Farther than far, at the very southernmost edge of Chambers County before it falls into East Bay is the little community of Smith Point, Texas. It was probably named in the very early 1800s for John M. Smith, who had settled there, but did not remain in the area, due to his criminal behavior. George Paschal McNeir said in his history of Smith Point, “Before the coming of the automobile, the principal mode of travel was by boat, from here to Galveston and Houston, and a fleet of good sloops and schooners were on the run all the time carrying produce and passengers from all parts of Galveston and Trinity Bays to Galveston and Houston.
It made a grand sight to see a dozen or more fine boats loaded down to their decks going up and down the bay to Houston from all along Bolivar Peninsula and Smith’s Point, all striving to be the first at Morgan’s Point to catch a tow from a tugboat up the Bayou to Houston, for the first ones got the choicest berths at Houston. Nowadays, tho’, all the hauling is done by trucks and the romance is gone from sailing boat and fishing the elements of wind and tide. The younger generation can hardly understand how a boat under sail could be made to go against wind, and the old nautical terms are all “Greek” to them. In a few years we old-timers will be gone and then the old wind-jammers under canvas will be forgotten, and every young man will have an airplane as they now have motor-cars. Such is Life.”
Smith Point does not boast a large population, but the ones who live in the small community have a family mindset and most of them if not family by blood, are family by choice.
Smith Point’s oldest living resident is Linnie Evelyn Stephenson Standley who will turn 100 years old next month. She arrived in Smith Point with her parents, sister Eula Mae and brothers Ralph and Walter (Snook) in the year 1927, at the tender age of five.
The following information has been collected from interviews at different times with Evelyn and may have some repetition, but it is all so informative, I wanted to include all of it. ~ Marie Hughes
Evelyn with husband's second cousin, Kenneth Standley ~ 2015 T J Chambers Celebration ~ Photo courtesy of the Anahuac Progress. Evelyn won first place for best costume wearing the dress made by her mother in 1958. Evelyn said it takes her 2 hours to starch and iron it. It is made with so many yards of fabric that when holding the ends of the skirt she can lift her arms shoulder high on both sides.
As I crossed the threshold of Evelyn’s humble home many months ago, the past embraced me as history whispered to me from every nook and cranny. Her walls and shelves are lined with collections of historical books, pictures, and documents that would make most museums envious, ours included. Evelyn, a devoted historian blessed with a keen mind and a memory like a steel trap, has preserved the mementoes of days gone by, cherishing the role each and every one has played in her life. The articles relating to the events of every milestone she reached have been carefully placed on shelves and chronicled in her personal stories and journals. If it happened in Smith Point and even places beyond, she can tell you about it with no detail omitted and probably with some related treasure to show you. You see, Evelyn learned early on the value of learning from history and preserving it for future generations.
“Smith Point is NOTHING, NOTHING AT ALL like it was when we moved here. I was just a little kid, I didn’t even know Anahuac was up there for several years because we didn’t go to Anahuac,” said Evelyn. I settled down on the worn comfortable couch in Evelyn’s living room, that had welcomed many visitors over the years. I could have stayed and listened for hours as she continued with her historical monologue of Smith Point.
“We lived off of the land, mamma knew how to tell mushrooms from toadstools and what berries were good to eat, so we picked mushrooms, berries, and wild plums too from our wild plum orchard. We canned the berries and plums, my dad grew almost everything else we needed, so we canned all summer for winter. We had a wash house with shelves all in it, and it was lined with jars. My dad farmed and took his produce to Galveston by boat and would bring our staples back when he returned. He bought for the house like you would buy for a grocery store, 48 pound sacks of flour and 100 pound sacks of sugar. I don’t remember how the coffee came but the cocoa came in 10 pound cans. I still have one of those cans. I took it to the bank one day filled with pennies and had them count them out and they like to had a fit over that cocoa can, because they’d never seen one.”
“Mr. Frankland had a whole orange orchard. My grandfather had an orange tree by his house that grew higher than the second story. You could go on the deck of the second story and pick oranges. A disease of some kind came through and the state made them cut all of their orange trees down. Before they had to cut them down Mr. Frankland would mail them off by the boxes full. That’s how he sold them. Mrs. Plummer, the postmistress, had a Satsuma orchard that was prolific with Satsumas.”
