Category Archives: Texas History



1922 – 2005


            I moved to Lockhart in late 1981. Soon I started hearing about a fellow named Spike Strawn. He and his son Fla owned S&S Fertilizer with an office in a small building on Highway 183 about where the McDonald’s is now. S&S also had a crop-dusting service. Word was that you didn’t want to get crosswise with Spike, as he was someone who didn’t put up with a lot of guff or suffer fools lightly. He was a proud United States Marine who’d fought for our country during World War II, and his training, background, and combat experience made him a fearsome adversary.

When I finally met Spike, I concluded that everything I’d heard was true. Rawboned, tough as shoe leather, and plain spoken to be sure. But there was another side to Spike Strawn. He wasn’t some caricature. He was complex, highly intelligent, often thoughtful man. Sure, he’d let you know when he thought your thinking wasn’t on course. But he was a loving father and grandfather, a raconteur, and, if he decided you were okay, your best friend.

In short, Spike was a living, breathing example of someone whose family had survived the Great Depression, who went through four major island landings in the Pacific against America’s most ferocious and merciless foe, and who’d proved to himself and others that he had what it took. Spike had grit.

Cecil DeFla “Spike” Strawn was born on 4 January 1922 in Lytton Springs, Texas, the third of eight children of Littleton Lawson “Dill” Strawn and Beatrice Lillie (Ward) Strawn. Besides farming, Dill did whatever it took to put food on the family’s table. Dill was a gifted mechanic and could fabricate parts for just about anything. When he wasn’t farming, he worked for various oil companies in the area. Dill also played semi-pro baseball for company teams. Beatrice took care of the growing family. She gardened, canned, cooked, and ensured that Jenella, Helen Louise, Spike, Doyle Ray, Marjorie, Juanita, Herschel and Pat were clothed and clean. The 20s and 30s were lean times, and everyone in the family was expected to contribute to keeping food on the family table.

Schooling started in Lytton Springs. The place had become an oil boom town in the mid-1920s. At that time, it boasted four grocery stores, a confectionary, a barbershop, and Masonic Lodge, as well as several churches. Life was precarious. Spike would often walk to school, sometimes barefoot, even in the winter. In the second grade, he contracted pneumonia and stayed in bed for almost two months. There were no antibiotics. As he recalled in 1995, “they rubbed you with liniment and hoped for the best.” He survived, but a chest x-ray taken when he enlisted in the Marines showed his right lung stopped growing as a result of the disease. It never slowed him down. In the sixth grade, his class had to submit to a series of twenty-one shots because of a rabid dog, which Dill eventually shot.

In high school, Spike played six-man football and basketball. The oil boom was dead by this time, and Lytton Springs suffered mightily. He landed a job earning seven and a half cents an hour picking and sorting tomatoes. A long day would net him 60 to 80 cents, which was substantially more than many grown men were making. Later, he pulled corn and picked cotton. At one point, he earned 40 cents cutting and shucking corn for his uncle. At the end of the week, he’d have $2.50 – a princely sum.

Entertainment was simple. Square dances (without instruments, and only with singing), or catching a ride into Lockhart to see a movie. His best friend was his cousin, Frank Coopwood, Jr. The price of an evening in the county seat: 15 cents for the show, 10 cents for a hamburger, and 5 cents for a Coke.

War news had become commonplace in the late 1930s. Hitler’s Germany had bluffed France and England and recovered Sudetenland, stolen Czechoslovakia, and absorbed Austria. Franco’s Nationalists, with the aid of Nazi Germany and fascist Italy was quickly putting finished to Republican Spain. China was under the boot heel of the Japanese military, which had killed over 200,000 civilians in what was rightfully called “the Rape of Nanking.”

Most Americans were adamant that their country shouldn’t involve itself in another world conflict. Over intense opposition, the first peacetime draft was enacted in mid-1940. Then in late 1940, the National Guard was nationalized for one year. The country slowly awoke to the reality that “the Arsenal of Democracy” needed to do much more than talk about helping its oldest ally, Britain. Any doubts as to the extent of the conflagration were put to rest when Germany turned on a fellow aggressor and attacked the Soviet Union in June of 1941.

Meanwhile, the United States imposed an embargo on steel and oil heading toward Japan. It was the last straw to the militarists controlling the Empire’s government. Already badly and surprising beaten when the Japanese Army made a move against the Soviets in Siberia and Mongolia, it turned its interests south, toward British and Dutch colonies… and the American Philippine Commonwealth.

Then came the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. America was “all in.” Less than a year later, on 3 November 1942, Cecil DeFla Strawn enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After a night in San Antonio’s Crockett Hotel, he and 98 other men from the area were loaded on a train for San Diego, California. Three long days later, they marched two miles to Camp Pendleton, had their heads shaved, and met the drill instructor. The DI quickly assured them that the training base’s colonel was “Big Jesus,” that the DI was “Little Jesus,” and that **** flowed downhill. Weeks of boot camp ensued, and then more training on the rifle range.

Spike asked to become a tanker, and surprisingly, the Marines agreed. Because the USMC didn’t have its own armored school, he spent several months at the Army’s Armored School at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Dill Strawn, determined to see his son, rode a packed train from Texas, standing up the entire way, and spent four days at Fort Knox, sleeping surreptitiously in the barracks with the Marine trainees.

Spike’s first 48 hour pass is noted on Armor School notebook

As soon as he returned to California, Spike and his fellow tankers were shipped to Hawaii and became part of a replacement detail. On the Big Island, he and three others were assigned to the 22nd Marine Regiment. He was about to enter the war. The 22nd Marines and its men soon learned they were to be part of a landing force in the Marshall Islands. Spike’s life would never be the same.


On 16 January 1944, Spike and the 2nd Separate Tank Company of the 22nd Marine Regiment boarded the USS President Monroe. After a brief stop at Pearl Harbor (after training on Maui and the Big Island) Spike noted in his pocket notebook that on 23 January he “left Pearl Harbor for the Marshall Islands.” Ten days later, Spike “witnessed my first air and naval bombardment in Marshall Islands.”

The 22nd Marines was part of a large American force attacking the Japanese occupied Marshall Islands in the advance toward the Japanese home islands. Initially held in reserve during the landing on Kwajalein, the 22nd struck Engebi, and after fierce fighting, secured the island. Spike’s notes of 19 February 1944 state: “Landed on next island [Eniwetok] after Army 106th Regiment failed. Much more opposition than expected. So far in all operations 2nd Sep[arate] Tank Co. has lost three tanks and 7 or 8 men.” Over 800 Japanese were killed on Eniwetok.

The baptism under fire continued. The island fighting was extremely vicious. The Japanese rarely surrendered. After three days and nights without rest, what Spike describes as “the last island” in Eniwetok Atoll [probably Parry Island] was attacked. The Americans did a better job of softening up Parry than had been done on Eniwetok. After two days, only 105 Japanese of the 1100 defenders survived to be captured. Spike’s tank company lost ten more men killed.

Finally, Spike’s company was put ashore on a small deserted island in the Kwajalein Atoll chain supposedly for “garrison duty” – and immediately forgotten. With little food, the men resorted to stunning fish with hand grenades. Three weeks later, someone finally remembered the bedraggled bunch and pulled them off the island.

Spike’s mail caught up with him. He discovered that his cousin and best friend, Frank Coopwood, Jr. had been killed in the mountains of central Italy on 23 December 1943 while fighting with the 36th “Texas” Division.

USS Comet AP-166, USS West Point AP-23, LST866, CVE 99 USS Admiralty Islands – some of the ships Spike traveled on in the Pacific

In 1995, Spike recorded some recollections of his time in the Marines. One incident of the Marshall Islands stood out. One of the 22nd’s mortar platoons had an undersized and very young Marine. The kid was deeply loved and treated as if he was the platoon’s mascot. During some point in the fighting, Spike recalls the platoon coming off the line, and everyone in it was “bawling like a baby.” The young marine had been killed by a Japanese flamethrower.

After Kwajalein and Eniwetok, the 22nd Marines was shipped to Guadalcanal. for refitting and training for the next landing. Many of the 22nd’s marines had trained in 1942-1943 in American Samoa. Over a thousand men were discovered to be infected with filariasis, a nasty tropical roundworm. Most had to be evacuated.

            Not all deaths were combat related. Spike vividly recalled the death of a tanker. During one operation, the Navy “got scared” and let off the marine tanks from its landing craft in “about 80 feet of water.” A marine named Drumgould was in the gunner’s seat when the thirty-three-ton Sherman drove off the ramp and immediately sank. Somehow, Drumgould pushed through an eight-inch opening, and made it to the water’s surface. His ears, nose and mouth bled from the pressure change. The tank driver was trapped when the Sherman settled, blocking his way out. He died, and Spike recalled Dromgould, haunted by the event, “walking, walking all night long.”

The regiment’s strength was rebuilt, and along with the 4th Marines and an Army regiment, formed into the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade. The newly rebuilt regiment trained intensely. The next stop – the island of Guam.

On 22 July 1944, the Americans began the attack to retake Guam, lost to the Japanese shortly after Pearl Harbor. Guam and nearby Saipan and Tinian could hold airfields within range of the Japanese home islands for the new B-29 bombers. The 1st Provisional Brigade landing was met by ferocious resistance. A beachhead was secured, and then the marines withstood repeated attempts to push them back into the sea. As the tanks landed, Spike spied seven dead marines lying behind a coconut log. All had been killed by a sniper. Spike’s platoon leader, a young lieutenant from Cuero, had predicted he wouldn’t survive. He was right. Within days of the landing, the young officer was killed.

            Japanese light tanks were no match for the American’s Shermans. But the Americans’ armor took many losses from suicidal attacks with satchel charges. At night, Spike and other tankers withdrew into the marines’ defensive lines to avoid the enemy’s intense shelling, and sneak attacks.

The island was officially declared “secured” on August 10. By that time, over 11,000 Japanese had been killed. Several thousand fled into the mountainous terrain. . As the mopping up continued, his tank company was tasked with guarding a hospital on the north end of the island. Security was relaxed – there seemed little risk. A young private in the company named Parsons joined a volleyball game nearby – and was shot dead by a sniper. Parsons was one of at least fifteen in the company killed.

            The 22nd Marines shipped back to Guadalcanal to refit. Everyone anticipated that the closer to Japan the landings became, the more ferocious the resistance would become. While on Guadalcanal, the 22nd Marines became part of the newly formed 6th Marine Division. Spike’s tank company was designated B Company, 6th Tank Battalion, 22nd Marines.

            The next landing – Okinawa. Sixty-six miles long and seven miles wide, it was the largest of the Ryukyu Islands and was considered one of Japan’s home islands. Seven American divisions – four Army and three Marine – landed on 1 April 1945 in the largest amphibious landing of the Pacific War.  Nearly 200,000 soldiers and marines,supported by the US Navy’s hundreds of warships, splashed ashore and found virtually no resistance.

Where was the enemy? Soon, the Americans found out.

Okinawa was soon split in two. The Sixth Marine Division swung north. Resistance grew worse as the division advanced. Soon, the remaining Japanese were isolated and destroyed. As noted in Spike’s notes the northern portion of the island was secured by April 22.

A page of Spike’s notes of the fighting in northern Okinawa

            The Sixth Marine Division was ordered south. There, over 100,000 Japanese soldiers, marines, naval personnel, along with conscripted Okinawan labor units had turned the island’s southern mountains into an almost impenetrable fortress. The Americans’ naval and air superiority seemed to have little effect against an enemy using an enormous array of tunnels, caves and ingenious defenses commanded by the brilliant General Mitsuru Ushijima. Spike’s notebook entries rarely contain personal reflections. However, the futility of the battle becomes vivid in entry after entry of tanks destroyed, men killed, horrible weather, and combat exhaustion.

