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Category archives for: History of Ennis

Ennis murder from 1903 uncovered

Don Eggart isn’t from Ennis – he lives in South Carolina – but the research he’s undertaken over the last few months has uncovered a sad, if largely unremembered, murder case that took place here in the Bluebonnet City 115 years ago. “I’m a genealogist – not a professional one – but the work has […]

Memories – Randy Bigham Prehistoric remains found in Ennis in 1880s

Focusing on local news from the late 19th century, I’m happy to share with you the following excerpts from items I found via Newspapers.com. More will follow in the next edition of “Town Topics.” Pants thieves. It wasn’t long ago that I ran an item about a “pants burglar” who attacked a number of houses […]

Ennis bank missed hit from Old West bandits

NOTE: This week’s edition of the Memories page was to have featured an account of the 1903 Josh Reagor murder but further research is needed to complete the story. It will appear in next Sunday’s issue. While many have forgotten that Ennis was once part of the Old West, history shows it has its place […]

More Details on Denton Street House

My genealogist friend Bobbie Dlabaj, who has been kind enough to share her research on various Ennis families with me for this column, has been looking into the house at 310 W. Denton that is currently being restored and will shortly be opened as a bed and breakfast inn. A short time back, Bobbie found […]

Gory murder from 1898 unsolved

The savage rape and killing of an Ennis girl shocked the state 115 years ago. This headline appeared in the Marshall Evening News. NOTE: This is the second installment of the series I began last week on sensational Ennis murder cases. Today’s edition tells the story of the gruesome killing of Frances Cervinka over 125 […]

Efforts to save mansion recalled

Whenever local history is discussed, a common topic is the razing of Ennis’ most prestigious old home, the Cerf Mansion, in 1969, a time when commercial progress was in the forefront and preservation rarely considered. Bill Snodgrass knows that story first hand. In 1962 he helped form one of the first historical organizations in this […]

Ennis people and places in the news from 1911

I was recently given a batch of old Ennis Daily News issues from 1911, and while the originals are in very fragile shape, I decided to share a few of the news items with readers here. I thought it was a good time to run these since the main story today on the Memories page […]

Downtown Ennis dispute ended in murder in 1911

Sam Alma Wilson, a farmer and father of six children, was murdered by John Kirby in downtown Ennis on June 3, 1911. NOTE: Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing stories of some sad and shocking murders that happened in Ennis over the decades. To begin the series is this account of the […]

Bonnie and Clyde hid out in Ellis County

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow in 1933. I strung together a few news items for readers who enjoy these little clips from the past. Some contain little known facts about average day to day life in Ennis. Others have insights into well-known local people and some of the thrilling events that have happened here, such […]

Famed gunfighter’s family settled in Ennis

Details are sketchy about the Old West outlaws believed to have plied their trade in Ennis’ early days but the family of one famous gunslinger was among this city’s pioneer residents. John Wesley Hardin, the legendary gunfighter, never set his spurs –– or waved his .44-caliber –– in Ennis but an uncle and aunt lived […]

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, […]

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