Editor’s note: This is the second of two columns highlighting locations of note in Madison County.
If I told you to go out past where Miss Louise Hatcher’s house once stood, could you? Maybe you could if I said “Turn right on Concord Road, up North 75 about a mile past the Highway Department.” For many years, Miss Hatcher (1909-2005) lived on the left a ways down that road. She taught in Madisonville High School for decades, I know at least some math classes and Spanish, and she was a strong teacher. She was a spinster, which we students thought was strange. Now I feel bad realizing she must have lived a hard and lonely life. Not long ago I heard that as late as the 70s, her home had no hot water heater, she heated water on her stove! Until her mother died in 1981 and her brother in 1991, they lived there too. Miss Hatcher loved her cats and to tell visitors about them.
Could you locate the home owned by Roger Knight Senior (1910-1991) and his wife, Louise (1912-1989)? If so, you’d be on Woodrow Street, which I had to look up! That’s sad, since I drive on it daily! Mrs. Knight was an English teacher at Madisonville High School for many years, at Junior High before that. She was a top-notch teacher. Her maiden name was Griffin, and that’s now her youngest granddaughter’s name. Mrs. Knight was not a Madison County native, but since it was her son’s home, no place else mattered. Roger Senior was a lawyer, and it looks like that profession is staying in the family for now. I’m sure I’m not the only one that remembers him walking into First Baptist Church services late but jingling his change as he strolled down to the front row.
Can you easily go to the home of the late Glenn (1916-1992) and Lena (1917-2012) Mathis? Recently that place sold. It’s on 1452 West, a few miles off Highway 21, across from Leland and Barbara Corley’s home. Glenn was a cattle rancher and later in life traveled working in the oil industry. Lena taught school and was Madisonville High School counselor for years. They raised 2 sons, Forrest (1943-2004) and Bruce (1946-1966), who rode the same school bus (#5) that I did. Bruce was tragically killed in a car wreck before his 20th birthday. Forrest went to school here some, played football too, but much of his early education was elsewhere. Due to Lena’s exposure to measles during pregnancy, Forrest was deaf and had to be trained in lip reading. The fact that he played Mustang football is a real tribute to his coaches as well as to Forrest.
Loyd (Senior, 1900-1985) and Bess (1902-1989) Whitmire’s home no longer stands, but some of you pass the spot often. It was on the south side of OSR a few miles west of Highway 75. Their daughter, Jo Cannon, has told me that early in their marriage, her parents and family lived other places around the county, too, but their beautiful OSR home housed them in their later years. Jo has also told me that her father pipelined overseas when she was young, but when I remember him, he had a dairy behind their home. He raised Brown Swiss cattle and was quite successful showing them, too. Mr. and Mrs. Whitmire were fine folks, let me tell you! I spent the night in that house in the 60s once, with their granddaughter, my cousin, Dianne Cannon. That night, they switched the cattle from hand milking to electric milkers, and you’ve never seen a better rodeo than those Brown Swiss put on!
When we keep folks’ names and their stories in our conversations, they don’t seem so far gone. It worked for me today, hopefully for you too. Perhaps some readers will enjoy this Musings in 2018 and keep these good folks’ stories alive then!
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, P.O. Box 60, Madisonville, TX 77864.