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November 2014 Letters

TCP Talk

Letters and comments from our readers

Larry Ditto

The Mystery of History

Since the mid-1700?s, a lot of holes have been dug in the Llano region. It should not be surprising that artifacts from as far back as the Eighteenth Century can be found at these prospect sites. For more than fifteen years now, James Stotts has been promoting some of these holes on Packsaddle Mountain as being the fabled Los Almagres mine. A search of the Internet produces many hits regarding this notion and Stotts has published a book on the subject. The article in the September 2014 issue of Texas Co-op Power suggests there is evidence indicating those holes on Packsaddle Mountain are indeed Los Almagres.

The historical facts do not support this claim. For my translation of Bernardo de Miranda?s report on his examination of Los Almagres, published in the October 1970 issue of the Southwestern Historical Quarterly, I used a photocopy of the original report. Therefore, I was able to read what Miranda had to say in his own handwriting. His guides led him to a deposit of red ochre gossan (hence the name almagre) a short distance north of an arroyo known then as San Miguel (now easily identified as Honey Creek). Miranda followed the course of the stream down to where it joins the Llano River. He also described a unique topographic feature upstream from Los Almagres that matches Honey Creek Cove.

For holes on Packsaddle Mountain to be identified as Los Almagres, they would have to be a short distance north of a stream that flows into the Llano River. The closest stream south of Packsaddle Mountain is Sandy Creek, some five miles south of Stotts’ prospect pits. Furthermore, Sandy Creek empties into the Colorado River, not the Llano.

James Stotts is one of those dreamers called Coronado’s children by J. Frank Dobie, renowned folklorist, in his book with that title.

Rod Patten | Sunrise Beach
Central Texas EC

The (Small-Town) Presses Are NOT Stopping

No Stopping the Presses” [September 2014] was such a wonderful story. When you have been a resident of Rockdale (and three other small towns since), the Rockdale Reporter becomes the yardstick by which all other small-town newspapers are measured, and I have never found its equal.

I knew three generations of the Cooke family. I had the pleasure of teaching all four of Bill and Peggy Cooke’s children, and Mike Brown is a lifelong close friend. Their investment in their community is total, and their journalism is as good as it gets. The entire family is also very musically gifted, being some of the best drummers I have ever taught or performed with.

Jim Perry | Dublin
United Cooperative Services

I enjoyed reading about my friends the Cookes, who still operate The Rockdale Reporter. It was a good story that will hopefully help to dispel the myth that newspapers are dying.

That is far from the truth. Yes, it’s sometimes harder than it used to be, but Texas newspapers have adapted and will continue to keep readers informed for many years to come.

Coverage such as that given by writer Camille Wheeler and Texas Co-op Power certainly help tell the story that Texas’ community newspapers are alive and well.

Chris Barbee | El Campo
Wharton County EC

“No Stopping the Presses” was right on and should encourage all those shoulders-to-the-wheel newspaper folks in smaller markets. They are my friends, too, since many of them carry my labor-of-love column I turn out each week called “The Idle American.”

Don Newbury | Burleson

Parks Create Memories

Martin Dies Jr. State Park [“East Texas Autumn,” September 2014] holds a special place in my heart, as three generations of my family used to camp outside the park for a long weekend every summer. (I turned 10 the year the park was built, but my family camped in the area for years before that.)

I am planning a trip there this fall and can’t wait to see how beautiful it is during that time. Thanks again for the article and the great photo.

Pam Farmer | Olney
Fort Belknap EC