I don't look forward to driving in Houston, but the fact is that one of the nation's best genealogical research libraries is located there and we periodically venture into the rat's nest of freeways in order to partake of the wonderful resources to be found there. More on that later.
Before we left Bastrop, we spent a day scouting for a location that the United Daughters of the Confederacy could use for their January celebration of Confederate Heroes Day. We started with the museum maintained by the Bastrop County Historical Society, thinking that might be the solution. We had a nice visit with the curator and in the course of the conversation, I asked her about a photo I had heard was to be found there of Matthew Dunkin, an ancestor on the Mobley side of the family. She was at a loss until she thought of a book in their collection and when she brought it out for us to examine, I was surprised to see that it was a relatively new book on the history of McDade that I had missed getting a copy of when it came out last summer. Again, more on that later.
We were concerned that the museum might not be large enough to handle the gathering in January, so we proceded up the street to check out the meeting room at the old First National Bank building. We enjoyed a nice conversation with the volunteer who was staffing the Visitors Center that day and with a lady who heads the Main Street project. The interior of the Visitiors Center houses the original bank counters, brass teller's cages and vaults of the old bank, as well as photos of historic Bastrop along the walls. It was rather like briefly stepping back into the 1880s and I could picture my ancestors stopping in to withdraw money from their accounts.
During our visit, we got a nice lead on a possible meeting place and our next stop was the historic Bastrop Opera House. We met the gentleman who manages the operations there and got a personal tour of the facilities. The Opera House is a lovely old building that dates back to the 1890s and live theater productions are staged there on a regular basis. During the course of our conversation, we were invited to come back on Friday night to see their latest production, "Murder by Poe". As you may be expecting at this point, more on that later. The Opera House turned out to be an ideal location for the January event.
Happy that we had hit on a solution for the UDC's needs, we spent some time touring Bastrop and I began to try and make contact with the local author of the McDade book, hoping to be able to obtain a copy to add to my local history collection. Late in the afternoon, I reached her and made arrangements to drive out that evening to her home in McDade to pick up the book.
I'm always surprised to find out how many people in the area know me or know of me through my website. Audrey knew immediately who I was and of my family's connection to the history of McDade pottery. At one point she casually mentioned that my great-grandmother Hodge's house is still standing. That was news to me, since Mother had been under the impression that it had long since been torn down. She was born in that house and we had tried some years before to locate it, and failing to do so had come to the conclusion that it no longer existed. Audrey gave me directions and I was able to go by and get photos before dark.
The house that once belonged to Cora Mobley Hodge.
A photo taken probably in the 1920s on the porch of that house.
(Second from left is Cora Hodge, seated is Mary Caroline Mobley.)
...to be continued