            One can’t read these shorthand versions of hell, without being moved. Spike speaks of fifty days of rain, of mosquitoes, of casualty figures that beggar the imagination.

            Shuri Castle, the Gorge, Tombstone Ridge, Dead Horse Gulch, Naha, Kakazu Ridge, the Pinnacle, Wana Draw. These became names synonymous with misery and death. Rains began, and the front lines began to appear like something out of World War I trench warfare.

Some of the journal entries during and after Okinawa

            The enemy was often unseen, hidden in caves and spider holes. High points were taken and lost. Tanks were destroyed by artillery or mines. The killing seemed to go on forever. The horrific battle in Okinawa’s “Death Valley,” resulted in death to hundreds, perhaps thousands of Japanese. “There were 500 to 700 bodies, all over the place,” Spike remembered.

            Finally, the weight of American force pushed the remaining Japanese into a smaller and smaller area. By the end of May 1945, over 50,000 Japanese had been killed – yet the battle was far from over. The 6th Marine Division were loaded on ships and made another amphibious landing, helping seal the doom of the remaining defenders

            Suddenly, it was over. The cost was dear. Over 12,000 soldiers, sailors and marines died in the fighting and defending against kamikaze air attacks. It is estimated that over 110,000 Japanese died, either in the fighting or by suicide. Sadly, Okinawan civilian losses were huge – well over 100,000. Adding to that, the islanders had been told repeatedly that Americans would rape the women and kill the men. Those Okinawans not used as slave labor and killed during the fighting, had to be convinced that what had been told them was a lie. “The civilians just knew we were going to kill or rape them, because that is what they’d been told.” Instead, Americans went out of their way to assure of the opposite. GIs and marines handed out water, food, and medical supplies to everyone in need.

Spike’s three year tour through hell

            Like thousands of other fighting men, Spike was diagnosed with “combat fatigue.” He shipped home to USNH San Leandro, dealing with what we now call PTSD. Finally, in December 1945, Sergeant Spike Strawn was honorably discharged from the United States Marines. He’d lost over thirty pounds while in combat and was suffering from malaria. Of his 1022 days in the Marine Corps, 137 had been in some of the worst combat experienced in World War II.

            With millions of others, Spike returned home. After blowing of steam “honky-tonking” for about six months, he married and began a family. The drought of the early 1950s made him re-think farming. Like his father Dill, Spike did what was necessary to ensure his family’s well-being. He became a feed salesman for Capitol Feed at one dollar an hour. It wasn’t unusual to work seventy to eighty hours a week. Eventually, Spike started his own fertilizer company, which he operated until he retired.

            In 1994, Spike and his buddy Fred Hinnenkamp, flew to the Pacific and revisited some of the areas he’d trained in or fought in. I wonder what memories, good and bad, the trip brought to his mind.

            Spike Strawn’s proudest achievement was that “he helped raise three good kids.”

I visited Spike at his apartment a year before he died. He showed me a large United States Marine Corps blanket covering his bed. I believe his second proudest achievement was serving his country in the USMC.

Semper Fideles, Sergeant Strawn.

DOUGLAS WADE “TINKER” HENDRICKS 1925-2009 Eleven B-17 crewmen left on the mission. Seven came home.

By Todd A. Blomerth

Tinker Hendricks in 1943 as an aircrew student  

It is July of 1944. You are the parents of six sons. The oldest five are in the Armed Forces of the United States. Four are overseas in combat zone assignments. A fifth will soon be there. The only son left at home, Michael is a young boy. You proudly display five Blue Stars in your front window. You’ve seen Gold Stars appear in your neighbors’ windows and seen the grieving parents attempt to deal with the death of a child. Every day the war drags on, the chances become greater that you too will lose a child to war.

Minor, your oldest, is with the 36th Infantry (“Texas”) Division which has been badly bloodied in Italy. Arthur (“Jack”) witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor and is with the Army Air Force somewhere in the Pacific Theater. Risdon (“Buck”) is serving as a Military Policeman, somewhere in Italy. Douglas (“Tinker””) is a crewman on a B17 bomber somewhere in Europe. Harvey (“Salty”) has recently joined the Navy as a 17-year-old and will soon see combat as a sailor in the Pacific.

Douglas Tinker’s Draft Registration Card

The daily life of Risdon Hendricks and his wife Sidney Frances (Pierce) Hendricks must have at times been excruciating. Thankfully, their boys all came home. It nearly wasn’t so.

Tinker Hendricks enlisted in the Army Air Force right after his eighteenth birthday. Soon he was at Sheppard Army Field, outside of Wichita Falls, Texas beginning his training as a bomber crew member. He completed his training as B17 aircrew man at Avon Park Army Air Field. The B17, dubbed “Flying Fortress,” was a high altitude, four-engine, heavy strategic bomber. The crew consisted of ten men: flight commander, co-pilot, navigator, bombardier, radio operator, flight engineer and upper turret gunner, two waist gunners, tail gunner and ball-turret gunner.  By the summer of 1943, the “G” model was replacing older models. The aircraft bristled with firepower, having thirteen heavy machineguns. Despite its name, unless escorted to the target by fighters such as the P51 Mustang, it was no match against enemy air attacks. Even with fighter support, anti-aircraft or “flak” guns remained deadly.

1st Lt. Haas and his crew – Tinker is lower right

On May 10, 1944, the crew members of a brand-new B17-G received their orders for overseas. The ten men, four officers and six sergeants, were to proceed from Grenier Field, New Hampshire to England via the North Atlantic Route. And so began Sergeant Douglas W. “Tinker” Hendricks’ combat tour as a waist gunner on a Flying Fortress.

            Tinker later wrote: We were assigned to a new B17G at Hunter Field, Georgia…From Hunter Field we flew to Fort Dix NJ to Grenier, to Bermuda to Marrakech [Morocco] to Tunis to Gioia Italy to Tortorello [Tortorella] Italy attached to the 97th Bomb Group (H) AAF-342 Bomb Squadron.

It took the crew ten days to make the Atlantic and Mediterranean crossing. The 342nd had seen combat since 1942. (Memphis Belle was part of the squadron when based in England). By 1944 the 342nd was part of the newly formed 15th Air Force, flying missions against the Axis from Italy.

            As can be seen from his mission reports, it didn’t take long for the crew to see action over enemy territory. Because of the squadron’s location, their missions were long. The heavily defended Ploesti oil refineries in Romania – 7 hours and 45 minutes. Vienna, Austria – 6 hours and 35 minutes. By July 16th, Tinker’s crew had flown eleven combat missions.

Tinker’s flight log on the B17- closed out when the plane and crew were lost over Germany

            On July 19, 1944, Tinker’s bomber, commanded by First Lieutenant David Haas, took off from Amendola, Italy with a full bomb load. Part of a large formation, its mission was to bomb a ball bearing factory on the north side of Munich. The normal ten-man crew was supplemented with a photographer. The crew consisted of Lt. David Haas (command pilot), Lt. David Hersha (co-pilot), Lt. Frank Coleman (navigator), Lt. Peter Parialo (bombardier), Tech Sergeant James Loomis (radio operator), Tech Sergeant Harold Little (engineer-armorer), Staff Sergeant Arthur Manosh (left waist gunner), Staff Sergeant Douglas Hendricks (right waist gunner), Sergeant Edward Williams (ball turret gunner), Staff Sergeant George Bernall (tail gunner), and Staff Sergeant Donald Black (photographer/gunner). Lt. Parialo, the bombardier, was not part of the aircraft’s regular crew, having been assigned the duties for the one mission.

            The escorting fighters kept any German fighters at bay. They were no help against German anti-aircraft. As the formation approached the target, the flak became heavier and heavier. Just after the formation released its ordnance from approximately 25,000 feet, Tinker’s B17 took a direct hit on its right inboard engine.  The wounded aircraft lagged back and dropped in elevation as Lt. Haas struggled to control it. Less than a minute later, he would be dead. 

After the war, Sergeant Little was interviewed. He wrote that the last time he saw 1st Lieut. Haas, the pilot was in the cockpit, and that he could not have bailed out. “According the words of the top turret gunner, the last burst of flak hit the pilot, which caused severe injury and [sic] going down with the ship.”

Lt. Parialo, the fill-in bombardier, was interviewed after the war. His recollection was vivid:

  1. We were hit by flak as we turned off the target.
  2. We stayed in formation for at least two minutes,
  3. Immediately after we were hit, I check through the interphone with each member of the crew and no one was injured,
  4. Through necessity, I disconnected my headset and helped the Navigator put out a fire under the pilot’s compartment,
  5. Suddenly the Navigator opened the escape hatch and jumped,
  6. Co-pilot followed,
  7. I stood up and looked to the rear of the ship and could see as far as the waist windows. There was no one in sight.
  8. I jumped immediately after. I knew that the Pilot was still in the ship and I though that he was the only in the ship.
  9. The plane blew up very shortly after I bailed out
  10. I was told by the Engineer-Gunner T/Sgt. Harold A. Little, whom I met in France after our liberation that he followed me out and that everybody else had jumped except the Pilot,
  11. I presumed that the pilot 1st Lt. David F. Haas was killed when the ship blew up.

            Staff Sergeant Black remembers the event a bit differently:

The post-mission interviews tell the chilling story. As shown in the typewritten comments of another aircraft’s crewman: “After it dropped about 5000 feet, it blew up.”

            The final tally – seven survived. Four did not. Lt. Haas clearly died when the aircraft blew up. Loomis and Williams may have jumped and couldn’t or didn’t activate their parachutes. Staff Sergeant Manosh was captured, and quite possibly murdered.

            Tinker was captured and shipped to Stalag Luft 4, a prisoner of war camp for Allied airmen. The subsequent months were anything but pleasant.

The Men of Tinker’s B-17. Seven captured, and four missing, later confirmed dead

            Stalag Luft 4 was located in northern Prussia It held over eight thousand downed airmen. Survival was bleak. The prisoners’ day to day existence was challenged by the weather off the Baltic Sea. By 1944, average Germans were suffering from the Allies’ continuous bombings. While Germany to a large extent attempted to honor the Geneva Convention on captured prisoners, the reality of life in Germany guaranteed that the Allied airmen in Stalag Luft 4 lived a life of deprivation. Inadequate heath and washing facilities, unheated and overcrowded barracks, open air latrines and poor quality food were the order of the day. The prisoners lost weight at an alarming rate. What correspondence allowed was heavily censored. Tinker and the other prisoners of war were not allowed to mention anything remotely disparaging about their condition and treatment.

The Red Cross food package – desperately needed

Tinker’s pencil-written letter home with envelope from Stalag Luft IV – October 26, 1944 – the camp guards censored all letters in and out of the POW camp

Delivery of Red Cross parcels was spotty due to the Axis’ damaged rail system. They were a godsend for nutrition and morale. American parcels contained, among other things, Spam, powdered milk, sugar, coffee, tuna, soap, cigarettes, and soup concentrate. Often, the parcels were stolen or pilfered by camp guards.

