by Barbara J. Wood
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Sunday afternoon activities, then and now

By Julia Castro | June 30, 2010 | Wilson County News

What do people do these days on a Sunday afternoon? If the weather permits, some may do yardwork which they may not have time to do on weekdays. (We were brought up to not do work on Sundays, unless absolutely necessary.)
Others may spend the afternoon barbecuing and having family or friends over. Nowadays, more people have pools, so they may spend the afternoon cooling off in the pool. Some may just become couch potatoes and watch television and nap off and on. Or maybe they go to one of the amusement parks in San Antonio.
Anyway, things have changed. Time was when Sunday afternoons were spent visiting relatives, usually the patriarchs of the family. That was what we did in my family. Sunday afternoons, we would gather at Papá's and Mamá's house on Second Street. My sisters Jovita and Rebecca and Rebecca's husband, Henry, and Henry Jr. would come from San Antonio at least every other week, as did my brother Tito and his wife, Emma.
Papá's house had a large living room so it could accommodate a large group. If it got kind of cloudy, we would move outside and sit on the porch, some on chairs and some on the cement.
One such Sunday, I took my reliable Brownie Kodak camera and took the accompanying snapshot. Notice that we were all women and girls, except for Papá, who was standing just inside the door, and my two young sons, Louie and Larry, who was asleep on Mamá's lap.
The "cast" included my sisters Jovita, Rebecca, and Dalila, sisters-in-law Emma and Beatrice, and nieces Lola with her young daughter Debbie on her lap, Lillie, and young Angela and Grace. (I can't remember who was sitting behind the pillar on the right.)
The older kids had gone to the Sunday matinee at the Arcadia Theatre. And the rest of the men in the family? Why, they were doing what they like to do on Sunday afternoons — in town drinking a couple of beers (it was always just a couple, according to them). Their choice of cantinas was Castro's Place, although there were plenty of other beer joints in town. Back then, Floresville had a real downtown, but all the other businesses were closed on Sunday, as was the custom back then.
When Papá still went with the others, before he gave up drinking, my brother-in-law Henry liked to take him to "Don" Johnny Lopez's cantinita. It was a small, quiet, out-of-the-way place.
Even after Papá passed away, and Dalila moved Mamá and my brother Rufo in with her on F Street, I continued taking the younger kids to see Mamá on Sunday afternoons. The kids liked that because Mamá would give them change to go to Squeak's to buy something.
Yes, times have changed. Henry and I spend our Sunday afternoons by ourselves. He takes his usual daily long nap. I take a short nap, then read the Sunday paper and the church bulletin.
Sometimes I go to visit Rufo or friends at the different nursing homes. I guess this is the way it should be. I don't think we could surround ourselves with all our family every single Sunday. We would need to rent the new Floresville Community Center.
COURTESY/Julia Castro from her former column, "Apple Pie & Salsa". 
Members of the D.P. Muñiz family (Julia Castro's Papá) on a Sunday afternoon in the summer of 1958.

Old Stockdale, Wilson County, Texas family

OLD STOCKDALE WILSON COUNTY TEXAS FAMILY..... Laura Swiess shares her written family history of Nathaniel & Annie Luker.  Read how the family began their married lives in Stockdale in 1898 with their roots surviving today .... 124 years later. Laura has shared old family photos as well. (Thank you, Laura)
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Celebrating the Zook family legacy with El Mesias

By Lois Wauson | June 18, 2014 | "Rainy Days and Starry Nights" | Wilson County News

