Monthly Archives: December 2013

Merry Christmas

Collin Street Bakery fruitcakeMerry Christmas!

A familiar sight growing up in Texas was the tin you see on the left.  It’s a fruitcake tin from the Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana.  That’s south of Dallas, in case you didn’t know.  The bakery famous for their fruitcakes, among other things.    Much of their business is through mail order.

I remember seeing these tins when I was a kid.  While time has corroded my memory (and some would say my mind), I think we would take one to my grandparents in Mississippi when we would visit for the holidays.  I have a vague recollection of seeing one one the table and being struck that it was there since the Alamo is prominently displayed at the top of the picture.


Image from Collin Street Bakery website

The Collin Street Bakery was founded in 1896 by Gus Weidmann and Tom McElwee.  It didn’t take long for their products to gain recognition.  Early customers included Will Rogers, “Gentleman Jim” Corbett, and John Ringling, the circus owner.  On one occasion, so the story goes, the entire circus ordered fruitcakes to send to friends around the globe.  The Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus still gets its fruitcakes from the Collin Street Bakery.

Different Christmas posts are up at Adventures Fantastic, Futures Past and Present, and Gumshoes, Gats, and Gams.

Candlelight at the Ranch

For one weekend each December, the National Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock hosts a Christmas event, Candlelight at the Ranch. The Center is a museum and historical park affiliated with Texas Tech University.  Sitting on 27.5 acres, the facility contains 48 structures that have been relocated from across the state. Candlelight at the Ranch is a walking tour through some of the buildings where reenactors show what Christmas was like on the plains throughout the years.  What follows below are some of the photos I took at this year’s event.  The camera on my phone didn’t always pick up things well, so for some I’ve got with and without flash versions.  I don’t know the names of the people in the photos, but I would like to thank them for doing this and for putting up with the flash on my camera.  Continue reading

The Santa Claus Bandits


Site of Ratliff’s Lynching

This post originally appeared at both the now defunct Home of Heroics site and Adventures Fantastic in December 2011. I’ve updated it a bit and reprinted it. I feel it’s a better fit here than either of the other two venues. As I mention later, this story was adapted for radio in the 1950s. I recently heard it broadcast again, so I thought I would dust this post off and reprint it.

Four men robbed the First National Bank in Cisco, Texas on Friday, December 23, 1927. The men were Marshall Ratliff, Henry Helms, Robert Hill, and Helm’s brother-in-law, Louis E. Davis. The men started from Wichita Falls, in Northwest Texas. They chose the bank in Cisco because Ratliff’s mother once ran a cafe there, and he knew the city. To keep from being recognized, Ratliff wore a Santa suit into the bank.   Continue reading