By the Community, State and Nation
MORGUE AT CAMP WALLACE
No morgue is a pretty place, nor a place one enters with pleasure. The Camp Wallace Morgue, a makeshift, is like all makeshifts, less attractive than the thing for which it substitutes. During the war, hundreds of pounds of meat were kept in refrigeration in the spot that housed the unclaimed dead. As the heavy door swung open, I thought, “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.”
And truly those who came to search the morgue had given up those they sought as dead. Many people never visited either the McGar Morgue or the Camp Wallace Morgue, preferring to think that their dead had come to neither place.
Wrapped in a borrowed coat, a gauze mask over my face, I prepared to go in with the attendant. My heart ached for those who would be looking at the mangled, charred remains lying on sheets, thinking, Which is my husband? Can that be the man I kissed goodbye a few short days ago?
The cold, the dim light, made the scene unreal, and it seemed as if it were the window of some grim wax works, and I was only looking on, and these things upon the floor never could have been men. And yet they had; they had once pulsed with life, and might have been my friends.
And for those last remaining few, those whose wounds had been so severe that none could say with certainty, Yes, that is he, for those a place has been provided where they all may rest, honored anonymously, throughout the years.
Rest ye in peace.
Mrs. Mary Rinehart, “Mom,” a Texas City woman, volunteer Red Cross worker, says she will stay until the morgue is closed.
Captain James William Childs, Salvation Army, of Harlingen, was in charge of the canteen at the Camp Wallace Morgue. He praised the volunteer workers, naming Mrs. L. Hardin of La Porte, and The Volunteers of America, and Major Anna Mae Higgins of Toledo, and Major Lillian Gould of Des Moines, officers of that organization.
Loyd D. Frazier, Houston, fingerprint expert who had worked in 3 cyclone areas, said the Texas City disaster produced worse mangled bodies. Men assisting him were A. T. Moore, Pat Hays, P. C. Dupree, Fred Nash, Eddie Knowles, M. F. Patton, Ed Moettering, Frank Hollywood, B. C. Finley, Charlie Brock, Vic Parker, Chief McLaughton and his staff, Mr. Arnett, George Lacy and Sidney Lanier.
Robert Dean Thatcher, 19, Baton Rouge, La., a merchant seaman who left his ship in Galveston to do rescue work, helped at McGar’s garage and also at Camp Wallace, “because a lot of people can’t stand to be around dead people.”
Mrs. J. L. Clark, Galveston, Mrs. Sussie Snoga, Galveston, and Joana Brown, Ft. Worth, said they would not have missed this opportunity of service for anything.
EMERGENCY HEALTH PROGRAM
FOR TEXAS CITY DISASTER
By Dr. Roy G. Reed, County Health Officer
Five daily samples of water were taken by Dabney and Hibbs, State Sanitary Engineers, in cooperation with the Community Public Service Co. These men were in charge of the water and sewerage for the County Health Unit, and also kept close watch on the garbage dump and typhus and insect control.
Dr. Geo. W. Cox, State Health Officer, put Mr. Coppage on the scene immediately after the disaster. Throughout the state, the U.S.P.H.S. set up an emergency program to extend until the last of June, with a $40,000 appropriation to guard health.
Other personnel included: Major Gilbertson, Capt. Hendrix, Capt. Schliessmann, Mr. Baker, Mr. Lacy, Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Dent.
Houston and Galveston City Health Departments furnished personnel, and spraying and dusting with DDT, sanitation of the morgues; insect prevention of all areas, supervised by Capt. Schliessmann.
David Parks of the State Health Department directed supervision of food and milk.
It was agreed with Dr. Harold Wood that Public Health and Red Cross Nursing services should be coordinated. Miss Ruth Jane Moore, assisted by Miss Anna Ericson, supervised this activity. Each home was visited in Texas City and spot home visits were made in outlying areas.
Three days after the initial blast, a crew of 12 laborers under Health Unit supervision with police protection visited the devastated areas. Homes had to be cleared of spoiled foods, garbage was picked up, though normally this is a City function. Trucks were placed at the County Health disposal during that period.
Food inspections began on Thursday, April 17, at which time only two eating establishments and 7 food stores were attempting to operate.
On Friday, four more eating establishments opened. The danger of shattered glass in food, and of spoilage, was realized and it was concluded that all establishments should be inspected before opening.
On Saturday night, a proclamation was issued by Mayor Trahan, forbidding all eating or food establishments to open until given a permit by the Health Department. Thereafter, each establishment was sprayed with DDT, inspected, and spoiled foods and foods possibly containing glass particles were condemned and removed before a permit was issued.
On the 22 and 23 of April, 12 food inspectors were used, with an average of 8 hours during the 12 days of emergency. Two hundred and twenty inspections were made, 7,722 pounds of perishables condemned and 68 permits issued from April 20 to April 30. Twenty-seven eating places and food establishments were too badly damaged to reopen during this period. One hundred and eighty-nine miscellaneous food sanitation visits were made, and 550 visits were made to demolished homes to remove perishable foods. David Parks supervised this entire period and deserves the highest commendation.
Local sanitarians were assisted by Galveston sanitarians Young, Clark, and Koch in the first 3 days. On the 21st, Dr. Hill furnished Davis, Scott and Mullin. During the week beginning April 21, the following men from the Bureau of Food and Drugs, State Health Department, assisted: J. F. Lakey, G. F. Reid, R. F. Holbert
W. K. Martin, Torn Warren and Mr. Kelly, whose suggestion resulted in the Mayors proclamation.
When buildings were passed as structurally safe, a member of the Galveston Master Plumbers’ Assn. passed on the plumbing.
Capt. D. J. Schliessmann supervised insect and typhus control. The entire dock area and devastated areas were sprayed by airplane one time with DDT. Much of the area has been dusted, and rat poisoning is in progress. Garbage cans, alley ways, standing water, garbage disposal system and potential fly-breeding areas have been sprayed by hand or power sprayers. (This program has broadened to include the entire county.)
The general health in the area has remained good. Fly breeding was kept at a minimum; public health nuisances were curbed; there were no outbreaks of diarrhea during the emergency period. The Headquarters Building of this department and the “desk” at Texas City operated 24 hours a day for the first 10 days, following the initial blast.
A nursing service is being rendered by the two County Health Unit Nurses and three Public Health Nurses furnished by Metropolitan
Life Insurance Company, through the American Red Cross.
Follows a list of the volunteers and services rendered to the Galveston County Health Unit during the Texas City Disaster: Corps of Engineers, Galveston; Delivery and Hauling Service, Druggists, Grocers, Hardware dealers, Newspapers, Plumbers Schools, OCD Casualty of Nederland; Rotarians, Pilot Club, Sea Scouts, Red Cross, Pasadena Schools, Contractors, Department Stores, Garages, Utility Companies, Lumber Companies, Physicians, Radio Amateurs, Service Stations, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Fire Department, Borne Demonstration Club, State Guard, U. S. Army.
Services placed at disposal of Health Unit: Messengers, Driven, first-aid help, cold drinks, telephone, cooks, trucks, carpenters, groceries, milk, equipment, plumbers, cars, nurses, sandwiches, bread, supplies, typewriters.
