Monday, February 25, 2013

Annual Membership Meeting Proved Productive

On February 24, 2013, the Brazos Heritage Society held its annual meeting at the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History.   Shortly after 2:00 PM Nat Hilliard called the meeting to order and welcomed those in attendance.  She provided a report on her two terms as President of the Society.  This report was a recap of her “President’s Message” posted earlier this month on Heritage Brazos at:

Following President Hilliard’s presentation, in which she thanked past and current members of the Society’s Executive Committee, she introduced Mervin Peters, Secretary of William Joel Bryan Chapter No. 14 of the Sons of the Republic of Texas, who provided an informative presentation on the relocation project of the historically significant Turner-Peters Dogtrot Log Cabin, currently located on property owned by TMPA in Grimes County.  It is the plan of his organization to have the cabin moved to property adjacent to the Boonville Cemetery.  Mr. Peters expressed his appreciation to members of the Brazos Heritage Society for supporting this undertaking.

After this presentation, President Hilliard brought up several business items.  The minutes from the February 26, 2012, were approved.

The Society’s financial status was also approved.  According to the Treasurer’s Report, the Society began 2012 with a balance of $15,580.77, and ended the year with $14,143.99.

Sheila Fields, Research Chair, provided a report on the Boonville Jail Community Marker, for which there was a dedication ceremony held on September 28, 2012.  During her remarks, she thanked members of the Duncum family for their wholehearted support of this project.

Her presentation was followed by a report on the status of Heritage Park by Stephanie and Randy Hilliard, Heritage Park Co-Chairs.  Quite a few trees have been planted in accordance with the park’s master plan, but more will be needed.

Kyle Kovel, the Society’s Secretary, was called upon to provide a report from the Nominating Committee and to conduct the election of the 2013 officers.  Mr. Kovel reported that the Nominating Committee had met and developed the following slate of officers:

Dan Beto for President;
Isabel McPartlin for Vice President;
Kyle Kovel for Secretary; and
Beverly Myers for Treasurer.

Mr. Kovel then asked for nominations from the floor; there were none, and a motion was made and seconded that the slate be approved by acclamation.  This motion carried.

President Hilliard then offered some concluding remarks and invited everyone to stay for the reception and to avail themselves of a private viewing of the historic Astin family clothes exhibit.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Events at the Museum of the American GI Scheduled

Henry Mayo, Chair of the Brazos County Historical Commission, recently provided information via email about events scheduled for March 22-23, 2013, at the Museum of the American GI located at 19124 South Highway 6 in College Station, Texas.  Henry’s message reads as follows:

If you have seen me in person this week, you will see that I have shaved off my beard again this Spring.  This is in preparation for my participation in the World War II reenactment at the Museum of the American GI Open House on Saturday, March 23. 

Please mark your calendars and see their great website for more information at  

Here is a direct link to a short video of the 2012 reenactment to give you a better idea of what you will experience.

(In this 2011 photo, I am at the far right, without my helmet, as the tank commander on the M8 Greyhound armored car “Miss Emily”)

We strive for authenticity and Brent Mullins’ tanks are restored just like the day they were shipped overseas in the 1940s.  The all have original engines manufactured by Cadillac, Buick, Chrysler, Ford, Chevrolet, Continental, International and all of the contractors of the period.  Some of the tanks have multiple engines, running in unison.  We have them all on display Friday and Saturday, so be sure to bring cameras, kids, and expect a very unique educational experience.  The reenactment is at 3:00 p.m., and lasts a good hour or so.  Please plan to come early and browse the many vendors of everything military as well as exhibits such as very authentic, remote-control model tank battles.

Rest assured that battle reenactment is not too gory for kids, or that the guns are too loud.  You may want some ear plugs if you are sensitive to loud noises, but the blanks we shoot are not terribly loud.  The “wounded” and “killed” infantrymen do not use fake blood, etc., and they all march up to the crowd at the end to show off their uniforms, weapons, and equipment.  

