Neighbor Cox came by Saturday and no one was around so he visited with Corky. Cox left us a Dec. 26, 1976 Opportunity Valley News. The paper was still in the wrapper and had never been opened. I don’t know where our old buddy found it, but whoever had it had not read it. The lead story, by the late historian Nina Harden reads, “Women’s Lib Nothing New to Texas.” Early pioneer land and cattle owner Jane A. Phelps, alias Jane Harris, petitioned for and was granted a headright league of land in Orange County in February, 1866. She was the daughter of Enoch and Sarah Harris. Mrs. Harris came to Orange in 1828 and they settled in what was, at the time, Jefferson County. That proves the the Harris’ from Louisiana have been here a longtime, shortly after the first settler John Harmon. Women who obtained headright leagues or grants of land were widows who had children and qualified as head of the household. Sheriff L.R. Thomas testified he had known Jane since December of 1839 and she had a child. He listed the names of William Clark, A.Winfrey, A.Jett, John Harmon, Peyton Bland and John Bland as knowing the applicant and himself. The sheriff noted she is about 40 years of age. There were other women with grants. Among the cattle owners listed in 1852 were those of Mary Peveto, Nancy Bland, Emily Patillo and Carolyn Peveto. A bill of sale recorded in 1851 claimed a schedule of separate property by Ann Harris, wife of Victor N. Harris, that included, “One Negro man named Morgan, about 48 years old; one Negro woman named Harriet, age 38,with yellow complexion; one Negro boy named Hillary, age 14, with black complexion; one Negro woman named Amanda, age 50, yellow complexion; one Negro child named LoRina, age five months, rather light complexion; one Negro man named Bob, age 32, black complexion; one Negro boy named Thorton, nine years old, yellow complexion.” Also, one large American mare, chestnut; one sorrel male mule, three years, about 15 hands high; one Spanish mule; one large oxen horse wagon; and one black horse. Also held in  trust was other property, three slaves and all cattle branded A/C. Ann wasn’t the only woman to own slaves in the county, Mrs. Harris’ story goes on. I love history and this is a great story that has been asleep in this plastic bag for 33 years. Interesting is that these women couldn’t vote and wouldn’t have dreamed that someday a Negro would be president of the United States. Thanks Cox, you brought a treasure just waiting to get to me.***** I’ve got to move on, I have a long way to go. Please come along, it won’t do you no harm.

100 Years Ago-1909

Mr. and Mrs. James D. Neff and son have arrived from Newton and will be making their home in Orange.*****Jesse Harmon, formerly of Orange, is now located in Lake Charles where he is in the saddlery business.*****Frank W. Hustmyre, general manager of the Orange Grocery Co. has just returned from a business trip to points in Louisiana.

75 Years Ago-1934
Marriage licenses wren issued to Vertice Sands and Gladys Addison, Leo Thomas and Ruby Lee Moore, Helton McDonald and Evelyn Pawke. *****Charles Peveto has been elected principal of the Cove District schools.

60 Years Ago-1949
Bill authorizing the organization of a state recognized Sabine River authority is now on the calendar for both branches of the state legislature. *****The Kiwanis Club has been organized and the first meeting scheduled for April 1. The president is Barney Hoover, O.B. Culpepper will serve as vice president, Herbert Journesay, treasurer and James Forse, secretary. Directors are C.H. Benkenstein, Henry Crew, Cecil Coale, R.D. Thompson, Jim Robinett, A.H. Stahl and Jack Love.

50 Years Ago-1959
Diana Ketchell, a beautiful Stark High senior, will represent Stringer Service Station in the annual contest to select the sweetheart of the Texas service station association. *****A construction worker at the Iron Bridge Reservoir in the upper Sabine River watershed uncovered a huge skeleton. The remains have been identified as a Mastodon. Archeologists of the University of Texas made identification of the 14,000-year-old skeleton.

