Friday, October 14, 2011

The Coming of the Telegraph to Arkansas, by Edward C. Newton, 1919

[Edward C. Newton was born May 4, 1844, probably at New Madrid, Missouri. He died at Little Rock, Arkansas January 11, 1923. His brothers were also telegraphers, Jeremiah L. Newton (1846 - 1917) pounding the brass at Houston and San Antonio, Texas, and Charles Newton (1853 - 1901) at Frankfort, Kentucky. GMN]

The Coming of the Telegraph to Arkansas

by Edward C. Newton (from The Arkansas Gazette, Little Rock, November 20, 1919)

The most rapid means of communication, previous to the year 1860, between Little Rock and the outside world was by stage coaches and stern wheel steamboats plying between Little Rock and Memphis, the former having the advantage in making a little faster time between these points. This stage line was operated by the firm of Hanger, Rapley & Gaines, and was equipped with large six-horse coaches which arrived and departed daily on a 24-hour schedule, which schedule, however, depended on the condition of the roads, rivers, and bayous. The stage coaches carried the United States mail and also as many passengers as could be accommodated, that is, nine on the three seats inside and two with the driver outside.

But in 1859 H. A. Montgomery of Memphis came to Little Rock and proceeded to organize the Arkansas Telegraph Company for the purpose of building a telegraph line between Little Rock and Memphis, with Chas. P. Bertrand president, and James A. Henry secretary, both of Little Rock, and H. A. Montgomery superintendent. Some stock in this company was placed locally, but Mr. Montgomery retained a majority.

The railroad between Little Rock and Memphis was projected, but not constructed, and the Arkansas Telegraph Company had to find a way for its lines through the primeval forests and swamps, which, in many instances, offered many obstacles not easily overcome. But the promoter was a forceful man of indefatigable energy, and as soon as it was possible to get the wire and material distributed by wagons along the route through the wilderness he proceeded with the work in the then primitive way of building telegraph lines. Brackets, designed to carry square glass insulators, were nailed to trees, and where there were no trees available, post-oak and cypress poles were used. The wire was of plain iron (not galvanized as now) of No. 9 gauge, and was placed in an open slot on receptacles in the top of the square glass insulator, which arrangement allowed it to slide back and forth through the insulator to prevent breakage of the wire by the swaying of the trees in high winds and storms.

The most difficult part of the route was through the forty miles of low country between the St. Francis river and Memphis. In some places the region was at that time almost impenetrable, and it was, besides, the habitat of every wild animal and reptile indigenous to Arkansas. I have heard Mr. Montgomery tell of his adventures in building the telegraph line in this region, which were both thrilling and laughable.

The wire, however, was finally erected and completed in the year 1860 with offices at Little Rock, Brownsville, Des Arc, Clarendon, Madison and Memphis. The office at Little Rock was located on the second floor of an old brick building on the northeast corner of East Markham and Scott streets, which had formerly been the residence of W. E. Woodruff, founder of the Gazette.

It was now demonstrated that a steamboat could announce its departure on the very day of its leaving Memphis, and orders for merchandise could be placed by telegraph for shipment by that boat and also a
telegram might be sent to New York and an answer received the same day. Furthermore, a telegraph news report, of perhaps 200 words, was appearing in the Gazette, which was considered both remarkable and very enterprising on the part of the paper.

The building of this telegraph line was not only and event in the history of Arkansas, but greatly appreciated by the people, especially just at the inception of the Civil War.

The second telegraph line was built between Little Rock and Pine Bluff in1861 by the Pine Bluff Telegraph Co., which was organized at Pine Bluff by Snow & Ketchum, and which also had its office at Little Rock in the old Woodruff Building. David O. Dodd, the young Confederate martyr, who had learned the rudiments of telegraphy, was the operator on that line in 1862 for a brief period. His knowledge of the telegraph alphabet proved his undoing, for he used it as a code in an attempt to conceal the information about the Federal forces he had obtained on a later visit to Little Rock, resulting in his capture and execution as a spy in 1864. This unfortunate boy, modest and unassuming in his manner and appearance, showed the qualities of a hero at his trial when, on an offer of clemency, he refused, even to the last minute on the scaffold, to disclose the name of the person who furnished the important military information found in his possession.

When the Confederate troops evacuated Little Rock in September, 1863, the Arkansas Telegraph Company, with which I was then associated, retreated also, saving as much wire and material as possible for the purpose of extending its line from Arkdelphia via Camden to Shreveport. The United States Military Telegraph controlled the wires running out of Little Rock during the occupation of the city by the Federal forces, which wires were returned to the companies six months after the close of the Civil War.

H. A. Montgomery, the pioneer of the telegraph in Arkansas, disposed of his telegraph interests to a larger company soon after the war. He became a prominent and wealthy citizen of Memphis. The celebrated Montgomery Park was named for him. He died in that city and a life-like marble statue of heroic size was erected to his memory at his tomb, in Elmwood cemetery.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Christmas, Nineteen Fifteen, by Grace Cornell Newton. 1978

The first of which I have a fairly good memory was Christmas, 1915. All our Christmases were beautiful. The tree in all its majesty dominated the small apartment. The mingled smell of pine and wax, the glittering tinsel, the glass ornaments and balls, cornucopias filled with a kind of candy that seemed to belong to Christmas, the little candles in their spring holders with their tiny flickering lights -- all the greens and reds and golds almost hiding the branches right on down to the floor. The tree itself was Christmas. It appeared miraculously, not the day after Thanksgiving, but on Christmas morning. It never failed to overwhelm me when I awakened to see all the little candles lighted in the dark of early morning.

Even though I somehow realized that Mamma and Daddy were the ones who arose early and lit the candles with a big "kitchen match," Christmas was a miracle no matter that its trappings were wrought by human hands. It was not just THINGS, but a FEELING.

This was the Christmas that we kids all received play costumes, exactly the ones we each had "ordered." Sister [Elizabeth] wanted an Indian squaw dress, so that's what was in the box under the tree for her. The big brother [Willie] wanted to be a cowboy, so a cowboy suit was there for him. The little brother [Jerry] was more inclined to follow his sister's ideas, so he asked for and got a little Indian suit. All my hopes rested on being a policeman, and a very convincing one I became that Christmas morning. My outfit consisted of a navyblue suit with bras buttons on the coat and white piping on the mandarin-type collar and the cuffs, plus white stripes down the pant legs. Finally I wore a navy cap with a hard shiny black visor, and I carried a "billy club." Beaumont's finest would have envied me. I was even "mounted," on a tricycle. But, alas, my mount was soon stolen by that little Indian and I was forced to patrol my beat on foot.