The dreaded telegram – your son is missing in action

The second telegraph – there is hope

Better – your son is ‘safe’

Even better – he is back in friendly hands

The best one of all – you’ll be hearing from him soon

In early 1945, the Soviet advance threatened the German homeland. Rather than releasing the prisoners, the Germans decided to march the Stalag’s POWs west. The result was a grueling 500 mile trek through one of the worst winters in European history. Dubbed the ‘Black March,’ it lasted eighty-six days. The POWs walked up to twenty miles daily, usually sleeping in the open, with little food or water. Collaboration with Germans was forbidden, but often the POWs were able to trade jewelry, watches and cigarettes for food from farmers. Water often came from ditches or snowmelt. Everyone was lice infested. Most suffered from dysentery, which they treated by eating charcoal. Pellagra, typhus, tuberculosis, trench foot, diphtheria and pneumonia were rampant.

POWs from several camps in the east arrived at Stalag XI-B near Fallingbostel around April 3, 1945. With the Americans and British encroaching from the west, the Germans decided the haggard and unhealthy men were to be moved again – this time to the east. Because of the POWs’ deteriorating condition (and their guards’ awareness that their roles would soon be reversed) they moved only four to five miles a day. Finally, on the morning of May 2, 1945, British forces liberated them.

The men were immediately checked medically, given new clothing, and placed in decent surroundings. With adequate food and medical care, they began to gain weight. Their war now really was over. 

Important to the families were the telegrams announcing sons, husbands, and brothers were on their way back to the beloved United States of America.

            Tinker’s survival was remarkable. Also remarkable was his mother’s correspondence with Sgt. Little’s wife, one which has survived over seventy years. Mrs. Hendricks’ missive, in beautiful cursive, shows her concern, and also shows an amazingly accurate recitation of the Stalag Luft 4 POWs’ trek across Nazi Germany.

Mrs. Hendricks’ letter to Sgt. Little’s wife

The Hendricks sons reunited – 1946

Tinker at the Luling American Legion POW- MIA ceremony – 2008

After the war, Tinker married Beverly Davenport from Prairie Lea. They had one child, Shirley. After Beverly’s untimely death, he married Dorothy Valla. They had two children, Russell and Mark. Tinker worked for Mobil Oil and later for a perforating company. Douglas ‘Tinker’ Hendricks passed away in 2009.

Tinker inside a B17 at an air show in San Marcos. I wonder what was going through his mind.

               Like so many of our fighting men of that era, Tinker considered his experience just part of ‘doing his duty.’ His life after World War II was that of a hard working American. He married, raised a family, and had grandchildren. His was a good and productive life. Tinker was proud of his service, but at the same time, didn’t consider it any more that part of his obligation as an American. He kept contact with some of his crew members, exchanging information on families and jobs. There was no bragging or complaining.

            He truly was a wonderful example of the Greatest Generation.



1ST Lieutenant Stromberg, Ft. Reno Remount Station, Oklahoma 1952

Billy Stromberg at his Caldwell County home in 2019

In 2014, I interviewed Billy Stromberg when I began the series of biographies on the men and woman from Caldwell County who gave their lives for our country in World War II. His older brother Richard had been killed on New Georgia in 1943 and Billy provided me with recollections and photos of his beloved sibling. At that time, Billy mentioned his own service in the U.S. Army, and I promised I’d get back with him. I finally did, five years later.

I’m thankful I did. 

William Pharr Stromberg was born in Caldwell County, Texas on June 27, 1929. He was the ninth and youngest of six boys and three girls of Hjalmar Pharr Stromberg and Ester Mary Ann (Sponberg) Stromberg. The Stromberg children spanned three decades, with Billy’s oldest sibling, Roland arriving in 1905. The Sponberg and Stromberg families were part of a wave of Swedish immigrants arriving in and around the Central Texas area in the 1870s. Many were fleeing famine that struck much of Scandinavia around that time. Most were farmers but there were also many professionals in the group. Billy’s grandfather, Richard Eustachius Stromberg was a pharmacist who for a time worked at Tobin Drug Company on Congress Avenue in Austin. One biographer sums up Billy’s Swedish stock well: They were “good, strong, hard working people.”

The Stromberg family ranched and farmed in the north end of Caldwell County. Billy’s childhood was typical of a farm and ranch kid –lots of hard work. After three years at the tiny Mendoza School, he completed his schooling in Lockhart, taking the school bus ten miles into town every day. He graduated from Lockhart High School in 1947.  Billy was a serious young man, and his love of rural life, of raising and improving livestock came early and continues to this day. Like other young men in his family, he attended Texas A&M. A&M was an all-male military college, and he was assigned to A Company, Quartermaster Corps. His senior year, Cadet Major Stromberg also served as the Supply Officer for the Composite Engineers Regiment.

Like most Aggies, he had a military obligation and requested upon commissioning appointment as a Reserve officer in the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps.  So did his roommate, Gale Brundrett, from Refugio. Surprisingly, the Army honored their requests. After a sixteen week Quartermaster Officer’s Training course at Ft. Lee, Virginia, the two got lucky again. They were assigned to the 9182nd Technical Service Unit at Fort Reno, Oklahoma in January 1952.

Fort Reno has a colorful history. It was established in 1874 as a military post to protect an Indian agency from marauding tribes during the Red River War. Soon, its role changed, as the Native Americans, mostly Southern Cheyenne and Southern Arapaho, needed protection from Sooners rushing to settled the territory’s Unassigned Lands. The post was abandoned after statehood, but the fort’s Remount Depot remained. The United States Army needed horses for its cavalry up until World War II. The facility was turned over to Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State University) in 1948, but a portion of the post continued to function. Major Lee O. Hill QM, whom Billy remembers well, explained the Remount Depot function in a 1952 Army publication:

The Remount Branch is now engaged in the procurement of horses and mules for Turkey, a sizable percentage of this procurement being comprised of breeding stock. In order to carry out the Foreign Aid Animal Procurement Programs, it has been necessary to activate the animal holding facilities at the former Reno QM Remount Depot, Fort Reno, Okla., where the animals, upon purchase, are sent for processing and conditioning prior to being shipped overseas. Animals shipped under this program have, according to reports, arrived in excellent condition, have measured up to required specifications, and are serving most efficiently the purposes for which they are intended.

Because of his skill with horses, newly minted 2nd Lieutenant Stromberg became part of the United States’ efforts at supplying Turkey, its new strategic partner and an uncomfortable neighbor to Joseph Stalin’s USSR. The Army “bought horses all over the country,” he recalls. Horse traders began filling orders. Animals aged 4 to 8 years were purchased and shipped by train in cars holding twenty-five horses. Upon arrival, they were vaccinated and had their hooves trimmed. To ensure their quality, “we had to ride them.” Billy chuckles when I ask if the animals were good mounts. “They were green broke at best!”

The civilian wranglers had strict instructions to not risk injury to the animals. Sometimes those instructions weren’t heeded. The barns were huge wooden structures with stalls on both sides of long center walkways. Large beamed rafters held up the roofs. “We had one broken down old rodeo cowboy. I never caught him at it, but I heard he’d get some pain pills in him and turn out an animal in the barn, and ride it bareback down the length of the structure, dodging rafters as the animal bucked.”

Once the veterinarians cleared the animals, they were loaded on a special train bound for Westwego, a river port across from New Orleans. During the loading process, Lt. Stromberg was billeted at Camp Leroy Johnson, south of Lake Pontchartrain, and several miles from Westwego. “I drove across the old Huey P. Long Bridge many times. Scared the heck out of me. It was narrow and there wasn’t any room for a mistake.”

Eight hundred and six horses were loaded into wooden crates and onto an old Victory ship, the USS Columbia Heights. The horses were stabled in three tiers of stalls: One on deck, one just below deck, and one in the hold. The Army’s contingent of thirty men consisted of officers, mess personnel, enlisted men and a veterinarian. The Army’s job was to ensure the animals’ safe passage to Turkey.

The SS Columbia Heights was originally the World War II Victory-class cargo ship SS Calvin Victory. After decommissioning, in 1950 the freighter was sold to Isbrandsen Company and renamed. It was one of many ships used by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Service and the Brethren Service Committee shipping livestock to countries devastated by World War II. Later, the Brethren Service Committee continued its efforts alone (it continues today as Heifer International).

Loading horses on oceangoing vessels was no easy task. The animals were hoisted aboard. Once loaded, the ship sailed down the Mississippi and out into the Gulf of Mexico. The trip to Turkey took sixteen days. The merchant marine ran the ship. The soldiers and officers cared for the animals. There was a superior officer ostensibly overseeing the shipment.  Lt. Stromberg actually ran the show on the three trips he made as “the fellow stayed in his cabin and slept most of the trip.” The SS Columbia Heights was no cruise ship. The trip over was “aromatic.” The return trip was spent cleaning and sanitizing stalls for other users. During 1952, the Israel Cattle Breeders Association and the Jewish Levinson Brothers of Newport News used the ship for transporting farm animals to the new state of Israel, totally independent from the Heifer Project. *

Billy is rightly proud of his efforts. “I made three trips, each with 806 horses. We only lost one.” While proud of his men’s efforts, he doesn’t have much good to say about some of the merchant marine. “They were a hodgepodge of nationalities and quality.” One probably overdosed and was accorded a burial at sea with full honors.


Billy made three trips on the SS Columbia Heights, alternating with his friend Gale Brundrett. Twice, the port was Iskenderun, and once it was Istanbul. His one regret was sailing up the Bosporus at night and missing some of the sights. During his trips, Billy obtained charts and plotted every day’s progress. He still has them.

Once the ship was in port, there was little time for sightseeing. Turks assisted in offloading the equine cargo as cavalry troops stood by on the dock. Once offloaded, the ship returned to New Orleans. Then the process would begin again.

There was some unintended frivolity on one of Dale Brundrett’s trips. Two merchant marine sailors smuggled on Turkish belly dancers. The newspaper account described the young women as “ballet” dancers, which they weren’t.

Billy made his last trip to Turkey in October and November 1952. The young lieutenant wore many hats.  At one time or another, he was post adjutant, detachment commanding officer, personnel officer, postal officer, Marine Corps stable officer, horseshoe officer, supply officer and fire marshal. You get the picture. There were few officers, and everyone pulled their weight. The Remount Branch also trained horses for funeral processions at Arlington National Cemetery. Billy’s photos include several of the beautiful animals he helped train.

XO-31 bound for duty at Arlington

            First Lieutenant William Stromberg separated from the active Army in late 1953. He returned to his beloved farm and ranch in Caldwell County.  In 1970, he married Sadie Garner, a speech pathologist originally from Houston County. She retired from Bastrop Independent School District in 2000. Billy and Sadie continue to live in northern Caldwell County.

            Billy’s life has been a full one. In addition to ranching and farming, he served as president of Creedmoor-Maha Water Supply Corporation for fifty years. He also served on the board of the Caldwell County Conservation District and the Agricultural Stabilization Board. Billy’s love for Texas A&M is evident. Several years ago, he and Sadie endowed quite a few acres of the Stromberg ranch to his beloved alma mater. 

            Billy’s keen interest in history and the military are evident at a visit to the Stromberg residence. Along with detailed records of his time in the Army is a collection of artifacts discovered at Fort Reno. A few years ago, he became interested in rifle and pistol cartridges. The items on display, many quite old, are a sight to behold.

            If you happen upon Billy and Sadie, perhaps at the grocery store, make sure to give them a “Howdy.” And don’t forget to thank Billy for his service to his country and community.

