Day two found us up early. Big Red was packed to the rafters with everything but the kitchen sink. Leaving on a trip requires preparations similar to those required for a military invasion. On this occasion I decided to risk leaving Boo and Scout at home, but Dixie, Mojo and Coco were spending the week with the vet. Dixie was scheduled for her spaying and the two dogs were having dentals while I was off gallivanting in the wilds of Houston.
So the back seat was full of pet carriers that were full of dogs and cat, their bags of food, their toys and leashes, our cooler of drinks and bag of snacks, camera bags, etc., while the rear compartment was full of suitcases, briefcases, totes full of family notebooks, makeup bags, a sleeping bag and pillow (I was to be sleeping on a cushy couch). We were full to capacity, a fact that would become problematic at a later point in my story. A mere 17 miles later and we checked the dogs and cat into their rooms at the vet and our vacation was officially begun.
For the first stop at a point of interest, I introduced Lana to an important site of Texas Baptist history. My alma mater Mary Hardin-Baylor College and that other Baptist college in Waco had their beginnings in 1845 in Independence, Texas. (Independence also claims the distinction of "Birthplace of Texas".) The girls' college sat on one hill and the boys' college sat across the valley on another hill. Baylor Female College eventually moved to Belton and became Mary Hardin-Baylor while the boys' college moved to Waco and became Baylor University. All that remains of the original buildings is a set of columns that belonged to the girls dormitory. We alumni of Mary Hardin-Baylor feel the need to return to this touchstone from time to time.
Old Baylor ruins at Independence, Texas
The last time I had my picture taken in the archway of the columns was in the early 1980s. To those of us steeped in the traditions of Mary Hardin-Baylor, to stand in the archway is to feel like you have come home.
Just down the road is Washington-on-the-Brazos, where the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico was signed in 1836. There is a very nice Visitors Center there and we stopped for a brief visit.
The next item on our agenda was to stop at the Grimes County courthouse to check their indexes for possible records of my peripatetic ancestor, Dr. Henry Hodge. The Grimes county seat is in Anderson, a tiny little town that grabbed that distinction before neighboring Navasota overtook it in growth. We were surprised at the lovely courthouse that sits on an island in the center of a traffic crossroads.
My hopes to find a missing marriage record here were dashed, but even proving theories wrong is time well spent in the pursuit of ancestors. We quickly checked their deed records as well. This is apparently one of the rare places that ole Hank lived where he did not buy and sell any property.
So we were soon on our way again, this time to visit Dollhouses Unlimited in Spring. Oddly enough, Lana and I are not only fellow genealogists, we are also fellow miniaturists and we try to visit any dollhouse store that is in close proximity while on our research trips. We spent a little over an hour prowling through a store that was new to us. We naturally each acquired a pile of little things for our miniature projects.
So far, so good. We had only added a few small bags to the car, which thanks to our having dropped the pet carriers and pet food off earlier, fit easily into the back seat. It was time to head to the home of Cousin Maxine in Friendswood, where we would be staying for three nights.
Friendswood is directly south of Spring, with Houston lying between the two. There was no way to get there without entering the bowl of freeway spaghetti, so we took a deep breath and dived in. We were about 20 miles from Friendswood as the crow flies. About 90 minutes away as the Houstonian drives. And it was rush hour.
...to be continued