Discover Tyler County 2020

Page 1

Tyler County 2020

Featuring events, places and people from

Chester, Colmesneil, Dam-B, Doucette, Fred, Hillister, Ivanhoe, Spurger, Warren, Wildwood & Woodville

Tyler County: Peace among the pines There is an old Greek proverb that comes up in popular culture from time to time when someone is in need of a thought-provoking message about appreciating what has been prepared for future generations. It states that a society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in. The idea is universal. We often hear others speak of wanting to leave a better world for the next generation, as their forbearers had for them. Whether someone has planted a tree (or a whole orchard of them) for their successors to enjoy, or has dug a well from which he or she will never drink, society grows great with forward-thinking endeavors. Tyler County is such a place that has grown on the sturdy shoulders and backs of those who came before; those who tamed the land and conditioned it to yield many good things. Whether you are just passing through this area, or you are thinking of putting down some roots here, or you are a lifelong resident, Discover Tyler County is for you. It is our pleasure to present this collection of information, photographs and stories about traditions within our slice of East Texas as well as the land and its people. Personally, I have been blessed to have done quite a bit of travelling, something I still enjoy but do not get to do as often these days. I grew up in Tyler County, though, and moved back here in 2014. I only thought, initially, I would be back temporarily, but it dawned on me: this is home. As the great singer/songwriter Ryan Adams sings “the sweetest winds blow across the south.” So true, especially here among the pines. Again, we hope you enjoy your time in Tyler County. Whether you are just passing through or you have been here for many years. Enjoy what was, what is and what will be. – Chris Edwards

Pg. 3 - Discover Tyler County 2020

INSIDE 4 8 12 14 18 20 21 28 30 34

Opportunities to Volunteer Plenty of avenues of service alive in Tyler County

Dogwood Festival

Tyler County’s annual celebration turns 77

A High Old Time at the County Fair A fun and prosperous event for folks of all ages

Songbirds From Tyler County Two native talents shine nationally

Ties to Texas History in Peach Tree Village Tyler County: A Place for Faith Variety of religious faiths exist in Tyler County

The Harvest Festival

Heritage Village’s annual folklife festival

The Long Road Home Chester Coach Ray Woodard returns to his roots

Places to Go, Things to See Points of interest in the area

Scenes from Tyler County A selection of photographs from events around the county

Discover Tyler County Magazine Tyler County 2020

Featuring events, places

and people from

Doucette, Chester, Colmesneil Dam-B, Fred, Hillister, Ivanhoe, Spurger, e Warren, Wildwood & Woodvill

On the cover:

As our country embarks upon election year Discover Tyler County Magazine pays tribute to the United States of America and our freedoms. Thank you always to our military & God bless America.

Editor/Writer/Photographer - Chris Edwards Writers- Scott Loar, Jacob Spivey Photographers - Caleb Fortenberry, Jim Powers Graphic Design - Beth Faircloth Advertising – Becky Byley, Jeff Fatheree Discover Tyler County Magazine 2020 is published by Polk County Publishing Company, Inc., serving the Alabama Coushatta Tribe of Texas, Chester, Colmesneil, Dam B, Doucette, Fred, Hillister, Ivanhoe, Spurger, Warren, Wildwood and Woodville. Discover Tyler County Magazine is a visitor’s guide to the pineywoods of deep East Texas, with emphasis on Tyler County and surrounding areas and is dedicated to the people and businesses that make Tyler County such a wonderful community to work, live and play.

Discover Tyler County 2020-Pg. 4

Opportunities to volunteer alive and well in Tyler County By Chris Edwards Several billion people exist (some even co-exist) on this big ball of dirt, rock, water and greenery that sits third in line from the sun. No matter what your religious faith (or lack thereof ) happens to be, the basic tenet of treating one another decently, with kindness and respect, holds true. While one person can’t conceivably affect the lives of all the billions of people around the globe on a one-on-one basis, positive change all begins with individual actions. Think about the oft-referenced “Butterfly Effect,” or Chaos Theory, which essentially states that major incidents such as hurricanes are caused by minor perturbations such as a butterfly flapping its wings. It stands to reason that if destructive forces can be caused by usually unnoticed, minor forces, then constructive effects can come from seemingly small actions and words. Volunteering is such a practice that no matter how significant or, on the other end of the spectrum, “small” one’s actions might seem to the individual his/herself, create great rewards for both the volunteer and the community. Volunteering helps bring people together and ostensibly demonstrate the unity that a community should possess. Every one of us has a little bit of time to roll up our sleeves to help someone or can spare forgo our vente latte or artisanal margarita to contribute to a cause. Donating time, money and/ or elbow grease toward a goal gives hope to someone (or a group of people) who could use it. Within our area, there are a host of venues and organizations that could use a few good volunteers, from nursing homes to the county animal shelter, if you’re willing to contribute

some time, your efforts can and will be appreciated. If you’re not the type to join organizations that do good work, there are always a host of things that you might can do to give someone a helping hand to someone who might need it: from mowing the lawn of a neighbor who might not be able to do so to giving a ride to the store to someone who may not have transportation of their own, good deeds and kindness never go out of fashion. With the coming shift in the seasons from winter to spring, there is never a better time to roll up one’s sleeves and help out in whatever way one can. Volunteering offers experience and rewards that, ultimately, are far more valuable than any amount of money. So if you’re seeking personal and/or spiritual growth, don’t hesitate to become a volunteer. There’s a world of good to be done right in your own backyard, so dig right in. Here is some information about a couple of civic-minded, service-oriented organizations in Tyler County that you can become involved with, and not only serve your community while being a member but also make lifelong friendships.

Lions Club

There are two chapters of Lions International in Tyler County: one in Chester and another in Woodville. The motto of Lions International is “We Serve,” and the club donates its time, talent, money and labor to a variety of good causes. The Chester Lions Club was organized on Oct. 14, 1937 and chartered on Oct. 6, 1949. The club meets twice a month at the Lions Hall in Chester,

Tyler County youth have the opportunity to join the Leo Club, which is a version of the Lions Club for young folks. The Woodville Leo Club was started in 2016, and Ken Jobe is the sponsor. Leo members help out with a variety of service projects across the county, and have travelled to the Lions Camp in Kerrville to assist. Photo by Chris Edwards

Pg. 5 - Discover Tyler County 2020 located on Goolsby Street. The meetings are every first and third Thursday at 6 p.m. The Woodville Lions Club was chartered in 1948. Early meetings took place in the Wisenbaker Cafe, which was provided to the club by the Woodville Lumber Company for a 100-year lease at a rental rate of a dollar a year. The Lions Den, located on Highway 190 East, where the club now holds its meetings, was built with assistance from lumber companies in town which donated the materials. Architect Bob White, the son-in-law of Allan Shivers, drew the plans for the building on the back of a calendar. Through the years the Woodville Lions Club has achieved a record of service unparalleled in Woodville, according to current president Ken Jobe. Many pairs of eye glasses have been purchased for schoolchildren in need and others. Scholarships of $1,000 have been awarded to graduating seniors of area high schools. Many children have been sponsored to the Texas Lions Club Camp in Kerrville, Texas. Everything from closed-captioned televisions to wheelchairs have been donated to the citizens of Woodville and Tyler County. The Woodville Lions Club have sponsored many charitable activities and helped numerous kids and families. The club hosts the annual rodeo during Western Weekend as a fundraiser for projects and scholarships, as well as a chili dinner fundraiser. The club meets every Thursday at noon at the Lions Den. The Woodville Lions Club also has an active Leos chapter. Leos are the youngest members of Lions Clubs International.

