Objects in Time

One person’s junk may be another person’s treasure. We’ve asked Bryan residents to share their old “stuff” with us. Antique and vintage items do more than just look cool. They tell stories about daily life and have special meaning to individuals.

1890-1910 Texas stoneware whisky jug - Hanowich Fine Liquors, Bryan, Texas

Antique stoneware jug with Bryan, Texas location stamp

Circa 1890-1910
Jug reads: Hanowich Fine Liquors, Bryan, Texas.

Courtesy of Kenneth W. Smith Jr.


πŸŽ§β€ƒListen to Ken Smith share the history of this jug:

Harvey Mitchell’s surveying tools: Vernier compass and tripod

Circa 1840s
As the “Father of Brazos County,” Harvey Mitchell was a man who wore many hats. One of those was land surveyor. Mitchell drew a map in 1876 that was used by later councils in the planning and construction of city streets.

Courtesy of the Carnegie History Center


πŸ“·  Read Harvey Mitchell’s Last Will and Testament

πŸ“·  See more information and a portrait of Harvey Mitchell

Harvey Mitchell's surveying equipment -- vernier compass.
Harvey Mitchell's surveying equipment -- tripod and vernier compass.
1858: Bill of sale in Brazos County, Texas, for "Loeza", a 15 year old slave girl.
1858: Back page of the bill of sale in Brazos County, Texas, for "Loeza", a 15 year old slave girl.

1858 bill of sale in Brazos County for a 15-year-old slave girl

Sept. 4, 1858
This document is a bill of sale for “Loeza.” Loeza was 15 years old when she was sold by W.A. Killough to James Walker of Bryan. She was noted to be β€œof sound mind and body” and was purchased as β€œa slave for life.” Currently, volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are trying to trace her genealogy to hopefully find her descendants.

Courtesy of the Carnegie History Center

1854 bill of sale in New Orleans for a 13-year-old slave girl

Aug. 2, 1854
This document is a bill of sale for “Margaret,” a 13-year-old girl, sold by John Sharp of Columbia, S.C. to James Walker of Bryan. She was said to be β€œfree of all vices and maladies.” Margaret was sold in New Orleans, most likely a meeting point for both slave owners. She was purchased as β€œa slave for life.” Currently, volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are trying to trace her genealogy to hopefully find her descendants.

Courtesy of the Carnegie History Center

1854: Bill of sale in the State of Louisiana for "Margaret", a 13 year old slave girl sold to James Walker of Bryan, Texas.
1854: Second page of bill of sale in the State of Louisiana for "Margaret", a 13 year old slave girl sold to James Walker of Bryan, Texas.

Harvey Mitchell’s Last Will and Testament

July 6, 1899
The State of Texas
Brazos County

I, Harvey Mitchell, of the state and county aforesaid, being of sound, disposing mind and memory, do hereby make and ordain this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all others I may have heretofore made.

1st.       It is my desire that my executor, herein after named, shall pay all my just debts that I may owe at the date of my death, including expenses of last sickness and funeral and for that purpose, my said executor is hereby fully authorized to sell, at public or private sale and make legal, conveyance thereof, any property I may own at my death, either for cash or on time as he may deem best for the interest of my estate (save and except my residence, Lots 9 & 10 in Block 22 in the City of Bryan in Brazos County, Texas and my American Encyclopedia).

2nd.      After all my debts are so paid I give and bequeath to my son Jeff P. Mitchell one dollar and no more, he having already received from me a larger portion of my estate than any other of my children can obtain of the remainder thereof, and the remainder of my estate I bequeath to my four children, Jennie Weddington and Alice Dean of Bryan, Fannie B. Nash of Waco and James E. Mitchell of Ft. Worth, Texas, to be equally divided among them if living at the date of my death, and if dead, then to their offspring, and should it not be practicable to divide my estate into four equal shares in kind then some portion thereof to be sold and the shares equalized with the proceeds of said sale, so that all four shares may be equal in value.

3rd.       To my daughter Alice Dean I give and bequeath as additional and extra to her equal share of my estate, my home in Bryan (Lots No. 9 & 10 in Block 22) also my household goods, except my said American Encyclopedia.  This extra share is intended as compensation for her ministrations to me for any comfort during the last years of my life, but in the event that my said daughter, Alice Dean, should die before the date of my death, then this extra bequest shall revert back to my estate and be equally divided between her offspring and my other children or their offspring.

4th.       To my son, James. E. Mitchell, I give and bequeath my American Encyclopedia as extra and additional to his equal share with the other children, and to my oldest grandson, Harvey Weddington of Waco, Texas, I give and bequeath my watch.

5th.       I hereby nominate and appoint my true and tried friend, Guy M. Bryan of the City of Bryan, my executor, without bond, to execute and carry out the provisions of this will and it is my desire that no action be had in regard to the same in my court further than the probate of this will and the filing of an inventory and appraisement of the property comprising my estate, and for compensation of the services to be rendered by my paid executor I desire that the reserve the sum of two hundred dollars before any division of my effects shall be made among my said children as above provided, and in the event of his death or refusal to act I then desire that my son James E. Mitchell be appointed administrator of my estate with this will annexed with authority to appoint an attorney in fact to carry out the provisions of this will.

