Fishing Tournaments are big in Port O Connor. They happen all year long. Some are large, with cash awards and side pots; some are smaller with prizes and photo awards, but all bring visitors and their business to our community. Anglers and their crew need fuel and supplies; families, guests and spectators need food, refreshment and fun. Some tournaments are organized by special interest groups or professional clubs and associations and a few are for charity. Men, women, teens and children fish in tournaments at professional, amateur and beginner levels.
It seems like the month of July is a tournament marathon with the big Poco Bueno, the Lonestar Shootout, Readin’, ‘Ritin’ and ‘Reelin’ Tournament the return of the Sharp Tooth Shootout and others all occurring right together. Even with the weather cancellation of the offshore portion of Poco Bueno, there have been lots of fishing fanatics and fans in our area this month. They are a boost to our economy and an addition to our fishing lore and legend.
What you may not know is what some local volunteers bring to tournament month. Many tournament caught fish would go to waste without these hometown helpers. From the start of fishing hours to well after the tournament weigh in closes down, local guys and gals are on call to pick up fish donated by anglers to provide food for needy and disadvantaged.
They may be called out to meet a fisherman at 2 AM or even hours after the tournament closes. They go to the marina, dock or boat slip and pick up the donated fish, ice it, clean and prepare it, then freeze it for freshness. Fisherman’s Chapel members and partners cleaned, prepped and distributed more than 6000 servings of fresh fish from tournament donated fish last year. Many of those portions were shared with the food pantry program at Christian Temple Church in Southeast Houston while the rest was allocated for POC and area families and individuals in need. This year the catch was greatly diminished by the offshore cancellation, but cleaners and gleaners still cleaned, prepped and stored more than 650 portions that will be used to meet needs locally. Many thanks to all who helped and special appreciation to Erny McDonough, Zach Schneider, Julian Garcia, David Walker, Dennis, John, Pat, Mike, James, Shawna, Derrick for their hard work.
POC’s pantry program is community wide, supported by local churches, businesses and individuals; and is available to any person in need of food for sustenance and health. There is no qualification or exclusion for assistance. If needs are real, help is available. The community food pantry is housed at Fisherman’s Chapel. If you would like to support the ongoing outreach of the food pantry, donations of non-perishable foodstuffs can be left at the POC Hardware Store or Fisherman’s Chapel. This same group collects for and distributes holiday food boxes in November and December. Many in our community and surrounding area have suffered in the changing economy and difficult job market, and their needs for assistance are very real. The pantry makes a difference in tough times, and the fish shared by tournament anglers is a much appreciated part of that help.
On Saturday, July 19, 2014 I was privileged to attend the 2nd Antique Car Show in POC on the grounds of the Community Center. There I met with Dee Ann Hybner, a resident of both Victoria and Port O’Connor, to learn more about the cars represented. Interesting as both Dee Ann and her husband David have been involved with “antiquey” cars for a number of years so staging this event was a pleasure. David has been restoring them through his ownership of ALM Autobody in Victoria, and Dee Ann because she’s married to him. However, she’s a singer/performer of note throughout this area.
Twenty cars with their owners were present traveling from Rockport, Corpus Christi, Victoria, Tomball, Ganado and Port O’Connor to take part in this display of beautiful machines. There were cars dating from 1934 to 1989 presented here for inspection and wishing by all attendees. But the car that drew my attention was a black Porsche Spyder convertible that belonged to a participant; now that’s a car to really drool over. Speaking with Dee Ann, there will be a 3rd Antique Car Show in POC, and I’m really looking forward to seeing all these gorgeous cars plus more once again.
Our very own Judge, her Honor, Nancy Pomykal, served as the person who had to make the difficult decision as to who walked away with the winning trophies. She stated that she had very many problems trying to decide which was best. There were so very many entrants, all deserving of recognition, including a 1934 Ford 2-door gray coupe whose engine passed the white glove test.
But the following earned the awards: for the Judge’s Choice Trophy: a Black 1971 Mach 1 Mustang by Jan Maly of Houston & POC, and the Best of Show: Juan Cueil of Corpus Christi with the 1966 GT 350 White Mustang. Hope to see you all again next year!
Fish Fry, Auction & Raffle BENEFIT
Saturday, Sept. 6
Port O’Connor Community Center
FREDA RAGUSIN HOWARD- FISH FRY, AUCTION, & RAFFLE BENEFIT to help defray medical expenses in her fight against lung cancer- to be held SATURDAY, SEPT. 6, 2014, 5pm—10 pm at the Port O’Connor Community Center. Everyone is welcome.
We will be frying up fish and serving a full meal with a cool drink! To raise funds, we will have a silent & live auction, bake sale, and are raffling a BENELLI SUPER BLACK EAGLE 2, 26 inch Realtree Max 5 Camo shotgun that was donated by Port O’Connor Rod & Gun as well as a handful of Port O’Connor family and friends. Pre-sale raffle tickets are available for $20 ea. at First National Bank- Port O’Connor Branch; come on in the lobby or drive thru. T-shirts and koozies will be available for purchase at the event.