The Woodville Rotary Club participates in the “Don’t Meth With Me” program, which educates area youth on the dangers of methamphetamine use. Photo by Caleb Fortenberry

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Discover Tyler County 2020-Pg. 6 According to Lions International’s website, “Leos embody the best qualities of our incredible organization. They are devoted young people who realize the power of action.” Tyler County has had a Leos chapter since October 2016, and Jobe is its sponsor. Jobe said the organization provides a valuable opportunity for the youth of the county to serve in various projects, as well as earn scholarships. “My goal is to always get a graduating senior some money,” he said. The Leos meet every second and fourth Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Lions Den in Woodville. Jobe said the club currently has nine members, but he hopes those numbers will increase. The age of Leos is 14 to 18, and to be a member, one must live in or go to school in Tyler County, Jobe said.

Rotary Club

“Service above self ” is the motto of The worldwide organization known as The Rotary Club. This motto manifests itself in a code of ethics that Rotarians recite at meetings, and strive to live by, known

as the 4-Way Test. The Woodville Rotary Club was chartered on May 19, 1939 and was sponsored by both the Rotary Club of Lufkin and the Rotary Club of Beaumont. The 20 men who were charter members were local business and professional men from Woodville and Colmesneil. The charter night celebration was held at the CCC Camp in Woodville with the meal price set at 50 cents per person. During the first two years of the Woodville Rotary Club, the meeting place changed thirteen times until an arrangement was made with the ladies of the First Christian Church to serve the Rotary Club at 7:00 pm on Tuesday evenings in the church Fellowship Hall. This agreement lasted for 25 years. The club now meets each Wednesday at noon at the Pickett House. The club also sponsors an Interact Club at Woodville High School. Each year the club sponsors four students for leadership training at the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy. In the past the club has sponsored Boy Scouts, Girl

Scouts, provided field upgrades to the youth baseball and softball facilities, as well as contributions to the Woodville Volunteer Fire Department. Five years ago, the club began the wheelchair ramp project. Over a period of several years the club built a number of ramps. This project has continued through the auspices of Woodville United Methodist Church and the Men’s Breakfast that meets at that church. The most recent project is a drug intervention program targeted at fifth grade students, “Don’t Meth With Me”. This is a program that has proven to reduce drug use in communities across the nation. These service projects are funded through fund raisers like Breakfast with Santa and Gumbo Dinner. The club also receives grants through the Rotary Foundation District Grant program. This club has been very active in the Tyler County Dogwood Festival. The first president, Josiah Wheat, was a member of this club. Many of the officers, directors and Kingsmen were and are members of Rotary. Additionally,

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Pg. 7 - Discover Tyler County 2020 the club has had a float in the parade for a number of years. The Woodville Rotary Club has been very active beyond the local community. It has hosted a number of district meetings over the years with the first being a district conference in 1952. 244 Rotarians and 62 wives attended and were housed in local homes for the conference. Further, this club has provided leadership at the district level beginning in 1955-1956 with J. Wood Fain serving as District Governor. In the 1970’s Gilbert Wright was selected as District Governor but passed away before his term began. In 2021-2022 this tradition of leadership will continue with Jerry Springfield serving as District Governor. In addition to leadership as District Governor, this club has provided four Assistant Governors, numerous district committee members and chairs, and three Group Study Exchange team leaders. According to Roschelle Springfield, Rotary is about the opportunity to serve. We do this through projects, many of which directly impact the children and students in Tyler County. We are able to provide help around the world through the Rotary Foundation. The Rotary Club of Woodville is ready for another 80 years of service.

More opportunities and groups AL-ANON: Family Groups is an Anonymous Fellowship of Relatives and Friends of Alcoholics. There are Many Al-Anon and Ala-Teen Meetings Throughout the Southeast Texas Area. If You are Affected By a Drinking Problem Someone Else Has, And Want Further Information, Please Call (409) 899-3343. FIBROMYALGIA SUPPORT: Call Loretta Mott at (409) 331-0018. THE NEW BEGINNINGS AA GROUP: 112 S. Pecan, will meet Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. Call Diane @ (832) 549-0484 or Lee (409) 698-8540 L.B.A.S LEFT BEHIND AFTER SUICIDE Mondays 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at city hall in Huntington on U.S. 69. Leaders: Joe Sawyer, H876-9001 C- 404-7135. Jennie Christopher, C676-3253. Sabrina Sallas Fisher, C- 465-3878. Debbie Sallas Robinson, C- 404-8703. TOPS MEETING LOCATIONS: Mondays, 9:45 a.m. at Dogwood Hills Baptist Church, (409)200-5674. Tuesdays, 9:00 a.m. at

the United Methodist Church in Spurger, (409) 429-5239.

Thursday at noon weekly at the Lions Club Den, 2 miles east of Woodville.

EXERCISE CLASS at the Nutrition Center Monday, Wednesday and Friday beginning at 10 a.m. Free and open to anyone in the community. 201 Veterans Way, Woodville.

HEAL ADDICTION RECOVERY PROGRAM 12-Step. Meets on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. at the Woodville branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The program applies the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ toward recovery from addictions. Call or text 409-210-9099 to attend.

HELPING YOURSELF WITH DIABETES-We can help you manage your diabetes. Free classes. Diabetic Education is Kelly Knox at 409-2836442. AMERICAN LEGION – Meets every third Saturday at the Woodville Fire Station. Meeting begins at 10 a.m.

EAST TEXAS BLACKSMITH ALLIANCE Meetings held the second Saturday at 9 a.m. Heritage Village Museum.

services for patients and their families. For more information, call Wildflower Gift Shop at 409-283-6435 HERITAGE VILLAGE SPINNING & WEAVING GUILD Meetings held the second Saturday of the month at 9 a.m. New members welcome. Heritage Village Fiber Arts. Bldg. Call (409) 283-2272 for details. TYLER CO. HERITAGE SOCIETY Board of directors meets the third Monday of each month at 10 a.m. at the Hamm House at. Heritage Village.