I remember that the two big kids had skates, and many a crisp winter's evening just before dark I would stand by the side of the house beneath the kitchen window and dejectedly watch the skaters zoom down Calder Avenue with the little Indian in hot pursuit on my tricycle.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Fishing Trip and Nineteen Fifteen Hurricane, by Grace Cornell Newton

That September Saturday dawned clear and sunny. We had been invited to visit friends on their house-boat moored on the Beaumont side of the Neches River. Mrs. Borgerson, who had been Mamma's nurse when I was born, lived there with her husband and grown son and daughter.

In our go-to-town clothes, we walked straight down Calder to where it met Broadway, and then past Main to the Neches River. There was no free-way then, and the pine tree forest was still primitive and regal.

After arriving, we kids quickly took off our shoes and gathered on the wide porch or deck, from which we cast our string lines baited with pieces of bacon. I caught a crab and threw it back in. That was my first and only venture as an angler.

Then we got into the rowboat, with the picnic basket, and went to the opposite bank to have lunch under the trees. It took two trips to get us all across the river, and while the rest of the party was still in the boat, the sky grew leaden with "threatening" clouds and a wind was rising. The adults cast analytical glances at the sky and decided bad weather was brewing. So we rowed back to the house-boat and hurriedly ate our lunch in the big breezy kitchen. And soon took our departure.

We made it back to the apartment just ahead of the storm, about 1:30 P.M. Daddy called frantically to tell Mamma not to come to town to the movie as a severe storm warning was out. Of course, he wa unaware that we had been to the far reaches of Jefferson County only a short time earlier.

We stood at the "long" (floor-length) window excitedly watching the progress of the storm. Mr. and Mrs. Johnston, laughing like two kids and enjoying the strong breeze, stayed out on the porch until gusts of wind sent the wicker furniture skipping down the steps and blowing about the front yard.

Jerry [who would have been four years-old] says he remembers standing at the back door and watching the big rain drops plopping into the already flooded yard.

[Somewhere along the way, Grace's memories of this storm became mixed-up. As she was only six-years old at the time, she may have, over time, merged one memory into another. The only hurricane in September of 1915 made landfall on Wednesday the 29th, near New Orleans, Louisiana as a strong Category 3 hurricane. This storm would have been too far away to affect Beaumont very much, I think.

I suspect she was actually remembering the Galveston Hurricane of 1915, which made landfall just to the southwest of Galveston early in the day on Tuesday, August 17. Similar in strength to the 1900 Hurricane, the 1915 Galveston Hurricane was a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 135 mph. While property damage was substantial, there were only eleven deaths in Galveston, due to the recently completed seawall.]

Sunday, August 28, 2011

1914 - Grandma Gruetzmacher's Funeral by Wilben Long Newton

This is not so much a story, but rather unedited notes for a story. It is unknown to me if Uncle Willie ever transformed these disjointed notes into a 'story'. Comments by me (GMN) are in brackets.

1914 - Grandma Gruetzmacher's Funeral
by Wilben Long Newton

I remember a lot of aunts dresses in black with ditto veils when we went to Grandma's funeral, 1914 certain in my memory. I yield to 1907 for Grandpa, though I was always under the impression Mama said 1910. [Augusta Gruetzmacher died July 14, 1914. Her husband Paul Louis Gruetzmacher died December 2, 1905. Their son Paul died in 1909, which was probably the cause of the date confusion.]

Memories of Galveston 1914:

Aunt in black veil thrusting her face into mine. I asking, "Who're you?" Aunt: "I'm your Aunt Gussie." [Aunt Gussie would be Augusta Gruetzmacher (1880-1926?) who supposedly married a Bob Marquette and had two children. I haven't found anything about these folks.]

Someone taking me into the parlor on the night of our arrival and lifting me up to see the dead face of my grandmother. How shivery I felt! Afterward I kept being drawn toward the dimly lit parlor, but I never ventured over the threshold.

Morning after: Aunt Edith waiting with my pants and shirt for me to wake up and start having fun at Grandma's funeral. [Aunt Edith would be Mary Edith Gruetzmacher (1899-1974).]

Big barefoot kid of 14, Aunt Octavia, playing with us. She and Elizabeth had some kind of game wherein I was to be the captive, but I started crying and wouldn't play. [Aunt Octavia would be Octavia Elizabeth Gruetzmacher (1902-1958).]

To the beach late in the afternoon, Mama in a borrowed suit of Aunt Clara's, complete with tie-on head scarf. [Aunt Clara Gruetzmacher was the oldest child, (1878-1937), while "Mama" Matilda Elizabeth Gruetzmacher Newton (1879-1963) was the next oldest.]

Starting over, to the beach late of an afternoon, Mama in borrowed suit of Aunt Clara's, complete with tie-on head scarf and stockings (slippers yet!) Jerry bawling, afraid of the waves, Mama holding him and siting in one spot till the tide washed a hollow spot out. The rest of us paddling around. Elizabeth reported to Mama: Gracie's drowning. Mama yanked you up, saving your life.

Playing in the yard while the funeral was going on in the parlor. Seeing Grandma's casket borne down the front steps to the waiting hearse. Shivery feeling up backbone.

Memory of 1914: That cotton thing Ed had under glass. I remember it in the parlor at 1910 Ave. N in 1914. [Edward Gruetzmacher (1893-1900) had died soon after the Great Galveston Storm, of diptheria or scarlet fever, according to Grace. I wonder what that 'cotton thing' was? Perhaps a memento?]

Jerry drowned three chickens in a tub of water warming in the sun for wash day. He wanted them to swim. Also nipping a fig off a low branch with his teeth. This was considered by all the aunts as a great thing.

One lunch we had scrambled eggs and pork-beans, which I considerd singular, in that at home at 1009 Calder we always had meat for Daddy to cut up in little squares for us. Later we fell on evil days and sometimes had nothing, but then we always had meat, and it seemed strange that in Galveston there was none for anyone to cut up into small squares for me.

Big cat under table, Meetza. We had one named that in 1920 or thereabout, I recall.

Otto coming home for lunch, afterward lying on wicker couch with straw hat on waiting for time to go back to Pete Gengler's. [Peter Gengler's was a large wholesale grocer whose warehouse was located on The Strand.]

