Hi, Ray & JoAnn. Yes, sorry to say Fonville's has closed. Yes, you can use my name. When Bob & I got our rings in May 1966, Mr. Fonville told us that jewelry was made in the U.S. only in San Francisco & N.Y. They were going to start making jewelry in a few wks. It was so easy to call or go down there. They would mail a gift for a person and bill them. I'll try to give a short review of a letter Jo Evelyn wrote to the paper.
Mr. Manahan started the business in 1919. When the Fonville's came through Pecos, Mr. Fonville went to work for Mr. Manahan and purchased the business in 1950. Bill & Jo Evelyn became associated with the business in 1956 and bought the business in 1980. Rosa Carrasco worked there 31 years and Ludi Valencia worked there 34 years They had a sale that ran most of December. It was the only jewelry store left in Pecos that would repair jewelry. I surely hated to see it close.
Thanks, Ray, for the Fonville stories. The history lessons are particularly instructive on things I did not know about Pecos. The personal stories are touching. Mine is a personal story. Our family knew the Manahans at the First Christian Church where we attended. My dad, the Funeral Director, knew him from business before the rest of us. When I graduated from PHS in 1957, I was given cash in many gifts. So I went to Fonville's and bought an Omega watch with my name and year engraved on it. I wore that watch all through Texas A&M, two years Tanzania, East Africa, several years in Chicago. I still have the watch, but do not wear it. Maintenance is more than I want to pay every couple of years. Battery operated watches just revolutionized the watch industry.
Your stories and memories are so much fun! I am copying these Fonville stories, etc., to send to my brother-in-law, Tom McIlvain,and his wife, Martha Hudson McIlvain. Martha graduated PHS (daughter of LR and Vivian Hudson). My husband, Jess McIlvain ('50) grew up in Pecos, but I never lived there.
Patsy Douglas Marguret
Ray, I asked my mother about Fonville's and she said the Manahan's did sell to Fonville's, but kept some of the inventory and sold out of their home for a while. I remember when the store moved to the corner (yes, a boot shop!), I was a freshman or sophomore in high school. We, too, got our class rings from a company out of Austin (Class of '56). However, when Otis Henson and I married, we got all of our silver, china and etc. from Fonville's. I also remember two other jewelry stores in town: Farnum Jewelry across from the Brandon Hotel and just north of the Post Office, and Cecil and Ruth Cothrun's store on Eddy St, just south of Highway 80. There are so many changes in Pecos in the past 20 years it is sad to return. The bypass around the town was the last nail in the coffin. It is a shame that a little town that had such a great history is basically gone. Oh yes, Otis' grandmother, Mrs. T. Y. Moorhead, was one of the first settlers. She was a young girl who lived in a tent on the bank of the Pecos River (not a trickle), and the Chinese "Coolies" were building the railroad. She told us of the cowboys coming into "town" on Saturday nights and shooting up the town; she said they had to sleep on the ground to avoid being shot and killed. She attended the "World's First Rodeo" in Pecos in 1883. I'm sure everyone knows the story of the death of T. Y., as is recounted in Alton Hughes' book of Pecos. There I so much history still visible in Pecos, but it is hard to see the Pecos we lived in and loved as it appears today. Time and resources just passed it by.
Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Ray. I too remember the jewelry store belonging to Charlie Manahan. I also remember him as Fire Chief. One of my prized possessions is a picture sent to me by Peggy Daniels showing the "boys" of the fire department sitting on or around the fire truck, both her Dad and mine were there. Thanks for the picture Peggy!
Jimmy "Clipper" Young
A few words from an old codger from his days in Pecos. As a lot of you know I met and married Bonnie Hess in 1948. I purchased Bonnie’s engagement and wedding rings from Ted Ruhlen in 1947. Ted was a wonderful man. All of our Silverware and China came from Fonvilles. I too was in church with Mr Manahan and he truly was a gentlemen of great faith. Say hello to Tommy and Joann Beauchamp for me. God Bless!!
