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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Pickin's Archive

January 21, 2015


Calls 101
Warnings 17
Tickets 4
Arrests 4

Three felony arrests resulted from criminal investigations in conjunction with the Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

One meth lab on Hickory was eliminated. The FBI is looking into this case for possible further investigation including looking for more suspects.

$6800 in stolen property was recovered including police equipment stolen from Sweetwater.

January 22, 2014

Roscoe in Years Gone By

 (from the December 15, 1967, Roscoe Times)


In spite of the icy weather that prevented many from getting there, the Boys Club Turkey Shoot was busy nearly all day last Saturday, with 19 turkeys being given to winning marksmen.

High score went to Bob Brothers with a 95, followed by Bennie Sasin with a 94.

Turkeys were won by James Heffernan, LeRoy Pietzsch, Harold Haynes, Melton Tarrant, Chubby Johnson, Don Freeman, Bennie Sasin, Dale Dyer, Tony Tidwell, W. E. L. Fischer, James Pitts, Roger Marcrom, David Pitts, Norvell Langston, Craig Collins, Jarvis Haynes, Bob Brothers, and Tommy Griffith.


Roscoe City Councilman Robert McBride has been turned in as one of "Sweetwater's Most Wanted," but it is not what you might think. It is for the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Lock-Up fundraising event. The Lock-Up is the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s premier fundraising program.

These high-profile events occur all across the country at various times throughout the year. Business and community leaders agree to be "put behind bars for good," where they utilize vendors, co-workers, family and friends to get donations that will go toward their “bail.” Each jailbird has weeks to raise their donations. That way, on the day of the lock-up event, they can enjoy the experience by networking with other business leaders and meeting with the individuals and families that they’re helping in their community.

All funds raised by the MDA Lock-Up assist the Association in providing lifesaving research, a nationwide network of medical clinics and accessible summer camp experiences to individuals and families affected by neuromuscular diseases.

If you would like to help post McBride’s bail, click here to donate online, or stop by his office on the second floor of the Nolan County Courthouse, or donate anywhere else you see him.

For an idea of what the money may go to fund: $1,480 - Fund 20 Minutes of Research ,$800 - Send One Child to MDA Summer Camp, $100 - Pay for a Support Group Session, $74 - Fund One Minute of Research, $30 - Fund One Flu Shot.

McBride hopes to at least pay for one kid’s summer camp.

December 25, 2013

Letters to Santa from the December 22, 1967, Roscoe Times:

Dear Santa,

I want a ring for Christmas. I have been good. I will see you here in school next Wednesday. Last year when my sister was here I saw you when you turn around. I ducked down. When you come in you will see yourself. I have this little toy of you and I will turn it on. How is Mrs. Santa? I didn’t want to forget her. I will see you Christmas Eve.

Your little friend,
Sandra Zinke


Dear Santa,

I want a football suit and a football, and a BB pistol.

With love,
Randall Dean Smith


Dear Santa,

I want a cow truck. I have tried to be a good boy. Please remember my friends, too.

Wesley Williams


Dear Santa,

My name is Sonya Pieper, and I have two little brothers, Randy and Britt. We all have been real nice so would you please bring us some toys? I would like a Suzy Homemaker, Skipper, and Skeeter, and some clothes for them. I would also like high-raised handlebars and a banana seat for my bicycle.

Randy wants some house logs, a truck, gun, and race set. Britt just wants a lot of toys. Santa, please remember all the other little children, too.



Dear Santa,

I want a chain and a speedomitur for my bicke, and some amunishun and a 22 to go hunding.

With love,

David Drake


Dear Santa,

I want a Little Miss Fussy and a basketball and a basketball goal.

Your little friend,
Glyniss Westbrook

Dear Santa,

For Christmas I want a bicycle and my sisters and brothers want something too. Bring them something and bring me a doll too.

With love,
Rebecca Morales


Dear Santa,

I hope you will brend me whath I want for Christmas. I wint a bare of boots and a army hat and a pistil and a army gun. I hope you have fun on Christmas. Your lucky, you don’t have to wait until Christmas eve or Christmas day. Is all you got to do is pass them out.

Your little friend,

December 18, 2013

The 2014 Texas Midwest Guide is now out, and Roscoe is one of 42 communities featured with a page of its own in a booklet designed for visitors to the area.

The guide showcases the life and points of interest in the various cities of the region. It includes community information and an events calendar as well as lists of museums, motels, RV parks, and recreation facilities. The Roscoe Historical Museum is included, and a number of Roscoe businesses are among the advertisers.


December 4, 2013


(from the Roscoe Times, October 26, 1917)

We venture to say that not in fifty years will the crop failure in Nolan County be so complete as it has been this year. An extensive tour over the entire county last week showed only a little feed on the Divide and Nolan communities, and almost nothing elsewhere.

It is a hard prospect, but we can take consolation in the fact that it is not likely to happen again soon.

Editor’s note: The person who wrote this may have had thoughts of suicide if he had known that the following year, 1918, would be just as dry as 1917 was.


October 23, 2013


(Editor's note: Yesterday I received this letter from Sharion Kay McFaul Henley, who has been trying to get something done about the hazardous curve on I-20 West just before the US 84 overpass east of Roscoe. Thanks, Sharion, for all your persistence and efforts. You almost certainly have saved some lives.)

To the concerned people of Nolan County,

I have been working, as most of you know, since the last of July, trying to bring attention to the dangerous curve that has claimed so many lives and caused countless injuries at mile marker 237 near Roscoe. Contacting the State Representative, Texas Department of Transportation Executive Director Phil Wilson, and lastly, voicing my concerns about the grooved pavement on the road bed with Douglas Eichorst, Interim Engineer out of Abilene. I see in the Sweetwater Reporter today that they will be re-doing the surface on the curve tomorrow. Everything I was concerned about, except going as far as straightening out the road, which Doug said was not in the plans at this time, has come to be, with the lights to be up during the month of December, which was moved up ahead of schedule. Texas Department of Transportation is a first class operation, and they do listen when we voice our concerns.

NOLAN COUNTY – Traffic on westbound I-20 at US 84 will be diverted from the main lanes for most of the day tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct. 23, to allow maintenance crews to restore the pavement surface near the recently completed overpass. Work will begin at approximately 8:30 a.m. and is expected to be completed by 5 p.m. Drivers should follow the posted detour to US 84.

May 15, 2013


 This early map from 1881-1882 shows the new towns along the Texas & Pacific line. Note that Tye was then known as Tebo and Roscoe as Katula. Buffalo Gap was still the seat of Taylor County.

