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Joplin, who turned 95, celebrated his birthday at the West of the Pecos
Museum with a party given to him by his daughter, Loyce Brown, of
Numerous friends and relatives were on hand for the big occasion.
Guests signed a special notebook, put together by his daughter and
filled with many mementos.
The tables in the courtyard were decorated with windmills, Joplin's
profession of many years.
A big windmill adorned the head table which was filled with all kinds of
Mary Farnum, a member of this year's West of the Pecos Pioneer Family,
will also be honored as a pioneer of her church during the fourth annual
Founders Day celebration at First United Methodist Church on July 6.
Held each year during rodeo season, Founders Day was established to
celebrate the heritage of the Methodist Church in Pecos. Church members
dress in pioneer or western clothing for the 10:55 a.m. Sunday morning
service, and afterward enjoy gathering for a covered dish luncheon in
the fellowship hall.
Founders Day will not only recognize the Pecos Methodist Pioneer Family
of Mary Farnum and the late "Toots" Farnum, but other longtime church
members as well. These members, who joined the Pecos church 50 or more
years ago, incude Catherine Jones (who joined in 1915), Asa Moore
(1922), Elizabeth R. McCree (1926), W.S. McCree (1928), James L. Moore
(1934), Edna G. Stanton (1936), Bonnie Green and Dagmah Wynne (both in
1937), David Alan Smith (1940), Norine Hoover (1941), Mary Kathryn
Martin Miller (1943), Janice Burkholder (1944), Emma Shepherd (1945),
and Joseph Wynn (1946).
Mary Farnum joined First United Methodist Church of Pecos in 1942.
"Toots" Farnum, although always a "church go-er," did not officially
join the church until 1949. The same Sunday he joined the church, the
Farnums presented three of their children for infant baptism.
"It was also the first Sunday we were able to meet in our sanctuary,
after the church had its first remodeling done," Mrs. Farnum said. "For
a couple of months, we had been having church at the old community
Mrs. Farnum, 74, has many memories of the Pecos church, its growth, and
its role in he life of her family.
She remembers when her son Bill received his Boy Scout "God and Country"
award from pastor Bervin Caswell, and how the congregation sent daughter
Ava to church camp as president of the Pecos yough group. "I think of
Mary Lou and the years she taught with Mr. (J.F.) Hightower and the
nights they spent together planning the lessons for Sunday morning,"
Mrs. Farnum said. "I think of the time Judy spent helping with the Bible
Six Farnum children, who together now have 10 children of their own,
were raised in the Pecos church: Jean Horwitz, now of Alburque, N.M.,
Bill Farnum of Amarillo, Ava Jo Howard of Allen, Mary Lou Farnum of
Amarillo, Judy F. Trull of Alexandria, Va., and Dee Farnum of El Paso.
"I can remember how each of our children could not wait to go through
confirmation classes in order to become `real' members, as they
described it," Mrs. Farnum said.
Back then and even in recent years, the Farnum home has welcomed Sunday
School parties and church group gatherings, and has hosted pastors and
"In the early 60s, I was youth leader for junior high students for about
three or four years," Mrs. Farnum said. "During that time, Toots helped
with all the `good times' by fixing hamburgers or hot dogs, playing his
guitar and leading songs. All the young people loved him."
Farnum served on church board and committees at different times but was
"more a behind-the-scenes man," Mrs. Farnum said. He loved sharing his
music, and was a member of the church choir for many years. Toots died
in May of 1989.
Mrs. Farnum has served on a number of boards and committees of the
church, and has been chairman of the church finance committee, the
administrative council, and the church revitalization committee. She may
best be remembered as a teacher, of both children and adults.
"In the early part of 1958, I had this desire within me - I like to
think of it as God speaking to me - to attempt to lead a church school
class. The first Sunday I finally did, my family waited on me all week
and had a corsage for me that morning. Somehow, with the Holy Spirit, I
go through it. After that, I taught a lot and attended every workshop
Mrs. Farnum is still actively involved in her church, which she said has
brought her "love and joy" through the years. "I thank God for each and everyone in our church who had a part in the lives of my family."
Her daughter and son-in-law Billie and Buddy Rogers of Odessa were on
hand as well as Buddy's son Jeff of the J.J. Farm in Pecos,
granddaughters Margaret Pearcy and great-granddaughter Adrienne Pearcy
both of Ottawa, Canada.
Mrs. Weisiger recently moved to Pecos from the Park Plaza Nursing Homme in Mart, Tx.
The couple were married in Bryan, Tx. and have two children, Robert
Clinton of Pecos and Steve Clinton of Midland.
A party was held in their honor given by their children and
grandchildren at the First Christian Church on May 31.
