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A HISTORY OF THE SAMUEL THOMPSON FAMILY

THE TAPED MEMOIRS OF MRS. ALICE GENTRY

Samuel S. Thompson was born in Virginia Ca. 1854. About 1873, he married Mary --------, who was also born in Virginia Ca. 1858. Mrs. Thompson was the mother of seven children, all born in Virginia, but only four were still alive or came to Texas with them when they left Kansas. The family were enumerated in Nederland's 1910 census at residence 65-67.

Mr. and Mrs. Samuel S. Thompson and their four children came to Nederland in 1902. They had come from Kansas to Texas before 1900 and lived for a short while in Beaumont, being there at the time of the 1900 storm. They then moved to Port Neches, with all of their household goods and part of the family made the trip by sail boat down the Neches River.

Soon after the Spindletop gusher blew in, Mr. Thompson decided to move his family to Nederland because he was engaged in rice farming on the edge of Nederland. His farm was located in the area of the present-day 300 and 400 blocks of Nederland Avenue, Atlanta, and Boston.

He built his home in the 1000 block of Atlanta, constructing most of it himself, before he moved his family over from Port Neches. The house, with additions, still stands and is the home of the Thompson's daughter, Mrs. Alice Gentry. {This story was written about 1972, and Mrs. Gentry has died in the meantime.}

The Thompson's younger children, Alice and Cora, attended the early Nederland schools. Miss Susan Thompson worked for a time at the Orange Hotel and is remembered as having stayed with Mrs. William C. Sammons, the doctor's wife, and other young mothers after their babies were born. The Thompson's son, Harvey, was married when they came to Nederland. All of the family were active members of Nederland's Methodist Church.

Mr. Thompson died in 1932 and his wife, Mary Thompson, in 1947. Their children, Susan, Harvey, and Cora (Mrs. George Willis) are already deceased. Cora had three children, David Willis, Etta Alice (Mrs. Charles) Sheehan, both of Nederland, and Mary Beth (Mrs. Leon) Hastings of Beaumont. Harvey had four sons and a daughter, all of whom lived in other parts of Texas (a son in Dallas, two sons in LaGrange, and a son and a daughter in Alvin).

THE MEMOIRS OF MRS. ALICE GENTRY

Mrs. Gentry, who before here marriage was Miss Alice Thompson, and her parents and her brother and two sisters (Miss Susan Thompson and Cora (Mrs. George) Willis) came to Beaumont, Texas, from Kansas before 1900. She said they came in three wagons that were fixed like vans and a covered buggy. They took a month along the way, and the boys often fished and hunted. They had brought their guitars and fiddles (violins) - and she remembered the trip as a very pleasant experience. Her father was a lumber man in Kansas, and that is why he came to Beaumont, to work in a lumber (saw) mill. Just a short time later they moved to Midcounty (Port Neches-Nederland); however, they were in Beaumont at the time of the 1900 storm, and she said that was quite an experience for them. She remembered it very vividly. She said too that the river - the Neches River - impressed them very much. They lived in Beaumont, in a big house that faced the river close to Hotel Dieu - she called it "the Catholic hospital." Her uncle and cousins, three boys and a girl whose mother was dead, had come with them from Kansas together. The families were very close.

These cousins had built a boat on the river there where they lived, and when they got ready to move to Midcounty so that Mr. Thompson could work as a rice farmer, part of the family and the household goods came down the river on that boat. It was a sail boat, and they landed about where the Port Neches Park is now. She showed us a picture of their sail boat, the "Rosalee." Mrs. Gentry was one of the ones who made the trip on the "Rosalee," and her eyes sparkled as she told us about it; she remembered it as an exciting adventure. She said the trip took all day, and they could hear animals screaming in the bushes along the shore.

Her father had rented a house for them in Port Neches on Merriman Street, and they lived there for a while. They were living in Port Neches when the Lucas gusher at Spindletop blew in. They showed us a picture that one of her cousins had taken of the gusher. She said that they heard the roar and felt the earth tremble. The boys, her brother and cousins, got on their horses and rode up there to see the gusher and took the picture.