Roscoe in Days Gone By

(from the Dallas Herald issue of April 14, 1881)

The Texas & Pacific Extension

The track of this road is now laid to the Colorado river, 262 miles west of Dallas, and will soon reach the staked plains, the Llano Estacado of the Spaniard. The new towns west of Abilene are as follows: Tebo, on section 138; Merkle, on section 147; Trent, on section 153; Eschota, on section 161; Sweetwater, on section 171; Katula, on section 180; Louraine, on section 190, and Colorado City, on section 199, these sections meaning mile-posts from Weatherford, to which 62 miles must be added to get the distance from Dallas. Tebo, Merkle, and Trent are in Taylor county; Eschota, Sweetwater, and Katula are in Nolan county; Louraine and Colorado City are in Mitchell county. The next town west of the Colorado river will be on section 210, and will be called Westbrook. At Colorado City, Coleman & Dunn, of Coleman City, have a store with a stock of general merchandise, valued at $15,000, and Lawson & Smith carry about $5000, Beeler & Owens have drugs, and there are several small grocery stores as well as “Nip and Tuck,” the Terminal saloon.


Editor’s note: Since Roscoe was originally known as Katula and later Vista before becoming Roscoe, the history of Roscoe properly begins with the founding of Katula in 1881. Where the name Katula comes from is not clear, but the names of the new towns along the line appear to have been decided upon by employees of the T & P Railway.

The original spellings for Merkel, Eskota, and Loraine are those given above. Katula was originally about a mile west of today’s downtown Roscoe, but early settlers moved it east when they learned that heavy rains caused flooding in the original location.

Since the T & P Railway reached Sweetwater on March 13, 1881, and Colorado City by April 14, a month later, it is logical to assume that the track reached Katula sometime in the latter part of March 1881, at which time the history of Roscoe may be said to begin.


May 8, 2013

(from the October 29, 1892, issue of The Fort Worth Gazette)



The Center of Cheap and Productive Farming Lands—The Country Rapidly Filling Up—What is Needed.

ROSCOE, NOLAN COUNTY, TEX., Oct. 27 [1892].—[Special.]—West Texas is progressing, but just at present Nolan county is receiving a great amount of attention from people not only in Texas, but other states.  Roscoe, a flourishing town, is situated in this county and is surrounded by some of the best agricultural lands to be found in the Lone Star State.  The worth of these lands is manifest to all when it is known that 200 families have bought homes within the past six months and will settle here before the first of next January.

The county is rapidly filling up and thereby creates new openings for business men in Roscoe.  At present the town is badly in need of a few more good, live merchants.  A good saddler and hardware business would also be a paying investment.  A bank is also much needed.  The prevailing idea among even the people of Texas is that this country is only fit for grazing purposes but that idea will be knocked out of anyone who will take the time to visit Nolan county.  The soil is very productive and will produce nearly anything in the way of crops that can be raised anywhere in Texas.  Mr. Crocker of Garland, Arkansas, after visiting this country writes back, “My friends will not believe our reports of your country.  I will be back with ten others in a few days."

Any person desiring a home in a farming country will do well to visit Nolan county before they locate.  Low rates of fare can be had over the Texas and Pacific railway to Roscoe for all who wish to look at the country.  Lands, choice lands, are yet cheap and can be bought on advantageous terms.  Roscoe is at present enjoying great prosperity.  New buildings are being erected, new enterprises are being started.  A roller flouring mill and a new Methodist college are soon to be erected and will add much t the advantage of the town.  Visit Nolan and Roscoe and you will never regret it.

(Editor's Note: This was a companion piece to the ad that is this week's museum Photo of the Week.)


May 1, 2013


Roscoe Collegiate High School will be hosting its annual Cinco de Mayo Celebration and Scholarship Dinner on Friday, May 3rd, at the high school.

There will be a bounce house, face painting, mini Mercado, paletas, music, lotería (Spanish bingo), cakewalk and other games for all ages. Students will be presenting throughout the dinner as well. The carnival is from 4:00-8:00 and the dinner and presentations will run from 5:00-7:30.

There will be student work on display, door prizes, tours of the new areas, and student presentations. Dinner includes Mexican Pile On, drink and dessert. Price of the dinner is $6.00 for adults and $4.00 for kids 4-10. Kids under four are free. Proceeds benefit senior scholarships.



Saturday, May 4, 7:00am-5:00pm

Vendors inside and outside

For more information, contact Helen Perry at 325-766-3149.



Bids now being received for city water improvements will be opened next Tuesday, May 7, and will then be evaluated by City Engineers eHT of Abilene. The City Council will then award the bid to the chosen company at its monthly meeting on May 14.

The bid includes replacement of 11,000 linear feet of water line, water well rehab, and construction of a new reverse-osmosis water treatment plant.



Roscoe Police Chief Felix Pantoja will be on hand at Hardin-Simmons’ Logsdon Chapel in Abilene this afternoon for a memorial service honoring area law enforcement officers who have fallen in the line of duty. In particular, he will be there to remember and speak for Lewis Snyder, Roscoe’s former night watchman, who was killed while attempting to apprehend a burglary suspect on August 4, 1966.

This is National Police Week and National Peace Officer Memorial Day.


April 17, 2013


There weren’t any empty seats in the AVID room at the Roscoe School Monday evening as a large crowd was on hand to hear the case for the school’s proposal to build a $3.5 million Capstone STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Research Center at the school’s ag farm.

School Superintendent Kim Alexander presented a slide show and spoke at length in favor of the proposal.  He began by saying the project can be completed without increasing the I&S tax rate since property values have increased significantly since the current rate was approved by voters in 2008. 

Approval will result in the construction of a new high-tech facility that includes environmental, engineering, biotechnology, and animal science laboratories as well as multi-dimensional classrooms.

Students will benefit from observing and working with on-site veterinarians and earning endorsements in STEM-related fields.  Combined with the opportunity to earn the Associates Degrees already in place, these endorsements will give them a step up in going on to college and moving into STEM-related careers.

Alexander emphasized that STEM education is needed in Texas because it is unable to satisfy its skilled workforce needs, and Roscoe, as one of only 23 Texas High Performance Schools statewide, is authorized to be a leader in developing educational methods to fulfill these needs and to serve as a model for other Texas schools. 

The presentation was followed by a question and answer session.  

The hearing was held to provide information about the proposal in advance of the bond election that will be held Saturday, May 11. 


April 10, 2013


This year’s Spring Fling festival in downtown Roscoe will be on Saturday afternoon and evening, April 20. Along with the usual street vendors, kids’ bounce houses, and fireworks show, there will also be a chili cookoff and a free concert and street dance.

The featured music act this year is noted country artist Brandon Jenkins and band, whose songs “My Feet Don’t Touch the Ground,” “Why Did We Ever Say Goodbye,” “Down in Flames,” “Finger on the Trigger,” and many others are familiar to lovers of the Red Dirt sound. Opening for him will be The Remains.

After the fireworks show, those who wish to continue the celebration may do so at the Lumberyard, where Wayne "the Train" Hancock will perform on the outdoor stage.

Application forms for the 2nd Annual Screw Terlingua Chili Cookoff (with proceeds going to the Open Door Day Care Center at the Methodist Church) are available at the Lumberyard or City Hall.

