River Dave's show. They also played on a radio show at KGNB in New Braunfels, TX. Walker had a dancehall in San Antonio called The Barn where he arranged to showcase celebrity guest artists. The performers were backed with Walker's band of young local musicians. As Walker's protégé, and over the years, Sammons worked for an impressive list of celebrity country music entertainers."
{Bio written by JoDee Doyle}
Carrol Sammons was awarded the CMA of Texas Hall of Fame Awards 2014 South Texas Opry & the Texas Swing Hall of Fame 2017.
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A.J. Dunn

A.J. Dunn still remembers Pearl Harbor after 65 years .... Elaine Mazurek Stephens authored this great article for the Wilson County News in 2006.
Sixty-five years ago, Seaman A. J. Dunn was stationed at Pearl Harbor in the beautiful territory of Hawaii. Now 84, Dunn lives in the central part of a different kind of beauty, Wilson County, Texas.
He grew up in balmy Corpus Christi. At the age of almost 19, he had been a volunteer in the U. S. Navy for about a year, assigned to the USS Oglala, once a transport and now a minelayer, since World War I. When the ship was at sea laying mines, Dunn was a helmsman. On dock, he was a bow hook on a motor launch used to check mine fields.
On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Dunn had been in Honolulu on a five-day pass. He had just mailed Christmas presents to his mother and father, sister, and brother and was headed back to the harbor in a taxi with other sailors. He was planning to meet up with a friend, W.J. Sherrill, who was on the USS Arizona, and go back to Honolulu. Just as the cab got near the gate to the docks, "Everything started," he said. "The taxi driver was so shook up that he didn't even stop or get his money. We just jumped out and started running to our ships. As we ran, the Japanese planes were firing at us. We were wearing our whites and were easy to see. I saw this plane make a bank and I knew what he was after. I saw that big rising sun. We jumped into a ditch. Shells were flying everywhere. Then someone told us, 'Follow me, the ship's on fire!' and they wanted us down at the dock with fire hoses. We were fighting fires on the destroyers Cassin and Downes."
The Oglala already had rolled over on its side. A torpedo had gone under his ship and hit the Helena, docked next to the Oglala. The blast ripped open plates on the Oglala. The watertight doors on the Helena saved her from going down, but the Oglala was older.
"It sat there and sank like a rock," Dunn said, "but the men had time to get off and no one died on the Oglala."
"I wasn't at the dock 15 minutes and somebody said, 'We better get outta here — they're gonna blow up!' I ran and had just cleared a building when a blast blew me face down, but I wasn't scratched. About 10 feet away, something fell on a car and mashed it right down. After that, I saw a destroyer pulling away from the dock and I thought, 'My ship's gone, so I'm gettin' outta here,' so I ran and jumped aboard the USS Mugsford.
"We went to sea during the attack," he said, "looking for the Japanese. Luckily, we didn't find them because we couldn't have handled it, no better equipped and armed than we were, but we stayed for seven days and nights. I was assigned to a lower ammunition station, but we were in general quarters all the time. We did sink a sub while we were at sea."
"We came back in and they held a muster on everybody that was in there. Most of the people on the ship didn't belong there. A lot of us were transferred to the cruiser New Orleans," Dunn said.
"When we went back into Pearl, it was in shambles. Ships were sunk and there was a lot of confusion. The night before we came in, some of our own planes came in from somewhere and got shot at in the harbor," Dunn said, shaking his head sadly.
He soon found out that his friend, Sherrill, did not survive the attack. He is among the almost 1,000 men now considered "Lost at Sea" and entombed in the Arizona in Pearl Harbor.
"I grew up with him in Corpus. He was a twin and I kind of followed them and joined the Navy about a year after they did. Now we have a park named after him in Corpus. His brother had just been transferred to a fleet in the Asiatic before the attack. I understand he passed away recently."
Dunn's family was confident he was more fortunate. The letters he mailed on Dec. 7 were delivered a few weeks later, which was reassuring to his family.
"They figured I was okay when they got the presents and letters. I didn't see them, though, for four more years. I was put on the New Orleans and then transferred to the new battleship, the Indiana, just before her commissioning." He went on to say, "All of the armor and gunner magazines were under our care. We took readings every day to test the ammo. If it was old, it was too sensitive to keep."
Dunn fought as a gunner's mate in the Marshall, Gilbert and Philippine island campaigns. "I had no experience on gunners and had to learn that as I went. That was an experience. We later transferred a load of troops from Tokyo to Oregon. We also went to Korea and Manila. We were in the Philippines when the atomic bombs were dropped. We passed right alongside the Missouri when they were signing all the papers."
Dunn has lived in the Wilson County area for eight years, having spent his life after the Navy back in his hometown of Corpus Christi, where he was a homebuilder. He has built several homes in this area, including the beautiful home he enjoys with his wife, Claudine. His daughter, Geneva Thorne, and granddaughters, Jennifer Parker and Kimberly Thorne, live nearby. His great-grandchildren are Joshua Thorne, 14, and Matthew Thorne, 5, and Mary Parker, 10, Ryan Parker, 8, and Bradley Parker, 6. They visit almost every day. It is obvious they adore him.
His photo albums are filled with perfectly arranged mementos and good quality photos of his Navy life, including that five-day pass and the letter he mailed home, dated Dec. 7, 1941.
"I lost a lot of photos when the Oglala went down," he said. But Dunn has spent the last 65 years refilling his photo albums, with photos of his family and the long life he has enjoyed since surviving the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Dunn's story also has been recorded in a now out-of-print book, Remembering Pearl Harbor, Eyewitness Accounts by U.S. Military Men and Women, edited by Robert S. La Forte and Ronald E. Marcello.
COURTESY / Wilson County News 2006

