Founding ForcesGift of Mestena Inc. Archives

Margaret Lorine Jones Lewis

 

Lorine Jones Lewis was the first president of the La Retama Club.  She was the eldest daughter of Woman’s Monday Club member and third president,

Lou Ella Jones, and W. W. Jones.  She spent her childhood in both Corpus Christi and San Antonio, and received her formal education in Staunton, Virginia.  Lorine married  Marshall Spoonts of Forth Worth in 1907 and lived there until his death in 1923.  Then Lorine returned to Corpus Christi and remained until 1940 when she married Frank Lewis of San Antonio. 

 

Throughout her life, Lorine was very active in club and civic work.  She was president of the Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce from  1927 to 1928.  At that time she was the only woman president of a  chamber of commerce in the nation.  She was a charter member of the Texas A&I University Board of Trustees (now Texas A&M University- Kingsville) for 30 years, beginning in 1929.  The woman’s dormitory, Lewis Hall, bears her name.  She founded the Junior Assistance Club of  Corpus Christi in 1937, which eventually became the Junior League of  Corpus Christi in 1944.  Lorine gave the organization free office space in the Nueces Hotel, which her family owned until 1961.  In 1937 Lorine donated her father’s home at 511 South Upper Broadway to the City of Corpus Christi to house the La Retama Library. The library  stayed in that location until 1955, when it moved to the former city hall building on Mesquite Street. Lorine was a member of the Order De Piñeda and a founder of the Corpus Christi Symphony.  Along with her sister, Kathleen, she owned  and operated the Jones Ranch in Jim Hogg County.  She served as director of the Corpus Christi National Bank until her death at the age of 77 on January 5, 1963.

Lorine was a member of the Order De Piñeda, and a founder of the Corpus Christi Symphony.  Also, she served as director of the Corpus Christi National Bank until her death, and along with her sister, Kathleen, owned and operated the Jones Ranch in Jim Hogg County.  Lorine Jones Lewis died at the age of 77 on January 5, 1963.


Kathleen Jones AlexanderGift of Mestena Inc. Archives

Kathleen Jones Alexander was the president of the La Retama Club at the inception of the La Retama Library project in 1909.  She was the daughter of Woman’s Monday Club member and third president, Lou Ella Jones, and W. W. Jones.  Kathleen was married to Lee Blanchette from 1911 until his death in 1921, Clarence McElroy Hocker from 1927 until his death in 1937, and Donald Alexander from 1945 until his death in 1959.   

When Kathleen returned to Corpus Christi after finishing her college education, she was elected president of the La Retama Club.  Her college experiences had filled her with progressive ideas for Corpus Christi.  Mary Carroll said years later: It was not long till Kathleen’s ambitions awakened similar ambitions in all the members of La Retama.  The club began to look about for some way to help to better Corpus Christi.  This was the decade of the rising tide of women’s literary clubs, and Corpus Christi already had several busy, not only at self-culture, but at some civic enterprise. Corpus Christi had no library and La Retama girls decided that in building a library for their town, they could achieve something of lasting value, for they sensed that the road they wanted to travel would wind on and on—into the future. 

Kathleen operated her own ranching interests throughout her life and co-owned the Jones Ranch in Jim Wells County with her sister, Lorine Jones Lewis, after their parents’ deaths.  Kathleen was also a part of the Texas oil industry, and served as president of the Mestena Oil and Gas Company from 1937 to 1969 and chairman of the board from 1937 to 1972.  She maintained memberships in the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association and the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. 

Kathleen Jones Alexander died at the age of 93 on May 16, 1980.


Lucille Scott PopeWMC Collection Box 21

 

Lucille Scott Pope was a charter member of La Retama Club and a driving force in the club’s formation.  As the child of founding Woman’s Monday Club President, Ella Dickinson Scott, Lucille grew up around Corpus Christi’s first social clubs, which always included the names of her parents, G. R. and Ella Dickinson Scott.  Their other memberships included the Holmes Club, the Fortnightly Circle, and

the Woman’s Monday Club, and the all-male Myrtle Club.

 

Lucille attended the Corpus Christi public schools and then received her higher education at Agnes Scott College in Macon, Georgia.  After returning to Corpus Christi, she married her father’s legal firm partner, Walter Elmer Pope, in 1912.  During her life as a clubwoman, Lucille served as a member of the La Retama Club, the Daughters of the Confederacy, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, the Presbyterian Church Garden Club, and as president and member of the Woman’s Monday Club.

 

When Lucille died at the age of 73 on October 13, 1957, the Woman’s Monday Club cancelled their next day’s meeting in honor of her accomplishments as a Corpus Christi clubwoman and wrote the following tribute:

 

A TRIBUTE TO LUCILLE SCOTT POPE 

Lucille virtually belonged to the Woman’s Monday Club all of her life.  Her mother, a charter member, lived in club atmosphere for many years, and Lucille knew all of the members from the beginning.

            Faithfulness characterized her whole life.  Her unselfish devotion to her parents was emphasized especially during the years of her mother’s physical helplessness.

            Her pride in every organization to which she belonged was evidenced by her faithful attendance at the meetings and fulfillment of her individual responsibilities.

            It was natural that she would become president.  As president, she took pride in conducting the meetings with dignity and fairness.

            She instituted the opening of the club with a prayer.  This may always be a tribute to her and her child-like faith.

            Every member wishes to express appreciation especially for Lucille contribution to her own club.  We shall miss her at every meeting.


Alice Borden Savage

Alice Borden Savage was the only young woman of the La Retama Club’s four founding forces whose mother was not a Woman’s Monday Club member.  Her parents, Sidney Gail and Mary Sullivan Borden, were San Patricio County pioneers.   Her father founded Sharpsburg, Texas, in 1867.  He and his partner, Darius Cyriaque Rachal, built the first cotton gin in the area in the early 1880s, and were involved in shipping, wine, gin, and ranching businesses.  Sidney Borden was elected San Patricio County’s Justice of the Peace in 1871 and county judge in 1881.  Another of his accomplishments was the construction of the first telephone line from Sharpsburg to Corpus Christi.  Alice Borden Savage’s great uncle was Gail Borden, Jr., publisher, inventor, and founder of the Borden Milk Company and Borden, Texas.

Alice was born in Sharpsburg, but lived in Corpus Christi most of her life.  In 1902 she graduated from Ward-Belmont College in Nashville, Tennessee.  Alice married Russell Savage, who served as Corpus Christi's city attorney during Mayor Roy Miller’s terms in office and as a member of the Texas Legislature.  He also designed “Peregrinoos”--“the patron saint of the University of Texas Law School.”              

In 1935 when the Fairview School District merged with the Corpus Christi Independent School District, a small two-room school was named Alice Borden Savage Elementary.  Reports say that the school originally opened in 1885 as a “free” school, but in 1910 the county operated another school on the site under the name "Fairview."  The school was renamed after Alice because she was the first and only woman ever to serve on the Fairview School District  Board.  Soon after her appointment in 1949, she headed the movement to add three rooms to the structure financed by $35,000 in office bonds.  When the Alice Borden Savage Elementary building was severely damaged by Hurricane Celia in 1970, United States Federal

Judge Woodrow Seals froze reconstruction until the resolution of a desegregation lawsuit, Cisneros v. Corpus Christi Independent School District.  In 1978 Alice Borden Savage Elementary was closed because of its unsafe structures and close proximity to the Corpus Christi refineries.  The school, located on 5025 Up River Road, closed in 1980.

Alice Borden Savage died at the age of 90 on September 15, 1972.

  

Jessica Brannon-Wranosky


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