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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Independence Day Celebration is This Saturday, July 2

Sunny Sweeney is this year's headliner at the free concert and street dance.
Final preparations are underway for Saturday’s big July 4th Celebration, and the event’s organizers are planning another big day to remember.

It will begin with the Lions Club Pancake Breakfast at 8 o'clock, followed by the parade down Broadway at ten o’clock. Then comes the Plowboy Mudbog at George Parks Field, with the gates opening at eleven and the event beginning at twelve.

In the afternoon, street vendors will be open and selling food and other wares along Broadway, Cypress, and Old Town Park, and the Roscoe Historical Museum will be open for visitors.

The Roscoe Express will be available to shuttle people free of charge between downtown and the Plowboy Mudbog during the afternoon.

Music will begin “on the bricks” of Cypress next to the bank at four o’clock with Kris Gordon, followed at six by American Aquarium. Then at eight, Nashville singing star Sunny Sweeney will entertain the crowd, followed by the ever popular fireworks show, which this year will include a special appearance by Texas Tech’s Masked Rider.

Here are more details about the various events of the day:


The Lions Club Pancake Breakfast will start at 8am and end at 10am before the start of the parade. Pancakes, bacon, sausage, coffee, and juice will be served for $5/plate in the empty building next to the former Smacker’s Café on Broadway. All proceeds from the ticket sales and breakfast will be used to support the Roscoe Lions Club charitable activities for the year.


Parade organizers invite your participation.  They are looking for creativity and variety.  Prizes will be awarded for best bicycle, motorcycle, antique car, semi, western, most patriotic, and overall best float. Items in the prize bags will be donated by local businesses. The parade will start at 10:00am.  Line-up will be on Broadway at 9:30, and judging will be at 9:45.

For more information, call Valerie Pruitt at 325-338-4666.


A new class of vehicles at the Plowboy Mudbog this year is sure to bring excitement—vehicles with tractor wheels! As always, mudboggers will be coming in from as far away as Hobbs, NM, the Panhandle, and several area towns to try their vehicles in Roscoe’s blackland mud, so competition will be fierce.

Registration for entrants begins at 9:30am Saturday morning at the northwest corner of the baseball field at Second and Sycamore Streets.  The driver entry fee is $30.

Entries will be in six classes:

1.    Street: 35” tires and under with limited engine modification
2.    Super Street: 35” with engine vac under 13”
3.    Modified: 36” to 39” with limited engine modification
4.    Super Modified: 36” to 39” with engine vac under 13”
5.    Open: 40” and over.
6.    Tractor Wheels    

Since there’s an advantage in going last rather than first, each mud vehicle makes two runs, with the second run in reverse order from the first. Street and Super Street classes will do both their runs first, and then the rest of the classes will follow in order.

The public gate will open at 11:00am with the mudbog beginning at noon.  Admission is $5 for adults (17 and older) and $3 for kids (11-17), with free admission for children (10 and under).  Proceeds will benefit the Roscoe baseball little league. The Little League will also run the concession booth.

Time permittting, there will also be a Plowboy Mudbog “Dash for Cash,” an entertaining event featuring kids running through knee-deep mud.

Spectators are encouraged to bring sun block, mosquito repellent, canopy, and lawn chairs. For more information, see the Plowboy Mudbog Facebook page, or contact Felix Pantoja at 325-514-8384.


The music stage will be set up on Cypress Street downtown between the Roscoe State Bank and Old Town Park.

Kris Gordon will begin the live music at around 4:00pm. He is a Texas Country singer originally from Friona in the Panhandle but now based in Austin. The first song of his recently released album, Don’t Let Go Tonight, is “The Upside of Down,” which has made the Texas Regional Radio and the Texas Music charts.

He will be followed at six o’clock by American Aquarium, an alternative country band from Raleigh, NC. Of the seven albums they’ve released since the band was formed in 2006, the best known is Burn. Flicker. Die. (2012). “Wolves” is the title track from their most recent album, Wolves (2014).

Then, at eight o’clock, this year’s headliner, Sunny Sweeney, will take the stage. Although she’s a Nashville star now, Sunny Sweeney is a native Texan singer and songwriter whose roots are in Texas honky-tonks. Her hard work and talent have put her songs on the Top Ten in national country music charts and got her nominated for Best New Female Vocalist at the 2013 Academy of Country Music Awards. She’s also a regular on the Grand Ole Opry, having appeared on that show over forty times.

Since the success of her albums, Heartbreaker’s Hall of Fame (2006) with its regional hit “If I Could” and Concrete (2010) with national hits “From a Table Away”—at the time the highest-charting single by a female country artist in four years, “Staying’s Worse Than Leaving,” and “Drink Myself Single,” she’s mellowed to the point that she’s now writing love songs like “Used Cars.” Her latest album, Provoked (2014), contains that song along with others that demonstrate her wide range of themes and styles.

She’ll be fun to watch, and you can bet this will be the only time you’ll ever get to see her in person for free.

The music will then be followed by the fireworks show.


The fireworks show, organized, as always, by City Councilman Robert McBride, will be a memorable event that fittingly tops off the day. The show begins at about 9:40pm and will be done at about ten o’clock. As mentioned above, this year’s show features a special “electronic” performance by Texas Tech’s Masked Rider.

Those who are still not done celebrating can then go to the Lumberyard, where there will be live music and dancing until 1:00am.

So, if you're in the area, make plans to attend, bring lawn chairs and coolers, and help us celebrate the country’s independence on Saturday!



The Josh Abbott Band
Roscoe will be rocking this weekend, and it all begins Friday evening when Phil Hamilton and Josh Abbott come to town. Phil Hamilton will kick off the show around 8:00pm and will be followed by Josh Abbott at around 9:45.