It was a beautiful sunny day in Floresville. On June 7, 2014 El Mesias Methodist Church celebrated their 100-year anniversary in the Floresville Event Center. My family and I were excited to be there. My grandfather, Rev. Samuel Zook, was the founder of the church. He and my grandmother were missionaries who came from the Rio Grande Valley, originally from Topeka, Kansas.
There were 16 of our Zook family there. The congregation had planned for a year for this important day. We walked into the room an hour before the service and there was already a crowd of people gathered around the exhibits, which included hundreds of pictures on posters, which were from decades ago, showing the historical events and the people of El Mesias. Elizabeth Lopez, the historian of the church and longtime member, and Lillie Ortiz, also a longtime member, were the ones who worked mostly on this project throughout this last year. They are two dedicated and hard-working women.
The first collections of pictures were from the original time, and there were portraits of my grandpa and grandma. And also a picture was of the house on the land that my grandpa bought, which was on the corner of Trail and Second streets. It made me connected to this church and the people. When El Mesias Methodist Church was born, when the church was at the corner of B and Second Street, they moved later to the property on Trail and Second, which I think my grandfather sold to them, and they moved out to the farm in the Camp Ranch community.
I was so proud to be sitting there with all my family and to think my grandfather started it all. I felt so much love from the people in El Mesias Church.
Around 200 people were in the service, which was led by Rev. Briones and lay leader Daniel Tejada. Elizabeth Lopez read the history of the church, which was more than 100 years, including the years before 1914, when my grandfather came to Floresville in 1905, and in 1908 started going among the people in the Lodi community and across the river to the Picosa community and preaching to the people under a big oak tree. Bishop Dorff was the speaker, and he encouraged us to go out like Grandpa Zook did, and tell the people about Jesus.
After the service, about 150 people gathered for dinner and my family of 16 Zooks had to sit at two big round tables, because they only seated 10. So like we do at home, the "old" folks sat at one table and the "young" folks sat at a table in the corner away from us, just like we do at home.
After dinner, Rev. Briones brought Bishop Dorff over to meet the grandchildren of Rev. Samuel Zook. That anniversary was the highlight of my year. Every time I drive by El Mesias Methodist Church, I can imagine I see the old brick two-story home that my grandparents lived in with my daddy and his brothers and sisters. I am glad that Christians are still on that land, carrying the legacy on for another 100 years.
COURTESY/ Wilson County News
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Regina Caroline Lange Wagenfuehr

Regina Caroline Lange Wagenfuehr has ties into Wilson County Texas history in a round about way as she was the strength behind the man.  Regina stayed behind the scenes while her husband, Heinrich Andrew "Henry" Wagenfuehr played in his bands, the Teltschik Family Band and then the Wagenfuehr Band and ran three saloons. Her sister, Lenora Anna Lange Teltschik.was married to Frank Hugo Teltschik of the White House Cafe and Saloon. Loop 181 was named the Hugo Lange Loop after her brother. Regina's nephew was the infamous Fritz Teltschik of Wilson County.

(The photo made in late 1953 was in Floresville Texas.  The grandma of Kevin Wagenfuehr passed away only months later in January 1954.)
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Jansky's celebrates 40 years in 2012

By Nannette Kilbey-Smith and Pam Smith |  Wilson County News | 2012
POTH — Sometimes, your life's work finds you early in life.
Lawrence Jansky pumped his first tank of gas when he was only 6 years old — for Melvin Reinhard's 1956 Ford, with the gas tank behind the license plate. That was 1957, and Jansky has been filling tanks almost ever since. On June 1, he will celebrate 40 years in business.
The owner of L. Jansky's Service Center on North Storts in Poth started working every day after school when he was 13 at Warnken Motors. His love and passion for customer service, care, and community involvement have been a lifelong influence, standing him in good stead with his own business, established in 1972.
"This is a family business," said Angela Alexander, Lawrence's daughter. She manages the office at Jansky's, where everyone knows everyone, and customer service is a priority. "Lawrence is dedicated to providing the community with high-quality customer service. We make every attempt to treat each of our customers like family — being honest, respectful, and helpful when it comes to car care, maintenance, service, and support.
Lawrence was born in Floresville in 1951. A 1969 graduate of Poth High School, he is married to the former Mary Ann Zimmerman. They have four children: Jacqueline "Jackie," Lawrence Jr. "Larry," Angela, and Tiffany. Lawrence and Mary Ann are the proud grandparents of Tenley, Kate, Magdalyn, Isabella, and Dominik.
His dedication to service comes from years of experience. Lawrence worked for his dad, Joe Jansky, at Warnken Motors after school as a teenager, then worked for LeeRoy Reininger Texaco for six years, until he was 21. In 1972, he bought the service station from Reininger, and began his own business history.
Of course, he's seen many changes since 1972. Gas isn't what it used to be, and neither are the prices. No one had ever heard of unleaded gas in the '70s, and a gallon of regular gas at Jansky's then sold for 28.9 cents, with premium going for 32.9 cents per gallon. The most a gallon of regular unleaded has sold for at Jansky's was $4.58 in 2008; premium unleaded was selling for $4.99 at the time. Current prices are about $3.46 for regular unleaded.
Lawrence carries a range of products, including Shamrock branded gasoline and diesel, new and used tires, Interstate and Continental batteries, and a variety of automotive products. He offers tire repairs, rotation, and balancing; oil and filter changes; and grease jobs. Prices vary by service and product.
What makes L. Jansky's Service Center different, the family says, is the atmosphere. Each customer is greeted as they come through the door. And Lawrence has a great ability to deal with people.
"I love dealing with and meeting people," he said, speaking about what he enjoys most about being in business. "It's second nature to us."
The most difficult part of running the business, he said, is finding dedicated employees.
It's apparent he's done something right, because customers keep coming back.
Felix Biela of Floresville and his wife are lifelong customers, and Bill Millikin of Floresville has been taking his business to Jansky's "... as long as he's been in business," Millikin said on a recent visit.
In addition to running his business, Lawrence has found time to serve as the Poth Volunteer Fire Department chief, belong to the Knights of Columbus, and help maintain the cemetery.
He found his niche early. Lawrence's brand of down-home, high-quality, respectful, honest service has kept him in business for 40 years. It seems folks like taking their business where everybody knows your name.
"Thank you for the past 40 years," Lawrence said. "We've appreciated your support with sticking with us through the years."