MASONIC LODGE MEETINGS. The following are all of the SASSY SCRAPPERS meeting dates and times Meet second and last Tuesday, 9-12p Fiber TYLER COUNTY for the Masonic lodges Arts Building, Heritage BEEKEEPERS meets in Tyler County:1st Village. Call Donna every month on the Tuesdays – 7:30 pm, fourth Tuesday at 6 p.m. Bomer 409.837-9196 Magnolia Lodge, or Virginia Reynolds at The meetings are held Woodville (409) 283-3056. at the Nutrition Center, 1st Saturdays – 7:30 201 Veteran’s Way, pm, Snow River Lodge, TYLER CO. HOSPITAL Woodville, in Room C. Spurger 2nd Tuesdays AUXILIARY Everyone is welcome The Tyler County at these meetings. You – 7:30 pm, Mt. Hope Hospital Auxiliary meets do not have to be a Lodge, Chester 2nd member, or a beekeeper. the second Monday of Saturdays – 7:30 pm, every month at 10 a.m. Myrta Lodge, Warren the LVN classroom. ROTARY CLUB TIRE in& WHEEL CENTERS 4th Saturdays – 7:30 Meetings Wednesday Everyone welcome. pm, Yellow Pine Lodge, Volunteers needed at noon at the Pickett Alignments • Wheels Colmesneil for ER reception, gift House. Brakes A/C Work shop, vending • machine TIRE stocking & WHEEL LIONS CLUB Meetings and many other CENTERS

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Discover Tyler County 2020-Pg. 8

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Pg.9 - Discover Tyler County 2020 Every year, Tyler County folks have celebrated spring with the annual Tyler County Dogwood Festival. Tyler County is, after all, widely recognized as “the Dogwood Capitol of Texas.” This year’s celebration will mark the 77th time Tyler County has hosted the event. The festival, which celebrates the dogwood trees that can be found throughout the county, spans three weekends from mid March through early April and is enjoyed each year by thousands of visitors from all over Texas and the U.S. The Dogwood Festival was founded back in the 1940’s by lifelong Tyler County resident James Edward Wheat and has been held continually since then except during World War II. This year’s event will kick off with the Festival of the Arts at Heritage Village Museum on March 20 - 21, followed by Western Weekend on March 27 and 28, and the the Queen’s Weekend on April 4. Plan to attend each weekend. There are always new things to see and do. This year, there will be some new additions to the annual celebration. The theme for 2020’s Dogwood celebration is “Tyler County on the Red Carpet,” and the historical play will take a look back at

Tyler County during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Heritage Village Museum, and downtown Woodville, is the place to start your day during the Festival of the Arts weekend. The Village, located on Hwy 190 on the Western edge of Woodville is a living reproduction of a 19th century village in Tyler County and features 19th century buildings with displays depicting life in the county at the end of the 19th century. A main attraction at the Village is the large showing of handmade quilts on display. You will also find blacksmithing demonstrations, the “Spinners and Weavers,” music of every kind and food vendors for the hungry crowds. You can also visit Tyler County Art District, located in downtown Woodville, during the festival and watch artists in a variety of mediums at work. Be sure to take a tour of the Tyler County Art League’s gallery while you are in town. Western Weekend, during the second weekend of events, always brings lots of folks to Woodville for a weekend of fun that includes a parade featuring one of the largest trail rides in the state. The riders converge on Woodville on Saturday. In addition, a barbecue cookoff will take

place during Western Weekend, and will be open to everyone with no entry fee. The Main Event during Western Weekend, though, is two nights of Lions Rodeo action. Last year’s rodeo brought out record numbers to watch some fastpaced action in the arena. The Western Weekend Rodeo Queen is crowned during the Saturday night rodeo event. The weekend also features vendors of every kind, from arts and crafts to all kinds of food. They are located on and around the courthouse square in downtown Woodville. Bring the family and plan to spend the entire day enjoying the festivities. Queen’s Weekend is the showcase of the three week festival and the finale of the three-weekend event. Saturday offers a full day of fun. You can spend all day shopping for arts and crafts of every kind, enjoying the classic car show, and joining hundreds of folks who line West Bluff in Woodville to watch the annual Queen’s Weekend Parade. Thousands of people have traveled to Woodville to take part in the Dogwood Festival activities. Many of them arrive as strangers, but leave as friends.

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THE TYLER COUNTY FAIR By Jacob Spivey For many who have grown up in Tyler County, the sight of the Ferris wheel coming to town for that first weekend in October elicits those intense feelings that something special is going to happen. It really does kick off the holiday season as far as I’m concerned. Of all my Tyler County memories, fair time might be my favorite. Tyler County Fair was held, as it has been every year since 1974 at the Clinton Currie 4H/FFA Fairgrounds and Rodeo Arena. The fair brings youth from all over the county out to bring projects they spent countless hours perfecting. From sewing and fine art projects, to cakes and canning, all the way to the livestock projects that some of these young people have been working on for years, the future of Tyler County could be found right out on Hwy. 190 near the airport. The 2019 fair set records for sales. Kaela

Hassig of Woodville FFA and Logan Mahaffey of Colmesneil 4H each set a record with the sale of their Grand Champion steer and swine, respectfully. We had several elements of the fair that maybe don’t get as much recognition as the pig show but are nonetheless very impressive. One of the new shows was in the Home Economics building, where for the first-time students from around the county took part in entering fresh floral arrangements for judging. One of my favorite contests is the barbecue cook-off, sponsored by the Tyler County Go Texan committee, I may have snuck around, and taste-tested several of the teams’ entries, and I’m glad I didn’t have to pick the winner. When it came down to Saturday, after every pie had been tasted and every animal project placed the auctions were held. During the afternoon the Home

Pg. 13 - Discover Tyler County 2020 Economics Auction brought every project the maximum amount, and almost $6,000, and then Saturday night nearly $300,000 was spent on livestock projects which had made the sale. When all was said and done the youth of Tyler County were able to take home more than $319,000 for projects raised or produced for the fair. As impressive as it is for our young people, the fair brings out the best in our community as well. There are countless volunteers who give of their time to make the fair the very best time of the year. The people here are special, that’s a fact. There are many things that make Tyler County a special place, from the rolling hills of Colmesneil to the countless memories one can make along the river and on the many backroads throughout the county, but the thing that makes Tyler County truly unique is the quality of the people who live here. I can’t thank the people of Tyler County enough for the privilege to serve them, Kaela Hassig of the Woodville FFA chapter sold the grand champion steer and weeks like Tyler County Fair Week at the 2019 Tyler County Fair. The animal fetched $14,000 from a group of remind me about what a truly special place buyers. Photo by Chris Edwards this is.