Family and friends were on hand to help the couple celebrate.
Mr. Clinton was born in Marfa and has lived in the area most of his
The couple received a pleasant surprise when their granddaughter showed up for the occasion.
Soon it will be a real summer time but the weather is still very
capricious, cool and warm, the poor thermometer goes up and down like a
yo-yo. Last month I wrote about the flowers, the bluebonnets are just
about gone but we got some pretty pictures. In our yard the blooms were
not too thick but across the street in the mayor's yard, which is really
big, it looked like a blanket of blue. It was awarded yard of the month.
Driving around now there are still flowers but different kinds and
colors. The bear grass yucca is blooming now. There is a lot of it in
this area as is prickly pear also. There are four different kinds of
sunflowers but all are yellow. Wine cups are a lovely color - it is of
the mallow family. They differ somewhat from the primrose or buttercup
families but it is difficult to see from the car.
There are lots of reddish orange and solid yellow petaled species.
Several kinds of thistles are blooming now and blowing in the wind.
There are other flowers but I guess too many to mention but I have
learned to identify more of them.
It was good to read in newspapers and see on television that Memorial
Day was observed in many places. I had been afraid that the meaning of
the day was being lost as the three-day holiday now is observed. In
Brownwood the VFW Post sponsored a program at one of the parks. The post
commander was master of ceremonies and introduced the mayor of Brownwood
who welcomed the crowd and voiced some of his thoughts about the day.
Texas Rep. Bob Turner was the speaker on the principal thought that
"freedom is not free." He told the audience of the original intent of
Decoration Day - to honor Civil War dead - and that now known as
Memorial Day, it honors all who gave their lives or served their country
in all wars. Also on the program were patriotic songs.
On the subject of Memorials - early last month the long awaits monument
to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was dedicated in a ceremony in
Washington, D.C. THere had been considerable controversy about how he
should be portrayed since he was paralyzed from his waist and could not
walk unaided. But the completed statue is of him sitting with a long
military like cape. Former Senator Bob Dole wrote a moving article
concerning President Roosevelt and his determination in personal life
and in politics. The March of Dimes we know now was founded by him as
the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.
Millions of dollars have been raised to help persons with polio and to
promote research. On April 12, 1955, the tenth Anniversary of his death,
the March of Dimes announced the first successful polio vaccine credited
to Dr. Jonas Salk. The monument is in West Potomac park in the
High school and college baseball season are now over. I watched some of
the College World Series games which were played in Omaha, Nebraska.
They are better to watch than the professional teams - hated to see any
of them lose. I would like to go to Omaha if only to see the stadium and
field. The town people are so pleased that the games are played there,
they have built outstanding facilities for the annual event. The
Louisiana Tigers won for the second consecutive year.
In high school 4A play the Andrews team lost their play-off game with
Saginaw Boswell but they went a long way against some odds - during the
season. The winners had six starting pitchers with three others to
assist so Andrews was really outnumbered. They can be justly proud
though that they were beaten by the best. Two weeks Saginaw Boswell won
the state title in Austin, 3-0 against Dallas Highland Park. Now I guess
I can keep us with and watch some games of the Rangers, Cubs or Braves.
Never know who will be aired - doesn't seem possible. I usually read the
Cowboy standings in the rodeo results on sports pages but haven't seen
one recently. It is amazing though that the Pecos event just keeps
growing with more contestants. But with high school and college riders,
many of those will enter the pro arenas. A headline on the sports page
of the Brownwood bulletin recently read Zephyr's Jennifer Smith will
compete in College National Finals Rodeo this week. Zephyr is a little
town just down the road toward Austin. Jennifer is the Southwest
Regional All-Around Champion for the 1997 season. A sophomore student at
Tarleton State University, she is making her second trip to the Finals.
She was third in barrel racing last year. On the road team with her are
Cheyenne Winberly and Christi Sultemeier. Probably all these are names
to be watched for in coming years.
About the future - a letter in the latest issue of National Geographic
Traveler magazine a man wrote that he has planned the celebration of New
Year's Eve of the year 2000. He is one of a group calling themselves
Party of the Century - 80 people from countries around the world,
Australia, Sweden, the U.S., Great Britain and New Zealand. They have
reserved a resort named Pangkor Lauat, off the west coast of Malaysia.
How is that for planning ahead? And how to locate that resort place?
Keep on reading and keep on learning. Just recently I read an article
about the Conestoga wagons which I had thought. Carried pioneer people
and there possessions on the westward trek across America. Not so! The
west were prairie schooners, smaller and lighter. The Conestoga wagons
were made by German people who settled the Southeastern part of
Pennsylvania in the Conestoga Valley. These wagons were created from the
early models in Germany and England with a boat like shape. The rounded
bottoms and curved ends prevented cargo shifting. The covers of canvas,
sailcloth or homespun hemp were stretched over wooden hoops or bows.
