Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary

Historical Sketch

Scope and Contents

Organization

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Series I. Historical and Biographical

Series II. Journals, Ledgers, and Registers

Series III. Financial Reports

Series IV. Published Materials

Series V. Photographs and Negatives

VI. Legal Documents

University of Texas Arlington

Berachah Home Collection:

A Guide



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Berachah Home (Arlington, Tex.)
Title: Berachah Home Collection
Inclusive Dates: 1901-1985
Abstract: The Berachah Home was established in Arlington, Texas, on May 14, 1903, by the Rev. J. T. Upchurch and his wife, Maggie Mae, as the Berachah Industrial Home for the Redemption of Erring Girls. It was operated under various names as an establishment for homeless, usually pregnant girls, in part by the Berachah Society in Dallas as part of the Nazarene Church. The Home closed in 1935, but was reopened later that year by the Upchurch’s daughter, Allie Mae, and her husband, Frank Wiese, as the Berachah Child Institute. The Institute ceased operation in 1942. The University of Texas at Arlington purchased the property in 1963. The collection includes correspondence, legal documents, financial reports, registers, newspaper clippings, and photographs, 1901-1981; The Purity Journal, 1904-1906; The Purity Crusader, 1915-1930 (microfilm); miscellaneous printed material, and typescripts, 1979-1985.
Identification: AR280
Extent: 4 boxes (1.65 linear ft.)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library

Historical Sketch

The Berachah Home was established on Rescue Hill on South Cooper Street in Arlington, Texas, May 14, 1903.   1

Reverend James Tony (J.T.) Upchurch, the Home's founder, initially established the Berachah Rescue Society in Waco, Texas, in 1894 for the purpose of redeeming and aiding prostitutes and other "fallen" women. After some success, he and his wife Maggie Mae moved to the Oak Cliff area of Dallas, Texas, in 1903 to continue the "mission" in Oak Cliff's slum areas. One newspaper account contends he was "driven away [from Waco] by angry fellow Methodist church members who opposed his missionary work with prostitutes."   2

A trip to Arlington resulted in the purchase of the original twenty-seven acres of land for the establishment of the Berachah Home for homeless, usually pregnant, girls. These girls came from Texas and the surrounding states to have their babies and learn to care for themselves. Adoption was not allowed as Reverend Upchurch believed mothers and children should not be separated.

During the next thirty-two years, the Home expanded to include forty more acres, purchased in 1928, a hospital/clinic, nursery, dormitory, dormitory and dining room named Hammil Hall, printing shop, handkerchief factory, chapel, office building, schoolhouse, auditorium, barn, and a cemetery.

The girls were kept busy working in the printing shop, gardening, operating the handkerchief factory, teaching at the school, and working at the hospital/clinic.

The Home was funded by Dallas-Fort Worth area businessmen. It was primarily for the contributors that Reverend Upchurch published The Purity Journal, to keep them informed about the Home's affairs.

The Home closed in 1935 for reasons not clearly known, but perhaps due to competition from the Edna Gladney Home in Fort Worth, or because of Reverend Upchurch's poor health. It was reopened later that year as an orphanage, the Berachah Child Institute, by Reverend Upchurch's daughter Allie Mae and her husband, Reverend Frank Wiese. In 1942 the property was purchased by the Christian Missionary Alliance. Correspondence in Box 1, Folder 3 indicates Reverend Wiese attempted to get the Dallas Church of the Nazarene to take over the Berachah Child Institute in 1941, but the offer was rejected. The University of Texas at Arlington purchased the property in 1963 and is the current owner.

On March 7, 1981, an historical marker was erected at the cemetery site, the only surviving structure on Rescue Hill.

Notes:

1 The Berachah Home was originally named the Berachah Industrial Home because of the handkerchief factory operated on the site.

2 Arlington Citizen-Journal, 21 January 1981, Section C, p. 1. Box 1, Folder 2.

Sources:

Arlington Citizen-Journal. 21 January 1981. Box 1, Folder 2.

Dallas Times Herald. 8 March 1981. Box 1, Folder 2.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 22 February 1981. Box 1, Folder 2.