“I’ve been the treasurer for the Smith Point Community Church since 1962. I’m shifting my job slowly but surely over to Kay Lovelace..
Last piece of mail stamped with the Smith Point Post Office stamp. Post date, 1907 ~ Donated by Evelyn Standley.
“The Smith Point Post Office was located where Ben & Jeri’s gate is, on the corner just inside the fence behind the two big oak trees. It was 165 years old I think when Tracy Woody bought the property. When he bought the property there hadn’t been anyone living in the building for several years, the man had died who lived there and I think his sister got it and didn’t care about the place. There were all kinds of stuff in there and people went in a stole stuff out of it. The original building had been added onto, a kitchen and a dining room with a hallway. On the other side of the dining room was another little room and sometimes Mrs. Plummer had the post office in there. She eventually had the post office in the hallway where she put all of her post office boxes on the wall. The toilet for the post office was in the front yard.”
“I went by one day and Tracy Woody was burning it down. I just stood there and cried, for although it was just a building to him, it had always been our post office, you know. Ever since I was a little kid it was MY post office and three times a week, we got mail there. The mail came by train and the sack for Smith Point was dropped off in Devers where the mailman picked it up.”
“He didn’t know though, he was a newcomer, and it was just an old building to him. Everybody after ‘60 was a newcomer. Three times a week we got mail at the Smith Point post office until the latter part of World War II when they closed the post office and put us on a mail route. We had mailboxes with route numbers. Then we finally got up town and got street names, then they decided we needed house numbers when they started the 911 service. They gave us house numbers so they would be able to find us if there was an emergency.”
Claude Jackson Store ~ 7 Dec 1932 ~ Established by Smith Point John Abt 1885
“I have two tobacco cans that came from the Jackson Store that was owned by John Jackson. My dad smoked Prince Albert and I have it full of buttons.”
Boat painting painted for Evelyn by Jeannie Clapper.
“The painting of the boats on my wall was painted by Jeannie Clapper. Those are the boats from down here that went up to the Jackson Store where they tied up for safety from the storm, Hurricane Carla, all the way to the bridge. That was after they dredged out the bayou. There’s a ridge that starts just the other side of my house, so I’m on the ridge and didn’t get water in my house.”
“There was only one road into Smith Point, and it was a one lane road. You had to run through water to get to Anahuac. Whoever got on the road first the others would have to wait until he got off, ‘cause it was just wide enough for one car. They eventually came in and graded the low part and built it all up and that is why we call that area “the grade.”
"There were no curves in the road in the early days before they graded the road. If you look after you pass the grade and head towards devil’s elbow you will see where the old road was, there were all corners because the road followed the fence lines. You can still see how low it was and how the road run and where the fences were if you look for it."
"They had Cockrell’s Corner, because that’s where the Cockrell’s lived and Hawkins Corner, ‘cause that’s where the Hawkins’ lived, then you come to White Heron, and we called that Devil’s Elbow. We had no road signs back then and if it was dark and folks didn’t know that deep ditch was there, they’d run off in it, that’s why we nicknamed it Devil’s Elbow, that’s the nickname for it where they go into White Heron.”
On Tuesday at noon County Judge R. J. McMurrey, who is also county school superintendent, invited the editor to accompany him on a trip to Smith Point, it being the Judge's duty to visit the schools of the county occasionally. The trip was made in the Judge's car, a Krit. The roads, which had not been dragged, were bad, and there were probabilities of rain before we got back. The man who drives a car has no time to talk much to the person riding with him, so the editor took along a story entitled "Mad Mike, or The Death Shot," to read when the scenery along the route was not interesting. Going through the beautiful piney woods at Double Bayou, where the sandy roads are ideal, the editor dropped his novel and remarked, "Ain't' this fine," but when he struck the bleak prairie intervening Double Bayou and Smith Point, he took up the novel and began to read again. Just as Mike had jumped over a precipice on a horse after a fleeing Redskin, the Judge's car got stuck in the mud and he yelled, "Get out, Tufts, and push." The editor, being a powerful pusher, pushed the car right out all right and resumed his story, but only read a half a page before another mud hole stopped the car. More pushing. Another bogdown and still more manpower. In order to evade the boggy places the Judge turned out onto the prairie and lost the main road, driving up to a colored man's house. The Judge stopped the car, got out and walked around over the prairie looking for the Smith Point road. In the meantime the editor embraced the opportunity to finish his story and then walked over to the colored man's house and inquired if he knew where in hell we were headed for. He replied he didn't, but that [Hell] would be where we would wind up if we continued on that road in an automobile. The proper road was learned, however, and the Judge, who had wandered for out on the prairie, was called in. The journey was continued and the schoolhouse finally reached. Our visit at the school was very pleasant, the teacher and children were delighted to see us. The Judge made a little talk, and so did the editor. It took three and a half hours to go down there, but coming back the Judge thought about putting the chains on the drive wheels and we went through the mud licketycut and was home in one hour and forty-five minutes.
