Mr. Pellham's Trick

Written by Dr. Wayne Kyle.

Mr. O.B. (Obie) Pellham was a faithful client from early in my veterinary career, and his son, Wilcie, and daughter, Peggy, are still friends today. Mr. Obie lived in the Brooks Community out in western Panola County about 15 miles from Carthage. One Saturday night Wilcie called me from his dad's house to tell me about a cow belonging to Mr. Obie that was down and couldn't stand up. He asked me what I thought might be wrong with her and what I could possibly do to help them out. Mr. Obie had a pretty good herd of cows and took good care of them, and I knew that he had a good nutrition program so I was pretty sure that this was probably not that "bad disease" that I mentioned in another story. I told Wilcie that I could come on out there and examine the cow and maybe could help her. Wilcie said, "Wayne, Daddy didn't even want me to call you because he didn't think there was anything you could do for her and he thinks we should just knock her in the head and be done with it. He says she's gonna die so why spend the money?" I asked  him how long she had been down, was she sitting up or laying flat out on her side, was she bloated or not, did she have a young calf, etc. He said she was sitting up but had her head pulled around to her left side and couldn't hold it up. He also told me her calf was about 3 days old. From this information I was pretty sure that the cow had "milk fever" and that I could probably help her if we didn't wait too long. I told him what I thought and after he relayed this to Mr. Obie I could hear him telling Wilcie that he didn't like to just throw money away like that. Finally, Wilcie told me to come on out and that he would pay for the trip.

When I got there, we walked down to the old cow and I examined her. I told Mr. Pellham that I thought I could  help the old cow if he wanted me to try. He said, "Well, you're already out here and I ain't gonna let Wilcie pay you, and this is not the first time I've thrown money away so see what you think you can do." I got my calcium and glucose solution and started it going intravenously. When this medication is administered IV, we have to give it pretty slowly to prevent calcium shock from blocking the heart function. This time interval allows visitation and conversation to move along, and also more time for Mr. Obie to fuss about the money he was wasting. Well, my patient began to show me some improvement, movement of her legs, blinking her eyes, and breathing much better, little muscle movements, and I knew she was coming back to us just like I thought she would. I was pretty sure that she would be able to get up and stand after I finished my treatment. Now, I knew Mr. Pellham pretty well, and we had always been pretty friendly with each other, so I thought that I would just try to have a little fun with him. As my cow was continuing to show improvement to me I turned and said, "Mr. Obie, I want to make a little deal with you here. If this old cow doesn't get up within 15 minutes after I finish giving this medicine to her, I won't charge you a dime, but if she does get up, you pay me double. Double or nothing, how about it?" Well, he just stood there looking at me for a little while and then began to allow a little smile to come across his face. He started shaking his head and said, "Aaahhh naw...I learned a long time ago, son, don't ever bet on another man's trick!" Well, this cow started getting up before I could get my rope off her head, and started looking around for her calf. We all had a good laugh over the incident, and that is the enjoyable aspect about veterinary medicine for me.

The Bad Disease

Written by Dr. Wayne Kyle.

The winter of 1965 was a particularly cold one, and we experienced a rare snow and ice storm that lasted several days. One day after the temperature had moved up above freezing, I received a call from Mrs. Cal Brooks from over on the county line road between Panola And Rusk. She sounded extremely excited and upset and stated that she had found several of her cows dead and two or three that were down and couldn't get up. She wanted me to come out as soon as possible to help her with her problem and gave me some directions to her farm. It seems that Mr. Brooks had passed away the previous summer, and she and her sister were trying to keep the place going and take care of the small cow herd that they had. I was a little uncertain where to go but decided to try and find her as best I could. I decided to stop at the Fairplay Grocery, a small country store about 12 miles out on Highway 79 South, (the Henderson highway to us natives), and see if I could get some better directions to Mrs. Brooks' home. It was still a pretty cold day, and there were 4 or 5 local men sitting around a heater in the back of the store visiting. I asked if anyone could tell me how to get to Mrs. Brooks' place. They all knew her and started giving me directions when one of the gentlemen, Mr. Clifton Jackson, volunteered to go with me and show me the way. I knew Mr. Jackson pretty well, so I was glad for him to go along with me for company.

