“NOTES FROM HISTORY”
BY: NEAL MURPHY
As we all know San Augustine County is experiencing a rush of activity from oil companies who are drilling for gas from the Haynesville Shale formation. It appears that our county was the object of intense interest for the same back in the 1890s. The following is a quote found in the Houston Daily Post in the summer of 1890:
In The Oil Region:
“San Augustine, Texas: Mr. John Mentean, of Chireno, is riding over the oil field here. He represents some Ohio and Pennsylvania oil men, and they seem to have great confidence in the oil and gas in this county.”
“Mr. R. D. Davis of Colmesneil, the timber inspector and chairman of the Clark Club here, is in San Augustine, Sabine, and Newton counties, looking over Brooks & Polk’s pine lands, also looking after the Texas pine lands, also looking after the Texas Pine Land association property.”
“About forty young men met at the courthouse in San Augustine Saturday night and organized a military company. It was named the Horton Rifles after Colonel Alexander Horton, who lives about one mile from here. He was General Sam Houston’s first aide de camp, and has done more for Texas than any man living on her soil today.”
“Judge John H, Broocks is in San Augustine from Beaumont for a few days.”
Going back even further to the year 1879 we find a list of fugitives from San Augustine County. The following is just a sampling of the list:
Campbell, Henry…Rape; convicted and appealed to Supreme Court and escaped pending appeal. Around 5 feet, 4 inches high, chunky, 150 pounds, bad looking, don’t talk plainly.
Montgomery, Cato…Burglary; Committed May 15, 1873; indicted July 31, same year; black, about 6 feet high, about 28 years old, quick spoken, and generally very impudent, weighs 180 pounds.
Anderson, Ralph…Theft of Saddle; committed September 1877; indicted September same year; tall, slender, rawboned, about 30 years old.
Davis, Hiram…Theft of Hog; indicted February, 1874; fled to Louisiana.
Miller, Robert F….Murder; indicted October 5, 1874. Generally said to be in the state of Missouri; so informed by private letter.
Goodwin, J. B….Theft of a Horse; indicted October 16, 1874; said to be living in Limestone county.
It seems that people were committing about the same crimes then as they do today.
An interesting article in the February 2, 1939 issue of the San Augustine Tribune titled “Deep East Texas R.E.A. Purchases Site For Sub-Station”.
The article reads as follows:
“Deeds were passed from D. R. Rawls to the Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative, Inc. Tuesday for a plot of ground located 33 feet from highway 21 on the southeast corner of the old ball park, according to D.N. Beasley, project superintendent. Cash consideration in the trade was $50.00, Mr. Beasley stated. The sub station to be erected will cost approximately $200.00, he said.
R. A. Smith, bookkeeper, stated that the electric meters for the period from December 16th, (when the electricity was turned into the lines) to January 30th, show an average electric bill of $2.92 for a total of 177 customers. The largest bill was $5.79, being that of Mr. J. B. King of Tenaha. The total amount of electric energy used over the period was $518.13. Mr. H. A. Monroe, Shelbyville, has the honor to be the first customer to pay his electric bill to the Cooperative.”
And that is the way it was in San Augustine County during those past years. Do you think things have changed just a little?
“NOTES FROM HISTORY”
BY: NEAL MURPHY
PO BOX 511
107 HEMLOCK STREET
SAN AUGUSTINE, TX 75972