These pages were initially created to transfer photos from traditional scrapbooks to the internet in order to both preserve and make the pictures and history available to family and friends. It has become more extensive than I intended. However, I see it as a way to save the details before they slip away. Martin T
Thanks for looking over this information. It's been an interesting and fun trip. I was a printer, paper route boy and magazine distributer for my Dad. I was a janitor and electronic tube tester for Logan's TV and a photographer for the AHS annual. Just out of Alpine High School, I founded Highland Sound Company company completing both on-location and studio audio recordings. The Sul Ross Music Dept. gave me a work study scholarship to help me through college and I did a lot of audio recording for the college and for bands around the Big Bend. In 1966 Carol and I went to work as Police Dispatchers for Alpine/Brewster County law enforcement while we went to college.
When I graduated from Sul Ross with a Music Degree, I turned down my first band directing contract with Fort Davis as they were going to disband the music program and I would have to teach Texas history. So I went to work as a State Police Officer for the newly created Sul Ross Campus Security department, working mostly nights. Next I took a much higher paying position as a State Food Stamp worker with the Texas Dept. of Public Welfare. When Carol and I moved to Midland in 1970, I continued with the TxDPW, but also continued my audio recording business. I was lucky to be offered a position as a Child Protective Service worker with Ector County as the State absorbed the old county child welfare units. This met my need to work with law enforcement. I stayed with TxDPW which became the Texas Department of Human Services for 23 years. During that time I became a Child Protective Services Supervisor, then promoted to a Training Specialist position and eventually an Austin TDHS Headquarters position as Chief of Services for the state-wide training division.
All the while , I continued my recording business which included recording albums around Texas for Austin Custom Records. When I moved to Austin in 1978, I became very involved in the music scene both recording and managing bands. I began promoting Texas music worldwide with my friend and partner Peter Butcher. In addition to my State job, I worked for Austin Custom Records as their Chief engineer, served as Vice President of New Generations Productions which evolved into a company called Music etc. with Peter Butcher, promoting music internationally.
After marrying Chris in 1985, we became more serious about the recording and music business. We initiated the Austin Community College Commercial Music Degree Program. I taught Music Marketing classes for the college. In 1989 and 1990, both of us left State employment and worked to help musicians with their careers. We promoted Texas music in London when we'd visit Chris' family in Suffolk. We made 3 trips with the Texas Music delegation to the MIDEM international Music Conference in Cannes, France We secured a publishing and 7 album record deal with Gene Simmons (KISS) for one of our artists.
In addition to being able to audio record our musicians, we also added multi-camera video production which really helped promote our artists. During this time Chris and I also produced an incredible group of Hot Air Ballooning videos thanks to Dan Sherrill and the Central Texas Ballooning Club. We shot video from the ground and in the air in Austin. DFW, Baltimore, Andrews Air Force Base in Washington DC., Guanajuato, Mexico and the balloon manufacturing facilities in the United Kingdom.
However,the artist management deals weren't making money. While in Cannes, Chris met some Canadian promoters who said with our organizational skills we should book corporate entertainment rather than manage artists, stating it would be more profitable vs pouring our $ into long shots. That turned out great and Chris formed a partnership with David Perkoff and has booked up to 500 events a year in Texas since 1991. In order to recoup my State retirement, I returned to State employment in August of 1997, taking a Media Producer's job with the University of Texas. In 1998, I missed working with analog reel to reel tape recorders. Chris gave me an Edison cylinder player for Christmas and a vintage sound recording collection began. Also, I created the Reel2ReelTexas.com web site to preserve all the documentation, ads, catalogs and manuals about magnetic sound recording.
What was to be a short 3 years (which is all that was needed for me to receive full Texas retirement), I ended up completing the 3 years and then began contracting with UT for those same services through Phantom Productions, Inc. Interestingly, a TCDS office move for UT involved my moving my production equipment into the systems room in the building. For this reason UT IT wouldn't support our IT services, so I was asked to become the IT person, as well as the web and media producer.
When I left full time employment with UT in 2000 and we began contracting our services, I was offered a position by Debby Kalk with Cortex Interactive. The job was IT and media. Cortex's prime client was Delta Airlines. Cortex designed their international security, baggage handling among other training products. It was fun to shoot video behind the scenes at Austin's Berstrom airport. When 9/11 happened, Cortex didn't survive, however that job enabled Chris and I to build our home/office/studio/stable east of Austin. The studio was built for audio recording and to display the vintage recording collection. Chris now had two horses and she built a stable on our 4.5 acres.
The work with UT continued until June, 2016. That contract had also evolved into extensive work with the Texas disability community through the Texas Center for Disability Studies at UT, Every Child Texas and the Family to Family Network in Houston. F2F also resulted in my designing and maintaining the Texas Education Agency's Texas Project FIRST web site. That work also resulted in our creating, managing and hosting numerous web sites for a variety of clients from educators, to musicians, event center and much more.
