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Interview with: Amy Hopkins
Archive Number: OH 079
AH: 00:03 …the history of the oil industry, and my husband, as they said, was a very fine, well-known geologist, and did I have any books that I could give them for their library or letters or records or anything. He died 34 years ago, and I sold some of his books and gave some to universities, and I had nothing left because I only have one son, and he wasn’t interested in geology. And I told them I might have some pictures of geological expeditions which would have people who would recognize the faces. Some of them I think had their names on the back, and they were quite well-known geologists. Of course that was 40 years ago or something like that. And so they wrote back and said yes, they’d like to have those pictures. Well, I can’t find them, but they’re around here somewhere. But that’s my husband on his horse. He was really educated by the US Geological Survey after he finished his special courses at Cornell in geology. I have a big picture—about this big—and that’s a little, bitty one. I told them if I could find any pictures that have any historic value—I don’t know that they would want personal photographs, but if I can find them digging down in the river or something, why, I would send them. They said they’d like to have them. I’ll let you take this, and you can dig around in here. You can find something.
I: That will be fine. We can get it straight. What we’re making is a card file on all these important persons and trying to have a little biography of everybody who is important in Houston. We’d like to have a correct one, so that will be good. Let’s talk about— Did you know your grandfather?
AH: No. He died before father married.
I: He died before your father married?
AH: Uh-hunh (affirmative).
I: Okay. So let’s move on then.
AH: We got him as far as the Mississippi River, didn’t we, where he was a steamboat captain?
I: 02:17 Right, a steamboat captain on the Mississippi River.
AH: And some of those seven brothers made the trips with him, and some of them died in New Orleans. I have my own idea, but it may not be correct. Of course you know who George Wilkins Kendall is. He founded the Picayune. And he came from Vermont or somewhere way up there, and he went on the expedition because he wrote that fabulous book. But he did not mention grandfather’s name, so grandfather couldn’t have— He was just a private in that expedition anyway. They had a guard to go along with them. But Mr. Kendall went swimming in the Colorado River the night before—you heard that happened—and fell down the cliff and broke his leg. So somebody provided him with a means of transportation—a carriage or a buggy or a horse or something. But Papa had to walk. Grandfather had to walk all the way. Well, they were taken prisoner—not Mr. Kendall but the rest of them—and they were forced to walk every step of the way to Pueblo, most of them, but Grandfather was taken on to the jail or whatever you call it—penitentiary or whatever it is—down near Veracruz. I don’t know how long he was a prisoner, but he was there, and then he was released. I have heard how he got out and got back to Houston, but I’ve really forgotten because they never talked about this. Papa never talked about this when we were growing up. They were busy bringing up seven children, and I suppose they just— I don’t know why they didn’t, but I never heard him talk about it at all. How did I get interested in it?
Well, anyway, he came back to Texas and went to La Grange and there he was a merchant of some sort in La Grange because I met the postmaster there. We made a special appointment to see him one day—my two brothers and I—and strange to say, he’s got a file of all those early La Grange people. He had a file on grandfather and his two— (recorder cuts off) I sent him a lot of information which he didn’t have, and he was very glad to get it because someday he’s going to write something. A very attractive man he was.
Anyway, Grandfather settled down there, and then I suppose he met the McAshans. What was her name? She was the mother of Mrs. Virginia Mayo who grandfather married first, a widow with one child. Now I don’t know who that child was. I just happened to try to read Grandfather’s love letter, and he mentions her child in it.
I: Martha Eanes, is that her name? Martha R. Eanes?
AH: No. That’s Aunt Mattie. That’s my Uncle Maurice McAshan’s wife.
I: 05:48 Yeah, right.
AH: I don’t know exactly who— I could if I could think straight and have time to hunt it up, I could find that out. There were 13 sisters in that family, I think. And Mrs. Moody of Galveston was a sister. Not Mrs. Moody, Mrs. Moody’s mother was a sister of my grandmother. I got off the track. (both laugh) That’s way off the track. But anyway, Grandfather married Mrs. Mayo, and what they were doing—I know what they were doing in La Grange. Grandmother had come to Texas with all the adult children to find out what had happened to her husband who had come from their comfortable home in Virginia, and they had heard that he had been a scout for the Indians. So she came to see if she could find out anything, but if she ever did, I don’t know because I never knew her either. But anyway, Virginia married my grandfather—Mrs. Mayo married my grandfather—and she didn’t live very long. She is buried in the La Grange cemetery and so is her mother who came with all those adult children. And the DARs or somebody put up a big monument to the mother.
Then after she died, Grandfather married her younger sister who had not married, and then they married in La Grange. And in her journal she said that they’d go down to Galveston where they’d get on a boat, and she named the boat and the captain’s name in her journal, which is too hard to decipher. And they were married on the 20th of June, 1853, by Reverend somebody or other Manley, and I just came across him in that book on old Georgetown—the founding of Georgetown—because I’d always heard that there’s a tradition in the family that Grandfather was a trustee of that Rutersville university. And so I bought that book and read it to see if I could find Grandfather’s name, but it wasn’t in there. But the man who married Grandfather was a trustee, and his name was Manley—Reverend somebody or other Manley. They were all Methodist. And then they moved to Houston about—
AH: I’m not sure.
