Conducted by Logan Wilson
April 1, 2011
Note: Mrs. Bound’s daughter, Beth Parker, also participated in this interview. Due to skips in the recording, there are gaps in the transcription.
Mr. Wilson: I’m in the home of Mrs. Virginia Bounds and she’s invited us here, which we all appreciate, and she’s going to give us some oral history. The next sound you hear will be Mrs. Bounds. There you go.
Mrs. Bounds: Okay, thank you.
Mr. Wilson: And if you want to you can put it up here. That’ll be all right, you’ll probably pick it up.
Mrs. Bounds: I believe it…I’m sure it will. I moved to Mexia in Limestone County in 1926. ________ He was selling these bushes all over this part of the country, that he sold and planted and in 1926 then he and my mother, she decided to retire from teaching and they put in a flower shop, Sparks B. Jenkins Florist. And they were in business until – by that time, I had married and moved to Tehuacana. And lived here three or four months and we moved to Lockhart, Texas. ---- my husband registered for the war and when they sent him then we moved back to Tehuacana. And they would send him once a year back to _________ county for the folks there whether they was going to be drafted or _________ when the war came we were allowed to take prisoners for work with a trailer, his pickup and trailer and bring ‘em out here and they were so afraid that the prisoners might do something that would harm the soldiers-guards-that they would take their guns, wrap them up in an overcoat or blanket and put ‘em on the trailer. And they’d stay there until they went back to the prison camp. These German boys were just as much at home on the farm there as they were in Germany. Helped to get out in the open and there was nothing they wouldn’t do for you if you needed help of any kind. Back to the beginning to ________ Perkins. He was a lot of fun but he didn’t take any foolishness off of anybody. If he had fuss or trouble on the school ground, he’d whip his belt off and it was so, he had taken it off his trousers so many times, that is was just slick. But the kids didn’t mind, they loved him. Then we had a, I went from that to went to the _____________
Mr. Wilson: I was going to see _________ yeah it’s working.
Mrs. Bounds: _____ We were the class of 1961
Mr. Wilson: ’31.
Mrs. Bounds: ’31. You were in that close to ’61. You graduated in ’60, didn’t you?
Mrs Parker: Yeah.
Mr. Wilson: I think I graduated about the same.
Mrs. Bounds: Got interested in one and came back, and course the war was over. And farmed cotton and then finally worked in to having a -- Got interested in doing things for the county. Worked with the historical society one time. Judge Fox and I; forgot the lady’s name who was my other helper. He organized enough people in the county to (locate) all the graves that we could find. And all of them that we could find even some that are just like one grave behind a barn in somebody’s pasture or lot.
Mr. Wilson: Depression.
Mrs. Bounds: Yes, we were living ______ at the time and my father said that all the Depression did for him was put everybody else in his _______. J.T. Bounds and I was ______________. So things about the county. Tom Pearson had the Coolidge Herald, and he and Jack Hawkins kept a rival going back and forth between Groesbeck and Coolidge. (laughter) And he was against anything Groesbeck was, Groesbeck was just terrible.
Mr. Wilson: Is that the father of Jack Hawkins that’s the editor of the Groesbeck paper?
Mrs. Bounds: Yeah, yeah.
Mr. Wilson: I think it was Mr. Hawkins that gave me your name.
Mrs. Bounds: It probably was.
Mr. Wilson: Yeah, he recommended you…Tom Hawkins…Jack Hawkins.
Mrs. Bounds: Was his father.
Mr. Wilson: Now and again I wonder about that myself. I think it is Tom Hawkins.
Mrs. Bounds: It is Tom Hawkins.
Mr. Wilson: Yeah, yeah. So Jack was his father?
Mrs. Bounds: Yeah.
Mr. Wilson: Okay, I got it now. I got it. I’m straight.
Mrs. Bounds: And another one I liked to squabble with was, what was his name, Joe.
Mrs. Parker: Nussbaum?
Mrs. Bounds: No, uh, Groesbeck Joe.
Mrs. Parker: Cannon.
Mrs. Bounds: Cannon.
Mr. Wilson: Joe Cannon.
Mrs. Bounds: Yeah, his father.
Mr. Wilson: Yeah, Carl. Carl Cannon.
Mrs. Bounds: Yeah.
Mrs. Parker: Carl was his uncle.
Mr. Wilson: Oh, is that right?
Mrs. Bounds: Yeah. Carl, he was his uncle. But he was another one I remember hearing a lot about when I was doing things.
Mr. Wilson: He was a character, wasn’t he.
Mrs. Bounds: Yes he was.
Mr. Wilson: I hear one time one of his poker playing buddies had got off down in New Orleans and got in trouble and got thrown in jail and he called Carl.