Phil Hamilton
Phil Hamilton’s single, “Hold on Tight,” from his latest CD, Live at the Whiskey Girl Saloon, recently hit the top ten in Texas Country. Hamilton, also known as Philthy, is well known in the Metroplex. His single, “Dirty Love,” received extensive radio play there. His debut CD was Nothing to Lose (2009), followed by Renegade Rock n Roll (2012), which yielded three hit singles, “Bad,” “Running,” and “Back of a ’73.”

The Josh Abbott Band, a popular group originally from Lubbock, was formed in 2006 and began touring in 2008. They released their first album, Scapegoat, in 2009 and followed it with She’s Like Texas in 2010. Their third album, Small Town Family Dream, was released in 2012, and their latest, Front Row Seat, is now giving the band some well-deserved national attention. Earlier this month they sang “Wasn’t That Drunk” on Jimmy Kimmel Live. The Band's singles also include “She’s Like Texas,” “Oh, Tonight,” (with Kacey Musgraves), and  “Touch.”

For reservations or more information, contact the Lumberyard at 325-766-2457.



Starting next Tuesday, Roscoe’s City Swimming pool will be open on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30pm for those who want to get in an evening swim.

For more information, contact Isabel Moore at 325-514-9416.



The eastern sky on Sunday.
Temperatures were about five degrees less than average for this time of year, but it seemed hotter than that with mostly sunny skies and humidity of 50% or higher the entire week. We got two more rains, both fairly light here in town. The first was on Sunday morning, the second yesterday afternoon. The first rain started shortly before sunrise and lasted until nine or ten o’clock. It was little more than a heavy sprinkle. I got .16” and Kenny Landfried had an official .17” here in town, but west of town it was more like .3” or more. Then, yesterday afternoon’s shower amounted to only .12” at my house, but Kenny got .3”, and Allen Richburg reported 1.5” southwest of town. David Duncan, west of town, got .6". Even though these rains didn’t generally amount to that much, they were enough to frustrate farmers still trying to plant cotton.

The forecast for the coming week is for clear skies, south winds, a gradual increase in temperature, and continued high humidity of around 50%. There is no rain in the forecast.

The predicted high for Saturday, when Roscoe will be celebrating Independence Day, is 95°F, and the outlook for July 4th on Monday is the same. Lows will be in the low seventies until Saturday, when they will increase to 75° and 76°, where they will remain thereafter.



Funeral services were held at 4:00pm, Saturday, June 25, at Cate-Spencer & Trent Funeral Home Chapel for Roy K. High, 75, who passed away at his residence in Sweetwater on Thursday, June 23.  Burial followed at Sweetwater Cemetery.

Roy was born on August 13, 1940, in Elkhart, Texas, to Oscar Leroy and Ida Margarite (Lasiter) High. He married Lynda K. Gabler on January 16, 1960, in Roscoe. He retired in 2005 from Georgia Pacific after working for forty-one years in the gypsum wallboard industry. He was a member of Fourth & Elm Church of Christ in Sweetwater.

He is survived by his wife Lynda High of Sweetwater; sons, Randall High of  Loraine,  Russell High and wife Nancy of Sweetwater, and Henry High and wife Rachel of  Wolfforth, Texas; grandchildren, Kaitlyn Newton and husband Akeem, Chad Dillard and wife Amanda, and Chase Dillard; great-granddaughters, Shae Newton and Piper Dillard; and sisters, Marilyn Billard, Deborah Leach and Cathy Hurd.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Oscar & Margarite High, son, Jeffrey Scott High, sister, Barbara Sue Iverson, and brothers, C. J. High, Gary High, Mitchell High and Ricky High.

Pallbearers were Chad Dillard, Chase Dillard, Akeem Newton, Wayne Bryant, Bill Doggett, and Scott Whittenburg. Honorary pallbearers were Lester Batteas, James Holloman, Jerry Riggs, Wesley Harris, and Jim Henderson.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Roscoe in Years Gone By: Unknown Parties Dynamite Calaboose

The calaboose was across the street from the wagon yard, seen here in 1913.
(Reprinted from The Roscoe Times in The Abilene Reporter, February 12, 1910.)

Between 12 and 1 o’clock Sunday morning the city prison here was badly wrecked by an explosion of dynamite. The charge was a heavy one and was heard by many citizens in town, several of whom thought at the time that the bank safe had been cracked.

The charge seemed to have been placed either under or inside the north east corner of the building and the force of the explosion was sufficient to move the building on the foundation and tear up the floor badly. It will be necessary to put another floor in the building and to otherwise repair it before it will hold a prisoner.

In addition to wrecking the calaboose* the window glass in the rear windows and transoms of W. F. Jones’ store building were all shattered to pieces.

There is no telling what damage might have been done had the charge of dynamite been confined, but the dastardly deed must have been committed by an amateur who did not know enough to confine the charge.

Ordinarily this is a peaceable and law abiding people, and we did not believe that there existed in this entire country a person, or persons, low enough to commit such a cowardly deed, but we were mistaken in this one instance at least, and we sincerely hope to have the pleasure of soon knowing that the scoundrel who committed this dirty and cowardly crime against the entire community will be wearing prison stripes.

The person or persons who put this charge of dynamite in Roscoe’s little city prison would perform the same act against your residence or business, provided he or they had provocation to do so.

The officers are working faithfully on the case and are not going to pass it up until every clue is run down. –Roscoe Times.

* In one of his articles on early 20th century Roscoe (Roscoe Times, November 5, 1983), Marion Duncan located the calaboose on the southwest side of the 100 block of Main Street (i.e., behind the present-day Smackers Building.) He says it was “small, built mostly of wood, and intended only for overnight use.”



