Founded June 6, 1849, as frontier post of Co. F., 2nd Dragoons, 8th Dept., U.S. Army. The commander, Maj. Ripley Arnold, named the camp for his former superior officer, Maj. Gen William Jenkins Worth. In 4 years of operations, the post had only one serious Indian encounter. A town grew up alongside the fort, as center for supply stores and stagecoach routes. The appellation that defines the city came from a treaty that was signed with the Indians stating that they were to stay west of a line that was west of Fort Worth. The area past this line became known as where the west began. With railroads and cattle the population doubled between 1900 and 1910 and it was one of the great boom towns of commerce at that time.
According to The Handbook of Texas, “The origin of the name Dallas is unknown.”, which pretty much says it all however our trip this week starts there and our first Post Card is a picture of a hotel built from, if not out of, beer bottles. Beer baron Adolphus Busch had brought his beers to Texas and decimated the local brewing industry by undercutting the market and using massive advertising campaigns. In 1883 he and his partners built the first large, mechanized brewery in Texas. The Lone Star Brewery produced its first beer in 1884. The Lone Star Brewery used the same techniques as Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis, which forced smaller breweries out of business. Lone Star built a modern plant with the latest equipment. It had its own bottling plant; and it transported beer by wagon and railroad throughout most of Texas, into Mexico, and as far west as California. They proved once and for always that you can make bad beer under several brand names and sell it cheaply to an undiscriminating – but thirsty – public.
The Beaux-Arts hotel was a monument to himself far enough south of St. Louis that he would not be overshadowed by his more famous father-in-law Eberhard Anheuser whose 17-year-old daughter he had married in order to get his foot in the door. A year after the hotel opened he had the companion office tower, the Kirby building, finished a block away at 17 stories – one more than the planned Carter building in Houston and the tallest office building in Dallas at the time – but not quite as tall as the hotel which was the tallest building in both Dallas and Texas until 1923 when it was replaced by the Magnolia Petroleum [later Mobil] building.
Our Post Card is not to Edythe but to her husband Anthony Lewis Bettencourt and is from his brother Arlindo, dated March 9, 1914, “Received yours this morning. Certainly glad to hear that you are doing well and that Edythe is improving. Will let you know about the pecans as soon as I receive them. Will send you the address of the merchant and you may be able to buy them cheaper in quantity. The sample I saw was good soft shell pecans. I miss mother. Figure on beginning for home about the 15th so as to have the place built-in time to move in by June. Everybody sends regards and best wishes to you and Edythe. Anytime I can be of any assistance don’t hesitate.” There is a postscript, “I know you have heard of this hotel put up by the late Adolphus Busch. I have been on top of it!”, that demonstrates the fine tradition of brotherly love and the lifelong need for the younger to be one up on the older. You can tell that Arlindo was the apprentice pen maker by the size and quality of his script which conveyed a longer message than many letters.
Arlindo would move 100 miles north of Dallas to Lamar county where the 1920 census shows him living with his wife and two young daughters – AND his mother-in-law, three brothers-in-law, a nephew and three nieces, running a plumbing business they had started in Galveston and somehow transplanted to near the Oklahoma border. The Post Card from 1913 that shows the Dallas Post Office is also address to Toney [Anthony] and seems to be from Eduard Hasselmeir [one of the brothers-in-law] and relates, “I have seen almost everything of interest here and also in Fort Worth. Expect to leave tomorrow morning.”
Dallas had started as a trading post and after Dallas voters voted 741 to 237 to secede from the Union it was selected as one of eleven quartermaster and commissary posts in Texas for the Trans-Mississippi Army of the Confederacy. Having hanged three slaves for an arson that burned down much of the central district, then whipped and run out-of-town two abolitionist preachers from Iowa there was no doubt as to where her sympathies lay. The war would only reinforce these convictions as seen by the emergence of the Ku Klux Klan. With 13,000 members, the Dallas chapter was the largest in Texas, and one of the national “imperial wizards” was a Dallas cut-rate dentist named Hiram Wesley Evans.
The key for Dallas had always been better transportation and attempts to navigate the Trinity River had proved impractical. Dallas turned its attention to rail service and succeeded in attracting the Houston and Texas Central in 1872 and the Texas and Pacific in 1873, making Dallas one of the first rail crossroads in Texas. Like Atlanta, Dallas found itself in a strategic geographical location for the transport of regional products to northern and eastern manufacturing plants. Cotton became the region’s principal cash crop, and Elm Street in Dallas was its market. Dallas had rail and Galveston had water and the two formed a symbiotic relationship that was often difficult to tell where the one began and the other ended.
