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Interview with: Henry Sherman
Interviewed by: Dorothy Knox Howe Houghton
Date: April 16, 1982
Archive Number: OH JL 22
I: 0:00:05.2 This is one in a series of interviews on the history of Christ Church Cathedral in Houston, Texas. This interview was taped on April the 16th, 1982. The subject of the interview is Mr. Henry Sherman. The interviewer is Dorothy Knox Howe Houghton. Mr. Sherman, you were born in Indiana?
HS: No, I was born in New York state.
I: Oh, in New York state. And you moved to Indiana?
HS: I was a damn Yankee.
I: I see. And you moved to Indiana?
HS: I moved to Indiana when—my father was in business. He was an interior decorator in Rochester, New York, and I was born in a little country town where my grandparents had—on the highway they had one of these stopping places like they do on the highway.
I: A place to stop and eat and—
HS: A place to eat and so forth. And so I guess I was 5 or 6 years old when we moved from Rochester to Evansville, Indiana on the Ohio River. And so I went to school there, and my brother next to me, who is gone now, he and I—I was about a year and 11 months older than he, and we went to school with a couple of boys that went to Episcopal church and that were acolytes. And they had a boys choir there in that church, and these boys persuaded my brother and I to join the church in the Thursday choir, the boys choir. So we did, however, we were not confirmed then. But we did sing in the choir, though, until our rector was made Bishop of Indiana. And that was when I was about 15 years old, and so that’s where I got a taste of the Episcopals. My father and mother were Baptists, but they left the Baptist church, and my mother was more evangelistic. And she joined a more evangelistic church, but she didn’t ever object to my belonging to the Episcopal church. She kind of wanted me to because she knew that they had a good deal of the same religion that she believed in. And so then I lived in Indiana then, and we moved to Indianapolis. My father was in business there, and we lived in Irvington. That’s 5 miles out of town in Indianapolis there, and that’s where I met my wife and so then we came down—my brother next to me was a school teacher. He was a woodworking teacher, and so he met Antorio (?) once. He met the head of the—whatever department down here who persuaded him to come down here and work in the school down here.
I: 0:04:01.3 Is this the Houston Independent School District?
HS: He came down here and that’s what—
I: Now, is this the Houston Independent School District?
HS: Yes, yes. So then I was working at that time for the railroad company, and I had a railroad pass. And when my brother decided to get married—he met a girl down here and married her—they asked me to come down and be best man at their wedding, so I got a pass and came down here. And that’s what brought me down here later after I went back and was married myself. And my daughter was just a little bit less than a year old when we decided to come down here too.
I: What happened—did you move here in 1915, or was your brother’s wedding in 1915?
HS: Well, no, that’s when I came here. My brother was married then—oh, previous to that. I’ve forgotten just the date he was married, but anyway, he persuaded me to move down here, and so my wife wanted to do it also, and we moved down here when my daughter was just a year.
I: And where did you live when you first moved to Houston?
HS: I lived out on Harrisburg Boulevard down close to the Ford plant where I was working.
I: And what were you doing for the Ford plant?
HS: I was a (s/l comtempo) operator in the office. You know what that is?
I: I’m not sure.
HS: The machine that figures—goes over all the bills and things and proves them and makes mistakes—corrects mistakes and so forth. And it’s a machine that proves figures, you know.
I: 0:06:00.2 Now, did you go to the Church of the Redeemer at that time?
HS: No, I didn’t, because I was married in Indianapolis. My wife belonged to the Christian church, and we were married in the Christ Christian church when we lived back there. Now, when we came down here, we started going to the First Christian church here, and I started singing in the choir there. And then when I built a home out there in Eastwood, that’s when I started going to the Episcopal church because that was the only church there. And Reverend Mr. Lee was the rector there at that time, and I started going there, and then when I started raising my family, we belonged to the Episcopal church then, and I had them all confirmed there. And I had myself confirmed, and my wife was confirmed.
I: But this was not—the Church of the Redeemer was where you went when you lived in Eastwood?
I: I see. What do you recall about the Church of the Redeemer from that period?
HS: It was a very small church, and this was a new church.
I: Had it just been formed?
HS: Yes, uh-hunh (affirmative), and the Reverend Mr. Lee was the rector at that time. He was the first rector of that church.
I: And this would have been about 1920 or what?
HS: I can’t tell you dates but—
I: You moved to Houston in 1915, and this was after that.
HS: Yes, I guess after that.
I: 0:07:41.9 It was several years after that?
HS: Yes, it was. And at that time, I had left the Army, Army YMCA. By that time, the war was practically over and—
I: You were with the Army—
HS: It was the Army YMCA.