"Before they took out all the reefs, we had a beach over here and we had floundering grounds. I still have a brand spanking new lantern over there that's in the box that's never been lit but one time. My son and his wife gave it to me to go floundering with, but after they took out all the reefs, we didn't have any more floundering grounds. Before they dammed up the Trinity River, we had fresh water here and there was moss growing on all of the rocks. The Trinity was wide open and kept all of the salt water pushed out. There was no Rollover Pass then, there was only a small area where salt water could get in and with the Trinity River flowing full force it kept most of the saltwater pushed out. We even had our own beach. There was an oyster reef that ran from where Rollover Pass is today all the way around to the Vingt-et-un Islands and the islands were covered with those Roseate Spoonbills. When the soft shell crabs were in season and shedding you could go over and pick them up by the bushel baskets full. There was no market for them, you couldn't even sell fish until the early '40s. It was too plentiful. We finally found out we could sell them in Galveston or Port Arthur. My aunt and I did peddle fish up the river into Anahuac. My uncle, Clifford Plummer, used to take his nets and get an abundance of shrimp in the early days. He would boil them and lay them on top of the tin roof to dry. Once they were dry, they would store them in flour sacks and use them all winter. Plummer Camp Road was named for him because his camp was just on the end of the road there. He married Annie Barbara Nelson and his brother, Harvey married her sister, Ella Mae, two Plummer brothers married two Nelson sisters."
"In the '50s they dredged our oyster reef up and used the oysters to build the county roads and Interstate 10. After they removed the oyster reef the storms have been eating us away because there's nothing to hold the storms back, the good Lord knew what He was doing when He put the oyster reef there. We lost about 50 yards of shoreline with the first big storm and part of the Smith Cemetery, which was near the bay, was washed away. Mr. Smith's sister was washed out of her coffin, so Mr. Smith put her back in and buried her higher up on his land. Later he was buried next to her. During Hurricane Ike we lost the rest of the cemetery. The Davis Cemetery is out by the old Davis place, but it is getting in bad shape. The graves are starting to sink down."
"The Vingt-et-un grocery was built when the war started. Eventually Roy Dawson bought it and he turned it into a really good store that had everything. Whit Desormeaux took it over and made a fortune selling gasoline one winter to the folks from the Louisiana peninsula around Morgan City. They came to Smith Point to oyster. Whit won a car from Mobil for selling the most gas that year right here in Smith Point because he was selling to all the boat owners. The store changed hands quite a few times and Liz Plummer was the last local person who owned it. She sold it to two foreigners. When Hurricane Ike came it washed everything away and we haven't had a store or a gas station since."
“When I was about five years old, I went to my first funeral. It was Agnes Paschal McNeir’s. She had been living with her son, Forest McNeir in Houston when she died. There were no roads at that time, just cow trails and they brought her body across the pasture in a wagon. The only thing that was blooming was cape jasmine, so everyone brought cape jasmine to the funeral and sang, “In the Sweet By and By.”
23 February 2006
The Major Ridge family and the Solomon Everett family were living with in twenty-five miles of each other when Major Ridge in 1835 signed the New Echota Treaty, which eventually led to the movement of the Indians west of the Mississippi, on the infamous "Trail of Tears." The sad long journey ended the powerful Indian Nation in the South.
