ELLEN BARNETT 1922 - 1930 HANDWRITTEN MANUSCRIPT DIARY DETAILING THIS WACO TEXAS THIS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT'S LOVE OF FOOTBALL AND HER INITIAL FASCINATION FOR THE KU KLUX KLAN
WACO TEXAS TX 1922 Good Manuscript
On offer is a super piece of early 20th century Texas Americana being a 1920s handwritten diary of a high school girl from Waco Texas. Ellen Barnett within the 86 pages of handwriting provides an amazing account of what life was like during the 1920's while living and attending high school in Waco. Of particular interest to Texas collectors and historians in this panorama of 1922 through 1930 will be the detailed entries on two important facets of Texas life at the time: football and the Ku Klux Klan. Although she does not write daily entries she writes quite a lot and she has a tremendous personality in many ways and the fact that her high school football team ends up making history as state champions in 1922 is a great thread throughout this journal. Her team, the "old" Waco High Tigers were known for their famous coach Paul Tyson began his career in Waco in 1913. He was one of the best known, and one of the most successful high school coaches in America. His teams at Waco played in seven state championship games, including six consecutive 1922-27. Waco was state champions in 1922, 1925, 1926 and 1927, and runner up 1923, 1924 and 1939. In 1927, Waco had one of the most dominant seasons in Texas high school football history. Ellen is very passionate about the football team and the games they play. She writes with great detail about many of the games, has several pieces of ephemera inside representing her team and gets fired up on numerous occasions concerning specific games; almost to the point of tears. Ellen also tells of the Cotton Palace, one of the most popular fairs in the South. June 3rd, 1923, Ellen details the KKK parade through town and the description is riveting. Research informs us that in 1923 more then 2,000 Klansmen paraded through the city and the organization boycotted businesses of people unsympathetic with its agenda. Many of the Waco's business and political leaders and Ellen seemed to implicitly support the Klan during this period, and one member claimed that the Klan "controlled every office in the city of Waco" during the 1920's. Here are some snippets: 1922 "October 12th, Last night or rather this morning at 5 a.m. the "hull" neighborhood, (with the exception of Mrs. Ivey and us) were awakened by Mrs. Gentry's unearthly screams. "Help, Help, Come quick! Mr. Crow!!" Then she jumped in the car and went off. Everyone in our vicinity has been trying to find out what it was about. Mrs. Chapoton said that Mrs. Gentry went out to her car (to go down and meet Mr. Gentry) and there was a man sitting or rather sleeping in it. Then was when she screamed bloody murder. People a block off heard her. The man was a man who had been going to see her sister and he finally quieted her up, no creo???????" "October 14th, I didn't do much of anything today or rather this morning. But this afternoon mother and I went to town. I never saw so many old men loafing in front of Goldstein's……." "October 21st, I wrote to Cardelia this morning and told her everything that popped into my head. I have to go to the post office this afternoon. Isn't it awful?? The Cotton Palace opens today with a parade at 10:30 a.m. and one at 7:00 p.m. It's the one I want to see. Governor Neff is to head the parade and 1500 Baylor students are to follow giving college yells and songs. I have no desire to go to the Cotton Palace except the night of the Queen's Ball, and oh I want so much, so much, to see that for it must be beautiful and I know the one last year was, for I saw that." "October 26th and 27th, We are going to cook at the Cotton Palace tomorrow. "Aint we got fun?"……We served donuts and love knots, they were lovely……When we finished cooking we went to see the Art exhibit and all exhibits in the main building. Dennis had the best looking bed room suite out there I ever laid my eyes on, it was perfectly beautiful. Then we went to the automobile exhibit and---oh to be rich! There were some of the best looking cars out there; Hudson's, Cadillac's, Packard's, Nashe's and every other kind of 1923 models. Then in this building there were four real Hawaiians who played on guitar……Then we went down on the "War Path". They had a lot of stuff down there and Garrett wanted me to go in "Home Brew" It's a thing where you go in a room and they turn it around and you get sick so I didn't go. Some more side shows were "Coney Island" a place where you saw glass blowers and men eat fire, "Noah's Ark", "Feeding the Chickens", "The Country Store", "The Old Mill", "The Wall of Death". Then there were fortune tellers galore and then they had Ferris wheels, merry go rounds, the whip, and everything else imaginable……" "October 31st, Halloween! And of all the pranks played they were played. The "merrymakers" stole cars, held up street cars, let the air out of automobile tires, stole flowers, broke windows, broke the speed limit by going down Austin Ave real fast with several tubes tied on behind creating quite a noise. They also pulled the trolley's off the street cars. This lasted until about 12 p.m." "November 23rd, WACO HI HAS NOT BEEN BEATEN YET!!!!! They have not been beaten in a game however they have been scored on. It made me so angry----when we got scored on. We just barely beat Milford, 12 to 7. Isn't it awful??? We play Palestine at Corsicana tomorrow. I hope, hope, hope we win. But I'm sure we will….." "December 9th, Waco won the game! And I'm so happy, happy, happy. 