I: Before you went to work for the Ford plant?
HS: No, afterwards.
HS: Yes, afterwards. And then when I—
I: Do you recall any of the particular—of the people who were at the Church of the Redeemer at that time?
HS: Oh, yes. Yes.
I: Can you remember some of the names?
HS: Yeah, Mrs. Carlisle was the main soprano in the choir.
I: Now, this is not the Mrs. Carlisle who’s at Christ Church now. She’s not the one who’s at Christ Church.
HS: Oh, no. She’s dead now. And she and her sister and—I’ve forgotten a lot of names but then of course—
I: About how large was the congregation?
HS: It wasn’t a big congregation, but it was the only church there. And although it was an Episcopal church, they called it a neighborhood church, and they invited anybody of any denomination to join that church, not as an Episcopalian, but as a church home because it was the first church that was built out there. Later on other churches were built out there. I stayed in that church a long time because I was sort of a—I was the Sunday School superintendent and the choir director and YPSL advisor.
I: What is that?
HS: 0:09:52.3 Young Peoples Service League advisor with Mrs. Wolf. Not the Mrs. Wolf (s/l called McFlegle) but Mrs. Wolf was a member of the church out there. And also there was a family by the name of—let’s see—I can’t recall right now, but it’ll come to me. But there were 2 boys in that family, and they became priests, and later both of them became bishops.
I: Oh, really?
HS: Uh-hunh (affirmative). One of them was Bishop of Kentucky, and the other was Bishop of North Carolina.
I: Oh, how interesting.
HS: They’re retired now and when this came out in the paper—
I: You’re referring to this article—
HS: I got a letter—
I: This article in Texas Church—
HS: I got a letter from one of them, the one from Kentucky because he would save one of these magazines.
I: You’re talking about the Texas Churchman of March 1982 in which there was an article about you by Mrs. Betty Knapp. At what point did you start going to Christ Church?
HS: Well, let’s see. I can’t tell you the date but I started there—in the meantime, I started singing in the Trinity choir.
I: 0:11:40.8 Oh, Trinity Church. On Fannin Street?
HS: Trinity Church on Main Street.
I: Main Street, yes. Main and—
HS: Yeah, Trinity Church. I started singing in that choir when Mrs. Hogue was the choir director.
I: Mrs. Hog?
HS: Hogue, H-O-G-U-E. I understand now that there’s a window in that church favoring her. And she was a very nice choir director. Of course, I sang in a lot of different churches because I started taking vocal lessons, you know. And wherever my teacher had charge of the choirs, that’s where I’d sing, so I sang in the Christ Church, in the Congregational, the Baptist, the Methodist, and so I got a smattering of all kinds of religions.
I: Yes, well, that’s very interesting. Tell me more about Trinity Church at the time when you were singing there. How—was the congregation a fairly good size at that time?
HS: Yes, a pretty good size.
I: Were they mostly people from the neighborhood or in the area around where it’s located?
HS: Around that section of the town. Of course, the town was quite small then.
I: Sure. Do you remember who the minister was there?
HS: I’m sorry, I can’t remember who that was. I think—
I: Did the church look pretty much the way it does today except for the addition that was put on—?
HS: Yes, except it’s been added onto.
I: 0:13:26.9 That’s right. I believe that church was founded—was built in 1917. And I just was wondering what you could remember about the situation there when you were—
HS: See, I knew people in that church before I got on—before I joined the Christ Church because I was a big part of the Young People’s Service League. And I would go wherever we went every year. Me and the young people would go around to different places to—and I had—I organized a group of boys— (dog barking) That’s our dog.
I: Boy Scouts or—?
HS: No. Well, I did have a scout troop there at the Church of the Redeemer, our scout troop #4. And I had those boys, and then also I organized the boys in the church. What do you call that?
I: A youth group of some sort, I suppose. I’m not sure exactly what you call it but—
HS: Right, the boys that wore the rope with—
I: Oh, the acolytes.
HS: Acolytes. I had been in charge of the acolytes.
I: At the Church of the Redeemer?
HS: Uh-hunh (affirmative). I had a very big group, but when I left them, when I left Eastwood and moved downtown into an apartment house on McKinney Avenue, McKinney and Fannin, I was across the street from the YMCA. That’s when I started going to the Christ Church and I can’t tell you the day of that but—
I: Do you think it was in the 20s or the 30s or—?
HS: It was in the 30s.
HS: 0:15:52.6 ’34 or ’35.
I: I see.
HS: And from then on, I belonged to the Christ Church, and I never did sing in the choir there, but my brother next to me did.
I: Now, your brother’s name was what?
HS: Was Carroll. Carroll Sherman.
I: Had he been going—?
HS: He’s the one that I came down here to help with marriage.
I: Had he been going to Christ Church all along before you did? Before you went to that church?
HS: Before I went—
I: Had your brother been going there before you went?
HS: Yes, he had. He’d been singing in the choir there and—
I: Well, what do you remember about Christ Church at the time that you first started going there?
HS: I remember that I knew so many of the young people there because being a big part, you might say, after 16:59 (inaudible) that they—you knew everybody in all the churches that were being built. Of course, there have been a lot of new ones built since then, you know.
I: Which were the main ones at that time besides Christ Church and the Redeemer and Trinity?
HS: 0:17:15.6 Christ Church and Trinity and—let’s see—well, those were the main ones, I think, at that time, and the others were smaller churches. The Eastwood Church and there was one on the north side. I can’t remember the name of that one. St. Mary’s—
I: Do you recall the one down in Harrisburg that’s been there for many, many years?
HS: Oh, yes.
I: Did you ever go to that church to services or to sing?
HS: No. No, I never did at that one. But I—my memory isn’t as great—
I: I can’t think of the name of it right now either, but it’s a very old church.
HS: I can’t think of the name of that church.
I: What did the church structure at Christ Church look like when you first started going there? What buildings were there?
HS: It was just a church building and the building they called the Latham Building, I think. It was just a house. It wasn’t connected with the church, but later on they connected it all and added to it and then I remember that the—what is the latest building they have?
I: Cleveland Building?
HS: Yeah, it was a YWCA cafeteria.
I: Oh, it was?
I: That was after it was first built.
I: 0:19:06.9 And that would have been—
HS: Later on it was deeded to the church and taken over, and the YWCA moved the cafeteria out.
I: Oh, do you mean that the—you’re talking about the building immediately behind the Latham Building?
I: Which is where the Sunday Schools and Great Hall and that sort of thing are?
I: That did not belong to the church? That property did not belong to the church?
HS: No, it belonged to the YWCA.
I: I see.
HS: They had a cafeteria in it.
I: But the building—
HS: It’s now deeded to the church.
I: Was it the same building that’s there now or did they tear down the YWCA and—?
HS: Yeah, they had to tear it, I think, and change it out some and made it part of the whole building.
I: Now, when was that? Would you recall—would that be in the 30s or 40s or what?
HS: That was before the bishop had his offices there. I don’t remember where Bishop Quinn had his offices.
I: 0:20:12.2 Well, would this have been during World War II or would it have been—?
HS: Bishop Quinn was then—that Bishop Quinn.
I: I’m asking about when was it that the YWCA cafeteria was there. Was that during the 30s when you first started going to Christ Church? Or was it—?
HS: It was before the end of World War II—World War I.
I: Before the end of World War I?
HS: Yes, uh-hunh (affirmative).
I: I see. Well, that’s before you started going to Christ Church.
HS: Yes, before—I was going there regularly, and I did go there off and on and I did know lots of people that—and I worked for Mr. A.S. Cleveland.
I: I see. What did you do for him?
HS: I was bookkeeper for him, (s/l cotton) bookkeeper for Mr. A.S. Cleveland.
I: Oh, really?
HS: Uh-hunh (affirmative). And I knew Mr. W.D. Cleveland too and their wives and their daughters.
I: Can you characterize them at all? Can you tell me a little bit what they were like?
HS: Oh, they were very, very fine people. They were—I think that’s one reason I got interested in Christ Church there because my boss, Mr. A.S. Cleveland, was a big—
I: Uh-hunh (affirmative), he was on the vestry.
HS: 0:21:29.8 They’ve got some windows there, I think, in that church for the Cleveland’s. And of course, they’re dead now because I think the only Cleveland daughter that I know is living is Lois and she’s Mrs.—
I: Mrs. Kirkland. I think Mrs. Dudley Sharp is also—
HS: I don’t think she’s in very good health but—
I: I think Mrs. Dudley Sharp, Tina Cleveland, is also living.
HS: Oh, yes. The Sharp’s and the Cleveland’s were mixed up in marriage and so forth.
I: Now, tell me, going back to this building, so about what time—do you recall about what decade the Cleveland Building—what is now called the Cleveland Building was deeded to the church? Are you saying that was before you started going to the church that it became part of the church property?
HS: No, I think that was after I started going there to the church regularly, after I put my letter in there, I think.
I: Do you remember when the building was extended out across Great Hall and the Golding Chapel and those that were built to form the connection between the church building and Great Hall?
