Tag Archives: houston

Shopping Saturday: At the Heart of Texas – Foley’s (UPDATE)

UPDATE! When I asked the question – what will happen to the historic Foley’s building? –  in my At the Heart of Texas – Foley’s post just a little over 6 months ago, I had a gut feeling this building/company, which played a major role in Houston’s retail history, would be gone sooner than later. I was right! This 65-year-old landmark building was imploded this morning (September 23, 2013) in downtown Houston.

I was actually heading out of the downtown area just as the implosion took place. As much as I wanted to stay and see this demolition in person, I didn’t think it was a good idea simply because I knew once the building came down, there would be a massive cloud of dust and smoke that would blanket the downtown area for miles. That is exactly what happened. Many folks who were standing and observing this event at street-level soon found themselves running for cover as fast as they could once the dust and smoke started billowing up and out.

WOW! What a sight, huh?!

The implosion was a success and quite bittersweet to watch!

Ecclesiastes 3: 1 — “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” [1]

 

Source Citation:

1. Ecclesiastes. (1999). In Ecclesiastes 3. The Holy Bible: King James Version. Retrieved September 23, 2013, from http://www.bartleby.com/108/21/3.html

Treasure Chest Thursday: An Employee Celebration

It’s Treasure Chest Thursday and from my digital collection is a photo featuring an employee celebration for Willie Taylor!

Maxwell House Employee Celebration

My grandfather began working at the Maxwell House Coffee Plant in Houston around the same time that my Uncle Jesse started working there  in 1930. His first job was in the Receiving & Shipping (R&S) Department and by the time he retired in the late 1970’s, he was a Plant Services Foreman in addition to being the head coach of the company’s all-black baseball team. He was well liked and a very respected employee on and off the job. His hard work and dedication to the coffee industry was definitely a time to celebrate —

Congratulations!
3/4 million man hours without a lost time accident

 

Sentimental Sunday: Maxwell House Baseball Team

My paternal grandfather, Willie Taylor, loved, loved, LOVED, baseball!  But what I didn’t know until now was —  he was the head coach of the all black Maxwell House Company Baseball Team during the 1950’s and 1960’s!

Maxwell House Baseball Team

Coach Willie Taylor (standing left) with the all black Maxwell House Baseball Team

 

I tell you, this photo of my grandfather with the company’s all black baseball team is a true TREASURE!

So what does the history of baseball and Maxwell House have in common? Well, according to, You Know You’re in New Jersey When . . . by Lillian and Nina Africano, the first baseball game in the US was not played in Cooperstown, New York;

the first recorded organized baseball game was played on June 19, 1846, at Hoboken’s Elysian Fields, later site of the Maxwell House Coffee plant.” [1]

I don’t know if  Maxwell House facilities in Jacksonville, FL, and San Leandro, CA had company baseball teams, but the Houston factory sure did and their success kept them playing baseball for many years!

 

Willie Taylor and Maxwell House Baseball Team

Coach Taylor (facing forward with his arms folded) listens intently with a player and assistant coaches to someone involved with the league

 

The section of the book titled, “You Know You’re in New Jersey When . . . Diamonds are a Boy’s Best Friend,” goes on to say,

By 1900 baseball had truly become America’s pastime, and practically every town in Jersey had a baseball team. Company teams like the Newark Westinghouse Nine, the Doherty Silk Sox of Paterson, and the Michelin Tire Company team of Millville were among the strongest.”

Jersey wasn’t the only state with popular company baseball teams on the horizon during that time. Texas had some prominent company baseball teams too such as the Alamo Furniture Baseball Team in Houston, Southern Pine Lumber Baseball Team from East Texas, The Southern Select Baseball Team, the Pepsi-Cola Ball Club better known as the Austin 9, and of course — the Maxwell House Baseball Team!

Maxwell House All Black Baseball Team

My oldest brother remembers after little league practice watching in “awe” the Maxwell House baseball team pitching and power-hitting on the baseball fields at Finnegan Park — located in the Greater 5th Ward Community! Grand-dad was a quiet man by nature. Oh but when he stepped on a baseball field with his team, he transformed into a force to be reckoned with!