Otto waiting for time to hitch up and drive back to Gengler's, straw hat on, practicing sheet music, voice, "Get out and get under, get out and get under, get under the automobile." We kids scrambling and screeching around under foot until finally he said "You kids shut up!" Eventually he must have gone back to Gengler's.

The whole visit couldn't have been over four days, like leave Thu., return Sun. afternoon. But it seemed forever and a day. Ah, what fun! Grandma would've been happy that we had such fun at her obsequi[ti]es. Started in afternoon from S. P. [Southern Pacific rail] station (conductor calling "Nome" gave us name for our dolls town forever after.). Houston in early evening, but night before we could get on interurban and rackety-racket over causeway. Remember gawking up at Rice Hotel [downtown Houston], looking at moving sign in lights of newspaper boy running. Ice cream sodas at drugstore that wasn't Thames - Dunlops in 1914, I suppose. [Thames Drugs was a longtime Beaumont drugstore. Dunlops must have been the Houston equivalent.] Galveston, jitney to 1910 [Avenue N] on moonlit Broadway, cost 25 cents for the lot of us. Sad let-down coming home on gray Sun. afternoon. Daddy came before lunch and took us home afterward. It seemed forever crossing on the ferry, all those choo-choo cars weighting it all down. [For years, there was a railroad that went from Beaumont to Winnie and then down the Boliver Peninsula and over to Galveston via a ferry or railroad barge. The barge could hold the train engine and several freight and passenger rail cars.] The barge stopped for an hour, it seemed, out in the bay while they fixed something. Mama always said a fortune teller had told her she would be in a train accident that next summer, but that was the year of the 1915 storm. I remember Mama had a bag packed getting ready to go, but of course we couldn't. She gave me back a soldier and a rowboat I was going to take, and I saw no more of Galveston till I was a big kid of 18 and went over in the summer on a weekend excursion to visit Clara and Octavia.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Haggardy Bull-Dog By Grace C. Newton

The Haggardy Bull-Dog

By Grace C. Newton

I have few early recollections. 1914 is the first I can remember anything. That summer Grandma G. died. But it must have been in the Spring of that year that I had the experience of being frightened out of my wits by a friendly bull-dog from next door. We were living in the downstairs apartment at 1009 Calder. The big two-story house was on the corner at Magnolia. I was playing happily by myself in a sandpile near our back porch when I sensed something breathing close to me. Looking around, I was horrified to find a bull-dog, one of those ferocious-looking by lovable English bulls, close to my elbow. I sat petrified but screaming for all I was worth! Soon I became aware that the owner of the dog was rushing frantically to my rescue, while at the same time I was also aware that Mama and the other kids had come out onto the porch in answer to my screams. The neighbor was trying to console me and to determine whether I was hurt. The dog was sitting quietly, I suppose puzzled by my strange reaction; but the family were still standing on the porch, laughing hilariously and making no attempt to come to my rescue. Suddenly I felt more drawn to the kind neighbor than to them. Well, I decided, I was not going to be a free show for them. So I turned off the screams.

[Grace Cornell Newton was born in 1909. "Grandma G." was Augusta (maiden name unknown) Gruetzmacher, who died in 1914.]
Cousin Stelle's Visit

Copied from a letter from Mildred (Aunt) Elizabeth Newton to Grace Newton

Estelle or Stelle Walker was Daddy's cousin. She and her husband came thru Beaumont when we were living upstairs at Mrs. Johnston's, in 1908 [sic] or 09, you [Grace, born July 1909] a baby, Daddy working at Roos Bros. He asked Mamma to have them over for the noon meal, and they came. (They were staying at the Fields Hotel.) Much of the visit didn't sink in, as I was rather young, but Mom told me the details several years later when we were living downstairs. The Walkers invited us for lunch in their room at the hotel. As we went upstairs, the light streaming through crisp, white curtains in the glass in the door was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. It made such an impression on me, I remembered it, and Mamma didn't know of it, as I never told her. Daddy came and we ate. Mamma told me when I was older that Stelle had sliced ham, bread, milk and coffee on a small table. addy said he had to leave early to meet a buyer at Roos Bros. But that night he told Mamma he could not go all the rest of the day on sandwiches, so he had a meal at a cafe before going back to work. When the Walkers left, Stelle gave Mamma a brown and dark green striped dress she had. Mamma took it, but never wore it.

When we moved downstairs ay Johnstones [sic] I was about 7 [circa 1912]. I decided I needed a husband, so put an old broom and a mop handle together with rope. I needed a suit for Mr. Brown so Mamma gave me the old taffeta dress, and I made coat and trousers of it, and that's what became of Cousin Stelle's finery. What became of Stelle, I never knew.

[Estella Newton was born around 1875 in New Madrid, Missouri. She was the only surviving child of John R. Newton and Nannie Massengill. Estella married Arthur Walker. I have been unable to track this couple. John R. Newton has also been a bit of a mystery. He was a merchant in New Madrid, but died sometime before 1909, which was when his wife remarried. GMN.]

Friday, August 12, 2011

Mamma's Big Surprise by Grace Newton

by Grace Cornell Newton, Aug. 23, 1978

For one Easter, I can't recall which year, mamma made a big white outing flannel rabbit for Daddy's Easter window at the store. Since it was meant to surprise him, she had to work on it when he wasn't at home. And he was certainly surprised; from start to finish he never suspected what she was doing.

Besides selling the fine grade of men's wear that Roos Brothers featured, Daddy had to "dress the windows," which was largely the mode of advertising then. He had a small workshop upstairs on the alley side where he made his cards, doing all his own printing and decorating. His talent for this art work was genuine and natural without benefit of formal training. His designs were mostly his own, his lettering was free-hand. Often he painted lilies or poinsettias or rabbits, in keeping with the season. He also had a unique method of stippling, using a cutout which, after being lifted off, left the design in white outlined by gold, or whatever color paint he might be using.

In great demand as a salesman, he often had to come downstairs to serve a customer who would not buy from anyone else. He worked hard at his job, the store hours were long; for selling and doing his windows he received the grand sum of forty dollars a week, there was no paid vacation, and of course no group employee health insurance. But in those days he was still young enough to be enthusiastic about his work, and Mamma was enthusiastic with him.

So while he ran up and down the stairs and in and out his windows at the store, Mamma was busy on her project at home. She was as talented with her needle as he was with his brushes. Finally the rabbit was finished, from pink nose and white embroidery thread whiskers to pink embroidered eyes and pink satin-lined ears. Having tied a pink satin bow about his neck, Mamma set him in the middle of the kitchen table, then went to bed. It was a late night and the apartment was dark when Daddy came home. Not to awaken Mamma, who was awake and snickering to herself, he tiptoed into the kitchen to undress.