Mrs. Inez Jackson

Mrs. Inez Jackson .... was the first Wilson County Texas Librarian. She not only gave birth to the Library idea but she put forth countless hours seeing the idea was carried out for Wilson County Texas.
"The Story of Helen Keller" book was bought by reader Elaine West from Mrs. Jackson at the bookmobile at Stockdale Elementary in the 1960's. The book is a 7th printing dated Nov. 1962.  It cost 35 cents.  Elaine West learned sign language from the manual alphabet printed at the back of the book.
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A visit with Elenora  Talley

Her house is like a historic home, full of memories .... Writer, Lois Wauson, typed this appealing story for her " Rainy Days  & Starry Nights" column in the Wilson County News in 2010.
I had met her two years ago at her brother Charlie Svoboda's house. I remember her then, despite being 90 years old, she appeared young, pretty, and a lady who had an amazing memory. I planned to talk to her some day and get her story.
A few weeks ago, I visited Elenora Talley in her old farmhouse that was built in 1911, nearly 100 years ago.
The house is well-kept and full of beautiful treasures like handmade furniture, hundreds of pictures from the past, and wonderful needlepoint in almost every room. It was like going back in time.
She showed me around the home, which she and her husband, Troy Talley, bought in 1942.
Through the years, they did a lot of work on the house, adding rooms like a family room and sun room, but restoring the original rooms, and keeping the beautiful old fireplace, floors, doors, etc. It is a beautiful home full of beautiful things. She is so proud of her home. She hopes to live out the remaining days of her life in her home, which has so many memories of her husband and three children.
Elenora remembers her Grandmother Jasek as a wonderful lady. She was born in Moravia. Albina Jasek's mother died when she was 6 years old. Her father was a woodcutter and shoemaker. The story told to Elenora by Albina was this: Times were hard, and she and her little brother often went hungry. When her father was away cutting wood, Albina would go to the neighbors and beg for bread or something to eat.
Albina came to America when she was 21 years old. Elenora remembers that her Grandmother Jasek was always kind and loving and never said an ugly word about anyone. Her grandfather was also of Czech heritage. But he had a temper and was mean to Albina. He treated her ugly, but she never complained. He came from a big family — nine sisters and a brother.
Elenora and her brothers always remembered how they loved their Grandmother Albina, who never was unkind to anyone. But when she got old and lived in Houston, no one wanted to take care of her.
Elenora's grandparents, the Jaseks and Svobodas, lived across the river in the Camp Ranch community.
After Emil Svoboda and Albina Jasek got married, they lived in Floresville. Elenora was born there in 1918 "two blocks from the courthouse." She later had two brothers, Edwin and Charlie. When she was 5 years old, her family moved 12 miles out west on Hwy. 97 near her grandparents. Her father built a five-room house with a bathroom for only $700. He did all the work. Elenora says it maybe was from Sears and you had to build it yourself. It was a nice house. It is still standing today! It is on the Boening place. Her father became well-known for the houses and furniture he built in Wilson County.
When she first started to school in 1925, she had to go to the Darilek School because it was the nearest school. Her father dropped her off that day. She didn't speak English, only Czech. But some other children spoke Czech and she got through that day. Her teacher was Fannie Lee Barnes. Later, her father provided a horse and buggy for the neighbor boy, who also went to Darilek School, and he took them to school. Elenora still has the paper on which the teacher wrote a poem for her to memorize for the Christmas Play that year.
The next year, the Borrego School was built. Elenora went there until the 10th grade. But the prior year, which was in 1934, she had to go to Webbville School because they only had eight grades at Borrego School.
The next year, she came back to Borrego, because they had a teacher to teach the 9th and 10th. His name was Victor Miculka, who had graduated from Floresville High in 1931. Later, Victor Miculka taught in Poth. Elenora remembers him as a good musician whose family had a band that played for dances around the county –Mac's Orchestra. But more about that next time when I write about Elenora's young adult years!
COURTESY / Wilson County News 2010
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Charlie Hild and daughter Maude Yvonne Hild 1937

Wilson County Texas farmer CHARLIE HILD .... and his baby daughter, Maude Yvonne Hild in 1937.    Debbie Steenken shares this photo of her mother-in -law, and her father Charlie Hild. The priceless photo was taken  about 1.5 miles past the Y going from Stockdale to Floresville. This was their tractor .... awesome photo!

The Karnei Farm

The Karnei Farm ... is located on C.R. 140 near F.M. 1344, southwest of Floresville Wilson County Texas.

The original owner, Fred Muelschen, purchased 300 acres from William Green and S.V. Houston on June 24, 1904. Fred and his wife, Anna, had three children: Willie, Louisa (Muelschen) Fahning and Ida (Muelschen) Karnei.

The family raised cattle, and in 1912 they built a two-story house. Fred sold 200 acres outside the family.

In 1932, Ida acquired the remaining 100 acres of her parents’ land. Ida married August Karnei and they had four children: Edmond, Welton, Herman, and Lenard. The family raised cattle, cotton, corn, and milo.

In 1945, Ida and August remodeled the original family home by removing its top story.

The older boys, Edmond, Welton, and Herman, found careers and moved off the farm. Lenard stayed on the farm the rest of his life, joined by his wife, Nona, in 1960.

Nona Baker grew up in Port O’Connor. When she graduated from high school, she moved to San Antonio and got a job. “My sister was dating a boy who lived across the road from the Karneis. That’s how I met Lenard,” she said.

Lenard and Nona purchased the land in 1963 and raised cattle and hay. They also were able to purchase an additional 200 acres of land, bringing the property back up to 300 acres again.

Lenard and Nona had three children:
Clifton, Donna (Karnei) Bowers, and Glenn.

