Val Verde County Historical Commission

Val Verde County Historical Commission


History Events

This page lists events that are associated with the history of Val Verde County and its communities. We will also include Web links for events, when available. Below are some of the regular Val Verde County events; below those are particular news items.

Scroll down to see current History News and Events; click here to go directly to Annual Holidays and Memorials.

Current History News and Events



On August 16th we dedicated the historical marker for
Greater Mount Olive Baptist Church.
Deacons James Bass and Wesley Jackson unveiled the marker.

GMO Baptist Church marker unveiling

Here, the congregation gathers for a group picture.

GMO Baptist Church marker unveiling



2014-07: July is the centennial anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. Turner Classic Movies,(TCM on channel 63 on cable) is showing World War I-themed movies on Fridays during the month.



We lost a former member of the VVCHC and very nice person this year--Lavonne Schmidt. The following is the obituary provided by her niece.

Mary Lavonne (Vonnie) Tilloson Schmidt departed her earthly form Saturday, March 8 in Kerrville to join her loved ones, in what she called “a better place.” Born March 30, 1930 to Mattie Bell Farek Tilloson and Cyrus Council Tilloson on the maternal family farm in Clegg, Texas, she was delivered by her grandmother and midwife, Effie Arizona Wristen Farek. She liked to confide that her full name was Mary Effie Lavonne Tilloson and called herself MELT. When she married Leslie Eugene Schmidt on March 14, 1990, her niece told her she was now MELTS.

Following her graduation with a BS and post graduate work at Texas A & I in Kingsville, TX, she pursued three interesting careers: she served as a Lieutenant in the U S Navy from 1953 to 1957 and in the U S Naval Reserve until 1966; following that she worked for the Park Service; and later worked for the Texas Department of Human Services for over twenty five years.

Her happiest career after she retired to Del Rio was that of a volunteer for a number of organizations in Del Rio, the Methodist Church, Val Verde Memorial Hospital, the Red Cross and other institutions and agencies that helped those in need. She was preceded in death by her husband, Leslie, four of her brothers and sisters and her only nephew. She is survived by a brother, August Henry Tilloson and his wife, MaryBeth (Wassau, WI), a niece, Dr. Barbara Kerr Scott and her husband Art (Lawton, OK), a very dear friend Mariblanca Hester (San Antonio) and many more friends in Del Rio and Kerrville. As a memorial to her, please volunteer a couple of hours in her name to a service organization of your choice.



Langston marker unveiling
The VVCHC dedicated the Langston School historical marker on Feb 22, 2014.
Roger Blanks and Ivonne Best-Sanders unveiled the marker.

Langston marker unveiling



2014-02: Every spring news about the Alamo stirs in the wind.
First, a long-running controversy of State Senator Leticia Van de Putte and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas has been concluded.
There will be a new editor of the Alamo Journal soon.
Someone did an Ozzy, again, and has been found guilty, again. And so Texas Monthly has written a history of peeing on the Alamo. Yea.
And an on-again-off-again idea appeared in the news again--restoring the Alamo footprint.



2014-01: San Antonio's missions are in the news. The United States has nominated the missions as a World Heritage Site. The nomination coincides with 30th anniversary of the establishment of the San Antonio National Historical Park.



2013-12: The Second World War is in the news again. A giant Japanese submarine intended to launch an attack against the Panana Canal has been discovered (again). Click on the links for stories from Reuters and from CBS News.



2013-12: The Texas Tribune has been running stories about Texas rivers and water issues. Recently, the organization has published articles about the Devil's River and Pecos River, with photos. Click on the links for stories about--
Devil's River, and a slideshow;
Pecos River.



2013-12: The Second World War continues to loom large in American history and culture. However, it was the second of those wars given the "World" name. We are still learning news things about the First World War. Click on this link at Slate to read an article about Gallipoli, a battlefield that was not part of the American portion of the War, but one that matters greatly to Australia, New Zealand, and Turkey--and Mel Gibson's movie career.



2013-11: Someone has been talking about having an Article V constitutional convention. These news articles may look more like government and politics, there is a great deal of history behind the Constitution and the Article V procedures allowing modern generations of Americans to change the rules created by the Founding Father generation.

First, is an editorial by Joel S. Hirschhorn published in Nation of Change.

These kind of editorials appear once-in-a-while, but several other people have written articles in the last month. A big one written by Alex Seitz-Wald appeared in National Journal on October 31 and was reprinted elsewhere this month.

There are critics of the idea including one in The Blaze and another in

The Seitz-Wald article referenced a couple of slightly older sources the editor has on his bookshelf. Larry Sabato authored A More Perfect Constitution: 23 Proposals to Revitalize Our Constitution and Make America a Fairer Country in 2007, a summary of which can be found here. Another source is an article by David S. Law and Mila Versteeg. Their "The Declining Influence of the United States Constitution" was published in the New York University Law Review and available online here.



The VVCHC dedicated the Tarver School historical marker on November 9, 2013.

Tarver marker unveiling
Above, Tarver School alumni are unveiling the marker.

Tarver marker unveiling
A nice crowd attended the Tarver School historical marker dedication.



