Home ] Up ] National ] Texas Eyes ] World Wars ] Golden Triangle ] Civil War ] Sabine Pass ] Beaumont ] Port Neches ] To Betsie ] Families ] Nederland ] Frontier Tales TX LA ] Tales SW LA ] [ Emerald ] Milltowns ] Early Sawmills LA TX ] Cotton Bales ] Schooner ] Jefferson County ] Sapphire City ] Sour Lake ] School Review ] Little Things ] Class of 1968 ] Sesquicentennial ]


Emerald of the Neches

The Chronicles of Beaumont, Texas from Reconstruction to Spindletop

A previously unpublished manuscript that has recently been published on Amazon in two formats: Kindle eBook and Paperback.

Link to Amazon



A typewritten manuscript written by W. T. Block, written over a period of 4 years ending in 1980 regarding the history of Beaumont, Texas.

The manuscript was never published before this current release.

The book is a raw scanned copy of the original typewritten pages creating a "print replica" in Kindle's terminology.

A handwritten note by WT on the inside of the front cover stated:

"This long typescript represents four long years of my life. Don't burn it. If no one in the family wants it, please give it to the Lamar University Library."

In my mind, not publishing it would be the equivalent of burning it.

I will never forget the first time I opened the manuscript, held one of the pages in my hand, and wondered "What is that texture I am feeling?" The texture was caused by the impact of the typewriter head striking the paper and WT typed on both sides of the paper.

William T. Block III
Son of W. T. Block


Here is the beginning of the "Introduction" written by WT:

For some years now, the editor has been faced with the dilemma of completing his original intent — to write a sequel to his “History of Jefferson County, Texas from Wilderness to Reconstruction,” in order that that county’s nineteenth century history might be preserved up to and including the famed discovery at Spindletop. In lieu of writing, he has opted instead to reproduce a few hundred newspaper articles which were published between 1865 and 1905.

As the census figures of Beaumont and Jefferson County during those years reveal, the history of the county until 1895 increasingly becomes the history of Beaumont, that city’s population always comprising from two-thirds to three-fourths of the county’s inhabitants. After 1865, Sabine Pass never regained the population or status it had attained by 1861, the Civil War having delivered a fatal blow to the early community. And the brief period of prosperity that town enjoyed as a lumber port around 1900 was soon negated by the building of the Port Arthur Ship Channel and other seaports within the county.

The reader may question why the editor chose to reproduce only newspaper articles, knowing, as he does, that that medium of communication does and will always contain an irreducible margin of historical error. There are also city and county minutes, deeds, and census records, etc., but little social and economic history can be derived from these. The truth and principal reason is —that almost nothing else, including local newspapers as well, has survived. In fact, one might easily surmise that Jefferson Countians of the last century was never inclined to write memoirs, diaries, etc., since the surviving accounts were written almost always, but not entirely, by outsiders—visitors and newspaper correspondents. The unknown variable is what quantity of such records might have been written, but later were destroyed by fire, hurricane, willful destruction, or by time itself.

The surviving newspapers of this county from the 1870’s consists of perhaps twenty issues, mostly in the custody of Mr. Chilton O'Brien of Beaumont. The first volume of the Enterprise, Nov. 1880, to Nov. 1881, remains intact. From the latter date, no local newspapers survived until 1897, of which year many issues of Port Arthur News and Herald and the Sabine Pass News still exist. The next issues of either the Beaumont Enterprise or Journal begin in 1898. Because of this sixteen-year gap, the editor was forced to seek out-of-county sources, principally the issues of the Galveston Weekly and Daily News, which publications were printed simultaneously beginning in 1875, and fortunately have managed to escape fire, time, hurricanes, or similar fates.

“Emerald of the Neches” is not intended to be read like a novel or even like most history books, although chapters or parts within it might be read and enjoyed in such a manner. It is intended as a resource book for local historians, genealogists, etc.

First Pages

To provide an example of what the book looks like inside, the following images are the first few pages of the manuscript as they were originally scanned:

horizontal rule

Copyright © 1998-2024 by W. T. Block. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, the material published on this site is copyrighted by William T. Block.
Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WTBlock