Probably the most public part of the relationship was A. H. Belo’s ownership of both the Galveston Daily News and the Dallas Morning News. Almost surprisingly for a former Confederate officer and a political arch conservative there was no publisher in Texas more profoundly anti-Klan than Belo. Both cities hosted Ursuline Academies with the Galveston convent established in 1847 and six nuns from that convent opening the Dallas school in 1874 and both had prominent church building designed by Nicholas J. Clayton. When the Galveston Children’s Home was damaged by the 1900 Storm the children were moved to Buckner Baptist Children’s Home in Dallas.
As important as the Christian links were the Jewish ones. The oldest Jewish Reform congregation, Temple B’nai Israel, Galveston, was established in 1868 with Tiferet Israel of Dallas following in 1890. Of all the rabbis to serve in Texas, Henry Cohen of Galveston’s B’nai Israel left the most well-known legacy; his service began in 1888 and lasted sixty-two years and he had sent the founder of Tiferet Israel to Dallas. Long before they became political refugees large numbers of Jewish immigrants had come through Galveston and Rabbi Cohen was hugely instrumental in the process while it was John Young with his contacts with a number of the German shipping firms who aided and assisted on the maritime side.
Fort Worth is 33.82 miles west of Dallas which makes it closer than the 48.19 miles that Houston is north of Galveston. Both sets of cities are connected by roads and rails and have satellite communities that both buffer and unite them but both Fort Worth and Galveston are cities and worlds unto themselves that have enough spirit, art and commerce that they will never be swallowed whole by their leviathan civic neighbors.
Our panorama of Fort Worth at night is no quite all it would seem to be – at least not so far as accuracy is concerned. It is another example of a painted post card meant to convey the spirit, if not the detail of the place. In the left foreground we have what is apparently the Tarrant County Courthouse even allowing for the fact that it is nighttime there are several notable differences between the building as pictured and as it stands – and has stood since 1885. Immediately to the right of the courthouse is a multistory building that may be the backside of the Flatiron Building although why they chose this perspective of one of the most architecturally significant buildings of its day with a profile that is easily recognized where ever you find one of these buildings remains a mystery. Finally in the upper left we may have the Baker Building although that is just a guess on my part since it was the tallest building in Fort Worth at the time. There were other significant buildings including the Union Depot, the Atlelier Building, the Bryce Building, the City National Bank Building – which would have been one of the few large enough to be distinguished in the panorama but no place do we find a mansard roof, the Conn Building, the Knights of Pythias Castle Hall – which might well have been a stop for Margaret since her father had been a founder of the Galveston chapter, the Nash Hardware Company, the Plaza Hotel, the Reata at Sundance Square, St. Patrick Cathedral and St. Ignatius Academy, and finally the Weber Building. From the point of view of the panorama many of these building might have been unique enough to stand out but simply weren’t tall enough. Then again we have to remember that we are talking about a penny post card and not an oil painting. Whatever the strengths or failings of the post card we must reflect on the fact that Fort Worth has done a far better job of preservation and restoration than any other major city in the state of Texas.
Edythe’s principal correspondent from Fort Worth was Margaret Bennett who was Maurice Coffey’s daughter. Our first Post Card in the correspondence shows Lake Como at Arlington Heights which was built as a man-made lake in 1889 to mitigate flooding in nearby areas. Not wanting to waste either parkland or a lake the developers added a pavilion, casino, amusement rides – including the figure eight wooden roller coaster – and a power plant on the site. The Arlington Heights Railway Company had a train that ran the three miles from downtown to the park and you would not have been too far away from the chance of seeing Reb Russell of the Fort Worth Panthers tearing the hide off the ball as they played against Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Rogers Hornsby when their major league teams stopped in Fort Worth on their way from spring training to their home parks. The Panthers were for many years a powerhouse of the Texas League and dominated the Dixie series with the Southern League when minor league ball was every bit as important as the majors if you lived in a town like Fort Worth.
The Post Card is dated April 12, 1912 and tells us, “Just arrived at 8:15 AM, 20 minutes late. We had a good trip. Sept some. Everything is mud and water. Will write soon.” Lake Como in Fort Worth was essentially a water retention pond, part of a drainage solution to make suburban living possible and it may now be largely redundant as Texas has gone from one natural lake to one thousand man-made lakes in an effort to both control flooding from the rivers and provide water and electricity to city dwellers. There was a propensity to use place names to evoke a sense of glamor or desirability that may not have been merited by the facts. As early as Benjamin Franklin we have writing that relates, “the sight of whales jumping up the falls at Niagara is much esteemed by all who have seen it,” and on the train line between Galveston and Houston there was a collection of five houses, a post office and a store named Genoa because the owner said it reminded him of the town in Italy. Lake Como in Fort Worth no more resembles Lake Como in Italy than does Lake Como in Galveston which is the new name for Dana Cove while they try to sell townhouses. I suppose we all want to live someplace nicer and Lake Como sounds so much nicer than Drainage Project 137-A.
