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Brady Kiesling on NPR 2/1/2017 regarding Donald Trump and the State Department

February 2nd, 2017 Comments off
Brady on Naxos

Brady on Naxos in 2007

On February 1, 2017  National Public Radio aired Ari Shapiro’s interview of very our own (John) Brady Kiesling regarding President Trump’s ban of  Muslim refugees from seven majority Muslim countries, and the President’s refusal to seek counsel from the Department of State.  Brady was well-known for his 2003 resignation from the State Department in protest over the US invasion of Iraq. Click below to read the text. You can also listen to the interview by clicking on the blue and white arrow on the left of that page.

Listen to Brady’s Interview on NPR 1/1/2017

 

2003 NPR Interview

 

 

“When you are my age you will understand.”

January 26th, 2017 Comments off

Evinrude Motor

Good stories have clear characterization, character being defines as desire, drive, ability, compassion and perspective all of which change over a lifetime.  Here’s a simple example of those changes from my own family history. I’ve been thinking about this lately as I ponder my upcoming knee replacement.

Philo Howard, my mother’s brother, was  a frank, funny, energetic man. At sixteen, he ran away to Canada from his home in Houston. There, he lied about his age and joined the Canadian Royal Air Force to fight in WWII, which the US had not yet entered. His whereabouts were determined by my dad’s mother who read an article in the Houston paper listing Texas volunteers. Uncle Philo was returned to the bosom of his family forthwith. Several years later he enlisted in  the American Air Corps and flew P-51s over Europe.

My family had a party in Houston in 2003 to celebrate what would have been my late father’s 100th birthday. My uncle, who recently had his pacemaker replaced, couldn’t make the party. He emailed me this tribute to be read at the celebration. My dad, Judge Wilmer Hunt, was nearly twenty-years his senior. To his great sorrow he was denied military service due to his age,  very flat feet and a knee injured by my mother. (That’s another story.) The setting of Philo’s account is the rich farmland of eastern Texas in the 50’s. By prison, my uncle was referring to a pea farm, as they were called back then. They were minimum security prisons where inmates grew food for the prison system.

Wilmer was my favorite, because he liked to fish and many times took me along. One time he took me to Kemah and we got in a small skiff and towed [it] out to the middle of the bay for four hours. I was always a little hyper, and I almost jumped out of the boat after about an hour. Wilmer seeing this, started telling me stories. As I remember, this calmed me down a bit and I caught some fish.

Being a Judge he had access to a prison and one near Brazoria had a great fishing pond. He and I went there about three times. It seemed I always ended up having  to carry a small Outboard motor from the parking lot to the lake each time. I asked him why, and he said “when you are my age you will understand.”

A Celebration in Alpine

December 30th, 2016 Comments off
Robin, Grainger, Sperry and Lalu

Robin, Grainger, Sperry and Lalu at Reata Restaurant in Alpine Sept. 21, 1996

If you’ve been reading this blog,  you’ll know what a special place Alpine, Texas is to our family. Alpine was our mother’s artist retreat and our father’s vacation home. It was where my sisters spent many of their summers making friends among both the town folk and the ranchers as well. It served as my brother’s respite from the terrible summer asthma he suffered as a boy. It was in Alpine that Grainger got his masters, and his wife Barbara, her bachelors. And it was there that my childhood friend Mary Bell Lockhart and I roamed the hills and streets, and our imaginations thrived.

It was in the dark, in the rear seats of the college auditorium, that I watched Grainger and his classmates rehearse and perform Shakespeare’s Henry IV. (Grainger had the title role, in fact.) It was during those performances, as I repeatedly viewed the follies of Sir John Falstaff, the courage of young Hotspur and the coming of age of Prince Hal, that the seed of my film script Texas Dick was planted. (I’ll have more on that in other posts.) It was my attempt at producing the script that drew the four siblings to Alpine on this occasion in 1996. More importantly, it was a celebration of our connection to Alpine, our shared affection for William Shakespeare, and our deep love for one another. These were three of the happiest days of my life. You can see it in all of our faces. I have footage of us reading the script and romping around Alpine and Marfa. I will share clips with all y’all later.