Karina Cisneros and Johnathon Cuellar.
Fourteen Roscoe Collegiate students were in College Station earlier this month to participate in the 2016 Texas 4-H Roundup, and five came away with prize ribbons. Six competed in the 4-H Discover the Scientific Method Research Poster Contest, five in the Veterinary Science Skill-a-thon, and three in the Horse-Judging Contest.

Matthew Buckley, Karina Cisneros, and Johnathon Cuellar won first-place ribbons in the animal and plant science divisions of the Research Poster Contest, while Alfonso Islas won second and Caleb Boren third in the Vet Science Skill-a-thon.

Matthew Buckley.

Alfonso Islas and Caleb Boren


The annual July 4th Parade, celebrated on Saturday, July 2, encourages everyone who wants to to participate in this year’s parade, starting at 10am. There is no entry fee. Just show up! Line-up is at 9:30, and judging for the various categories will be done then. Prizes will be awarded for best bicycle, motorcycle, car, vehicle, best overall, most patriotic, etc. Items in the prize bags will be donated by local businesses. The parade will kick off a day of celebration of music, food, vendors, and fireworks.

For any questions about the parade, contact Valerie at 325-338-4666. For vendor information, call Roscoe City Hall at 325-766-3871.



It’s another big weekend at the Lumberyard. On Friday night, the South Austin Moonlighters will make their first appearance in Roscoe, and on Saturday night, Charlie Robison is back for a command performance.

The South Austin Moonlighters.
The South Austin Moonlighters are a group of established musicians and songwriters who consider themselves and their music “True Americana,” a band that blends country, blues, folk, and rock. They are regulars at such Austin venues as The Saxon Pub and Threadgill’s, and Gruene Hall, just up the road. Two days after they’re in Roscoe, they’ll be playing at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth.  Singles include “You, Love, & Me,” “To Love Somebody,” and “Little Rain.”

Charlie Robison

Charlie Robison, a native Texan, is probably best known for his single “My Home Town.” His musical career began in Austin in the late eighties when he played in various bands. He went solo and released his first album, Bandera, in 1996, followed by Life of the Party in 1998, Unleashed Live in 2000, Step Right Up in 2001, Live in 2003, Good Times in 2004,  Beautiful Day in 2009, and Live at Billy Bob’s Texas and High Life, both in 2013.

Besides “My Home Town,” his best known singles include “I Want You Bad,” “Barlight,” “Poor Man’s Son,” and “Walter.”

Both acts will begin around 9:30pm.  Cover charge for the South Austin Moonlighters is $10 and for Charlie Robison $15 in advance and $20 at the door.

For reservations or more information, call the Lumberyard at 325-766-2457.



Summer clouds over Roscoe yesterday afternoon.
Summer officially arrived on Monday, but on Sunday our wet spring provided one last shower before it left, once again confounding farmers who are still trying to plant. The rain was a surprise because it had not been in the forecast all week. Unlike the thunderstorm on the previous Sunday, which arrived from the west, this one came in from the northeast. It started just after 7am and lasted until about 7:30. Unfortunately, it arrived with a strong wind that in many places damaged baby cotton that had just come up. My rain gauge recorded 1.38”, while the official amount recorded by Kenny Landfried in east Roscoe was .79”. Joe Ejem in west Roscoe said he had 1.8”, and really the amount varied by area. West of town got an inch or more, while in Champion it was more like three-quarters of an inch. In any case, the shower filled all the puddles again, and mosquitoes are plentiful around town.

The 100°F degree days predicted for Friday and Saturday also never came to pass. Friday’s high was only 95° and Saturday’s was 94°. However, this is not to say those days weren’t hot. They were. The 50% and 60% humidity we’ve had the past week haven’t helped at all with the heat index.

The forecast through this weekend is for sunny skies, continued high humidity, with highs in the mid-nineties and lows in the low seventies. The meteorologists are predicting a high of 96° for today and highs just slightly lower through the weekend. There is 0% chance of rain until Sunday, when the chance increases to 20%. On Monday and Tuesday, however, it increases to 40%. Naturally, all that is subject to change, though, so we’ll see.



Funeral services will be held at 11:00am on Friday, June 24, at Roller-McNutt Funeral Home in Clinton, Arkansas, for Rebecca Presley Duvall, 24, who passed away on Thursday, June 16, reportedly of a fatal mix of alcohol and drugs.

Visitation will be at 10:00am immediately preceding the funeral service, after which she will be laid to rest next to her brother Jordan at Davis Special Cemetery in Fairfield Bay, Arkansas.

Rebecca Presley Duvall was born on November 5, 1991, in Dallas. She attended school for several years in Roscoe and in Shirley, Arkansas. After leaving Arkansas, she moved back to Texas where she lived with family and friends until her passing on June 16. Presley was a loving person who will be sorely missed by all who knew her.

She is survived by her father, Ray Scott Duvall, mother, Rebecca Zell, stepfather Steve Zell, and sister Delani Duvall.

The family wishes to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers.

Funeral arrangements are under the care and direction of Roller-McNutt Funeral Home of Clinton, Arkansas.



Family graveside services were held at 10:30am on Monday, June 20, at Roscoe Cemetery for Bobby Keith Cleckler, 72, who passed away on Friday, June 17, at his home in Wastella.

Keith was born in Roscoe on August 27, 1943, and was a 1961 graduate of Roscoe High School. He also attended Howard County Junior College and West Texas State University. As a young man, he rode bulls in rodeos and was a jockey in horse races. He was a farmer most of his adult life.

