All the news that's fit to print.

In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

RCHS Students Featured in Educational Video

Roscoe’s robotics program and in particular two of its students, Caleb Ward and Austin Willman, are featured in a recently released promotional video created by Nepris, an educational program that connects working professionals, such as engineers, with high school students through interactive distance-education sessions.  Roscoe is now in its second year of working with Nepris and, as can be seen in the video, Dan Boren and his robotics students have taken advantage of it.

Roscoe's robotics program is also featured in an article in yesterday's Abilene Reporter-News entitled "Big Country schools get technical for career education."  (Click title to access)



Olivia Saddler (23) goes in for a layup against Winters last night.
The Plowgirls once again split their two district games this past week, losing to Stamford 44-34 on Friday and then avenging an earlier 43-32 loss to Winters in Winters by defeating the Lady Blizzards here last night 32-17.   Here are the scores by quarters of both games, followed by individual scoring:

Stamford 44 – Plowgirls 34

Stamford          12        20        34        44
Plowgirls            8        16        22        34

Plowgirl scoring: Olivia Saddler 13, Magali Casas 6, Selena Perez 5, Danielle Dean 4, Mia Herrera 3, Samantha Ortega 3.

Plowgirls 32 – Winters 17

Plowgirls         5          19        26        32
Winters           2          12        16        17

Plowgirl scoring: Herrera 9, Saddler 8, Ortega 8, Dean 3, Casas 2, Perez 2.

The Plowgirls’ next opponent will be Albany in Albany Friday evening.  They will be back in Roscoe next Tuesday for a game with Anson.


Cutter Davila (24) shoots from the corner in last night's game with Winters.
Javier Leanos had another banner game last night, scoring 23 points as the Plowboys came from behind to beat the Winters Blizzards in a thriller, 41-38. 

However, Stamford downed the Plowboys 45-33 in Stamford Friday evening.

Here are the scores by quarters followed by individual Plowboy scoring for both games:

Stamford 45 – Plowboys 33

Stamford           7          24        33        45
Plowboys           5          10        22        33

Plowboy scoring: Isaiah Gonzales 12, Javier Leanos 8, Rafael Aguayo 7, Cutter Davila 3, Luis Villa 2, Kevin Lavalais 1.

Plowboys 41 – Winters 38

Plowboys          5          15        25        41
Winters             9          19        27        38

Plowboy scoring: Leanos 23, Aguayo 9, Davila 3, Villa 2, Lavalais 2, Gonzales 2.

The Plowboys next face Albany in Albany on Friday evening and Anson here next Tuesday.



As predicted last week, we got rain on Wednesday and Thursday when a big cold front moved through.  There was a little snow and ice-covered windshields for a short time, but mostly it was just a cold rain that started on Wednesday evening and fell through Thursday.  For both days, Roscoe weatherman Kenny Landfried got an official total of 1.13” at his home in east Roscoe and an unofficial 1.25” at his farm northwest of town.  Others in the Roscoe area got somewhere between an inch and an inch and a half with reports of two and above in places south of town.

After the storm passed, temperatures gradually increased daily, from a high of 44°F on Friday to 68° on Monday.  Then yesterday was one of those perfect January days that remind you that it won’t be long until more springlike weather is on the way.  The mercury climbed to 75° and the wind was either calm or only light.  After all the cold weather we’ve had since Christmas, it felt positively balmy.  Today should be a repeat of yesterday: sunny skies, light winds, and a high of about 77°.

That will all change tomorrow, though, when another cold front moves through.  The high will be about 58° and the low about 38°.  Highs for the weekend will reach only into the mid-forties, with lows in the mid-thirties.  On Friday there is a 40% chance of rain, increasing to 70% Friday night.  Saturday will have a 70% chance during the day, diminishing to 40% Saturday night.  This is all to the good, of course, as the more ground moisture we can get now, the better the chances for a good crop later on.

On Sunday, the sun will be back out and the chances of rain will be only 20%.  The high should be around 44° and the low about 28°.


by John Beryl Witherspoon

Editor’s note: John Beryl Witherspoon, who grew up in Roscoe in the 1920s, wrote some short memoirs about what it was like for him and his friend Bood to be boys in those days.  Last year, three of his stories were posted in the Hard Times, one about tent shows, another about medicine shows, and a two-part memoir about Blind Walt, a well-known Roscoe character of the 1920s and 1930s.  This is another in that series.  Its focus is on religion, seen through the eyes of the two boys, one a Baptist, the other a Methodist.  As with Witherspoon’s other stories, it gives us insight into the life of Roscoe in those times.  