*For a history on the Seagoing Cowboys, see






By Todd Blomerth

            In 1945, William McGregor “Bill” Taylor finally made it home from the war in Europe, but not in the way he had hoped. Severely wounded on December 9, 1944, he spent nine months in hospitals in France, England, and finally at Wm. C. Borden General Hospital in Chickasha, Oklahoma, recovering from shrapnel wounds. For the rest of his life, his body bore evidence of what he endured, including small bits of shrapnel that would occasionally come to the surface of his skin.

Bill Taylor died in 1997. His is a story of survival, almost from the day he was born. He was one of the greatest of the Greatest Generation.

Born in 1921, Bill was the eighth and last child of John Hugh Taylor and Emma (Williams) Taylor. His oldest sister, Ella, died in 1910. She was followed by Luke (1902-1946), Bauzzle Turner (1905-1959), Martha Ann (Dinges) (1907-1971), Pearl Ether (1909-1976), Myrtle Ollie (Mercer) (1913-1972), and Jess Willard (1913-1946).

The family farmed and ranched outside of McMahan. Tragedy struck early. When he was nine, Bill’s father died of a stroke. His mother died two years later. Now married, older sister Myrtle Mercer took him in to raise and for several years, Bill attended the tiny Oak Forest School, outside of Gonzales, Texas. He never finished high school. He returned to McMahan, but “got tired of milking cows,” so, at sixteen, he enlisted in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).  Bill was assigned to a CCC company stationed at Glorieta, New Mexico. For a year, he and other young men worked on public works projects, and were required to send most of their pay home to help support their families.

Returning home to McMahan, he worked on the family farm. Perhaps encouraged by older brother Bauzzle, on September 10, 1940, he enlisted at Lockhart in the Texas National Guard’s Company F, 141st Infantry Regiment, 36th “Texas” Infantry Division.

To say that the United States was unprepared for World War II is a huge understatement. The pre-war Guard units were poorly equipped and undermanned. That didn’t prevent the Texas Division’s men from feeling greatly honored to be a part of the historic military unit. In the years to come, the 36th Infantry Division’s combat record would more than justify its members’ pride.

Bill and older brother Bauzzle in 1940 Company F roster. Company F, 141st Infantry, drilled in Lockhart. Luke was also a member. Company I, 141st Infantry, drilled in Luling. Lockhart also was home to the Regimental Medical Detachment.


Realizing that the United States would soon be drawn into the world conflict that had begun in China in 1937 and in Poland in 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt nationalized all National Guard units in late November, 1940. Bill had been in Company F for less than three months. Farmers and shopkeepers who were accustomed to weekend drills and two week summer camps found themselves in a full-time military force desperately in need of training, leadership and equipment. Early in 1941, the Division, with ranks swelling

Bill, a Texan in the harsh winter snow of Massachusetts – early 1943

with new enlistees and draftees, began training at Camp Bowie, outside of Brownwood, Texas. Bill and his buddies endured rather Spartan conditions at the unfinished post. Training accelerated, and the Division participated in pre-war maneuvers in Louisiana and the Carolinas. The Division moved to Camp Blanding, Florida, and then to Camp Edwards, Massachusetts. Finally, in late March and early April 1943, the Division loaded on ships. Bill Taylor arrived in North Africa on April 13, 1943.

The Texas boys were eager for action. What they got was more training, and occasionally, guarding thousands of Italian and German prisoners of war. The Allies invaded the island of Sicily in July 1943, but the 36th Division remained in North Africa.

Wading ashore at Salerno

On September 9, 1943, F Company, 141st Infantry Regiment, saw its first action. It was very nearly its last. The Italians had suddenly surrendered to the Allies, and some Allied commanders expected little opposition to the landings near Salerno, Italy. The American and British divisions were put onto beaches split by a river. There was insufficient pre-landing bombardment. Unknown to the Allies, German troops had quietly moved

into the surrendering Italians’ defensive positions. The 36th and 45th Divisions were nearly pushed off the beachheads by the well-entrenched enemy. Bill saw many men die that day. The 36th Infantry Division lost 250 mean killed in one day.

Destroyers and cruisers moved dangerously close to the shore and fired at almost pointblank range at the enemy. Overcoming the horrific enemy counterattacks, the 36th pushed ashore, and very slowly began the northward push toward Rome. The ‘soft underbelly of Europe’ turned out to be anything but. Mountains succeeded mountains and the Allies advanced against a well trained enemy. Rain, mud, cold, artillery barrages, snipers, and incomprehensible orders to take hills that hid German fortifications were the order of the day.  The results were predictable. Young men were wounded and killed. Somehow, Bill survived bloody battles that drained the Texas Division of many good men. San Pietro, Mt. Lungo, Cassino and the Rapido River became synonymous with often unnecessary suffering.

The battered 36th Division was pulled off the front line in March 1944 to reequip and replace men lost. Meanwhile, in a badly executed attempt at an end-run around the Germans, Americans landed a force on the beaches at Anzio, sixty miles from Rome. Again, the Germans were nearly successful in pushing this force into the sea. The 36th Division went back into action, shoring up the beachhead, on May 22, 1944. The men of the 36th were instrumental in the Anzio breakout. The 141st Infantry Regiment captured the town of Velletri. The German defenses began to crumble and Rome was captured on June 6, 1944.

The Bronze Star is awarded for acts of valor in combat. Somewhere during the fighting in Italy, Bill was awarded a Bronze Star. While his platoon was retreating under withering fire from enemy tanks, “Sgt. Taylor improvised a litter with poles and blankets and aided by a buddy ran through the fire to rescue their wounded lieutenant.”

The Silver Star is this country’s third highest combat decoration for gallantry in action. Only the Distinguished Service Cross and Medal of Honor stand above it. Sergeant Bill Taylor earned two Silver Stars.

The first was during the break-out from Anzio toward Rome. The Gonzales, Texas newspaper later described what happened:

[Sgt. Taylor] attacked a tank which was holding up the movement of his company from a road junction…, and while the tank’s guns tore limbs from the trees over his head, he slammed a bazooka shell into the enemy vehicle and knocked it out. “We fired simultaneously,” recalled Sgt. Taylor. “I had to peer through the foliage of the broken tree limbs which were covering me to get a look at that smoking tank.” His squad arose and finished off the Nazis and took 18 prisoners and the company resumed their advance on Rome. Sgt. Taylor was decorated with the Silver Star for bravery and resourcefulness.

The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded to those wounded or killed while serving with the U.S. military. Sergeant Bill Taylor was awarded three Purple Heart decorations.

The first Purple Heart came during combat somewhere north of Rome, Italy. On June 17, 1944 a mortar shell exploded in a tree burst, and shrapnel struck him under his left arm. Fortunately, the wound was not serious, and Bill remained with Company F, where he was now a platoon sergeant.

The exhausted 36th Infantry Division was again taken out of the front line in Italy to prepare for another beach attack. Troubled by the slow movement against the Germans in the tangle of hedgerows after the Normandy Invasion, Allied commanders landed it as part of a large military force in Southern France. Thankfully, this seaborne attack went smoothly. Soon, Bill and Company F were pushing northward as the Allies tried unsuccessfully to surround and capture the thousands of enemy soldiers retreating toward the mountainous regions near the German border.

The weather turned cold and wet. The enemy retreat slowed. The Allies’ supply lines stretched thin. I’m sure the ‘old hands’ who’d been in 141st Infantry Regiment wondered constantly whether the war would ever end, and whether they’d live to see that day. As the Allies closed on the Rhineland, the terrain became a huge factor.

Bill’s second Purple Heart resulted from more serious wounds. On October 4, 1944, he and his men were returning from a successful reconnaissance mission when an enemy shell landed nearby. Its shrapnel shredded the shoulder of Bill’s field jacket and some pierced his throat. He was patched up at an aid station, where he recruited his commanding officer’s help to avoid being evacuated to a hospital.

Reading combat reports and histories of late 1944, I was struck with the descriptions of the 36th Infantry Division as being “tired and undermanned.” Clearly, attrition had begun to affect the unit’s readiness. Needing an additional four thousand men, it never got them. The reality of American combat in Europe at this time was that there weren’t enough properly trained soldiers in the pipeline to replace the large number of those wounded or killed.

By late October, the Division was down to two-thirds its authorized strength, and part of a slow moving offensive in the gloomy Vosges Mountains. Nearing the German border, the enemy became more and more desperate. Hitler ordered his generals to strike back at the advancing Allies, in part to keep attention away from the thousands of soldiers massing in the Ardennes for what became known as the Battle of the Bulge. The fighting was vicious, and often hand-to-hand.

Regimental after-action report 30 October – 1 November 1944

Near the French town of Saint Die-des-Vosges, near the German border, on November 1, 1944, Technical Sergeant Bill Taylor earned his second Silver Star. The citation speaks for itself:

William M. Taylor, technical sergeant, Company F, 141st Infantry Regiment, for gallantry in action on 1 November 1944 in France. During an attack against an enemy-held hill, Sgt. Taylor located the hostile machine gun which was delaying the advance of his platoon and immediately opened fire on the enemy weapon. After several anti-tank grenades had failed to dislodge it, he called for a friendly tank which was supporting the attack and directed it in knocking out the machine gun emplacement. Then, advancing directly in the face of heavy small arms fire, he led his platoon in an assault against the hostile force and with machine guns and tank fire, killed 12 of the enemy soldiers, captured 14 and completely routed the remainder of the hostile troops. By his personal courage and aggressive leadership, he enabled his unit to seize its objective. His gallant reflects great credit upon himself and the armed forces of the United States.

Bill’s modest version was that “swapping machine gun and small arms fire was getting us nowhere and looked like it would prove costly in the long run. So we had the tank blast their positions while we rushed up the hill and wiped them out. Thanks to the bravery of the men, it worked OK.”

Vicious action near Riquewihr

Bill’s luck ran out on December 9, 1944 near the town of Riquewihr.  Fanatical fighting erupted as the 141st took two small hills, and were then counter-attacked. The battle raged for hours, and Company F fought off a determined enemy in the Bois De Kientzheim. Severely wounded by mortar shrapnel, Bill was evacuated to a hospital in Paris. He later told his wife Jimmie that while in Paris, he stayed awake all night, quietly loosening bloody bandages. He knew they were to be changed the next morning, and the pain would be excruciating.

Portions of Company F after action reports of fighting in the Colmar region when Bill was seriously wounded – 9 December 44

Bill was moved to the 187th General Hospital in England, and finally to the United States. In all, he spent nearly nine months recovering from his wounds.

Technical Sergeant Bill Taylor’s discharge record with dates of wounds, and list of awards and decorations

Bill awarded his metals while recovering from wounds

Bill put the war’s miseries behind him. He farmed and ranched. In 1949, he married Jimmie Secrest in Uvalde, Texas. She comes from a ranching family with roots in Gillespie and Uvalde Counties. Jimmie recalls their wedding day laughingly. They almost didn’t make it to the Justice of the Peace. Rain began filling a low water crossing. Desperate to get to the judge’s office in Uvalde from her grandmother’s house on the Nueces River, before the water closed the road, the couple eased into the crossing, only to have their car stall in the rising water. Jimmie punched the starter button to jump the car ahead, while Bill got out and pushed. Finally out of the water, they looked back to see a relative frantically waving to get their attention. Bill had forgotten their wedding license. Back through the water he trudged. Despite the rocky start, the two had a wonderful marriage. They were blessed with two children; John Wayne, who is married to Diana Lynn, and Peggy June, who is married to Weston Voigt.  The family members were faithful members of McMahan Baptist Church.