Survivors include his son, Marty Cleckler of Lubbock; grandchildren, Kaitlyn and Lauren Cleckler of Lubbock; mother, Neva Cleckler of Sweetwater; and brother, Kendell Cleckler and wife, Mondelene, also of Sweetwater.

He was preceded in death by his father, Wendell Cleckler.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Eric Robinson Killed in Car Crash

Eric Robinson at the ribbon-cutting for Robinson Truck & Tractor Service in May 2014.
Eric Robinson, 41, operator of Robinson Truck & Tractor Service at 409 E. Broadway, was killed in a car crash at approximately 12:07am Saturday morning on I-20 between Roscoe and Sweetwater.

He was alone in his black 2015 Camaro and reportedly on his way to the TA Truck Stop to eat after a Friday night out. He failed to make the curve near mile marker 240, just beyond the underpass of the road that goes into downtown Sweetwater. His car left the road, struck the median guard rail, and came to a stop on the inside lane of eastbound I-20, where it was struck by a 2004 Freightliner driven by Roman Luis Garcia of Odessa. The collision ruptured the 18-wheeler’s diesel tank, causing the truck to catch fire and burn completely. The driver of the truck was uninjured.

Sweetwater and Roscoe Volunteer Fire Departments both responded, along with the Sweetwater Police Department, the Nolan County Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Public Safety, and TxDOT. The crash is still under investigation.



City Manager Cody Thompson reports to the City Council.
At its monthly meeting in City Hall last night, the City Council heard complaints from a group of citizens who live in the Bandera housing development just south of I-20. The area has had an ongoing problem with standing water in the streets and yards for some time, but this year’s heavy rains have made it worse than ever, and homeowners were requesting City aid in helping to find an acceptable solution.

City Manager Cody Thompson explained that both he and County Commissioner Terry Willman have discussed the problem but felt they couldn’t give a definitive answer about a possible solution until he had more information. He told the group he would get an engineer to survey the area and learn more about elevations before he attempts to make a plan to alleviate the situation without creating problems elsewhere. He told the group he will come up with a course of action by next month’s meeting, and the group was agreeable to his proposal.

Thompson then gave the Council an update on City activities. He said there are still some problems at the Water Treatment Plant that City employees are addressing. He also reminded Council members that we are just over two weeks away from this year’s Fourth of July Celebration, which will be on Saturday, July 2. Activity will begin with the Roscoe Lions Club Pancake Breakfast downtown at 8am. It will be followed by the Parade at 10am. Afterwards, vendors will be setting up downtown, while the Plowboy Mudbog at the Baseball Field will begin activities at noon after morning signups for participants. Live music will begin downtown about 4pm on the music stage on Cypress Street between the Roscoe State Bank and Old Town Park. This year there are three featured bands: Kris Gordon, American Aquarium, and headliner Sunny Sweeney. Spectators are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and coolers for the free concert and the fireworks, which this year will feature an “electric” appearance by Texas Tech’s Masked Rider. To participate, get a booth, or obtain information, call City Hall during business hours at 325-766-3871.

Thompson also wants to remind everyone that with the City Swimming Pool now open, drivers in the area should watch out for children around the park, swimming pool, and area streets. The pool is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 1-5pm and may be rented for private parties.

Thompson also announced that this year’s West Texas Wind Festival will be on Saturday, October 15.

After the City Manager’s Report, the Council took care of some routine action items. They approved a fireworks permit for the Fourth of July Celebration. They also approved closing downtown streets for the same event, and closing Broadway for the morning parade.

The meeting concluded with a discussion of the City Investment Report for the first quarter of the fiscal year.



The Roscoe Lions Club is selling chances to win a $500 gift certificate to TJB Outdoors.  TJB carries a full line of hunting gear from Guns to Archery and anything in between.  Tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20.  They will be sold until July 2, and the winner will be drawn during Roscoe’s Independence Day Celebration on Saturday, July 2.  If you need a handful of tickets, all Lions Club members have them, or stop by and see Shane Tomlin at the Roscoe State Bank!

Also, the Lions Club will be holding a Pancake Breakfast during the morning of Roscoe’s July 4th Celebration.  It will start at 8am and end at 10am before the start of the parade.  Pancakes, bacon, sausage, coffee, and juice will be served for $5/plate in the empty building next to the former Smacker’s Café on Broadway.  All proceeds from the ticket sales and breakfast will be used to support the Roscoe Lions Club charitable activities for the year.



Cooder Graw
The Lumberyard will be rocking Saturday night when Cooder Graw comes to town for the first time. The band refers to its country/alternative country music as “loud country.” Best known for its song “Llano Estacado,” the group formed in 1998 and, unlike most bands, was made up from the start of members in their late thirties to early fifties. The lead singer, Matt Martindale, was the assistant DA of Gray County and guitarist Kelly Turner managed a manufacturing plant in Slaton.

They originally called themselves Coup de Grace, but since another band already had that name, they changed theirs to the Texas pronunciation of the original name, Cooder Graw. They produced several CDs, their first being Home at the Golden Light and toured extensively, becoming a major influence on the Texas scene, but in 2006 they broke up with a couple of members going back to their previous professions. Then in 2012, they got back together again, picked up two new members and have been performing ever since. Since re-uniting, they have produced two CDs, Front of House Live, and their latest CD, Cooder Graw: Love to Live By. Videos that exemplify their style include "Better Days," "Llano Estacado," "Motel Lights", and their latest, "Love to Live By."

Live music will begin at around 8:00pm when the opening band, Jamie Tollison and the Black Dirt Revival, takes the stage. Cooder Graw will begin their performance around 9:45pm.

Advance tickets are $15. For reservations, contact the Lumberyard at 325-766-2457.