Uncle Philo Back From the War

December 18th, 2016 Comments off

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Eugenia and Wilmer’s First House at 2920 San Felipe, Houston

November 27th, 2016 Comments off

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Judge Wilmer Hunt bought this house for his bride, Jeana.

The judge claimed that when he showed her the living room, she said, “So, this is where we will entertain our guests.”

He nodded and took her into the dining room.

She said, “So, this is where we will eat our dinner.”

He nodded and took her into the kitchen.

She frowned and asked, “What happens in here?”

 

Uncle Ryland’s death – the historical prospective

November 26th, 2016 Comments off

Jennie (Eugenia Kiesling) wrote this on 11/22/16 in response to the to the post about Uncle Ryland. ( http://allyall.org?p=410 ) She teaches military history at the West Point:

For those who are interested (and don’t already know as many of you do), I offer some military history to put my great uncle Ryland’s death into context.  In particular, I think that the report that he flew a “liaison” mission deserves some explanation for those unfamiliar with the nature of artillery “liaison” operations.   This story may be distressing to those who do not know it, but getting the details about war right is important to me.

Ryland enlisted in the artillery, and artillery was the most important component of US Army Ground Forces in World War II.  In that war the US Army acquired guns with remarkable range, accuracy, and rate of fire, but its greatest advantage over the Germans was the development of fire control systems for coordinating the fire of dozens of guns on a single target.   The problem with which field artillery officers wrestled before the war was that there is no point in having sophisticated fire control systems and guns capable of hitting a target ten miles away unless one can see the target, observe where the shells are landing, and adjust fire accordingly.  The problem of artillery observation is exacerbated by the fact that armies conceal targets worth hitting; moreover, howitzers, the guns with the longest ranges, fire at a high trajectory for the purpose of landing shells behind high ground.

During the 1930s, some visionary artillery officers acquired small aircraft and private pilots’ licenses in order to test the idea of artillery spotting from the air.  As a result of their private experiments, during the war the Field Artillery Branch commissioned a military version of the Piper Cub aircraft, designed the L4 Observation Aircraft, for artillery spotting.  The advantage of the L4, familiar to those of  us who have skydived from the Piper Cub, is that they can fly very slowly, allowing for a good view of the ground.   It was Ryland’s job to fly the plane low and slow and close to German lines so that his observer could see where our artillery shells were landing.  It is a sad truth that without brave men flying unprotected aircraft, all of the destructive power of the US Field Artillery would have been impotent.

On 4 July 1944, when Ryland was preforming that crucial artillery spotting role, his plane was hit by a shell from an American 155mm howitzer.   The after action review concluded that the density of US shells was so great that American pilots would be safer flying over German lines, and for the rest of the war our pilots flew their observation missions closer to their targets and further from their own guns.  Like so many wartime death’s Ryland’s was a fluke in the sense that no one was aiming at him.  Unlike many soldiers, he was doing a specific task he knew to be essential to our military operations.   His death created a change in doctrine that probably saved other lives.  But it is very sad story.

The information about Ryland comes from Edward Raines, Eyes of the Artillery: The Origins of Modern US Army Aviation in World War II, a book that wondered into my office many years ago.  I asked Raines whether he knew anything more about the episode, but he did not.

Incidentally, while writing this I am snacking on a dish of yoghurt and frozen cherries, a dessert idea I owe to another uncle, Malcolm McCorquodale, which I often eat with fond thoughts.

