1906 Panther City Parrot: “Look Out for Me, Look Out for Mine”

Polytechnic College (1891) published its first yearbook, the Panther City Parrot, in 1906. Polytechnic College would become Texas Woman’s College in 1914, Texas Wesleyan College in 1934, and Texas Wesleyan University in 1989.

PCP coverCollege students of 1906 were born about 1885-1888, when Grover Cleveland was president, and the U.S. flag had thirty-eight stars. By 1906 Teddy Roosevelt was president, and the flag had forty-five stars. In 1906 there were still enough surviving veterans of the Battle of San Jacinto for the men to hold their final reunion. In 1906 Polytechnic Heights had not yet incorporated. Poly’s population was less than 1,000. Fort Worth’s population was about 27,000.

When the 1906 college term began most Polytechnic students from out of town probably arrived via train or even by horse. Students who lived closer may have arrived by streetcar or interurban from Fort Worth or Dallas or Glenwood.

But their world was changing. Only three years earlier the Wright brothers had flown, Henry Ford had introduced the Model A.

pcp 1906 barney 4-28-06In fact, by 1906 America had flivver fever, and some Polytechnic College students might even have owned an automobile. In April daredevil autoist Barney Oldfield set a world auto speed record for two miles at Fort Worth’s driving park, averaging almost sixty miles per hour. A. B. Wharton, an early auto enthusiast, put up a $500 purse at the race. In 1904 Wharton, the man of the house at Thistle Hill, had opened Fort Worth’s first “auto livery,” selling and renting Winton, Columbia, Franklin, Hayes, and Elmore automobiles. Clip is from the April 28 Dallas Morning News.

pcp2 victor 8-20-07 dmnWhat might Polytechnic College students have read and listened to in 1906? Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and Mark Twain’s What Is Man? were published that year. Popular sheet music included “Keep on the Sunny Side” and “Dill Pickles Rag.” In 1906 the Victor Talking Machine Company introduced an internal-horn phonograph. The Victrola sold for a pricey $200 ($5,000 today). Popular recordings included “Wait ’Til the Sun Shines, Nellie” and “How’d You Like to Spoon With Me?” Clip is from the August 20, 1907 Dallas Morning News.

pcp2 freshman yellThe Polytechnic College freshman class yell was “Look out for me, look out for mine, we’ll be the Goods in 1909.” (Yearbook photos from Amon Carter Museum.)

pcp2 baseball teamThe baseball squad. At the Major League level in 1906 American League teams were Chicago White Sox, New York Highlanders, Cleveland Naps, Philadelphia Athletics, St. Louis Browns, Detroit Tigers, Washington Senators, and Boston Americans. National League teams were Chicago Cubs, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies, Brooklyn Superbas, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, and Boston Beaneaters.

pcp2 seniorsFour seniors.

pcp2 buildingsWomen’s and men’s dormitories. The students of 1906 would recognize only two buildings on campus today—the Boyd House (1895) and the Oneal-Sells Administration Building (1903).

pcp2 joveThe Order of Rejuvenated Sons of Jove was a national club of electricity enthusiasts with the motto “All together, all the time, for everything electrical.” It was formed in Austin in 1899.

pcp2 korosophian society pres secsOfficers of the Korosophian Literary Society. In the bottom photo, Leona Sensabaugh was daughter of Rev. Oscar F. Sensabaugh, presiding elder of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Fort Worth. In 1910 Leona would marry a fellow Polytechnic College graduate, Eric Muenter, aka “Frank Holt.” In 1915 Muenter would plant a time bomb that damaged the U.S. Capitol building, shoot financier J. P. Morgan Jr., and plant a time bomb on a ship carrying munitions to England.

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W. I. Cook Memorial Hospital: The Gift of Health

On January 29, 1929 W. I. Cook Memorial Hospital opened at 1212 West Lancaster Avenue.

cook to open 1-14-29 dmnThe fifty-five-bed hospital was a gift from Mrs. Missouri Matilda Nail Cook, who donated to the hospital oil royalties from the twenty thousand-acre Cook ranch near Albany. The hospital was named for her husband, William I. Cook, who had died in 1923. Wiley Clarkson designed the building. (The January 29 opening date is from the Cook Children’s Health Care Systems website.) Clip is from the January 14 Dallas Morning News.

cook mrs obit 3-19-32 dmnMrs. Cook died in 1932 and left much of her estate to the hospital. Clip is from the March 19 Dallas Morning News.

cook scott 4-30-10 stHere is a curio. Winfield Scott was one of Fort Worth’s richest men. In 1911 Scott bought the mansion we call “Thistle Hill” from the Whartons but died the same year.

