Texas over Time: The Alamo, San Antonio

Texas has changed quite a bit over the years, as is readily seen in our vast photograph collection. To help bring some of those changes to life, we’ve created a “Texas over Time” series of GIFs that will illustrate the construction and renovations of buildings, changing aerial views, and more. Our collections are especially strong on Waco and Baylor images, but look for some views beyond the Heart of Texas, too.

Alamo

  • The original mission was built in 1718 as a Spanish mission by Father Antonio de San Buenaventura y Olivares but was then leveled in 1724 by a hurricane. The mission was moved to the present site and rebuilt in 1744 but collapsed due to structural flaws in 1762. It was rebuilt using the same material but never completed.
  • The building was supposed to have been three stories tall, with bell towers on each side, with a dome as a roof. The four arches to support the dome were completed, but later demolished to fortify for the battle. Protective walls were put around it in 1758 to ward off Native American violence. Secularized in 1793, it became known as simply Pueblo Valero.
  • In 1803, a Spanish cavalry unit (the Second Company of San Carlos de Alamo de Parras) occupied the pueblo, from which the present-day name of “the Alamo” is derived.
  • In 1836, the famous battle occurred, pitting Santa Anna’s 1,500 troops against the between 188-250 Texians in the Alamo. After Santa Anna ended up losing the war two months later, he ordered General Andrade to demolish the fort. He burned down the cannon ramp, long barracks, and most of the Galera.
  • In the years between the fire and the US Army coming, locals would use bricks from the Alamo as building materials, when needed. The humped parapet that is so iconic today was added when the Army remodeled the Alamo for use as a local headquarters.
  • When the Army abandoned the Alamo in 1878, it was given back to the Catholic Church. A businessman named Hugo Grenet almost immediately bought the restored long barrack building for $20,000, which he then converted into a store. The church building was given over to the State of Texas in 1883, who then transferred ownership to the City of San Antonio. The long barracks was sold to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas in 1905. The store that Hugo Grenet had built on top of the site of the old long barracks was demolished in 1911, and the original wall was restored. The Alamo is presently a museum administered by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the Texas General Land Office.

Thompson, Frank T. The Alamo: A Cultural History. Dallas, Tex.: Taylor Trade Pub., 2001. Print

Check out our Flickr set to see these and other images of the Alamo, which primarily came from our General-San Antonio-Alamo photo files.

Posted in Alamo, Texas historic buildings, Texas over Time, Texas Revolution | Leave a comment

Armstrong’s Stars: William Butler Yeats

“Armstrong’s Stars” is a collaboration between the Armstrong Browning Library and Baylor’s Texas Collection. Once a month we feature a story about a celebrity that Dr. A.J. Armstrong brought to Baylor. These stories highlight an interesting part of Baylor’s history and include collection materials housed in both the Armstrong Browning Library and the Texas Collection. This month’s story was contributed by Baylor graduate (BA ’14) and Sigma Tau Delta member Rebecca Hans.   

Photograph of William Butler Yeats appearing in the April 8, 1920, issue of The Lariat (The Texas Collection)

Photograph of William Butler Yeats appearing in the April 8, 1920, issue of The Lariat (The Texas Collection)