Love, Jennie

Judge Wilmer Hunt sat on the board of Houston’s first African-American hospital

November 25th, 2016 Comments off

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In the early to mid-1960’s my father, Judge Wilmer Brady Hunt sat on the board of Riverside General, Houston’s first African-American hospital.  Here is an article on the institution, which finally closed in 2014. He took me there on a visit in the summer of 1963.
Sperry Hunt

The article reads:

The Houston Negro Hospital was created in 1926 when the earlier black Union-Jeramiah Hospital was no longer capable of accommodating the rapidly growing black population of Houston, Texas. African American community leaders began a campaign to garner support from local physicians when oilman Joseph Cullinan, who had earlier supported the existing hospital, donated $80,000 to construct a new facility. The city of Houston donated three acres of land in the Third Ward for the new fifty-bed hospital. Construction began in 1925.  

The dedication of the hospital was held on June 19, 1926, a major local holiday in Texas known as “Juneteenth,” which commemorates the day Emancipation occurred in the state.  At the dedication a bronze tablet from the Tiffany Company was unveiled stating that the building was erected “in memory of Lieutenant John Halm Cullinan,” Joseph Cullinan’s son who had died during World War I. The tablet also declared that the hospital was “dedicated to the American Negro to promote self-help, to insure good citizenship, and for the relief of suffering, sickness, and disease among them.”

Read more…

Judge Hunt – Thank you letter from Jefferson County Judge

November 25th, 2016 Comments off

This is a letter from judge in Jefferson County, Texas thanking Judge Hunt for his service. It includes an note concerning another blog post

 

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Judge Wilmer Hunt Chairman of the Board of Harris County American Red Cross

November 25th, 2016 Comments off

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Wilmer Hunt attorney for the King Ranch – 1936

November 25th, 2016 Comments off

JudgeSmiling1950s

The following was scanned from a newspaper. The unedited result is what the computer determined the article said.

October 20, 1939
Lubbock Morning Avalanche from Lubbock, Texas · Page 22

HOUSTON, Oct. 18 — A suit to cancel a 20-year lease held by the Humble Oil and Refining company on 1,250,000 acres of the famous King ranch In Southwest Texas went on trial before Federal Judge T. M. Kennerly in Houston today. The plaintiffs are Edwin K. Atwood and Miss Alice Atwood of Chicago, grandchildren of the late Captain Richard King, founder of the ranch. The defendants are Alice O. K. Kleberg, et al, Including the Humble Oil & Refining company. Filed Five Yean Ajo The suit originally was filed some five years ago, court attaches said, at Corpus Christ!. The case Is being heard in Houston for the convenience of parties concerned. Taking of written evidence over a period of several months for use in. the case was completed about a month ago before Wilmer Hunt of Houston, appointed by federal court as master in chancery. Attorneys for the plaintiff argued today that the Humble company’s lease should be cancelled by reason of a mineral trust executed In 1919 by Mrs. Henrietta King, Captain King’s widow, in favor of Robert Kleberg. Claim Leave Void The plaintiffs contended this mineral trust severed minerals from the estate, and therefore a lease made September 26, 1933 to the Humble company by trustees of the King estate under Mrs. King’s will was void. The plaintiffs contended the trustees under the will had no minerals to transfer, by reason of the trust. Trustees under the will, according to records in the course, were Robert Kleberg, sr., Robert Kleberg, jr., Richard King, Caesar Kleberg, Richard Miflin Kleberg, Richard King, Jr., John D. Finnegan. The plaintiffs also contended the lease should have borne their signatures. Was For Specific Tim* On the other hand, attorneys for the plaintiff argued before Judge Kennerly that the mineral trust was for a specific time and purpose, and that in some later land transfers, Mrs. King did not except minerals from the land, while in others she reserved certain minerals. Defense attorneys said this showed It was Mrs. King’s feelings In the matter that the lands should go with the minerals and that the minerals should go with the land; that they were not separate. The defense said the Humble company had loaned the King estate $3,500,000, and the company felt It should have some protection.

 

Source: https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/13630886/

See also Jeana’s photograph from a dear hunt at the King Ranch:

http://allyall.org/?p=473