The museum building exterior will be finished by the event and a fundraising dinner will be held there on Friday night (March 22) at 7:00 p.m.  Dress is casual, so please consider attending to help fund this great, non-profit museum and the great events they hold.  The plan is to have several reenactments and demonstrations of varying scale throughout the year, since the tanks will now be housed in the museum, on the reenactment property in south College Station (exit at the Texas World Speedway exit).

Hope to see you all there. 


For additional information about the museum and these events, visit the website at, call 979-739-4037, or email

Thanks for bringing this to the attention of the membership of the Brazos Heritage Society, Henry.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Annual Membership Meeting Reminder

Please plan to attend the Brazos Heritage Society’s Annual Membership Meeting on Sunday, February 24, 2013, at 2:00 PM at the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History.

During this meeting we will hear a special presentation from Mervin Peters, President of the Sons of the Republic of Texas, on efforts to relocate the Turner-Peters Dogtrot Log Cabin from Grimes County to the Town of Boonville in Brazos County.

In addition to hearing this interesting presentation, the Society will elect new officers at this meeting. 

If you are interested in serving in any capacity, please come to the meeting.  If you have any questions about serving as an officer, please feel free to call me at 979-229-2468 or email me at

I look forward to seeing you on February 24.  Please come, learn about some of the history of Brazos County, and get acquainted with other members of the Society.

                                                                                                Nat Hilliard, President 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

New Issue of Riding Line

The Winter 2013 issue of Riding Line, the newsletter of the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), is now available online. 

In addition to providing information on the upcoming TSHA Annual Meeting scheduled for February 28 – March 2, 2013, in Fort Worth, the newsletter highlights some new publications available from the TSHA Press, recent awards and fellowships, and other topics related to the history of the Lone Star State.

This issue of Riding Line is accessible at:

Additional information about the mission and products of the Texas State Historical Association may be found at:  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Exploring History Lunch Lecture Series

The next luncheon of the College Station Exploring History Lunch Lecture Series will be held on February 20, 2013, at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in College Station.  In recognition of Black History Month, Wayne Sadberry will be the guest speaker.  Mr. Sadberry is a 2013 honoree at the 12th Annual Appreciation Banquet of the African American National Heritage Society.  Raised in Bryan, his family was among the first Black landowners in the Brazos Valley. 

Mr. Sadberry will share the history of when Blacks became a part of the fast growing area “back in the day,” the challenges they met, and how they have become such an important part of our community today.

The cost of the luncheon is $5.00 per person and begins at 11:30 AM at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, located at 2201 Earl Rudder Freeway South.  For more information and for reservations, please contact Marci Rodgers, Senior Service Coordinator with the College Station Parks and Recreation Department, at 979-764-6351 or by email at not later than February 19, 2013.

The Exploring History Lunch Lecture Series is a product of the College Station Historic Preservation Committee and the Senior Advisory Committee.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

President’s Message

These past two years I have served as your President have been challenging, rewarding, and full of activity.  During this period members of the Brazos Heritage Society accomplished a great deal:
  • Continuing the tradition, we held two well attended and enjoyable Independence Day celebrations in Bryan’s Heritage Park;
  • We produced two successful Christmas strolls in the Eastside Historical District and Heritage Park;
  • We provided stewardship of Heritage Park by finalizing a master plan, providing necessary maintenance, and entering into a relationship with Blaine Brezina to landscape and plant trees in partial fulfillment of his Eagle Scout project;
  • Working in harmony with the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History, we participated in two Boonville Day Living History Fairs and created a special exhibit of Astin Family clothing;
  • We held a Victorian tea at the Clary House and at Fannin School we had an “Antique Sideshow,” Brazos County’s answer to the successful PBS program Antiques Roadshow;
  • We helped host the 2012 Arbor Day ceremony in Heritage Park;
  • With the help of the Duncum Family, we placed a community marker designating the site of the old Boonville jail;
  • We created Heritage Brazos, our electronic newsletter;
  • In addition to the regular annual meetings in February, we held two fall meetings at the Matthew Winsper Knobel Memorial Gazebo in the Park;
  • And we supported several organizations whose mission was to preserve the history of Brazos County.  
All this could not have been accomplished without the hard work of those persons who served on the Executive Committee over the past two years, to whom I am extremely grateful.

