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great-grandson were all born there a nice enough legacy for any shoemaker. His grandson, Mr. Lee Wagner, runs a tinsmith shop across the road from the house he was born in. A frail, balding widower in his late sixties, Mr. Lee started out in life to be a Model-T mechanic. He took an A&M short course in the subject in 1925. “But,” he says, “there just got to be too many kinds of cars Dodges, Chevrolets, and all sorts of model changes. A man just couldn’t keep up with that.” In 1941 he decided to become a tinsmith. He was always fascinated by tin work. “I admired that kind of work. Auto work was all repair work. You didn’t build anything. But when you have a flat sheet of tin there you can make anything from it. I used to try to do it with my hands, before I had the tools.” He bought his tools from a tinner in La Grange named August Streidhoff, who had used some of them 50 years before he sold them to Mr. Lee: treading shears, a seam closing machine, a rolling machine, a setting-down machine, a stove pipe bar fold, turning machines, and a set of round anvils, which Mr. Lee protects with lead shields whenever he hammers on them. “When the war came I really got into it. There was nothing to be bought, factory-made. I made bathtubs., washtubs, buckets, pails, funnels, coffee cans, cisterns and stove pipe. People always wait until the last minute, when that first norther comes, to fix stovepipes. The only thing I passed up was roofing jobs. I can’t go up. I can go down, into a well, but I can’t go up.” About ten years ago, with the advent of “The Antique” \(as the current era is Mr. -Lee began to turn to punched tin lanterns and pie-safe panels, but the first cold days of November still bring a little pile of stove-pipe sections inside his door, and last summer I watched a four-foot tin , cistern quiver on the grass outside his shop as he hammered on it from inside. Mr. Lee is a precise, almost authoritarian person, who likes things done right, but he has a beautiful smile when he talks about his work. “Making things, it’s the line of work I love,” he says. He is a Mason and a freethinker. His great-grandfather was a Roman Catholic, but his grandfather left the church before he came to America, and .none of the Wagners have been church people since. His parents saw to it that he learned German before he learned English. “German is the mother language,” they told him, “and it comes first. English will come soon enough.” He and his wife spoke German to each other all of their lives together and his son, who is 32, did not speak English until he went to , public school. He and Mr. Lee speak English to each other now, unless they are talking about carpentry, which comes easier in German. Mr. Lee is a lucky man. He wanted his son to go to barber college, but Edrol decided to stay in the community, learn his father’s trade and several others, and take his place when he is gone. Most of the other young people have left. From 1860 to 1950 the . population of Round Top fluctuated between two and three hundred. In 1960 it was down to 124; by 1970 it was 92; today it is about 70. The big two-story, galleried stores that enclosed two sides of the square are gone; old houses on town lots are snapped up by Houstonians when their occupants are taken to the rest home in Bellville by urban children or nieces and nephews. A city block in Round Top sold last year for $125,000; a town lot went this summer for $27,000. ERNST Emmrich, 85, the oldest man in Round Top, still has coffee every morning in Birkelbach’s Cafe. Mr. Emmrich was elected town marshal in 1914 and served for 56 years, except for the time he was in Europe during the First War. Sheriff Loessin once told him, “Ernst, don’t ever be afraid to pull that trigger; I’ll stand behind you,” and that was his strength in the home-brew days of Prohibition, when Saturday afternoons in Round Top would get rough. Saturday nights at the Round Top Rifle Association are Mr. Emmrich’s best memories. The Rifle Association operates a big white hall surrounded by live oaks in the creek bottom just east of town, and 50 years ago its monthly dances were the only amusement most farm families had. “People would come in wagons and buggies from all over the country, come early Saturday afternoon and visit, play Skat and dominoes. The ladies could bowl in the bowling alley. When it got dark the band would begin, while people finished their supper under the trees. They had Fackel woods, so you could find your way if you came late. The dance would last all night. If you didn’t want to dance, you could pay a dime and sit on a little raised platform along the wall and be a spectator. The old ladies would bring their sewing and be spectators. They always wanted the lights up, and the dancers always wanted them down. At midnight the dancers would adjourn for a Kaffeetrink and have pie, coffee, sandwiches. They they would hoist a handkerchief over the bandstand, the bandleader would call out “ladies engage,” and the ladies would return the dances of all the gentlemen who had danced with them the first half of the evening. The sun would be up on Sunday morning before everyone went home.” Mr. Emmrich is a bachelor; he still goes to dances at the hall and always dances with the youngest girl there. Last September at the shooting feast he danced the garden waltz with my wife and a pretty female friend, but the band quit at ten o’clock that night. Old people tire easily. April 11, 1975 13 Information for Historians, Researchers, Nostalgia Huffs. ilk Observer Fans Bound Volumes: The 1974 bound issues of the Texas Observer are now ready. In maroon washable binding, the price is $15. Also available at $15 each year are volumes for the years 1963 through 1973. Cumulative Index: The cloth-bound cumulative edition of the Texas Observer Index covering the years 19541970 may be obtained for $10. Index Supplements: The 1971, 1972, 1973, and 1974 paperback supplements are provided at no additional charge to those who purchase the cumulative index at $10. Subscribers who do not want the cumulative index may purchase any of the supplements separately. The cost is 50c for each year. Back Issues: Issues dated January 10, 1963 to the present are available at 50c per issue. Earlier issues are out of stock, but photocopies of articles from issues dated December 13, 1954 through December 27, 1962 will be provided at 50c per article. Microfilm: The complete backfile scription to the microfilm edition is $12. To order, or to obtain additional information regarding the microfilm editions, please write to Microfilming Corporation of America, 21 Harristown Road, Glen Rock, N.J. 07452. Address your order \(except for Business Office. Texas residents please add the 5% sales tax to your remittance. Materials will be sent postpaid. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 600 W 7 AUSTIN 78701