Chris & I launched the non-profit Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording in October of 2012 to create an Austin museum for the vintage recording devices we'd acquired since the late 1990's. Chris I are working with the Texas music community including NARAS (the Grammy's )and many other organizations and supporters. The recording collection now includes over 225 reel tape recorders, 100+ vintage microphones and an extensive collection of recording artifacts.
Today Chris continues booking entertainment and I work on web sites (our own and others) and produce video for a variety of clients. The Museum Board named me as Executive Director and my focus is on preserving the historical recording devices. At one point, I'd told Chris about the variety of jobs I've had. She said "sounds like you couldn't keep a job!" (:-) I've enjoyed almost all of it . No regrets!.So that's my story...more than you wanted to know and yet...there's more! (:-)
Missing the involvement with law enforcement, in 2017 I attended the Joint Bastrop Police/Sheriff's Citizens Police Academy. After graduating in May, 2017, I decided to continue with both organizations as a Citizen on Patrol.
Martin began working for his Dad in the 1950's printing business cards on a Chandler & Price press and helped put together the Alpine Shoppers Guide Press.
This is a Chandler & Price press similar to the one Martin printed business cards, invitations and other items for his Dad's business.
Some of Martin's Dad's type from the printing press days
Working with his Dad and Garrett Briggs, Martin also delivered newspapers (El Paso Times, San Angelo Times every morning and the Odessa American Sunday mornings and Mon - Sat afternoons) into the early 1960's. This also evolved into magazine distribution.
In addition to delivering his Dad's newspapers, Martin worked for Logan TV in Alpine cleaning out the store and testing tubes.
1959 Theophilus' Shopper Guide Press, art store, print shop and eventually a Hallmark bookstore and magazine newspaper distribution building.
Martin's room with early reel tape recorder, recording tape hanging on the wall and his ham QSL cards around a US map. Old military receiver from WW II.
"I was always involved in a variety of activities. At 14, I was working for my Dad, delivering papers with my Sister Peggy. I was involved in ham radio thanks to Peggy's boyfriend John King. I was in the Boy Scout Air Explorers with Carl Williams and several close friends. By this time I was a Freshman in Alpine High School and had been in band playing trumpet since 5th grade at Central school (1956)" MartinT
With John King's help Martin obtained his NoviceHam license KN5YCJ in 1957. Through Ham radio his interest developed around electronic and especially recorders.This also enabled Martin and Joe Burgess to communicate after Joe moved to New Mexico.
Martin ham radio KN5YCJ 1956 (right above). This began a real interest in electronics and communication radios. Ham antenna on roof of "ham shack" (below left) was later replaced by a tower behind parent's Book Store. It had a deep concrete base, a hinged bottom and 3 guy wires.
Martin (Buddy) also worked for John King installing the TV cable for Big Bend TV and Cable company. The antenna array was set up on the hill North of Korkernot Lodge. Martin also worked as a dispatcher for Big Bend Telephone. John King & Peggy 1959 (right) John introduced Martin to ham radio.
David Forchheimer who later became a well known Country DJ, began as a DJ at KVLF in Alpine. Through David and John King,
I rode my bike out to the station and sat for hours nights and weekends by the turntable on the right with David Forchhiemer (above), Bob Beall and Phil Wayne Evensburger who were the DJ’s. I was a “go-for” to copy tapes and retrieve news from the teletype. Never paid, just wanted to learn about the technology and enjoy the music and stories. Martin
Photo right of the Alpine, Texas KVLF studio from the ’60’s when I was there. The Magnecord that’s in my office now is behind Gene Hendrix. In the late 1950's and early 1960's
For folks interested in the Big Bend and its history we highly recommend Carl Williams recently released book "More than a Badge"
Bill & Martin (Buddy)Alpine flood
In grade school Martin's friend Bill Stovell introduced Martin to Carl and Alice Williams. Carl was Alpine's new Texas Highway Patrolman. Alice and Carl had the boys over for breakfast often on Saturdays and Martin participated in Carl's Boy Scout pack and eventually was part of the Air Explorer Squadron formed by Carl.
The mentoring by Carl initiated Martin's strong interest in law enforcement.
(below) Carl (rt) and his Dad - Carl followed his Dad into law enforcement
After graduating from Sul Ross, Carl C. Williams taught in El Paso County ISD for a short time before becoming a Deputy Sheriff with The El Paso County Sheriff’s Dept. Subsequently he was accepted to the Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrolman Academy. When Carl graduated from the DPS academy, he was assigned to the Van Horn DPS sub Station in March 1957, then transferred to Alpine. (late 1950's). In 1964 Carl ran and won the Brewster County Sheriff's office. In 1970 Carl became one of the first members of the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education and moved to Midland.
