Late summer 1960 saw cotton bales and a lot of lard for cheap

Posted 8/25/20

When I peruse old newspapers, it’s difficult for me to escape. The last couple of Musings were set in 1955. Now I have moved forward five years, to August 1960, or sixty years ago.

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Late summer 1960 saw cotton bales and a lot of lard for cheap


I am trying something new. At least for a while, I intend to imbed each Musings with one fact that is wrong, something that doesn’t fit the time frame of the article or our community. The first person to call it to my attention will win a free lunch, with this week’s winner’s meal paid for, by and at Walkers Café. When you find the error, please post about the mistake on Madison County Museum’s Facebook page.

When I peruse old newspapers, it’s difficult for me to escape. The last couple of Musings were set in 1955. Now I have moved forward five years, to August 1960, or sixty years ago.

Madison County 4-H Club members, leaders, and parents, had departed July 31, traveled 4,202 miles by bus on a camping trip, and returned August 13. Their major stops included Balmorhea State Park in Texas, Chiricahua National Park in Arizona, Disneyland and Knotts’ Berry Farm in California, Hoover Dam in Nevada and Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. Adults in the group were Mr. and Mrs. Ross Garrett, Mrs. Everett Evans, Mrs. Jack Starns, Mrs. A.D. Brown, Mr. and Mrs. Gaston Carter, and Mr. and Mrs. Bill Blow. Youth were Sheri Evans, Randy Morgan, Ola Baker, Lynda Ratliff, Paula Rogers, Dale Dean, Terry Simpson, Billy Blow, Geneva Parker, Janie McMahan, Billye Sharp, Ray Lee Reding, Bobby Tinder, Loyd Carter, Lynn Wells, David Lambert, Joe Taylor, Joe Wayne Sowell, Robert Alvin Starns, Della Brown, Jeff Gates, Buzz McMahon, and Sharron, Sylvia, Edmond and David Garrett. Mr. and Mrs. Van Wehmeyer joined partway through, with Gus Wehmeyer and Paula and Donnie Ganaway.

1960 football season loomed for Madisonville High School’s coaches George Autrey, Charles Strawther, James Byrd, Jr. and Floyd Dickens, who were looking forward to suiting out their team in new uniforms and in a new field house at Senior Field. Thirty-six players started practice, with 14 of them returning lettermen. Their average lineman weighed 175 pounds and average backfielder, 165.

MHS cheerleaders and twirlers practiced often, eager to support the Mustangs. Head cheerleader Toni Morgan planned to lead Diane Suther, Donna Suther, and Rita Wilcox in cheering the Mustangs to victory. Twirlers Sue Hilbun and Carol Holloway would be directed by head twirler Brenda Wallin and drum major Sue Park. Davie Carter was feature twirler.

North Zulch High School prepared to field a six-man football team for a first game on Sept. 2. Coach Gene Allphin intended to play halfbacks Jack Campbell and Billy Mosley, quarterback Alvin Andrus, center Ronald Weatherford, and ends Don Reed, Glenn Ferguson, and Ray Harris. Jimmy Broadway was the team’s manager.

Midway School’s Superintendent Robert B. Withers prepared to open that school. Teachers were Alexandra Hardin for grades 1 and 2, Louise Carter for grades 3 and 4, Lucille Bates for grades 5 and 6, and Frances Thompson for grades 7 and 8. Louise Bates also served as the principal.

Madisonville educators Miss Dorothy McAdams and Mrs. Lamar Piboin shared facts about attending the four-day annual conference for Home Economics teachers. One thousand teachers from across the state attended the conference, which was held in Houston’s Shamrock Hilton.

Under the heading “Concord News”, Ray Mosley and Billy Colwell attended the Methodist Vacation Camp at Lakeview. Afterwards, they reported a week of good churchwork and recreation.

Donald Reynolds, son of Mr. and Mrs. O. B. Reynolds of Midway, returned home after being discharged from a four-year stint in the Army. He planned to enroll in college in September.

Planter’s Gin operators Darrell Standley and Vernon Baugh reported the ginning of the first 1960 cotton on Aug. 12 and Aug. 18. The Aug. 12 bale was grown in Leon County by Robert Makins, and Marsene Brown grew the Aug. 18 bale here in Madison County. Each got his cotton ginned for free, one being the first of the gin and the other first of the county, and also each received $75 in cash and merchandise, donated by local merchants.

Fred Evans, Jr., had begun construction of the Colonial Inn, a new 2,800 square foot restaurant, in the 600 block of South May. Plans included the main dining room to seat 85 and two private dining rooms. (That building still stands, as the Madison County Library.)

Crescent Lake Subdivision, sometimes called Viser Lake Subdivision, was relatively new and popular in 1960. Datus Sharp, Jr., advertised an extra-large lot on the west side of the lake, for $1,600.

The recently renovated Corley’s Grocery was open for business at 212 West Main (filling part of the space where Prosperity Bank is now). The business’s telephone number was DI-8-2213. Mr. and Mrs. Nolan Corley owned the store, and their daughter and son-in-law, Marcia and Bob Crouch, helped run it.

Other businesses graced our town too. J & J Welding, with J.D. Keefer as owner, advertised DI 8-2633 for contact, or night phone 35 NZ. Partners Buck Bailey and C. G. Burckett had B & B Appliances about midway down the west side of The Square. Dr. W. R. Hitchcock, a chiropractor, practiced in the Webb building. (That is now the Meteor’s office.).

Our local hospital could then legally list patients’ names and dismissals, as well as babies born. Billye Joyce Forrest was born here on Aug. 20 to Mr. and Mrs. Billy Bob Forrest. On Aug. 22, David Milton Bailey was born to Mr. and Mrs. Boyd Bailey. (Happy birthday a bit late, Jody and David!)

C.A. Bedinger offered to sell young Jersey and Holstein milch cows for $175 each. He stated that they gave four gallons of milk daily. (FYI, a milch cow was kept for milking, not for raising beef calves.)

Grocery items were cheaper and at least one strange by today’s standards. A “sale” price on fresh-ground hamburger was three pounds for $1.15, and Velveeta cheese was priced at two pounds for 29 cents. A pound can of Maryland Club coffee cost 59 cents. Eight pounds of Owens lard sold for $1.19. LARD! Oh, Lord!

I hope this brought you some memories and smiles! Did you find the fact I put wrong on purpose? I’m waiting.

Madison County is closed indefinitely due to Covid-19. It is located at 201 N. Madison St., Madisonville, TX 77864, and the mailing address is P.O. Box 6. Hopefully soon I’ll tell you about it opening back up.