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Newellton

What is was like to grow up there!

In some ways, I remember it (Newellton) somewhat like Charlie Pride’s song "in those cotton fields back home." I remember days on Tensas River chopping cotton from 6 a.m to 6 p.m. for 3 bucks! Charlie Pride also had another song about a crystal chandelier - I remember our senior class, and Ag class - we were like brothers, and teachers who were interested in students. I remember one teacher in particular who taught me how to iron clothes and sew buttons on - Mrs. Thames - I won’t ever forget.

Coach Johnson and Ed Hawkins - how they would cry after losing a football game and we players would cry too. I am constantly thinking of those boys that shared the trenches of football, how we sweated, bled and cried together. I think of those who have gone on before us - Russell Hedrick, Jerry Head, John Wood, Ralph Cooper, Medgar Finley, E. J. Harper, Billy Bozeman, Buddy Emfinger, Raymond Cannon and Charlie Black - these guys were special to me and I think of them often. There is something about the game of football that brings boys close together for a lifetime.

Newellton in the 50's was quite a place. We did not know what "pot" was, nor cocaine, crystal meth, etc. Most of the kids were good students, said "yes ma’am" and "no ma’am". Webster derived the word "poor" from some of us who lived on the Tensas...... A lot of mornings I look to the northeast and think of IT!

Leonard N. Hedrick, DDS

Fun times playing basketball with Coach McConathy's team. Great fun at 4-H camp, stock shows and National meetings in Chicago and Washington, D. C.

Loved the years of Home Economics with Mrs. Thames. This truly gave me the start for a life of many home duties and responsibilities. I truly miss Newellton.

                                                                                                                                                                             Betty Clyde Ratcliff Jones

I did not grow up in Newellton, but moved there when I was in the 9th grade. Growing up in a small town has a lot of advantages. Small town people never meet a stranger. Everyone knew everyone in Newellton and they knew your parents, so you could not hide anything.

I especially like Newellton High School. I'll never forget Mr. Wallace Prather asking me to work in the school office. He asked me right in the middle of Civics class. Flo Thompson worked with me.

The teachers made the school. Mrs. Solveson (English) and her fireballs I'll never forget. Helping the teachers grade papers at recess was fun and really was NOT brown-nosing. I studied hard to make good grades.

Dissecting earthworms right before lunch, then eating spaghetti was not so gross. it just seemed like it at the time.

Riding the school bus and studying up to the last minute for a test was an honorable think to do. Flora Bell Loftin and I would call out the questions to each other.

Larry, (my husband) grew up in Shreveport and could not get over a town having only one red light.

I owe a lot to the teachers and principal at Newellton High School for all they did for me in guiding me and mentoring me.

Mary Evelyn Lance Richardson

 

I enjoyed growing up in Newellton - we didn't think about our homes being burglarized, serial killers, rapists, etc.

The funniest story I can tell is when I was in second grade and Mrs. Lucy Sharp was my teacher. She made me mad and I told her I was going to take my doll house home.......and yes, at lunch-time, I did.. Of course, my mother made me take it back.

I can remember Mr. Porter having all of us petrified. He told us if we weren't good he would let his hunting dogs out of their fence. I was so afraid I didn't want to walk from my house to my Aunt Pat and Uncle Edwin's because I had to pass his house - but my parents made me do it anyway.

I worked for Mr. Prather in the office and he will always be in my mind. I think he was a wonderful principal and taught me many things that I still use today.

There are many advantages of being brought up in a small town and I am glad I had that opportunity.

Rose Ann Teller Suffrin

The fifties was a great time to grow up. I cannot think of a better place to have grown up than Newellton/Tensas Parish. Having great parents, a big brother that was always my hero and a little sister I wouldn’t trade for all the sisters in the world helped a lot.

The thing I remember most about Newellton, not only the school, but the whole community, was nobody was looked up or down on anyone else. You were judged by your actions and not by your social standing.

I loved my years at NHS and wouldn’t trade them for anything. Playing football probably gave me more character, not to mention "bad knees" and "a crooked nose", than anything I did.

Just to show how much times have changed, we sometimes brought our shotguns under the seat of the school bus and slipped out the gate and go duck hunting.. Boy, I wouldn’t try that these days.

My only regret in all my years at NHS was not beating Sicily Island my senior year.

Jerry Kelly

My fondest memories are my days at Newellton High School. I especially enjoyed our Girl’s Basketball team with Mrs. Leonard as our coach.

