Dallas Historical Society Newsletter
Steamboat H. A. Harvey Jr.
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In This Issue:
November Tours
Texas History Quiz
Steamboat Harvey
Historic Dallas Tours
for November 
IN THE STEPS OF LEE HARVEY OSWALD Tour on November 15th from 9 AM to 2 PM.  Ken Holmes has added a lot of new stops to this tour, so people who have gone before, can go again and learn new things this time around.  New stops will include:  the Ruth Payne home, Jack Ruby's jail cell, Oswald's room inside his boarding house (1026 N. Beckley), the Neely house and the Texas Theater. 
EXPLORING EAST AND SOUTH DALLAS Tour on November 22nd from 9 AM to 2 PM with Rose-Mary Rumbley. 
Limited space on both tours is still available.  Please call Nora at (214) 421-4500 x101 or email Nora@dallashistory.org to make reservations.
The Dallas Heritage Village is hosting Candlelight on December 13th and 14th from 3 PM to 9 PM.  Ticket prices vary by age, and can be purchased online.  For more information about the event, click on the link below:  http://www.dallasheritagevillage.org/Event_Detail.aspx?EID=209.   
Texas History Quiz
Once again we are putting another five questions from the October 1936 issue of Naylor's Epic-Century. Have fun! Answers are at the bottom of this newsletter. 
1. What was the population of Texas in 1836?
2.Of what importance was the Mexican Constitution of 1824 to the colonist in Texas?

 3.What part in Texas history did the Grant expedition play?

4.What was the first battle flag used in the fight for Texas independence?
5.How did Ben Milam meet his death?

(Answers at the bottom)

 My first real vacation, many years ago, was a six day trip on the Mississippi River from New Orleans to Natchez and back, on board the steamboat Delta Queen. I could go on for many paragraphs about what a delightful trip it was, but suffice it to say that after five nights of sleeping in my bunk, and listening to the steam engine thumping away, sounding for-all-the world like a heart beat; I know why Mark Twain loved steamboat'n so much.

 Did you know Dallas has a bit of steamboat history? It had been long thought that the Trinity River could be made navigable, and it was to a certain extent, so back in the early 1890s some enterprising Dallas businessmen got the bright idea of buying a small steamboat to carry goods between Dallas and Houston. The boat was named the H. A. Harvey Jr., but the river was full of snags and sandbars and a round trip took weeks, so when the north, south railroad came to town the little Harvey was sold and forgotten. All that is left are a few old photos and a hand full of documents and that is too bad because for a while, in the late 1800s, that little boat was a big deal here in Dallas.

 Here are a few photographs to show what I mean. The next time you are down at the Old Red Courthouse, take a moment, and walk out to the intersection of Commerce and Houston Streets and look toward Fort Worth. The Trinity River used to run at the bottom of what is now Dealey Plaza, until it was moved back in the 1930s. Commerce Street crossed over the river at that point by way of a long stone and iron bridge. Beneath that bridge was the dock for the Harvey. When the steamboat came to town folks would rush out on the bridge to watch. If you look closely in the upper right hand section of the photograph you will see the Old Red Courthouse.

 Apparently, merchandise was not the only thing carried on the H. A. Harvey Jr., in one photo we find a happy group of young people having a picnic party. All dressed up in their heavy, long dresses and tall starched collars. Where better to stir up a breeze, and maybe a romance, on a warm Dallas afternoon than on the deck of a riverboat zipping along at maybe five miles per hour.

 Finally, if you will take a close look at the full length photograph, at the top of this newsletter, of the Harvey you will notice that she seems a little beat up. I think this is a testament of how hard her life fighting the river must have been, because she was not in service that many years. I do not know where this shot was taken, probably some where near downtown, but look at how narrow and shallow the river was at that point.

 With all the plans being made for the new Trinity River Corridor Project I think some 21st century businessman should consider launching a new H.A. Harvey Jr., it would still be a great place to catch a breeze on a warm Dallas afternoon and the view of downtown at night would be spectacular! 

-Ed Owens
Quiz Answers
1. Although reports vary, conservative estimates place the total number at 40,000 people.
2. The Mexican Constitution on 1824 provided for the just and fair treatment of Americans in Texas. The abrogation of these rights by Santa Anna was one of the principal causes of enmity between the colonies and Mexico.
 3. This unfortunate episode in the struggle for independence probably caused the Texans more trouble than the entire Mexican army. Dr. James Grant, a Scotchman, devised a wild scheme to march on the border towns of Matamoros with a body of Texans, as the first step in a campaign to reclaim his confiscated estates and mines in Coahuila, but the expedition met early disaster.
4. The famous "come and take it" flag appears to have the honor of being the first banner carried by the Texans. Made by the DeWitt family and used in the fighting around Gonzales and Bexar, but were probably never used in the battle of Concepcion as some have asserted.
5. During the attack on Bexar, Milam was shot standing in front of the Verimendi house.
  If we may be of service to you in the future with discovering our past, please feel free to contact, visit or join the DHS.
Sincerely, Dallas Historical Society