Tips wrote the memoir in 1963 in preparation for Three Rivers’ 50th anniversary at the request of local writer Viola Adlof who was assembling the anniversary’s brochure. She used excerpts from the manuscript to assemble the brochure, but lost it afterwards.
Adlof later wrote that she lent the manuscript to a friend to read but couldn’t remember who.
“She used bits and pieces from it and a neighbor asked to read the manuscript and they lost contact and it was lost for the next 50 years,” Richard said.
“Richard was speechless because everyone had been looking for 50 years,” Janis added. “Viola wrote that the manuscript was borrowed and couldn’t remember who it was; to name that person would open a Pandora’s box.”
The manuscript was found while the Hudsons were doing research for their other book on this history of Live Oak County. They said they interviewed almost 100 families and spent three years researching for the Live Oak book and one of their interviews uncovered the manuscript.
“We understand why things like that happen, but in a small town it could be embarrassing,” Richard said. “The lady had all these boxes...it remains a mystery who had it.”
The Hudsons cross-referenced the found memoir with some typewritten pages provided by Tips’ granddaughter Eugenia Cross-Thorn and excerpts from Adlof’s brochure.
They said the memoir revealed a few unexpected surprises such as the root of the rivalry between Three Rivers and George West. The rivalry started basically when the towns were founded because Three Rivers had a one-year head start.
“One of the most amazing things to me was how mature men felt comfortable following him,” Janis said. “His youth was not looked down on; they readily accepted the insight and ingenuity they recognized in him.”
Another surprise for the Hudsons came from learning how the streets in Three Rivers got their names. Janis said she thought Church Street had its name because there were churches on it, but it actually spurred from a man named Church.
The first batch of 50 copies were sold as a special collectors edition on May 4 and the Hudsons said it went over so well that they decided to print more. Publication began about two weeks ago and copies are available at www.historyraven.com.
Although the Hudsons live in Keller, they often stay with Richard’s cousin in George West continuing their work with local history. They said sale of the books funds their research.
“The very best friends I made in college were from Three Rivers. It was the most wonderful home I had known and these people are my lifetime friends. I had a love for this area even before I met Richard,” Janis said.