Last updateFri, 22 Jan 2016 2pm

Back You are here: News


Subcourthouse in jeopardy following Monday’s vote

By Phillip Williams


GILMER- Over the objection of Upshur County Commissioner Frank Berka and pleas from Gladewater Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Robert Johnson to keep the Gladewater substation of the county tax assessor-collector’s office open in the upcoming 2015-16 budget - commisisoners voted 3-1 to approve a county election administrator, but removed it from Tax Assessor-Collector Sherron Laminack’s office.

Upshur County Judge Dean Fowler said he hopes the Gladewater substation remains open, but added the final decision is up to Laminack.

Commissioner Berka has expressed strong opposition to creating the EA office. In addition, Pct. 1 Commissioner Paula Gentry, who formerly worked for the tax office at the Gladewater location, opposes closing the substation.

Prior to the vote Fowler said he believed the court can create the EA post and retain the Gladewater office.

Monday morning Johnson said he had heard from churches who were concerned about the substation’s status. He said callers stated that the elderly and others need to use the Gladewater annex because it would be a “hardship” on them to come to the main tax office in Gilmer (the county seat, which is located about 10 miles north of Gladewater.)

The tax assessor’s office not only collects taxes, but registers vehicles and voters.

In another matter impacting Gladewater (as well as Big Sandy), the court on Monday approved a controversial proposal to have more voting boxes in precinct three than in the other commissioners’ precincts for the Nov. 3 election on proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution.

The court approved using the voting boxes at the Gladewater Former Students Building, Pritchett Community Center and in Big Sandy in Berka’s precinct. Other precincts will have only two voting boxes each.

Upshur County Democratic Party Chairman Dan Miles Jr. protested that having two locations in each precinct was insufficient since it asked the “elderly to relocate” when they are accustomed to voting at a certain other site in the precinct.

Gentry, whose precinct includes East Mountain and Union Grove, pointed out that voters have the option of casting ballots by mail. The court approved her proposal to hold voting at East Mountain and the rural Indian Rock Baptist Church in her precinct.

Miles asked why precinct three was getting more boxes than other precincts. Berka replied that it was “just geographical” and that he had had problems in his precinct with people who were “up in arms that they had to go to Pritchett” to vote.

Miles then told Berka, “If other people can be inconvenienced, so can yours. We need to be fair about this.” However, the court approved the proposal allowing precinct three an extra box without dissent.

Brenda Evans, representing the conservative group East Texans for Liberty, presented a letter from that group protesting the proposal for an election administrator.

The letter, read aloud by Fowler, argued the idea had “more negatives” than positives inasmuch as there was no “compelling reason” to expand the county government with the additonal office.


It said creating the post could add $50,000 to the county budget. And in other counties, EA budgets “have increased substantially over time, and it is likely this one will as well.”


WHAT'S HAPPENING - Week of Sept. 2

GISD Golden Bear Club available

Any resident of Gladewater Independent School District 65 years of age or older, or retired GISD employee, is eligible for membership in the Golden Bear Club.

Club members receive free admission to school programs, plays, musical performances and general admission seating at all home athletic events sponsored by GISD.

Interested residents need to provide proof of GISD residency with driver’s license to Dena Sloan at the Administration Building at 500 W. Quitman Street. For information call 903-845-6994.

Upshur County Library Storytime set

GILMER--Two books will be read to children at both of the Upshur County Library’s weekly “Storytime” sessions Thursday.

“Fraidy Zoo” by Thyra Heder, and “Baking Day at Grandma’s” by Anika Denise, will be presented at the 10 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. sessions.

A craft will follow each Storytime at the library, 702 W. Tyler, said Debbie White of the Children’s Services division.

The events are free to the public, but children under age 12 must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, call the library at (903) 843-5001.

Joint church service set for Sept. 13

GILMER--John Dansby will speak on “The Road to Victory” at a joint service of several area congregations of the Church of Christ at the Gilmer Civic Center on Sunday, Sept. 13.

The event is set for 5 p.m. Doors open at 4 p.m. and area congregations are asked to move their services to the civic center for this day only.