2013-11: Once upon a time, a great many people believed the Earth was hollow, as did John Cleves Symmes, Jr., who invited adventurers to find what some people have since called the Arctic entry point to the inner world the "Symmes' Hole." The hollow earth idea was featured by Edgar Rice Burroughs in his book Tarzan at the Earth's Core and his whole Pellucidar series.



2013-11: Every once in a while, there is new news about a historical event of particular interest to the editor. Before and during World War II Nazis had this thing about art. A movie scheduled for release in 2014, The Monuments Men, apparently reflects some broader interest in the story. IMDb describes the movie like this: "An unlikely World War II platoon are tasked to rescue art masterpieces from Nazi thieves and return them to their owners." In real life, some art stolen by Nazis has been discovered. The ongoing story is reported here, here, here, here, here, and here.

The Nazis are in the news again; though this time, in a strange way. Elements of World War II history continue to impact people today. This story is about Nazis and modern medicine.

And here is a story about the good guys--although it is also sad. It looks like the Doolittle Raiders have offered their final toast at their final reunion.



2013-11: History marches on, and events require people to change to stay current. Apparently has been true for some time. Imagine a 1772 hymnbook with pro-British references. That pesky American Revolution led to the need to change some lyrics. Read on.



2013-11: It's election time. Yea! Or is it Boo! In some parts of the country, people are talking about secession from the state they are in. Several counties of Colorado voted in an advisory election to tell the state if they want to leave Colorado and become a 51st state in the Union. One of the issues is the urban interests verses rural interests. This urban/rural divide is often the source of succession efforts noted in the book Lost States which is on the VVCHC Bookshelf.

Colorado is not the only state where some people of the state want out of their state. Here is an article about Maryland secessionists. Click on this Washington Post blog for a list of some other places and on this Voice of America article suggesting a motive for these secessionist movements.

And since redrawing a few state lines is once again in the news, the reader might peruse this article from the National Journal about some ideas of redrawing the boundaries of all the states. Most of the ideas--with maps--in the article base new state boundaries on cultural or economic factors rather than rivers or the whims of the British king.



2013-10: Being first matters. Certainly in American history. So who is the first person to fly an airplane? If you said the Wright Brothers--maybe. Where was airplane invented? If you said North Carolina--maybe? Read along here about a dispute between Connecticut, North Carolina, and Ohio about the real First in Flight.



2013-10: What does it take to change the world? According to this list, there are twelve weapons that "Changed Everything."



2013-10: The editor is walking students through the Second World War during the middle part of History 1302 courses. There is always World War II news to find, often things the editor did not know, sometimes things the editor didn't have a clue that he didn't know. Here are some articles about the War.

Here are two links about sound mirrors in England: from Slate, and from Atlas Obscura.
Here is a story about Gene Kelly, making a film for the Army;
And a story about women in the workforce.
And one more about how the game of Monopoly helped Allied prisoners-of-war.

Here are couple more military-themed stories. First, a story about a weird test used during the First World War to find out which soldiers were literate. Second, a story about one of the editor's favority things--the B-52.



2013-10: Railroads once ruled the land. In the days before highways and trucks and airplanes, the railroads made interstate and international commerce quick and easy. They are great, but they require particular construction techniques to function properly.



2013-10: Why Are You Not Dead Yet? is a question asked in an amusing headline of an article about human life spans. The article covers information about the historical causes of death and then talks about some modern exercises of people thinking about who they know now who would be dead except for modern medicine.



2013-10: Val Verde County is world-reknown for ancient pictographs.
Other pictographs have made the news lately.
Some news reports state that the painters may have been high on psychedelic drugs.
Other news says that many pictographs were painted by women.



2013-09: The Puritans are featured in American history books for a variety of reason. Here is something you probably did not know. Puritans named their children with some unusual and some really rough names. Imagine growing with the name of "Fear God" or "Praise God"; or being named "Forsaken" or "Silence." These are not the most strange names on the lists.



2013-09: In 1963 four little girls were murdered when their church chapel in Birmingham, Alabama was bombed. The Klan was fighting against civil rights, murdering Americans, in the name of ____? No one then knew the name Taliban, but blowing up churches and killing kids is the kind of thing the Taliban does today.
Fifty years after that horrible crime, those little girls have been "awarded the Congressional Gold Medal." The editor is not sure "awarded" is the right word; "remembered" seems more appropriate. Americans should never forget that we are a family, and we do not do that.



2013-09: In a hidden story of the Cold War, recently revealed, it turns out the US Air Force almost nuked the United States in 1961. Oops?



2013-09: Speaking of maps---

First, imagine traveling across the country--200 years ago. No airplanes; no automobiles; no trains.
How long would it take?
The pages of maps at the other end of this link, at the David Rumsey Map Collection show travel times and possible modes of travel, for example, canals and rivers. The maps can be expanded to see details.

Second, think of a map of the United States. Except it has no state boundaries of cities marked. Instead, it shows elements of American folklore and history from around the country. The Library of Congress has such a map illustrated by William Gropper about 1948. Be sure to look at the Texas part of the map--which features Val Verde County's Judge Roy Bean.

A third map shows San Francisco's Chinatown in 1885. The map highlights the places or crime scenes the authorities care about: gambling, drug, and prostitution houses.