The Schneider store looks as it always has. Helen Schneider sold it in 1997 to Alene Pawelek, who has kept the spirit of this local gathering place, selling gas, a few groceries, coffee anytime, and beer in the afternoon and evening. It's a place to catch up on local gossip, and to arrange events, like a fund-raiser for the volunteer fire department.
The old gas pump with a clear glass cylinder on the top has been replaced with a modern pump. The cotton gin and weighing scale have been dismantled. A microwave has been added to the kitchen accoutrements, but the glass cabinet holding candy bars is still there just like when Helen owned the store. And little children can still hope for a special treat.
Helen and Alfred Schneider had no children of their own, so they "adopted" their nieces and nephews and all the children in the neighborhood. "Our Aunt Helen had beautiful red hair, a twinkle in her bright blue eyes, and a smile for everyone," N ell Lyssy said, in a eulogy delivered at Helen's funeral. She was Helen's great-niece.
The Schneiders ranched and operated the store and a cotton gin next to it in Dewees since the 1930s. Helen continued their Hereford ranching operation after Alfred died in 1967. She enjoyed hosting birthday parties, family reunions, and get-togethers for her family, friends, and customers.
She supported many youth activities and community projects. "If you asked, she gave," Nell said. "She cared for and supported farm hands as if they were her own family and asked nothing in return. That was just her nature."
When Helen's sister, Annie Orts, died as a young mother, Helen took over the job of raising her sister's five daughters.
Being an aunt instead of a mother, gave Helen a chance to spoil her nieces and nephews, but "not with expensive presents and money, but with love and attention," Nell said
Children knew that a trip to the store meant a scoop of ice cream or a treat from the candy counter. "We could run, play, explore the barns and the cotton gin and gather hens eggs," Nell said.
The nieces enjoyed visiting Aunt Helen and Uncle Alfred at their home. The Schneiders had one of the first color televisions in Poth. The children would sit on the floor in front of the television, and Aunt Helen would bring them ice-cold Seven-Up with a cherry in it. "And she would let us drive her huge, green Chrysler Imperial when we were about 12 years old," Nell said.
"You could get in trouble and not get fussed at," Nell said. She remembered the chickens, sheep, goats, and pigeons that Aunt Helen kept near the store. Dog and cats, too — "People would leave them there and Aunt Helen would just take care of them," Nell said.
Parishioners from Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Poth often came to Schneider's Store to drink beer after Mass on Saturday evening. Helen had a poodle named Duffy who would start barking if the people didn't leave in time for Helen to close the store. People still come after Mass on Saturday, but Duffy is long gone.
One day Helen decided she wanted to live in a log cabin, and so she had one built next to the store. That was her home until a terrible day in 1994 when robbers knocked on her door and forced her, at gun point, to open the store and give them the money in the cash register. After that, she was afraid to live there by herself, so she moved back to Poth and her niece, Maxine Albrecht, shared the house with her. In recent years, her great-niece, Ann Moore, moved back to Poth from San Antonio and cared for Aunt Helen.
Helen Schneider sold her historic Schneider's Store in Dewees in 1997, after running it for 65 years. Betty Ortmann helped care for Helen until her passing three years later on December 1,  2006 at the age of 95.
[ Ed Schneider built the building in 1929 and ran the restaurant named Schneider's until 1946 when Ed Zolkosky and his inlaws purchased it.  Ed's wife, Marilyn, was a Reinhard and her father helped Ed with the down payment and helped run the place----then named Ed's.  They paid $26,000 for in 1946 and sold it in 1962 for $26,000 to a fellow from "up north" ..  
named it Pop's.  The State took over the property to make the turn lane in 2000.]
COURTESY / Wilson County News  December 20, 2006 written by Fred Owens.
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Robert Cone of Stockdale