Clifton lives in Waco, Glenn lives in Magnolia, near Houston, and Donna lives in Oregon.

The original family home was remodeled a second time in 1973. It was enlarged, and rock siding and a new composition roof were added.

After Lenard passed away in 1996, the land passed to Nona.

Nona Karnei remains on the farm and manages the cattle by herself.

“We don’t raise crops anymore, since my husband died in 1996,” she said. The cattle she raises are Beefmaster. She sold half of her herd this year because of the drought. “We have three tanks, but two of them are dried up, and the third tank is almost dry, too,” she said.

A water trough near the house holds water for the cattle. The water comes from the same well that serves the house.

Beautiful fields

The Karneis’ fields are cleared to the fences of all brush and prickly pears, although young mesquite trees, 1- and 2-feet tall, are popping up here and there. “I’ll go out and spray them again. It never ends,” she said.

The long driveway has a nice crown. It would take a heavy rain to form a puddle on it, and it is graded better than the county road that it joins.

Nona remembers, however, when the county road was only dirt. “When my children were in school, the bus wouldn’t come out here after a rain because it got too muddy.”
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The fields are a brown and gray color, with no sight of green. “You can find some green sprouts near the ground, if you look closely,” she said. “This is the driest it’s been since I moved on to the farm in 1960.”

The farm has several fruit trees — pear, plum, persimmon, and mulberry. “We used to have peach trees and strawberries,” she said.

“We don’t have any sand on the property. I hear that sand is good for watermelon and peanuts, but our soil is mixed,” she said. “We used to grow milo, corn, and wheat, but my favorite crop was flax. When the flax blooms, it has blue blossoms, and it looks very pretty blowing in the wind.”
COURTESY / Wilson County News  written by Fred Owens 2006


JOHN PETER LORENZ  ...  registered his brand in Bexar County Texas in November 1856 Book, p 230B.  Wilson County was made in 1860.  He first had cattle 15 miles from San Antonio Texas.  In 1878 he bought land in Wilson County five miles northeast of Stockdale on FM 1107.

Mr. Lorenz came to Texas in 1852 ( some papers say 1854) but I believe 1852 is correct because I have a copy of his brother's journal that says they left Germany early spring of 1852. His parents and siblings (there were 6 boys & 1 girl). 
One girl died before they left Germany.  One of the 6 boys died in Liverpool.  They lived in Heinzenbach .

From there the journal says they went to Bubert on the Rhine, took a steamboat down the Rhine and landed in Rotterdam.  Layed over there five week and took a steamer to Hull, England.  From Hull took a railroad car to Liverpool, England where they stayed 6 weeks waiting for a ship.  It states that it 44 days to land at New Orleans, LA.  They waited about 3 days to catch a steamer to Indianola.

Before landing at the wharf both parents died  leaving John Peter the oldest at age 21  to look out for his siblings.  The youngest was only 6.  From Indianola they started for Federicksburg, they father's destination.  When they got to New Braunfels, one of the boys got sick.

While there a man from San Antonio persuaded John Peter to come to San Antonio where there was plenty of work. John Peter married Wilhelmina K Shell Dec 1856 in Bexar Co. Texas  John Peter lived in Panna Maria, Karnes County Texas.  They had eight children.

John Peter and his brother Adam acquired land in Wilson county in 1878.  John Peter eventually bought out his brother.  His sons Adolph and Will were sent ahead of the rest of the family to cultivate the land for a year, where they began raising corn, cotton and beef cattle (I think hereford).

The Lorenz ranch was one of the first to use wire fencing in the area and the  sons spent many hours riding the fences at night to protect them from wire cutters.

Once John Peter joined his sons in the operation, he established a cotton gin, grist mill and lumber mill on the banks of the Ecleto Creek on the ranch.  He also operated a freight business between Cuero and San Antonio with wagon and team.

The land is still owned by his great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.     

{Courtesy of great grandaughter Laura Swiess}
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Melvin & Johnie Deagen

A wonderful vintage photo of Melvin Deagen and his older brother Johnie Deagen in Sutherland Springs Wilson County Texas.  Probably snapped around 1932 or 1933 at the old Bill and Alice Deagen homestead in Old Town. The FM 539 house stood high on a hill overlooking the west bank of the Cibolo Creek. These young boys are cute as a button with their bare feet. Melvin is the daddy of Mitchell Deagen. Johnie never married.  [Shared by Mitchell's wife, Susan-Mitchell Deagen ]
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.... James Elfred "Fred" Talley, James Coleman Talley, James Coleman Talley II and in the background James Coleman III Talley. The two senior Talleys owned the Red and White Grocery Store in Old Town Sutherland Springs Wilson County Texas. COURTESY /Leola Scales Jordan who worked 8 years for the Talleys in the grocery store .

Bar from the old Koepp Saloon

A reader, JoDee Doyle, was talking about the antique bars at Wittes BBQ being the "Koepp Saloon" drinking bars. We were trying to figure out if one of the La Vernia Saloon photos could be one of the Koepp bars. What do believe? {Thanks JoDee for this side trip}
Reader Susan Duelm Richter shared this jewel of info on the two bars at Wittes. " We know that the bar at Witte's is from the old Koepp Saloon location located in a wood building at the east end of Chihuahua Street in LaVernia. Sonny Witte worked there for Zip Koepp when he got out of the service and when they closed, Sonny (Elton) got the bar that was in that location and put it in Witte's Barbecue." {Thanks Susan}

