County had high cotton, low cost of living in September 1965

Posted 9/8/20

This piece is set in September 1965. I was mature enough in 1965 to now retain memories of it. As I took notes from those old Meteors, I thought “Of course she was homecoming queen, I knew that!” It seemed ordinary to me. I hope it’s not so ordinary to you.

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County had high cotton, low cost of living in September 1965


This piece is set in September 1965. I was mature enough in 1965 to now retain memories of it. As I took notes from those old Meteors, I thought “Of course she was homecoming queen, I knew that!” It seemed ordinary to me. I hope it’s not so ordinary to you.

In those days, agriculture was a major part of everyday life here for many in Madison County. That September, the Madison County Dairy Association sponsored three evening dairy clinics at the county agent’s office, aimed at providing our dairy farmers opportunities to learn the latest of doing business. Why was that important? According to Mickey Fite, there were more than 20 dairies here in those days, and he knows! He grew up on Fite Dairy, and he participated in County Agent Ross Garrett’s dairy judging teams that trained at all the local dairies.

Cotton farming continued as a way of life for many local citizens. It was the busy time of year for Standley’s Planters Gin. Julian Padron, who farmed in Iola, brought in cotton to make the county’s first 1965 bale. The first grown in Madison County came from Nolan Diserens, from his farm near North Zulch. As of Sept. 8, Planters Gin had processed 260 bales, with more to go.

The Quarterback Club met on Sept. 3. Officers elected included president Jerry Reed. vice-president Robert Junot, secretary-treasurer G.C. Shaffer, and membership chair Sam Standley. Members voted to (1) support after-school transportation for athletes practicing late but residing in rural areas, and (2) to supply film for the coaching staff to use and scouting and training.

Madisonville High School freshman class sponsors Jerry Dyer, Ricky Brewer, and Mrs. Starkey helped with class officer elections. Results were president Eddie Bass, vice-president Susan Gibson, secretary Joy Dell Newton, secretary Buck Wells, and reporter Laura Cannon (ahem).

Early in the month, the Madisonville High School’s 1965 Mustang football team’s photo appeared on a Meteor’s front page. Players included Chick Floyed, Larry Weisinger, G.G. Reynolds, Eddie Adams, Buck Wells, George Hawthorne, Freddie Starns, Eddie Minze, David Culbreth, Donnie Goodrum, Edmon Garrett, Kenneth Sanders, Billy Simmons, Roy Langley, Billy Blow, Ronnie Jackson, James Venable, William Blaine, and Dennis McWhorter. W.T. Hoskins was head coach, assisted by Jerry Dyer, Bo Harrison, and Harold Scott. Players who did not make it into the photo were Jeff Johnson, Terry Bryan, and Steve Rigby.

Mustang twirlers were Donna Andrews, Beverly Crouch, and Sylvia Dean, led by drum major Lynn Wells. Billy Pool was band director, and Mrs. Pool taught the twirlers twirling lessons

On Sept. 3, Grapeland defeated the Mustangs 34-0 in the season opener. Deciding factors were Grapeland’s one fumble that they recovered and 14 first downs and the Mustangs two fumbles and three first downs.

Marian Anderson’s Panther football team defeated Dickinson 6-0 Sept. 11. A pass interception set the score, when Robert McCoy carried the pigskin for the only six points all night. Other Panthers that saw action were Cleon Anderson, Allen Batson, Charles Cooper, Raddie Garrett, Edward Goffney, Israel Goffney, Aaron Holiday, J.D. Johnson, C.L. Kizzie, Gregory Matthews, McCoy Smith, David Spivey, Curley Tyler, and Bundean Roundtree.

Madisonville High School celebrated homecoming Sept. 24. The junior class’s nominee, Ann Dean, was crowned homecoming queen. Runners-up were freshman Leta Ann Wells, sophomore Sherry Wells, and senior Paula Kelton.

Girl Scout Junior Troop 2 held a mother-daughter meeting. Troop leader Mrs. Nelson Batson attended as did assistant leader Mrs. Ray Dean plus general committee mothers, including Mrs. Robert Junot, Mrs. Garvin Shiflet, Mrs. Kathryn Berry, and Mrs. Leonard Starns. Troop 2 Girl Scouts also attended.

Interstate 45 was already complete past Madisonville and north a bit. With Houston-Dallas traffic no longer traveling within blocks of the Courthouse, many businesses here made changes. On Sept. 25, Cleo Singletary hosted a grand opening celebration at the new Humble station he was operating north of town the intersection of U.S. Highway 75 and Interstate 45.

Property purchase prices sound cheap compared to now. For $1,050, one could purchase a one-acre lot near town, with trees, a septic tank, a water meter, and a gas connection. The asking price for a two-bedroom house and five adjacent lots on North Madison was $7,500. Near Normangee, one could buy 60 acres with highway frontage and all minerals, for $200 per acre!

Currently I hear that rent here is high, so these 55-year-old prices will make many envious. Rent for a three-bedroom unfurnished frame home with a screened in back porch, a double garage, and a large garden was $47.50. For a three-bedroom unfurnished brick home, with three bedrooms and two baths, rent was $100, but if you wanted to also use the adjacent 10 acres and barn, it would go up to $125.

The Pam Theatre provided movie entertainment where Legends and The Mule Barn are now. A blind man, Lloyd Stone, opened it here in 1962 and named it after his German Shepherd seeing-eye dog. As of September 1965, everyday admittance prices were 60 cents for adults, 25 cents for children. Friday night was teenage couple night. The Pam opened weekdays at 7 p.m. with features beginning at 7:30. A double-feature was scheduled for Sept. 17, with The Bounty Killer starring Dan Duryea followed by Major Dundee, starring Charlton Heston.

There was no “zinger” in this Musings and no prize, but I’m going to give some of you a chance to pat yourself on the back for your good memory. Which of the Mustang football coaches named above stayed with the school until retirement? What is one thing you remember about

Coach Hoskins? Can you name a movie you remember seeing at The Pam Theater? What school subject did Mrs. Starkey teach? If you feel certain of the answers to two, your memory is good. If you are sure of three, your memory is super. If you are positive about four, you have extraordinary memory!

Currently, Madison County Museum is closed due to Corona-19. It is located at 201 N. Madison St. The mailing address is P.O. Box 61, Madisonville, TX 77864. Normally it is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call ahead when things open back up, 936.348.5230.