St. Joseph Hospital, the oldest hospital in Fort Worth, was founded on May 29, 1883, by J. M. Eddy of the Gould railroad system. The hospital, then called the Missouri Pacific Hospital, was built for the railroad workers. Eddy offered $75,000 to start the hospital if the city would provide land for it. Citizens raised the $4,000 needed to purchase a site, and a frame building 300 feet long and two stories high was constructed. In early 1885 the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word of San Antonio were invited to take charge of nursing. Bishop N. A. Gallagher asked Mother St. Pierrette Cinquin, the mother superior of the order, to visit the hospital, where the chief surgeon persuaded her to send ten sisters to Fort Worth to staff the institution.
Only a few months after the sisters arrived, on April 5, 1885, the hospital burned. The railroad rebuilt it and continued to operate it until they moved their patients to Missouri in 1889. They then sold the hospital to the sisters and the hospital was renamed St. Joseph’s Infirmary and dedicated on May 12, 1889. In 1898 a new permanent building was completed, and in 1906 St. Joseph’s Training School for Nurses opened. Throughout its history, St. Joseph rendered substantial services without pay. The first patient the sisters admitted was a charity case. When a boy died after being turned away from the City-County Hospital, the Mother Superior officially stated that at St. Joseph’s patients who could not pay would be given the same treatment as those who could.
Margaret’s next Post Card to Edythe is dated April 30, 1912 and says, “Thought perhaps you would like to see a picture of this infirmary. My room is on the second floor where you see the mark but on the opposite side of the building. Sat up in a chair for a while today.”
The last Post Card Edythe received from Margaret was dated May 9, 1912 and contained what must have been welcome news, “Received yours yesterday and thought I would drop you this card to let you know I will arrive in Galveston on Sunday at 9:25 AM unless something prevents. Will call you up. Feeling fine, Margaret Bennett.” The school shown is Saint Ignatius Academy established in 1885 by the Sisters of Saint Mary of Namur. Since Edythe and most of her correspondents were Catholic there may seem a certain bias in favor of the Church in these posts. This is not the case. In an age where there was the state, county and local governments the only organization that had an administrative apparatus that encompassed the entire state was the Catholic Church.
From 1703 to 1777, Texas was part of the diocese of Guadalajara, and from that date until 1836, it belonged to the diocese of Linares. When Texas won its independence in 1836 the Church recognized that it would be impossible for the new nation to remain part of a colonial diocese of an alien and unfriendly power. Thus the Diocese of Galveston was formed and its territory was the entire nation – later state – of Texas as well as parts of what is now Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming – an area of almost 360,000 square miles. Mindful of the late unpleasantness with Mexico – and by extension Spain – the first bishop was French, Jean Marie Odin in a diocese that held ten or so established churches and a convent of Ursuline Sisters at Galveston.
The second bishop, Claude Marie Dubuis, had been serving in Lyons where in 1846 he met Odin, who was then vicar apostolic of Texas. Odin had returned to his homeland to recruit missionary priests and nuns for work in Texas. He did not gloss over the hardships his followers would have to endure, but this seemed to inspire more than to deter Dubuis, who, with a small group of fellow recruits, set sail from Le Havre in March of that year. Dubuis’s first assignment was a pastorate at Castroville that included the surrounding villages of D’Hanis, Vandenburg, Quihi, New Braunfels, and Fredericksburg, and he often had to ride on horseback through hostile Comanche territory in order to carry out his priestly duties and was captured four times by Indians. When Dubuis left Castroville for San Antonio in 1851 he left behind him St. Louis parish, as well as a church building and rectory built mainly by his own hands. He is credited with developing the architectural style distinctive to Castroville, which resembles that of Alsatian structures. He was given the pastorate at San Fernando in San Antonio.
When Dubuis returned to Galveston, he was appointed vicar-general and completed work on the Ursuline convent, as well as the new St. Mary’s Cathedral. When Odin was made archbishop of New Orleans, Dubuis was appointed bishop of Galveston. He was consecrated by Odin on November 23, 1862, in Lyons. In May 1863 he entered his episcopal city, where for the next seventeen years he worked assiduously for the Church in Texas. During his tenure as bishop he brought numerous religious into the state, many of whom were members of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word of Lyons and was responsible for founding their order in the United States, with motherhouses in the Galveston and San Antonio dioceses.
