Raymond Bryant Madden

28 Mar 1880 - 19 Oct 1957

77 years old

Third Generation Madden

Son of:

James Henry Maddden

20 December 1846 - 11 December 1935

Elvira Amanda Logan Madden

4 November 1850 - 17 May 1930


Ray and his wife Dora Strawn came to Port O'Connor in 1910 with baby Arthur. They came for Ray to work at the O'Connor's Townsite. He was a handyman and could build almost anything. The O'Connors owned all the land and ranched it before deciding to make it a township. They built hotels, homes, a bank and the pavillion. At that time the fishing industry was being built up and there were many fish houses that were built to process the fish, shrimp and oysters from the bays and gulf. The township built up until 1919 when a hurricane destroyed the town.

Their youngest daughter, Joey (December, 2013) reports that:

"When I look back at it now it was very exciting really. We would wait all day and the shrimp boats would start coming in and if they had a good day it was just bedlum. They had big tables where they came in and dump the shrimp, they -- mostly Mexican families and some of the white ladies did too, they would go down and head the shrimp and then the men that owned the shrimp houses would ship them out. --- they would be paid by the pound. --- you'd head them, the heads would go one place and the tails would go another. When you get a bucket you'd go and somebody weighs them, they would write it down --- of course they would get 2 or 3 cents a pound --- but still it was a way to make money."

She said that if you wanted shrimp you could just go down and one of the shrimpers would just give you what you wanted. No one had to buy shrimp! Most every one had a shrimp boat and even Ray had one. Richard and Oscar would go out and catch shrimp as well. Shrimping was the main industry at the time.

Ray and Dora lived in a tent close to the front bay when they first came to Port O'Connor. Theirs was considered "high class", because they had floors in theirs. Then he built a clapboard house that was also on the front beach. There was another house that cought fire. During the fire Dora ran into the house and picked up the cradle that Joey was in and ran outside with it. Afterward Ray said he didn't know how she got it out since the cradle was bigger than the door.

Ray was raised in Rockport and Fulton. They had moved to a community called "Comanche" which was outside of Port Lavaca. Dora was raised in Hull-Daisetta. He parents lived in the oil producing land and worked with the oil industry. She had two brothers and three sisters. One sister lived in Port O'Connor and ran a boarding house. One of her sister's husband was killed in an oil field accident when he was young and she was left with three daughters. She came and lived with Ray and Dora for a long time. They also had a "negro" lady that stayed with them while the children were young.

Sometime early on Ray built his grocery store "Madden Merchantile".

He built it after he helped build the water plant. After that he kept care of the plant, but didn't have a full-time job, so he decided to build the grocery store. It was the first merchantile store built and operated in Port O'Connor. Joey remembers that the whole front of the store had groceries and her mother quilted in the back. The second store was built across the street from the first one.

In 1942 there was a big hurricane where Ray, Dora and Joey were caught. Ray wouldn't leave because he knew that everyone would need gasoline, etc. They stayed in the store and the water came up to Joey's knees. The store was built off the ground, so the water was pretty high. Nona and Sam were all there and Ray tied everyone together with rope. They left the store and went out the back, but only made it a few feet and had to come back. The weather was so bad the trip out and back took them over an hour. The store was damaged, but remained intact. Part of the front had blown off. The house washed away. It stayed intact and settled to the ground after the water subsided. They moved it back and when Louis Ray came back out of the service they built the "big" house. There was another one in '45 or '47 that was not as bad. The house was finally completely distroyed in Hurricane Carla in 1961 as well as almost all the other structures in the town.

Ray married Dora E. Strawn in March 2, 1909. Ray died of basilar artery thrombosis. He is buried in Seadrift Cemetery. Dora died from pancreatic cancer.

"I went to school here (Port O'Connor) through the 11th grade. We would go out and chop a tree to decorate at the school. We had a Christmas play. I was in one wearing roller skates."

As a boy, Madden's family, which consisted of four boys and four girls, lived on the bayfront. His father, Ray, moved tha family to Port O'Connor when it first became a town site. He was a butcher by trade and opened Madden's Merchantile, where Lewis started working at age 10.

The family was hit with hard times during the Great Depresion, with his father temporarily losing the store until he could buy it back at auction tne next day, Maddensaisd. Djuring this time, Ray tended to the lights at the jetties to make extra income.

"That extra income helped tremendously," Madden Said.

Ray also shrimped and oystered on the side, selling seafood to Homer Clark of Clarks' Seafood in Port O'Connor. "This income afforded the family a tree at Christmas and meager gifts," Madden said.

"Most of the time, we got toys and clothes for Christmas gifts, but during the Depression, you didn't get anything, you didnt' have to have," he said.

Reported by Lewis Ray at the Port O'Connor Community Service Club Christmas luncheon for senior citizens.

The Port Lavaca Wave, Wednesday, December 11, 2013, vol. 123, No 18, Midweek Edition

Children of Ray Madden and Dora E. Strawn:

(1930 US Census data)

i. Arthur - 20 yrs old (December, 1909)

He lived much of his life in San Antonio with his wife Willie Mae Anderson and his second wife Christine. He was a traveling salesman. He would travel around Texas and into the "Valley" (the area of south Texas that is next to Mexico). Many times he would take Joey with him so she would get to experience more than Port O'Connor.

ii. Thelma - 18 yrs old (1911)

Also lived in Port Lavaca.

iii. Marjorie - 16 yrs old (1913)

Also lived in Port Lavaca.

iv. Richard - 14 yrs old (1915)

v. Oscar - 12 yrs old (November, 1917)

vi. Laura - 11 yrs old (April,1919)

vii. Lewis Ray - 8 yrs old (December, 1921)

viii. Mamie Joe "Joey" - 4 yrs old (Sept. 12, 1925)