Schedules were maintained as follows beginning at 1:00 P.M. April 16, except Texas City registration desk schedule, which began on April 17, at noon.*
* Note – Some names may be missing from the list furnished by the County Health Unit, but all names of those who registered have been included herewith. – Author.
Four-hour schedule at Texas City Registration desk for entire emergency maintained by: Mrs. Theresa Carrell, Mrs. Herbert Rilat, Miss Murphy, J. T. Hext, Bill Dixon, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Landers, Mrs. Joe Dunten, Mrs. M. F. Green, Mrs. Larsen, Mrs. Norman, Mrs. Thelma Bitner, Mrs. Helen O’Neill, Mr. and Mrs. Sterchi, Allan Bailey, Ray Mineau, Mrs. Fred Cook, Mrs. H. H. Ellis, Mrs. Poole, Mrs. Balez, Mrs. Ferguson, Mrs. Howard Broderson, Miss Selma Jones, Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Coombs, E. E. West, Mr. and Mrs. B. F. Clark. Mrs. A. E. Gordy. Mrs. Bostian Jones, Mrs. Clement.
Salvation Army clothes sorters beginning April 24, 1947: Miss Anne Garb, Mrs. E. N. Cappleman, Mrs. K. B. Perkins, Mrs. Hughes, Mrs. Henry Broderson, Louise Hughes.
La Marque Registration Desk operated on 24-hour basis, 4-hour schedules through April 20; from 8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. throughout entire emergency: Mrs. D. B. Calvin, Mr. and Mrs. D. R. Clements, Mrs. L. L. Hopkins, Mrs. Fred Juneman, Mrs. Katherine Russell, Mrs. Paul Burchell, Mrs. George Moyer, Mrs. Betty King, Patsy Juneman, Mrs. E. N. Cappleman, Mrs. Hugh Gill, Mrs. Thelma Bitner, Mrs. Mayme Voss, Mrs. Harriet Barrett, Mrs. Roy G. Reed, Mr. and Mrs. Dave Williamson, G. L. Berry, Mrs. Ethel Bean, Mrs. Herbert Rilat, Mrs. Laura Sterchi, Mrs. Lucille Anizan, Mrs. T. J. Bogotto.
Kitchen help schedules maintained on 24-hour basis, four hour schedules through April 18; from 6:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. throughout entire emergency: Mrs. B. B. Naschke, Mrs. A. E. Eriksson, Mrs. Alsten, Mrs. Norman Frost, Mrs. A. H. Zaefel, Mrs. J. M. Brown, Mrs. G. L. FerGuson, Mrs. Eldridge, Mrs. C. L Larsen, Mrs. W. Lucas, Mrs. Jno. Obendorfer, Miss Lucia Burchell, Mrs. D. A. Campbell, Mrs. J. H. Griffin, Mrs. Jesse Landers, Mrs. K. B. Kemp, Mrs. H. R. Warwick.
Typists April 19 and 20 on tour-hour schedules: Betty Voss, Carol Ann Peck, Joanne Stark, Sue Payne, Mrs. W. W. Walters, Patsy Huber, Patty Warwick, Dianne Warwick, Alice Guzzie, O. T. Cook, Jr., Patsy Florian, Peggy Aker, Katherine Roberts, Anna Marie Becker, Doris Johnson.
Morgue assistance schedules maintained on two-hour basis: Basil Jones, D. R. Clements and friend, Betty King, John Obendorfer, Mrs. J. M. Brown and friend, Joe T. Hext, Mrs. D. Bailey Calvin.
Other volunteers serving in various capacities: Mrs. W. D. Chamber, J. D. LeCompte, Mrs. H. L. Adkins, Jesse Landers, Elmer Whaley, Bobby Gill, Kenneth Colley, Miss Newman, Mrs. Manuel Caballero, Mrs. Nell Walton, E. H. Black, Mrs. E.A. French, Mrs. L. S.Fields, Pat Watson, Seaborn Johnson, Miss Estelle Murphy, Nathan Zainfield, Mrs. R. B. Perkins, Margaret Hale, Mrs. Rudy Ranieri, Donnie Perkins, Mrs. Theresa Carrell, Sue Keller, Eddie Voss, J. A. Raggio, Jane Hascall, Mrs. Brown. Frank Peck, Frankie Kielly, Mrs. R. D. Vernon, Thomas Amato, Peggy B. Idema, Lois Westerlage, O. T. Cook, Jr., John Moses, Mrs. John Baker, Mrs. Fred Cook, Mr. and Mrs. James Harlan, Albert Garza, Mrs. Wheeler, Mrs. Robert Layton, Bobby Johnson, Mrs. L. Gibson, W. H. Rigsby. Percy Rossi, Mrs. Joanna Fife, Rosie Juneman, Mrs. Roy G. Reed.
Health Unit Personnel: Roy G. Reed, M. D., Director; Anna Ericson, Sr. P. H. Nurse; Duff Martin, Jr. P. H. Nurse; Tillie Lopez, Jr. X-ray Technician; Graham D. Moorman, Sanitarian; Thomas M. Beverly, Sanitarian; Mrs. Carolyn Peck, Secretary; Mrs. Neil Evans, Clerk; Kenneth E. Moon, sanitarian.
Sanitation Personnel: Capt. D. J. Schliessmann, S.A. Sanitary Engineer (r); Brady Morris, Sp-6, Sanitary Inspector; Joseph A. Mills, SP-6, Sanitary Inspector; Maureen Yancey, CAF-3 Clerk Steno; Luther F. Barton, CPC-4, Foreman; William A. Tuck, CPC-4, Foreman; Dewey A. Ware, Foreman; M. T. Fisher, Thomas W. Harrington, Stanley D. Kendrick, Jay E. McCall, Phillip E. Reilly, Harold E. Sawyer, Archie T. White, Homer Dominque.
Nurses from Houston, Dallas, Austin: Ruth Jane Moore, Mrs. Mary Allen, Mrs. Margaret Baker, Mrs. Vae Nash, Mable Hurd (col), Mrs. Elizabeth Lake, Annetta Harvey, Mrs. Lutie Ruth, Roberta Pursley, Bess Marshall, Mrs. Lola Robb, Mae Margaret Touhey, Mrs. Ruby Wyatt, Reba Moten (col), Norma Myers, Carlie W. Collins (col), Laryne Heck, Elsie Stein, Miss Ella Patton, Clare Blanchard, Audrey Justice, Marguerite Cunningham, Neita Moore, Mrs. Polly
Ward, Mrs. Lucy Leveridge, Alzuma Crain (col), Mrs. Bernice Redding, Adelina Briones, Sara O’Reilly, Dorothy Stewart.
OPERATIONS OF THE
Texas City, Texas, Disaster
MAJOR REGINALD E. Clevett, Director of Unit
THE SALVATION ARMY
Founded in 1855 By William Booth
Citadel Corps: 917 Jackson Street
Parole and Welfare Office: 917 Jackson Street
Red Shield Boys Club: 1712 Walker Ave.
Women’s Residence: 416 McGowen Street
Major and Mrs. Reginald E. Clevett
Chairman Harris County Parole Board
May 10, 1947
Mrs. Doris L. Bangeman
1522 M Street
DEAR MRS. BANGEMAN:
I am enclosing a report, which I prepared for the Governor, of our work from April 16 through April 25. From April 25 through May 8 we continued feeding depot in the High School Domestic Science room and are still maintaining to date one canteen for workers at the morgue now at Camp Wallace.
We are also continuing a very large clothing depot in the High School gymnasium which will probably continue for at least two or three weeks longer.
A local service unit committee is being organized in Texas City to represent the Salvation Army, who will continue to supplement governmental and private agencies, meet local emergencies and assist with unduplicated problems developed by the community. It may include visual aids, health benefits, individual and family service and incidental needs of a special character to the limits of funds available. We are hoping to announce the names of this committee within the next few days.
Yours very sincerely,
(signed) REGINALD E. CLEVETI
About 9:30 A.M. Wednesday, April 16, we were informed by Mr. Nathan Klein, Chairman of the Houston Salvation Army Advisory Board, of the terrible explosion at Texas City. Mr. Klein heard the report over his radio, and came to The Salvation Army office at 917 Jackson Street, Houston, Texas.
Within a half hour we had six persons and a few supplies on the way. During this half hour wires had been sent to Salvation Army Officers in the southeastern part of the state; and to Brigadier Charles H. Dodd, Divisional Commander for Texas, whose office is in Dallas. He requested that a report be sent as soon as the needs had been ascertained, and that he would wire and instruct as many officers as necessary from the state to proceed to Texas City and pledged the support of the entire organization. When I arrived at Texas City with Mrs. Clevett, Adjutant and Mrs. Walter Needham, Captain Louise Ayers, Sergeants Walter Woods and Harry Rickard, we found Captain Rita Russell and Sergeant Mary Dean from Galveston. Naturally, at this early hour after the explosion there was considerable confusion, but we were tremendously impressed by the large number of doctors, nurses and ambulances that had responded to the radio appeals.
The services of The Salvation Army were offered to the city. We set up a headquarters temporarily in the city at the Lutheran Church, which had been damaged. We cleaned it out and set up a canteen and office. Adjutant Walter Needham, with Sergeants Walter Woods and Harry Rickard, went down to the explosion area and went to work with the rescue squads, assisting in searching for and carrying out the bodies of both the wounded and dead.
The ladies began to make sandwiches and coffee, and they were soon serving the workmen and police force, as all of the restaurants were out of order. One of our women assisted in listing the names of the injured as they were being brought to the emergency field station on the lawn behind the City Hall. Before leaving Houston I had also instructed our office to secure a truckload of supplies, and more personnel. These supplies, and four additional persons, arrived about four o’clock Wednesday afternoon. This group consisted of Lieutenant Reginald Clevett, Jr., and three of our band members: Clifford Hill, W. D. Wilson and John Adams. We immediately turned the truck into a mobile canteen, which was driven down into the area where the rescue workers were toiling. Two of the men joined the rescue crews and the other assisted in the canteen. Other workers began to come in from the various communities, including a large Salvation Army mobile canteen from Beaumont, with Sergeant J. C. Smith in charge, and two men helpers. The mobile canteen was immediately put into service, having its own butane stoves, water and supplies, and proceeded to the fire area.
Major Bernard C. Morris, Public Relations Secretary for the Salvation Army in Texas, who was in Port Arthur conducting a financial campaign, arrived with Captain W. Thomas Gregory, Commanding Officer of The Salvation Army in Port Arthur, accompanied by Walter Poole, Clyde Hrankiky, and Wesley Faulkner. Captain Lairen T. White of Orange, Texas, drove a station wagon from Port Arthur and brought five nurses with him; also a supply of groceries and a supply of morphine.
We were then able to establish two more temporary canteens, and supplies began to come in from various communities. The great need was water and food supplies. We ordered these by telephone and radio. We contacted our state commander, Brigadier Dodd, who wired for more personnel. More Salvation Army lay people from Houston came in during the night. Just before the second ship exploded, a number of our workers who were down by the water front along with others heeded the warning and came up to the city, with the exception of 67-year-old Sergeant J. C. Smith. He did not want to leave his mobile canteen; he had driven this canteen to every major disaster along the coast during the past five years. However, when he went back to his canteen, he observed a number of guards and workers still on the job and he decided that he would stay with them, so climbed back into his canteen and began to serve coffee and doughnuts, when the ship exploded. A large piece of the metal from the boat came through the top of our mobile canteen and cut Smith’s right foot off.
A few minutes after the blast we took two station wagons with our men workers, picked up stretchers from the City Hall and rushed down to render whatever service we could. We got to within a hundred feet of where the canteen was, but were stopped by police officers returning from that area, who informed us that they had sent the wounded out, and told us of Sergeant Smith’s injury. We were told he had been removed to the local hospital.
There were also a number of other cars and police officers following us, but all were ordered to return, as no one knew how much damage might result. Upon returning to the center of the community, we assisted in lifting the bodies of the wounded from the cots to the ambulances, which sent them to various hospitals. A number of our people, being ordained ministers, were able to say a few words of comfort and offer a prayer for these individuals.
Naturally, there was no sleep that night. We were kept busy rendering aid wherever possible. Our station wagons were turned into mobile canteens and served the guards in various sections. There was also a canteen maintained inside the morgue all night. We believe this service was a great sustainer of morale. Personally, I was greatly impressed with some of the sacrifices of men and women from all walks of life, rendering various types of service.
About three o’clock in the morning Major and Mrs. Raymond McNeiland of San Antonio came in with another station wagon loaded with supplies. They had picked up Adjutant Luther Smith from Dallas on the way.
Other persons kept coming from various parts of the state. These included Major Verner M. Vansickle, Captain Vernon Nelson, and Lieutenant Helen Davis, all of Dallas; and Captain Charles Dingham of Lufkin. Shortly after, a large truck from the Men’s Social Service Department in Dallas arrived full of clothing, and three of the men from the Center, one of them being the Institutional cook. A large truckload of clothing from the Men’s Social Department of San Antonio was brought by Bandmaster Lloyd Daniel and Bandsman Peter Houseal, who immediately joined the ranks of the rescue working at the water front.
Bythis time we were coordinated in our efforts and were able to render assistance in various fields of service. Major and Mrs. Gilbert Jaynes of Galveston brought four more of their workers, the Major acting as liaison in securing supplies out of Galveston. Naturally, with the large number of people in town, and no public facilities for feeding, our canteens were kept going and taxed to their limits, taking care of feeding as much as possible. Additional canteens were established during the day. A little hamburger stand on the main street was turned over to us. This added to our facilities.
The Salvationists were not only serving material things which were so urgently needed, but were able to give a few words of comfort to those who were seeking their loved ones who were missing. It was an agonizing sight to observe many of these people trying to identify their loved ones among the badly battered and mangled dead.
Late Thursday afternoon the police instructed folks to evacuate because of the possible danger of further explosions. However, this proved to be a false rumor and we were soon back from the highway and going strong.
By late Thursday evening we had a few people who were able to relieve some of the folks who were going constantly without rest. The reinforcements included Major William Carter and Max Carter of Corsicana, and Mr. Rogers, Mr. Matheson and Mrs. Marsh from Austin, with a station wagon load of supplies. We had been making coffee on one small kerosene stove and were unable to serve anything but sandwiches; but sometime during the night on Thursday, four large kerosene ranges were brought in by the U. S. Army. This enabled us to begin preparing chili con carne, soups, and plate lunches, which were well received by the folks who came in. Incidentally, our own workers enjoyed a bowl of hot soup instead of sandwiches.