Eden Baker got this photo of lightning north of town early Sunday morning.
The big news for the past week was the big rain we got early Sunday morning. It began around 2:30am and lasted until shortly before six. It arrived from the west with lots of thunder and lightning, and the electricity went out a couple of times. But there was no high wind or hail, and the rain itself was relatively gentle. However, by the time it moved on, everyone in the area had gotten at least some and many even more than that.

The official total for Roscoe was 2.86”, but I had 2.94” in my rain gauge, and others in town were reporting 2.5” or more. Pyron and Hermleigh had a little less than two, and Snyder had 2.2”. But Allen Richburg west of town had 3”, while others had closer to 2.5. East of Roscoe got more with Avenger Field recording 3.07”. In any case, there was enough rain to create puddles all over town and fill the local dry lakes. Cotton planting and wheat harvesting had to be put on hold, and some farmers who had just repaired their washed-out terraces saw them damaged again.

The relatively mild weather we’ve had this spring continued through the latter part of last week with highs in the upper eighties and lows in the low seventies, and even Monday and yesterday topped out at only 91°F.  But if the forecasters are right, we are moving into a couple of weeks of serious summer heat starting today, when the temperature should reach 97°. Tomorrow’s high will be about 98°, and Friday and Saturday are both predicted to hit triple digits for the first time this year at 100°, and the heat will continue through the beginning of next week. Lows will be in the mid-seventies, winds will generally be from the south, and skies will be sunny. Added to the heat will be humidity of around 50%, so the misery index will be fairly high, and all the air conditioners in town will no doubt get a good workout.

There is no rain in the forecast.



Funeral services will be held at 10:00am this morning, June 15, 2016, at First Salem Lutheran Church in Roscoe for Eric Wayne Robinson, 41, who passed away Saturday, June 11. Burial will follow at Lone Wolf Cemetery in Scurry County.

Eric was born on September 9, 1974, in Clovis, New Mexico, to Jerry and Sandy (Corbin) Robinson. He was a Lutheran, a graduate of Roscoe High School, and an ex-Plowboy.  He was a self-employed mechanic and operated Robinson's Truck & Tractor Service. His greatest love was his daughters, and he was also their greatest supporter in everything they did. Eric loved life and lived it to the fullest.          

He is survived by two children, Reann Robinson and Colby Robinson, both of Roscoe, and their mother, Bonnie Robinson, of Roscoe; mother, Sandy Little of Clovis; father, Jerry Robinson and wife Pam of Meridian; aunts and uncles, Brenda and Ralph Stirl of Roscoe; Terry and Danny Reed of Clovis; and Nancy Corbin of Clovis; four brothers, Casey Robinson of Kermit, Casey Bradley of Roscoe, Jarrod Robinson of Odessa, and Clay Wilson of Clovis; special cousin, Jana Estes of San Angelo; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

Pallbearers are Casey Bradley, Clay Wilson, Casey Robinson, Jarrod Robinson, Edward Acebedo and Gary Ginkinger.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Roscoe in Years Gone By: The St. George Hotel

The St. George Hotel. Judging by the automobiles, the picture seems to have been taken around 1912.
Editor’s note: Since there is little in the way of Roscoe news to report this week, I thought I’d take the opportunity to run an updated version of an article I wrote in early 2012, which many current readers may have never seen. 

As curator of the Roscoe Historical Museum, I am always on the lookout for photos, images and information of early day Roscoe, and my searches on the Internet have occasionally been rewarded with finds that illuminate aspects of the city’s history that have otherwise been forgotten.

One example is the old photograph at top left from a collection at Hardin-Simmons University showing a large two-story depot under construction. The description that accompanies it says it was in Roscoe, Texas. However, it looks pretty grand for Roscoe, and I might have questioned the location if I didn’t have a Dallas Morning News article from August 27, 1898, that says the Texas & Pacific was building a new depot in Roscoe to replace the old one that burned down—and that the new one “when completed, will be an ornament to the town.”

At the same time, I did doubt the accuracy of another old photograph from the same collection also described as being from Roscoe. This one, shown above, is of a fine-looking building with three floors (counting the attic) called the St. George Hotel.

In stories I’d heard from my father, my uncle Marion, George Parks, Mary Edna Worthy, and other local historians, I’d heard of several hotels in Roscoe—the Turk, the Bourland, the Kern, and the Rex—but I had never heard mention of anything about a St. George Hotel, especially considering that it would have been bigger than any of the others.

Likewise, Sid Gracey, in her 1924 essay on the early history of Roscoe, mentions other early Roscoe hotels, but says nothing about a St. George. So I figured someone had made a mistake, as sometimes happens with old photographs, and forgot about it.

Then shortly thereafter, I learned that the Roscoe Volunteer Fire Department owns a scrapbook containing fire department history and memorabilia that go back to the incorporation of the city in 1907. Naturally, I was interested in what it contained, so, after getting permission to look it over and scan some of its pictures, I took it home and went to work. One of the first photographs in the scrapbook is this one of east Roscoe, said to be taken in 1908:

View from Second and Pecan Streets looking northeast toward the cemetery on the horizon. The St. George Hotel (far left in picture) is located at the corner of First and Pecan Streets. To the right of the hotel and across the railroad tracks is the Roscoe, Snyder & Pacific Railway shops. (Someone has written 1908 at the bottom of the photograph.)
And, lo and behold, there on the left-hand side of the picture is a big hotel—the St. George, and the caption below the photo specifically mentions it by name.

Moreover, on the same page of the scrapbook is a copy of the December 15, 1908, minutes of the City Council, which contains the following:

Be it ordained by the City Council of Roscoe that no frame buildings shall be constructed or built or moved within said limit without a permit from Council; said limit to be bounded on north by T&P Railroad, on east by St. George Hotel, thence south to 3rd Street, thence west to Moon Shop.