Fourth, is a map, sort of. Instead of a map of space, it is a map of time, particularly the time of the American Civil War. Slate dot com has a chronological map by John B. Sparks. The map is expandable to detail, and reducable to see the big picture, which is altogether an incredible accomplishment.

Fifth, John B. Sparks also mapped out the history of the civilization. Check it out.

Sixth, here are American maps drawn by an amateur, in fact, a child. In 1823 schoolgirl Frances Henshaw drew maps (copying from others but adding elements of her own) of states in the United States. The maps are included in a book in the David Rumsey Map Collection, the source for the first map.

And lastly, the old "YOU ARE HERE" label on the map at the mall does not work well out on the edge of the solar system. Once upon a time, America launched Voyager 1, a small spacecraft designed to fly past some outer planets and then continue into interstellar space. By some measures (but not all) Voyager 1 has become the first man-made object to leave the solar system. Click on this article from for a description of where the spacecraft is and a rough map of the location.



2013-09: The news from Corpus Christi reminds us that Texas has historical roots in Spain and Mexico. The historical roots are now being adjudicated in court--in the form of land grants and mineral rights.



2013-08: "Are people smarter today than in the past?"
Click here for an opinion by T.R. Fehrenbach.



2013-08: Two-hundred years ago, Texans fought the Battle of Medina. The fight occured south of San Antonio; hundreds of people were killed. Click here for some basic inforatio from the Handbook of Texas.
New information occasionally appears in the news, such as this report from March 2, 2012; but this year, the bicentennial of the Battle, the news has been more frequent. Here are some news reports from this month:

June 2, 2013;
August 17, 2013;
August 19, 2013;
August 24, 2013.



2013-08: Val Verde County is well-known for its ancient rock art pictographs and petroglyphs, but we do not have the only ancient art sites worlds. This Neveda site is one of the oldest sites in North America.



2013-08: The editor is tired of stories of Bigfoot and UFO's presented as documentaries on television channels like The Learning Channel or History Channel. This website will not cover UFOs, but...
There is news about the government's secret base at Area 51. Yes, Area 51 exists; and yes, secret stuff has happened there.
Including reports of something that is part of Del Rio's history: the U-2 spyplanes.. The news reposts that the strange lights in the sky are really these secret Cold War aircraft.



2013-08: The editor realizes that lives lost are more important than stuff lost, but this is a website about history. The fighting in Egypt has resulted in the less "newsworthy" theft and/or destruction of ancient artifacts representing some of the very early parts of Western Civilization. Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities has reported multiple event of vandalism and thefts at multiple sites across the country.



2013-07: Approximately two-thousand years ago, a man named Jesus was convicted and eventually executed. In 2013 someone is attempting to have the guilty verdict overturned.



2013-07: The city of Bandera is now the Cowboy Capital of the World. The Texas Historical Commission has issued a historical marker that says so. Here is news from--

the Bandera County Courier; and
the San Antonio Express-News.
However, some people from Stephenville dispute Bandera's claim.
Is there an epic Texas-sized battle in the making?



2013-07: A mystery has been discovered off the Galveston coast. A shipwreck of unknown origin has been discovered. The shipwreck is being investigated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. For pictures of artifacts gathered, click here.



2013-07: Vandalism of historic sites has made the news this month. Your editor just recently spent half a day cleaning two historical markers, one of which had been vandalized. Your editor greatly frowns upon vandalism; however, the LAW does not permit the punishment of vandals that your editor would have the law inflict. On a more national scale, someone who needs a Seal team sent after him vandalized the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. And then, while that was being cleaned, more vandalism was discovered on the National Mall and Washington Cathedral. The good news is that someone has been arrested. Updates will be posted.



2013-07: The Korean War is in the news, but this story has a civil rights twist: "" For the rest of the story, click on the link about pilots Jesse Brown and Thomas Hudner. For an update on the story click here and here.

For more of Thomas Hudner's biography and information about his Medal of Honor, click here.

In other, more general, Korean War news is this story about the legacy of the War.



2013-07: "Archeologists say they have discovered some of the world’s oldest known primitive writing, dating back 5,000 years, in eastern China, and some of the markings etched on broken axes resemble modern Chinese characters."

For the rest of the story click on the link to Taipei Times.



2013-06: Here is some odd Virginia history going down in San Antonio. A cabin built in Virginia in 1755 and moved to Texas in 1952 might become a historic landmark. For the rest of the story click on the link to San Antonio Express-News.



2013-06: Historical memorabilia are bought and sold all the time. This month, memorabilia belonging to John Brown and Colonel Sanders were auctioned to the highest bidder." To see a couple of stories, click on the following links: about John Brown, and about Colonel Sanders.



2013-06: In the midst of many stories relating to the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War and Civil War battles comes a little story from the early years of the Republic.

"More than 230 years after 20 Portsmouth slaves petitioned the New Hampshire Legislature for their freedom, it has been granted. On Friday, Governor Maggie Hassan signed Senate Bill 187 into law at the Discover Portsmouth Center, posthumously freeing the city's enslaved men."

For the rest of the story click on the link to the New Hampshire Union Leader.



2013-06: The editor of this website is a sucker for stories about newly found lost cities.
Here is the story of a discovery in Cambodia in Southeast Asia.