Friday morning we were able to locate some bacon and eggs and served a whole case of eggs and two slabs of bacon for breakfast. Our small quarters in the Lutheran Church becoming quite cramped, we began looking for larger quarters. The roof in the church was badly damaged in the initial explosion, and when the engineers inspected the buildings of the town to ascertain the damage, the church was condemned as unsafe for occupancy.
We were receiving telegrams and letters from people all over the United States inquiring about their relatives, asking us to verify their safety and notify them if they were injured or killed. We were able to locate a large number of these through the Red Cross Identification Bureau. There was a splendid spirit of cooperation between various relief groups and volunteers working in the disaster area.
Saturday morning Brigadier Charles N. Dodd, Division Commander for the Salvation Army in Texas, arrived from Dallas to observe the program, and to check for further need of personnel ~nd supplies. He wired other Salvationists to come from distant points in the state and arranged for a means of securing funds to take care of the expenses being incurred. We went into Houston and met a group of businessmen, newspaper and radio officials, and told them of our needs and a plea was made over the air for funds for the Salvation Army work in Texas City. Brigadier Dodd remained in Texas City. and worked with the rest of us for two days before returning to his headquarters.
We were being so cramped in our small quarters that it was necessary to locate in a larger place. By this time the folks in the community were beginning to make repairs and check on their needs. The School Board opened up the various school buildings and very graciously turned over the domestic science building, with a well equipped kitchen with 12 gas ranges, 2 electric ranges, and 2 electric refrigerators, where we immediately established our canteen. In this same building we found an office; the sewing room was made into a dining room; and there was also a bedroom in which some of our women personnel could get rest.
The School Board also turned over the High School building for our clothing depot. By this time a large number of truckloads of clothes had arrived from all over the state of Texas and many packages were flown in from scattered places in the United States — from California to Oregon, from Florida to New England.
The Men’s Social Officers, Adjutant and Mrs. Needham, and Captain Nelson, set up the clothing depot, and with 30 volunteer helpers.
On Saturday evening the local Ministerial Alliance conducted a memorial service at the High School stadium. Five Salvation Army officers were on the platform, including Brigadier Charles H. Dodd, Divisional Commander. This was a very impressive service, but one of the saddest that we have experienced. One could not help but notice the tragic expression on the faces of those present, for Texas City people have suffered a great loss.
Sunday morning there was little opportunity for us to attend services; however, Major Verner Vansyckle of Dallas, Texas, brought the morning message at the First Methodist Church. According to all reports, he was well received, and his message was one of comfort and blessing. While we had intended to conduct a service for our workers, it was late in the afternoon before we had a breathing spell and were able to get 35 of our workers together for a little spiritual uplift, with Brigadier Dodd expressing his appreciation for the hard work and self sacrificing spirit of the Salvationists from all parts of Texas who had given their time and effort in serving this disaster area.
On Sunday six more of the lay members of Houston came in and spent Sunday and Monday (Monday being a Texas Holiday — San Jacinto Day). Other reinforcements began to come in on Monday morning, including Major Z. H. Parker of San Angelo, Captain Denna Stanfield of Fort Worth, Lieutenant Betty Williams of Tyler, and Major John Davis of Long-view.
The Texas Florist Association asked the Salvation Army to see that all funerals were supplied with flowers where, for various reasons, some were unable to purchase them. We bad an ample stock sent, and these were placed in refrigeration for this purpose. In cooperation with the local ministers and undertakers, we placed a good many floral offerings from this supply.
We endeavored to perform every service requested of us to the best of our ability, even to the request of a man who came in looking so tired and weary, having spent every day and night with very little rest since the first explosion. Mrs. Major Clevett asked him how we could serve and he said, “All I want is a place to take out my teeth and wash them. I haven’t had an opportunity to do this since last Wednesday morning.” This request was also granted.
Gifts began to come in from distant places, including a truckload of toys from Dallas, with the thought that the children who lost their toys as well as clothing might have something with which to enjoy living again. An interesting thing in the toy distribution was a note from a little boy in Dallas who sent his little roller skates, stating that this was the thing he most enjoyed of all the toys he owned and he wanted some little boy who had lost all of his toys to enjoy what he considered his best.
Texas City has now begun to take on new life. Many windows have been replaced and there is a spirit of hope prevailing that a new Texas City will emerge from this terrible Catastrophe.
A large truckload of supplementary groceries was brought in from Austin. Numerous Texas City residents have begun to move back into their battered up homes, Of course this has added to our problem of providing food. Even though some of the cafes have already opened their doors again, they are still just a drop of water in a bucket compared to the needs. Our dining room has been taxed to capacity night and day. We were helped considerably by a number of local citizens who had recovered from the immediate shock, and also by a number of women from La Marque who teach at the schools in Texas City. These volunteers have labored in our kitchen, dining room and clothing depot.
Captain M. T. Gonzaullus, Commanding Company B of the Texas Rangers, and Chief of Police Ladish of the Texas City Police Force have been extremely courteous and helpful, in allowing our canteens and personnel to travel into restricted areas so that we could serve the men doing salvage work.
The Salvation Army is prepared to carry on as long as our service is needed. Brigadier Charles Dodd has arranged for personnel to relieve the officers who have been in for several days. We have just received word from Commissioner William C. Arnold, Territorial Commander for the Southern Territory, comprising fifteen southern states, that four expert relief officers were being temporarily relieved from U. S. O. duties to assist the work in Texas City.
Captain James Childs from Harlingen, Captain William Alling from Sherman, Adjutant Wm. Pyke of Dallas, Major Milton Atkins of Laredo, Captain James Anderson and Frances Nicolosi of Texarkana, have come into the city during the past two or three days, and some of our officers have returned to their individual responsibilities in the various communities. However, we still have twenty Salvation Army Officers, and thirty lay members of the Army on the job, in addition to a fine group of local volunteers.
I shall be very pleased to give a further report about a week from now. This report covers the activities from April 16th to 25th. We appreciate your interest, and we know the burden that is on the hearts of our Governor, and Mayor Trahan of Texas City, and the other public officials; and we are praying that God will sustain them, and guide them in these very difficult days.
(signed) REGINALD E. CLEVETT
Director of Disaster Relief for The Salvation Army, Texas City, Texas
April 25, 1947
Wednesday, April 16, through Sunday, April 27
|Number of Canteens||10|
|Flowers for funerals||80 sprays|
Counsel and Guidance given to numerous families, particularly those who visited the morgue.
THE SALVATION ARMY*
420 Nineteenth Street
Major and Mrs. Gilbert A. Jaynes
May 30, 1947
Mr. Levi Fry
Mr. Charlie Lerman
Mr. Herman Klein
Mr. J. W Butler
Mrs. H. L. Madden
Mr. IV. P. Sweeney
Rev. Roland Hood
Dr. H. Broderson
Major Jaynes has called a meeting of the Salvation Army Advisory Board at 3:00 P.M. Friday afternoon, June 6, in the Chamber of Commerce offices.
We hope you will attend.