Carl shared this photo of his early DPS 'radar" car. "This is my RADAR car when I was stationed in Van Horn, pictured is the reading car, and the radar machine, the catch car was a mile down the road, the reader would check a vehicles speed and then radio the catch car with the speed, color and model of the car, the catch car would then write a ticket or warning. A far cry from the moving radar that is used today." Carl
Carl's Chief deputy of the Brewster County Sheriff's dept. George Jones left the Brewster County Sheriff’s office to join Elmer Terrell (former highway patrolman at Marfa) in the DPS Narcotic Section, he later returned to Brewster County and ran the Study Butte store, and working for Neville Haynes at his Ranch. He decided to run for run against Jack McDaniels for Sheriff and won, Carl, was replaced by Jim Skinner by the Commissioner Court. Jim Skinner had been A previous Brewster County Sheriff. Carl hired Mike Stutts as Chief Deputy after George left, Mike became sheriff of Mason County for a short time.
(right) Carl, Alice, Martin & Chris in 2007
(below) Alice Renee & Michael
Carl Williams formed an Air Explorer Squadron in Alpine, Texas. Both Lee McCollum and Martin joined. Martin later became part of the Brewster County Rescue Squad.
After he received his drivers license on October 23, 1961, Martin began delivering magazines and books to West Texas stores for his Dad's business.
Lee is driving the Air Explorer jeep (Martin's Mom and Da's Ford Falcons - both of which Martin rolled in the first year he had his DL.
All the Air Explorers got together on a cold Winters day to paint the rescue truck. We painted it in an abandoned service station and kept the windows closed. We also were drinking beer and smoking cigars, so with the paint, there were a bunch of sick kids.
Sue Bradford, Lee McCullum, Tim Eicholtz &Robert Graham at Peggy & Toms' wedding. The air Explorers were supposed to be guarding Peggy & Tom's car. However Martin's Dad enticed the guards into the church with ice cream and the car was creamed.
Brewster County rescue Squad - Bud Powers, Ricky Sohl, Martin, Carl Williams and Ray Baker. The Brewster County rescue squad members assisted in accidents, searching for lost deer hunters in the Davis mountains and fighting range fires in the County.
An additional influence on was Martin's interest in law enforcement was his dating Juda Moore whose Dad was an Alpine Policeman. Fred would allow Martin to ride with him on patrol.
Picture right is Juda and Martin's friend Lee being married. Fred is on the left.
Carl Williams ran for Sheriff in 1964 and won.
For awhile in the early 1960's George Cooley rode with Martin as he distributed the family's newspapers around the Big Bend. Unfortunately, Martin rolled his Dad's new Ford Falcon between Alpine and Fort Stockton.
Sue Bradford also rode with Martin distributing the newspapers. Several months after the first rollover, Martin with Sue, rolled his Mom's new Ford Falcon between Alpine and Marathon. There were no injuries in either accident and no tickets. Sheriff Skinner dropped Sue and Martin by Big Bend Telephone where Carl Williams worked (while running for the Brewster County Sheriff's Office). Carl broke the news to Martin's Dad, who was just happy no one was hurt.
Sue on Martin's Dad's Falcon pre-accident
Carol and Martin delivered magazines for Martin's Dad 1963 - 1966. They also picked up the Odessa American papers in Monahans and drove them to Fort Stockton, Fort Davis, Marfa, Marathon and Alpine.
Martin's family was driving extensive routes everyday between Alpine, Fort Stockton, Balmorphea, Fort Davis, Marfa, Marathon and Odessa & Monahans on weekends. Martin's Dad arranged for the family to test tires for the Firestone plant in Fort Stockton. This provided free tires cutting down on expenses.
The family began purchasing surplus Texas DPS cars. Jean Pate who replaced Carl as Alpine's DPS officer gave us a contact with Mr. Canady at the TxDPS motor pool to help determine which cars were in the best shape. Jean was always interested to see what we purchased and carefully went over each one to see what shape it was in, even straightening the battery caps so they read correctly.
Theophilus ex DPS car Paisano Pass • DPS Motor Pool Austin 1966 & DPS patrol cars
In 1963 and 1964 Carol worked with Ms Boysen and others on the Alpine High School annual. Martin had been taking photos with a basic Kodak camera for years (influence from his Mom). Martin was asked to take photos for the AHS Annual (left)l Vernon Boysen was a professional photographer in Alpine and he sold Martin a Voightlander Vito II Camera. The camera took large format film and had an incredible lens. Here's photos of a similar camera that in in our media collection.
During this same period, Martin founded his recording business, Highland Sound Company (later known as Phantom Productions, Inc.).