The old Methodist Church, built in 1924.
They had been going up and down the streets all afternoon getting permission from merchants to put placards in their show windows.  The placard had the picture of tow men on it, one at the top and one at the bottom.  They were handsome men with their black suits on with white, stiff collars on their shirts.  The placards proclaimed that the Evangelist at the top and the Singer at the bottom would be conducting the “Methodist Summer Protracted Meeting” for two weeks beginning the next Sunday.  The man at the top would be leading the singing and each afternoon he would be conducting games, singing sessions and many other things that would interest the children.  All this sounded very interesting to Bood and me, and we vowed not to miss a single thing, except at night.

The stewards and members of the congregation had been busy all that week construction a “Brush Arbor” in the back of the Methodist Church.  There was no air conditioning then, and by having the services outside, the women wouldn’t cry as much as they would if they were inside the church, and they would have more time to listen to what the Evangelist was saying.  Benches had been moved out of the church,, and “hand fans” were placed at intervals up and down the benches.  These little fans were made of card board with a little wooden handle at the bottom.  They were furnished by the merchants in town and each had their ads printed on them.  The ladies could really stir up the air with them.  The “hotter” the sermon became, the faster would fan, and it became delightfully cool iin there.

Well, during that two weeks, Bood and I didn’t miss a bit of it except at night.  But the afternoon activities were the part we most enjoyed.  Under the supervision of the Singer we played games after our singing session.  Bood liked “I want to be a Sunbeam” most.

On the Saturday afternoon before the “Protracted Meeting” was to conclude on Sunday,  I hit a long ball while Bood was playing left field, and it went all the way into Johnny Lane’s back yard, and before Bood could get the gate unfastened I was home free!  He took his glove, went home, and didn’t even say goodbye to me.

The next day, the last Sunday of the meeting, Bood and I were sitting there together and as the sermon came to a conclusion, the preacher asked the choir to sing “Just As I Am,” and at the same time he asked all the “Methodist Ladies” to come out into the congregation and talk to all us sinners.  He did this I guess because they knew us for what we were better than he did.

Bood’s mother landed on him first and within a split second, Mrs. “Hamp” Jones was beside me!  She was whispering to me quietly and after a while she said, “You believe in fair play, don’t you?”  I nodded my head.  “And, don’t you think it is fair to thank the Lord for giving you the opportunity to live here in Roscoe on “His Earth”?  Now, all you have to do is to go up there and promise to abide by “His Rules” that are defined in the Holy Scriptures or to be like those sinners, not unlike you, who might just burn in Purgatory throughout all Eternity.”  Well, that settled it.

I looked over at Bood.  His mother was earnestly talking to him and he was sobbing deep down in his stomach, and he had little white streaks on his face where tears had run down his cheeks.

We got up out of our seats and walked down the aisle, and the Preacher extended his hand and gave us a good firm handshake and told us that we had made the right decision and that he would be back and talk to us after he had shaken hands with others who were coming down the aisle.

When all us sinners were lined up in front of the rostrum, he asked all those in the congregation to also come up and shake hands with us, while the choir was still singing “Just As I Am.”

All the men gave us a big hearty handshake and smiled at us, but some of the women put their arms around us, held us close and left tear drops on us.  I never could understand that, and when I talked it over with Bood, he said, “That’s the way it is.  Women are different from men, and you have to accept that because there is nothing you can do about it, and besides I am getting tired of you “questioning” every little thing that comes up.”

When the services were over and everybody had gone home, Bood and I lingered out in the street where we had played those summer games, and we took the tobacco out of our pockets and threw it as far as we could send it and agreed to stop cussin’.

“Now,” said Bood, “there is going to be a “sprinkling” at the church next Sunday, and we can go up there together and get “sprinkled.”

I said, “Now, listen Bood, when we went up there, the preacher asked which church I go to, and I told him the Baptist, and he said that will be all right.”  “I didn’t hear that,” Bood said, and I said, “Of course you didn’t hear it because you had your head turned the other way listening to the choir singing “Just As I Am.”

With that, Bood smacked me a good one.

Charlie Hastings came out on his back porch to throw away some wet newspapers that he had wrapped around a block of ice which he had brought from town and saw us rolling in the dirt.  He came out there and pointed his finger and said, “You go this way, and you go that way.”  And that’s the way he sent us both home.

The minute I opened the front door, I could smell roast chicken and sage dressing baking in the oven and candied yams on top of the stove.  I could hear my mother in the kitchen busily chipping ice, which meant that we were going to have iced tea with our Sunday dinner!

I reluctantly went back to the kitchen, and after she had taken one look at me, she put her ice pick down and sat down in a chair.  I started blurting out, as fast as I could, what had happened.  When I gave out of breath at the end, she said, “Come here.”  I went over there, and she put her arms around me and held me close to her breast for a long time.  Then she said, “We won’t worry about it today.  We will see Brother Parks tomorrow and everything will be all right.  So now, go upstairs, clean yourself up, change into your everyday clothes, come back down, and we will have our Sunday dinner.”

But as I trudged up those stairs, I saw that my shoulder was wet with more tears.  I had lost my best friend, torn the knee out of my Sunday pants, and my new blue shirt was all but ruined.  I just knew that this had to be the worst day of my life.



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

City Council Gets Updates on Water Situation, Police Activity

Police Chief Felix Pantoja informs Council of police activity in December.
At its monthly meeting Thursday evening, the City Council received several updates on City activity.  City Manager Cody Thompson reported that problems continue at the Water Treatment Plant as the recent ice storm brought down the antenna that feeds information to the computerized SCADA system, putting it out of commission.  It should be back online within the next two weeks or so.

Thompson met with Oncor on Thursday concerning the placement of additional street lighting on FM 608 by the Stone Tower RV Park and Young Farm Estates.  Progress on the Young Farm Estates continues with sewer line problems corrected and curb, gutter, and street improvements beginning soon.  Oncor should be finished with the electric lines there in the next couple of weeks.

The new Police Department is also just about complete, and its Open House is coming soon.  Work on the restrooms at the Fire Department is about to begin, and a new pump and wiring have been installed at the Sanitary Sewer Plant.

Police Chief Felix Pantoja also reported to the Council on City Police activity during the month of December.  A meth lab was put out of business, stolen property recovered, and three felony arrests made in addition to several unrelated minor infractions.



When Roscoe Officer Steven Spencer scanned vehicles at Stripes with his ALPR (Automatic License Plate Reader) early yesterday afternoon, he was surprised to find that one of them was listed as stolen.

The vehicle, a grey Dodge SUV, headed east on I-20 with Spencer following.  He turned on his flashing lights, but the male driver refused to pull over, so he notified the Sweetwater Police Department and the DPS for backup and was joined by a DPS trooper.  Spikes were set out, but the driver avoided them by driving into the ditch and continued on until he finally pulled over at around the Taylor County line.

The driver was then booked and taken to the Nolan County jail, while the vehicle was impounded and taken to an undisclosed location.  Officer Spencer was assisted in the arrest by Sweetwater Police, DPS Troopers, the Nolan County Sheriff’s Office, and the 32nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office.



Burning brush at the site on Sunday afternoon.  (Photo by Mike Massey)
Fallen tree limbs caused by the recent ice storm are still lying in yards all over town.  People have been disposing of them at the site of the Homecoming bonfires, i.e., on the north side of town at the first caliche road on the right when you’re going north on FM 608 (aka North Cypress St.).  The woodpile is just beyond the end of the fence on the north side of the road.

The City requests that this Saturday, January 24, be the last day for disposing of tree limbs and brush at that site.  Everyone is urged to put only completely combustible materials on the pile—no plastics, metal, glass, or any other non-combustibles.

The City also wishes to remind everyone that it is not responsible for the removal of broken limbs.  Residents must take care of that themselves.

For more information, contact City Hall at 325-766-3871.



The Plowboys were 1-1 in district play this past week, beating Hamlin 44-25 and losing to Haskell 48-37.  Javier Leanos had a breakout game against Hamlin, scoring 22 points—as much as the total for the rest of the team.  Here is the scoring by quarters for both games, followed by individual Plowboy scoring totals for each.

