June 7, 1896
Dear cousins: You don't know how glad
I am to get into Brother Big Hat's chair this week. And now,
that I am really in it, how do you think I look? I hope none
of you will ask me to turn my face again and put on that old
bonnet. I only wear it when I make mud pies now. The rest of
the time I use it to catch wigglers in. I lean way over the water
barrel and let it down by the strings, and when it has filled
with water I can pull up nearly a bonnetful of wigglers to put
in my goldfish globe.
TO CORRESPONDENTS -- When writing letters to Big Hat's department for publication, write on one side of the paper only. Printers never turn their copy, and the editor has no time to rewrite half, or even part, of your letters. Give your full name and address. Anonymous letters are never printed. These rules are imperative.
SUSIE KARNES, Pearl, Coryell Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Peggy devoured my other letter, so I resort to the old rule: "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." I am a little girl, 12 years old. I have been going to school, but my school is out now. I attended a political picnic last Friday.
WILLIAM CALDWELL, Cuero, DeWitt Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I am a boy, 9 years old. I was lost and I was brought to the police station, and there papa found me and took me to the printing office, where he had my name printed that I was found. Please don't give my letter to Peggy .
HELEN MURRAY, Corsicana, Navarro Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Here comes another Texas girl asking for admittance into your Cozy Corner. I am 11 years old. I love to read the cousins' letters. My school was out two weeks ago and I am so sorry, for I like to go to school. We take The News and like it very much. We have a piano and I love to play. Come again Delia Robertson and Lonnie Joe Wright.
DONIA CORDELL, Dallas, Dallas Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I have never written to the cousins before, but I am very much interested in their letters and read them all. I am a little girl 12 years old and I have one little brother 10 years old. At Union Depot mission we have a children's meeting every Saturday night and I won the first prize, which was a teacher's Bible, for answering the most questions in the Bible. I never get tired of looking at Mr. Big Hat, buy why don't you print Miss Big Bonnet's picture sometimes? I hope this won't find its way to the waste basket, for I don't want the piggies to eat it.
MINNIE LEE HICKS, Mesquite, Dallas Co., Tex. -- Dear Mr. Big Hat and friends: I live at Kleburg. School is out and I am spending vacation at grandpa's. I am expecting a nice time. I love to go to school dearly and I am always sorry when it is out. A little schoolmate of mine about my age wrote to this department not long since and it was published and I hope my letter will be, too, though I'm afraid Peggy may be hungry. Mr. Big Hat, do give Peggy some oats and save my letter for publication. My mamma wrote one for me to the Atlanta Constitution when I was 3 years old. It was published and after my dear mamma's death grandma put it in her scrapbook and has it yet. My papa is my teacher and I think he will attend the summer normal at this place. I am 10 years of age.
SAM SCOTT, Cleburne, Johnson Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I am a little boy, 9 years old, who wishes to join your happy band. I live about three miles south of Cleburne, on a farm. I have a nice sorrel mare, 3 years old. I have two brothers. Their ages are 12 and 14. My father died when I was about 1 year old. Mr. Big Hat, feed Peggy good with paper just before this comes. I will ask a question or two: When was the first trial by jury? When was the first book printed?