When he turned on the light and saw that big rabbit, he let out such a war-whoop that if Mamma had really been asleep, she wouldn't have been for long.

Next day the rabbit was carried to the store and installed in a window where it attracted much deserved attention.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

William Pendleton Gaines (1851-1920)

After a bit more digging around, I found an interesting addition to the Gaines family history. The son of William Baxter Pendleton Gaines and Eugenia Gratia Harris was William Pendleton Gaines, born in Richmond or Columbia, Brazoria Co., Texas on November 20 or 21, 1851 and died in Austin, Travis Co., Texas on March 18, 1920.

William graduated from Lafayette College (Easton, PA), admitted to the bar in 1874, and practiced law in Texas. For a while he dealt in real estate, but ending up entering journalism and seems to have become owner (or at least, part-owner) of the Austin Statesman newspaper. 

He married twice, first to Augusta Evans in 1883, and second to Reba [last name unknown], about 1899. He had one daughter, Celeste, by his first wife, and a son, William Junior, by his second.

The first marriage ended badly, to say the least. I was able to track down a New York Times article dated October 19, 1891, describing the pending court proceedings dealing with the divorce and surrounding events, which make for quite a tale. Further research has not found how the court case was resolved.

St. Louis, Oct 18 [1891]. news article about the divorce proceedings between Mrs. Augusta E. Gaines, "the daughter of one of the most prominent citizens of St. Louis, Capt. Albert J. Evans." The defendent is Col. William P. Gaines of Austin, part owner of the Austin Statesman. Their marriage at St. George's Church in SL, 1883 "was a great social event."

"The fight is for the possession of a little daughter. When the couple separated Mrs. Gaines came to the home of her parents, bringing her little four-year-old daughter with her. Col. Gaines followed and abducted the child under sensational circumstances. The mother employed detectives and soon located the little one in Austin. For eighteen months, the mother made continuous, but fruitless, efforts to get the child, making three trips to Texas for the purpose. Then she resolved to do as her husband had done - steal the girl. She was assissted by her father in making all arrangements. She dressed herself as a school girl and went to Austin, and soon discovered that Col. Gaines, who traveled about considerably, always took the child and a nurse with him.

"She followed the about, and finally her opportunity came in Houston. She drove in a closed carriage to where the child was at play, seized it, and drove to a landing on a bayou that runs into Galveston Bay. Her father, Capt. Ebvans, had a tug waiting, and they boarded it. They were caught in a storm on the bay, and after a rough experience were forced to abandon all hope of reaching Galveston, and put in at a point where the Southern Pacific Railroad could be easily reached. Meanwhile her husband, with a posse of rangers, had started in pursuit, and at the railroad station overtook the abductors. The little girl was disguised in boy's clothes, but the Sheriff insisted on making an examination. The mother, revolver in hand, said she would kill him if he touched the child. Then one of the posse of rangers, shotgun in hand, came to the front and said:

"I will never assist in taking a child from its mother, Madame. I will be your escort to the Louisiana State line."

"He kept his word, and they got away. All this and much more will be brought out during the trial." [New York Times, October 19, 1891]

Sunday, May 1, 2011


While doing some research in an old Galveston newspaper, I came across the mention of William Baxter Pendleton Gaines. I knew the surname from our family tree, and also knew that one of OUR Gaines had married a Pendleton, so I did some further research. It seems this William Gaines is our 3rd cousin (twice), with our common ancester being Richard Gaines (1670 VA-1755 VA) and Henry Pendleton (1683 VA-1721 VA).

The following biography was taken from The Handbook of Texas.

William Baxter Pendleton Gaines, planter and legislator, was born on September 17, 1808, in Abbeville, South Carolina, son of Benjamin P. and Elizabeth (Ware) Gaines. He taught school in Marengo County, Alabama, until 1832 when he became a merchant in Demopolis, Alabama. He was approached to enter into a business arrangement in Texas, and on August 6, 1835, he established himself in Nacogdoches. By October 1835 Gaines was a wealthy man.

He contributed money to the Texas Revolution and served as an officer in the volunteer force from Nacogdoches under Gen. Thomas Rusk that marched to reinforce the siege of Bexar. Gaines acted as a commissary and quartermaster. After the army reorganized, Gaines returned to Nacogdoches to serve as deputy paymaster general of the Texas Army.

Gaines left the army to pursue other opportunities and lived in Galveston while studying law under John B. Jones. He was admitted to the bar in 1840. In 1842 he moved to Brazoria County with a large number of slaves and began a cotton and sugar plantation. By 1860 Gaines had 47 slaves working on his plantation.

In 1846 he joined the United States Army to fight the Mexican War. He fought with distinction during the battle of Monterey and was awarded a sword for gallantry.

In 1850 Gaines married Eugenia Gratia Harris of Charlotte, North Carolina. They had five children. Gaines and his family were devoted Presbyterians.

Gaines, a Democrat, was elected to the House of Representatives in 1855 for Brazoria and Fort Bend counties. When Texas chose to secede from the United States, Gaines strongly supported the decision, and when the Civil War broke out, he left his plantation to join the Confederate army. Despite his age he was elected colonel of the second Regiment of the Sixteenth State Militia Brigade August 31, 1861.

After the war Gaines continued to run his plantation until 1868 when he leased his land and began to buy and sell cotton to Calvert and Galveston. In September 1872 Gaines retired from business and moved to Austin to live with his son, William P. Gaines. William B.P. Gaines died in 1891.”

Source: The Handbook of Texas Online

Article written by Stephanie P. Niemeyer.
Our Common Ancestry
William Baxter Pendleton Gaines (1808-1891), was the son of
Dr. Benjmin Pendleton Gaines (1772-1814), who was the son of
James Gaines III (1739-1788), who was the son of
James Gaines II (1710-1786), who was the son of
Richard Gaines (1670-1755)
Andre' Hutt Newton Jr. (1917-1997), was the son of
Andre' Hutt Newton Sr. (1873-1944), who was the son of

Mollie Hutt Newton (1851-1922), who was the daughter of

Francisa Elizabeth Gaines Hutt (1823-1903), who was the daughter of

Herbert P. Gaines (1785-1849), who was the son of

Rowland Gaines (1758-1805), who was the son of

Richard Gaines (ca1728-1804), who was the son of

William Henry Gaines (1705-1796), who was the son of

Richard Gaines (1670-1755)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Telegraphic Memoirs by Jeremiah L. Newton, 1905


[Published in the San Antonio Daily Light, Sunday, April 23, 1905]

by Jerry Newton, 142 West Commerce Street, San Antonio, Texas.