We arrived at Mrs. Brooks' house shortly and found her and her sister outside waiting for us. As we started down in the woods and pasture beside her house, she began to tell about these cattle and how she was trying to make ends meet, so to speak, after her husband's death, and since the weather had been so bad lately that it had been 3 or 4 days since they had seen all the cows. Then this morning they had gotten out to check on things and had discovered the dead cows and the "downers." As we walked along, she turned to me and said, "Dr. Kyle, I don't know much about cows, but we've got some kind of bad disease in these cows and I just don't know what I'm goin' to do!" We found the dead cows and the ones that were down but also about 25 or 30 weak, emaciated, "skin and bone" critters that were still up and walking around. Now Mr. Jackson, who was seeing the same things I was seeing, was walking around among these poor creatures wringing his hands and uttering words like "Lord, Lord, My God, I can't believe this." Well, to say the least, this wasn't helping Mrs. Brooks' outlook at all. I did an autopsy on one of the dead cows before I drew myself up into my most professional stance and very diplomatically announced to Mrs. Brooks, "These cattle are suffering from malnutrition!" Now befire I could even think of anything else to say, Mrs. Brooks threw her hands up into the aid and shouted, "Oh my Lord, I knew there was something' bad the matter with these cows!!!" Again, before I could utter another word, Mr. Jackson, who was about 6 feet tall and weight about 250 pounds, said with a booming voice, "Aw hell, Cal, he means you're starvin' 'em to death!!" He was right!

After the "dust settled" around these alarming statements, Mrs. Brooks asked me for advice on what to do to try to save the remainder of the herd. I suggested that she try to find some tubs or feeding troughs to put out among the cows, go over to Carthage to Carthage Milling Company and buy a large quantity of a range meal and supplement called "Pro-Vi-Min" and fill those troughs and feed tubs full of this product. I also told her to keep them full of hay for the duration of the winter and until green grass started coming up for grazing. She had a little hay in her barn, but she had been pretty sparing about the amount she was feeding, so I recommended that she put out at least one bale of hay for each five cows as long as her supply lasted.

When I got back to my office in Carthage, I called Carthage Milling Co. and told them to expect Mrs. Brooks to come by.

I didn't have any further contact with Mrs. Brooks until sometime later that summer when she came by my office singing my praises and calling me a miracle worker for saving her herd of cows.

From that time until the present, "That Bad Disease" has been used as a label for any cow that is thin, weak, or in general poor condition that we encountered over the years in my veterinary practice.

 **A little post script might be in order here to tell a little bit about Carthage Milling Co. and Pro-V-Min.

Carthage Milling Co. was a feed mill and store that sold and supplied cattle and other livestock feeds in this area. The company was started by local cattlemen and land owners: Mr. John Neal, Mr. Ernest Powers and Mr. John Pace. They also had a small cattle feed lot in conjunction with the feed mill where they fed out and fattened calves for beef.

Pro-Vi-Min was a feed formulated by this company as a means of maintaining adequate nutrition, along with hay, particularly in the winter months when adequate grass or other sources of forage was very sparse or not available at all. This was an excellent feed because it contained cottonseed meal as the protein source, milo meal as the carbohydrate source and a well-balanced mixture of vitamins and minerals. It could be distributed in troughs or feeders in large quantities without having to measure it out to the cattle with fear of overeating. Salt was added to the formulation in order to limit the amount of Pro-Vi-Min that a cow would eat at any one time. A cow will only take in a certain amount of salt over a given time. They could adjust the percentage of salt in the diet depending on the amount of feed that the rancher thought the cow needed to have. The usual percentage of salt added was about 30%, but it could be increased or decreased as the rancher wanted. That is the reason that I recommended to Mrs. Brooks to fill the troughs with the feed. It probably helped save the balance of her cattle herd.