Dansby, minister of the Russell Road Church of Christ in Shreveport, La., is a board member of Southwestern Christian College in Terrell.

Attendees are requested to bring either six sandwiches, or 12 sandwiches cut into quarters, salads, or desserts.

For more information, contact Mark Engel, minister of the Gilmer Church of Christ, at 903-843-2731.

Youth soccer registration underway

GILMER--Registration to play in the Upshur County Youth Soccer Association this fall is underway, and membership is not limited to county residents.

The association is for boys and girls ages 4-19. Youngsters may sign up online through Sept. 4, or at the East Texas Yamboree pavilion at the Yamboree grounds on U.S. 271 in Gilmer from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29.

Those interested call 903-431-3856.

FOL Book Sale to support library

BOOKWORM ALERT! The annual Friends of the Library fall book sale will be held at Lee Library on Saturday, Sept. 19 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at 312 W. Pacific Ave.  All proceeds will be used to fund special projects and meet library needs. To donate books or money to the Friends of the Library please see Head Librarian Judy Hagle Monday through Friday 9:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. 

Punt, Pass & Kick 

set for Oct 17

Girls and boys ages 6-15 (as of Dec. 31, 2015) may participate in the Punt, Pass & Kick competition held at Judson Middle School football stadium on Judson Road on Saturday, Oct. 17. Soft-soled sneakers only, one pass, punt and kick per participant. Scores determined on distance and accuracy for the three events. 

A copy of the participant’s birth certificate must be presented at registration. Hosted by City of Longview Parks and Recreation Department. For information call 903-237-1270.

Concerned Women for America to meet

GILMER--All interested women from Gilmer and the surrounding area are invited to attend a meeting of the local chapter of Concerned Women for America on Tuesday.

The gathering is set for 1 p.m. in the conference room at the Upshur County Library.

The chapter will open its third year by hearing CWA East Texas Area Director Melady Thompson “present an overview of the mission, core issues and important action plans of this organization,” said chapter leader Sandra Click.

“CWA is the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization with a rich 25-year history of training women with Biblical principles how to influence all levels of governmental policies,” Click said in a press release.

She urged women to “come to get informed, learn how to be an effective communicator and pray over current policies and issues that impact faith, family and freedom.”

The local chapter will meet on the second Tuesday of each month from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the library in Gilmer. 

For more information, contact Click at 903-734-3973 or Thompson at 903-841-2908. 

Bike Club welcomes members

FAITH Riders of Joy Baptist Church in Liberty City are having an open chapter meeting Tuesday, Sept. 8 at the Liberty City Whataburger. Faith Riders is a motorcycle ministry ope to everyone. The chapter is planning a ride to the Daytona Beach Bike Rally in March 2016. For information contact Allwn Schwab on Facebook or visit the national website at or look up Jbc Faithriders on Facebook for local chapter information.

Save a life, or 2  pet adoption special

The Humane Society of Northeast Texas is sponsoring a HOMEWARD BOUND adoption special with reduced adoption fees through Labor Day weekend. All dogs are $50 each or two for $75. All cats are $25 each or two for $40.

If you are looking for a new best friend, come down to the Longview Animal Shelter at 303 Enterprise Street in Longview. 

Save a life (or two)! Adopt today. Shelter hours are Tuesday through Friday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Closed Sundays and Mondays. You can find available pets on Facebook at Humane Society of NETX Hopefuls or  For information call 903-297-2170 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..




Community College value underfunded by state

By Suzanne Bardwell

Kilgore College, along with other community colleges must sometimes feel like the hardworking employee that gets called on to do the heavy lifting but is taken for granted when the state payday rolls around.

According to the Texas Association of Community Colleges’ stats the pie is not being divided fairly when it comes to state support. According to state enrollment statistics community colleges enroll 54 percent of the state’s college students, 75 percent of freshmen and sophomores and 78 percent of all Texas minority students.

Despite those stats Texas’ community colleges only get 12 percent of the higher education budget while 4-year state universities get 41 percent, other higher education agencies get 28 percent, health related institutions get 18 percent and Texas State Technical Institutions get 1 percent.

