Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Happy New Year

Members of the Executive Committee of the Brazos Heritage Society wish you all the very best in 2012.  

Simply stated, may you be safe this last day of 2011 and may you find the new year to be significantly better than the old.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Victorian Tea of Thanksgiving a Success

Persons from as far as Dallas came to enjoy the Victorian Tea of Thanksgiving hosted by the Brazos Heritage Society on the afternoons of November 12-13, 2011, in the beautifully decorated Clary House, located at 601 East 30th Street in the Bryan Historic District.

The menu for this tea included:

Devilishly Delicious Egg Salad Sandwich
Egg salad with a hint of dill.

English Pear Tea Sandwich
Tea sandwich made with Stilton cheese, pear, and walnuts.

Royal Watercress Roll
Cream cheese roll dipped in watercress and pecans.

Chicken Cranberry Tart
Pastry filled with a delicious blend of chicken-cranberry salad.

Orange Blossoms
A delightful taste of citrus.

Shadowlawn Teacakes
Cookies flavored with almond liqueur.

Decadent Chocolate Truffles
Crushed wafers with dark chocolate.

Thanksgiving Tea Bread
Citrus cranberry bread.

Petite Pumpkin Muffins
A taste of the season.

Tea Served
Prince of Wales

Members of the committee for this event included: Linda Roberts, Beverly Myers, Nat Hilliard, Sheila Fields, Tamara Garza, Glynis Gore, Fran Kimbrough, Cindy Irwin, Fran Lamb, Tommie Sue Powers, and Joy Teague.

Music was provided by classical guitarist and composer Byron Goble, whose selections were perfect for this event.  Additional information about this talented musician may be found at his website:

The Clary House is a transitional style home built by Charlie Jenkins for John H. Moore in 1902.  Since that time the house has undergone considerable renovation.  The current and fourth owner – Linda Roberts – totally renovated this historic house’s interior and now operates it as a bed and breakfast.  For more information about the Clary House, visit:

Persons attending the tea had the opportunity to purchase a book containing recipes from this and previous teas for $10.00.  There are a few more of these books available; persons interested in purchasing one may contact Beverly Myers by phone at 979-229-9414 or by email at

Proceeds from this event will go to fulfilling the mission of the Brazos Heritage Society.  Several photographs taken during this event may be viewed on the Smilebox below.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Friday, November 11, 2011

Historic District Christmas Stroll

Make plans to attend the Historic District’s Christmas Stroll on Saturday, December 10, 2011, hosted by the Brazos Heritage Society.

Activities begin at 6:00 PM at the Matthew Winsper Knobel Memorial Gazebo in Heritage Park at 600 South Hutchins Street in Bryan with musical selections provided by the choir of St. Michael's Academy; this part of the program is free.  The park will be decorated for Christmas with sparking white lights and festive red bows.

Beginning at 7:00 PM and continuing until 9:00 PM, several of the homes in the neighborhood, decorated for Christmas, will have their downstairs open to the public. There will be a charge of $5.00 a person to tour these homes.  Some of the historic homes that will not be open will be providing free refreshment on their porches with views of their Christmas decorations through the windows. 

The Brazos Heritage Society has contracted with Hidden Oasis to provide free horse drawn carriage rides in the neighborhood.

Come and enjoy some old fashion Christmas activities.  Tickets will be available at Heritage Park on the evening of the event.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Veterans Day Ceremony to be Held at Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial

The Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial Board of Directors is honored to host the Annual Veterans Day Ceremony to be held on Friday, November 11, 2011, at 5:00 PM.  This respectful and patriotic event will take place at the Louis L. Adam Plaza, Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial, Veterans Park and Athletic Complex.  The park is .8 miles east of Highway 6 on Harvey Road in College Station.

Each year, names of veterans – living or deceased – are added to the existing Wall of Honor by their families or friends, and their names are read aloud as part of the ceremony.  Currently, there are over 4,400 names engraved in the granite walls of the memorial, and over 130 names will be added this year. The cost of adding a name is $100 and the deadline each year is August 15.