Given under my hand this 6th day of July A.D. 1899.

Witness:
H.O. Boatwright

Harvey Mitchell's Last Will and Testament - July 6, 1899. - page 1
Harvey Mitchell's Last Will and Testament - July 6, 1899. - page 2
Harvey Mitchell's Last Will and Testament - July 6, 1899. - page 3

Courtesy of the Carnegie History Center


πŸ“·  See more information and a portrait of Harvey Mitchell

πŸ“·  View photos of Harvey Mitchell’s surveying equipment

Piece of sandstone exterior from the 1892 Brazos County Courthouse -- built in 1892 and demolished in 1954.

Piece of sandstone from the exterior of the 1892 Brazos County Courthouse

1892-1954
The 1892 Brazos County Courthouse was constructed in 1892 and demolished in 1954, when it was replaced in the same location in Bryan by the current courthouse. The courthouse is seen here in 1937 after a snowfall.

Courtesy of Randy Haynes; Photo courtesy of Carnegie History Center

Brazos County Courthouse 1937.
Bryan College Interurban Railway circa 1910-1923.

Tickets for the Bryan-College Interurban Railway

Circa 1910-1918
The Bryan-College Interurban Railway was a trolley line that connected Bryan to Texas A&M College, four miles to the southeast, from 1910 until 1923. The trip from Bryan took 30 minutes, and the cost to ride was 15 cents roundtrip. Its reliability was often called into question, particularly in its early years when it was propelled along its tracks by an underpowered gasoline engine.  

When difficulties occurred (and they often did), the accepted cry was “Ladies, keep your seats; Profs, get out and walk; and Cadets, get out and push!”  

Gas cars, which had to be pushed up the Hillcrest incline on Saturday afternoons when the trolley was crowded, were converted to electric power in 1915. With plans for the construction of Highway 6, service was terminated. The tracks and wires were sold for scrap in 1930. The station in Bryan was converted into a home in 1957.

Courtesy of Carnegie History Center

Tickets for the Bryan College Interurban Railway circa 1910-1923.
1890-1910 Texas stoneware mini jug with advertising for Chance Brothers in Bryan Texas on it.

Antique stoneware mini liquor jug with Bryan, Texas location named on it (3 inches tall)

Circa 1890-1910
Jug reads: Old Nelson County for sale by Chance Bros. Bryan, Tex.

Courtesy of Kenneth W. Smith Jr.


πŸŽ§β€ƒListen to Ken Smith share the history of this jug:

1891 Souvenir Program/Bookmark from the Grand Opera House in Bryan, Texas

Antique linen souvenir bookmark / program for the Grand Opera House in Bryan

Thursday, Sept. 24, 1891
This bookmark for the performance of “A Breezy Time” is made of linen, and was used as an advertising and marketing tool the same as items like this are used today. It was provided to patrons “with compliments of the proprietors of the The Brazos Pilot,” a local newspaper published from 1877-1909.

Courtesy of Kenneth W. Smith Jr.


πŸŽ§β€ƒListen to Ken Smith share the history of this item:

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!
The news in early Bryan

Nov. 9, 1870
The Weekly Bryan Appeal

The Appeal was one of the earliest newspapers in Brazos County. Some sources record that the Bryan News-Letter was the first newspaper in our community in 1868. The Appeal began publishing in 1869 and ceased publication in 1877.

Courtesy of the Carnegie History Center

The Weekly Bryan Appeal newspaper - Nov. 9, 1870.
The Brazos Pilot newspaper. July 1, 1881.

July 1, 1881
The Brazos Pilot
The Pilot was a another weekly paper that began publishing in 1877, the same year The Weekly Bryan Appeal closed. The Pilot would publish independently until 1909 when it merged with The Bryan Daily Eagle which had formed in 1895. From 1909-1918, the Eagle was published as The Bryan Daily Eagle and Pilot, before dropping the Pilot name in 1918.

Courtesy of the Carnegie History Center

Municipal Building Construction Specifications

February 1929
These construction specifications, created by Giesecke and Harris Architects (Austin and Houston, Texas) defined what the roles each party would play and how the new Bryan Municipal Building was to be constructed. A formal ground-breaking ceremony was held later in 1929 with the mayor, several council members, the city manager, city engineer and other local dignitaries present.

Courtesy of City of Bryan

1951 Historical Reprint of the program from the Oct. 4, 1876 Inauguration of the State Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas.
1951 Historical Reprint of the program from the Oct. 4, 1876 Inauguration of the State Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas.

Historical Reprint of the program from the Oct. 4, 1876 Inauguration of the State Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas 

Circa 1951
This historical reprint of the original program was printed for the 75th anniversary of Texas A&M University in 1951. It includes the text of the speeches of Gov. Richard Coke and College President Thomas S. Gathright, as well as text of an article about the event that ran in the Galveston News on Oct. 5, 1876.

