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Posted on August 19, 2016 at 11:00 AM by Katie Stamy
Nearly 100 years ago, the Kagawas settled in Webster. Yonekichi Kagawa moved from Japan toteach people how to grow rice. Yonekichi met his wife, Kich, through a friend, and in 1919, at the age of 17, Kich moved to Webster from Japan to start her life in America.
Martha Kagawa Griffith, 82, of Webster is one of twelve children in the Kagawa family. Just west of IH-45, the family farmed 65 acres of land. Webster School House, now Clear View High School, taught children from elementary until high school. In 1953, Martha graduated in a class of 50 students.
On a bus that picked up at Hwy. 3, Martha moved to Houston after graduating high school, where she and four roommates rented a house at $10 a month. She began her education at the University of Houston but managed to get a job at Prudential Financial in Houston without finishing her degree. She met her husband, William Griffith while working there and together the two moved to West Texas. Martha spent days crying, as the area was bare, and far from the rest of her family. After only a month in West Texas, the couple moved to Martha’s hometown, Webster.
The two eventually expanded their family and had four children, two boys, and two girls. Yonekichi and Kich Kagawa sold their farm, and Webster soon began to flourish. The shell road that was NASA Rd. 1 became a main roadway in the town. Commercial and residential property slowly moved its way into the area. Small shops like Mitchell’s Place, where Martha recalled buying hamburger meat for 25 cents, were replaced with bigger stores.
As the City grew, Martha became more involved. She joined the city’s celebration committee, which is something she is still a part of today. Once a week she worked at McWhirter Elementary School, and she spent her spare time making memories and playing bunco above the old Webster Police Station.
Things have changed, and people have come and gone, but Martha remained in Webster because it is her home and the town she loves.