They didn't live in Port Neches very long before they moved on to Nederland. Her father built the house in Nederland at 1020 Atlanta before they moved, and it is the house where Mrs. Gentry still lives (that is, in 1972, before her death). The house was remodeled and enlarged, probably about 1920.

Mrs. Gentry recalled many things about the early schools. She showed us pictures and told us about the schools and the people that went to them. She told us about the early church, that is, the Methodist Church, as well as about the people who lived here then. She said that at first, the school was on present-day Tenth Street (formerly Kuipers or Cooper Street), back behind where that "tabernacle church" (at 1004 Boston) is now. And then the school grew and they needed more room, so a room was added to the Dutch Reformed church building (at 1003 Boston), which was used for part of the school. So really, Nederland had two schools in the very early days, the early 1900s. That Dutch Reformed church was located where the (C. E.) Gibson home is now (1003 Boston). C. E. Gibson on 10th and Boston and Mrs. Gibson told us that the Gibson home was actually built around and over the church. In other words, part of the old church is now part of the Gibson home.

She (Mrs. Gentry) had a diploma that she got when she finished school in Nederland. She told us about some of the things she studied, in addition to Reading and Writing, and courses like that, she studied Spanish and Latin. She said they really went to school to study in those days, but that they had a good time as well. She said they also had a literary (dramatic?) society that put on plays. One of the plays she remembered was "Pocahontas." She said there were very long parts that had to be studied and memorized.

Mrs. Gentry described Nederland in those early days, soon after 1900, as looking just like the towns we see in the western "picture shows" (movies), with board (wooden) houses and stores down both sides of a big, wide, muddy street, with porches on all the houses so you could walk along under the porches. She said their were three "open" saloons, one of which was owned by Mr. Freeman. The other was in a two-story building where Nederland Pharmacy is now located. She couldn't remember the name of the proprietor, but she said, "Boy, you were afraid to walk along by there, afraid you might get hit in the head by a beer bottle!" But she said that never happened to her. (Ed.'s Note: The editor believes that most beer sold in the Nederland saloons of 1902-1905 was draft beer sold in mugs or "schooners." There were three saloons, Freeman's, Steiner's, and Peek's during those years, and at that time, a saloon was a saloon. The name "open saloon" did not exist before 1933, the year that Prohibition ended, and indicated a mixed drinks bar as opposed to a package store.)

She said that the Methodist Church had Sunday School every Sunday although they didn't have preaching every Sunday because the preacher also had to go to Sabine Pass to preach (on alternate Sundays). She told about Mr. John Bunyan Cooke, the Sunday School superintendent, the father of Mr. (J.) Berthold Cooke, Mrs. Margaret Goodwin and others. She said (while laughing) that Mr. Cooke often was late and Mr. Spencer (Cooke's son-in-law and the father of Earl), who was the assistant Sunday School superintendent, would have to take over. And then Mr. Cooke would come in, and no matter how far along they were in the opening exercises, Mr. Cooke would always start over at the beginning, and repeat the prayers, the hymns, everything. She showed us a large, flowery certificate that she had received for perfect attendance at the M. E. Church Sunday School (Methodist Episcopal, South). She told us that later, when they had their own church, the young people would sometimes have to chase the bats out of the church before they could have their meeting. But she said they always enjoyed that because young people always enjoyed things with a lot of activity.

She had a colored picture of the old Langham School. It was a post card picture and was the first colored picture we have ever seen of this school.

ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS TO THOMPSON HISTORY

Her father, Mr. (Samuel S.) Thompson, instead of being in lumber work in Kansas, worked in a mine. She showed us a picture of his mine, a coal mine.

She said that her father moved his family around a lot, but he always made a point to be close to a school so that the children could go to school and be close to a church so they could go to church. Mrs. (George) Willis' name (before marriage) was Cora Thompson and she was Mrs. Gentry's sister. Their father's name was Samuel S. Thompson. He came to Nederland in 1902, and he was a rice farmer.