On April 16, 1920, at five o’clock in the evening, poet William Butler Yeats shared about his life and influences and read his work in front of a packed house of Baylor students, faculty, and community. The evening, part of the university’s Diamond Jubilee celebration, had been eagerly anticipated in four Baylor Lariat articles articulating not only W.B. Yeats’s notability and talent, but also the hard work of Dr. A.J. Armstrong for orchestrating the visit. The Lariat especially emphasized the singularity of the event, urging students not to miss the unique opportunity. The first news regarding the event was an April 1st issue of the Baylor Lariat. The piece announced W.B. Yeats’s lecture and described him as a poet “considered by all competent critics the foremost English man of letters now living.” The lecture would be titled “Friends in my Youth” and was already expected to be “a great day in Baylor history” (“William Butler Yeats” 7). These early Lariat articles advertising Yeats’s appearance are particularly interesting from a modern perspective. In 1920, Yeats had not yet achieved the irrefutable eminence associated with his name today but was instead described as a brilliant poet on the rise. Many of the great works for which Yeats is known today had yet to be written; even “The Second Coming,” one of his most famous works, may have been unknown to the Waco audiences. Regardless, the literary community thought highly of Yeats. He was so respected even in 1920 that the Lariat accurately prophesied that his “name and work will take place in the front rank of the poetry that passes from this generation to posterity” (“W.B Yeats Secured for Friday, 16th” 1). When the official invitation appeared advertising the “First Big Guns of Baylor Diamond Jubilee,” Former President William Howard Taft and the poet William Butler Yeats both shared the advertisement. Although President Taft’s portion was presented in a grander style, Yeats’s portion Yeatswas given equal importance. The invitation emphasized Yeats’s appearance as an important event for anyone interested in “world affairs,” not just a night out for poetry enthusiasts. These instructions were heeded, and long before Yeats took the stage, a varied collection of people paid fifty cents to fill Carroll Chapel to capacity (“William Butler Yeats Delivers Fine Lecture” 1; “Yeats Friday, 5 O’Clock” 2). The poet laureate of Texas, Judd Mortimer Lewis, also came to Waco specifically for the event, and introduced W.B. Yeats to the crowd himself. Yeats began the lecture, “Friends in my Youth,” with details of his childhood, specifically the influence of his father, an artist. The larger part of the talk, however, focused on his mentors and other literary men who had profoundly influenced his growth as a man and poet. Of these influences Yeats mentioned Arthur Symons, Francis Thompson, and William Ernest Henly, and read examples of their work aloud to the Waco audience. To the delight of the crowd, Yeats read aloud from his own work for the concluding half hour, “a treat to lovers of poetry” (“William Butler Yeats Delivers Fine Lecture” 1). Although the bulk of Lariat coverage focused on Yeats himself, the writers did credit Dr. Armstrong’s work bringing influential speakers to the campus: “The policy of Dr. Armstrong in bringing men to Baylor is to get men who have a world-wide reputation” (“W.B Yeats Secured for Friday, 16th” 1). In a letter to the University President, Samuel Palmer Brooks, Dr. Armstrong reflected on the events of the previous year and described in further detail what the Lariat titled “his policy”: My primary purpose is not to make money but to give the students an opportunity to come in contact with world forces and world geniuses. I believe it is one thing they will remember longer than anything else connected with their school days. I consider these attractions all of the highest type and I think my English Department is gaining launch for itself abroad. Today, Baylor University features visits from world-renowned thinkers, writers, and speakers who also share their work and experiences with the university and community. The English Department especially has preserved Dr. A.J. Armstrong’s tradition through events such as the Beall Poetry Festival, an annual event bringing internationally acclaimed poets to Waco. Many modern students can speak with a similar satisfaction as those of 1920, although many may wish they had been present to witness “the biggest literary man that has yet spoken in Carroll Chapel,” as William Butler Yeats shared his story and his art (“W.B Yeats Secured for Friday, 16th” 1).   Works cited: Armstrong, A.J. to Samuel Palmer Brooks, 4 April 1921, Andrew Joseph Armstrong Papers #0449, Box 1, Folder 1, Texas Collection, Baylor University. First Big Guns of Baylor Diamond Jubilee, Invitation. The Texas Collection, Baylor University Libraries, Waco. Print. W.B Yeats Secured for Friday, 16th.” The Lariat 8 Apr. 1920: 1. Web. 3 Oct. 2014. “William Butler Yeats.” The Lariat 1 Apr. 1920: 7. Web. 3 Oct. 2014. “William Butler Yeats Delivers Fine Lecture.” The Lariat 22 Apr. 1920: 1. Web. 3 Oct. 2014. “Yeats Friday, 5 O’Clock.” The Lariat 15 Apr. 1920: 2. Web. 3 Oct. 2014.

Posted in A.J. Armstrong, Armstrong Browning Library, lectures, Samuel Palmer Brooks, The Texas Collection, Waco, William Butler Yeats | Leave a comment

The Rise and Fall of the Austin Avenue Pedestrian Mall, Waco, Texas.

By Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator

Austin Avenue Pedestrian Mall, Waco, TX (7)

Large tree and shrub-filled planters made of brick and cement once sat in the middle of Austin Avenue to help add to the mall’s unique aesthetics.