The keynote speaker for this event will be U. S. Congressman Bill Flores of Texas’s 17th congressional district.  A special seating section will be set aside for veterans.  Members of the Texas Aggie Band, the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets, the Corps Center Guard, and the Ross Volunteers will participate in helping to make this annual event most memorable.

And save the date for the upcoming memorial dedication of the first of five World War II statues on the Lynn Stuart Pathway.  A Naval aviator statue in the likeness of Lieutenant (JG) George H. W. Bush will be dedicated mid-afternoon on December 7, 2011.  Donations are being accepted for future memorials.

This information was provided by Anne Boykin, Chief Information Officer for the Board of Directors of the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial.  For additional information, contact her at or by calling her at 979-450-3296.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Membership Meeting and Social Held

On September 29, 2011, the Brazos Heritage Society held a meeting at the Matthew Winsper Knobel Memorial Gazebo in Heritage Park in Bryan’s Historic District.  Approximately 30 people attended this informative meeting to learn more about the activities of the Society.

Beverly Myers, Linda Roberts,
& Sheila Fields
After President Nat Hilliard called the meeting to order and introduced members of the Executive Committee, she called on a number of people to provide specific reports.  Sheila Fields, Chair of the Research Committee, discussed progress on securing a Boonville historical marker.  Her report was followed by Glynis Gore, Chair of the Heritage Park Committee, whose presentation was devoted to the status of the master plan for the park. 

In addition, Linda Roberts, the Society’s Secretary, provided an update on the “Victorian Tea of Thanksgiving” scheduled for November 12-13.  Beverly Myers, the Society’s Treasurer, updated those in attendance on the restoration project of the historic Astin clothing collection.

Glynis Gore & Roland Searcy
Tom McDonald gave a report on the work of the restoration of the Queen Theatre.  The crown is in place now and is fully operational and a special lighting ceremony will be held on the evening of October 7, the first day of the Texas Reds Festival.  Following his presentation, Treasurer Beverly Myers presented Tom with a check for $1,000.00 for the Save the Queen project on behalf of the Society.  Additional information about this project may be found at the following link:

Henry Mayo urged those in attendance to come out for the 6th Annual Boonville Days – Living History Fair on October 1 at the Brazos Center.  Additional information about this event may be found at the website of the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History, accessible at:

Tom McDonald & Henry Mayo
Prior to adjourning the meeting, President Hilliard announced that on December 10, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM, the Society would host a Christmas Stroll.  Additional information about this event would be forthcoming.  In addition, members were encouraged to sign up to assist with the Victorian Tea and Christmas Stroll.

Following the meeting, those in attendance gathered in the gazebo to enjoy a selection of delicious refreshments, to become better acquainted with one another, and to learn more about the work of the Society and the history of Brazos County.   

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Exploring History Lunch Lecture Series

On the third Wednesday of the month from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM, the College Station Historic Preservation Committee and the Senior Advisory Committee invite speakers to come to the College Station Conference Center, 1300 George Bush Drive, to share their knowledge of local history with members of the community. A light luncheon is served for $5.00 per person. The programs are videotaped and broadcast weekly on CSTV-19.  

Reservations are required and can be made by calling 979-764-3491 or by emailing Anne Boykin, Heritage Programs Coordinator, at

The programs for the remainder of the year include:

Wednesday, September 21: “A Short History of the Laws and Legal Community of Brazos Valley” with The Honorable W.T. McDonald, Jr.  No one tells it like Judge McDonald – legal eagle, cattleman, historian.  This luncheon sponsored by Crestview Home Health Services.

Wednesday, October 19: “Allenfarm,” with Bill Terrell, the fourth generation to operate this working farm.  This luncheon sponsored by City of College Station Senior Services.

Wednesday, November 16: “Unique Brazos Valley Architecture,” with Jim Singleton, a well-known architect who will provide a bird’s eye view of places you may have missed.  Luncheon sponsored by Linda and Russ Harvell of Texas Trading Post.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Membership Meeting Scheduled

The Brazos Heritage Society will hold a membership meeting on Thursday, September 29, 2011, at 7:00 PM, at the Matthew Winsper Knobel Memorial Gazebo in Heritage Park, 600 South Hutchins Street, in the Historic District of Bryan, Texas.