"For more than a millennium, its temples, canals, roads and statues remained buried under dense jungle undergrowth in the mountainous Phnom Kulen region of northwestern Cambodia. Now, a team led by archaeologist Damien Evans of Sydney University has used the airborne light-scanning technology known as Lidar to unearth the ancient city of Mahendraparvata, thought to be around 1,200 years old. Part of the Hindu-Buddhist Khmer Empire that ruled much of Southeast Asia from about A.D. 800 to 1400, the city lies some 25 miles west of the famous 12th-century Hindu temple complex of Angkor Wat, and appears to predate it by some 350 years."
For the rest of the story, click on


This reminds the editor of another ancient city of Southeast Asia: Angkor Wat. Click here for some history of the history.



2013-06: From the history of the "New World," here is a news story about Incan fiber technology. Imagine--
building a bridge across a canyon, and
trusting your life to the structural integrity of that bridge, and
the bridge construction used no steel and no concrete.
Click on the link to Slate for images and text.



2013-06: Here is another story that involves airplanes and ocean. The Battle of Midway was fought in June of 1942.
America's victory at Midway is a huge milestone on the road to winning the Second World War.
Click on the History Channel for video and text about the Battle.



2013-06: Has the mystery of Amelia Earhart been solved?
Admittedly, this mystery has been "solved" many times before.
But this story still draws researchers and investigators.
Click on the History Channel's website to read the latest.



2013-06: Here is an article about the Mexican War (1846-1848). There are many different and contradictory perspectives about that war--and the results of it. Among those perspectives, there are is sure to offend everybody in some way. Click on "Amnesty and Historical Guilt: the Mexican-American War" By John Bennett to read many of the different arguments about the War and it means for Americans and Mexicans today.



2013-05: The century-old USS Texas has been for half a century a museum run by Texas Parks and Wildlife. However, that century-old steel is in need of serious repairs. Click on the Houston Chronicle for news.



2013-05: A discovery of something hidden in plain sight: the world's oldest Torah has been discovered at the University of Bologna. It was sitting on a shelf, more or less, but is was incorrectly labeled.



2013-05: The Smithsonian Institution has acquired a pre-Civil War cabin once occupied by slaves and is moving it to the National Museum of African-American History.



2013-05: Food is in the news this month. There is research about potatoes and palm plants.
The editor is a fan of meals with potatoes. During the mid-1800s, something happened to potatoes in Ireland, and as a result, America has more Irish than Ireland.
The editor is also a fan of meals with rice, a staple of Chinese food. However, new research from China suggests that rice was not the first crop to be cultivated by the Chinese; rather that first crop was palm plants.



2013-05: PBS showed a documentary this month about the American Ghost Army from the Second World War. The Ghost Army was a secret during that war and it remained a secret during the Cold War in case it was needed again.



2013-05: Is it ever okay to run a bulldozer through an ancient Mayan pyramid? Click here for news from Belize (on Mexico's southern border).



2013-05: The American Civil War was fought a great many years, but for some, the War is still being concluded. The remains of two men--soldiers and brothers--were buried this month at Arlington National Cemetery.



2013-05: San Antonio, Texas is one of the oldest communities in the United States. Early settlers in the area constructed acequias to manage the supply of water in an area where water is less than plentiful. Recent reports that sections of the acequia system have been rediscovered and excavated come from the San Antonio Express-News. More information about the acequias can be found at University of Incarnate Word website.



2013-04: In Jerusalem, a new exhibit is open to the public, an exhibit that includes a strange artifact called the Gabriel Stone. The Stone was found thirteen years ago near the Dead Sea. The Stone has text inked onto its surface (rather than carved into the stone itself), and historians are still confused and conflicted by what the text actually means. Click on this link for a report from Fox News.



2013-04: During the American Civil War, Private Levi Schlegel lost a special ring--a ring with his name and unit engraved on it. The ring served as dog-tags used during the Second World War and even today. That ring has been found and delivered to Private Shlegel's family in 2013. News about this very personal family history can be found in several places including the New York Daily News.



2013-04: "British archaeologists said Thursday they have unearthed a sprawling complex near the ancient city of Ur in southern Iraq, home of the biblical Abraham." Click here for a Christian Science Monitor article about the discovery.



2013-04: Fifty years ago this month, America suffered its worst submarine disaster. The USS Thresher sank off the coast of New England, and 129 sailors died. Click here to a webpage with a series of articles about the Thresher, its crew, and their families.



2013-03: Judge Roy Bean is part of Val Verde County's history. His story has been well-documented, but there is always more story to be found. The San Antonio Express-News' history reporter, Paula Allen, published a Roy Bean article at the end of the March. Click here to read about Bean getting married at San Fernando Cathedral.



Kallinger marker unveiling 2013
The Kallinger Family unveils the Paul Kallinger historical marker
at Star Park on March 30, 2013 amidst a crowd of onlookers.
Thank you all for helping us honor "Your Good Neighbor Along The Way."

2013-03: The Kallinger Family and the Val Verde County Historical Commission, accompanied by a large crowd, dedicated the Paul Kallinger historical marker on March 30, 2013.