Manion, Lynn and Jan Dolph. "A Short History of the Berachah Home and Berachah Cemetery, Arlington, Texas." Paper presented to The University of Texas at Arlington, City and Regional Planning 5391, 1979. Box 1, Folder 1.

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Scope and Contents

The Berachah Home Collection is organized in six series: Historical and Biographical; Journals, Ledgers, and Registers; Financial Reports; Published Materials; and Photographs and Negatives.

The Historical and Biographical series includes brief histories of the Home and its founder; newspaper clippings, 1930-1981; correspondence, 1915-1942; a legal agreement and contract; and a Guide to Historical Sources and Documents of the Nazarene Archives, 1985.

The Journals, Ledgers, and Registers series contains fourteen volumes dating from 1901-1931 that include information on accounts receivable, payable, registers of girls, births and deaths, names and hometown information, names of children admitted, applications for admission, some parents' names, delivering physicians' names, addresses, and names of persons seeking to adopt. The volumes are not uniform; each volume must be perused to ascertain what types of information it contains.

The third series, Financial Reports, contains annual reports for 1907-1911, 1915, and audit reports for 1922-1938. The 1907 annual report includes a description of the Home, its history, purpose, and photographs.

The series Published Materials, contains two religious tracts dealing with "fallen" women and "white slavery" (One was written by J. T. Upchurch); three volumes of The Purity Crusader, including two complete copies and three copies of The Purity Journal, Volume One, July 1904-June 1905, and one copy of Volume Two, July 1905-July 1906. Also included is an excerpt from The Holiness Evangel, Volume One, Number Twelve, June 1, 1907, with information regarding the Home's dedication; a First Annual Bulletin of the Berachah Bible Institute, 1936-1937; an undated photocopied autobiography, The Life and Work of Mary Lee Cagle; an excerpt from the Preachers' Magazine, Fall, 1983, entitled, "Those Early Nazarenes Cared: Compassionate Ministries of the Nazarenes," by Fred J. Parker; and a February 24, 1938, copy of The National Voice.

The last series, Photographs and Negatives, contains negatives corresponding to the positive prints in Box 4, Folders 2 - 8, as well as 8 × 10 photographs dating from 1903-1931 of various areas of the Berachah Home.

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Organization

The collection is organized in six series:
Series I. Historical and Biographical
Series II. Journals, Ledgers and Registers
Series III. Financial Reports
Series IV. Published Materials
Series V. Photographs and Negatives
Series VI. Legal Documents

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Restrictions

Access

Open for research.

Literary Rights Statement

Permission to publish, reproduce, distribute, or use by any and all other current or future developed methods or procedures must be obtained in writing from Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards.

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Index Terms

These materials are indexed under the following headings in the catalog of The University of Texas at Arlington Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Persons
Upchurch, J. T. (James Tony), 1870-1950.
Upchurch, Maggie Mae, 1873-1963.
Cagle, Mary Lee, 1864- --Life and work of Mary Lee Cagle.
Organizations
Berachah Home (Arlington, Tex.)--Records and correspondence.
Berachah Cemetery (Arlington, Tex.)
Berachah Society (Dallas, Tex.)
Subjects
Church work with women--Texas--Arlington.
Church work with women--Nazarene Church.
Women--Charities--Texas--Arlington.
Children--Institutional careTexas--Arlington.
Social work with women--Texas--Arlington.
Female juvenile delinquents--Texas--Arlington.
Alternate Titles
Life and work of Mary Lee Cagle
University Archives

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Related Material

Special Collections also owns two reels of microfilm containing copies of The Purity Crusader from 1915 to 1930.

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Administrative Information

Citation

Berachah Home Collection, AR280, Box Number, Folder Number, The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries Special Collections.

Acquisition

Gift. 1982-1984.

The Berachah Home Collection was donated to The University of Texas at Arlington in separate transactions. The 1913 panoramic photograph was donated by Reverend and Mrs. L. P. Durham in 1982. In 1982 and 1984, Mrs. Margaret N. Hartin donated the bulk of the collection to the University.