Major Ridge and his family sold out: in what is now known as Rome, GA, loaded his belongings on a boat on the Oostanaula River by his home. He made it to Indian Territory near Van Buren, Arkansas. Ridge, his son, John, and his cousin, Elias Boudinot, were assassinated in Indian Territory for supporting the treaty.
In 1837 Sarah Ridge, Major Ridge's daughter married George Washington Paschal, an army lieutenant from Georgia. Paschal opened a law office in Van Buren, Arkansas where he and Sarah made their home after leaving Georgia. During the ten-year stay Sarah gave birth to five children, two girls had died before leaving Arkansas. She brought with her two sons, George Walter, Ridge Watie, and daughter, Emily Agnes Paschal.
George Paschal had two brothers living in San Antonio, TX and he decided to move with Sarah and Emily to Galveston, TX. Sarah gathered her family and slaves she had inherited from her father's estate and went to Galveston by steamer.
She later divorced Paschal and in May 1856 married Charles C. Sisson Pix at the home of Mirabeau B. Lamar in Richmond, TX. After some time, s the story goes, they wanted to raise sugar cane. Smith Point, TX land was good for raising crops and cattle, so Sarah Pix exchanged city property in Galveston, TX with Mrs. Elianor Payne Frankland's ranch in Smith Point.
With Sarah and Charles Pix came her daughter, Emily Agnes, who married William McNeir. They had three sons, John Forest, born in Galveston and lived only a few hours, Forest W. born in Washington, D.C., and George Paschal who was born in Smith Point.
George Paschal McNeir and his wife had four children; the eldest, a daughter, Kathryn Agnes Paschal, Lenore, Lenore's twin sister, Celeste who only lived 3 months, and George Watie.
Solomon Everett and Sarah Doster were the parents of twelve children - 10 sons and 3 daughters; James Everett was listed as the fifth child who married a Peggy Christmas. They had James Madison Everett who married Permelia Isham and they had six children. The fifth child was my grandmother Mary Floyd. She always went by 'Floyd', never Mary.
James Madison Everett, a civil war veteran, and his family came to Texas in 1891 for a better way of life. With him came his second wife Ella Jane McGee, since his first wife Permelia had died years before. Also, in the group were his son William and wife Rhoda and their family, his daughter Mary Cordelia 'Dee' and Mary Floyd. They came by land to Hunt County, TX in Greenville and Caddo Mills. After several years they all migrated to Galveston, TX about 1894. Mary Floyd met Karl (Charles M.) Nelson while working in the cotton mill in Galveston. Karl had come to Galveston in 1881 as a young cook on a sailing vessel from Arendal, Norway. He received his citizenship in Galveston, March 10, 1890. He changed his name from Karl Mathais Nilsen to Charles Martin Nelson. From then on he was known as Charlie. He had to walk by the cotton mill on his way to his longshoreman's job. After some days of being whistled at, he and Floyd finally met and married shortly thereafter. Charles, Mary Floy, and two children moved from Galveston in a sailing vessel to Anahuac, TX around 1900. They moved then to Double Bayou until Nov 12, 1912, when they arrived with seven children in a motorless sailboat named 'Nancy' on Smith Point.
Having told how both families ended up in Galveston, then across Galveston Bay to the little peninsula of Smith Point between Galveston Bay and Trinity Bay, the two families came together. Sarah Ridge's grandson, George Paschal McNeir's oldest daughter, Kathryn Agnes Paschal married Mary Floyd Everett Nelson's oldest son, Charles Martin Nelson Jr. To this union were born two daughters, Mary Edith and Ruth Elizabeth.
Wonders never cease. How could two families from so far away end up in the same little almost isolated place? Therefore, I have two part Cherokee Indian cousins, and I think this is a truly fascinating story.
Sarah Ridge Pashal Pix
Remember the good old days when you could go barefoot all summer? As soon as the heavy fronts of spring were over, we all at our little country one-room-school started going barefoot. By the time summer was over our feet would be so tough and leathery that we would take a needle and embroidery thread and sew our initials in our heels just to see how long it would take to wear the thread out.
We could walk across grass burs and of course they would stick in our feet, but we never felt them. We would just shuffle our feet a little bit and wipe them all out and just keep going.