In dollar value though it appears the state has an underappreciated bargain in community colleges like Kilgore with the state cost per student at community colleges a budget happy $2,506 per student as compared to $10,924 at a state university, or the high dollar education of technical college per student cost at $14,923 according to the state report Fiscal Size Up 2014-2015.

Often one of the counter arguments to community college success are the graduation rates which do not take into account the numbers of students who do not choose to get an associate’s degree before pursuing higher education or those who do not pursue a 4-year degree but go into the work force

Despite those factors the graduation statistics do warrant a greater effort in keeping students in community college to prepare them for higher education or career certification programs.

Community colleges also often do the heavy lifting when it comes to college readiness remediation. Of more than 95,000 first-time-in-college students at community colleges, just 34,000 met college-ready standards in math, reading and writing. The rest were required by state law to pass at least one developmental education course, for no college credit, as a condition of enrollment. All entering students must take tests required by the Texas Success Initiative meant to rate their ability to do college freshman level work. 

With all the obstacles presented Kilgore College does indeed prove value on the dollar with their results. First, students who live in KC’s taxing district which includes Gladewater, White Oak and Sabine ISDs, the savings are a whopping $69 per college hour compared to out-of-district students at $130 per college hour. 

There are also a host of courses now offered on area high school campuses, including GHS, White Oak and Sabine that allows students to acquire college hours while enrolled in high school. 

Those courses, depending on school district, include U.S. History 1301 and 1302, Music Appreciation, Government, English 1301 and 1302. 

Web courses are also available for local high school students and include Statistics, Environmental Science, Environmental Biology, Astronomy, Psychology, Sociology, College Algebra and Trigonometry.

Those dual credit courses are a parent’s dream at a cost of only $115 for a 3-hour course with additional fees for labs and web courses. Welding and auto mechanics are available also but a bit more expensive than the traditional courses.

With bargain basement prices, dedicated remediation courses and the vast array of dual credit courses available to high school students Kilgore College proves to be a budget saver for students and parents despite the inequities of state funding.



PRETICKET NEWS - Sept. 2, 2015

Our next monthly Upshur County Hospital Auxiliary meeting will be on September 8 at the Black Kettle Cafe at 11 AM.  We encourage all members to be there.


Cooks for the 20 quilters this week were Virginia Anschutz, Bonnie Gage, and Judy  Rofkahr who served vegetable beef stew, green leafy salad with dressings, broccoli cornbread, and chocolate cake & ice cream for dessert.  


Maxine Kollman’s daughter and son-in-law, Bart and Kay Reddoch from Kirbyville, also came and had lunch with us.  Bart is a Methodist minister and had meetings here as well as visiting with relatives.


Visitors for the quilters were Patsy Williams and Doylene Johnson.  Patsy brought a quilt for advice about a scalloped border and was told she might use bias around the uneven edge that would give as she went around it.  That sounds like the perfect solution to me.


WORDS OF WISDOM:  In many ways each of us is the sum total of what our ancestors were.  The virtues they had may be our virtues, their strengths our strengths, and in a way their challenges could be our challenges.


Maurice Mask has been transferred from Longview to Baylor Hospital in Dallas, prayers are still requested for his recovery.


News from LeRoy and Virginia Anschutz:  Is there a change in the weather coming?  I am  having over a dozen humming birds visiting my feeders in  the last  few days.  Love seeing them they are swarming like little bees!


Getting ready for the State Fair of Texas, I have the entries in, now to start grooming them and getting them ready for the show.  The date of the State Fair this year is Oct. 9 & 19, which is also Texas/OU weekend, it will be a big crowd and lots of Oklahoma people will be there.  Fun and games time!!


I will also have some Pygmy babies due before then, LeRoy is getting the barns ready for this winter.  Never a dull moment at the Funny Farm,


Thought for the day:  Girls that say golly, gosh, and darn will live by themselves alone in a barn.  

(From the Waltons TV show)


History for this week will be the Stanley-McLaughlin Family from the records of Myra Johnson Watts.