Duelm sisters recall 'old La Vernia'  Wilson County Texas

"I can just close my eyes and see how La Vernia was back then!" said Louise Duelm Farris, who will be 102 in October.
Louise, born in 1917, and her sister, Evelyn Duelm Belk, born in 1921, are a couple of local "girls" from "way back when." They toured the La Vernia Heritage Museum this summer. Susan Duelm Richter says, " It was my honor as their niece, and the museum director, to be their guide."
Their museum visit sparked memories of their life on their farm on F.M. 539 near La Vernia with their parents, Emil and Erna, and five brothers.
"We had to pick a lot of cotton every day when [we] were young," said Evelyn, who was born in 1921. They would have been 6 or 7 in the late 1920s.
"We would walk with our parents with our own little sacks and when we got older, we had to fill a larger sack," recalled Louise, as both tried on the cotton sacks from the museum's display. Everyone worked hard, they remembered. Louise said her sack would get very heavy; it held 105 pounds of cotton.
In addition to picking cotton, the children helped in the fields with other crops and milked the cows. As well as cotton, the family grew sweet potatoes, sugar cane, corn, and other crops.
The Duelms were the first La Vernia family to have molasses-making equipment. Other local families would arrive at their farm early in the evening with their sugar cane, pitch their tents, and get up early to make their own molasses.
The older Duelm children helped make molasses, putting the sugar cane in the hole, turning the machinery to produce juice, and watching so the molasses didn't burn as it cooked down. The Duelms later sold the machinery to the Frimels next door.
Life wasn't all hard work, however. The children would roll an old tire up the hill, jump inside, and roll back down together. Evelyn, now 98, and Dora Witte Wyatt were best friends and played this way a lot.
They also went swimming in a stock tank lined with caliche. Louise remembered the Willie Witte children visiting and all the children went swimming. They stirred up the water so much that they came out "white" with caliche from head to toe. Their parents were so mad, but later laughed at how the kids looked, covered with the mud!
They also enjoyed going to local dances.
"If we were not finished with our chores, we would not be able to go to the dance!" Evelyn said, of the dances held at County Line Dance Hall, and in New Berlin and St. Hedwig.
In the evenings, their dad — they called him Papa — would play his accordion on the porch and some of them sang. It was so quiet out in the country at that time of day, Louise and Evelyn said all the neighbors could hear the music and would go out on their porches to listen.
The sisters attended the one-room Pleasant Hill School near their home on F.M. 539. Louise attended until the fifth grade. The museum has a photo of the school, showing the girls sitting on the steps.
The museum's "Holy History" exhibit also brought back memories. Evelyn spotted her 1933 confirmation photo at Immanuel Lutheran Church in La Vernia. Both sisters named many familiar faces in the photos. Their father, Emil, made his confirmation at the same church in 1922.
Louise recognized the train and depot in a photo in the museum, and remembered riding the train to La Vernia from San Antonio one day, just to go to Mary Mattke's Beauty Shop to get her hair "fixed."
The Dr. Martin exhibit reminded Louise and Evelyn that the renowned La Vernia doctor had delivered both of them. When Louise was 10 years old in 1927, she and her brother, Fritz, had diphtheria. Louise said she almost died; it was Dr. Martin who took care of them.
COURTESY / La Vernia News   writer Susan Richter

Memories of the old barrio

.....   Julia Castro described the mood of the Floresville Wilson County Texas el barrio del depot. .....
Recently I attended a wake for someone that I knew since we moved to Railroad Street in December of 1944. I believe I have mentioned before that it was known as el barrio del depot because it was so close to the train depot. Vicenta, "Chenta" as she was known, lived with her family at the end of the street closer to the railroad tracks and the train depot. We lived on the end close to Second Street — not at the corner because that was an empty lot.
Chenta and her mother and sisters would pass right in front of our house and then take a shortcut through the empty lot on their way to town. I can't say Chenta and I were close friends, but we did know each other. And I have become close friends with some members of her family.
The family spoke highly of Chenta and of the ways they remembered her. They said she loved her Spanish music, especially the corridos. Later I got to thinking that since her family already lived in the barrio before we moved there, she probably grew up listening to that kind of music. There were three cantinas on First Street pretty close to each other, just around the corner from the train station. The one on the corner was what everybody called El Charro's — an old-fashioned unpainted wooden building that looked like it was sitting on stilts. The other two were smaller buildings, also unpainted. I don't know if the businesses were closed in the mornings, but about mid-afternoon, we would start hearing music. All of them had jukeboxes, so I was told. (We called them vitrolas). When all of them were playing at the same time, the music floated through the neighborhood. But, we couldn't make out the words. All we could hear was a monotonous sound. And it went on into the night. This is just my thinking — that that's when Chenta fell in love with the corridos and canciones rancheras and all the rest. Of course, they could have had a radio like we did. We didn't listen to the Spanish stations much because Mamá didn't approve of the music. Mostly we listened to comedy programs like "Amos and Andy" and "Fibber McGee and Molly." I liked to listen to spooky programs like "The Inner Sanctum" and "The Whistler." But Papá and us kids managed to listen to Spanish music, enough for me to learn, when I was about 13, most of the words to "El Corrido de Juan Charrasqueado." You know how sometimes you get a melody in your head and it stays with you for days at a time? It's in your head when you go to bed and it's the first thought that pops into your mind when you wake up. Well, Papá would say that the popular love song, "Noche Plateada," would stay in his head for days. So he wouldn't listen to the Spanish station that often.
Another memory I have of the depot was getting off the train coming back from San Antonio. My brother-in-law Hilario and my sister Jovita would occasionally on Sundays come for us and take us to visit with them in San Antonio. They would usually drive us back, but one Sunday they took us to the Katy Depot, where we boarded the train for the trip back to Floresville. I don't know if they couldn't bring us back or if Papá just wanted to give us the experience of riding a train. The trip was uneventful. There was not much to look at during the ride, but it was still exciting to me. We got to the depot at dusk, and we walked the short distance to our home. That has been the one and only train ride of my life.
COURTESY / Wilson County News  (Julia Castro, Apple Pie and Salsa columnist)
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Sundays in Floresville Wilson  County Texas .... during the 