KATIE NORTON, Rusk, Cherokee Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and many unknown cousins: After a short absence I again make my appearance. Some of the cousins have appreciated my letters so much as to ask me to write again. Those will please accept my sincere thanks, for it is encouraging to me to know that among so many nice and well-written letters mine find space and interest you. I always try to make my letters interesting, so as to be worthy of the space I take up in Mr. Big Hat's valuable department. Hattie Friend, I will try to do as you bid me and not become too poetical if the day is dark and dreary. I have no poetical inspirations whatever. Write again, Hattie, your letters are nice. Joe Farmer, your last narrative was an excellent one. I hope you will become a regular correspondent of the Cozy Corner. What has become of our cowboy cousin, Jesse Harman? I wish he would write again. Lulu Lisenby, come again. I like to read letters from my old schoolmates. I am glad to see that the cousins are still taking interest in the Houston memorial stone fund. All of the Texas cousins who love their grand state now have a chance to show it by contributing money (if, no more than 5 cents) for the purpose of erecting a monument over one of its greatest heroes, one who did much for the cause of liberty. M. C. Williams, tell us something about your travels. Genevieve Myrdock, come again soon. I like so much to read your nice letters. Minnie Stevens, write again. Your letters are real cute. We live so far apart (about three-quarters of a mile) that we don't see each other more than twice a week! Bill Owens, do you ever have any serious battles with Gen. Green? I expect it's Gen. Grass you are battling with now. One evening, not very long ago, chum and I decided we would go flower hunting, and as the day was cloudy we thought it would be pleasant to go bareheaded. When we started chum's sister said she believed that she would go with us. So away we went and such a nice time as we did have! We found so many flowers and some of the prettiest. We came to a grove of small pines about waist high, and I proposed that we take a seat in the grove and rest awhile. One of the girls objected, saying that a wolf might get after us. So we proceeded on as gaily as ever until we became frightened by a slight noise. We decided at once that it was a wolf. Chum ran up a tree. The other two could not take time for that but began to run. I ran into a holly bush and tore my skirt. The others went to jump a branch, but instead of jumping across landed in the middle. I hallowed for chum to come on, and she, seeing that the other two were going to leave her, decided to come down from her haven of refuge, and she was not long about it either. She descended so rapidly that she bumped her nose several times. However, she reached ground all right and we joined the other two in their flight toward the house, which we reached in safety, despite our many accidents. We were bareheaded, as I stated above, so it took us some time to rid our heads of pine straws and leaves. Our flowers? Alas, we lost them all. Miss Big Bonnet, I admire you very much. I think you are the cutest little lady I ever saw, although I would like you better if you would let me see your face. When you write again tell us about Sally Rose and your other dolls. I like so much to read the little folks' letters telling about their dolls and pets.
HATTIE SIMMONS, Chillicothe, Hardeman Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: It has been some time since I dared present my letters among so many more interesting ones, but I have concluded that waiting does not stop the good letters from being printed, and have decided to write. Every time I would see a very interesting letter I would determine to write, but may be circumstances would not be favorable, and I would wait until another time. I can seldom write till the spirit moves me, and then I am very slow. I do not like to deal with spirits too much, as you might think me a Quaker; but I think there must have been one (a spirit) implicated in Marie Taylor's letter, as it had the desired effect. I think her letter very good indeed, and if more of us cousins were able to write such letters the page for "Little Men and Women" would by far outshine the political items, and would probably attract the attention of those who read nothing but politics and worthless stories. I have nothing to say against reading politics, for I think that constitutes a great part of one's knowledge; but I do not like to see any one read nothing else. We should never be out of something good to read, as the most poverty-stricken homes are able to obtain good reading matter in this enlightened day. I think that we should all be thankful that we did not live centuries ago, when men and women aspired to no higher things than to attend the bloody beast-fights of the arena or deal in the horrible persecutions of Christians. While some of our greatest philosophers, historians and astronomers lived in that age, yet the highest ambitions of the masses of the people was to revel in drunkenness or to see some bloody tragedy. Well, cousins, let us pass from these unpleasant subjects to better things. How many of the cousins have read the new story "Titus?" I have just read it, and think it a very sweet book. It teaches us about the Bible and the old Jewish customs. This story received a prize of $1000, and of course it was written by a woman. Some cousin wrote a most admirable letter to The News not long ago. I am not certain about the name, but I think it was Joe Farmer. Cousin Joe Farmer, I can compliment you on your descriptive powers, and I am sure many of the cousins will join with me. Cousin Mary West, I believe you were the one with whom I wanted to correspond. I don't suppose you saw my request, for I have never seen any answer in your letters. You spoke of your father's fighting in the confederate army under Gen. Forrest. My father also was a soldier under his command and said that he thought he knew your father. I noticed a letter from Florence Giddens. Cousin Florence, I have a brother who lived at Dundee for about two months, and who speaks of your being very smart. We all know that by your letters, and need not to be told. Mr. Big Hat, are you going to have a summer school this summer? I was not a reader of The News last year, and therefore did not see how the school was conducted. If I have time I would like to join your school, as I think it will be very beneficial. Ben Man, did you not use to live in Chillicothe? If so, then of course I know you. I was surprised to see a letter from you, but you did well, and must write again. I wonder what has become of that cousin that wrote us a letter while he was having that glorious ride on the back of a buzzard? He must be sailing in unknown regions now. Perhaps he is going to find the south pole, or visit the man in the moon. I hope we shall be honored by a full description of his travels on his return. Perhaps some of us timid girls my be induced to visit the Man in the moon, as I am sure we would all like to do. It has been said that the reason the girls love to look at the moon so well is that there is a man in it. But we will not believe any such stuff until we take a trip and see. So don't forget, cousin (I don't know what your name is), to loan us your buzzard, and for the next six months after we return we promise you that we shall entertain you with our descriptions, though, as Cousin Marie says, not royally. My age is 15 years.