I: Prior to the Civil War. They were there during the Civil War.
AH: Yes, I’m sure it is because I read somewhere that Grandfather had 14 slaves. I read it last night. I knew that he had Old Henry because I knew Old Henry when I was a child. Henry became a barber, but my brother George said he was a most intelligent, most capable man, and could do anything. And Charlie says that he helped build the house I was born in in Lampasas. My father moved from Houston to Lampasas after his father died, and I’m just surmising, but I think maybe Grandfather had splurged too much in cotton and maybe was broke when he died because there was never any sign of Papa inheriting any money. But he went out to Lampasas, Texas, and he became a banker there. He was the president of—I believe it was First National. Anyway, not long ago the Historical Society of Texas put up one of those—
I: 10:19 Markers. What was your father’s name now?
AH: His name was Edmund McLeod Longcope, and he was named for the general of the Santa Fe Expedition.
I: Hugh McLeod.
AH: Yes. And this was four or five years ago, and they wrote me and invited me to come down there, and I said, “Could I take my brother?” And she said, “Certainly.” So my brothers and sister went along too, and there we all were down there.
AH: But this Old Henry, to get back to the slave, as I said, my brother said he was a carpenter—well, I don’t know about that; I never heard that—but that he helped—
I: Build the house.
AH: According to Charlie, that’s the house I was born in. That’s the house that Mama and Papa lived in when they were first married when Papa was the president of the bank and doing very well. But a bank—I guess he was doing too well—in Dallas persuaded him to leave the little town of Lampasas and come to Dallas with them. And he did. I don’t know what his job was at that bank, but he hadn’t been over there but a couple of months or so when the bank failed. And he was out of a job because naturally, his Lampasas job was gone. That was always a topic of conversation: “What would have happened if Papa had stayed in the little pond—a big frog—instead of coming to Dallas and being a little frog in the big pond?” But he had no way of knowing, but he had plenty of trouble after that. (chuckles) He never got back up to being a big frog anymore. But he— Well, let’s not get into that; that’s beside the point.
I: 12:19 You lived in Houston for a while, you said, when you were a little girl.
AH: I did.
I: But you relocated in Dallas.
AH: In Lampasas, yeah, until Papa gave up that good job and came to Dallas. We stayed here—I don’t know, maybe a year—I’m not sure. But one of my brothers was born here. My oldest brother was born here. Then we went back to Houston, and we lived in a little house. But I never saw my father at home inside until I had been married about 10 or 15 years and we went home on a trip. And my husband and I made a special effort to have the owners who owned it at that time let us go into it to see it. But by that time that section down by the gas tank, as they call it, was a bad part of it, and they only let us poke our head in the front hall. They wouldn’t let us look all around the house, so I suspect it didn’t have too good a reputation.
I: It was probably in bad shape too.
AH: Then we settled down there, and it seems to me we were always moving from place to place. And everywhere we moved Mama had another baby.
I: You went to school in Houston?
AH: Yes. I went to the public schools.
I: What school did you go to?
AH: I think the first one I went to was Longfellow. I think so. I can remember a good many things at Longfellow. I’m not too sure. We moved in the meantime. We moved from Dallas where Papa had come to that bank over to Rusk, Texas, where he had a job at the penitentiary as a bookkeeper or something—I don’t know what. Very smart at figures, Papa was. And we stayed there a few months—not too long—but my older sister that is two years older than I started to school. And I can remember so well seeing her come flying over the hill to our house, and I had been home all day having fun. I don’t know what I did—probably playing fairies or something. And she’d come, and I felt so sorry for her being locked up in school all day. But when we moved to Houston, I learned to read somewhere along the line—I don’t know where. I can’t remember anybody ever teaching me. But I started school in the third grade in the same class as my sister two years older, who had been going to school for two years. I was sorry about her being locked up—she got along all right—but I loved school when I got in. I just adored school, so I just went skimming along, and we graduated together. I was 16, she was 18.
I: 15:32 Did you go to Sam Houston downtown?
AH: Old Houston High School, and we had to climb over those things. I had the last seat on the last row, and I had to come running down there because I was tardy if I wasn’t in my seat whenever the bell rang. And we had to walk all that distance. But anyway, I just adored it, and I graduated at 16, and she was 18. And I loved it and she hated it. She was the one with the boys, with the beaus and very popular and all that. I had some beaus too but they were always much, much older than I. And unfortunately, nearly always they were serious, and I wasn’t ready to be serious. So I graduated at 16, and I was close to the top of the class. I had the highest grades for the last two years, and I won a little scholarship which amounted to the cost of the books or something. It didn’t amount to anything to help really, except that every penny helped in our family at that time. And I went to the university one year, but they couldn’t afford to send me any more than that.