(signed) R. W. Davis
Secretary and Treasurer
Major R. E. Clevett
Major C. A. Jaynes
*This is a copy of a letter received by Mrs. H. L. Madden and gives the names of the Texas City members of the Salvation Army Advisory Board.
REPORT ON WESTERN UNION
ACTIVITIES DURING THE DISASTER
(J. P. JACKSON, Galveston Western Union Superintendent)
From Wednesday, April 16, through Friday, April 18, Western Union delivered approximately 20,000 messages from distressed families throughout the United States. During the same period, some 25,000 wires were sent out of the Galveston and Texas City offices.
Mr. Jackson, together with equipment and clerks, rushed to the scene of the tragedy, arriving shortly after 10:00 AM.
All telegraph communications were disrupted. The building had been damaged considerably, but no employees were reported injured.
Western Union had established two direct circuits with Houston by noon. By 2:30 P.M., the third circuit had been opened to Houston.
Direct two-way circuits were established between Galveston Red Cross Chapter offices and Dallas, where messages were relayed to St. Louts, Southwestern area Red Cross headquarters, and elsewhere.
Direct two-way circuits were established between City Red Cross headquarters and the Galveston traffic room of Western Union.
Working under extreme handicaps, employees toiled endlessly.
At approximately 7:30 P. M.the entire force was evacuated to La Marque, returning to Texas City early Thursday.
Galvestonians who had worked previously with Western Union, some with a knowledge of typing, volunteered. Western Union employees from all over Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas had arrived.
Galveston and Texas City organizations, Boy Scouts, American Legion, schools and churches were called by radio, telephone, automobile loud-speakers, and other means for assistance in delivering messages. These organizations responded magnificently, and only through their assistance could we have done our job.
Some 180,000 words of press copy were filed. The telephone strike added materially to our load.
A list of Western Union employees and officials who were imported to Texas City and Galveston to handle telegraphic volume includes: M. B. Eckert, Division Commercial Manager; L. T. Brown, Division Supervisor; C. S. Davis, F. J. Akesson, W. W. Keith, D. Travillion, E. W. Jackson, J. W. Barnes, J. E. Petty, W. F. Hershey, Division Auditor; E. E. Shirley, Traveling Auditor; R. E. Larson, Traveling Auditor; W. M. McCormick, Division Traffic Supervisor; B. Whitehead, R. L. Gauldin, Division Supervisor of Maintenance; A. R. Jones. Maintenance Foreman; W. H. Anderson, Equipment Supervisor; J. A. Glidewell, District Superintendent; F. H. Austin, District Manager; Joe Ward, all of Dallas. L. H. Jacobus, New Orleans, La., Sales Manager; H. A. Metcalf, F. M. Ellet, Commercial Representative, San Antonio; C. V. McCune, Little Rock, Ark., F. E. Davis, Shreveport, La., Paul Horton, Sales Manager, Alexandria, La., A. H. Fisher, Texarkana, Ark., A. D. Henson, Manager, College Station, Texas. District Manager, R. C. Reynolds, San Angelo, Texas. Howard Mayes, Sales Manager; C. S. Johnson, Superintendent, Houston; Mrs. Mary Harmon, Manager; Miss Elsie Lys, operator, Denison, Texas; Mary Alyce Durham, Clerk, Beaumont.
Follows the list of Galveston and Texas City employees who participated in the handling of telegraph file pertaining to the April 16 disaster: F. H. Lewis, Cashier; Miss Irene Nasche, Bookkeeper; E. A. Owen, Delivery Manager; A. T. Lee, Night Manager; Mrs. T. B. Crawford, Superintendent Clerk; D. S. Kauffman, Delivery Clerk; Abdon Norris, Counter Clerk; Miss Virginia Keller, Counter Clerk; Miss Zelma Foster, Counter Clerk, T. C.; Mrs. Norma Lowry, Manager, Texas City Office; Mrs. Connie Daly, Counter Clerk; Miss Juanita Vick, Clerk; Mrs. Rose Purcell, Bookkeeping Clerk; Mrs. Anna McMillan, Telephone Operator; Mrs. Mary Herauf, Mrs. Dorothy Franz, Mrs. Barbara Slocum, Mrs. D. S. Kauffman, Telephone Operators; Gabe Garcia, Clerk; J. R. Jackson, Jr., Superintendent; A. J. Roach, Traffic Chief Operator; Miss Maude Cook, Traffic Supervisor; R. L. McGuire, T & R Supervisor; C. H. McGuire, Early Night Traffic Supervisor.
SIDELIGHTS ON THE TEXAS CITY
By BILL STACK
Mrs. Lola Sheldon, Texas City Chief Operator, and John G. Urquhart, garage foreman at Houston, were at the board in the telephone exchange when the fire on the Grand Camp was reported about 8:30 Wednesday. April IS, 1947. J. D. Polk, Galveston construction foreman, and Fred Nauert, Texas City wire chief, hurried to the building; in a few minutes Mrs. Ora Menge, night relief chief operator, and Mrs. Ruth Ranson, evening chief, reported ahead of schedule. All were at the board on duty when the blast occurred at 9:12 AM.
Telephone people from points throughout the area hurried to the blasted city to assist in maintaining service and restoring the damaged plant. W. J. Hancock, area traffic supervisor of Dallas, arrived Wednesday afternoon to coordinate the work of the operating forces, along with E. R. Kuhn, division traffic supervisor from Houston. J. A. Boyle, division plant superintendent, took charge of the work of restoring the wrecked telephone plant, assisted by L. E. Hastings, division construction superintendent. D. G. Kobs, district manager at Galveston, and L. L. Hill, Galveston manager, joined C. C. Kennedy and Pat Wilson, commercial staff assistant of Houston, in helping to get toll calls through from the business office. Miss Dorothy Schelewa, night chief operator at Texas City, was, of course, on the job right along.
Plant damage was comparatively light. About 400 telephones in the dock area were put out of service, two cables serving Monsanto plant were destroyed, and seven miles of cable between Texas City and La Marque were damaged in places by flying metal. The toll lines to Galveston and Houston remained intact, and the cable to La Marque was restored to service in an hour by Polk and Nauert.
Six emergency telephones were installed in the business office, and one each at Red Cross and Salvation Army headquarters, and others elsewhere. Broadcast loops were set up in the rear of the telephone exchange for several radio stations and national radio chains.
At Houston, main telephone switching point for southeast Texas, operating forces on duty were augmented by extra people so that emergency calls to and from the disaster area could be routed swiftly to their destination.
At Texas City, an estimated 1,000 long distance calls went through the board from the time of the explosion and 8:30 P.M.,at which time an evacuation order was given.