A GOOD OLE WILSON COUNTY TEXAS FARMER   ...   Robert Cone of Stockdale Texas grew some mighty good looking Black Diamonds in his time. James Davenport proudly says, " His grandfather was Robert Cone and he grew watermelons until the day he died."  Robert was a hard working man and as a farmer worked sunrise to sundown. Ronald Wiatrek says that he probably had very strong arms, because he waved at every car or truck that went by while selling his watermelons on Hwy 87.

HISTORY OF A FAMILY ..... from France to Wilson County Texas

Do you recognize the family? "My wife's mother's  family lived in Wilson County on FM 537 five miles south of Floresville. They migrated from Alsace-Loraine France in 1890. Her great grand father brought his mother and 9 children on the ship into Ellis Island New York. He had secured a job with the Camp Ranch in Wilson County as a leather repairman for saddles and tack. He had been a cobbler in France . He worked for several years and bought 3 sections of land. Part of which is in present day Floresville. After the purchase was final he gave each child 176 acres. Mary Lea's grandfather had the 176 acres just east of the first curve on 537. Next to him was his brother Louie . Then his two sisters Bertha and Mary who lived on the homestead Augustus originally settled that was 706 acres. With Charlie  another brother's 176 acres east of the home place. Mary.s grandfather and grandmother married in 1900 and lived in a covered wagon until their first child Albert George was born in 1904 . They built a small framed two bedroom house shortly after the birth. But they added on to it when some of the other five children were born. Her grandmother's father was a cattle drover and went to Dodge City on one of the cattle drives in the 1870s . Before his children were born. Mary's father Raymond W Sutherland was from Sutherland Springs and Stockdale but lived on County road 537 two miles east of her mother's family.  Ansel Jack Sutherland owned 8 mules and plowed acreage  for other land owners in Wilson County and his wife Annie raised chickens and turkey's and sold eggs. Raymond and Anna Lea married in 1935 and lived just east of Cibolo Creek on what is now CR537. He plowed and planted for others just like his dad. But in 1937 he also started raising watermelons for sale in San Antonio. In 1938 he bought a 1936 Chevrolet pickup truck to haul Wilson County watermelons to the Farmers Market in San Antonio."
"In 1966 Raymond Sutherland and Monty Noles leased 1265 acres between Pandora and Union Valley for cattle raising. Kept the lease until 1985. He raised Hi-gear hay several years to feed the cattle in winter and when they needed penning. I hunted deer and quail many years and fished the two large cattle tanks on the property. After Monte Noles death he subleased the Union Valley pasture to Raymond Wright of Floresville for partnered cattle raising." (posted by Jim Lee)
COURTESY/ Texas History Groups and Pages

Camp Ranch Gal has fingers in many varied pies

Wilson County News   
Written by Lois Wauson, May 02, 2012
"Starry Nights & Rainy Days"

