Home ] Up ] Adamson ] Bartels ] Bodemuller ] Burnfin ] Chester ] Cooley ] Creswell ] Deese ] Doornbos ] Fletcher ] Franklin/Griffin ] Gibson ] Goodwin ] Green ] Haizlip ] Handley ] Hawkins ] Hayslette ] Henson ] Hise ] Hooks ] Housenfluck ] Johnson/Ryder ] Jones ] Jordahn ] Kelly ] Kieschnick ] Kirkwood ] Koelemay ] Leatherwood ] McInnis ] McLain ] Morgan ] Moye ] Munson ] Newton ] Pelloat ] Quarles ] Rasberry ] Rienstra ] Ritter/Price ] Sanderson ] [ Singleton ] Spencer ] Streetman ] Sticker ] Sweeney ] Theriot ] Thompson ] Tyer ] Vanderweg ] Van Oostrom ] Van Randen ] Viterbo ] Weber ] Westerterp ] Whitley ] Winters ] Yentzen ]



By W. T. Block

horizontal rule

Earnest Newton Singleton moved his family to Nederland in 1901 to operate a meat market, making his household one of the first native-born families in an immigrant colony where almost nothing but the Dutch language was spoken. Singleton's parents were Rudolph Sidney Singleton and Samantha Stephenson (Ca. 1854-Ca. 1891), who were early Orange County settlers from the Duncan Woods community, the forest that is visible across the Neches River from Port Neches.

Earnest Singleton's maternal grandparents were Gilbert Stephenson (Ca. 1810-Ca. 1871), who crossed Jefferson County in 1824 while en route to Stephen F. Austin's colony, and Mary Tevis (b. Ca. 1817), whose parents, Noah and Nancy Tevis, were Beaumont's first settlers, who lived on their Mexican land grant and gave to Beaumont its first name of Tevis Bluff. Gilbert and Mary Stephenson lived across the river from Beaumont on their Mexican land grant in Duncan's Woods. Singleton's step-father was Blewitt Langham, and Singleton's arrival in Nederland would result in the subsequent arrival of the Blewitt Langham family, as well as Singleton's half-brother, Virgil Langham, and his family.

On December 19, 1890, Earnest N. Singleton married Edna Elmira Peveto at Orange. She was born at Johnson's Bayou, Louisiana (across the lake from Port Arthur), on April 21, 1873, reared there, and was the daughter of John Peveto, Jr. (b. 1847) and Charlotte Gillen (b. 1851). Her great uncle was Michel Peveto, Jr. (b. 1819), who fought through the Battle of San Jacinto as a 16-year-old youth almost too ill to hold up his musket and died at China, Texas, three weeks later. Her great grandfather, Michel Peveto, Sr. (b. 1795), fought at the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815, as a member of the combined 17th, 18th and 19th Louisiana Regiments.

At first the Singleton family lived in Orange County, and later at several points in Beaumont, before moving on to Nederland in 1901. Page 33 of "Nederland Diamond Jubilee" shows the E. N. Singleton family standing on the front porch of the "City Market," the meat market that E. N. Singleton founded on Boston Avenue in 1901, and which would be continued by Hammond Singleton and Virgil and Blewitt Langham after Earnest Singleton moved to Port Arthur in 1908. (See 1910 Nederland census, Res. 52-54, Sheet 3-A-5001, Enumeration District 91, for the Hammond Singleton family.)

The E. N. Singleton family lived in rooms behind the City Market for the seven years that they lived in Nederland. He bought cattle off the prairies from the nearby farmers and ranchers, or else purchased them in Beaumont, Texas, to be driven to Nederland. In his memoirs, Bill Haizlip described the early morning killing of animals at the meat market, where, as soon as slaughtering was finished at daylight, the meat was hung up in a screened-in room (to keep the insects away), since there was no refrigeration available. House wives had to buy their meat very early, while it was still bleeding and warm, and cook it immediately to keep it from spoiling. What meat was not eaten at noon was either thrown away or fed to barnyard livestock. Bill Haizlip also told of rescuing Dillard Singleton from drowning in the No. 2 rice canal.

The "History of the Wagner Family" in Volume I also described the early morning activities in a Nederland meat market (name unknown) that once occupied the downstairs of the Wagner building at 1155 Boston about 1904. Since hand meat grinders were then unknown in Nederland, meat was ground by hacking it constantly into small particles with a knife or meat cleaver on the chop block. In early-day Nederland, all the saloon keepers kept an open container of chipped or hacked raw meat, chopped onions, and slice black bread, because the early Dutch and German patrons would not buy their beer without the stock of free raw meat, onions and bread to go with it. Since only a cheese cloth covered the food, the number of kitchen flies circling the saloon bars was enormous.

Earnest and Edna Singleton had five children that grew to adulthood, also losing three others in infancy, as follows: Lola (b. October, 1891-d. May, 1985; Dillard (b. June 27, 1894-d. January 6, 1982; Nona (b. October 22, 1895-d. Ca. 1970); Naoma (b. August 11,1900-d. Ca. 1980); and Rudolph (b. 1908-d. Ca. 1982).

Edna Singleton is principally recalled today as being one of the seven charter members, who organized the First Baptist Church in Nederland in March, 1907. One of Mrs. Singleton's uncles, Gille Peveto, formerly of Johnson's Bayou, paid off the balance of the bank note of that first church building (which had been built by W. L. Freeman to be a saloon), and because of his generosity, that first church was named the "Peveto Baptist Church."

In May, 1908, Earnest and Edna Singleton moved to Port Arthur, where he also worked as a butcher. Two years later, he left his family and moved to Houston, where he worked in a packing plant. Nothing else is known of him, except that he died of a ruptured appendix on November 10, 1910, at St. Joseph's Hospital and was buried in the Stephenson Cemetery in the Duncan's Woods.

Mrs. Singleton maintained her home in Port Arthur, at first with the help of her son, Dillard, and later, with the help of her youngest son, Rudolph. To help support herself, she worked as a cook in the Franklin School on Tenth Street. When old age approached, she moved to Shreveport, La. to make her home with her youngest daughter, Naoma (Mrs. J. N.) Matthews. Edna Singleton died at Shreveport on February 5, 1964, and is buried in Forest Park Cemetery.

horizontal rule

Copyright 1998-2023 by W. T. Block. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, the material published on this site is copyrighted by William T. Block.
Like us on Facebook: