TexasEscapes.com HOME Welcome to Texas Escapes
A magazine written by Texas
Custom Search
NEW
TEXAS TOWNS
GHOST TOWNS
COUNTIES
TOPICS
TRIPS
ARCHITECTURE
COLUMNS
ARCHIVE
SITE MAP
SEARCH SITE
HOTELS



Texas City Hotels
Find Hotel Deals in Texas City, Texas
Book Here

Texas | Columns | "Texas Tales"

Texas City 1914

by Mike Cox
Mike Cox

Being a career officer's daughter, 23-year-old Mauree Pickering knew Army life brought occasional hardships and frequent travel.

Even so, on Sept. 25, 1913 she married a soldier, Lt. Frank Mahin. After honeymooning in New York, the couple left on a steamer for New Orleans. Their chance to have much fun taking in the sights of the Crescent City dampened by heavy rain, the couple left by train for Mahin's next duty station, the Galveston County town of Texas City.

A small town with a big name, Texas City hosted an Army camp. Not that it amounted to a strategic location - it had not yet become a petrochemical port -- but with Mexico embroiled in a bloody revolution, the military had moved more troops into Texas in anticipation of trouble.

When the American Navy occupied the port of Vera Cruz in 1914, it looked like the United States would fight Mexico for a second time since 1848. If orders came to invade Mexico, the soldiers stationed at Texas City would board ships at the port of Galveston.

Enlisted men lived in tents at the large camp two miles from town, but officers and their families got to stay in one of Texas City's two hotels.

"A more unattractive place than this hotel would have been hard to find," Mauree later wrote in her memoir, "Life in the American Army from the Frontier Days to Army Distaff Hall." Even so, she continued, "we just joined the rest of the Army families living there, and we had a good time in spite of the drabness."

Four days after arriving in Texas City, Mauree kissed her husband goodbye at 6:30 a.m. when he left for his daily duties at the camp. Rain beat down on the hotel's roof and thunder boomed in the distance, but Mauree liked stormy weather and peacefully drifted back to sleep.

Her slumber proved short-lived. About 7 a.m. a bolt of lighting struck only 50 yards from the hotel, practically blasting her out of bed.

"All of us were sure the hotel had been hit," she wrote, "and we knew the next thing would be fire….Although no alarm was forthcoming, we quickly dressed and went downstairs to see what and where the damage was."

Mauree looked out at a scene of chaos.

A regiment had been marching past the hotel en route to a target range in Galveston when lightning had struck the column.

"The street was just a tangled mass of men and animals and wagons, all milling around," she continued. "The officers were shouting orders as best they could in that downpour, but it was hard to make oneself heard above the rain, thunder and confusion."

In an impressively short span of time, the column had reformed and resumed its 21-mile trek to Galveston, minus two wagons.

Soon, Mauree learned what had happened to those two wagons. The lighting, she related in her book, "had done the impossible…it had struck the lead mules of one wagon, and the man riding beside them, but it had skipped the wheelers and driver! Then it skipped the lead mules of the second wagon and…killed the wheelers and driver of that second wagon!"

Stranger than that, the two men killed were brothers. And they may have been the only casualties associated with the military buildup in Texas during the early days of the Mexican Revolution. Despite ominous newspaper headlines and saber rattling in both Mexico and the U.S., the Vera Cruz incident played out without further escalation.

The Mahins remained in Texas City through December, when orders came for the troops there to head for Naco, AZ to guard against any Mexican incursions. But Mahin already had an assignment for overseas duty, and their stay along the border did not last long.

Mauree gave birth to twin girls on June 2, 1915 in the Philippines. The Army family moved from post to post as her husband moved up in rank. A major general by World War II, Mahin died in a plane crash in 1942.

Three years later, wanting to preserve the details of her interesting life for her daughters, Mauree wrote a manuscript she finally published in 1967. She died on May 29, 1985 at the age of 94.


© Mike Cox
"Texas Tales"
August 17, 2006 column

Related Topics:
Columns | People | Texas History | Texas Towns | Texas |

Book Hotel Here > Texas City Hotels



COLUMNS:

  • Mike Cox - "Texas Tales"
  • Clay Coppedge - "Letters from Central Texas"
  • Murray Montgomery - "Lone Star Diary"
  • Wanda Orton - "Wandering"
  • Michael Barr - "Hindsights"
  • Maggie Van Ostrand - "A Balloon in Cactus"
  • David Knape - "Once Upon A Line" Poems
  • Roger Todd Moore - "Moore Texas" Cartoons
  • John Troesser
  • More Things Historical:

  • "A Glimpse of Texas Past" by Jeffery Robenalt
  • "Bob Bowman's East Texas" by Bob Bowman
  • "All Things Historical" by Archie P. McDonald & Bob Bowman
  • "Cannonball's Tales" by W. T. Block Jr.
  • "It's All Trew" by Delbert Trew
  • "Charley Eckhardt's Texas" by C. F. Eckhardt



  • TEXAS:

    TEXAS COUNTIES



    TEXAS REGIONS

  • Central Texas - North
  • Central Texas - South
  • East Texas
  • West Texas
  • South Texas
  • Texas Hill Country
  • Texas Panhandle
  • Texas Gulf Coast

    Texas Towns A - Z


    Texas Ghost Towns


    Texas Architecture


    Texas Topics


    Columns - History/Opinion

  • All Texas Towns :
    Gulf Gulf Coast East East Texas North Central North Central Woutn Central South Panhandle Panhandle
    South South Texas Hill Hill Country West West Texas Ghost Ghost Towns counties COUNTIES

    TEXAS ESCAPES CONTENTS
    HOME | TEXAS ESCAPES ONLINE MAGAZINE | SEARCH SITE
    TEXAS TOWNS A-Z | TEXAS GHOST TOWNS A-Z | TEXAS COUNTIES

    Texas Hill Country | East Texas | Central Texas North | Central Texas South | West Texas | Texas Panhandle | South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast
    TRIPS | STATES PARKS | RIVERS | LAKES | DRIVES | FORTS | MAPS

    Texas Attractions
    TEXAS TOPICS
    People | Ghosts | Historic Trees | Cemeteries | Small Town Sagas | WWII | History | Texas Centennial | Black History | Art | Music | Animals | Books | Food
    COLUMNS : History, Humor, Topical and Opinion

    TEXAS ARCHITECTURE | IMAGES
    Courthouses | Jails | Churches | Gas Stations | Schoolhouses | Bridges | Theaters | Monuments/Statues | Depots | Water Towers | Post Offices | Grain Elevators | Lodges | Museums | Rooms with a Past | Gargoyles | Cornerstones | Pitted Dates | Stores | Banks | Drive-by Architecture | Signs | Ghost Signs | Old Neon | Murals | Then & Now
    Vintage Photos

    USA | MEXICO | HOTELS

    Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Contributors | Staff | Contact TE
    Website Content Copyright Texas Escapes LLC. All Rights Reserved