Jimmie Taylor – a most delightful lady

Jimmie, along with her best friend, Bobbie Dan Gideon, retired from the Lockhart State Bank. Bill farmed and ranched all his life. He also raised watermelons. He suffered from heart disease, and also underwent two hip replacements. He suffered a series of heart attacks, and died at St. David’s Hospital in January 1997. He was seventy-six years old. He is buried in the Jeffrey Cemetery.

Did Bill suffer from what we now call post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of what he endured? No doubt he did, but showed little outward sign of it. Jimmie’s only recollection along that line was of the time, when firecrackers went off on the Courthouse Square, Bill instinctively threw himself to the ground. He didn’t talk much about his ordeal. He was quiet, almost bashful at times. Jeffrey Van Horn remembers him fondly. Before Bill and Jimmie build their own house between Lockhart and McMahan, the couple lived for a dozen years on the Van Horn property near Tilmon. “You couldn’t ask for a nicer man,” recalls Jeff. “He and Jimmie were good friends with my mother and father.”

In 1983, there was a reunion of some of the men who served in Company F. Bill’s former company commander, Bill McFadden attended, and later wrote a letter to Bill. Nearly forty years later, McFadden remembered that “the only time that I ever cried in WWII was when I helped you on a stretcher at Riquewihr.”

Company F Reunion 1983 – Bill’s CO is on far left standing

Bill’s Company Commander’s letter in 1983

What praise! His words speak more clearly of Bill’s courage and leadership than any military commendation.

Grandson John Paul Taylor’s shadowbox for Bill’s decorations that he made for Jimmie

Various newpaper clippings from Lockhart and Gonzales regarding Bill

Bill’s headstone – Jeffrey Cemetery


This story, researched by the hard working folks of the Caldwell County Genealogical and Historical Society, appears in the Fall 2018 edition of the award winning Plum Creek Almanac, the Society’s semi-annual publication.



Todd Blomerth  

        Almost as soon as Caldwell County was created, attempts began to satisfy its citizens’ thirst for news and opinion, and news publications of various types were begun in various parts of the county. Sadly, newsprint is ephemeral. Many newspapers appeared, and as quickly, disappeared.  Some are known only because of brief comments in other publications of the time. Some publications merged. I suspect that no one got rich in the newspaper business. The hours were long, the printing process tedious, and, like today, the risks of offending the powerful often real. This article is an attempt at listing all newspapers (or similar periodicals) known, or at least suspected, of existing in Caldwell County.

  1. The Rustler – Martindale, Texas, circa 1900. Editor – W.R. Hadley.[1] References to the Rustler appear several times in the Lockhart Weekly Post and the Lockhart Post, between 1900 and 1904. The San Antonio Express shared society snippets from other newspapers, as was the custom of the time. On November 5, 1899, it copied a Lockhart story that told that “Editor W.R. Hadley of the Martindale Rustler was in the city last Tuesday.”[2] The Lockhart Weekly Post of September 19, 1901 reprinted two news items from the Rustler:    “The hardest rain we have had in twelve months fell here last Saturday. It was a regular ground smoker and tank filler.” – Martindale Rustler. The prohibition election in the Staple precinct last Saturday resulted in a victory for the prohibitionists. The vote stood 202 to 68. – Martindale Rustler.”[3]  No copy has been found.\
  2. The Enterprise – Martindale, Texas – circa early 1900s. Editor – T.F. Harwell. It was “suspended after a short time because the business interests were not [unreadable] to give them the necessary support.’”[4] No copy has been found.
  3. Fentress Indicator – Fentress, Texas, 1903-? Editor – W. Davis. “Fentress is a growing town in the San Marcos valley and in the famous “black land” district, where an enormous lot of truck is grown by the irrigation plan. This location makes the INDICATOR a valuable advertising medium. Rates on application.”[5] No copy has been found.
  4. Luling Commercial – Luling, Texas – 1870? – Editor – S.C. Craft. The only mention of this publication is in the Brenham Weekly Banner of February 1, 1878: “S. C. Craft, editor of the Luling Commercial, died on the 25sh [sic[ inst. At Luling. He was quite an elderly gentleman.”[6] No copy has been found.
  5. Luling Reporter – 1870(?)  Editor – S.C. Croft. Nothing is known of this publication apart from the following in the Denison Daily News of January 29, 1878: “Rev. S.C. Croft, editor of the Schelenburg [sic] Argus, died at Luling on the 25th Inst., at a very advanced age. Mr. Croft once edited the Luling Reporter.”[7] It is likely that the references to ‘Croft’ and ‘Craft’ are to the same person. Whether he operated one or two newspapers is not known.
  6. Luling News – ?-1896. Editor – B.H. Goode. The only mention of this publication is in the Galveston Daily News, which on September 18, 1896 reported: “Luling, Tex., Sept. 17. – B.H. Goode, former editor and proprietor of the Luling News, has resumed control of the property and closed the News office. He has decided to remove the entire plant to Calvert, Texas and start a new weekly there. This leaves the old established Luling Signal in sole control of the journalistic field there.”[8] No copy has been found.
  7. Luling Wasp (Luling Evening Wasp) 1884-?. Editor – Jason Hodges. Virulently anti-Republican, its editor described Jefferson Davis as a “venerable patriot.” He went on to aver that “[T]he republicans deny the capacity of the people for self government, while the democratic party affirms it…”[9] Showing the anger of white Southerners toward the recently ended Reconstruction period, Hodges proclaimed that “[I]f Geo. Washington himself was a candidate before the people of Texas, upon the record the Republican party presents, he would be defeated.”[10] His disapproval of African-Americans’ right to vote was most evident.

  1. Luling Auger – 1882-? – Editor- unknown. In 1882, the Galveston Daily News reported that “The Luling Auger is to be the titled of a new paper to appear on the 9th of December, in Luling. As the prospectus says: It will be devoted to local and miscellaneous matters, and will contain a little of everything, except spring poetry and dead-head puffs.”[11] No copy has been found.
  2. Luling Gimlet – 1885 – ? Editor unknown. The only mention of this publication was found in a Dallas Morning News article entitled “Dallas and Texas 50 Years Ago,” published in 1935 and referencing an 1885 story, which noted that “Luling has
    a new paper. It is called the Gimlet.”[12]
  3. Texas Baptist Record (Luling) – 1891-?. Editors – J.P Hardwick, Sr., and R.R. White. The Fort Worth Gazette, in its “Texas Journalism” column, mentions that “Luling now has two religious papers – the Signal and Texas Baptist Record. The Signal was started several years ago by Col. J.P. Bridges. The Texas Baptist Record is a new paper, having been started by J.P. Hardwick, Sr., and R.R. White.”[13] No copy has been found.
  4. Luling Herald 1890-1893. Owner/Editor – W.B. Stevens. Editor 1891-1893 – J.D. Sanders. The Galveston News announced on May 4, 1890 that “t]he first issue of the Luling Herald is just coming from the press. It is a neatly printed five column eight page paper. The proprietor is W.B. Stevens, recently from Del Rio.”[14] The Herald and Signal teamed up “and got out a big double-sheet special edition” in 1890 touting the young city’s pluses, its railroad, and its cotton gins.[15] The Herald printed one thousand copies of a special edition in 1891, to be distributed “throughout the county in the interest of immigration.”[16] It consolidated with the Luling Signal in 1893.[17]
  5. Luling Enterprise – Circa 1901. Editor – Maurice Dowell, and later, George P. Holcomb and Jeff P. Sanders. Described as a “neatlygotten up 7-column folio.”[18]It is unknown whether this was in any way related to the Martindale publication with the similar name. A give-and-take between its editor o and the Lockhart Register’s editor appeared in the Lockhart Register regarding prohibition and criminality:

The Lockhart Weekly Post editor’s comments seem to indicate that the Luling Signal and the Luling Enterprise were perhaps in cahoots, or jointly owned.[19] Apparently they weren’t. The Enterprise’s editor groused publicly about subscribers dunning it and jumping to its competitor. In 1902, the Bastrop Advertiser mentioned the paper’s gripes:

There is hardly a newspaper in all Texas that has not often met with the experience of the Luling Enterprise, as expressed in the following: “We notice that the Signal has secured several new subscribers in the past several weeks that once took our paper. What we want to say is that they dead beated us out of money. We hope the Signal will get their money allright and have no such dirty trick played one it.”[20]

  1. Luling Signal – (Also published as Luling Signal and Tri-County News in 1939) – 1878-1974, 1977-1978. Publisher/editor – J.P. Bridges 1878-1893). Later editors: Mrs. A.C. Bridges, S.W. Huff, W.B. Stevens, J.W. Browne, J.D. Sanders, M.L. Carter, Mr. Walker, D.C. Holcomb, J. P. Bridges, H.F. Bridges, and L.H. Bridges.[21] J.P. Bridges sold his interest in the Lockhart News-Echo in 1878 and started the Signal the same year, operating it until his death in 1893. Its inaugural edition was described as a “handsome paper, the first number of which appear, at the flourishing town indicated, on the 10th instant.[22]A report in the LaGrange Journal of 1883 stated that “Col. Edmonson of the Flatonio [sic] Argus has bought the Luling Signal and will move to Luling. Col. E. is a thorough newspaper man and will make the Signal a signal success.”[23] This transaction apparently never transpired, as Bridges continued as the owner.  The newspaper merged with the Luling Newsboy in 1978. It appeared under various titles through the years, including Luling Signal and Tri-County News (in 1939) and Sunday Signal.  Austin’s Weekly Democratic Statesman of January 17, 1878 noted: ‘The Signal has made its appearance at Luling. It is a handsome sheet and reflects credit upon the community in which it is published.”[24] In an 1880 snippet, the Brenham Daily Banner’s editor joked about fellow newspapermen and their marital status: “The Gonzales Inquirer man takes a fit every time an editor gets married. The Luling Signal man and the Houston Post man have been married lately and now the Inquirer man sits and think of the time when he should do likewise.”[25] Not afraid to mix it up, the Signal’s editor took issue with its Lockhart counterpart over state political machinations:[26]

 J.P Bridges put out a good paper as reflected by these comments          in 1885: “The Luling Signal has been enlarged to a 32-column                paper and presents a beautiful appearance. Bridges is a whole               team,  as a newspaper man, and gets out a rattling good paper.              Hope he may continue to prosper.”[27]  J. P. Bridges was well                respected by other newspapermen. In 1891, he helped call a              meeting of editors, in hopes of creating a permanent organization      entitled “Editors of the Southwest.” It’s inaugural meeting was held     in Aransas Harbor [Port Aransas?].[28]

     The paper ceased production in 1974, but restarted in August of         1977. It was consolidated with the Newsboy in 1978.[29]

