1940 District Clerk candidate ran against runs

Posted 5/26/20

Recently I discovered two collections of interesting old newspaper clippings about the Madisonville area.

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1940 District Clerk candidate ran against runs

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Recently I discovered two collections of interesting old newspaper clippings about the Madisonville area.

For decades after the Civil War, Madison County was reputed to be wild and wooly, unsafe for average folks. Earlier Musings detailed evidence of some incidents which are therefore left out here, but there is more proof below. Some reported local fires, which have always plagued us.

For the next few weeks, I’d like to share my favorite stories about shootings, stabbings and even a couple that made me laugh. The stories are titled like the originals, and listed in chronological order, noting the publications that printed them. This is the third and final article in the series.

“Will Try Madisonville Men for Moonshining,” in the Sept. 6, 1919, edition of The Houston Post, stated, “J.B. Patton and J.R. Price, deputy United States marshals for this district, departed Friday for Madisonville, Texas, where three men are being held, charged with operating an illicit still for the manufacture of intoxicating liquor. The men will be brought to Houston Saturday for preliminary hearing before Winston McMahon, United States Commissioner. The still, which the men are charged with operating, was discovered by the United States revenue agents and was located near Madisonville. The men are held in the Madison County jail.”

“Baby Slept Through Madisonville Storm,” in the Dec. 2, 1921, issue The Bryan Eagle, reported, “After being given up as dead by the searching party, the infant of Mr. and Mrs. Curtis Kelton, Jr., whose home was wrecked by a tornado which struck Concord early this morning, was found uninjured and sleeping peacefully in a bed which had been covered by wreckage. Mr. and Mrs. Kelton, a 6-year-old daughter, and an 8-year-old son were painfully injured when the twister destroyed the house. Other residences were wrecked and the heavy rain and hail which accompanied the blow resulted in about $5,000 damage, according to reports reaching here. There was considerable lightning. Concord is about five miles north of Madisonville.”

“Rail Agent Killed at Madisonville,” in the Aug. 12, 1923, copy of The Houston Post, related, “Madisonville, Texas, August 11. A. Garland, special agent for the Trinity and Brazos Valley railroad was shot and instantly killed at 7:30 p.m. Saturday while walking on the streets of North Zulch about 20 miles west of here. Immediately following the shooting, A.L. Lipscomb, cashier of the State Bank at North Zulch, surrendered to authorities but failed to make a statement concerning the shooting. A charge of murder was filed against him, authorities said. He was allowed bond. The examining trial is set for Tuesday, they said.”

“Woman Breaks Arm,” in the Aug. 20, 1924, edition of The Houston Post, reported “Madisonville, Texas, August 19. Mrs. Jim Longbotham sustained a broken arm Saturday morning as she was attempting to crank her automobile.

“Boy Killed as Pair Play with Pistol,” in the Dec. 11, 1928. issue of The Vernon Daily Record, said, “Madisonville, Texas, Dec. 1. Accidental discharge of a pistol, with which two boys were playing in a local café last night, caused the death of Roy Mayfield, about 18, of this city. Mayfield and his friend, Thurman Hensarling, were playing with the weapon when it went off, wounding Mayfield, who died en route to a hospital.”

“Candidate Hopes to Stop Runs in Silk Stockings,” in the April 2, 1940, edition of The Corpus Christi Caller, reported, “Madisonville, Texas. Six-foot, six-inch Rufe Connor is running for district clerk of Madison County – and here’s his platform: ‘When I get elected district clerk of Madison County, I’m gonna write a letter to President Roosevelt, and get Roosevelt to take it up with Congress, and get Congress to take it up with China and Japan, and get them to stop making silk thread that is so flimsy when you make a pair of woman’s stockings out of it, it’ll last only about three days before a run comes in it. The greatest injustice on the face of the earth today is runs in stockings. Just elect me district clerk of Madison County and I’ll do something about it.”

“Up Women’s Hose,” in the March 16, 1944, issue of The Pampa Daily News, stated, “Madisonville, Texas. District Clerk Rufus M. Connor ran in 1940 on the platform of putting a stop to runs in women’s hose. In 1940, Connor said ‘When I get elected district clerk of Madison County, I’m gonna write a letter to President Roosevelt, and get Roosevelt to take it up with Congress, and get Congress to take it up with China and Japan, and get them to stop making silk thread that is so flimsy when you make a pair of woman’s stockings out of it, it’ll last only about three days before a run comes in it. The greatest injustice on the face of the earth today is runs in hose. Men have to dig up a dollar for their wives’ hose about every three days.’ Today, the Madisonville Meteor, observing that in 1944 “China is still with us, Congress is still with us, Roosevelt is still with us’ silk isn’t,’ reported ‘This week District Clerk Connor announced his 1944 aim. He proposes to run on the platform of getting somebody to do something about women’s rayon stockings that will make them stay up.’”

The incidents related above convinced me that life here has been anything but boring!

Madison County Museum, at 201 N. Madison Street, is usually open to the public Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. In these unique times, it’s best if you call ahead, 936.348.5230, if you hope to visit. You may wish to support the Museum by giving your time as a volunteer or with a monetary donation (P.O. Box 61, Madisonville, TX 77864).

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