Need a Hot Shot

Written by Dr. Wayne Kyle.

I received a call from a man in the Logan community one winter day with a concern about his cow that was "poisoned on dry peas." He had a building where he had stored peas gathered the previous fall for planting the next spring, and this old cow had somehow gotten the door to this storage area open and had apparently eaten a pretty good bait of them. He had afterwards found the cow down, laying flat over on her side and unable to sit up. He told me over the telephone that she was really "gassed up bad" and that he needed me real soon because he was afraid that she was going to die. Well, I knew that this was a real emergency, because if a cow is lying completely down on her side she will be unable to expel the gas accumulating in her first stomach. Methane gas naturally forms in the first stomach (rumen) from fermentation of grass or other vegetation that cattle normally eat, and that cow will belch about every two to four minutes to expel the gas that forms there to prevent the bloating. It is always a reassuring sign that a cow's stomach is functioning properly when you hear her belch regularly. I knew that I needed to get to her pretty soon because that bloating would continue and with the increasing pressure in her abdomen she would very quickly be unable to breathe. The owner was really excited and wanted me to hurry!!

I called my main helper, Travis Owens, and told him to go with me because I didn't know what kind of help I would find over there. We jumped in my truck and took off to Logan, Texas. Logan is a community right on the Louisiana state line about 25 miles east of Carthage. Travis was used to my driving skills; therefore, he wasn't saying anything about how fast we were going over those county roads. He just held on. I stopped in downtown Logan at Mr. Buster McMellon's store to get directions to the cow owner's house. Mr. and Mrs. McMellon knew everybody, so they were the very best source of information on anybody in that area and could give you more data than you really needed sometimes. They told me exactly how to get to the man's house and we found  him and his neighbor standing out beside his house anxiously waiting.

We found the old cow up in a scope of woods behind the man's house in just about the condition that he had described. He was really going on and on about all those dried peas that this poor cow must have eaten and was reminding me about how once a cow ate all that stuff and then drank a lot of water how fast they could die from that poisoning. He said that she had a baby calf about a week old and that he was concerned about it too. I put my rope on her and fixed a halter hitch on her head so that I could pull her up without choking and with Travis' help got her up into a sitting position. She was very weak and in a deep coma. I determined that she had hypocalcemia or low blood calcium (milk fever). The owner was so sure of the cause of this animal's problem, I was not going to dispute his assessment, so I just went to work administering my calcium/glucose medicine intravenously. Once the intravenous medication began to elevate the calcium in the blood, this old cow began to revive a little, began to belch and expel the excess gas from her rumen and in general to become more alert. By the time I had finished giving my calcium she was holding her head up and sitting up in a normal position on her own. I removed the rope from her head and waited a little while to give her a chance to get some strength and muscle tone back. After a bit I slapped her on the rump and tried to make her get up, but she just sat there and wouldn't try to move at all (typical Jersey cow). The owner just stood by in silence and had a somewhat doubtful attitude about himself; therefore, I really needed this old cow to stand up or otherwise he would not believe that she was all right. I turned to Travis and said, "Travis, go get that hotshot out of the truck." A hotshot cattle prod is a battery powered device that will deliver a mild electric stimulus when applied to an animal and is commonly used when working cattle down crowded chutes or loading in trailers, etc. When Travis came back with the cattle prod, I said, "Now I'm going to take hold of her tail, and when I tell  you, I want you to hit her with that hotshot." I have to tell you at this point that my cow had laid there so long that she had defecated quite a lot and had a large amount of manure all over her tail and on the ground behind her which made her tail quite slippery under the grasp of my hands. When I told Travis to give her the shock, she let out a loud bellow and jumped up, my hold on her tail slipped off and I fell smack down in that big pile of manure on the ground. At the same time the owner's two little fox terrier dogs went to barking at the cow and she took running down through those woods, brush and bushes breaking and crashing, the dogs barking after her, her still bellowing, and they all just disappeared into the distance. Here's Travis just rolling practically and laughing at me covered with manure and the two old men standing there with their mouths hanging open. Finally the owner turned to his friend and said, "Hi God, we got to get us one of them hotshots!"