HS: I don’t remember exactly.
I: Well, I’m not asking for a specific date, but do you know when it happened?
HS: Yes, I know when that all happened because it was part of the time that I was at Church of the Redeemer. It wasn’t—of course, it was all done before I went—changed my membership back to—at one time, I did take my letter from the cathedral and went to St. John the Divine because I worked there.
I: Oh, you did?
I: 0:23:40.2 What did you do at St. John the Divine?
HS: You remember when St. James House was built in Baytown?
I: Yes. Well, I don’t remember, but I know about it.
HS: About that time. That’s the time that I was retired from downtown from the Alaskan that I’d worked for and I knew—that is, who used to be the rector of St. John the Divine.
I: Charles Sumners?
HS: John Sumners.
I: Charles Sumners.
I: Excuse me, Tom Sumners. His brother was Charles.
HS: Yeah, I knew those boys when they first came to town.
I: Oh, you did?
HS: Yeah and became—after they graduated and were rectors, you know. And of course, Charles went to Austin and Tom was—he’d built the St. John the Divine church.
I: Well, now tell me about that. He was the first rector there?
HS: He was the first rector because he was rector there when they built that church, and then after I retired from downtown, they were building a St. James House for the old folks, and I offered to keep the books for them while they were building it, building all that, and didn’t charge them anything. And I kept the books for them.
I: That was very nice of you.
HS: 0:25:11.9 And that’s when Tom Sumners who was president of that—when they built that St. James House. And so—
I: Who were some of the other people—?
HS: And so they had an elderly gentleman there that worked for the secretary Mrs. Serny (?). It wasn’t Serny then. It was something else, but she remarried. She was Mrs. Serny and so she was the bookkeeper of—bookkeeper, the secretary and bookkeeper. So, they had an elderly gentleman that was—Harold Sestin (?) and he died, and at that time is when I was keeping the books for St. James House, and of course, I knew Tom Sumners real well. And so he begged me to come and take that place, and so I had retired from downtown, so I came and was Mrs. Serny’s assistant there, and that’s when I took my letter from the cathedral and put it in that church.
I: Oh, so you moved over to St. John’s Church?
HS: I worked for St. John’s Church.
I: And so you moved your letter over there?
HS: Yes, so then when Tom retired and another rector came there, then Mrs. Serny retired because she had been working over 25 years for the church. She became 75—70 years old, I think, so she retired then, and at that time, I retired too because I was over the age where I was just working 2 days a week. See, I was working for a time just 2 days a week. Then when I retired, then I put my letter back in the cathedral.
I: I see. So, when was that? That must have been fairly recently.
HS: That was—
I: It hasn’t been too long since—
HS: 0:27:32.6 No, it wasn’t too long.
I: It was after Tom Sumners retired from St. John’s that you moved your letter back to Christ Church.
HS: After he retired, then I put my letter back in Christ Church.
I: I see, so that’s quite a long period of time when you were at St. John’s, really the whole history of St. John’s.
HS: Uh-hunh (affirmative). Well, it must have been too long. I mean, I didn’t have my letter in there too long but—
I: Oh, I thought you had said that you moved your letter over there when they built the church, when they built St. John’s. No? I misunderstood?
HS: No, St. John’s was already built. I put my letter in when I was just working there. When Tom retired—I had put my letter in before Tom retired. When he retired then I didn’t know the new—
I: I see.
I: Now tell me, who were some of the people that you worked with at St. John’s when you were dealing with—when you helping them out?
HS: I was working for Mrs. Serny in her office.
I: Who were some of the people on the vestry there? Did you deal with them?
HS: Yes. I didn’t know all of them, but I knew them all by name because I kept the books on that, you see, in the office. And so I knew everybody’s name but then I can’t remember them now and some—a big part of them are dead now anyway.
I: 0:29:20.4 Oh, really? Well, tell me about St. James’s House. Who were some of the people besides Reverend Sumners who were involved with building that?
HS: It was built by the Episcopal Church, you know. And I’ve forgotten who the rector of the church was at that time but I—
I: Did they have people on the board of directors or something? Don’t they have a board of directors at St. James?
HS: Yes, they did but—you mean at St. James?
I: St. James House, yes. I was wondering who was on that board when you were—
HS: I’ve forgotten their names. I didn’t know them too well.
I: Getting back to Christ Church, you said that you knew—when you came to Christ Church, you knew the younger people there because you had worked with them. Can you remember the names of any of them?
HS: I remember there were 2 boys that were made priests. They were going to—their folks lived in Eastwood, went to the Church of the Redeemer. Their name was Marmion.
