May 24, 2006
Edward Williamson Comments on Victor's report on the
Good column, as usual!
Here are two tidbits I can contribute to the story of the
cement ship in Galveston. First, I was surprised to discover
that the third cement ship is just off the coast of New Jersey,
in the Cape May area, where it is somewhat of a tourist
curiosity there. Some of the locals in Cape May were quite
amazed when I told them of the SS Selma in Galveston.
Second, my mother back in the 1920s when she was a teenager,
attended several social dances on the SS Selma. I seem
to recall that the affairs were sponsored by the Eastern Star or
Demolay organizations. She said the loved the dances but feared
the trips to and from the ship.
Judge E. B. Holman, my maternal grandfather, was in charge of
Quarantine Station for years after having been transferred from
Ellis Island in New York. You are indeed correct that he and
Rabbi Henry Cohen helped many Jewish immigrants enter the United
States through Galveston's port when they were frequently turned
away at Ellis Island. In fact, the two friends ran a kind of
underground railroad for the immigrants. I understand that they
provided temporary food and shelter and arranged from their
transportation to the East and elsewhere to be with their
relatives. Also, Judge Holman lost his courthouse position for
his involvement in his humanitarian work. However, soon
afterward, he was elected as Justice of the Peace, an office he
retained for over twenty years.
When you're ready to write an essay on the causeway, let me
know. I have a few anecdotes about the old causeway's opening,
involving my mother, who cut the ribbons, and my grandfather,
who was instrumental in planning for the causeway.
Keep up the good essays!
August 24, 2005
I have read your article about Galvez with great
surprise and joy. I just wanted to point a typing error
(Carlos III instead of Carlos II).
I would also like to note
some interesting ideas in connection with your island:
His ship had the name
Galveztown, at least during the campaign. I am not sure
if the ship came before the island or vice-versa, but I
know for certain that the figure of the ship was
published in the British press after the battle for
This gave him the right
to bear the motto "I (stand) alone" after his famous
words "Una bala de a treinta y dos recogida en el
campamento, que conduzco y presento, es de las que
reparte el Fuerte de la entrada. El que tenga honor y
valor que me siga. Yo voy delante con el Galveztown para
quitarle el miedo".
Perhaps the ship was named
after the city, but in this case he would probably have
known well the city. The second option, the most logical
one, is that Galvez name the city to commemorate
the battle, the ship and the bravery of his men.
After all, the other officials were against any military
action (they argued about the depth of the water).
Galvez ended up at the
right side of Washington during the parade that
commemorated the end of the war.
I tell to myself that the
deeds of one man can be impressive, in both ways. Here,
we should remember Galvez for his judgement. "In Spain
we say "He would be such a good vassal if only he had a
I hope the likes of
Galvez today will last for a good leader.
Carlos Sánchez Velasco
August 27, 2005
Dear Mr. Velasco,
What a nice note to have from you and also to have
information I did not about Bernardo de Galvez.
I am not a scholar and
do not pretend to be one. When I was invited to
give the address that led to the column you read in
Guidry News, I was given a good deal of material on
Galvez by the Sons of the American Revolution, Texas
Chapter, before whom I was to speak.
The information was all
from reputable and scholarly sources but if the story
about the boat name was included, I missed it. I
think it's very interesting to have the further
I hope you will forgive
my lack of fluency in Spanish but I would be delighted
if you would translate for me the quote from Galvez
which you cited in your email that begins "Una bala de a
With every good wish,
August 12, 2005
J.H. Bert Hepler
from Sugar Land
read your "Splish Splash" on the GNS-On Line. It brought back
many fond memories.
I was born
and raised on the mainland but my parents often brought me to
this magic island to see the 4th of July fireworks,
the theaters and to see the Galveston Buccaneers at Moody
stadium. It was always a great day to come to the beach.
reached high school and attended Ball High school, class of '47,
a great time on the island.. I recall splash day becoming one of
the big celebrations in the late forties and fifties. The main
event was always a big parade of floats, bands, cars and bathing
As a local
musician for many years in Galveston, many years with the
Merrymakers Orchestra as a member and finally leader from
1959-1963. I think over the years we played in every public room
or private place in the city including the "Charcoal Galley" at
the Jack Tar hotel, which was also one of the nicer motels on
the beach. A large part of that time under the direction of
playing at the Moody Center in 1958 during splash day weekend
when the college crowd rioted and almost did in the beachfront.
