Notes from the past…


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Dr. Kennedy and the “Great Health Resort of Texas”… or, just what the doctor ordered!

There is a most interesting article in today’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram, discussing the mineral water baths of Mineral Wells, Texas:

Carol Elder is bringing back something that’s been missing from this North Texas city for more than 40 years — mineral baths.

In a sparsely furnished 8-foot-by-11-foot room, customers of the Famous Water Co. can sink into a 69-inch pedestal tub filled with “Crazy Water” for a sensation that hasn’t been available since the historic Baker Hotel closed in 1972, Elder said.

The first mineral baths opened about the time Mineral Wells incorporated in 1882, Elder said. The baths were reputed to heal skin conditions such as eczema, and worse.

Why Crazy Water? According to legend, one of the wells became famous when what was described as a “demented elderly lady” was cured after drinking the water. The town named the well the “Crazy Woman Well,” later shortened to “Crazy Well.”

The mineral waters were reputed to cure all sorts of ailments. Snake oil, you say?

Maybe not, according to my 3rd great-grandfather Dr Nathan Blunt Kennedy of Hillsboro, Texas. Read his ringing endorsement below:

I discovered this pamphlet, created about 1895 (I’m guessing at the date, as Dr Kennedy died in 1897), at The Portal To Texas History web site about 3 years ago. I was researching the Good Doctor’s medical career at the time and was happily surprised to find him mentioned here!


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Was Paul Newman mistaken?

“Did Butch Cassidy, the notorious Old West outlaw who most historians believe perished in a 1908 shootout in Bolivia, actually survive that battle and live to old age, peacefully and anonymously, in Washington state? And did he pen an autobiography detailing his exploits while cleverly casting the book as biography under another name?”

An interesting article in this morning’s online Fort Worth Star-Telegram:


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National Archives research room opens in Fort Worth today!

And today is my day off!

The National Archives branch that is located in Ft Worth is opening its downtown (well, Montgomery Plaza on West Seventh Street) research room today. How exciting!

For decades, the research room has been housed in a bleak 1940s-era brick warehouse ringed by barbed-wire fences at the Federal Depot off Felix Street in south Fort Worth.

“We’re going to get a lot of walk-in traffic at Montgomery Plaza — that just didn’t happen before,” Huff said.

The new research room will house microfilmed and digitized records used primarily for family history research. It will have 10 public-access computers for searching online genealogical information.

The big plus for researchers is free access to paid genealogical sites like Ancestry.com and Footnote.com, which are partners with the National Archives in digitizing records.

Another draw will be help in navigating the maze of public records from the archives staff and 15 trained volunteers.

The room will be open Mon-Fri 8aa to 4pm  and every 3rd Saturday.

I used to work just about 3 blocks from Montgomery Plaza, which woulda been great, but I still think I’ll manage to stop by once in a while…. :)