By Lois Zook Wauson
Sundays in the Sawyer family of Floresville, was a day for church, a big Sunday dinner, fishing on the river, dominos in the afternoon, family visiting, and church on Sunday night. 
Lessie Sawyer was the youngest of five children, born late in her parent's marriage. Her daddy, Barney Sawyer was a devout man, who lived his religion, and was one of the kindest, gentlest man who every lived. I knew him and I vouch for that. Barney was born into a family of 16 children, 12 of whom all lived to be adults. Barney may have been a peanut farmer, but every Sunday he was in church... besides every Sunday night, and Wednesday night. 
Lessie Sawyer Wauson told me this story. "I was born in Runge. My daddy was a cotton farmer there. When I was seven years old we moved to Floresville, and he started growing peanuts. We lived outside of town. I went to a little school called Wehman School. It had two rooms. We lived a mile and a half from the school and I walked to school every day, until I was 14 years old. Then we moved to Floresville and I went to Floresville High School. That was in 1938." 
Lessie was recalling her younger days in Floresville, when they lived out in the country on the San Antonio River, before they moved into Floresville and her father gave up farming to sell real estate. We sat my sister's dining room table talking about the old days and I watched Lessie's eyes sparkle, and her bright smile flash on her face, and thought she looked 20 years younger than her 76 years. She still was a "flip of a girl", as my daddy called her in 1947, when the Kasper School in Wilson County hired her husband Richard Wauson as principal of the school. My daddy was on the school board. Later, in 1950, she became my sister-in-law when I married Richard's brother, Eddie. 
The Wauson family was from Pleasanton in Atascosa County.
Lessie, laughing, remembered she and her mother cleaning house all Saturday morning, to get ready for company on Sunday, because the "Sawyer Bunch", were coming from San Antonio for dinner. This happened every Sunday. Lessie's parents lived on the San Antonio River, and at that time it was a clean river, and the family would go swimming and fishing in the river. They loved to come to the Sawyer's farm. Lessie, from the age of 7 to her teens, had the chore of dusting and sweeping. Her mother spent the day cooking and getting ready for Sunday. Saturday afternoons were reserved for "going to town". She said, "That was the highlight of our week. We got to go to Floresville on Saturday".
She said, "Mother always cooked a big meal. Saturday morning, she got up and put her meat on. She would always have fried chicken, or chicken and dumplings, or even a roast, because we belonged to a 'meat club'. She started planning and was even cooking on Sunday mornings".
"Funny thing is, it was just understood that Mother didn't go to church, because she had to stay home and cook, and Daddy would get all dressed up in his suit, always a dark suit in winter and summer, with a starched white shirt and dark tie. He wouldn't miss. But it was just understood that Mother stayed home and cooked. I didn't think anything of that then. Now I do", Lessie laughed. 
"And not only that, Daddy always brought the preacher and his wife home for dinner. Mother never complained", Lessie went on, "It was just the way it was. And here would come Aunt Bertie, Aunt Donie, and Aunt Myrtle and their families and all my cousins. I loved it. They all brought their covered dishes and we always had a big covered dish dinner!" 
She said, "Back then, you didn't take your plate and go sit down somewhere, everyone would sit at the table and eat, so we all had to eat in shifts, and wash dishes between shifts. So, it would take a while to eat." 
- I forgot to ask her who ate first and who ate last, but I'll bet the kids ate last. And I bet the men ate first. That's the way it was at our house. 
The women would finish up the dish washing and the men would go fishing and play 42. 
Lessie laughed, "You know we weren't allowed to play cards at our house, but we could play dominos, so out would come the card tables, and the men that did not go fishing would play 42".
By 5:00, everyone would pack up and leave, and Lessie and her mother and daddy would drive back to Floresville on Sunday night to go to church.
Someone said of Barney Sawyer, after he died, "Barney Sawyer was the best man I ever knew, because he never preached to anybody about what they were doing wrong. He said that all you had to do was show your love, the love of Christ, let that light shine, and that was all that was needed." 
When Barney Sawyer died many years ago, Lessie missed him very much. She said, "When he was gone, I thought to myself, now who am I going to get to pray for me? My daddy always prayed for me when I was sick. I think he really should have been a preacher, because he knew the bible better than most men. And could he sing! He was the song leader in the church, and had the most beautiful voice".
Church, family, big Sunday dinners, fishing in the river, playing 42, and a time for relaxing and enjoying life and family and God - that was the 30's and 40's in South Texas. I wonder how many families enjoy that kind of life now? Or is it spent working, going to meetings, movies, mowing the lawn, shopping.... and the whole family going in all different directions? The part I would not like is all the cooking the women did on Saturdays and Sundays. When did the women ever rest? I think that is where that old saying came from "Men work from sun to sun, but a woman's work is never done!"
COURTESY / Lois Wauson (Writer, Columnist, Historian)

Rutland, Wolff, and Salmon of Stockdale

A fun moment in history .... for some Wilson County boys "44 years ago".

