Tracking Down C. Mendel

Y’all have almost certainly seen one or more of the multiple articles I’ve written about Howard Bland and Charles P. Vance, both of who were part of the building committee for the 1891 First Christian Church of Taylor.

There’s quite a bit of information out there on both.

In contrast, “C. MENDEL” was quite a bit harder to track down.

For starters, I first identified him as “Peter Curran Mendel” based on the Find-a-Grave entry for him.

But as with the “Blazimar” (actually “Blazilmar”), it’s easier to find information when you have the correct spelling.

Mendel’s name is actually “Peter Curren Mendel.” Even the Taylor Daily Press’ article from August 15, 2015 has it wrong (I’ve since proposed a correction to the Find-a-Grave entry, so hopefully it’s corrected soon)!

If we go back to 1878 when the First Christian Church was organized (as the second church in Taylor), we see that John Allen Gano, Jr. was one of the charter members, and his older brother, Richard Montgomery Gano, a Disciples of Christ minister, came to town and preached for a week.

Before embarking on his career as a minister, Richard Montgomery Gano served in the Confederate Army during the War Between the States, and he also spoke extensively at United Confederate Veterans events after The War.

In contrast, Curren Mendel (along with at least one brother) served in the Union Army during the war. He was born in Wheeling, Virginia (now West Virginia), and served in Carlin’s Battery “D” of the 1st West Virginia Light Artillery (http://www.lindapages.com/wvcw/1wvi/1wvi-mendel.htm).

Curren came to Taylor in the 1870s to join his brother Harry and brother-in-law C.H. Booth (also originally from Wheeling). So yeah, he was probably considered a carpetbagger.

Yet he and the Gano family apparently buried any differences dating back to The War, as he is listed as a trustee on the deed executed on April 8, 1878, along with fellow building committee members John Gano and C.P. Vance (distantly related to Zeb Vance, who served as governor of Confederate North Carolina during the War).

Mendel owned a large tract of property near the intersection present-day Eleventh and Davis Streets and built a large home there (see https://taylorpress.net/lifestyles/article_df5082e4-24ee-11e5-bcba-976056222b88.html; see also http://tx-taylor.civicplus.com/345/Davis-Coupland-Rd for photos of the Mendel home).

In 1888, Mendel’s brother-in-law C.H. Booth established the Taylor National Bank; Mendel initially served as cashier and later Vice President of the operation. (Incidentally, Booth had previously been associated with the First National Bank of Taylor; the two banks would merge during the Great Depression. Fellow building committee member Howard Bland, Sr. was also associated with both banks.)

For someone so heavily involved in the history of Taylor (and subsequently buried there), it’s odd that I haven’t been able to find an obituary or mention of his death in the Taylor Daily Press.

However, the May 14, 1923 edition of the Austin American reports that Curren Mendel, who had passed away on May 10, at the home of his daughter in Wichita Falls, had been buried the previous day (May 13) after a funeral held in the First Christian Church building that he was instrumental in constructing some thirty-two years before.

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