WILHELMINE M. CLARK, Fredericksburg, Gillespie Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and Cousins: With your permission I will give a brief report of Fredericksburg's jubilee, which took place May 8 to 10, and which I attended. The object of this event was to commemorate the founding of the town, or, in other words, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the first colony in Gillespie county. Half a century had passed since the first settlers set foot on the soil of Gillespie, to them a strange land then a wilderness, but their enterprise, industry and thrift, have made out of the home of the savage a town whose population at present is estimated at two thousand inhabitants. Entering early, in company with relatives and friends, we beheld the town in festal array. The bonny blue flag unfurled and gently waving its folds in the morning breeze welcomed us, and companion to it, the German flag, proudly waved on American soil. The day was opened with the ringing of church bells, followed by the firing of salutes on Market square. As I am a lover of music, I wended my way to where the band was giving a festival concert. The band was stationed under what had been at one time a church, the walls having been removed and the frame work supporting the roof left standing. It was nicely fitted with seats, and afforded a pleasant and inviting resting place, of which I took advantage more than once during the next two days. After the concert the president of the jubilee committee made an address of welcome to the guests. In the afternoon an instrumental and vocal concert was given. At night there was a grand torch-light procession with music by the bands, and bonfires on the mountains around town. The bonfires were visible at dusk. All those taking part in the procession met at the hotel in the lower part of town, fell in, line after line, and began moving up town, headed by the military band. Chinese lanterns and torches of every imaginable color were borne in such a number, and illuminated to such an extent, as to lead one to believe that it was day instead of night. The length of the procession was said to be a mile. The following day was Saturday. A grand festival procession formed at 9:30 o'clock and marched through town. Girls dressed in white, strewing flowers, was the first sight which met our eyes, followed by a wagon with old settlers who came here on the 8th of May, 1846. After this the German flag and "Old Glory." Following in succession were the school children of the town and county, officers of the festival, and delegates from other towns, the county judge sand county officers, the Grand Army of the Republic bearing the flag for which they found, the confederate veterans (the survivors of the Lost Cause), the Sons of Hermann led by the grand president, the Turn Verein, the Gesang Vereins, shooting societies, Arbeiter Verein, each verein, society or lodge, bearing its own banner; Fredericksburg brass band and citizens on foot. Everybody was on foot, except the old settlers, the marshals and the flag-bearers. The procession proceeded to the platform erected on the square, from which addresses were delivered. All were entertained by music and speeches. The "Wacht am Rhein" were played with such expression as to inspire all true Germans with a new love and zeal for their country. For us Americans the "Star Spangled Banner" floated through the air and enthused us for our country. The speeches and addresses were both elevating and touching. Aged survivors related the hardships of their journeys here, the stormy encounter with the briny Atlantic (it requiring a much greater length of time for the sea voyage then than now), how much it was dreaded, instead of its being a pleasure trip, as at present; how the skulking savages took the life of husbands and fathers, robbing of home and bread the wife and little ones; and many eyes filled with tears of pity for those still surviving and those who had gone home long since. The grand president of the Sons of Herman delivered a speech, and a delegate from New Braunfels made a splendid address, at the close of which three cheers were given for Fredericksburg. Then the president of the jubilee committee stepped forward and asked for three cheers for New Braunfels (whose jubilee was celebrated last year). He then informed the people of the governor's presence, and Gov. Culberson was introduced, followed once more by cheers. His address was very nice. The afternoon entertainment comprised music by the bands, concert by the singing societies, dancing, etc. At 8 p. m. a grand display of fireworks was given on the square. This was perfectly beautiful. Rocket after rocket ascended, exploded in the heavens, and sent out variously colored stars to slowly descend and finally disappear. Not only these were interesting, but other and smaller pyrotechnic displays about town added to the entertainment. The remainder of the night many again spent in dancing, for which good music was furnished, while we, by the light of electricity, wended our steps homeward, thinking this day excelled the first. The morning of the third and last day dawned. A little cloudy, a light shower having fallen during the night. This shower seems as if sent by providence to settle the offensive dust, and make it pleasant for the historical and allegorical procession, which took place in the