Mrs. Bounds: But now I think, I, okay…
Mr. Wilson: And Carl told him, he says, “well don’t say a word; I’ll be there in the morning with two eye witnesses.” (laughter) He didn’t even know what he’d done. Carl was a character, wasn’t he?
Mrs. Bounds: Yeah, and his nephew Carl died playing poker.
Mr. Wilson: Is that right? Well.
Mrs. Bounds: He was my son’s age. At the time my child didn’t get into poker because he wasn’t smart enough.
Mr. Wilson: Well, he didn’t want to waste his money.
Mrs. Bounds: He didn’t…or I don’t think he got into it. You know, momma never knows.
Mr. Wilson: Everything, no, no, you never know everything.
Mrs. Parker: When did you go to Westminster, mother?
Mrs. Bounds: I went, I graduated from high school in 1931 and I came to Tehuacana in ’31 fall and went to Westminster two years. At that time we had a lot of young men that has been in service and would come to college because the army would help ‘um pay the tuition and buy their books and things. And we had quite a few…
Mr. Wilson: What all did they teach?
Mrs. Bounds: Well, it was originally Trinity University…
Mr. Wilson: That’s right.
Mrs. Bounds: And they were the first, I mean this is… I don’t know whose tale this is…but they were the first school of law in the state.
Mr. Wilson: Really?
Mrs. Bounds: Now whether that’s accurate or not, I don’t know. But they trained ministers; they were Presbyterians.
Mr. Wilson: I didn’t know that.
Mrs. Bounds: Yeah, Trinity is, it’s the truth, is at San Antonio now was originally here and then at Waxahachie. It had a lot of music; everything that a college curriculum offered, they has it here.
Mr. Wilson: I was trying to think. When did they close?
Mrs. Bounds: 1950
Mr. Wilson: They were under several different ownerships.
Mrs. Bounds: Oh yes, yes.
Mr. Wilson: That’s where the confusion comes in.
Mrs. Bounds: Yeah, there was Presbyterian and they provided…was the owners for ten years maintained a school there for ten years; they gave them land and all sorts of things; okay then they were from ________ and then into ______________ over to the Congregational Methodist and I don’t…
Mrs. Parker: And Dr. Jenkins out of Boston bought it and managed it.
Mrs. Bounds: Yeah, Dr. Jenkins bought it and he didn’t run a school; didn’t have no activity around the college. Next one, Parker, bought it and he was a Baptist preacher.
Mr. Wilson: So, what really happened?
Mrs. Bounds: What really happened was that they, I have to think about it.
Mrs. Parker: Boyd.
Mrs. Bounds: What Boyd? John? Mr. Boyd wanted Tehuacana to be the capital so bad that he promoted the election. And El Paso came in with 700 votes for Austin. Let me think. I have a thousand votes. Probably one or two thousand votes. But that’s the tale that people love to tell.
Mr. Wilson: But it’s not true. It’s not true. That’s why we do these cause all my life I’ve heard for years that Tehuacana missed by one vote and that’s just not true. What time did this happen, about what time in history did this happen?
Mrs. Bounds: No, It was when Austin was made the capital of the state.
Mr. Wilson: Okay, that was what 1839. ’40; something like that.
Mrs. Bounds: I don’t know; ‘46
Mr. Wilson: Had to be later that that. Anyway, it wasn’t that close, was it.
Mrs. Bounds: No, it wasn’t that close.
Mr. Wilson: Wasn’t corrected. Wasn’t anywhere near that close.
Mrs. Parker: Made a good story.
Mr. Wilson: Not that Tehuacana wouldn’t make a good capital.
Mrs. Parker: Thank goodness it didn’t.
Mr. Wilson: Yeah, isn’t that the truth.
Mrs. Bounds: I’m real glad it didn’t
Mrs. Parker: And it’s my understanding that Trinity was named Trinity because it incorporated three different colleges from around the state that came here.
Mr. Wilson: I didn’t know that, thought it was, you know, the Biblical Trinity but it wasn’t, it was three different colleges.
Mrs. Bounds: All Presbyterian colleges. They were religious colleges.
Mr. Wilson: Yeah, What would you estimate the enrollment was? Was it like 100 people or 50 people?
Mrs. Bounds: You mean the college?
Mr. Wilson: Yes ma’am.
Mrs. Bounds: Oh, it would range from 500 down to, I don’t know how many we had when I was in school. We’ve got a good nest egg if they would just, if Dr. Parker would just try to help the ex-students get the tower back on. The tower was falling down and John Jenkins, man that was in charge here, was afraid that it was going to fall over. It was tottering. And so he took it down. He had a company out of Waco over here and take the tower down. But it was supposed to be __________.
Mr. Wilson: Did ya’ll know the Roses that lived here?
Mrs. Bounds: Who?
Mr. Wilson: Roses. Had a repair shop in Mexia, had two sons.
