Rucks on Main
Upcoming event helps stock the shelves of Central Texas food banks and honors veterans. Plus, a flashback to Camp Safety, an escape for Union sympathizers and Confederate Army deserters.
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 27, 2021
“We’re trying to raise awareness of veteran needs and feed the hungry. Right now, we have 130 people signed up, but that will grow. People can sign up until the event actually starts, and many wait until they get here to register.”
Ruckers march through Temple during the Memorial Day version of Rucks on Main. According to organizer Wes Albanese, a record number of participants is expected for the Nov. 6 Veterans Day event. Nanci Kelly | Nanci K Photography
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple exclusive
An estimated 200 dedicated ruckers will hit the streets of Temple on Nov. 6 for a physical event that benefits local veterans and the homeless.
Rucks on Main, a group of mostly ex-military men and women, hold 10K rucks twice a year in Temple — once over Memorial Day weekend and again around Veterans Day.
“We’re trying to raise awareness of veteran needs and feed the hungry,” said Wes Albanese, founder of the organization. “Right now, we have 130 people signed up, but that will grow. People can sign up until the event actually starts, and many wait until they get here to register.”
The Veterans Day weekend ruck likely will be the largest ever for the Rucks on Main group.
“We had 70 last year and 130 on Memorial Day despite the threat of stormy weather,” he said. “This should be our largest turnout by far.”
Albanese said a wide range of residents are expected to participate.
“We have had military and ex-military personnel sign up, a few kids, teenagers … it’s open to everyone,” he said.
Participants will don rucks — or backpacks — filled with up to 40 pounds of canned goods and non-perishable food items.
“We’re asking that participants place a photo of a veteran who has touched their lives in their rucks,” Albanese said.
At 9 a.m. the march will get started at Santa Fe Plaza in downtown Temple. The group will walk to Main Street, turn right and head to Jackson Park and then the Temple Historic District before ending the 6.2 mile jaunt back at Santa Fe Plaza.
Once the march is complete, rucks will be emptied and the food will be donated to Operation Feeding Temple for dispursement to local food banks.
“On Memorial Day, we had 130 people take part and we collected nearly 2,800 pounds of food,” Albanese said.
We have a lot of veterans and homeless folks who count on our local food banks,” he said. “We want to keep them stocked with food.”
In the U.S. Army, weighted marching — known as rucking — is a staple of military training. Recruits are expected to complete long journeys — usually 12 miles — carrying a heavy weight in a rucksack. Rucking builds stamina, strength and muscle tone, and also includes a psychological “toughness” aspect.
Registration can be completed online through Nov. 5 at www.rucksonmain.org/registration or in person beginning at 7:30 a.m. the day of the event. Entry is $55 per person, and proceeds will benefit veteran causes.
Rucks on Main is sponsored by Truss Team Bridge Realty, VFW Post No. 4008 in Belton, Bravo Fox Photo and CenTex Tactical Gear.
A rucker prepares for his 10K challenge during the Memorial Day Rucks on Main event. Participants attach photos of veterans who have touched their lives to their ruck sack. Nanci Kelly | Nanci K Photography
Ruckers prepare to start their journey during a spring event in Temple. The ruck packs are filled with canned food goods that are donated to local food banks following Rucks on Main. Nanci Kelly | Nanci K Photography
FLASHBACK: Camp Safety sheltered Union sympathizers during Civil War
By DENISE KARIMKHANI, special to Our Town Temple
In his bid for governor, Sam Houston toured the state and urged citizens to vote against secession.
He made two speeches in downtown Belton, but his talks were met with loud booing. It is said he took out his two pistols, laid them on the goods box he was using for a podium, and dared anyone to interrupt him.
Although Bell Countians supported Houston for governor, they overwhelmingly voted 495 to 198 in favor of secession. Texas seceded from the Union in early 1861. Many of the Unionists in the county supported the Confederacy during the war, and more than 1,000 Bell County men joined the Confederate army or served in state military units. Some Union sympathizers, however, along with Confederate deserters congregated in northern Bell County at what locals called "Camp Safety.”
Camp Safety was a well-protected camp at the head of a large spring called Bull Branch. Dense cedar brakes and rough mountainous terrain surrounded the unpopulated and unsettled area.
Today, Bull Branch feeds into Belton Lake.