35 Years Ago-1974
First Assistant County Attorney Don R. Burgess will resign from the Jim Sharon Bearden District Attorney staff effective March 31. Burgess plans to go into private practice. A member of Bearden’s staff since January, 1972, Burgess, 27, a graduate of the University of Texas grad and University of Houston Law School, will open his law office at 110 W. Seventh St.*****Larry Bergeron is store manager at McLaury’s Appliance, 1800 Strickland in Orange. *****Gil’s Shoes is now open at 310 Fifth St. Men’s and ladies shoes only $15. *****Pay Less Shoes, 1411 Green Ave., offers ladies sandals only $3.99. *****Jim Austin Motors, 2600 I-H 10, sells your choice of a new 4-door Dodge Dart or Dart Swinger for $2,988.

30 Years Ago-1979
W.T. Oliver named Opportunity Valley News Citizen of the Year at ceremonies held at the Orange County courthouse. Presenting the award was former Attorney General and Speaker of the House Waggoner Carr. A few others present were county judge Pete Runnels, commissioners Asa Mansfield, Raymond Gould and Ollie Crawford. Roy Dunn publishes the OVN. *****Linda Richardson, formerly with KOGT for 16 years, is now associated with Wickersham Ford. *****Last week Lani Hall, daughter of Lynn and Dennis Hall, turned 10 years old. *****Rhonda Elizabeth Beeson, daughter of Harold and Sheila Beeson, turned 12 on March 19. *****John “Bojo” Moore was named Rotarian of the Week in Bridge City. *****Glenn Seale seeks re-election as West Orange mayor. *****Clayton Meredith, 82, a master tailor, is one of the last of a “dead trade.”*****Don Campbell, Junior Clark and Jimmy Conn are all presently in the hospital. Conn is in Beaumont recovering from the fire burn that took the life of his wife Inez. The other two are in Orange. (Editor’s note: Clark is Judge Pat Clark’s late father. Anyone who knew Clark and Campbell will never forget those East Texas boys.)*****Tommy white died last week. *****Don Burgess is Orange County’s newest district judge and must be doing a good job; two lawyers were heard praising him. (Editor’s note: Don went on to become an appellant court judge.)*****Evelyn, wife of Frank Giarratano, celebrates her birthday March 28.