Vision Turns into Reality

Written by Teresa Dennard.

14 Foot Monument Near Completion

Sculptor Bob Harness is seeing his vision turn into reality. What once was an 18” model has now turned into a 14 foot monument of Christ walking in the sand holding an old man. Inspired by the poem, “Footprints in the Sand,” this project is expected to be completed in June of this year. Cast in bronze, the statue will weigh over a ton and will be located on the corner of the Southwest Loop and Dixie Lake Road. With land donated by the Pippen family, a memorial park will be constructed at this location.

This has become a community project with over 100 school children, church groups, welders, surveyors, and engineers lending a hand. People have come from all walks of life and from all around the world. Some have come from as far away as Taiwan, Columbia, Scotland and Mexico, as well as over 10 different states. A grandmother brought her 2 ½ year old grandson to add clay to the statue. She said he would be a part of history. A lady brought her 94 year old mother who was in a wheel chair to add clay. A nine year old girl brought her mother, dad and other family members. The statue is unique in that people will approach it from the rear and follow the footprints cast in sand for 100 feet to reach the circular plaza where Christ is standing. “It is amazing and inspiring to see a community come together—volunteering their time, talent and resources along with financial support,” says Harness. “This will be a private park for all people to come to pray, meditate and reflect.”

Mrs. Grace Beatty Story

Written by Dr. Wayne Kyle.

Mrs. Grace Beatty was a good and faithful client for many years, and my work for her was mainly dealing with cattle, but an occasional horse, dog or cat were presented for treatment from time to time. She lived south of Gary, Texas, about four or five miles, and about a mile or two north of the Shelby County line. Mrs. Beatty's husband, Paul, represented and owned a part of a custom sheet metal company out of Houston and his work required some travel and the necessity of being away from the ranch several days at a time; therefore, Mrs. Beatty ran the ranch by herself, and, I might add, did an outstanding job of it. From experience she knew cattle and ranch management very well and had a quick tongue to give opinions on how she operated her spread and also criticisms of some neighbors who didn't quite measure up to her standards of animal care.

Miss Grace, as most everyone called her, was very prompt at requesting medical care for her animals and also expected very prompt response from me when she called. A typical telephone call would consistently begin with "Dr. Kyle, I need you and I need you right now!" Sometimes she would add, "Turn your hat around backwards so that when you get here I'll figure you're finished and leaving." Now this message would usually mean that she had a cow in labor and unable to give birth to her calf. Miss Grace was very attentive to her cows in late pregnancy, and when she found one of them getting ready to deliver, she would walk her into her pen or corral and go immediately to the telephone and call me. She would not wait and watch the cow for a time to see if she could possibly birth the calf on her own, as probably ninety percent of the cows are able to do. So when I received a call for help, I would jump in my truck and head down Farm Road 10 as fast as the road and State Troopers would allow. At least half of the times that I was hurrying lickety-split down that road and maybe just getting to Murvaul Creek north of Gary, my receptionist, Bobbie Jean Cariker, would come on my two-way radio and say, "Mrs. Beatty called and said not to come. The cow just had the calf." One reason I would drive so fast was that I wanted to try to get to her place before the cow birthed her calf so that I could get credit for delivering it. Mrs. Beatty always told me to send her a bill for the trip even though I didn't get to do anything, because she would rather have me on my way there than to risk having a calf delivered dead. I never charged her for a farm call when I didn't do anything.

