The Heart of Texas Chapter of The Daughters of the Republic of Texas recently enjoyed a field trip to Menard to visit the Presidio de San Saba, the Ditch Walk and the Menardville Museum. Joining them at the museum was Mr. Jim Kniffin, local curator and history buff.
Mr. Kniffin is well known in Brady as well as Menard as a retired History teacher and tennis coach. He explained many of the exhibits and the historic Frisco Depot, which now serves as the museum. Of special interest was the room set up as a turn-of-the-century saloon. The great bar fills one entire wall . . . complete with its brass rail and mirror still showing a bullet hole. He explained that the bar was moved to the museum on rollers from its former location next to Menard’s First State Bank. That saloon building, with its monetary-hinting name, "Legal Tender," is now owned and occupied by the bank. The bank’s president, Mr. Mark Jones, of Brady, currently presides where the bar once stood.
In addition to the museum, a visit was made to the site of the Presidio, which was rebuilt by the Works Progress Administration for the Texas Centennial in 1936. Also visited was the Ditch Walk, which had been dug from the Presidio to the Mission for irrigation. No remains of the Mission can now be seen. Comanche Indians had burned it shortly after it was built. Both the Ditch Walk and the Presidio have billboards explaining and showing their history, which makes a visit even more enjoyable. Both are easy to find with clearly marked signage.
During the summer months, the DRT will not be holding its monthly meetings. This allows those interested in joining the local chapter to explore and trace records, documents, deeds, land grants, births, deaths, and marriages which for their own history and family tree. Two members are volunteering to aid anyone interested in doing so, at no charge for their time and services. The only costs to those looking for documents would be the prices for the duplications of documents, shipping and handling, etc.
This is a great opportunity, especially for the beginning novice researcher. These ladies are already familiar with many of the database websites: for cemeteries, muster rolls, probated wills, censuses, birth, death, and marriage files. They are also knowledgeable about methods to verify information when no original documents are available. Those interested may call president Sharon Purcell at 325-597-2887 or registrar Jerry Wilkinson at 325-243-5344.