So, the evidence seemed conclusive. There was indeed a St. George Hotel in east Roscoe, apparently on Broadway and Pecan where the ice house used to be and where the Busy Bee Tax Office is now. But if that is the case, why wasn’t it a part of the general memory of the city’s history? How could such a nice, big hotel be apparently forgotten? When was it built, who owned it, and whatever could have happened to it?

I asked several local old timers about it but, like me, none of them had ever heard of it—not my mother, not Arlon Wayne Orman, who was pretty knowledgeable about Roscoe history, not Harold Duvall, who also knew quite a bit, nor anyone else that I asked.

One day, however, while on a visit to my mother at the rest home in Sweetwater, I ran into Pauline Heine, who had lived in and around Roscoe practically all her life. Like my mother, she was 104 years old at the time and still clear-headed.

I asked her if she’d ever heard of the St. George Hotel, and she said no, she didn’t think so. I said it was on Broadway in the early days over in the east part of town, and she said, “It was a pretty big hotel, wasn’t it?” I said yes, and she said she seemed to remember it. I asked her if she knew anything about it or what happened to it, but she said she didn’t.

So, I ran an article about it in the Roscoe Hard Times asking for any information anyone had about the old hotel. Bruce McGlothlin responded, saying he’d read something about it somewhere. A few days later while going through a box of papers, he found a copy of an old article about downtown Roscoe that that J. B. Cooper, Jr., had once given him.

Entitled “Roscoe, the Magic City of West Texas,” it was published in the July 16, 1908, issue of the Sweetwater Telegram. A long article for a newspaper, it begins by talking about how Roscoe is booming and what a wonderful town it is. Then it lists all the major businesses in town and writes a brief paragraph about each one—and the St. George Hotel is on the list.

Here’s what the article says about it:

St. George Hotel – The principal commercial hostelry of Roscoe is the St. George. This hotel is a good one, and commercial travelers know just what we mean when we say that. Mr. I. T. George has been at the head of this house for the past two years, and by constant effort in catering to the wants of the traveling public has now a good substantial business. The house contains 21 rooms in all, well and comfortably fitted up for the accommodation of all guests. Rates from $1.25 to $2.00 per day.

The article didn’t answer all the questions we asked about it, but it was a lot more information than we’d had. Another big question is what ever happened to it, and that’s one that may never be answered since it apparently ceased to be over a hundred years ago.

One possibility is that it burned down. Old hotels of the time often burned due to their wood-frame construction, open and common stairwells, and lack of firewalls. I did run across a short notice in the August 6, 1914, edition of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram with the headline, “Roscoe Hotel Burns,” which states that “The Butler Hotel, owned by G. F. Light, was destroyed by fire yesterday. The loss is about $9,000 on building and furnishings. It was insured for $3.000.”

It is of course only wild speculation that the Butler Hotel and the St. George Hotel were one and the same since there’s no apparently no remaining evidence one way or the other. Nevertheless, I present the information here on the off-chance that they were.

* St. George Hotel, Photograph, n.d.; ( : accessed June 07, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Hardin-Simmons University Library, Abilene, Texas.



Dallas Moore & the Snatch Wranglers
The Lumberyard will have a special Thursday show tomorrow night when Dallas Moore, a poster boy and cult hero for Outlaw Country, makes his debut performance in Roscoe. The long-haired Harley-riding singer from Cincinnati plays a hard rockin’ brand of country topped off by gruff vocals. Since 1991, he has released seven CDs, the most recent being Can’t Tame a Wildcat. He and his band, the Snatch Wranglers, keep up a relentless tour schedule averaging 300 dates a year. Top singles include “Outlaw Country,” “Blessed Be the Bad Ones,” and “Raising Hell and Slingin’ Gravel.”

Tickets for the show are $10 with Dallas Moore and band taking the stage at about 8:30pm.

Cody Canada (center) & the Departed
Then on Friday evening, popular southern rock and alternative country artist Cody Canada and his band, the Departed, will return to the Lumberyard. Canada was the lead singer of Cross Canadian Ragweed, a “red dirt” band from Oklahoma, from 1994-2010, but in 2011, he and bass guitarist Jeremy Plato along with three others formed The Departed and have been playing under that name since.

The Departed released their first album, This is Indian Land, in 2011 and Adventus in 2012. Canada also released a solo-acoustic album, Some Old, Some New, Maybe a Cover or Two, in 2013, followed by HippieLovePunk and Chip and Ray, Together Again for the First Time, both in 2015. Popular singles by Canada include “Inbetweener,” “All Nighter,” “Easy,” “The Ballad of Rosalie,” and others.

The show begins around 9:00pm. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the show. For reservations, contact the Lumberyard at 325-766-2457.



The abundance of rain this year has produced some huge Swiss chard in my garden.
After unseasonably cool, cloudy weather last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, the sun came out and the ground began drying, at least on top, as the weather warmed up on Saturday and has continued to be warm and sunny since then. Farmers are finally in the fields taking advantage of sunshine to get as much of their cotton planted as they can before another rain.

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were all cool and cloudy. Highs for all three days were in the seventies, and more rain fell, although not so much this time as before. On Thursday evening, a shower came just at sunset and then rain fell off and on up until about 3am. Here in town I got a total of .86” and then .06” more Friday afternoon for a total of .92”, but the total was more like a half-inch or less in other places. In any case, the storms moved on, and since then it’s been mostly sunshine with highs in the mid-eighties and lows in the mid-sixties.

The forecast is for more of the same. The highs through Sunday should be in the upper eighties with lows in the upper sixties, and skies should be sunny or mostly sunny for the rest of the week. There is however a 50% chance of showers Sunday afternoon, but starting next week, we should experience more typical summer weather with highs in the mid-nineties. We’ve got plenty of ground moisture now, so that shouldn’t bother anyone.