The telephone system and service was a small independent operation run by two sisters, Miss Mavis Bird, and Miss Mable Bird. Now these two ladies, along with a younger niece, kept the phone lines up and in working order, manned the switchboards and generally did everything necessary for the operation of a rural telephone system. Their phone office was the old Santa Fe Railroad depot in Gary. If you remember the Andy Griffith Show on television, and the phone service portrayed on the show, then you have seen the exact duplicate of the telephone operation in Gary. The patron would use his old crank telephone and turn the handle on the side to get Miss Mable, tell her the number he or she wanted (maybe just the name of the person) and Miss Mable would ring the number. An example of a telephone number in the Gary exchange would be 17F2. That would be a telephone on line Seventeen with two rings of the bell. Many times when I would have to return a call down at Gary to Mrs. Beatty, and Miss Mable had connected me, I would hear her say, "Grace, I got your vetinary for ya." I'm sure Miss Bird was well aware of every cow Mrs. Beatty had sick or calving or any other ailments any of the other customers had on that telephone system.

The most memorable request for help from Miss Grace occurred on a Saturday night in the mid 1960's. At that time Milly's and my children were small and needed a baby sitter when we went out for entertainment. We had gone to Shreveport with friends to see a movie at the Strand Theater. In the middle of this movie, now, we hear and see an usher walking up and down the aisle of the theater calling, "Dr. Kyle, telephone call for Dr. Kyle." Now all the while I'm walking up that aisle to the telephone, I'm worrying about the children or perhaps that our house was on fire. When I answered the phone, it was Miss Grace. "Dr. Kyle, I've got a cow trying to have a calf and we need you." I answered, "Mrs. Beatty, I'm in Shreveport (as if she didn't already know) so it's going to be a while before I can get there." "Well, hurry as soon as you can." "Yes Ma'am."

She obviously asked our babysitter how to get in touch with me and found me at the movie. Our friends, Del and Sally Moore, were with us so we finished watching the movie and came on back to Carthage. This time I really did have to deliver a calf for her and luckily it was alive. In looking back on these experiences, I don't remember ever delivering a dead calf for the Beattys.

In later years Mr. Paul Beatty developed severe heart problems which prevented his being very active, and he had retired to the ranch. On this particular occasion I was at the Beatty Ranch to test their heard of cattle for Brucellosis as part of a state-wide eradication program for the disease. We had to take a blood sample from each cow, identify her with a numbered tag in the right ear and record the tag number on an official test record chart. Paul was given the job of recording the tab number and the corresponding test vial number along with the age and description of each cow as I took the blood samples. He was sitting in a chair outside the corral fence keeping the records. From experience I can say that sometimes it is very difficult to watch other people doing something and not be tempted to offer advice from time to time. Well, it was a summer afternoon, and Miss Grace, Herman Collins (my helper), and I were working hard and fast trying to run very reluctant cows into a crowding pen, force them down a three foot wide chute and catch their heads in a "head gate" to get our samples. These old cattle would turn back on us, wouldn't go into the chute and were generally very uncooperative. Now the three of us were hot and frustrated with the progress we were making and Paul, having to sit and watch us, was throwing out advice right and left on how we should be doing all this. He was shouting commands and orders from his chair, such as "Close that gate, Grace, Watch that cow there, Turn her back, Put that pole behind her, etc." Well, after more than a little of that advice, Mrs. Beatty stopped, leaned over on the walking cane she was using on the cattle, glared over the fence at Paul and said in a roaring tone of voice, "Look Bud, you just do the bookkeeping and we'll do the cowboyin'." Needless to say, Ol' Paul took that good advice and didn't open his mouth the rest of the afternoon.

