THE CABALLERO YEARS
1949-1950

The Turn of the Half-Century: 1949-50
The Caballeros Arrive!
Fall, 1949

Sam Houston State Teachers College was growing in 1949. There were ten academic buildings---Old Main, Austin College (the social center), Estill (the Library), Junior High, Science, Women's Gym, Music (Peabody), Agriculture, Men's Gym, Biology/Home Economics (Haley)---and two non-academic buildings, one for resource use and the other for graphic arts laboratories (located back of the Men's Gym.

Huntsville was growing, too. It was a mile bigger! In a city-wide vote at the end of August, Huntsville annexed North Huntsville, East Huntsville, and South Huntsville. Estimates of the consolidated population were around 12,000. Mayor Wilbourne Gibbs announced that the city limits would be extended one mile: 700 feet north, a half-mile east, and 3,000 feet west (Item, 8/25/49). As an evidence of this growth, the city installed parking meters, which would go into effect on Monday, September 26 at 8:00 a.m. You could park for 24 minutes on a penny and for two hours on a nickel! (Item, 9/22/49)

And there were changes at the college. At registration non-communist cards had to be signed. Members of the Student Council had prepared and distributed the first Student Handbook, which had been discontinued due to expenses during the war years. Seventeen new faculty members were added (9/30/49).

2,290 students had registered and the dorms were jammed! Of the 798 girls, Belvin-Buchanan housed 165 (capacity: 123) and Elliott 186 (capacity: 145); of the 1,492 men, Jackson-Shaver housed 216 and Lowman Hall at Country Campus had 120. The rest of the student body either commuted or lived in rented rooms in homes near campus. The largest class was the "fish," sporting, for the first time, freshman beanies, which had to be worn until Homecoming (10/14/49). The Huntsville merchants offered "specials" to freshman who wore their caps on Friday, September 16, and the freshmen were given free admission to the Life Theater to see The Girl From Jones Beach starring Ronald Reagan! (Item, 9/8/49)

The Bearkat's football schedule included six home games and four away with the biggest rival, Stephen F. Austin, the last game of the season, in Nacogdoches. Homecoming was on October 29 against East Texas. Even though they only won four games, the team was spirited and the fans were loyal. Probably the most lopsided win, perhaps in Sam Houston history, came in the game with Brooke Medical Center; Sam Houston won 82-0!

Sam Houston was growing and changing in many other ways. Faculty and students could now go to Country Campus and use the nine-hole golf course, which had just opened: "Its lush greens have been in use since this summer." All the students were excited about the prospect of a Student Union Building (acronymically called the "SUB"), first proposed in 1947; the Board of Regents would meet the first week in October and hopefully okay its construction. The student body was a real part of this endeavor: one year ago organizations worked together in a Halloween Carnival and proceeds went to the SUB fund.

First and foremost in the mind of Lee Drain, President of the Student Council, was the success of the Halloween Carnival. He appealed to all the campus organizations to participate and contribute to this important venture. At first, there were several groups who indicated their interest, but Drain wanted this new campus tradition to bring in a substantial amount of money. For the first few weeks of the semester, the success of the Halloween Carnival, scheduled for late October, was the focus of attention. A meeting with all organization was planned for October 11.

As school was getting under way, the talk around campus was about the Russians having the atomic bomb. In an opinion survey of students and faculty conducted by the Houstonian, "only one person out of a group of ten predicted war within the next five years"; most felt the bomb would cause more equality between the countries (9/30/49).

On Wednesday, October 5, the faculty voted that all students must pass an English test which included writing and reading comprehension; it would be graded by three faculty, two from the English department and one from the student's major area. Those who failed would have one chance to retake it; if failed again, they would have to take a remedial course (10/7/49). It was announced by Elliott Bowers, Director of the Testing Center, that many kinds of tests would be made available to students (10/14/49).

The State Teachers College Board of Regents met early in October and approved $997,000 in building bonds for Sam Houston. The money would be used for a new band building, a physical education facility, and an addition to the biology building, which construction was halted during World War II because of a "shortage of materials and need for the space." The Regents also gave final approval for the construction of the SUB (10/7/49).

Socially, organizations were busy planning for the Halloween Carnival and preparing candidates for class officers and Homecoming royalty. The most active of the clubs were the five women's literary clubs---Anne Gibbs, Carolyn Belvin (CB's), Loulie Sexton Estill (Loulies), Philomathean (Philos), and Eclectic---and the two men's social clubs---the Esquires and the Ravens. ". . .The Esquires was the leading frat, followed closely by the Ravens and neither wanted any competition from a new fraternity." There was one men's service organization, the Ramrods, and one women's service group, the Glamazons, composed of women over 5'7" (10/28/49).

