A native of Muskogee, Oklahoma, he got his primary education
in Oklahoma. He got his formal education at Texas College
and Prairie View College. He devoted his life to the education
of Longview children. His activities included: Selected
for the All-American football team by the National Negro
Press, a Longview High School Coach, Principal of Southside
Elementary School, a member of the East Texas College Club,
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, the state & national education
associations, the Longview Teachers Alliance Credit Union,
and a member of St. Mark CME Church.
- Dr. E. L. Walker had a large family practice in Gladewater.
He built their three story home in downtown Gladewater in
1909, which is now known as the Jack Finley home. When he
built the house he had invisions of converting it into a
hospital. His office was in a local drug store, called The
Purity, which he owned and operated. Dr. Walker was a brother
of Billie Walker.
|Walker - Rev. M. J. Walker,
the subject of this sketch, was born in December, 1866, near
the town of Longview, Texas. His primary education was obtained
in the public schools of Gregg County, Texas. Later he spent
three and a half years in Bishop College. He as ordained to
the gospel ministry in September, 1898. He served the following
churches as pastor, viz.: Spring Hill,, Tyler, Texas; Lake
Providence, Shiloh, New Home, Shady Grove, Jerusalem, Hebron
and Red Oak. Rev. Walker was a certified teacher and served
as principal of Willow Springs Public School. Rev. Walker
was married to Miss. Holman. Thanks
to Charles Newhouse for this bio!
A native Texan from Mr. Pleasant, Ben Taylor Webster
served as pastor of the New Bethel Baptist Church of Longview.
He received his education from Bishop College (Marshall),
Moody Bible Institute (Chicago, Ill) and Southwestern Theological
Seminary (Ft.Worth). His affiliations are B.M.E. Convention
of Texas and the National Baptist Convention. Pastor Webster
strived to better his church and community.
Thomas Welch was manager of the Welch Hardware Company and
the Welch Funeral Home. He was a tireless worker and Longview
profited greatly by his progressive spirit. He gave Longview
2 up to date businesses which were a credit to the city.
He was active in many lines of civic endeavor, a member
of the Rotary Club, a member of the Longview Chamber of
Commerce, and on the board of Deacons of the First Baptist
Jason W. Whitaker was a native Texan, being born in Texarkana,
Texas. He used his life to educated the children, being
a teacher and a Principal of Janie Daniel Elementary School
of Longview. He was Baptist by faith and was Senior Choir
President and Chairman of the Community Service Committee
of Bethel Baptist Church. He was a member of the Omega Psi
Phi Fraternity, the area, state and national Education Association,
The American Cancer Society, the Gregg County Heart
Association and the Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
|White - Israel Scott White, (1885-1960),
civic leader and civil-rights advocate, was born near Longview
on March 15, 1885. He was the youngest of three sons of
Noah and Susan White, who worked as dirt farmers. White
attended the Pleasant Hill Community School near his home
and was encouraged at an early age to study law. He
received his bachelor's degree from Bishop College in Marshall
and in the mid-1920s entered Howard University Law School
in Washington, D.C. After his graduation from Howard in
1927, he returned to Texas and established a funeral home
near downtown Longview. White decided to forego a law practice
and offer legal advice informally, so as to circumvent the
animosity toward black attorneys prevalent in the white
community. On November 6, 1937, he married Velma Isam. They
had one child, Agnes Sue White. Enriched by the discovery
of oil on his family's land, White served as vice president
of the Universal Oil and Gas Mining Company, an entirely
black-owned business. In 1948 he and his family founded
the Longview Burial Association, which served as a training
ground and employment center for blacks interested in the
insurance business. White served as chairman of the association
and also as a member of the executive committee of the State
Funeral Directors and Embalmers Association of Texas. White
also owned and drove an ambulance; he became angered at
the obvious neglect for black patients in segregated hospitals
run by whites. He persuaded the directors of the Camp Normal
Industrial Institute, a vocational school for blacks, to
incorporate their institution into a hospital. White drew
up plans for the hospital and found a black physician, Dr.
Obra Jesuit Moore, to serve as its administrator. White
protested infringements on black voting rights. When the
Democratic party white primary was abolished, he led voter
registration and poll tax drives in Gregg County. He also
held "how to vote" sessions for the Longview chapter of
the National Association for the Advancement of Colored
People, in which he demonstrated the use of voting machines.
White kept a list of eligible voters and chided blacks who
were registered but did not vote. Blacks familiar with his
work nicknamed him Judge White. In 1958 he ran for a seat
on the board of the Longview Independent School District
and received a quarter of the votes. He also joined civil-rights
attorneys in a successful suit to desegregate Kilgore Junior
College and led a funding drive to help finance the lawsuit
of Sweatt v. Painter that integrated the University of Texas.
His attempt to enroll his daughter and one of her friends
into the all-white Longview Junior High School did not succeed
but resulted in the construction of a junior high school
for blacks. White was an active member of the Bethel Baptist
Church at Longview. He died on December 22, 1960.
- Herman Whitehurst was a man that accomplished the highest
success possible in his profession. He was a car salesman
that ended up owning his own dealerships. He began his carreer
in Longview as a salesman and set record after record in
selling Dodge automobiles. He gained state and national
recognition and was known throughout East Texas. He &
his brother in law, Wayne Finley, went into business together
in Longview, only to expand with dealerships in other towns.
