Halloween, Shiloh and the Armless Wonder

Historically Speaking



Greetings, Atascosa County! I hope you all are doing well. It has been an exciting week, historically speaking. This past Saturday, I volunteered with the Pleasanton Ag Boosters’ Amazing Raise Scavenger Hunt. The object was to seek and find the clues that the participating teams were given. Some of the clues were historic in nature and some clues involved historical markers. It was a fun event for all, including a great meal and auction items.

Prior to the scavenger hunt, I had the pleasure of sitting with a local citizen to conduct an oral history report on the Shiloh Community. Shiloh will be the next marker we will be working on. Although the Shiloh Cemetery has a Historical Marker, the community also needs a marker to recognize a once thriving community near FM 1470 (Leming Highway), and the Galvan Creek. During the Shiloh conversation, the subject of Paul Desmuke came up. A Google search will produce a load of pictures and memorabilia for sale. Mr. Desmuke was born in Amphion in 1876. He once served as a Justice of the Peace in Atascosa County. His notoriety came from his lack of arms, he was dubbed “The Armless Wonder.” Besides serving as a Justice of the Peace, he appeared with Ripley’s Odditorium where he threw butcher knives within one inch of his wife, who stood 7 feet away. A marriage record photo that is published in the Atascosa County Sesquicentennial Book, shows a document signed by Judge Desmuke that reads “witness my hand foot this 14th day of November 1904.” The word hand was stricken by Judge Desmuke and replaced with the word foot. Judge Desmuke and his wife Mae are both interred at the Jourdanton City Cemetery.

Speaking of cemeteries, the observance of the Day of the Dead Celebrations, and Halloween approach this weekend. If you celebrate Day of the Dead, it lands on Sunday, November 1. This day is to celebrate love and respect for deceased family members. Although Day of the Dead originates from Mexico, it is celebrated in Texas as well.

Halloween is a less somber event and is a holiday originating from the Celts. People would wear costumes to scare off ghosts. Today, we have added fun activities and I hope that your Halloween is filled with fun, family and safety.

Until next time.

MARTIN GONZALES is the Atascosa County Historical Commission Chairman. If you have history to share, you may contact him at 830-480-2741.

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