TELEPHONE PERSONNEL RELEASED FROM STRIKE
ROLES FOR EMERGENCY DUTY
By Mrs. Virginia Bloberg
A list of the girls who worked, and their total hours for the 7 emergency days follows:
Mrs. Margaret Baumel, 59 1/2; Mrs. Virginia Bloberg, 36 1/2; Mrs. Delores Boatman, 9; Mrs. D. June Brown, 14; Mrs. Beryl Burnett, 32;
Virginia Calhoun, 22, Mrs. Zola Chandler, 43; Ruth Childress, 33; Lois Daniel, 18; Mrs. Beulah Dyer, 38 1/2; Thelma Dyess, 78 1/2; Mrs. Frankie Goyne, 47 ½; Jeanine Hunter, 31; Mrs. Hazel Johnson, 5 1/2; Mrs. Lila Lee Kiethley, 19; Mrs. Peggy A. Kohlman, 43 1/2; Mrs. Bertha Long, 34; Mrs. Josephine McDowell, 57 1/2; Mrs. Carol Mills, 23; Mrs. Anna Moser, 45 1/2; Mrs. Clara Pitts, 13; Mrs. Ruth Ranson, 48; Mrs. Frances Reading, 47 1/2; Dorothy Schelewa, 40; Mrs. Lola Sheldon, 72; Mrs. Dorothy Sills, 17; Mary Castelberry, 38; June Enocksen, 8; Mrs. Emma Lou Frost, 22 1/2; Mary E. Manning. 52; Mrs. Shirley Mills, 38; Annie Laurie Richardson, 29 1/2; Mrs. Vivian Rogers, 24; Wanda Ross, 14; Mrs. Lillian Stewart, 18 1/2; Mrs. Lucille Treadwell, 35 1/2. Texas City Commercial Department: Gladyce Holland, 66; Mrs. Thelma Follett, 63; Buford Davis, 1. Plant Department: Freddie Navert. 63; John Tipple, 64; Raymond Looney, 54; Leonard Pennoch, 38; De Witt Worthy, 27; Robert Simpson, 38; David Barton, 38; Ernest Jarman, 13.
Alvin operators stood by on April 16; subsequently they worked the following total hours: Nell Carter, 20; Mildred Colburn, 8 1/2; Amy Nell Hoyle, 20 1/2; Delores Krampota, 23; Mary Peterman, 20; Edna Adams, 8; Marie Allen, 8; Bernice Diffinbaugh, 23; Leta Norris, 23; Kathryn Owens, 11 1/2; Marie Schmidt, 23.
Freeport operators: Evelyn Carruth, 16; Margaret Cameron, 16; Marie Nanson, 16; Faye Slaughter, 16; Margaret Freeman, 16; Mary White. 11; Pearl Guidrx, 11.
On Thursday, April 24, Margaret Glenning, Frances Connelly, Margaret Counceller, Gertrude Ryan and Bertha Meyers, Galveston operators, worked 8 hours each to give five Texas City operators a day off. The girls donated their earnings to the Texas City girls.
*Excerpt from an article in Southwestern Bell Telephone News
By J. ARGUELLES H., Vice Consul in Charge
I wish to point out the fact that every one of the victims received immediate care and proper attention according to the prevailing circumstances. The spirit of cooperation of this country is admirable, because they contributed at the very moment with everything necessary to relieve such distress.
Mr. Gustavo Ortiz Hernan, Consul General in San Antonio, directed consular activities, holding meetings with authorities, as well as victims in Camp Wallace and hospitals.
I wish to go on record personally, as well as on behalf of my Government, to thank the Red Cross, Texas City Officials, volunteer personnel, such as Mr. Alfred A. Borofsky, Consulting Attorney of the Mexican Consulate in Galveston; Dr. Guillermo de Hoyes, staff physician at John Scaly Hospital, and all others working in union to alleviate the suffering of our people.
The mustering of all forces for the relief and aid of the suffering, and the rapidity of resuming normal living and business only additionally convinces the writer of the natural bond of mankind to its more unfortunate and the extent of what people can do if the will to work together exists. Texas City and a sympathetic world are to be commended.
BENEFIT CONCERTS AND SHOWS
TEXAS CITY RELIEF FUND*
When the full extent of the Texas City explosion was realized in Galveston, Thomas G. Rice, manager of Galveston Town Hall, considered it best under the circumstances to ask for a cancellation of an appearance of Lauritz Melchior, Metropolitan Opera Association tenor, who was scheduled to sing at the city auditorium on April 18 with a concert orchestra under the direction of Otto Seyfert.
James A. Davidson of the William Morris Agency, Mr. Melchior’s management, advised Mr. Rice by telephone that the cancellation was quite in order, but suggested that perhaps the singer would give his services, fulfill the scheduled appearance and donate proceeds from the concert to the Disaster Relief Fund.
When Mr. Rice reached Mr. Melchior by telephone in New Orleans, the singer - as great in heart as he is in artistry - agreed without any hesitancy to make the benefit appearance.
Although the time was short and the circumstances difficult, considering that Galvestonians were severely stunned by the impact of the tragedy, the benefit concert which Mr. Melchior gave on April 18 was a success.
When Mr. Melchior appeared on the stage of the Galveston city auditorium, members of the audience spontaneously jumped to their feet to greet the singer with a storm of applause for his gesture in the name of suffering humanity.
Mr. Melchior felt that it was not enough to give proceeds from ticket sales to the Disaster Relief Fund. At the intermission of his recital he made a touching appeal to the audience for additional contributions. At the conclusion of his remarks, Town Hall ushers, led by Mr. Melchior’s beautiful wife, received contributions from those in the audience.
The sum collected from the audience exceeded $800, the largest sum ever spontaneously donated by a group of people in Galveston. Added to the ticket sales, this brought the total to $1500.
Mr. Melchior also appeared in a benefit show in Houston following his Galveston recital.
After the Town Hall benefit concert, the Galveston News was swamped with one offer after another from artists who wished to help Texas City.
Jose Iturbi and his sister, Amparo, said they would appear in Galveston. Opera singers in Chicago, actors and musicians in New York and Washington telegraphed their deep sympathy for the stricken city and offered their services.
Climax of the series of benefits in Galveston and other Texas communities came with the startling announcement that Phil Harris, Alice Faye, Jack Benny, Rochester, Frank Sinatra and others of the Hollywood roster of film and radio stars would assemble in the island city for a mammoth benefit show under sponsorship of the Greater Galveston Beach Association.
The star-studded benefit show was held in the Galveston City Auditorium on April 28 and added $28,222 to the relief fund. Later the Hollywood stars made up caravans and gave benefit shows in Houston and New Orleans.
Sam Maceo, Galveston sportsman, arranged for the benefit appearance of the Hollywood stars when he appealed to his friend, Phil Harris. Harris said he would get his fellow-actors together and bring them to Galveston. Maceo underwrote the show.
WE CARED FOR THE DEAD
By MELVIN GARTON, Embalmer
With the completion of the rescue of all possible among the injured, it became necessary to care for the dead. A central morgue was organized by Wm, I. Tipton, Galveston, Fred Linton, Texas City, and Naul Sandall, Jr., Houston, at the McGar Garage in Texas City. Although this building had been heavily damaged and offered limited facilities, there was adequate floor space. Operating tables were improvised from stretchers, rough boxes, grease racks, counters, etc., later supplemented by tables brought by the Landig College of Mortuary Science. The College also supplied more than 150 students, several cases of fluid, pressure injectors and operating equipment. Since these supplies only scratched the surface, requests for funeral supplies were made over the radio. Funeral homes in the area depleted their stocks of supplies and equipment in an effort to meet the need, without cost to the victims.
Before the proper equipment arrived, embalmers improvised such instruments as aneurism hooks, and even arterial tubes. As there was considerable drainage accumulating on the floors a student embalmer procured two truckloads of sand which was placed on the floor, and soon proper type receptacles were on hand.