Shortly after they came her Mrs. Verna Kelly started a kindergarden in the Orange Hotel in the dining room. This was for the native-born children, not the Dutch children, and when she had to be away, Mrs. Gentry would substitute for her in the kindergarden. We asked Mrs. Gentry if she remember the Orange Hotel and she said, "Oh, yes! I taught kindergarten there - in the dining room."

Marie mentioned that somewhere she had read that the storeroom of the Orange Hotel was destroyed by the storm of (Aug. 16) 1900- and Mrs. Gentry concurred. This was the storeroom that had served as a school for the little Dutch children up until that time. It was as a result of its having been destroyed that the two-room frame building was erected near the site of the C. E. Gibson home. Later, a room was added to the Dutch Reformed Church and also used as a school. This church building had three uses at that time - it was used as a school, as the Dutch Reformed Church, what it was built to be; and also as the Methodist Church.

This Mrs. Verna Kelly who started the kindergarden in the hotel dining room was (at that time) Miss Verna Gibson. The Gibsons used to live where Thirteenth Street deadended on Nederland Avenue, and was later the H. C. LaGrone home. Marie remembers that when the Methodists began outgrowing their first church that was built on Thirteenth Street, the Gibsons offered their home for Sunday School classes and also for Epworth League in the evenings. So they felt as though the Gibson home was an extension of the Methodist Church. That (Wm. S.) Gibson family was not related to the C. E. Gibsons. (One of the best teachers Nederland ever had lived with the Gibsons. Miss Della Walker. She exerted much the same kind of influence on the children that in later years Mrs. Cora Linson gave. They were much the same type of people. Those who remember her remember her with much love, respect, and affection.-Marie)

Verna Gibson later married J. C. Kelly. The Gibsons had one other child, a son named Willie.

Mrs. Gentry mentioned the Frank Butlers who lived near them. The (C. E.) Gibsons and the Butlers and the Thompsons all lived near one another. This Mr. Butler had two children, Vernon and Mary. (A son Roy was killed in World War I and a younger daughter was named Irma) He had started a private school in 1900 for his own children because he wanted them to be educated. This is something we would like to find out more about. We don't know whether this was one of the other schools that he instigated getting started, or whether this was a completely different thing. F. A. Butler was a school trustee in 1903. We need to find out more about this. This Mr. Butler was a bookkeeper for a construction company. (The 1910 Nederland census listed Frank Butler's occupation as a clerk, dry goods and groceries and the 1918 Nederland city directory listed him as a boilermaker.) His name (F. A. Butler) was listed as one of the school officials (trustees) on a report card that Mrs. Gentry had. We feel that perhaps he was instrumental in building the second school.

QUESTIONS TO ASK MRS. GENTRY:

1). More about these plays they put on. Where did they give the plays? In the school or in the church?

2). The names of the two sisters she said taught in the school here. One had lived on the border of Mexico at one time and taught Spanish. (We are not sure whether this Spanish was taught in the school or was just taught to some young people "on the side," just because these young people wanted something to do, meaning outside of the curriculum.

GENTRY-SECOND VISIT-REVERSE SIDE OF TAPE.

Mrs. Gentry was married in 1918 in Houston.

(Discussion concerning relative marrying Freeman). It was a cousin Lou who married the Freeman. Mrs. Gentry said "really a double cousin," since her mother was Mrs. Gentry's mother's sister and her father was Mrs. G.'s father's brother. When she passed away with pneumonia, Mrs. G.'s mother kind of looked after the children, the girls especially. The cousins were the ones who built the sail boat. Her brother did not have anything to do with it. "He was not that much of a duck."

The cousins never did live in Nederland. Both families moved from Beaumont to Port Neches together and lived close together there, but when the Thompsons moved over to Nederland, the other family of Thompsons stayed in Port Neches until they later moved to Vidor.