Near the camp was a rock bluff with a small opening in the abrupt face of the bluff. Within the small opening was a hidden cave, a good-sized room from which the men could conduct a defensive fight. Mr. Sam Bishop, P.L. Ellis, J.H. Reese, and others visited the spot after the war and found evidence of the camp. Burned logs, smoke-colored rocks, and many other signs indicated the place had been long occupied.
Some of the men were from Bell County but others came from surrounding counties and even other states. Among their number were Confederate deserters, outlaws, renegades, horse thieves, and murderers. They were so strong in number and well-armed that no local force dared to come against them.
Relatives, friends, and sympathizers provided subsistence under cover of night. Tradition said that friends took corn to a nearby mill, instructed the miller to grind it and place it on the outside of the mill. The corn disappeared during the night.
Sam Bishop told the story of his attempt to recruit men from Camp Safety for Captain Wat Graves' Company, CSA.
"As he started into the cedar brake on a trail, he was challenged by a picket on guard who demanded of Mr. Bishop what he wanted there. After stating his mission, Mr. Bishop was told by the picket to return to the same spot at the same hour next day and he would get an answer. On his return, five of the men were awaiting him. They all enlisted with Mr. Bishop."
The company proceeded to the Rio Grande where the five Bull Branch recruits jumped over into Mexico and disappeared.
One of the most infamous Confederate deserters lodged at Camp Safety was Lige Bivens. He and his band of outlaws mounted raids against the area's pro-Confederates and terrorized women and children in their homes.
One such incident occurred in Aiken, a mill and farming community on the Leon River twelve miles northwest of Belton. When a letter from home reached Bob Kuykendall and G. A. Beeman in Wharton County, they determined to put a stop to Bivens. Instead, their commanding colonel (of the First Texas Cavalry, Buchel's Regiment) sent a company of men to end the menace to the community. Bivens and six of his followers were killed.
Many events occurred in Bell County during the Civil War which at any other time would not have been tolerated. With the constant threat of deserters, Comanche Indians, and home-guard vigilantes, the locals were subjected to some inexcusable outrages.
POSTCARD FROM THE PAST
Here’s a look at Temple’ Public Square in this undated postcard. The scene was probably photographed in the late 1890s or early 1900s. The square was like a parking lot for horses and buggies while people shopped and did their downtown business. There isn’t a car in the lot, so it’s probably prior to 1908. That’s the year Ford introduced the Model T, the first affordable automobile for Central Texas farmers and railroad workers.
AROUND TOWN MICKEY AND THE MINIONS
A colorful but not-so-scary Halloween display features Mickey Mouse, minions and a lot of Jack-o-Lanterns. This is just a segment of the decorations adorning this Forest Train residence. David Stone | Our Town Temple
BITS & PIECES
Bell becomes a county: Bell County did not become a county of record until 1850, although it might have made it two years earlier had residents known how to play the political name game.
In January 1848, settlers petitioned the state legislature to be separated from Milam County. They proposed Clear Water County, but their petition was never even considered.
Williamson County had already tried for the name Clear Water but it didn’t gain its countyship until it changed the name to Williamson in honor of State Sen. John Robert McAlpin Williamson.
By early 1850, local residents had learned to play the game. They proposed to name their county to Bell after newly elected Gov. Peter Hansborough Bell.
This time the petition was approved.
Bell’s first cattle brand: Bell County’s first cattle brand was registered with the County Clerk on Aug. 26, 1850, by John Early.
The brand was an “E” for Early.
First there was Birdsdale: A full decade before Temple was created by a rail company, the small community of Birdsdale was built near present day Sammons Golf Course.
A.J. Flake was the first to build a log cabin there, and he even applied for a post office.
By the time Temple was created, Birdsdale — named after Indian fighter Capt. John Bird — consisted of a church, a school, several stores, a blacksmith shop and a community center.
Within a few years, a growing Temple swallowed the Birdsdale community and it disappeared.
What was Temple’s first store?: Digging through history can be downright frustrating.
Old records, publications and oral histories frequently disagree on the facts. Such is the case in identifying Temple’s first store.
Some publications list L.G. Sims store as the first. Sims moved his family from Birdsdale all the way to Temple and operated a grocer and general merchandise store at 124 S. Main.
Other sources list the William Fuller store, which began in a tent and later moved to a brick building, as the first.
According to yet another source, Cheeves Brothers retail store was first. One thing is for sure, Cheeves outlasted the others and the name lives on as a restaurant.
WHAT’S HAPPENING, CENTRAL TEXAS?