I: In Austin?
AH: Yes. I stayed in the women’s building. I had a wonderful time and just loved every minute of it. I took educational courses or something, and I got a 1-year or 2-year teaching certificate or something. And I also went to summer school there once or twice, and that helped too and I got the certificate. And then I went home, and at 17—I had just had my 17th birthday—I began to teach school. The wages were $1 a day—$20 a month.
I: Oh. Imagine. (chuckles) What year was this then that they were paying $20?
AH: I graduated from high school June 1904. And the next school term was ’04 and ’05. It would be ’04 and ’05, wouldn’t it, in September when I went to the university. Then I taught that year, which would be ’05 and ’06. But the next year—and you know where they put me?—I had a miserable time for a week or two. I was supernumerary—do they still have them?—and I had to be put anywhere, and they put me in the high school to teach whatever—
I: 18:36 Algebra, Latin.
AH: Yes! And what did I know? I didn’t know enough to teach, and I had absolutely no control over the class because some of the boys in my class were as old as I was. And some of them were inclined to be rather friendly—you know (chuckles). Thank goodness—I think it was Mr. Smiley—Mr. Smiley was the principal, and he took me aside one day and asked me if I was happy and I said, “No.” “Would you like to go somewhere else?” “Yes.” So they sent me to—I think that was the year I went to—maybe I went back to Longfellow and taught the high second grade that year. No. I was at this school, and it must have been—oh, I can see that red brick building so easily. Longfellow was not a red brick building. I don’t know what it was, but it wasn’t. Fannin. Fannin School. Yes, I’m sure that was the name of it. But I rather enjoyed that work. It was a challenge. It was not beyond me, and I could think of some little systems that I thought would be helpful. I remember two of them. One of them was— Should I say these?
I: Sure, go ahead. Sure.
AH: Well, after all, it’s my grandfather you want.
I: Well, we want you too. (chuckles) This is something about Houston at that time.
AH: I remember one thing that I thought of to teach the children adding. I had them scratch the paper. I’d have 3 and 5, and then the next one would be 3 and 15, 3 and 25, 3 and 35, 3 and 45. And you’d get that outside number in your mind and it wouldn’t be any trouble. And they learned rapidly, and they’d say it out loud by rote, you see. That was one thing. I’d never seen anybody do that. But I not too long ago saw that very same system written up in some little something or other in the newspaper. And then I figured out a way of helping kids to know whether to say, “He saw Mary and I,” or “He saw Mary and me.” Well, I’ve forgotten what that was, but it was a little innovative and it caught on quick, but that’s all I can remember about it. (chuckles)
I: How many years did you teach?
AH: 21:26 After that year, I was supernumerary that one year, then I got a raise to I think it was $45. Anyway, I was then put in the high second, and I had a very dear friend in the low second. And she was a good teacher, and she sent the little kids up to me well-prepared. And then the first grade teacher, somebody gave a prize in the Rice brochure in her honor. What was her name? She was a wonderful person for us younger people. She was getting along to sort of middle-aged and gave us a great deal of help on how to teach and everything. And she was also a good neighbor. She moved in the same apartment house as my sister. I taught about seven years, I guess. I came home one day from school. I loved teaching in the morning, and I was worn out by lunchtime and tired, and the children were getting restless, and I hated it in the afternoon. (laughs) But I kept it up. But I also taught— When I got through at Longfellow, I went down to Austin, and that’s where my friend Ernie Lee was. He was a principal at one of the schools. But not that other lady. She was at—I can’t remember where she was—the first grade teacher. Then I came home from school one day, and this was the beginning of my life really. I came home, and Mama said, “How would you like to go to Mexico?” And I said, “Ooh, I’d love to go.” Well, Mexico was rated just along with the dark of Siberia, in Mama’s opinion. She wasn’t very adventuresome, and I was always ready to go somewhere far away. And she said that Mr. Mayberry had come to see her that day and had asked if she thought that I would go to Mexico with him and take care of his daughter who was about 13 or 14. Do you know the Richardson Cherry family in Houston?
I: Uh-hunh (affirmative).
AH: She was (coughs). Excuse me. She was Mr. Mayberry’s sister-in-law. His wife was her sister. I think that was it. It was a long, long time ago. And she had taken care of Frances, their daughter, because his wife had died—or at least had her in Europe with her. But Mrs. Cherry was coming back home. Cherry was her last name, wasn’t it?
I: Uh-hunh (affirmative).
AH: Richardson Cherry.