The Prison Rodeo was attracting more people than ever before, reaching weekly totals of 10,000 spectators, even at Wednesday matinees (10/21/49).

In the second week of October, the first issue of the Sam Houston Alumnus was mailed to approximately 10,000 former Bearkats. The 12-page magazine included a message from Newton Gresham, President of the Alumni Association, a list of club activities, news of the victorious football team, and Homecoming plans (10/14/49). It reported the new tradition of freshmen wearing "skull caps of the school colors, orange and white, until a specified date"; freshmen would also learn college songs and yells in freshman English classes and school history in their history classes. The magazine included a new "pact" between Sam Houston and arch rival Stephen F. Austin.

The time-old rivalry between Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin will have its claws trimmed this fall when a new anti-paint pact between the two schools goes into effect.
The pact, designed to prevent the violence which has sometimes accompanied night raids on the rival campuses, outlaws any defacing of school property and provides for punishment of violators.
Any student caught painting a rival campus or caught on the rival campus with paint in his automobile will be returned to his home school for trial before his own governing body.
If the student is judged guilty, he will be forced to pay for the cleaning up of the paint on the campus or to do it himself.

Both the Sam Houston and SFA council agreed that the old custom of punishing students caught on the campus by shaving heads should be abolished. "It merely gives publicity to trouble-makers," Council President Lee Drain and Earl Lord said.

Lee Drain met with designated representatives of all campus organizations on Tuesday, October 11, at 10:00 a.m. to finalize plans for the Halloween Carnival. Somewhat disappointed because some groups had not come up with an idea, Drain urged them on, because it was for the benefit of everyone: the money earned would be used for SUB furnishings (10/14/49). It was hoped that this year the carnival would bring in more than last year's $750.

Young Rooming House, located at 1321 Avenue K., was a large two-story structure, big enough to house twenty men upstairs, two to a room with a bathroom for every two rooms. Tom Perdue, who lived there, thought the house had probably once been a hotel. Downstairs there had been a beauty shop, and Mrs. Young, the owner, lived in the back. She rented the downstairs rooms to girls (much to the pleasure of the men upstairs!). The rent was $20 a month (Interview: Perdue).

The nineteen men living upstairs founded Caballeros. Perdue remembers that they had talked about forming another social club during the previous spring semester and that the decision had been made to aggressively seek this at the beginning of the next school year. Once school got under way, these men began investigating the process to establish another men's social club at Sam Houston. Since Young House resident Lee Drain had been elected president of the Student Council, he investigated what paper work was involved in getting a new organization acknowledged by the college. They were all surprised at the amount of paper work! Perdue recalls spending many hours in Jim Cartwright's room, along with Charlie Stanley, Gerald Smith, Clayton "Jelly" Hester, Marion "Big Dog" Skains, Lee Drain, and Calvin Sloma formulating ideas for the organization. As Tom remembers, Jim Cartwright thought up the name "Caballero," and they all agreed that this Spanish name meaning "Gentleman" would be appropriate.

Once the paper work was completed, the Caballeros submitted it to the proper authorities and in October, were given formal recognition, which was formally announced in the October 28th issue of the Houstonian. Trying to pinpoint a specific date as the founding of the Caballeros is difficult; however, it seems logical to attach the date Monday, October 17 as the first formal meeting of the Caballeros. At this meeting they elected officers and, as their first campus activity, decided to have a booth in the Halloween Carnival on Friday, October 21 and to build a Homecoming float (10/28/49). The advisor for the new group was Dr. William Dacres. The first officers of the Cabs were
Marion Skains
Calvin Sloma
Clayton Hester

The remaining Founding Members of the Caballero Club were J. D. Brown, Thomas E. Brown, Dan Dominey, Ed Dougherty, Lee Drain, Earl Hancock, Earl Kahla, James Morrow, Tom Perdue, Roy Ralston, Gerald Smith, Charles Stanley, Bill Turner.

In the October 28 issue of the Houstonian was the good news that the carnival had made a little more than last year, despite the rain that kept many away. The total received was just over $750 (10/18/49). In the same issue was the formal announcement that the Caballero Club had been formed. In the next week's issue the word "Caballero" appeared next to the name of a newly elected member of Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities: "LEE DRAIN, McKinney, vocational agriculture, senior---1949-50, Student Council President, Ramrods, Caballeros."

