Fire Fighters, Baker Babies, Weevils,
and Wills Point Bachelors... early news from the pages of the Wills
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Can't you just close your eyes and
imagine Eva Lybrand playing these tunes during a silent movie at
Must Be Unhitched In City
2, 1895 – Notice is hereby given that I will enforce
the city ordinance requiring that all teams be unhitched
from the vehicle when left on the street. The safety
and welfare of all demand it. Mac Sisson, Marshal.
Brigade Needed For Fires
28, 1897 – It wouldn’t be much trouble to organize
a bucket brigade to better fight fire when it breaks
out. As it is everybody makes a rush for something they
know not what, and as a result much good labor is absolutely
lost at a fire. If goods are removed they are often
so badly damaged that it were about as well to have
let them burned. Let us organize so that there may be
some system to our fire fighting and by that means accomplish
Might Have Been Saved If Engine Had Started Sooner
9, 1905 – Again has the fiery fiend laid its blighting
hand upon the fair city of Wills Point, this time destroying
the pride of our town – our $14,000 school building.
Friday afternoon about 12:30 o’clock the building was
discovered to be on fire and the alarm turned in to
which the volunteer fire company quickly responded but
despite their most strenuous efforts the furniture and
wood work of the building were completely destroyed,
leaving nothing standing except the brick walls. Some
are of the opinion that could the engine have been started
to running sooner it might have been possible to save
most of the building. However, it was the fault of no
one that it would not be started any quicker – it is
generally conceded to have been from the inferiority
of the gasoline.
fire coming as it did, at the noon hour caused a considerable
loss in the way of books as most of the children were
at home for dinner and unable to save scarcely any of
them. The loss in this way probably amounts to $1,000.
The building was insured for $8,000 and the furniture
for $1,000 which was certainly a very lucky thing for
Point seems to be especially unlucky with her school
buildings. Only a few years back the old building in
the northern part of town was blown away. Then the cyclone
in the spring of 1901 destroyed the school building
which was situated upon the same site as the one which
was burned Friday. But then Wills Point people do not
know what it is to give up. We will come again very
soon with even a finer and larger school building than
we have ever had before. If not this, then we will have
two buildings—one on one side of town and one on the
other. Up to the present time the board of trustees
is unable to say what arrangements it will make in regard
to the continuation of the school for the present term
– if any.
in the late 1930’s were (l to r) Buie Blakeley, T. V.
Jamieson, M. A. Gossett, Jack Funderburk, Preston Turner,
Olen Thurman, George Marlow, Jim Roberts, Wayne Livesey,
Baker Ezell, Joe Ellis, K. C. Lybrand, Jr., Henry Turner,
Bill Campbell and Marshall Warren.
Department Has Long History in City
following story appeared in the 1976 Centennial Chronicle)
Organized before the turn of the century as a bucket
brigade the Wills Point Fire Department has progressed
through the hand-drawn apparatus stage to a modern,
well equipped department officered by capable men.
Finney is believed to have been the first fire chief
and was succeeded by Tom Saddler who held the office
until about 1916. In 1919 L. M. Gilmore was elected
chief and served until 1925 when he resigned to go with
the TP & L Co. in Dallas. Under his regime the first
motorized apparatus was purchased. K. C. Lybrand Sr.
succeeded Gilmore and in the early ‘30’s, when he resigned
the office, J. B. Blakely became chief. He resigned
in 1942 and T. V. Jamieson took over. Jamieson was elected
chief at the next department elections and is the present
head of the Wills Point department. Six other men have
served as fire chief. They are Ralph McLeod, K.C. Lybrand,
Jr., Carl Rusk, A. B. Hodge, Hollis Smith, and Doug
Fighters of 1947: Left to right – Raymond Martin, Robbie
Alexander, Wayne Dawson, Earl Terry, R. W. Ragan,
A. B. Hodge, Carl Rusk, Olan Thurman, Ralph McLeod,
T. V. Jamieson, Charlie Lasater, Dewey Boshear,
George Marlow, Bill Scott and K. C. Lybrand, Jr.
No Shortage of Doctors in Early Wills Point
the time of this 1976 article, Dr. Baker was still practicing
medicine at Baker Clinic)
reveal that there was no shortage of doctors during
the early years in Wills Point and Van Zandt County.
Many must have practiced only a short time while others
stayed on to establish themselves firmly in the community
and develop a large practice.
Dr. I. S. Collier, Dr. J. M. Fry and later his son,
Dr. H. T. Fry; Dr. D. L. Sanders and many others served
the early day residents of Wills Point and the surrounding
area. Very little is known of most of the men who served
the medical profession during the latter part of the
19th century and the early part of the 20th century.
The physicians who fall into that group are Dr. J. T.
Tucker, Dr. Claude Haynes, Dr. J. M. Fry, Dr. Elbert,
Dr. Collier, Dr. Moughon, Dr. M. H Echols, Dr. Hendrix,
Dr. Russell, Dr. Charles McKnight, Dr. A. G. Sisson,
Dr. T. M. Jeter, Dr. Watkins, Dr. Eli Zink, Dr. Ernest
Blankenship, Dr. Belote, Dr. N. W. Campbell, and many
more. Dr. Sanders was born on October 2, 1871 the son
of Levi Lindsey and Suzanne Collins Sanders. Dr. Sanders
was educated at the Alamo Institute at Ben Wheeler.
He received his premedical training at Transylvania
University in Lexington, Kentucky and settled in Wills
Point in 1906. Dr. H. T. Fry was born and reared in
Wills Point. Upon receiving his license to practice
he returned to his hometown where he spent a long life
serving those whom he loved best, the people he had
known all his life.
