OurBaytown.com - Baytown's Historical Resource

Letters to the Editor
Baytown Sun (used by permission)
March 23, 2007

Home of the Pelly Rats by Mrs. S.E. Iles  Old River, Texas

This was 1924-27. We lived on Mud Hill, the hill on the Baytown side of Goose Creek stream. It was called Mud Hill, not Red Hill, because every time it rained mud grips had to be put on the old cars to get you around and about.
We had to haul our water. And everybody was looking for a place to rent (or buy) on the Pelly side of Goose Creek stream because there was water there.

The Hill was planted with cotton. Housewives and kids picked cotton to supplement the income. The cotton stubble would be burned off to get the land ready for planting. People would grab clubs — something to be used to club the rats running from the fire to keep the rats out of their homes.

There was a pontoon bridge connecting Pelly and Mud Hill and Baytown. The rats would be running like crazy from the fire and all were not clubbed to death. Many got away and crossed the pontoon bridge and went to Pelly — you could hear someone yell out, “That rat went to Pelly,” — when that particular rat escaped the clubbing and crossed the bridge.

As the Fosters, the two Williams families, the Glasses, the Jones-Matson family, the Huggins family and the Nally family began to find housing on the Pelly side or Goose Creek stream. “That rat went to Pelly” — and we became “Pelly Rats” — and as my Papa always said, “mighty damn proud of it.”

John Blutcher Ransom were early settlers of Deep Pelly — My grandfather Ransom. This was during the time of Old Town, New Town and Middle Town. On the hill was the Isles Hour  (*
George Isenhour)
home — close to the water — said to be built from the lumber in the old Bayland Orphanage.

We kids living on the hill used to play around the old foundation — which we called a fort — wild peppers grew around the fort, which we gathered for our Mama for pepper sauce. This site might be under water now. I don’t know, but the orphanage was on Mud Hill. The original home of the Pelly Rats — Grandma Wright was a Bayland orphan.

I remember Grandma running around taking care of business (the Pelly oil field) in her high-top shoes — Grandma is Dr. and Bel Smith’s adoptive daughter — she lived at Evergreen with the doctor — anyone around Baytown could help with the exact location of the old school and orphanage — I’m 88 — I went to school with Eula Marie Wright — Grandma Wright’s granddaughter— who still has Grandma Wright’s high-top shoes.

* amended by TWB

Letters to the Editor
Baytown Sun (used by permission)
March 23, 2007

I enjoyed the information sent by Mrs. S.E. Iles regarding Mud Hill. I’d like to correct the name of the “Isles Hour home” — this was the George Isenhour home. This family came from Minnesota, purchasing the old Confederate Orphanage property at Baylands in May 1897. The lumber from the old orphanage was, indeed, used to build their new home on what would become Minnesota Street in Old Baytown. Few people realize that there was a cemetery on the Baylands property; seven children and one adult died before the orphanage was moved to Houston. For the complete story, check out the book “Suffer the Children: A History of the Confederate Orphanage at Baylands, Harris County, Texas 1867 to May 1918” by the author of this letter. Copies are at Sterling Library and the Lee College library.

Trevia Wooster Beverly


Letters to the Editor
Baytown Sun (used by permission)
December 19, 2007

I’m an old Pelly Rat, and as my Papa would say, “and mighty damned proud of it.”

Old Pelly rats loved Old Pelly by the sea — warts and all. Warts and all. Yes, siree, Bob, Pelly had bootleggers — as did old Goose Creek and old Baytown — not to be outdone by old Pelly. Bootlegging was a way of life when I was growing up. Everybody and his grandma, just about it, bootlegged. Wanda Orton’s article on Mr. Chastain, a Pelly business man — who had an eatery — an eating joint café — and did a little bootlegging on the side — got me to thinking and I’ve got two doozies is my history — I’m a history nut — not a religious nut. My granny, Frances Ada Collins Ransom and Dr. Eickleberger’s granny were bossum buddies down through the years. The doctor’s granny owned rent property. As a matter of fact she sold one of her houses to my granny on the corner of Nazro and Carlton across from Pelly’s hanging tree — where all those cattle rustlers and horse thieves got hung — for I guarantee you Pelly wasn’t about to let some Creek out lie her-out do her. To boot, Pelly had a trail full of tigers and outlaws and for real, bootleggers. The Dr.’s granny had unknowingly rented one of her houses to a bootlegger named Hill. And somebody snitched and went and told the Dr.’s granny Mr. Hill was about to be raided. She didn’t have time to make Mr. Hill move his stuff off her property and she ran to my granny’s bawling and squalling — all shook up — she was so embarrassed — as my Papa would say, “Mortified”— oh, what a day! The day the Feds raided Mr. Hill’s operation. It was just like it was in the movies. The Feds broke — smashed — every bottle. Mr. Hill got caught bootlegging. Later on down the line — after 3.2 became legalized—he put him in a beer joint in Wooster. So, Mr. Chastain did a little bootlegging on the side. So what? John F.K.’s Papa was a big time bootlegger. That’s history and Papa’s bootlegging— old man Kennedy’s bootlegging didn’t keep John F. Kennedy from becoming president of the U.S. of A.

Mrs. S. E. Iles - Old River (as printed in the Baytown Sun)


Take me home!

UMoveFree Partner
Baytown Apartments