"It must have been.....well, we were in Port Neches in 1901, but we were living in Beaumont in 1900." But she knows she was going to school in Nederland in 1902 because she has a card showing the names of those in school with her - the card given out when school closed in the spring of 1903. Asked if the names were all in one class, she said evidently more than one, but she didn't remember. The certificate she has - from the 7th grade - was the highest the Nederland school went to at that time. Some went (to high school) in Beaumont, some in Port Arthur. Where did she go? " I didn't go to either one. I took extra courses here, in Latin - in Spanish - and in mental arithmetic." "The mental arithmetic is the best thing you can do - it gives you short cuts. But I can't remember them now."

Asked about the kindergarten in the Orange Hotel where she substituted as teacher - Do you remember what year that was? "I sure don't." Was it after you got your certificate from the school here? "Yes." Then it would have been after 1906. "That's right." Then it was after you finished school. That was just a little private kindergarden.

Do you remember when the Orange Hotel was torn down? "I don't know. I was probably gone at that time.....I worked out a lot." ....at the White House....going back and forth I just didn't pay any attention to things like that. ......Yes, there was a while when the old hotel was vacant. An old man lived there alone by himself. I don't know if anybody ever knew who he was. (Ed.'s Note: Mrs. Bertha Anderson referred to the tramp who ran them out of the hotel whenever they played there as "Uncle Jimmie." The 1910 Nederland census listed a "Jim Burns, tramp, age 38," who was evidently the tramp that lived in the vacant hotel.)

.......talking about the picture of the old Baptist Church, etc. "We'd give anything to have a picture of the Dutch Reformed Church. Mrs. G. said, "That was it where Edith Spencer is standing in the door of the school."

Did the Methodists use the Dutch church too or did they use the school? "They used the school. But it seems like they used the church before that. As time goes on you forget."

Who were some of the people - beside Mr. Cooke and Mr. Spencer - who were real active in the Methodist Church when it first started? "Well....I don't know.....It was going when we moved here in 1902. The Cookes......the Gibsons.....and Mrs. (Anna) Kitchen. Mrs. Kitchen was very active. "And Mrs. Dohmann?" Yes, they were active, but they didn't come until later.....but they were very active. And old Mr. Nelson was very active.....at one time. And Rosie Spencer. And they lived in that two-story house (before it was torn down about 1960, the R. X. Cook home at 211 Twelfth St.) behind the old bank (First National Bank building, which until 1940 stood at 1203 Boston). The old Spencer family lived there.

Didn't the Spencers manage the Orange Hotel at one time? Yes. That's where Boy (Willie Lee Freeman) and Lou (Lula Thompson) met. When we were living in Port Neches, she came over here to work for Mrs. Spencer at the Orange Hotel - and that's where she met Boy Freeman. So the Spencers and the Freemans were both here at that time. Do you know the year the Spencers managed the hotel? Well, I know they were there when we were living in Port Neches (1901), but I don't know how long before that.

"You know, it was funny. After they voted the saloons out of here, Mr. Freeman - the grandfather Freeman - went down to Winnie and went into a store business and did well. It shows you don't have to do anything like that." 'Cause he made a good living for himself and his family. Of course, there were just the two of them. Then he finally moved back to Beaumont.

Asked if she knew anything about when the hotel was built. "I understand that it was built by the Dutch people to take care of the immigrants that came over. The Cookes came in 1898 and they stayed at the Orange hotel. (Marie's info from Myra Koelemay.) They stayed there until they could find another place to stay. Myra (later Mrs. Lawrence Koelemay) was about 18 months old and she would pull up to the windows and look out at the horses and wagons carrying lumber - because the town was in the process of being built - they were building the stores along Main Street - and they said she would stand there for the longest time and watch. Then the Cookes moved out on the Kitchen Road - they lived in the house that later the Kitchens would buy and live in, where Celeste K.(itchen) was born. When they lived out there, Lawrence K.(oelemay) would come out there to play with her brothers - he was about seven years older than she was - and she said, "I think I fell in love with Lawrence then." She said that, when they stayed in the Orange Hotel, Lawrence came (and Marie said, he's the first one I've heard of that actually came to school in the little school behind the Orange Hotel) - and Lawrence told her later that lots of times, he would come in the hotel and pick her up and carry her around. The Koelemay children walked from where they were living to the school behind the hotel. Later the Koelemay's managed the hotel; they were the last ones to manage it.

