Rockdale,TX Class of 1965
1935-1936 Lair
Yearbook of the Rockdale, TX RHS Class of 1936

Surveying was begun for the entrance of the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad into Rockdale in the early nineties. The track was completed in 1893. and the first train was run into town, with A. J. Bashaw as first agent. L. A. Baxter is present agent. In 1926 the S. A. & A. P. was consolidated with the Southern Pacific Lines, but remains the "Sap" railroad to old patrons.
Druggists of the early days were George P. Winder,  C. C. Howell,  Isaacs and Lockett,  W. R. Kennard,  Giesekea and Hodge,  W. E. Douthit,  Clark and Perry.  H. O. QUEBE and BALDR1DGE AND PREWITT are the two splendid, modern drug stores Rockdale possesses today.

The late Mrs. E. S. Loper was millinery artist for thirty-five years, selling out about twenty years ago to another pioneer artist, the present Mrs. Dora Poole. Mrs. Loper also had a dressmaking establishment and carried the famous old style magazines, Godey's Lady's Book and Demoresi's Magazine, devoted "to the Artistic, the Useful, and the Beautiful."

John Scott was the veteran photographer of Rockdale, a real artist in his line. He was considered one of the best in this part of the country. He was succeeded by the McClintock Studio with Miss Lulu McClintock in charge. These two are about the only photographers Rockdale has ever claimed for any length of time.

Vogel was the pioneer jeweler, and H. Bland and Son owned the first Jewelry and Bookstore. These were succeeded by James H. Hill,  B. L. Douthit, and B. Regenbrecht.

Hughton and Robinson,  A. E. Fullenwider,  W. H. Richardson,  H, Lockwood, and W. D. Bagley were the first lumbermen, and are today succeeded by Wm. Cameron & Company and Turner Lumber Company.
History of Rockdale, TX - 1936 RHS Lair
Page 11
W. L, Lutner and Joseph Hooks were the first blacksmiths in Rockdale, and for many years ran their places in the same old stand, was finally sold to Louis Diehl, who continued at the same place until the property was finally sold to make way for the modern brick garage owned by W. P. Henry.

Max Ferrari today controls the longest established confectionery business in Rockdale. It was operated for many years by his late father, E. Ferrari.

Citizens must have lawyers to get out of legal entanglement, and Rockdale has been blessed with many a "skilled exponent of the Mosaic law." Among the first lawyers were James Breeding,  Harry Tracy,  Judge Fred Hill,  Major Wm. M. McGregor, Long,  Guy Hinman,   Ben Bonart,  John Absher,  Kilpatrick and Kimbrough,  A. G. Wilcox,  J. S. Perry (state senator),  Dr, A. C. Isaacs' (representative),  Henry Cone,  E. L. Antony (congressman),  N. H. Tracy (state representative), and later W. A. Morrison,  Eugene Wallace,  W. K. Clement,  J. W. Garner,  E. A. Camp, and Ed Gunn.

Among the early physicians who ministered to the ailments of the people were Dr. Connoly,  David W. Broadnax,  P. A. Horton, T. E. Riddle,  W. A. Brooks,  W. R. Kennard,  Milton Antony,  J. E. Douthit,  George Prewitt,  A. C. Isaacs,  E. H. Gray,  R. S. Wallis,  D. R. Wallis,  Q. C. Wallis, and A. C. Walker, who became noted surgeon of the Protestant Sanitarium of Fort Worth. These were, one by one, succeeded by I. P. Sessions,  H. T. Coulter,  R. W. Wallis.  T. S. Barkley, and lately B. E. Laurie.

T. J. Avirett,  Hunter Alexander,  J. W. Allen, followed by G. B. Renfrew,  P. E. Berndt,  George B. Kincaid, and E. A. Swafford, were the popular dentists.

Rockdale is justly proud of her hardware and furniture stores. The J. F. Coffield Hardware and Furniture Store occupies the same location at which the late J. F. and C. H. Coffield had established business in the early eighties. The Henne and Meyer Company, that had been in business for the past forty years, was succeeded by E. M. Peeples and Sons in 1933.

Phillips and Luckey, Undertakers, long-time associates of the Henne and Meyer Company, have recently completed a handsome funeral home, the first in Rockdale. They purchased and remodeled the former J. Sid Hudson home, built in 1893, on East Bell and Burleson Streets.

Max and the jovial Pat Reilley were the pioneer bakers, followed by J. A. Stein, who had been in business for thirty-five years, when he was succeeded by his son, Otto.

