(Since my birthday is around the corner, I thought it would be fun to share this information with you.)
After reading my columns on the history of newspapering in Duval County, Alice reader Jeorge Garza sent me a 1948 copy of the Duval County Facts. I found it particularly interesting because 1948 is the year I was born and wondered what my parents were observing and experiencing during that time.
The newspaper is for the week of April 9. Before reviewing the news of the day, it is noteworthy to point out some facts about the Facts. This issue indicates that it is volume 23 of the newspaper. This would mean that the Duval County Facts started publication in 1925. The “sole owner” in 1948 was J. L. C. Beaman. I remember Mr. Beaman as a colleague of my father’s. He would bring us bags full of apples and oranges during Christmas season.
At first glance, it appears that 1948 was a rather uneventful time for the politically charged Duval County atmosphere. It may have been, as the saying goes, “the calm before the storm.”
The newspaper reports results of the San Diego city and school elections. Both elections were uncontested yielding a low turnout. Mayor C. G. Palacios and election judge Domingo Gonzalez, Jr. reported that only 125 people voted. Avelino E. Garcia and R. J. Rogers were reelected. The voting for school trustees was even scarcer with only 58 voters participating. Voters were not the only things scarce as it seems so were candidates. Voters also reelected Rogers as a school trustee along with Clemente Garcia.
More exciting than the voting was the report that Dan Adami, Jr. killed a Mexican lion that got caught in a coyote trap in his ranch 57 miles west of San Diego. Adami set the traps the week before after he noticed the cat’s tracks. He used a small deer, killed by the lion, as bait. The 180-pound lion’s front paw got caught in the trap and Adami shot it with a 30-30.
On a lighter note, 4-H parents held a “Noche Mexicana” night at the Guajillo School. Alicia Saenz did fortune telling and Belia Garcia and Esperanza Garza sold balloons. Mr. and Mrs. Raul Valadez oversaw games and Maggie Garza sponsored the dance. Club sponsor Rebecca E. Pena reported the event netted $79.50. For those too young to remember, Guajillo is located south of San Diego off FM 1329.
The 4-H Clubs seemed quite active in Duval County. Home Demonstration Agent Nellie Cundiff made a presentation to 165 members from the San Jose, Guajillo, Cruz Calle, Concepcion, Realitos, Sejita and Rangel clubs.
Speaking of being too young to remember, this writer does not remember--actually I never knew--what the organization AAA was about or what it did. But a committee representing seven communities in Duval County met to develop the 1949 program for farmers. Serving on the committee were Juan O. Garcia, Jesus M. Salinas, Enrique G. Ramirez, Hilario Saenz, Jose Israel Saenz, Gerald F. McBride, Eugenio Hinojosa, Karl Mann and Macedonio Rangel. County Agricultural Agent H. B. Haegellin and Administrative Officer Minerva A. Perez were also present.
The American Legion Auxiliary No. 202 initiated 10 new members, among them Felipita G. Garcia, Jesusa L. Saenz, Estela Elizalde, Mrs. Donato Serna, Jesusa G. Garcia, Berta Garcia, Melida Garcia, Carmen Reyes, Rebecca Trejo and Maria Refugio Gonzalez. Auxiliary President Minerva A. Perez presided over the installation. Assisting Perez were Mrs. Louis Yaeger, Mrs. Adan R. Garcia, Julia de la Rosa and Mrs. H. B. Haeglin.
Other notes reported April 9, 1948 included results of a track meet in Benavides; a new oil well was reported; 18-year old Francisco Sisto Garcia enlisted in the Army; the Alpha Pavonis Club of Benavides slated a dance at Momeny Gym to raise funds for a new Catholic school building; internment services were held for Isidoro Garcia, Sr. 75; Dan Tobin returned from a beer distributors convention held in Galveston; and Maria C. Garcia, 65, passed away.
Six months later, had my father been reading the Dallas newspaper he would have had nine stories on Duval County to read. Of course my father did not subscribe to the Dallas paper nor would have he had time to read it on the morning of October 28 since I was making my grand entrance into the world as my sisters left for school. In those days, doctors (an often midwives) still delivered newborns in their homes.
In truth, my birth was not the big news of 1948. As it often happens in Duval County, the big news was filled with political overtones. More about that next week.