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In the past, cracks developed in the floors of the senior center's
kitchen and dining room. The cracks eventually worsened, causing
severely eneven surfaces in the floor, Woodard says. The uneven surfaces
were a danger to the senior citizens who make visits to the center,
since some people were tripping on the unlevel floors.
Recently, construction began to fix the problems with the cracked
floors. City workers have already poured concrete to level out the floor
in the kitchen at the center, and it was starting to dry and harden
Monday evening. Meanwhile, the old flooring was being removed from the
dining room, where the birthday parties are held. It is because of the
construction project that the birthday party for April is being
temporarily postponed. Those with April birthdays will celebrate during
the May festivities, says Woodard, and they will be able to do so on a
smooth new tile floor, which will be installed by Carpet Department as
soon as the old linoleum material is removed.
The books that Travland donated were some of the records from the Toyah
Mercantile and the Youngblood Hotel in Toyah, Texas. There are store
ledgers from as far back as the late 1800s and there are hotel
registries from various years, some from the early 1900s, and some from
Travland says that she inherited the registries from her father, who
"ran the hotel for a while."
The hotel and mercantile lead back to two brothers who were German
immigrants. John George Preusser and John Joseph Preusser made the move
to the United States with the Prince Selms colonists in 1845. They
originally settled in the Fredericksburg - New Braunfels area, which was
where most German colonists of that era put down roots.
George Preusser moved to Fort Concho, now a part of San Angelo, and
became a Justice of the Peace. He died April 12, 1912.
His brother, John Joseph (Joe) Preusser, was only three years old when
they came to the United States. He married his first wife, Katherine, in
1868, and they had four children. She was killed in an accident, and Joe
married his second wife, Rosa, in 1878. Joe and Rosa had nine children,
including a daughter, Hulda, who later became Travland's paternal
Hulda Laura Preusser was born in Toyah on March 2, 1882. The Preussers
moved to Toyah while the T&P Railroad was being built. Joe started a
butcher shop and got a contract supplying meat to the railroad workers.
The unusual thing about the butcher shop was that it stayed open 24
hours a day, even though there was not always someone tending shop.
People could come in at night, get what they needed, and leave Preusser
a note telling him what they had taken. He reportedly didn't lose any
money doing business this way.
In 1891 there was a big farm boom in Merkel. Preusser moved to Merkel to
try farming, and almost starved to death. After an extremely difficult
year, he moved back to Toyah. Hulda had gone to Merkel also, at the age
of 10, and was very glad to be back in Toyah.
Her father, Joe, spent the next several years working for the railroad,
and acquired some land about three miles South of Toyah in 1909.
Meanwhile, Hulda was growing up. On December 10, 1900, she married a
widower by the name of Eugene Scott. Scott had one young son named
Ellis, then had five more children with Hulda. They were Viola, Eugene
Jr., Noel, Joe Weldon and Kenneth Neal. Eugene Scott died April 26, 1935
During the time Hulda was growing up in Toyah, W. T. Youngblood of
Midland and his family moved to the area. In 1879, Youngblood opened up
a tent store in Toyah in hopes of starting a trading post for the
ranchers of the area. He got A.W. Hosie to manage the business for him.
Youngblood travelled between the local ranches and sold his wares. He
saved his profits and built a small adobe building that became his
trading post until an electrical storm inflicted severe damage on the
building. He covered the front of the building with brick, the sides
with rock, and enlarged the structure by adding on another room. This is
where the People's Mercantile Store of Toyah was later located.
Youngblood's son, Billy, operated the store after his father's death.
After a few years, another room was added. At that time, living quarters
were added in the form of a rooming house, which eventually became a
hotel, with the addition of a lobby and a dining room.
During those times, there were only a couple of settlements along the
railroad, and Toyah was one of them. Even afterward, Toyah was an
isolated breaking point for the east and west bound trains between Big
Spring and El Paso.
The hotel registries that Travland donated show the signatures of many
distant travelers, and among them are many signatures of railroad
workers who gave only a train as their home in the "residence" column.
Hulda Laura Scott became known as "Mammy Scott." Scott began running the
Youngblood Hotel in 1951. Travland says she owned the hotel and ran the
mercantile with the help of her son, Kenneth, for many years. Hulda was
a lifelong resident of Toyah, and died on June 24, 1978, at the age of
96. In addition to running the hotel and mercantile, she was a charter
member of the Toyah Methodist Church and a Sunday School teacher.
EARLY, TEXAS, April 15, 1997 - Hello again to you all!