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Discover Tyler County 2020 - Pg. 14

Songbirds from Tyler County Two natives find successful paths in the music business

T he nurturing, rural enclave that is Tyler County has supported many a

young person’s dreams. Statesmen have hailed from our neck of the woods, as well as those who have made their mark in the arts and letters. As music listeners have expressed a desire for authenticity in their chosen sounds, artists from areas like the rural parts of the south provide that in droves. While Tyler County is not known as a musical mecca, there is a lot of talent to be found here, and a couple of native artists have been making waves at the national level. Here are their stories.

Kim Cruse “I just remember my booking manager

calling me, and saying ‘OMG, I’m about to cry!’,” is how Kim Cruse recalls receiving the news that she was chosen to sing the national anthem at a Houston Rockets vs. New Orleans Pelicans game in 2018. Since then, her profile has continued to rise. The young gospel singer/songwriter

By Chris Edwards has toured around the world and worked on recording her music. A Woodville native, Cruse grew up in her father’s church, Little Baptist Church. “I just remember being really young, singing my ABC’s at the top of my lungs,” she said. “My first public performance has to have been at church. We would have musicals at our church quite often. I believe I sang a song called ‘Mississippi Poor Boy’ with a quartet that my dad invited out.” She credits her parents, Bobby and Ramona Cruse, as her biggest inspirations to sing and perform. “They’ve worked so hard to help make everything happen for me. I want to be able to give them the world and more.” Cruse recalls how she would also stand out in her front yard as a child and sing whatever her favorite song happened to be at the time in the same fashion, she would sing out the alphabet. “Waking my lovely neighbors up on Saturday mornings” is a fond memory she recalled from growing up in Woodville. From her childhood filled with singing and music to numerous classical choir competitions in high school, Cruse has steadily worked at her craft. She took up songwriting during her high school years, and has auditioned for several television shows, such as “American Idol,” “The Voice” and “Sunday’s Best,” all while honing her artistry. Cruse has gone on a national tour with renowned gospel singer/pastor and musician John P. Kee and was featured on a Kee recording project. Cruse said that the latest burst of activity in her music career has been unexpected. “Things are happening so fast that I haven’t had much time to grasp what’s going on, almost like it all hasn’t hit me yet,” she said. “God has really

been doing some amazing things.” As anyone who has worked in the music industry or has closely followed an artist’s career can attest, the “overnight sensation” label is a myth and Kim Cruse is a testament to building upon talent with hard work and perseverance. “I want to be a model, someone who can testify and say, ‘Hey, this is what can happen if you stay true to who you are and trust God and his timing’.”

Kree Harrison Tune in to a country radio station and

you might just hear a familiar voice coming out of your speakers as of late. Native Woodvillian Kree Harrison’s latest single “I Love the Lie,” which was written by hitmaker Chris Stapleton has placed the young artist on a reignited path of critical and commercial success. Already a veteran performer at age 28, Harrison first captured the nation’s attention as the runner-up on season 12 of American Idol in 2013. Before that, she had already put in many miles as a singer-songwriter and had called Nashville home for several years.

Pg. 15 - Discover Tyler County 2020 She landed a record deal at age 10 and was showcased on national television with an episode of the Rosie O’Donnell Show and later scored a publishing deal as a songwriter. Her initial attempt to record an album stalled, and an attempt at recording another one met with tragic circumstances, as her mother died in a car crash while she was working on it. Harrison had also lost her father under tragic circumstances. He died in a plane crash in 2001. She looked to songwriting as a means to cope with the trauma of losing her parents, and the song “Stars,” written for her mother, wowed the American Idol judges when she traveled to Oklahoma City for tryouts. Harrison released her debut album following her American Idol run. The record, titled This Old Thing, was released through the Plaid Flag label, and hit #28 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. The new single, with its poignant lyrics and catchy melody, is only a taste of what Harrison has up her sleeve. In a recent news release, Harrison said she is in the studio writing and recording material for her sophomore full-length album,

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and there are plans to tour, as well. Her new music represents a continued artistic growth and will surprise listeners who only know her from her Idol fame. In a recent interview with CMT, Harrison cited the influence of several ‘90s female country singers such as Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless and Martina McBride. “I’m pulling a lot of my influences that I grew up with in the ‘90s,” she said. Harrison’s upcoming record also represents a new beginning in that it will be released through the auspices of One Vision Music Group. In a press release for the “I Love the Lie” single, Clayton McDonnell, who is the head of A&R for the label, said “Kree is an extraordinary talent whose voice is both resounding and soulful all in one. We are thrilled to be part of her bright future.” Stapleton, who has become a ubiquitous presence on the charts with his solo records and has penned numerous hit songs for artists such as George Strait and Josh Turner, released a statement with his wife and collaborator Morgane about Harrison’s talent and her cover of his composition.

“We love hearing Kree sing anything, so to have her record a song we wrote is truly special,” the Stapletons stated. They also referred to her as “an absolute vocal treasure.” The song, which was released to radio and to all streaming platforms on Feb. 12, 2019 has earned her notice from such tastemaking music publications as Rolling Stone and the online Taste of Country. A video for the song premiered in late March on CMT and has been a presence on the network’s Top 20 video countdown since its premiere. Legendary artists Emmylou Harris and Wynonna Judd have also sung Harrison’s praises recently. Harrison said music has been her lifelong passion, and many Tyler County residents can probably remember hearing a young Kree Harrison singing at churches, graduation ceremonies, rodeos and other events. Even after she and her family moved to Nashville once she was signed to Lyric Street Records, she still considered Woodville home. She told the Booster in 2013 that spending her childhood in Woodville helped make her into the

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Discover Tyler County 2020 - Pg. 16 artist she became. “Being from Woodville has definitely influenced my musical style and the songs I write. The small-town mentality goes hand in hand with my music.” Harrison also said that her grandparents listened to Willie Nelson, and all her friends and family loved traditional country music. “Growing up around that makes me appreciate it,” she said. The landscape of Texas has produced a variety of musical artists, as well as strains of music. Tyler County has always had a bumper crop of talented folks, and the potential path for artists like Kim Cruse and Kree Harrison is limitless. Genre matters not for true talent. Whether someone is marketed as country, gospel, rhythm and blues or folk, the public will respond to true talent and honest expression. Remember to support local talent. Every career artist has a beginning somewhere, and Tyler County is a fine place for Tyler County Judge Jacques Blanchette presented Kree Harrison with a proclamation honoring her for her achievements in 2013.