Viola Guenther Henke's parents were peanut farmers in the 1940s in the Camp Ranch community of Floresville. She knew what hard work was when she was still in grammar school. She was introduced to hoeing peanuts and driving a tractor at an early age. Like all kids in those days, she did it with no pay. My brothers and sisters did too. It was hard work. But everyone worked hard. In those days, especially in Wilson County, all children worked hard.
Viola Henke is the daughter of Walter and Edna Guenther of Camp Ranch. Besides working in the fields, when she was in fifth grade, she worked for her lunch in the school cafeteria in Floresville. She would clean the lunch tables under the guidance of Mrs. Marsh, the supervisor.
When she was 12 years old, she worked for Raul Trevino, who had the Floresville Bakery and Coffee Shop. The bakery was right across from the courthouse. Merrill Connally, the Wilson County Judge, and others would walk across the street for their coffee break. Viola recalls receiving a quarter from Mr. Connally for serving a 5-cent cup of coffee! She never forgot that!
Viola was a responsible youngster, so Mr. Trevino gave her the job to open and close the bakery when he and his wife made a trip to Mexico. He told her to close up as soon as the donuts were gone. One day they weren't selling so fast, so she and her cousin Jeanette decided to do something to make them sell. They went to Merchants Grocery Store and bought powdered sugar and cocoa. They made some icing and iced the donuts. The donuts sold quickly then, so they closed the bakery for the day. What an entrepreneur she was at such a young age! Imagine letting a 12-year-old girl run a bakery when you went out of the country! These days someone would call Child Protective Services.
Also she worked during the Christmas holidays at the C&C Variety Store, which was on Third Street in Floresville. Janie Zook, who was my aunt, was the owner. Viola's job was Christmas gift-wrapping. Sounds like a fun job to me.
When Viola was 14 years old, Robert Spruce, the manager of Floresville Light & Power System (FELPS) called Maida Cooper, the Floresville High School bookkeeping teacher, for a recommendation for a part-time employee. Viola was the one Lillian Chamberlain, office manager of FELPS, chose for the job. Viola worked there with on-the-job training and became manager of financial services.
So this high school girl, 14 years old, began working at FELPS, with on-the-job training and worked there for 51 years. She still works for them part time, being a trustee of the FELPS Pension Trust. FELPS knew a good employee and appreciated her. She must have been a hard worker.
But Viola didn't stop working when she retired. After retiring in 2006, she and her husband, Otto Henke, started a business named Henke Creations. Viola started picking up rocks. But Viola doesn't just collect rocks. She purchased lapidary equipment, and has turned those rocks into polished slabs, design angels, and things like wooden crosses. You can find them at Finders Keepers, the antique outlet store at the old Baumann's Grocery on C Street.
Not only keeping busy with her Henke Creations, Viola also has been a volunteer at the Regency Manor, where her parents were for four years before they passed away. She is still a part-time employee, assisting in the activity department. Those residents are so blessed to have Viola there these days!
Despite being a woman in her 70s, with all these jobs, she is also a vibrant member of the Wilson County Historical Society, and has taken on the job of directing and producing the Floresville Opry, a benefit for the organization, which is held every three months in the Floresville Event Center. The first two Oprys were a huge success, and I am looking forward to the one on May 3.
Despite being a working woman, Viola Henke has always been a devoted wife and mother. I can vouch for the fact she is an awesome cook and baker. She makes wonderful kolaches, which she is teaching her grandchildren how to make.
Viola and Otto's three sons, Kevin, Douglas, and Clifton, began working at early ages by mowing lawns, being helpers to carpenters and electrical and plumbing contractors. They learned to do a day's work plus! The good work ethic has been passed down through both Viola and Otto's families for generations.
Otto and Viola have been married for 52 years. They stay busy with their business, part-time jobs, volunteer work, and many activities. They have fun visiting Lakehills, where they built a cabin on Medina Lake many years ago. The whole family, including grandchildren, enjoys swimming, fishing, and waterskiing. They go to Fashing, where they have a ranch, to go deer hunting. They also love to go to Rockport, where they have a time-share condo, to enjoy the beach, the Gulf breezes, and fishing with the family.
Viola is a good example of the Texas women I love to write about. I call these stories "Strong Texas Women," who have worked hard all their life, but then they take time for family, fun, and relaxation.