HS: Marmion. And one of them was Gresham Marmion. The other was William Marmion. They both became priests, then they both were elected bishops. One of them was Bishop of Kentucky, and the other, North Carolina.
I: I see. How interesting.
HS: Oh, I knew so many of them but I know that—you know—let’s see—Dorothy Swope?
HS: 0:31:15.7 Well, Dorothy Swope, I knew her when she was just a girl.
I: Oh, really?
HS: Yeah, and her mother was—(first audio file ends 0:31:20.9) (0:00:03.3 second audio file starts) —Bishop Quinn.
I: About Bishop Quinn?
HS: Yeah. You never knew Bishop Quinn, did you?
I: No, I didn’t.
HS: He was a big cutup. Everybody in town knew Bishop Quinn and he was one in just—every denomination in town knew Bishop Quinn and was one of his admirers, you know. Bishop Quinn had some cards printed that were his cards with his name on it. And then it had little—a little—a few lines on it that said “Please drive carefully because you might kill an Episcopalian.”
I: Oh, how funny.
HS: “Please drive carefully because you might kill an Episcopalian.”
I: That’s wonderful.
HS: Well, that’s one of the things that I remember about him, and another thing, I was in the hospital at the same time Bishop Quinn was there. He had—he died of cancer, and he was in the same hospital I was in.
I: Which one was that?
HS: St. James Hospital.
I: St. James or Joseph? St. Joseph?
HS: 0:01:27.0 Luke’s Hospital.
I: St. Luke’s.
HS: Uh-hunh (affirmative). That was an Episcopal hospital. And I was on the sixth floor, I think, and he was on the first floor, and that was along about some of the last days that he had in life. And so I was such an admirer of him because he was such an admirer of everybody really, and so I had called my florist and asked her to send him some flowers. And when he got them, why, he called me up, and he bawled me out. He said, “Why did you send me some flowers? Send them to somebody who needs them,” he said. “I don’t need flowers to remember anybody by.”
I: That was nice of him.
HS: He was just that kind of a man. He was—did you know his wife?
I: I don’t think so.
HS: Mrs. Quinn, she was from Kentucky. She belonged to the family that made the organs, pipe organs. And so I guess you know the daughter, don’t you? Their oldest daughter still close to—
I: In Houston.
HS: She was married to a Christian who died. Derby Quinn. And of course, I’ve forgotten what her name is now, but I guess you know her.
I: Yes, I do.
HS: And you know that Mrs. Caine—
I: Mrs. Walker Caine?
HS: Do you know Mrs.—
I: Mrs. Walker Caine?
HS: 0:03:31.8 Walker Caine. She was a very good friend of mine too.
I: Oh, was she? Can you tell me a little bit about her? She was a great benefactress of Christ Church.
HS: Yes, she was. They tell me that she doesn’t know much about people anymore.
I: Tell me what she was like. Tell me what she was like in her heyday.
HS: She was such a wonderful woman. She really was. To be in the wealthy class she was in, you wouldn’t know that she was that way because she was just everybody’s friend. So, I have a beautiful crucifix over the head of my bed that she gave me that was made in the boy’s school. She was like that then.
I: Do you remember any good stories about her?
HS: Yes, I used to make needlepoint bags at that time.
I: Is this a hobby or did you do that to—did you sell them or—?
HS: I sold them, and she bought several of them from me, some for herself and some for her friends. And when I had to quit making them, Derby Quinn called me once and wanted me to make her one. I couldn’t get back out—I have arthritis in my hands and I couldn’t—they were clumsy, and I couldn’t do the dainty work that I used to do. The fact of the matter, I could show you one that I made if you’d like to see them.
I: I’d love to see one. Let’s wait until the interview is over.
HS: All right. And so there’s some pictures in there of some of them.
I: Yes, wonderful.
HS: My father was an artist, and of course, I got a great deal of talent from him, also from my grandmother. His mother was a millinery designer, and I had the chance to take that up because that talent was born in me. But in those years, they thought that was a woman’s business, and my mother didn’t want me to do it, but I was very sorry afterwards I didn’t because I was very much of a designer myself. And the fact of the matter I had a chance to—I went to one spring season in Austin. And I put some of my designs in (s/l the flower show,) and they said that I had a lot of talent, but then I was married and had a family. It was too much. You couldn’t go back and do something over again.