The Conestoga wagons were the "eighteen wheelers" of their day; they
could carry four to six tons of freight. In the early part of the
eighteenth century produce form the farms around Lancaster, Pennsylvania
was carried to the markets in Philadelphia and Baltimore. This trip of
sixty three miles just to Philadelphia took four days over very rough
terrain. Later these useful vehicles were called into service for the
government; they carried supplies to General Edward Braddock and his
troops during the French and Indian War near Pittsburgh and to General
George Washington at Valley Forge. After the Revolution when people
began to move around more these big wagons became a common sight on the
country roads. After the land beyond the Appalachian Mountains was ceded
by England to the new nation settlers began going to the Ohio Valley and
points west. So again the Conestoga wagons became their modes of
transportation. There were three main routes: one over the mountains to
Pittsburgh where the freight went on down the river into the Ohio
Valley; along the National Road which connected Baltimore and Frederick,
Maryland with Wheeling. West Virginia; and down the Great Wagon Road
through the Valleys of Virginia into North Carolina. This is a great
history lesson since these wagon trails became our highways.
After the Civil War the great migration farther west began but now
travel was by the lighter wagon, the prairie schooner still with the
canvas and homespun sails. The main difference was a flat bottom wagon
bed and a wooden seat, often with iron springs, at the front for the
driver and another person. With the Conestoga the driver often walked
but when tired could ride on a wide board which could be pulled out on
the front side. Another difference which is interesting is that the
driver controlled the animals, oxen, mules or horses with double reins
on the harness. Conestogas were usually pulled by large horses, often
called Conestagas; also these, usually three-team pairs. were controlled
by a single rein that run the team, oddly enough just as modern day
American cars are driven.
Another if bit- Wagoners of that day prided themselves on the iron works
on the wagons and the harness for the horses. Each team had bells: five
small bells on the lead horses, four bells in the middles and four large
bells on the rear team. These bells became a symbol of status and it was
considered shameful if a driver arrived at his destination without his
bells. (This may be the origin of the saying, "I'll be there with bells
With July 4th eminent flags will be everywhere, sometimes flying in the
wind surely we will think of and appreciate our great country. An old
clipping found in the back of a notebook might interest you.
"What mental pictures do the seven letters in America create in your
The capital letter "A" suggests our magnificent mountains peaks and the
wigwams of the original Americans.
The letter "m" symbolizes the broad shoulders of our pioneers, shoulders
to the wheel pushing our frontier westward, broad shoulders swinging
axes, building a Nation.
The letter "e" might be the lariats of the cowboys riding the plains.
The letter "v" is a man with hand outstretched infriendship and
co-operation toward all who love freedom, justice and peace.
The letter "i" represents the individual American with his rights to
life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The letter "c" is a bent bow from which an arrow has just sped toward
the stars of mankind's highest ideals.
The final letter "a" is a man on his knees in prayer, symbolizing a
Nation which recognizes its Creator and gives thanks for His blessings.
America is a beautiful word.
To close on a happy note - I had a wonderful time on a short weekend
trip to Pecos. coy and Marthana dropped me off on their way to El Paso.
They were on their way for her class reunion of Fabens High School. Max
and Phyllis Stool were again my gracious hosts. We went several places
to eat, friends cam by the house - just had a great chance to visit.
There were many more I wanted so much to see but just wasn't time,
especially since I don't move as fast as in former years. There was a
ride around town just to see familiar places. The Judge Lucius Bunton
building is so imposing, so great for Pecos - did not get a chance to go
inside yet - maybe later. Had an enjoyable time on the Saturday morning
we went to the Museum. I do think it was "real nice" that Mr. Frank
Joplin had his 95th Birthday Party on a day when I was able to be in
Pecos. he looked well and sounded better - always has a good word and
His bride of many years was there to greet all and enjoy the special
occasion. Their daughter, Loyce Joplin Brown, Dorinda Venegas of the
Museum and others who helped certainly hosted a fine party for all to
help Mr. Frank celebrate. After lunch we saw him and Beulah doing their
exercise walk around their apartment complex. Do you suppose he was
"walking off" too much punch and cake. Just hope the honored couple had
as good a time as all the visitors did.
I got to see the Lineberry exhibit - that is great! Of course I am proud
of the old meat market replica painting members of Modern Study Club
did. And how about those pots on the old pharmacy windows that Joyce
Morton has painted? Will be anxious to see what background she creates.
It is nearly mail time. Again I send my love to you and beg of you -
Love One Another!
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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