High School Prom, Alpine, Texas May, 1964
the Believers (poster page 1, page
2) played at the AHS Junior Senior prom in 1964, Martin asked their manager Bill Spears for
a copy of the tape recording made on their Roberts recorder (seen left).
were a group of Sul Ross State College (now University) students. After the
prom the band members headed for their homes for the Summer of '64. Go
to Believers page
Lead Singer, Grainger Hunt (seen in the middle of the photo above)
stayed in Alpine with his family. Knowing Martin had a copy of the tape,
he called and asked to hear it. Just the month before, for high school
graduation, Martin's parents bought him the Webcor (far right)
which enabled "sound with/on sound." Grainger asked if Martin
would help him develop and record some new songs. The rest of the Summer
was spent in numerous ("fun & learning") sessions and the "draft" recording
of new material for the Believers,
including the development of their new song "Motor
and Grainger Hunt 40 years after first recordings in may '64
In September 1964 Martin received a Work Scholarship in the Music Department at Sul Ross. Martin and Corky Thornton managed recording for the music dept using the schools Ampex 600 and 620. Martin took his Sony 600 recorder on SR Band tours and recorded the albums released by the band and choir.
Martin recorded a few more things for the Believers. The relationship with Ron Newdoll and Martin's pursuit of a recording career were the result of this first work with Grainger & Peyton helping in their music development.
1964 - The creation
Highland Sound Company/Phantom Productions, Inc.
created a recording company (his Grandmother suggested the name Highland
Sound Company after her Scottish roots). This was later changed to Phantom
Productions created from the idea of phantom powered microphones and the
"behind the scenes" empowering the company envisioned itself performing
through recording and promotion.
On May 13, 1969 Martin recorded the last Alpine, Texas recording which was for one of the believers. John Schweers asked Martin to record a Nashville demo for him. Martin used his Sony TC-630 reel tape recorder.
"During his 35 year career, Schweers has had over 200 cuts, written 16 top-10 songs, had 13 No. 1 records, and received over 20 awards from ASCAP and BMI, including the Triple Play Award for having three number one records in one year." 2008 - Guest Speaker Night at the Nashville workshop with guest John Schweers
In August 2014, Peyton Starr told Martin that while John Schweers was in the Believers he wrote some songs and the band recommended he might look into doing something else. Luckily John persevered.
John Schweers, a native of San Antonio, Texas, moved to Nashville in 1972. That same year, Tom Collins signed him to a publishing deal with Pi-Gem and Chess Music. Within eighteen months, Schweers had three No. 1 records: "Don’t Fight The Feelings Of Love" and "Amazing Love" on Charley Pride and "Day Dreams About Night Things" on Ronnie Milsap. Other songs on Ronnie Milsap include: "What Goes On When The Sun Goes Down," "Let My Love Be Your Pillow," and "Silent Night After The Fight." Schweers also wrote "She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory," by Charley Pride; "Looking Out My Window Through The Pain," by Mel Street; "Your Memory," by Steve Wariner; "Do Me With Love," by Janie Frickie; "Golden Tears," by Dave and Sugar; "No On Mends A Broken Heart Like You," by Barbara Mandrell; "It’s A Be Together Night," by Frizzell and West; "Born Country," by Alabama; and his latest, "I Left Something Turned On At Home," by Trace Adkins. Schweers resides near Nashville with his wife, Jane and has a daughter, Ashley.
Martin convinced his parents to allow him to turn his and his Sister Peggy's old bedroom into a recording studio (including cutting a hole and creating a sound proofed window between the two rooms). The Webcor recorder was upgraded to several Sony tape decks. Video
In his studio Martin recorded a weekly program for the Alpine Independent School District that played on KVLF radio
Bob Simonetti and
his band Bob & His Agents were on of several Alpine bands who recorded
at the HSC Studio
Martin edited the soundtrack for Peter Koch's film that enabled the Texas Big Thicket to become a National Preserve. A film soundtrack was also recorded of the Hinojosa brothers from Ojinaga. The recording was produced by Pepper Brown with recordings taking place at the Marfa Thunderbird Motel and the Highland Sound studio in Alpine.
Martin's radio remote at Sul Ross for KVLF (below 1986).
Martin recorded most Sul Ross music events from 1964 to 1968.
Martin with Carol in Alpine Highland Sound Company studio in 1966 (built into Martin's parent' house)
There were no audio dealers in Alpine carrying semi-pro recording equipment, so Martin was purchasing recorders from Rabsons in NY. Sony Superscope's Fred Tushinsky connected Martin with Herman Tanner of Balco Sound in Lubbock. The relationship resulted in Highland Sound becoming
the re-seller for Altec, Ampex, Electro Voice, Shure Sony and many of the
other major manufacturers.