Paul Kallinger's family is here gathered around the Paul Kallinger historical marker at Star Park.
From left to right--
1 Melissa Neuman (granddaughter-in-law), 2 Chad Neuman (grandson), 3 Grover Neuman (son-in-law), 4-Eian Neuman (great-great-grandson),
5 Jason Davis (great-nephew), 6 Brenda Kallinger Neuman (daughter), 7 Gavin Neuman (great-great-grandson), 8 Kelsey Green (great-niece), the marker,
9 Jacob Davis (great-great-nephew), 10 Hailey Davis (great-great-niece), 11 Clarissa Kallinger (granddaughter), 12 Leslie Sailer (granddaughter),
13 Andy Kallinger (grandson), 14 Debbye Kallinger (daughter-in-law), 15 Kaitlyn Sailer (great-granddaughter), 16 Frankie Studer (nephew),
17 Pauline Kallinger (daughter-in-law), 18 Paul Kallinger, Jr. (son), 19 Bill Pavliska (son-in-law), 20 Jeanie Pavliska (granddaughter-in-law),
21 Kallin Pavliska (great-grandson), 22 Linda Kallinger Pavliska (daughter), 23 Josh Pavliska (grandson), and 24 J.B. Pavliska (grandson).
There are at least two other people in this picture, but they are barely visible from my angle.
Carrie Davis (great-niece-in-law) and Lana Davis (niece) are visible in pictures shot by the family whose camera captured the image
from a different angle. People were moving, and none of my other pictures have fewer people missing.

We had a great crowd turn out for the Kallinger marker dedication.

In an unusual twist, but one that should not be a surprise, the dedication was broadcast live by Radio KWMC. Here, Paul Kallinger, Jr. interviews Blanca Larson, daughter of Arturo Gonzalez, friend and colleague of Paul Kallinger.



2013-03: With the Easter holiday upon us, many of us are reminded of important events in Christian history. Good Friday is a day regarded as the day Christ was tortured, and in the end, crucified. The Christian narrative tells us other people were crucified, as the movie Sparticus, starring, well everybody. It turns out that crucifiction was a Roman institution; the Romans crucified many people. They were the rulers of the known world, and they did not like people messing with them.
But nobody crucifies anyone now. What happened to change things, and when did it happen. Click on the link from Slate to read some history (and some speculation) about this change in law and order.
Oh. About the "nobody does that anymore." Apparently, that is not true. Saudi Arabia still crucifies people.



2013-03: In American history, Vikings are usually described as sea-faring mobsters and thugs. They often were, but they have other elements of their society. Recently, some evidence of Viking science and navigation has been brought to light. Click on the link for some Viking news.



2013-03: The San Antonio Express-News publishes a weekly history column. This month there is a story about the young Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower living in San Antonio during the early years of Ike's military career.



2013-03: There are many World War II veterans who have told their stories. Altogether, the War is very much a men's story. However, American women served in the War as well. This month, the San Antonio Express-News published a story about Dorothy Davis Thompson who served in the Philippines during the War--and she has one heck of a story.



2013-03: The is more news about the “victory or death” letter by Lt. Col. William Barret Travis.

A few months ago, there was this: "The famed “victory or death” letter by Lt. Col. William Barret Travis will come to the Alamo after all for a special display next year."
For that story, click here or here. And for an update, click here.

Here are some links to more articles:
from the Houston Chronicle;
from the San Antonio Express-News;
from the San Antonio Express-News with some photos of the letter included;
from the San Antonio Express-News;
about the Travis Family;
about the arrival of the Letter at the Alamo;
about the crowds visiting the Alamo to see the Letter;
about the Letter's impact on visitation to the Alamo;
with video about the Letter's preservation;
and the website for the letter itself.

And while covering the Alamo, here are a couple of related stories: about the Alamo gardens; and and the gift shop.



2013-02: The San Antonio Conservation Society announced a list of the best Texas history books. Click on the link to see the article from the San Antonio Express-News.



2013-02: Another member of Del Rio's Stool Family has passed: Helen Friedman Stool. Click here for an obiturary.



2013-02: History is not in the past. Here are two stories about the men from the Second World War and Korean War, seemingly a lifetime ago, but history is part of our present-day.

"A Southern California woman who grew up knowing little of her father - a heroic casualty of World War II - is now the proud owner of his long-lost battle medals, including a Silver Star and Purple Heart." Click on Long-missing WWII medals awarded in Los Angeles for the rest of the story.

"The famous line from the Christian hymn "Amazing Grace" -- "I once was lost, but now I am found" -- was on the minds of many as the remains of Roosevelt Clark finally came home Wednesday morning after being lost for 62 years." Click on Remains of soldier killed in Korean War back home in Bakersfield, 62 years later for the rest of the story.



2013-02: San Antonio's famous missions are in the news. "The Texas Historical Commission informed the Old Spanish Missions organization Thursday that it will receive the Governor's Award for Historic Preservation." The read more of the story, click on the story from the website.

And here is a story about the completion of the Mission San Juan renovation.

All these years later, the San Antonio missions still have yet to reveal all their secrets. "The skeletal remains of about 15 people, presumably American Indians from the Spanish colonial period, were uncovered at Mission San Juan during renovation work at the South Side landmark this year." To read the story, click on the website.
And here is an update: about the reburial of those remains.