14. Luling Newsboy – Owner/Ray Bailey Sr. Editors/managers – Ray Bailey Sr., and Ray Bailey Jr. until 1975, then Bob McVey until 1978. Started by Ray E. Bailey, Sr. in 1940, this was a robust newspaper whose owner/editor had a strong sense of duty to men and women in the military. His publication, Our Men and Women in World War II reflects a monumental effort at honoring those in uniform, and is a priceless research tool.[30] Central Texas Newspapers purchased the Newsboy in 1975, and Bob McVey became editor.                    15.  Luling Newsboy and Signal – 1978- present. Editor- Bob McVey (1978-1981), Karen McCrary (1981-2018), Dayton Gonzales (2018 to present). Owner/publisher – Buddy Prouss. In 1978, the Signal and Newsboy consolidated. Luling Publishing Company, Inc. continued McVey as publisher/editor. The Luling Newsboy and Signal continues in publication.                                                                                              16. Luling Record/Lockhart Record – 1898-? Editor – Professor Melliff. The only mention of these publications were found in an 1898 comment in a Houston newspaper: “Lockhart, Texas, May 12. – the populists of Caldwell county have purchased the plant of the Luling Record and moved it to Lockhart, where they will immediately commence the publication of a weekly newspaper. The new paper will make its advent in about ten days, and will be under the editorial management of Prof. Melliff, a thoroughly competent and experienced newspaper man.”[31] No copy has been located.              17.  El Popular – Lockhart, Texas, circa 1901. Editor – Miguel Valdez. The Houston Post mentions this is as a Spanish language newspaper.[32] No copy has been found.                                                                                        18.  El Globo – Lockhart, Texas, circa 1893. Editor – unknown. The only mention of this publication was found in the Galveston Daily News.[33] It is possible that El Globo is mentioned in the Brenham Daily Banner of 1893: “Four newspapers, one Spanish and three American, are now published at Lockhart.”[34                                                                                                                         19. Lockhart New Test, 1893-1897. Editor – Henry Clay Gray. An African-American graduate of Fisk University (1883) and Oberlin (1885), he created the New Test in 1893. Gray drew the wrath of William Cowper Brann, publisher of the Iconoclast, mainly because Gray was black and educated.[35] Brann was a highly controversial figure, attacking those in authority, the Catholic Church, and Baylor University. Brann was killed in a Waco gunfight with an irate Baylor supporter in 1898.[36] it is possible that the New Test was published, at least for a time, in Seguin.[37] The Galveston Daily News quoted the New Test several times in its ‘Texas Newspaper Comments’ section between 1895 and 1897. As one would expect, Gray was a Republican. He appears to have been heavily involved with the party. The Galveston Daily News reported that on January 21, 1896, “Twenty-one leading colored republicans from various portions of the state met here to-day in secret conclave to decide on a candidate for president….Among the colored leaders present were… Henry Clay Gray…”[38] On February 29, 1896, Caldwell County Republicans met at the Courthouse to elect delegates to the state and congressional conventions. Henry Clay Gray was elected as a delegate to the Ninth District, which was to meet in Austin on March 5.[39] The African American Republicans were fighting a losing battle against Jim Crow. If there is any doubt as to the personal dangers attendant with bucking white Democrats, consider this: At that same Caldwell County meeting, J.W. Larremore was elected secretary. On August 4, 1904, Larremore, “a negro school teacher and a prominent local republican politician,” was murdered outside his home in Lockhart by “unknown assailants.” His friend and fellow Republican, Tom Caperton, was severely beaten.[40] I have little doubt that Gray’s publication walked a tight line to avoid, if it did, the Southern white backlash after Reconstruction. One example of this careful balance:                                                                                                               We do not pretend to indorse or defend the many monkey capers that have been cut up in Texas for more than a month in the name of republicanism, but the great principles of the party and the great statesmen who formulated them we do indorse, now and forever; but they have nothing to do with the monkey shines we are having in Texas.[41]                                                                                                                                  During the 1890s, the Populists appealed to African-American Republicans in rallying for economic causes that crossed racial lines. Gray’s position on national and state affairs were cited by other papers. Gray was quoted as saying that “[s]pending time and money trying to land McKinley electors in Texas this year is like fishing for whales in a wash tub, with pin hooks.”[42] The Austin Weekly Statesman mentioned New Test’s political leanings during the 1896 Presidential campaign: “The republicans of Caldwell county heartily approve of your mention of dealing with mercenary so-called republicans. Old Caldwell county is going to work to roll up a big vote for McKinley, Makemson and protection.”[43] (Judge Makemson, ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1894 on the Republican ticket).[44]                                                                                                   Too soon, the New Test’s run was over. The Lockhart Register of July 10, 1897, in a small article, stated that the New Test had been sold to Mr. Bob Palmer, “who will remove it to Buda.” On July, 17, 1897 the Galveston Daily News reported that Palmer and W.C. Carter “have purchased the New Test printing outfit and moved it to Buda and will commence next week to publish the Buda Echo….In politics it is understood it will be democratic.”[45] Gray continued in politics and as an orator. The first African-American State Fair was held in Houston in August 1896. “Mental culture,” embracing “evidences of journalism, poetry, prose and song” was one of the many topics meant “to show the world the remarkable and unprecedented advancement of the southern negro (especially in Texas) since they merged [sic] from the darkness of slavery into the light of freedom.”[46] No copy has been found of this weekly, nor has any further information been found on Henry Gray.                                                            20.  The Colored Citizen, Lockhart, Texas, 1907-1908. Editor – Percy Tucker. Tucker apparently was a schoolteacher. An African-American publication. No copy has been found.                                                21. Lockhart Express, 1853-? Publisher – J. Hubbard Stuart and Company; Editor – Mary E. Stuart [Stewart?]. In its November 5, 1853 edition, the Gonzales Inquirer stated that “[I]t appears that our friends of Lockhart will have a paper. Mr. Stewart [Stuart?], of the “celebrated Lavaca Express,” paid us another visit a few days since and he states that he has made the necessary arrangements to commence its publication in that town at an early day. We believe he designs calling it The Lockhart Express. May you meet with ample success, Stewart.”[47] A month later, the Gonzales Inquirer noted: “The “Express” is a neat little sheet, and being the only one in the State edited by a lady, is entitled, and doubtless will, receive a hearty support.”[48] The Nacogdoches Chronicle stated: “It must not be supposed that because a woman writes for the ‘Express,’ it is a ‘woman’s rights’ paper, for we see no indication of the kind.”[49] No copy has been found, nor has any information been found on Mary Stuart. She possibly was the wife of the paper’s owner. It is possible that Mrs. Stewart is the same person referenced in a 1936 article in the Lockhart-Post Register as the publisher of the Mirror. The authors of the 1936 article state:

The first newspaper in Caldwell [sic] was “The Mirror,” a small weekly which was published by Mrs. Isabel Stewart. She not only conducted editorial department, but she worked in the mechanical department. After a struggle of about one year in a vain effort to maintain “The Mirror,” Mrs. Stewart yielded to the inevitable and removed her printing office to San Diego, California, where she published a paper for several years.[50]

22. Western Clarion, Lockhart, Texas, circa 1855. Publisher – I.G.L. McGehee. Little is know about this publication. The front page of its June 2, 1855 edition shows an impressive effort made at gathering ‘hard’ news. Its editor reported, without negative comment, on an anniversary gathering in New York City of William Garrison’s Anti-Slavery Society, printing the Society’s resolutions condemning the practice of slavery.23. Lockhart Guard – possibly 1850s. Publishers – Colonel John M. Crane and Atticus Ryman. “’The Guard’” ran for only a few months. According to an article in the Lockhart Post-Register’s Centennial Edition in 1936,  the editor had to quit printing it because he criticized the lawlessness and the gamblers in the county. The gamblers and horse thieves told him that they would run him out of town if he didn’t stop publishing this paper. He moved to Goliad and published ‘The Goliad Guard.’”[51]                                                                  24. Lockhart Rambler, circa 1859. Publisher – William Carleton. The Texas State Gazette (Austin, Texas) stated: “We learn that Mr. Carleton has removed the Rambler to Lockhart. We shall be very glad to hear of his success in that enterprising town.”[52] It appears that, while the office was located on the southeast corner of the town square, the paper’s printing continued in Austin. The Weekly Telegraph (Houston, Texas) referenced a story in The Rambler, which told of the tragic death of a seven year old boy living near Elm Creek. While playing with a horse, the child’s hand became entangled in the animal’s stake rope. The horse spooked, tearing the child’s hand off.[53] Carleton, a native of England, fought in the Texas Revolution with Philip Dimmitt’s company and was at the capture of Goliad in December 1835. He died on November 11, 1875 at the age of fifty-three.[54]                                                                                                                                         A story in the Centennial Edition of the Lockhart Post- Register tells of an incident involving Mr. Carleton. Unfortunately, as seen below, it states that Carleton started the Clarion (or Western Clarion), which is incorrect. Nonetheless, if true, it speaks of the dangers of being a journalist on the frontier:

William Carleton, an Englishman, established “The Clarion” [sic], but it didn’t stay in existence long because of a little incident. One night at supper table at his boarding house a drunk man by the name of Compton, who was a carpenter and cabinet maker, got mad at some joking remark Carleton made. Without a word of warning he attacked Carleton and disabled him temporarily. This caused a suspension of the paper, and its publication was never resumed.[55]

  1. Southern Watchman, 1857-? Publisher – E.H. Rogan. Austin’s Southern Intelligencer informed its readers in 1860 that “E.H. Rogan has started a new paper in Lockhart, called the ‘Texas Watchman.” The first number promises well for success.”[56] As seen below, The Southern Watchman existed at least since 1857. I suspect that newspaper originated in Austin, and perhaps moved its offices to Lockhart in 1860. Proudly proclaiming that “We Stand by the Constitution,” its June 6, 1857 edition told of an ill-fated American filibuster into Mexican Sonora.[57]
  2. South and West, 1865-? Publishers – Edgar H. Rogan and J.D. Buchanan. The newspaper’s publishers stated it would be “published simultaneously at Austin and Lockhart, Caldwell County.” It’s inaugural edition, dated Tuesday, December 19, 1865 listed its owners’ many aims. “To attempt, however feebly, to heal the wounds of our beloved—our native land, must, it appears, be the immediate duty of all. Pursuant to this view, every effort shall be made, by South and West, to develop; to utilize, and to mature, all our varied resources; the arts of mining, manufacturing, and husbandry.”[58]
  3. The Plow Boy, 1868-? Publishers – N.C. Raymond and E. H. Rogan. It was originally published in Austin. Raymond’s partner and the paper’s printer, withdrew from the partnership, although continuing to set type.[59] In May 1869, the operation moved to Lockhart. “We have received the May number of the Plow Boy, published at Austin, Texas, by our old friend Nat. Raymond, [wrote the Dallas Herald] – On or about the 1st of June, we understand the Plow Boy is to be published weekly. – Mr. Raymond has associated with him Mr. M.E.H. Rogan, of Lockhart, Caldwell County, at which place the paper will be hereafter published….Raymond can and will make a first-rate paper, and we will be glad to see him successful.”[60]                                                                       The 1870 American Newspaper Directory listed the Plow Boy (its motto was “Disconnected with Partisan Politics”) as the only newspaper in Lockhart ‘devoted to agriculture.’ Apparently, the Directory’s publisher, Geo. P. Rowell & Co., printed circulation figures provided by the newspapers themselves. The Plow Boy claimed 1000 as its circulation.[61] Using 1869 or 1870 information, the 1871 Texas Almanac’s only listing for a newspaper in Lockhart was the Plow Boy.[62]  In all likelihood, this figure was substantially inflated.                                                                                Raymond was something of a renaissance man. In 1857, the Texas State Times reported on Raymond’s house, then in construction, a mile from the Capitol: “The outer walls of the building are eighteen inches thick, and composed of a new material, prepared from the common soil of the country, of which Mr. Raymond claims to be the discoverer. We have no pretensions to nice artistic skill and judgment in the mechanical arts; but from the appearance of solidity and durability in these walls, we should at once pronounce them to be equally as substantial as edifices of stone or burnt brick. The idea of converting, by chemical agencies, any kind of clay or soil into a valuable material for building and fencing purposes, by a simple and cheap process of preparation, is certainly an original and bold conception. None but a mind confident in the resources of its own genius would have persevered in the attainment of its ends….” [63] In 1858, Raymond applied for and was granted a U.S. Patent on a type of composition building material that contained, among other things, charcoal and cow dung.[64] It appears the Plow Boy folded upon the death of N.C. Raymond. The January 5, 1871 edition of the Houston Telegraph, quoting the State Journal, gave an account of Raymond’s demise:

      Mr. Raymond, who has been conducting an agricultural journal at  Lockhart, started for Austin to spend Christmas with his family. On arriving at Onion creek, about eight or nine miles from home, it being late in the afternoon and very cold weather, with a sharp north wind, Mr. Raymond complained of cold and alighted to walk with the buggy drove on to the house where he was to stop for the night. An hour elapsed, and his non-arrival causing alarm, he was sought for and found dead in the road but a few paces from the place where he alighted. His death was caused by an attack of neuralgia of the heart, and was probably instantaneous.[65]

     Nathaniel Charles Raymond died on December 22, 1870. He was fifty-one years old. He is buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Austin. His wife, Lucinda, died in 1882.

