parents' old farm in Sipe Springs."- Jeanne Diver Goff.
Lump and Sipe Springs
by Dan Scott
Big Lump, Texas
Strange name for a community, but then knowing how it became named
like that, it isn't such a mystery. Back in the late 20's and early
30's, a strip coal mine was located just north of the U S Highway
79 and about a mile west of the "roadside park" and just west of
the current Sandy Creek church. The name "Big Lump" came about,
apparently named after the lumps of coal that was being mined. In
the immediate area around Big
Lump, the Sandy Creek Church, cemetery and Sandy Creek two room
schoolhouse and an old "country store" adjacent to a "open field"
baseball playground where adults and children alike gathered on
Sunday afternoon to "visit" and fill time between morning and evening
church services, was the center of the community.
My grandfather, Ira R. Touchstone owned a large house that sat about
half a mile due north of the "roadside park." Actually the "park"
consisted of a single concrete picnic table that has long since
gone away. Directly across the highway was a dirt road that led
to our house and to Sipe Springs.
Just inside the open field behind the picnic table where the baseball
diamond was located, two "covered benches" and a soda pop stand
was in evidence. Every Sunday after church, the young men and older
boys met on the field for an evening of baseball. People in the
community came to watch the game and usually brought a picnic lunch
to enjoy before going back to church Sunday evening. I remember
as a child, sitting on our (Touchstone) front porch watching the
games because I was not old enough to play in the games.
My grandfather worked at the mine and one day when my mother was
walking through the small frame houses near the mine, delivering
his bucket lunch to him, she was attacked and mauled by a bulldog
belonging to one of the workers at the mine. She still bares the
scars on her arm and shoulder. All this occurred before my time
but I remember my grandfather telling about how he shot the dog
while it was being held by its owner and had it's head sent to Austin
to check for rabies. Fortunately, the tests were negative, sparing
her the dreaded rabies shots. Having gone through a series of rabies
shots later in life due to a cat bite, I am well aware of what she
Coming from a broken home (1931) I alternated between my grandparent's
homes (Scott and Touchstone) when I went to Sandy Creek and Sipe
Springs two room schoolhouses. My teacher at Sandy Creek was
Mrs. Lumpkin and at Sipe Springs it was Mrs. Dee. Strange
as it may seem, those are the only teachers' names I remember until
I got up into Junior High school. The grades were divided by rows
with grade school in one room and high school in the other. We all
had chores to do at school as well. The girls helped sweep the floors
and the boys cleaned chalkboards, erasers and brought in firewood
(when needed). During recess and lunch the girls usually played
jump rope and the boys played marbles, spun tops or chased horned
During summer months, most all the boys either hunted or trapped
animals for their skins when we were not working in the fields or
clearing "new" ground. Living in the country always provided something
for us to do. Mainly we were learning how to be responsible and
dependable. Kids now days marvel at their fine cars, fancy clothes
and such items but I bet none were any more proud than I was when
I got my own horse and saddle - for which I worked to earn money
to buy. I rode many "trails with Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hoppy,
Tom Mix and Buck Jones" while riding through the countryside. At
night we would crank up the old Super Heterodyne Radio and listen
to shows like The Shadow, Green Hornet, Capt. Midnight, Lone Ranger,
and I Love a Mystery to name a few. Back then a radio ran on an
"A" battery and a "B" battery - one was merely a car battery and
the other a small higher voltage battery. Since Dad was the only
one in the family that could drive and he was off to war, we used
the car to recharge the car battery for the radio. I guess I joined
every club that was advertised by these adventure programs by sending
in cereal box tops for which we usually received a "secret coded"
badge and membership in their fan clubs. I have no idea what happened
to all the treasures I had back then but know that they would be
priceless in today's world. Oh if I only knew then what I know now!
Every Saturday morning my grandfather Scott would hitch up a team
to hiswagon, head into the pasture to soak the wheels in the old
slough (stock tank) then he and I would start to Rockdale
with my grandmother's butter and eggs, which were sold, to the local
grocery stores. My grandfather would give me a quarter to see the
matinee at Matson's theater, usually consisting of a comedy or cartoon,
a serial and a western movie. There was also enough money to buy
a bag of popcorn and a candy bar or soft drink and still have a
few pennies left over. After the movie was over, I'd head to the
local domino hall, where my grandfather would be waiting after he
did his "shopping". We'd then go to the livery stable back of the
hardware store, hitch up the team and make our way to pick up his
purchases, if any. Next we'd go by way of the ice plant and get
a 100 pound block of ice, wrap it in canvas, then sawdust or cotton
seed and more canvas then make one final stop at a small grocery
store which was run by an elderly Black man (I can still remember
how nice and friendly he always was) where he would buy each of
us a large peanut patty to eat on the way home. Of all the trips
I made with him, the list of events never changed.
With my Touchstone grandparents, the events were just a little different,
we'd go to town in a Model T pickup but other than that, it would
be the same, except he didn't play dominos as I remember. On Saturday
night, we'd all gather at some house in the community and listen
to the Grand Ole Opry from Nashville. Back in those days, country
music was Country Music, not what we call country today. All the
greats were eventually presented on either the Louisiana Hayride
or the Grand Old Opry, and after the Grand Old Opry went off the
air about midnight, the musicians would head across the street to
the Ernest Tubb Record shop and play as long as anyone would care
to listen - or at least it seemed that way. Of course us "youngens"
would play out long before that time anyway.
All too soon, school would come around again. To get to school,
we all walked, one or two rode a horse as I remember at Sipe
Springs. I jokingly tell my grandchildren about having to walk
all that way to school in the snow and ice (usually ice every winter
but snow was a novelty). There does not seem to be as many ice storms
now as we had back then. I do remember how cold the houses were
because they were not insulated as they are today - in fact I don't
believe there was any insulation in the walls or ceiling. When I
got up to high school age (after a year or two at Mart, Missouri
City, Angleton and Houston while living with my Mother) all the
"country" schools were closed and combined with either Rockdale
or Milano High School. Therefore, off to the "big school" we all
went. I remember that Rockdale
had a "bad" football team and we at Milano,
were not allowed to play (school policy). Our school played baseball,
basketball, track and boxing. I can only remember one multi school
boxing event (Rockdale and Milano)
where I got my ears pinned back real good - oh well one can't expect
to win at everything.
Early in 1942 my dad, Ervin Scott, joined the Army as a member of
the 1st Armored Division and became a half-track driver. He came
home in December 1945 and I joined the Army in January 1946 to retire
in 1968. I then went on to retire from the Security Alarm industry
and later, my own Business and Computer Consultant Company. There
is an old saying, "You can take the boy out of the country but you
can never take the country out of the boy." That is especially true
in my case. I have traveled all over the world - seventeen countries,
been to some of the largest cities in the world, including London,
Berlin, Tokyo and nothing can compare to "country living" or "home
folks." My wife of 54 years, coming up on 55, and I finally quit
retiring and just quit on a five acre tree covered piece of land
just south of San Antonio
where we enjoy our peace and quiet days with our two small dogs.
One cat, several grandkids and our church family.
Health problems keep me pretty close to these military hospitals
here in San Antonio
but my "home" is still there in Milam
County, torn between Rockdale,
Milano and Big
Lump. Times will never be like they were back then, but then
I guess we wouldn't want them back would we - OR WOULD WE? Personally
I don't think it was so bad in that era. We never had much of the
finer things in life but then we didn't want or need much either.
- Dan Scott, "Just South of San Antonio", June 21, 2006
Springs School 1914:
1: Clyde Diver, Floyd Vinton, Emerson Vinton,
Fritz Hairston, (Dog Rover),John Diver, Howard Sides, Coy Prewitt.
Row 2: Aggie Diver, Frankie Diver, Frank Diver, Bill Prewitt,
Charlie Diver, George Blackmon, Jimmie Sides, Bob Hairston, Ray Vinton,
Alice Diver, Mary Booth, Dora Prewitt, Coulter Diver, Ivy Diver
Row 3:Mrs Ed Diver, Mary Diver Knight and Baby Owen, Estell
Collins, Pearl Cloud Diver, Mary Smith, Ella Diver Cora Diver, Madie
Sides, Ollie Diver. Henry Diver. Frank Booth, Dugan Vinton, W. D.
Row 4: Lowell Hairston, Dick Hairston, Ervin Smith, Willie
"I just receives this
photo from a distant cousin. It's the 1914 class of the Sipe Springs
school. Here is the list of names for the class photo. Itís like stepping
back in time to see all these faces. So many of these students were
my aunts, uncles or cousins." - Jeanne Diver Goff, March 23,
Springs Old Photos
Dan Scott on Big Lump and Sipe Spring
I want to thank Dan Scott for his article about Big
Lump and Sipe Spring. For me, the best place in the world was
the little farm of my Grandparents. Arthur "Pete" and Urilla Diver.
They lived just down the hill from Sally Scott and the old school
house. - Sincerely, Jeanne Diver Goff, September 25, 2010
Mr. Scott, [Here are] three pictures of my grand parents old farm
in Sipe Springs. They were Arthur "Pete" and Urilla Diver. They lived
down the hill from Sally Scott and his family. I dearly loved this
place and these people. - Sincerely, Jeanne Diver Goff, September
Arthur "Pete" and Urilla Diver.
They lived down the hill from Sally Scott and his family." -
Jeanne Diver Goff.
parents' old farm in Sipe Springs."- Jeanne Diver Goff.
Robert Diver" - Jeanne Diver Goff
Burwell to Rockdale
What must it have been like to get on a ship in 1873
and sail away from your home to another country,into the unknown?
Robert and Mary Ann Diver found out. They left England with their
three little boys, John age 8, Ralph age 5 and George age 3. PLUS
little Edward would be born on the ship. Mercy! What kind of a trip
did they have? Did they have a private compartment or did they travel
in steerage? They were not prosperous people, Robert was listed in
the 1871 English census as an agricultural laborer. Who helped Mary
Ann when the baby was born? How I wish I could go back in time and
ask them all these questions.
They made it to Milam
County and settled in the Sipe Springs community east of Rockdale.
Robert farmed and Mary Ann took care of the house and children. Five
more little Divers were born there. They were Emily, Charles, Agatha,
Arthur (Pete), my grandfather and Ephraim.
We don't know a lot about how they lived. The census records show
that they stayed in the same place until they died. One family story
says that Grandpa Robert's favorite place in Rockdale
was McCauley's saloon. I'm sorry to say my daddy inherited this tradition.
Without electricity, indoor pluming and only a fireplace and wood
burning cook stove for heat life was hard. One sad fact is known,
Robert, Mary Ann and all their children could not read or write.This
is very puzzling. Their grandchildren attended the Sipe Springs two
room school and learned to read and write. I guess Robert didn't think
it was important.
Robert and Mary Ann are buried in the New Salem Cemetery east of Rockdale.
- Jeanne Diver Goff, November 20, 2010
by Jeanne Diver Goff
It was in about 1948 or 9, I was about 10 years old, and I was
visiting my Diver grandparents near Rockdale, the Sipe Springs area.
I dearly loved this poor little farm. I knew that it loved me too,
the trees, the sand, the chickens, well maybe not the grass burrs.
But if I could have stayed there forever I would have... more
Sipe Springs Area Hotels :
Hotels | Cameron
County map showing Big
(E of Rockdale. Below "LA"
From Texas state map #10749
Texas General Land Office
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