AH: Cherry was her last name. She was coming back home and wanted to get rid of Frances and turn her over to her father, who was manager of an oil company in Tampico. And he wouldn’t have her come down there unless he had a chaperone for her, so they had discussed, I suppose, all the so-called eligible people they thought they might be able to get, and they knew me. They knew me—at least Cherry did—Mr. Mayberry didn’t—and they knew the family, and they thought I was serious and solid and so forth and would be good for Frances. And then he came to see me. I was so enthusiastic. But I had to get loose from the public school system. But he happened to know Mr. Horn real well. Mr. Horn was the superintendent. So he went to Mr. Horn, and he talked Mr. Horn into letting me break my contract and offered about what I was getting in the public school. I wasn’t getting rich by going down there, but I was looking forward to adventure. So we got along fine, but he said it all would depend on whether Frances like me—his daughter. Frances was a little devil, but she had beautiful manners when she wanted to. And so she was just so sweet to me, and I just thought it would be wonderful. We got along just real well until we got to Mexico. (laughs) I can’t tell you what it was about her, but she could be so mean. Ooh! But I must say many years afterwards I met her in Paris—her father married again and went to live in Paris—and she was over there and I was over there with my husband, and we had dinner together or something, and she apologized. She said, “Oh, I was a little devil.” I said, “You sure were. You were a brat.” But I forgave her because it led to my meeting Edwin.
I: 26:55 Oh.
AH: Mama used to worry because Mama didn’t know— My people were very particular about status. We had no money, but they had good blood and they had social status and that sort of thing. On account of my grandfather, we were known all over the South—the family was, I mean. So Mama was afraid that they might treat me like an inferior or something, and she made it very plain to Mr. Mayberry, and he said I would be perfectly free to have all the engagements I wanted, to just have as good a time as I wanted and so forth. So we started out. We got down there one night, and the electricity was out in the whole town of Tampico. He had a very attractive little house, and it was all lighted up with beer bottles with candles in them. The candles were beautiful. That didn’t last too long. And it was really quite nice, and he was a very interesting man—very—and I just had lots of fun because Tampico was filled with eligible bachelors, most of them managers of oil companies or something. And so I really had a grand time. I hadn’t been there very long when we went walking on the plaza. They had concerts every Tuesday and Thursday, and the girls would go and the boys would go. You know how it was. That was all very romantic to me coming from Houston, where nothing like that happened. And we were going around the plaza that way, and we ran into Will Buckley, William F. Buckley, who was an oiler down there. I did know him in Austin at the university—slightly. So we walked around the plaza with him. He may have come home with us that night—I’m not certain. But anyway, he asked me to go to the Christmas dance at the Waters-Pierce Refinery, which was going to be in a month and a half or something like that. And so I accepted because I could go anywhere I wanted. He took me to the party, and there I met Edwin Hopkins, who was a geologist for the oil company then, Eagle Oil. He was up in the country somewhere drilling wells, and he got into town I think the day of the party. Anyway, he didn’t have any dress clothes or anything. He had to borrow something to wear to the party that his friends persuaded him to go to. Will Buckley and I—Will was a beautiful dancer, and I’ve still got that little program—a card or something like that. I’m not sure whether it’s Edwin’s card or Will’s card, but anyway, some of the names were on the back, all these little, bitty names, one, two, three, on down to about twenty and extras and extra extras. Oh, it was so much fun in those days if you danced, if you didn’t rock and roll. You could dance cheek to cheek. It wasn’t quite—
I: 30:27 It was more formal than that.
AH: Not then. It came along later, after I’d married. Anyway, I would have been a little tentative, I think, about dancing cheek to cheek at that time. But we just really had a grand time. We had to go to the post office to get our mail because it wasn’t delivered. There were no trains. Wait a minute. I guess there were trains then because we went down on a train. But nearly all traveling was done by boat. But anyway, we had to go to the post office to get our mail, and I ran into Edwin again. And in the meantime—this 31:09 was about two weeks after the festival—I had heard from a number of people that Mr. Hopkins had said I was the most attractive girl at the ball and how attractive I was and this and that. So I perked up to see what he looked like, this man who had thought I was attractive. (laughs) Well, we met. I saw him in the post office, but he didn’t make any engagements. But Mr. Mayberry and Frances and I went walking around the plaza, and we ran into him—or maybe I was with Will. It doesn’t make a difference. We ran into Edwin—no, I couldn’t have been with Will. I was with the Mayberrys because Edwin asked if he could walk home with us. So he walked home with us, and I invited him in, and he came in. Mr. Mayberry had a very attractive little Mexican house. You went in the front door and you went down a few steps to a little patio with a fountain and that sort of thing, and the bedrooms were over here in that wing, and Mr. Mayberry’s office was over here in this wing, and the kitchen and dining room were back there and the showers and whatnot. So he came in, and we sat down and talked a while. And when he left, he said, “May I come to see you again?” And I said, “Yes.” And he said, “When may I come?” And I said, “When would you like to come?” That was Sunday. He said, “How about Tuesday?” And so I said, “All right.” (chuckles) He came Tuesday, and we went to the plaza and walked around, and when the concert was over, we walked back home. It was only three or four blocks or something like that. And I asked if he’d come in, and he came in and we talked again, and when he left, he wanted to know if he could come again, and I said, “Yes.” And he said, “When may I come?” And I said, “When do you want to come?” He said, “How about Thursday?” (chuckles) I said, “All right.” So he came Thursday, and we went to the concert and walked around, and he walked me home, and I said, “Would you like to come in?” And he said, “Yes,” so he came in. And we went and sat in Jim’s office that time—Mr. Mayberry’s office. There was a big table in there, and we sat there and talked about just everything in general, and I didn’t know one thing about him or about his family. I had never heard of him. But he came from Washington, DC, and West Virginia, and I was a Texan—three generations. Before he left, he proposed to me. Well, I was shocked to death because of the short acquaintance. I didn’t really know anything about him, and my father was the kind who would say, “What does his father do? Who is his father? Who are his people?” and all that sort of stuff. Well, I couldn’t have given him any kind of an answer. However, DeGalia(??) 34:15 the famous geologist, was his oldest friend, and he was down there too. Lord Cowdray had asked the head of the Geological Survey to send down some young geologists for his company, and he sent Edwin first in 1908, and D came down in 1909. That switched me off the track.