Courtesy of City of Bryan

1951 Historical Reprint of the program from the Oct. 4, 1876 Inauguration of the State Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas.

Acceptance document of the donation of land to the City of Bryan for the establishment of Coulter Airfield

Sept. 24, 1938
This document/proclamation officially accepts the land donation by W. J. Coulter for the establishment of an airport in Bryan – Coulter Field. The document describes the ever-increasing need and necessity for an airport for Bryan, College Station and Texas A&M.

Document courtesy of City of Bryan; Background photo showing Andrew Andersson at Coulter Field in 1939 courtesy of Linda Andersson Hoch

Acceptance document of the donation of  land to the City of Bryan for the establishment of Coulter Airfield, dated Sept. 24, 1938.
W. J. "Fuzzy" Douglass, Jr., Insurance Agency document box - circa 1940s-1960s

W. J. Douglas, Jr., Insurance Agency document box

Circa 1940s-1960s
This metal document box from W. J. “Fuzzy” Douglas’s insurance agency reads: “999 Times Out of 1000 You Will Need Some Type of Insurance.”

Courtesy of Kenneth W. Smith Jr.

About Mr. Douglas: William J. “Fuzzy” Douglas, Jr. was born in Trinity, Texas on March 5, 1911. He moved to Bryan in 1928 enrolling in Texas A&M College where he graduated in the class of 1932. He was a veteran of WW II serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Mr. Douglas began W.J. Douglas, Jr. Insurance Agency, retiring after 35 years. Mr. Douglas passed away in 2003 at the age of 92.
(Source: The Eagle obituary, 2003)

Court documents from Joshua Seale vs. R.M. Forbes dating from 1837

Circa 1837 and later
This court case was a land dispute involving over 4,400 acres. The earliest documentation for this case was 1837. However, this case was in litigation for over 20 years. Note that the town it was filed in was Boonville. Boonville was the one of three county seats for Brazos County since the 1830s. The county seat was moved to Bryan in 1866.

Courtesy of the Carnegie History Center

Joshua Seale vs. R.M. Forbes, 1837. This court case was a land dispute involving over 4,400 acres. The earliest documentation for this case was 1837. However, this case was in litigation for over 20 years. Note that the town it was filed in was Boonville. Boonville was the one of three county seats for Brazos County since the 1830’s.
Joshua Seale vs. R.M. Forbes, 1837. This court case was a land dispute involving over 4,400 acres. The earliest documentation for this case was 1837. However, this case was in litigation for over 20 years. Note that the town it was filed in was Boonville. Boonville was the one of three county seats for Brazos County since the 1830’s.
Joshua Seale vs. R.M. Forbes, 1837. This court case was a land dispute involving over 4,400 acres. The earliest documentation for this case was 1837. However, this case was in litigation for over 20 years. Note that the town it was filed in was Boonville. Boonville was the one of three county seats for Brazos County since the 1830’s.
Joshua Seale vs. R.M. Forbes, 1837. This court case was a land dispute involving over 4,400 acres. The earliest documentation for this case was 1837. However, this case was in litigation for over 20 years. Note that the town it was filed in was Boonville. Boonville was the one of three county seats for Brazos County since the 1830’s.

The Hitching Post: SFA High School student directory 

1960-61
The Hitching Post, the SFA High School student directory for the 1960-61 school year, listed all students with their home addresses and telephone numbers. As you can see, there are still several students whose families do not have home telephones at this point in time.

Courtesy of Linda Andersson Hoch

Front and back of Postcard showing the Bryan Municipal Building and Park - Dated May 3, 1946

Vintage Bryan, Texas postcard showing “Municipal Building and Park”

May 3, 1946
This classic postcard, dated May 3, 1946 on the back, is typical of artist-drawn postcards in the first half of the 20th century. This postcard was published by McKay News Agency, Bryan, Texas. Back in the day, postcards weren’t just for travelers and tourist destinations. They often showed typical, everyday scenes from a town or city, as seen here.

Courtesy of Kristen Waggener

Bryan and College Station phonebooks from 1944 and 1946. Courtesy of Marcia Wenck.

Vintage phone books

October 1944 & March 1946
These two telephone directories show Bryan and College Station as only having a five-number phone number requirement at this time and also show advertisements for Hillier Funeral Home, J. Coulter Smith flowers (bonded member FTD), and Orr’s Food Center (“Be Wize, Buy Wize, Economize”).

Courtesy of Marcia Wenck

Bryan High School football program 1973 vs. Temple.

Vintage Bryan High School football program

Nov. 9, 1973
This program shows the Vikings preparing to take on their rivals, Temple, at Viking Stadium.

Courtesy of JoBeth Williams Thompson

1974 Bryan High musical program Bye Bye Birdie

Vintage Bryan High School musical program

Circa 1973-1974
This program is from the production of “Bye Bye Birdie” put on by the Bryan High School Choral Music and Drama Departments.

Courtesy of JoBeth Williams Thompson