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Category archives for: History of Ennis

Haunted History : The Raphael House and its ghosts

Raymond Raphael, son of Edmond and Fannie Raphael, seen here in about 1918, is believed to be one of the Raphael House’s happy ghosts. Courtesy of Harriett Adams. Author’s Note: Although not long ago I called for leads on local ghost stories, I learned of nothing new from readers, at least nothing that is documented. […]

Ennis’ Dr. Red Duke became national figure

Three years ago a famous Ennis native was recognized by his alma mater, Texas A&M University, for his service in the Korean War. It was in the nick of time; a few months later he passed away. Physician, educator and television personality Dr. James “Red” Duke was a 1950 A&M grad whose subsequent stint as […]

1927 bus crash killed Ennis athlete

Last year marked the 90th anniversary of a Texas tragedy in which a favored son of Ennis lost his life. Jack Castellaw, 21, son of a local pharmacist, was among 10 Baylor Bears players, coaches and fans killed when their school bus stalled on a train track at Round Rock and was struck by the […]

A prosperous Ennis

On Nov. 26, 1922 the Austin American Sun ran a story about how Ennis was becoming one of the most prosperous cities in Texas. “Citizens of Ennis proudly point to the fact that the city has one of the largest cotton seed mills in the state,” the paper reported. The city’s success was further attributed […]

Tabernacle Baptist Church, Ennis, TX

This postcard shows Tabernacle Baptist Church in Ennis as it looked in the 1920s. Read stories like this and more in your latest edition of The Ennis News. Be informed, subscribe today!

Ennis in the ’20s: Partying at Cerf house

Interest in the Cerf mansion, profiled on this page at various times, knows no end. I was very happy to receive some clippings recently from Jennifer Albright who found them in a family scrapbook. They are evidence of just what a center of cultural life the Cerf home once was in Ennis. The following stories […]

Katie Daffan was also famous local figure

She might not have been world celebrated but one Ennis resident was famous in Texas and throughout the South, and might well have been included in the article that accompanies today’s column. Katie Daffan is a name that’s known to my readers, as I have often included her on this page. Also, some years ago […]

Ennisites remember tales of lore, legend

In her childhood, another famous personality briefly lived in Ennis. But Ginger Rogers, the glamorous Hollywood star, didn’t come here willingly. In 1913, when she was only two years old, her father abducted her from Kansas City. Embroiled in a custody battle with his wife, Lela, William Eddins McMath struck out by rail with his […]

Ennis’s first permanent hospital costs $50,000

Continuing the history of the first large, permanent hospital in Ennis, I begin where I left off. After a committee was appointed in 1922 to scout out a location and explore avenues of funding, the matter came before the Ennis City Council. The Ennis Municipal Hospital’s May 1952 30th anniversary program, shared with me by […]

Ennis Lions super-fan going strong at 90

She’s a regular at all Lions football games – or almost any other event involving Ennis ISD sports – and her devotion is obvious. She’s also dedicated to the youths who play with such passion, bringing glory to the Bluebonnet City. Locally or at away games, spunky Joan Hodge is always there for her Lions, […]

WWII Ennis vets subject of upcoming story

Many thanks as well to my old friend Marylyn Wylie who informed me lately that only about four Ennis veterans are still alive today out of the more than 30 who traveled with us in 2008 on the first Honor Flight from Texas to see the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. Mr. Richter, Mr. Lewis, […]

Dignified Mamie Cerf deeded farmhouse to city

It seems whenever local history is discussed, a common topic is the 1969 razing of Ennis’ most prestigious old home, the Cerf Mansion. It was a time when commercial progress was in the forefront and preservation rarely considered. Built by businessman Isadore Cerf for his wife, Mamie, in 1904, the palatial 14-room house that took […]

7 Ennis men among those killed at Iwo Jima

It’s been 10 years since the savage conflict of Iwo Jima was memorialized in the Clint Eastwood film Flags of Our Fathers. But it was a lot more than a movie to the Ennis families who lost loved ones in the legendary battle. Seven Ennis men fought at Iwo Jima; four of them gave their […]

First big Ennis hospital built in 1920

The first record of a substantial hospital in Ennis dates to 1908. There were only individual doctors’ offices prior to that. There was also a hospital funded by the Southern Pacific Railroad in the early years of the 20th century but it closed in 1916. The various hospitals that functioned in Ennis were sporadic and […]

Nature’s Own: The legacy of Kachina Pairie

Ennis’ unique wildlife preserve, Kachina Prairie, one of the first trails to be mapped for the Bluebonnet Festival back in the 1950s, features more than the state flower. The 30-acre grassland, located on the banks of Lake Clark, has never been cultivated, its vegetation and bird species remaining as they were hundreds of years ago […]

Railroad towns: Ferris, Bristol and more in 1881

Ferris was named and laid out by the Houston & Texas Central Railway in honor of Judge J. W. Ferris of Waxahachie. The first house in the town was built by N. J. Doty in February 1874. It now has a population of about 300; there are 12 stores, a church (one of the finest […]

Last class of first EHS held reunion in ‘67

The last graduating class from the “Old Faithful” Ennis High School, built in 1894, held its 50th reunion in ‘67. Among the 1917 graduates pictured here is Virgina VanGordon Crane, posed fifth from left in the front row. The Ennis High building on Gaines Street, so familiar to us today, was just then being completed, […]

The 1881 Yearbook

Several readers contacted me last week about the Ellis County Illustrated Annual for 1881, from which I quoted an early account of Ennis. They enjoyed learning about what was happening in Ennis nine years after its founding and asked if there was more information that I could share. There were a few other things Ennis-related […]

Reader uncovers info on Ennis’ Clark family

I am really am very blessed to have a readership that is as interested as I am in the history of our city. Some of you are researchers in your own right. I have already mentioned Sugar Glaspy whose investigatory and writing skills are well known to many, and I’m grateful for the information she […]

Mr. Postman

One of the Ennis Post Offices earliest known mail carriers was Ambrose (“A.B.”) Ross. Borne in Tennessee in 1864 he moved to Ennis in 1891. According to the Ennis Weekly Local, Ross served as a teacher in Alma and Palmer before accepting employment by the U.S. Mail Service at Ennis in 1906 as one of […]

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