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



The Nolan County Board of Realtors has issued a call to all interested Nolan County’s graduating seniors, the Class of 2013, to apply for a $500 college scholarship, four of which will be awarded.

Last year, six Nolan County students, including Hanna Box from Roscoe Collegiate High School, received the scholarships to use at the school of their choice.

Interested seniors may pick up applications at their high school counselor’s office or at the office of Morgan Real Estate at 217 Oak Street in Sweetwater. Applications are due on or before May 1 at Morgan Real Estate, where there is a night drop available.

Applications are reviewed anonymously and chosen from those submitted. The recipients will be announced at the May meeting of the Nolan County Board of Realtors.


January 30, 2012


Until around 1870, the Roscoe area was a grassy prairie occasionally traversed by Indians as they followed the buffalo herds that moved through the country. Wild life was plentiful. Besides the buffaloes, there were antelopes, deer, prairie dogs, jack rabbits, coyotes, cougars, turkeys, rattlesnakes, buzzards, and all the other wildlife native to the region.

The 1870s, especially 1871-1877, were the years of the buffalo hunters. In just a few short years, the Plains Indians lost not only their traditional roaming territory but also their primary means of existence. The great buffalo herds were wiped out and with them went the old way of life. The Comanches, Apaches, and Kiowas found themselves increasingly pushed back into Indian Territory (later Oklahoma), and the first prospective white settlers came west to stake their claims to the newly opened land.

One of the first of these was Captain E. B. McBurnett, who came out in 1880 and liked what he saw. He returned the following spring with his family, bought some land southeast of present-day Roscoe, and settled down.

Almost thirty years after that original trip in 1880, he wrote an account of it for the January 29, 1909, edition of the Roscoe Times. It was later reprinted in a Roscoe Times edition of December 1938, and then again around 2000.

If you’ve never seen it before, it’s worth a read as one of the first accounts of this area. It is reproduced here in its entirety. Jo Alice, Johnny B., Larry, and Jeannie.

January 9, 2013

Roscoe in Years Gone By
(from The Roscoe Times, July 31, 1914)

The Nolan County Fair Association has set the time for holding the Fair in Roscoe this year as September 22 to 25 inclusive.

The finest and most complete line of farm and garden exhibits ever seen are expected to be on display. A splendid racing program has been arranged, and a big carnival company has been engaged. They have 150 people, and seven railcars are required to transport the equipment.


(from The Roscoe Times, October 2, 1914)

With better exhibits, faster racing, and bigger crowds than ever before in the history of the Nolan County Fair, the city of Roscoe outshone herself in handling the mammoth crowds, and the splendid midway of diversions and amusements were all that could be asked for.

Sweetwater as usual sent a big delegation of sightseers and thus helped make the fair a financial success.


Roscoe in Years Gone By
(from The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, September 21, 1915)


Nolan County’s fifth annual fair to be held in Roscoe Oct. 6, 7, and 8, will be one of the most
ambitious in the history of the county, according to J. M. McCauley, secretary of the Nolan County Fair Association, who visited Fort Worth Tuesday.

McCauley’s trip here was primarily to arrange for special railroad rates to Roscoe during the fair. The Texas & Pacific will give a one and one-third round trip rate from Fort Worth, Dallas, and El Paso, McCauley announces, and the Roscoe, Snyder & Pacific railway, running between Roscoe and Fluvanna, will give a special rate. A special fare from Midland to Roscoe and from Cisco to Roscoe also has been granted, according to McCauley.

A comprehensive exhibit of farm products, running and harness races, motorcycle races and burlesque athletic events will be some of the features of the fair, McCauley says. Good premiums will be offered, it is said.

“We confidently expect a very successful fair,” McCauley said.

“Crops were never better in Nolan County. We have already made and harvested a bumper wheat and oat crop, wheat making from twenty to thirty-five bushels to the acre, and oats an average of better than fifty bushels to the acre.

“Milo maize, kaffir corn, feterita, Sudan grass and other forage crops are exceptionally fine. Cotton promises to produce a bale to a bale and a half to the acre. Fruit, melons and vegetable gardens have seldom been equaled.”

Oct. 6 will be “Roscoe Day” at the fair, Oct. 7 “Sweetwater Day” and Oct. 8 “Old Settlers’ Day.”


(from The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, July 13, 1916)

Nolan County’s annual fair opened with the largest first day’s attendance in the history of the association. Agricultural and horticultural products featured the county’s progress in living-at-home farming. One entry in the horticultural department displayed thirty-two various products. The county fair is a recapitulation of a county’s material progress. Nolan County is hustling along.


Roscoe In Years Gone By

One of the more interesting aspects of running the museum is hearing from people who have roots in Roscoe but who no longer live anywhere close.  They are usually inquiring about an ancestor or other family member, and sometimes I can help them and sometimes I can’t.

A couple of days ago, I got an e-mail message from a Flavia Hodges of California, who wrote to tell me she’s never been in Roscoe but she’d run across the Roscoe Hard Times and wanted to know if I knew anything about an Akers Hotel that was in Roscoe around 1910.  She’d once had a picture of it but lost it.  As it turns out, the Museum does have a picture of the old hotel. 

Neither she nor I really know anything about it except that one of her ancestors, Mintia Akers, ran it along with her two daughters Mary and Miriam.  The photo shows the hotel with five ladies standing in front of it, and presumably Mintia and her daughters are three of the five, but we don’t know which is which.

Anyway, I’ve selected it as the Museum’s Photo of the Week, so everyone can have a look.  If anyone out there knows anything at all about this old Roscoe hotel, please let me know. 

December 5, 2012

Roscoe in Years Gone By


Up until 1903 the sale of alcohol in Nolan County was legal and not questioned, but in that year the sentiment for prohibition swept the state, and a county-wide election was held for Nolan County’s two Commissioners’ precincts. Precinct 2 in the southern half of the county voted to prohibit the sale of alcohol by 21 votes, but Precinct 1, which contained Roscoe and Sweetwater, voted wet by 15 votes.

Lawyers for the pros (the prohibitionists) went before the Commissioners Court and argued that since a tally of the entire county voted against the sale of alcohol by six votes, the entire county should be dry. Attorneys for the antis (against prohibiting alcohol), however, argued that since Precinct 1, which contained both Sweetwater and Roscoe, went wet by 15 votes, the sale of alcohol should remain legal there. The Commissioners Court voted in favor of the antis, and Sweetwater and Roscoe remained wet.

The pros refused to accept the decision and appealed it. The following year the case went all the way to the Texas Supreme Court, where the justices in Austin ruled in favor of the Commissioners Court’s decision, and Sweetwater and Roscoe remained wet until another election was held in 1905 for the county as a whole. In that election, the prohibitionists finally got what they wanted, winning Roscoe by a landslide, 62 to 12, as well as the rest of the county.

