We Must Have Water In Comanche, Texas! 1902

I’ve told you that here on TU our idea of genealogy is finding those bits and pieces that a lot of you will never find. Today we have an example of just that.

According to the scrapbook of Dora Nabers Greene of Comanche, Texas, the following article appeared in the Comanche Chief in January of 1902. I had to laugh when I read the title of the article because it brought to mind my saying that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I’m betting some of you will find an ancestor or two in the list below!

The opera house was located above these businesses.

The opera house was located above these businesses that gave to the project.

Now don’t get me wrong; we’ve made quite a bit of progress in Comanche in the past few years…our square is looking so very nice, and we are all proud of it. However, one only has to travel a block or so in any direction to see that our neighborhoods have not fared as well.

Thankfully, we are not today unprotected from fire since we have a very dedicated and able volunteer fire department for which we should all be thankful That was not the case at the time of the following writing. I think you will hear the tone of frustration for yourself as you travel back to early 1902:

“For sometime the people of Comanche have been keenly alive to the needs of the town for a system of waterworks, but like many other things that should have been done, they have heretofore let the matter die after a little spasmodic agitation.

“We have all felt that it was a shame upon the town, yes, upon every citizen of the town, high and low alike, that we had no protection from fire. Fires have come periodically and burned themselves out, carrying up in smoke hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property, and all we could do was respond to the alarms, shaking with nervous fits of excitement as we wondered who now, and who next.

“Comanche stands today disgraced in this respect among the people of Texas. Insurance rates have climbed high and climbed higher until the notch of toleration has been reached and it now amounts to confiscation for a man to pay the fearful rates demanded by the insurance companies.

“And yet who can blame the insurance companies. They know the dangers even better than we. A large number of companies have actually withdrawn from the town not caring to place their policies on property here at any rate.

“In the face of these shameful conditions, the Chief is glad to state this week that the people have waked up and have manfully resolved that these conditions shall no longer continue. It is gratifying to see with what unanimity they have put their shoulders to the wheel. Never before has such fine harmony existed on any question as exists on the question of waterworks.

“Men who have opposed former propositions of different kinds…have given their hearts and their hands and their money to this enterprise.

“Waterworks must be had, and they must be secured at once, for they will perhaps never materialize if this effort fails, and remember they cannot be secured unless a preponderating majority of the citizens make it a personal matter and help push it through.

“Here is the plan proposed at a mass meeting of citizens at the opera hall [Yes, we had one!] last Friday night. The committee that had visited Fort Worth and Dallas to confer with civil engineers and the insurance companies reported that the companies and the engineers had greatly favored the erection of a reservoir on the hill beyond Judge Gray’s, with ten, eight, and six inch mains leading to the town.

“This was estimated to cost $15,000 by the city engineer at Ft. Worth. It was suggested at the meeting that the businessmen raise some $4,000 or $5,000 by private donation and that the city issue bonds for the balance. Suggestion was adopted to canvass the business part of the town.

“The committee did its work well. Some $4,000 was raised, with some of the property holders yet to be heard from as follows:

$500- Neely-Harris-Cunningham Co., Higginbotham Bros. & Co., and John H. Bryson

$250- Chilton & Cunningham and Adams-Burks-Simmons Co.

$200- Wm. Reese, Comanche Mercantile Co., and Slider & Martin

$150- First National Bank and Comanche National Bank

$100- Comanche Lum & Fur Co. and Mrs. Dora Greene

$ 75- Paris Smith and L.B. Russell $ 50- J.F. Tate, Hoff & Scurry, Comanche Chief, C.M. Moore, E. Quilitch, and the Barcroft Hotel

$ 40- Exponent $ 20- J.C. Huse,

$ 25- Z.P West & Co., Roberts Bros., L.R. Henkle, Mack & Byron Matthews, A.L. Hamilton & Co., B.T. Gentges, J.A. Holman & Son, M.W. Carroll, and W.C. Davidson

$ 15- M.W. Carroll, Mr. Brock, J.M. Childers, Joiner & McMillan, Steve Walker, Tom Levissay, Brightman & Hall, J.E. Gray, and G.H. Goodson

$ 10- R.H. Moore, Tom Griffis, Dr. P.H. Chilton, Dr. A.E. Acton, Patterson & Hall, Virgil Reid, H.A. Carmichael, W.C. Jackson, Morris & Roe, Harris & Blakney, W.R. Evans, W.M. Ellis & Son, M.B. Wilkinson, J.A. Brodie, W.R. Bratton, W.F. Elkins, Wilson Hall, and Frank Chancellor

$ 5- W.H. Davis, Pate Bros., Paul Helmecke, R.C. Gray, and J.P. Gille”

About Fredda Jones

Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for texansunited.com and marketing small-town Texas.
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