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Yesteryear: September 2017

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DJ Taylor

100 Years Ago
From September 1917

Airplanes may soon be commonplace over Denton

Airplane flights may soon be common sights over Denton and with three camps at Fort Worth and another at Dallas, many of the machines may be expected to do their short distance flying over Denton. The most northern of the three camps is only 15 to 20 miles from Denton — a distance that is nothing to the fast army flyers.

Even before the students begin actual flying, however, Denton folks may see a bevy of airplanes passing overhead. The Canadian camp, which is to be moved soon from Toronto to near Fort Worth, will send its heavy machines under their own transmission — the longest distance flight ever attempted on this continent. The airplanes will stop at various cities en-route for refueling.

The Canadian camp is to open October 1, so that Canadian students may get benefit of winter instruction, since flying in Toronto must stop due the intense cold of Canada.

Many coming in from drought area

Daily there are caravans of wagons loaded with people entering Denton fleeing the drought of West Texas and looking for work in the cotton fields of the county. Because cotton picking is not yet underway, the newcomers are anxious for any kind of work until the cotton opens. Most of the new citizens are of a desirable type, being out of employment only because of disaster.

The families of C.W. Morton, J.G. Morton and Mrs. C.R. Finnely arrived Saturday in five wagons and a small spring wagon from Snyder, Scurry County.

They reported the drought is driving almost everyone from that part of the stat, according to the group. Mr. Morton says there is no pasturage for livestock and that much of the land is as bare as a paved street, even weeds refusing to grow without moisture. The families planted crops three times during the season with hardly a seed sprouting. Those in the area that could afford to do so shipped out livestock. The stock that could not be shipped out are starving to death.

The roads leading from the western counties are lined with covered wagons wending their way to more prosperous North and East Texas.

75 Years Ago
From September 1942

25th Army Air Force glider training ready to open

Preparations are well underway to open the Harte Glider School at the new municipal airport northeast of Denton. Students for the school were to arrive here from Hays, Kansas, on Friday.

The majority of the equipment has already arrived for both the field and Chilton Hall at the Teachers College, which has been leased by the government to house the aviation students and the enlisted men connected with the group.

The glider field is a civilian operated one, conducted here by George L. Harte, who has maintained similar schools in Kansas.

Connected with the school are 14 vehicles that include six two-and-a-half ton trucks for shuttling the students between the field and Chilton Hall, along with six jeeps, a reconnaissance car and an ambulance that will be kept at the college.

The exact number of men to be trained, the number of planes and other equipment to be used are not divulged under military rules.

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Bookmobile to start next week

The bookmobile, which transfers books to and from the county library and the substations, will start operating next week. This year, stations will only be opened in the schools and the bookmobile will supply 28 common schools and three independent schools. Its tires have been retreated, so there will be no danger of the stations being closed because of a rubber shortage, Mrs. Bess McCullar, librarian, said.

50 Years Ago
From September 1967

Capacity crowd sees premiere of 'Bonnie and Clyde'

Doormen at the Campus Theatre were decked out in formal attire and the ushers had new red jackets as the stars of the movie Bonnie and Clyde arrived on the red carpet for the southwestern premiere of the movie starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway Wednesday evening.

The film is the first major movie ever filmed in Denton County. Local fans crowded Hickory Street to get a look at the movie stars, beginning an hour before the film's beginning. Actors Warren Beatty, Estelle Parsons and Michael J. Pollard attended the premiere. Faye Dunaway, who had hoped to attend, was unable to do so due to delays in a film she is making with Steve McQueen. Gene Hackman was also unable to attend.

The film, which opened to good reviews in London, left many of the audience subdued as they left the theatre, each forming his own opinion, but most agreed it was not your ordinary film.

Violence and death were portrayed as real violence and death and not "bang, bang, you're dead" in the film. It was reported that several people fainted at the London premiere but Mr. Beatty attributed that to the theater being overheated rather than the shock of the violence.

Scenes shot in Ponder and Pilot Point drew responses as attendees recognized neighbors in various scenes. The stars spent the morning and afternoon touring Denton County locations used in the films as well as taking part in the kickoff parade of the North Texas State Fair.

The film will run at the Campus for at least two weeks.

Ponder farmer knows his land

Henry Williams doesn't have to read a book to know about the history if his farm.

He's seen all about it first hand; coming to the Ponder area in 1886 with his father.

The "sage grass' bluestem was waist deep then and Williams remembers the popping of the roots as the plow sliced and turned the sod.

He understands that deferred grazing helps re-establish these desirable grasses today. Williams has been a cooperator with the Denton-Wise Soil and Water Conservation District since 1955.

Williams took time off to teach school 25 years before returning to the farm where he worked with the senior Williams until his father died in 1946.

Williams still runs cattle on the pastureland. He doesn't like to talk about his age but does admit he's getting a little old for his current project — breaking two horses to ride.

25 Years Ago
September 1992

Interim commissioner fires aide, hires friend

A longtime friend and colleague of interim Pct. 3 Commissioner Willard French was hired to fill the post as his chief administrator at the Commissioners Court meeting on Tuesday.

Ed DeLong worked with Mr. French at Accelerated Christian Education in Lewisville until May when both, along with 29 others, were laid off. Mr. DeLong has since been without a full-time job.

Only French and County Judge Jeff Moseley voted for hiring DeLong. Commissioners Buddy Cole and Don Hill abstained. Commissioner Sandy Jacobs was absent.

DeLong replaces Peggy Thompson who had worked in the Pct. 3 office since 1988. Mr. French cited Mrs. Thompson's work with the annual conference of the County Judge and Commissioners' Association as the main reason for dismissal, saying it took too much of her time. Lee Walker, the recently deceased Pct. 3 commissioner, was president of the association which will hold its next conference in Denton.

Commissioner Cole said he abstained from the vote because he disliked the way Mr. French handled the dismissal of Mrs. Thompson, adding, "He [Mr. French] is not a commissioner, he is an interim commissioner. I've got a problem with an interim commissioner making fairly dramatic changes."

Mr. French is serving as interim commissioner until January 1. Three people are vying for the commissioner's seat in the November general election: Republican Scott Armey, Libertarian Brenda Anderson and write-in candidate Barbara Morrison.

DJ TAYLOR resides in the Sanger/Bolivar area. He can be reached at 940-458-4979 or