Asked if the hotel was still being run as a hotel whenever the kindergarden were there, Mrs. Gentry said, "No, it was vacant except for the kindergarden held in the dining room - unless perhaps that elderly man lived there then. She didn't know. It had been vacant for some time. Observation: It must have been used as a hotel for about eight years. (Ed.'s Note: Eight or nine years seems about right. Between 1903-1906, all the boarders there were Spindletop roughnecks, drillers, and boomers, who rode the train back and forth to work, and after the oil boom ended, there were no more boarders.)

Marie Fleming said she asked Anna Koelemay Cooley about when the hotel was torn down, what the lumber was used for, etc.? She couldn't remember the date it was torn down; she said she didn't know that the lumber was used for anything, that it just rotted down.....that the boys, the kids, just sort of tore it down, wrecked it, when it was decided to do away with it. And then the building materials, or at least some of it, stayed on the premises a long time. That seems odd, Marie said, since some of the other things that were built then are still standing.

Mrs. Gentry said that she was interested to see the picture of the hotel in the Nederland State Bank because it was the only picture of it she had ever seen. "It was really a nice hotel. It was nothing to be ashamed of at all. Asked if she remembered going to any special function at the hotel, she said, "No."

Marie observed that Mrs. Gentry would have been almost too young to have participated in any of the parties, dances, etc. held at the hotel in the early days, and she agreed and then said, "And you know, we always thought that when you belonged to the church, you couldn't dance.....and so we just didn't pay any attention to it.....and they would have the biggest dances upstairs over that building where Thornell is now (old McNeill building at 1154 Boston), and we'd just go up the street there and go on over to the church to the prayer meeting.....and we could have gone and Papa wouldn't have known it. He never asked us."

Mr. G. was asked about the plays that she said the young people used to put on and that they enjoyed so much. "And we had such long parts to learn too." Asked where the plays were performed: "As well as I remember, up above McNeill's store (1154 Boston). And we must have made a temporary stage. One of the plays was "Pocahontas." Asked if it was sponsored by the church or the school, she said, "No, it was just general, but all the young people in town went. All the young people of the town went to church then, because that was just about the only place to go. She thought that one of the Sunday school teachers helped with the plays. She didn't think any admission was charged. "We just bought our own costumes and made them." "That whole building would be full - of young and old - people just wanted some place to go." "One year when Mrs. Williams - Lancaster used to be - taught school here, she was real interested in that, too, she took a good part in it."

Asked about the two school teachers she said had taught here and had previously taught school down on the Mexican border and one of them taught Spanish - Mrs. Gentry said, "Yes" - that that was the person she had studied Spanish under. Asked if that person had taught Spanish in the school or on the side - "Well," she answered, "you didn't have to take the course, just those who wanted to." Mrs. G. believed her name was Neild, a Miss Neild. She didn't believe either teacher had been married, but didn't remember their given names. (Ed.'s Note: The editor believes that Miss Neild taught school with Miss Lizzie Waterston, principal, in 1903, and that a picture of her survives in a photograph between pages 67-68 of Vol. II.)

