Monday, August 29, 2011

San Jacinto Chapter SRT Meeting - September 1, 2011

The next meeting of the San Jacinto Chapter of the Sons of the Republic of Texas.will be Thursday, September 1, 2011, at the Post Oak Grill, 1415 South Post Oak Lane, Houston, Texas at Noon. Many attendees arrive by 11:30; be there by 11:45 a.m. to ensure you get a good parking spot and a seat. The cost of lunch is $22.00, payable at the door by cash or check. Parking is free in the garage - enter restaurant from the rear door in the garage.

September's speaker will be award winning author, Jim Bevill whose topic will be "Avenging the Cruiser U.S.S. Houston - A Houstonian at Okinawa." Given the WWII theme of Texian Navy Day to be celebrated aboard the Battleship Texas on Saturday, September 17, 2011, the meeting this week will be an appropriate time for award winning author and SRT Honorary Member Jim Bevill to share with us a true story.

Jim will tell the story of a twenty-two year old man from the Heights who answered the call of duty to avenge the sinking of the heavy cruiser USS Houston (CA-30) on March 1, 1942 by enlisting in the U.S. Navy on Memorial Day in 1942. That man was James Barner Bevill, (right) whose personal stories of naval service to his son were later formed into an oral history project for the Texas State Historical Association focusing on Houstonians in World War II. This presentation gives the unique perspective of a young sailor from the Heights, who served on board an Auk Class Minesweeper in the South Pacific and reminds us of the terrible consequences of war, and that many of those survivors who returned home did so only by narrowly cheating death itself. This is his story.

PHI Oil History Symposium - Houston, Texas - March 8-10, 2012

The next Oil History Symposium and Field Trip will be held in Houston, Texas, March 8-10, 2012. In the past, PHI has held the symposium in Oil City, PA, Long Beach, CA, Wichita, KS, Shreveport, LA, Lafayette, LA., Oil Springs, Ontario, and in WV.  Mission of PHI: To pursue the history, heritage, and development of the modern oil industry from its 1859 inception in Oil Creek Valley, Pennsylvania, to its early roots in other regions in North American and the subsequent spread throughout the world to its current global status. PHI also publishes a yearly journal, Oil-Industry History. Our membership includes geoscientists, engineers, historians, museum curators, authors, etc.

The Petroleum History Institute (PHI), in collaboration with the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program, held its 2011 annual symposium and field trip at historic Marietta, Ohio, on the banks of the Ohio River. Participants were treated to a wide variety of talks and poster presentations ranging from the history of oil and gas in Ohio to the many contributions to the industry from Baku. On the field trip the group visited the Thorla-McKee Well, a salt water well drilled in 1814 that produced the first commercial oil in Ohio, as well as seeing an old, but still operating, natural gas engine attached to a very large band wheel driving several pump-jacks (shackle line) – still producing Ohio crude after about 100 years, and a wonderful stop at the Parkersburg Oil and Gas Museum in Parkersburg, West Virginia. The trip ended with a tour of the Petroleum Engineering Department at Marietta College.

PHI looks forward to another stimulating symposium next year at the Houston meeting, March 8-10, 2012. The abstract deadline is January 15, 2012, so start thinking about your subject and send the abstract to Bill Brice, For more information contact Jeff Spencer ( Plans are to hold a meeting soon for those interested in serving on the 2012 oil history symposium committee.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

2011 Texas State Genealogical Society Conference - November 4-5, Houston, Texas

The genealogical conference From Allen's Landing to the Moon Landing : Destination Houston will be presented by the Texas State Genealogical Society and the Clayton Library Friends in Houston, Texas on Friday and Saturday, November 4-5, 2011.  The conference will be held at the Houston Marriott South located at 9100 Gulf Freeway, Houston, Texas 77017, 713-943-7979.

The featured speaker at the conference will be Paula Stuart-Warren who will speak on the following subjects: "Finding and Using Manuscript and Special Collections Repositories;" "The WPA Era: What It Created for Genealogists;" "Southern Deeds: More than Land Deeds;" and "Railroad Records and Railroad History: Methods for Tracking." A number of other speakers include: Karen Matheson "An A+ Source: School Records" and "Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor: U.S. Immigration & Ships' Passenger Lists;" Charlie Gardes"What Did GreatGrandpa do in the Civil War? - Tracing Civilian Ancestors;" Debbie Parker Wayne "DNA and Genetic Genealogy in 2011;" James Harkin "Genealogical Resources at the Texas General Land Office;" Cindy Forman "Genealogical Chaining of Artifacts;" Randy Whited "It's All Greek to Me, Working with Foreign Records when You Don't Know the Language;" and Lynna Kay Shuffield - "Civil War Research Digitally: Find the "War" at Home."