Upon removal from the danger area, the bodies were placed in a building next to the McGar Garage, where they were numbered. Here, clothing and valuables were removed from each body and given a corresponding number; a file was made for each body. Surface identifying characteristics were noted. Then the bodies were removed to the main building of the garage, where they were bathed and embalmed. Practically all bodies were covered with oil; kerosene and pyrene in considerable quantities were used to remove it.
The number of the dead prevented any painstaking efforts at restorative art and further difficulties were added by the shortage of equipment, cosmetics and waxes. A needle was definitely a prize, and a spatula a luxury. Student embalmers employed spatulas whittled from wood and did very creditable jobs, as 58 were made presentable for open caskets at the funeral service.
Bodies that were mutilated beyond repair were hypoed and placed in sections of canvas or blankets. The outer coverings were neatly sewed around the bodies and the clothing place over the body. Many bodies were shipped to nationwide destinations. These were given the best special treatments conditions would permit.
Shortly after the embalming was completed the bodies were moved to the High School Gymnasium, where it was possible for the bereaved to view the dead in an effort to make identifications. Complete records were formulated on each victim and it was impossible to remove bodies without permission of the “Dead Body Commission.” This procedure prevented the victims from being scattered over a large area before identification had been completed and families had been contacted.
Before this system had been formulated, a few bodies were removed; an order from Mayor Trahan required that these be returned, and customary procedure be followed.
The Department of Public Safety did a magnificent job. Employing even the slightest clue to ascertain identity, they X-rayed the charred badge of a worker, easily reading his number, establishing his identity. Fingerprints and dental plates were used to identify many. Pages could be written on this phase alone.
For the most part, the bodies, recovered after the first few days were either charred beyond recognition or else were in advanced stages of decomposition. Day by day the latter condition became increasingly worse. A great number of tissue gas filled “floaters” were brought in for preparation. Injection, where possible, was done arterially and local areas were treated hypodermically. Others could be treated only hypodermically, then placed in vats filled with a solution of formalin and phenol.
It would be impossible to name the embalmers, funeral directors, funeral supply men, funeral supply houses, and private funeral homes and describe the service each rendered. Let it be said that the service rendered is one of the most heroic chapters in the history of the funeral profession. Any blemishes that may have been put there by individuals have been whitewashed by the service of the profession as a whole. This statement applies equally to Negroes. Approximately twenty students from the Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science arrived by air along with members of the faculty and stayed two days. Embalmers from Fort Worth, Waco, Dallas, Austin, Corpus Christi and a hundred and one other places came to the rescue.
The Emken Funeral Home and Wehmeyer-Powell Funeral Chapel of Texas City lost heavily in structural damage, equipment, and personnel. Isaac Burton Goar, of Emkens, and Vic Wehmeyer, of Wehmeyer-Powell, and Adolph Jerkofsky, are killed or missing. These local funeral homes were soon filled with the dead.
Charles Kelly, who had been working in McGar’s Garage Morgue all day, answered a call for rescue workers. There was another explosion.
Ironic fate placed Kelly on exactly the same table for preparation at which he had worked so faithfully all day, preparing others for that last long journey.
Three hundred eighty-five bodies passed through the central morgue at Texas City. These bodies were thoroughly embalmed without cost to anyone. Only sixty-three are unidentified.
On April 22, the morgue was moved to Camp Wallace, Texas, where ample space had been allotted. Identification experts claim that by placing the embalmed bodies in cold storage of even temperature, no change in appearance from dehydration would take place and interfere with identification.
A receiving morgue was set up at another location in Camp Wallace, where each body was thoroughly embalmed; then, about the second day, the body was moved to the identification morgue, where the temperature is kept even.
R. Victor Landig, President of the Hyde Park Funeral Home, was placed in charge of the embalming and later made Chairman of the “Dead Body Commission” He has worked ceaselessly in this capacity since the date of the tragedy. He has given unstintingly of his time and effort throughout the entire period of sixty-nine days.
Houston Post 52, American Legion, the largest post in the state, awarded R. Victor Landig a gold life membership certificate card as a token of appreciation rendered “to the community, state and nation’’ for valiant services during the disaster. Bert Giesecke, State Commander, speaking at the Eighth District Convention said:
‘‘It’s difficult to single out names, because every Legionnaire at Texas City was doing noble work; but everyone who was there will bear me out when I say Vic Landig of Houston Post 52 did an outstanding job.”
A mass burial of 63 unidentified was held Sunday, June 22, 1947, with R. Victor Landig as Chairman.
The funeral services were held at the Texas City Memorial Cemetery, which is about one and one-half miles north of town, beginning at 10:00 A. M.
Lester Callaway, of the Callaway Mortuary, Houston, arranged for a separate hearse to be used by each individual.
Caskets and ground receptables were provided by Fred Linton and Mrs. Victor Wehmeyer, Texas City funeral directors.
Naul Sandall, of Houston, supervised the placing of bodies in the caskets and proper numbering of them.
Judge G. P. Reddell, J. P. of Texas City, Supervised the statistics.
Knox Wright, of Settegast-Kopt, Houston, supervised the floral arrangement.
W. M. Tippen, Galveston, supervised pallbearers.
The parking and Police Escort was under the supervision of Vic Parker, Houston.
Rev. Frank Doremus, St. George’s Episcopal Church, Texas City, supervised the clergy, including Fr. Carl Kermiet, of the Roman Catholic Church, Rev. Kenneth Teegarden, First Christian Church, Texas City; Rabbi Lewis Fegan, and Rev. F. M. Johnson representing the colored churches.
Following is the list of Funeral Directors furnishing one or more hearses and other equipment for the mass burial without cost to anyone:
Humble Funeral Home, Humble; Pace-Stancil Funeral Home, Donnelly Funeral Home, Cleveland; Pace Funeral Home, Liberty; Froberg Funeral Home, Martin Funeral Home, Alvin; Waller Funeral Home, Waller; Richmond Funeral Home, Richmond; Weymeyer-Powell Funeral Chapel, Emken Funeral Home, Texas City; Malloy & Son, J. Levy & Son, Broadway Funeral Home, Johnston Funeral Home, Galveston; Angleton Funeral Home, Angleton; Klein Funeral Home, Tomball; Koenig Funeral Home, La Grange; Foerster Funeral Home, Rosenberg Funeral Home, Rosenberg; West Columbia Funeral Home, West Columbia; Brenham Funeral Home, Leon Simank Funeral Home, Brenham; Schmidt Funeral Home, Brookshire; Matchett-Newman Funeral Home, Taylor Brothers Funeral Home, Bay City; Grammiers Funeral Home, Clayton-Thompson Funeral Home, Port Arthur; Freeport Funeral Home, Freeport; Paul U. Lee Funeral Home, Goose Creek, Broussard Funeral Home, Beaumont; Noguess Funeral Home, Orange; Wahrenberger Funeral Home, Smithville; Callaway Mortuary, Hyde Park Funeral Home, Boulevard Funeral Home, Earthman Funerals. Fogle-West Company, Morales Funeral Home, Houston Funeral Home, Settegast-Kopt Company, Geo. H. Lewis & Company, Villareal Funeral Home, Houston.
