205 Bowser St
Rockdale, TX 76567
My family recently purchased the house at 205 Bowser St. in Rockdale. We were told that the house has some
historic roots to include a representative in the state legislature in 1876-79. I have done some online
research and not gotten very far. Can you please point me in the right direction to do research on the house
and its owners?
Standard Reply emailed - RFI forwarded to MCHC & MCGS members.
Jack Brooks - bjohnr2010(AT)hotmail(DOT)com
Subject: MCHC 205 Bowser Street Inquiry
Date: Sat, 12 Dec 2015 01:22:00 -0500
Your beautiful home certainly has some historic roots. I didn't realize how many until I started researching
One might say that it goes back to Dec. 24th, 1873, even though your home is not quite that old. That
particular day is when Benjamin and brother Joseph Loewenstein arrived in Rockdale with their ox-drawn carts
loaded with dry goods.
The International and Great Northern Railroad tracks would be completed from Hearne within a month.
If you'll study the above link and then attachment #1, you'll better appreciate the descendants who resided in
Lets fast forward to 2015. Since those reading this post may not be familiar or be able to place your home,
please see attachment # 2 for a recent photo.
I visited the Milam County, County Clerks office and researched the previous public record ownership of your
home. The website has yet to be updated since the current ownership still reflects the Laritha Ann Farek
Volume 551 pg. 536 shows deed transfer from David and Yvonne Yount to Marvin and Laritha Farek on Dec. 31,
1985. The Yount's purchased the home from Carrie Loewenstein (Carrie also being her paternal grandmother's
first name) Tharp on Nov. 2nd, 1971, Vol. 397 pg.379. Carrie received the home from her mother, widowed Lena
Loewenstein, on 12 Sept. 1965, Vol. 337 pg.378.
Lena's husband, Ben Jr. died Dec. 25, 1934 after being struck by an automobile on Cameron Avenue. Ben Jr. came
by the home from Charles F. Niehaus on July 11, 1919, Vol. 151 pg.146.
Here is where I ran into a snag at the County Clerk's office. It is customary to state the previous Volume and
page on the deed when ownership changes hands. That way, theoretically, you are able to continue to search
backward to dirt (original survey). When this isn't done, it becomes considerably more time consuming trying
to build an abstract(for me anyway).
The 1919 Charles Niehaus to Ben Loewenstein Jr. deed had no previous Vol. and pg.. I abandoned the search.
Now here is where it gets interesting. See attachment # 4. Local legend, which very well may be fact, says
that Charles Niehaus, a single man, lost the home to Ben Loewenstein Jr. due to a $3,600 gambling debt. If
you'll note the deed, it states that the home was purchased with $3500 cash in hand.
David and Yvonne Yount are a wonderful couple and we happen to be friends. I called Yvonne and she, with David
in the background, shared stories of the home during her family's 15 year residency and raising 5 children
The home had not been well maintained prior to their ownership and it needed extensive and costly repairs.
One of the stories that she shared was of the hidden room.
The home had been previously remodeled. In the process, a window on the north end of the home appearing at a
third story level had no such window inside the house. Curiosity got the better of them so naturally a ladder
was used on the exterior of the home to view the room. It was about the size of a small closet with four
exterior walls with no entry and a window. Later, siding was placed on the home and the phantom room was
covered over and fell into darkness and remains that way today.
Now I'll tell you why I skipped over attachment #3. What looks like a transom over the front door is a very
attractive stained glass window. The Yount's found the frame badly rotten and much of the glass damaged and
unable to be saved. The remnants showed the original color scheme but only the bulls eye of the window was
able to be saved. A trip to Temple found a stained glass artisan who assisted Yvonne in matching the original
colors as closely as possible. I was curious of the expense of doing something like that, and Yvonne must have
read my mind, since she volunteered that he was very well compensated. I think I'd put some BB-proof glass in
front of the same.
Yvonne also stated that a Dr. Issacs built the home ca. 1890's.
Since I was unable to search earlier than 1919, I don't know if there may have been additional owners during
that time frame.
You had mentioned that a representative to the State Legislature had possibly once owned the home. When I
queried Dr. Issacs and State Legislature, this is what I found:
I'm unable to put any more time into this inquiry due to other pressing commitments, but I would like to offer
a couple of suggestions.
Since Dr. Issacs expired July 6th, 1901, I would suggest visiting Rockdale's Lucy Hill Patterson library
genealogy section. You will find a micro-tape machine there with an adjacent filing cabinet with dated micro-
tapes of the Rockdale Reporter newspaper back to 1897. If you're not familiar with the machine, just ask any
of their very helpful staff for assistance. This is the obit that you're looking for, the entire one and not
Obituary (partial), Dr. A.C. Isaacs, Rockdale Messenger, Thursday, 7/11/1901. "Represented Milam County in the
Legislature, died Saturday, 7/6/1901. Notice of Resolution of Respect by Royal Arch Masons, Thursday,
8/8/1901. Milam County, Texas."
Newspapers: Rockdale Messenger 1901.
TXGenWeb Project 1996 - While you're there, I have one more suggestion. I was researching an inquiry recently
and discovered that in ca. 1911-1912 (if I recall correctly) a reporter was photographing a prominent Rockdale
home every week. It was titled "Beautiful Rockdale Homes" and also had a brief description of the home and
If you haven't visited the Jewish Cemetery in the Southeast corner of the Old City Cemetery block, I'd
recommend visiting that as well.
Check out all the Loewenstein's. Attachment # 4 & 5.
There is a long term community involvement effort to bring the cemetery back to more glorious days.
The local Girl Scout Troops 9603 and 9605 are responsible for much of that improvement in the Jewish Cemetery.
Those involved are really proud of them and their leaders. When I was talking with Yvonne, I asked her if she
would allow me to share her tel. number with you. She graciously said yes, and that she would enjoy sharing
her knowledge of the home and its history with you. I'll send her Tel. number to you in a PP. I know that
you'll enjoy talking with her.
Much of this information is probably redundant for you but the thought here is to also share the knowledge of
your historic home with others who drive by admiring your home, but know nothing of its rich history.
Hello Mr Brooks,
Thank you so much for your in depth confirmation and addition to the information that we had for our home. I
had found a couple announcements in some old newspapers that had some additional title transfer information
that will be fun to go and dig for in the archives.
Hopefully I will be able to finish collecting the information back to its beginning.
We had heard stories of the secret room and I now look forward to getting into it and perhaps letting the
light back into the room.
I also appreciate you reaching out to your friends the Younts, and I will make a point to contact them to hear
their stories first hand.