An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Seven

Above, Beethoven Maennerchor Hall on South Alamo Street

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Six

Andrew Stevens, June 1911

Mr. K, the Colonel and Representative Chester Terrell lean forward in their chairs as Andy’s brother John relates political developments from last evening. “Paul Steffler came through, delivering close to 1,700 union men to the smoker at Beethoven Hall. District Attorney Baker fired them up to join the parade and rally. Chairman Mauermann utilized the information Sheriff Tobin shared with us. He pointed out to reporters that, on Monday morning, July 3rd—a morning following a Sunday with no saloons open—eighteen persons were escorted into police court on charges of being drunk. Every saloon door was flung wide open for the Fourth of July celebrations, yet only two men faced that charge on July 5th.”

The Colonel shakes his head. “Sunday is a sad day for the poor working man who can’t find a saloon open. Of course, it beats North Texas. On Sundays there, a man can’t find a stand open for any kind of cold drink at all. You cannot even buy a cigar.”

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Seven”

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Six

steves homestead

Above, Johanna Steves rocks in front of her home on King William Street. The Steves Homestead is now a House Museum owned by The Conservation Society of San Antonio and is well worth touring.

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Five

Emma Bentzen Koehler, May 1911

Sophie Wahrmund clasps her hands together over her heart. “After Papa’s funeral, I couldn’t bring myself to think of leaving all the family in Fredericksburg. I started weeping the minute they started playing ‘Oh Fair, Oh Sweet, Oh Holy!’ and didn’t stop dabbing at my eyes until we pulled up to the front door. Yet here I am, thoroughly wrapped up in this wedding. How can one so rapidly leap from the depths of despair to a state of bliss? My tears of mourning have been replaced by those of joy.”

“Nothing helps heal loss like births or weddings, Sophie.”

The fireflies are beginning to flicker as servants wander through the yard lighting candles at all the tables. Over Sophie’s shoulder, Emma catches a glimpse of her husband on the dance floor. She smiles. Otto’s partner is none other than the groom’s grandmother, Johanna Steves. While Otto does do a turn or two or more with some of the prettiest women in town, he always takes care to alternate them with the oldest widows available at any social occasion. “And your Jennie just looks positively radiant in that green.”

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Six”

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Four

texas governor's mansion

Above, Texas Governor’s Mansion

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Three

Governor Thomas Mitchell Campbell, January 1911

Fannie Campbell gazes up at her husband as they stand on the steps of what has been their home for the last four years. “Thomas, I know you dread the next few hours, but concentrate on last night. The people you worked so hard to serve could not possibly have voiced more grateful tributes. You achieved so much, despite the constant interference from corrupt big businessmen. When we entered the hall, the roar of the crowd was deafening. I barely could hear the band playing ‘The Campbells Are Coming.’”

“I hoped to accomplish so much more before the liquor industry seized control of this mansion.”

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Four”