Plowboys 44 – Hamlin 25

Hamlin               3          7        20        25
Plowboys          15        24        37        44

Scoring: Javier Leanos 22, Isaiah Gonzales 7, Kevin Lavalais 7, Rafael Aguayo 5, Luis Villa 2, Cutter Davila 1

Haskell 48 – Plowboys 37

Haskell             9          23        36        48
Plowboys          8          17        26        37

Scoring: Leanos 10, Lavalais 10, Villa 8, Aguayo 6, Davila 2



The Plowgirls had a rough week in basketball, losing two district games, the first to Hamlin 31-24 on Friday evening in Hamlin, and the second to Haskell 48-25 last night in Haskell.  Here is the scoring by quarters for each followed by individual Plowgirl scoring:

Hamlin 31 – Plowgirls 24

Hamlin           6          12        19         31
Plowgirls       11          15        19         24

Scoring: Olivia Saddler 12, Mia Herrera 5, Selena Perez 5, Samantha Ortega 4

Haskell 48 – Plowgirls 25

Haskell             8          27        41        48
Plowgirls          4          10        16        25

Scoring: Ortega 10, Saddler 7, Herrera 3, Danielle Dean 3, Magali Casas 2

Next up for the Plowboys and Plowgirls are two home games, the first against Stamford on Friday evening and the second with Winters next Tuesday.



Several people have been asking what that Medevac helicopter was doing when it landed at the school yesterday around lunch time.  Fourth graders were playing on the football field and, when one boy suddenly stopped, another one ran into him at full speed, hitting his upper leg hard enough to break his femur.  Paramedics were called and after examining the injury decided to call in the helicopter as a precautionary measure.

The boy was then flown to Hendrick Medical Center for treatment.  He had surgery last night and is doing well this morning.  He will be in the hospital for a couple more days.



It’s been a nice week for weather, considering the time of year—maybe a bit breezy at times, but mostly sunshine and clear skies—and definitely warmer than it was the week before.  Temperatures through the weekend and up to yesterday were into the sixties with the high of 70°F coming on Monday.  Lows were cool but above freezing, ranging from the upper thirties to lower forties.

All that will change today, though.  The high today should reach only about 50°, and there is a 70% chance of rain this afternoon and evening.  Chances reach 100% tonight with rain or possibly snow and winds from the north at 10-15mph.  Tomorrow’s high will be only about 37° with a 70% chance of rain or snow during the day, decreasing to 40% tomorrow night when the temperature will be around 32°.  On Friday a warming trend begins with a high of 47°, a low of 31°, and a 20% chance of rain.

Saturday and Sunday will be sunnier and warmer, but without a chance of precipitation. Saturday’s high will be around 56° and Sunday’s 63°.  Lows will be in the upper thirties both days.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Stone Tower RV Park Opens on North Side

The sign, stone tower, and laundromat mark the location of the new RV Park.
The Stone Tower RV Park in north Roscoe has been completed and is now open for business.  Located about a quarter mile south of US 84 on FM 608 (also known as N. Cypress), the RV Park has 53 pull-through spaces with full hookups (30 amp and 50 amp, water and sewer) and wi-fi.  There is also an on-site washateria open until 9pm.

For reservations or more information, phone 325-236-4020.  We welcome this new business to Roscoe and wish it success and good luck!



The Plowgirls in Anson on Friday. (Photo by Tiffany Waddell.)
The Plowgirls split their games this past week, losing to Anson 39-28 in Anson on Friday and defeating Hawley 45-39 here last night.  Here are the scores by quarters of both games, followed by individual scoring:

Anson                17        28        29        39
Plowgirls            4        15        20        28

Scoring: Samantha Ortega 14, Magali Casas 5, Olivia Saddler 4, Selena Perez 4, Danielle Dean 2.

Plowgirls          10        20        33        45
Hawley                2        23        29        39

Scoring: Saddler 15, Ortega 11, Mia Herrera 5, Sanchez 4, Dean 4, Casas 2, Perez 2, Alyssa Chavez 2.

Next up for the Plowgirls and Plowboys are the Pied Pipers in Hamlin Friday evening.



Plowboys Luis Villa (11) and Isaiah Gonzales (13) on defense. (Photo by Tiffany Waddell)
The Plowboys were ahead of Anson for most of the game Friday, but a disastrous fourth quarter gave the Tigers an insurmountable lead as they went on to went 43-28.  Here is the scoring by quarters, along with individual stats.
Anson                4          13        21        43
Plowboys         7          16        24        28

Scoring: Javier Leanos 12, Roman Acuña 7, Anthony Ortegon 4, Kevin Lavalais 2, Luis Villa 2, Cutter Davila 1.

Then last night they suffered another loss, this time to Hawley, 59-50.