LINDSEY B. WHISENHANT LAW OFFICE, PLLC. 130 S. Charlton Woodville, TX 75979 409-283-8288 940 Redwood St. Kountze, TX 77625 409-246-2770 Brad Elrod Associate Attorney

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Tyler County Area Map To Lufkin 69 Peach Tree Village


Neches River


Chester Long Leaf Pine Trail


• Lake Tejas



Martin Dies, Jr. State Park • • Magnolia Ridge


Dam B

3065 1632

Louisiana Pacific Trail


190 To Livingston

15 miles to Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation

Doucette Heritage Village • • Dogwood Hills Golf Course


190 To Jasper Campers Cove



287 69


(30 miles to Livingston)

B.A. Steinhagen Lake



92 • Beech Creek Trail


Warren 1943

92 1943

Wildwood Golf Course • (8 miles south of Warren)


2827 To Beaumont

Turkey • Creek Trail


• Watson Pinelands Preserve

Discover Tyler County 2020 - Pg. 18

Ties to Texas history in Peach Tree Village By Chris Edwards The oldest house in Tyler County and a striking, beautiful brick chapel are basically all that remain of Peach Tree Village, which sits two miles north of Chester, off Farm Road 2019. According to historian Henry Chenoweth, Peach Tree Village is classified as a ghost town, yet it is more of a memorial from a son to his parents. The son in question was born in 1860 as John Henry Kirby. As a lawyer, Kirby earned a reputation for representing lumber companies, and took his fortune to invest in his homeland. He built a railroad and founded the Kirby Lumber Company. Kirby later served in the Texas Legislature for two terms. He also established the Kirby Petroleum Company, and with his many ventures, became known as “The Prince of the Pines,” in the eyes of his peers. That moniker would also serve as the title of a biography, written by Mary Lasswell Smith. As accomplished in the eyes of the world as Kirby became, he never got beyond his raising. He preferred the quiet, rural atmosphere of Peach Tree Village and built his parents a home there, and in 1912, three years after his father died, he erected the red brick chapel in honor of his parents. While Kirby, whose list of titles stretches longer than most modern “Renaissance men” was the most famous export of Peach Tree Village, the area located near the Neches River, factors into the rich tapestry of our state’s history in surprising ways outside of its favorite son. The village was founded by the Alabama Indians in the latter part of the eighteenth century. The name Peach Tree Village was given to the area by white settlers. Prior to that, it was known as Indian Village, and the white settlers in the region knew of the peaceful Alabama Indians and their trading post there. According to historian Bob Bowman, the Alabamas’ claim to the land that comprised Peach Tree Village was contested for the first time in 1834 by Col. Peter Ellis Bean, an American who served in the Mexican Army. Bean, who was stationed at Nacogdoches, applied for and received a grant of 11 leagues of land from the Mexican government. Bowman writes that the natives who occupied the village were on good terms with the white settlers in the area, who included Peter Cauble and Valentine Ignatius Burch. Cauble, who settled at Peach Tree Village around 1831, was Burch’s father-in-law. The latter man settled there about 1845 after marrying Cauble’s youngest daughter. Cauble, who was a first-generation American born to German immigrants, was a schoolteacher by trade. In Peach Tree Village, he became so well-known as a teacher that the residents bestowed the title of “Professor” upon him. He and his wife Mary Rotan moved to Peach Tree Village when Mexico offered plentiful parcels of land to homesteaders. The house Cauble built around 1835 still remains. The house is the oldest known structure still in use in Tyler County, and in 1846 was recognized via legislative action as a locator for pinpointing the common boundary line between Tyler and Polk counties, which is two miles west

of the home. It is now owned by the Tyler County Heritage Society, which has taken care of it since 1990. When Sam Houston began to build his army of Texians to fight for independence from Mexico, Cauble, then 50 years of age, joined up, as did his son-in-law. When the war ended, Cauble returned to Peach Tree Village, where he and his family lived until his death. He served in many roles, including Road Commissioner and Justice of the County Court, after returning. Burch, who fought at the Battle of San Jacinto, also became a leader in the community, and a key figure in the development of Peach Tree Village. Burch and his wife Helen often hosted travelling Catholic missionaries, and the village thrived during the years of the Republic of Texas. It boasted a store, a cotton gin, saloon, grist mill, church, school and a post office. The Alabamas,

The chapel at Peach Tree Village, a tribute from John Henry Kirby to his parents. Photo by Chris Edwards

Pg. 19 - Discover Tyler County 2020 who remained neutral during the Texas Revolution, gradually left Peach Tree Village and moved five miles southeast to the Fenced-in Village, an area of land granted to the tribe by the Republic of Texas. The construction of the Trinity and Sabine Railway in 1883 and establishment of the City Chester caused a decline in Peach Tree Village, as the post office, school and commercial businesses were moved to Chester. The chapel Kirby built in 1912 still stands, and it, along with two acres of land surrounding it, are under the trusteeship of the Tyler County Commissioners Court. Along with the chapel, a donation of 22.4 acres of land was developed into Camp Ta-Ku-La, a non-denominational campsite that is available to churches and groups for activities, retreats and youth camps. According to the site’s history, the word “Ta-Ku-La” is an Alabama Indian word meaning “peach tree.” Even though little remains of the once prosperous frontier town, its history is still accessible to anyone who finds their way there. The story of Peach Tree Village, as written by Kirby, is still on display on a sign in the center of the village and the art inside the chapel, which Kirby hired a Russian artist to render, uses images to tell the story of the area and its part in the formation of the state of Texas.

The cornerstone at the Peach Tree Village chapel dedicated to the memory of John Henry Kirby’s parents.

(409) 837-5757 • Colmesneil, Texas Owned & operated by Colmesneil ISD

Discover Tyler County 2020 - Pg. 20

Spend any amount of time in Tyler County and you will observe how faith is an important, guiding force in many residents’ lives. Many conversations and visits are ended with the pleasant “have a blessed day,” while stickers and T-shirts proclaiming “He has risen” are common sights. There are many opportunities to worship in Tyler County, with a variety of houses of worship – from Baptist to Methodist, and many other denominations – in all of the communities. For some communities within our county boundary lines, historic churches and a smattering of homes are all that is left. According to the latest data available, courtesy of the

A place for you. Sunday: Bible Life Sunday School 9:45 a.m. Worship Service 11 a.m. | 6 p.m. Wednesday: Fellowship Meal 5:15 Adult Primetime, Student Afterglow & TeamKids 6 p.m. (409) 547-2215 11645 US Hwy 69 South | P.O. Box 128, Warren, TX 77664 Dr. David Mahfouz, Pastor

Bethel Baptist Church 334 FM 1943 W - Warren, Texas 77664 Phone: (409)-547-3201

Rev. Larry Staggs – Pastor Sunday Services: 9:45 and 11:00 am, 6:00 pm Wednesday Schedule: 5:45 – 7:45 pm (Meal, AWANA Clubs, Youth & Adult Bible Study)

Everyone is Welcome!