Many things are amazing to me - right now I am amazed that this is the
middle of April. We got through March very well without too much bad
weather. Do hope the spring "greening" does not get whipped by an
unusual frost. The trees are leafed out, including pecan and mesquite.
In our yard Coy mulched the cover of leaves and now green grass pleases
our eyes. A wisteria vine was planted last year with the hope it will
grow on the front fence. Rose bushes are looking good, little pears and
apples are on the trees, a garden is planted - spring time happened
again. It's a wonderful world!
We had a nice Easter time, hope you did. The pageant we saw was well
done with twenty five choir members and twenty eight adults and children
portraying a few scenes from Jesus' life before the trial crucifixion
and resurrection. It was very inspirational.
The final Community Concert of the 1996-97 season was enjoyable and we
were glad we attended. It was a vocal performance by Bridgett Hooks,
called "one of the most exciting lyrico-spinto voices to emerge in
recent years." Her voice was marvelous, with great range which enables
her to use quite a variety of music in her performances. This concert
was the conclusion of three seasonal tours which took her across the
United States several times. She appeared with the Cleveland Ohio
Orchestra, at Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center in New York City, the
Cincinnati May Festival, at the Aspen Festival, several engagements with
the Minnesota Orchestra, a Christmas concert in Springfield,
Massachusetts, a recital in the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and
with the San Francisco Symphony.
The program included arias from works by Richard Wagner, Guiseppe Verdi,
Samuel Barber, Gabriel Faure, Henri Duparc, Wolf gang A Mozart and
The words for these were printed in the program in English which made it
more meaningful. Then the last section were special arrangements of some
traditional American songs. She spoke of her family, life and musical
study at intervals during the singing. She credits her father with the
real encouragement for her musical career. She is a native of Phoenix,
Arizona. For her encore she gave a beautiful rendition of "Summertime"
from the operetta Progy and Bess. The local concert season will resume
Trivia - last month I asked which of four events happened in March of
A little disappointment - no one answered me. It was the return of the
Swallows to Capistrano in California.
The local paper had an interesting article recently about students in
junior high school in Bangs, the small town ten miles west of us. Twelve
students with two teachers from the Gifted and Talented Program attended
a two-day seminar at Prude Ranch.
The group did a flora and fauna three miles hike the first day. They
collected plant samples and with the help of the guide learned some of
the ecosystem of the Davis Mountains and the role of man in that system.
They got to see the Marfa Lights. From the guide they learned of the
various theories concerning this occurrence. Later that evening the
group enjoyed an old-fashioned campfire with ranch employees provided
cowboy songs and ghost stories. They stayed their night in a cabin which
was once a ranch bunkhouse.
The second day of the seminar the Bangs group made a seven and a half
mile hike to the Fort Davis Historic Site. Visiting the buildings they
learned about the role of the Fort in the development of the region. It
would be of interest to find out what these students thought about the
ranch and for country since it is so, different form their own home
surroundings. I am still learning about and trying to adapt to this
central region of the state after living so long in West Texas. There
are differences not only geographically but also in customs and ways of
living. More about which to ponder.
Blue - Bluebonnet Blue! Texas is in bloom! SUnday before last, after
church service and a quick lunch, we headed the car slightly southwest
to find some wild flowers. We saw such town signs as Brooke-Smith,
Trickham, Winchell and Mercury before arriving in Brady. On that highway
there were a few blooms. On highway 87 south from Brady the road sides
began to turn blue, along with some rosy-red Indian paint-brush. From
Mason to Llano on Highway 29 it was "oh" and "ah-ah-ah" time - gorgeous
color! SOme places the bluebonnets were so thick it looked like carpet
alongside the pavement and up the road was a blue haze. There were tall
yellow flowers whose name is unknown to me, a few white blooms of the
thistle family and then patches of lavender Sweet Williams. The view is
probably just as good along Highway 71 between Brady and Llano, going
through Voca, Fredonia, Pontatoc and by Valley Spring. I did not know
there was a Fredonia until last year - I have a new friend who lives
there. We came back home from Llano by way of San Saba, we did not have
time to go on to Buchanan Dam. We saw lots of water, through, ranch
ponds, creeks, and crossed the San Saba and Colorado Rivers. The trip
was a delight, to see and enjoy our wonderful part of the world God
created. Texas is beautiful!