Caffey Welch, 90, passed away Friday, June 3, 2016, at his home. A celebration of his life was held at 1:00pm Monday, June 6, 2016, at the First United Methodist Church in Anson, directed by Adams-Graham Funeral Home. It was followed by a private burial.

Born October 23, 1925, in Truby, Caffey was the son of the late J. F. and Sula Frances (Caffey) Welch. He was a U. S. Navy veteran of WWII and married Marilyn Thompson August 13, 1948 in Abilene. Caffey worked in education for 35 years in Sweetwater, Blackwell, Roscoe, Roby, and finally retiring as principal of Hubbard High School in Waco. Caffey returned to Anson in 1981. He was a faithful member of the First United Methodist Church where he served on many boards. Caffey also was the president of the City of Anson Housing Authority Board. He was named Sweetwater's Man of the Year in 1953 and Anson's Man of the Year in 2001. Caffey was a loving husband and Papa, faithful friend and devoted Christian.

Caffey was preceded in death by his parents; two sisters, Dorothy Welch and Frances Richter; and two brothers, Joe Welch and Van Welch.

Survivors include his wife, Marilyn Welch of Anson; one son, Mitchael Welch (and wife, Lisa) of Seattle, WA; one daughter, Rhonda Ward (and husband, Leon) of Snyder; five grandchildren, Heather Ward Perez (and husband, Romer), Josh Ward (and wife, Jessica), Zack Welch (and wife, Lauren), Erin Garrido (and husband, Danny) and Holley Roper (and husband, Brad); and 10 great-grandchildren.


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

City Swimming Pool Opens Friday

The pool opens for business Friday at 1:00pm.
If you’re a kid in Roscoe with a little spare time on your hands, life has to be looking up—school is out and on Friday at 1:00pm the swimming pool opens for the summer.

Like last year, the pool will be open Tuesdays through Sundays from 1:00 to 5:00pm.  Price of admission is $2.00 per day with season passes available for $75.

The pool may be rented for private parties beginning and ending between 6:00 and 10:00pm. The fee is $60 for two hours, $70 for three, and $80 for four with a $15 deposit. The price includes an approved licensed lifeguard.

Private swimming lessons will begin at 10:30am and end at 11:15am. The fee is $50 for three lessons.

For reservations or additional details, contact Pool Manager Isabel Moore at 325-514-9416.



The Roscoe basketball coaching staff is conducting a fundamental basketball camp. The camp will cover fundamental skills, games, and concepts of basketball. We will have a 1-on-1 and 3-on-3 tournament, hot shot contest, free throw contest, and much more.

Incoming 6th-9th grade girls and boys are welcomed. Participants will receive a camp shirt and awards each day. Pre-registration is preferred, but you can register at the door.

Date:    June 22, 23, 24
Time:   6:00 pm- 8:00 pm
Tuition: $30
Location: Roscoe High School gym

Contact Shella Arnwine at for pre-registration forms and information.



Who:  Incoming 2nd – 9th graders
When:  Monday-Tuesday, June 13-14
Time: 6:00 – 8:00 pm.
Where: Plowboy Field
Cost: $20.00  (includes Camp T-Shirt)  Students attending camp can wear their camp t-shirt and get in free to all home football games.
Coaches: Roscoe Plowboy Football Staff
Registration:  For registration forms or more information call 325-766-3844 (coaches’ office) or 3325-721-0892 (cell).  Please pre-register as soon as you can or let us know if you plan to attend so we can order camp t-shirts. Registration will begin Monday, June 13th, at 4:30 pm on Plowboy Field.



 (Note: This article ran in the Hard Times on May 23, 2012. Because this week was a bit short on news, I'm taking the opportunity to run it again for readers who weren't around back then.)

The Uranium Sitting Parlor was in this building, abandoned when this photo was taken in 1980, and now gone. (Photo by Betty Sasin)

One of the strangest—if not the strangest—of businesses ever to set up shop in Roscoe had to be the Uranium Sitting Parlor. The year was 1955, and it didn’t stay open for too long, but I can still remember the place and the stir it caused at the time.

It was in that old downtown red-brick building on the west side of the first block of Main Street, the one that had the Barq’s Root Beer advertisement painted on its north wall, and was next to Mrs. Clausell’s laundry. It was somewhat dark and dingy inside with old people lying in red sand in areas separated from one another by planks. Some of them were completely covered up to their necks while others had sand over only the affected areas, such as wrists, ankles, and feet.

The sand was radioactive and said to be wonderfully capable of alleviating aches and pains from arthritis, rheumatism, and other similar maladies. Customers paid by the hour, and their certainty that the uranium was beneficial caused for a booming business.

Those of you who weren’t around back then may not know that the discovery of radioactivity, its presence in uranium, and the part it played in the creation of the atomic bomb all had a profound effect on the popular thought of the time. No one was quite sure what it all meant, but the atomic bomb blasts were proof that mankind was dealing with something new and powerful.

A popular movie of the time entitled “Them!” (1954) captured some of the prevalent wonder. In the movie, ants exposed to radioactivity from atomic testing in the Nevada desert became huge and invincible and attacked mankind, reinforcing the impression that radioactivity was a mysterious force with unusual powers.

Thanks to Stanley Cleckler, who provided me with a couple of articles, one from the Roscoe Times about the local sitting parlor and the other from the San Angelo Standard-Times about the origins of the craze, I am able to supply details that would otherwise have been impossible.