After a spring rain the mud would ooze up between our toes. Of course, on the farm other things oozed up between our toes - but that's another story. Anyway, there was always a water tank or an outdoor pump to be used before we entered the house.
We made rubber shoes out of old inner tubes, which are a thing of the past since we do not have inner tubes anymore. We would cut the inner tube a little longer than our foot and cut a hole in it for our foot to stick through. Sometimes we would sew the ends up and at other times we would just let them flop.
Our folks didn't care if we went without shoes, because then they didn't wear out so quickly, making them last all year or longer. Mom would order our shoes out of the Sears Roebuck, Montgomery Ward, or Spiegel's catalogues. We would put our foot on a piece of brown wrapping paper and she would draw around it a little longer than our foot, so that our feet would grow into the shoe, making the shoes last a little longer. She would send this pattern into the catalogue department. We would anxiously wait for our shoes to come in through the mail.
Running barefoot sometimes created problems if we happened to step on a nail. We would come in and soak our foot in a basin of kerosene, and in a few days our foot would be good as new.
I'm eighty-four years old now and I never have foot problems. I can still stand eight hours on my feet, but I've always worn shoes with good support. Now, having said all this, I have a question, as we never saw a doctor. Why did we never get tetanus? People nowadays are so afraid of home remedies that they get treated by a physician. Were we a hardier breed? Maybe we ought to go back to some of the good ole days!
Back in the nineteen thirties on Smith Point, we thought nothing about recycling as we do today. It was a necessity to not let anything go to waste. It was part of the growing up process-just a way of life.
Feed and flour sacks had a multitude of uses. First the thread that sewed the sacks together was unraveled and used to crochet doilies or bedspreads. Some thread was allowed to be made into a small ball or to make a kite. Many of the sacks were patterned into beautiful colors. They were made into dresses, shirts, window curtains, aprons, dish towels, quilts, rag rugs and filled many household needs. The plain sacks were bleached and made into pillowcases, sheets, tea towels, tablecloths, and even dolls and stuffed toys. Some sacks came with colored borders that made beautiful pillowcases without having to embroider them. Book satchels were also made from flour sacks.
Chicken and duck feathers were a prized possession. The plucked feathers were stuffed into heavy ticking for pillows. It took a while to save up enough for a featherbed, which was a delight to snuggle in on a cold winter night in a heatless house. However, they took special care because they had to be beat and fluffed and sunned and aired to keep the feathers from becoming bunchy and lumpy. Some folks who weren't lucky enough to gather enough feathers had mattresses made of hay. When bedsheets were worn thin in the middle, they were split down the center and the outer edges were sewn together. This added years to the sheet. When the sheet was no longer fit for a bed, it was sterilized and used for bandages or made into strips and used for a tail on a kite. Men's shirt collars were given similar treatment. When they became worn and frayed against the neck, they were clipped off, turned over and stitched down.
Glass jars were never recycled. They were treasures to be washed and stored to be used in the canning season. Vegetables, fruits, jams, and jellies filled the jars and kept the family eating when the summer gardens were no longer producing. Meat and fish were also canned, as there was no refrigeration or freezers. Jars also held sugar, flour, meal, and spices. One jar was kept out of sight to hold the family's spending money.
The lard was also recycled. It was used to pack fried pan sausage in to keep it from spoiling. Although we never heard of cholesterol, we knew that it became rancid after it had been used several times. When it was no longer good for frying, it was poured into a kettle (wash pot) and turned into soap with homemade lye leached from wood ashes.
Unlike today, we were not on everyone's mailing list. Newspapers and catalogues didn't accumulate. Most folks got a weekly newspaper. The yearly almanac was a must in order to know the planting seasons, the time to wean babies and the time for castrating bull calves and the boar hogs in order to have tasty meats. Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward catalogues came twice a year. If we didn't have money to order a new dress, we would find the one we wanted in the catalogue and mother would make a pattern out of newspaper and make a dress like it. When the catalogues were out of date, paper dolls were cut out and pasted with flour paste on cardboard to make them stand and they would last longer. Some catalogues were made into door stops by flooding the pages just right; some went into the kindling box, while some went to the little house out back. Some people used cardboard boxes and newspapers on the walls inside their houses. It helped keep the cold winter chill from whistling through the cracks.
