Olive Texas 21
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Obviously, some local person was still in the employ of that company as a land agent, but any number of deed records checked has failed to disclose his identity.54 As late as 1920, Petty, who subsequently died at San Antonio in 1929, and Mrs. Sternenberg still owned the firm. And by 1918, V. A. Petty, Jr., who with his father operated as the Olive Petroleum Co., was also dealing in Saratoga oil field leases, one of which he sold to Texaco for $2,500.55 As of recent date, much of the forest land where Olive once stood still belongs to 95-year-old Olive Scott Petty of San Antonio, a son of the proprietor, who has graciously furnished the writer with much information and many pictures of the town of Olive, the sawmill, and proprietors.

For many East Texas oldsters of mill town vintage, the passing of the sawmill meant the passing of the quieter, simpler, and friendlier days when life was less complicated and lumber was king of the forest. A stroll, however, through the brambles, underbrush, and infant tombstones in Olive Cemetery would quickly remind some passer-by that life in that frontier “sawdust city” had its share of sorrows as well an age when only one of two American children ever lived to reach adulthood. The best-preserved tombstone, still surrounded by its original wrought-iron fencing, carries the lament in the German language of a young, immigrant widow, grieving for her husband, Johannes Nikolaus Paulsen, who died in 1897. And on any still, clear day at sunset, that same passer-by, provided he has captured the nostalgia that the graveyard emits, might still hear the faint murmurs of yesteryear’s sobs and laughter, or catch the distant echo of the big band saw’s screech, as he silently tiptoes through the pine needles where once the town of Olive stood.

Note of Thanks

(The writer is grateful to Mr. Lee Larkin, archivist/historian of the Scott Petty Company in San Antonio, for biographies, documents, and copies of numerous Olive, Texas, photographs a century old and beautifully preserved.)

54Ibid., Vol. 74, p. 197.

55Ibid., Vols. 78, p. 254 and 85, p. 57; also, biographical information furnished by the Scott Petty Company archives of San Antonio.

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