In 1910 Scott—who was illiterate when he came to Texas—wrote this public letter to the Cooks of rural Albany, Texas. I don’t know how the Scotts and Cooks knew each other, but Scott and Cook were cattlemen, and Scott owned gins in Anson and Stamford in west Texas, not far from Albany in terms of Texas distance.

In the letter printed in the Star-Telegram on April 30 Scott describes an aeroplane he has bought and a planned trip that will take the Scott family and two “aeroplane chauffeurs” over the Cook ranch. Scott promises to “fire our machine gun when we pass you” “from 800 to 1,000 feet high.”

cook polio 7-17-52 dmnDuring the polio epidemic in 1952 the hospital was expanded to seventy-two beds, and hospital trustees renamed the facility “Cook Children’s Hospital.” On July 17 the Dallas Morning News reported that Fort Worth had sixty-two polio patients, most of them being treated at City-County Hospital (renamed for John Peter Smith in 1954).

In 1985 the Cook hospital merged with Fort Worth Children’s Hospital.

The building has been expanded (for example, two stories added to the entrance), but much of the original building remains. It now houses HealthSouth.

Some views of W. I. Cook Memorial Hospital:

cook wide entranceThe entrance is now three stories.

cook smithW. D. Smith photo from the 1940s from Fort Worth in Pictures.

cook side widecook side narrowcook pilastercook pilaster topcook healthsouthcook entrance tallcook entrance scallopcook door top sidecook detail 2cook detail 1cook babies bas-reliefcook angels bas-relief

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The Year Was 1930: Helpy-Selfy, Scarface, and Poindexter

The year was 1930. Gandhi led a march of two hundred miles to the Arabian Sea with seventy-eight disciples to protest England’s monopoly on salt in colonial India. Hostess Twinkies were invented. The Motion Picture Production Code (Hays Code) began its imposition of guidelines on the depiction of sex, violence, crime, and religion in movies for the next forty years. Warner Bros. released its first cartoon series, Looney Tunes, which ran until 1969. Sean Connery was born; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle died. And readers of Fort Worth newspapers read these ads and articles:

1930 poindextersJust forty-five cents down would get you this $4.95 ($68 today) table lamp at Poindexter Furniture and Carpet on Throckmorton at 5th Street downtown.

But there is history in this ad.

1930 poindexters postcardThe building that housed Poindexter’s in 1930 was built in 1914 as the Chamber of Commerce auditorium.

1930 poindexter pader 12-28-13The chamber of commerce built the building to host conventions, musical and theatrical productions, and other public events. In 1921 a  national KKK official addressed an audience there. On December 28, 1913 the Star-Telegram announced that pianist Ignacy Paderewski, violinist Maud Powell, and opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini would perform.

1930 poindexters 1-22-14 to open On January 22, 1914 the Star-Telegram printed a full page on the new building and the people who made it possible. The building was designed by Sanguinet and Staats.

1930 poindexters 1-22-14 photoClip is from the January 22, 1914 Star-Telegram.

1930 poindexters grand opening ad 1-23-14The building opened on January 23, 1914. Clip is from the Star-Telegram.

The next day, after J. Frank Norris was acquitted of arson, a victory rally was held in the new auditorium.

In later years the building was modified for commercial use and lost its auditorium and elevated three-arch entrance. In the 1950s the building housed Phoenix Furniture Store. In the 1960s it housed the Lord’s Supper display. In the 1970s Fort Worth National Bank replaced this magnificent building with magnificent parking lot.

1930 poindexters chamber from airNext door the home of First Christian Church, Fort Worth’s oldest congregation (1855), survives.