Highland Sound Company/Balco sales room
Martin facilitated several bids with Sul Ross State College for the Balco Sound Company (proposals below)
Studio design for Sul Ross Speech class presentation
Martin & Corky were tasked by the Sul Ross Band Director Lloyd Cook to manage the Sul Ross Music Department's recordings. A fun perk was that Carol, Corky and Martin traveled separately from the rest of the band, in a Sul Ross station wagon, when the band went on tour. This enabled them to get to a concert site first and set up for the recording. The Band Director Lloyd Cook, had two 30 foot custom telescoping microphone stands, so the set-up took awhile. It was fun to stop and eat whenever and wherever we wanted without being on a bus.
For folks interested in the Big Bend and its history we highly recommend Carl Williams recently released book "More than a Badge"
In 1965 Sheriff Carl Williams established the Brewster County Communications Center in the City of Alpine's Civil Defense storage facility. John King became the manager and John's Dad "Buddy" King became one of the early dispatchers.
Carol & Martin worked for Martin's Dad from 1963 to 1966 delivering magazines to the West Texas area.
Thanks to now Sheriff Carl Williams and John King, Martin, Carol and their friend Corky Thornton (below) went to work for the joint City of Alpine and Brewster County police dispatch services during 1967 and 1968.Carol and Martin were married in August 1967, so they were going to Sul Ross full time, plus working shifts at the police dispatch. One would work 4pm to midnight with the other working midnight to 8am. Not a good way to start a marriage.
Alpine Police dispatch (North 5th) 1967
Carol, Martin & Corky - 1967 Sul Ross Annual
DPS Austin Dispatcher
Corky Thornton, (March 23, 1946 - Oct 8, 2009) Band Director, Bronte, Texas with Baron's sister (left). Corky also dispatched for Alpine/Brewster County and occasionally rode with Jack O'Donnell. Corky went on to a career as Band Director, however continued riding with the Tx DPS highway Patrol officers in Bronte.
Carol and Martin attended Linda and Corky's wedding. Martin visited Corky in Bronte (Bronte high school - right ) and watched Corky's Beginner Band class and then joined him for lunch in the school cafeteria.This brief encounter ended up making Martin realize that he would not have been cut out to be a high school band director and thankful for the road he chose.
Corky with Linda and their children
Carol and Martin became friends with the second Alpine TxDPS Highway Patrolman, Jack O'Donnell. Jack gave them a German Shepherd puppy they named Baron.
Jack O'Donnell (11/21/1938 - 9/28/2003) with his wife Elaine and children in Marfa after taking the position with US Border Patrol •
Video above (includes our German Shepherd Baron (given to us by Jack) , George (now a DPS Narcotics Officer) & George and Barbara's son Jerry Jones, Carol and Jack) from 1968 while Jack was a Highway Patrolman in Alpine. Jack and Martin worked together while Martin was a Texas police officer assigned to Sul Ross State College. Jack was great about riding with Martin on his SR night shifts and having Martin accompany him on patrol in the Tx DPS patrol car (pictured below).
Jack was serious about his work, however also fun to be around with wonderful stories. Jack had a lot of funny stories.
One evening Jean and Jack were driving out the Fort Davis highway when Martin's Grandmother pulled in front of them with no lights. Jean turned on the red lights and no response, she kept going, siren, no response. Jack said Jean was getting steamed. Martin's Grandmother turned down her street and pulled into her garage. Jack said Jean picked up his ticket book, put on his hat and began to get out of his patrol car, when she came up to his door. Martin's Grandmother said "I cannot tell you boys how comforting it is to have you follow me home to be sure I arrive safely!" Jean tips his hat and say "we're just here to serve" and gets back in the car. Jack asked Martin is they were "had?' I said "probably."
However one of the best came to light after Jack was assigned to Sanderson and Martin was working the Big Bend area including Sanderson.
Martin - "Jack and I agreed to meet between Marathon and Sanderson and then have lunch. I'd just seen Steve McQueen's movie "Bullet." When I drove up by Jack's DPS patrol car, I asked him if he'd seen "Bullet." Jack turned white and said what bullet? I said "The movie with Steve McQueen?" Jack said I need to tell you a story.
Jack was a completive target shooter. In fact, Sul Ross didn't allow their officers to carry guns after a tragic shooting of a 16 year old in Alpine. However when I was a Sul Ross police officer, the school wanted the officers to be armed during registration because of all the cash. I didn't have a gun, so Jack loaned me his long barreled target pistol complete with leg tie.
So to set up the story, you have to understand that Jack's original TxDPS partner in Alpine had been Jean Pate. Jean was the same officer I mentioned previously that helped my family find good used DPS cars. Well, Jean was very particular about his cars. Jean and Jack received a brand new car shown here with the "new radar" technology. Jack was new and had just been assigned to Alpine.
Jean actually rode with Jack the first few shifts as he wanted to be sure of how the new patrol car was driven. Of, course Jack ended up driving when the car received its first stone ding.