Brady, Llano, Mason and San Saba are alike in their heritage as frontier
towns, having been founded by soldiers, cattle drovers or homesteaders
during the mid-part of 1880. Brady is on the edge of the HIll Country on
the old Dodge Cattle Trail. Historical markers note it as being the
geographical center of Texas. (One wonders who did the measurements, and
how). Fourteen miles southwest of town is the Calf Creek site where, the
story is told, that the brothers James and Rezin Bowie fought free from
Indians. Their small party was besieged for eight days by Tawakoni
braves. The longest fenced cattle trail in the world once extended from
a railhead at Brady to Sonora. The Fort Worth and Rio Grande bought
250-foot-wide right of way and fenced it for 100 miles. Today the county
has city-owned lake and golf course, fishing year round and seasonal
Indians so plagued early settles in Llano that it was about five years
before the town was established with stores, saloons and a hotel, longer
than that before they had a church. An iron ore discovery caused a brief
boom in the 1880s but the commercial quality of the iron was not good.
Other mining ventures for asbestos, copper, lead, graphite, magnesium
and zinc were not profitable. It is now an area for rock and mineral
hunting for such as amethyst barite, garnet, milky quartz, tourmaline
and others. The real prize for collectors is llanite, a ark pink granite
with inclusion of sky-blue quartz crystals. This is not found anywhere
else in the world. Now this farm-ranch community calls itself the "Deer
Capital of Texas". There is year-round fishing in the Llano River and
the Highland Lakes.
Mason, seat of the same named county, grew from Fort Mason, a cavalry
post. On the crest of Post Hill the reconstructed officers quarters
marks the location. Crumbling foundations still show sites of 23
original buildings for officers, barracks, storehouses, stables,
guardhouse and hospital. Fort Mason was Robert E. Lee's last command in
the U.S. Army - from there he was called to Washington where he refused
command of the Union Army being prepared for the War Between the States.
The fort was activated briefly after the war but was abandoned in 1869.
Other historical interest centers around Indians who roamed the area and
the bloody feud known as the Mason County War. Many buildings for
business and homes were constructed of original-cut sandstones blocks
from the old fort and are still in use. This scenic area is also noted
for camping, hunting and fishing. Rock collectors also seek this county.
This prized blue topaz, the Texas state gem, is often found here.
Sam Saba is not really in the hill country but there is a rocky ridge
that extends along a line to the east. The town was settled in 1854 and
named for the river on which it is located. The area provides much stone
building material. Basically an agricultural county, there is also
hunting, fishing and mineral searching just as in the neighboring
counties, many sheep and goats.
Each of these towns mentioned have museums which provide interest to
visitors and a source of pride to those who call this area home.
Have just talked to some friends who went to San Antonio to attend the
Billy Graham Crusade services held in the Alamodome. I was invited to go
with this senior group but decided there would be too much walking and
step-climbing - things that I do not do well anymore. Each person had
praise for the sermon and music. As a family we had the privilege many
years ago of attending a Crusade and I have watched telecasts whenever
possible through the years. There cannot be too many good things said
about this man. He says so many "Wonderful Words of Life" in such a
simplistic, sincere manner - it is awesome. Much praise and admiration
goes to his wife, Ruth, who has been a devoted wife and mother.
A trip I took recently with a senior group was to Austin. Thirty six of
us went by van to tour the LBJ Library and Museum, the State Capitol and
the Governor's Mansion. Last summer I had a visit to the LBJ Library but
I enjoyed it again as I saw the brief life story film this time. Also
more gift displays were discovered that were missed before. From there
we went to the Capitol building. I was there last during remodeling time
so it was good to see the new look. Of course, the main building is not
changed basically, just polished and re-finished. It truly is a place of
which we can be extremely proud.
We sort of roamed on our own for a time before lunch which we ate in the
Capitol Cafeteria in the first floor of the Extension building. The
Legislature is in session so there was a large crowd of diners. A friend
and I sat at a table with three education people there for an afternoon
meeting. The conversation was interesting as they were from the Houston
area, one lady a middle school principal, another a fifth grade teacher
and the man was with the regional center.
A guided tour of the three floors of the Capitol building was after
lunch. At the time for the tour of the Governor's Mansion it was raining
quite heavily. Finally most the group went on, walking the distance in
rain which had lightened some. I really hated not seeing the governor's
home, that was the main place I had wanted to see. Since spending most
of the winter with bronchitis and near pneumonia I better not get wet. A
few others of the group made the same decision so we "people watched".
There were many people back and forth just in our west wing hall. We saw
just about every style of business war clothing - very interesting.
Those who made the Mansion tour were extremely impressed. We did not see
Governor Bush - he probably was in Arlington as it was opening day of
baseball season and the Texas Rangers were playing at home.
One of the most thought-provoking parts of the Capitol tour was trying
to comprehend the engineering of all the building underground. Looking
down three floors into the outside rotunda sort of boggled my mind.
