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And Now You Know: February 13, 1931 was a busy news day in Orange

Mike Louviere
And Now You Know

There was a modicum of excitement among moviegoers in Orange when on February 13, 1931 they saw the ad for the Strand Theater. Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, two of the most popular movie stars of the day, and also a married couple, were starring in “The Taming of the Shrew.” It was their first co-starring appearance. The movie was touted as “An United Artist all talking comedy hit.”

A money box containing about $30, all in dimes, had been taken from the Coleman Café in the Petty Building on Front Street on Wednesday, February 12.

The box disappeared during regular business hours while the full crew was at work. The theft was reported to the police department and an investigation had begun.

John C. Markwith, a local Orange contractor, had begun work with A. Babin, an architect from Beaumont updating and expanding the heating system in the Holland Hotel. Business had increased so that the heating system needed the expansion and upgrading. Markwith and Babin were overseeing a workforce of 15 men.

Two Beaumont women were arrested by the sheriff’s department for parts they allegedly played in the theft of silverware from tables at the Dixie Café. The women both pled guilty to charges of theft and were each fined $10 by Justice of the Peace L.J. Miller. The fine and related charges was going to cost each woman a total of $30.

The night patrol of the Orange Police Department reported that the car used for the patrol was robbed of “one or two guns” while the police were making a brief inspection of the Southern Pacific depot. Later that night three young men were taken into custody for questioning about the theft.

Oil scouts and other interested parties were waiting patiently for the pulling of another core sample by the Veteran’s Oil Company from the Henry Reed wildcat well. A core taken from beneath the 47 foot strata of hard gumbo contained a slight showing of oil. It was believed by prospectors that the next core pulled would show definite signs of oil.

Pilings were being driven by the Shell Oil Company at Black’s Bayou for two new wells. The work crews were being pushed day and night to drive the pilings as this was the first time pilings were being used. Before these only mats were laid down.

One of the wells was going to be drilled by a large steam rig, the other was proposed to be drilled by a gasoline powered motor.

The last well brought in by Shell in this area was said to be making pipeline oil at a rate of 650 barrels per day.

A 90 year old man driving a team of two similarly aged donkeys made an appearance in Orange.

G.W. Ingram, born in 1840, was the driver of the team of two old donkeys who had been averaging 16 to 18 miles per day when the grass was good. Now with less grass, they were only making about four to six miles per day.

“I’m not going anywhere in particular,” said the old man. He stated his doctor gave him orders to go south to try to recuperate his health which had caused his left side to become paralyzed.

The aged man said he had seen Texas from the “hurricane deck” of Texas ponies before the days when wire fences and other such things had “ruined the state.”

He had left Wright, Oklahoma the first part of October and had followed a zig-zag route between Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

“I don’t know when I’m going to stop traveling, but it don’t look like I’m very far ahead because my donkeys are about played out,” said Ingram.

He was hoping to hold out until the grass got high enough to keep up his donkeys. “Then I’ll feel a little more secure,” he said.

“And now you know.”