afternoon. Special festival services were held in all the churches in the forenoon. In company with a number of cousins I found my way to the Catholic church, although all of us were Protestants. A service appropriate to the occasion was held here, and we were pleased with the sermon. The bishop of San Antonio was present, and confirmed a number of candidates. The historical and allegorical procession, already alluded to, was given in the afternoon. The heralds on horseback in ancient German costumes appeared first, and attracted general attention by their brightly-colored costumes. Each was dressed differently. However, one drew my particular attention, with his purple velvet cloak, cap of the same material, with a huge yellow feather adorning it. Another wore a scarlet costume, amply trimmed with yellow and blue. German and United States flags carried by mounted men were to be seen again side by side. The military band of twenty-six musicians passed by once more, followed by the decorated float. "Columbia," introducing her sister, "Germania," into her kingdom. Columbia's form was enveloped in a blue silk robe, strewn with golden stars, on her head resting the cap of liberty, while Germania was crowned and wore the colors of her nation, with a robe gracefully thrown over her shoulder. They presented a very pleasing picture, standing side by side with their handsome floral surroundings. Next came a decorated float containing 46 young ladies appropriately costumed, representing the 46 states of the union. As the sailing ship J. Detthart floated by, containing sailors and immigrants, the survivors of 1846 were reminded of the perilous sea voyage they undertook and accomplished so long ago. Upon hearing a "bravo" echo from somewhere, we turned to see what it meant. The sight which met our eyes was laughable indeed. A wagon drawn by four yoke of oxen was slowly but surely coming up the street, while the driver, on foot, with his huge black snake whip, was making a great noise. As it approached we caught a glimpse of the occupants. First, seated on a chest, was a man, without shoes (for which he had substituted rags). He was happy and content, however, which was shown by his bright face and the enormous old-fashioned pipe at which he was puffing. Back of him was seated an elderly woman, diligently knitting. Perhaps the footgear was intended for the stockingless fellow who was gallantly defending their lives with an old broken rifle. Beside her a young woman sat, occupied with the same art. A boy and a man diligently rocking an ancient cradle, in which an infant was supposed to be reposing, several spinning wheels and old time-worn chests completed the load. However, the cradle, upon closer examination, was found to be quite empty. All faces showed happiness, for they were on their way to the colony in Texas, and this was the glorious land journey. Close behind came immigrants on foot (wearing the costumes of long ago), who were not fortunate enough to obtain such a delightful conveyance as those ahead. Next the Indians on horseback appeared in grand style, with their war-painted faces and feather-adorned heads. They attracted much attention. The Indians were pursued by the Texas rangers, and the cowboys with their red 'kerchiefs. A sham fight ensued, in which the Indians were defeated, of course. The San Antonio German war veterans in uniform, the Grand Army of the Republic, the Confederate veterans and a brass band, also formed a part of the procession. The handsomely decorated float, "The Loreley," with the river Rhine, was charming indeed. The boatman with his harp sat as if spellbound in his boat on the calm waters of the Rhine, while the fair maiden prepared her shining golden hair with a comb of glistening gold. Her seat was on a bluff, from which issued very pleasing music, produced by the concordia. Then came a decorated float bearing the statue of "Hermann," copied from the monument in the Teutoburger forest in Germany. Following it the decorated float, "Thalia," and representation of German drama. Last, but by means least, German "Industries and Manufactures" appeared, comprising the craft of the blacksmith, carpenter, butcher, mason, broom manufacturer, etc., all very busy. The ancient Germans were also quite interesting, wearing long yellow hair and dressed in skins, carrying spears and shields, just as history describes these warriors of old. After passing back and forth several times they were photographed, and thus ended the interesting procession. Wishing to see all, we leisurely strolled from one place to another, taking in the side-shows and stands, chiefly. At one place a curiosity of Travis county was exhibited, at another a snake lover was caressing her gentle pets, also a curiosity of Gillespie was shown. Photograph galleries were at several places, the rest were places where refreshments and meals could be had. In the evening fireworks and dancing at the several halls in town were again enjoyed. Thus the jubilee of 1896 ended. It was truly a jubilee -- no drunkenness whatever, no quarrels or fights. It was estimated by some of our most reliable people that the number of persons present was between eight and ten thousand. It was certainly grand for Fredericksburg, and all credit her residents with energy and enterprise in promoting its success. Mr. Big Hat, I enclose 25 cents for the Sam Houston memorial fund.