I: 0:06:41.5 Tell me about Miss Pettitt who died at the age of 106 recently and—
HS: Oh, yeah. She and her sisters used to—when I was working for the Alaskan, one of the sales ladies that worked there, when she married, she and her husband bought a guest ranch in Comfort, Texas. And I used to go out there every so often, spend weekends and things. But the Pettit’s, they would come out there, and I met them out there a lot of times, and we always had a lot of fun together because I was pretty much of a cutup then. But—
I: Wasn’t Miss Pettit a—
HS: That’s where I knew her.
I: She was a real character, wasn’t she?
HS: Yes, she was. She was another character so when she and I would get together—the last time I saw her she was all bent over and I saw her—I was 94 then, and so I saw her at the cathedral, and she was 104 then. And so I said, “You remember how old I am?” I said, “I’m 94 now.” “Oh, you’re just a kid. I’m 104.” So, that was—we used to cut up with each other, you know. I knew them so well.
I: They went to Christ Church pretty much all their lives, didn’t they?
HS: Uh-hunh (affirmative). They did. They were long-time members.
I: Did you remember any of the Elgins?
HS: Yeah. Yes, I knew them too.
I: 0:08:39.6 And I’m not talking about Miss Daisy Elgin and her sister. I’m talking about their—a generation before that. Miss Pettit’s sister, I think, was married to an Elgin and was the mother of Miss Daisy Elgin and so on.
HS: Yes. Yes, she was. Yes, I knew them but—oh, well, time passes on, and you forget a lot of people that you knew. Of course, well—
I: Did you—what do you remember about the great fire down at the cathedral?
HS: Oh, I remember that. I was working then at the Alaskan.
I: The Alaskan is the name of a—it’s a woman’s department store?
HS: Yes, it was.
I: And what was your job there?
HS: I was office manager.
I: Office manager.
HS: Uh-hunh (affirmative), and my boss really was Thomas I. Hutton and he—it was a Jewish store, and I worked for them 26 years. And so my boss was Thomas Hutton, and he finally retired, and he’s been dead quite a while now. I was older than him, but he was a friend then. He was a Jew, but he was the nicest Jew that I ever knew. His name originally was not Hutton. It was something Russian. He was a Russian Jew, but he always told me, he said that I kept him out of a lot of trouble because he would tell me to do so and so and if I didn’t like—didn’t think it was right to do it I would talk him out of it. And he said, “You sure kept me out of an awful lot of trouble.” But he said, “I don’t—this is my business. I don’t make my business. My employees make my business.” And so he would give me vacation money any time that I’d take a vacation, and at Christmas he’s always give me a big bonus. And he was always good to me like that.
I: Now, tell me about the fire at Christ Church.
HS: 0:11:25.8 Oh, it was the furniture.
I: It started in the furniture store behind.
HS: Behind the Christ Church, and it caught fire, and that’s where the fire was. And it burned the (s/l augury) and all and the organ.
I: Yes, what do you remember about it specifically? I mean, that you saw with your own eyes or—
HS: I didn’t see it. It happened at night time. But I saw afterwards. I saw the damage that it made, and of course, they had to build a—completely do over that end of the church.
I: How long did it take them to rebuild? Do you remember?
HS: No, I don’t remember. It wasn’t too long.
I: Now, you were—
HS: They did get a new organ.
I: You were going to Christ Church at that time, though.
HS: No, I wasn’t a member then. That was before I was a member.
I: I see. Where were you a member—were you still in Eastwood?
HS: Because I do remember about it because—well, it’s a faint memory, but I remember.
I: Have you attended every May Fete over the years when you have—?
I: How far back have you been going to the May Fete? Before you were a member there or just after?
HS: 0:12:48.8 Before I was a member there, I knew a lot of people there. I knew all about those things and all but—let’s see—Howard Hughes was the king at one of those—
I: Yes I—
HS: —way back.
I: Did you happen to attend that one?
HS: No, I don’t remember. That was before my time. I remembered when he was because I heard them talking about it because my brother—2 of my brothers worked for Howard Hughes for a while.
I: How many were in your family? You’ve mentioned 2 brothers now.
HS: There were 4 boys.
I: I see. And they all lived—
HS: My mother always wanted a girl, but every time they’d come out a boy.
I: You all moved to Houston?
HS: Yes, uh-hunh (affirmative). They all moved to Houston after I did. My father and mother came down here afterwards, and my grandmother and grandfather, they’re all buried here except my father.
I: What cemetery?
HS: My father remarried after my mother died. He went to California, and my youngest brother is still in California, in San Diego. And that’s where my father and my stepmother went, and that’s where they died.
I: 0:14:18.7 Do you remember any specific customs that the May Fete—that were connected with the May Fete that—?
HS: Just about the same as they have now, I think.
I: Which—who were—you’ve talked about Bishop Quinn. I was wondering about other members of the clergy that you remember in particular.