Association of Religion Data Archives, the leading denominations in Tyler County are as follows: evangelical denominations (11,020 adherents); Catholics (557); Assemblies of God (601); Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (73); Episcopal Church (75); Seventh-Day Adventists (62); United Methodist Church (767.) The above figures represent more than half of the county’s population of 21,539 souls. Faith is, indeed, an important factor in the lives of Tyler County folks. Regardless of one’s affiliation, there is a church home for you in Tyler County. Check out one of the churches in the area, and find some fellowship as well as some peace and deeper meaning in your everyday life.

Good Samaritan Fellowship Church

Sunday School 10 a.m. Church Service 11 a.m. Wednesday Service 7 p.m. 21544 Hwy 92 S. • P.O. Box 117


Little Baptist Missionary Church Sunday School 9:45 Worship Service 11:00

Bobby Cruse, Pastor

261 County Road 4494, Hillister, TX 77624


Pg. 21 - Discover Tyler County 2020

Harvest Festival: a sign of fall in Tyler County By Chris Edwards

During the third weekend in October each year, Heritage Village in Woodville plays host to the Harvest Festival. The festival brings together artisan exhibitors, live music and food vendors to present a unique experience to the public. Participants dress in period costumes and use period tools. Demonstrations include basket weaving, different folk dances and the ever-popular blacksmith demo in the fully functional blacksmith shop on the grounds. The 2019 festival rang in the 31st year for the event. The roots of the Harvest Festival date back to when the Tyler County Heritage Society purchased and set about renovating the Village. Marjorie Schultz, who was then director, came up with an idea to put on a folk life festival at Heritage Village, similar to ones she had attended in central Texas and in Pennsylvania. The inaugural Harvest Festival was a success and drew several hundred people. Along with live music, food vendors and demonstrations of skills from the 1840-1920 period, such as the popular blacksmith demonstration, there is also a photography contest. During last year’s edition of the festival, a new addition to the Village’s events kicked off. Singer/songwriter Fletcher Clark and author/historian Donaly E. Brice brought a lecture and performance event to the Village with “The Runaway Scrape” and “The Songs of Susanna,” which will present a crucial part of Texas history with music and historical narration. The event is the first in a lecture series that is the brainchild of Susan Blanks, a TCHS board member who saw the series as fulfilling a need in the community as well as helping with the organization’s aim. “Since part of our mission is education, we have been looking for people to speak on history, whether on Texas, its people, or crafts, etc.,” Blanks said. Top: One of many craftsmen showing his skills at the Harvest Festival. Left: Spinners and weavers are always a welcome presence at the festival. Photos in this story by Jim Powers

Discover Tyler County 2020 - Pg. 22

Other events have become traditions at the Village, such as the annual “Toast to Texas” held on March 2, during which participants raise and sip glasses of fresh, cool and locally sourced spring water to commemorate Texas Independence Day. The Village also hosts a storytelling event in late September and a Christmastime celebration. Another popular (and tasty) event that is a local favorite is the annual Mexican Fiesta Dinner, which also features a silent auction. The fundraiser takes place at the Lions Den in Woodville on the Friday that is the first home game for the Woodville Eagles. The events that have become traditions, as well as the newer spate of happenings keep people from all around interested in Heritage Village. Director Ofeira Gazzaway is happy to report all of the visitors from far away states, as well as a stream of international tourists, who enjoy their educational and entertaining visits to the Village.

Maureen Peltier, a recent addition to Tyler County and to the Heritage Society, who moved from Houston, said Heritage Village gave her a richer experience in East Texas than she had anticipated. Heretofore, Peltier’s only experience with the Village was the Pickett House chicken and dumplings, but after visiting during the annual Dinner on the Grounds and touring the Village, a new world was opened. “I discovered that this former city girl had been missing quite a bit,” she said. Peltier said she felt like she “stepped into a time machine” when she visited the many authentic, ageless buildings on the grounds. “Some people view history as a boring and unimportant subject, but my visit to the Village reminded me that history can be interesting and grounds us in our roots and shows us how we got to where we are today.”


1 in 5 Adults ...

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205 W Bluff • 409|283|2516 • Woodville, TX 75979



January 25-Children’s Powwow May-Crowning of new princesses

June 5 &6 52nd Annual Powwow July-Independence Day celebration September-Labor Day Men’s Fastpitch tournament October-Fall festival December-Native Craft Fair Please visit Tribal website for additional events and information

571 State Park Road 56 Livingston, TX 77351

Discover Tyler County 2020 - Pg. 24

Discover the arts in Tyler County: TCAL and the Emporium Visitors to Tyler County are often surprised to discover a flourishing arts district in downtown Woodville. It is home to the Tyler County Art District, featuring the Tyler County Art League’s Gallery, and the Emporium for the Arts, an active venue for plays and musical performances. The gallery is located at 210 West Bluff in downtown Woodville. All traditional mediums are represented, including oils, watercolors, acrylics, pastels, photography, pen & ink, and charcoal drawings. Hours are 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday. The art gallery is the showcase for the Tyler County Art League, an organization which has grown over the last seven years from a gathering of nine artists in 2003 to a membership of 475 today. The gallery is filled with art representing 125 artists with work crossing many genres, from painting and sculpture to photography and pottery. Whatever your interest in art, you will probably find it represented in the gallery. The Emporium for the Arts has grown over the last several years from an enduring interest in the county to a permanent theater and performance art venue. The first performance in the original Emporium was “Christmas Bells,” which was presented on a small 16’x15’ stage built in a space next to the Art Gallery. Several years ago, the Emporium moved “down the road a bit,” into a much larger building. It is steadily being upgraded and has been the home for dozens of plays and musical performances.