Splash day was never again the big opening of the beach season.
enjoyed your story on Caduceus, but that’s another
J.H. Bert Hepler
Sugar Land, Texas
exactly who you are and I danced to your music when you were
playing with Bovio and when you were leader. If my memory
serves me correctly, you also worked at U.S. National Bank in
the daylight hours! You wore horn-rimmed glasses and so
from BHS in '54. My Father was bookkeeper and office
manager at Star Dairy, Model Laundry and Leopold's. I am
sure you knew one another. My Mother was Jimmie Powledge's
secretary at the Buccaneer and then worked for many years at the
Galvez, starting with Bushong.
I stay in
touch with Sandra Paskowitz Breeland -- her father, Benny
Paskowitz, founded the Merrymakers, then Johnny Riccobono led
and after him Bovio, then you. I think that's the line of
succession. My, what memories.
much for your email. I will forward a copy of it and my reply to
Jim Guidry, who takes great pleasure along with me in hearing
from people who read the stuff I write. All the best,
Hepler Writes Again:
for your reply. You are confusing me with Gus Nelson who was the
last leader of the Merrymakers. He worked at the U.S.
Bovio introduced me to Jimmy Powledge and Jack Bushong. In
fact I played for Jimmy's son Kirby's wedding. As to the
Merrymakers, thats a story in itself. They were organized
in 1923 by Johnny Riccobono according to Al Schuessler and Bub
Beckway who were charter members.
Paskowitz had the band at least through the thirties. Dr. (then
med student) Bill Cantrell took over, he was replaced by Tommy
Leatherberry in 1943. Tommy was drafted in 1944 and Richard
Bovio took over. Richard presided over some of the bands
best years until his death in 1958. Jim Sprague took over then
for a few months until he was transferred out of town .I took
over the band in 1958 until I was transferred in 1963.
who had been with the band almost since John Riccobono, then
took over. Gus held the band together until 1972, almost
fifty years. Al Schuessler was with the band from start to
finish. I only wish I had kept a diary of the engagements over
the years, that would be an epic. LOL
Reply from Victor:
As I was going to bed last night, I realized I was confusing you
with Gus Nelson! Sorry about that.
But, I do
know you and remember you. And the music -- that's the
thing I really remember. How my group loved to dance.
the ultimate was to be at a dance where the Merrymakers were
playing. We liked the other groups, too, because Kate Martelli
was a neighbor of ours (we lived at 42nd and R., she at 43rd and
R) and I think she sang with Ginsberg.
rate, great to hear from you though my feeble mind got things
confused. I especially appreciate having the complete and
correct history of the the Merrymakers and I am going to forward
it to Sandra Paskowitz Breeland as I know it will delight her to
have the memories.
Jim Bauknight from
My Grandparents and My Father were from Galveston. They were in
the Hotel and Real Estate Business in the early part of the 20th
Century through the late 1940's. My father graduated from Ball
High School in February 1923 and from UTMB in 1930. He practiced
medecine in a small Texas town named Ganado in Jackson County.
From day one all the family ever heard about was Galveston.
So I truly
love the city. The family hotel was on Avenue P1/2 called the
Bauknight Hotel -- the very spot where the parking garage stands
behind the Moody Center on Seawall Boulevard. It was a
four story hotel with about 80 or 90 rooms. My grandparents
house was at 2327 Avenue N at 24th Street. The house is still
there but it has been altered and the property subdivided.
write well about the City. Hope someday to meet you.
I have a small Real Estate Company in Houston specializing in
Residential Listings and Sales.
delightful email to receive from you via Jim Guidry.