One of the most unbelievable experiences that I had treating an animal occurred with a Brahman Bull that Mrs. Beatty owned. This bull probably weighed in excess of fifteen hundred pounds and had sustained a cut on the bulb or heel of his left hind foot. A slab of tissue about as big as four of my fingers had gotten sliced away from the side of the foot and was just hanging down and out to the side just above the left hind hoof. This piece of tissue was attached to the rest of the foot by a very thin sliver of skin and flesh, and when the bull would take a step, this tag or slab would just flip up and down causing some pain and lameness to the leg. I told Mrs. Beatty that I would have to remove that piece of tissue and smooth up the surface of the wound in order for it to heal properly, but that we had a much bigger problem, and that was handling the bull and getting him in a position to do the work without us getting hurt. Mrs. Beatty did not have a corral or working chute with fences and sides tall enough or strong enough to contain this bull if he became belligerent. Now Brahman cattle as a breed are fairly gentle when left alone and not disturbed or forced into an unfavorable environment. Mrs. Beatty's facilities just wouldn't work for us in this case, and she didn't have a stock trailer that would hold the bull even if we were lucky enough to get him loaded into it. I also knew that if we ever got this old bull excited or "stirred up" that we would have a small rodeo on our hands and that we would probably have to "ketch out" real fast to  keep from getting run over by a charging bull.

Now at this point in time, we did not have the tranquilizers and sedatives that we have today that we can pop into a bull with a dart gun and render him semi-conscious in fifteen minutes, thereby making this a very simple task.

So to set the scene for this event, you have a fifteen or sixteen hundred pound bull to work on, a fifty year old blonde, blue-eyed lady, and a skinny (at that time) thirty year old veterinarian and no one else.

Finally after some thought Mrs. Beatty said, "Dr. Kyle, this bull is just as gentle an animal as any can be. I can feed him out of my hand, and I can pet him and rub him all over, and he'll hardly blink an eye or switch a tail.  Sometimes he'll just lie down when I'm pettin' and rubbin' him. If I can get him to lie down, don't you think you could maybe cut that skin off while I'm rubbin' and pettin' him?" Well, my first thought was that I didn't think we could get by with that little trick at all, but Mrs. Beatty was not a person that you would want to argue with much, and she was one of the few cattle clients that I have ever had that I would have thought could pull this act off.

Well, I gathered up all the instruments, antiseptics, and bandaging supplies I thought I would need and told Miss Grace to go to work. She walked up to that bull talking real soft and sweet and gentle-like, started rubbing behind one ear and down beside his neck and believe it or not (and it's true) he started leaning over closer to her, licking his tongue out of the side of his mouth, obviously enjoying the petting, rubbing and soothing voice. Within two or three minutes that bull lay down and rolled over on his right side, stretched out his legs, and luckily I was able to get to that left hind foot very easily. Mrs. Beatty was really rubbing and talking to him now as I very quickly and gently held the foot, cleaned it, applied antiseptic, and began to try to remove the flap of tissue. I chose not to use any local anesthetic here because the needle and lidocaine would sting too much, and we might lose what advantage we had going for us. I took my scalpel and began making very short, rapid cuts along the connecting tissue to the foot. While I was doing this, the bull lifted his head from the ground about eight to twelve inches, at which time I stopped cutting, and Mrs. Beatty continued to rub and pat and talk softly to him. After a little bit he relaxed again, laid his head back down, took a deep breath, let out a sigh and relaxed. I finished the removal of the flap of tissue, very quickly bandaged the foot and moved away.

Mrs. Beatty petted him a little longer and then moved away. After a very short time the bull sat up, looked around a little bit, shook his head, popping those big old long ears back and forth, stood up and slowly walked away.

Mrs. Beatty told me not to worry about coming back to remove the bandage because she could do that. I believed her.

It's Been a Good Ride

Written by Teresa Dennard.

Freddy Mason has been preaching 45 years at  Cedar Grove

When Freddy Mason was hired to preach at Cedar Grove Baptist Church in 1967, little did the members know what an adventure it would be! Young, single, and inexperienced, many of the ladies in the church claim to have “raised” him, providing meals for him and doing his laundry. Cedar Grove and Freddy Mason sort of grew up together. When he began preaching there, the church had no running water, no bathrooms and no air conditioning. Freddy tells of the early, winter days when the attic was full of red wasps. The heaters would warm up the church and the wasps would come out of the attic to get warm. “One time during a service, a wasp went up my pants legs while I was preaching and stung me,” recalls Mason.