The purpose of this meeting is to provide members and prospective members an update on the activities of the Society, including information on the master plan for Heritage Park and the historical marker for Boonville.

Please bring a chair for seating.

If anyone is musically inclined and would like to furnish some entertainment, please plan on doing so.

Refreshments will be served.  Plan to attend and enjoy visiting with other members.  If you have friends who are interested in the work of the Society, please invite them to attend.

Please RSVP by Tuesday, September 27, 2011, by calling Beverly Myers at 979-823-6824 or 979-229-9414; you may also email her at

Saturday, August 13, 2011

President’s Message, August 2011

WOW!   I hope you were able to join us for our 25th Anniversary Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration – it was Great!  You can read all about it in the Independence Day Celebration article in this newsletter.

We have several things in the works right now and I will take a minute to tell you about them.

First:  We are trying to obtain a Historic Marker for Boonville before the Town site disappears under a sea of concrete during the construction of new housing.  Sheila Fields has been working very hard to get the necessary permission from the owners for us to apply for the marker.  Anyone who can help us with this project please contact Sheila Fields or myself. 

Second:  Glynis Gore has been working with the City of Bryan to get a Master Plan in place for Heritage Park.  She is waiting, at the moment, for a detailed drawing from the designer so we can present the Master Plan to the Parks and Recreation Department for approval. 

Third:  We are having a collection of vintage clothes, donated to us several years ago by the Astin family, restored so they can be displayed at the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History.   Beverly Myers has been coordinating this project.  The clothes are to be prominently displayed in the Astin wing of the Museum, a first run is scheduled from January through April of 2012, contingent of course upon our getting the clothes restored to a usable condition in time.   The Heard-Craig Historic Center in McKinney, Texas has offered to loan the museum some of Nina Heard Astin’s china and other items to enhance the clothing display.  We are currently applying to the Arts Council for funding to help with the restoration.  We will be looking other places for grants to help with this as well.

Fourth:  A full Membership Meeting is being planned for the last of September, (hopefully the heat will have dissipated by then).  We will be issuing an announcement as soon as plans have been completed.  I will email those with email addresses, and Dan Beto will put the information up on our new blog – Heritage Brazos – at  We will also be mailing notices about the meeting to those members who do not have computers.

Fifth:  Plans are in the works for our Annual BHS tea, which will take place at The Clary House on November 12th and 13th.  Anyone interested in helping with the tea please contact me!

Sixth:  We have tentatively set the date for our Christmas fundraiser for December 10th; there will be more information to follow on this as plans firm up. 

I have been blessed with a wonderful, enthusiastic, hard working Executive Committee, for which I continually give thanks.

Anyone wishing to step up to the plate and help us accomplish our goals please contact me at 979-229-2468 or

                                                                                                Nat Hilliard

Independence Day Celebration a Hugh Success

More than 250 people attended the 25th Anniversary 4th of July celebration at Heritage Park in Bryan, Texas. 

The official program began at 9:45 AM, when Nat Hilliard, President of the Brazos Historical Society, asked Gerald Garcia to offer an invocation.  The invocation was followed by members of the Sojourners, who raised the American Flag, led those assembled in the Pledge of Allegiance, and then provided their now famous toast to the American Flag, our great symbol of liberty.  The National Anthem was also sung.

During the program, two special presentations were made by President Hilliard.  Jonathan Smith, who served as President of the Brazos Heritage Society from 2008 to 2011, was presented a plaque in recognition of his dedicated service.  Also receiving a plaque was Tom McDonald, who organized the first 4th of July celebration in the Bryan Historic District 25 years ago, and who has been steadfast in promoting the history of Brazos County.  He was cited for his “vision, service, leadership, and patriotism in the development of Heritage Park.”

Following the brief program, The Westernaires, a local band, provided a variety of musical selections – from patriotic to country and western to popular standards – throughout the morning. 