1930 poindexter FCC old 1907The current First Christian Church building (opened 1916) replaced this one depicted in Greater Fort Worth, 1907.

theaters 3The Tivoli on Magnolia Avenue had Clara Bow in “a merry mixup of matrimonial errors”; the Majestic had sixty talented Fort Worth youngsters; the Worth had Kay Francis, “the screen’s best dressed woman.”

1930 atwaterIn 1930 a console radio was a piece of furniture. Atwater Kent advertised two models for $109 and $121 (less tubes). That’s $1,500-$1,650 today.

1930 helpyIn 1930 Fort Worth had seventeen Helpy-Selfy stores offering “free Yellow cab service Saturday.”

1930 helpt 9-15-29 dmnJack Long had begun the chain of stores in the 1920s and sold franchises. A few of the Helpy-Selfy buildings survive. Clip is from the September 15, 1929 Dallas Morning News.

1930 cities service stationA Cities Service gas station opened April 19 on Park Hill Drive (not Park Place Boulevard) at Lubbock Avenue. Cities Service became Citgo.

1930 parkhill stationThe building today houses Parkhill’s Jewelry & Gifts.

1930 caponeProminent Chicago businessman Alphonse Capone was named treasurer as a merger was announced among competitors in the South Side adult beverage industry.

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The Year Was 1947: Scooters, Shooters, and Baby Buggies

The year was 1947. Inventor Edwin Land demonstrated the first “instant camera,” his Polaroid Land Camera. A GI imported America’s first Volkswagen: He had bought the 1946 VW from an Army PX in Germany and shipped it to New York. The movie Best Years of Our Lives won the Oscar for best picture. Don Henley, Don Felder, and Joe Walsh were born. Al Capone and Bugsy Siegel died. And readers of Fort Worth newspapers read these ads and articles:

1947 deltaYou could buy your Delta ticket in the Texas Hotel and wing it—from Fort Worth’s Meacham Field—to Miami for $60.75.

1947 meacham aerialMeacham Field in the 1940s. (Ritchey Flying Service photo from Fort Worth in Pictures.)

main american airways 1933Detail of the 1933 American Airways (later “American Airlines”) building (upper-right corner in aerial photo) at Meacham Field.

1947 greyhoundOr you could dog it to LA for $26.15.

1947 bairdsBaird’s bakery made angel food cake.

1947 baird summitAnd heaven was located on Summit Avenue. Baird’s had moved from 1410 West Terrell to Summit about 1946. (Smith photo from Fort Worth in Pictures.)

1947 baby shoes“Beauty, Utility, Sentiment”: If I interpret this ad correctly, the Infants’ Department of Monnig’s Department Store would Perma-Plate a pair of baby shoes and mount them with an ashtray as a gift for Mom on Mother’s Day. $10.50. Cigar not included.

ebay shoesNot trusting my interpretation, I did some research. The baby shoes-ashtray combo—the ne plus ultra of home décor, I think you will agree—was not uncommon in mid-twentieth century. (And thus may explain the low test scores of my generation.) This one is for sale on eBay. Fair warning: I will not be outbid.

1947 monnig housesMonnig brothers William (1866-1947) and George (1869-1919) had begun their dry goods company in 1889. The homes of William Monnig (as in the school) on Leuda Street (1905) and of George Monnig on Broadway Avenue (1910) still stand. The 1910 house replaced a house lost in the South Side fire of 1909. Note the hitching post.

1947 anderson 1877Andre Jorgensen Anderson had been dead three years in 1947, but his store lived on. Anderson, born in Norway, had opened his first store in Fort Worth in 1877. In 1884 he helped Timothy Isaiah “Longhaired Jim” Courtright escape from the lawmen who were going to take Courtright back to New Mexico to stand trial.

1947 striplingFull-page ad by W. C. Stripling (as in the school) in the Fort Worth Press.

1947 boswell cushman johnsonA three-fer: 1. Boswell Dairies brought milk (including chocolate milk!) to your front door. Boswell Dairies began about 1924 on the farm of W. E. Boswell (as in the school) near Saginaw. His wife Margie Belle was a noted poet. 2. Many a kid yearned for a Cushman scooter. 3. And Fort Worth civic leader J. Lee Johnson Jr. (mentioned in that snippet of news) was the son of the widow of gunfighter Clay Allison.