Mrs. Bounds: No, I can’t put a handle on it.
Mr. Wilson: Yeah.
Mrs. Bounds: How did you spell that person’s name?
Mr. Wilson: Rose, R-O-S-E. It’s Margaret, I think her name was.
Mrs. Bounds: What year would that be?
Mr. Wilson: That would be in, I guess, the ‘60s.
Mrs. Bounds: I ought to know ‘em if they were here cause my daughter was in school. She graduated in ’60.
Mrs. Parker: I graduated in ’60. I left.
Mrs. Bounds: You don’t remember?
Mrs. Parker: No.
Mr. Wilson: I learned a lot from my grandparents here.
Mrs. Bounds: Mrs. Minnie Hat. She took in male students.
Mrs. Parker: A woman who…
Mrs. Bounds: Lily Pearce
Mrs. Parker: Lillian Pearce came here to go to school. Grandparents W. D. Bounds and Jessie. Jessie and W.D. Bounds. My father and his brother piano lessons in their home and then moved ___ to San Antonio college.
Mr. Wilson: I didn’t know that. I always assumed they lived in a dormitory or something.
Mrs. Parker: Well, they did have a dormitory.
Mrs. Bounds: Women did.
Mr. Wilson: But they didn’t all live there.
Mrs. Parker: No, there wasn’t room I guess for all of them. ____ Hall was the name of it.
Mrs. Bounds: That’s the name of it.
Mrs. Parker: It’s the big ole two-story building over here across from the Methodist Church upon the corner of College and Main. Westminster goes in front of it. He had restored that to the point where they can have people their reunions.
Mr. Wilson: It’s a banner I saw there when I went by it.
Mrs. Parker: And then the lower buildings that are behind Louisiana Hall and the college itself which was called Texas Hall there were some boys I think some boys’ dorms maybe there.
Mrs. Bounds: Yeah.
Mrs. Parker: Those low buildings.
Mrs. Bounds: And there were some apartments.
Mr. Wilson: And that’s also where the students stayed?
Mrs. Bounds: Yeah.
Mr. Wilson: It’s a funny deal. Everybody that I’ve interviewed I asked ‘em a very specific question and believe it or not so far maybe not word for word but the answer has been exactly the same of everybody I’ve talked to. I’m going to try to out on ya’ll. Mrs. Bounds, if you could tell the young people today one thing, one thought that you thought was important, if you could tell the young people today one thing what would you.
Mrs. Bounds: I don’t know. That’s not the answer you want.
Mr. Wilson: Well, I kind of put you on the spot by telling you everybody said the same thing. I bet you said that to if I hadn’t put you on the spot which I didn’t mean to do. Everybody I talked to I asked them what would you tell the young people today and they’ve all said the same thing…
Mrs. Bounds: Get an education.
Mr. Wilson: (laughter) Yep. They say get an education, get a job, believe in the Lord. Those three things. Everybody said that. They usually start with getting an education. That’s amazing.
Mrs. Bounds: A lot of things that I missed, but Mr. & Mrs. Bounds took in teachers and they had one young man that came to ‘em from Louisiana. And he had never milked a cow in his life; didn’t even know much about ‘em. But they told him if he’d come and milk the cow he could live, have a room and board at their house. Right down the street here. And sure enough, we have some moving pictures of him going down in the pasture and getting the cow and bringing her up and he went to school two years, I think, paying his board and room by milking a cow.
Mr. Wilson: So, he got an education, and he learned how to milk a cow, too, didn’t he?
Mrs. Bounds: (laughter) Yeah, and he ended up a professor at SMU.
Mr. Wilson: Really?
Mrs. Bounds: Perkins School.
Mr. Wilson: But he went to school right up here at Westminster?
Mrs. Bounds: Yeah.
Mr. Wilson: I’ll be doggone.
Mrs. Bounds: He came here from Louisiana as a Methodist Protestant. It belonged to them at the time.
Mr. Wilson: Until you mentioned it, but being a church school, I bet people came from all over to come here.
Mrs. Bounds: They did and the original Westminster came from Westminster, Texas, which is up close to Dallas. You don’t know about Westminster, Texas. It’s named for Westminster; they had a school there, the Methodist Protestants started a school close to Dallas and when they got this property down here, they moved it.
Mr. Wilson: It’s a town up close to Dallas?
Mrs. Bounds: Yeah, it’s in, I can’t think of it, a town close to it. But ever once in awhile I’ll hear something about a storm hitting it, Westminster, Texas.
Mrs. Parker: Talking about Westminster, you’ve been in it?
Mr. Wilson: Never been inside it.
Mrs. Parker: When you in the front door there are staircases going up each side to all the next levels which is actually a four-story building. There was a gymnasium up on the, wasn’t it, wasn’t a gymnasium or third or fourth. But the staircases, one side is for the women and the other side is for the men.
