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Story about historic sign brings back memories

By Victoria Advocate
Dec. 30, 2012 at 6:30 a.m.


Editor, the Advocate:

Your article in the Advocate about the Bull Durham sign in Goliad reminded me of a pocket watch and watch chain I have. I was a kid in Goliad until the mid-1940s, when we moved to Victoria; however, the sign was covered at the time.

My father passed away in 1941, and this is his watch chain. I remember him smoking Bull Durham tobacco. It came in a small, cloth bag, just small enough to fit into a man's shirt pocket. It was closed by a drawstring with a round, thick paper tab that men let hang outside the pocket. The bag had a paper label that wrapped around the bag and had a packet of cigarette papers fitted in the label. It was a "roll your own" cigarettes kit.

The watch chain has an ornament, sometimes called a fob, on the chain - a small figure of a bull with the name Bull Durham on it. The bull is 14K gold plated, somewhat worn. I have no idea when it or the chain was made. The chain is made of small engraved bars linked together. One bar is gold, and the next bar is what a jeweler years ago told me was called white gold. The chain is long enough that it will reach from one vest pocket to another. On one end is the pocket watch and on the other a small knife with a mother-of-pearl handle. The figure of the bull would hang on the chain between the pockets.

I remember as a small boy being in Goliad and seeing my father and other men standing around, and every one of them would have a Bull Durham tobacco tag hanging out of a shirt pocket.

Well, everyone have a safe and happy new year.

Michael K. Simmons, Victoria

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