He started coaching the Maxwell House team before I was born. But my brother promises that if I had been old enough to go to games, I would have loved his unique coaching style and his team’s fierce competitive spirit! My brother, who is in his sixties now, says some of the men who grew up around Finnegan Park during that time, still talk about how great Maxwell House played baseball. The fact that they rarely lost a game made them real legends for the company and for Houston’s 5th Ward community too!

 If you recognize any of the players in the photos above, I would love to hear from you.

If you have Coach Willie Taylor in your family research, definitely let me hear from you because . . . I’m claiming kin!

Source Citation:

1. Africano, Lillian, and Nina Africano. “You Know You’re in New Jersey When . . . Diamonds Are a Boy’s Best Friend.” You Know You’re in New Jersey When . . .: 101 Quintessential Places, People, Events, Customs, Lingo, and Eats of the Garden State. First ed. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot, 2007. 7. Print. You Know You’re In Series.

Mystery Monday: Using Houston City Directories in search of Lewis Chappel

Using Houston city directories to reconstruct the lives of my great-grandparents in search of Lewis Chappel was an ideal resource for me to use at this stage of my research. I found the U.S. City Directories 1821-1989 database at Ancestry.com and the Houston City Directories online via the Houston Public Library’s Digital Archives to be very easy to use. And since city directories are original records (created at the time and place the family lived), I found them to be very insightful and filled with some pretty exciting discoveries too!

I learned from the 1910 Census that my great-grandparents had been married for 7 years, which would put their year of marriage around 1903. So with that target year in mind, I decided to start my search for them in the 1900 Houston City Directory. I simply worked forward one year at a time until I finally found them living and working together as servants in the home of a, Mrs. T. J. Goree, in 1907 (see below).

A quick search in the directory for a Mrs. T. J. Goree revealed she was the widow of  Mr. Tommie Goree. She resided at 1410 Capitol Ave and my great-grandparents were her live-in servants. Mrs. Goree’s telephone number, which was a party line, was listed as Sw. ph. 1635. [1]

Houston City Directory, 1907

Lewis Chappel in Houston City Directory 1907

[Abstraction]

Chappel Carrie (c),   servt   Mrs   T.   J.   Goree,   r.   same.
Chappel Lewis (c),   servt   Mrs.   T.   J.   Goree,   r.   same.

—–
But it was the 1908 city directory that had me doing the “Harlem Shake” all over the house! Why?! Well, living at West 21st Ave, 1 block west of Nashua Street in the Houston Heights area were my great-grandparents and their son, Joseph, and someone by the name of Amanda Chappel (see below)!!

Okay, are you thinking what I’m thinking? I’m sure you must be thinking what I’m thinking! This Amanda Chappel is either Lewis’ mother or his sister. The old me would have stopped everything and started research on Amanda Chappel! But not this time! I’m staying focus on my search for Lewis. But make no mistake about it, I’ve got Amanda Chappel on my radar now and will track her in these directories at the same time!

Houston City Directory, 1908

Lewis Chappel in Houston City Directory 1908

[Abstraction]

Chappel Amanda (c), r.  W.  21st ave.  1 blk  w  of  Nashua.  Ho.  hts
Chappel Louis (c),  lab.  r.  W.  21st ave.  1   blk   w of Nashua.   Ho.   hts.  3.

—–
My great-grandparents moved a lot in 1910. According to the 1910 Census, they were living at 1609 Saulnier Street in Houston’s historic 4th Ward (Freedman’s Town). But according to the 1910 city directory, they lived at 614 McGowen Avenue in 3rd Ward —  the center of Houston’s Blues Music Culture Center– too  (see below)!

Houston City Directory, 1910

Lewis Chappel in Houston City Directory 1910

[Abstraction]

Chappel  Amanda  (c),  r.  ss  W.  21st  ave,  1  blk  w  of  Nashua.  Ho.  hts.
Chappel  Lewis  (c),  lab.  r.  rear  614  McGowen  ave.  3.

