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Yount-Manion Films - Hockaday Graduation and Rockledge

Lamar University

Silent | 1930s

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  •  Kathryn Manion and her friends at a birthday party 
  •  Graduation ceremony at the Hockaday School in Dallas 
  •  Gardens at the Rockledge estate in Manitou Springs, Colorado 
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This home movie compilation captures the Yount-Manion family at their various estates. The film begins with a young Kathryn Manion at a birthday party outside the Manion household in Beaumont. The film then jumps back in time to show Mildred Yount Manion’s graduation from the Hockaday School in Dallas. The Hockaday School was founded in 1913 and is an independent, secular, college preparatory day and boarding school for girls. As shown in the footage, ceremonial traditions include graduates wearing white dresses and hats as they carry flower bouquets and walk under a long arch of gladiolus. The film concludes with images of Rockledge, a lush summer home enjoyed by the Yount-Manions in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Miles Frank Yount bought the Rockledge house in 1929 from the Heath family and built the Manitou Mineral Spa and the nearby Arcade area. After Yount’s daughter, Mildred, married Edward Manion, the two made the mansion their summer home away from Beaumont. Mildred sold the property in 1969, the same year that she died. Rockledge then turned over to the ownership of George Haggard, who was also president of Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole amusement park in Colorado Springs. The Yount-Manion collection captures extended family members enjoying the facilities at Rockledge as well as Santa’s Workshop. The Yount-Manion Films were given to Lamar University by Greg Riley and Fred McKinley. The pair discovered the films while researching their 2005 book, Black Gold to Bluegrass: From the Oil Fields of Texas to Spindletop Farm of Kentucky, which chronicles the legacy of Frank and Pansy Yount.
Miles Frank Yount, oilman and civic leader, son of J. N. and Hattie Yount, was born at Monticello, Arkansas, on January 31, 1880. Yount left school at age fifteen and moved to Texas, where he worked in the oil and rice fields. He brought one of the first rotary drilling rigs ever seen along the Gulf Coast to the area and designed several special adaptations for the new machine. He formed the Yount Oil Company by 1913, which two years later became the Yount-Lee Oil Company. Certain that more oil lay below the dwindling Spindletop oilfield, Yount secured mineral rights to large tracts in the area. In 1925 his McFaddin No. 3 well struck oil at 2,800 feet, sparking a second Spindletop oil boom. He eventually acquired mineral rights in several of the Gulf Coast's major fields, including the High Island, Barbers Hill, Hull, and Sour Lake oilfields, as well as those at Hackberry and Liberty, Texas, and Crowley and Jennings, Louisiana. Yount built large tank farms, a terminal, and docks near Beaumont to ship his company's oil to destinations around the world. Yount married Pansy Merritt on September 15, 1915. The couple had one child, Mildred Frank Yount (who would go on to marry Edward Daniel Manion and become Mildred Yount Manion). Although his own academic training had been limited, Yount had a keen interest in education and amassed a large personal library. He was a regent for the University of Texas. Other hobbies included collecting violins and horses. While Yount sought to avoid the public limelight, he made several generous gifts to Beaumont charities and at least once donated personal funds to help the city meet its payroll during the early days of the Great Depression. He also served on the city's port commission. He was a Presbyterian. Yount died in Beaumont on November 13, 1933, apparently of a heart attack. He was buried in Beaumont's Magnolia Cemetery. His Yount-Lee Oil Company was subsequently purchased by Stanolind Oil for over $41 million in 1935, then the third largest cash transaction in American business history. (Source: Texas State Historical Asssociaton)