Each Monday night the Cabs met at Young House at 6:30 (11/18/49). Besides participation in the Halloween Carnival they also constructed a Homecoming float. The Cabs went as a group to the football games and, like most of the other spectators, carried their "spirits" in Listerine bottles because they found it necessary to frequently freshen their breath! (Interview: Perdue)

The Cabs were very active with the SUB fund. The Cabs were active in other campus functions and activities and represented a wide range of majors, including agriculture, business, physical education, teaching, and industrial arts. Tom (Perdue) was a letterman on the golf team, Jim Cartwright was a representative on the Student Council, Ed Dougherty was president of the Newman Club, and others were involved in organizations in their major fields (Interview: Perdue).

Spontaneous parties are characteristic of fraternities and the Caballeros had theirs. According to Perdue, a couple of the Cabs would get in "Big Dog" Skains' Ford Roadster, complete with rumble seat, go to Trinity, pick up a keg, put it in the rumble seat, drive back to campus, honk in front of the girls' dorms and transport all takers out to state lake for an afternoon beer bust.

Although at first the membership of the Caballero Club was composed of those living in Young House, Perdue said that of the first three "pledges" taken, two of them did not live in Young House; therefore, membership was not restricted. There was no initiation at that time, just an acceptance by the others. But the following year a type of initiation and pledgeship was instituted. The Raven and Esquire social clubs had these activities and it was logical that the Cabs would too!

In December, the Cabs were one of 21 groups which gave $400 of food, clothing, and cash to the needy for Christmas; they also gave money for the new scoreboard in the Men's Gym used December 16 in a game against East Texas Baptist (12/16/49). Dr. and Mrs. Lowman hosted their annual Christmas open house on December 14 and 15. Southwestern Bell announced it was raising its rates to bring in the new year: the rates were now $2 a month for business calls, 75 cents a month for residence (one-party line), and 50 cents (two-party) (Item, 12/15/49). Everybody left for Christmas break singing the new holiday song "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

When the students returned they heard about the prison break that happened just before New Years. Seven inmates had tunneled their way out at 10:30 in the morning the day after Christmas. Four of them were caught quickly but the other three had eluded police (Item, 12/29/49). Students at Sam Houston have always reacted calmly to a prison break: they never get excited. (We all know that the first place escaped convicts flee is Huntsville!)

Finals were set for January 23-26 and the graduation of 117 seniors was very soon. (There was no ceremony; the January graduates went through in May.) Out of 489 students who took the first English proficiency test, 71 failed and would have to retake it in February (1/6/50) On January 15, many students would have monetary benefits from veteran payments for World War II (1/13/50). The Caballeros met on January 9 and 16 to make plans for the Spring semester. President Truman had announced a "moderate tax increase" in his State of the Union message and this was a concern of many, but everyone admitted the speech was Truman's most eloquent speech as he outlined the purpose of America in the future.

As we move forward into the second half of the 20th century, we must always bear in mind the central purpose of our national life. We do not seek material prosperity for ourselves because we love luxury; we do not aid other nations because we wish to increase our power. We have not devised programs for the security and well-being of our people because we are afraid or unwilling to take risks. This is not the meaning of our present history or our present course.

We work for a better life for all, so that all men may put to good use the great gifts with which they have been endowed by their Creator. We seek to establish those material conditions of life in which, without exception, men may live in dignity, perform useful work, serve their communities and worship God as they see fit.

These may seem simple goals, but they are not little ones. They are worth a great deal more than all the empires and conquests of history. They are not to be achieved by military aggression or political fanaticism. They are to be achieved by humbler means---by hard work, by a spirit of self-restraint in our dealing with one another and by a deep devotion to the principles of justice and quality. . .We should ask for continued strength and guidance from that Almighty Power who has placed before us such great opportunities for the good of mankind in the years to come.


Caballero Profile
LEE DRAIN

LEE DRAIN was captain of the basketball team in high school in McKinney, Texas. He went to North Texas Agricultural College for two years. For a few years he helped his father run a farm and also worked as assistant engineer at Love Field. But his ambition was banking. He was 24 when he became president of the Student Council at SHSTC, and had decided his future in banking. He was majoring in vocational agriculture, which seemed an odd major for one destined to be a banker. But he explained it this way: "You see, many banks depend for the most part on farmers to make their loans. And that's the way a bank makes money. Only they won't make money unless the loan is sound. And, how can they know whether a loan is sound unless they know the borrower is a good risk." Then, he added, he would take over and investigate.