The sale of alcohol was thereby outlawed in Nolan County, and Roscoe remained dry for the next 105 years—until the election of 2010. Here are two articles, both from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:


Commissioner’s Court Declare Results of Recent Nolan County Election

SWEETWATER, Texas, Nov. 12 [1903]. –The commissioner’s court met yesterday to declare the result of the recent prohibition election held in two commissioner’s precincts of Nolan County, the towns of Sweetwater and Roscoe being both in Precinct No. 1, the other precinct being No. 2.

The pros’ attorneys prepared the petitions and order and notices of election and intended to have ordered one election for the subdivision of the county comprising the two precincts, but the attorneys for the antis appeared before the board and contended that two separate elections had been legally held under one order as the order and notices of election described the two precincts by metes and bounds separately and ordered an election held in Precincts 1 and 2 and not in a subdivision of the county comprising said precincts.

The result of the election as a whole resulted in 6 majority for the pros, but separately Precinct 1 went 15 anti and No. 2 21 pro, so the board declared two results: That No. 1 went wet and No. 2 dry. It is not yet known what steps the pros will take in the matter.



ROSCOE, Texas, Feb. 20 [1905]. –A prohibition election was held in Nolan County Saturday, this place giving prohibition an overwhelming majority; 62 votes for prohibition, 12 against, a majority of 50 votes for prohibition. The vote cast was small on account of a snow storm. The returns from the precincts heard from give prohibition a large majority.


November 28, 2012

(from The Roscoe Times, April 28, 1916)

A company has been organized for the purpose of drilling a test for gas or oil at Roscoe.
Mr. F. B. Gentry of Fort Worth and Bob Dodgion of Roscoe are promoting the endeavor.

It is said that the behavior of water wells, particularly one at the Higginbotham-Harris Lumber Co. gives the strong impression that there is oil under Roscoe.  An ear placed at the top of the well can hear the bubbling of water 100 feet below as gas apparently escapes.

November 21, 2012

The photo above is from the July 28, 1942, issue of the New York Times. It appeared with an article entitled “U-Boats Now Prey on Fishing Boats.”

Archie Gibbs was the subject of a 1944 wartime “B” movie, “U-Boat Prisoner,” with Gibbs played by actor Bruce Bennett. (More information is available here). The movie was based on the book U-Boat Prisoner: the Life Story of a Texas Sailor, written by Gibbs himself.

I have just ordered a copy of the book through and look forward to finding out what’s in it.


November 14, 2012

Roscoe in Years Gone By

(from The Roscoe Times, March 12, 1937)

After several weeks of getting ready, the actual task of placing numbers on every business house and residence in Roscoe will be finished today and Saturday.

Every residence in town has been plotted on a map and assigned the proper number to put there. Scoutmaster George Parks and Boy Scout Troop 37, who are doing the work free of charge, will know what number to put on your house.

A 25c charge will be made however to pay for the numbers and provide a fund to erect some street markers in 2 or 3 weeks. When this is done, it will be easy to direct a stranger to any place in town either day or night.


September 19, 2012

Roscoe in Years Gone By


(from the Dallas Morning-News, December 12, 1929)

ROSCOE,  Nolan Co., Texas, Dec. 11. –J. H. Cline, 60, a farmer who lives twelve
miles north of Roscoe in Fisher County, was badly beaten and left for
dead by two Mexicans and an Indian, who were apparently crazed by
bootleg whisky, according to a story he told officers, after he had
staggered to a farm house about daylight.  Mesquite clubs were used to
beat him.  Mr. Cline was unconscious for about six hours.

Deputy Sheriff J. F. Hemphill and City Marshal X. B. Sanders were the first
officers to arrive on the scene.  One man was arrested by officers in
connection with the assault and was turned over to Fisher County

 September 12, 2012


Devyn DeLoera, daughter of Albert DeLoera, ex-Plowboy, Class of ’82, recently appeared as a contestant on NBC’s The Voice and blew the judges away with her performance, which you can view by clicking the play arrow on the video clip below.

If you watch the show, you can see her on Christina's Team Aguilera. She is also currently being featured in an NBC promotion clip for The Voice. I saw it during a commercial break on Sunday Night Football.
Click the square on bottom right to view full screen.

September 5, 2012

Ode to Marshal S. A. Jamison
by Willard McFaul

An ode to the late S. A. Jamison, well known peace officer in the early days of the west. S. A. served well the good people of Roscoe, Texas, the little town too tough to die, deep in the heart of the Blackland Divide. It has often been said ol’ Sydney displayed more courage than any man ever to wear the badge of an officer of the law, many times facing danger knowing full well that the odds were not in his favor.

He was a Matt Dillon type of lawman, not being one to form an opinion too hastily. And when it was apparent that extenuating circumstances prevailed, ol’ Sydney was always eager to give due consideration to such cases. Below is just one of many cases that he had to cope with in his line of duty, which we think he handled to the best of his ability under the circumstances, which is described in the form of verse.

The watermelon truck passed the Criswell Motel,
It would stop at the light, they could already tell.
The truck stopped at the light in front of Edd Dodds’ store,
To make a right turn on eighty-four.
McFaul and Dement mounted the truck from the back,
To pass off the melons as he slowed for the tracks.
Lookouts were posted all over town,
Keeping watch for ol’ Sydney making his rounds.
One boy was behind Jesse Faust’s,
Another was stationed by the Planters’ seed house.
Bobby Max was watching the alley behind City Hall,
If ol’ Sydney appeared, they’d have to get on the ball.
These boys were alert and manning their posts,
Ol’ Sydney could appear from nowhere just like a ghost.
The operation was a success, producing five melons,
The boys never thinking of it as a felon.
Now ol’ Sydney was well aware of the plan,
Having been a boy once with a similar clan.
Cranking up his Model A and going toward home,
He knew the boys would need some time of their own.
Planning to be gone about half an hour,
Would give them time to set up under the water tower.
With two big melons cut open on the ground,
A lookout was posted for ol’ Sydney on his rounds.
Billy Joe thought he heard something in the alley,
But ol’ Sydney was upon them—it was too late to rally.
“Don’t run, boys!” they heard him say,
“I have some salt if you like them that way.”
Approaching slew-footed with his constant grin,
Ol’ Sydney was wiping the snuff from his chin.
Dropping down to his knees with his knife in his hand,
He said, “Boys, you can’t beat a melon raised on Champion sand!”


Pickin's - September 7, 2011


There are certain public events in life that occur with such impact that anyone who lives through them always remembers where they were and what they were doing when they happened. Examples that spring to mind are the Kennedy Assassination, the Moon Landing, and the Coming of the New Millennium on January 1, 2000.

Another one we will all be acutely aware of in the coming days is the one popularly known as 9/11, the day Al Qaeda terrorists commandeered four passenger jets and flew two into the Twin Towers in New York City, one into the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and yet another that the heroic actions of passengers caused to crash in rural Pennsylvania instead of the Capitol Building, where it was headed.

Sunday, September 11, will mark the tenth anniversary of that day which shocked the world and resulted in two long hard-fought wars that have consumed this nation’s attention, resources, and sacrifices over the past decade.