HERBERT TAYLOR, Monaville, Waller Co., Tex. -- Hello, Mr. Big Hat, and the rest of the cozy chaps! How have you all been dragging yourselves along, while I have been on my extended trip? As you all will undoubtedly observe, I have returned to my roosting place, which, I have come to the conclusion, is the best place for all little chaps like me. They should all stay at home, mind their own business, keep out of mischief and never try to aggravate their fathers and mothers, then they would never get into trouble and have such an encounter as I had on the back of that old buzzard, borne away through the elements from my old playing grounds. I am thankful to say that since my return, I have been staying at home and trying to mend my ways. But I will tell the cousins how I escaped and got back home. I was going at lightning speed and feeling tired, hungry and faint, when I noticed that ahead of me, I could see nothing but water, and concluded it must be the Atlantic ocean. Just then, a plan struck me, whereby I thought I might escape. Says I to myself, for there was no one else to say it to, but old Go Ahead, as I called the buzzard, "I wonder if the blamed thing is going to try to cross the ocean? For fear he might, when we get to the water's edge, I will just drop in and swim to the shore," for I thought I could drop into the water and not do any damage to myself, but a good ducking. I knew it would be a good one, from the height we were up in the air. If I dropped on the ground, I would break myself all to pieces. So, just as we left the shore, I bade old Go Ahead good-bye and leaped into the mighty deep, below. After I hit the water, I thought I was never going to stop or strike bottom, when I felt myself astride of some great, slick-backed monster. I began to feel pretty uneasy, and don't you forget it, and I wished I'd stayed with old Go Ahead, when he began to plunge and twist around in the water. "But," says I, "I'll stay with you, old fellow, as long as I can hold my breath, regardless of who you may be," for I never was thrown by a horse in a fair pitch since I rode that old bucking mare, of which I sent an account to The News a good while back. I determined not to be outdone by this scoundrel of the deep, if I could help it, for maybe if I slid off and started for the surface, the thing would grab me and swallow me whole, and then, I'd be in as bad a predicament as Jonah was. But, the way the monster was floundering about in the water was worse than riding a wild yearling or climbing a ninety-foot pine sapling greased from top to bottom. I was beginning to feel pent up for breath, and thinking I'd have to turn the nasty thing loose, whatever it was, or whatever the consequences might be, when lo! and behold, the thing came to the top of the water, to my great delight, and I just drank in the fresh air like a cow drinking slop. Then, I began to look around for the shore, for I was now sailing along at an easy, but rapid, gait, when I was dismayed to find no land could be seen, nor did I know in what direction it would be. I was so eager to see where I was, I had, as yet, not looked to see what kind of animal I was riding. Whenever he blowed and snorted, he almost shook the teeth from my mouth. Then, I cast my eyes down and I beheld one of the largest and most terrible looking whales that ever rode the waves. It almost took my breath, he looked so scary. Then, he began to ease himself under the water, until my head was only just out of the water, when I spied a steamer in the distance, making toward us. But, the terrible fish kept getting lower in the water, until just my eyes were left out, when I looked back and beheld his monstrous tail. Thinks I, "I'll scramble back there on his tail (which was about fifteen feet above the water), and keep my head above water as long as possible." The ship and fish were still going as if to meet one another. I had got about five feet from the end of his tail and was scrambling about, trying to find a comfortable seat, when he began splashing the water furiously with his caudal appendage. I was getting a good shaking up, when he gave such a twist and a shake, that sent me under the water, no telling how far. Then, he brought his tail up with such terrible force, that it sent me whirling in the air, and I came down, ker-slap, on the deck of the vessel with such force, that it almost stove my outsides in. I don't believe greater confusion ever reigned on board a steamer. Some said I was some kind of a monster that had dropped from the sky; some said it was some kind of fish that had fallen from the