-- Family Histories    1972-2018

Older widows in 1927 saw much history
By W.T. Block.
The Beaumont Enterprise, March 28, 2001, p. A-12.
On Aug. 27, 1927, Mrs. W.W. Cunningham, the widow of an early Beaumont physician, gave a "spend the day" tea party at her home for 10 of the oldest widows in Beaumont. Two of the ladies were 90 years or older; one of them had lived in Beaumont under the Republic of Texas; she remembered when Sam Houston once stayed in her father's home, and several women had settled in Beaumont before the Civil War.
The entertainer for the day was a 74-year-old fiddler named Hiram Arceneaux, who came to Beaumont in 1874. During the day some of the ladies demonstrated their dancing prowess, and two of them, Mrs. Hal Greer and Lou Beaumont, danced an old time jig named the "Vesuvienne."
At 90 Mrs. Pauline Wiess Coffin first came to Beaumont in 1838, before living at Port Neches in 1839-1840. She also resided at Sabine Pass for 10 years before the Civil War. For the remainder of her life, she lived at Wiess Bluff, 16 miles north of Beaumont, where Sam Houston spent a night in their home in 1846.
Mrs. Clara Chaison first came to Beaumont in 1859, with her father Dr. Charles Baldwin. At age 22, she married Jeff Chaison while he was a Confederate soldier, and they lived in a ranch house at Santa Ana, now a part of the ExxonMobil refinery. While singing selections during a Beaumont musicale of 1873, she was billed as the "Virginia Rosebud."
Mrs. Hal Greer, wife of a prominent attorney, came to Beaumont in 1883, where they built a home adjacent to the Neches River. Their home was the congregating point for many baptizing and swimming socials. The Women's Club was organized in her home in 1895; and she was instrumental in founding the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Beaumont Literary Society.
Mrs. Lem Ogden came to Beaumont as Cyntheal McClure when she was 8 years old, and she married Ogden in 1869. Like Clara Chaison, she was well-known for her vocal ability and musical talent.
Mrs. Elizabeth Caswell lived 77 of her 78 years in Beaumont, where she arrived in 1849. In 1865 she married Columbus Caswell, a Confederate veteran, and for two years she ran the Beaumont post office. In 1883 her husband traded his sawmill for 105 shares of stock in Texas Tram and Lumber Co. and Village Mills Co., which eventually left his wife a wealthy woman.
Mrs. George O'Brien Millard came to Beaumont as Emma Reeves in 1872, and in 1877 she married Millard. They built their home on the river at the foot of Orleans Street in 1888. Mrs. Dora Pollock, at age 62 the youngest of the women, came to Beaumont in 1887, and she was the mother of Sheriff Artie Pollock.
Mrs. John McFarlane was born Mary Coffin at Sabine Pass in 1850. She was educated in Beaumont, where she lived most of her 77 years. Miss Lou Beaumont was born and educated in Beaumont, and had lived all of her life in Jefferson County. Her father, John Beaumont, received a land grant in 1839.
Born Theresa Jackson, Mrs. James Long, then 91, came to Beaumont in 1859, where her husband bought the burned-out Ross and Alexander sawmill before he enlisted in the Confederate Army. As the principal stockholder of Long Manufacturing Co., she was probably the wealthiest of the ladies and lived in her home on Calder Avenue. Mrs. Coffin had lived under three flags, and all but one of the other ladies had lived under the Confederate flag as well.
Copyright (c) 2001 Beaumont Enterprise

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