Between 1958 and 1978, the Urban Renewal Agency of the City of Waco, along with the federal government, created a master plan to redevelop ten areas of the city between Waco Drive and LaSalle Avenue. By the late 1970’s, efforts by the agency had resulted in the demolition of 1,200 homes and 300 commercial structures. This multi-million dollar effort was to eliminate dilapidated buildings and improve the aesthetics of the city. Affected homeowners and businesses received aid to help improve their properties or were moved completely to more suitable and habitable conditions. Part of the greater plan was known as “Brazos Urban Renewal Area TEX R-104” and covered much of downtown and included what was to become the “Austin Avenue Mall.”

Austin Avenue Pedestrian Mall, Waco, TX (2)

Play areas for children were part of the mall’s design as well as cement blocks for seating. Awnings returned on storefronts for pedestrian shelter completion, the mall was heralded as “the beginning of a new era for Downtown Waco.”

The mall’s construction extended from the Ninth to Third Streets blocks of Austin Avenue and closed this portion to vehicular traffic while leaving side streets open. This location allowed the mall to link up with the recently constructed Waco Convention Center. The original planners called for: “a pedestrian mall on Austin Avenue and outlined space for a convention hall on the old City Hall Square.” The Waco City Council had no objections and a federal grant was approved on October 31, 1968 for the project. Construction began in early 1970 and the Austin Avenue mall was formally dedicated on January 16, 1971. After completion, the mall was heralded as “the beginning of a new era for Downtown Waco.”

Details included removing tall curbs to make a seamless surface across the street for pedestrians to access storefronts lining the mall. Large awnings were built to keep “window shoppers” in the shade or sheltered from rain. Fountains, modern lighting, and cement blocks were used for seating and aesthetics. Large planters held trees and plants. The mall also used electric-powered “Free Shopper Trams” that were ahead of their time for the early 1970’s. The Austin Avenue mall got off to a hopeful start with retailers seeing increased sales. One merchant claimed: “Sales are definitely up. We’re getting more people from out of town and a lot of Waco people are coming back downtown to shop because of the inviting atmosphere.”

Austin Avenue Pedestrian Mall, Waco, TX (13)

The mall used electric-powered, General Electric, “Free Shopper Trams,” that were ahead of their time for the early 1970’s.

However, the success of Austin Avenue’s transformation proved difficult to sustain as the years went by. As early as 1977, several key businesses moved to other locations throughout the city, diminishing the area’s desirability. These included some of the main attractions such as Goldstein-Miguel, Cox’s, Monnigs, and Bauer McCann. J.C. Penney was soon to follow when it moved to Richland Mall by the late 1970’s.

In May 1977, Jack Denman, president of Downtown Waco, INC., remarked to the Waco City Council, “There is no reason for anyone to be on the mall. It is the most beautiful, tranquil place in town but is functionally useless.” Further, Denman stated, “I receive calls from women who are scared, and have a paranoia about walking on the mall, they feel alone, isolated…”

After several more years of similar sentiments regarding the pedestrian mall project, in 1985, the Waco City Council decided to change it back to a two-way street between Third and Ninth making Austin Avenue fully accessible to vehicular traffic. The existing remnants that made the pedestrian mall unique, such as cement planters, ponds, fountains, and electric trams, were cleared. Indeed, the idea may have been ahead of its time but now makes for an interesting chapter of Waco’s past.

Works Cited:

“20 Years Transform Heart of Our City” Waco Tribune Herald, September 3, 1978.

“Downtown Revitalization Underway; Main St. 2-Way.” The Waco Citizen, August 30, 1985.

“Office of Economic Development, Urban Renewal in Waco” (Waco, Texas), 1989; Subject File: Waco Urban Renewal. Thomas E. Turner Papers, The Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

“Parking on Mall Asked.” The Waco Citizen, May 20, 1977.

“Urban Renewal in 1968: An Annual Progress Review” The Waco News-Tribune, March 26, 1969.

“Urban Renewal in 1970: An Annual Progress Review” The Waco News-Tribune, March 24, 1971.

“Urban Renewal in 1971: An Annual Progress Review” The Waco News-Tribune, March 29, 1972.