Colored funeral directors furnishing a car: Peoples Funeral Home, Pelly; Collins-Foster Funeral Home, Sheffield Funeral Home, Sacred Hope Funeral Home, Houston; Strode Funeral Home, Herbert Funeral Home, Galveston.
Each body had an identical cypress casket, all being 6-3 octagon, with swell corners and a large heavy base mould, having extension and end handles and covered with a good grade of broadcloth and silk lined which was placed in a cypress ground receptacle.
There was a nice spray of flowers on each casket.
Pallbearers were from the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Labor Organizations and Volunteer Firemen,
Landscaping of the Memorial Cemetery was completed under the supervision of John T. Shea, President of the South Park Cemetery.
By virtue of the authority vested in me by the Charter of the City of Texas City, I, Mayor J. C. Trahan, hereby establish a commission to be known as the DEAD BODY COMMISSION. The purpose of this body will be to regulate the moving, removing, embalming, identifying, and releasing of bodies of persons recovered within the limits of the City of Texas City and to prevent a recurrence of the unfortunate instances when bodies have been lost prior to identification and without permission of relatives.
I hereby appoint R. Victor Landig as chairman of the Dead Body Commission, and Vic Parker and Justice of the Peace G. P. Reddell, to serve as members of the Commission, all appointments made revocable at my pleasure, subject to the following rules, to wit: -
1. The bodies of all persons found or to be found within City Limits shall be removed to the building owned by McGar Motor Service at 618 Fifth Avenue North in Texas City.
2. No dead body shall be removed from the place where it is found except through and by vehicles operated by authorized personnel of the United States Army, unless removal of same is authorized in writing by the Dead Body Commission.
3. No dead body shall be removed from the corporate limits of the City of Texas City without written permission of the Dead Body Commission, and then only after full and satisfactory identification has been established by a Justice of the Peace of Galveston County, Texas.
4. Any person violating any order of the Dead Body Commission issued pursuant to these rules shall be arrested immediately by any member of the Commission or any duly appointed officer of the law and surrendered to the custody of the Chief of Police of Texas City without delay.
5. No person shall be permitted to enter any morgue operated by the Dead Body Commission under the provisions hereof without permission of the said Commission.
6. The Commission is authorized to delegate such of the powers herein granted to them as they shall deem expedient, subject to revocation by me.
ORDERED THIS 17TH DAY OF APRIL, AD., 1947
J. C. TRAHAN Mayor
ATTEST: WILLIAM B. DAZY
*Issued by Mayor J. C. Trahan, Texas City
WORKERS IN TEXAS CITY
Following is a list of those working in Texas City Disaster Morgue for two weeks or more without any compensation from any one:
R. Victor Landig, Mortician, 1324 Hyde Park Blvd., Houston, Texas
G. P. Reddell, Justice of the Peace, Texas City, Texas
Emil Schenck, Justice of the Peace, League City, Texas
William Tippen, 2623 Ave. O 1/2, Galveston, Texas
H. N. Sandall, 1308 Peden Street, Houston, Texas
Mrs. G. P. Reddell, 19 Fifth Avenue North, Texas City, Texas
Mrs. J. D. Warren, Waco, Texas
Mrs. Mary (Mom) Rinehart (nurse), 519 13th Ave. N, Texas City, Texas
Mrs. Hardin, La Porte, Red Cross Nurses Aide
Mrs. R. Wiggins, 510 10th Ave. N., Texas City. Texas, Red Cross Aide
M. McMonigle, Marine Hospital, Galveston. Texas
Jesse Savoley, Galveston, Texas
O. W. Land, Box 311, La Grange, Texas
Bellye Cornelius, 2647 Shorin, Dallas, Texas
Mrs. Donald Nevins, 90 Third Avenue Villas, Texas City, Texas
Ollie Quinn, Arthur Courts, Route 13. Box 133, Houston, Texas
Following is a list of others rendering faithful service but receiving some compensation from some source:
Glen H. McLaughlin, Chief, Austin, Texas
J. H. Arnette, Chief Chemist and Toxicologist, Austin, Texas
Derward Nollner, Chemist, Austin, Texas
Jack Mercer, Fingerprint Expert, Austin, Texas
D. W. Hicks, Livingston, Texas
D. G. Halyard, Liberty, Texas
L. C.Harris, Livingston, Texas
E. L. Brownson, Liberty, Texas
The above named were from the State Department of Public Safety.
Loyd D. Frazier, Assistant Superintendent, Houston Fingerprint Department, Houston, Texas
Mrs. Susie Snoga, Red Cross Nurse, Galveston, Texas
Mrs. M. F. Stephens, Red Cross Nurse, Galveston, Texas
Major Anna Mae Higgins, 14 South St. Claire, Toledo, Ohio and
Major Lillian M. Gould, 848 3rd St., Des Moines, Iowa, both with the Volunteers of America
Robert Dean Thatcher, 1624 Pochentas St., Baton Rouge, La.
There were others who spent less time, but a list is not available.
*Note. - For the first seven days the Morgue was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; after moving to Camp Wallace the Morgue was open 10 hours a day, from 8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M., seven days a week.
STATE OF TEXAS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
H. C. R. No. 164
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
WHEREAS, Many public spirited citizens have contributed in various ways to aid in the rehabilitation of Texas City and Relief to the unfortunate victims of the disaster; and
WHEREAS, It is the desire of this Fiftieth Legislature to express on behalf of the people of Texas sincerest thanks and gratitude to the following individuals and groups upon their splendid and unselfish assistance:
Mr. R. Victor Landig, 1324 Hyde Park Boulevard, Houston Texas, Judge G. P. Reddell, Texas City, Texas, Mr. Victor Parker, Harris County Sheriff’s Department, Houston, Texas, Mr. H. N. Sandall, Jr., 1308 Peden Street, Houston, Texas. the Reverend Frank S. Doremus, Texas City, Texas, Mr. J. H. Arnette, 4515 Ramsey, Austin, Texas, Mrs. Mary Rinehart, 519 13th Avenue. N., Texas City, Texas, Mr. Glenn McLaughlin, Department of Public Safety Austin, Texas, Mr. Floyd F. Frazier, Houston Police Department, Houston, Texas, Judge Emil Schenck, League City, Texas, all Nurses furnished by the Red Cross, together with transportation, State Headquarters, Austin, Texas, Police furnished by the Texas Highway Patrol, Sheriffs’ Departments of Galveston, Harris, and Dallas counties, and the Salvation Army, 500North Ervay, Dallas, Texas, for rations furnished; therefore be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring, That Copies of this Resolution be mailed to each of the above named individuals and groups, and that the many others not mentioned above who contributed of their time and efforts be also commended.
(signed) ALLAN SHIVERS
President of the Senate
(signed) W. O. REED Speaker of the House
I hereby certify that H. C. R. No. 164 was adopted by the House on June 6, 1947.
(signed) CLARENCE JONES
Chief clerk of the House
I hereby certify that H. C. R. No. 164 was adopted by the Senate on June 6, 1947.
(signed) CLAUDE ISBELL
Secretary of the Senate
What the People Said and Did
For the People, by the People
By the Community, State and Nation Part One
By the Community, State and Nation Part Two
By the Community, State and Nation Part Three
Lest We Forget
United We Stand
In God We Trust
Annals of Texas City