Central Texas largest and most complete calendar of event:
October 28-31 - “Leading Ladies” at Temple Civic Theatre. Ticket link: https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?actions=4&p=1
October 29, Friday - Uncasing of the Colors for the 607-member 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment of the 3rd Squadron, 36th Infantry Division, now headquartered at the Texas Army National Guard on Airport Road in Temple. Santa Fe Plaza, 10 a.m.
October 29, Friday - Michael Salgado at Schoepf’s in Belton. 6 p.m.
October 29, Friday - 1st Annual "Monster Mash Ballroom Bash" at Arthur Murray Temple. Join us for a few tricks, some yummy treats, and lots of dancing! Costumes are encouraged, and anyone is welcome — no dance experience needed, $15 per person. RSVP (254) 231-3444 7:45 p.m.
October 29, Friday - Calling all boys and ghouls! Don’t forget to stop by the Monster Mash at the Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum. Learn a few new dance moves at the Monster Mash prom. Grab a treat or two and have a spooktacular time. 6-8 p.m.
October 29, Friday - Halloween Party at Firestreet Pizza. High octane rock & roll. 6 p.m.
October 30, Saturday - 24k Comedy Magic Show, Corkys Wine & Beer. 8 p.m.
October 30, Saturday - Do you have your Halloween costumes ready? Enter Temple Fire & Rescue’s costume contest during Fire Safety Day this Saturday! Aside from the costume contest we will have fire safety demonstrations, tours, and activities from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Central Fire Station.
October 30, Saturday - Spur Classic Pickleball Tournament at Wildflower Country Club. Registration at 7:30 a.m., matches start at 8.
October 30, Saturday - Trunk or Treat at Faith Baptist Church, 1102 S. 51st , Temple. 7 p.m.
October 30, Saturday - Lake Belton High School Trunk or Treat. Sponsored by Vista Community Church. 5-7 p.m.
October 30, Saturday - Halloween Party at O’Briens Irish Pub featuring Jay White & The Blues Commanders. 9 p.m.
October 30, Saturday - The city of Temple will host Fright Fest from 6-8 p.m. at Santa Fe Plaza (301 W Avenue A). Attendees will be able to trick-or-treat, enter a costume contest and enjoy a fire dance show. This event is free to the public and registration is not required.
October 30, Saturday - Downtown Belton Candy Trail. 4-6 p.m.
October 30, Saturday - Halloween Bar Crawl, Mo’s Rail Yard Saloon. 4-11:59 p.m.
October 30, Saturday - Barktoberfest, Dog costume contest at 5:30; adoptable dogs on site. Barrow Brewing Co., Salado. 1-7 p.m.
October 30, Saturday - Trunk or Treat at Express ER in Temple. 4 p.m.
October 30, Saturday - Bulls & BBQ, Live bull riding followed by concert with Jake Worthington and Keith Braxton. Schoepf’s BBQ, Belton, Noon.
October 30, Saturday - Tablerock’s Fright Trail. One-half mile walking trail presents thrill, chills and haunting skits. Salado. 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
October 30, Saturday - BooCru at Crusader Stadium. UMHB in Belton. Wear your Halloween costume to the UMHB v. Belhaven game. Trick or Treat at 10 locations inside the stadium during the first half. Halftime parade of costumes on the football field. Noon.
October 30, Saturday - Trunk or Treat. VFW Post 1820, 3302 Airport Road in Temple. 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in parking lot.
October 30, Saturday - Trunk or Treat at Keller Williams Advantage. 3 p.m.
October 30, Saturday - Trunk or Treat at Fellowship Baptist in Morgan’s Point. 6:30-9 p.m.
October 30, Saturday - Drive-Thru Trunk or Treat at Everest Rehabilitation Hospital of Temple. 10 a.m.
October 31, Sunday - Drive-Thru Trunk or Treat at Canyon Creek Baptist Church. 6-8:30 p.m.
October 31, Sunday - Edward Scissorhands, free movie at Cultural Activities Center. In this 1990 film, a scientist builds an animated human being but dies before he can finish the assembly, leaving the young man with a freakish appearance accentuated by the scissor blades he has instead of hands. The event will include a pre and post-movie discussion with Professor Dr. Joseph Taberlet. 2 p.m.
October 31, Sunday - Fall Festival at The Vine Church on 31st Street. Rain or shine. 6-8 p.m.
October 31, Sunday - Taylor’s Valley Harvest Party. Food, family fun, candy, costume contest, hay ride. Taylor’s Valley Baptist Church. 5 p.m.