Solon Joynes, commission merchant, weighed and shipped the first bale of cotton out of Rockdale. Other buyers were B. B. Baxter,  W. A. Estes,  J. H. Sparkman.  Leo Strelsky,  Valentine and Arnold,  W. T. Coffield,  Bryan Heard and J. W. Perry.

The Noack Abattoir, erected on the old D. H. Hunt homestead west of the city, is the only one in this territory.

Among other names who helped make Rockdale of today possible are; The Ackerman Dry Goods Company,  Baum and Crohn,  A. Kaiser,  H. Goldstkker,  John G, Brown,  Max Blum,  Leo Strelsky,  John N. and Fayette Redding.  Berry Loper,  E. S. Loper, Hyman Block.  A. Young,  Valentine and Arnold,  Solon Joynes,  Coffield and Dunnington,  J. S. Walden,  Isaacs and Lockett,  L. Box,  W. A. Estes,  J. M. Ousley,  B. B. Baxter,  J. R. Rowland,  Richard Ames.  John Randle,  John Lyons,  Woody and Berry,  W. A. Gentry,  L. J. Porter.  Cyrus Edwards,  A Wolfson,  H. & L. Hudson,  T. B. Kemp,  George B. Randle,  John Dunnington,  W. C. Wright.  Joe  Hawkins,  Hamblen and Porter,  August Schaffer,  James Wicks,  Tom  Hudson,  J. Sid Hudson,  Dan and  Hyman Lasker,  N. H. and Harry Tracy,  Joe Sitman,   James H. Hill,   Standifer,  Robert, Steve, and John Wilson,  C. A. Duffy,  Jake Pettyjohn,  Fred and George Graves,  Cebe Houghton,  W. H. Bagley,  Henry McGowan,  Tap York, John York,  D. C. York,  J. B. Hamilton,  James and W. P. Branch,  Vineyard,  Perry Hale,  El Smith,  J. P. Linn,  T. F. and D. P. Hewitt,  Abe Steinberg,  C. E. Wynne,  W. H. Marshall,  Frank Allen,  A. Wolf,  J. R. Arthur,  T. M. Freeman,  John Freeman, Sparkman and Lee,  Busby.  Chas. Reed,  Tom Reed,  Arthur Collins,  Thomas Prewitt,  J.  E.  Longmoor,  W.  M.  Ferguson,  F. C. Kinney,  B. T. Middleton,  Chas. Heidenerich,  W. F. Jones,  Max Ross,  C.K. Robinson, Theo. Schirmacher,  Max Winterberg. Kincaid. Fowzer, T. H. Paul,  Dave Harris and sons,  Clark and Wells,  C. K. and Cleve Stribling,  D. W. Broadnax,  J. P. Kevil, A. P. Perry,  M. S. Riglander,  John  Fears,  Moffitt and Hefley,  P. Sass,  Leach Grocery,  A. H. Gladdish,  Rasberry,  Stevens, McCalla,  Sprott,  Wallis,  Turner,  Clark,  Dudley,  Rice,  Worley,   Beathea,  Simms,  Arnett,  Armstrong,  Millican,  Sherar, Hillyer,  Williams.  Wash Wilson,  Davis,  Shappard,  Foster,  McGuyer,  Rexford Wells,  W. M. Wells,  Hall,  Baines,  Douglass,  Orr,  Turnham,  Aldridge, Tom Williams,  J. C.  McCawley,  J. S. Bonner,  Minor H. Brown,  Bernard Gary,  George Vandeventer,  John  Cole,  Frank Block,  Eads,   Castleberry,  Dan Wooten,  J. J. Hairston,  A. J. Bell,  Kennard,  Harvey,  Beck,  Lewis,  Evans,  Vogel,  Henry,  Lockwood,  C. H. and J. F. Coffield, W. E. Copeland, J. H. Stribling, and Frank Hubert.

There are about one hundred and ten businesses in Rockdale, including the ones mentioned, and in addition an ice factory, electric oil mill, several cotton gins, an up-to-date moving picture theatre, confectioneries, cafes, a bakery, modern grocery stores, and any number of small businesses, together with many modern gasoline filling stations, representing the various major oil companies.

The Rockdale mines are said to be among the largest in the United States. These mines have been operated for over forty years, and many a ton cf lignite has been shipped from here to all parts of the State. At one time there were five shaft mines and one strip pit.

The Rockdale-Minerva oil field created a great deal of excitement in 1920, and extended operations to within sight of the city. At times excitement dies down, only to be stirred up again with the drilling of another test. A few undaunted citizens are still hopeful of an oil boom in the future, when Rockdale will be put on the map forever.