These girls know the City inside & out!

Written by Teresa Dennard.

Do's & Don'ts of City Hall

Have you had a reason to visit City Hall lately? It’s located at 812 W. Panola and the doors are open from 8:15 am to 4:45 pm, Monday thru Friday. It’s a very neat and clean office with lots of helpful employees who try their best to make sure the citizens of Carthage are happy. One of the reasons City Hall is so expertly run is because they’re ALL WOMEN! Starting at the top is the “boss” Brenda Samford who has been with the City 29 years, 8 of those as City Manager. Working with her are Dana, Debbie, Donna, Daphne plus Maranda and Shebra. The total experience of these working girls is almost 75 years! They know the City inside and out!

Fire Department Receives New Rescue Truck

Written by Teresa Dennard.

Equipped with the latest rescue tools

The Carthage Fire Department recently replaced a rescue truck that had been in service for 32 years. Because it had become unreliable, unsafe to drive and overloaded with outdated equipment, City Manager Brenda Samford, along with the City Commissioners Ida Beck, John Cooke, Olin Joffrion and Lynn Vincent, agreed to find the funds to purchase a new truck. A much larger vehicle, the commercial Peterbilt cab and chassis replaced the 1-ton Chevrolet that had been in service for so long. The Fire Department sent the truck to WestTex Welding Company in West, Texas, a company that specializes in custom built rescue trucks. “We had it customized to utilize all the space we could so as not to have any wasted space,” explains Randy Liedtke, Rescue Captain for the Carthage Fire Department.  “It took them almost a year to complete and is equipped with the latest rescue tools plus a new battery-operated Jaws of Life.”

Panola College

Written by Teresa Dennard.

Celebrating 65 Years

It was standing room only for the 65th Anniversary of Panola College’s first class held in January of 1948. College President, Dr. Gregory Powell told the audience how Q.M. Martin had the vision for establishing the college which began with an enrollment of 55 students, only nine of which were female. “What would Carthage be like if we didn’t have Panola College,” Powell questioned. “We’re one of the major employers in the county, and when I look around, many of the people I see have some type of affiliation with the college, either from working here or taking some type of classes.”

Pioneer Connection

Written by Teresa Dennard.

...made the love of history kick in!

The love of history was always deep-rooted in the heart of Bill O’Neal. He grew up hearing stories of the real pioneer connections he had on both sides of his family. His grandmother came to Texas in a wagon train in 1881. She was only seven, but old enough to remember the experience. She grew up to be a farm wife and O’Neal’s dad was the youngest of her eight children. “I would beg her to tell me the story about the wagon train,” says O’Neal. “Every time I’d go see a Western movie, there was a covered wagon in it, and I would think about my grandmother.” His great grandfather on his mother’s side was a trail driving cowboy. He drove cattle up the Chisholm Trail in the 1870’s and ‘80’s. He had an uncle whose grandfather was a sheep rancher that killed a cowboy on his ranch in 1889. “Hearing all these stories just made the love of history kick in. You get Texas History in the 4th and 7th grades, so I just ate it up. My folks took me to see the Alamo when I was 10 years old. Wow! I was interested in that sort of thing from day one.”

Scouts Build Future

Written by Teresa Dennard.

Winter Camp has freezing temperatures

Over 200 boys ranging in ages from 10 to 18 spent a chilling week at the George W. Pirtle Scout Reservation braving the freezing temperatures and learning what it takes to be a Boy Scout. While most of us were ‘nestled all snug in our beds,’ these boys and 75 adult leaders were camping in sleeping bags and tents, braving the sub-freezing weather that hit the area the week after Christmas. It was called “Winter Camp.” Boys from all over the East Texas region gathered to practice their scouting skills as well as to work towards earning several of the 45 merit badges offered for the week. The leaders were all volunteers. Most took vacation time to teach the boys the value of being a Scout--to honor God and country, to help others, to be trustworthy, loyal, friendly, kind, and brave.