I am so
glad you liked what I have written. I don't pretend to be
a historian but I try to be as accurate on recall as possible
and will check the occasional fact every now and then! I
am 69 years at this juncture and while I don't remember your
family hotel, I certainly do recognize the name.
considering doing a profile of William Glenn, Jr., DDS, on
Broadway at 24th Street. His father was a dentist there before
him and his son, Glenn III is practicing there. Glenn,
Jr., remembers writing for the Galveston Daily News back when
Silas Ragsdale was President or Publisher of the News. I
think the Glenn essay would be a good one for us old timers.
Jr.'s wife, Sara Lillian Ater is the daughter of Mr. Ater who
was at the Santa Fe RR here in Galveston for so many years.
Next door to the Glenn operation on Broadway (where the Senior
Glenns also lived) was the Scott Flower Shop, owned and operated
by Mrs. Grace Scott whose father was named Schaumberger (I may
have to check the spelling) and he owned and operated the Panama
Hotel down by the train station when the Panama was quite
something. I might be able to tie the Glenn and Scott
families together with a bit of my own crown for a single essay.
in touch and I hope we'll have something up to standard for you
every now and then. We do appreciate your readership and your
August 11, 2005
Bill Keith from
Your article on old
Galveston movie theaters came up in an ongoing group
discussion of old Drive-In movies in the Houston area where
I grew-up. What I became curious about was your references
to Post Office Street which was a dark and mysterious place
for us kids from Houston.
On one occasion, the 30s
something bachelor uncle of a friend of mine took us to
Galveston one time for a day on the beach. Later, he told
us he had some business to tend to and drove down to PO. He
went into one of the houses while we waited in the car.
Some of the girls sitting in the window happened to notice
us prepubescent boys ogling them from the car and began to
entice us in various ways.
Surely living there, you must have some wonderful "nickel
and dime" stories to tell about the Street as well. How
about turning loose of one of the good ones.
Victor Lang replies:
Dear Mr. Keith,
You bet there were some
dillies that centered around the Red Light District.
In fact, one madam married a distant cousin of mine.
She, in turn, was in partnership with a Police and Fire
Most of us had not met the
lady but she had regard for her husband's family even though
she had not met them.
When her number came up to
be raided and have her girls taken to the station to be
booked, she had herself booked under her "Maiden" name so as
not to embarrass her Galveston family. How's that for
Same era, different madam
involved a death in her house, while the gentleman was
"still plugged in" at time of death, from a coronary.
The gentleman was quite prominent in Galveston and no one
wanted it known he'd died in action in a cathouse. Madam
called Police Commissioner who arrived with a detective.
Between the three of them,
they dressed the hapless fellow, put him in a squad car and
drove to Central Park on 21st Street. There,
supporting the corpse as though he were drunk, they set him
up on a park bench following that with an anonymous call to
the Police Deptartment saying there was a dead man's body on
a park bench in Central Park. The Police arrived to find the
fellow's body ensconced on a bench in the park.
Only kicker in the deal was
the Madam had forgotten her client had parked his car smack
in front of her place as he was in a hurry. A day
later the wife of the deceased, who evidently knew her
husband's habits all too well, discovered the car parked
"down the line."
So, all was for naught.
There are more stories and
they are true but I thought these were two of the really
good ones you might enjoy.
Coates of Fredericksburg, Texas writes:
your articles on Splash
Day and Caduceus
many fond memories of our family pediatrician, who delivered
me and my sister, and close family friends, Dr. Francis and
Margaret Garbarde who lived in a large white house on Caduceus
Place, I think it was #15.
It is a
great house and we had many fond memories there, going to the
Artillery Ball and other events.
the great columns.
for your very kind email.
I get a
tremendous kick out of hearing from people with fond memories
of Galveston and its denizens. One of the reasons I came
back here to live in 1995 was because of memories and I have
been having a fine time since my return writing about them.
also tell you it's great fun meeting the people who moved here
while I was gone and are as passionate about Galveston---with
all its flaws---as those of us who were born here.
thanks for your note and my best wishes to you,