I have thoroughly enjoyed serving as your President but it is now time for someone else to assume this responsibility.

Please attend the Society’s Annual Membership Meeting on Sunday, February 24, 2013, at 2:00 PM at the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History, at which time we will elect new officers.  If you are interested in serving in any capacity, please come to the meeting.  If you have any questions about serving as an officer, please feel free to call me at 979-229-2468 or email me at

I look forward to seeing you on February 24.  Please come and get acquainted with other members of the Society.

                                                                                         Nat Hilliard, President

Friday, February 1, 2013

New Exhibits at the Texas State History Museum

Commencing this month the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, Texas, will open two new exhibits.

Texas State Parks and the Civilian Conservation Corps 

In collaboration with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), the Bullock Texas State History Museum will open Texas State Parks and the Civilian Conservation Corps on February 1, 2013, in the 3rd Floor Rotunda Gallery.  Photographs, maps, postcards, newsletters, and original furniture will highlight the history of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the parks built between 1933 and 1942.

By way of background, in the 1930s, the United States was in the throes of a financial depression.  Businesses were not hiring and many young Americans lacked the skills or experience they needed to get the few jobs that did exist.  When Franklin Roosevelt became president in 1933, he created the CCC to provide jobs and training to men between the ages of 17 and 25 and also out-of-work World War I veterans.

The Texas legislature had created the Texas State Parks Board in 1923, but declined to fund the development of land into state parks.  Within days of Roosevelt’s creation of the CCC, Texas Governor Miriam Ferguson submitted a proposal to the federal government requesting funding for 26 CCC projects – which led to 97 work camps across the state.

Although most camps were devoted to soil-conservation and erosion-control projects, about 27 camps were responsible for the development of state parks.  They constructed roads and bridges, built cabins, prepared hiking trails and campsites, and fabricated furniture.

Today, TPWD manages 29 CCC-built parks that form the core of the state park system. Many of the original CCC buildings and features are still in existence and continue to provide recreational opportunities for Texans.

Enduring Women: A Photography and Oral History Exhibit

Women working the land in Texas today as ranchers and farmers continue to shape the state, adapting to and overcoming whatever nature or man throws at them.  Enduring Women, a new photography and oral history exhibit at the Bullock Texas State History Museum, celebrates the importance of place in the lives of these Texans and explores their stories in their own words. 

The Bullock Museum has partnered with St. Edward’s University to highlight undergraduate creative research in the fields of oral history, art history, and photography for a unique companion exhibit, Enduring Women.  Held in conjunction with the special exhibition Women Shaping Texas in the 20th Century, on view now in the Museum’s Albert and Ethel Herzstein Hall, the photography and oral histories of Enduring Women are presented by students of St. Edward’s University School of Humanities and School of Behavioral and Social Sciences.  Both exhibits will be on view in the Herzstein Hall through May 19, 2013. 

Enduring Women features 12 real Texas women who work the land. These women personify fortitude as they tackle back-breaking work to protect and preserve their family heritage. Hear their stories in their own words and witness the daily lives of these remarkable Texas women who have endured – sometimes for generations – in their stewardship of the land. 

Enduring Women is on view from February 2 to May 19, 2013, in the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Hall of Special Exhibitions.

Admission to the Museum is structured as follows: $9 for adults; $8 for college students (with valid ID); $7 for seniors/military (with valid ID); $6 for youth ages 4-17, free for ages 3 and under.  In addition, members of the Bullock Texas State History Museum are admitted free.

The Museum, located at 1800 North Congress Avenue at the intersection of Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard in downtown Austin, Texas, is open daily from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Monday through Saturday; Sunday’s hours are from noon to 6:00 PM.  

Additional information about the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum may be found at: