This Week In Canton History Van Zandt County Genealogical & Local History Library



            CANTON HERALD: May 17, 1962-Miss Martha (Marsha) Motsenbocker, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Motsenbocker, was named valedictorian of the eighth grade with the highest average.  Miss Betty Marlene Casey, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M. L. Casey was named salutatorian with the next highest average.

            Out of the 66 students, graduating 25 are honor students. The honor students are Barbara Edwards, Bill Morgan Ohland. David Dewayne Dunn, Johnny Lou Hamilton, Elizabeth Wilburn, Danny Malone, Ronnie Lee Roberts, Peggy Pirtle, William Hughes Stephenson, Mary Elizabeth Peace, Gerald Mitchell, Paul Clifton Strickland, Joe Barrentine, Roy Dale Pierce, Robert Fitzgerald, Douglas Clemons, Ann Stanford, Paula Rose, Patsy Milford, Bill McNeil Shaw, Ann Pruitt, Linda Slayton, and Eddie Sneed.

The students averages are based on their grades obtained during this school year. Miss Betty Ross the highest-ranking freshman, will present the 8th grade students with the key to the high school.

Ushers for the 8th grade graduation are as follows Judy Whitaker, Mike Lawley, Lona Clair, Kay Etheridge, Brenda Shaw, Linda Heddin, Becky Simpson, Lamar Bass, Sandra Wilhite, Janet Bagley, Joe Todd Berry and Jane Burnett.

            Funeral services were held Wednesday morning at 10 o’clock for June E. White at a funeral home in Houston. Mr. White, an uncle of Homer Hilliard of Canton passed away May 15. He had been living in Houston the past 30 years and was a retired telegraph operator for the Shell Corporation.

He was born February 27, 1878. Rev. Joe Fort held graveside rights Wednesday afternoon at 5 o’clock. Interment was in Hillcrest Cemetery under the direction of Hilliard & Sons Funeral Home,

Negro Family Clears Farm... Getting the mortgage paid off has been a big relief. James A. Abrams, colored farmer of the Big Rock community said last week to a Herald reporter.

The mortgage Abrams was speaking of was a Van Zandt Farmers Home Administration Loans approved in 1938 by the committee composed of A. T. Travis this marked the First Negro loan for purchase of land in Van Zandt County. Mr. Mrs. Abrams have raised 14 children the past 26 years and have just recently paid off their hundred and 82 acre farm. They paid off the mortgage 16 years ahead of schedule. Today Jim 80 and Clara 66 his wife, enjoy life on the farm. They raise a few cows, farm a little land, and participate ______ in the colored community life of the Big Rock community.

In 1938 James A. Abrams and Clara Abrams tenant farmers were declared eligible by the Van Zandt County FHA Committee to purchases a farm through the Bankhead ________ Tenant Act__________________ and other out buildings.

That year they planned for a crop of cotton and corn and where to have a family garden, together with a livestock program for a few cattle and hogs. There were 11 children and they helped with the crops while they lived at home. This is the only loan made to a colored family in Van Zandt County for the purchase of a farm.

George L Yates, County supervisor, said Jim and Clara Abrams have always been very cooperative and it has been a pleasure to work with them. They both are getting old but are still very active. Jim makes a crop every year. He grows sweet potatoes, melons, corn and always has a good garden. The children are all grown now and have gone from home but some of the grandchildren are there most of the time.

Jim and Clara are very grateful for the services of Farmers Home Administration and said they would never have owned a home had it not been for FHA. They said they had lived better and more comfortably since getting this farm with the new house and other residential improvements.


Larry Ray Thomas and Ms. Rynell Reynolds exchange wedding bows Saturday evening, May 12, in the Methodist Church in Mabank. Rev. Thompson pastor read the ceremony.  The bride is the daughter of Mrs. John B Taylor of Dallas and Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Thomas are parents of the groom. The couple is making their home in Terrell where he is employed.

Mr. and Mrs. Herman Etheridge announce the engagement and approaching marriage of their daughter, Linda Darlene to Douglas Wayne Norman son of Mr. Mrs. A. G. Norman of Mabank. The ceremony will be solemnized on the evening of June 2 at 8 o’clock in tundra Baptist Church. Friends and relatives are invited to attend the ceremony and the reception at the home of the bride’s parents.

Durell Z. Reid and Jean Carol Setterburg exchanged vows in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Wayne Zerr of Van, Senior, has been elected vice president of the East Texas State College chapter of Sigma Delta Chai, national journalism society. A 1959 graduate of Van High school, Zerr is journalism major and the son of Mr. and Mrs. A. D. Zerr of Van.

Canton High School, Campus Kay Barrier... May 3 the junior class of Canton High School met with Mr. Ramsey a representative of the Balfour Ring Company. The juniors were shown a selection of rings, they also discussed merits of standardizing one and decided to do so.

Mr. Ramsey said that standardized rings would be less expensive and a permanent emblem of Canton High School. The rings like last year’s will be gold with green setting, Canton High School will be engraved around them.

Hot Rodding by Jim Phillips... What do you think about someone who would deliberately endanger the life of a child by pointing a loaded gun at his head? Well you probably think the same thing about hot rodders. Driving fast by the school endangered children’s lives much more than merely pointing a loaded gun at him would. When you have a gun you at least have the situation controlled but when the drive by the school you don’t know if a child is going to run out in front of you or if a car is going to pull out of the parking lot or away from the curb or if you will be able to stop in time if one of those things do happen. So next time you come by the school slow down please!


These articles have been copied from the Canton Herald and can be viewed on microfilm at the Van Zandt County Genealogy & Local History Library at the Van Zandt County Courthouse Annex