O. Daniel McLaughlin Jr. was born in 1799 in Servier Co. Tennessee.  He married Elizabeth McCain before 1820 when they moved to Shelby County Alabama.  By 1830 the McCain parents had died and the McLaughlins had moved to Jackson County Alabama.  With Scot and Tennessee Cherokee heritage, the family moved westward.


Daniel was employed by the U.S. Government to serve as a guide in the removal of the Eastern Cherokees to the Indian Territory in the west.  As a result, the family established residence in Hempstead County Arkansas in 1841.  By this date their family was complete, with sons Daniel Alexander and David Neal and daughters Flora Ann, Acksa, Julia A. and Sarah G. who married George Washington Stanley on 2-9-1844 in Arkansas.


For his service as Indian agent, Daniel was to receive a land grant in Texas.  But he is thought to have died in Texas during 1851 enroute to Arkansas to bring his family to Upshur County.  Nevertheless, the McLaughlin and Stanley families were firmly implanted in Upshur County by 1852, including the widow, Elizabeth McLaughlin and her children.

George and Sarah Stanley had two children in Arkansas who came to Texas with them, Daniel age 5 and Priscilla Elizabeth age 3.  Their children born in Upshur County were Robert Hollis who married Susie Zigler; John Jordan who died in 1875 on the porch of the “Lone Pilgrim” church; and Rosalie Fredonia who married David Barton. 


George W. Stanley patented a large acreage between Pritchett and Big Sandy along the old “Camden-Calloway” road.  His great-granddaughter, Mrs. Ricky Drennen, is the 6th generation to live on the original land grant.


David McLaughlin patented a similar area adjoining and considerably closer to the site of the old New Hope Church.  In 1853 David McLaughlin, George W. Stanley and Taliaferro L. Cox all received preemptive headrights of land between Pritchett and Big Sandy.  Family lore is that Stanley road horseback from Pritchett to Austin and back to finalize this land deal which required the grantee to live on and to improve the land for three years.


Elizabeth McLaughlin was a charter member of the old New Hope Baptist Church ajoining the cemetery.  Her daughters who married in Upshur County were; Asksa who married Robert Smith of Pritchett and Julia Ann who married Joshua Gage, son of Benjamin Gage.


According to family lore, Sarah McLaughlin Stanley was an early midwife or “woman doctor”.  She was said to have crossed the swollen Sabine River at night, alone, on horseback to attend to a sick family on the other side.


Her granddaughter, Mrs. A.B. Robertson of Pritchett, remembered (in the 1960’s), her grandmother gathering wild plants in the Upshur forest that had medicinal value.  In 1909 the Dallas Morning News published her journal she had kept from 1825 to 1910.  They by-lined her story “An Old Texas Pioneer”.  (I tried to locate this article, but was unable to do so.  I hope someone smarter than I will be able to find it.)


The son of G.W. And Sarah Stanley, Daniel Wilson Stanley, was born on 2-3-1846 and married Mary Francis Cox on 1-3-1866.  He served in the Confederate Army from Upshur County.  He was a Primitive Baptist minister at the old Paint Rock Church near Shady Grove in 1889 and served that area for many years.  In 1914 he founded the Lone Pilgrim Primitive Baptist Church at Cross Roads on Lemon Road which is still active today.  The church building sits on part of the original G.W. Stanley patented land grant.


A descendent of this family, D.W. (Dee) Stanley, was a celebrated World War II veteran.   He was captured and survived the Bataan Death March.  He is the father of John Stanley and Elaine Viremontes.


Next week the history will be on the Pinnacle Community.


Upshur ESD calls for tax election, tax hike



The Upshur County Emergency Services District has called a Nov. 3 election on inceasing its tax rate from the current three cents per $100 valuation to seven cents.

The five-member ESD board unanimously called the election Aug. 10 because the three-cent rate is inadequately funding the district, which provides financial aid to the county’s 12 rural fire departments, said board Vice-Chairman Cloddie Henson.