I: 34:44 Yeah. You were talking about his credentials, about his family.
AH: I had met D and Nell because they lived right across the street from Jim Mayberry’s house, and they had told me about Edwin’s father being a distinguished scientist and that they were nice people and all that sort of thing, so I was really, really sure. And besides, he was Edwin’s very close friend and very fond of him, and of course they gave him the best kind of reference—you could call it that. So Edwin proposed, and I said I didn’t know him well enough. Well, he said, “Make up your mind and let me know as soon as you can,” because he had promised to give up the job he had there and take over a piece of work that was being done in Cuba by I think it was Lord Cowdray’s company—I’m not certain about that. But they were not satisfied with the work of this man. They were sure he was stealing them out of house and home, and they wanted Edwin to go over there and find out the situation. And he had promised to go, and Edwin didn’t want to go away and leave me with all those eligible bachelors. (laughs) I’m telling you a lot of my secrets.
I: 36:09 This is interesting.
AH: Anyway, I told him I’d let him know in about a week, and this is what happened: Now, nobody will believe this, but it’s the truth. He proposed that night. After he had gone home, I went on into my room and went to bed and went to sleep. Sometime in the night I heard a voice as plain as my own voice right now which said to me, “This is the man for you to marry. He is the one meant for you.” It was just exactly like some person in the room. And so I waited another several days until I think it was Sunday, and we were to meet in the plaza right in the town. And so we did, and Edwin was coming along on this side, and I was coming along this side, and he used to say that I smiled at him. I said, “I laughed at you.” He said, “Well, have you made up your mind?” I said, “Yes.” I told him I would tell him in the bright daylight. So we became engaged. Then we had the happy task of telling Mr. Mayberry that I would have to go home and get ready to get married. But I promised him I’d stay until he got somebody to take my place. But he decided that he’d just let Frances come on up to Houston with me and turn her over to her aunt, which was the way it worked out. I don’t know who he got to take her from there on. (laughs) And Edwin and I got married in June.
I: That was about what? 1910?
I: 1913. Were you dating—
AH: We were there. No, wait a minute. It was later than that that all that Veracruz stuff—
I: Yeah, at Veracruz. Were you there when Madero took over?
AH: When Huerta murdered Madero.
AH: Yes, we were. Have you read that piece? I read it too, and I wrote the writer—I can’t think of his name right now—a history professor somewhere. I wrote him and told him how much I enjoyed it and that I was right there through all of that and it was all true from our point of view and what we saw of it. And he sent me an autographed copy.
I: 38:52 How nice.
AH: Wasn’t that nice? (unintelligible) …refugee on the gunboat and so forth and so on. I came back to Galveston. They put us off at Galveston, and I went home and had a baby. And I didn’t go back to Tampico for several months until she was a couple of months old. But Edwin at that time was the manager of Ricardo A. Mestres’s oil company and a fabulous mining engineer, John Hays Hammond. It was John Hays Hammond’s property really that Ricardo A. Mestres used. (unintelligible) He had asked Edwin to come and be the manager. And being the manager, he had to get back as quick as he could. I stayed in Houston and had the baby and then after she was a couple months old, Edwin came up and got us and took us back there and we stayed on. I lived in Mexico about three years all together.
I: All around Veracruz area.
AH: Tampico. I never went to Veracruz until sometime after— No, wait a minute. I’ve been in Veracruz, but I was passing on going somewhere and didn’t stay in Veracruz. But we had so much fun down there because there were always two gunboats in the river. The house that Edwin and I lived in was an old salt warehouse. You can just shut this of any time.
I: No, this is interesting.
