TE photo 9-04
in a Seashell
dates from 1824 when it was known as Tevis Bluff after Noah and Nancy Tevis
- the first settlers. In 1835, Henry Millard and partners bought the Tevis' property
for a planed town. Millard's wife's maiden name was Beaumont.
Congress of the Republic of Texas granted it a charter in 1838 and Beaumont was
designated the county seat for Jefferson County.
By the early 1900s the
city had four railroads and a population of 9,427.
The city's history
- as well as the State's - is divided by the discovery of oil at nearby Spindletop.
They were only a few days into 1901 when Spindletop blew in - reportedly
on the last length of pipe sunk before the well was abandoned.
major oil companies - the Texas Company, Gulf Oil and Humble - were formed within
a year of one another in 1901-02.
1908: The Neches River was joined to
Port Arthur by dredged canal.
1920: Population 40,000
1925: A second oil discovery was made at
1930: population 58,000
1941: Wartime prosperity comes with shipbuilding and
1943: Martial law is declared after the Beaumont race riot erupts
1950: Population 94,000
1960: Population 119,000
In the early 1960s the
police department was reorganized after an investigation by the Texas House of
Representatives looking into prostitution and gambling - unsavory residue from
the oil boom.
1970: Population 115,000
1980: Population 118,000
Hotel Here > Beaumont
of the entire Kyle
Block looking south |
TE Photo 5-03
| || |
view of the Neches River
and downtown Beaumont
Postcard courtesy Cruse Aviation
| || |
Neches River in Beaumont
Postcard courtesy Cruse Aviation
across from Pipkin Park in Beaumont|
Photo by John Troesser, 2000
INN: The Devil's Own Lodging House by W. T. Block, Jr. ("Cannonball's
Located on the old Opelousas cattle trail northwest of Beaumont.
"A gentleman's life... held no attraction for Squire Yocum, a man who literally
was nursed almost from the cradle on murder and rapine, and for many years Yocum's
Inn was actually a den of robbers and killers."A
Brief History of Pioneer Entertainment in Beaumont, Texas by W. T. Block,
Jr. ("Cannonball's Tales")Home
of the Cardinals by Archie P. McDonald (from "All Things Historical"
Lamar University in BeaumontDick
Dowling by Archie P. McDonald (from "All Things Historical"
column). Sabine Pass' commander, Lieutenant Richard William Dowling, namesake
of the Dick Dowling Junior High School.The
Case of Beaumont's Missing Marble Corpse by W. T. Block, Jr. ("Cannonball's
It was July of 1901 in Beaumont, and the frenzy of oil excitement
rushed on unabated. Gusher No. 15 had just blown in on the hill, and each arriving
train deposited a new horde of traders and roughnecks, boomers and hangers-on
of every hue in a city that was already smothering with new population... In the
midst of all the oil madness, there emerged one of the strangest tales ever to
unfold in the "sawdust city," the case of Beaumont's missing corpse that had turned
to stone... Olive,
Hardin County, Texas
- An Extinct Sawmill Town and the Olive-Sternenberg Partnership That Built It
by W. T. Block, Jr. ("Cannonball's Tales")
"Three miles north of Kountze,
in Hardin County, Texas, where once the burly and towering pine trees shaded the
forest floors beneath them, the town of Olive thrived between 1881 and 1912. It
took its name from Sidney C. Olive of Waco, who was one-half of the partnership
of Olive, Sternenberg and Company, the owners of the large Sunset Sawmill, which
spawned the community.
In 1876, while Beaumont was celebrating the hundredth
anniversary of the United States, the same owners built the Centennial Sawmill
on Brake's Bayou, Beaumont's first large lumber mill, and operated it until 1883...."The
Tale of Hardin County's Wild Family by W. T. Block, Jr. ("Cannonball's
What 'boy' is there among us, either youthful or aged, who has not
experienced a longing at some time or another to escape to the forest -- far from
the amenities of civilization, such as table manners and school bells -- to live
carefree and survive, Tarzan-like, from the products of the thickets and streams?...
Hotel Here > Beaumont
A view of the
library, theater and the railroad bridge over the Neches River
Rita of Beaumont's Dixie Hotel by John Troesser
Madam of Oil City “Godfather
of Beaumont” by Fred B. McKinley
Frank Yount and the Yount-Lee Oil
Company, “the Godfather and Financial Gibraltar of Beaumont.” "Babe"
Didrikson by Archie P. McDonald
The outstanding woman athlete of the
"The Babe, who earned her nickname from sandlot baseball
companions who thought she batted like Babe Ruth, was born in Port Arthur, Texas,
on June 26, 1911, to Norwegian immigrants Ole and Hannah Didriksen. The Babe later
changed the spelling of the family name slightly. The Didriksen’s moved to Beaumont
in 1915..." more
by W. T. Block
Steamboat Captain and Confederate Soldier.
William E. Rogers: Beaumont Steamboatman by W. T. Block, Jr.
no one in early Beaumont was as popular and well-known as the steamboat captains,
and one of them whose biography comes readily to mind was Capt. W. E. Rogers...
slave's death in 1889 attracted rare news coverage
by W. T. Block, Jr.
In February 1889, Beaumont Enterprise published an obituary
about a Black centenarian, nicknamed "Old Sock," in an age when Black obituaries
were usually printed only in Negro newspapers...The
Magnificent Montague by Bill Cherry
His real name is Nathaniel Montague,
but probably less than a handful of people know his given name. To the public,
he’s always been known as The Magnificent Montague. He was born in New Jersey,
left there before he graduated from a black military school to travel the seas
as a merchant marine. And he got off of his ship in Galveston because he heard
there was a disc jockey position open at a Beaumont radio station. He wanted to
play music. It was 1954... Ida
Lee by C. F.
On March 21, 1924, Mrs. Ida Lee Daughtery of Hall, Texas, died. She
was a woman of some reputation—not as a ‘soiled dove,’ but as a devoted wife.Meeting
Miss Rita by
My first and only meeting with Mrs. Rita Ainsworth took place
on a hot and humid summer day in southeast Texas. Is there any other kind? I was
about 14 years old at the time...
The Jefferson Theater
1940s Jefferson County map|
Courtesy Texas General Land Office