Hawley             18        30        50        59
Plowboys           6        17        31        50

Scoring: Leanos 23, Lavalais 14, Aguayo 4, Villa 4, Isaiah Gonzales 2, Vincent Pantoja 2.



A T&P engine of the type used in 1881.  The car behind it was known as the tender.
Editor’s note: Recently I learned that a large number of copies of the old Dallas Herald newspaper, ranging in dates from 1858 to 1887, have been scanned and placed online by The Portal to Texas History, a website devoted to the preservation of Texas history.  The old issues of the paper are digitized so that word searches can be done, and in searching for the word Katula, the original name for the Texas & Pacific Railway’s water stop that would later become known as Vista and still later Roscoe, I came across an early bit of history about the place.  Since it is the earliest historical event concerning what would later become Roscoe, I find it fascinating enough to want to share with everyone.

Up until 1881, the land on which Roscoe now stands was open grass prairie.  It was occasionally traversed by the Plains Indians—mainly Comanche, but also Apache and Kiowa—in their pursuit of the buffalo that roamed through the area.  In the 1870s a few scattered buffalo hunters, cowboys, and U. S. Cavalry troops came through to kill buffalo, introduce cattle, and drive the nomadic Indian tribes northward into the Indian Territory we now know as Oklahoma.

Then in early 1881, the Texas & Pacific Railway, in its quest to build a southern rail route that would connect the east coast to the west, extended its track westward from Weatherford, previously the end of the line.  Along the way, it built water stops about every ten miles so its steam engines would have the water necessary for them to run.  Each stop was given a name in the hopes that it would eventually become a town.  From Abilene west to Colorado (now Colorado City) were Tebo (now Tye), Merkel, Trent, Eskota, Sweetwater, Katula, and Loraine.  The track reached the tent city of Sweetwater in early March 1881, the water stop of Katula in mid to late March, and the budding community of Colorado [City] in early April.  At the time Katula, about a mile west of present-day downtown Roscoe, had no settlers at all.

Less than a month after the line reached Colorado, there were two major train wrecks in Nolan County, both with fatalities and both on the same day from washouts caused by a heavy rainstorm.  The first was on Sweetwater Creek, just east of Sweetwater, and the second was on Cottonwood Creek, three miles west of Katula.  Two men were killed in the Sweetwater Creek accident, and three were killed and another seriously injured in the Cottonwood Creek wreck.  Details were provided in the following articles from the Dallas Herald.

(from the Dallas Herald, May 5, 1881)


Special to the Herald.

  Weatherford, May 3.—Two terrible wrecks occurred on the western extension of the Brazos division of the Texas & Pacific road this morning.  The first occurred at 7:10 a. m., at Sweetwater.  The bridge over Sweetwater creek had become weakened by a washout, caused by the heavy rain yesterday, and the locomotive of a west-bound freight train, John Hornest conductor, plunged into the stream.  Conductor Hornest was slightly injured.  Engineer Sanders, of Dallas, received injuries from the effects of which he died at 10:30 a. m.  The fireman, named Amos Donley, of Dallas, was killed outright.  The head brakeman of the train, name not yet learned, received injuries that may prove fatal.  

The second wreck occurred at 8:10 a. m. at a small stream [i.e., Cottonwood Creek]  three miles west of Katula occasioned by a washout similar to that of Sweetwater.  The locomotive went crushing through a bridge structure, carrying Engineer Frank Lones, his head brakeman (name not known) and Mr. J. E. Henderson, the telegraph line contractor, of Dallas, with it.  The engineer and brakeman are reported killed, and Mr Henderson was seriously, but not dangerously, injured.  The conductor, H. C. Mills, was in the caboose at the time and escaped unhurt.  Information of the wrecks were sent to Dallas and this point, and assistants ordered to the scene of each.  Colonel D. E. Grove, division superintendent, passed west to-night en route to Sweetwater.  Coffins were ordered from Weatherford and Dallas for the dead, and the bodies will be taken to Dallas to-morrow.  The wrecks occurred in the sparsely settled section of west Texas, and assistance was difficult to get.  A train was ordered from the west end of the road to the Katula wreck, but it encountered a long washout west of it, and up to to-night, it had not reached its destination.  Full details of the terrible occurrences can not be gotten this evening.


Special to the Herald.