There are five pages of guide diagrams available for all the complex.
Outside the Extension Building area around the sidewalks are named
tiles. I was startled to see the name of a long-time friend, Ruth Stoker
Kirkpatrick of Post, on one. Then there was Garza County judge, Giles W.
Dalby. I also stepped on Ben Barnes tile. I was so fascinated that I
could have spent hours walking there but the ban arrived at the loading
zone so I decided I better go home.
A number of this group of people plan to make the van trip to Branson,
Missouri in May. Later this month a trip is planned for an evening
concert in Abilene.
According to reports, the Health Fair there must have been a successful
event. It takes much planning and effort on the part of many people to
make such a service possible. I am sure each person who helped in any
way felt it was worth the time and work. The benefit to the public is so
great, providing a time and place for many tests to be made in addition
to the knowledge made available regarding health matters. The health
care professionals who give of their time and knowledge are certainly to
be commended. I thought of you that day and wished I were there.
As I finish writing we are anxious for the visit from the Hudson twins -
they with their mom and dad, Rebecca and Brendan, are planning to come
for the weekend from their home in Corsicana. They were one year old on
April 8. As I have reached another birthday milestone we can celebrate
together. (Thanks for the cards, letters and phone calls. Friends have
been a great part of the blessings in my life.)
Hasta la vista and God bless and remember - Love One Another!
AUSTIN, April 15, 1997 - Not only is the Texas population growing it's
also growing older.
Over the next generation, the number of elderly Texans will more than
double, from 1.9 million today to nearly 4 million by the year 2020. As
a percentage of the total population, they will represent 16 percent of
all Texans in that year, up from their current 10 percent.
That's a significant shift in the changing face of Texas. And as our
loved ones or ourselves continue to age, the imperative of caring for
those who are in the twilight of their lives will bring increasing
pressure to bear on the public purse. Besides, we owe it to our seniors
to do all we can to help them remain vital and independent. That's
important to Texas families. And it's going to become important to the
state budget, too.
Even now, Texas spends more than $2.5 billion a year in state and
federal funds to cover the costs of health care, housing assistance,
meals, personal care, transportation, and a host of other services for
our senior citizens. The single largest cost is for nursing home care,
which accounts for nearly $1 billion, or 40 percent, of the total.
Although most elderly Texans would prefer to remain in their own homes
and live as independently as possible, too many choose nursing homes or
other institutional care instead because they are simply unaware of the
full range of services available. Information on those services exists,
but it's fragmented, difficult to find and confusing to use.
As a result, I've proposed the Texas Gold Pages, a comprehensive guide
to the many senior services offered by the state and local communities
across Texas. The legislation creating this guide, sponsored by State
Senator Judith Zafffirini and State Representative Henry Cuellar of
Laredo, would for the first time direct state and local agencies, led by
my office, to gather consumer information in one place so that senior
Texans can make informed choices when planning for the future.
The Texas Gold Pages would address a wide range of needs and services,
from minor home repairs to legal aid to nursing home assistance, with
hundreds of services in between.
A unique feature would offer senior Texans a detailed self-assessment
guide designed to let them know not just which services are available
but whether they actually need them. Decisions about senior services can
be complicated. Older Texans must think about what kind of lifestyle
they want, taking into account their medical needs, how much they can
(or choose to) pay, and how much assistance they might expect from
family members. Such questions may often be difficult to broach with
their families. Sometimes, they may not even be sure what questions to
The Texas Gold Pages would also include a directory of local services to
help steer elderly Texans and their families through the maze of private
agencies and public programs in their area.
Best of all, the new consumer guide would cost next-to-nothing. My
office, in close collaboration with the Texas Department on Aging, the
American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), and others, would ensure
that elderly Texans be able to peruse the Texas Gold Pages in their
local libraries and senior centers. The guide would also be available
online for anyone with access to a computer and modem.
Growing old in the new Texas is challenging enough. Senior citizens and
their families deserve the most up-to-date, easy-to-use consumer
information when facing important decisions about their lives. The Texas
Gold Pages can be an invaluable guidebook to the best possible options.
(This is adapted from State Comptroller John Sharp's Disturbing the
Peace: The Challenge of Change in Texas Government, his fourth
comprehensive performance review of state government, available by
calling 1-800-232-8927 toll-free or writing: Texas Performance Review,
PO Box 13528, Austin, Texas 78711. There is a $10 charge for the
two-volume report, which is also available free of charge on the
Internet at www.window.state.tx.us.)
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