We were sorry to hear about the death of Charles “Charlie” Nixon, who died Saturday March 21 at age 76. He would have celebrated a birthday this week. For many years he has been the caregiver for his wife Barbara, who had suffered a stroke. Charlie was a great guy. He was raised in Port Arthur where he and Ms. Phyl were next-door neighbors. She and his sister Hazel, who was killed in an auto accident at a young age, were great childhood friends. Charlie was like family. He and Barbara lived in Bridge City and for many years had been caring neighbors of Ann Oliver Hall. He attributed June Gregory, his sister-in-law, as being the one he depended on to be there to drive them to Houston or do whatever needed to be done. This guy was the real salt of the earth. His service was held Tuesday. Please see obit.*****David Fusilier Jr. has left the Air Force. He chose not to re-enlist and is at present looking for employment in the private sector. *****Jason Menard, after three trips to Iraq, is back at his home base in Hawaii. His mother Sharon picked him up at the Houston airport Friday and he will be visiting his family and friends this week. The Dunns are still in their FEMA hut while repairs are made to their home. Not the greatest accommodations but it beats Iraq. *****Speaking of FEMA huts, the shaking going on with Donna and Jimmy Scales’ hut is not because hanky-panky is going on. It’s only the washing machine shaking away. *****We ran into one of N.J. and Shirley Vicknair’s lovely daughters and she tells us that Vick, who had 13-hour brain surgery seven years ago, is in a Jefferson County nursing home and doing better than was first expected. He is able to communicate and has comprehension. The former Bridge City city councilman is one of the great guys. He helped many people and was always active in promoting youth sports programs. An electrician by trade, for many years he worked for Bubba Hubbard. His wife Shirley, a beautiful lady, has fared about like most people in Bridge City and is living in a FEMA hut. Our prayers go out to this great family. *****Congrats to Olivia Wagner of Orangefield High, picked to play in the greater Houston area girl’s all star basketball game April 11 in Pasadena. Olivia is the only 3-A player selected, the rest of the team are 4-A and above. *****Also congratulations to Valerie Brown, a Bridge City powerlifter, who won the state championship last week. Just a junior, she will be back next year. She had a total of 986 pounds, just barely missing a state record. The BC Lady Cards placed second in the state as a team. Those Bridge City athletes just keep coming with the big wins. This weekend, at the Bob Cat relays, the BC boys captured first place. Tim Crud again won the 3200 meters and Kirby Shepherd won the 1600-meter with Tim close on his heels. Spotted at the meet was Johnny Dishon, LSU baseball player and Dion Beasley with the Texas Longhorns. *****Congrats to the Lady Bear power lifting team. Meagan Fontenot, a state record holder in the squat, broke another record in the bench press with 190 pounds and went on to tie another record in the lift by dead lifting 360 pounds. She finished with 875 total weight. Teammate, freshman Maggan Crosslin, took fourth place and finished with 795 pounds total weight.*****We were saddened by the fire of Optimist Village. It made many of our senior citizens homeless with only their clothes on their backs. More than 30 years ago, a bunch of determined Optimist members established that nice facility. Bennie Mazolla, club president, Roy Dunn, lieutenant governor; and club member Frank Manchek worked hard with HUD to purchase the property from Joe Hester.*****We ran into Al Judice III. He had Al IV with him. Little Al, who is a giant of a boy, runs the long established Judice store on Seventh Street in Port Arthur, started by Al I and MawMaw and later run by their son, the late A.J. Judice Jr. Al tells us his mom Lois totally lost her home n Cow Bayou, the place she and A.J. enjoyed for so many years. She has gotten herself a small place in Bridge City and the kids are fixing it up. Al and pretty Michelle also lost everything they owned on Cow Bayou including all of Al’s toys. They saved only what they took with them. *****Work has finally escalated on Judge Janice’s home and in a couple of months she could be back. Meanwhile, around the corner, Judge Don Burgess and Bobbie are working full speed to be back home by hurricane season.*****It’s always a pleasure to get together with Quincy Procell. He’s one of the great guys who grew up in Orange with some pretty tough fellows. The Stark High class is having their reunion Friday and Saturday. The group will gather at JB’s Barbecue Friday for a get together and fee. Class member coach R.C. Slocum, the winnest coach in Texas A&M history, will be in attendance. A big dance and party will be held Saturday. Quincy remembers every moment of his life as a youngster back in Riverside. He tells great stories, including the time the Tiger team went to Lake Charles and beat Carl Thibodeaux and LaGrange High. The Procells are known nationwide for their mechanical genius and their record setting, custom built motors.*****Congrats to our buddy Margaret Toal for the great piece she wrote on the Paul Cormier Museum and her interview with his daughter Carlene, one of the pretty twins. It’s the best story I’ve read on the museum that now belongs to the Orangefield School District. By the way, Mr. Paul is back in the hospital. We pray for his well being. His life from poverty to success and the building of a community is a great story. He did it the old fashioned way, he worked at it. You know lady luck is inclined to follow those routes that makes her job easier.*****Don’t forget the big Art in the Park this weekend at Stark Park.*****Special birthdays. Happy birthday to Garrett Gros who celebrates on March 28. Garrett is now living in Louisiana and is the proud dad of a 2-month-old son.***** Wendi Kemp, one sexy grandma, celebrates her 52nd birthday this week.*****Our friend Jim Keith’s lovely wife Dorothy celebrates her birthday March 28. She is proud to share her special day with grandson Jonah Reynaud who will be 6. Happy birthday to both.*****Also celebrating this week is Marjorie Fields, a special lady.*****Former Bridge City principle Terry Stuebing celebrates this week.*****A belated birthday to our good buddy Corky Harmon who celebrated his 81st last week. He acts and gets around like he was 20 years younger. I’m sure that’s because of Betty’s good care.*****Celebrity singers celebrating birthdays this week are Aretha Franklin, 65, March 25; Mariah Carey, 30, March 27; and redhead Reba McIntire, who reaches 54 on March 28.*****Investors applaud government’s latest plan. Stocks score in a huge rally. The worst may be over. The stock market is up 495 points since Feb. Investors have gained $700 billion in paper wealth since Obama’s plan one and two was announced.*****Peggy’s on Cow Bayou is a good place to stop for a great meal. Two nice ladies can whip you up any kind of seafood in just minutes. We had a great oyster plate. They have invented the granddaddy of all hamburgers. Peggy’s majestic Bayou Burger is over a half pound, loaded with goodies. They are holding a contest to name that burger. Example: Wide Mouth, Gatemouth, Bayou Humdinger, (I like that one.) Anyway, anyone who names the new creation will receive two free lunches of their choice. Stop by, the Roundbunch Bridge is now open. They are located at Dulaval LeBlanc’s old fish camp.*****What became of “Possum” LaFlour? Well, I’ll tell you. He’s taking classes at Lamar-Orange and hopes to sign up with a college and play baseball next year. He has speed and can play the game. Someday he wants to be a coach. For now, he’s coaching a Pony Colt team that won their first season game Monday. His River Cats used some good hitters and a smooth little left handed pitcher, who pitched a one hitter to win the opener 6-2. Coach Possum is off to a good start.*****We understand that Van Choate has done some fantastic remodeling of Tuffy’s. The restaurant now has raised ceilings, tiled flooring throughout and Van has redone all the rooms. A great new menu combined with some of the old. Word has it that the newest Orange County restaurant will open right after Easter.*****After 21 years of living with Regina Lasko and having baby Harry five years ago, David Letterman finally married the girl last Thursday. That was really an honorable thing to do. It probably took that long to get a pre-nuptial agreement.*****St. Joseph’s Alter at St. Mary’s Sunday was a rousing success. Over 500 people joined the joyful occasion. That is fantastic with such a short notice. Judge Pat said he missed Ms. Phyl. He had looked forward to seeing her. He didn’t mention Dunn.*****Well Logan, one more week. Here’s our Cajun story. You’d better be a fast learner because Creaux and I are fast fading.

