|With Tommie Ritter Smith|
In my remarks I emphasized notable men and women who were natives of Carthage and Panola County, while stressing that our community always has been in the mainstream of Texas economic activities. The Texas “Economic Trinity,” in chronological order, has focused upon cotton, cattle, and oil. From its founding in the 1840s, Carthage was a cotton town, and for several decades the economy of Panola County was based on cotton farming. As the Panola County cotton lands wore out in the 20th century, West Texans had begun to engage heavily in irrigated cotton farming. Simultaneously, East Texas farmers began to shift from cotton to cattle raising and Panola County farmers participated in this trend. During this time Panola County became one of about 210 Texas counties to produce oil, although Panola County petroleum production was modest. But during the 1940s the largest natural gas field in the United States was developed in Panola County. Large gas refineries were constructed on the outskirts of Carthage or only a few miles outside town. Carthage enjoyed population growth and remarkable community development, trends which occurred again during the 1970s when TUGCO (Texas Utilities Generating Company) began a large coal mining operation, bringing 100s of good-paying jobs to the county.
|Intro by Jerry Hanzsen|
Carthage also is the home of the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. Panola County is the only county in the nation with two native sons – Tex Ritter and Jim Reeves - who are members of Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame. During the 1990s Tommie Ritter Smith pulled family strings, obtaining a treasure trove of Tex Ritter memorabilia and artifacts, and developing the Tex Ritter Museum. By 1998 The Texas Country Music Hall of Fame opened in Carthage, the most appropriate community in the state, and our annual Hall of Fame induction is a major event in the world of Country and Western Music.
|Statue of Tex Ritter and White Flash outside the Hall of Fame|
|Johnnie and Norma Holley|
|Top Chapter Award|
The Tyler camp always has been exceptionally active, and during the meeting it was announced that the Captain James P. Douglas Camp had been selected as the best SCV camp in the nation. Congratulations to the enthusiastic and dedicated members of the nation’s top SCV organization.
|With Camp Commander Dennis Brand|