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The 1997 Pioneer Family Reunion was held the morning of Independence Day
at the West of the Pecos Museum.
The morning was overcast with a slight breeze, but there was no rain,
and the clouds kept the museum's courtyard from getting extremely hot,
which is always a concern when events are held out-of-doors during the
summertime in Pecos.
This year, the Kelton-Farnum family reunion was held. Over 100 guests
signed the registry during the festivities. The morning began with a
breakfast that consisted of many delicious selections, which was enjoyed
by all in attendance. The refreshments were prepared and served by
members of the Pecos Business and Professional Women's Club, who
co-sponsored the program with the Friends of the Museum and the West of
the Pecos Museum.
Several of the young ladies who had competed for Golden Girl of the Old
West the week before visited the reunion, modeling their
turn-of-the-century ball gowns. The Golden Girls also presented a
donation to museum curator, Dorinda Venegas.
Venegas gave an informative introductory speech and told the audience
some history of the museum, the reunion, and the pioneer being honored
this year, R. (Robert) Frank Kelton.
"We can preserve objects, documents and photos, but the real history is
the people," Venegas said.
Kelton came to Pecos in 1899, at the age of 19. The Number 11 Saloon was
three years old then, but the Orient Hotel had not yet been built, and
the railroad had come only 16 years before. He spent his first night in
Pecos sleeping in a stable.
Eliza Ann Farnum moved to Pecos as a widow a few years after R. Frank,
accompanied by her brother and one child, Alice Jane.
R. Frank married Alice Jane "Miss Janie" in December of 1916. The family
they started began the heritage that was celebrated at this reunion.
Bob Kelton read excerpts from R. Frank's diary, and Dee Farnum gave an
overview of the Farnum family history.
After the histories were read, certificates were presented to both
branches of the family. Jim Tom Kelton, son of Robert Frank and Alice
Jane Kelton, received the certificate for the Kelton family. Margaret
Wicker, daughter of Lovey George and Effie Farnum, received the certificate for the Farnum family.
He was born to Hames and Annie Moore in Carlsbad, New Mexico on June 3,
Moore married Leida Clement on June 3, 1930 in his hometown. They had
two children, Asa M. Moore who is deceased andMelva J. Sharp of Pecos.
Three of his grandchildren were present to help him celegrate his 90th
birthday. They were Cindy Deihl,and James Sharp of Pecos and June Gaynes
Two of his great grandchildren were also present, they were John Diehl
Jr. and Kevin James Sharp of Pecos.
Also celebraqting birthdays were Melba Sharp, John Diehl Sr. and Linda Sharp of Pecos and Bill Haynes of Ozona.
Archie Scott, longtime banker and one of the founding fathers of the
West of the Pecos Museum, stepped down as President of the museum's
Board of Directors at the 33rd Annual Old Timers Reunion, which was held
at the museum on July 2, 1997.
Scott has been a resident of Pecos most of his life. He was born in Hot
Springs, New Mexico and came to Pecos when he was about 10 years old, he
"When I first came here, there wasn't a paved street in town," said
"I've seen a lot of changes here," he continued.
"There used to be a fish pond between where Commercial Credit, Vasquez
Home Furniture, the old First National Bank and Fonville's Jewelry Store
are now that was fed by an artesian well, but it was torn out when the
streets were paved."
Scott, who will turn 80 next month, went through Pecos Schools,
graduated from Pecos High School, and then attended Tarleton State
University. He graduated from college in 1937 and went to work for
Security State Bank in 1938, at the age of 21. He retired from the bank
in 1983, but is still on their board of directors.
For five years after retiring, he served as a consultant for the
American Bankers Association . He served a 34-county region, but "I got
tired of travelling," he said.
Scott has also served on the board of the federal reserve bank in El
Paso, represented Texas on the board of the American Bankers
Association, and has served on the board of the Texas Bankers
In addition to his long and distinguished career, Scot has been very
involved in the Pecos community for many years.
"In a small town like this, you can't be involved without getting
involved in a lot of things," Scott said.
In addition to playing a role in getting the West of the Pecos Museum
off the ground, Scott has been a Rotarian for 45 years and was a member
of the Pecos Rodeo Committee for 14 years, from 1946 until 1960.