Where were you?

I was at Towson University in Maryland that Tuesday morning preparing for my nine o’clock Medieval Literature class when a student came into the room and said a jet liner had just crashed into one of the Twin Towers in New York City.

Assuming it was some sort of accident, I went ahead and started class and didn’t think about it again until shortly later when a student came to the door and said another plane had just crashed into the other tower. At this point, we were all alarmed because the events no longer could be written off as accidental.

Nevertheless, I continued on with the class and didn’t stop it until a professor came to the door and said that yet another plane had crashed into the Pentagon, and that all classes were being cancelled by order of the university president.

The students dispersed and scattered, but a large number of the professors stayed in the building as the events unfolded that day, and I was one of them. It’s a day I’ll never forget, and I’m willing to bet the memory is impressed just as indelibly in your mind as it is in mine.


Pickin's - August 17, 2011


Next Monday, August 22, will be the first day of the 2011-2012 school year at Roscoe, and school officials want to remind everyone to observe the speed limits, stop for students in pedestrian crosswalks, and refrain from using cell phones when driving in school zones.

School starts at 7:45am and dismisses at 4pm Mondays through Thursdays and at 3:10pm on Fridays.

“Meet the Teacher” for Pre-K through 6th grade will be tomorrow evening (Thursday, August 18) from 6:30pm-8:00pm.


Pickin's - August 3, 2011


The Roscoe Plowboys under head Coach Jonathan Haseloff and assistant coaches Chuck Cathey and Alan Steele began practices on Monday for the 2011 football season.

Daily practice times are 6:30-8:30am followed by an hour break, then 9:30-11:30am. Both are in the morning to avoid workouts in the afternoon heat. 

Practices in pads don’t begin until Friday. The team will break for the weekend and then resume two-a-days again on Monday and continue until next Thursday. 

School starts back on Monday, August 22, and the Plowboys will travel to Albany for their first football game of the year on Friday, August 26.


 Pickin's - July 27


Highland High School’s Haley Hill is the lone Nolan County representative at the Texas State 4-H Horse Show at Taylor County Expo Center in Abilene this week.  She will be riding her horse Howard in eight events.  Recently named the Face of the Texas Quarter Horse Youth Association, she was the focus of a feature article in Saturday’s Abilene Reporter-News, which can be accessed by clicking here.


 Pickin's - July 13, 2011 

The Roscoe Hard Times is back in business after a two-week hiatus caused by my 15-day vacation to Europe. The primary purpose of the trip was to represent all the Roscoe Duncans at the wedding celebration in Göteborg, Sweden, of my nephew Erik and his new wife, Agnete.

But I also spent some days relaxing with my brother Joe at his home in Lillesand, Norway, and, after the wedding party in Sweden was over, I went to Poland for the first time in my life to visit friends and see the sights of Warsaw and Krakow.

I enjoyed it all, and appreciated the break from the heat and dry weather in Roscoe. While in Europe, I never saw temperatures rise above the low eighties and also saw more rain and clouds in two weeks than I’ve seen in Roscoe since October—although I realize that’s not saying much.

I have posted photos of my trip on Facebook, and they’re available to anyone who wants to see them by clicking on these links: Return to Norway, Wedding Party in Sweden, and A Trip to Poland.


Pickin's - June 8, 2011


Voting to decide the winner of City Council Place 3 will take place this Saturday, June 11, at the City Hall from 8:30am to 4:30pm.

Voters will choose between incumbent Don Graham and challenger Virgil Pruitt, the top two vote-getters of the five candidates who ran for the seat in the May 14 general election.


 Pickin's - May 18, 2011


Listed below are the official numbers of votes received by candidates for contested positions in the City of Roscoe and on the Roscoe ISD School Board.

Winners are indicated by *, run-off candidates by . 


*Pete Porter 85
Ken Brawley 44

City Council Place 2:
*Helen Perry 113

City Council Place 3:
Don Graham 35
Virgil Pruitt 34
Christi Pepper Beal 30
Juanita Garcia 18
Billy Guelker 10

One 2-Year Term:
*Tim Tomlin 75
Frankie Santiago 68

Three 4-Year Terms:
*Jason Freeman 92
*Wes Williams 81
*David Pantoja 72
Cheyenne Smith 68

The run-off election for City Council Place 3 between Don Graham and Virgil Pruitt is tentatively set for Saturday, June 11, 8:30-4:30, with early voting from May 27 to June 2, and extended voting (7am-7pm) on June 6-7. The polling place will be the City Hall.


 Pickin's - May 4, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, I got a telephone call from a David Sterley of Wichita Falls, who’d found my number on the Roscoe Historical Museum website.  He wanted to know if the museum had any information on the homicide of Arthur J. Parker, his grandmother’s brother, who was shot in Roscoe in the 1930s.  He said he’d been told that Parker was shot by an escaped convict, but he didn’t know if that was true.

I recognized the victim’s name from a story I’d heard as a boy from George Parks while working at the Roscoe Times.  My recollection was that Parker had been the mayor of Roscoe and that he’d been shot and killed in the alley behind Haney’s drug store by a man who’d run for mayor and lost.  I told that to David Sterley but also said I had no proof and couldn’t verify anything since there was nothing in the museum about the event.  However, I told him I’d ask around and see what I could learn.

That afternoon I visited my mother at the rest home in Sweetwater and asked her if she recalled the incident.  As many of you know, she will be 104 on Saturday, and, while her vision and hearing are just about gone, her mind is still clear and her memory good.

She told me she remembered it well, so I asked her to tell me about it.  Her version was that Parker was indeed the mayor and the old man who shot him was a city employee.  Mentioning that the two didn’t get along, she said that the mayor had done something, she didn’t remember what, and the old man got a gun and ran into the mayor in the alley between Haney’s drug store and the back of the R. S. & P. office.  R. S. & P. employees heard shouting and then gunshots as the old man shot the mayor.  I asked my mother what happened to the old man, and she said he was arrested and sent to the penitentiary.

I returned home to find that David Sterley had e-mailed photos of Parker and his son as well as several other photographs, one of them Parker’s death certificate.  Completed by Dr. J. W. Young, it stated that the incident had happened on June 4, 1937, and that Parker had been shot in the abdomen three times and died from the wounds on June 6.

With our exchange of knowledge, I now knew the date of the incident, and David knew that Parker had been the Mayor of Roscoe.  With that information, we were both able to locate a number of newspaper articles.  David obtained several from the archives of the Abilene Reporter-News, and I found a few from the Dallas Morning News as well as some from the Sweetwater Reporter on microfilm in the County-City Library—but not nearly as many as I’d hoped for since the Reporter’s issues for the week of the shooting are gone for some reason, as are some of the dates when the trial was covered.

Even so, between the two of us, we were able to piece together enough information to get a pretty good idea about what happened, so for the record, I decided to write up an account of this largely forgotten bit of Roscoe history, which I am presenting here.