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Pg. 25 - Discover Tyler County 2020

From theatrical productions to concerts, the Emporium Stage is the place for Tyler Countians to get quality shows at low prices. Photos by Jim Powers


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Discover Tyler County 2020 - Pg. 26

Lake Amanda’s namesake Amanda Haralson cuts the ribbon to usher in a rebirth of the lake. The rebuilding of the dam was finished during the summer of 2019, and the lake is full and welcoming once again to weekenders, anglers and for residents to enjoy its beauty. Haralson is pictured with members of the Lake Amanda Property Owners Association, various dignitaries and other individuals who made the dam project possible. Photo by Chris Edwards

Lake Amanda: A study in rebirth and revitalization By Chris Edwards June 8, 2019 marked a day that many Tyler County residents undoubtedly thought would never arrive. The rebuilding of the Lake Amanda dam was completed, and a celebration, complete with a ribbon cutting and after-party, took place on that date. It was certainly a cause for celebration for the long road it took to rebuild the dam, which was lost during the Memorial Day flood of 2016. Kirwin Drouet, who serves as the Lake Amanda Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 (LAWCID) president said he wanted the celebration to feature no speeches, but “just fellowship celebrating the completion of our beautiful Lake Amanda dam.” The lake was a vital part of Tyler County’s culture for many years, and the loss of the dam was catastrophic to the many property owners around the lake. The events of May 27, 2016 caused a complete collapse of the dam, which led to severe flooding and a 100-foot section of it to wash downstream. Amanda’s sister lake, Frog Pond, escaped harm due in part to a horizontal concrete spillway that was a few feet lower than its dam and prevented water from spilling over it. Drouet said that when the dam was lost, he and other property owners did not know how they would fix the immense loss. Instead of seeking grant funding for the project, Drouet, Heyward Fetner and other Lake Amanda property owners started a water district, which was ratified in Nov. 2016. Along with the ratification of the district, voters also approved $1 million in bonds to repair the dam.

Subsequently, voters overwhelmingly approved a half-million dollar increase to the bonds and later, the Texas Water Development Board approved LAWCID’s application for a 30-year loan of $1.5 million. Drouet said that once an engineer was enlisted, he designed “the Taj Mahal of dams” and designed the new dam. Structurally, the new dam’s design should prevent another disaster, Drouet said. HC Oilfield Services of Chester won the bid to rebuild the dam, and ground was broken on the project in August of 2018. Drouet said the property owners were glad to award the contract to a local firm and spoke of HC’s expertise in building dams. Locals looked forward to seeing the day when and if Lake Amanda could become a hive of activity and fellowship again, as it had been since it was developed in 1959. Its long history of weekenders coming in to host parties, relax and engage in some prime fishing would be continued once the dam was finished last year. The lake’s namesake, Amanda Haralson, was on hand to celebrate the re-opening of the dam last June, and she contributed to the process, by donating the clay to fill the hole left where the dam collapsed. Her father, the late Jim Haralson, had envisioned the lake to be a mecca for outdoorsmen when he developed it on his family’s homestead. Drouet, who spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony, remarked that in the two years from the dam’s collapse to breaking ground, things were moving fast, but like with any other project, “you’ve got to take it one step at a time,” he said. Much like the Phoenix, that mythical Greek symbol of resurrection, Lake Amanda has experienced a rebirth.

Pg. 27 - Discover Tyler County 2020

The above photos show the dramatic difference in Lake Amanda from 2017 to 2019. The photo on the left was taken in January 2017 near the same spot as the photo on the right, which was taken after the dam was rebuilt and the lake was filled again. Photos by Chris Edwards

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Discover Tyler County 2020 - Pg. 28

T he long road home:

Chester coach Ray Woodard comes full-circle By Scott Loar The life of a football coach can have the highest of highs and, yes, the lowest of lows. Football coaches are loved if they win and second guessed if they lose. They are always dependent on their players to keep them in the good graces of those that hired them and control their employment. For one area coach, his football life has led him all over the world, and it has finally brought him home. Ray Woodard grew up in Corrigan, and like most young men, played high school football. As a defensive tackle, he was able to extend his career at Kilgore Junior College and then transfer to the University of Texas. He was drafted by the San Diego Chargers, then moved on to Denver where he was a part of the Broncos 1986 AFC championship team and appeared in the Super Bowl. He concluded his pro football career with the Kansas City Chiefs. After his playing career, Woodard went into coaching where he landed with the NFL’s European experiment, NFL Europe. He coached first with the Frankfort Galaxy and then spent three years as the defensive coordinator of the Scottish Claymores before the NFL shut the league down. Woodard said, “It was an incredible experience. My family and I saw places that we never even thought about visiting, and we could see the history and culture that is part of our nation’s past.” Woodard is not your average football coach as he has not only his bachelor’s degree, but his masters and even his

doctorate which he received from Lamar University while he was coaching there. At the time he was one of only 6 coaches in Division 1 football to have a doctorate. After Europe, he coached high school football, but soon found himself at Navarro College where in 2007 his team finished the year with a bowl victory and the #4 ranking among Junior Colleges in America. That year he was also awarded the SWJCFC Coach of the Year award. Then Lamar would come calling, looking to Woodard to help the university resurrect its football program after a 20 year absence. Woodard spent 7 seasons as the Cardinals head coach, amassing a 34 and 46 record. His best season being the 2010 season when the team finished with 5 wins and 6 losses. At 56 years old he had the time in to be able to retire, so he did, but wasn’t fully convinced that something else might not be on the horizon. He and his wife sold their home in Beaumont and built a home in Corrigan to be near family. Woodard said, “I promised my wife and my mother that our moving days were over.” Woodard waited a year to make sure that certain aspects of his retirement would not be affected by returning to work. He then waited and sure enough, he got a call from Chester. “I know many of the people in Chester from growing up just up the road. In fact, we all ran the same roads together. This is a great community that still loves its football,” Woodard stated. Chester had to drop

from 11 man to 6 man football years ago, and Woodard had never coached 6 man football. “I had to go back to school. This is an interesting game that is fast paced and exciting to watch. It is not that different from 11 man, just know that the player that receives the snap of the football can not advance it past the line of scrimmage. No ‘read option’ in 6 man football.” Woodard said “I am 58 years old and I told the team that I know what they are feeling and that I can relate to them. I was a high school football player once, playing for a team right up the road. If you play hard on every

Coach Ray Woodard snap of the ball, then good things are going to happen!” The fact that the Chester Yellowjackets team gets to learn from a coach like Ray Woodard is secondary to learning about being a man from him. Welcome home, Coach Woodard.

1100 S. Magnolia | Woodville

Discover Tyler County 2020 - Pg. 30

Places to go, things to see around Tyler County

W.T. Colmesneil House Library and Museum

Jerri Smart hated seeing all the businesses and buildings that she had grown up with in Colmesneil disappearing one by one. Colmesneil had once been the largest town in Tyler County, but its history was going away. So in 2002, she convinced her friend Billy Gregory, who had already secured the old Colmesneil train depot and had been collecting railroad memorabilia for some time, to go in with her to buy the the oldest house still standing, the decaying home of W. T. Colmesneil, the conductor on the first railroad train that came through the area and the person for whom the town was named. The house was a mess, but four years, and a lot of work (and help from dedicated volunteers) later, the home was ready for the grand opening. It is filled with beautiful antiques and small treasures. The Colmesneil House is at 601 South Pitzer Street. Take Highway 256 east from Highway 69, turn south on Pitzer and look for the sign on the right. Call 409-8379946 for information and hours.