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Pamela Mauk, May 1988

The material in this collection was gathered from several sources:

  • Rev. and Mrs. L. P. Durham (panorama photograph of Berachah Home)
  • Mrs. Margaret Hartin (photographs, Purity Journal, registers and audit reports)
  • Archives, Church of the Nazarene, Kansas City, Missouri (photocopied material)

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Note to the Researcher

Various items in this collection refer to the women who stayed at the Home as "girls" or "inmates." For consistency, as well as the preservation of the original writing style of the era, the term "girl" is utilized to refer to these women.

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Container List

 

Series I. Historical and Biographical

Box Folder
1 1 Histories of Berachah Home and Founder.
Brief histories of the Berachah Home and biographical sketches of J. T. and Maggie Upchurch; obituary of J. T. Upchurch; report of E. M. Dealey of the Dallas News, 1921.
2 Newspaper Clippings 1930-1981.
Six photocopied newspaper clippings, 1930-1940, discussing facets of the Berachah Home's expansion and reorganization; Clipping, 1966, regarding clean-up of Berachah Cemetary; Clipping, undated, regarding the Berachah Home's history, written because land development project to be erected on Berachah site; Clippings, January 21, 1981-April, 1981, regarding the erection of an historical marker at the Berachah Cemetery - all include histories of the Berachah Home.
3 Correspondence 1915-1942.
Photocopied letter, 1915, from missionary Susie Singletary to Mrs. Upchurch; Eight letters, 1924-1942, regarding Berachah Home's funding and disposition.
4 Legal Agreement June 24, 1924.
Photocopy of an agreement between the Berachah Home and the Church of the Nazarene.
5 Legal Contract undated
A typical contract signed by those entering the Berachah Home.
6 Guide to Historical Sources and Documents on "Compassionate Ministries" Drawn from Nazarene Archives Inventories 1985.
"To Rescue the Perishing, to Care For The Dying, Historical Sources and Documents on Compassionate Ministries Drawn From the Inventories of the Nazarene Archives." Guide to sources, articles on "compassionate ministries," 1985; Annual Report, 1985.

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Series II. Journals, Ledgers, and Registers

Box Folder
1 7 Miscellaneous 1916-1925.
One page report of girls at Berachah Home, January 1, 1916; Two half pages of Births, Deaths, Number of girls and children admitted, 1921-1924; Two handwritten receipts, one 1925, one undated; Two pages, of Records of the Berachah Home, girls admitted, discharged, births, deaths, some personal information, 1915-1916; Photocopies of eight pages of accounts received, 1918-1920.
8-9 (a-e) Journals, Ledgers, and Registers 1901-1931. 1901-1926
Box Folder
2 1-3 Thirteen dated volumes, one undated,
including accounts receivable, payable, registers of girls, births and deaths, names and hometown information of some of the girls, names of children admitted, applications for admission, some parents' names, some physicians' delivering babies names, and names and addresses of persons wanting to adopt babies.

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Series III. Financial Reports

Box Folder
2 4 Annual Reports 1907-1911, 1915.
Photocopy of Berachah Home's Annual Report, 1907. Report includes a description of the Home, its history, purpose, includes photographs circa 1906; Photocopy of a bookmark, 1915, includes annual report information.
5-6 Audit Reports 1922-1938.
Annual reports for 1923-1928; 1929 (two different reports); 1930-1932; 1936; 1938.

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Series IV. Published Materials