AH: 40:59 We lived in an old two-story, four-apartment salt warehouse. We had the downstairs big one on this side, and there was a little one on this side. And we always had a fine Chinese cook and a Mexican maid. And those two American gunboats were in the— And the house was way up on a high bluff of the Panuco River. And we would look down, and here was the Sacramento. It was a brand new gunboat. Captain Mack ____(??) 41:43 was the first commanding officer, and he was just fabulous, and the most brilliant man I nearly ever knew. Somebody had a New Year’s Eve costume party. What was that called? I’ve forgotten the name. But anyway, a lot of American people lived up in that apartment building, and there were, I suppose, offices down on the first floor. But I met him at that costume party, and he was so much fun. He was the commanding officer of the Sacramento, this brand new gunboat. Then there was an old Captain Wood—well, I wouldn’t call him old—he wasn’t old. He was fun too but not like Captain Mack. And Captain Mack would throw the most beautiful parties, the loveliest desserts and wines until the Secretary of the Navy made them—Daniels I think was the Secretary of the Navy at that time—give up all liquor. When he went away, he sent us a case of that fine liquor that he had stocked up in France or somewhere because they couldn’t even drink it all. (laughs)
I: Did you know the Buckley boys? William F. Buckley and Mr. James Buckley?
AH: No. You see, their father hadn’t married then. He married a bit after we did.
I: I was just wondering if you kept up with the friendship later on.
AH: Oh, yes, we did. And when Edwin and I married, he sent me a beautiful gold and silver tea service—three pieces, a teapot and sugar and creamer. I couldn’t let go of that, could I? (chuckles) And you know what I did with that? I had so much fun. Not long ago, one of my granddaughters graduated with wonderful grades from Washington, DC, Mount Vernon. And they listened to the stories. I used to tell them all— (recorder stops) 44:06
I: 44:22 When you finished your tour of duty down in Mexico, where did you come to work then? Where did your husband work? In Houston or in Dallas or where?
AH: Let me get back on the track. Where was I?
I: You were down there until they evacuated you from Tampico. Where did you go after that? Where did you live?
AH: The feelings had gotten so bad that Mexicans hated Americans on account of the Veracruz incident to begin with. And then the people in Mr. Mestres’s family didn’t like Edwin because there were two or three sisters, and they had husbands, and they all were jealous of him for having that good position as manager of his company. So they did everything they could to make it unpleasant for him, to keep him from being able to accomplish what he needed to do. So we talked it all over, and we decided to leave Mexico. Now, I’ll tell you this, and you can cut it out if you’d like, but that was 1913, and Edwin was making $500 American a month, which was really a fortune, and all his expenses. And when we came to America, (unintelligible) we went on our honeymoon. He had two or three months, and we traveled everywhere we wanted, and they paid the expenses. And we went from there to Cuba. Did I say we lived in Cuba?
I: 46:11 Yeah. You said you went there to see it and check it out.
AH: Oh, well, this was a different time. This was after we married. Wait a minute. I messed up because—
I: Well, you had your children and you have been to Cuba. And where else have you been is what I want to know? Where else did you live?
AH: After a while— I’ll have to get back on the track so I know what I’m talking about.
I: Where were all of your children born? Were they all born in foreign countries?
AH: When we decided to leave there, I was pregnant with the second child. I already had our daughter. And then that those brothers-in-law were jealous of him, and he couldn’t accomplish anything, and the Mexicans hated the Americans, and so we decided to leave. All we had was— He had saved up some money in a savings account, and he had never asked for a job, and so he didn’t think he’d have any trouble getting a job. So he resigned that job there, and he put me on a tanker and sent me home, and then he came back to the States as soon as he could. And then I think we went to Houston for a while right in there. Oh, yes. No. We went up to Washington and piled in a little apartment that his father and mother lived in and a sister in Washington, DC, and there we stayed for a number of months. He never even tried to get a job. He said he never had to ask for a job, and he didn’t know how to go about it. So he spent most of his time down at the jobs for ____(??) 48:35 among his old buddies that were still there and the president or whatever his boss was called—I’ve forgotten. But finally one day, he got a telegram from Gulf Oil in Houston, so he went down to see what they wanted. And they wanted him to go back to Tampico and do the same job—manager of the Gulf Oil property down there—that he had given up under Dick’s company. He didn’t even consider it. But he came back to Washington, and he said he was greatly impressed with Houston. He loved Texas anyway. He was very impressed with Houston. There was one very fine consulting geologist, Alexander somebody from Denver—very fine. I was trying so hard to remember his name. He was the one that everybody trusted. There were a few others but not many, but that was in 1918 or something like that.
I: Okay. Was it before World War I or afterwards or about the same time?
AH: 50:05 Some of that war was going on, but we didn’t know anything about it down there.
AH: We didn’t know anything about it. That must have been World War I. Edwin was not taken because he was a married man and because he had one child. Maybe we had two then—I’m not sure. So anyway, he turned that down. But he came back and said to me, “I can make a living in Houston as a consulting geologist, I think.” So we moved down there. We didn’t have any furniture, we didn’t have hardly anything, living as we had in Mexico. And we got a little house, and about the time the third child was coming along, he was asked to go to New York as consulting geologist in a lawsuit. I can’t think right now. I haven’t thought about this for so many years. There was a big building in Houston named for this man’s wife.