Death has called to "The Great Beyond" another one of the pioneers who have helped build up Texas and Wilson County in the person of Mr. Robert Carter Houston (1/5/1842 - 
11/29/1916). He came to Wilson County with his parents, Ross (1805-1862) and Martha Anville Bumpass Houston (1806-1866) in 1851, but although then but a lad of twelve or 
thirteen, he has a just claim to the title of a pioneer, for he endured the hardships and trials of the long overland journey in wagons from Lauderdale County, Alabama and of the 
settlement of his family in what was then a practical wilderness. 
The parents of the subject of these memoirs were not only earnest believers in the dignity of labor, but they also maintained that boys should be taught to cook, sweep, sew, wash clothes and iron them. As the good mother said, "A boy may never have to do such things, but if they ever do have them to do, it will help them wonderfully to know how to do them." 
For the first year or two after the arrival of the Houston family on the Cibolo in this county, there was much work to do. Houses were to be built, land fenced and cleared for cultivation and cattle and horses to be cared for.
Robert, fondly called "Bob" by family and friends, did his part in all this industry, and when not at work in the field or woods, he was going to school. In 1859, he and his brother, Samuel Ross Houston, went back to Florence, Alabama and entered the Wesleyan University at that place, entering the Freshman class.
The War between the States came in 1861 and caused a general cessation of study among the students. Samuel Ross Houston came back to Texas before his sophomore year was ended, but Bob stayed in Alabama until a company of its citizens organized a cavalry company to serve in the Confederate Army. This he joined and remained a member of, until the Eighth Texas or Terry Rangers, came under command of General Albert Sydney Johnston, when he sought and obtained a transfer to Company G of the regiment, then commanded by his elder brother, Captain William Yandall Houston.
Thence forward till the close of the war his career was like that of other cavalrymen in active service. That he was brave and gallant and did his duty as a soldier, is amply attested by the esteem in which he was held by the survivors of the regiment. When hostilities ceased, he returned to Texas to find his father had died on December 22, 1862, his mother a widow, the family slaves free, and the country in the so-called process of reconstruction. All that was left was the land and small stocks of cattle and horses, and to these the young man at once turned his attention.
On November 6, 1866, his mother died, and in the division of the estate Bob got the home place and a fair pro rata of the land.
November 22, 1866, Robert Houston won the heart and hand of Miss Ellen Brahan, (daughter of Major Robert Weekly Brahan for whom the Masonic Lodge of La Vernia is named.) To the couple were born eight children; Mattie Anville Houston (1867-1876); Mary H. "Mamie" (1869-1958), wife of T. C. McDaniel, Floresville; Roberta B., wife of W. E. Smith, San Antonio; William Sledge Houston (1875-1942) married Miss Annie Brooks and lived at Somerville; Ross W. Houston (1877-1906) married Miss Ossie Trawek; Nell C. Houston (1882-1913); Hal Brahan Houston (1884-1958) married Miss Ella Taylor; and Alma Gertrude (1887-1978) wife of Henry Montgomery, residing in Houston. 
Mr. Houston continued to farm and raise cattle and horses until his children got to an age when they must have the advantage of the best schools and then he moved to Floresville, and in the same or following year, was elected sheriff of the county. The fact that he held that office for three or more terms, is evidence that he was a most efficient officer. Indeed, without disparagement to his predecessors and successors, it may be said that he was the most thoroughly efficient sheriff that Wilson County has ever had. 
While performing his official duties well and faithfully, he yet found time to aid all with his money, influence and labor in the betterment of the schools of Floresville. To him we are indebted more than to any other person for the Academy which was the nucleus for the magnificent high school 
building of which we are now so proud.
Not only this , but he lent his aid and influence and gave encouragement to every enterprise that would benefit his town, county and state, and was usually a leader in every project of general interest. In short, he was public-spirited 
and progressive, always ready and willing to do his part and bear his share of the burden of building up the county; liberal in his charities, and they were many, including his contributions to the various churches. 
Following his retirement from civil office, Mr. Houston moved back to his farm and again engaged in farming and stock-raising. How many years he gave to that is not remembered, 
but he finally sold out his holdings in Wilson County and went to Lufkin to live. After staying there a few years, he removed to Somerville, where, as has been announced, he died on 
the 29th day of November, 1916 after long suffering from a cancer on the face.
Thence his body was brought to Floresville and interred by the side of his deceased daughter, Nell, in the Floresville City Cemetery. His request that funeral and burial should be according to the Confederate ritual could not be granted, there being no U.C.V. Camp in Wilson County, but in honor of his memory he was followed to the grave by every ex-Confederate in the town and by many from the county.Not one of these but had some story to tell which showed their appreciation and administration of their departed comrade, and from the heart 
of each came the tribute, "Honor to his memory; peace to his ashes." J. B. Polley 
NOTE: An interesting item from the Floresville Chronicle-Journal, August 8, 1930:Titled "Old Landmark Burns". LA VERNIA, TEXAS July 26, Fire of unknown origin destroyed the 
Burt Farmhouse, formerly the old Bob Houston home, aboutthree miles east of here. This marked the passing of one of the old land marks, as it was one of the oldest houses here. 
Compiled by Shirley Grammer from information in her files. Wilson County Historical Society 10/08