Asked about another hotel that was about where Rienstra's store is (1204 Boston) - that Anna Cooley told Marie F. about - that a Mrs. (Emma) Burson ran, Mrs. Gentry thought she remembered it. Later it became the Oakley Hotel, and they remodeled it, then it was remodeled again. Probably the same building as the later Dale Hotel. Christina said there was a Mrs. Sanders who had a daughter named Mrs. Matthews who also ran the hotel. Bursons first, then Mrs. Matthews. Mrs. Burson was Mae Newman Doornbos' mother. (More talk about the hotel - when started, etc. - but Mrs. G. could not remember.) {Ed.'s Note: The 1900 and 1910 Nederland censuses are especially vague about hotels. Mrs. Emma Burson may have given up her hotel about 1908-1909, since in 1910 census she was listed as living alone and a real estate agent. In the 1918 Nederland city directory, the Nederland Hotel was being operated by Mrs. Florence Mathers (not Matthews), widow of George E. Mathers. Mathers must have sold out to M. W. Oakley soon afterward. Oakley was still operating the hotel in 1938 city directory, but he sold out to D. X. Rienstra soon afterward - probably 1939 or 1940 - and moved to Austin. Rienstra moved the hotel about 100 feet to an inside lot, reopened it as the Dale Hotel, and built a dry goods business building (Roger-Byron) on the corner at 1204 Boston.)

The old Mr. and Mrs. (L. A.) Spencer ran the Orange Hotel for a while and Mrs. G. believed that her sister, Susan, worked for Mrs. S. there for a while. Elmer S.(pencer) told of working there and they would cook the "flap jacks" (pan cakes) just on top of the wood stove.....Mrs. G said that she remember the youngest Spencer, Clyde - that he was quite a musician; he loved to play.

(Marie F. told story that Earl (Spencer) had told her about her father having moving picture - rented film - had a little projector mounted on a wagon - and showed pictures down town.....And one of the Spencer girls had a real pretty voice and would sing - and Mr. R(ienstra) showed the films....Mrs. G. didn't remember anything about that, but she thought that the Spencers had only boys, no girls. (True-the Spencers had only 6 sons.)

"It was the funniest thing, when we started from Kansas--with covered wagons and with a surrey with two pretty ponies, if we wanted to ride in it - but naturally kids would rather ride the rough way. We could have written a real interesting book. Lou's oldest brother had gone to Kansas City and he was quite well-educated, and he could have written an interesting book, and I don't know why he didn't. We had a lot of fun on the way. I was too young to write about it, but I always wondered why he didn't because he was grown then.....They had their bicycles and their fiddles, as they called them in those days, and a rooster and a little hen.....I imagine what we looked like was one of those medicine shows that go around the country selling patent medicines.

(Comments on picture Mrs. Anderson had of building with group of people on front porch, one Sam Thompson, Mrs. G's father. She said the building as the school, that was also used as the Methodist Church. (Not the Dutch church).....Discussed a person evidently in picture - M. L. Kenney. Mrs. G said, "You might contact Floyd Kenney." Asked - Didn't Mr. E. P. Delong marry a Kenney. Mrs. G. said she thought he had married Velva Kenney. Mr. Delong had a garage, which probably was a blacksmith shop before that. In those days, that was before automobiles were even thought about, I guess."...."I remember my first automobile ride. There was a Mr. Appleby. He was a contractor in Beaumont, and he went back and forth in a little, old open red car - a Ford I imagine, just two seats. I was going to walk with Verna Gibson (Kelly) - they lived up at Sun Station - I was going with her and we were walking up the highway and this fellow - he had been to Port Arthur and he was on his way back to Beaumont - well, he offered us a ride. Well, we got in there and I mean he really gave us a ride. We had to hold on. There were no back seats or windbreaker or anything. It was really fun though. He was very nice."