One Saturday, Jack takes the new patrol car to Marathon and meets up with the Brewster County Sheriff's Deputy Arthur Caveness to do some target practice. Jack began practicing fast draws and the gun caught in the tie down I mentioned earlier and the gun fired blowing a hole in the hood of the new patrol car.
Arthur said not to worry, I have a friend at the Webb Brothers Plymouth/Dodge body shop in Marfa. Arthur calls his friend, swears him to secrecy and the repairman says he can get it done by Sunday afternoon before Jean has the car on Monday. Problem solved (repairman probably thought there was a body out somewhere). So the car gets repaired and everything is okay.
So shortly thereafter, (knowing nothing of Jack's hood incident) I am working dispatch at the Alpine police station and Jean comes by and says he's taking the new DPS car to Marfa, as there is some paint imperfections on the hood he wants fixed. Also there's a loose bolt that rattles down the frame when the hood is raised.
(left) Brewster County Sheriff Carl Williams and Alpine DPS Officer Jean Pate
Later in the day, the Plymouth dealership calls from Marfa and wants to talk to Jean. As Jack's luck would have it, I can't locate Jean, so I call Jack to talk to them. Jack asks me not mention it to Jean, but never says why. The bolt was of course the bullet from the misfire which stuck in a rib of the hood. Jack went and picked up the car and nothing more was ever heard about it until I mentioned "Bullet" to Jack in Sanderson a year or two later.
Carol and I moved to Midland. Jack took a position with the US Border Patrol eventually becoming a training officer in Marfa. We only saw each other a few times over the years. I got divorced, Jack married and I later met and married Chris in 1985.
Then one day Chris and I were visiting in Alpine and saw Jack coming out of the First National Bank. I introduced Chris and Jack and said she's heard all the wonderful stories, so it's great that we meet. Jack says, I have to run, however come out to the US Border Patrol office later this afternoon and I'll share a new story.
So we go out. Jack says, I was sitting at this desk adjusting the sight on my gun. He unloaded the gun and was cleaning it when a phone call came in. While talking and distracted he unconsciously loads the gun. Jack hangs up the phone, looks down the barrel checking the sight and pulls the trigger, blowing a hole in the corner of his desk.
We all laughed 'til we were crying. This brief period working with all the Alpine areas law enforcement officers, was a period for which I will be forever grateful!" Martin
Alice and Carl Williams hosted a party at their home in Midland. Pictured is Jack O'Donnell (then a training officer in the US Border Patrol in Marfa), Jack's wife. Standing is George and Barbara Jones with George's TxDPS boss, and Carol and Martin.
While processing my families old movies in 2017, I came across the Santa Fe train wreck south of the Marfa Army Air Base in 1967 that I filmed thanks to Corky's Dad.
It reminded me of several stories Jack told us about his time working in Fabens.
He said trains were periodically derailing in that area. He recalled one time when derailed box cars were full of Batman tennis shoes. Many of them were picked up by area kids before the repair crews arrived. So all the kids around Fabens were wearing Batman tennis shoes.
The other story involved a derailment of several train cars carrying new autos. Most were damaged , but Jack saw one that was absolutely untouched, so he pushed it away from the repair crews, so it wouldn't get damaged. One of the train repair bulldozers drove over and smashed the back on the car Jack had just saved. Jack spoke to the driver who said he has orders to make sure all the cars were damaged for insurance purposes.
Actually, there were many very funny and interesting Jack stories. One night, again around Fabens, Jack was working security at night for an orchard. He was a bit dosey when a large guard dog jumped up in his open window, scaring Jack. Turned out the dog had been leashed to a wire across the orchard (no one told Jack it was there) and Jack had unknowingly parked right under the wire.
Martin enjoyed working as a police dispatcher, a Sul Ross State Police Officer and wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement, however was turned down due to having only one kidney (removed in 1949 for Welm's tumor). This had kept him from playing football and from military service.
Brewster County Sheriff Carl Williams
In addition to Carl Williams and Jack O'Donnell, Martin came to know many of the law enforce officers in the Big Bend. The Alpine/Brewster County police dispatch served: Alpine Police Dept.; Brewster County Sheriff's Dept.; Texas department of Public Safety (main DPS communications originated from Pecos with a relay in the McDonald Observatory area); Texas Parks and Wildlife; TxDPS License and Weight; US Border Patrol; and other Federal officers.
Barbara & George Jones - George was Carl's Chief Deputy. He and Barbara lived on the bottom floor of the jail (right). Martin and Carol shared many a Sunday's football game with Barbara & George + others.
