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Category archives for: History of Ennis

Willie Kucera: “Age hasn’t fazed me”

Ennis native Major Willie J. Kucera was once among the oldest living veterans of World War II. That was five years ago, just before his death at age 107. He was also believed to be one of the oldest living EHS grads. There are still many locals who recall Willie who, while a longtime Ennis […]

Crusaders Ride Again!

The St. John High School Class of 1962 celebrated 55 years since graduation on Oct. 7 at the Kindred Soule Marketplace in downtown Ennis. Seated (left to right) are Irene Novosad, Dolores (Slovak) Sykora, Clara (Patak) Walters, Jeanie (Barto) Holey. Standing: Nancy (Dlabaj) Neuenschwander, Tricia (Moucka) Slovak, Louise (Plasek) Bush, Lorraine (Jaresh) Beere, Bobby Motous, […]

Do ghosts call the Raphael House home?

The article on Major Kucera that runs alongside this column today is largely due to a suggestion from Ann Juricek, for many years communications chair for the local VFW’s Ladies Auxiliary (Jack Lummus Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7106). Ann is a longtime friend, one of the first people I met when I came to […]

Mayor finds Ennis history in Houston

It’s been a busy week for the “Town Topics” column hereon the Memories page. Space prevents a feature this week but it will run in Wednesday’s issue, space allowing. Belated thanks again to Henrietta Novotny, who very kindly left for me a package of old clippings and other local memorabilia at the Ennis News office […]

Writing Ennis history: “It’s a privilege,” says Bigham

I’ve put it off long enough. A few months ago when the Memories page was started by Dylan Brossette and Justin Tubbs, I was asked by readers to tell a bit about myself. I was and am very grateful to those young men who’ve been responsible for improving the newspaper and for including me in […]

José Diaz: A quiet man and a hero

I’ll have more archival items to share with you in next week’s column. In addition, I’ll be adding some interesting tidbits of local history submitted by readers. Meantime, I want to share information about a member of our community who died recently. José Diaz was the grandfather of my niece, Adrianna Diaz. I didn’t know […]

Treasure Chest – A myster unsolved

The legend of Spanish gold buried on the former Raphael Ranch near Bardwell, as related on this page last week, has swirled around Ennis for a century or more, coming to a head in 1953 when a crew of local treasure hunters gained the attention of the national press. But another, earlier tale of Bluebonnet […]

Is Spanish gold stashed on an Ennis property?

“The Secret of Raphael Ranch.” Sounds like a Nancy Drew title, but there really is a mystery at the site of the former estate of one of Ennis’ pioneer families. Legend has it that Spanish gold was buried under a pecan tree on the property nearly 200 years ago. French-born Edmond Raphael, one of the […]

Buddy the Monkey

Mary Ann was also a source for a story I did not long ago about the pet monkey, “Buddy,” that was owned by her family back in the 1940s. She let me know that Buddy’s story didn’t end in 2007 as indicated in the article. His stuffed remains were not really discarded, she tells me, […]

Ennis struck by “pants thief” in 1941

In 1941 Ennis cops had a strange mystery to solve. A thief was breaking into homes in the Tower Hill addition and stealing men’s trousers containing money. On a single weekend, four homes were burglarized. One pair of pants, found in a back alley, had contained $3,000. Read the full story and more in your […]

Bob Banner: Showman remembered

Even if Bob Banner, pioneering television producer and director, hadn’t made it to the big time, his hometown of Ennis would still remember him for helping write Ennis High’s song “Maroon and White.” That happened in 1937 when 16 year old Banner was asked by EHS music director Thomas B. Granger to work with him […]

History snapshots, a brief glimpse of Ellis County’s past

The sin of strong drink. In 1908 Ennis was not yet the “dry city” it became (until recent years), and the “social ill” of drunkenness was a serious enough issue for the Texas chapter of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union to hold its annual convention here. Read this and more in your Weekday edition of […]

Jack Lummus – Ennis boy, football star, WWII hero

Welcome to my final resting place. I’m 1st Lt. Jack Lummus, a hero they call me. I don’t feel that way but I was proud to serve my country in WWII. I won the Medal of Honor for my sacrifice, although I didn’t know I was making one at the time. I was just doing […]

Jack Lummus – Ennis boy, football star, WWII hero

Welcome to my final resting place. I’m 1st Lt. Jack Lummus, a hero they call me. I don’t feel that way but I was proud to serve my country in WWII. I won the Medal of Honor for my sacrifice, although I didn’t know I was making one at the time. I was just doing […]

Town Topics

This week I’ve got a full roster of old news item for you. Most of these are from the Waxahachie Daily Light’s Ennis columns but a few are from regional and national papers. For the most part, I’ve concentrated on the first two decades of the 20th century but in response to a few requests […]

Fannie Raphael: Long forgotten leader in Ennis’ Jewish community

Welcome friends of Ennis and friends of history. I’m so pleased to see you here in our Hebrew section of Myrtle Cemetery where I am buried along with my dear family. I am Fannie Jolesch Raphael but I will not say when I was born. It’s a dreadful reminder of how very old I would […]

Jujube trees have place in Ennisite’s heart

An exotic tree yields more than fruit for an Ennis resident. It reminds her of times past. “Jujube trees have a lot of memories for me,” said lifelong Ennisite Ann Haskovec Juricek. “When we were very young, my bother Ivan and I used to walk across a field to visit our grandparents. Their house was […]

Ennis National Bank building turns 100

  Something important is underway for all of us who care about our local history. The Ennis Historical Society is at the center of this good news, and with the help of that group, preservation and research will be substantially aided. Society President Dennis Zembala recently announced the following: “We hope you can come to […]

Some hilarious Ennis history

I think readers will like the old news items I picked for this week. I chose some funny ones from the Ennis Daily News, The Ennis Weekly Local, and a few national papers that carried news of the Bluebonnet City. First, I want to thank Henrietta Novotny for sharing with me two big packages of […]

A fashionable past

Ennis and fashion? Believe it or not, a hundred years ago the Bluebonnet City was not only a national center for cotton production but its many dry goods merchants were regular seasonal visitors to the fashion hub of New York City. There, shop owners or their agents mingled with the trade of other prosperous cities, […]

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