History Friday – A Deep-Dyed Villain

The tree by the Nimitz hotel’s stable gate.
He really was a black hat, this particular villain; he was known and recognized throughout the district around mid 19th century Fredericksburg and the German settlements in Gillespie County – by a fine, black beaver hat. Which was not furry, as people might tend to picture immediately, but made of felt, felt manufactured from the hair scraped from beaver pelts. This had been the fashion early in the 19th century, and made a fortune for those who sent trappers and mountain-men into the far, far west, hunting and trapping beaver. The fashion changed and the far-west fur trade collapsed, but I imagine that fine hats were still made from beaver felt. And J.P. Waldrip was so well known by his hat that he was buried with it.

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