1970s a busy decade in county


Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part column on historical events in Madisonville, as featured in past editions of the Madisonville Meteor.

My most recent Musings involved local history garnered from Madisonville Meteors dated September through December 1970. Below is more of the same.

After our local library had hosted a summer reading program, that fall County Judge J.C. Wells presented certificates to 57 participants. Mrs. Jim (Willie Lee Heath) Baker chaired the program, and Mrs. J.R. (Patsy) Parten, Mrs. R. F. (Lynn) Synwolt, and Mrs. L.O. (Lockie) Thompson prepared and served refreshments for the presentation ceremony. Tammy Barrett (now Hoke) read the most books for the period.

North Zulch 4-H Club had elected officers for the 1970-1971 school year, including President Regina Drake, Vice-President Chris Windham, Secretary Janet Rogers, and Reporter Terry Neu. Meadoe Madden was chosen as Club Sweetheart, and President Drake appointed Benny Allphin as Parliamentarian.

Charlotte and Billy Wilson welcomed a new daughter on Septl. 18 at our local hospital. Karen Elizabeth, their third, weighed 8 pounds 10 ounces. Later when Karen was in our local elementary school, I taught her one year, and now I love seeing her and others like her now on Facebook. She lives in Huntsville, and she and husband Bill Fick have 2 children, Jacob and Katie.

According to the George News column, Ernest Ivey of Midway spent a week that September with his great-grandmother, Mrs. Eula Casey, and rode the bus to school. He was in his first year of school, and I know right where the bus picked him up. I can’t help but wonder if Mr. W.W. Dutton was still driving that Bus 5 then.

Madisonville High School’s Student Council had elected officers, including President David Osterhout, Vice President Nolan Glass, Secretary Candi Upchurch, and treasurer Kem McVey. David now lives in El Paso, having served in the Army and later working in hospital management. Nolan lives in Dew and enjoys hunting. Candi lives in Montgomery and Kem in Conroe.

A photo of Madisonville Junior High cheerleaders for that year included Belynda Baugh, Karen Collier, Penny Ellington, Jeri Sharp, Karen Wakefield and Dawn Wells. The latter is now Dawn Knight, and cheerleading left her well prepared to tout our City Cemetery and Rufus Refuge.

An October Meteor included a five-generation photo, taken at the home of Mrs. C. L. (Fannie Stewart) McAdams (1909-2000). She had hosted a 92nd birthday party for her mother, Mrs. Donnie Townley Stewart (1878-1975). The photo included the honoree, daughter Nora Stewart Park (1904-1987), granddaughter Marjorie Park Evans (1924-1994), great-granddaughter Sheri Evans Ely (Austin) (1945-2013), and a very young Brad Ely in his mother’s arms. Brad now lives in Hearne and the rest have gone to Glory.

With North Zulch School’s Homecoming festivities set for Oct. 4 that year, Homecoming Queen candidates were freshman Debbie Watson, sophomore Linda May, junior Meadoe Madden, and senior Shirley Denman. The latter was crowned queen.

In the Oct. 22 Meteor, Mr. and Mrs. Jack R. Young, of Beaumont, announced the engagement of their daughter, Marcia, to Larry McGinty of Bedias. The wedding was planned for Nov. 13, at the bride’s parents’ home in Beaumont. Afterwards the newlyweds planned to make their home in Palacios, where Larry was to be employed by Parker Brothers Marine Division out of Houston. I thank Heaven they did not stay in Palacios. Happy anniversary wishes are coming up for Marcia and Larry.

Madisonville High School hosted a big homecoming celebration Oct. 23-24. On Friday night, the Mustangs defeated Teague 20-16, with Tom Wiley, David Rigby, and Sidney Nealy scoring touchdowns and Nealy running for 2 extra points. Saturday morning, the local Ex-Students Association hosted a business meeting and celebration. At that, four surviving members of the Class of 1919 were recognized, including Bertha Shannon Rumfield, Gladys Heath Vick, Mary Berta Manning Day and Ella Mae Heath Rhodes. A Saturday night queen coronation was hosted in the MHS auditorium, and several previous queens were recognized also. Candi Upchurch was crowned Homecoming Queen by 1969 Queen Pebbie Walker.

Many local ranchers entered the Madison County Hay Show in October. There were 46 entries in the coastal Bermuda grass division, won by Loyd Whitmire, Jr. Other winners were Buck Cole for mixed hay, Jimmy Fite for oat hay, Feuhs Dairy for sorghum hay, and Buster Reid for common Bermuda grass hay.

Marian Anderson School still operated under that name that final 1970 fall semester. One Meteor piece included the information that more than a few of the school personnel had contributed $35 to help support the Health Clinic. They included Principals L.C. Davis and Larry Krumnow, Narvis Spencer, Josie Williams, Lavern Frazier, Pauline Gooden, Dora Gooden, Sylvia Dean, Patsy King, Betty Lough, Nona Roach, Linda Poole, T.D. Greene, John Winn, James Byrd, Lural McCloud, Elijah Carter, Woodrow Jackson, Solon Glover, J.C. Gooden, Floyd Sandles, Blanche Webber, Mrs. Clintes Toliver, Mary Fite and Clara Sandles. I had the privilege of working with quite a few of those, and I hope the sight of their names brought fond memories as it did in my case.

Madison County Museum, at 201 N. Madison St., Madisonville, TX, is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Museum curator Jane Day Reynolds welcomes your visits. Memorials or donations may be mailed to the Museum at P.O. Box 60.