Charles Oscar Thomas

Written by Teresa Dennard.

A One-of-a-Kind Man

Charles Oscar Thomas—a one-of-a-kind man whose quick-wit and sense of humor have endeared him to many. He was a country boy who lived on a farm down a dirt road on the borderline of the Murvaul and the Snap Communities. His parents, Omar and Mellie Thomas reared their only child on land that has been in the family since 1870. They raised cotton and corn, but their mainstay was cattle. They attended the Six Mile Baptist Church until it dissolved for lack of participation, then went to First Baptist Church in Carthage where Charles has been a member for over 50 years. Growing up, Charles enjoyed working cattle with his father. He was active in FFA and 4H and showed cattle every year in the livestock show. After school each day Charles rode his horse to the neighbor’s house. “I rode to James and Jerry Morris’s house because they had a television before we did,” recalls Charles. “We’d watch old westerns on “Al’s Corral” every day.”

Ann Morris

Written by Teresa Dennard.

She's good at what she does!

Ann Wright was the oldest of ten children--eight girls and two boys. Her mother was only 14 when she married her daddy and had all ten children by the time she was 28. They lived back and forth between Houston and Carthage, depending on where her daddy had work. She married Jerry Morris in high school between her junior and senior years. He grew up in the Buncombe community. She was the “city girl,” he was the “country boy.” They lived with Jerry’s parents the first couple months. “I felt like I had moved to a foreign country, and I was only ten miles from home. I didn’t know people still killed chickens. I thought that had gone out with the covered wagons. My mother bought everything from the grocery store, and I never gave a second thought to how those chickens got there.”

Chemo is Mean

Written by Ann Morris.

I was suffering from Chemo Brain

It invades your body thoroughly, including your brain where it remains long after the treatments have stopped. That was the worst part. I couldn’t think clearly or make critical decisions. My memory was affected as were my higher level thinking skills. Getting ready for work was a challenge every morning. It took twice as long. I’d cry because I couldn’t remember what I decided to wear, where my shoes were, where I had just placed a blouse.

Charles C. Matthews Foundation

Written by Teresa Dennard.

Sharing wealth with Panola County

The Charles C. Matthews Foundation recently honored Panola College with its largest donation in the school’s history. The one million dollar gift is to be used to furnish the new student center currently in the construction phase. Since its inception in 2010, the Matthews Foundation has played an integral part in the advancement of education in the local school districts. Thousands of dollars have been awarded annually to the Carthage and Beckville Education Foundations, and Gary ISD has received yearly scholarships for seniors planning to attend college.

David Anderson

Written by Teresa Dennard.

The Lord may lead me to do something in particular

Growing up in Tenaha, Texas, David Anderson was a typical young boy interested in sports and being outdoors. He and his two younger brothers were raised by parents who were very devoted Christians and believed in raising their family in the Baptist church. Anderson’s father also believed that the boys ought to be working somewhere, either in the family-owned sawmill or with the cattle on the farm. He taught his sons it was important to be involved in the church and in the community.


Written by Teresa Dennard.

We strive to make our clientele happy

Bill Steptoe knows in order for a person to stay in business in a small town for 70 years, customer service has to be a priority. Steptoe opens his store every day from 9-5 and strives to provide the kind of service his dad taught him years ago. In the 1930s, C.B. Steptoe moved from San Augustine to Carthage to work with the Willis Drilling Company. He met Frances Reed whose father, B.W. Reed, was a deputy sheriff under Corbett Akins and Glen Hunt. Once Frances and C.B. were married, he decided traveling with the oil field wasn’t for him, so he learned to do watch work. Mr. John Ray, who owned Rand Drugs on the north side of the downtown square, asked Steptoe to move his watch repair business into the front of his store.

Biggest Loser

Written by Teresa Dennard.

It's time for Panola County to get fit!

Of the 232 counties measured to determine the degree of healthy living in the area, Panola County ranks 145. That’s not very good. So what actually determines how a county fares against the others? The Rankings (according to look at a variety of measures that affect health such as high school graduation rates, access to healthy foods, rates of smoking, obesity, and teen births. Vickie Lacy, local County Extension Agent, has been working with a committee to plan a “Biggest Loser” Contest that will not only encourage entrants to think about what they eat, but will offer prizes to those who lose the most weight.

Lions Club Show

Written by Teresa Dennard.

Going Strong for 69 years

The 69th Annual Lions Club Show is just around the corner and is guaranteed to provide an evening full of variety-show type entertainment for a full 90 minutes of fun. This year’s program features a salute to the Armed Forces. Started in the pre-World War II era, the showboat style program is produced solely by the local Lions and is the major fundraiser for the year. Complete with an Interlocutor, End Men, and Storytellers, the show has 32 talent acts performed by the various members. Show Director Jerry Hanszen says, “We’ve been very fortunate. We’ve got local people that have been supporting us for years, and it’s kind of neat to look out there and see familiar faces sitting in the front row. We also have a lot of people from out of town that attend. They’ve heard rumor of how fantastic the show is!”