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Mary Alice Hunt's Memories of Grand Lake


Mary Alice Hunt moved to Conroe when she was four years old. She later became an art teacher and wrote her memories of Conroe when she was a child in the book “Ruts to the Miracle City.”

In flowing cursive handwriting inside the front cover of her book, “Ruts to the  iracle City,” author and artist Mary Alice Hunt wrote to her niece, Elsie, that when she was a little girl she and her sister, Hilda,  had few conveniences and no luxuries but they were still happy in the early 1900s in Conroe.

Hunt, whose maiden name was Beazley, was born in 1900 and came to Conroe in 1904. Her father, Alexander Hamilton Beazley, ran a grocery store in Conroe in the very early 1900s.

She and her sister, Hilda, graduated from Conroe High School. In the 1981 Montgomery County History Book published by the Montgomery County Genealogical Society, Hunt said she and her sister grew up poor but were a happy family in the growing city of Conroe.

Hunt married rural mail carrier Ted Hunt in 1925. She attended Sam Houston State University and eventually taught art at Sam Houston Elementary School for 20 years. She was also the first president of the Conroe Art League in 1963-64.

She also wrote memories of growing up in Conroe in the early 1900s. Those memories became her book “Rut to the Miracle City.”

In 1975 when it was printed, the small hard-bound book with a red cover was designated as an official history of Conroe by the Bicentennial Committee of the Montgomery County Historical Commission.

The book includes a hand-drawn map of the town of Conroe prior to the town’s 1901 fire. She also included a legend of what homes and structures were a part of the town.

A map of Conroe prior to its 1901 fire featured in “Ruts to the Miracle City” written by Mary Alice Hunt.

A map of Conroe prior to its 1901 fire featured in “Ruts to the Miracle City” written by Mary Alice Hunt.

In the following passage from the book, Hunt describes Grand Lake which was a major source of recreation in the early 1900s. Today the lake is still there and located as a part of the Grand Central Park development at I-45 and South Loop 336.

“Grand Lake is one of the prettiest little bodies of water in the vicinity of Conroe. It is about three miles long and is surrounded by large moss covered trees and the banks are dotted with clumps of palmetto and wild peach trees.

Some of my fondest childhood memories are the times our family along with the Nutter family and one or two other families would load up our wagons with quilts, a few pots and pans and some groceries and drive out to the lake for a few days campout. The road out to the lake wound in and out among the trees and thick underbrush. It was hot and uninteresting and to us eager children those four miles seemed like an unending road.

When we finally arrived at the spot where we would make camp, all the children would roll out of the wagon like so many potatoes out of a basket. While the grown ups unloaded the wagons, staked the horses to graze and gathered firewood, we children would race one another across a bare stretch of ground. Not far from where we made camp was a small creek that flowed into the lake forming a sandbar.

Here we children played in the sand until we were tired then swam in the lake.

The mothers sat on the bank watching from the shore or went for a ride on one of the flat-bottomed boats at the lake.

Most of the men spent the daylight hours fishing or seining in the creek for minnows to use as bait.

As daylight drew to an end, a campfire was built and I can imagine yet the aroma of fish being friend in a great black pot of grease and potatoes and corn pone roasting in the hot coals.

When the last log had burned to brilliant red coals, we lay down on our quilt pallets to watch the stars twinkle in the black velvet sky and listen to the crickets chirp, the bullfrogs croak and the hoarse bellow of the numerous alligators. It frightens me now to think of us kids swimming in that lake with all those alligators.

There is nothing like sleeping under the open sky to turn one’s thoughts to the One who created it all.”

The Courier thanks Montgomery County Historical Commission Chairman Larry Foerster for the use of his copy of Hunt’s “Ruts to the Miracle City.”

Conroe Courier

July 29, 2018

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Page Modified: 01 August 2018