—–
By 1911, the Houston City Directory included house numbers, spouses’ names, peoples’ occupations, and places of employment . My great-grandparents are now living closer to downtown Houston at 1 N. E. Crawford Street. By now my great-grandmother’s first name (though misspelled) has been added. This entry also confirms what I learned about my great-grandfather from the 1910 census record — that he worked for a Gas company. I now have the name of his place of employment too (see below).

Amanda Chappel’s occupation as a Laundress has finally been published for the first time. As a laundress, she probably worked from home at 834 W. 21st Avenue in Houston Heights, a historic subdivision northeast of downtown that dates back to the late 1800s. [2]

Houston City Directory, 1911

Lewis Chappel in Houston City Directory 1911
Lewis Chappel in Houston City Directory 1911

[Abstraction]

Chappel  Amanda  (c),  laundress,  r  834  W.  21st  av,  Ho.  hts.
Chappel  Lewis  (c)  (Corie),  wks  Houston  Gas  Co.,  r  1  N.  E.  Crawford.  (2).

—–
It appears the only address change that occurred for my great-grandparents in 1912 was that they moved to — 3 N. E. Crawford – probably a house next door to where they were living in 1911 (see below).

Houston City Directory, 1912

Lewis Chappel in Houston City Directory 1912

[Abstraction]

Chappel  Amanda  (c),  r.  832  W  21st  ave,  Ho.  hts.
Chappel  Lewis  (c),  lab,  r.  3  N.  E.  Crawford.  3.

—–
BINGO! I believe I have pinpointed the year (1913) my great-grandparents separated! Carrie is living at 1108 St. Charles Street, near downtown Houston. Lewis is living at 721 Hill Street, in 5th Ward which is understandable since he is now working at one of the largest railroad hump yards in the United States — Englewood — which is located in 5th Ward (see below).

Houston City Directory, 1913

Lewis Chappel in Houston City Directory 1913

[Abstraction]

Chappel  Carrie  (c),  r.  1108  St.  Charles.
Chappel  Lewis  (c),  wks  S. P. Shops,  h.  721 Hill.
Chappell  Amanda  (c),  r.  832  W.  21st  ave,  Ho.  hts.

—–
Even though I wasn’t able to locate a 1914 Houston City Directory, online or offline, the 1915 Houston City Directory was most revealing!! What did I discover?! Lewis is nowhere to be found by this time, but my great-grandmother Carrie boards in the home of a, Henry Chappell.  He lives on the east side of  Houston Avenue just 1 block of 35th Avenue in an area of town called, Independence Heights, the first African American municipality in Texas (see below). [3]

Okay, are you thinking what I’m thinking? I’m sure you must be thinking what I’m thinking! This Henry Chappell is either Lewis’ older or younger brother, or an uncle!  Listen, I am really fighting this urge to stop what I’m doing right now and start research on Henry Chappel/Chappell. But I’m not going to do it! I’m going to stay focus on my search for Lewis. But trust and believe this — I have Henry Chappel on my radar screen as I continue my search in these directories for Lewis — LOL!

Houston City Directory, 1915

Lewis Chappel in Houston City Directory 1915

[Abstraction]

Chappell  Amanda  (c),  res  828  W  21st  av  Ho  Hts
Chappell  Carrie  (c)  lndrs  bds  Henry  Chappell
Chappell  Henry  (c)  lab  res  e  s  Houston  av  1  n  of  35th  av  Indpc  Hts

—–
In the 1917 directory, I see my great-grandmother no longer boards with Henry Chappell. She now lives 1 block west of the Creosote Works (which is a Southern Pacific Railroad Shop) at the Englewood Yard in 5th Ward. I’m sure now more than ever that my great-grandparents separated in 1913, and Lewis left Houston sometime in 1913 or 1914 (see below).

Houston City Directory, 1917

Lewis Chappel in Houston City Directory 1917

[Abstraction]

Chappell  Amanda  (c)  res  828  W  21st  av  Ho  Hts
Chappell  Carrie  (c)  res  1  blk  w  of  Creosote  Wks
Chappell  Henry  (c)  hlpr  S.  P.  Shops  res  811  W  22d  av  Ho  Hts

—–
According to the 1918 directory, my great-grandmother is working as a Dometic at 4900 Caroline Street. It doesn’t state that she lives at this location, just that she works there. If she doesn’t live there, then she probably still lives in the 5th Ward area where she was listed in the 1917 directory.

