The evening opened with a social period featuring wine and cheese and other refreshments. The members were congenial, and several had anecdotes to share about Beaumont ancestors or San Jacinto veterans. At seven o’clock President Ben Woodhead called the meeting to order and Chaplain Marilyn Thornton Adams provided an invocation. A business meeting followed, which included a report by Dr. Mary Kelly Scheer, chair of the Lamar University history department.
I was introduced by Vice President Judith Linsley. Since the 180th anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto was only six days earlier, my topic was “Old Sam Jacinto,” an account of the campaign of March and April 1836 and the climactic battle. Certainly these events were appropriate for a group of Texas Gulf Coast historians, who were quite receptive and who later shared more anecdotes about their ancestors who participated in the Runaway Scrape or the Battle of San Jacinto.
|At Spindletop Park with Richard and |
Mary Scheer and Ken Poston.
The next day I was taken to lunch by Dr. Scheer, her husband Richard and Ken Poston. Afterward they took me to the little historic park which marks a major historic event: the Spindletop oil discovery of 1901. I’ve visited most of Beaumont’s museums and historic sites through the years, and I’ve delivered programs at the excellent Gladys City restoration. But I had never seen the original site, which is not easy to find, and I’m indebted to my hosts for providing a long overdue visit.
|Information boards. The original Spindletop well|
was in the distance above the right-hand board.
That evening Ken Poston and his lovely wife Brenda drove me to the Lamar campus, where we went to the eighth floor of the impressive Mary and John Gray Library. This top floor features a ballroom and dining rooms. One of the dining rooms was handsomely appointed for an annual university occasion: the Phi Alpha Theta Spring Initiation and History Department Banquet. Phi Alpha Theta is the national history honor society, and there are more than 900 chapters. A crowd of 50 was on hand to celebrate the initiation of five new members: Taylor Blount, Grayson Meek, Jacob Melancon, Karli Pittman, and Courtney Rhodus, a graduate student who already had assumed the duties of chapter president. Other Phi Alpha Theta members were present, along with family and friends, faculty members, and ranking administrators.
|Dr. Mary Scheer welcomes the crowd|
to the banquet.
|The five inductees.|
|Ken Poston begins the|
|At right Mrs. Nancy Isaac, widow of a longtime Lamar|
history faculty member, Mrs. Isaac created a
substantial cash award for an exemplary
senior history student - Judith Nelams (center).
|With President Courtney Rhodus.|