Not only was Drain's academic major beneficial to his future, his leadership through Student Council presidency allowed him to practice future rapport: "It is my ambition to know every student on the campus by his first name" (Houstonian, 9/30/49).

In the April, 1961, issue of the Alumnus, this article appeared:

"Lee Drain, Class of 1950, is an assistant vice-president of the Republic National Bank of Dallas. After his graduation from Sam Houston, Mr. Drain attended East Texas State College where he received his master's degree in 1952. Continuing his graduate studies, he attended the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University and was a distinguished graduate in the Fall of 1960.

During World War II, Mr. Drain served in the U.S. Air Force, and, as a reservist, he also served actively during the Korean War. Mr. Drain has been on the staff of the Republic National Bank since 1953 and was elected as assistant vice-president in 1960."

In 1971, Lee Drain was appointed a member of the Board of Regents, Texas State University System, which oversees Sam Houston, by Governor Preston Smith, reappointed in 1977 by Dolph Briscoe, and again in 1983 by Mark White.

In 1984, Lee Drain was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus by his alma mater, Sam Houston State University.

In 1990, the $7.1 million General Purpose Classroom Building at Sam Houston State University was renamed the Lee Drain Academic Building, honoring this former Sam Houston student who has distinguished himself in education and in his profession. The building contains 424,348 square feet of classrooms, labs and offices. It was completed in 1985, and houses programs in biology, geography, geology, math, computing science, philosophy, psychology, and offices for the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Lee Drain was bestowed this honor "for countless contributions to the Texas State University System, and to the State of Texas as well as for his faithful and dedicated service to education, and for the exceptional leadership and public service he has shown on behalf of his fellow man." In response to being so honored, Lee Drain said: "There is no system in the state that gives the taxpayers a better dollar value in educational expenditures. There have been many comments [from governors and legislators] about how the system has improved, with finer faculty, smarter student bodies, and tremendous growth. . . .My emotions for Sam Houston run very deep. That school has given me a lot more than I've been able to give it."


The First Dream Girl
Spring, 1950

As soon as school resumed after the short break and registration, the news came that campus expansion was definite. Funds had been provided for the SUB, a new music building, and a gymnasium (2/10/50).

On February 13, the Caballeros met at Young House and plotted out the semester. The first order of business was the election of officers for the Spring semester (2/24/50). J. D. Brown was elected President, Charlie Stanley, Vice-President; Jim Cartwright, Secretary/Reporter; Tommy Perdue, Treasurer.

In order to raise money for the club, they decided to sponsor a campus-wide dance sometime in March and another early in May at which time a club sweetheart would be presented.

Meanwhile, the city of Huntsville banned the new Ingrid Bergman movie Stromboli because the star had had a widely-publicized affair with director Roberto Rossellini and had his baby out of wedlock. In fact, the ministers in Huntsville banded together to ban the movie!

Whereas the Avon, Life, and Town theaters of Huntsville have refused to show the film "Stromboli" because of the behavior and indecent lives of two of the principal characters, therefore, be it resolved by the Huntsville Ministerial Alliance:
65% of the student body interviewed by the Houstonian thought banning the movie was ridiculous! (2/24/50)

March was a busy month. A picture of Dr. Lowman (with Newton Gresham, president of the Ex-Students, and Lee Drain) shoveling the first mounds of dirt for the SUB appeared in the Houstonian (3/3/50). The work of the student body, and especially those efforts by organizations, had paid off and their new student center was under way. Governor Shivers spoke at the FFA Leadership Festivities in mid-March and the Theater Department presented All My Sons, the first play by the prominent new Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright, Arthur Miller. (3/17/50)

The Cabs were planning their all-college party and also practicing softball for upcoming intramurals. They were scheduled to play the Cobras on March 24 at 7:30, just a half hour before their all-college dance started. Taking it in stride, the Cabs beat their opponents 11 to 6, then hurried to the dance. Admission was 35 cents, "stag or drag," and was held in the Men's Gym. The theme was "Flunk and Forget" (3/24/50). The dance was a success and probably helped finance the next day's activity: "The twenty members of the Caballero club with 30 guests piled in trucks and cars Saturday afternoon at 1:30 for a picnic at Double Lake. They arrived back at 8:30" (3/31/50).