A pioneer Wilson County Resident .... Thomas Swift was born in Henry County, Missouri on December 28, 1852. When he was eight years old, he moved with the Swift family to Fannin County, Texas. The family lived in Fannin County for only three months. They moved to Erath County, Texas and
remained there until 1873. Then they moved to Fairview, Wilson County, Texas.
On March 12, 1874, Thomas Swift married a local Fairview Citizen, Miss Maggie Carver. She was just fifteen years of age on her wedding day, but it was a joyous celebration with seventy five people attending the ceremony.
Mr. and Mrs. Swift's first home was a log cabin with no windows and only one door. Mrs. Swift began housekeeping without a stove and very few kitchen utensils. All meals were cooked in a Dutch oven over coals of fire in front of the fireplace in cold or inclement weather.
During the summer time and on pleasant days, the Dutch oven was moved outside and meals were cooked over an open fire. Only basic groceries such as coffee, flour, salt and sugar were purchased. Wild game or wild cattle roamed the surrounding prairies, and Mr. Swift could kill the animals for meat.
On a monthly basis, Mr. Swift would travel by wagon to San Antonio to purchase supplies including groceries. At this time crossing the country by road to Lodi was not practical and the route to San Antonio was the most feasible.
On one of his trips to purchase provisions, Mrs. Swift was left alone in the cabin with her four little children. One evening after the children had gone to bed, Mrs. Swift heard an 
unusual noise at the door. It sounded as if someone was attempting to break in the house. Mrs. Swift did not have a firearm, so she armed herself with a hatchet. She boldly 
informed the intended intruder that she would end his life if he entered the house. The intruder did not reply, but left the premises without causing any further problems. Later it was determined that this intruder was a wandering individual who thought he could steal some money which was presumed to be hidden in the house. 
During his time in Erath County, Mr. Swift learned farming while plowing with a wooden moldboard plow pulled by a yoke of oxen. He believed this was the first attempt at farming in the area as ranching was the principal business in the region.
Indians were a constant concern in the area and since there was no law on the frontier, individuals went about armed with pistols and carbines. In 1865, Comanche Indians were the greatest menace, killing many men, women and children. With ranch homes so far apart, the settlers had to leave their homes and gather together for mutual protection.
In the time frame of 1866 – 67, New Orleans was the best market for cattle. The sale of cattle was the major source of cash for the ranchers of Erath County. Mr. Swift was one 
of the local trail drivers who drove the herds of cattle to this market. Cattle trailing during this period, would consume almost six months of his time during the year. A saddle blanket would be his only bed and his roof was the blue sky or a slicker during inclement weather. Mr. Swift enjoyed the great outdoors. These were happy days for him, free of problems and instilling a broad outlook on life. Nothing was more exciting, after bedding down a herd of cattle, than to sleep out under a clear sky and observe the stars on a bright, still night. 
For more than thirty years he served as Justice of the Peace in the Fairview Community and at one time was a county Commissioner of Wilson County. For more than a quarter 
of a century, he was secretary of the Fairview Jeptha Masonic Lodge. He also served three times as Past Master of the Lodge of which he was an honored member.
Mr. Swift and his wife raised a family of stalwart sons and daughters. Thirteen children were born to this marriage. One son, J. E. swift served for many years as county superintendent of the schools in Wilson County.
On Tuesday, December 29, 1942, Mr. Swift passed away at his home just a day after he had celebrated his 90th birthday. He had been in failing health for some time. His funeral services were conducted in his Fairview country home by the Reverend J. W. Black, pastor of the Floresville Methodist Church. The Floresville Masonic Lodge concluded the burial services with the rites of the order at the old Rock Church Cemetery. He was buried beside his wife, who preceded him in death in September of 1935.
Compiled by Gene Maeckel from information in the Wilson County Historical Society Archives. 9/2008