"The American Legion used to run the rodeo, but they wanted to get out
of it, so weold stock to buy them out," said Scott.
"We rebuilt the north grandstands and doubled the south grandstands,
then gave out stock to what is now the Pecos Rodeo Committee," he
He resigned from the rodeo a couple of years before getting involved in
the museum project.
"I've always been involved in civic organizations," Scott explained.
"I was one of the originators of the museum, back in 1962," he said.
He was also president of the bank at the time he joined a group of local
businessmen who felt that Pecos needed a museum.
"I was in the bank for 46 years, before and during the museum project,"
"A bunch of those old historic buildings needed to be preserved," said
"A bunch of us just got together. We got together and donated time,
labor and money," he said.
"The city was condemning buildings in that area."
"The city bought the old hotel and bus station that had been there and
tore them down," he continued. "That's where the Judge Roy Bean shrine
and park are now."
The group incorporated as a non-profit organization called the West of
the Pecos Museum, and bought the Orient Hotel and #11 Saloon in 1962.
"We got various clubs and organizations in town to sponsor a room in the
museum," said Scott.
"Some clubs helped with cleaning up, others even helped to remodel and
find the items to display," he explained.
"Barney Hubbs was also one of the main people who wanted a museum, and
he has spent many of the latter years of his life working on it," Scott
"He had a complete set of old editions of the Pecos Enterprise. He had
files, files and more files and pictures of everybody and everything
that happened in Pecos for years and years."
"I donated some old registers of brands from Pecos County in the 1880's
to 1905 or 6, back before Reeves County was even organized," Scott said.
"Many of the old, prominent families had brands registered in there."
"We finally opened the museum in the middle of '63," he said.
"We've been continually improving and adding to the museum ever since
"In 1993 we did a massive remodeling job on the whole building," said
"We went to the quarry in Barstow and mined rocks to completely renovate
the deteriorating outside of the buildings. We replaced the fire escape
and balconies, which had long since been torn down," he said.
"We had to reinforce the foundation all the way around and strengthen
Scott continued, "We refurbished the original windows, put in an air
conditioning system, rebuilt the courtyard, added awnings on the front
and back, put a new roof on it, put in a burglar alarm system and had to
completely rewire the entire building."
"For what we spent, we probably could have built a whole new building,
but we would have lost the whole theme of being the West of the Pecos
Museum," Scott said.
Scott added, "Recently, we just finished the renovation of the old
Bluebonnet Cafe, and are using it for the display of the Frying Pan
Ranch (Tom Lineberry's chuck wagon display) and an old surry."
"They have the old cooking utinsels and a cowboy chuck wagon set up in
there the way it would have looked in use at an actual camp," said Scott.
Scott has held jobs outside of the banking industry, too.
"I've held every kind of job there is, I guess," he said.
He has worked as a delivery boy, cowboyed and worked on a seismograph
He also used to caddy on an old country club on a farm that's owned by
Scott also said that before the Red Bluff dam was built, the Pecos river
ran nearly bank-full most of the time.
"We could catch enough catfish to feed 300 - 400 people," he said.
Scott said he and his friends would actually do that, and then have a
fish-fry for all the people who worked at the Pecos Material, which is
where he worked at the time.
Scott is married, and his wife goes by M. M. Scott. Between the two of
them, they have five children; Dan, the oldest, who lives in Fort Worth;
a son Robin who also lives in Fort Worth; Kate who resides in San
Antonio; Doris, who is all the way over in Bradenton, Florida; and Mary Claire, who lives in Mansfield.|
Real summer time is here but the heat has not been as intense so far as
it was last year. There has been much more rain so that has helped.
There was a lot of excitement when Lake Brownwood water was high and
Pecan Bayou was out of banks through the town. Water lapped the
underside division line between the two townships. A number of major
business places were preparing for flooding. Several main streets were
closed for nearly a week. It was the most water I had seen in a long
time except for regular lakes. Fortunately it was not near our house but
Adams Creek came close enough to Coy's store that he stayed up one night
checking the rise.