Wayne and Wade Rutland of Stockdale

Wayne and Wade Rutland of Stockdale Wilson county Texas......  beat the odds in life and at sea.
At almost 98 years of age, two World War II veterans from Stockdale have seen a thing or two — and cheated death on more than one occasion! What makes their story unique is that many of their adventures have been side by side throughout their lives.
Twins Wade and Wayne Rutland were born at home Sept. 14, 1920, in Bend, Texas, to Roy and Lena (Cate) Rutland. One weighed 3-1/2 pounds; the other only 3 pounds.
Although Lena didn't think the tiny twins would make it, her mother, Mollie Cate, recorded the boys' births in the family Bible. The twins were placed in shoeboxes in a dresser drawer near the stove, to keep the tiny babies warm. Each box was labeled with their names, so family members could tell them apart. Sadly, when they were only seven days old, their mother passed away from blood poisoning and complications.
Their father was beside himself with grief and didn't have any family who could take care of the babies and still allow him to work his job. Since Roy and Lena had been living with her parents, her mother insisted the twins stay with her while Roy continued working as a pecan buyer, which required a lot of travel. Roy just couldn't stay in the room where Lena had died, so he moved out. Grandmother Mollie's 14-year-old daughter, Lucile, was still at home; she helped bottle-feed the twins every two hours and walked the floor for hours when the babies had colic.
Wade and Wayne thrived, and were "two peas in a pod." As they grew older, they realized that people couldn't tell them apart. They even fooled their grandfather!
The family moved to El Paso in 1923, and Grandma Mollie passed away in 1924. Lucile fell in love, and got married in 1926. The twins' grandpa, John Calvin Cate, packed their bags and they moved again.
The boys were 8 years old by then, and started school in Llano. The twins were known for getting into mischief. On the first day of school, when the recess bell rang, the boys left school and walked home. When their grandpa asked them why, they said they thought school was over!
In 1932, Lucile and her husband moved to San Angelo, and the twins and their grandpa moved in with them. Then the family moved to Comanche. This is when their grandfather remarried. After that, Wayne and Wade no longer lived with their grandpa; they lived with a family named Speck. They were around 12 years old at the time.
Wade and Wayne lived with many different family members around Texas. They never knew where they were going to end up; with all the moving, they ultimately attended 17 different schools.
It was the height of the Depression, and the twins learned to work hard to help support the families with whom they lived. Occasionally, they got to keep their earnings and go see a movie.
By this time, Wade and Wayne were in high school; they settled into living in Stockdale with their aunt and uncle. Both played sports, and Wade competed at the District and Regional levels in track. Their uncle got transferred to San Antonio, where the boys enrolled at Harlandale High School.
The twins, now juniors in high school, didn't like the school and wanted to return to Stockdale. A gentleman named Audie Stadler and his wife, Dora, invited the young men to live with them in 1937. They worked hard for Mr. Audie, and saved up money to buy their first car, a Model A Ford, which cost $22.50. They boys only had $10 between them, and borrowed the rest from their uncle.
Wayne and Wade graduated from Stockdale High School in 1939. Both enrolled in vocational school when they were 19, learning the steel trade.
After America entered World War II, both twins enlisted in the military. Wade chose the U.S. Coast Guard, while Wayne enlisted in the Navy, serving in the "Seabees" — the construction battalion.
Wade was stationed in Louisiana and Philadelphia. He used to swim in the polluted Delaware River.
Both twins cheated death a few times. Wade was in a serious car accident where he almost bled to death; he sustained a head wound that caused amnesia. He also developed a bone infection while in the military, and his doctor did not release him back to active duty. The ship he was supposed to sail on sank, and all hands were lost.
Wayne was stationed in the South Pacific in the Marshall Islands when Pearl Harbor was attacked. The scariest thing he ever lived through, he said, was when the Japanese bombed the mess hall his battalion had just completed building.
"We had to hide in the water during the bombing," Wayne recalled. "That was the only safe place to go; there was nowhere to hide on the island. It was a terrifying 15 minutes. Amazingly, not one man was lost in the aerial bombing attack."
In 1944, Wayne brought home a couple of coconuts from the island. The family still has them; one is proudly displayed on the fireplace mantle.
One of Wayne's favorite moments during his service was when Admiral Chester Nimitz — from Fredericksburg — gathered the troops and asked for "all the boys from Texas" to step forward. They did, and Nimitz granted all of them liberty. Everyone else was sent back to work! Wayne smiled with a twinkle in his eye at the memory.
After his Navy service, Wayne worked at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, servicing the BT13 planes used by Navy pilots during training. It was there he met his future wife, Imogene Foreman, a parachute-packing inspector. They were married for 53 years.
Eventually, he moved back to Stockdale "to punch cows," as he phrased it, returning to work for the Stadler family.
Wayne and Imogene had four children. "I had three boys and a girl, and Wade had three girls and a boy," he said with a grin. "That makes me the winner!"
Wayne became a deacon at the Stockdale Church of Christ, and spent 15 years preaching, teaching, and volunteering at the Connally Unit in Kenedy, part of the Texas prison system. After Imogene passed away, he remarried.
Wayne also delivered liquid feed in a bobtail truck to farmers until he retired at the age of 91.
An avid dominoes player, Wayne still loves to play at the Frank M. Tejeda Texas State Veterans Home, where he now lives.
Wade, like his brother, was in the civil service, ranched, and farmed. After retiring, he became a charter member of the Stockdale EMS, where he served for 15 years. He also was a member of the Stockdale Volunteer Fire Department. He's become less conversant over time; he currently lives at the Stockdale Residence and Rehabilitation Center.
His daughter, Babs McGuffin, wrote a book documenting Wade's life. He was quite a character, and had several adventures with his wife, Betti, and their four children.
From their precarious start in life, these brothers beat the odds to not only survive, but thrive — for nearly a century!
Thank you for your service, Wayne and Wade Rutland!
Advice for life
"Work hard and live straight! Stay out of trouble." That's Wayne Rutland's advice for young people.
His favorite president was Richard Nixon; his least favorite, Bill Clinton. His favorite TV show was "Bonanza."
Wade H. Rutland of Stockdale, Texas, passed away Wednesday, May 23, 2018, in Stockdale at the age of 97. 
Wayne Rutland passed away on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018, at the age of 97.  
COURTESY / Wilson County News