HS: Mr. Hines. He was Bishop Hines. He’s still alive. Well, the bishop that was the dean of the cathedral—he wasn’t dean. He was just the rector there. He was made dean afterwards. He was before Hines. He was the one that was just made Bishop of Minnesota.
HS: What was the name?
I: I can’t think of it right now.
HS: He was rector then when I put my letter in there. And his wife was such a friendly individual, and I knew her so awfully well. I was very fond of them and also Mrs. Hines.
I: Didn’t this gentleman that you’re talking about do a good deal to try to increase the congregation at Christ Church? Do you remember anything about that aspect of things?
HS: I remember Peter Gray Sears, and I remember when he got the church all up in a furor and when he wanted to sell the church and they wouldn’t—the congregation—the old folks wouldn’t sell. And that’s when he left Christ Church and went off to—what’s the name of that church?
HS: Palmer Memorial. And I remember that young man that’s rector there now when he used to be in—
I: 0:16:28.3 Excuse me just a second. Hamilton Kellogg is the man that you were talking about.
HS: Kellogg, yes.
I: The man who was there before Hines.
HS: Yes. He was the rector there when I put my letter in there.
I: I see. What was I going to ask? (audio file stops and restarts 0:16:52.5)
HS: Yes, it was a very big to-do, just a big fight back and forth.
I: There were a lot of people—were there 2 different camps of parishioners?
I: And did they have a lot of meetings and so on about it?
HS: The rector was an assistant there that was a young man. His name was James something. Do you remember? He was the assistant rector at that time.
I: At the time Peter Gray Sears was rector.
HS: He became rector afterwards.
I: After Sears?
HS: Uh-hunh (affirmative). After Sears left, he was rector for a while.
I: You’re not talking about Bishop Richardson.
HS: No, no. It was before Bishop Richardson’s time. He was a young, good-looking young fellow.
I: 0:17:50.8 Well, anyway, that’s all right. We can find out—
HS: Yes, you can look all those things—
I: But what were you going to say about it?
HS: He was just an assistant there when Peter Gray Sears blew the top off. And so they had quite a to-do about it, and so Peter Gray Sears, he got up in arms, and that’s when he went out. Of course, Palmer Memorial then was just a chapel because it was a memorial chapel, because I used to sing in that.
I: Now, are you talking about the building itself? It was already there?
HS: Just the chapel was there, and they added on to it and made a big church after Peter Gray Sears went out there and took it—
I: But it was already called Palmer Memorial?
HS: It was the Palmer Memorial Chapel. That’s what it was, and it was a chapel for the students of Rice University. Of course, Mrs. Hogue, her follower, the lady that followed her, I’ve forgotten her name now.
I: You’re talking about—her position was what?
HS: Choir director.
I: Choir director, all right.
HS: Well, the lady that followed her used to have music out at the chapel and I used to sing in the—we had a quartet out there, and I used to sing for her out there when it was just a chapel, see, before it became a church.
I: Well, that’s very interesting. You have observed the neighborhood around Christ Church over quite a number of years, and you’ve seen it change considerably. Can you give me sort of a rundown on how it has changed since you first knew it and how gradual or fast it’s been?
HS: 0:20:04.1 Where I worked at the Alaskan, it was just a block from the church, just over the main street, about the second door—606 Main was the entrance of the Alaskan then. That’s all gone now. I know all that new—Jones Hall has been built on since then. At that time, all through those years I don’t have—this part of my life was when I and another man had charge of ushering, doormen—ushering at the music hall. And it used to be in the old—
HS: Auditorium, uh-hunh (affirmative). Then we moved to the music hall, and then we had all those buildings before Jones Hall was built. For 40 years, we had charge of the ushering for Mrs. Lyndon Dover W. Saunders (?) who used to bring all the beautiful music and everything here. And we had the seating capacity for those things.
I: Now, tell me about the area around Christ Church Cathedral, the immediate neighborhood. Was it very residential from your earliest memory? Was it still residential?
HS: My earliest memory, it was all just business.
I: It was?
HS: Uh-hunh (affirmative), because that big furniture factory behind it was there and then there was—on San Jacinto Street, there was all businesses there. And there wasn’t much residence there by that time.
I: Are you talking about all the way back to 1915 when you first became aware of the church?
HS: No, in 1915, there were some still residences along in there. They later became businesses.
I: Do you have any idea—could you estimate exactly about when the neighborhood really changed from—when most of the residences were torn down?