Posted in Austin Avenue, Urban Renewal, Waco | Leave a comment

Research Ready: September 2014

Each month, we post a processing update to notify our readers about the latest collections that have finding aids online and are primed for research. Here’s the scoop for September:

War hero Audie Murphy greeting fans in Corsicana, Texas, 1945

By 1945, Audie Murphy had received more than thirty-three awards, citations, and decorations for his service in World War II. Here is Murphy in Corsicana, Texas, being greeted by his fans. Audie Leon Murphy papers #363, box 1, folder 10.

  • Cooksey-Robertson Family papers 1858-1981 (#3904): Contains letters from A.J. Cooksey to his family in Montgomery County, Texas, during the American Civil War.
  • Browning W. Ware papers 1928-2002 (#3885): Materials of Texas pastor Browning W. Ware, who led First Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, and wrote “Diary of a Modern Pilgrim” columns in the Austin-American Statesman.
  • [Wharton County] Women’s Missionary Society of the Methodist Church records, 1933-1939 (#3882): Includes a minute book that documents the organization’s activities during the Great Depression.
    Minute book from the Women’s Missionary Society, 1937

    In the summer of 1937, the Women’s Missionary Society hosted a show in which television star Shirley Temple performed. The earnings from this show provided the Society with funds to support their missionary work in Texas and abroad. The exact entry reads: “Mrs. Robert made a motion, and it was seconded, that we give the young people part of the proceeds from the Shirley Temple show.” [Wharton County] Women’s Missionary Society of the Methodist church records #3882, box [218], folder 1.

Posted in American South, Audie Leon Murphy, Austin Texas, Browning Ware, Civil War, Confederate States of America, frontier and pioneer life, Frontier and pioneer life, Research Ready, Texas Baptists, Uncategorized, United States Armed Forces, World War II | Leave a comment

Print Peeks: Captivity Narratives at The Texas Collection

Prepared by Amie Oliver, Librarian/Curator of Print Materials

Stolen Boy

Illustration depicting native children throwing tomahawks at Manuel. Image taken from The Stolen Boy: A Story, Founded on Facts.

The Texas Collection is home to many stories, many featuring depictions of frontier heroes taming the Wild West.  One of the most captivating types of pioneer stories in the collection is captivity narratives, written accounts of those captured by Native Americans. Captivity narratives date to 1682 when Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, written by Massachusetts Puritan Mary Rowlandson who was captured and eventually ransomed, was published. These stories of capture became popular across the U.S. The Texas Collection contains many captivity narratives involving Texas or Texans. It should be noted that while many of these stories are true, some are only based on a grain of truth and are greatly embellished, and some are completely false. Let’s take a look at a few of the captivity narratives in The Texas Collection:

The Stolen Boy: A Story, Founded on Facts: Written by English author Barbara Hofland and published in approximately 1830, this popular captivity narrative recounts the Comanche capture of Manuel del Perez near San Antonio. The volume describes his life among the natives for three years before his eventual escape and reunion with his family.

Nine Years

Herman Lehmann dressed in Comanche war garb. Image taken from Nine Years Among the Indians, 1870-1879.

Nine Years Among the Indians: Herman Lehmann, son of Mason County, Texas, German pioneers, was captured by the Apache when he was 10-years-old. His life with the Apache, and later the Comanche, had a great impact on him. When he was forcibly returned to his family in 1878, he no longer remembered them or the German language. His adjustment to white society was difficult. He considered himself to be native, maintaining contact with the Comanche for the rest of his life.

Boy Captives

Clinton and Jefferson Smith in 1927. Image taken from The Boy Captives.

The Boy Captives: Perhaps one of the best known Texas captivity narratives, this volume recounts the story of Clinton and Jefferson Smith who were captured in 1871 near their home between San Antonio and Boerne at the ages of 11 and 9 by a group of Lipan and Comanche. Rescue attempts to reclaim the children were futile, and the boys remained captive for five years before returning home. Their story was widespread and the Smith brothers later enjoyed fame as frontier celebrities.

The above volumes are but a small sampling of captivity narratives available in the collection. These volumes are ripe for research and provide unique insight into pioneer life.

Sources:

Hofland, Barbara. The Stolen Boy: A Story, Founded on Facts. London: J. Darling for A.K. Newman and Company, 1830. Print.

Lehmann, Herman. Nine Years Among the Indians, 1870-1879. Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones Co, 1927. Print.