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“Number, Please.” “9,800 and Growing.”

Fort Worth got its first telephones about 1880. A single switchboard, a handful of “hello girls,” and phone numbers of first one digit and then two and three and four digits served the city for thirty years.

But during those thirty years Fort Worth’s population exploded. In fact, in 1900 Fort Worth’s population was just 26,688. By 1910 the population was 73,312, an increase of almost threefold. Much of that increase came in 1909 when Fort Worth annexed the city of North Fort Worth, which had boomed after the packing plants began operation in 1903. The increase in the number of phones in Fort Worth was almost ninefold, from 1,116 in 1900 to 9,800 in 1910. Thus, in 1900 one person in twenty-three had a telephone; by 1910 one person in seven had a telephone.

exchanges phone exchanges 1-23-10In fact, it was in large part due to the population boom on the former city of North Fort Worth that Southwestern Telegraph and Telephone Company in 1910 had to make some changes. A single switchboard could handle only so many phone numbers. So, on January 23 the Star-Telegram announced that, beginning on January 29, to place a call a caller would have to specify to the operator whether the number desired was in the Lamar exchange or the Prospect exchange. The Prospect exchange was added to serve the North Side. The original exchange that had served all of the city became the “Lamar” exchange to distinguish it from the Prospect exchange. And the news story said that soon a third exchange—Rosedale—would be opened for the South Side.

exchanges ad 1-28-10 3Clip is from January 28.

exchanges cobden 8-8-9On August 8, 1909 the Star-Telegram ran this photo of the new Cobden Building on North Main, which would house the new Prospect exchange in 1910.

exchange PR wideexchange PR cornerThe Cobden Building today at 2027 North Main Street.

exchanges prospect open house 3-23-10The phone company held an open house for the new exchange on March 24, 1910. Clip is from the March 23 Star-Telegram.

exchanges party lines 1-29-10On January 29 the Star-Telegram reported that the new phone system would change the nature of telephone party lines. Now, instead of each phone on a party line being assigned a different number of rings, each phone would be assigned a letter. Also, “only the phone of the party wanted”—not all the phones on the party line—“will ring.”

The story also said that bids would be taken for construction of the third exchange building (Rosedale) on Jennings Avenue.

exchanges rosedale building 4-7-10 dmnIndeed, on April 7 the Dallas Morning News reported the progress of construction of the $40,000 ($985,000 today) Rosedale exchange building.

exchanges rosedale photo 10-2-10On October 2 the Star-Telegram printed a photo of the new Rosedale exchange building.

exchanges rosedale to open 12-31-10On December 31, 1910 the Star-Telegram announced that the Rosedale exchange would begin operation with thirty “hello” girls.

exchange RO wideexchange RO detailThe Rosedale exchange building today.

exchanges trouble 1-7-11Predictably, there were growing pains as callers adjusted to having to specify one of not two but now three exchanges when they placed a call with an operator. Clip is from the January 7, 1911 Star-Telegram.

txu-sanborn-fort_worth-1910-05In 1910 the phone company was located where it is located today: on Throckmorton at West 10th Street near Peter Smith Park and St. Patrick Cathedral. Top photo is from Greater Fort Worth (1907).
Other surviving telephone exchange buildings:

exchange JE wideexchange JE cornerentry exchange JE

exchange JE entranceJEfferson on Avenue G (1927) on the East Side.

exchange PE wideexchange PE detail 2

exchange PE lampexchange PE entranceexchange PE detail 3PErshing on Pershing Avenue (1930) on the West Side.

exchange WA wideexchange WA detailWAlnut on West Bowie Street (1931) on the South Side.

exchange MA wide2

exchange MA entranceexchange MA bas reliefexchange MA windowexchange MA window 2MArket on Chestnut Avenue (1931) on the North Side.

Note the art deco detailing of the three exchanges built in the early 1930s.

exchange VA wideexchange VA floretexchange VA windowsVAlley on Eagle Drive (1946) in Haltom City.

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Triple Treat From James Black Davies Sr.