[Jerry Newton was the son of John C. Newton and Elizabeth Snyder. He lived from 1846-1917, serving in the Union army during the Civil War, and running telegraph offices in Houston and San Antonio. He worked in other offices in other cities, but I have not tracked them down as yet. He also published some books of poetry in his latter years. He was married twice (that I know of) and appears to have had several children who seem to have all died young. In this article he mentions a diary that he kept for all his working life. What a treat it would be to have a copy of that diary!]

Next messenger out number 147. Then there was commotion in the neighborhood of the long settee used for seating messengers in the Telegraph office.

Thirty-seven years ago, at a time when young men were seeking positions which were not plentiful in those days, owing to the vicissitudes and very material changes in conditions, brought about by a long devastating war between the states, goaded by a keen desire to become a telegraph man, and also by necessities naturally surrounding a young man left entirely alone, without funds, education or influence, I sallied forth to meet the fortuitous fates, be they generous or cruel. During my peregrinations in search of employment I turned up in a town in southeastern Missouri. While strolling listlessly down the main street of the town, looking from side to side at the different signs, plain and gaudy, my attention was attracted by a small unpretentious sign with blue background and white letters "W. U. T. Co." At that time I was not at all familiar with telegraph signs, or any other kind as for that, and the one referred to was indeed obscure, remote and quite an enigma to me. I stood mutely gazing at the sign oblivious to surroundings in my effort to decipher the letters. A "good morning, young man," from a passing gentleman dispelled my reverie. I responded to his salute and with but little delay or hesitation asked him if he could tell me what the letters "W. U. T. Co." were intended to convey. He very generously gave me the desired information, and after some little talk passed on.

I gazed with fickle courage up the long flight of grimy stairs in front of which the sign was suspended by two small wires. These steps were the only means of reaching the second floor of a rickety old frame building. A chilly rigor seized me which it took some moments to shake off. Finally that hope which springs eternal, chastised me for my timidity and lack of confidence. Necessity goaded me and bade me be brave. Encouraging fancies of honor, and of fame I might achieve by becoming an expert telegrapher smote my timidity, and partially dissipated my doubts and misgivings.

With slow step I ascended the time-worn stairway with a certain degree of fear and dread. Reaching the second floor I steadied myself by leaning against a stair post, took a few deep long inhalations of fresh air, and began surveying the surroundings. At the far, or back, end of a long unkempt hall I beheld a smaller sign than the one I had seen at the street entrance, which bore the same insignia. I walked leisurely down the hall, endeavoring to compose myself, until I reached the entrance of what I afterwards learned was the receiving room. With some difficulty I partially assumed an air of confidence and unconcern, and walked in. There was a crude counter which reached entirely across one end of a long room, dimly lighted by four old-fashioned windows, bedaubed with grime and festooned with numerous cob-webs and spider nets. At one end of the counter there was an opening for the ingress and egress of the office force. This apperture [sic] was closed with a shutter made of crude ungainly lumber with a conspicuous placard tacked thereon which bore the legend "Private, Keep Out."

Everyone in the office seemed to be busy. As I had noiselessly entered I had not, apparently[,] attracted the attention of anyone. After taking a hurried glance at the surroundings I stepped up to the counter and gave the accustomed rap to attract attention, when a weezled-faced, dapper youth observed my presence and came forward to the counter. With what I considered a haughty air he asked what he could do for me. I sized him up as being the president, or some high official, of the company, judging from the lofty attitude he assumed. As I look back through the vista of years fancy pictures the humilated and embarrassed aspect I presented when I meekly informed him that I was in search of employment.

Almost before I had finished making my mission known he with much indifference, replied: "We do not need anyone at present." He doubtless observed the depression his reply caused me, and his chilly mien seemed tempered with a spark of sympathy. When I started to retrace my steps he called me back and inquired if I had had any experience in the telegraph business. I sorrowfully admitted that it had not been my good fortune to have had an opportunity to enjoy advantages or to obtain knowledge in that line, and added that I was
more than anxious and ready to do anything legitimate, or any kind of work which would enable me to obtain necessaries adequate to maintaining myself until I could by faithful application become familiar with the business, the intricacies of which I had a great desire to master.

My straight forward talk seemed to impress him favorably. He excused himself a moment and walked over to a desk at which an elderly gentleman sat; returning he invited me to come inside, at the same time asking my name, and pointing to the opening at the end of the counter. I readily accepted his invitation, feeling elated even to get a view of the operating department that I might get a glimpse of the machinery and strange devices peculiar to a business which I had been informed were dependent upon lightning for operation. He conducted me to where the elderly gentleman sat at an old-fashioned rather dilapidated desk and introduced me to Mr. Hartwell, adding that "Mr. Hartwell is our superintendent."

I was received cordially by the superintendent, his courteous, dignified manner was indicative of the true polished man of affairs. He motioned me to an old split bottomed chair with the words "be seated." I briefly made my mission known to him. His every word was tempered with kindness. A moment in his presence made me feel entirely at home. I began at once to take courage. The ordeal changed and became pleasant instead of burdensome. He asked me if I was willing to clean battery, sweep office and assist in the delivery of telegrams. I could hardly wait for him to complete his remarks, but I remembered the golden teachings of a devout mother and suppressed my inclinations to talk until he had finished, at which time my answer came quickly, "Yes, sir, and I will devote my entire abilities and energies to fullfllling, my obligations, my adherance to business will convince you that I am as anxious to work as I am to get the chance to do so."

He asked me if I could read and write reasonably well. I told him I could do both fairly well, and felt assured that in a short time I would improve very perceptibly. "I think you will suit me," was his cheering response. He then gave me the most pleasing surprise of my life, before or since it was my pleasure and good fortune to meet him, by remarking: "Commencing tomorrow, December 1, your salary will be forty dollars per month. You may report for duty tomorrow morning, and your number will be 147."

Forty dollars per month, shades of Moses! I could hardly believe my hearing apparatus had served me correctly. Forty dollars per month continued to ring in my ears; visions of all kinds of money of large and small denominations floated before my fancy's gaze. My chalice was filled to overflowing with the nectar of joy. I was enthused beyond expression, yea, was very happy. I managed to suppress the choking sensation in my throat and thanked the dear old gentleman profoundly and profusely, at the same time stepping to his desk. I grasped his soft white hand and repeated my thanks again and again.