    Colorado, May 3.—The wreck, which occurred eighteen miles east of Colorado this morning at 7 o’clock, was a fatal affair.  There were four men on the engine, all of whom were killed but one, Mr. J. E. Henderson, of the firm of Henderson & Elser, contractors for telegraph for the front.  His foot and lower part of leg was caught between the end of the boiler and a large timber, and he was buried in water up to his shoulders.  He remained in that condition twelve hours and was apprehensive of drowning, but held up like a true man.  He smoked, ate, and drank until he was removed from the wreck.  The dead are Frank Lonis, engineer, Albert Lonis, fireman, and James Layden, brakeman.  The body of the latter has not been found.


The trestle over Cottonwood Creek today three miles west of town.  This is the site where the three men died in 1881.
Editor’s note: Eight days later, the newspaper published this follow-up article about the wreck.

(from the May 12, 1881, issue of The Dallas Herald)


The dead of the Katula wreck arrived here on the 2:30 east bound passenger train yesterday, and were put off at the Union depot where a large crowd had gathered attracted by curiosity to see and hear what they could concerning the terrible wrecks, that ushered five souls into eternity.  The dead bodies of M. B. Saunders, engineer, and Billy Dye, the fireman, who were killed in the Sweetwater wreck a few miles east of Katula, were taken charge of Wednesday, the former being shipped to Nevada station, Iowa, and the latter to Fort Worth for interment.  

The dead from the Katula wreck were in plain pine boxes, and on arriving here the bodies were taken charge of by undertaker Smith, properly attired for burial and placed in neat coffins—the two Lonis brothers, Frank, the engineer, and Albert, the fireman, for shipment to Knoxville, Tennessee, their old home, and that of W. Layton, the brakeman, was interred in the Trinity cemetery at this place.  The Lonis brothers came of a good family and were known by a number of Tennesseans of this city, while they were great favorites with the railroad men.  Layton was very popular and made friends of all with whom he came in contact.  Mr. J. E. Henderson of the firm of Henderson & Elser, who have the contract for furnishing and putting up telegraph poles along the Texas & Pacific extension, who was seriously injured in this wreck, came in on the same train, and was placed in a carriage and driven to the residence of Colonel John F. Caldwell, at the corner of Akard avenue and Jackson street, where he is being attended by Dr. Thruston, who dressed his wounds, etc.  His injuries are of a serious though not fatal nature.  His worst injury is a large and ugly burn on the lower part of his right leg, the effects of the escaping steam from the engine.  He has a few slight bruises about the head.


Occurred about 5 o’clock Tuesday morning.  The train, which consisted of four or five cars of iron and other construction material and a caboose, had stopped some distance east of Katula, laying up until daylight for fear there might be some washouts on the road.  At daylight the trip was resumed.  Frank Lonis, the engineer, Albert, the fireman, Layton, brakeman, and Mr. Henderson were all in the cab.  The others aboard the train, among the number Mr. William Leslie of this city, were in the rear part of the train in the caboose.  The train was proceeding westward at ordinary speed when the trestle, where the accident occurred, which is about five feet high, was reached.  This trestle is at a low, flat point on the line and there was some three feet of water, occasioned by the rains of the previous day. 

When the train struck the trestle, it tottered under the heavy weight and the heavy timbers gave way like so many reeds, precipitating the engine tender and two cars of iron into the water.  So sudden was it that it was impossible for any of the four men in the cab to jump for their lives, and they all went down in the wreck—three out of four to death—Mr. Henderson being the only survivor.  Frank Lonis, the engineer, lived for several hours and then died.  He was taken to the caboose, and on examination it was found that he was frightfully torn and bruised about the breast and stomach.  He would now and then exclaim, “Oh, where is my poor brother?”  Once he said, “Sell it and send the money to mother.”  What he had reference to no one knows.  

All this time Mr. Henderson, who had been caught between the engine and the tender, was struggling in intense agony trying to keep his head above the rapidly rising water.  His leg was wedged in tight and the scalding water and steam from the engine was cooking the very flesh of his leg.  By a great effort he managed to get the use of his left leg, and by propping himself up by resting his hands he managed to keep his head above water.  Across his body was a bar of railroad iron, and beneath him were several more and the dead bodies of Albert Lonis and Layton.  He remained in this perilous and uncomfortable condition for nearly twelve hours, suffering torture first from the burns and bruises, which were succeeded by a terrible sensation of cold.  All efforts to rescue him until six o’clock that evening proved futile.  A messenger was sent to Coleman’s camp several miles distant and a force of men summoned to extricate him, and by prying off the board of the tender he was at last released in a very exhausted condition.  While he was pinned down in the water the stream rose four inches, and he as well as those who stood looking powerless to help him, feared that he would drown.  His sensations were terrible.  After the intense pain came numbness and all sense of feeling was gone.  He had plenty of time to think of his condition, and made up his mind that his end had come, though he still entertained some hopes of being rescued.

Frank Lonis, the engineer, was knocked a distance of some twenty feet from the engine, by the large water tank on top of the tender which tore off the cab.  The escape of Mr. Henderson from death is almost miraculous.  After his arrival last evening he was visited by a large number of lady and gentleman friends.  At ten o’clock last evening he was resting easy.



Temperatures continued to be frigid this past week.  The only low above freezing came on Sunday morning, and that was only 33°F.  The low Thursday morning was only 16°, and that was with strong breezes that made it feel even colder.  Highs were also generally colder than normal.  Sunday’s 61° seemed like an aberration after enduring highs in the thirties for the previous four days.

The outlook, however, is for warmer weather and more sunshine as the weekend approaches.  Today’s high should be only in the upper thirties with light drizzle, but tomorrow’s will be in the mid-fifties, and the weekend should see sunny skies and temperatures rising into the high fifties and low sixties.

Unfortunately, there is no precipitation to speak of in the forecast.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Winter Storm Wreaks Havoc in Roscoe Area

A downed power line west of Roscoe on Saturday. (Photo by David Duncan)
Winter arrived with a vengeance last week, as west Texas first underwent a strong ice storm with black ice and treacherous roads that caused wrecks over most of the Big Country and as far west as Pecos.  That was then followed for the next three days by more sleet and freezing drizzle, which proved to be too much for the trees.  Limbs covered with ice came down, knocking down power lines and with it both residential electricity and City water.

Everyone in Roscoe endured at least a couple of days without water since the transmission lines running to the water treatment plant were damaged. The pumps at the plant need 640 volts to run properly and were receiving only about half that, so water pressure reduced to a trickle for several hours and then stopped completely.  Needless to say, jug water sold out quickly at all the stores in Roscoe and Sweetwater that carry it.

The electrical outage also meant that many homes without natural gas also had no heat.  People living in the country were especially affected as they were without water and heat for several days.  Oncor, the electric company, had trucks and workers from unaffected parts of Texas come in and help with the line repair.  Even so, it wasn’t until yesterday evening that many got their electricity back, and, for all I know, there may still be some who are without it.

The sleet and freezing drizzle lasted from Tuesday to early Saturday morning, and the total accumulation,  according to Roscoe weatherman Kenny Landfried, amounted to .82” with .25” of that on December 30 and 31 and .57” on January 1, 2, and 3. The sun came out on Saturday morning and most of the ice was thawed by Saturday afternoon as the temperature climbed to 50°.  But by then the damage had been done, and water wasn’t restored in town until Sunday afternoon.

Since then, there’s been a warming trend with sunshine and afternoon temperatures in the forties and fifties.  However, another cold front moved in last night and the high today is projected to be only about 30° with north winds of 15-25mph increasing to 30mph with gusts to 45, making it seem much colder than that.  A wind advisory is in effect until 6:00pm today.

Tomorrow should be warmer with lighter breezes and a high in the lower forties before getting colder again on Friday and Saturday with highs in the thirties, lows in the twenties, and a 20% chance of snow or light sleet.  Sunday and Monday should be mostly cloudy but with highs in the forties and lows in the thirties. 

There’s no getting around it—it’s winter in west Texas.



The Plowgirls opened district play on Saturday by losing to Winters, but evened their district record to 1-1 with a close victory over Albany last night.  The Winters game was postponed for a day because of the weather.

Here are the scores by quarters for both games along with the Plowgirls’ individual scoring:


Winters 43 – Plowgirls 32

Winters            11        25        35        43
Plowgirls            2          9        23        32

Olivia Saddler 11, Samantha Ortega 7, Murissa Horton 4, Mia Herrera 3, Alyssa Chavez 2, Bergan Trevino 2.

Plowgirls 36 – Albany 35

Plowgirls            9        17        30        36
Albany              12        18        27        35

Saddler 12, Herrera 10, Ortega 8, Chavez 4, Danielle Dean 2.

The Plowgirls’ and Plowboys’ next games are with Anson in Anson on Friday night.