The Rockdale Volunteer Fire Department is composed of sturdy citizens, who boast of having one of the most complete engines and fire-fighting apparatus in the State. Recently during the disastrous Scarbrough & Hicks Company fire, when that firm was completely destroyed, two young Rockdale men, John W. Hooper and Wilbur Williams, lost their lives. Their heroic deaths will be permanently commemorated by the opening of a park to be known as the Hooper-Williams Fireman's Memorial Park. This park will be located on two acres of ground west of the waterworks property on Highway 44.

The Rockdale Fair was organized in 1908, and ran successfully for a number of years. At one time it was considered the third largest fair in Texas, and was the pride of every citizen in and near Rockdale. The association was incorporated and owned a park of thirty acres, covered by hundreds of immense oaks. Large and attractive exhibition buildings, grandstands, barns, and stalls dotted the grounds in attractive arrangement. In 1911 H. C. Meyer was President: John Hicks, Vice-President; A. P. Perry Jr., Secretary: R. L. Hale, Treasurer; with George Banzaph, L. Isaacs, O. K. Phillips, S. G. Hodge, J. F. Coffield, Jr., and W. E. Gaither as board of directors. In later years lack of interest, financial loss and "hard times" caused the Fair to lose out. The park is now used by the American Legion for Fourth of July celebrations and other entertainments.

Rockdale Main Street, July 4, 1916
History of Rockdale, TX - 1936 RHS Lair
Page 12
The City Hall was built in 1895 during the time that B. A. Coffield was mayor, with J. G. Brown, O. A. Bowen, Lee Wallace, and E. L. Rasberry as councilmen. E. A. Wallace was city attorney; L. Isaacs, secretary-treasurer; J. B. Hamilton, marshal; and J. H. Burnett, tax assessor. At that time it was large enough to accommodate the crowds who assembled in the auditorium for social gatherings, school commencements, and political meetings; but of late years the building has lost its former splendor, and is now used only for athletic purposes and a few high school dances. These affairs will soon be held in the new auditorium being constructed on the high school campus, and the City Hall will have served its purpose. The tax collector's office and the fire department are housed on the lower floor.
Ever since Rockdale has been incorporated, it has had some strong, able men as mayors, the first of these being Alfred A. Burck, who in turn was followed by Hugh L. Witcher, W. E. Copeland, E. M. Scarbrough, Dr. W. R. Kennard, J. S. Perry, B. A. Coffield, J. E. Longmoor, H. F. Snively, C. H. Coffield, H. C. Meyer, W. E. Gaither, and E. A. Camp, the present, very efficient head of the town. Mr. H. C. Meyer, now with the State Board of Control, heads the list with more years of service, having served faithfully and well for over twenty years. Mr. Meyer was justly called the father of good roads in this section of the country, and had much to do with improvement of highways and byways in this trade territory.

Leonard Isaacs was city secretary for thirty years, and was succeeded by J. Frank McCalla, who served next in length of time as city tax collector and treasurer. E. T. Kemp, city secretary and treasurer, was succeeded by J. Branch Lewis, the present incumbent.

Judge Fred Hill served as first justice of the peace, and was followed by W. D. Wells, R. W. H. Kennon, Ed Gunn, Roy Hillyer, and the present incumbent, Leo Harris.

Officers of the law included J. E. Holtzclaw, C. C. Bethea, John R. Arthur, Howard, Eb Aldridge, N. J. Alford, and John H. Bonds, who held that place for many years. At present W. C. Colvin and Night Watchman C. H. Landis look after the welfare and safety of the town.

Uncle Sam has appointed some valuable men to look after the postal department in Rockdale, one of the earliest postmasters being Donneke; then came H. C. Travers, W, B. Woody, Hugh L. Witcher, E. J. M. Hopkins, B. Lowenstein Sr, J. A. Shappard, H. P. Talley, E. L Wade, and the present incumbent, H. H. Turner.

In the early days of Rockdale private cisterns or tank cisterns furnished water for the town, and there were a few wells for home use, but these were mostly spoiled on account of minerals. Lamps were the order of the day - Mr. R, H. Ames owned the first electric light plant and later sold to Lenard Isaacs, who owned the light and water works for a number of years. The city later purchased the water works and improved it until today Rockdale has two of the deepest, finest wells with underground and tower reservoirs of 110,000 gallons capacity. The Texas Power and Light Company furnishes power and electric light from three high voltage lines, which insures uninterČrupted service to its customers. The Southwestern Bell Telephone system dots the land, and the Western Union Telegraph Company maintains an uptown office besides tower service.

