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Van Zandt County Genealogical Society

Sibyl Creasey and Shirley Fuller have extracted news articles from two old county newspapers, the Canton Herald and the Wills Point Chronicle that have been microfilmed. Complete articles and more are available to researchers in the Van Zandt County Library of Genealogy and Local History, located in the courthouse annex in Canton. Copies of these articles are also available by writing to the Van Zandt County Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 1388, Canton, TX 75103. When requesting a copy, please send a check or money order for $2 to cover cost of copying and postage.

Wills Point Chronicle, July 16, 1931

"The residence of Mrs. Alice Barfield on Pecan avenue in Wills Point was destroyed by fire early Friday morning, the fire originating from the explosion of an oil stove. The flames had gained such headway when the alarm was given that the fire department could do no more than confine the damage to the premises and protect homes nearby. The houses on the block are pretty close together and the flames would have spread to other property but for the protection afforded by the efficient work of the fire department. Some of the household goods and clothing were saved from the rooms occupied by Mrs. Barfield, but very little was saved from the apartment occupied by Mr. Cook and family where the fire originated.
The loss was partially covered by insurance, Mrs. Barfield having only $1200 on house and contents.

"SPECIAL.- Made-Rite flour, $1.00 per sack. -- R. R. Harris Grocery.
"MARRIAGE LICENSES: B. C. Dickerson and Oma Denny - Sherman Herron and Grace Clowers - W. A. Davidson and Cecile Tompkins - H. C. Fite and Mrs. Oma Allen - H. E. Williford and Jean Evelyn Stanger - W. L. Ray and Lillie Gilbert.

"BRIGHT STAR: This morning, (Monday), finds it wet and cloudy. The little rain that fell Sunday night sure did help the farmers cotton.- Misses Inez and Opal Vinson and Odessa Ritchie spent Sunday with Leona Mae Davis. - Mr. and Mrs. Leman Rice and little daughter, Artie, spent Sunday with Mr. and Mrs. Hester Morrison.- Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Adams and baby spent Sunday with Mr. and Mrs. Cleo Morrison and baby. - The grave yard working was a success and the cemetery was cleaned off nicely. Everyone wishes it to stay that way.- Miss Irene Patterson left for Dallas Sunday where she will work for a while.- Miss Zelma Lavern is on the sick list at this writing. Everyone wishes her a quick recovery.

"PALMER GROVE: Rev. G. M. Fletcher began his revival meeting at Alsa Sunday.- Grady Coates, who is attending school at Commerce, was home for the week-end.- Miss Theo Rice of Cobb is spending a few days with Miss Mary Elizabeth Plyler.- Mrs. Eula Gardner and children of Alton, Ill., who has been visiting her sister-in-law, Mrs. Lizzie Williams and other relatives here returned home Wednesday of last week.- Mack Jackson's many friends are sorry to know he is still on the sick list, but are hoping he will soon be up again.

"ELWOOD: Mr. and Mrs. Wilbourn Waits of Cobb spent the week-end with homefolks here.- Miss Ethel Vines spent the week-end with Mrs. J. W. Miller and attended Sunday school and B. Y. P. U.- Mrs. Carl Turner entertained her Sunday school class with a picnic Friday afternoon. All reported a fine time.- Little LaVaughn Carter, son of Mr. and Mrs. Obbie Carter, who happened to an accident Friday afternoon, is still improving.- R. A. McCauley and J. A. McCauley visited their sister and aunt, Mrs. R. E. Jolly of Cherokee county Sunday.

"Wills Point was the scene of one of the most disastrous freight train wrecks that has occurred on this division of the Texas & Pacific railroad in many years, when the fast fruit special piled about a dozen cars up alongside the track about 300 yards east of the station and within a block of the business district Thursday about noon. The wreck was apparently caused by a car wheel flying to pieces, the break occurring just after the car passed the station, and after going about 200 yards further the wreck occurred. The cars that piled up all over the right-of-way were from about the center of the long train, the engine and quite a string of cars on each end remaining on the track. Two wreckers were brought to Wills Point, one from each direction and before night the wreck was being cleared. The main line was cleared, the track repaired and trains were able to pass over by midnight.

"The wrecked cars were all loaded with cantaloupes and while a large crew of men worked all night salvaging them the loss on this perishable product was doubtless very heavy. Many of the cars were completely demolished and the damage to equipment will run well in the thousands of dollars, aside from the loss to the railroad incident to the delay of traffic over the road for about 12 hours, during which many trains had to detour over other railroads. While the loss to the railroad was enormous, it is fortunate that there was no loss of life. This particular train makes a fast schedule and apparently exceeds its usual speed as it comes through Wills Point. It carries its quota of "tourist" passengers, possibly not quite so many as trains that make more stops, but on Thursday it happened that the crew practically cleared the train of hobos at the water tank near Forney and there were very few of them on the cars that wrecked. One man was rather badly bruised up, but after being given medical attention was able to go on his way. It was feared that others were under the wrecked cars until they were picked up. Had the train carried its usual number of hobos there is no telling how many might have been killed."

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This page last updated 28 July 2007

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