  1. The Texas Digest, 1870 – ? Editor- W.D. Cary. Mentioned in another publication, little is known about this newspaper. [Illegible source] stated: “And yet another Republican journal has unfurled its banner to the breezes of republican freedom and equal rights in Texas. “The Texas Digest,” published in Lockhart, Caldwell county, and edited by W.D. Cary, reached us last evening. It is not very large, but large enough, and it is exceedingly well edited for the first number. The editorials are ably written, and in excellent spirit. We cordially welcome our new fellow laborer into the ranks of Republican journalism.”[66]
  2. Lockhart Advocate – circa 1898. Editor – unknown. The only mention of the publication is in 1898. The Dallas Southern Mercury, quoting another newspaper, the Dublin Progress, reported: “’The Lockhart Advocate has been consolidated with the Gonzales Drag Net and the latter has been increased in size from four to eight pages. The Drag Net is one of the ablest Populist papers in Texas and it is meeting with deserved success. Both the Progress and the Drag Net are excellent papers.”[67]
  3. Lockhart Phonograph – 1893- ?. Owner and Publisher – Horace Bruce Roberts. This newspaper is mentioned in several contemporary publications, but no copy has been located.  The 1894 American Newspaper Directory lists it, along with the Lockhart Register:


The Dallas Morning News, publishing reports from other Texas newspapers in a section entitled The State Press, quotes an individual named Palmer (possibly its editor): “The State Press Association met at Dallas this week, which gave editors who have apron strings around their necks at home, an opportunity to celebrate the occasion in the usual manner, full of whiskey.” [69] Given that the owner of the Phonograph was a preacher, one wonders how long Palmer lasted.                                                                                       In an 1893 article on the Lockhart Lyceum the Lockhart Register stated that a debate team discussed “Should Caldwell County build a new courthouse in the city of Lockhart.”  It further stated that “Mr. W.R. Parker and Bruce Roberts were added to our number and we welcome them among us.[70]  According to his mother Aurilla’s obituary of 1910, the Roberts family settled in the area before Caldwell County was formed.[71] Horace Bruce Roberts was born in Lytton Springs in 1869. His newspaper lasted only a short time, and by the end of the century, Rev. Roberts had moved on. On November 24, 1899, he was back in town from Cotulla, Texas, visiting with “old friends.”[72] In the ensuing years, Reverend Roberts lived in San Antonio, where he published Baptist Word and Work,[73] Moore Station in Frio County,[74] and Dilley, Texas.[75] Roberts died at the age of eighty-nine, in Uvalde, Texas. He is buried in the Mount Hope Cemetery at Carrizo Springs.[76]                                                            31. Lockharter Zeitung – 1901- ? Publisher – M. Hoffmeister. The influx of German speaking farmers into the county in the late 1890s and early 1900s created a perceived market for a newspaper printed in German. Unfortunately, the one known newspaper of this type appears to have lasted only about a year.[77]

  1. Lockhart Courier – 1908-1010. Publisher – Carey Smith; 1910-1910 John. B. Holt. This was a slick publication, with quality photographs. Its quality may explain its short lifespan. It appears that John B. Holt, a local pharmacist with a business on the west side of the Lockhart Courthouse Square purchased or leased the Courier. Most of his copy was devoted to patent medicines he had in stock. It appears that few editions were published.


  1. Lockhart News Echo, 1872-1880? Publisher – E.H. Rogan, editor and later Hallum & Co, then J.P. Bridges, owner and publisher. Described as a ‘spicy’ newspaper by the Galveston Daily News[78], it barely survived its first few months. Rogan was also an attorney. Rogan’s business was destroyed in June 1872. Quoting the State Gazette, the Galveston newspaper stated that “the News Echo printing establishment was destroyed by fire on Sunday night…. It is stated to be the work of an incendiary – a fiend incarnate, who should be ferreted out and brought to condign punishment…. We tender our sympathies to Captain Rogan for the loss he has sustained. The News Echo was edited with great ability, and we trust to see it at an early day rise Phenix-like [sic] from its ashes and resume publication.”[79]                                                              The News Echo did rise Phoenix-like, but without Rogan. W.K. Hallum and W.C. Bowen were identified as its owners in August 1872.[80]  The banners for the publication (“The Safety of the People Is the Supreme Law,” and “The Welfare of the People Is Our Guiding Star”) seemed to proclaim the paper’s populist leanings. An 1872 edition took great glee in listing many newspaper accounts describing the corruption in the Grant administration.[81] Its editor at the time, Will F. Faris, seemed to enjoy a good fight. In 1875, the Galveston Daily News commented on this. “The Lockhart News Echo keeps up a pretty lively fight with the [Austin] Statesman. Keep cool, brothers, if you can [in] this hot weather.”[82]

Ownership changed several times over the years. J. P. Bridges became publisher in 1878.[83] He would later relinquish the Lockhart paper and buy the Luling Signal, which he would publish until his death in 1893.[84] Brenham’s Weekly Banner of May 28, 1880 had a small story regarding the New-Echo’s ownership: “W.R. McDaniel has retired from the Lockhart News-Echo and W.B. Smith, an ambitious and rising young lawyer will [?] Echo-News to the people of Lockhart and Caldwell County.”[85]

  1. Caldwell County Register / Lockhart Register – circa 1880 – 1908. Publisher and editor – several. After purchasing the News-Echo, Smith, a transplanted Kentuckian, changed its name to Caldwell County Register.[86] He sold the paper in 1882 to G.M. Lassater, and returned to Kentucky. To avoid confusion with a publication in the town of Caldwell, Lassater changed the paper’s name to the Lockhart Register.[87] He may have been compelled, at least by public opinion, to do so. Brenham’s Daily Banner huffed a bit on this issue in 1880: “Texas has a number of papers of the same name, but each paper is designated by place of publication, it has two Caldwell Registers, one published in Caldwell county and the other in Caldwell town, Burleson county. The latter paper is the oldest and is entitled to the prefix Caldwell by reason of its seniority.”[88]                                                                                                                          Lassater then sold the paper to Reese Wilson. Wilson operated a newspaper in East Texas until 1885. During part of that time, B.G. Neighbors was editor and J.D. McMurtry the business manager. Reese Wilson moved to Lockhart in January 1886 and assumed control of the paper.[89] At that time, Neighbors left and purchased the Kyle News.[90] Wilson wasn’t afraid to express strong opinions about civic issues:                                                                         …Wilson also criticized the opinions and actions of other editors. Through satire and repeated criticism in print, he goaded town and county officials to action…Official laxness of duty or slowness in advancing a civil project always called forth editorial criticism by Wilson. He attacked the filth caused by keeping pigs in the city and brough about changes. He also argued for hitching racks (so the horses would not road the streets freely while their owners were inside business places and stores), water troughs, electric lights, and a water and sewer system. Wilson also campaigned – successfully—for an Opera house in Lockhart.[91                                                                                           In failing health, Wilson sold the Lockhart Register in 1908 to George Baker who then leased it to some prohibitionists. When their lease expired, the Lockhart Register was leased to anti-prohibitionists, with Luther Hurst as it editor. When Caldwell County went dry, H.E. Cutcher became the editor.

Pressroom, Lockhart Register, Early 1900s

  1. Lockhart News – 1910- ? Owners/publishers -A.M. Jordan, and Vance Smith. Editor – H. E. Cutcher. The News purchased the defunct Courier plant and began publication.[92] Cutcher left the Lockhart Register to devote his time to the Lockhart News. A.W. Jordan’s involvement appears to have been limited. Almost as soon as the News made its appearance, Jordan, a mail clerk on the Lockhart-Yoakum run of the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad, purchased the Love County (Oklahoma) News. Jordan’s reason for leaving the Courier, where he had been city editor, was his inability to give enough time to that project. He continued as a railway mail after purchasing the Oklahoma newspaper.[93]

  1. Lockhart Post (Lockhart Weekly Post) – 1899 – 1915. Editors and publishers, Lay and Carey Smith (1899-1906), then W.M. Schofield and Bob Andrews (1906-1915) and Stanley and J. Louis Mohle, Sr. (1913-1915). The Smiths’ “polished prose and literary writing” won it much praise.[94] Its finances were shaky, and in 1906 the paper was sold to Schofield and Andrews. Schofield was “once principal of the Lockhart public schools, and Mr. Andrews has been for years the foreman of the Lockhart Register.”[95] The two later brought in Stanley and Louis Mohle, Sr. Schofield, a strong anti-prohibitionist did most of the writing until 1913.[96]
  2. Lockhart Post-Register – 1915-present. Owners and publishers – Andrews, Schofield, Stanley Mohle, Louis Mohle, Sr. (1915-1928); Schofield, Stanley Mohle, and Louis Mohle, Sr. (1929-1940); Stanley Mohle and Louis Mohle, Sr. (1940-1948): Stanley Mohle, Louis Mohle, Sr. and Louis Mohle, Jr. (1948-1958); Louis Mohle, Sr. and Louis Mohle, Jr. (1958-1972); Louis Mohle, Sr., Louis Mohle, Jr. and Paul Mohle (1972-1979); Floyd Garrett (1979-1989); 1989- present, Dana and Terri Garrett.                                               The Post and the Register merged in 1915.[97] Financially, Lockhart couldn’t support two competing newspapers. The Mohle family acquired full ownership of the Post-Register, and Louis Jr. took over the editing duties from his father. Paul joined the newspaper in 1960, and purchased an interest in 1972. The Mohles sold the newspaper in 1979. During their ownership, the Post-Register won several awards from the Texas Press Association. Floyd Garrett’s son Dana became the newspaper’s publisher in 1979. He and his wife Terri acquired the newspaper in 1989. It continues as Lockhart’s only newspaper. A weekly, with Thursday publication date, its current editor is Miles Smith.