He and Wayne ended up with dealerships in 4 counties; Gregg,
Upshur, Harrison and Marion. There were more Dodge automobiles
sold in Gregg County than any other car.
was a civic and community leader, a Rotarian, a 32nd degree
Mason, a Shriner, and Director of the Texas and Gulf Railroad.
Isora - (Click here for more information
& pictures) Isora Whitson was born on 15 March 1860
at Mount Bethel, Panola, Texas. She married Milton
Mountain Anthony. After his death, she lived alone on
the old homestead in Tahoka, Texas. She was visiting
in Austin, Texas, with her son, John, when she was operated
on for gall stones and they found liver cancer. She died on
9 June 1920 in Austin, Texas, and is buried in the Greenwood
Cemetery in Longview, Gregg County, Texas, USA.
|Wilkins - John Hall Wilkins (b.1829 d.1899)
married Rebecca C. Jefferies (b.1832 d.1900) on August 11,
1870. After giving the Civil War 4 years, he moved to Smith
County. From there he moved near Kilgore in 1872. They had
the following children: Tennie, Dee (married Alice Roberts),
John Hall Jr., Coke, Henry and Camie Carter (married John
Samuel Elder). (This short bit of information was found
in a book titled Early Kilgore Families)
- Robert Bruce Williams was born September 17, 1906
in Alabama. He attended school in Greensboro, Alabama and
then went on to Byrne Commercial College in Dallas, Alabama.
About 1930 Robert arrived in Longview and went into the
real estate business, his offices being at 212 Glover-Crim
Building. He ventured out and built a service stateion at
1103 North Sixth Street. He was a member of the Masonic
Lodge, a Steward of the Methodist Church and President of
the Men's Bible class and the Men's Male Chorus, a Director
and President of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, a member
of the Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Kiwanis Club,
a member of the Retail Merchants Association, a member of
the Civic Music Association and he was a Shriner.
Isaac Eugene Willis Jr. received his formal education at
the Illinois College of Podiatry Medicine in Chicago, Illinois.
He served the Longview Community well in his field of Podiatry
for many years. A Methodist by faith, he was a member of
the St. Mark Christian Methodist Church, the Alpha Phi Alpha
Fraternity, the Masonic Lodge, voted as Father of the Year
in 1964 by the National Association for the Advancement
of Colored People, appointed in 1968 to the Texas State
Board of Podiatry Examiners by Governor John Conally, and
the first black member of the Podiatry Society of Texas.
|Willoughby - Michael Andrew Willoughby came
from Opellika, Alabama in 1894 with his wife Mary Louise
Sonneekamp and their baby daughter Hope. Michael Andrew
helped to build the very first courthouse in Longview. Michael
and Mary's children were: Hope (married William Lackey),
Wyche (married Lynn Reynolds), Minnie (married Frank Elder),
Jessie, Keener and Frank (married Cordelia Tutt).
(This short bit of information was found in a book titled
Early Kilgore Families)
(Left Picture: Drew Wilson. Right
Picture: Longview Drug Company, Inc.)
Drew Wilson was co owner of the Longview Drug Company,
Inc. with J.D. Knighton. It was one of the largest and complete
in East Texas carrying one of the largest lines of sundries,
five different lines of cosmetics, the latest in biological
and pharmaceutical supplies, the best lines of candy, and
a complete modern & sanitary fountain and lunch counter.
|Mary C. Womack - Before 1888, the only facility for African-Americans in Longview was a one room, one teacher building located in the north section of town. Sometime in 1888, a four room frame building was erected and by 1908 had become a two story frame building call Colored High School and later North Ward.
Oil brought prosperity and an increase in population to Longview and a new school. Property adjacent to the colored Southside School on Gum Street to build a 14 room brick building was purchased in 1930. Destroyed by fire in 1946, a new school was built and in 1959 was named Mary C. Womack High School in honor of one of the finest black educators in Longview.
J. Marcus Wood was a Kilgore native, being born and raised
there. In 1907 he went to Longview and began to work for
the old Pacific Express Company. He stayed there until 1916
when he went to work for the Texas and Pacific and the Santa
Fe Railroads in the freight department. In 1918 he was made
cashier for the Santa Fe. In 1921 he bought the local Longview
agency for the distribution of Gulf Gasoline and oil from
(Pictures Left to Right: Moses
Wood, Sarah Malvina Abernathy Wood, John Robert Wood, Ellen
Virginia Ford Wood, Robert Moses Wood, Bettie Bell Wood.)
Wood - Shortly after the Civil
War, Moses Wood (1831-1880) came to Gladewater. Sarah Malvina
Abernathy (1841-1918) was his 2nd wife. She was the daughter
of Sterling Gibbs Abernathy & Elizabeth Caroline Ware
of Miss. Moses & Sarah produced one son, John Robert.
John Robert Wood (1860-1925) married Ellen Virginia
Ford (1858-1922) and produced 2 children: Robert Moses
(married Bettie Bell) and Archie John.
Robert & Bettie had the following children: Virginia
Lavon (married J.J. Traughber), Mildred (married John
Edward Barker), John Howard (married Ena Couch), Woodrow
Wilson (married Opan VanPelt) and Melba Rose (married
|Wynn - R. Watt Wynn and his wife Ruth
were in the Kilgore area in the mid to late 1800's. Watt
ran a General Merchandise Store in Kilgore. They left Kilgore
in the early 1900's. They had the following children: Carson,
Watt (married Hattie Mitchell), Alla (married Dr. Raburn
Hamilton), Ruth, Willie, Jase and Nola. (This short bit
of information was found in a book titled Early Kilgore