Telephone introduced in San Diego in 1883

The Corpus Christ Caller chronicled the goings and comings of San Diego during its early days. The importance of San Diego and Duval County in the development of the area is evident by the attention the foremost newspaper in the area paid to events occurring in the section.

In January 1883, the Caller reported that L. Levy, a merchant from San Diego, was in Corpus Christi replenishing his stock of goods. At the same time, R. B. Glover of Benavides was also is in the city visiting the Caller offices. Glover—who had been out the printing business for 11 years—still helped to get the newspaper out.

The same issue of the newspaper reported that Delfina de Alcala was the owner and operator of Hotel de Alcala located on the north corner of the “principal plaza” of San Diego.

San Diego resident and State Senator N. G. Collins, one of the largest sheep owners in Texas, was named head of the Senate Committee on stock-raising in charge of all proposed legislation directly affecting sheep and other stock, a critical part of the local economy.

San Diego continued with a steady growth during this time. C. S. Gunther built a large addition to the Gueydan Brothers’ already large establishment. Paul Henry also built an addition to his store that resulted in “handsome new front.” Toklas & Co. entered into partnership with B. K. O’Brien and John Cleary came to San Diego to take charge of E. D. Sidbury’s Lumber Yard.

Capt. Frank Stephenson with the firm of Perrenot Bros., formerly of Rockport, was erecting windmill cisterns and troughs. Austin Smith was in charge of a stone and tin ware shop established by Perronots.

Many of these men were former sailors who had recently quit boating in the bays.

Stock buyers were always about San Diego, which ranked second to San Antonio as a stock trading market in Southwest Texas. Rock was being quarried at Sweden on the Texas-Mexican Railway where an abundance of good rock. A Mr. Shannon was in charge of quarrying the rock in Sweden. Shannon was shipping the rock to Aransas Pass for a deep-water facility and Shannon reported 7,000 tons of rock was being shipped from Duval station over the railroad to Corpus Christi and then by boat to the Pass. He had a large force of men gathering the rock.

Professor Henry Croft died in 1883, only two years after arriving in Duval County. Croft was born in London, England in 1820. His father was a British officer and Minister of Ordinance in the Tower of London. The professor graduated from University of Berlin and was founder and first editor of London Chemical Gazette. In 1842, Kings College in Toronto named Professor Croft professor of chemistry and experimental philosophy. The professor retired in 1877, moved to Duval County 1881 to join his family and soon started to look into natural history.

J. Williamson Moses was practicing attorney in San Diego and T. C. Hanneley was a physician and surgeon. As an indication of the health problems in the frontier, Dr. Hanneley advertised in the Caller that he gave “special attention given to venereal and chronic disease.”

Postmaster and former County Judge James O. Luby introduced the telephone to San Diego. He hung wire from the post office to his law office. Luby exclaimed that the contraption was a great convenience at no expense.

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