On January 18, 1966 architect James Black Davies Sr. died. He was born in 1891. Although not as well known as Sanguinet and Staats, Clarkson, Hedrick, and the Weinmans, Davies nonetheless left us with some handsome buildings, including these three:

building magnolia center 1925The South Side Masonic lodge building on Magnolia Street was built in 1925. The Masons occupied the upper floors and rented the first floor. The original first-floor tenant was Harveson and Cole funeral home.

davies magnolia window davies magnolia inside 2

building magnolia inside 1

look up magnoliaSee the Masonic emblem on the awning?

door handle magnolia And on this door handle escutcheon.

For more on this building: Overlooked Architecture in the Groan Zone

Other former lodge halls: Cowtown Yoostabes: Welcome to the Hall, Y’all

davies south side bankThe La Cava Building (1927) on Hemphill Street at Magnolia Street, built by W. B. La Cava, originally housed a drugstore.

look up south side bankIn 1931, when art deco architecture was popular, Davies designed the Western Union Building on Main Street at 3rd:

davies western union wide Like the Sinclair Building and the Blackstone Hotel, the Western Union Building is one of Fort Worth’s art deco gems.

davies western union cornerdavies western union entry

davies western union detail 1

davies tombJames Black Davies Sr. is buried in Oakwood Cemetery.

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John C. Duval: Last Man Standing

On January 16, 1897 readers of the Fort Worth Register read that one of the most remarkable lives in early Texas history had ended in Fort Worth the previous night.

John Crittenden Duval was the last survivor of the Goliad Massacre.

duval 1-16-97 regDuval was born in Kentucky in 1816. In 1835 he left college to join a company of soldiers organized by his brother, Burr H. Duval, to help Texas in its fight for independence from Mexico. The two brothers were with Colonel James Fannin’s army when it surrendered at the Battle of Coleto after being outmatched by the Mexican forces on March 20, 1836. Fannin had surrendered with the understanding that his men would be considered prisoners of war, given medical attention, and eventually “paroled” to the United States.

Fannin and his men were marched to Goliad—which Fannin had previously occupied—and imprisoned in the chapel of the fort.

Then came March 27—Palm Sunday. The Alamo had fallen three weeks earlier. Sam Houston’s victory at San Jacinto was still three weeks in the future.

But Fannin and more than three hundred of his men would have no future.

At sunrise Mexican soldiers marched those prisoners who could walk out to the road and shot them. Those prisoners who could not walk and who had remained at the fort of Goliad—including Fannin—also were executed. By one estimate 342 men were killed. Only twenty-eight men escaped. Another twenty men who had some useful skill were spared largely because of the entreaties of Francita Alavez, who has become known in Texas history as the “Angel of Goliad.”

On that Palm Sunday Burr Duval was among the 342.

But John Duval was among the twenty-eight.

He wrote of his escape in his Early Times in Texas or, the Adventures of Jack Dobell (1892). Here is an excerpt:

On the morning of the 27th of March, a Mexican officer came to us, and ordered us to get ready for a march. He told us we were to be liberated on “parole,” and that arrangements had been made to send us to New Orleans on board of vessels then at Copano. . . . When all was ready we were formed into three divisions and marched out under a strong guard . . . When about a mile above town, a halt was made and the guard on the side next the river filed around to the opposite side. Hardly had this maneuver been executed, when I heard a heavy firing of musketry in the directions taken by the other two divisions.

Some one near me exclaimed “Boys! they are going to shoot us!” and at the same instant I heard the clicking of musket locks all along the Mexican line. I turned to look, and as I did so, the Mexicans fired upon us, killing probably one hundred out of the one hundred and fifty men in the division. We were in the double file and I was in the rear rank. The man in front of me was shot dead, and in falling he knocked me down. I didn’t get up for a minute, and when I rose to my feet, I found that the whole Mexican line had charged over me, and were in hot pursuit of those who had not been shot and who were fleeing towards the river about five hundred yards distant. I followed on after them, for I knew that escape in any direction (all open prairie) would be impossible, and I had nearly reached the river before it became necessary to make my way through the Mexican line ahead. . . . I hastened to the bank of the river and plunged in. The river at that point was deep and swift, but not wide, and being a good swimmer, I soon gained the opposite bank, untouched by any of the bullets that were pattering in the water around my head. . . . I continued to swim down the river until I came to where a grape vine hung from the bough of a leaning tree nearly to the surface of the water. This I caught hold of and was climbing up it hand over hand, sailor fashion, when a Mexican on the opposite bank fired at me with his escopeta, and with so true an aim, that he cut the vine in two just above my head, and down I came into the water again. I then swam on about a hundred yards further, when I came to a place where the bank was not quite so steep, and with some difficulty I managed to clamber up.

