Today is

Friday, October 24, 2014

1982 :: Death of Jack Cummings

Rockdale - Services for Jack Cummings, 70, were at 10 a.m. Thursday in Phillips & Luckey Funeral Home in Rockdale, with the Rev. Gene York officiating. Burial was in Murray Cemetery near Rockdale. Mr. Cummings died Tuesday in a Temple hospital after a lengthy illness. He was a Rockdale native and a retired pipe fitter. . . . Cameron Herald, October 24, 1982

Sunday, October 12, 2014

1925 :: Death of Miss Lottie Banzhaf

Rockdale, Texas, Oct. 15. -- Miss Lottie Banzhaf died [on the 12th day of October] at the Van Ormi Sanitarium [Bexar County]. Her father is George Banzhaf, Milam County farm agent. Miss Banzhaf's body was brought to Rockdale and the funeral services were held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Hood Caldwell, four miles north of Rockdale. Burial was made in the neighborhood cemetery. Miss Banzhaf has for several years been one of the Rockdale High School teachers. Dallas Morning News, October 16, 1925

Saturday, October 11, 2014

1948 :: Death of William Henry Stutts

On this date . . . the 11th day of October . . . in the year 1948 . . . William Henry Stutts dies while a patient at St. Edwards Hospital in Cameron, Milam County, Texas . . . his age was 84 years 4 months 3 days . . . and his residence was listed as Rockdale . . . burial was to be handled by Phillips-Luckey Co. . . . and was to take place on the 13th of October at the "Murry" Cemetery . . . informant on his Texas Certificate of Death was Myrtle Jackson of Milano, Texas . . . 

Friday, October 10, 2014

1946 :: Death of Elma Rettig

On this date in the year 1946, sixty-nine year old Miss Elma Rettig dies at the Austin State Hospital in Austin, Travis County, Texas, where she had been a patient since the 19th day of September . . . her cause of death is listed as "Chronic Myocarditis" . . . according to the death certificate, she was born on the 24th day of December in the year 1876 in Wheatland, Iowa . . . her simple tombstone lies next to that of her parents in Section A Row 3 of the Murray Cemetery in Milam County, Texas . . . 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

1889 :: Death of G W Christian

According to the date inscribed on a tombstone in the Murray Cemetery in Milam County, Texas, G.W. Christian died on this date . . . the 9th day of October . . . in the year 1889 . . . 

He was first enumerated in Milam County in 1860, when the household shows the following family members . . . G W Christian 48 . . . Ellen Christian 41 . . . Andrew Christian 20 . . . Ann Christian 19 . . . Clarissa Christian 18 . . . Charles Christian 16 . . . Loura Christian 14 . . . Mary Christian 13 . . . Wm Christian 11 . . . Christiana Christian 8 . . . Ellen Christian 5 . . . Isabell Christian 9/12 . . . 

The 1870 Milam County census shows . . . Geo W Cristan 58 . . . Ellen Cristan 53 . . . Isabel Cristan 11 . . . Charles Cristan 26 . . . 

The 1880 Milam County census shows . . . Geo. W. Chrislian 67 . . . Ellen Chrislian 62 . . . Susan E. Chrislian 7 . . .

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

1904 :: Death of Mrs. Thomas Phillips

Death - Mrs. Thomas Phillips died at home, three miles from town last Wednesday. She was buried in the Murray School House cemetery. Rockdale Messenger, October 7, 1904

Friday, October 3, 2014

1876 :: Henry Family arrives in Rockdale

Old Rockdale postcard . . .
Main St. north from I & G. N. Depot
Rockdale, Texas

The postcard has been reproduced in multiple Rockdale publications . . .
location / ownership / existence 
of original unknown . . .

According to a newspaper clipping from the files of my cousin, Peggy, a Henry* family reunion was held at the old Hamilton homeplace in Rockdale, Milam County, Texas sometime in 1931. That yellowed and crumbling piece of paper recorded the following about the arrival of my 2nd great-grandpa, William Paschal Henry (1836-1912), and his family in the brand-new town of Rockdale, Milam County, Texas . . .

On Oct. 3, 1876, the Henrys arrived in Rockdale to visit a sister and family of Mrs. Henry's, it being Dr. and Mrs. M.F. Anthony, who at that time had the post office and drug store combined on the corner where the Wolf Hotel now stands.

[*See Henry graves in Murray Cemetery at]

That is the Hotel Wolf in the lower right corner of the above collage, with an arrow pointing to the same building on the old Rockdale postcard. The Hotel had gone out of business before 1935 when Rockdale's American Legion post purchased the building.

During World War II the building's second story was lopped off and its Main Street front was shortened and remodeled. A stage was added and the hall became the place to be for dances and music for almost 20 years. Rockdale Reporter, 06 Aug 1998

When I was in high school (the 60's), we frequently spent a portion of our weekend hours attending teen dances -- with real live bands! -- in the un-airconditioned bottom-half of this building. My parents were regular fixtures as chaperones at these events.

Directly across the street was McVoy's Grocery Store where my parents shopped weekly. Every Friday, my widowed Grandma, who never learned to drive, had her grocery list ready for Mom or Dad to take with them to McVoy's. There was a large wooden magazine rack near the front door where I would sit and read comic books while Mom checked out. Mr. Galbreath kept the produce stocked and freshly washed, and would give us pieces of fresh sugar cane to chew on. The meat market at McVoy's was where Mom bought steak cutlets for making her infamous chicken-fried steak with cream gravy which NONE of us have ever been able to replicate.

I was back on Main Street just this past weekend (2009) while in Rockdale for the 75th Annual Rockdale Homecoming as well as my Mom's 60th RHS Class Reunion, where I was flattered to be told by numerous people (who had known Mom since the 40s) that, "You look just like your Mom!"

At the Homecoming gathering, one lady said to me, "Aren't you the one who found the snake in the bedroom when you were babysitting Delaine?" That was also during high school in the 60s! I was babysitting for the local pharmacist in his home. The baby and I were sitting in the rocker / recliner in her nursery when I saw a snake come crawling in the room! I got out of the room with Delaine and shut the door (which wasn't much of a barrier since it had such a gap at the bottom) and called my trusty Dad at our home (no cell phones in those days). Dad was there immediately, but it took him a while to find and kill the poisonous copperhead -- it had crawled up into the coils under the rocker / recliner!

Before I left town, we (me & Mom & my sister) visited the Dan Kubiak exhibit at the I&GN Depot, and I also took a few photos of Joy Graham's Bit of History building on Cameron Avenue.

The journey back home to Main Street was nostalgic, while somehow filled with the sweet assurance that at Home we are not forgotten. These people knew me as a child. They knew my grandparents. And in some cases, their parents and grandparents knew my ancestors. And many of the families of Rockdale have somehow managed to climb into my family tree! V. . . . June 2009 . . .