This directory also reveals someone new — Arie Chappel —who works as a laundress and boards with Henry Chappel at 717 W 22nd Ave, in Houston Heights. Since Arie hasn’t been mention in the directories before now, I wonder if she’s Henry’s wife? Okay, she’s on my radar now as well (see below)!

Houston City Directory, 1918

Lewis Chappel in Houston City Directory 1918

[Abstraction]

Chappel  Arie  (c)  lndrs  bds  717  W  22d  av  Ho  Hts
Chappel  Henry  (c)  lab  res  717  W  22d  av  Ho  Hts
Chappel  Amanda  (c)  res  828  W  21st  av  Ho  Hts
Chappel  Carrie  (c)  dom  4900 Caroline

—–
I’m not sure where my great-grandmother, Carrie, is living in the city by 1919, but she’s not listed in the directory for that year. I also notice that Arie Chappell, who I discovered in the 1918 directory, is not listed in this year’s directory either (see below)!

Houston City Directory, 1919

Lewis Chappel in Houston City Directory 1919

[Abstraction]

Chappell  Amanda  (c)  r  828  W  21st  av
Chappell  Henry  (c)  appr  S. P. Shops  r  717  W  22d

—–
Great news! This 1920 directory confirms my great-grandmother’s occupation that was reported in the 1920 census. Even though the enumerator did not record the actual address of the home she was buying at this time, this directory entry gives me some idea as to where she lived — on the west side of August Street, 1 block south of Liberty Road. What also makes this bit of information so compelling in my research is that after my mom’s mother died in July of 1930, she and her siblings were raised in grandmother Carrie’s home. My mom said she grew up off of Librerty Road and I have a feeling this just may be that home . . . woo-hoo!

Finally, I see my grandfather, Joseph (mom’s dad), listed in the city directory for the first time! He is about 17 years old now and works as a milker for Houston Cooperative Dairy Association. I can say with certainty that he didn’t work as a milker very long before he began his career with Southern Pacific Railroad and worked in the railroad industry until he retired in 1958.

This 1920 directory also reveals another new Chappel ancestor — Ella Chappel who works as a laundress and boards with Henry Chappel at 717 W 22nd Ave, in Houston Heights. Okay, are you thinking what I’m thinking? I’m sure you’re thinking what I’m thinking! This Ella, who has the same occupation and lives at the same address as Arie Chappel in the 1918 directory, must be Henry Chappel’s second new wife (see below)!

Houston City Directory, 1920

Lewis Chappel in Houston City Directory 1920

[Abstraction]

Chappel  Carrie  (c)  lndrs  r  w s August  1  s  of  Liberty rd
Chappel  Ella  (c) lndrs  h  717  W  22d  av
Chappel  Henry  hlpr  S.  P.  Shops  r  717  W  22d  av
Chappel  Joseph  (c)  milker  Ho  Co-Op  Dairy Assn  h  Carrie Chappel
Chappell  Amanda  (c)  lndrs  r  828  W  21st  av

—–
WOW! When I started my search for Lewis Chapel a couple of months ago (April 15th to be exact), I knew absolutely nothing about him. But after using census records, the birth and death certificate of his son Lewis Blanton Chapple, and now Houston City Directories, I know more about him and other Chappel family members (Amanda Chappel, Henry Chappel, Arie Chappel, and Ella Chappel) than I ever imagined I would so soon.

Among the new names that I discovered, I noticed that Amanda Chappel’s address — W. 21st Avenue — seemed to be constant (with only a slight change in her house number) year after year in the directories. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? I’m sure you’re thinking what I’m thinking! There is a good chance that this may be Lewis’s mother and she owns this home that she has been living in since the early 1900’s! Okay, I’ve made a note to self (when I’m ready) to research deed records to see if my hunch about Amanda as a home owner is true.