HARRY SUTHERLAND .... In about 1929, when Harry Sutherland was about 18 months old, his mother Artie suffered a total mental collapse. Family stories say that her husband,Fritz,  was exceedingly cruel to her and spent many hours away from home often gambling away what little money that the family had. 
Often Harry and Eddie, brothers,  were sent into town to find their father and bring him home from the gambling dens. It was said by Harry's descendants that his mother was very protective of him and would even take him into the fields with her.
Her mental condition may have been triggered by what we now call "post partum depression" following the birth of Sam. Regardless, one last incident was the one that resulted in her admission to the San Antonio Insane Asylum. Family stories say that her husband came home one night and found that Artie had placed Harry in a large roasting pan and was preparing to put him into a hot oven. 
While we cannot think that a mother doing anything like this to her baby, in her depressed mental state, she was obviously no longer thinking rationally. She had to receive medical and psychological assistance in the State Hospital.
I cannot imagine the fear and the sadness that my father and his siblings felt at losing their mother at such young ages. My father would have been about 9 years old, Hazel would have been about 7, and Eddie would have been only 5. Harry of course was still a baby. Fritz may have hoped that Artie would recover and eventually come home again so he did what he could in the interim. Hazel went to live with Artie's brother Garvie and his family. Harry, the baby went to live with his uncle Ancil "Jack" Sutherland and his family. Royal kept the boys at home with him for a while.
The boys continued to attend school in Sutherland Springs Wilson County Texas. The pictures that we found of Harry and Eddie along with their classmates in 1929 and 1930 show little barefoot boys with their hair slicked down and in 1930 Harry is sporting a hat in his lap. His younger brother Eddie was never far away. 
On the 1930 census, the four were living in Wilson County, Justice Precinct 3 in dwelling 112.   Fritz indicates that he still earns his living as a farmer.   
However, shortly thereafter, Fritz abandoned the boys and disappeared into places unknown. Family history says that one day when the boys, Harry and Eddie came home from school their father had packed up his things and was gone. 
The two were on their own at age 12 and 10. We think this happened about 1931 or 1932. This was the height of the depression and times were hard for everyone especially these two little homeless boys. 
We do not know for sure what happened to Harry for the next 10 years, but we know that Eddie was adopted by a man named James Wire Franks and was taken to California where his name was changed and he was totally separated from his family until after WWII. Legend says that Eddie was traded to Arthur Franks for a case of whiskey.
[In the blog "Sutherland Family History" , Sharon Sutherland has written some stories involving Sutherland Springs. ]
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Joey Adcock, Coleman Talley, and Claude Cowan

Joey Adcock, Coleman Talley, and Claude Cowan ..... were upstanding active community members. Mr. Talley owned the grocery store and Mr. Cowan was the butcher while Mr. Adcock was a general employee.  They are standing in front of the old "Red and White" grocery store.The store used to stand at the corner of 14th & 4th street in Old Town Sutherland Springs Wilson County Texas before it burned down.
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Kimberly Hineman 2nd birthday, circa 1970s

A FUN 50 YEAR OLD PHOTO.... Heres a group of Senior Citizens having fun at Kimberly Hineman  2nd birthday party  in Old Town Sutherland Springs Wilson County Texas!  Geesh, some of these little ones are grandparents. Birthday celebrations fifty years ago were not elaborate like today. Refreshments served was hand-churned homemade ice cream, birthday cake and Hawaiian  punch. The young ones played games such as "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" with the winning child the only one to receive the prize.  
The guests were left to right:
Back Row: Leslie Baker, Wesley Baker, Betty Sue Talley, Robbie Wood and Robyn Wilson
Front Row: James Risley, Cissy Wood, Holly Wilson,and Mary Joyce Tatum.

Leona Hosek Moczygemba

Growing up in Three Oaks 90 Yrs. Ago ....  Leona Hosek Moczygemba was born in Three Oaks, Wilson County Texas, in 1931. Her father, August Hosek, was born in Moravia in 1885. Her mother, Agnes Lamza, was born in 1896 in Texas. Her family came from the Czech Republic. They married in 1916.

Leona has spoken Czech all her life. When she started school she learned to speak English. But when she came home from school and was speaking English, her daddy reprimanded her and told her to speak Czech. To this day Leona speaks both Czech and English.

There were 12 children in the Hosek family. They lived by the Three Oaks Hall. Her daddy farmed 130 acres. He always farmed with horses or mules, walking behind the horses with the plows, cultivators, etc. When her brothers got old enough, they helped their daddy with the plowing. He bought a tractor in the late '40s.

Like almost all children during those years, when Leona was old enough she worked in the fields, chopping cotton, pulling corn, working in peanut fields, and then when they got home in the evening, they had more work to do — chores around the farm. Then there was homework. It was a hard life.

Sometimes her mother said that Leona should stay home and cook the noon meal while her mama went to pick cotton. Leona had to kill two chickens, heat boiling water to scald the chicken so she could pick the feathers off, then she had to clean them, fry them up, and cook the rest of the meal. Then she said when they all went back in the fields, she had the job of washing all those dishes by herself!

She described to me how her parents made sauerkraut, one of their main dishes in this family. Her mother would shred the cabbage — put the cabbage in a large crock with salt and dill. Then Leona said her mother would wash Leona's feet real good and carry her over and put her in the jar, so she could stomp on the cabbage for a long time. Leona thought that was fun. Then her mother covered it up with a cup towel and a heavy dinner plate and a heavy rock, until the sauerkraut was cured. Sauerkraut was always one of the main dishes in the Hosek family.

I asked her if she was glad when school started and she said, "Well I was glad, but we had to walk 4-1/2 miles to school every day and back, and when we got home there was still lots of work to be done. I had to miss a lot of school, because there was too much work to do."