2013-02: The V.V.C.H.C. convened its last meeting on January 31.
Thank you to Mary Poole who spoke about her work at San Felipe Cemetery.
And thank you to all the visitors; we look forward to seeing you again.
The big administrative news from the meeting: three marker applications have been approved--
for Greater Mount Olive Baptist Church, Langston School, and Tarver School.



2013-01: Some Americans decided to pay respects to some World War II victims, people sometimes referred to as "comfort women." The Japanese government is upset, wanting the Americans to....
Hold on. This is the year 2013. The Second World War may not be over. After all, there is still the matter of who writes the history of the War. Click on the story to read about this World War II story located in Hackensack, New Jersey.



2013-01: Someone has discovered a 5,000 year old temple here in the "New World." The temple seems to predate the pyramids of Egypt and the Stonehenge of England. Hah, take that "Old World." Here is some of the news coverage of the story:

Fox News; NBC News; and The Raw Story.



2013-01: Can something be beautiful and horrifying at the same time? Once upon a time, children were taught the alphabet in primers: a is for apple, b is for ball. I am currently reading The Gospel of Slavery: A Primer of Freedom, published in 1864, authored by a person named Iron Gray. The message on the title page reads "Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." Click here to get to the archive web page about the book. On that page, click on the digital format file of your choice.



2013-01: Why are dogs dogs? And why are dogs man's best friend?

Click here from some video news, or click here from some news to read.



2013-01: Tom Green County and San Angelo dedicated a historical marker this month. The VVCHC Chair is also a member of the Texas Jewish Historical Society which held its January 2013 meeting in San Angelo. Among the events was the dedication of a historical marker for Congregation Beth Israel. The crowd that turned out was incredible.



2013-01: One-hundred and sixty-five years ago, someone found something.
What happened next is one of the most significant events in American History: the Gold Rush.

There are so many incredible (and sometimes unbelievable) stories. And there are so many things about the Gold Rush that few people understand. Click on for 8 Things You May Not Know About the California Gold Rush. Or click here The Age of Gold by H.W. Brands for (the presentation notes for) a book review about a great Gold Rush book.



2013-01: When you build a school, what name goes on the front door? Which person is the person you want your children to look up to? To emulate?
Is it proper to name a school after a known criminal? (Gasp!)
The naming of schools is more important than you might think. Often, the name of a school represents how a community views its history. This month, there is an interesting story out of California.

Here is an article about a school district naming a new school after Tiburcio Vasquez. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about him.

This story reminds me a another school naming controversy out of New Orleans some years ago. In 1997 New Orleans removed George Washington's name from one of its schools.

Here in Del Rio, an old practice of naming schools for historic Texas leaders--Austin, Houston, and Lamar come to mind--has been replaced by a practice of naming schools for Del Rio community leaders--Calderon, Cardwell, and Green--for example.

So--what's in a name?



2013-01: In the midst of a war, evidence of ancient civilization has been found.
"A recently discovered cache of medieval Jewish manuscripts from Afghanistan went on display last week in Israel's National Library. The 11th-century C.E. collection, dubbed the "Afghan Genizah" (a Genizah is a storeroom for old Hebrew manuscripts), includes Biblical commentaries, personal letters and financial records written in Judeo-Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic and Judeo-Persian, a language written in Hebrew script."

Click on this link for a short article or here for a longer article or here for a longer article with embedded video.



Thank you, Mary Poole.

To all, MP has been working her way through San Felipe Cemetery, recording every grave marker. She just completed four more sections of the Cemetery. Click on San Felipe Cemetery to see the list. She has recorded data for well over 2,000 graves.



2012-12: "A drawing of the settlement of Corpus Christi's founder recently re-emerged after more than 160 years. Local historians are agog to see for the first time an 1849 image of the backside of Kinney's Trading Post and Kinney's Tank, a freshwater pond next to it that was Corpus Christi's first water supply."

Seeing the discovery of an old document or image is cool. To learn more about this piece of Texas history, click on the Corpus Christi Caller-Times article and click here for the image and other related images.



2012-12: "Texas has an unimaginable water crisis" starts a beginning-of-the-year news report by Bill Clough of the Bee-Picayune in South Texas.
What does weather have to do with history?
"The state is dry. Not moderately dry...but historically dry." Mike Bewley, Division of Emergency Management, Department of Public Safety
Click here to read the whole article from the Beeville Bee-Picayune--and to see a pair of startling pictures of Texas.



Seminole Scout descendent Cynthia Ventura-Atchico and VVCHC member Doug Braudaway placed two grave markers for CVA's family.
John Bullis Frausto, son of legendary John Bullis and great-grandfather of CVA is buried in San Felipe Cemetery.

Gumecinda Frausto, JBF's mother is buried in "the Old Cemetery," Cemeterio de la Loma de la Cruz.



2012-12: "After surviving a hurricane, a house fire and storage in a Tweety Bird gym bag, a treasure trove of hundreds of historic letters and documents from the turbulent years of the Texas Republic has made it back into state hands.
For the full story, click here.

Earlier this year there was other archival news from the Texas Revolution.
"The famed “victory or death” letter by Lt. Col. William Barret Travis will come to the Alamo after all for a special display next year."
For that story, click here or here. And for an update, click here.



2012-12: Years ago, archeologists discovered that someone invented beer. And that invention was one of the reasons mankind switched from hunting and gathering to farming.