Co-owner Dana Garrett

  1. 2001 Tales – 1992? – 2000? (Lockhart) Publisher – Sue King, and from 1993 on – Arthur “Art” Braud. Braud obtained 2001 Tales from King. Under her, the paper only had forty-eight issues before failing. Braud, a colorful ex- merchant marine who had lost an eye, published 2001 Tales on a bi-weekly basis.[98] With an office on Market Street, Braud converted the mimeographed/copied flyer into a legitimate newspaper. “I had a good time. I used newsboys to sell it on the streets a few times. I used a linguist whom I paid fifty dollars per edition to proof it, and had a legally blind receptionist.”[99] It appears that the publication’s name was changed to 2001 Plum Creek Tales some time around 1997.[100] The publication occasionally billed Caldwell County for legal notices. Braud closed the business down in 1998.
  2. Caldwell County Citizen – 1984-1989. Editor – Willis Webb, and later Don Werlinger. Little can be found of this short-lived periodical. Don Werlinger, who at one time owned and operated the local AM radio station KCLT, apparently purchased a small periodical and attempted to get a newspaper off the ground to compete with the Post Register. In 1984, former Post-Register publisher Willis Webb along with Jerry Thames, sued Werlinger and two other individuals. The suit alleged that Webb and Thames had extended credit to Byron and Carolyn Tumlinson, with the understanding that the two would operate the newspaper, and that the profits would be split. Werlinger was alleged to have bought the Tumlinsons’ interest, freezing out Webb and Thames. In the meantime, the suit alleged substantial bank overdrafts.[101] Werlinger represented to the Caldwell County Commissioners Court that the newspaper had enough circulation to qualify for county legal notice dollars, which was strongly disputed by some. Although it did receive some county business, the publication did not survive.                                            40.  Lockhart Times-Sentinel – 2004-2006. Greg Hardin, publisher and editor. After leaving the Post-Register, Hardin, who had been the paper’s editor, started the Times-Sentinel. It lasted less than two years. Hardin then attempted to continue the effort as an internet publication. That too failed. No copy has been located.

There are three other publications not included in any depth in this story. They are the Lockhart Guard, the Baptist Visitor, and the South Texas Baptist, all purportedly printed or published in Lockhart. Other that brief mention, nothing has discovered regarding their existence.  I have little doubt that there may have been other newspapers that existed briefly. Only in recent years have attempts been made to preserve newsprint in digital form. Sadly, some outstanding writing, excellent reporting, and brilliant opinion pieces have been lost.


1  Historical Sketch of Martindale by T.A. Buckner, circa 1925.

[2] San Antonio Express (San Antonio, Texas), Vol. 34, No. 288, November 5, 1899.

[3] Lockhart Weekly Post (Lockhart, Texas), Vol. III, No. 87, September 19, 1901.

[4]  Historical Sketch of Martindale by T.A. Buckner, circa 1925.

[5] National Newspaper Directory and Gazeteer by Pettingill, 1903.

[6] Brenham Weekly Banner (Brenham, Texas), Vol. 13, No. 5, Ed. 1, February 1, 1878.

[7] Denison Daily News (Denison, Texas), Vol. 5, No. 283, Ed. 1, January 29, 1878.

[8] Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas), Vol. 55, No. 178, ed. 1, September 18, 1896.

[9] Luling Evening Augur (Luling, Texas), Vol. 1, No. 80, August 8, 1884.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas), Vol. 41, No. 223, Ed. 1, December 7, 1882.

[12] Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas), June 22, 1935, referencing June 22, 1885 issue of the Dallas Herald.

[13] Forth Worth Gazette (Ft. Worth, Texas), Vol. 15, No. 191, Ed. 1, April 24, 1891.

[14] Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas), Vol. 49, No. 7, Ed. 1, May 4, 1890.

[15] Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas), Vol. 49, No 150, Ed. 1, September 26, 1890.

[16] Ft. Worth Gazette (Ft. Worth, Texas), Vol. 13, No. 25, Ed. 1, May 28, 1891.

[17] La Grange Journal (La Grange, Texas), Vol. No. 51, Ed. 1, December 21, 1893.

[18] Brenham Daily Banner (Brenham, Texas), August 10, 1901.

[19] Lockhart Weekly Post (Lockhart, Texas), Vol. V, No. ?, February 5, 1903.

[20] Bastrop Advertiser (Bastrop, Texas), Vol. 49, No. 48, Ed. 1, December 6, 1902.

[21] Luling Newsboy & Signal (Luling, Texas), July 26, 2012.

[22] Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas), Vol. 36, No. 255, Ed. 1, January 15, 1878.

[23] Brenham Daily Banner (Brenham, Texas), Vol. 8, No. 210, Ed. 1, September 2, 1883, quoting the LaGrange Journal (LaGrange, Texas).

[24] Weekly Democratic Statesman (Austin, Texas), Vol. 7, No. 15, Ed.1, January 17, 1878.

[25] The Daily Banner (Brenham, Texas), Vol. 5, No. 299, December 8, 1880.

[26] San Marcos Free Press (San Marcos, Texas), Vol. 11, No. 46, Ed. 1, October 12, 1882.

[27] Brenham Daily Banner (Brenham, Texas), Vol. 10, No. 265, Ed.1, October 28, 1885.

[28] Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas), Vol. 50, No. 173, Ed. 1, September 13, 1891.

[29] Luling Signal & Newsboy (Luling, Texas), April 24, 2008.

[30] Our Men and Women in World War II, edited by R.E. Bailey (1944).

[31] Houston Daily Post (Houston, Texas), Vol. 14, No. 41, Ed. 1, May 13, 1898.

[32] Houston Daily Post, 17th yr., No. 244, Ed.1, December 4, 1901

[33] Galveston Daily News, Vol. 52, No.199, October 8, 1893

[34] Brenham Daily Banner (Brenham, Texas), Vol. 18, No. 22, Ed. 1, September 16, 1893.

[35] Lone Star Travel Guide Central Texas, by Richard Zeladne, Taylor Trade Publishing 2011, p. 208

[36] Brann and the Iconoclast, by Charles Carver, Univ. of Texas Press, 1957, p. 178.

[37] Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas), Vol. 53, No. 364, March 23, 1895.

[38] Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas), Vol. 54, No. 304, Ed. 2, January 22, 1896.

[39] Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas), Vol. 54, No. 343, Ed. 1, March 1, 1896.

[40] Lockhart Weekly Post (:Lockhart, Texas ), Vol. VI, No. 30, August 4, 1904.

[41] Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas), Vol. 54, No. 365, Ed 1, March 23, 1896.

[42] Brenham Daily Banner (Brenham, Texas), Vol. 21, No. 278, Ed. 1, October 9, 1896.

[43] Austin Weekly Statesman (Austin, Texas), Vol. 26, Ed.1, October 22, 1896.

[44] A History of Central and Western Texas, Vol. 2,; Captain B.B. Paddock, p. 710; Lewis Publishing Company, 1911.

[45] Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas), Vol.56, No. 115, Ed. 1, July 17, 1897.

[46] Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas), Vol. 55, No. 68, Ed.1, May 31, 1896.

[47] Gonzales Inquirer (Gonzales, Texas), Vol. 1, No. 23, Ed. 1, November 5, 1853.

[48] Gonzales Inquirer (Gonzales, Texas). Vol. 1, No. 27, Ed. 1,  December 3, 1853.

[49] Nacogdoches Chronicle (Nacogdoches, Texas), January 1, 1854

[50] Lockhart Post-Register (Lockhart, Texas), Centennial Edition, article by Florence Swearingen and Katheryne McMillan, August 13, 1936.

[51] Lockhart Post-Register (Lockhart, Texas), Centennial Edition, article by Florence Swearingen and Katheryne McMillan, August 13, 1936.

[52] Texas State Gazette (Austin, Texas) Vol. X, Issue 41, May 21, 1859

[53] The Weekly Telegraph (Houston, Texas), June 1, 1859

[54] Annals of Travis County and of the City of Austin (From the Earliest Times to the Close of 1875) by Frank Brown. Vol. 9. Date unknown. Carleton (or Carleston, as it was spelled elsewhere) would have been thirteen years old at the time of the Texas Revolution.

[55] Lockhart Post-Register (Lockhart, Texas), Centennial Edition, article by Florence Swearingen and Katheryne McMillan, August 13, 1936.

[56] Southern Intelligencer (Austin, Texas), Vol. 4, Issue 25, February 8, 1860.

[57] The Southern Watchman (Lockhart, Texas), Vol. 2, No. 19, June 6, 1857.

[58] South and West (Austin, Texas0, Vol. 1, Ed. 1, December 19, 1865.

[59] The Plow Boy, Vol. 1, No. 2, Ed. 1, December 1, 1868.

[60] Dallas Herald, Vol. 16, No. 35, Ed. 1, May 15, 1869.

[61] American Newspaper Directory, containing Accurate lists of all the newspaper and periodicals published in the United States and Territories, and the Dominion of Canada; Geo. F. Rowell & Co. (1870).

[62] The Texas Almanac for 1871, and Emigrant’s Guide to Texas, page 237.

[63] Texas State Times (Austin, Texas), Vol. 4, No. 20, Ed. 1, May 23, 1857.

[64] Raymond, N.C. Improvement in Compositions Used as Building Materials, Patent, October 12, 1858; 165063/: accessed march 10, 2016.

[65] Houston Telegraph (Houston, Texas), Vol. 36, No. 39, Ed.1, January 5, 1871.

[66] Unknown newspaper, September 9, 1870. accessed June 9, 2011.

[67] Southern Mercury (Dallas, Texas), Vol. 17, No. 40, Ed. 1, October 6, 1898.

[68] American Newspaper Directory 1894, George P. Rowell & Co., p. 758.

[69] Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas), May 20, 1893.

[70] Lockhart Register (Lockhart, Texas), March 24, 1893.

[71] Lockhart Post (Lockhart, Texas), March 10, 1910.

[72] Lockhart Post (Lockhart, Texas), November 24, 1899.

[73] Lockhart Register (Lockhart, Texas), July 10, 1903.

[74] Lockhart Weekly Post (Lockhart, Texas), January 19, 1905.

[75] Lockhart Post (Lockhart, Texas), March 10, 1910.


[77] Houston Post (Houston, Texas), Vol. 25, Ed. 1, December 13, 1909 states that the Lockhart Herold (sic) made its appearance that week as the first German paper to be printed in Caldwell County. There is no further evidence of this publication’s existence. It certainly would not have been the first of its kind, if it even existed.

[78] Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas), May 17, 1872.

[79] Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas), June 30, 1872.

[80] Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas), August 15, 1872.

[81] News-Echo (Lockhart, Texas), Vol. 1, No. 7, April 27, 1872.

[82] Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas), Vol. 35, No. 154, Ed. 1, July 7, 1875.

[83] Lockhart Post-Register (Lockhart, Texas), Centennial Edition, November 29, 1972.

[84] Ibid.

[85] Brenham Weekly Banner (Brenham, Texas), Vol. 15, No. 22, Ed. 1, May 28, 1880.

[86] Lockhart Post-Register (Lockhart, Texas), Centennial Edition, November 29, 1972.

[87] Ibid.

[88] The Daily Banner (Brenham, Texas), Vol. 5, No. 176, Ed. 1, July 16, 1880.

[89] Post Register Centennial Edition, op.cit.

[90] San Marcos Free Press (San Marcos, Texas), vol. 14, No. 5, Ed. 1, January 15, 1885.

[91] Post Register Centennial Edition, op. cit.

[92] Yoakum Weekly Herald (Yoakum, Texas), Vol. 16, No. 14, November 10, 1910.

[93] Shiner Gazette (Shiner, Texas), Vol. 17, No. 22, Ed. 1, January 13, 1910.

[94] Post Register Centennial Edition, op. cit.

[95] Houston Post (Houston, Texas), November 12, 1906.

[96] Post Register Centennial Edition, op. cit.

[97] Ibid.

[98] Seguin Gazette-Enterprise (Seguin, Texas), Vol. 108. No. 135, March 23, 1997.

[99] Author’s interview with Arthur Braud, July 11, 2018.

[100] Lockhart Post-Register (Lockhart, Texas), Vol. 126, No. 10, March 5, 1998.

[101] Lockhart Post-Register (Lockhart, Texas), Vol. 112, No. 38, September 20, 1984.