For you "dry-landers," Pecan Bayou has its start just a little southeast
of Abilene. Both it and Jim Ned Creek run into Brownwood Lake. As the
overflow from the lake, Pecan Bayou runs on southeast to Mills County
where it runs into the Colorado River which continues southeast across
the state flowing into the Gulf of Mexico at Matagorda. Every direction
from here are lakes and streams plus private ponds so there are many
places to fish as well as enjoy the various water sports.
What is it with telephone companies? Ma Bell must have had more progeny
than we realized. North American Telephone had an operator call one
night recently to offer me a "free three weeks of long distance calls."
I tried to tell her I did not need the special offer but she tried
really hard on the "free" and that if at the end of the time the plan
could be canceled and they would change me back again, for "free". After
three "No, Thank You's" the caller finally hushed. My daughter tells me
often that I should just hang up on these "telefomercials" but I was
reared to not be rude to people. So I do not hang up, but I have to
admit I listen out of curiosity - you never know what you might learn.
A headline in the Brownwood news paper is "Museum Still in Limbo."
Written previously have been bits about the Brown County Museum. The
latest word is that, though closed since last October, it will not be
open any time soon. According to the museum board president there is not
enough money to clean up, repair and ready it for viewing. The museum
has no operating fund and board members cannot use the donating fund
which had been set up late last year with a local CPA firm.
Problems at the museum became public early last fall when a petition was
filed for a restraining order preventing the former director from
operating the place. The director submitted his resignation just minutes
before the hearing at court. They city of Brownwood had been holding in
escrow the hotel/motel occupancy tax funds designated for the museum
because required financial reports from the museum had not been
submitted. An audit questioned records for handling of just over $21,000
of funds, including two certificates of deposit and numerous checks made
out to cash. The audit report was given to the office of the county
attorney but no charges were filed. The cost of the audit was $7,500
leaving an amount of $10,296 for the museum which the city still holds.
So the current status is at a standstill.
This situation has been a puzzle to me. In conversation with a native of
the area a partial explanation included the idea "the town and area is
just too small to support a museum". To me this was no excuse. Recalling
the history of West of the Pecos Museum I know it is not the size of the
area; it is the quality and spirit of the people. The word which is now
being touted by national leaders - VOLUNTEERS - is the name of the
game. A goal is set and people work together - some of us have known
about volunteering for a long time. A recent visit to the Pecos Museum
again brought such a rush of pride and gratitude to all those who have
given of time, effort and money to create a monument to Pecos and the
history of the area. It can well be a pattern for accomplishment.
An event of somewhat unusual interest was in Early the last Saturday in
June, the second annual Texas Championship Bison Cook-Off. Incorporated
this year were added attractions to make it a Fun Festival for the held
in the Kelsey land area near Pecan Bayou and some 3,000 people attended.
Because of the flood waters the event was moved to Heartland Mall this
The twenty six entrants parked their vehicles and cooking equipment on
the paved space on the west side. Each was given, by the Festival
Committee, an 8-10 pound brisket of bison. This meat is flown in from
Montana. The Festival Director explained that the bison idea cam about
after discussion of "what can we do that is different?" This was
definitely Indian country long ago and before that surely the buffalo.
So it was decided to identify the cook-off and capitalize on the local
history. Prizes totaling $2,500 were awarded for first, second and third
places. Participants were from all areas of the state. VIP persons from
other towns were asked to be judges.
On the northwest side of the mall a separate group was having their beef
roast cook-out by "chuck wagon camp" sites. Local men, Jack and Charlie
Wheat, have an authentic wagon and all the required gear and equipment
for a real trail ride if they wish to make one. They contacted others
over the state with a similar interest and there were a dozen wagons,
most of which looked as though they had indeed travelled many miles.
Some may have been re-worked but all were interesting to see. On we
noticed was outfitted with U.S. army harness, very old. The Wheats
served dinner plates of beef pot roast, red beans, cream potatoes and
sour dough biscuits.
Outdoor entertainment included performances by the Texas Gunslingers of
Fort Woods at Colorado City - a card game argument with the shoot-em-up
ending, lots of noise! Children could ride a make believe train, the
cars being a four-wheeler. Of course there were candy, drinks, balloon
booths along with ticket chances on items.