An interesting sidelight to this story is that of the mayor’s son, Arthur J. Parker, Jr., who grew up in Roscoe and graduated from Roscoe High in 1940.  My mother, who taught English at Roscoe High from 1930 to 1939, said she remembered him well since she taught him for three years.  She said he was a good student who loved acting.  After leaving Roscoe, he had a long and successful career in Hollywood as the set designer for such movies as Staying Alive, North Dallas Forty, Private Benjamin, Stir Crazy, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Wrong is Right, and many others.

In 1963, when the Roscoe Boys Club went to Disneyland, he met the group in L.A. and took them to Redondo Beach for a cookout.


Pickin's - April 20, 2011

Back in November, I wrote about participating as a member of a team of educators in observing classes in the Roscoe Elementary and Roscoe Collegiate High Schools and being pleased with what I saw regarding the level of instruction in the various grade levels. Yesterday, the same team did an all-day Spring follow-up, and once again I came away convinced that our administration and faculty are on the right track in their approach to educating our kids.

Comprised of representatives from Western Texas College, Texas Tech, and ACU as well as several area high schools including Sweetwater, Snyder, Clyde, and Rotan, along with several staff from Region 14, the group observed and evaluated classes at all levels from grades one through twelve.
My positive feelings about what I saw were backed up by comments I heard from the other evaluators regarding Roscoe’s approach to teaching, as well as its efforts to improve the general level of instruction.

Superintendent Kim Alexander and the faculty are working hard to ensure that the Roscoe Schools employ the most effective teaching methods and address any shortcomings, and from all indications they are making excellent progress.


Pickin's - February 9, 2011

The city of Roscoe will hold its inaugural “Spring Fling” on Saturday, April 16 from 5:00-10:00pm, and a great afternoon and evening are in store for all who attend. At its meeting last night, the Events Committee finalized the following schedule:

5:00-6:00 – Vendors & Children’s Activities (Inflatables, etc.)
6:00-8:00 – Live Music by Lawless Flatz
8:15-9:00 – Live Music by the Tejas Brothers
9:00-9:15 – Fireworks Show
9:15-10:00 – Live Music by the Tejas Brothers

The feature performers for the free concert and street dance “on the bricks” are the Tejas Brothers, a high energy, family friendly Tex-Mex band from Fort Worth. Combining conjunto rhythms with honky-tonk country to create their own special version of the Tex-Mex sound, they have been nominated and are currently in the running for the Best Live Act in the 2011 Lone Star Music Awards. If you haven’t heard them, check out this version of the Texas Music Scene, which includes their “Boogie Woogie Mamacita,” or listen to some of the songs on their MySpace page.
Opening for the Tejas Brothers will be Lawless Flatz from Roby, currently the most popular area band. Also a high energy group, they have developed a large following for good reason, as can be seen by this YouTube video from a recent performance at the Lumberyard.

All in all, the Spring Fling will be a great way to celebrate the season, and the Events Committee invites one and all to join in and have a good time.


Pickin's - January 26, 2011

At the last City Council meeting, it was proposed, seconded, and unanimously agreed upon that I be offered the position of curator of the Roscoe Historical Museum, an offer which I accepted. Mrs. Bunnell, the former director, now has the title Curator Emerita.

As my first formal action in that office, I would like to announce the launching of the Roscoe Historical Museum website, located here.

As mentioned in the introduction on the site’s home page, the plan is to make available a large number of photographs and documents that reflect the life and development of Roscoe from its beginnings over a century ago. The site is starting small, but it will grow as photographs are added.

As I said earlier, the Roscoe Historical Museum has lost many of the photographs it once had. Many others are still there but without any accompanying explanations or information. For example, there are at least a dozen old photos of school classes, which I assume are from Roscoe or area schools, but I don’t know when or where the photo was taken or who the people are in it. At some point, I plan to post at least some of these mystery photos in the hopes that someone will see them and be able to identify what they are or who is in them.

In any case, the Museum could use more photographs. These need not be given permanently, just lent long enough to be scanned. Then they can be returned to the owner. If you have any that would be of general interest, please let me know. If they’re in digital form, send copies to If they are prints, contact me so we can make arrangements to scan them.

A major feature of the new museum website is the Photo of the Week. The photo will be one that shows something distinctive about the history of Roscoe. As photographs go, it will be relatively large and contain enough detail to catch the viewer’s interest. After it is featured as the Photo of the Week, it will be placed in an archive so that visitors to the site can easily access it at a later date.

As a pastime, I have taught myself how to retouch old photographs that are dirty, damaged, or scratched up, and I have already found and worked on a few that I plan to use.

Visitors to the site will be able to download these photographs and save them to their own collections if they so choose, and this is one advantage that a virtual museum has over a physical one. At a physical museum, you can look at the photographs, but you can’t take them home with you. Of course, the other advantage is that you don’t have to be in downtown Roscoe to view the photos but can access them on your computer from wherever you are.


Pickin’s  – Wednesday, January 19, 2011
At its meeting in the City Hall last night, the Roscoe Promotion Committee affirmed that Roscoe will host three major events in downtown Roscoe this year:

1) Spring Festival - Saturday, April 16

2) Independence Day celebration - Saturday, July 2

3) 5th Wind Harvest Festival - Saturday, October 15.

Each of these events will feature live music from well-known Texas bands, fireworks shows, and food along with numerous other features and attractions.

The success of last year’s celebrations has set a standard of excellence that the committee will work hard to equal or exceed. It will meet again for further planning in the City Hall council chambers on Tuesday, February 1.
The Roscoe Plowboys basketball team got back on the winning track this past week with two blowout victories, both district games.

On Friday, they trounced the Yellowhammers in Rotan 56-24. Caden Smith led the way for the Plowboys with 18 points, while Cody Graham had 17.

Then, last night in Roscoe, the Plowboys beat the Hamlin Pied Pipers 56-38 to bring their overall record for the year to 10-8 and 2-1 in district.

The Plowboys jumped out to a quick lead with their best start of the year, outscoring Hamlin 28-6 in the first quarter and then coasting for the rest of the game. The halftime score was 35-14.

Caden Smith again led the Plowboys with 25 points, Juan Solis had 14, and Cody Graham had 9. Pierce Pender was the high scorer for Hamlin with 18 points.

The Plowgirls split their two games, winning at Rotan in overtime 54-48 with Lynnsi Moses scoring 17 and Kim Norris 15. Then last night they lost to the Hamlin girls 44-20, bringing their district record to 1-3 and 8-14 overall.

The Plowboys and Plowgirls go to Stamford for games on Friday night and return home next Tuesday to host Munday.

Pickin's - Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The news around town this week has unfortunately not been good. On Monday morning, someone stole Terry Willman’s 4-door Chevy Silverado in a bold daytime robbery. He left his pickup idling in the driveway while he went into the house, and when he returned, it was gone.