Mrs. G. said downtown Nederland, as she remembered it, was like a little western town. In 1902 there was already a business section. Mr. Cooke (Sr.) was running the (Nederland) lumber yard - up the railroad track somewhere. McNeill's store (later) was first where Vaughn (George C. Vaughan Co., now Ritter Lumber Co.) is. (Discussion of location of Bradley Bell, other early stores). B. Bell was on the "other" (?) street, he burned out (Ca 1910), then was in a warehouse by railroad. Then he sold out to McNeill. Then later McNeill moved to Main Street (1154 Boston). Old Mr. and Mrs. (M.) Wagner lived in the building recently torn down (Modern Cleaning Shop, 1159 Boston). Then one of the boys ran a store (Paul Wagner Gents Wear) in a two-story building next door or close there somewhere (1155 Boston). There were some residences on Main Street mixed in with the stores. Old Dr. Sammons lived in a house where the wig shop is now. (In 1910, "old" Dr. Wm. Sammons was age 42, with a wife age 25). Asked if there was another doctor here before Dr. Sammons, Mrs. G. said she din't know because they went to Beaumont to the doctor for a long time. She knew Dr. Sammons was there, though, because her sister, Susan went there and "waited on" Mrs. Sammons when she had her baby. (Marie mentioned Orange Hotel register listed two doctors....)

Asked about when Dr. (J. H.) Haizlip came, Mrs. G. said, "Well, let's see, he was rice farming at Port Neches." He was a doctor back in Carolina or someplace, but he came here and went into rice farming, then he went to Austin and took his state examination and came back here and went to practicing. They lived on Atlanta on the other side of the R. R. tracks (from Mrs. G.?) for a while, and then moved over to the present home. He was married but the children had not been born. (Ed.'s Note: Dr. Haizlip came from North Carolina to Arkansas to Nederland in 1906. The writer's uncles met them at the depot. The Haizlips were following their friends from Arkansas, John and Alice Chase, who had just taken a job as chief engineer of the Port Arthur Irrigation river pumping plant. Dr. Haizlip rice-farmed for one year, on C. X. Johnson property, now Mobil tank farm at Port Neches, before beginning practice here in 1907. Mrs. Gentry was wrong about all the Haizlip children being born here. Son Wm. O. "Bill" Haizlip was born in North Carolina in Oct., 1899, and brother John was born in Arkansas two years later.)

Mrs. G.'s father's place - where he farmed - was where the (Rev. Emmet) McKenzie's live (304 Atlanta), or where the Women's Club is (320 Atlanta). Dr. Haizlip put in a crop of rice across from there - "I believe on Johnson's land."

Old Mr. and Mrs. C. X. Johnson lived down here before they moved "up here." (?????) They came from Preston, Iowa. The elder sister - "she would mother them." Her name was Lily. The mother had died when the children were small and she took care of them. (showed piece of handwork Lily had made for her mother.) ...more about Johnson family. (Ed.'s Note: The Johnson woman that Mrs. G. calls "Lily" was actually Fannie P. Johnson. In 1910, there were four Johnson siblings, none of them married, living in the black stone house at 1420 Boston, where police station now is, Charlie X., age 33, Fannie P., age 29; Elmer L., age 27; and Nellie M., age 22. C. X. Johnson was postmaster of Nederland twice, for a total of about 15 years, Ca. 1908-1922, 1932-1933, and owned Nederland Pharmacy, where post office was, from about 1906 until 1922. C. X. Johnson finally married about 1923 and moved to Port Neches, where he sold real estate, but believes the other three Johnson siblings remained single for life. C. X. died in Port Neches about 1952.)

Talk about how bad mosquitoes were. And the floods. Marie said her mother said they would burn smudge pots around the church on Sundays for the horses. (Mrs. G.: "But you know people were happy in those days. People are not happy now. They're restless. And they just search for something, they don't know what.")

When they were building the Baptist Church, Lee Meredith was single and he ate with the Thompsons every day. "We fed more Baptist preachers before that Baptist Church was built; however, we were glad for them to build. As Baptist people moved in, we thought they would have their own church. They built some kind of 'tabernacle' concern. Just a big old building, no floor; I guess they had sawdust on the floor - on that lot next to Rackley Cleaners (13th at Boston, NE corner). It was just temporary, for they had to get organized.....Methodists and Baptists used to let out church to attend each other's revivals and bible schools. The Baptists were trying to get organized "when Lee ate with us." "You know there were no eating places then like there are now and you couldn't got to the store and buy TV dinners."

End of Memoirs

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