Inside the mall there was a Miss Early Pageant, many crafts displays and
demonstrations and six blue grass music groups. Awards and prizes were
given for an art contest as well as the various cook-offs. Mall
personnel estimated a crowd of 14,000 people for the day-long
activities. We saw many out of state license plates. The Festival
Committee people were well pleased. The next planned event will be the
Free Chili Supper on October 31 for hunters arriving for the deer season.
We did not go out for the July 4 fireworks at the lake. The display is
near the dam and parking is a problem. A friend who lives out there said
they saw part of it. So many boats had already gone by their place
earlier in the afternoon they decided the water was crowded.
However their neighbor entertained them quite well with his pyrotechnic
show which was quite elaborate. There was no celebration here in town.
The only fireworks we had was the barbecue fire for hamburgers. Our
excitement was provided mostly by the fifteen-month-old twins, Garrett
and Breena Leight, here with their parents form Corsicana on vacation.
Friends came to join us for the holiday burgers and home-made ice cream.
So we had a good time - all the week was good except for the news of the
deaths of actor James (Jimmy) Stewart and newsman Charles Kuralt. From
days long ago when we went to the movies a lot we always knew a Jimmy
Stewart picture would be good to see. In a world that has so few truly
role models it is so sad to think of him as gone. With the marvel of
television we can continue to see some of his pictures. Charles Kuralt
was my kind of news man - he always tried to view the best of life's
happenings. When he was a roving correspondent he did not seek the
sensational. He was wonderful with words telling the stories of the
people and their ways of making this country what it is. His Sunday
Morning on television was such a good program to begin a week. I am glad
that Charles Osgood is continuing the pattern of people and places.
Others who made an impact on life were Robert Mitchum, the actor who
often was the one we loved to hate, and Jacques Cousteau, who made known
many wonders of the sea world. Truly great men, each was remarkable in
his own way.
Old habits and ways are hard to change - all during Rodeo Week I kept
wondering what was happening at that particular time in Pecos. memories
kept flashing through my mind. It was good to read later the news
reports. So the Rodeo continues to grow - that is terrific!
Congratulations to Gail Taylor, the Golden Girl for 1997. She is one of
special young friends and my wish for her is a happy year as she
represents her home town. It would have been a pleasure to see the Revue
again, especially with the addition of the Miss Cantaloupe Pageant.
THere surely were a lot of proud parents gathered that night.
Reminded of cantaloupes - a local grocery store and last week was "First
of the Season - Pecos Cantaloupes." It would still be more fun going to
the stand in Pecos. We have had lots of conversations and questions
since moving here as we explain our former home town.
As I began writing this column the All-Star Baseball game was on
television so watching that slowed the pencil progress considerably. It
was a good game, low score, surprises, super plays and the thrill of
Sandy Alomar hitting the home run for his hometown crowd. Now to see if
the Texas Rangers can better their record, they have sort of been on a
down slide. Once in awhile I catch a Houston Astros game - they are only
one game off the lead in their league.
What surely must have been a thrilling event for fifteen students of
Early High School happened recently when the school Concert Choir sang
at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Singing with them were their music
teacher, the Howard Payne music director and three of their sponsors.
THey joined choirs from Sumter, S.C. and Wanaque, N.J. in a premier
performance of music by John Rutter, a composer and conductor from
London, England. When the commissioned work becomes available for
purchase all over the world it will bear a dedication at the top of the
music to the Early High School Concert Choir and director, Judy Reed,
and also to the other two choirs. Title of the work to be published is
"To Everything There Is A Season". The mass choir sang two other
compositions by Rutter. They were accompanied by members on the New
England Symphony Orchestra.
This has been a banner year for the Early Choir. For the second
consecutive year choirs at Early High have earned the state UIL
Sweepstakes Trophy in competitions. Awards for this school exceeded any
other 2-A high school choral program in Texas. Soon they will begin
practice for another school year.|
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. Neither these AP Materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and non-commercial use. The AP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions therefrom or in the transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages arising from any of the foregoing.
Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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