The latest convenience that was acquired in the town was natural gas piped in by the Community Gas Company of Dallas. Construction began May 1, 1928. and the piping of the city being completed, gas was pumped into the mains on September 5, 1928.

The paving program was completed in September, 1929, and Rockdale now has more than six miles of concrete paved streets with uniform curbs to match. covering the entire business district and a major portion of the residential districts. The Rockdale of today presents a beautiful picture with streets lined with magnificent trees, lovely and substantial homes with green lawns and well-kept shrubs and flowers greet the eyes on every side.  In the last few years a number of fine brick homes have been constructed.

Churches have not been mentioned so far, but Rockdale has some lovely church edifices, of which the citizens are justly proud. After the people became permanently -settled in homes and businesses and felt established, they then turned to the building of comfortable homes of worship, but the work in each field preceded the building. All evangelical denominations were represented in the early days of Rockdale, and the first church service was held over W. P. Branch's dry goods store. It was a bare room, the rafters covered with dust and spiderwebs. Boards across empty beer kegs served as seats; singing was led by Mr. Jack Stewart, with his tuning fork and choir of singing school pupils.  Mr. Vandivere, a Baptist preacher, conducted services. Most of the services were conducted in the old Presbyterian church, known as the Union Church Building.  Rev. W. E. Copeland, living in Washington County at that time, made monthly trips to Rockdale to minister to his little flock.  Rev. Copeland was born in Scotland, came to Texas in 1858, and as early as 1874 came to Rockdale,  In 1880 he moved with his family here and supplied the pulpit from year to year until his resignation a few years before his death. He lived to become pastor of the handsome new building that stands on the grounds of the First Union Church, which was erected under his guidance and dedicated with elaborate ceremonies on April 19, 1914, with the united clergy and throngs of people assembled to witness the dedication.

Other active ministers of the early days were the Rev. B. B. Baxter, who was a passenger on the first incoming train and who helped to organize the First Baptist Church: Rev. Beasley of the Methodist Church; and the Rev. Edwin Wiggins of the Episcopal Church. Two outstanding ministers, the Rev, James H. Stribling and the Rev. George Baines. served as pastors of the Baptist Church. The first revival of any note was held by the great evangelist, Major Win. E. Penn, who, together with his singer, Mr. Parker, captured the town. The historic Penn Camp Ground at San Gabriel was a favorite meeting place for those of all creeds.

Some years after the old Presbyterian Church was built,  St. Thomas Episcopal Church was erected on property where the old Solon Joynes home stood. This home was destroyed by fire and Mr. Joynes gave the lot to the church. Then followed the Baptist, the Methodist, and last the Christian Churches.  St.  Joseph's Catholic Church was erected on a lot donated by Leopold A. Strelsky Sr., who, with his family, had located in 1870 on a farm some three miles north of Rockdale. The Lutheran Church was established some years later. All have ample and handsome edifices, good choirs, Home and Mission Societies, and good Sunday Schools, and the pulpits are supplied by able, good, and intelligent ministers.

We could not add finis to this bit of history of Rockdale without saying something about its social life. In the old days the Mundine Hotel became known far and near and was the social center for newer Rockdale.  A social club was organized by the young men and brilliant affairs were given. The officers were H. C. Travers, president;  Minor H. Brown, secretary, with the assisting committee being composed of J. E. Longmoor,  Homer Eads,  L. H. Porter,  Frank Block,  Isaac Crown,  Leo Wolfson, Phil Dunnington and others.  In June, 1882,  Dr. and Mrs. Brooks of the Mundine celebrated their silver wedding anniversary and the reception was conceded to be the most brilliant in the history of Rockdale. The old Mason Hall, and later the Randle Opera House were other centers of social gatherings. No set forms were observed and entire families would attend these delightful entertainments. The town was full of young married people. The old Presbyterian Church which served all denominations was a gathering place for the young folk on Sunday afternoons.  Rockdale is today represented by lodges and women's circles,  benevolent associations and the patriotic organizations of Camp Sam Davis No. 1169, U. D. C. Chapter and American Legion Carlisle Post No. 358.

And so we say farewell to the past and look with hopes to the future of a greater, bigger and more successful Rockdale.
Home of Mr. and Mrs. T. B. Ryan
Home of Mr. and  Mrs. Eddie Noack
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Rockdale, TX Main Street, July 4, 1916
1936 home of Mr and Mrs T. B. Ryan, Rockdale, TX
1936 Home of Mr and Mrs Eddie Noack, Rockdale, TX