November 5, 2019
Retracing Lena Huppler Bevers’ Travel Log
Wed. Nov. 5.
Left Floresville and drove through Poth, Falls City, Karnes City, Peltus, Normanna, Beeville, Skidmore, Papalote, and Sinton. We had to go back to Skidmore as we could not get across the river at Sinton. Stayed all night in Skidmore. – Lena Bevers
On November 5, 1919 Herbert Bevers and Mr. McElhany drove the most miles on that day than on any other day of the 27-day trip. They drove about 112 miles, driving through four counties: Wilson, Karnes, Bee and San Patricio. They also drove through four county seats: Floresville, Karnes City, Beeville and Sinton. Between these county seats were very small communities, some of which are no longer in existence. According to an article written in 1922 in The Parsons Daily Sun, the towns that Lena listed in her travel log were on a branch of the King of Trails Highway.1
My mother and I started our tour at 11:00 AM in Floresville, Texas. We had ten stops on our itinerary for the day. All of the towns were along U. S. Highway 181. Of the ten places, we were able to find something to photograph in seven of them. Pettus, Skidmore and Papalote did not have anything historical.
Medio Creek Bridge, a through truss bridge, is about one mile west of Normanna. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. “The bridge arrived in kit form and was assembled by the Austin Brothers Bridge Company.”2 It was “built in 1897 by the New Jersey Iron and Steel Company, this bridge has served as one of the major crossings on the road from Beeville to San Antonio. … The bridge remained in service for vehicular traffic until 1987.’”3
When the Bevers family arrived in Beeville, the streets were not paved. They were paved in 1921.4 “Beeville’s 1912 Courthouse has most of the accessories you look for in a courthouse – A clock, dome, statue of the Goddess of Justice and large Corinthian columns.”5
When the two automobiles arrived in Sinton, Lena wrote in her travel log that they could not get across the river, and her daughter Florence wrote that “it was in the Gulf storm territory so every thing was torn up.”7 On September 14, 1919 there had been a devastating hurricane.
“San Patricio County as a whole sustained considerable damage during the 1919 storm. Practically all windmills in the county were either blown to the ground or dismantled. Power and communication lines were severely damaged. Many buildings were either damaged or destroyed. The county received 14 inches of rain in 12 hours and flooding was extensive. The greatest damage sustained in the county was that of the complete destruction of all of the cotton crop that had not yet been picked.”8
Possibly Herbert and Mr. McElhany were planning to travel alongside the railways which ran along the Gulf Coast through Kingsville and south to Brownsville and the Mexican border. This route would have taken them through the town of Odem. The hurricane of 1919 washed out the S. A. U. and G. railroad west of Odem.9 Due to the inability to continue south from Sinton, the travelers returned to Skidmore and Florence wrote that they stayed all night in their cars.10
When my mother and I were looking online for a motel in Skidmore, we weren’t able to find one. Therefore, we decided to make our reservation in Sinton instead. We arrived in Sinton about 2:45 PM and went to a public library to look for information about the hurricane of 1919. Then we made it to the motel about 4:00 PM.
- “Parsons National Headquarters, King of Trails Highway Ass’n,” The Parsons Daily Sun, February 18, 1922: 4, http://bikeallencounty.org/news/king-trails-highway/.
- Texas Escapes, Medio Creek Bridge, http://www.texasescapes.com/TexasBridges/Bee-County-Normanna-Texas-Medio-Creek-Bridge.htm.
- Texas Historic Landmark, Medio Creek Bridge (1987), http://www.texasescapes.com/TexasBridges/Bee-County-Normanna-Texas-Medio-Creek-Bridge.htm.
- Grace Bauer, “Beeville, Texas”, Handbook of Texas Online, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/heb04.
- Texas Escapes, Bee County Courthouse, http://www.texasescapes.com/SouthTexasTowns/BeevilleTx/Bee-County-Courthouse-Beeville-Texas.htm.
- Looking east, Sinton Street, Sinton, Texas (1912), http://sites.rootsweb.com/~txpstcrd/Towns/Sinton/SintonStScene1912.jpg.
- B. Winkelmann, Our Trip to Texas [Transcription of Our Trip to Texas by Florence Bevers, 1919] (unpublished, n. d.): 5.
- Keith Guthrie, The History of San Patricio County (Austin, Texas: Nortex Press, 1986): 276.
- David Roth, Texas Hurricane History, https://www.weather.gov/media/lch/events/txhurricanehistory.pdf.
- B. Winkelmann, Our Trip to Texas, 5.