AH: 51:20 Esperson. Esperson got Edwin to go to New York on this lawsuit and be his consulting geologist. He made a good, big fee out of that lawsuit—Edwin did—being the geologist. He really was trusted. And so we just settled down there then, and we were there for a while and Louise was born. And then he was called to New York. What did he go to New York for? I’ve forgotten who got him up there—but they talked him into (interference on tape) (unintelligible) Boston bankers. But nobody that is living around now seems ever to have heard of that firm, but it was a very fine old bank, and some of our very best furniture came out of their attic. (chuckles) They had stuck it away because they would buy newer and better things, and they didn’t know what to do with it. They just sold it to us for almost nothing, and I just adored the big old wingchairs and that sort of stuff. But anyway, I think that was what happened then. They persuaded him to— He took them on several expeditions down to Venezuela and Colombia looking for oil. And they talked us into moving to New York. So I went up there with this little baby—very young baby; Louise was number three—and got a nurse and stayed at the old Pennsylvania Hotel for a month while he talked business with the Boston bankers. And I went out to look for a place to live. So we rented a furnished house in Pelham Manor, New York. And while we were there, we looked all around Pelham and different places because we decided that we wanted to live up there and we were going to buy a home. And we found a house we liked very much. And then he left to go to South America for three or four months for consultation work. The house that we wanted somebody else bought before I could make up my mind. He just had to tell me, “Well, we can afford that house, so get something like that.” But it was taken, and we wanted it very badly. Real estate was moving fast at that time—very fast. So I found another house I liked and bought it. We paid $39,000 for that house. It was a good, big house and in Bronxville, which was a choice location. Everybody at that time wanted to move to Bronxville because of the new school, the new modern school lesson that had been introduced there from Gary, Indiana, or someplace—I’ve forgotten where it came from. Of course our children were not big enough right then to go to that school, and we soon found out that it didn’t work with our children. It worked for those who loved school and wanted to study and wanted to do well and everything, but it didn’t work for our children. But it made real estate boom more there. That’s what we paid for that house, and I didn’t worry about it because I knew that— In fact, somebody had said to me that—in fact, it was Mrs. Mestres—Ricardo Mestres, whose company Edwin had been the manager of down in Mexico before we left—and her husband died and she moved away from Tampico in Mexico and moved up and bought a house kitty-corner to my house in Bronxville because—she was a wonderful woman, beautiful woman—she said she could look out her window and know that her dear old friends were there across the street from her. She had lots of good old friends, but she seemed to prize Edwin greatly. And she offered to buy that house if I didn’t want it. But I wanted it, and so we stayed there, and we owned that house for 23 years. Now, I told you what I paid for it, and I’m going to tell you what I sold it for 23 years later after Edwin had died in Dallas. I sold that house for $13,000 and was glad to get $13,000. It had been empty for three years.
56:52 We lived there, and that time of living in New York was great because we loved the museums and the music, and I took the kids (unintelligible). As a matter of fact, Aloise Buckley and Will lived just two or three blocks from us in Bronxville, and that was one reason that we had looked around for a house there. They had not bought that house because—I don’t remember why. I think they moved back to the city. I’m not too sure about that. But in the meantime, they were having a lot of kids. They had 11 kids.
I also had another very dear friend. I didn’t go to school with her in Houston, but as a very young girl I had known Allie. I had lost track of her because she was a music student and had gone to Chicago to study music under some great teacher. And she had met Charles Weber in Chicago and married him, and they were living up somewhere in the North, and I never saw her. So one day I went on the platform in Bronxville to take the train and there was Allie. We hadn’t seen each other in several years. So we got very friendly. They didn’t have any children, and they just adored our children as they were coming, 5 of them in 10 years, and they were godparents to some of them. Well, Charles had a brother who was with a chemical corporation, and he gave his wife a box at the opera on her birthday for every other Monday night and every Saturday, and it seated eight people. And she had a couple of children and friends and relatives, but I saw all the operas from the Weber box right square in front of the stage. I got so interested in the opera that way.
I: 59:25 You mentioned that your husband died here in Dallas. Did you come back here to live?
AH: That’s why we changed. It was due to the stock market crash. Edwin (unintelligible) and kept busy but was away from home so much of the time. He got involved—I think it was through those Boston bankers—in Venezuela and had to go down there so much of the time. He would stay two and three months. And the year my son was born he was away for about nine months, not consecutive months but nine out of the twelve. It was awful hard on me, and it was also hard to make the children realize what I was doing while he was off working. I don’t know what they thought. But anyway, at the time I’d rub it in about how much I had to stay home. (chuckles) But he always tried to make it up when he got home. He always tried to do something extra nice or take me somewhere or take us somewhere fun. So we traveled a great deal.