Last Wednesday a young man with a promising future apparently took his own life here in Roscoe. Jeffrey Alan Wood, 20, a 2008 graduate of Sweetwater High, was a junior at Texas Tech on a full scholarship from the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo Association. He was on the Dean’s Honor List and a member of Tech’s wool judging team.

And by now everyone in the area is aware of the search for the missing Hailey Dunn, 13, of Colorado City. She was last seen in Colorado City on Monday, December 27, while reportedly walking to the house of a friend she intended to spend the night with. The incident has made national news, and her mother has appeared on Nancy Grace’s show twice in recent days. Missing person posters for her are posted everywhere in Roscoe and Sweetwater and other area cities. At first, the authorities thought she might just be a runaway, but as time goes on and she remains missing, the hopes of that being the case become less and less. Texas Rangers have been called in, and there is a $10,000 reward for information leading to her discovery.


Pickin's - Wednesday, December 22, 2010

This week’s Pickin’s column is not something to read but a list to ponder, one from the May 11, 1956, issue of the Roscoe Times. The following merchants were members of the Roscoe Trades Day Association from whom you could get the yellow tickets used at the Friday drawings:

Snead Drug
E. T. Henson Blacksmith Shop
Pat Vines Service Station
W. C. Cleckler, M-M Dealer
Oliver Young, Butane Dealer
Hartgraves Brothers
Haney’s Rexall Drug
City Tailor Shop
Hodges Barber & Beauty Shops
Fred Hawkins Service Station
Hamner Auto Supply
Kerby Smith Service Station
W. W. Shields Grocery
Jesse Faust Garage
Edd Dodds Grocery
Medlock Furniture & Appliance
Roscoe Recreation Club
Morgan Grocery
David Smith Service Station
Virgil Mahon Service Station
Roscoe State Bank
Roy Pearce Texaco Station
Higginbotham-Bartlett Lumber Co.
Farmers Sales & Service
Farmers Co-operative Gin & Elevator
Acme Gin Association
Lon Ward Grocery
Mrs. Bill Nations Beauty Shop
Farmer Barber & Beauty Shops
Pollard Chevrolet Co.
The Roscoe Times
The Ladies Shoppe
Denson Dry Goods
Singleton Hardware
Burton-Lingo Lumber Co.
Garrett Grocery
Sid Wells Funeral Home
Hugo Zetzman Service Station
Shelansky Dry Goods
The Coffee Bar
Mrs. Clausell’s Laundry
Roscoe Grain Co.
The Dairy Fluff
Fred Clayton Service Station

Note that even though the list does not include all the businesses operating in town at that time—examples include Erwin’s Steak House, the Firestone store, and Arant’s Variety Store--it does list 8 service stations and 5 grocery stores (not counting the two little groceries across the street from the school on 7th and Elm and 8th and Elm).

Pickin's - Wednesday, December 15, 2010

City Council member Helen Perry reminds everyone that the Roscoe Community Center is available for large gatherings. To make reservations or get more information, call her at 325-766-3149.


Coming to Roscoe for the holidays without any way to access the Internet on your phone or laptop? You may be happy to know that the Lumberyard restaurant in downtown Roscoe is now a wi-fi hotspot with free access.


Pickin's  - Wednesday, November 24, 2010

If Thanksgiving is upon us, can Christmas be far behind? The official season will begin on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when shoppers make their first run for holiday bargains, and all of us begin racking our brains for the most appropriate Christmas gifts for friends and relatives.

Christmas lights will appear on houses all over the town, and the onset of the West Texas winter will be counterbalanced by the festive mood created by the lights and decorations, as well as by the Christmas Parade featuring no other than Santa Claus himself.

Roscoe Police Chief Felix Pantoja has announced that the Christmas Parade will be on Saturday, December 18. Lineup will be at 10:30am and the parade will begin at 11:00. The big purple Roscoe High School marching band will participate, and once again the parade will be dedicated to all military personnel past and present.

If you have questions or need more information, call Felix Pantoja at 325-514-8384, or send an e-mail message to


BASKETBALL: Basketball season has begun, at least for the Plowgirls. They beat Blackwell last Tuesday 50-23 with Kimberly Norris scoring 20 points but lost to Cross Plains on Friday 29-28. For more details, click here for the article in the online Sweetwater Reporter
TRACK: The Plowgirls’ cross-country track team finished 11th at the state meet in Round Rock after qualifying for state at the regional meet in Arlington. For more details, click here for the article in the Sweetwater Reporter.

Pickin's - Wednesday, November 17, 2010

If you haven’t been to Roscoe High School for a while, you might be pleased to see how classes are taught there these days.  As part of a team of educators who observed classes there on Tuesday, I was surprised to see how much instruction has changed since I went there back in covered wagon days.  And I’m not talking just about the replacements of smartboards for blackboards in every classroom or the MacBook laptops now available to every student.  

One big difference is in the size of the classes.  We can bemoan the fact that the number of students in grades 1-12 at Roscoe has dropped from over 500 in the 1980’s to not quite 400 today, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing from the point of view of class size.  Any educator will tell you that the overall quality of instruction is enhanced by smaller classes, where students get more individual attention from the teacher and fellow classmates—and in the six classes I observed, the number varied but averaged about fifteen.  

The method of instruction has also changed.  Instead of the teacher in front of the room addressing rows of students sitting at individual desks, students now regularly work in groups of two, three, and four at tables involved in group activities, while the instructor alternates between addressing the whole class and moving from group to group.  Of course, this kind of classroom has been around for years, but it takes planning and good technique to make it work, and it seemed to be working well in the classes I attended.   Students were engaged and involved, and all were participating in the day’s lesson.  

So, while today’s kids will never have the opportunity to learn from some of the great teachers who taught at Roscoe in the past, they are nevertheless in capable hands and have many advantages over students in larger schools elsewhere.


Pickin's - Wednesday, November 2, 2010 

Although Halloween may not be the wide open affair it once was, I am heartened to see it still observed with some semblance of its old spirit in Roscoe. After living in the big city for so many years, I assumed that the “trick or treat” part was just about dead, and I was dubious last week when people told me to buy at least three bags of candy. But they were right. By the end of the evening, I had only about three Reese’s Sticks left from the three bags I bought. Some of the little kids did have mothers taking them around in cars, but more often than not it was big sisters or brothers out walking the streets with them, just like in the old days.

That’s a lot better than the urban suburbs, where one bag of candy is more than enough—at least where I lived. Trick-or-treating starts there about an hour before dark, and the kids in costume are invariably accompanied by mothers who stand a few steps back and carefully watch whoever answers the door. Many won’t even knock at a door that doesn’t have the porch light on and also something like a jack-o-lantern on the front porch to indicate that the house is a “safe” one.   

And an hour or so after dark, it’s all over. Maybe a couple of twelve-year-olds come around at 7:30 or so, but after that there are no more knocks. As far as the treats go, no mother is about to let her kids eat anything that’s not pre-packaged for fear the candy might have LSD in it or razor blades or something.And there is always the fear that the kids may knock on the door of some serial killer or perverted child molester. 