The auction items will be posted at the Port O’Connor Post Office and on the Facebook Page: Freda Ragusin Benefit. We have some beautiful handcrafted items, from artwork to outdoor furniture, as well as hunting, fishing, and lodging packages, local photography, salon gift baskets, Yeti and Yukon coolers (filled with Sister’s Gift Shop goodies), a neon sign, a palm tree, gift cards and certificates, and much more!
A bank account has been opened in Freda’s name at First National Bank in Port O’Connor. Any and all donations are greatly appreciated. Checks should be made out to: FREDA HOWARD and can be mailed to: First National Bank P.O. Box 399 Port O’Connor, TX 77982.
Freda has stage 4 lung cancer, is 52 years old and is currently undergoing aggressive chemo and radiation treatments. She is considered a great candidate for the drug Tarceva because of her condition. We sincerely thank you in helping us help our loved one in the fight of her life.
The Ragusin Family
The dog days of summer 2014 are finally past us, during days like this we should either be inside where it’s nice and cool or out on the bayfront, enjoying the warm coastal waters. I’d been thinking about what to write about for this next article and needed some inspiration so I headed over to the Calhoun County Museum. What better catalyst could I find only a mere five minutes from my house?
It’s bewildering how many of us have lived here for ten plus years but have never visited the museum. As I walked around I recognized several photos, artifacts, families and businesses but there were many which sparked numerous questions. I scribbled on my notebook things to ask George Anne Cormier, the museum’s director.
The Calhoun County Museum was established in 1964 by the Calhoun County Commissioner’s Court. Originally housed in the 1896 Jail building, it eventually moved to the Courthouse Annex Building and then to its present location. A photo of the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony which was held on November 1, 1991 greets you at the front entrance.
After studying all of the exhibits I was excited to speak with George Anne. It’s refreshing to talk with someone who is so passionate about our local history. Three hours later we were immersed in a deep conversation about Calhoun County — we talked about the mid-1800s to present day. I want to share with you several of the people and events we talked about which many of you may not be aware of.
One of my favorite aspects of learning about the area and history is being able to lose time asking questions and sharing little bits of history I’ve learned along the way. I often feel like a sleuth surrounded by an arsenal of reference books which hold the answers deep within their pages.
Angelina Belle Peyton Eberly, The Lady Cannoneer, an innkeeper and a hero of Austin, Texas.
In December 1842, Sam Houston ordered the secret removal of the archives of the Republic to safekeeping. Mrs. Eberly, realizing that the symbols of national government were being removed from the city, fired a six-pound cannon into the General Land Office Building, arousing the town to what they considered theft. The ensuing conflict became known as the Archive War, which was won by the Austinites, preserving Austin as capital of Texas and keeper of the archives. In April 1847 Angelina moved to Port Lavaca and operated Edward Clegg’s Tavern House. She then moved to Indianola and ran the American Hotel there until her death in 1860 at the age of 62. She is buried in the Indianola Cemetery, however her grave is unmarked.
On March 11, 1874, William and Jim Taylor boarded the steamship Clinton, docked at Morgan’s Wharf and shot and killed William Sutton and Gabriel Slaughter. A reward was offered for the Taylor brothers and this started a manhunt that caused the death of Jim Taylor in a skirmish, in 1875, near the town of Clinton. Bill Taylor, however, was brought to trial twice.
Taylor escaped from the jail at Indianola on September 15, 1875, the day of the devastating hurricane. Records show that he was eventually captured and kept in jail in Galveston and brought to Indianola for trial. Eventually the charges were dropped and the Sutton-Taylor Feud became history. It is thought that he was released because it was too expensive to transport him to and from Indianola.
City of Port Lavaca Bankruptcy
The museum has several commemorative plates marking the celebration of the city’s founding. One plate from 1990 honors the city’s 150th birthday celebration even though the city went bankrupt in the early 1900s. The Port Lavaca city government functioned until November 1916, when the city went bankrupt. It incorporated again as a general-law city in November 1919. Why or how the city could have gone bankrupt was not defined. Both George Anne and I wondered as this area was incredibly popular.
In the early 1900s there were Pleasure Piers built in each city which made up Calhoun County. The county’s motto included fishing, birding, beach combing and bathing. Politicians, legislators and prestigious families from all over the state would travel via the Southern Pacific Railroad and the San Antonio Mexican Gulf Railroad to visit our coastal community. Indianola was incorporated in 1846 and served as a major port. Some predicted it to supersede the Galveston port until it’s tragic destruction in the storm of September 1875. The locals had plans to build a health ranch (pictured in this article) in Alamo Beach to accommodate the growing population and tourists. People would be able to bask in the sun and lay in the water which residents believed was a powerful curative.
Dr. Frederick Jonathan Roemer
The Roemer family was incredibly influential in Upper Mott, Roemerville and Port Lavaca. Dr. Roemer owned the first automobile in Calhoun County and is credited to inventing the first heater for automobiles. The original patent is still in possession of his son, Dr. Ronald Roemer.
There are many other pieces of history I’d like to cover in upcoming articles. Until then I’d like to encourage you to visit the Calhoun County Museum, http://calhouncountymuseum.org and take in some of our local history. You never know, you might find me there!