While the music played, there was the annual children’s parade around the park; many of the children wore patriotic costumes and their bicycles and wagons were decorated in red, white, and blue.  Other activities included a silent auction, games, booths, and exhibits, including a collection of vintage Studebakers and the crown from the Queen Theatre, provided by the Downtown Bryan Association.

Members of the Brazos Heritage Society served free lemonade, hot dogs, and watermelon to those in attendance.

In commenting on the success of this year’s festivities, President Hilliard noted that this would not have been possible without the help of the Society’s Executive Committee and an army of volunteers.   She also recognized a number of corporate sponsors for their generous support, including Dent Magic, Wienerschnitzel #255, Saint Gobain/Norpro, the Farm Patch, Taco Bell #2310, and the Dixie Chicken, Inc.

Victorian Tea Scheduled for November

On the afternoons of Saturday and Sunday, November 12-13, 2011, the Brazos Heritage Society will host Victorian afternoon teas in the beautiful Clary House, located at 601 East 30th Street in the Bryan Historic District.  There will be two seatings daily, the first at 2:00 PM and the second at 4:00 PM. 

The price of admission is $35.00 per person.  For reservations, please call Beverly Myers at 979-229-9414.  Tickets must be purchased in advance.  Seating is limited so make reservations early.

The Clary House is a transitional style home built by Charlie Jenkins for John H. Moore in 1902.  Since that time the house has undergone considerable renovation.  The current and fourth owner – Linda Roberts – totally renovated this historic house’s interior and now operates it as a bed and breakfast.

Proceeds from this event will go to fulfilling the mission of the Brazos Heritage Society.

Treasurer’s Report, July 2011

I am pleased to report that the financial condition of the Society is healthy.  As of May 31, 2011, the checking account had a balance of $9,060.53.  Since that date the Society received $964.00 from book sales, memberships, the silent auction, and donations, and expended $1,288.86, most of which was related to the 4th of July celebration.  This has resulted in a checking account balance of $8,735.67 on July 27, 2011.  In addition, the Society has two certificates of deposit valued at $14,016.23.

Should more detailed information be desired, please feel free to contact me at the following email address:

                                                                                                Beverly Myers

Remembering Boonville

The Brazos Heritage Society is pursuing the placement of an historical marker at the site of the original Boonville town site located on FM 158 across from the Boonville Cemetery.  This is also the site of much new development and we hope to stake a claim for the very special place that was once the county seat of Brazos County. 

The Daniel Boone connection to Brazos County began in 1751 with his marriage to Rebecca Bryan in North Carolina.  A brother and sister of Boone also married Bryan family members.  The Boones were friends and neighbors of the Moses Austin family and marriage between these families produced William Joel Bryan.  After the death of Moses Austin, his son, Stephen Fuller, would continue to lead settlers to Texas. 

During the year of 1821 the first of the original three hundred colonists, led by Stephen F. Austin, arrived and began building cabins and growing crops along the Brazos and Navasota Rivers.  Texas was still a wild unsettled area open to Indian attacks and constantly in danger of being invaded by small Mexican armies.  As more and more settlers began making their homes in Texas, they were finally able to muster together armies of their own aided by volunteers from Tennessee and led by General Sam Houston.

During that same year a young man named Harvey Mitchell was born in Cornersville, Tennessee.  At the age of 18 he left Tennessee by wagon train for Texas and settled in this area known as Boonville, named after Mordecai Boone, Sr., a nephew of Daniel Boone.  Mitchell set about working hard to aid fellow citizens in everyday life.  He would eventually serve as Boonville’s tax collector, surveyor, postmaster, chief justice, justice of the peace, teacher, operator of the gristmill, blacksmith shop, and dry good and grocery, and member of the Masons as well as the Minute Men.  Mitchell would also go on to lead the way for Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College to be located in this area in 1872.  He became known as the “Father of Brazos County.”

Life in the settlement of Boonville began to thrive and Hiram Hanover, Richard Carter, and John H. Jones laid out plans for a town square of 150 acres with small lots facing a public square and 10-acre lots around these for growing crops or keeping animals, all laid out on a 45-degree angle to the compass.  This custom of town planning was to prevent cold northerly winds from blowing through north-south streets, not a bad idea in Texas when a “blue norther” was coming through!  Auctions were held to sell the small lots and raise money for the new functioning government and to pay off the $150 per acre of land.  This area is located in the pasture to the left of Tom Light Drive on FM 158.  Lot 1 never sold and became the Boonville Cemetery. 