Succeeding Dubuis was Nicholas Aloysius Gallagher (1882–1918), Galveston’s first American-born prelate. Gallagher brought more religious communities to serve in Texas, and the continued growth led to yet another division in 1890, when the diocese of Dallas was formed from the dioceses of Galveston and San Antonio. In 1886 Gallagher opened in Galveston what is reported to be the first Catholic school for black students in Texas. His crypt is in St. Mary’s Cathedral in Galveston.
The Catholic Church, always concerned with the education and training of youth, brought its educational system to Texas in 1682 when Franciscans established the first Texas mission at Corpus Christi de la Isleta near El Paso. In mission schools the Indians were taught not only religion by a special Indian catechism, but reading and writing in the Spanish language; they were given instruction in vocational training, agriculture, and caring for the sick, along with cultural training in crafts, painting, sculpture, and music.
When Jean Marie Odin arrived in Texas in 1840, he was distressed at what appeared to be a spiritual neglect of the people, and he recommended to his superior a need for Catholic schools in Galveston and San Antonio. He organized a school in Galveston in 1842 with twenty-two pupils, one-third of whom were non-Catholics. After purchasing the Love estate in Galveston in 1845, he invited the Ursuline Sisters from New Orleans to open a school for young ladies. Ursuline Academy, in Galveston, opened on February 8, 1847.
With help from the Ursuline convent in New Orleans the Galveston Ursuline Sisters opened a girls’ school in San Antonio in 1851. The Marianists arrived in San Antonio from France in 1851 and opened St. Mary’s School for boys in 1852 [now St. Mary's University]. Bishop Odin established the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament from Lyons in Brownsville where they opened Villa Maria Academy for girls in 1853.
In 1866 Bishop Claude-Marie Dubuis brought two groups from France. Two Sisters of Divine Providence arrived in Austin in October 1866 and opened the first Catholic school there in December; in 1868 they opened schools in Corpus Christi and Castroville. In 1895 they established Our Lady of the Lake Academy in San Antonio – a school that was expanded into a four-year college in 1913. The second group, three Soeurs Hôpitalières opened St. Mary’s Infirmary, Galveston, in 1866, and Santa Rosa Infirmary, San Antonio, in 1869. These nuns, later known as Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, opened a parochial school in connection with St. Joseph’s Orphanage in 1875 and in 1893 established Incarnate Word Academy to which a college program was added in 1909.
The Incarnate Word sisters of Brownsville started academies at Victoria (1866), Corpus Christi (1871), and Houston (1873). The Ursulines formed separate communities and academies at Laredo (1868), Dallas (1874), Puebla, Mexico (1892), and at Bryan after the Galveston hurricane of 1900. The Sisters of St. Mary of Namur moved to Waco in 1873 and established Sacred Heart Academy. In 1885 they established Saint Ignatius Academy in Fort Worth, which became their headquarters and Our Lady of Victory College (now merged with the University of Dallas).
In 1874 Holy Cross priests, brothers, and sisters from Indiana arrived in Austin. The priests assumed charge of St. Mary’s parish, and the brothers prepared buildings for a Catholic boys’ school, which was formally opened in 1881 as St. Edward’s School for Boys and chartered as St. Edward’s College in 1885. Five Sisters of Loretto from New Mexico opened St. Joseph’s School in San Elizario in 1879 and moved it to El Paso in 1892, where they also sponsored the new Sacred Heart School. Dominican Sisters of Somerset, Ohio, moved their new foundation to Galveston in 1882 and opened a select day and boarding school for girls, Sacred Heart Academy (later Dominican High School). Holy Rosary School for Negroes, begun by the Dominican sisters in Galveston in 1887, grew so rapidly that a new and larger building was constructed the following year.
Sisters of the Holy Family, a community of black nuns founded in 1842 in New Orleans, took charge of Holy Rosary School in Galveston in 1897, reorganizing it into a grammar and industrial training school. Their work was extended to Houston, San Antonio, Ames, and Marshall. A third group dedicated to work among blacks, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People, founded in 1891 in Philadelphia, established a school in Beaumont in 1916 and later founded schools in Port Arthur, Houston, and Orange. Parochial schools assumed a major role in Catholic education with immigration in the nineteenth century. Schools for German, Polish, Czech, Mexican, and Anglo children often were established along with new churches.
Of course the motivation for these schools – and for the Church itself – was a sense of mission. They knew that in order to spread the Gospel and have a cohesive community of the faithful you needed educated people. We do not find a literature complaining of privations faced only one of victories won – and won Omnis ad majorem Dei gloriam et honorem. That the discipline and zeal to provide meaningful, and meaningfully different, education seems to have declined after Vatican II – that great experiment that decided the Church should be all things to all people [that has failed so miserably] – is certainly a cause for sadness but it was one that Margaret Edythe Young was spared living to see.