That’s not the way it was in Roscoe some fifty years ago. Back then, “trick-or-treat” meant trick or treat.If we said, “Trick or treat,” and the person who answered the door didn’t give us some candy or something, then a “trick” was fair game. I can remember carrying a piece of soap to write with on window screens in case of such an eventuality, and I can also remember kids with toilet paper as well. And there were no adults out walking us around. When we were ready to go, our parents told us to behave ourselves, and then they went back in the house while we headed out for a night of adventure with masks on our faces and empty paper sacks that we were anxious to fill. 

We roamed the town knocking on doors and hoping to hit the jackpot with candy. As far as treats went, the best were not pre-packaged but candy apples or caramel popcorn balls—although getting something like a Milky Way or Three Musketeers was a rare and treasured gift. Usually, though, the treat was something like candy corn, marshmallow peanuts, Kits, Tootsie Rolls, or some other kind of penny candy. 

And prank playing was a regular part of the evening, especially for the older kids. While the younger ones were trick-or-treating, teenagers were out prowling around and running in packs looking for some kind of monkey business to get involved in. Those big enough to be going around in cars sometimes had water balloons, and if you were a kid walking the streets, you had to watch out for them. Others got involved with other kinds of mischief. I won’t go into details since I’m sure many of you can recall some incidents yourself. 

 Anyway, Halloween has changed over the years, but at least not as much in Roscoe as in some other places.


Pickin's - Wednesday, October 27, 2010

For the second and third times this month, downtown Roscoe will be the host for prominent Texas musicians, quite a feat for a town of 1400.  Tommy Alverson, long a fixture of the Fort Worth music scene, will kick off the weekend celebration on Thursday evening.  His CD  “Country to the Bone” won Fort Worth Weekly’s 2007 Best Country & Western Music Award, but he is perhaps best known for his hit single, “Una Más Cerveza,” which you can listen to by clicking here.  If you were around for Roscoe’s Memorial Day celebration, you may have seen him here then.  Cover charge will be $5 after 7pm, and he is scheduled to perform from 8:30 to10:30pm. 
The Tejas Brothers, the feature act for the Halloween costume party on Friday night, combine conjunto rhythms with honky-tonk country to create their own special version of the Tex-Mex sound.  If you haven’t heard them, check out this version of the Texas Music Scene, which includes their “Boogie Woogie Mamacita,” or click on some of the songs on their MySpace page.  Cover charge is $5 except for those who come in costume.  For them admission is free.  The Tejas Brothers will perform from 8:30-10-00pm.

The Roscoe Historical Museum needs your help in building an archive of photographs and other materials that illuminate the history of Roscoe and the surrounding area over the past century. 
Particularly wanted are photographs of downtown Roscoe and ones that show public places that people will remember. Photos of events such as the 1957 Semi-Centennial or the 1976 Bicentennial celebrations, 4th of July parades, the 1980 flood, and others are also needed.

Help us make a better museum by sending as attachments any scanned images you can contribute Any prints lent temporarily so that they can be scanned will be returned promptly and without damage. For more information, write to the e-mail address above or call 325-766-2233.


Pickin's 4 - October 2, 2010

 You may have noticed that there haven’t been any updates to the Roscoe Hard Times for over a week now, and that is primarily because AT&T, in its infinite wisdom, cut off my phone service and DSL connection on Sunday night and didn’t resume service until yesterday.  It all started with a mistake on their part, which by midweek had compounded into multiple errors that took a while to untangle.  I was on the phone literally for hours trying to get my service back, saying “yes” or “check status of my order” or any of a half dozen other phrases, entering my phone number, or pressing 1 now, or whatever else they wanted me to do.  Twice I was cut off after going through their song and dance for fifteen minutes or so, and twice I was prompted to tell my complete tale to an agent, who at the conclusion asked me which state I was in.  When I replied Texas, she’d say, “I’m sorry.  Let me connect you with someone in Texas who can help you out” and would put me back on hold.  After waiting ten or fifteen minutes more for someone to answer, I’d have to repeat the entire story again.  Sometimes, though, I never got to talk to anyone at all but just answered questions until a computerized voice said “Thank you for using AT&T” and disconnected me.  I also picked up on all their little tricks to draw out the call for as many minutes as possible to get more money from customers with time limits on their plans.  
Of course, AT&T isn’t the only big corporation that mistreats its customers in this way.  As far as I can tell, others do pretty much the same thing, but that doesn’t make the abuse any more tolerable.   And I hope you won’t mind if I go on record here to say that I hate AT&T for doing it.  


Pickin's - September 15, 2010

I’m admittedly anticipating Roscoe High School’s homecoming this weekend with mixed emotions. On the one hand, it will be great to see old friends—in many cases for the first time in decades—and to share treasured memories of high school days. On the other, it’s always a little disheartening to note how old your classmates have become since the last time you saw them. Guys you remember as thick-haired and slender are now balding and overweight, and the girls who were so beautiful you could hardly speak to them without stammering are now stodgy grandmas happy to see you and eager to give you a hug—while you’re thinking, “Where were you back in high school when that hug would have made my year?” 

 And of course there are those inevitable encounters with vaguely familiar people who come over and start talking to you, and you have no idea who they are, or, conversely, the old acquaintances you greet whose confused looks indicate that you’re a mystery to them. 

Homecomings, I guess, are not for the faint of heart.Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to the experience. It should be fun.


Pickin's 2 - September 11, 2010

Yesterday morning at 7:07 I awoke to the ringing of the Plowboy Bell as it slowly made its way up and down the streets of Roscoe. It was the first time I’d been in town to hear it for a long time, and I’d almost forgotten about it, but when I mentioned it on Facebook, I got an immediate response from several people, and the question arose as to how long its ringing has been a tradition. Jeannie McBurnett and my brother David both agree that it goes back to the Class of ’66, who presented it to the school as their departing gift. David says his class got it from the Roscoe, Snyder & Pacific Railway and thinks someone there took it from the old water tower. If anyone reading this has more information about the bell’s history or the tradition of ringing it, I’m sure that several of us would be interested in knowing it. 


Pickin's - September 10, 2010 

When I was eleven, George Parks hired me to work in the Times Office, and I worked there daily until I was almost sixteen (1955-1959), going from $4 a week up to $12 in that time.When I wondered about what I’d do when I grew up, I often thought that one possibility might be to put out the paper when George got too old. Of course, that never happened, but in a way I plan for this blog to be a fulfillment of that idea.  

My plan is to relate here not only my own thoughts and experiences as a retiree who’s moved back to his home town, but also to provide information and updates about Roscoe in much the same way the Roscoe Times might if it were still in existence. Since theSweetwater Reporter puts out a supplement it calls the Roscoe Times, I’m calling the blog the Roscoe Hard Times, an old farmers’ nickname for the paper, to avoid possible copyright issues, but people who grew up in Roscoe should recognize some familiar features in the layout.
George Parks at the linotype in 1979.

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