November 2, Tuesday - Dia de los Muertos Celebration, Wilson Park Recreation Center. Celebrate Hispanic and Mexican culture and heritage on this one-day festival for Day of the Dead. 6 p.m.
November 4, Thursday - Spur Classic Sporting Clay Shoot, Weber Shooting Range. 8 a.m.
November 4, Thursday - Brown Bag Bingo, Sammons Community Center Bring a brown bag with a small, non-food Bingo prize inside. 5 p.m.
November 5, Friday - First Friday Block Party: Veterans Day. Fun, food, music and shopping downtown Temple. 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
November 6, Saturday - Chris Hillman, Texas Music Series,Cultural Activities Center. 7:30 p.m.
November 6, Saturday - Holiday Craft Bazaar at Gober Party House. Handmade and original items. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
November 7, Sunday - Temple Symphony Piano Trio featuring Suzanne Jacobson on violin, Cory Blaise on cello and Kiyoshi Tamagawa on piano. Cultural Activities Center. 3 p.m.
November 11, Thursday - Veterans Day Celebration and Patriot Way Brick Walk sign dedication. 8:30 a.m.
November 11, Sunday - Downtown Drag! A drag show at Corkys Wine & Beer. 7 p.m.
November 11, Friday - The College of Visual & Performing Arts presents One Voice in concert. Sue & Frank Mayborn Performing Arts Center, Baugh Performance Hall. 7:30 p.m.
November 11-14 - "Our Town," a Pulitzer Prize winning play by Thornton Wilder, Temple High School, Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. More information at: http://www.ThespiansR.Us
November 11-14 - The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Beltonian Theatre, 6 p.m.
November 13, Saturday - Market in the Vines. Take a walk through the vines and shop with over 50 vendors! Free to the public. 3 Texans Winery. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
November 13, Saturday - Downtown Temple November Market. his will be our second to last market of the year and just in time to start your holiday shopping for all your friends and family. From soaps to jewelry, baked goods & jams, even custom wood working items, our market has something for everyone. 2 N. Main, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
November 13, Saturday - A Night in Vegas…St. Mary’s Catholic School Casino Night. Live auction, silent auction, games, drawings. Benefits the school’s educational programs. Cultural Activities Center. 6 p.m.
November 14, Sunday - St. Mary’s Traditional Turkey Dinner, KC Hall at 2218 W. Ave D, limited seating or to go plates, $12 plate includes Turkey, dressing, roll, gravy, coleslaw, green beans, cranberry sauce and dessert. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
November 19 through January 15 - Facing the Inferno wildfire photo exhibit opens at Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum.
November 20, Saturday - Casey Donahew at Bell County Expo Center’s Assembly Hall.
November 20, Saturday - Belton Market Days. Downtown Belton. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
November 20, Saturday - The Gathering. Native American music, dancing, food. Bring a lawn chair or blanket for picnicking and fun. Yetti Polk Park in Belton. 11 a.m.
November 25, Thursday - Thanksgiving Outdoor Movie Night at Barrow Brewing in Salado. “A Christmas Story.” 6 p.m.
December 3-5 — Disney’s Aladdin Jr. at Temple Civic Theatre.
December 4, Saturday - Barrow Brewing Christmas Market, Salado. Noon.
December 4, Saturday - Temple Symphony Orchestra Holiday Concert featuring soprano Priscilla Santana and tenor Brian Joyce. Temple High School. 7:30 p.m.
December 4, Saturday - Chisholm Trail Christmas Ball featuring Rick Trevino. Bell County Expo Center. 6 p.m.
December 6, Monday - The 75th Annual Christmas Parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. This year's theme is “The Magic of a Traditional Christmas." Details will be made available on templeparks.com.
December 10-12 — Disney’s Aladdin Jr. at Temple Civic Theatre.
December 11, Saturday — Downtown Temple Holiday Market & Food Truck Frenzy. We are excited to partner our market with a Food Truck Event! Come join us and support local businesses in our area! 2 N. Main Street. 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
December 11, Saturday - 5th annual Holiday Extravaganza at the Troy Community Center. Shop with local small businesses. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
December 23, Thursday - Santa & Elvis at Fire Street Pizza. 6-9 p.m.
December 31 - January 1 - Texas Elite Pole Vaulting. The Expo Explosion, the second largest indoor pole vaulting event in the country. Bell County Expo Center’s Garth Arena.
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