1:00:40 At that time he had an office in Houston, in Dallas, and in New York City, and he would more or less make the rounds. He came home one day. This was a time just a little bit before the stock market crash. He and I sat down and very smugly made a little list of what we owned because we both had the same ideas about credit. We didn’t believe in borrowing what we couldn’t pay for. And so he had paid for everything in the market that he owned, any stocks he owned, and to this day he never had to come up with some money that he didn’t have to pay for something. We lost plenty because his stocks never came back again. But at least we didn’t have to be worrying about debt. He was in Dallas when the big crash came, and a number of his closest friends were in bad shape. Some of them were threatening to jump out of the window; some of them did jump out of the window and things like that. So he came back to New York, and he said, “I can make a living in Texas.” And so we began to think how could we retrench—is that the word? That was a very nice house we had. It wasn’t a fine house, but it was a real nice house. I’ve got a picture in here somewhere. I just loved it. We had three fine, white servants—a couple and an Irish woman. (unintelligible) Anyhow, now, you see, I allowed myself to get off track.
I: You were moving to Dallas to retrench.
AH: We rented that house. We had about seven bedrooms. Of course we had so many children, and the three white servants couldn’t sleep together. And we rented that house for $350 a month to the president of the pine— What’s that stuff you breathe in when you have— Pine something. Like Vicks VapoRub or something. And he had several children and four servants that he piled into that house. We rented that house to him for $350, and we rented a little, old house in San Antonio for $85. And our servants were pretty expensive, and we got rid of all of them and we had a little colored girl that was about $10 a week or whatever it was the colored girls got in 1930.
I: They worked for little.
AH: Very little. But we did put our oldest daughter in Huckleberry, and we put Jane and Mary (unintelligible), but the other three children lived at home, and those that were old enough to go to school went to public school. At least it relieved Edwin’s mind of worry, and that was the main thing. We stayed there that year. But the next year he decided to come up to Dallas, so we came up here. We went back to our house in the summer. That made it awful nice to have a nice summer home in New York, and we belonged to a yacht club.
I: 1:05:28 It was enjoyable for the children because they had—
AH: It was lovely, and we would go back and forth. We would spend the summers up there and come back here in the winter for the school year. And we did that for— Did you know Blanche Abrams? She’s a Dallas woman. Mrs. Harold Abrams. She was a wonderful woman. She had a very lovely (unintelligible). And when her daughter, Hattie Louise, got married to an Army officer, Blanche and her husband built them a very nice house next door to their house and gave it to them for a wedding present. And then things got so tight that they thought it was better if Hattie Louise would move in with them in their big house and rent the other one. So Edwin rented that house for the first year in Dallas. That was a lovely place. I just loved that house.
I: He worked out of Dallas then until his death. That was your headquarters?
AH: (unintelligible) We couldn’t sell it, then it got so that we couldn’t rent our house up there. We rented it for a certain number of years and rented one down here. And then we couldn’t rent it for a couple of years furnished. What we decided to do is buy this house down here, which we did. We bought this house down here and moved our furniture down from New York and left that house empty. And then we couldn’t rent it or sell it or anything. It was empty for years and years. And then one time Edwin decided that the house needed an attic fan because summers were awful hot here. When we went to New York without him, something happened. Well, he died in July. So he decided to put an attic fan in that house, and we had never done any decorating, so he was going to paint all the walls and everything. And he said, “You go down to Galveston while we’re doing this work. I don’t mind the heat.” (unintelligible) So I took my third and fourth children—they were both daughters—with me and we drove down. And it was so pleasant there that I called him up and told him, “Come on down here with us.” So he came down and he stayed a couple of days—not very long—and came on back up to Dallas. And one morning when the children were in bed, the doctor called me up and said, “I think Mr. Hopkins isn’t very well. You better pack and bring the children on home.” So I got them up—they were both asleep—and we began to pack. And then he called again, and that made me suspicious. I asked him if it was anything serious and he said, “No, but you better come on home.” Well, it was serious but he didn’t say so. So I said to him the second time, “I’ll see if I can get home on a commercial plane.” So I said I’d call one of Edwin’s closest friends and see if he can help me. I called John _____(??) 1:09:54 And he said, “If the Humble plane isn’t in circuit, I’ll send it.” Then he called back to say he could send it, so we flew on home. We got home. Of course he was in the hospital, and he had had a hemorrhage—a massive something—massive thrombosis. At any rate, he was unconscious. We got to the hospital about 15 minutes before he died. And I stayed on in that house. He’s buried here. I stayed on in that house. I traveled a lot after that because two of my daughters were both married, and I used to go to New York. I took my fourth daughter to New York to put her in school. She wanted to be an actress, and Edwin never approved of that.
I: Thank you very much, Mrs. Hopkins, for your interview. I know this was a trying time for you with your son-in-law dying today, and we appreciate you giving us this interview.
[end of 079_01] 1:11:41