clouds; others, that it was some crank that had jumped or fallen out of a balloon, and others, that it was Old Nick, from the depths of the deep. The captain told me to get on my feet and explain my sudden and mysterious appearance. So, I got up the best I could, but I was so bruised from the force with which I struck the deck, that I could hardly speak. I made 'em understand that I must first have something to eat. The captain ordered the cook to bring me some ox tail soup, pig tail jelly, pickled eels' feet and some hard tack. Thinks I, what with the ox tail, the pig tail and that blamed whale's tail, I'll get enough directly, if I keep on. To be thrown skyward by a tail and then, as soon as I light, to be fed on tails, is altogether too much for me. And then, what in the thunder did he want to order hard tacks for, just as if they had some soft tacks. And, if they had, what manner of use would they be, for they would bend as soon as they began to drive 'em. In a few minutes, the waiter returned with his outlandish rations of tails. After I had finished, the captain asked me to tell my tale. Well, I told him the whole thing from beginning to end, and when I had finished, says he, "You have had an encounter with a good many tails, and I've heard a good many tales, but your own tale is the worst tale yet." I answered, "No wonder, when my name used to be 'Tayl,' but my great-grandfather, having a dislike to the name, put 'o-r' at the end of it and made it Taylor." And then, I asked him where his ship was bound. He said he was going to Liverpool, from there to London. Says he, "I'm going to stay in the river Thames one week, then return to Galveston." I told him, that if he was going to stay all that time in the Thames, I'd be able to get off and have a good ramble through the largest city on the globe. It did not take many days before we anchored in the Thames and I landed and spent five days in London. The first fellow that I met, said, "Hello, Yankee!" and I yanked him with one of my maulers. But, I haven't time to tell the sights and wonders I saw, or the scrapes I witnessed and got into while in that smoky city. To cut a long story short, I arrived safely at Galveston, and from there, I returned home. As soon as I got back, nothing must do, but I must catch my old gray horse and go to the postoffice. A little after dusk, I mounted him, and when I got about fifty yard from the house, the first thing I knew, I was thrown over his head and hit the ground head first. When I came to myself, I felt around on the grass and wondered where I was at. Then, I remembered that the horse threw me. I got up and looked around for the horse, but he was nowhere in sight, so, I walked back to the house. I don't know how long I laid there, but pa said I had been gone about two hours. I expect that is what I got for making my brags while on the back of that sea monster, but the old gray scoundrel did it so quick, I had almost hit the ground before I knew that he was pitching. I did not find horse and saddle until next morning. The other day, I got some gourds and went to the creek to see how easy I could swim. I tied two gourds to my feet, and two to my knees, and threw myself into the water. The consequence, they stood me on my head. You see, the gourds kept my feet up, and head down, and if pa hadn't happened along just then, and dragged me out, I'd have gone by the boards. He is busy now making a sack, he says, to sew the ugly, roving scamp up in, to keep him at home. Come again, Miss Marie Taylor. I know we have been always counted among the geese and buzzards, from old Rough and Ready, down to the present time, but I wish to inform you I'm only a goslin yet. When I become a full grown goose, if nothing happens, you'll hear me begin to quack. And, Miss Edith Lackey, you must certainly come again. You must be a witch, for you asked me if I hadn't forgot to tell about my falling into the pond and nearly drowning and hallooing so loud, that some little negroes came and pulled me out. That is correct, except that I fell in a creek, instead of a pond, and it was an old negro woman that pulled me out. Tell me, how did you hear all that up there in the county of Jones, for I'm sure I never heard of you before? Next time I write, I will give you an account of it. By the time the cousins see this, I'll be tumbling about on the floor, sewed up in the sack.
- o o o -
Census Records | Vital Records | Family Trees & Communities | Immigration Records | Military Records Directories & Member Lists | Family & Local Histories | Newspapers & Periodicals | Court, Land & Probate | Finding Aids