Saturday, August 27, 2011


AUSTIN, TEXAS -  Many states claim titles that Texas rightfully should own. The mystery is why do we allow incorrect facts to continue as truths? Maybe it's because once the bottle is opened it's virtually impossible to correct the inaccuracies. What people believe in means more to them than knowing the truth. Let me explain myself, you'll find cold hard facts thought-out the pages of What Was Then. Facts many prefer not to believe in because of their religious beliefs or for countless other reasons they have chosen to ignore the facts. On this page I will submit to you, our readers, cold hard facts that many will disbelieve. Never the less the facts will stand for themselves. Take it or leave it. If you wish, I encourage you to do your own research and try to establish the facts on this page as nothing more than incorrect dribble. With that said, here are the facts;

It's a well-established fact that American's have devoured over 60 billion hamburgers from one fast food franchise alone. This does not include hamburgers that has been cooked at home or those purchased at other fast food checkout counters. So, where was the "hamburger" invented? 

Varies states have laid claim to this honor. The Library of Congress has stated on their webpage that the following is the true maker of the first hamburger;
The first hamburgers in U.S. history were served in New Haven, Connecticut, at Louis' Lunch sandwich shop in 1895. Louis Lassen, founder of Louis' Lunch, ran a small lunch wagon selling steak sandwiches to local factory workers. Because he didn't like to waste the excess beef from his daily lunch rush, he ground it up, grilled it, and served it between two slices of bread -- and America's first hamburger was created.
Louis Lassen Photo: Library of Congress
Hamburger Wars


Frank X. Tolbert writes in his book "Tolbert’s Texas" that he spent years of research to find the truth about the origins of the hamburger. Now quoting from Mr. Tolbert's book, "It took me years of sweatneck research before I finally determined, at least in mine and in some other Texas historian’s estimation, that Fletcher Davis (1864-1941), also known as “Old Dave” of Athens, in Henderson County, Texas, invented the hamburger sandwich " un-quote.  Mr. Tolbert wrote that "Old Dave" was a potter in Athens, TX and when his business began to slow down he decided to open a small lunch counter in the late 1880s at 115 Tyler Street, next to the drugstore. Kindree Miller told Tolbert in an interview, "I remember eating what was later called a hamburger at Uncle Fletch’s café before I even started in the first grade. I never heard that story that the townspeople got up a pot to send him to the 1904 fair. It could have happened. But I think they just went up there on their own."

“When I was ten years old I went with my parents to the 1904 fair and to visit with our relatives. Uncle Fletch and Aunt Ciddy had rented a large house in Webster Groves, a St. Louis suburb. We stayed with them for maybe two weeks and we went to the fair almost every day and lived on hamburgers when we were there. Uncle Fletch had a good location, across the midway from a show featuring famous Indian warriors who had been talked into going on exhibit, including the old apache, Geronimo.”

Kindree said the sandwich was named during the fair. And both he and Grandpa Murchison said that Fletcher Davis was “...interviewed by a fancy dan reporter for the New York Tribune who also asked about the fried potatoes served with thick tomato sauce.” Mr. Davis told the reporter that the sandwich was his idea but he learned to cook the potatoes that way from a friend who lived in Paris, Texas." Apparently the 1904 reporter thought Old Dave said Paris, France, in referring to the way the potatoes were cooked. For the New York Tribune story on the hamburger said the sandwich was served with French fried potatoes.


Food History dot com reports that others have claims on being the originators of the now legendary sandwich.
  1. The first hamburger was sold at the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, New York, in 1885, by brothers Frank and Charles Menches. The story goes that the two Ohio brothers had arrived on the grounds of the fair too late to get a supply of chopped pork for their sandwich concession. The butcher sold them beef instead because he was reluctant to butcher more hogs in the summer heat, and after some experimentation they formulated a sandwich, which they named after the Buffalo, New York, suburb where they were doing business.
  2. Hamburg's claim to be the site of the first hamburger is disputed by the town of Seymour, Wisconsin, where a 15-year-old boy named Charles Nagreen is claimed to have served hamburger sandwiches in 1885.


Remember before radio and television, news traveled very slowly. Newspaper reports took months to travel from town to town by stagecoach or by mail via train. Who do you believe was the true architect of the hamburger? Was the first hamburger created by Fletcher "Old Dave" Davis in Athens, Texas or by Louis Lassen in New Haven, Connecticut, at his sandwich shop? Or were the Menches Brothers or the 15-year-old Charles Nagreen from Seymour, WI the creator of the hamburger?

1. LOUIS' LUNCH - They claim the hamburger was invented in 1895 in a sandwich shop in New Haven, Connecticut. This website belongs to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
2. THE HENDERSON COUNTY HAMBURGER - by Frank X. Tolbert from the Athens, Texas website.
3. BURGER BUSINESS - Food History talks about the "Burger Beginnings".
4. Texas State Historical Association - The Handbook of Texas Online

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