Rowlandson, Mary. Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson. Project Gutenberg. Web. 12 April 2014.

Smith, Clinton L. The Boy Captives. Bandera: Frontier Times, 1927. Print.

Posted in Adventure, Barbara Hofland, Clinton Smith, German pioneers, Herman Lehmann, Indian captivities, Jefferson Smith, Manuel del Perez, Mary Rowlandson, People, Print Peeks | Leave a comment

Texas over Time: Bridge Street, Waco

Texas has changed quite a bit over the years, as is readily seen in our vast photograph collection. To help bring some of those changes to life, we’ve created a “Texas over Time” series of GIFs that will illustrate the construction and renovations of buildings, changing aerial views, and more. Our collections are especially strong on Waco and Baylor images, but look for some views beyond the Heart of Texas, too.

Bridge Street, Waco

 Photo dates: 1872, 1953, 1967, undated (prior to 1968)

  • Named due to being across First Street from the Waco suspension bridge
  • Earned the nickname “Rat Row” (until the fire) due to the increasingly dilapidated state of the wooden buildings
  • Fire swept through in 1871, destroying all of the wooden frame buildings, which were replaced by stone ones
  • Traditionally the center of the west-Waco minority-owned business community
  • Took a major hit from the 1953 Waco tornado
  • All buildings on street demolished in 1968 as part of Urban Renewal

Sources:

Menchu, Carlos. 162 Years of Waco, 1824-1986: Focus upon Downtown Waco, Texas. Lubbock: Texas Tech U, 1986. Print.

Smith, JB. “From Bridge Street to the Square.” Waco Tribune-Herald 22 Sept. 2005: n. pag. Print.

“Bridge Street: 1849 – 1890.” Baylor University Institute for Oral History. Web. 24 July 2014. <http://www.baylor.edu/oralhistory/index.php?id=32190>.

“Bridge Street: 1900-1950.” Baylor University Institute for Oral History. Web. 24 July 2014. <http://www.baylor.edu/oralhistory/index.php?id=32207>.

See the individual photos in our Bridge Street Flickr set.

GIF and factoids by Braxton Ray, archives student assistant

Posted in Bridge Street, Historic Waco, Texas over Time, Waco, Waco suspension bridge, Waco tornado 1953 | Leave a comment

Armstrong’s Stars: “Where is Waco, Texas?”

By Jennifer Borderud, Access and Outreach Librarian, Armstrong Browning Library

In her biography of Dr. A.J. Armstrong, chair of Baylor’s English Department from 1912-1952 and founder of the Armstrong Browning Library, Lois Smith Douglas recounts Dr. Armstrong’s efforts to bring English poet Alfred Noyes to Waco in 1917.  Douglas writes that the poet’s manager initially declined the invitation “with undisguised humor,” asking “‘Where is Waco, Texas?’” (93).

Account of Noyes's lecture in the 18 January 1917 issue of the Lariat (found in The Texas Collection)

Account of Noyes’s lecture in the 18 January 1917 issue of the Lariat (found in The Texas Collection)

Undeterred by the remark, Dr. Armstrong arranged an additional thirteen speaking engagements for the author of the “The Highwayman” throughout Texas and the Southwest and succeeded in bringing Noyes to Baylor’s campus on 12 January 1917.  Waco was Noyes’s first stop on his tour of the United States that year (Douglas 93-94).  Baylor’s student newspaper, The Lariat, wrote of the event:  “It is unprecedented in the history of Texas and the South that a poet belonging to the world’s great poets has visited this section” (“Alfred Noyes to Lecture Here” 1).  Ever the ambassador, Dr. Armstrong enthusiastically introduced Noyes to Baylor and Waco, and over the course of his 40-year career at Baylor, Dr. Armstrong made certain that Baylor and Waco came face-to-face with the world’s dramatic, literary, and musical talents.

Armstrong’s Stars, a new blog series, is a collaboration between the Armstrong Browning Library and Baylor’s Texas Collection.  Once a month we will feature a story about a celebrity that Dr. Armstrong brought to Baylor.  These stories will highlight an interesting part of Baylor’s history and feature collection materials housed in both the Armstrong Browning Library and the Texas Collection.  Contributions to the blog series will be made by ABL and Texas Collection staff as well as by students from Baylor’s English Department, some of whom are also members of Sigma Tau Delta, Baylor’s English honor society.  We are particularly pleased to have members of Sigma Tau Delta participating in this series as Baylor’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, founded by Dr. Armstrong in 1925, sponsored many of these exciting events and ensured their success.