The lack of height and experience has shown in recent basketball games played by the Plowboys as they lost them all.  In the Eula Tournament on December 27 and 28, they fell to Clyde and Nazareth respectively, while the game with Comanche was called off due to the inclement weather.  Then, in district games with Winters, played on Saturday instead of Friday, and Albany here last night, they lost again.

Here are the scores by quarters for all four games along with the Plowboys’ individual scoring:

Clyde 63 – Plowboys 23

Clyde                 13        32        49        61
Plowboys            8        15        21        23

Isaiah Gonzales 10, Brayden Beal 4, Vincent Pantoja 4, Cutter Davila 3, Jonathan Cuellar 2.

Nazareth 69 – Plowboys 20

Nazareth          20        47        57        69
Plowboys            8        13        20        20

Gonzales 7, Cuellar 6, Pantoja 4, Rafael Acuña 3.

Winters 53 – Plowboys 29

Winters            18        30        47        12
Plowboys           2          5         12        29

Rafael Aguayo 13, Cuellar 5, Davila 5, Gonzales 4, Beal 2.

Albany 56 – Plowboys 39

Albany             12        25        40        56
Plowboys           5        17        26        39

Javier Leanos 25, Aguayo 7, Kevin Lavalais 5, Gonzales 2.



The Roscoe Police Department starts out 2015 with new body cameras.  The officers previously tried other kinds, but they weren’t what was needed.  The new ones, which are for everyday use, work well and are reliable.  Throughout 2014, confiscated drug money was put into funds for the Police Department to put to good use.  These forfeiture funds allow the purchase of necessary items such as the new body cameras.

The new Police Department offices are nearing completion and will be opening soon.



The 2015 Nolan County Livestock Show will be held in the Nolan County Coliseum starting at 4pm next Tuesday, January 13, with the Steers and Heifers Weigh-In.  The Steer Show and Heifer Show are on Wednesday starting at 6pm.

Swine will weigh from 1pm to 7pm on Wednesday, and other animals will weigh in from 4pm to 7pm. 

On Thursday, the Goat Show and Lamb Show start at 4pm, and the Rabbit Show and Broiler Show start at 5pm.

On Friday, the Swine Show begins at 3pm.

On Saturday, the Honorary Show starts at 10am, the BBQ at 11am, Awards at 1pm, and the Premium Sale also at 1pm.



Funeral services will be held at 2:00pm on Saturday, January 10, at First United Methodist Church in Sweetwater for Ben Lanier High, 84, who passed away on Thursday, January 1.  Interment will follow in the Roscoe Cemetery.  Visitation at the McCoy funeral home in Sweetwater will be on Friday, January 9, from 5:00-7:00pm.

Ben was born on March 13, 1930, in the Caps community of Taylor County and attended school in Clyde and Roscoe. He was a graduate of Texas Tech and later received a Master’s Degree from McMurry.  He served in the U.S. Air Force and Reserves for 28 years, including active duty in Korea in 1952 and ‘53. He married Gaynell Cleckler of Roscoe on Thanksgiving Day 1954. They recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. They lived in Ballinger for two years before moving to Sweetwater in 1956. Ben retired from Sweetwater ISD after 33 years as principal of Eastridge and Philip Nolan Elementary Schools. He was an active member of Sweetwater United Methodist Church and a long time member of the Sweetwater Lions Club, serving as President and District Governor. He also volunteered for many years with the Boy Scouts of America, serving both as a local Troop 140 leader and on the Chisholm Trail Council Board. He was an avid golfer and volunteered for 15 consecutive years as a marshal for the Colonial PGA golf tournament in Fort Worth. He also enjoyed building and repairing golf clubs, running a repair shop in Sweetwater for many years. He and Gaynell loved to travel and took many wonderful trips including Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Canada, and Hong Kong.

Ben was preceded in death by his parents Bennie Maxine Peevey and Floyd High. Survivors include his wife, Gaynell Cleckler High of Sweetwater, son Gary and his wife Karen of Johns Creek, GA, grandchildren Catherine and Camille High, and sister Jane Pritchard of Brock.

Pallbearers will be Jack Pritchard, Mike Alexander, Hugh Aljoe, Zhan Aljoe, Kendell Cleckler, and Monte Richburg.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to First United Methodist Church of Sweetwater, 309 Cedar Street, Sweetwater, TX 79556.


Blog Archive