For registration questions contact: or call Scott Fitzgerald at 903-539-5572 or go to the TSGS site.  You can also click here for a copy of the conference registration form.

Pattison Area Heritage Society - August 29, 2011 - Methodist History

The Pattison Area Heritage Society announces their August 2011 PAHS speaker, William "Bill" Carson Hardt.  He has wonderful presentation about the circuit preacher during the 1930's who maintained the congregations of the Fulshear, Brookshire and Pattison Methodist Churches.  The title of the presentation is titled: "Hard Times: A Pattison Preacher in the Great Depression."

Mr. Hardt is a published author on Texas history and currently volunteers with numerous historical affiliates: President-Texas United Methodist Historical society, Chair-Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church Commission on Archives and History, Vice-Chair- Austin County Historical Commission and Tour Guide Bellville historical Society. See his blog at Bill's Texas Methodist History Blog.

The Pattison Area Heritage Society will meet Monday,August 29, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. at the Pattison Area Volunteer Fire Department located at 2950 FM 359 in Pattison, Texas.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Obedience Smith To Be Remembered With Texas Historical Marker - September 10, 2011

Historian, Audrey B. Cook, and Marker Dedication Chair, Debra Blacklock-Sloan, of the Harris County Historical Commission invite everyone interested in the early history of Texas and its earliest settlers to the historical marker dedication in honor of Obedience Smith, which will be held at the Lanier Middle School on Saturday, September 10, 2011 at 10 a.m.  You will want to put this one on your calender. Marker dedication planners are already expecting up to 200 attendees to remember this historic Texan and the many accomplishments of her family in early Texas history.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett will be one of the speakers and there will be a number of other government dignitaries present. So far about 20 descendants have acknowledged that they will be present: some from the Fort side of the family and some from the Frank Terry of Terry's Texas Rangers, CSA, branch of Obedience and David Smith's family.

We hope you and your family can join us on this important day. Obedience Smith arrived in Texas in February 1836, a mere few weeks before the Texas Declaration of Independence, so she shares a 175th milestone anniversary with the Republic. The Obedience Smith land grant includes a portion of what is today downtown Houston and extends down toward present day Rice University taking in thousands of acres in between.
For additional information, contact Marker Historian Audrey B. Cook at 713-522-9398.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

William Ware Surprised Me One Day in Utopia

For the past decade I have been researching the early history of Montgomery County, Texas for a book I intend to finish (sometime) in the next few years.  In doing the research for the book, much of the newly discovered history in the book focuses on a community in Stephen F. Austin's Second Colony that preceded the founding of the town of Montgomery, Texas.  This community, forgotten by historians for more than 100 years, was known as the Lake Creek Settlement.  A number of the primary documents I have relied upon in my research mention an early Texian named Captain William Ware who recruited volunteers for the Texas Revolution from the Lake Creek Settlement.

In July, my wife and I were vacationing in the Texas Hill Country.  We both recently read and thoroughly enjoyed David L.Cook's wonderful book, Golf's Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia.  It is a wonderful book to read, even if you do not golf.  The book has been made into a movie starring Academy Award winner, Robert Duvall, and Lucas Black.  The movie, Seven Days in Utopia will open in theatres on September 2, 2011.

Just for fun, we decided to take a detour and visit the town of Utopia as well as the golf course and the cemetery which are sites central to the story in the book. We ate breakfast at the Lost Maples Cafe and then headed out to the golf course.  On the way out, we passed a Texas State Historical Marker on the side of FM 187.  As we passed the sign, I glanced at it as I so often do. I immediately asked my wife, "Did that marker say WILLIAM WARE!"  She said she thought that it did, so we turned around to read the marker and here on the other side of Texas, hundreds of miles from the site of my research, was a marker dedicated to a figure important to my early history of Montgomery County, Texas as well as the early history of the Republic of Texas.

When we got to the Waresville Cemetery which is located next to the Utopia Golf course, we found another Texas State Historical marker and the graves of many of members of the Ware family.

Before we left, my wife and I decided to hit a bucket of balls on the driving range just for fun.  We mentioned in the pro shop that the reason we had come out to Utopia was because of David L. Cook's book.  As we finished hitting our bucket of balls, we got one more big surprise.  David L. Cook, who had come out to the golf course while we were practicing our driving, came out to say hello! 

Lots of useful history for my research and the opportunity to meet the author of a book my wife and I had both enjoyed very much all on just one day in Utopia.