Footprints of Fayette

A Historical Column From The Fayette County 

Historical Commission and Fayette County Judge’s Office


Schulenburg at the Age of Twenty-Four – Part I

By Gary E. McKee

Schulenburg was incorporated in 1875, a year and a half after the railroad tracks were laid and a depot was built which attracted citizens from surrounding communities. The local paper, The Schulenburg Sticker, Ernst Goeth, publisher, was founded in 1894; subscriptions were a dollar a year. Their slogan was “Plain Words Are Ever the Best.” The four-page, July 13, 1899 issue contained a lot of plain words about the news in other places, balanced with some local news, but no community columns. The “fillers” were paid stories on medicines curing everything that ails you and “interesting” stories from elsewhere. It does give an insight to life in this southern Fayette County town just prior to the new millennium and the Great Hurricane of 1900 which reshaped lives and the future of Texas. 

The first page headline boldly told of a great flood on the Brazos: “Most Appalling Disaster in the Lone Star State” and next to it (in normal type) a story entitled, “Women and Filthy Testimony.” Next to that story was a large advertisement for the Schulenburg Fair Association’s horse races, featuring “Liberal Purses”; admission: men 50 cents, ladies free; a ticket to the grandstand was 10 cents with music by a good brass band. 

Editorially, The Sticker advocated for a farmer’s union after seeing wagonload after wagonload of watermelons brought to town and no one to buy them in bulk. The editor also commented that after taking a drive, there are several hog pens in town that needed cleaning up as the scent was nauseating. The Sticker commented on the wide-open city of Galveston (gambling and gunfire), stating that the paper is in favor of “law and order in large doses.”

The citizens like their alcohol. The Bismark Saloon, in addition to the finest wines, whiskies, and rum, has the Celebrated San Antonio Beer on tap. The Sengelmann Brothers let you know that they have a first-class bar and restaurant. The Palace Saloon has recently moved into a new building (which would later become the Sticker office). Billy’s Saloon has a “Fresh Glass of Beer Always on Tap.” Ebeling’s Bar and Oltmanns & Schaefer’s Bar offers pool tables. The New Orleans Brewing Beer Association ran an ad listing where their product is available in town ($2.75 per keg), and the Sunny South Saloon has fine wines, cigars and liquors along with fresh beer. And don’t forget to visit “The First and Last Chance Saloon.”

The reason for Schulenburg’s being, the railroad, advertised heavily; you could ride the M.K.T. railroad on free reclining chairs and sleep in cars with a buffet on the way to Chicago and Kansas City. Special rates to attend a Baptist Convention was offered. The Southern Pacific Sunset Route could connect you to New York, Atlanta, and Mexico City. Daily train schedules were posted.

To keep the citizens in good legal standing, the new state laws to go into effect in August of 1899 were published. A sampling of the many new laws include: humane treatment of animals shall be taught in public schools; no sale of tobacco to persons under 16; no person of foreign birth shall be deemed a qualified voter who has not declared his intention of becoming a citizen at least six months before an election; the cost of taking the teacher’s examinations will be lowered to $3, and General History will be taught in the first grade in lieu of “Mental and Moral Science”; the penalty for night burglary of a private residence will be fixed from one to five years; and that $250,000 would be appropriated for Confederate pensions. A new law authorizes justices of the peace to issue warrants for the apprehension of lunatics. 

Two columns over a filler comment was used stating that “the most original men in the world are those who are in mad houses.”

(To Be Continued)