OK, NOW we need John Charles and Bill Cooksey to tell us the REST of THE Story! Ha! JC & BC, where are you guys?
Mr. Fonville (or someone who worked there) repaired a couple of rings for me. I don't recognize anyone who wrote to you about Fonville's, but one of them said that the store was closing after 49 years. They are mistaken; Fonville's was there in 1944 when I moved to Pecos. Jo Evelyn was in my class. I'm not sure whether she was in class of 48, 49, or 50, but I do remember her. Soooo o o o—do the math—it's more than 49 years, I think.
Ray all those folks who wrote are too young to remember a whole lot, but you don't need to tell them I said so! I wish they would use their last names! They are probably grandchildren of the folks I knew! Old age ain't fer sissies!" (How many of them do you think know who Scratch is? I'll never tell! LOL!)
Peggy Glover Daniel
Ray, I certainly have enjoyed the memories of Johnny Fonville and his store. Not only jewelry but sterling silver, china, and gift items. Jim Slack's right that I do remember the Manahan era, so, I remember Johnny being THE watch/jewelry repairman (and salesman when business was brisk. He was very good at what he did for Mr. Manahan probably into the 1940’s. Johnny did buy out Charley and Stella Manahan sometime after 1946,the year I married, and my china came from there. Of course Johnny prospered and moved the store to the new location and very nice store in the early '50s maybe?
Hold on—I'll just call Bill Cooksey and ask him a few questions!.....
Just did that and here are some dates Bill supplied: Johnny moved from the location mid-block to the corner (where there had been a boot shop he said) in 1954. Bill said he's hanging it up because he's worked for the past 48 years, (We should all just be 48!!!) and he's tired! His PHS class was 1950.
I never lived in Pecos after my high school graduation, TCU, and marriage but I was there frequently to visit my grandmothers, Cordie Glover and Mattie Morrison, my aunt Maggie Glover (who worked for W.L. Anderson and the Pecos Furniture Co.), and Cousins Darrell Glover and Barbara Farnum. I always went to Fonville's for a visit with Johnny, a kind, creative, caring citizen of Pecos in my opinion! Bobbie Chesney Lattner, who had a long, productive career at Security State Bank, might have Fonville Jewelers memories. I'll telephone her next and let you know what I find out!
About senior rings: Jim Slack's class may have bought their rings from Manahan's, but my class (1943) bought their's from an Austin company that "peddled" school jewelry. Can't remember the company name nor find the receipt either... Thanks Ray Mack, for keeping the Pecos Loop updated and Pecos news/memories/whatever flashing across our computer screens!!!!!
Ray, just to help on the Fonville Jewelry question, Johnny Fonville worked for Mr. Charlie Manahan, and bought out his store when he retired. Ted Ruhlen, of Ted's Watch Shop, was my uncle and also in the jewelry business as well watch repair. Mr. Charlie (Manahan) told me much later "Ted and I weren't competitors, we just happened to be in the same business."
Mr. Charlie was a solid member of our church (the First Christian after I married JoAnn) and was fire chief for many years. For many years after, every time the fire whistle went off while we were at church, he circled around like an old fire horse. He was as fine a gentleman as I have ever known.
Hi Ray, It's been fun reading all the emails about locations of businesses and about people in the 30's and 40's. I was one of those in the PHS Class of 43 who left after graduation and only returned for short visits with my parents (John and Sadie Wallace). I haven't been back since my stepfather, John Wallace, died in August 1968; mother returned to Iowa a couple of months later.
The recent flurry of emails brought back many fond memories of places and people. I worked at Charlie Manahan's jewelry store for a short time. Johnny Fonville tried to teach me watch-making. They were wonderful people to work with but I didn't have the patience nor the finger dexterity to be a watchmaker so I left and became a soda jerk at Bozeman's drug store; I think I took Richard Owens' place. I worked for Dave Wood Bozeman and his father for quite a while, until Coach Coleman got jobs for a bunch of us at "Rattlesnake" Bomber Base in Pyote. We dug ditches for the plumbers during the construction of the base. The pay was fantastic!! I think we got seventy-five cents an hour---and that was time and a half for working weekends!!
