This is a blog about music, photography, history, and culture.
These are photographs from my collection that tell a story about lost time and forgotten music.

Mike Brubaker
{ Click on the image to expand the photo }

Greetings from Windthorst, Texas!

15 November 2013

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Postmarked from Windthorst, TX on May 28, 1911 this postcard was sent to Miss Mary ?Steaberly? of Ft. Worth, Texas. The heavy pencil script is difficult to read. The writer is unknown except for their initials, and there is no location or name given for any of the 16 members of this family group.

                        May 28
I will take the ?blame? in sending you this card hoping yours are all well as is here with us.  ?We? the same it is getting ?_? warm and hot. I thought Id send this card to see wether you know any on this photo There is one a missing that was sick and then on ?stam_? at here was a little sick with ?_?
__? regards C.G.


Windthorst, Texas is northwest from Dallas and was settled by German Catholics in the 1890s. It had its first post office in 1892, and Google Street View shows the current post office and general store built by Mr. Weinzapfel in 1921. In 1895 there were 75 families in the community. Windthorst reached its peak in 1977 with 1000 citizens and twelve businesses, but according to the 2010 census the population today is only about 409.

I trust the guitar player and trombonist enjoyed that Dunkler Bock beer. What songs did they sing together with that accompaniment?

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
where the door is always open to guests.


Karen S. said...

What a great group they look to be. I especially like the look on the one lad's face, and their toasting with such fine glasses really makes it for me. This one postcard moment speaks in so many directions, such a great choice.

Jonathan said...

Feels as if I'm right there.

Kat Mortensen said...

Despite the missing sick one, and the one standing at the left who was supposedly sick, they look a pretty stalwart bunch to me. Not a very happy bunch, but hardy. I think a few more Dunklers and things would pick up. Mind you, the Dunklers might have been a bone of contention judging by a few of the elder faces.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness. I do wish I could claim those characters for my family. I can see a story behind every face there. I'm glad you scanned them into groups like that too. Those two little boys practically jump off the page with the expressions on their faces. I love the smirk and the smile of the two women on the right. I wonder what they've been gossiping about. It must be a celebration of some kind with the drinks and the music. But the old boy on the left has seen it all before ! Ho hum ! Thanks for this post.

Alan Burnett said...

It's a great photograph and it is a perfect subject for the kind of visual dissection you do so well. Prost my friend.

Deb Gould said...

Two doorways into the house? Is that some kind of an early duplex? What a formidable bunch!

Jackie Mc Guinness said...

I immediately thought Mexican music until I read it was settled by Germans...

Bob Scotney said...

I doubt that they were singing the Drinking Song from the Student Prince (?) The people in the second photo from the end do not look like they approve.

Jackie van Bergen said...

Those on the right of the photo look much more happy and animated than those on the left who look very serious (even grumpy). I wonder if those drinks are being past along and those on the right have already had some :)

Hazel Ceej said...

Funny how I thought of 'instagram' when I reach the bit on "on ?stam_?"

P.S. God bless your generous heart, Mike.


Tattered and Lost said...

What a fine deconstruction of a truly GREAT image! So much happening, so many questions. This group could be their own reality series. And cheers to the two who drank in public.

Joan said...

Well done! This photo can keep us storytellers and dreamers busy for days on end. There is just so much going on, such great faces and stances. Fantastic photo.

Wendy said...

The person who sent the postcard is asking the same question we're asking: Do you know anyone in this photo? The writer evidently knew SOMEBODY if he knew there was one missing and one sick. I wonder if they are Steaberlys too.

Patrica Ball Morrison said...

another German settlement in Texas, I knew of New Braunfels but not this settlement. The photo where the children are dressed up but barefoot is a testament to the heat and the dust.

Little Nell said...

The usual mixture of serious and smiling group members makes for an interesting photograph to scan across. They all seem to be in their best outfits, so clearly something was being celebrated.

Boobook said...

What an amazing photo. I hope someone can put some names to the faces one day.

eklement100 said...

I am from Windthorst originally - both my parents were also born and reared in this German Catholic community. Both sides of the family are in this picture - the Hoff and Conrady families. The musicians are from the Conrady family - the horn player is my Grandfather Joseph Conrady. His parents are in the group photo, along with my great-uncle Henry. This group of Germans who settled Windthorst came from basically two areas - Bavaria and the Volga Germans from Russia. My maternal great-grandparents immigrated to Windthorst via Clay County from Odessa, Russia (now the Ukraine). They came to Texas because they were farmers and wanted to own land; to this day, the Conrady family continues to work the original land purchased by my great-grandfather and grandparents. All the grandsons of Joseph Conrady (the horn player in the photo) live and work on the land that was acquired by these brave and hard-working Germans - who also loved music! That has been passed down to all of us - many of us continue to farm (must be in the DNA) - and many of us continue play music and sing.

Mike Brubaker said...

Thank you very much, eklement100, for providing the names of this family group. I'm astonished that you found this photo on the internet, and it's wonderfully ironic that you've answered the previous comment too! What do you suppose your grandfather and his family were celebrating? If you give me some more names I will gladly add it the post. My email is on the sidebar.

Lisa said...

Talk about a story...I googled Windthorst and now I am looking into the faces of my great grandparents for the first time. I am also the granddaughter of Joseph, the trombone player. Thank you!


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