To no one's surprise Dr. Lowman was re-elected president of Sam Houston on Saturday, April 1, by the Board of Regents. The national census was beginning and estimates for Huntsville included with and without the students and inmates and all possible combinations (Item, 4/6/50).

The following Wednesday night the Cabs beat the Gamblers in softball. The rest of their schedule, playing the Bearkats "A's," the Dirty Dozen, and Langford House, carried them through April.

The Student Council argued the frequent issue of the sponsorship of Homecoming. Jim Cartwright presented a petition to Student Council which argued that because Homecoming was a campus-wide affair, the event should be sponsored by the Student Council and not the Esquires. The petition was voted down after an Esquire representative told the history of the sponsorship and discussed how the money was spent (3/31/50).

"Only two teams remain undefeated in [softball]. The Caballeros have a record of three wins and no losses" (4/15/50). The weatherman wasn't helping the intramural teams; rain fell frequently postponing many games. Softball intramurals were never completed because of conflicting activities and bad weather (5/12/50). The rain didn't hamper pledge day on Monday, May 8. The new "pledges" were Billy Bob Lewis, Adrian Farr, and Walter Anderson, who were accepted into membership (5/12/50).

The Cabs finalized plans for their end-of-the-year dance. They would call it "Dream Girl," and be held on Friday, May 12. They nominated three girls for Dream Girl: Shirley Anderson, Virginia Pardue, and Pat Reese (5/12/50). The rain didn't keep anyone away from the first "Dream Girl" dance. The popular campus band The Houstonians played the current hit songs: "You're Breaking My Heart," "Riders in the Sky," "I Love Those Dear Hearts and Gentle People," and "That Lucky Old Sun." Charlie Stanley was Master of Ceremonies. Mr. William Dacres, Caballero advisor and biology professor, crowned Virginia Pardue the first Caballero Dream Girl (5/12/50).

The semester ended with finals on May 22-25 and graduation the following Saturday. 393 students received degrees on Sunday, May 28 (5/12/50).

The beginning of the Caballero Club had positive prospects. Not only had they participated in every major campus activity and in intramurals, the Cabs had sponsored two all-college dances, selected a sweetheart, and created money-making projects. It looked like the Caballeros meant business!

On June 25, troops from North Korea, under the influence of the Soviet Union, invaded South Korea, influenced by the United States, along the 38th parallel and captured Seoul. General Douglas MacArthur was appointed commander of the United States forces in Korea. Even though it was formally called a "crisis," everyone knew the United States was at war.


Caballero Profile
ED DOUGHERTY

Ed transferred to Sam Houston from Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania, one of the nation's top wrestling schools, where he lettered in the sport: "College wrestling is a science to build the mind and body, whereas pro-wrestling is now nothing more than a show." Coming from Allentown, Ed first became interested in wrestling in high school watching the wrestlers workout. "They invited me to work out with them and tied me into dozens of knots before I learned the basic principles." He learned quickly and his high school achievements earned him a scholarship to Muhlenberg.

Ed was an Army veteran when he entered SHSTC in 1949 as a junior. Even though the college did not have a wrestling team, Ed looked for opponents in the 145-pound weight class to keep in shape. In the spring semester of 1951, Ed was elected vice-president of the Caballeros and graduated in May (3/24/50).


1950 Alcalde Picture


Seated: William Dacres, Sponsor; Marion Skains, James Parrish, Calvin Sloma

Standing: Gerald Smith, Lee Drain, Thomas Brown, Charlie Stewart, Charlie Stanley, Earl Kahla, Tom Perdue, (Unknown), Ed Dougherty, Roy Ralston, Clayton Hester

Not pictured: J. D. Brown, Jim Cartwright


Forward
Sam Houston in 1949
"The Caballeros Arrive!"
(1949-1950)
"An Uphill Climb"
(1950-51)
"Bill Turner,
Houstonian Editor"
(1951-52)
"Dan Rather,
Houstonian Editor"
(1952-53)
"New Ideas"
(1953-54)
"Fight Night Begins"
(1954-55)
"Tripod Always"
(1955-56)
"Alumni Membership Growing"
(1956-57)
"`National' Talk in the Air"
(1957-58)
"`A Chevrolet or a Cadillac?'"
(1958-59)
"Everybody Going Greek...
Except the Cabs!"
(1959-60)
"Sigma Chi at Sam Houston"
(1960-61)
John Ball and the Peasants' Revolt
Caballero Constitution