Matt Hanson, Katie Birdwell, Mary Grimes, Matt Thompson, Scott Mangham, Warren Claybar, B.J. Walker, Mike Vincent, Karen Bozman, Margie Fields, Marjorie Fields, Sherry Stevens, Billy LeLeux, Christy Day, Lou Hillard, Nancy Crew, Sarah Coffey, Dale Forse, Jane Scherer, Jennifer Kreamer, Dorothy Keith, Jean Jackson, Lindsey Peoples, Rob Butler, Steve Holland, Annely Domas, Jason James, Katie May, Kaydee Wingate, Robert Clark Jr., Julie Norwood, Julie Walker, Kate Ferguson, Lisa Smith, Terry Stuebing, Charles Nixon, Cliff Brookshire, Danny Carter, Hunter Wilson, Mary Lejeune, Matthew Cooper, Rebecca Hunter and Carolyn Whittaker.


Da rain it was coming down hard yeah, wen Joe Nunez and Miss Gladys Comeaux got in a bad two-car wreck dem. Neider one of was hurt a bit but da two cars dem, were demolished. After dey crawl out dare cars, Nunez start hollering about dem women drivers.
Gladys answer,  “So, you a man, I’m a women me, our cars, dem are total but we don’t get a scratch on us, wat you tink. hanh?” “Dat must be a sign from God dat we should be friends for da rest of our lives.”
Well Nunez him, he’s flattered by dis so he agree. “Mais yeah, it must be a sign but you still at fault, you, womens should not be allowed to drive no!”
Gladys, her she tink about dat and say, “But look at dis, anudder miracle, our cars are wreck dem but dis bottle of wine is not even chip. God him must want us to have a drink and celebrate. He had his angles dem watching over us.”
Gladys hand Nunez da bottle, he open it up and take a big drink. He hand da bottle back to Gladys and she screw da cap back on and hand it rat back to Nunez. He axe her “You not gonna drink, hanh?”
Gladys look at him and say, “Mister not me, I tink I’ll wait for da police.”


We were sorry to hear of the death of George Craft, 66, on Monday. I have no other information at this writing. Please see our obits inside or online at*****Some one asked what had become of Johnny. It looks like Montagne has gone underground except when he is chauffeuring the “Godfather,” Oprah’s cousin. *****Obama puts more boots on the ground on Mexico’s border. *****The stimulus will take a longtime but you have some from the radical “Right” wanting to throw the plan under the bus already. It’s pretty dumb but apparently they have all the money they will ever need. The president’s address Tuesday evening couldn’t have been any better explained.*****I’ve gotta shut down, deadline is on me. Thanks for your time. Please read us cover to cover and shop our advertisers, the best people put their messages in this community paper. Take care and God bless.