HS: 0:22:32.8 About the time that—Bellaire Boulevard was not built then. This was out in the country at that time. That’s when they commenced to be built—more business downtown, then a block farther and a block farther and a block farther. Bellaire Boulevard was way out in the country then.
I: But you don’t remember what sort of—at what period of time in terms of years? I mean, not a specific date but I mean—would it be the 30s or the 20s or—?
HS: It was—let’s see—well, this house out here now is about 40 years old.
I: So, it was about 40 years ago?
HS: This house itself was the first house built on this street. My daughter and her husband built this house. It was the first—
I: And when was that? Was that 40 years ago?
HS: Over 40 years ago. My son-in-law worked for the Ebbel (?) Company, and my daughter was his secretary when they were married.
I: Can you—do you recall anything about the make-up of the congregation at Christ Church and how it has evolved? Was it pretty much of a neighborhood when it was—back in the earliest days that you recall it? And then did it evolve into more of a church—
HS: Yes, it was—when I came to Texas, it was just sort of a neighborhood church. It was just Christ Church, you know. It wasn’t a cathedral. The cathedral was somewhere else. I don’t remember where it was. It’s been a cathedral since Bishop Quinn started.
I: Yes. How did it rank in importance as compared with Trinity and so on in the very early days? I mean, it was just another church and it wasn’t—or was it—did it have—?
HS: Trinity was probably just as big a church as Christ Church was, but of course, Christ Church was down in that neighborhood. But Trinity was more for the—more prominent people lived closer out there, and it became a big congregation out there. And of course, Christ Church was just sort of a downtown church that I don’t think they had too big a membership at that church then. It was more like a downtown church. But later it became—when Bishop Quinn was there, he sort of built that church up.
I: 0:25:51.4 I wonder how they chose—do you have any idea how they settled on Christ Church as opposed to any other church to be the seat of the diocese of Texas?
HS: Well, they—people commenced to put the pressure on to make it—when Bishop Quinn was bishop to get him to make it the cathedral.
I: And what people do you suppose those were?
HS: Well, the old timers, like the Mavoss’ (?).
I: The Cleveland’s?
HS: The Cleveland’s and all those old timers. They wanted to make it a cathedral, and so bishop kept pushing them off and pushing them off, but finally, he gave in, I think. And I can’t remember if it was a cathedral before he died or afterwards.
I: Now, where were his offices before Christ Church became a cathedral? Do you know?
HS: No, I can’t remember.
I: I mean, you don’t think that they were at Christ Church?
HS: If they were, they were set off by themselves somewhere. I don’t know if they were in the building where they are now or not. I don’t remember.
I: Well, what are some of your fondest memories of the church? Did you have any—does anything stand out in your mind?
HS: My father?
I: Fondest memories of Christ Church. Does anything stand out in your mind? Any—
HS: Well, the fondest memories—that’s when I had the acolytes. I had so many, so many boys that were such good boys. And I let them train the new boys. I didn’t train any of the new boys. I just took over the acolyte group, and as the new boys would come in, the older boys would take them and train them to be acolytes. We had a big, big group, especially when Bishop Richardson was there, after he became bishop.
I: 0:28:26.6 What are some of the other jobs that you have held as a volunteer at Christ Church?
HS: Well, I think that was really the only—the main job that I had because I’d been singing in the choir there. But I took over—I discovered when I put my letter back in there that they didn’t have any mother, an acolyte’s mother, and nobody was taking care of the uniforms or their cassocks or anything, and they were getting raggedy and losing buttons. And so I decided to just be the acolyte’s father and discussed it with Bishop Richardson, and he approved it very much. And so I got together and got all the boys and got them fitted with their cassocks and got the buttons sewed on.
I: Who did the sewing?
HS: Lengthened them or shortened them.
I: Oh, did you do the sewing?
HS: Uh-hunh (affirmative).
I: I see.
HS: Because I had learned to sew in my father’s business. And so—
I: Is anyone doing that now?
HS: I don’t know who is head of it now. I don’t know if they have an acolyte mother and father or not. But I just took over and considered myself the acolyte’s father. Then I refitted cassocks and took care of it, saw that the cassocks got washed and they were taken care of in general. That’s after I had been a scout master. I learned how to handle boys. And so after I left the Church of the Redeemer after I moved downtown they used to call me up and say—they got a new rector out there, and he took over the acolytes. So, he didn’t know how to handle it because when I handled them out there, I’d let them pick the time they wanted to serve and let them do all the choosing. They got this new rector, and he was kind of dictatorial, and he said, “You assign such and such a time, and you assign such and such a time.” They commenced to lose their acolytes down there and got down to— (audio file 2 ends 0:31:24.5)