Mr. Wilson: (laughter)
Mrs. Parker: They didn’t go use the same staircase.
Mr. Wilson: They were pretty strict, weren’t they? Pretty strict. Well, that’s quite a landmark.
Mrs. Parker: The original building was just the part that runs east and west. And then later on they built the side part. And if you look at the stone, you’ll see the building that runs east and west, that goes this direction. If you look at the stones they’re flat, perfectly flat. Then when they built the sides on, the ones that go north and south, those stones are cut differently. You can tell that they’re built, they’re two entirely different.
Mr. Wilson: So that building wasn’t all built at one time then, was it?
Mrs. Bounds: Oh, no, no. See the first part was built in ’69. 1869. And the next part, it’s on the marker up there. You know, if you want to, you ought to read those.
Mr. Wilson: I will, I will.
Mrs. Bounds: There’s two.
Mr. Wilson: Well, the marker said…
Mrs. Bounds: Well, Mr. Schuster, Mr. Joe Schuster whose house is over here by the cemetery and it has the same cut stone like the main building up here, and then the other was a Mr. Reese, Will Reese, was the cutter. I had in my mind, but it’ll come back in a minute. Both those men were given land for the building.
Mrs. Parker: Labor.
Mrs. Bounds: Beth, go in and get that picture off the wall, this one, right there at the door.
Mr. Wilson: So, that land was donated by some people that lived here.
Mrs. Bounds: No, no. That land was bought…that’s the first building.
Mr. Wilson: This is amazing. This is Westminster before we know it, before the picture, before what actually exists now.
Mrs. Bounds: That’s Trinity University.
Mrs. Parker: This part right here is this and it comes all the way through and then they put these tow side pieces on. On the front.
Mr. Wilson: That’s amazing. There’s not one person in ten thousand that knows this. Where the little museum, Limestone County Museum, is over in Groesbeck…
Mrs. Bounds: Yeah.
Mr. Wilson: Fellow by the name of Reagan, William Reagan, runs it; he’s our chairman. If he had that made, I’m sure that William would sure appreciate that. Ask him sometime if you’re over there ‘cause I bet you there’s not one person in ten thousand that knows that.
Mrs. Parker: See, this is when it was under construction. You can see the people, the workers.
Mrs. Bounds: And they came from Hico or over…
Mr. Wilson: My favorite town is Hico.
Mrs. Parker: But was Mr. Schuster in charge of it?
Mrs. Bounds: Yeah, that first building was Mr. Schuster was the stone cutter. And supervised the construction. And them the second, I’ve forgotten what year Mr. Reese started the wings, took several years to do that.
Mrs. Parker: How long was it like this, mother? How long was it, Trinity stay like this or did they when did they, or did they add the wings, did Trinity add the wings or was that after they became Westminster.
Mr. Wilson: I can look at this plaque, but I don’t think it says anything about it having bewen built in two stages.
Mrs. Bounds: Probably didn’t.
Mr. Wilson: I don’t think it did.
Mrs. Bounds: The Reeses had that second marker made and they didn’t put that in because it wouldn’t have, you know, it made it look like Mr. Reese was _________________.
Mrs. Parker: Mr. Schuster related to the other Schusters from Mexia?
Mr. Wilson: There’re some Schusters over there that was teachers and they had a big peach orchard.
Mrs. Parker: Yeah, that’s what I was asking about.
Mr. Wilson: Different bunch?
Mrs. Bounds: Different Schusters because he came after World War II.
Mrs. Parker: They still have relatives over there. Evelyn and Pellam and Mike is the oldest. Their father came here. These are all his children.
Mrs. Bounds: Now I don’t know that he’s Czech.
Mrs. Parker: I think their family is in Czechoslovakia. Well, but the Czech part I think. That’s interesting. And even Helen has been over there to visit.
Mrs. Bounds: The girl, what’s her name?
Mrs. Parker: I can’t remember her name. That’s what I was trying to think, I can recollect.
Mr. Wilson: I don’t want to wear you out.
Mrs. Bounds: Oh, you’re not.
Mr. Wilson: Usually like to keep these things pretty short so we don’t just tire people out. But I want you to know, both of you, how much I appreciate you donating your time and everything to this.
Mrs. Bounds: Well, I’m afraid I’ve been kind of jumping around on it.
Mr. Wilson: No, no, no. We appreciate that. Everybody does the same thing, they talk about when they were a little kid on the farm, and then they talk about when dad went to the war and then they bounce back to the Depression and that’s okay. That’s fine
Mrs. Parker: In the school the ____________ building that’s where I went through eighth grade there. That originally was, it went through high school which at the time was only eleven grades. And I don’t know when it went to eight grades.