But that might not be so. There is new news.
Maybe to have civilization, someone had to invent cheese (or, alternately, cheese).



Santos S. Garza dedication crowd.
The San Felipe Exes with some VVCHC members dedicated the Santos S. Garza historical marker on November 2, 2012 at the annual meeting.
Attending the dedication are (from left to right) Armando Garcia, Jr., Jenny Garcia, Mary Ann Zepeda, Fred Vasquez, Gloria Paredes,
Clem Vasquez, Danny Chavira, [person #8], Lupe De Hoyos, [person #10], Maria Elena Ramirez, Mario Garcia, Jo Elda Perez (granddaughter of SSG),
Ramiro Ramon (President of the Exes), Dolly Calderon (granddaughter of SSG), Oralia Galindo, Tina Martinez, Mary Ann Gonzalez,
Mae Pierce (VVCHC member), Irma Juarez, Arturo Rocha, Dolores Tanaka, Elisa Cruz, Dora Sanchez, Eloy Barrera, Mary Ramirez.
[Editor's note: I am still working on the names for all of the attendees. If you are in the picture, or know someone who is,
please email the VVCHC a name or a correct spelling of a name. Thank you.

Santos S. Garza.    Santos S. Garza marker.



Texas has lost a gentleman and long time member of the Del Rio community,
Max Stool.
Graveside services are scheduled for Tuesday, November 6, at 9:45 am, at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.
November 1, 2012 - 16 Heshvan, 5773

Ye'hi Zichro Baruch.
May his memory be a blessing.


[The following is the obituary that appeared in the San Antonio Express-News and Del Rio News-Herald.]

Max Stool celebrated his 90th birthday last week and passed away November 1, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas.

Max was born in Del Rio, Texas just two years after his parents David and Esther Stool, immigrated from the Ukraine through Ellis Island.
Max lettered in football with the Del Rio Wildcats and earned an undergraduate and law degree from UT. He served as a member of the Army Air Corps
and participated in six European campaigns. Max worked with his father at, and later operated, The Star Store in Del Rio for over fifty years.
Max served on the local Girl Scouts Council, the Del Rio Chamber of Commerce, the Del Rio Council for the Arts, the Val Verde Friends of the Arts,
and was active in the Rotary Club for fifty years. He was a board member of the Del Rio Independent School District and served as chair of the
Val Verde County Democratic Party. Max was active with the Texas Jewish Historical Society, the Texas Jewish War Veterans, and the Jewish Federation.

Max celebrated a second bar mitzvah at the age of 85.

Max was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Libby Polsky Stool; brother, Dr. Newsom Stool; brother, Joseph Stuhl; and sister Elizabeth Stool.
He is survived by his son, Samuel Ethan and wife Patti; daughter, Elizabeth Friedman and husband Dr. David Friedman; son, Benjamin Laurence Stool
and wife Michelle Ritter; grandchildren, Justin, Rebekah, Samuel, Asher, Sydney, and Rachel; great-child, Paige; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Graveside service, Tuesday, November 6, 2012, 9:45 am, Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, 1520 Harry Wurzbach, San Antonio, Texas.
Rabbi Allison Bergman Vann will officiate with Hazzan Jeremy Lipton. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to
Jewish Family Services ( or the charity of your choice. You are invited to sign the Guest book at



2012-11: "Five hundred years ago this week, the majestic ceiling frescoes adorning Rome’s Sistine Chapel were unveiled to the public. Painted by a rising young sculptor named Michelangelo, they remain one of the Italian Renaissance’s most iconic masterpieces, with 5 million neck-craning tourists peering at their beauty each year. [Click here to] check out seven surprising facts about the famous ceiling and the artist who painted it."



2012-11: There is interesting news from Eastern Europe. A place that is billed as the oldest European community has been discovered. Here are two links to articles about the discovery (in case a link gets deleted by its news agency).

Provadia-Solnitsata settlement article-1

Provadia-Solnitsata settlement article-2



A new historical marker has arrived; look carefully to see the topic.



2012-10: "The 12th day of the Cuban Missile Crisis dawned with the United States and the Soviet Union on the precipice of atomic confrontation. That morning, a Soviet missile shot the U-2 reconnaissance plane of U.S. Air Force Major Rudolf Anderson Jr. out of the Cuban sky. The lone combat death of the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the standoff to a tipping point—one that actually pulled the two sides back from a potential nuclear war that could have killed millions." Click here for the story from the History Channel. And click here to learn "10 Things You May Not Know About the Cuban Missile Crisis."



Ron Cook from California found this Rose Dawn astrological chart from 1937. It is a large file, so give a minute to download.



Gareth Bahlmann sent this picture is of Langtry School in 1901.

Langtry School in 1901

The teacher at the school then was Paulina Herreford. Paulina was born in Del Rio 12/24/1881. Her parents were Elkanah Minitree Herriford and Charlotte Isabel Allen. Charlotte died in Del Rio on 11/11/1957. Elkanah died on 9/6/1886 on a ranch near Marathon, TX (probably the Circle Dot headquarters ranch). Elkanah was a cowboy boss who reprimanded a cowboy who subsequently killed him. Elkanah's father, Elcanah Minitree Heryford, was associated with the Circle Dot Ranch. Paulina moved to the Los Angeles area some years after she married Charles Herbert Bowers." (Photo courtesy of Gareth Bahlmann.)