I stood riveted to the spot, swayed by those blissful emotions that produce inexplicable joy, when smiles and tears mingle, as messengers from a heart full of unadulterated gratitude. An effort to suppress my emotions and tears was fruitless. The supreme felicity offered me knew no bounds. The dear old man's heart was also touched and he spoke words of sweet sympathy and encouragement which I have ever cherished with fondest recollections. It has ever been a sweet morsel for memory to feed upon, when flitting back to the time I secured my first position.

I ever afterwards entertained a high regard and deep respect for the good old man, which began at the incipiency of our acquaintance and ripened into that affectionate esteem which insures devotion and loyalty, especially to a benefactor who has bestowed friendship in the hour of dire need. My admiration for, and fealty to him continued until his demise in 1885. Peace to his ashes. Affectionate memories linger 'round his tomb and I shall ever revere and reverence his name, and cherish with fondest recollections the manifold bestowals of his generosity and kindness.

Buoyant and highly elated, early on the morning of December 1, I reported for duty, filled with emotions born of happy surroundings and a heart at ease, such a status yields a good harvest in any undertaking or cause espoused. I assisted my predecessor in the janitor work and was shown the different duties I was expected to perform. Divinely happy, nothing seemed impossible or improbable to me. The old German gentleman whom I relieved had been promoted to a position which he thought would suit him better, at a small advance in salary, and on the morning of the following day departed with a light heart for his new post.

Only a few weeks elapsed before the good hearted superintendent accorded me the privilege of learning the art of telegraphy, at which advantage I gladly availed myself. My every spare moment was devoted to that end.

Three months after I accepted the position as battery-man, janitor and assistant messenger I was placed in charge of the delivery department of the main office, and through my hands passed every message for delivery that came into the office from distant points. I was in charge of the entire messenger force, composed of boys ranging from 12 to 16 years of age; hence March 1st, 1868, marked the day when my real experience with messengers commenced.

I was comparatively new in the business, which fact the boys soon detected and readily took advantage of. Many were the tricks they played at my expense, pecuniarly and otherwise. It was not long, however, before the tide changed. I complained to the manager that I could do nothing with the messenger force unless I had absolute control of them, and asked him to clothe me with authority to discharge and employ at will, or when the interest of the service demanded it. This request he readily granted and when the boys found I was boss in fact there was a great change for the better. This gave me leverage and I soon had them in line.

In eight months after I accepted my first position I had mastered the art of telegraphy sufficiently to enable me to take charge of a small office, when I was made manager. I began to feel somewhat important, but endeavored to suppress any undue egotism. I had some attractive cards printed with my business thereon and imagined they were the prettiest cards that ever passed through a printing machine.

The office to which I had been assigned as manager afforded only one messenger, who received the munificent sum of $4 per month with the privilege of learning the business which he accomplished in a remarkably short time, and finally developed into one of the most expert operators.

It was not until I assumed charge of the delivery department in a large office that my interesting experience with the different types of the messenger boy began. There were 48 messengers employed in the office referred to, and they were as tough as the toughest specimens, I imagined; and I am still of the same opinion.

Since 1868, by actual count, kept in my diary, I have handled, employed, discharged and had to resign 17,489 messengers, hence have had ample opportunity to thoroughly study the natures of this especial wing of the human race; my experience has run the gamut, so to speak, and has indeed been varied, interesting, disgusting, serious, pathetic and mirthful. Patience and firmness has contributed largely to my success in handling boys.

It has been my fortune or misfortune to deal with types from all nationalities, save a few of the most remote, illiterate and heathenish. I am constrained to say, without reflection, intended or otherwise apparent that the German boy, as a rule, has proven himself the most tractable, devoted and trustworthy: that is the composition of a German boy seems more adapted to the needs essential for a long hard pull, where constant untiring devotion to business is required.

It is an incontrovertable fact that a large percentage of messenger boys have abnormal appetites. In this assertion, I dare say, merchants who handle pecans, peanuts, sweet potatoes, turnips, etc., will concur. The average messenger is ever on the alert for something with which to appease a gnawing hunger that seems to be innate, whether real or imaginary. Raw sweet potatoes and raw turnips may strike my readers as being an unwholesome, unsavory morsel, but to the palate of the messenger boy they are absolute ticklers.

During my thirty-seven consecutive years of service with a large telegraph company, I filled every position from janitor to manager; opportunities afforded me to observe human nature closely, in its many different phases have been abundant. Many years ago I had in my employ a delivery clerk in the person of a young lady, possessed of a high strung nervous temperment, she was indeed an esthetic little soul, in her general makeup.

By way of enlightenment for my readers I will state that, a delivery clerk in a large telegraph office of considerable importance, has almost entire control of the messenger force. There is usually a row of chairs, or a long bench similar to those used for lawn settees, for the seating of the messenger force. When they are in the office alll must sit with hats off until summoned by the clerk to take out messages, or a route, as they term it. These chairs or benches are ordinarily just back of the delivery clerk's desk, and very near to that supposedly, amiable personage, who has a buzz or electric call bell connecting the messengers bench with her desk, with which to call a messenger when it is desired to send one out. The clerk touches the button and the next messenger out does the rest.

You will perceive from the above that the delivery clerk and messenger boys are very closely allied, which at times does not guarantee the most pleasant surroundings. Among the many serious and ludicrous happenings in connection with the messenger boy, there are some that provoke mirth which it is difficult to subdue, even though it be necessary to promote that dignity which will insure good discipline and hold the belligerent messenger boy in line. A laughable incident in connection with the young lady and the messenger force comes to mind.

On a very summer's day, some twenty years ago, when the zephyrs had almost ceased to waft cooling and refreshing draughts to dissolve the contaminated oxygen, the density of which was very oppressive, the young lady referred to rushed over to my desk and in a very agitated demeanor remarked that she could not stand that odor any longer. It required several seconds for me to get my faculties together, sufficiently to make a reply, when to my relief it occurred that perhaps it was the corpse of a dead rat whence came the obnoxious odor.

I ventured to make known my dead rat theory, at the same time entertaining misgivings as to the real cause, knowing the weakness of the average messenger boy. The young lady replied "No, sir, it is not the odor from a dead rat, it is even worse; it is a conglomeration of offensive smells, created and thrown off by those messengers.