So based on information from the 1900-1920 Houston City Directory, what new information have I been able to add to Great-Grandfather Lewis’ profile as I continue my search for him?

o Names (given, middle, and nicknames)
Lewis Chappel, or possibly Louis Chappel (1910 Census)

o Occupations
Live-in Servant for a Mrs. T. J. Goree (Houston City Directory, 1907)
Laborer (Houston City Directory, 1908-10 & 1912)
Pipefitter for a Gas Company (1910 Census)
Gass Plummer (son’s 1910 birth certificate),
Laborer for Houston Gas Company (Houston City Directory, 1911)
Laborer for S. P. Railroad Shops (Houston City Directory, 1913)
Laborer in Cotton-Compress Industry (1920 Census)

o Birth date and place
abt 1883, Texas, USA (1910 Census)
abt 1884, Texas, USA (1920 Census)

o Age
27 yrs old (1910 Census)
36 yrs old (1920 Census)

o Residence
1410 Capitol Ave, Houston, Texas (Houston City Directory, 1907)
W.  21st ave.  1   blk   w of Nashua.   Houston Heights (Houston City Directory, 1908)
614 McGowen Avenue (Houston City Directory, 1910)
1607 Saulnier Streeet, Houston, Texas 77019 (1910 Census)
815 Schwartz Street, Houston, TX (son’s birth & death certificate, 1910)
1  N.  E.  Crawford Street, Houston, Texas (Houston City Directory, 1911)
3 N. E. Crawford Street, Houston, Texas (Houston City Directory, 1912
721 Hill Street, Houston, Texas (Houston City Directory, 1913)
2426 Avenue J, Galveston, Galveston County, Texas (1920 Census)

o Family structure
Parents:
Siblings: Henry Chappel (Houston City Directory, 1915)
Spouse: Carrie Blanton abt 1903 (1910 Census)
Children: Joseph Chappel (1910 Census); Lewis Blanton Chappel (1910-1910)
Extended Family Members: SIL-Arie Chappel (Houston City Directory, 1918), SIL- Ella Chappel (Houston City Directory, 1920)

o Marriage
Married Carrie Blanton abt 1903 (1910 Census); separated from Carrie (Houston City Directory, 1913), (1920 Census)

Think we have a family connection?
Let me hear from you because  . . . I’m Claiming Kin!

Related Posts:
Mystery Monday: Searching for Lewis Chappel (Part 1)
Mystery Monday: Enumerated Twice in the 1910 Census?
Blue Monday: A Devastating Loss for Lewis and Carrie Chappel in 1910
Mystery Monday: Searching for Lewis Chappel (Part 2)

—–
Source Citation:

1. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

2. Houston Heights. (2013, July 16). Wikipedia. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houston_Heights

3. Independence Heights, Houston. (2013, July 20). Wikipedia. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_Heights,_Houston

 

Mystery Monday: Searching for Lewis Chappel (Part 2)

Taking a Closer LookEven though I did not find my great-grandparents enumerated as a family the first time I looked for them in the 1920 Census, I just could not dismiss this gut feeling I had that I really needed to visit that record AGAIN! When I think about everything they experienced in 1910 — the loss of a child and moving two or three different times — another look for them in the 1920 census just seemed so necessary. Well, I’m glad I did! I found them, not as I expected to find them, but . . . I found them!

In the city of Houston I found my great-grandmother Carrie and my grandfather Joseph together . . .

Carrie and Joseph Chappell in the 1920 US Census

Carrie and Joseph Chappell, 1920 US Census

[Abstraction]

Enumerated on the 20th day of February 1920, this  U. S. Federal Census reports living in the Pinehurst Addition of Houston, Harris County, Texas dwelling #454 was: [1]

Line 22:  Carrie Chappel, head of household, owner of the mortgaged home she lived in, age 35, a widow, born in Texas as were her parents, works as a Laundress for a Private Family

Line 23: Joseph Chappel, son, age 17, single, born in Texas as were his parents, works as a Laborer for a Railroad Company

In another Texas city, I found my great-grandfather  Lewis . . .

Lewis Chappell in 1920 Census

Lewis Chappel, 1920 US Census

[Abstraction]

Enumerated on the 3rd day of January 1920, this  U. S. Federal Census reports living as a boarder at 2426 Avenue J, Galveston, Galveston County, Texas was: [2]

Line 38:  Lewis Chappel, black male age 36, married, born in Texas as were his parents, works as a Laborer in the Compress Industry

Reviewing Ancestor Data

Review Data for Clues and New Information

WOW . . . this is interesting stuff!