These early day men of medicine were in a league by
themselves. They practiced under the most adverse conditions.
House calls in the rural areas were difficult because
of poor roads. Lighting was poor; there was no such
thing as a sterile, spotlessly clean office. Some practiced
in their homes but even a well-equipped office in those
days offered little in the realm of instruments and
other physician’s aids.
young east Texan arrived on the scene in Wills Point
in 1931. Dr. Horace Anson Baker was the son of a rural
couple and in his words, “cut my teeth on a cotton stalk.”
He fell under the influence of the Travis family early
in his life since the farm where Dr. Baker lived was
just out of Jacksonville, the town where Nan Travis
Hospital was located. Young Baker attended Baylor University
and Baylor School of Medicine and interned at Baylor
Hospital before hanging up his shingle over Bruce and
Human Drug Company. He practiced there until 1946 when
he moved his office to Baker Clinic Hospital. Building
the hospital was the realization of a dream that Dr.
Baker had nourished from the day he took the Hippocratic
Oath. During the World War II years, he pinched pennies
and made plans. As soon as materials were available,
construction of the ten-bed hospital got underway. Dr.
Baker opened the facility prematurely as the kitchen
was not outfitted and a few other details were incomplete.
The first child born in Wills Point’s first hospital
was Steve Stone, son of Mr. and Mrs. F. W. Stone and
grandson of Mr. and Mrs. K. K. Norton.
When Dr. Baker began practicing he was the youngest
of 29 doctors in Van Zandt County. Today (1976) at 70
years of age, he is the oldest of doctors in Van Zandt
County. The years have been kind to the good doctor
who is now treating the fourth generation of several
families in the area. Linda Liston Wehr, mother of the
5,229th infant that Dr. Baker delivered, was also delivered
by Dr. Baker.
Baker Clinic Hospital, a 10-bed facility has served
more than 20,000 patients during its 27 year history.
Equipped for almost any emergency the operating room
has been the scene of amputations, hysterectomies, gall
bladder surgery, appendectomies and most other major
operations. Over the years Dr. Baker delivered thousands
of infants which came to be known as “Baker Babies.”
Clinic Hospital had a party at the end of its first
year of operation in 1947.
Present to join in the celebration were "Dr. Baker's
Babies" and their mothers.
on the photo to see larger images in the Photo Gallery.
Lights in Cotton
1907 – John A. Waits, living ten miles south
of Wills Point, said Saturday that he had made and used
in his cotton field this summer two lamps. He burned
these at night and declares that in the section of the
field where the two lamps were located his cotton is
nearly twice as good as other portions of the field,
and the land is all alike. The lamp was the same type
as commonly used several years ago to trap the miller
fly, the parent of the boll worm. Mr. Waits says the
pan caught many boll weevils, there being two varieties
of these. Mr. Waits has contended all along that the
boll weevils could be caught at night with a lamp, his
opinion being based on the fact that weevils frequently
found their way to the light in his house at night.
He and some of his neighbors will try it on an extensive
scale next year.
Men Of Wills Point Organize Bachelors Club
– A new organization has been launched in Wills
Point and is known as the Bachelor’s Club of Wills Point.
Its purpose is to bring together socially the young
men of the town and will also be used as a means of
entertainment for visiting young men. The officers elected
are W. W. Gibbard, president; Angus Wynne, vice president;
O. C. Bruce, secretary and treasurer; Theo Sayre, esquire.
The officers, together with Ed Gottlich, Guy Fields
and Thomas George are the governors. They have originated
a ritual and will have an initiatory service for new
members. The room over Rose Dry Goods Co., formerly
used as a lodge room, has been rented and is being properly
furnished to afford social comfort to the members. Good
reading matter, domino tables and other forms of entertainment
will be provided. The club will be open every night
in the week for members and their invited quests and
the regular business meeting will be held the first
Monday night in each month. The Chronicle notes this
new social enterprise with pleasure and commends it
as a worthy step on the part of the young men.
It Happened in...
Feb. 24, 1964
Cassius Clay defeated Sonny Liston for the heavyweight boxing title
Feb. 1, 1965
Peter Jennings, 26, becomes anchor of ABC's nightly news
Feb. 3, 1965
Orbiting Solar Observatory 2 launches into Earth orbit
Feb. 6, 1965
Righteous Brothers "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" hits #1
Feb. 7, 1965
Cassius Clay becomes a Muslim and adopts the name Muhammad Ali
Feb. 8, 1965
Supremes release "Stop In the Name of Love"
Feb. 11, 1966
San Francisco Giant Willie Mays signs highest contract, $130,000
Feb. 13, 1965
Peggy Fleming, 16, wins ladies senior figure skating title
Feb. 14, 1966
Wilt Chamberlain breaks NBA career scoring record at 20,884 points
Feb. 18, 1965
Frank Gifford announces his retirement from football for broadcasting
March 9, 1964
1st Ford Mustang produced
March 24, 1964
Kennedy half-dollar issued
March 18, 1965
Rolling Stones fined 5 pounds each for public urination
Mar. 6, 1966
Barry Sadlers' "Ballad of the Green Berets" becomes #1 (13 weeks)
March 18, 1966
Scott Paper begins selling paper dresses for $1
March 21, 1966
Supreme Court reverses Mass ruling that "Fanny Hill" is obscene
(now has R rating)
March 23, 1965
Gemini 3 launched, 1st U.S. 2-man space flight (Grissom and Young)
March 24, 1966
Selective Service announces college deferments based on performance