I stammered and coughed a few times searching for an answer that would suit the embarrassed situation. Finally I said: Miss K- I will have each messenger take a bath and make it a rule that no messenger will be retained in the service who does not bathe at least every other day, and who will not agree to abstain from eating peanuts, sweet potatoes, pecans and raw turnips, etc., while on duty. This seemed to satisfy the young lady and she returned to her desk when I heard her telling the boys of the new rule that was to be put in force.

The young lady that was, has now been married many years and has several messenger boys of her own. She tells me the experience she gained while handling telegraph messenger boys has proven very useful in the handling of her own.

When a new addition to the messenger force is employed he is quietly taken to some covert place and there coached by some member of the force who knows all the ropes. Among other things he is told that he must not go too swiftly when out delivering messages, if he does he will spoil the time killing arrangement that the older messengers have in vogue; also that many times he can with impunity ask for a dime or even more, when he delivers certain messages, but is warned that he must be d----d careful, if the old man (the manager)
catches on, you will catch h--l, and likely get fired, etc.

As previously stated, messengers have ravenous appetites, and will eat anything that is eatable. It may seem strange, and it may not be credited by some of my readers, but now and then it has been found that certain messengers are fond of smothered spring chicken, especially when surrounded with tempting condiments to add zest.

I remember having a call from a lady who resided on D street, in a certain city where I presided as manager, jointly, for a telegraph company that furnished messengers for all kinds of errands; the latter company delivered packages of all kinds charging a small fee for the service each trip.

The lady referred to, asked that a messenger be sent to a down town restaurant to bring to her residence a smothered spring chicken which she had ordered, adding that she was just convalescing from a serious protracted spell of sickness, and felt inclined to partake of such delicacies as might tempt her depressed and sluggish appetite. The restaurant proprietor happened to be a lady who was well acquainted with the lady just recovering from sickness, and in preparing the chicken sheo had been particular to give it her personal attention, adding all the tempting finishing touches she thought would appeal to the most rebellious appetite.

Messenger number 146, who was considered as good material as was had in stock was directed to call at the restaurant named for a package, to be taken to a lady on D street. A nicely wrapped and tied box containing the precious morsel was handed him with the injunction "Handle this package with care, it contains a smothered spring chicken for a sick lady."

When about half way on his mission the messenger began to feel a yearning to at least see the inside of the package. He soliloquized, "Spring Chicken. Gee it must be awful good." Goaded by morbid curiosity and that ever present desire in the messenger to eat, he dared to open the package; what he found in that box touched his fancies and must have temporarily dethroned his reason. Regardless of the after-clap his desire to taste that chicken could not be then subdued. He evidently relished the stolen sweets, as he consumed the best portion of the chicken, and the few remaining fragments he replaced in the box.

Before be had made his return the lady, although just out of a sick bed, called at the telegraph office and gave me a thorough tongue lambasting for keeping in my employ such villainously dishonest messengers. I begged of her to compose herself, assuring her that I would endeavor to remedy any loss she had sustained resulting from indiscretions or shortcomings on the part of any employe in the office I managed.

She continued: "It is an outrage on the public to give a boy employment who cannot be entrusted with a package containing a spring chicken. (The facts then dawned upon me.) When I opened the box containing the chicken, what do you suppose I found? Only a drum stick and part of a wing, and a small piece of toast remained."

I succeeded in smoothing the ruffled waters, by promising to send at once another spring chicken to her residence, and promised to send it by a boy who might not be afflicted with such an ungovernable and ravenous appetite, feeling at the same time I did not have one in my employ. The lady accepted this offer and departed.

The next thing was to interview and jack up the messenger. I stepped I stepped over to the delivery clerk's desk and told her to send messenger number 146 over to my desk when he came in. But few moments elapsed before number 146 reported and was told that I desired to see him. He came over to my desk with confusion and guilt depicted on his countenance. I asked him if he carried a package from a certain restaurant to a lady on D street. He became more visibly confused. I informed him of the lady's charge, which was that she claimed the package had been opened before it was delivered to her, and it appeared that all of the contents, a chicken, had been consumed save one leg and part of a wing.

He bitterly denied the lady's allegations and persisted in his innocence, endeavoring to arouse my sympathy with tears. Being so familiar with the tactics peculiar to the messenger boy, I went at him in another way. Well, I said, it is in order, if you are innocent, and I trust you are, to call on the lady and get a written statement from her that this package had not been opened when she received it.

He hung his head and was more non-plussed. I came to his relief by asking him which he had rather do, pay the cost of the chicken and the errand service a total of $1 or go back and see the lady. His answer came promptly: "I had rather pay the dollar."

[Edited by GMN, adding a few paragraphs to make reading a bit easier.]

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Daddy's Trick by Grace Cornell Newton

Mamma went to Galveston in 1907 to spend December through Christmas with her folks. Christmas Day fell on a Wednesday that year, so there was no "long weekend" for Daddy to come over and help celebrate. He had to stay in Beaumont on the job, and then take a quick trip by train on Christmas Eve, bringing his family back on Christmas night.

They Were staying at Mrs. Hearn's then, 219 Main St., a semi-family-light-housekeeping hotel typical of early Beaumont. Daddy kept very busy at work all day; but in the evening there was nothing to do, with his family gone, and the rooms seemed to close in on him.

Often after supper, which he sometimes ate at the Crosby House across from the S. P. station, he would wander around there aimlessly. That was where he had kissed his wife and little girl and baby boy goodbye early in December.

One Saturday night, "pay day", he was walking beside the tracks feeling lonely, his hands shoved into his pockets. He had been paid in bills, not the usual slver dollars, and had the roll gripped in one hand.

"Hand's up," a voice suddenly ordered him, and he snapped out of his reverie to find himself confronted by a tramp. His hands flew into the air and he stood quietly allowing the tramp to frisk him. Of course, his money was in his hand, only a few small coins, change from supper, remaining in his pocket.

"Sorry, buddy," presently the tramp apologized, patting him on the chest, "you're as bad off as I am."

And he shuffled away, leaving Daddy much relieved, and hightailing it back to Mrs. Hearn's.

Cast of characters:
Daddy: Andre Hutt Newton
Mamma: Matilda (nee Gruetzmacher) Newton
"Little Girl": Elizabeth Newton
"Baby Boy": Wilben Newton

Friday, February 11, 2011

Photos from the Archives

Christopher and GMN, sometime before 1980.