George Jones left the Brewster County Sheriff’s office to join Elmer Terrell (former highway patrolman at Marfa) in the Texas DPS Section in Midland and Uvalde (George's TxDPS narcotics car left). He later returned to Brewster County and ran the Study Butte store, and worked for Neville Haynes at his Ranch. George decided to run against Jack McDaniels for Sheriff and won.
George and Martin occasionally rode motorcycles in the Big Bend. (left)
Barbara Jones painting selected for the USS Texas(right)
Arthur W. Hill (1909 - 1987) was the Big Bend's Texas Ranger while Martin worked in law enforcement in Alpine. Mrs Hill was Martin's 1st grade teacher.
Jerry E. Tolbert, ret. Sgt., CIS El Paso (February 1963 –August 1995) died March 21, 2010 Jerry was Alpine's Tx DPS License and Weight officer.
Tino Acosta (seen here graduating from Sul Ross) was one of the Alpine Police officers with whom Martin worked.
While Martin was dispatching one night, a dog that for several years had followed the Alpine night patrolmen around on their shifts (sometimes also riding in the police car), was hit by a passing car.
Martin called Tino and they moved the dog on a blanket to the side of the building. A vet couldn't be reached. The dog was seriously injured and Tino said he should put him out of his misery and drew his gun. Tino couldn't shoot the dog, so we made him as comfortable as we could and would get a Vet in the morning. Before Martin's shift ended at 8am, he went out and the dog was gone. Within a week the dog was back following the police cars. Martin saw the dog hit by yet another car on Holland Ave. It threw the dog across the street. He jumped up and scampered off once again.
Martin graduated from Sul Ross State University in May 1968 with a Bachelor of Music degree (with great help from his wife Carol) and planned to become a Texas band director. Fort Davis gave him his first contract which was to begin Sept 1968. While working at the Alpine Police Dispatch office, the Texas Game Warden Sanford DeVoll (1928 - 2011), who lived in Fort Davis, gave Martin the "heads-up" that the music program was not going to be continued in Fort Davis. Martin then declined the position. Gwin Kring (1928 - 1968) offered Martin a job as State of Texas Police Officer assigned to Sul Ross State University.
Sul Ross Security Chief Gwin "Bubba" Kring (left) police car dash with speed stop(right)
Martin's personal used DPS car while working as Sul Ross Police Officer
Martin enabled the Sul Ross Police Department to go from carbon to carbonless tickets (rt).
Sul Ross badge photo courtesy Carl Williams
More about Sul Ross State University Security Department
Martin's volunteering for the Brewster County Rescue Squad and subsequent work as Police dispatcher and Sul Ross officer enabled him to acquire law enforcement communications equipment. This was in addition to the Citizen's band radios that had become available. Carl Williams had an old Dumont police two-way radio that came off an El Paso Sheriff's department motorcycle.
Ricky Sohl helped Martin set it up for the 37.180 police frequency. Ricky later installed a 42.9 frequency receive crystal so Martin would also hear the DPS transmissions. Martin found a Motorola Motrac head for the Dumont radio which stayed in the trunk of his cars.
When Carol and Martin moved to Odessa in 1970 Martin was given permission to continue using law enforcement communications in his personal cars by the Ector County Sheriff's Department. The radio became essential in Martin's Child Protective Service work for the State of Texas.
The 2-way police radios were also in Martin's 1973 Dodge Charger and his 1974 Mazda pickup. The set-up included a regency 8 channel scanner and a Regency 4 channel 2 way public safety radio used in DHS Child Protective Services in conjunction with the Ector County Sheriff's Dept.
Mazda Rotary pickup with Ector County Sheriff's Department Regency 2-way radio, Regency scanner and Pioneer Super tuner.
Martin's used DPS car and the original set-up DPS car below
Current radios Uniden BCT396 & BCT996
Motorola mic and control head and other items in our museum display
Martin's Sul Ross police car & the Chief's police car which Martin drove some of the time.
Martin's Sul Ross patrol car was an ex-Tx DPS 1963 Plymouth Fury
Original look of DPS car and Martin's used DPS vehicle
Martin's ex-DPS car in front of his and Carol's home that originally belonged to Alice & Carl. The cars had the Dumont radio as well as a US Border Patrol monitor.
These were the last two used DPS cars purchased by Martin & his DAD
There was no formal training for the Sul Ross State College Police Officer position. You initially rode with another officer (Martin rode with Gwin Kring and Walter Birdsong) and after a very short while, you were on your own. This was prior to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Education and Standards.
While I enjoyed working as a Sul Ross police officer, it had its down side. Carol was working on her masters degree and teaching Freshman English. I was mostly working 10 pm to 6 am shift for Sul Ross and taking graduate education classes. So time was hectic.
When my Mom was teaching at Sul Ross, Carol was a Graduate Assistant teaching English and I was working for the Sul Ross Police Dept. I stopped a student for running a stop sign on campus and he said "Geezz, I just left your mother's class and am late for your wife's class. This is too many Theophili!"