We had never heard of store bought games, you just used what you had, cigar boxes and decorate them all up. You used your imagination because you couldn't go anywhere and buy anything, you either made it or you didn't have it. So, we made our own playing cards and whiled away many an hour doing so. We made them out of cardboard, drawing all the hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades and coloring them. We made makeshift kings, queens, and jacks because we weren't very talented artists. Also, it was fun to make our play money that we used in our country store, which was an old, transformed chicken house. One time it would be a store with all the empty boxes and cans saved from the kitchen. When we tired of playing store, it would become a home where we played Mommies and Daddies. We would set the table with broken china and glass and carried on make believe style and pure imagination. Next it might be a schoolhouse with all the books we could find; we would take turns being the teacher.
We would play games like Annie Over, Prison Base, Wolf across the River, Little White House Over the Hill, Drop the Handkerchief, Hopscotch, Follow the Leader, Statue and Pop the Whip. We got so much enjoyment out of two games that our mother disliked so very much for us to play. Mumble Peg, which was played with each player having a pocketknife and flipping the knife off our fingers and hands to stick in the ground for points. The other game, which now reminds me of today's game of ice hockey, was Tin Can Shinny. It was played with players forming a circle and stepping back several feet and digging a hole to put a stick in, with the exception of one player who was "it". The object of the game was for "it" to bat a tin can into a hole in the middle of the circle and try to steal someone else's hole while they were batting the can away from the middle hole. So, the game was aptly named because every once in a while, you did get a shin whacked, but luckily, we never received any broken bones.
We never saw a doctor except in dire emergencies. Childhood diseases were treated with onion syrup and with Vicks VapoRub placed on the chest and throat. A cut or scrape was healed by a mother's kiss. When we were really sick with the flu or cold, we always had a good old Homemade Chicken Soup to get us on the mend. A ball of asafetida was tied around the neck to discourage germs.
Syrup and lard buckets were made into lunch pails. Sometimes they were made into battering rams when our bully cousin would want to fight on our two mile walk to school and back. The lids of cans were made into "tin can wheelers" by nailing them onto the end of a stick. Even a worn out inner tube that couldn't be trusted on the old car had other uses also. We would patch up an old tube, blow it up, and enjoy it on a nice swim in the bay.
Since we had a family of seven children, we could only manage one pair of good shoes apiece. They were kept for when we went visiting or to Sunday school. So, we cut a piece of inner tube a little longer than our foot a cut a hole for our foot to stick through, sometimes we even sewed up the ends with string. Then, the abundant grass burr patches never seemed to bother us.
Recycling was never a chore but brought deep satisfaction. The things we made from used items were more beautiful the second time around. It was part of a tradition that we cherished but will never come again.
It was in the forties when things were getting pretty lean, that my husband talked me into going alligator hunting with him. It was in the summer when the water in the marsh was low.
So, we got our alligator pole, which was about twenty-foot-long with a strong hook attached to the end, put it in the stripped down hoopee and went to the marsh.
We were in knee deep water among the tall canes when we found an alligator hole. I run the pole down in the alligator hole. He grabbed it and I had a sensation of my life. He twisted about a hundred revolutions a minute 'til the pole almost burnt my hands. He finally stopped and I started pulling him out slowly as Morris instructed me. My pole hung up in the cane and the gator came off the hook. Morris said, "Stand still, don't move," while he was standing at the ready with his 22-rifle. The gator stuck his head out and Morris shot him in that certain spot between the eyes and killed him.
About that time something stung me on my thumb. Morris was so excited because he thought it may have been a snake. I said, "No, it's not a snake, there's only one hole." Besides, we didn't see any snakes so we figured it must have been a bee. He pulled out a cigarette, got the tobacco out and chewed it a few seconds, and stuck it on the sting to relieve it.
He got the gator and we waded out to the bank. He skinned the gator in just a few minutes.
We jumped in the stripped-down Model A Ford and headed home. That was enough gator hunting for that day!
Morris and Evelyn's first car was a used Model A Ford that he bought for $25.00 and fixed up. Their 2nd car was a 1938 Ford she bought in 1943 for $200.