Dad and Paul taking a nap, with Mary (in petticoats?) and Greg in a jumper!

Mary in the Rear View Mirror (Photo by GMN during his artsy-fartsy period)

Mary, just before guest-hosting 'This Old House'

Two and a Half Men, sometime in the 1980s

"Professor Andre'", Tom, Mary, and Greg at White Rock Lake. (undated)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Letter From Aunt Clara Gruetzmacher to Elizabeth Newton, 1924

Los Angeles, June 30th, 1924

My Dear Niece,

I received your card of June 14th. I am sure you must be a bright girl to graduate so young. I wish you the best of health, wealth and happiness, and a long and usefull life. for every thing will change for you. I can't form any ideor how you look as I have never seen your father and your mother, I think, a few years before she married, but she was pretty and her eyes were always so bright and beautifull. I look just like my [last ?] picture. Am amused to hear that you have it on display, but don't get the ideor that I am rich because I am in California. I am here for my health, that is I suffer with asthma, but not since I came here. So as I have to work. I of course like it. The climate suits me. I would like to be with my sisters and relatives but had to make my visit short last fall, on account of those awfull attacs I had while in S.A. [San Antonio?] and Galveston. I supose you have read and heard much about California. it truly is a land of sun shine, fruit and flowers. I hope you will some day take the trip. I have been here eight years, and in 1905 I came here and went back to Texas in 1907 but I had to come back. I will mail you some [postcard?] folders of California to day. I addresses a Sunday Times to you but was down town and I know I got your address wrong. So you might be on the look out for it. I put 1007 Oak st. No body home up stairs [Words in last sentence underlined!] I will close with love for you and the family.

from: Grand Aunt Clara [return address of 160 E. 49th St.]

By the way I lived in Beaumont six months, but that was long before the oil boom, lived on Liberty Ave. Was a saw mill town then.

160 East 49th Street, Los Angeles, CA (Built 1912, photo circa 2010.)

Timeline for Clara Gruetzmacher Lang McIntyre: 
  • 1857: born in Germany
  • 1860: Navasota, Texas with parents.
  • 1870: Galveston, Texas with mother.
  • 1876: Marries Henry Lang in Galveston.
  • 1877: Daughter Sarah Lang born.
  • 1880: At Indianola with husband Lang.
  • 1887-88: Builds two buildings in Galveston.
  • pre-1900: At Beaumont, Texas for 6 months.
  • 1901: Daughter Sarah marries in Galveston.
  • 1914: First appearance in San Francisco city directory as wife of Anthony McIntyre.
  • 1921: Last appearance in San Francisco city directory as widow.
  • 1924: Living in Los Angeles, letter with address of 160 E. 49th St.
  • 1927: Los Angeles City Directory lists a Clara Lang (Miss California Womens Wear and Lang's Mlnry) residence at 803 S. New Hampshire Ave.
  • 1932: Los Angeles City Directory lists a Clara T. Lang (Miss California) home at 1102 W. Sta Bar.
  • 1936: Los Angeles City Directory lists a Mrs. Clara A. Lang res. at 902 W 9th, and Clara T. Lang (Miss California Shoppe) res 4231 Edgehill Dr.
  • 1942: Los Angeles City Directory lists a Clara T. Lang res 4231 Edgehill Dr. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Elopement, by Grace Newton

by Grace Cornell Newton, Sept. 30, 1978

[Commentary by Greg Newton are enclosed within brackets]

Mattie as a young girl, 13 years?

Mattie Gruetzmacher, clerk at Nat Jacobs' Dept. Store in Galveston, and the good-looking floor walker, Hutt Newton were going to be married this evening, September 15, 1903, a Tuesday. Both had already resigned from their jobs. Excitement must have fluttered in their hearts as the workday drew to a close.

Augusta Gruetzmacher had always opposed any talk of marriage. Not that she had anything against the likable fellow from Little Rock; she just dod not want her second daughter to leave home. Mattie was a dependable, efficient person, and Grandma leaned on her. This daughter, a bright scholar, quit school when she was thirteen to help with the cooking and housework. At seventeen she got herself a good job at Mrs. Houlihan's embroidery shop, but after work she still cared for the younger brothers; and she also brought her salary home to add it to the waning family income. In the chaotic days following the 1900 storm, she found a better paying job in the big department store. And when little Arthur came down with a raging fever, it was Mattie who went to the John Sealy Hospital on her way to work to chalk a note on the appointment slate requesting a visit of a doctor.

Nat Jacobs' Department Store, circa 1900.
"Jerry says Mamma is with the group of sales-ladies on balcony"
In spite of Dr. Ruhl's attendance the child died, of scarlet fever.[In the aftermath of the storm contagious diseases were epidemic, and diptheria claimed another brother, Eddie, before a year had passed. [Grace evidentually mis-remembered these events, as Arthur was born March 1896 and, according to his death record, died January 20, 1905, aged 9 years, of diptheria. Eddie, who was born in March of 1893, died November 15, 1900 of "Malignant Scarletina" or malignant scarlet fever, according to his death certificate.]

Each time tragedy struck Grandma looked to her daughter for help. And Mattie pushed the thought of Marriage aside. Especially since her father seemed to be settling into a deep depression. He had lost his private printing business to the storm when his press fell through the upper floor of the two story building on Mechanic St. [Paul Gruetzmacher's printing business was actually on the second floor of the 4-story Clara Lang Building at 2109 Strand.] Unable to start anew, he was forced to go to work for another print shop.

The Gruetzmacher home at 1910 Avenue N.
 Meanwhile the floor walker's patience was running out. He told Mattie in effect, " If you love me, leave them." Mattie agreed and the date was set. They decided on elopement as the least painful method of breaking the family ties. The night before she unobstrusively packed a suitcase of essentials. And next morning wore an outfit suitable for traveling. All that day long whenever their eyes met, silent messages of promise and reassurance must have passed between the two "conspirators".

When Mattie came home from work, she took off her hat and tied on an apron as usual to help her mother get supper on the table. Then she slipped upstairs to freshen up. As the family sat around the big table in the dining room, they did not notice Mattie, suitcase in hand, pass swiftly through the hall and quietly let herself out the front door.

The Old Mule Drawn Trolley
At the corner she met her lover and to-gether they boarded a "trolly-car", (actually the old mule-drawn car reactivated since the storm.) and rode to the train station. At 7:00 P.M. they sttod in old St. Mark's Episcopal Church on Fannin and Orleans in Beaumont exchanging their marriage vows.