Glenn Lothringer will be 90 years young Sept. 10; he shared these memories with his daughter, Linda Lothringer, who wrote this down for her family and Wilson County News readers in 2016.
I was born in Marlow, Okla., in 1926, the first of two sons of Melvin and Myrtle Lothringer. Sometime before 1935, my family moved to Fairview in Wilson County, Texas, where I've lived ever since.
Fairview School
I rode a gray horse named Sam 5 miles to the Fairview School. I'd tie him to a tree for the day with his bridle and saddle still on. I was small and the horse was large, so I couldn't make him go anywhere else. If I had to go to the store past the school, Sam would to go to the school and stand in his usual place.
I went to Floresville School for two years and then quit. We drove to the Floresville School each day and occasionally carpooled with the Ray brothers. There were no paved roads at that time, so it was rough driving from Fairview to Floresville. You could easily get stuck on the dirt roads.
Making do
I grew up during the Depression. We had one pair of shoes all winter and had to make them last. Hand-me-down clothes and shoes went from the older kids to the younger siblings.
We had chickens, turkeys, cows, and pigs, and grew corn and peanuts. My mother also maintained a large garden. I had to milk the cows twice a day and shuck corn to feed the hogs. We never had to buy meat; we would butcher our own hogs and cattle to eat.
My mother canned the meat in jars. She also made great homemade tamales. What food the family couldn't eat, we canned. We never threw anything away and no one wasted food. If you put it on your plate, you ate it.
Saturdays were special
We went to town on Saturday, taking our corn to the mill on the way in. We paid cash for it to be ground into cornmeal or the miller kept part of the corn for payment. We'd proceed to town to sell our cream and eggs. Once we sold our goods, we went to the grocery store to buy sugar, coffee, and flour. On the way home, we picked up the corn meal from the mill.
Occasionally, we would go to picture shows.
The family used to listen to soap operas on the radio at my Uncle Jess Bruce's home. The Grand Old Opry was a favorite.
People had morals in those days; they had a hard life, but a good life. You never heard of drugs in school, but we did have moonshine, which was tough stuff; it could kill you.
Going hunting
I used to hoe peanuts with my Grandpa Bob, working from noon to dark sacking the peanuts, earning 50 cents a day. I was happy then, because I could buy shells for my .22 rifle — 15 cents for 100 rounds.
I hunted varmints at night, especially coons, and sold the skins. We also hunted coyotes to keep them away from the chickens.
I started deer and hog hunting when I was 16 or 17. We'd hunt on a friend's ranch in Frio County and cook the deer meat in Dutch ovens.
After many years of hunting with a rifle, I started hunting with a camera. I regret not picking up a camera earlier in life, because I really enjoy photography.
I also taught myself how to play the accordion.
Plane crash
One significant event during my youth was the crash of a military airplane one night in the 1940s.
We were at home playing dominoes with our visitors around 10 p.m. when we heard a plane stall out and crash.
Our house at the time was less than half a mile from the intersection of what today are F.M. 536 and F.M. 2505.
My parents and I went to the crash site in our car and were the first to arrive at the scene.
We saw something moving that was large and white, with eyes that were glowing from the reflection of the car headlights. We thought it was a cow. It was the pilot. He had ejected from the plane and was still attached to his parachute.
This was scary, and every time a plane came over after that, I was nervous that it would crash.
1942 hurricane
I also remember when a Category 3 hurricane hit Matagorda on Aug. 30, 1942. It tracked right over San Antonio, leaving $26 million of damage in its path. It seemed like we were in the eye of the storm. Everything that was picked up by the strong winds came down in a different direction. (See box for more on the storm.)
Not a windmill was left standing for miles around. Grandpa Lothringer was a fanatic about his windmill; he would only run it for a short period of time and then go cut it off. When the storm knocked all the windmills over, he was first to go to San Antonio to buy another windmill, because they were scarce and he knew it would be hard to find one if he waited too long.
Category 3 storm
According to the National Weather Service, the unnamed Aug. 30, 1942, Category 3 hurricane Glenn Lothringer remembers made landfall about midnight Aug. 30 and plowed inland, wreaking a destructive path. By noon Aug. 30, it had weakened to a tropical storm in the San Marcos area, with sustained winds of 50 mph. It continued northwestward, steadily weakening, until dissipating near Sweetwater on Aug. 31.
"The destruction and devastation brought to South Central Texas by this hurricane is the worst in the 20th century," the NWS said. Victoria County reported "every house damaged to some extent."
Wind damaged all but five of the 75 aircraft at the San Antonio municipal airport, in spite of stakes being driven 8 feet into the ground to hold them. Buildings and trees were damaged all along the storm's path.
Married life
I met Toney through my best friend, John Beakly "Beak" Swift. Beak was dating Toney's sister, Elenora, and would take me along when he went to visit.
Beak married Elenora in September 1947 and Toney and I married the following July.
We lived in the doctor's house where I had lived with my parents before. We were the first family to have electricity — even before my parents did — because of the location of the home.
Sage advice
If there was any advice I would give someone today raising kids, ensure they learn to speak Spanish. It will take them far.
COURTESY / Wilson County News 
Clifford Glenn Lothringer entered into rest on Thursday, March 21, 2019, at the age of 92. At the age of 4, his family moved to the Fairview community in Wilson County. There he grew to manhood and spent his entire adult life. He attended schools in Fairview and Floresville, Texas.
In 1948, he married Toney Richter, and together they had four children, Jimmie, Jeffrey, Linda, and Cindy. Glenn was a farmer and rancher and worked up until the end of his life. He was an avid hunter and fisherman for most of his life. In later years, he hunted for the best wildlife picture with his camera.
He is survived by his wife of 70 years.
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.