We had the theater, a café, a drug store with a soda fountain, three service stations and two clothing stores. A big event was the movie matinees on Saturdays costing 25¢. Right across from the school was an ice cream parlor. We had to slip over there to get a treat. It was a wonderful, wonderful time in my life.

Betty Jean Vinson Stapp

Playing football in high school and finishing 2nd in the state in 1963. Hunting and fishing on Shakleford and Tensas River was our only pass-time. Skipping school to go to lunch. I remember we were driving past the ice house one day and heard on the radio that President Kennedy had been shot.

The teacher I remember most is Mr. Don Thornton who was the Chemistry teacher. I also remember Mr. Jerry Head who was our Civics teacher and head football coach. My very favorite teacher, though was Mrs. Cook who taught me in the 5th grade.

Clyde B. Finley

My life, from 7th through 12th grade , in Newellton was made more bearable by the kindness and love I received from Mrs. Catherine Greene and Mrs. Chloe Perritt. I give thanks daily that they were a part of my life.

Nelva Lou Ford Powell

 

Living in Newellton was a great experience and I feel like part of me has always stayed there. It is a sad feeling when I go back now and see that the town has all but dried up. In the ‘60's Newellton was a really active place, especially on Saturday nights. I worked at Mr. Camey Arnold’s grocery store and at 10 PM on Saturday we had to go out into the street to tell people to come pick up their groceries.

Everyone in Newellton was caring and friendly. I don’t remember anyone that wasn’t actively part of the town. The people there cared about one another and supported the activities, especially those that were for the youth growing up there. There were many good people who gave a lot of their time and effort to keep those activities alive.

I look forward to this reunion, hoping I can see some of those people. I can still name everyone that lived in Newellton when I did and wish I could see them all again.

Ronald Ray Graves

Most of my memories was growing up on Shakleford, were it seemed hunting and fishing were the biggest past-time. Yes, we had to work in the fields in the summer and it was 100 degrees in the shade. I remember the Little League ball games where my dad coached, I kept score and my brothers played.

I remember sneaking off the school grounds, going to Nan’s Ice Cream Parlor for hamburgers and ice cream. I thought she had the best hamburgers in the world.

Dianne Finley Sapien

My favorite memories are growing up at Tensas Bluff on the Tensas river, hunting, fishing, swimming and riding my horse. I remember Newellton as a bee-hive of activity on Saturday and Saturday night. They didn’t roll up the sidewalks until after midnight.

                                                                                                                                                                                         Frilly Joe Ford, Jr.

Living on Mr Lides place and having all the hunting and fishing we wanted. Going to church with Mother, Daddy and family every Sunday and Wednesday night. How all of our family on both sides were always a big part of our life. We were poor but happy!

Betty Lou Ezell Deaton

When I was a kid, growing up on the farm, going to town was a real treat. Everything really interesting was in town. On Saturday we went to town to buy groceries and whatever else we needed and hopefully get to go to the theater for the movie show. Everyone else was there too. In the fall of the year, we took our cotton to the Elevator to be ginned. Newellton was the town and it was our world especially in our younger years. There was always something going on. There once was a circus in one of the fields just outside of town and a country music show on the football field with Minnie Pearl. A skating rink came to town one time for a few months, plus many other interesting things.

I remember activities at the school, Halloween carnivals, donkey basket-ball games, square dances and cake walks. There were talent shows, class plays, and once a musical, H.M.S. Pinafore.. At the foot ball games the men stood on the sidelines to watch the game, they never sat up in the stands. I remember the hedge on the side of the old building that spelled NHS.

My children do not understand that bond that holds us together. We really did grow up in a special place at a special time.

JoAnn Crane Reece

 

I loved growing up in and around Newellton, because all of my grandparents lived there and most of my aunts, uncles and cousins. Families were very close then. I am thankful for the teachers I had in school and thankful for the job Ed Hawkins gave me at the theater during my last two years of school.

Helen Ray Cannon Parker

The town was like living in Mayberry with Andy Griffin and Barney. The people were great, no crime and loads of fun. The town on Saturday evening was full and most of the people were like family.

People that meant a lot to me were Jerry Head, Mr. Prince, Mr. Palmer, Don Thornton, Joe Gossett, Johnny Freeman, Larry Black and Wallace Prather.

Football, baseball, track in his school was outstanding. Good teams that included coaches and all the players.

I guess the amusing story is (and I won't tell who was with me) putting Coonie McVay's VW on the sidewalk between 2 posts. Only way to get it out was to pick it up and move it out. He put us in jail for 10 minutes, then let us go and bought us a coke. He knew it was only in fun.