By 1841 Boonville became the county seat and a log cabin courthouse was build on the public square.  This was the first of three Brazos County courthouses.  A cedar tree which grew at the site of the courthouse was transplanted to the downtown Bryan courthouse and still grows there today.  A jail was also built in Boonville and became known as the worst jail in the Texas Republic because of its impossible escape design and its infestation with fleas!  It was referred to as “The Dungeon” and was located at the entrance to Tom Light Drive on FM 158.

Although an outbreak of yellow fever swept through Boonville, taking many citizens who are now buried in the Boonville Cemetery, the town appeared destined for greatness when word of the railroad coming through emerged, but alas, when land was sold by William Joel Bryan for the railroad just two miles west of Boonville the little pioneer town began its decline.  Citizens began moving to the new town that became “Bryan.”  Some families even disassembled their log cabins and moved them by wagon to rebuild in Bryan.  Even Harvey Mitchell encouraged his fellow citizens to leave town and go to Bryan because “that’s where the future is.”  By 1866 Boonville was deserted except for an orphanage near the cemetery which eventually was abandoned.  Today a lone oak tree is all that stands at the site of the town square in the pasture on Tom Light Drive.

It is our hope that we might mark this very special place in our county’s history so that, although there are no physical signs of its existence, we will not forget its importance to us.

                                                                                      Sheila Fields, Chair
                                                                                      Research Committee

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

2011 Heritage Park Independence Day Celebration in Pictures

On July 4, 2011, folks from all over Brazos County and beyond gathered at Bryan’s Heritage Park to celebrate Independence Day. Sponsored by the Brazos Heritage Society, the program for this annual event included a host of patriotic activities.

Some of the activities may be seen in the Smilebox presentation below.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Additional information about this wonderful event will appear in the Society’s August newsletter.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Heritage Brazos May 2011 Newsletter

25th Anniversary of the Historic District’s 4th of July Celebration

Plan to attend the 25th Anniversary of the Historic District’s 4th of July celebration at Heritage Park at the corner of East 30th Street and Hutchins in Bryan, Texas, on Monday, July 4, 2011, from 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM.

This event, sponsored by the Brazos Heritage Society, will feature patriotic activities for adults and children of all ages, including live music, a children’s parade, patriotic flag raising, and classic car display.

In addition, there will be a number of booths to visit and a silent auction.

Schedule of Events

9:30 AM Patriotic Music by Proud Country

9:45 AM Flag Raising, Pledge of Allegiance, and Toast to the Flag

10:15 AM Special Presentations

10:30 AM Music by Proud Country Continues

10:30 AM Children’s Parade

11:00 AM Silent Auction Closes

Come join us for an old-fashioned Independence Day celebration.

President’s Message

This past February active members of the Brazos Heritage Society received a letter from the outgoing President Jonathan Smith, expressing concern for the continuation of the Society, as the membership had dwindled to a handful, and it had been very difficult to get volunteers to help with fundraising events. In addition, he indicated he did not want to serve a fourth term as President and hoped someone would step up at the February 26th meeting. If there was insufficient interest, he proposed dissolving the corporation and giving remaining funds to help in the restoration of the historic Queen Theatre on Main Street. This was not what he wanted to do but, at the time, it seemed to be the only alternative.

I am pleased to advise that several members did step up to take responsibility for the Society. Since the election we have held several meetings and there is considerable energy and enthusiasm.

Our current aim is to restore the membership of the Society in order to fulfill our Mission as stated in our Bylaws:

Brazos Heritage Society is dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of Brazos County, specifically to: (1) identify, document and preserve the architecture and historical context of Brazos County, (2) promote the community’s appreciation of its history through advocacy and educational programs, and (3) combat the deterioration of older parts of our community through education, advocacy, and special projects.

