Dear Sunny South
A chatty account of a trip to Denton in 1887.
Texas Booming - A Bright, Pushing Little City - Schools, Churches, Banks and Business
EDITOR SUNNY SOUTH:
Since I last wrote you I have made a very pleasant trip to Texas, to the thriving little city of Denton, Northwest of the Queen City of the West, Dallas. The latter place I took in on my return. Let me here say that I have returned to Louisiana better pleased than ever with my native State. Having never been in Texas, I imagined that it was "flowing with milk and honey," and that dear old Louisiana was not a very desirable portion of this moral vineyard. I do not mean to say that Texas is not all she claims to be - oh! no; though she has plenty of room every way, but I do wish that fair Louisiana was as well advertised - then she would be on a grand boom indeed, for she has the best or as good natural resources. Dallas I found to be on the boom, arranging for a grand fair to take this month, which promises to be a big thing, as she is making extensive preparations and will no doubt make it a success. Her city park is very nice; her business houses and hotels are all they should be. I found the Grand Winsor a rival of the St. Charles in New Orleans - in prices, if nothing else.
Denton is the county seat of Denton County, and was laid out by Col. Welch over a quarter century ago. It has a large square with a splendid Court House in the centre and large business houses fronting it. The ambitious little city puts on all the style of her more matured sisters in every respect except streetcars. She has a population of four or five thousand inhabitants, numerous churches and one of the best schools (public) in the State. They get aid from the State, and besides levy a special city tax . The school has directors, who are elected by the city to manage the same. Capt. Carmenyges (Comegys), of Alabama, is Principal, and has a number of competent assistants. He is one of the finest educators in the State, and took pleasure in showing me through the different grades (nine). They use the word method of teaching, which I think is the natural one. I did not fail to tell him about our Louisiana State Normal school at this place, and how advanced we are becoming in the way of teaching since the Normal was established and the new methods introduced. Denton boasts of two banks.
The Exchange National is a model of its kind in arrangement and decoration. The polite cashier, Mr. Wm. A. Ponder, was kind in showing us around, and even took us in the fireproof vault. He called our attention to the beautifully painted scene (Southern) of the fleecy staple and golden grain on the ceiling of his office, also to that in the directors office (Judge Carroll's), which was a cattle scene delineating the long and short horns in all their glory on the rolling prairies of Texas, as "it was, is now and ever shall be." There are two flour mills in Denton - the last, but not lease, the Farmers' Alliance mills, built, owned and managed by the Association. These mills, an immense brick structure, were completed this year, and cost over $250,000. They were fortunate in getting Mr. Grant to manage them, as he knows his business. He is very obliging, and seemed to take real pleasure in showing us how flour is made. I had no idea that it went through so many processes to come out so pure and white, but suppose it is like life - the more grinding, sifting, fanning and rolling will only bring out the perfect individual. It rejoices one to see the farmers doing so well. The Farmers' Alliance is in its infancy in this State. If it does so well in infancy, what may we not expect from maturity? Texas is far ahead of us in co-operation and real American push.
There are two newspapers, the Post and Chronicle, published in Denton. I suppose the press will have a rest now, as Texas has just passed through one of the most heated and closely contested campaigns ever engaged in. Lawyers, of course, all have plenty to do, though. While there I read in the Dallas News "The Lawyer's Lament," in which it was stated that there were too many of them in Texas; and one would think so, as the other day there was a suit (a $10 one) in which four were interested, and the perch, divided between them, only amounted to twenty-five cents each. I know that the Denton lawyers are doing better, or they would not look so happy; besides, there are not so many as there is in Dallas. The dear SUNNY SOUTH is appreciated out there. How grand are the prairies! I felt that awe and inexpressible feeling that sometimes comes over us on beholding the sublime and beautiful in nature.
Hoping my communication will not tire you, I am, as ever, an interested reader of the ever welcome SUNNY SOUTH.
Natchitoches, Oct., 1887.
Editors Note: In November of 1874, J.H. and W.B Seals established the Sunny South in Atlanta as a literary magazine. The paper printed stories of prominent southern authors and covered the news of the state. In 1893, the paper was published as supplement to the Sunday editions of the Atlanta Constitution. The Sunny South, during this period, was the first newspaper in Atlanta to support the cause of suffrage for women.
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