Box Folder
3 1 Photocopy of Lights and Shadows of Rescue Work, by J. T. Upchurch undated [1903?]
Religious tract dealing with "fallen women"; A Tragic End, 1922, religious tract dealing with "white slavery."
2 The Purity Crusader 1924, 1927, 1930
Three complete issues of this religious magazine, published by the Berachah Rescue Society.
3-5 The Purity Journal, Volumes One and Two. July, 1904-July, 1906.
Two copies of The Purity Journal: The Only Exclusive and Leading Journal Published in the Great South West For Rescue Work, Volume One, July 1904-June 1905, published by the Purity Publishing Company, Arlington, Texas. One issue is missing June 1905.
The Purity Journal, Volume Two, July 1905-July 1906.
Journals deal with religious rescue work, temperance, white slavery. J.T. Upchurch, editor and publisher.
6 Photocopy of the title page of The Holiness Evangel, Volume 1, Number 12 June 1, 1907,
published in Pilot Point, Texas.
Includes write-up on the Berachah Home's dedication ceremony of May 14, 1907.
First Annual Bulletin of Berachah Bible Institute 1936-1937.
Booklet includes a school year calendar, faculty names and educational backgrounds; information regarding the Institute, including its history, purpose, beliefs, finances and curriculum.
7 Life and Work of Mary Lee Cagle undated
Nazarene Publishing House, Kansas City, Missouri. Photocopy of the autobiography of the wife of the founder of the Church of the Nazarene's Southern branch. 175 pages. The Berachah Home is mentioned on pages 87, 107-111.
Photocopy of "Those Early Nazarenes Cared: Compassionate Ministries of the Nazarenes," by Fred J. Parker, from The Preachers' Magazine, Fall, 1983, pages 32p-32t. Very brief history of the Berachah Rescue Society on page 32s.
8 The National Voice, Volume 68, Number 8 February 24, 1938.
One copy of this temperance weekly newspaper, self described as, "A national tabloid weekly devoted to news and comments about the alcohol problem."
8a ??? 1932

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Series V. Photographs and Negatives

Box Folder
OS169 1 Negatives 1903-1931.
Correspond to the positive photographs in Folders 2-8, including a negative of the panoramic photograph.
2 Dedication Ceremony 1903.
8×10 photograph.
3 Parlor and Berachah Printing Office circa 1905 and 1905.
2 8×10 photographs.
4 Fourth Anniversary of the Berachah Home 1907.
8×10 photograph.
5 Tabernacle Meeting 1919.
8×10 photograph.
6 Whitehall Tabernacle circa 1930.
3 8×10 photographs.
7 Berachah Home circa 1930.
3 8×10 photographs.
8 Hammil Hall 1931.
3 8×10 photographs.
9 Whitehill Tabernacle circa 1913.
Panoramic group photograph taken in front of the Tabernacle.
1 30×8 photograph.
Box Folder
Drawer 106 map annex 10 4 shapshots Panorama of group on Berachah grounds May 1916