Annual Events with History



January: Del Rio Music Club Annual Church Choir Festival

The Del Rio Music Club, with the support of the Val Verde Community Foundation, sponsors an annual choir festival on the last Sunday of the month. Choirs from around the City each perform two hymns, and at the end, all the choirs join together on stage and sing a special hymn. Click here for information about the 2013 performance.



February: Seminole Canyon State Historical Park Annual Archeolympics

This year's 6th ANNUAL ARCHEOLYMPICS will be held February 09, 2013 from 10:00 am-4:45 pm

Click here for a press release that includes the archeo-event contests.



April: Langtry Old Settlers' Reunion

The Langtry community and descendants gather every year to talk about the old days and share a really large meal. Pictures from 2007 are here.

During the 2012 Langtry Reunion, we dedicated the Babb Cemetery with its Historic Texas Cemetery marker. Click here for pictures.



May: Memorial Day

Memorial Day has roots in that war that resulted in more American dead than all other wars Americans have served in: the American Civil War.

Below are links to websites with information about Memorial Day:

History Channel;
Wikipedia; and
New York Times.



June: D-Day

By those of us who are not quite that old, D-Day may be rememberd more from the opening scenes of "Saving Private Ryan."
Those Americans who are old enough to remember the real event are passing in increasing numbers. America is losing its living memory of D-Day and the broader Second World War.

Below are links to web sources dedicated to World War II and the D-Day invasion:

U.S. Army;
National D-Day Memorial;
History Channel; and
Life Magazine.


June: the Medgar Evers murder

One of the concepts the editor of this website stresses in his secret identity as a history teacher is-- for every person we know about or have heard about doing heroic or incredible things in the history books, there are fifty other people just as heroic doing things just as incredible. When the editor/teacher covers the civil rights era, he tells his students about many different people working for, and sometimes dying for, the right of all Americans to participate in American democracy. MLK and Jackie Robinson are important, but they are not the only ones.
June is the month Medgar Evers was murdered. The editor prefers to talk about people's lives and accomplishments rather than their deaths. However, the information at the other end of the link is dated June, the month of his death. But maybe his murder can serve as a reminder of some the sacrifices made to create modern America. But the article does tell more about Evers' life than his death. Click on for seven facts about his life and death.



July: Independence Day

But which day is that? The fireworks displays, the meat on the back porch grill, the flag waving, and the many hometown parades all occur on July 4th. But America actually became independent from the British empire on July 2nd. In fact, Founding Father John Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigail on July 3rd, 1776 in which he wrote about the work completed by he and the rest of the Continental Congress on the previous day: "The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America."

Click here for more info from Constitution, and click here for a Library of Congress page with different drafts of the July 2nd and July 4th documents and pages from the records of the Continental Congress.


July: the Twin Victories of Gettysburg and Vicksburg

The American Civil War is the most significant event in American history. In July 1863 two battles were fought and concluded in Pennsylvania and Mississippi. The outcomes of the battles changed the course of the war and changed the course of American History. Below are links to Gettysburg-themed websites about--

Gettysburg 150 years later
African-American combatants;
Gettysburg museum and faith; and
Civil War art.



October: Fiesta de Amistad

The origins of the Fiesta are found in the Presidential meeting and the signing of the deal to create Amistad Dam and Reservoir.



November: Veterans Day and Veterans Day events

Veterans Day, a day to honor American veterans, has its origins in the First World War. Below are some links to Veterans Day histories.

Click here for a history of Veterans Day from the U.S. Army.

Click here for a history of Veterans Day from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Click here for the History Channel's webpages about Veterans Day.

This day exists as Armistice Day in some parts of the world, or Remembrance Day. The R-Day link also lists information about the Day's world-wide observances.

November: the Gettysburg Address

This is the editor's favorite speech; he reads it often. Read it here or hear it here.

The Civil War changed Abraham Lincoln. The Civil War changed America. The Civil War changed life as we know it.



December: Pearl Harbor Day

Here is information about Pearl Harbor, including a photo database, from the U.S. Navy.

National Geographic has a nice map feature with a timeline.

The History Channel has a bunch of links to different Pearl Harbor topics.

There is the everpresent Wikipedia.

If one is looking for a longer text, many books have been written about the attack; The Christian Science Monitor has a top five books list about the attack. Here is another list, a top ten list of Pearl Harbor books.


December: Hanukkah

"WHEN my brother was in kindergarten, where he was the only Jewish student, a parent organizing enrichment activities asked my mother to tell the class the story of Hanukkah. My mother obligingly brought in a picture book and began to read about foreign conquerors who were not letting Jews in ancient Israel worship freely, even defiling their temple, until a scrappy group led by the Maccabee family overthrew one of the most powerful armies in the world and won their liberty.

The woman was horrified."

To find out why, click on this New York Times op-ed story by Hilary Leila Krieger.

For more information about Hanukkah, click on the following links: or Judaism 101.







Seminole Canyon State Historical Park is home to natural beauty and ancient pictographs.
The following slideshow includes a few of the things to see while hiking in this very special part of Texas.