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Pg. 31 - Discover Tyler County 2020

Allan Shivers Library and Museum

Allan Shivers Library and Museum certainly offers a look back on its past through its collection of memorabilia from former Texas Governor Allan Shivers. More than that, though, it looks forward in its commitment to serve the Tyler County community through the library. Governor Shivers (1907 - 1985) might have been born in Lufkin, but he grew up in Woodville, so Tyler County folks consider him a “native son.” The building housing the museum was built in Woodville by Robert A. Cruise in 1881 and moved in 1963 to make way for a hotel. The Shivers family secured the building and moved it to its current location, where they restored it and converted it

into the museum. At the same time they built a completely equipped library. Patrons can utilize the library for a broad range of resources, from checking out the most recent best-sellers to using the Internet on one of the library’s computer stations. The most recent addition to the library is the Bunch Reading and Meeting Room, a 2,000 sq. ft. extension with a meeting room, kitchen, sitting room and space for additional library materials. It also contains large print books and AV equipment for senior citizens. Allan Shivers Library and Museum is located at 302 N. Charlton Street in Woodville. For more information call 409-283-3709.

More than just a nursing home or assisted living facility, Woodville Health & Rehabilitation Center offers services to care for the whole person. Nestled in the piney woods of East Texas, Woodville Health and Rehabilitation Center is a 24-hour skilled nursing and rehabilitation center with extensive amenities and services. Executive Director Nicole Barnett RN, MSN, LNFA

Directory of Nursing Laura Stewart, RN

102 North Beech St., Woodville, TX 75979


Discover Tyler County 2020 - Pg. 32

More places to go and things to see around Tyler County • Heritage Village Museum and Pickett House Restaurant have a lot to offer the visitor. Heritage Village Museum is a collection of six historic buildings and more than 20 other buildings representing village life in Tyler County from about 1850-1910. Each building is furnished with authentic relics of the past. Heritage Village Museum has a complete year-round special programming package, with its largest endeavor being the Harvest Festival that is always held on the third weekend of October. Contact for a full schedule of events. The Pickett House Restaurant is noted for its famous homestyle cooking and its relaxed atmosphere. People travel from far and near to research in the incredible Whitmeyer Genealogy and Research Library. This library has a large collection of genealogical materials on early Tyler County families as well as historical information on the various Indian Tribes that occupied Tyler County and a large collection of Indian artifacts. The village has an active group of Civil War re-enactors, blacksmiths and a strong emphasis on demonstrating other old-time crafts. Directions: turn west on US 190 out of Woodville. Drive approximately two miles. Look for Heritage Village Museum sign at entrance on the north side of the highway. • The Big Woods Hiking Trail is all part of the Heritage Village Museum complex. All of the Heritage Village site is part of the historic Big Thicket. It has quite a nice trail that winds through about 20 acres of land. The trailhead starts conveniently opposite the Pickett House Restaurant for those who need to work off a little fried chicken and biscuits. This wooded acreage is nestled in a secluded area with many birding opportunities. • Triple Creek RV Music Park has the beautiful Rush Creek Trail

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starting from the very edge of the RV Park and entering the head of Rush Creek Canyon. The beginning of this trail is relatively accessible. The Rush Creek Trail continues on in a more primitive manner through about 4,000 acres of leased land that is accessible to the public depending on hunting status. Travel approximately one mile east on US 190 from US 190 and US 69 intersection in Woodville. Turn southeast onto FM 1746. Travel 5.5 miles until you reach sign on north side of highway. Turn onto dirt road at sign and go three miles. • Lake Tejas is owned by the Colmesneil School District. This beautiful lake with its rock walls was built in the shape of the State of Texas by the CCC group around 1939. Enjoy the hiking trails along the perimeters of Lake Tejas and the wonderful swimming opportunity in the summer. Directions: Take US 69 north out of Woodville 10 miles to Colmesneil. Turn East on FM 256 1.2 miles. This will bring you to the entrance of Lake Tejas on the north side of FM 256. • Camp Ta-Ku-La and the John Henry Kirby Museum resides in one of the most historic areas of Tyler County. It is very near the historic site of the Mexican Fort Teran and the camp itself was once called Peachtree Village. Many Alabama Indians lived here in the old days and migrated yearly to the coast. This trail is the very same used by the early Spanish explorers. Directions: Travel North from Woodville on US 69 and turn West on US 287 to Chester. Continue approximately 0.3 miles through Chester. Turn North on FM 2097. Go approximately two miles. You will see the inspiring sight of a gothic church in the middle of the piney woods on the west side of the road. Friendly Camp Ta-Ku-La will show you around.

Pg. 33 - Discover Tyler County 2020

Around Tyler County County and City Government Contacts

County Judge – Jacques Blanchette, Phone: 409-283-2141 Pct. 1 Commissioner Martin Nash: 409-283-7296 Pct. 2 Commissioner Stevan Sturrock: 409-283-7013 Pct. 3 Commissioner Mike Marshall: 409-283-7623 Pct. 4 Commissioner Charles “Buck” Hudson: 409-283-7013 Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford: 409-283-2172 District Attorney Lucas Babin: 409-283-8136 State Rep. James White: 409-283-3700 State Sen. Robert Nichols: 936-564-4252 Congressional Rep. Brian Babin 409-331-8066 City of Chester: • Mayor Floyd Petri • City Hall: 936-969-2360 City of Colmesneil • Mayor Don Baird • City Hall: 409-837-5211 City of Ivanhoe • Mayor Cathy Bennett • City Hall: 409-283-3299 City of Woodville: • Mayor Paula Jones • City Hall: 409-283-2234 Tyler County Hospital: 409-283-8141 Veterans’ Service Office: 409-283-3751 Woodville Police Department: Chief Mike McCulley – 409-283-5262 Chester Volunteer Fire Department: 936-969-2222 Colmesneil VFD: 409-837-9628 Dam B VFD: 409-429-4554 Fred VFD: 409-429-7568 Ivanhoe VFD: 409-283-5411 Shady Grove VFD: 409-384-0970 Spurger VFD: 409-429-5339 Warren VFD: 409-547-2553 Whitetail Ridge VFD: 409-283-8452 Woodville VFD: 409-283-2103

The above photos are from the countywide “Christmas in Tyler County” celebration. Held the first weekend of December, the event features a variety of activities and tasty food in several locations around Woodville and Ivanhoe. Photos by Jim Powers

Discover Tyler County 2020 - Pg. 34

Scenes from around Tyler County

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1123 South Magnolia | Woodville, TX 75979

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