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VI. Legal Documents

Arlington Independent School District, of Tarrant County, Texas vs J.T. Upchurch, et al.
[Tax Case L-215]
[67th State District Court, Tarrant County, Texas]
[Judge Walter Morris, Presiding]
[Photocopies are from the original documents found the Office of the District Clerk, Tarrant County Courthouse, Fort Worth, Texas]
[47 Items]
Box Folder
3 9 March 1942.
(3 Items).
1. Plaintiff's Original Petition for Collection of Delinquent Taxes, and Foreclosure of the Tax Lien. Filed March 31, 1942.
2. Citation served on J.T. Upchurch, the Berachah Rescue Society and the Berachah Junior Kingdom. Issued March 31, 1942. Served April 1, 1942. Filed April 9, 1942.
3. Citation in Delinquent Tax Suit served on Dorotha H. Meier, Independent Executrix of the Estate of Walter H. Meier, Deceased; F.E. Wiese, Allie May Wiese, and the Tarrant County Building and Loan Association. Issued March 31, 1942. Served April 27 - 28, 1942. Filed April 28, 1942.
10 April 1942.
(13 Items).
1. Motion for Contempt and to Strike and Expunge Scurrilous Allegations. (Filed on behalf of J.T. Upchurch against plaintiff's attorney, Albert L. Miller). Filed April 7, 1942.
2. Court order to issue notice to plaintiff's attorney, Albert L. Miller, to appear before the Court on April 17, 1942 to answer why defendant's (J.T. Upchurch) previous motion should not be granted. Issued April 7, 1942. Served April 7, 1942. Filed April 7, 1942.
3. Reply to Motion of Contempt (by plaintiff's attorney, Albert L. Miller) Filed April 9, 1942.
4. Plaintiff's First Amended Original Petition for Collection of Delinquent Taxes, and Foreclosure of the Tax Lien. Filed April 9, 1942.
5. Subpoena of D.S. Hood, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Arlington, Texas, et. al., to appear in court on April 17, 1942 to testify in behalf of the defendant, J.T. Upchurch. Issued April 10, 1942. Served April 11, 1942. Filed April 14, 1942.
6. Defendant's Original Answer; and Cross-Action of Defendant, J.T. Upchurch. Filed April 16, 1942.
7. Motion to Dismiss filed on behalf of defendant, J.T. Upchurch. Drafted April 15, 1942. Filed April 16, 1942.
8. Plea in Abatement of Defendants, J.T. Upchurch and Berachah Junior Kingdom, successor of Berachah Rescue Society. Drafted April 15, 1942. Filed April 16, 1942.
9. Order of Court Expunging Part of Plaintiff's Original Petition. [See Folder 2, Item 1] Order Issued April 17, 1942.
10. Motion to Reassess Costs filed by plaintiff's attorney, Albert L. Miler, seeking that no costs be taxed against plaintiff in connection with contempt hearing and that all costs be assessed against defendants. Filed April 17, 1942.
11. Order of Court decreeing "that the plea of non-joinder, the plea of mis-joinder, the other pleas of abatement and the motion to readjust, reassess and retax the costs filed herein by the Arlington Independent School District and Albert L. Miller…shall be and the same are in all things over-ruled and held for naught." [See Folder 2, Item 10]. Order Issued April 17, 1942.
12. Citation served on D.S. Hood, W. Fred Cox and Hooker Vandergriff in connection with defendant's cross-action. [See Folder 2, Item 6]. Issued April 17, 1942. Served April 20, 1942. Filed April 24, 1942.
13. Citation served on Albert L. Miller, F. Waltersdorf, C.L. Hamilton, Alfred Brown and A.D. Cunningham in connection with defendant's cross-action. [See Folder 2, Item 6]. Issued April 21, 1942. Served April 21, 1942. Filed April 28, 1942.
11 May 1942.
(8 Items).
1. Plaintiff's Motion to Strike Cross-Action of Defendant, J.T. Upchurch. [See Folder 2, Item 6]. Filed May 1, 1942.
2. Original Answer of Cross-Defendants D.S. Hood, et. al. Filed May 9, 1942.
3. Answer of Cross-Defendant, Albert L. Miller, to Cross-Action of Defendant, J.T. Upchurch. Filed May 11, 1942.
4. Order of Court stating that Cross-Action of Defendant, J.T. Upchurch be severed from original suit and tried separately. Order Issued on May 15, 1942.
5. Original Answer of Defendants F.E. Wiese and Allie May Wiese. Files May 15, 1942.
6. Letter of transmittal for the answer and cross-action of defendant, Dorotha H. Meier, Independent Executrix of the Estate of Walter H. Meier, deceased. Signed by attorney of defendant, Sam Billingsly. Letter dated May 21, 1942.
7. Original answer and cross-action of defendant, Dorotha H. Meier, Independent Executrix of the Estate of Walter H. Meier, deceased. Filed May 22, 1942.