Voters who reside in the city limits of Gilmer, Ore City, Big Sandy and Gladewater cannot vote in the election since those cities are not included in the district. However, all other Upshur County voters may participate.

Henson said last week that under current funding, the district is “barely maintaining our status quo” when it needs to upgrade rural firefighters’ equipment. And grant funding from the state for that purpose, which helped Upshur rural departments obtain new trucks over a period of past years, is now “pretty much unavailable,” he added.

As an example of why the district is seeking the tax hike, Henson said he believed the Simpsonville Volunteer Fire Department has a 1984 model truck which is “past its prime,” and which needs a brand-new, or at least newer used model, engine.

The district has budgeted $15,000 for work on the vehicle, but that still leaves the department with a truck which is “basically worn out,” Henson said.

In addition, he said, the Pritchett Volunteer Fire Department is “limping along” with an aging tanker and needs to upgrade. Too, any rural fire department in the county has “some piece of equipment that needs to be replaced,” he asserted.

The district sets an individual budget for each rural department and reimburses the departments for expenses within the budget, Henson said. Although the four aforementioned cities are not in the district, they contract with it to fight fires outside their city limits, “so really all the departments (in the county) benefit from the ESD,”  he argued.

As for grants, which once paid 75 or 90 percent of the cost of a new truck for a rural department, Henson noted that Simpsonsville VFD has applied for one, but been told “we’re way down on the list” of departments who might receive it.

In addition, he pointed out, some trucks obtained with grant monies in the past are now about 10 years old.




New Laws Take Effect Sept. 1


 AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) today highlighted notable traffic and driver license laws that go into effect on Sept. 1, 2015 (unless otherwise indicated).


Please note that the following is not a comprehensive list of all new laws passed by the Texas Legislature.




HB 2194 creates an exemption to current statute that allows a vehicle to be left running and unattended if the operator starts the engine of the vehicle by using a remote starter or other similar device. (Effective June 19.)


SB 1918 amends current statute to authorize the use of LED ground-effect lighting equipment on a motorcycle. In accordance with this provision, such lighting is only permissible if it illuminates the body or ground below a motorcycle, and if it emits a non-flashing amber or white light. These limitations are designed to ensure the LED lights are not mistaken as the flashing lights of an emergency vehicle. 


Driver License


SB 1934 amends current statute to require social security numbers or proof that the applicant is not eligible for a social security number for all personal identification card issuances. It also limits the issuance of one Texas driver license or ID card per person and discontinues the issuance of no-expire ID cards for persons age 60 or older. 


HB 2246 amends current statute to require a judge to restrict any person whose license has been suspended after the conviction of an intoxication offense to the operation of a motor vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device. Once suspended for the intoxication-related offense, a defendant may only operate a motor vehicle during the suspension period if an ignition interlock device is obtained and an occupational driver license is issued with the proper designation.  The bill also requires the court to order the ignition interlock device to remain installed for the duration of the suspension, instead of the prior requirement of at least half of the suspension period. The applicable offenses include driving while intoxicated, driving while intoxicated with a child passenger, flying while intoxicated, boating while intoxicated, assembling or operating an amusement ride while intoxicated, intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter. 




“I will be discussing the financial position and 2016 County budget at the Pritchett Community Center on Sept. 1st at 7 PM.  I believe the information is critical to the taxpayer.

“Before Sept. 1st, we will have already adopted the budget.  One item of critical importance to folks in the Gladewater area is that if the Commissioners approve a ‘NEW’ Election Administrator Dept., the tax assessor says she will close the Gladewater sub courthouse because money to fund the new dept. and one employee will be transferred away from her dept.  I am adamantly opposed to the closing of Gladewater sub courthouse and creating larger government and expense when it is the County Clerks responsibility to hold elections.  Tax payers should contact their Commissioners and discuss this issue ASAP.”


We invite everyone to the Pritchett Community Center monthly meeting at 7 PM on September 1 and woule like imput on the community.


I was happy to get a telephone call from Rowan Shirley of Utah this week.  The Shirley’s have been friends with my Denton family for at least 2 generations and we have visited in their home in Utah.  It seems that we are the older generation now and we all have our challenges.