Front Row: Bessie Frankland, Edith Fanett, May Nelson, Bernice Whitehead, Louise Hanson, Annie Nelson Plummer ~ 2nd Row: Viola Plummer, Unknown, Ruby Stephenson, Annie Frankland, Edith McNeir, ~ Back Row: Lillian Smith, Eva Smith, Mary Floyd Nelson, Unknown, Annie Fanett, Margaret Nelson ~ Identified by Evelyn Standley, Apr. 19, 1991
The minutes of the Loyal Ladies Club of Smith Point were given to me by Elizabeth "Beth" Nelson Newton, which were in her Mother, Mrs. L. L. (Eva Smith Lawrence) Nelson's possessions.
Somehow, they survived the two worst hurricanes to hit Smith Point in my days, which was Hurricane Carla in 1961 and Hurricane Ike in 2008. I have tried to copy them as best that I could with so much print illegible and pages missing.
But enough remained to tell that the Smith Point ladies were very Social and busy with helpful things in the community.
I remember the club very well. I was only fourteen at the time, but I did make a waitress for the oyster supper that was finally pulled off at Mrs. G. P.(George Paschal) McNeirs. (The hand-written notes copied by Evelyn are in the files of the Chambers County Museum at Wallisville)
The library was one of the best things that ever happened at Smith Point. The books came by parcel post to the Post Office here. I don't know how long the books remained before being sent back and a new box of books received. But it was long enough to read all of them. I remember some of them: The Bobbsie Twins & The Hardy Boys series-books with morals that you seldom find today.
Books were by all well known authors. I just couldn't wait to check out a book, take it home, crawl up in the fork of a tree where I'd be in solitude, and read to my heart's content. What's more, I tried to live everyone that I read. Also, I well remember the piano bought for the Sunday School. It was placed in our one-room, one-teacher schoolhouse. The school was also used as a Community Building, church whenever a traveling preacher came through, and a Sunday School was held there every Sunday by Mrs. C. "Annie" Frankland as teacher.
I don't remember who played the piano, but maybe it was Bernice Whitehead, as she was the only one that I remember that could play a piano. She had come earlier as a schoolteacher and married Eley "Buddie" Whitehead and stayed with us.
In September 1934 Thelma Chitwood came to teach. She picked out a few tunes on the piano. She also found the love of her life here on Smith Point and married Chris Fanett.
She taught me in the eight and ninth grades as far as the grades went. So, in the fall of 1936 I went to live with my grandmother, Mrs. Ellen Stephenson, and finished high school at Ball High School in June 1939.
I then returned to the wide open spaces of Smith Point. I was too young then to get a job at seventeen.
But, after a while I fell in love with Morris Standley and we married in Anahuac on September 9, 1940.
The book "A History of Chambers County" written by Jewel Horace Harry, B.S. printed in August 1940 gives a report on the Loyal Ladies Club at Smith Point.
This meeting was held on July 7, 1938, in the residence of Mrs. L. L. Nelson. New officers were elected: Mrs. Marshall (Bessie Frankland) Harding-President, Mrs. Harvey (May Nelson) Plummer-Vice-President, Lillian (Smith) Frankland- Treasurer, L. L. (Eva Smith) Nelson- Secretary, Mrs. Ralph (Ruby) Stephenson-Corresponding Secretary.
Tickets were being sold for a quilt and work on a play had begun. The latest that I have on the club is for October 17, 1940.
It is in the home of Mrs. Harvey (May Nelson) Plummer and Mrs. E. A. (Ernest) (Viola E.) Plummer.
It was a wonderful wedding shower for Mrs. Morris Standley (Linnie Evelyn Stephenson) Standley.
I still have the "Bride's Book" with all the wonderful gifts listed in it.
Out of all three people listed in this report (on file at the Chambers County Museum at Wallisville) only two are still living-myself and my Aunt Lee (Revia) Nelson. (Lee died in 2018, six years after this interview was recorded.) She came to Smith Point from High Island in January 1936 when she married my Uncle Cornelius (Neal) Nelson.
I just turned 90-years-old on May 11 this year and I'm happy to report all of the wonderful memories.
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