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Around Town

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September 27, 2018 - Bill O’Neal gave a history of Texas in World War I to the Shelby County Museum on October 18, 2018. He first gave the group a parameter on world war. There had not been a war in nearly a century since the Napoleonic War which lasted into the early 1800s. This spilled over to the United States for War of 1812. World War I started in 1914 in Europe. The fighting lasted more than 4 years. When the United States got into the war in April of 1917, the war was 2 ½ years old at that time and the United States was only in the war for 1 ½ years. The U.S. had a small army at that time but was able to send over 2 million men to the war.

O’Neal then stated “Let me mention Texas’ role in the war. We had an odd thing happen to us. Texas has a very strong military history. It goes back to the Texas Revolution and the war with Mexico. Men were ready to fight. Every county in Texas was asked to provide a company, mostly cavalry, to the cause against Mexico. Shelby County which was under populated in part due to the Regulator-Moderator War came up with 2 companies for the war effort. The people who were Regulator types, remember this war was fought from 1840-1844 and the Spanish American War started in 1846 formed their own company and so did the other group of men, the Moderators. Texas had a strong military tradition. World War I was a warm-up to the World War II.”

Texas had 5,000 die in WWI and one lady.

Switching to World War II, the most decorated hero of WWII was Audie Murphy, a Texan. Thirty-six medal of honor winners of WWII were from Texas. Texans enlisted or were drafted in excess of the percentage of the nation's population. Although the state had 5 percent of the United States population, it provided 7 percent of those who served in the armed forces. By the end of the war 750,000 Texans, including 12,000 women, served in the armed forces.

“Let me tell you about a lead up to WWI; no one else had this. Texas was having a great deal of border trouble with Mexican banditos in early 1910 or so along the Rio Grande. One huge raid took place on the King Ranch. The Germans were encouraging this as they wanted the U.S. to stay out of the war. Poncho Villa lead a raid in 1916 on Columbia, New Mexico robbing a bank, killing and burning the town. U.S. troops were already stationed at Ft. Bliss. And boy did the U.S. respond. General John J. Pershing was assigned to put an army together to invade Mexico and catch Poncho Villa. Ultimately, we had 36 thousand men who went to Mexico. It was a 10-month operation which was nearly a year, 1916-1917. It was at this time we entered WWI in Europe. This is where we learned to do things on a big scale.” explained O'Neal.

When WWI rolled around in the spring of 1917, General Pershing was the only living officer who had ever held a large command. He was a natural selection to be in charge of the American Expeditionary Force. This included the 36th division which is going to cover itself with glory during WWI and WWII. The 36th division was a Texas National Guard division that got federalized for WWI and for WWII. These were Texas boys.

Texas in WWI had 4 big encampments for training the soldiers. They were Fort Bliss, Camp Bowie, Camp Travis, and Camp Logan. During WWI twenty million people died plus the ones from the world-wide flu epidemic of 1918.

Mr. O’Neal shared stories of various men who served during WWI. He gave his history students extra credits for these interviews. The students could also interview home front people who helped with the war effort. This is oral history that would have been lost forever if Mr. O’Neal had not realized so many of the veterans of WWI were dying. 

There is a video of Mr. O’Neal’s program on Texas in WWI at the Shelby County Museum if anyone would like to hear the full program. Come by and see the full program.

September 14, 2018 - General Sales Manager, Jeff Boyd welcomes Cindy Eubank to the Center Motor Company Sales Team. Cindy is a native of Shelby County and a Center High School graduate. With 20 plus years of customer service and sales experience, Cindy knows the importance of building long term relationships is a key to providing excellent customer service.

Cindy invites everyone to stop by Center Motor Company and let her help you find that special vehicle you have been needing!

Center Motor Company is located at 825 Hurst Street, Center, Texas.

September 26, 2018 - The 42nd Annual East Texas Poultry Festival kicks off with the Chicken Fajita Lunch, sponsored by East Texas Poultry Supply, slated for Wednesday, September 26th at 11:00 a.m. on the Historic Downtown Center Square.

According to Chairman, Bryan Wages, the lunch includes two chicken fajitas, chips, salsa and a drink for $7 per plate.

Also, later in the day, the fun and unique Doo Dah Parade sponsored by Center Tire Company is at 4:30pm on the Downtown Square!

The Poultry Festival will be held on October 4th, 5th and 6th. It is going to be a FUN weekend. New this year – Children’s Tent, Car Show and Rooster Breakfast.

The Shelby County Chamber of Commerce is organized to promote and advance economic enrichment and development, tourism and the social and civic interest of Shelby County and adjoining areas.


September 25, 2018 - Jeremy Boyett, Assistant Fire Chief for the Joaquin Volunteer Fire Department accepted a check from Woodmen Life. 

Woodmen Life Lodge 250 gave to all the Volunteer Fire Departments in the county and Ellen Manning had the privilege of presenting this check. The fire department can use the money as they see fit.  

Lodge 250 members are glad to be able to help agencies in the county that are serving our community.  

September 21, 2018 (Flyer) - A fundraiser for the Cecily Memorial Scholarship Fund is going on now! Tickets are available for a custom Race Engine BBQ Grill for $5 each or 5 for $20. The Race Engine BBQ grill was built by Cecily's father, Tim Jacobs! Funds raised support Shelbyville High School graduates.

