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Settlement of this area began as early as 1848. The town of Alma was established in 1871, when the Houston and Texas Central Railroad was built through Ellis County. C.C. Hemming deeded part of this property for the railroad right-of-way and a town to be names in honor of his daughter, Alma. Soon the town included numerous homes, businesses, churches, and civic organizations. It was the center of a farming community until the 1950's, when interstate highway 45 was built through the middle of town.
Just before the close of school, teacher, Hark!
I am thinking most of you,
Now may on our grades we're closely watching,
As he ever does the view,
Filled with best,
How it tho'ts of teacher and the class,
And if he don't reach the stated next day,
Pass mark, He must spend the next term in there,
Press to me your switch again,
If I fail and raise old Cain.
Published by JOHN A. ZERWER in 1918 from his home in Alma.
There is more mournful pathos in Dr. Root's "Just Before the Battle, Mother", than any other of the thirty or more songs he composed. The song whose sentiment was truly pathetic had a mission in the army as well as a song of humor. Dr. Root wrote for almost all the varied circumstances caused by war, and was written for all time as well. There is always a war, a conflict, a battle, a triumph, a blessing somewhere, and Dr. Root caught its melody and gave it life.
In "Just Before the Battle, Mother," one of the most widely sung songs of the war, Root takes the opportunity to inveigh against Northern Copperheads:
Tell the traitors all around you,
Root, apparently, had also been reading his press notices when he wrote "Just Before the Battle" in 1862, for his reference to "Battle Cry of Freedom" came as a result of numerous reports to the effect that the song was actually sung by troops marching into battle.
Surprisingly enough, the song was also popular in the South, where it was sung as written, including the reference to "The Battle Cry of Freedom." Early in the war, Christy's Minstrels brought the song to England where it became immensely popular; so popular, in fact, that the English could not believe that a "foreigner" had written it.
Images of Alma, Texas from the 1950'.
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'Elisabeth Dies at 21
Elisabeth Reed Wagner -- Elisabeth in Billy Gilmans song of that name -- died Thursday (April 11) of complications from cancer at RHD Memorial Medical Center in Dallas, The Dallas Morning News reports. She was 21. The song was written by Ms. Wagners aunt, Liz Rose and Kim Patton Johnson. Gilman performed the song, which includes the lyrics, Elisabeth, you make the world a better place, at the State Fair of Texas in October. He also met Ms. Wagner during his visit. Ms. Wagner was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis when she was 3 years old. Services were to be held Monday (April 15) at St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Plano, Texas. Memorials may be made to the John D. Wagner Scholarship Fund, c/o Texas Neurofibromatosis Foundation, 16475 Dallas Parkway, Suite 780, Addison, TX 75001.
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