As I take a closer look at both of these 1920 census records, I cannot help but think there may be “trouble” in the marriage of my great-grandparents!

  • Widow?!
    My great-grandmother obviously told the enumerator that she was a widow! But that wasn’t true at all because my great-grandfather was very much alive and well living just 50 miles away (by car) in the city of Galveston, Texas. Not to mention that I have not been able to find, to date, any record of my great-grandfather’s death in Texas between 1910 – 1920!
  • Married boarder?!
    My great-grandfather either told the enumerator he was married, or the owner of the boarding house where he lived did. Either way, my great-grandmother and grandfather are not living there with him and it seems my great-grandmother may see this separation as a, “death,” where my great-grandfather is concerned – YIKES!
  • Something else I’ve noticed is that my great-grandfather has gone from working as a Pipe-fitter/Gas Plummer for a Gas Company in Houston in 1910, to a Laborer in the Cotton-Compress Industry in Galveston, Texas by 1920! According to The Handbook of Texas Online, [3]

The cotton-compress industry developed in antebellum Texas because of the need to lower the cost of transporting cotton on sailing vessels. . . Compressors, which reduced bales received from cotton gins to roughly half their former size, were first acquired in port. By 1860 more than $500,000 had been invested in the industry at Galveston. As cotton culture spread into the Texas hinterland after the Civil War, compresses were built in many Texas towns in addition to the port cities. The development of communications and the extension of railroads into the state’s cotton-producing regions revolutionized the Texas cotton trade.”

With “widow” and “married boarder” being the key words that jumped out at me in these two records, I’m starting to think that my great-grandparents may have separated by this time! When did this separation take place and is it permanent? I’m not sure. But what I do know is that I will need more evidence than what was reported in this record to validate a legal separation, or divorce between them.

So what’s my next resource?

I think it’s time I use city directories to track them more closely between the 1900, 1910, and 1920 census decades! Hopefully this resource will help me pinpoint the year they arrived in Houston and when my great-grandfather left for Galveston. I also hope this directory will shine a HUGE spotlight on other Chappels living in Houston at this time who just may be immediate family members of my great-grandfather!

Based on information from this 1920 census record, what new information have I added to Great-Grandfather Lewis’ profile as I continue my search for him?

o Names (given, middle, and nicknames) – Lewis Chappel, or possibly Louis Chappel (1910 Census)
o Occupations – Pipefitter for a Gas Company (1910 Census); Gass Plummer (son’s 1910 birth certificate); Laborer in Cotton-Compress Industry (1920 Census)
o Birth date and place – abt 1883, Texas, USA (1910 Census), abt 1884, Texas, USA (1920 Census)
o Age – 27 yrs old (1910 Census); 36 yrs old (1920 Census)
o Residence – 1607 Saulnier Streeet, Houston, Texas 77019 (1910 Census); 815 Schwartz Street, Houston, TX (son’s birth & death certificate); 2426 Avenue J, Galveston, Galveston County, Texas
o Family structure – married to Carrie Blanton and has 2 sons, Joseph Chappel (1910 Census); Lewis Blanton Chappel (1910-1910); separated from Carrie & Joseph (1920 Census)
o Marriage – Married Carrie Blanton abt 1903 (1910 Census)

Think we have a family connection?
Let me hear from you because  . . . I’m Claiming Kin!

Related Posts:
Mystery Monday: Searching for Lewis Chappel (Part 1)
Mystery Monday: Enumerated Twice in the 1910 Census?
Blue Monday: A Devastating Loss for Lewis and Carrie Chappel in 1910

—–

Source Citation:

1. “United States Census, 1920,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MCM8-GRQ : accessed 21 May 2013), Carrie Chappell, 1920.

2. “United States Census, 1920,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MHTY-KPB : accessed 21 May 2013), Lewis Chapel in entry for George Parish, 1920.

3. L. Tuffly Ellis, “COTTON-COMPRESS INDUSTRY,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/drc02), accessed June 09, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.