30 to 0. Yesterday a bunch of us were going out to the Cotton Palace to see the game. School closed at 1 p.m. so we started and had walked about 5 blocks when imagine Barry picked us up and took us on out there. The bleachers and the grand stand were pushed in a little while. Then an areoplane from Temple flew over and dropped a big roll of canvas. On it was this, a message to the wild cats, "Fight, em Wildcats." Two Temple boys carried it all over the field and let everyone see it. Then the game started both sides fought hard when suddenly Boody Johnston made a touch down. The 12,000 fans simply went wild! Oh how the Tigers did fight!! The Wildcats fought just as hard but the Tigers fought them. Then they brought the most wonderful thing I ever hope to see!! It was some flowers in the shape of a football……" 1923 "January 3rd, I never did write about that wonderful K.K.K. parade I saw the other night. There was the awfulest jam downtown on Austin Street. About 50,000 I think. There was supposed to be 10,000 Klansmen take part in the parade but something happened to the train that was to bring them here so only 2500 took part. There were no locals in the parade. Then it took them 28 minutes to pass. They were in full regalia and masked. I'm for the Klu Klux!!!! I am. They are strong too. They looked wonderful on horseback with the great beautiful fiery cross leading them. Then in the parade they had the original 1866 in cars. They had grey hair and grey beards and it gave me such a thrill to think that maybe one of these had helped save our forefathers after that awful civil war. Everyone cheered them. They deserved to be cheered." [Right after this passage on a different date and in pencil she writes: "I'm not for em now though. April 20th, 1924."] On a trip to San Antonio in August of 1923. She writes about supper at a place called the "Original", talks about San Pedro Park, Brekenridge and the Japanese Gardens, White Horse Tavern, Empire Theatre and more. 1924 "November 22nd, Well Waco High has played and won many games since I've written in here. The next game we played was with Corsicana with Corsicana. I did not get to go but we won 43 to 0. I was delighted of course. Then we played Waxahachie here on the Cotton Palace gridiron. I heard the game at Mr. McCurdy's over the radio. Waxahachie scored first and naturally I nearly went wild. But when Waco did start scoring, OH Boy! The final score was 24 to 7. Waco was tickled pea green and purple. Right after the game we decided to have a parade. So we got in a long line and started from the Cotton Palace gates and walked and ran, running most of the way, right up Clay Avenue. Everyone screaming at the top of their voices. We held up automobiles and street cars. We ran right through the signals on 8th street and on down Austin with everyone grinning at us……" Then she describes a trip to Dallas and goes to The Majestic, Highland Park, Fair Park Grounds, Scenic Railway called "The Lightening", the Jefferson Hotel and their $50,000 fountain and the Grand Parade. These type of entries from her high school years stop on December 7th, 1926. She then starts writing again on August 5th, 1929 telling of her trip to Corpus Christi and San Antonio which is 4 pages long. After that is another trip on June 24th, 1930 to Arkansas and Reservation Mt. and the Belvedere Nightclub. That trip consists of 3 ½ pages. Because Ellen writes in a large ledger that measures about 8" x 12.5", you get a lot of writing per page. As with all diaries, lots of names are mentioned. In Ellen's she talks about; Leslie Davis, Ernest Waldorf, her teachers, Waller, Christian and Payne. Also Joe McClain, Garnett Dodson, Dell Scott, Moorman, Elizabeth Comley, Boody Johnson, Miss Leslie, George Fall, Wier Washam, Charlie Taylor, Tyson, Burl, Hotman, Armstrong, Claude Meadows and more. One of the pieces of ephemera is a city brochure from 1925. It has several business' represented inside such as; Morrison's Famous Soda Fountain, Stratton-Stricker Furniture, Elite Café, hardin Kelly Drug Co., The Thompson Studio, Purity Ice Cream Co., Hippodrome Theatre, Stringfellow's Barber Shop, Cayle Printing Co., Ed Bauerle Jewelry, and a few more. The cover of the ledger is in poor condition but otherwise G.