Members of Sigma Tau Delta with Dr. A.J. Armstrong (seated left of center) and actors Katharine Cornell (seated center) and Basil Rathbone (seated at far right) in 1934; Photo by Farmer, Waco, Texas (Armstrong Browning Library, Sigma Tau Delta Photo File)

Members of Sigma Tau Delta with Dr. A.J. Armstrong (seated left of center) and actors Katharine Cornell (seated center) and Basil Rathbone (seated at far right) in 1934; Photo by Farmer, Waco, Texas (Armstrong Browning Library, Sigma Tau Delta Photo File)

Works Cited

“Alfred Noyes to Lecture Here.”  Lariat 11 Jan. 1917:  1.  Web.  4 Sept. 2014.

Douglas, Lois Smith.  Through Heaven’s Back Door:  A Biography of A. Joseph Armstrong.  Waco, Texas:  The Baylor University Press, c1951.  Print.

To learn more about the life and career of Dr. Armstrong, see:

Lewis, Scott.  Boundless Life:  A Biography of Andrew Joseph Armstrong.  Waco, Texas:  Armstrong Browning Library of Baylor University, 2014.  Print.  Now available here.

Posted in A.J. Armstrong, Andrew Joseph Armstrong, Armstrong Browning Library, Baylor University | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Research Ready: August 2014

Each month, we post a processing update to notify our readers about the latest collections that have finding aids online and are primed for research. We also have the last two finding aids completed by the Archival Collections and Museums class that worked on archival processing projects with us here at The Texas Collection last spring. Here’s the scoop for August:

“Concerning Our Investments” Texas Baptist fundraising pamphlet, circa 1926

Pamphlet with articles on fundraising for Texas Baptist universities, including Baylor University, Wayland Baptist University, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. BU records: Endowment-Enlargement Program #BU/86, box 1, folder 3.

Murray, Greta, and Milicent Watson photograph, 1969

Murray and Greta Watson with daughter Milicent at the festivities for Watson’s prestigious Governor for a Day ceremony in July 1969. Murray and Greta Watson, Jr. papers #3785, box 279, folder 10.

Posted in Baptist universities and colleges, Baylor University, Bethel Baptist Church Waco Texas, Brook Avenue Baptist Church Waco Texas, church history, Jews in Texas, McLennan County, Murray and Greta Watson, Research Ready, Texas, Texas Baptists, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Waco, Waco Hadassah | Leave a comment

Waco during the Civil War: The Goode-Thompson Family Papers

By Julie Holcomb, Assistant Professor & Graduate Program Director of Museum Studies

Harboring Unionist sentiments, Richard N. Goode appears an unlikely candidate to serve as mayor of Waco, Texas, during the Civil War. A lawyer and a judge, Goode served as the fourth mayor of Waco from June 1862 to May 1865. Clearly, Goode’s pro-Union sentiments did not prevent him from serving the people of Waco, and his family’s papers document this aspect as well as other interesting tidbits on his life.

Letter from Richard N. Goode to Mary Virginia Thompson, Feb. 19, 1865

Letter from Mayor Richard N. Goode to his daughter, Mary Virginia, Thompson, describing the family’s embrace of spiritualism, or talking to the dead. Mayor Goode’s deceased daughter Calidonia “comes and converses with us frequently.” Goode-Thompson family papers, box 1, folder 3.

Goode moved to Waco in 1859.  He and his wife Elizabeth Mallory Goode were married in Hinds County, Mississippi, in November 1837. The couple had at least eight children: Mary Virginia, Richard, James, Robert, Ivonanna, Olivia, Ursula, and Blanche.  A ninth child, Calidonia, likely died in childhood.

The only reference to Calidonia in the historical record comes from Judge Goode’s letters to his daughter, Mary Virginia. During the Civil War, the Goode family participated in spiritualism, or talking to the dead, using various means of communication including seances and rappings. In his letters, Goode describes communications from Calidonia, Mary Virginia’s sister, even telling Mary Virginia at one point that Calidonia wished to send her a letter! Goode also consulted the spirits regarding the outcome of the war. The Goodes were not unusual in seeking guidance from the spirit world. Thousands, if not millions, of Americans participated in spiritualism in the late nineteenth century.