I can't add anything about Fonvilles, since the only Jeweler I remember was Manahan's. Teds Watch Shop had some jewelry too but he was mostly watch repair, I think. It seems like the Pecos Mercantile had a few pieces too. I left Pecos in 1942, well before the Billy Sol era, and just as the Air Base was being built. We did have Monkey Wards and Sears catalogs though!
When I got my wedding rings, at the end of May 1966, Mr. Fonville told me that nobody made rings except in San Francisco & New York. Fonville's was going to start making jewelry within a few weeks. Ann and Jim married in August, after we married in July. Fonville's is going out of business Dec. 31, after 49 yrs; I sure do hate it. I could call and they would mail wedding and baby presents for me. I'll miss them!!
I have a good Fonville's story too. When Jess and I married in 1959 in Lubbock, we chose contemporary stainless flatware, but did not find a sterling pattern we liked. My aunts were determined that we choose sterling too. We finally chose a sterling pattern just to get them off our backs! :>) We got much of that sterling as gifts from Fonville's, but never used it. When a new pattern we really liked was created in 1961, Fonville's agreed to take back all of that other pattern (in original plastic sleeves from Fonville's & even the other pieces from other stores in Lubbock, etc., at original price! So we bought the new sterling at Fonvilles. Nice people!
Johnny Fonville was probably my dad's (Neil) best friend. If he went near downtown daddy would drop in and visit with the Fonville's. Neil was truly a "jack of all trades" sort of guy, and Johnny taught him a new skill: watch making. Really! Dad learned enough to clean and adjust all of our watches, at Johnny's shop. Also, dad tried all his life to be a pilot but could not pass the eye exam (Yet, could see well enough to do watch repair!) When Johnny bought his plane, dad was in heaven and often flew with him and took the controls at times. I believe they were also Masonic brothers. As the years rolled by, all of our family got to know all of the Fonville's really well. So, like the previous stories, when Avalyn and I got engaged (parked on the Ft. Stockton highway!), even she had been introduced to them. Avalyn wanted a really "different" ring. She described it to Johnny and he created it for her. She was very pleased and has always loved her "Fonville Unique" ring! When Johnny and John Charles went into the ring manufacturing business, I went down to see how it was all done. “Jewelry" was not something I was very interested in, but the "technology" of forming and engraving rings from a piece of metal into a beautiful ring really intrigued me!
Deanna K (Holm) Miller
Dear Ray, I have shared this Fonville series with several of my classmates from 1962. Almost, to a person, we remember the beautiful wrapping in which we all received our gifts from Fonville's, with the lovely little roses made of ribbon! It felt kinda like getting something from Tiffany's today—a real signature wrapping! Do you have any way of finding out who did those? We have never seen that anywhere else!
Deanna, it was probably “Teen,” Johnny’s wife. No one has mentioned her, but she was a big part of the business.
Thanks, Ray, for the Fonville stories. The history lessons are particularly instructive on things I did not know about Pecos. The personal stories are touching. Mine is a personal story... Our family knew the Manahans at the First Christian Church where we attended. My dad, the Funeral Director, knew him from business before the rest of us. When I graduated from PHS in 1957, I was given cash in many gifts. So, I went to Fonville's and bought an Omega watch with my name and year engraved on it. I wore that watch all through Texas A&M, two years Tanzania, East Africa, several years in Chicago. I still have the watch, but do not wear it. Maintenance is more than I want to pay every couple of years. Battery operated watches just revolutionized the watch industry.
Virginia (Bond) Gordon
Ray, I read all the 'strings' and they brought back a lot of good memories. When I was real small we lived next door to the Manahans. Mr. Manahan was also instrumental in getting my brother, Bernard, into the Texas School for the Blind. They were good neighbors and friends.