in the 20s and 30s
A Memoir by
Pablo L. Sanchez
Photos courtesy Paul O. Sanchez
was born November 18, 1919, in Lockhart,
Texas, but my early childhood began in Hunter,
Texas when my family moved there in 1921. Although I was only
two years old, I do remember persons that lived, and events that took
place in those times. Hunter was very lively in those days for it
sat between the International and Great Northern Railroad, which was
called the “Linegene” by many, and the Missouri, Kansas and Texas
Railroad, also referred to as the “El Katy.”
rare document from the Mexican Consul General in San Antonio appointing
Bernardino Sanchez (father of Pablo) as Secretary of the "Mexican
Honorary Commission" at Hunter, 1923-1924
kinfolk back then were primarily Hispanic, and Hunter was known as
“La Mota.” The handful of Anglo residents that lived there were primarily
farmers and cattlemen.
Store as it appears today.
general store was owned by a Mr. Simon, referred to as “El Simon.”
In addition to owning the store, he was also the sheriff and the postmaster.
The store was the center attraction. In those days every one made
their own beer. In the evenings people would gather in front of the
store drinking beer and relaxing. El Simon would join the group. He
used to warn everyone that he never want to catch anybody making beer
because, as sheriff, he would have to jail them.Yet, as owner of the
store, he sold the very ingredients used in making beer -- yeast,
blue ribbon malt, sugar in ten pound bags and boxes of bottle caps
Brothers Sanchez in Hunter, Pablo, left, and Augustin in hat.
remember boyish days of playing at the old abandoned cotton gin near
the railroad tracks. I remember seeing cattle drives that terrified
me because of the size of the herds and the thunderous noise.
tables displaying the plaster animal figurines. They sold like "hotcakes."
father learned to make figurines of animals from plaster. He bought
nine additional lots alongside the road and used them as vending areas
to sell his plaster animals. In fact, as you entered Hunter, you'd
see rows and rows of tables with these animals - from one end of town
to the other. They sold like hotcakes. In fact, business was so good
that my father paid cash for a brand new 1928 Model A Ford.
table next to Dr. Dunn's house
can remember Dr. Dunn, who was our family doctor. He was the best
doctor in town - because he was the only doctor in town. I remember
Mr. Brown who owned a clothing store, and I can still hear the pounding
of the hammer on the anvil at the blacksmith - owned by Bruno. Although
annoying back then, today I miss it dearly. Eluterio Parra, a young
kid neighbor, took correspondence lessons to become an automobile
mechanic, and of course, he became the town mechanic.
On weekdays you could see people walking either to the general store
or the blacksmith and across the street there were some very small
stores selling their products. You could see wagons, buggies, Model
Ts, and horses; most of them parked by the general store or the blacksmith.
Of course, on Sunday there were baseball games and nearly everyone
in Hunter participated.
And then there was Old Man Riley who owned a gasoline pump. He furnished
the gas to all the cars and farm equipment in Hunter.
photo of the Livery Stable at Hunter.
TE photo, September 2001
our family moved to Hunter initially, we purchased a home, but did
not stay there long. On January 23, 1925 my father purchased what
is now known as Riley’s Tavern. Court records show that it
was purchased from J. M. Cochran and his wife Mellie. We lived in
that house until 1930 when my father moved us to New
Braunfels. My grandfather, mother’s dad, stayed at the house until
1932. Although it was our residence, it must have been a saloon way
before our time because I saw beer racks in the attic. My father said
the racks were to hold beer barrels. I heard it was a stopover for
cattle drives in the 1800s.
Court documents reflect a 1937 lease for the residence was executed
between my father and Old Man Riley for $48 a year --- the payment
per month was $4. Court records also show that the residence was then
sold to Curtis Riley (son) on November 3, 1942 for $700.
author Pablo Sanchez served in the Pacific during WWII
Augustin landed at Normandy on Utah Beach and survived the Battle
of the Bulge
At the time,
my oldest brother, Augustin, and I were away at war. He landed in
Normandy at UTAH beach and eventually survived the Battle of the
Bulge. I served in the Pacific War. When we returned from the war
we learned that my father sold the residence. We were saddened and
disappointed, no doubt, but certainly understood; for my father
had a brilliant mind for business, and we knew better to ever question
his decisions about our family and way of life.
The end of an era.
© Pablo L. Sanchez
August 1, 2005