We have chosen as our special project for this year, obtaining and placing a historic marker on the Boonville Community site. We will also continue to work on upgrading the Master Plan for Heritage Park.

Our new fiscal year began on March 1, 2011. Found in this newsletter is a membership form. For those of you who have not done so, please fill it out, indicating type of membership you prefer, areas of interest and willingness to serve, and return it to us so we can start rebuilding our Society.

On a closing note, on behalf of the new officers, I want to thank Jonathan for his three years of service as the Society’s President.

We look forward to seeing you all at the Independence Day festivities at Heritage Park on July 4, 2011.

Nat Hilliard


Heritage Park’s First Independence Day Celebration

Tom and Caroline McDonald and their sons, Scott and Don, moved to 611 South Haswell in Bryan, Texas, on April 15, 1986. That year they organized the first 4th of July celebration in the Historic District.

Scott and Don, ages 11 and 9 at the time, delivered circulars throughout the Historic District and adjacent areas. In preparation for the event, Tom and his sons installed a flagpole in their yard at the corner of Haswell and 31st Street.

Approximately 100 people attended this first old fashioned Independence Day celebration, which included Scott and Don posting the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, an invocation by the Reverend Romily Timmins of Bryan’s historic St. Andrews Episcopal Church, and the singing of The Star Spangled Banner, led by the beautiful baritone voice of the now departed Pete Adams.

Following the ceremony there was a children’s parade, with bikes and wagons decorated in red, white, and blue streamers and balloons, and attended by adults dressed in patriotic attire.

This procession circled the block to Heritage Park, where everyone visited and listened to patriotic music on a portable “jam box.”

Tom McDonald

Treasurer’s Report

Hello from the desk of the Treasurer. At the beginning of the fiscal year on March 1, 2011, the Brazos Heritage Society had two certificates of deposit valued at $14,002.62. In addition, the Society’s checking account had a beginning balance of $7,877.98. Since the beginning of the fiscal year the Society has received $785.00 and disbursed $263.27, resulting in an ending checking account balance of $8,399.71 as of April 30, 2011.

For more detailed information, please do not hesitate to contact me at

Beverly Myers


Website Update

While it is our plan to publish a newsletter on a quarterly basis, all too frequently events may occur that warrant immediate distribution to the Brazos Heritage Society membership. Special news items and features will be posted on our website, which is being regularly updated.

Please visit our website at to receive the latest information about the activities of the Society.

Please feel free to comment on how our website may be improved. Please send your suggestions to

Brazos Heritage Society Membership

The Brazos Heritage Society is “dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of Brazos County” through efforts to: Identify, document, and preserve the architecture and historical context of Brazos County; Promote the community’s appreciation of its history through advocacy and educational programs; and Combat the deterioration of older parts of our community through education, advocacy, and special projects.

Type of Annual Membership

Membership dues and charitable contributions are tax deductible. The Society’s fiscal year begins on March 1. There are four types of membership: Student/Individual - $10.00; Family - $15.00; Business - $75.00; and Heritage - $100.00.

Volunteering Opportunities

The strength of the Society is through the volunteer efforts of its members. The Society is always looking for individuals who are willing to use their talents to further the mission of the organization.

Service may come in many forms, including: serve as an officer; publicity; work with archives; address envelopes; assist with high tea; research restoration projects; membership development; July 4th celebration activities; assist with children’s tea; docent for Historical Homes Tour; ticket sales; host a social event in your home; volunteer home for custom tour; prepare refreshments for custom tour; make presentations on Brazos County history; fundraising activities; assist with special events.

Membership Information

Please list your name as you want it to appear on the membership roll and on correspondence.


Address: __________________________________________

City/State/Zip: ______________________________________

Phone: (Work) ________________ (Home) ________________


Please mail the completed form and your check to:

Brazos Heritage Society

P. O. Box 1776

Bryan, Texas 77806

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Guide to Historic Brazos County

A Guide to Historic Brazos County, a heritage tourism brochure published by the Brazos Heritage Society in 2003, is available as a free PDF download.  This publication contains a number of photographs of historic sites in Brazos County.  

Persons wanting a quick history of Brazos County may access this informative publication at: