OurBaytown.com - Baytown's Historical Resource

Alfred Quincy  Wooster (see Bio)

Adoue and Lobit were French merchants who immigrated to Galveston and had a substantial business and building on the Strand. Tom Nelson

Wooster is named after Quincy Wooster. Wooster was formed in 1892 and was originally where present day Brownwood Subdivision or the Baytown Nature Center is.

Q. A. Wooster named Weaver Avenue after Gen. James B. Weaver (Greenback party nominee) who he supported for president in 1880.  Wybra Wooster Holland

Q. A. Wooster named Steinman Street after his son-in-law, Steve SteinmanWybra Wooster Holland

Q. A. Wooster named Shreck Avenue after his son-in-law, W.A. Shreckengaust.  Wybra Wooster Holland

Q. A. Wooster named Crow Road after his friend and business partner, W. D. Crow.   Wybra Wooster Holland 

Q. A. Wooster named Mapleton Avenue after Mapleton, Iowa, which is where he lived before coming to Texas.  Wybra Wooster Holland

Below are photos of the Woosters/Steinmans in Texas and Kansas.

More information is available here.

Mabel Inez Ashcraft, 84, died at the Dunn County Health Care Center in Menomonie on Friday, March 27, 1998. Mabel was born in Wooster, Texas. She was the first-born child of Thomas Edward and Mabel Ida (Steinman) Archer. At the age of five, the family moved to a farm in rural St. Paul, Kansas.  (See her Obituary here)

Bygone era in Wooster remembered
By Wanda Orton Contributor

Published Baytown Sun June 7, 2009 (First in series)

Wooster has a fascinating history, and who would be better to share it than a descendant of founders of the community.

That’s why I called on Virginia Williams Wingate, who grew up in that area and attended David G. Burnet Elementary School located down the road from her home.

The school stood on Bayway Drive at Arbor, but Bayway was not the original name of the main road through Wooster.

“When I was growing up in the Forties – and long before – Bayway was Market Street Road, which ran all the way to Houston,” Virginia said. “If people needed to travel to Houston, they did so on Market Street Road through Wooster, through Wooster Heights, and on to what is now known as North Market Loop. Wooster Heights was the area along Bayway, north of the town of Wooster.

“Decker Drive was later constructed, and it became the main road from Bayway to the San Jacinto River. According to stories from ancestors, Market Street Road through Wooster, was just a shell road in its beginning. In fact, the road at times had to be maintained by local residents using rice-farming equipment.”

Before the Burnet school opened in 1930, students rode a bus to Baytown Elementary except those first- and second-graders who still used the one-room Wooster school.

When it opened, Burnet already was too small for the growing community of Wooster. By 1941, when Virginia entered the first grade, several more classrooms had been added.

Burnet is gone now and ExxonMobil has fenced the property where it stood.

“Whenever I picture Burnet,” Virginia said, “I see it with the shell driveway that circled around the big flagpole that was in the front. That access was later moved to the rear of the school. Some lucky students were given the privilege of raising the flag each morning and lowering it at the end of the day.

“When I began school, the old Wooster school building was serving as a cafeteria for Burnet. Food was brought in from –- I believe ---– Baytown Junior High and served from a small steam table.

“I loved the little hamburgers which were rather flat after their trip to Burnet. Later, after my class had moved on, a new cafeteria served Burnet and our old cafeteria became a music room.

“After we kids finished eating and at the recesses, we had great fun on the playground. There was the tallest slide I ever saw. It took me a couple of years to get up my nerve to go that high. Swings and ‘monkey bars’ were in great demand at all recess time, as well as my favorite, the seesaws.

“Sometimes the whole class would join together and play Red Rover, Drop the Handkerchief or Flying Dutchmen. Burnet had wonderful carnivals during my six years there. Delia Adlong Harlan tells how she would get to school early on the morning after a carnival to look for coins dropped there the night before.

“While at Burnet, we always had the required fire drills, but we also had air raid drills. That's something kids today don't hear. All the classes would line up in the hall, kneel down, and cover their heads with their arms. These were the war years – World War II. Burnet experienced sudden growth as workers moved here to fill expanded jobs at the Humble (now ExxonMobil) refinery.

“My second-grade class had to split into two classes. I'm sure others did also.

Baseball games with other local elementary schools was a favorite memory of Burnet days, as were flocking into the auditorium to see a play put on by one of the classes.

“The teachers at Burnet were all special. My third-grade teacher, Mrs. Cole, later taught my daughter and son. Mrs. O'Dell must hold the record for teaching the longest at Burnet. She was a strict but excellent teacher. Mrs. Collins was another long-term excellent teacher at Burnet. Mrs. Barr was my sixth-grade teacher. She loved art and her students enjoyed various art sessions.”

Wanda Orton is a retired managing editor of The Baytown Sun.  Used by permission from Wanda Orton.

Wooster pioneers came from Iowa
By Wanda Orton Contributor

Published Baytown Sun June 10, 2009 (Second in series)
When Baytown annexed Wooster in 1962, it added an area rich in history, a locality whose pioneers came all the way from “Io-way.”

Quincy A. Wooster was the man from Iowa who founded the community and became its namesake. He arrived in 1891 from Monona County, Iowa, and with business partner Willard D. Crow began buying and selling property here long before the Tri-Cities of Goose Creek, Pelly and Baytown evolved.

For his own residence, Wooster picked a plantation on Scott’s Bay where the subdivision of Brownwood, many years into the future, would be developed. Today that section is known as the Baytown Nature Center.

The founder and namesake laid out the town site of Wooster from the acreage he had purchased. Trevia Wooster Beverly, a descendant and well-known genealogist, said he platted and recorded the property in Harris County on Jan. 20, 1893. He named many of the streets after people and places in Iowa and notified folks back home that he had property for sale in Texas.

Among of the first buyers was Junius Brown Descendant Virginia Williams Wingate said Brown built “a lovely two-story home still in existence on the bay and donated a parcel of land for a school.”

The site for Wooster School, District 38, was on the present-day Bayway Drive at Arbor Street.

“The one-room schoolhouse stayed on this spot until 1937 when it was moved across the gully to be placed behind Burnet Elementary School,” Virginia said. “It was used as an extra classroom until becoming the cafeteria, then the music room, and finally a facility for special education.”

Today the Wooster School continues to be a teaching tool in its relocation at the Republic of Texas Plaza on North Main. Baytown Historical Preservation Association docents teach local history there to Goose Creek third-graders.

“The early days of Wooster were largely populated by Woosters, Browns and Crows,” Virginia said. “One of Junius Brown's daughters, Jessie, married one of Q. A. Wooster's sons, John, furthering the Wooster-Brown connection.

“Another one of the Brown daughters, my grandmother Sarah, married W. E. Crow, son of J.W. Crow. J.W. was a rice farmer.”

Anita McKay Blumberg, another descendant of Junius Brown, shared information about the life and home of her grandparents, Walter and Maud Brown. They were the original owners of what now is known as the Brown-McKay House, relocated to the Republic of Texas Plaza.

Married in 1908, Walter and Maud moved into their new house overlooking Scott’s Bay in 1910.

Anita wrote, “Walter was a marine engineer, carpenter, rice farmer and raised cattle and farm animals. Maud kept the house, cared for their children, canned, made fig and pear preserves, sewed, quilted, fed the chickens and helped take care of a large garden about a mile from the house. There was no running water in the original house. A pump house supplied water for this house and Walter’s parents.”

Maud cooked on a wood-burning stove and obtained hot water from the water reserve in the stove. There was a large icebox on the back porch.

A large building, called the engine shed, was located across the street and it housed farm machinery and hay for the cattle. “This is where Walter built his beloved boat named Onawa,” Anita said. “The boat was pulled from the shed by a team of mules and launched in Scott’s Bay. The nearest stores were in Lynchburg and Cedar Bayou. Walter used the boat to make trips to buy sugar, flour, etc., for his and other families. He bought ice in 100-pound blocks. The children loved this because it always meant homemade ice cream.

“Walter and Maud were loving, caring, giving people. They gave food to any hungry person who came to their door. Local families often came to their very sturdy Brown house for protection during hurricanes.”

Maud made all her clothes, including bonnets she always wore when she went outdoors, and during World War II she made clothing from printed feed sacks.

The Browns raised or grew nearly everything they ate, and in addition, Walter fished and hunted ducks. He had two foxhounds, named Slow and Sure, and used them for fox and coon hunting in the rice fields.

“Things may have been hard by today’s standards,” Anita commented, “but it was a good life. Walter’s parents lived next door in a large home. There were lots of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins around. The children swam in the bay, fished, crabbed, picked berries, visited, went on hayrides and enjoyed picnics and family dinners.”

Their daughter Mary inherited their house and donated it to the Bay Area Heritage Society in 1988. Along with the Wooster Schoolhouse, the Baytown Historical Preservation Association (BHPA) now owns and preserves the Brown-McKay House. President of the BHPA is Wybra Wooster Holland, another descendant of the Wooster pioneers.

Wanda Orton is a retired managing editor for The Baytown Sun. Used by permission from Wanda Orton.

The way it was on Bayway
By Wanda Orton Contributor

Published June 14, 2009 (Third and last in a series on Wooster history)

I’ve been picking Virginia Williams Wingate’s brain about the business places that once thrived in the Wooster area.

“The Wooster businesses I remember were strung out along Market Street Road, now Bayway Drive,” she said. “There was a nice drug store at Bayway and what we used to call the plant road– meaning Humble refinery. Later, the plant road was named Park Street. It has been closed to the public for a number of years.

“I can't remember the name of the drug store, but I won a Lionel electric train in a drawing they held. I had only signed one ticket and couldn't believe I actually won. A small bakery was behind the drug store for a time. They could do wonders for birthday cakes. I can't remember the name of the bakery either, but a cake they created for me actually duplicated a ship.

“There were three grocery stores clustered around Wooster Street. Wooster Street, in the original Wooster plat, was named Second Street. Arbor Street was known as First Street. One grocery was Havis Grocery, where my family shopped. Older kids from Burnet Elementary were sometimes allowed to go to the Havis Grocery at recess. The Havis Grocery later became a feed and hardware store, run by Howard Briggs.

“Hooks Grocery was on the other corner of Wooster Street. Ellen Waltman Johnson related how her family always shopped there and, probably since they were such good customers, they would get occasional candy bars slipped to them from under the counter. These were the war years and candy bars were difficult to obtain.

“The third grocery store was Wolverton's. The Wolvertons later opened a cafeteria farther north on Bayway.

“Another grocery store, Casey's, was located on the west side of Bayway near Weaver Street. The building was white stucco and always intrigued me because there were glass bricks on either side of the front– something I had never seen. Next door to Casey's and on the corner of Weaver Street was an old wooden tavern called the Wooster Inn. The Wooster Inn had a rather illustrious past, dating back to prohibition. My parents described it as a rather rough place frequented by bootleggers.

“Johnny Wooster's filling station was on the curve of Bayway, where Crow Road leads to Brownwood. That station is still there. As a child, I loved to go there with my Dad because I would get a Delaware Punch and sometimes, a pink, white and chocolate striped candy bar.

“One Wooster business nearly everyone remembers is the Yellow Jacket, a drive-in restaurant. Delia Harlan says that no better hamburgers could be found anywhere. She remembers, also, that at one time, the carhops wore grass skirts. I also remember the grass skirts and, in my memory, they were very colorful. At another time, the carhops were attired in a majorette-style gold short costume, with a black pillbox hat, in keeping with the yellow jacket theme.

“A model airplane hobby shop was located near the Yellow Jacket. All I remember is that the owner's name was Roy and that it was a hangout for kids.

“On the west side of Bayway, at North Street, was Wylie's. My recall of Wylie's was that it was sort of a combination icehouse and convenience store, and on one end, a beauty shop. In the early Fifties on the south corner of Weaver at Bayway, a two-story dance hall and bar was built. The owner and his family lived on the second floor.

“My uncle, Richard Ericson, operated a refrigeration shop farther north on the east side of Bayway. No homes had air conditioning during the days I was growing up, but certain businesses had refrigeration units and coolers. For example, Miller's Dairy (my home) had a large walk-in cooler and a refrigeration unit that chilled the milk as it was processed. Units such as this kept him busy. In addition, his shop was sometimes a gathering place.

“Glenn Ericson remembers his father purchasing one of the first television sets in the Wooster area. The set was in his shop. On the night of the first broadcast, a crowd of people who had heard about it showed up to view test patterns and, finally, wrestling.

“Glenn Hurr opened yet another neighborhood grocery store near the north end of Bayway Drive. Dr. John and Dr. David Hurr now have their dental office on the site.

“In my memory, when Big Chief grocery opened near the corner of North Street and Bayway Drive, it began the era of the supermarket and the end of the little neighborhood grocery store.”

Wanda Orton is a retired managing editor of The Baytown Sun.

I had a few recollections regarding Wanda Orton's Wooster/Brownwood page.  “The third grocery store was Wolvertons. The Wolvertons later opened a cafeteria farther north on Bayway.  “In my memory, when Big Chief grocery opened near the corner of North Street and Bayway Drive, it began the era of the supermarket and the end of the little neighborhood grocery store.”

The Big Chief opened in the Wolverton building and gave Big Bonus stamps.  “A model airplane hobby shop was located near the Yellow Jacket. All I remember is that the owner's name was Roy and that it was a hangout for kids.

It was Roy's Hobby Shop. Toward the end, he began selling liquor as well as models. I didn't get to visit as much after that.  “Glenn Hurr opened yet another neighborhood grocery store near the north end of Bayway Drive. Dr. John and Dr. David Hurr now have their dental office on the site.

I certainly wouldn't contradict the Hurr boys, but I remember Glenn and Nettie's store being closer to Decker than what their dental office is. May very well have been on the same piece of property, though.  Unverified: I seem to remember four Big Chief groceries, though may not have all been open at the same time.

1. Wolverton's building   2. Four Corners   3. Highlands- vacant building/fenced lot at north end of Highlands on the east side of 2100   4. Lee Drive @ W. Main

Mike Earls