Robert Patt

The thing I remember about living in Newellton was how safe we were. You could go all over town without your parents and know no fear. We never locked our doors or car. We could leave our bicycles out with no fear they would be taken. I remember after basketball games played away, walking home late at night. This could never be done today. These are the things I miss most.

Alice Hulls Andreyh

I remember how everyone in the community supported the school events, including football, basketball, plays, the Halloween Carnival an cakewalks.

Johanna Hulls Huggins

I remember "Growing up in Newellton" as a happy time. My grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins on both sides of my family were there. Sunday afternoons were usually spent visiting with some or "many" of these extended families.

School days were wonderful. I can’t recall a single teacher that I did not like, and many of the teachers had a profound influence on my life. There were a couple of favorite teachers who made a tremendous difference in encouraging and "mentoring" and directing my future (which is now my past.)

I remember Sunday School teachers and Pastors who were very special and meant a lot to me in the ten years - special friends who are no long with us. As I look back I often wonder what my life would have been like if these people had not been there. Wonderful loving parents and growing up in a Christian home was the greatest of all these blessings. When I look back I have to thank God for all the people and most of all the experiences I had "growing up in Newellton". My children’s memories will be so different.

Reba Arnold Walker

I remember the long cold bus rides to school, the dedication of the teachers to be sure we all could do our "3 R’s". The town was crowded with people and stores especially on Saturdays. The country side heavily populated with small farm owners and share croppers as well as those who worked strictly as day laborers and in most cased did "work out" and farm too.

Tensas Parish always seemed to have people that were willing to help one another during the good times as well as the hard times. I still find the people of this parish to be among the most friendly of any I’ve encountered anywhere during my working career. It was a blessing to be able to retire and return home to Tensas.

Harold McDaniel

As a young teenager, growing up in Newellton was fun and "the place" to be. Our town had several clothing stores, drugstores, grocery stores, bus station, train station and theater. We even had a 5 & 10......... The drug store beside the 5 & 10 had a soda fountain where young teen-agers would gather to have soda’s and ice cream. In the days of growing up in Newellton, there were love songs and soft music.........then came rock & roll and Elvis Presley coming along upset many parents due to his music and singing. As a teenager the 50's and 60's was the time to live and have fun, for life was ever changing.

To the teachers of Newellton High who helped change our lives and who tried to teach us what life was all about. My hat goes off to Y’all..... We were just a set of young people who were trying to achieve things in life that would make us happy. Also, to the teachers of today - God bless each one of you, because you are still trying to teach young people what life is all about.

Myrtis Jones Crawley

I had some good friends that I have always missed. Going to Lake Bruin with my best friend, Phyllis Cullum every summer is a fond memory.

Helen Oldham Pendley

Downtown or uptown as we called it was a vibrant small town. Many stores, gas stations, post office and the Tensas State Bank. Cotton trailers traveled thru uptown on the way to the gin, located just to the left over the railroad tracks.

Speaking of railroad tracks, trains did come thru several times a day. In that part of town was Melville’s store, Quigley’s and Garr’s Feed and Seed Store. In addition we had a sawmill and lumber yards. I believe Newellton Elevator is the only one left. There was also Coit Chevrolet.

Uptown was Western Auto, The Tensas State Bank. Back of the bank or rather to the side was a walk to The Elgutter home. A member of that family, Felice Morris lives in Dallas, Texas. There was Uptons Shoe Repair, Nettervilles Meat Market (grandfather of Sister Keyes, Charles Netterville, Barbara Jane and Buddy Netterville) DeVries store (grandparents of the Forgotston children).

Long’s Drug Store and Owens was a gathering place for teenagers as they had soda fountains. Ice coke, cherry coke ice, (similar to sno-balls today). The Newellton Café was another spot to eat, or have a coke, coffee or if your allowance was large enough, a hamburger. During my years it was owned by the Fosters, parents of Ricky Foster. Then the McClains and Ernestine Palmer Madison. (Buddy Palmer’s mother). There was Colemans store (parents of Bernice and Bessie Coleman and a Conoco Station owned by the LaPlue family. There was Langs Store, Mr. Darnell’s Barber Shop, Kaufmans Hardware , Dr. Ewings office (before Newellton’s hospital that was built by the American Legion with slot machine money. This hospital brought Dr. Chapman and Dr. Whitaker to Newellton. The hospital was located where Tensas State Bank is now and Dr. Chapmans office was next door. I think in the beginning the doctors were located in the hospital When Gov. Kennon took slot machines out of the state, the hospital was run by a Catholic Order of Nuns. The slot machines and juke boxes (remember those), you could play for a nickel a record.