Barbara May Langford sent me a pictures of  an old canning factory on White Oak Road in the Cross Road’s Community  with the names of the people in the picture, her dad is in the picture.  I appreciate Barbara for sending these pictures, also one of the Cross Roads School (about 1934-35) that was in the paper August 2, 2000.


Since the recent rains, the burn ban has been lifted for Upshur County.  People need to still be very careful if you are burning.


WORDS OF WISDOM:  The Savior is our supreme example of humility and submissiveness.  Perhaps some of the most sacred words in all the scriptures are simply, ‘Not my will, but thine, be done’.  (Luke 22:42)


There has been a report that Maurice Mask is in ICU in Longview.  Maurice has lived in our community for many years.  Let’s keep him in our thoughts and prayers.


Cooks for the quilters this week were Kathryn Beard, Ellen Johnson, Mary Askew, and Ann Leahy who served homemade chicken pot pie, spinach & strawberry salad with a raspberry dressing, avocado-cucumber salad, garlic bread, with spice cake for dessert.


Lynne Munoz and Betty Holden visited with us today.  Lynne had surgery and is recuperating.  Betty has recently become a citizen of the United States after living here for 50 years, coming from Canada.  We enjoyed having both of them and will be glad when they can come back to quilting.  Lynne crocheted 30 hats for cancer patients.


Thought for the day:  “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”  Thomas Jefferson


Lone Pilgrim Primitive Baptist Church will be the subject of this weeks history from the records of Myra Watts.


The Lone Pilgrim Primitive Baptist Church is still active today.  Daniel Wilson Stanley was the minister of the old Paint Rock church south of Shady Grove and served there almost 30 years.  In the early 1900’s the school had consolidated with Shady Grove and the congregation saw the need of a new building.  Since most of the members lived closer to Cross Roads they decided to build the new building there.


In 1914 Tom Atkinson and Alvin Robertson donated land on what is now Lemon Road for the sight of the new building.  It was a lovely, peaceful setting among large trees.


The basis of the Primitive Baptist religion is that of predestination.  Their service includes traditional washing of the feet.  In this congregation they also include Sacred Harp singing which is based on songs and hymns written in a basic four beat meter (also called Fa-so-la).


The founder of this church was Daniel W. Stanley.  His brother, John Jordan Stanley, died in 1875 after singing a Sacred Harp song.  He was 22 years old.  He just stepped out onto the church porch and fell dead.  It is believed he died of a stroke due to high blood pressure which runs in the family.  We don’t know why D.W. Chose “Lone Pilgrim” as the name for this church, but there is a song in a Sacred Harp song book titled “Lone Pilgrim.”  It is a hauntingly love song.  I have the words to the son, but not the music.


Charter members were Brothers and Sisters:  D.W. Stanley, W.A. White, M.J. Stanley, Charlie Brogden, Rob Stegall, W.A. Bryant, George Jones, Jim Burcham, Mack Howell, A.B. Robertson, Marion Satterwhite, J.H. Johnson, Henry Steelman, John Robertson, Jim Robertson, Millie Robertson, Bert Atkinson, Luna Stanley, Fince Meeler and Carrie Bullard.


One gentleman recalls going to the meetings when he was a boy and slipping away during the sermons to go swimming in Miller’s (then Wilburn’s) Pond.  The sermons sere so long that the same preacher would still be in the pulpit when they returned.


Ruby Johnson Starks is still a member of this congregation today.  They meet every second Sunday of the month.


Words from Brenda Johnson:  Ruby still amazes me that at over 90 (she will be 96 on August 25) years old she still goes to a lot of meetings (Upshur County Hospital Auxiliary, senior citizens in Gilmer), still mows her own yard, and the last I knew, she was still making the most delicious pies for anyone that wanted one.  Ruby and I were Pink Ladies together at the hospital before it closed down.  One of Ruby’s daughters has been in the hospital this week and we wish her well.

Next week’s history will be on the Stanley-Mclaughlin Family.