Leona said, "We always wore straw hats to school except in the winter. We had no shoes and we had to walk to school barefoot. But there was this one time that my older brother outgrew his shoes and my mother told me I had to wear them to school. They were boys' shoes with these pointed toes, and I didn't like them. So I would put them on and walk about where the Three Oaks Store was and I would take them off and put them under a little bridge, and walk the rest of the way barefoot. Then in the afternoon I would come back, and put them on and walk home. My mama never found out."

At Christmas, her daddy went out to the pasture and cut a limb off of a tree. They would decorate it with strings of popcorn and colored paper chains. Christmas presents were a box of apples, oranges, nuts, and sticks of peppermint candy canes. When I asked if they ever got toys like dolls or trucks, she said they never got anything like that. She said probably because there were too many children. But she said they were so happy with the fruit, candy, and nuts.

That was during the Depression, and times were really hard for the Hosek family with all those children.

But Leona said one Christmas, they were all sitting in the house and Santa Claus came down the stairs with a bag over his shoulder with presents of apples, oranges, nuts, and candy. She was about 8 years old. The children were so excited. There really was a Santa.

But later on she went upstairs and found the Santa suit and the mask. Then she knew it had been her sister, Martha! Leona looked sort of crestfallen as she told this story. She said all the kids' dreams were shattered that day.

Leona went to school at Three Oaks until the 11th grade. Mary Ann Stavinoha, Emil Fisher, and Victor Hosek were in her graduating class. She continued to live on the farm and work in the fields for several years.

COURTESY / Wilson County News    Lois Wauson writer of the weekly column "Rainy Days and Starry Nights" December 19, 2012
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Talamantez Brothers

Two Talamantez Brothers ...... from Floresville Wilson County Texas recalled their daddy during an interview with Fred Owens of the Wilson County News .

The Senior Talamantez, Pedro "Pepe" ,  was born in Graytown in 1913, finished school after the fifth grade, worked for 36 years as an ice man, worked many more years in other jobs, was married and raised six children, and died at the age of 87 in Floresville surrounded by his family.

Pete and Sam Talamantez, two of his four sons, remember their father as a very smart man. "He knew everything about every family in Wilson County. He knew where everybody came from and who everybody was related to," Pete said.

"I wish we had written it down," Sam said. "There were so many things he told us, but now it's gone."

When the boys were young, Pepe Talamantez worked for the Spruce family at their ranch outside of Floresville. When World War II started and all the eligible men were drafted, the Spruces held Pepe back from military service because he was an essential worker.

When Pete, the oldest boy, reached school age, the Spruces offered Pepe a job at their ice plant in Floresville.

"We were living out on the ranch at that time," Pete said. "It was more than a five-mile walk to school. There was no other way to get there. They offered my father a job in town so that we could live nearby and go to school."

The Talamantez family moved to a house with six acres on Sutherland Springs Road in Floresville.

"We had a big garden, potatoes, watermelons, onions, tomatoes, you name it," Sam said. "Dad was always away working, but one time a friend came to visit us, and he needed a place to stay. Dad let him stay in a cabin in the back. They never made a deal, but the man just started making the garden."

After moving to town, Pepe began his long service as an ice man, working from the ice plant at 4th and C streets in Floresville, where the offices of Floresville Electric Light & Power System (FELPS) are now located. The building still has thick, insulated walls and windowless rooms that were once used to store ice, although now they are filled with desks and computers.

"That's why Dad knew everything about everybody," Pete said. "It was because he delivered the ice door-to-door. He had a regular route in Floresville, delivering 12 to 25 blocks of ice." One block would last up to a week in the old ice boxes. In the 1940s and 1950s many people in Floresville did not have electric refrigerators.

"Dad started delivering ice with a horse and wagon, but later on he used a truck," Pete said.

The ice plant, the only one in Wilson County, made ice in 300-pound blocks in a process that took three days. When the blocks were frozen solid, the form was removed and the block was cut by an electric saw into 100-pound pieces. The 100-pound pieces were scored and then split into 50-, 25-, and 12.5-pound blocks.

"Dad delivered to all the restaurants in Floresville, too. They needed chipped ice to cover beer and soda in coolers and to serve in iced drinks," Pete said. Pepe chopped the ice blocks by hand for the restaurants. "Later they got smart. They got a machine to make chipped ice and Dad only had to deliver the bags."

Pete worked at the ice plants during summer vacation in the 1950s. Summer was the busiest time. "The farmers all came into the plant to get ice for their coolers. There were a lot of workers in the cotton and peanut fields, and they needed ice water," he said.

Pepe also delivered ice to Poth, Stockdale, and other places in the county, but only in 300-pound blocks. "They would slide the blocks out of the plant and down a chute into the truck. Then Dad would drive it to stores in those towns. The stores would cut up the blocks and sell it to their customers," Pete said.

Life became hard for Pepe in 1953. His wife, Margaret Ramos Talamantez, died, and he had six children to raise by himself.

"Dad never stopped working. He worked seven days a week delivering ice, from noon until 9 or 10 p.m. He also did washing and cooking for the children," Sam said.

The ice plant closed in 1980. Pepe began working for FELPS and stayed active until the last years of his life.

Pete Talamantez is 67. He is retired and works as the administrator for the Floresville Economic Development Corp. Pete still lives on his father's place on Sutherland Springs Road. (December 28, 2005)

Sam Talamantez, 57, owns the La Familia restaurant on Third Street in Floresville. Sam has been blind from diabetes for 14 years. (December 28, 2005)

Samuel R. "Sam" Talamantez passed away Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012, in San Antonio, Texas, at the age of 63 years, 11 months, and 4 days. He was born on Feb. 1, 1948, in Floresville to Peter and Margarita Talamantez. He was a lifelong resident of Floresville.