Cecily passed away in February of 2016 at the age of 25 after a battle with brain cancer. Family expresses, "She is always in our hearts and never forgotten."

For more information, contact Kim at 936-488-9181. The prize will be given away on New Year's Day!

Members of Woodmen Life Chapter 250 stand around the raised community garden boxes which have provided hundreds of pounds of fresh produce for Shelby County Outreach Ministries. The Chapter has received the Project of the Year award in the North East Texas District for their support of the Community Garden Project.

September 19, 2018 - During the September meeting of Woodmen Life Chapter 250, chapter president Ellen Manning announced the group had received Project of the Year in the North East Texas district for the Community Garden project which is lead by the local Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

Joyce Hurt, chapter secretary reported, "We got the letter from the home office congratulating us on having been selected as Woodmen Project for 2018 for North East Texas."

The Chapter has been a supporter of the Community Garden program which is organized by Jheri-Lynn McSwain, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension Agent. The garden provides educational opportunities for students as well as fresh food donations for Shelby County Outreach Ministries (SCOM) and the Senior Nutrition Site. The SCOM organization benefits from the Community Garden project directly but it also receives monetary donations from Woodmen Life Chapter 250.

Sherry Harding, Executive Director of SCOM, attended the meeting and gave an update, "We gave out 300 food boxes just last month. In 2017 we had 19,000... almost 20,000 senior meals that we distributed through our meals on wheels program and in our congregate site. And then we feed over 5,700 people in Shelby County last year, assisted I think 4,119 needs, and distributed 110,000 pounds of food. It was just massive quantities last year. So, these donations help us tremendously. Last month alone, I spent $5,000 just trying to stock our pantry and as fast as we stock it, its going out. And the majority of the people we see are elderly and some are living on like 400 or 500 dollars a month." Harding ended with, "I thank you guys for your heart because every little bit helps."

The chapter approved their common bond contributions of $300 to each of the eight volunteer fire departments in the area which are Center, Tenaha, Timpson, Joaquin, Shelbyville, Huxley, West Shelby County, and San Augustine. Continuing contributions of $500 were approved for Shelby County Education Day, Shelby County Museum, Shelby County Outreach Ministries, Senior Nutrition Site, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and the Fannie Brown Booth Memorial Library.

New contributions were approved for a dog rescue run by the Fullinwinders and $400 for the Quilts of Valor project to sponsor two quilts. 

Members of the Woodmen Life Chapter 250 collected can goods to donate to Shelby County Outreach Ministries.

Shelby County Outreach Ministries' Executive Director Sherry Harding accepts a check from Ashton Askew, chapter 250 treasurer, for their annual donation of $500.

Gina Jones and Stacey O'RearSeptember 18, 2018 - President Helen Collard called the Golden Harvest Ministries Club to order at 11:30 am on September 17, 2018, in the Fellowship Hall of First Baptist Church, Center, Texas. Harold Hanson led the opening hymns, and members and guests sang "Happy Birthday" to the following members with September birthdays: David Bain, Melba Coleman, Helen Collard, Johnie Gray, Naomi Hanson, Janice Hughes, Ellen Manning, Bobbie Nutt, and Larry Rymal. Jeanette Harvey remembered her anniversary of 31 years.

The program for the meeting was Stacey O'Rear, President of the Shelby County Cancer Fund, along with board member Gina Jones. They explained the purpose of this organization is to assist with travel, food, and other expenses for Shelby County residents going through any type of cancer treatment. 

Flu shots will be given at the October 15 meeting. Members will need their Medicare cards.

Submitted by Linda Bordelon, Reporter

September 18, 2018 - The Speaker for the Tuesday, September 18th meeting of the Shelby County Historical Museum will be Bill O'Neal.

Mr. O'Neal will be speaking on Texas in WWI. The program will consist of interviews that he had students do of people that they knew who were in WWI back a while ago when he was teaching History at Panola College.

The public is invited to attend. Meeting begins at 2:00 pm. Museum is located on Pecan, behind First Baptist Church.

September 17, 2018 - Shelby County Senior Nutrition Site is hosting their Annual Breakfast Fundraiser on Saturday, September 22, 2018 from 8am until 11am. The price of a donation is priceless to those who are helped! The all you can eat fundraiser includes eggs, sausage, bacon, biscuits and gravy, grits,  french toast, pancakes, hashbrowns, fruit, apple juice, and orange juice.

The Senior Nutrition Site is located at 124 Haley Drive (Loop 500) across from Panola College. For more information, call the Senior Nutrition Site at 936-598-7768.

September 16, 2018 - The Piney Woods Photographic Society (PWPS) held their regular monthly meeting this past Saturday. The September challenge of architecture showed some outstanding photographs submitted by members for voting and critique. There was a very informative workshop about photographing wildlife presented by Janet Windham Hughes.

The results of the critique voting are as follows:

First Place - Donna Holt

Second Place Tie - Melissa Sweet-Leavins

Second Place Tie - Melvin Hanson

Third Place tie - Summer Koltonski

Third Place Tie - Angie Junell Davis 

Third Place Tie - Sam Flarity 

Third Place Tie - Lawrence C Davis