Letter from Richard N. Goode to Mary Virginia Thompson, dated November 27, 1864

Letter from Mayor Richard N. Goode to his daughter, Mary Virginia Thompson, reporting on the outcome of a recent murder trial and the progress of the Confederate war effort. Goode-Thompson family papers, box 1, folder 3.

Judge Goode’s letters also include references to his court cases, including a murder trial, the progress of the Confederate war effort, and the presence of wartime refugees in Waco. Judge Goode also described the hardships of war, asking his daughter to send goods from her home in Mexico.

In addition to his legal and mayoral careers, Judge Goode owned land just above the mouth of Barron’s Branch on the west bank of the Brazos River. In March 1872, John T. Flint, president of the Waco Bridge Company, tried unsuccessfully to convince Goode to close the ford, which was used to avoid paying the toll on the Waco Suspension Bridge. Finally, in 1877, four years after Judge Goode’s death, the Waco Bridge Company succeeded in purchasing the land from Elizabeth Goode for $350. Soon after, the company began a piling project to close off the ford.

“For an Album,” Poetry written by William Carson Stewart Thompson

Poetry written by William Carson Stewart Thompson sometime after the death of his father, Dr. — John Thompson. Goode-Thompson family papers, box 1, folder 5.

The Goode and Thompson families merged in July 1859, when Mary Virginia Goode, Judge Goode’s eldest daughter, married William Carson Stewart Thompson, son of Dr. John and Isabella Thompson. In 1864 and 1865, William and Mary Virginia resided in Mexico. There is no evidence that William Thompson served in either the Confederate or Union military during the Civil War. William and Mary Virginia had two sons: Edward Everett Thompson, born in Matamoras, Mexico, in 1865 and Rufus N. Thompson born in Waco, Texas, in 1868. Mary Virginia Thompson died of consumption in 1876.

Cabinet card photo of the Thompson brothers

Three of the Thompson brothers (from left to right): Rufus Andrew Thompson, William Carson Stewart Thompson, and Nathaniel John Thompson. Taken in 1889, the caption on the back of the photograph reads: “Three Brothers after a Separation of 35 years.” Goode-Thompson family papers, box 1, folder 7.

In 1889, William Thompson and his younger brothers, Rufus and Nathaniel, were reunited after a 35-year separation. The Thompson brothers were born in Ohio in the 1820s and 1830s.  William had moved with his parents to Texas in the 1850s while Rufus and Nathaniel remained in Ohio. At the time of their reunion, William resided in Waco, Rufus in Illinois, and Nathaniel in Colorado. William Carson Stewart Thompson died in Waco in 1895.Richard N. and Elizabeth Goode as well as Mary Virginia and William Thompson and their sons Edward Everett and Rufus N. and their spouses are all buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Waco.

Although a small collection, the Goode-Thompson family papers provide an important glimpse into life on the Texas homefront during the Civil War.

Posted in Civil War, Richard N. Goode, spiritualism, Waco suspension bridge, William Thompson | Leave a comment

Henry A. McArdle: Texas Painter, Patriot, and Baylor Professor

Exhibition Catalog, Henry Am McArdle Exhibition, 2014

Exhibition Catalog, Henry A. McArdle Exhibition, 2014

Twenty-two paintings by Henry A. McArdle, painter and Baylor professor, are on display at the Martin Museum of Art. McArdle served Baylor at Independence as the director of the school of art. These paintings have never been shown together and include three paintings from the Texas Capitol as well as from private collections.

Opening events include a roundtable discussion with exhibition lenders (including our own John Wilson, representing The Texas Collection) on Saturday, August 30, at 3:00 pm, followed by a reception with light refreshments at 4:30 p.m.  These events will be held in Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Building and are open to the public.

McArdle-Battle of San Jacinto

Battle of San Jacinto, by Henry A. McArdle. Private collection, Midland, Texas.

Read more in the Waco Tribune-Herald’s great piece on the exhibit.

Posted in Art, Baylor at Independence, exhibits, Henry A. McArdle, Texas Artists, Texas Painters | Leave a comment