I was mainly giving out tickets (parking, speeding and running stop signs) and just making sure the campus was secure at night. Sul Ross officers were not allowed off campus except to check the Range Animal Husbandry area and dorms. However on a couple of occasions the Alpine City Police requested assistance. At that time we were allowed to leave. One chase was to assist Fred Moore with the Alpine Police Dept. From the Sul Ross campus, I had observed a couple of cars drag racing out the Marathon highway and back in the Old Marathon highway. I advised the Alpine dispatch and Fred Moore began pursuing them. Fred requested assistance and I dropped in behind one of the cars that headed downtown while Fred followed the other as it turned onto the Loop Road. We were up to 70 mph. At the rise under the Holland Ave blinking traffic light, I hit the ceiling and my cowboy hat became lodged over my eyes and by the time I recovered and slowed down, I'd lost my prey. Fred lost his as well.
On another occasion, Chief Gwin Kring wanted to see if I would pursue effectively. Kring decided to test me one night by his speeding around campus. I did well and cornered Kring in a row of brick cottages. I was surprised when Kring stepped out, as I'd not recognized his private vehicle. However, Kring was surprised when the DPS Highway Patrolman Jack O'Donnell stepped out of my patrol car and criticized Kring for endangering students.
I also worked with a new Sul Ross officer Walter Birdsong (1934 - 2013). Walter was ex-Army (22 years) and came to finish his degree. Walter was great to work with. He stayed with the department for some time then went to Big Springs and ended up in New Mexico.
One Sunday morning about 3 am I was patrolling on the Sul Ross campus (working the 10 pm to 6 am shift) and DPS patrolman Jack O'Donnell called me on the radio saying two Sul Ross students were in a bad accident between Alpine and Marfa and requested I join him. It was a double fatality. The driver probably fell asleep. The car hit a bridge so hard it planted the license plate into the concrete. It was several hours before Jack returned me to campus. Chief Kring reprimanded me for leaving the campus unsecured and leaving Brewster County (the accident turned out to be in Presidio County). He was correct even though the accident involved Sul Ross students and a DPS officer had requested I join him.
Eventually, Chief Kring told me that I was not enough of an SOB to be a police officer and suggested I look at other opportunities. I left the Sul Ross position the end of November.
On a sad note. Gwin Kring's son Marshall Gwin Kring died in a football injury in the Army on October 7, 1968. Gwin Kring passed away two months later, Dec. 20, 1968 from a heart attack. Colin Mitchell took over as the Chief.
Mrs. Vernon Boysen, whose husband had taught me photography recommended I apply for the Texas DPW position that was vacant. I was accepted into the Texas Department Public Welfare on December 1, 1968. The upside was it doubled my salary. However when I took the initial State DPW social worker test, I failed. My supervisor, Mr. L.V. Simmons, found that I was tougher on applicant examples that I should have been, most likely due to my law enforcement experience. With a change in attitude and help from Carol I passed the re-test.
Carol and Martin moved to Midland as Carol was offered a position at Midland High School. Martin still wanting a career in law enforcement, with Carl William's help, applied for a post it ion with the Midland Police Department. Due to Martin's loss of a kidney when he was 4, he was considered as "high risk" and both the Midland Police Dept and the Texas department of Public Safety turned him down. The kidney loss had also kept Martin out of playing football in school. So Martin rejoined the Texas Department of Public Welfare as a Social Worker managing nursing home oversight in the multi-county area.
In 1970, the Tx DPW job evolved into a Texas Child Protective Services social worker and supervisory position which was the perfect combination of enforcement and social work. So I had a degree in music - band directing. My brother-in-law, Tom Karvonen, had a degree in social work and worked as a band director keeping the universe in check.
In 2017, Martin missed being involved in law enforcement. He applied and was accepted into the joint Bastrop Police Department/ Bastrop Sheriff's Department's Joint Citizens Academy. After attending classes one night a week for 12 weeks, Martin Graduated.
Combined Bastrop Police Dept & Sheriff's Department Citizens Police Academy
Martin could now go on patrol with Bastrop Police and Sheriff's officers, as well as ride out in a citizens patrol car with other volunteers
Bastrop Police Officer Hamrick
Martin helped set up kids games and volunteered to work traffic for the Bastrop Juneteenth Parade with COPS
Martin volunteered a couple of mornings with the Bastrop Police Dept's Junior Police Academy • video
Martin Bastrop Sheriff's Office patrol
Martin volunteered part time with the Teen Police Academy for the Bastrop Police Dept which included meeting "Waffle" the new BISD Police dog.
Hank and Martin rode out
BSO CSE hosted the PHI helicopter
For folks interested in the Big Bend and its history we highly recommend Carl Williams recently released book "More than a Badge"