Llano in 1917 - Part 4       An article in the March 1 (1917) issue of The Llano News told of the death of pioneer settler Martha Huffman, who had come to Llano County before it was a county, and had lived on the town site of Llano as a newlywed when the county was formed in 1856. She was survived by five of her seven children.
       There was only one new car registered in Llano County that week; it was a Ford, belonging to G.A. Coulson. The only stock shipment of the week was a carload of hogs sent to Fort Worth by H.L. Gray. The Corner Drug Store, which had become the agent for Cooper Cattle Dip, purchased a whole carload of the tick-fighting chemical. Dallas Stoudenmier, who had been away from Llano for two years, surprised his parents by arriving on the noon train on February 27.
       On March 15, a front-page story reported that $20,000 had been received from the sale of street bonds (from Halsey Stuart & Company of Chicago), and that city council had hired Austin engineer O.E. Metcalfe to supervise construction. Work was expected to begin sometime in April.
       City Council authorized the purchase of a Ford car, which would be modified by “a local blacksmith” to serve as a fire truck. Most of Llano’s prominent ranchers were in Fort Worth that week for a big Cattlemen’s Convention. Dr. R.V. Bingham, from Toronto, Canada, preached at the Llano Opera House on Sunday morning and evening, then gave a talk on Monday evening (to capacity crowds each time) about his missionary work in Sudan and the great needs in the African continent.

       Fire Chief E.H. Qualls answered a fire alarm from the home of Ben Hoerster only to find that Mr. Hoerster had already extinguished the flames. An oil stove had caught the home on fire, and the writer opined that, if it were not for the homeowner’s quick action, high winds might have caused the fire to spread to neighboring homes. Chief Qualls “telephoned to stop the bringing of the hose and other fire-fighting apparatus.” Damage was limited to kitchen wallpaper.
       The arrival of the water-filtering system caused great excitement in Llano when the mules which were pulling a large tank across the bridge “became frightened and ran away. On reaching the middle of the bridge, the tank struck one of the standards holding up the top of the bridge and badly bent it, breaking it loose from its fastening at the bottom. The force of the contact threw one of the mules down and stopped the runaway.” The tank was not damaged.
       Raymond Byfield, who “had been without an automobile for several months,” bought a Maxwell car from Ray Buie, and A.J. Noble (“of Marble”) bought a Buick from local agent T.S. Parker.
Bernie Tuberville came from Menard to visit in Llano, and reported that “his section was in flourishing condition.”
       The Russian revolution was underway, and according to a front-page story on March 22, Czar Nicholas was about to abdicate the throne. In the meantime, war was increasingly likely between the U.S. and Germany. There was some bad news in Llano, too. On the advice of an engineer, county commissioners voted to close down the bridge until damage caused by the runaway mules could be repaired. And the school board voted, after a “mass meeting” of citizens, to postpone the planned construction of a new high school due to the high cost of materials.
But progress was being made on the milling company’s filter plant, and John Watkins returned from a business trip to Dallas with a brand-new Crow-Elkhart car. The front-page story reported that he and T.J. Watkins had “accepted the agency for the car in this county,” and added its appraisal that “the car shows up well, and is moderately priced.” Engineers were “busily engaged in the work of surveying the city’s streets preparatory to the beginning of construction in the street improvements,” and Llano’s next Trades Day was announced for April 2.
       An enthusiastic March 29 article bragged about the success of the previous Saturday’s “Interscholastic league contest,” and declared that the event “perhaps meant more to schools of this county than any other event in their history.” The event featured baseball, basketball, literary contests, track and field and a debate contest at the Opera house that night. Students from Castell, Lone Grove. Field Creek and other schools competed with classes from the Llano schools.
       Also on March 29, the news was reported that the bridge had been reopened to traffic after repairs were made. “The opening of this valuable piece of county property,” the article said, “was the occasion of much comfort and joy to those who use it most and who had been deprived of it for a few days.”

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