8. Citation served on Berachah Junior Kingdom and James T. Upchurch and wife, Maggie M. Upchurch in connection with original answer and cross-action of Dorotha H. Meier. [See Folder 3, Item 7]. Issued May 26, 1942. Served May 28, 1942. Filed May 30, 1942.
12 June 1942.
(5 Items).
1. Order Dismissing Cross-Action filed by defendant, J.T. Upchurch. [See Folder 2, Item 6]. Order Issued June 5, 1942.
2. Letter of transmittal of citation showing that service was obtained "upon the cross-action of defendant, Dorotha H. Meier, individually and as Independent Executrix of the Estate of Walter H. Meier, deceased, vs. James T. Upchurch, and his wife, Maggie M. Upchurch, and Berachah Junior Kingdom, a corporation." Letter signed by Sam Billingsly, attorney for Dorotha H. Meier. Attached is check for fees associated with the service of citations. [See Folder 3, Item 7]. Letter dated June 6, 1942.
3. Intervention of the City of Arlington for Delinquent Taxes, etc., and Foreclosure. Filed June 15, 1942.
4. Citation served on J.T. Upchurch, individually, and as agent for the Berachah Rescue Society, and as agent for the Berachah Junior Kingdom. (In connection with the Plea of Intervention of the City of Arlington.….Folder 4, Item 3]. Issued June 15, 1942. Served June 16, 1942. Filed June 19, 1942.
5. Answer of Cross-Defendants J.T. Upchurch and Maggie Upchurch to Pleading of Cross-Plaintiff Dorotha Meier, Independent Executrix. [See folder 3, Item 7]. Filed June 19, 1942.
13 July-November 1942.
(8 Items).
1. Defendants J.T. Upchurch, Berachah Junior Kingdom, Successor to Berachah Rescue Society, and F.E. Wiese and wife Allie May Wiese, and Ralph Piper's Answer to Plea of Intervention of the City of Arlington. [See Folder 4, Item 3]. Filed July 6, 1942.
2. Plaintiff's Second Amended Original Petition for Collection of Delinquent Taxes, and Foreclosure of the Tax Lien. Filed September 24, 1942.
3. Letter of transmittal of original motion for inspection of records of the Arlington ISD. Signed by D.L. Whitehurst, attorney of J.T. Upchurch, defendant. Letter dated September 30, 1942.
4. Defendant's Motion for Permitting Inspection and Copies of Records (of Arlington ISD]. Filed October 1, 1942.
5. Original Answer of the Defendant, the Christian and Missionary Alliance to Plaintiff's second amended petition. [See Folder 5, Item 2]. Filed October 16, 1942.
6. Notice to take the oral deposition of J.T. Upchurch on December 4, 1942, in Dallas, Texas. Signed by attorney for Plaintiff (Arlington ISD). Also signed by attorneys for the Christian and Missionary Alliance, SW District, and Heirs of the Estate of Walter H. Meier and Dorotha H. Meier, Independent Executrix of said estate indicating they waive service of notice. Signed November 20, 1942. Filed November 28, 1942.
7. Notice to take the oral deposition of J.T. Upchurch on December 4, 1942, in Dallas, Texas. Signed by the attorneys for the Plaintiff (Arlington ISD). Also includes completed statement of service of notice on D.L. Whitehurst, attorney for J.T. Upchurch and Berachah Junior Kingdom. Signed on November 20, 1942. Served on November 21, 1942. Filed on November 30, 1942.
8. Request to Clerk for Commission to take Deposition of J.T. Upchurch. Filed November 28, 1942.
14 1943.
(4 Items).
1. Amended answer and cross-action of the defendant, The Christian Missionary Alliance, Southwest District. [See Folder 5, Item 5]. Filed January 18, 1943.
2. Motion to Stay for Duration of Hostilities. [To cease court action until end of WW II]. Filed October 23, 1943.
3. Plea of Intervention on behalf of Albert L. Miller. Filed on October 23, 1942.
4. First Amended Original Answer of defendant, J.T. Upchurch, the Berachah Junior Kingdom, successor to the Berachah Rescue Society, F.E. Wiese and wife Allie May Wiese. Filed December 23, 1943.
15 1944.
(4 Items).
1. First Amended Plea of Intervention on behalf of Albert L. Miller. [See Folder 6, Item 3]. Filed January 4, 1944.
2. Answer of J.T. Upchurch, et. al. to Plea of Intervention of the City of Arlington. [See Folder 4, Item 3]. Filed January 5, 1944.
3. Petition for Foreclosure for Delinquent Taxes (Original Petition) In Intervention of the State of Texas and County of Tarrant. Filed January 17, 1944.
4. Final Judgment of Court. Order Issued on January 28, 1944.
16 Miscellaneous.
(2 Items).
1. Copy of Deed of Mrs. Mary C. Cooper, a widow, conveying to the Berachah Rescue Society a specified parcel of land [description of land included in document] for the sum of $4000. Document signed January 26, 1928. Document Filed February 5, 1930.
2. Copy of original court papers envelope. March 31, 1942.

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