According to the article in the Standard-Times, the craze began in Comanche. A dairy farmer there by the name of Jesse F. Reese discovered that sand on his 216-acre farm had uranium in it. Not too long afterwards, a stranger knocked on the door one day and asked if he could sit in Mr. Reese’s ditch. He explained that back home in Washington state, he paid for radiation treatments to ease his rheumatism pains, and he was thinking he might get the same relief from the radioactive sand in the ditch.

Reese agreed, and before long word got around about the healing powers of uranium sand, and several other people showed up to do the same thing. Rather than run them off, Reese built a shed in his back yard with enough room for six sitters. He put sand under the floor and in the walls and charged two dollars an hour.

Business started slowly, but soon he was getting 150 visitors a day, and it wasn’t too long before a uranium sitting parlor was established in Brownwood. It was also a big success.

At this point, Harvey Cleckler, a Roscoan who was living in Brownwood, decided to get involved. He was a character and an entrepreneur who, among other ventures, was the man who used to bring the donkey basketball games to Roscoe.

He came to Roscoe with some of the uranium sand and established the Roscoe Uranium Sitting Parlor.

According to the Roscoe Times, people “literally began sitting on the first shovel full” of radioactive sand that he unloaded, and the place was soon averaging “upwards of thirty people a day.” Mr. Cleckler made no claims that the radioactive sand would cure or even help any disease. He merely made the sand available and charged a price for people to sit in it.

Here's one customer's testimonial copied verbatim from the Roscoe Times article, "It's the only thing that's ever helped my arthritis. I could hardly get up the stairs until I started uranium sitting. Now I walk up them easily."

Harvey's brother Frank took charge of the Roscoe parlor while Harvey moved on to Lubbock to establish another one there.

The Roscoe parlor originally had two “beds,” but that was later increased, and I seem to remember at least five or six. I don’t remember how long the parlor remained open, but it wasn’t too long. I guess at some point people figured out that their rheumatism or arthritis was still bothering them and gave up on the sitting sessions and the curative powers of radioactivity.

But it was all the rage for a while and is now an indelible part of the history of the town.



June will be a big month for name bands at the Lumberyard. Here are the biggest:

Cody Canada & the Departed - Friday, June 10

Cooder Graw - Saturday, June 18

Charlie Robison - Saturday, June 25
For reservations or more information contact the Lumberyard at 325-766-2457.



Water was standing in the rows after yesterday's rain. (Photo by Allen Richburg)
We’ve had plenty of weather since last Wednesday with a little bit of everything including hot weather, high humidity, strong winds with blowing sand, and, yes, more rain. Temperatures on the whole were higher than in previous weeks, which is to be expected I guess, as we move into June. The high came last Wednesday when it got up to 95°F with Thursday and Saturday both recording 90°. Since then, it’s been steadily cooling with yesterday’s high only 81° and today’s projected to be only 75°.

The high winds came on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. On Thursday, the winds came off a nearby storm cloud with sustained high winds of 40mph with gusts up to 47mph. They brought with them a wall of fine dust. Friday had gusts up to 48mph, and Saturday up to 45mph.

We got rain on four different days with the big one coming Saturday night at about 11:30 and lasting for about 45 minutes. My rain gauge had 1.52”, while Kenny Landfried’s official total was 1.4”. Sunday night .2” more fell, and then yesterday afternoon another shower of .22”, although it rained more than that west of town. With the .1” that fell last Wednesday, I had a weekly total of 2.04”. Kenny recorded an official total of 5.7” for the month of May. And, as planting season for cotton approaches, I’m beginning to hear even dryland farmers complain about the prospect of getting more rain.

But that’s just what is in the forecast for the next couple of days. In fact, Nolan County is under a flash flood watch until tomorrow morning at 7am. With the ground already pretty well soaked, any additional rain is likely to have a quick runoff, especially if it comes down quickly. Chances of rain are 70% for today and 60% tonight, as well as 50% tomorrow and 40% tomorrow night. Tomorrow’s high temperature should be only about 73° and Friday’s 74°. However, the weekend will see the start of sunnier weather and a steady warming trend as we move into next week.



Linda O. Whiteside, 62, of Nevada, passed away on April 24th, 2016. Graveside services for Linda were on Saturday, May 28th, 2016, at Roscoe Cemetery in Roscoe. The service was officiated by Reverend Matt McGowan.



Memorial service for Maria Galvan, 76, of Roscoe will be at 2:00pm on Sunday, June 5, at Highland Heights United Methodist Church in Sweetwater with Reverend Jake Wade officiating. Interment will follow at Roscoe Cemetery. She passed away on Saturday, May 28, at Sweetwater Healthcare Center.

Ms. Galvan was born January 28, 1940, in Oilton, Texas. On June 5, 1966, she married Catarino Galvan in San Diego, Texas. She moved to Roscoe in 1966 and was a member of Highland Heights United Methodist Church. She had worked for Roscoe Nursing Home as a CNA.

Survivors include her daughters, Juanita Garcia and husband, Daniel, of Roscoe; Gracie Garza and husband, Luis, of Edinburg; Mari Cornett and husband, Benny, of Roscoe; Patty Hamilton and husband, Lance, of Sweetwater; sister, Beatriz Gonzales of Abilene; brothers, Pete Rodriguez of Roscoe; Hector Gonzales of Hobbs, New Mexico; Arnulfo Gonzales of Michigan; fifteen grandchildren, twenty great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandson; daughter-in-law, Maria M. Galvan of Sweetwater.

She was preceded in death by her father, Pioquinto Rodriguez; mother, San Juana Rodriguez; step-father, Leon Gonzales; sister, Celia Galvan; brother, Guadalupe Rodriguez; husband, Catarino Galvan; son, Jose Galvan; and sister, Sandy Reye.


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