The river on the north side was bordered by timber several hundred yards in width, through which I quickly passed and I was just about to leave it and strike out into the open prairie, when I discovered a party of lancers nearly in front of me, sitting on their horses, evidently stationed there to intercept any one who should attempt to escape in that direction. I halted at once under the cover of the timber, through which I could see the lancers in the open prairie, but which hid me entirely from their view. 

Duval then came across two other escapees, and the three men encountered yet more threats to their lives:

We traveled about five or six miles and stopped in a thick grove to rest ourselves, where we staid until night. All day long we heard at intervals irregular discharges of musketry in the distance, indicating, as we supposed, where fugitives from the massacre were overtaken and shot by the pursuing parties of Mexicans. . . . In talking the matter over and reflecting upon the many narrow risks we had run in making our escape, we came to the conclusion that in all probability we were the only survivors of the hundreds who had that morning been led out to slaughter; although in fact as we subsequently learned, twenty-five or thirty of our men eventually reached the settlements on the Brazos.

raleigh optimisticIn this age of instant news updates, it is difficult to conceive of how slowly news traveled in 1836. The Raleigh Standard of April 7 not only was not yet aware of the massacre but also was optimistic that Urrea was no match for Fannin and “the Texian forces.”

duval rumor may 6 ohioEven by May 6 the Carroll Free Press (Ohio) had not confirmed the massacre.

duval 1836 listOn November 9, 1836 the Telegraph and Texas Register of Columbia listed the men who were killed, spared, or escaped at Goliad. This clip includes the Duval brothers. Asterisks indicate the men who escaped.

See the name “R. R. Rainey”? That surely is R. R. Ramey, who died fighting with Fannin. For Ramey’s service, his heirs were given a tract of land in what became the Englewood Heights addition in south Poly. More on the history of the R. R. Ramey tract.

duval escape 3-29-36 dmnOn the centennial of the massacre, the Dallas Morning News printed a retelling of Duval’s escape. Clip is from March 29, 1936.

After his escape from Goliad Duval went back east and studied engineering at the University of Virginia. But he returned to Texas by 1840 and became a surveyor. Then came the Mexican-American War (1846-1848). Duval fought under Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott (not “our” Winfield Scott). Then he served with two more Texas legends—William A. “Bigfoot” Wallace and John C. Hays—as a Texas Ranger. (Wallace had lost a brother and a cousin at Goliad.)

Then came the Civil War, and Duval joined the Confederate Army to fight in his third war in twenty-six years. He was forty-five years old.

Then the man who had seen so many die by the sword began to live by the pen.

duval 1880 censusDuval was at home being alone and at home being outdoors. As he worked as a surveyor of frontier territory, he began to write about his life, recalling remarkable people and remarkable events. Clip is from the Las Animas County, Colorado 1880 census.

Texas folklorist J. Frank Dobie, who wrote a biography of Duval (John C. Duval: First Texas Man of Letters, 1939), called him the “father of Texas literature.”

duval dobie first texas manAn excerpt from Dobie’s John C. Duval: First Texas Man of Letters.

In addition to Early Times in Texas, Duval wrote The Adventures of Big-Foot Wallace, the Texas Ranger and Hunter (1870) and The Young Explorers (1890s), a sequel to Early Times in Texas.

duval big footAn excerpt from The Adventures of Big-Foot Wallace.

duval in town 4-12-91 gazWallace and Duval were in Fort Worth in 1891. Clip is from the April 12 Gazette.

duval senate 1-21 dmn 2After Duval’s death on January 15, 1897 the Texas Senate passed a resolution honoring him. Clip is from the January 21 Dallas Morning News.

duval graveJohn Crittenden Duval is buried in Austin’s Oakwood Cemetery. Another brother, Thomas Howard, was a federal judge in Texas. Duval County is named for the three brothers, according to the Texas State Historical Association.

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