Then there was Lombardoes, where Mr. Lombardo roasted peanuts every afternoon. This was also the bus station for Trailway. Robys store and the post office was next door. A small store that at one time was a liquor store. Oh yes! There was a large barroom across the street.

Kullman Brothers, owned by the Kullman, Preis and Teller families was probably the largest local establishment. Our family first had a general merchandise store, dry goods and groceries all together. Later, the wall to the store next door was cut to move the hardware and furniture from the lower end of town.

As a teenager we had a Delta Queen where we would gather and The American Legion Home where dances and other social functions were held. The Rotary Club met there every Thursday at noon. The 4-H Club helped serve and the Auxilary of the Union Church prepared the food.

In the summer you could always see crows of teens gathering to play ROOK or just to visit.

Oh yes, we did fund-raising for 4_H, FHA and other groups. Mr. Tate Hargrove, the president of the Tensas State Bank, once said "when he saw me coming, it meant to reach in his pocket for money."

My friendship with so many who still live in Newellton and others are still very important to me. My class of 1954 recently celebrated our 50th anniversary, including some of the teachers.

Lillian Teller Opotowsky

Newellton was a great place to grow up; hunting, fishing, beautiful lakes and fertile fields.

I always loved going to town. Mr. Odell Kifer was a good friend to my family. Also, Mr. Edwin Preis allowed me to purchase items I needed and pay on unconditional installments.

Marvin Joel Myers

The town was small, only one red light. Mr. Smith was the police, daytime and "Coonie" McVay was night marshall. James Ray & Chester Miles were my buddies along with everyone else. I could write a book on amusing stories, so I just will keep them to myself. Everyone in Newellton meant a lot to me, especially Mr. Prather and Mr. Prince.

Tom Ferguson

Randy, the 6th grade dog!

One of the wonderful things about Newellton was the telephone operator. The Exchange, as they called the board, was in her living room. There weren’t very many phones, but it was just like "Ernestine" on Saturday Night Live.

If I had to locate Mama, I called Miss Ernestine. She would say "Oh, your mother just called Dodie Hollingsworth, they are having coffee at Janie Bounds."

When the fire alarm would go off, everyone would call the operator to find out were the fire was and then followed the fire.

This picture is of Randy, my dog back in the ‘50's. He was name after "Randy’s Record Shop", a radio station program that Delton and I listened to on date night. He followed Mama to school everyday and on picture day, the children begged Mama to have his picture taken. I wish I knew which class, but maybe someone will remember.

Sister (Netterville) Keyes

 

I  agree and Newellton might not have been very big to a heck of a lot of people but it was to me and I have very fond memories of living there.  Even working at Kullman Bros store from 8 in the morning until 10 at night for $4.00 per day (which was big bucks to me) and Edwin would not let us sit down AT ALL...  Had to stand up the entire time.  Honestly I was very happy to have the job as you well know job opportunities for kids were few and far between in a small town like this

Do you remember the "Smoking Tree' out by the old Ag building?  Can you believe smoking on a school yard with the blessing of all.  Not only that but one of the funniest things I remember is that Tinker Prince supposedly taught, study hall, typing and shorthand but that was a joke.  Anyway he smoked and had ashtrays all over the two rooms he had for his classes.  Needless to say we all just horsed around and most certainly never dreamed of doing anything else when we were in one of his classes.  One day Billie Joe Jones was messing with the big old green paper cutter, somehow got the end of her finger under the blade and sliced the side of the end of her finger off.  A couple of us took her down to Dr Chapmans office (in the hospital at that time).  He wanted to know where the end of her finger was, did we bring it witih us.  Well naturally not, we all assumed she would just be missing that bit of her hand from then on but he sent us back to the school to get "The finger part"  by this time the guys, Delton Keyes, Roy Brown and that crew had the finger tip in one of the filthly ashtrays running around putting it in any girls face they could find and scaring them to death.  You can just imagine the screaming that was going on, however not a sole said anything about the racket.  We had to pry that piece of finger from them, they were just having too much fun, but get it we did and back to the hospital.  Dr. C. sewed it back on and till the day she died that finger looked as good as new.  Kids now days would never ever have that much fun.

Another thing the Parish had that went to various locations was what they called “The Bookmobile”  It had regular stops and lots of books that people could check out since a lot of residents did not have access to a regular library.  Remember this was way  back when, before everyone had a car or maybe just a truck but could come and go as they pleased.  I’m not sure what they do now since there is not a library in Newellton that I know of.

Carolyn (Wilkins) Doyle