Queen City Of The Sand Flats
The first ten ordinances listed below were passed during the first incorporation of Grapeland 1899-1907. The two mayors of this incorporation were Dr. H. S. Robertson and Dr. F. C. Woodard. This incorporation was dissolved in 1907. Grapeland was not reincorporated until 1924.
The City of Grapeland...
Incorporation and Its Ordinances....
The first ten ordinances listed below were passed during the first incorporation of Grapeland 1899-1907. The two mayors of this incorporation were Dr. H. S. Robertson and Dr. F. C. Woodard. This incorporation was dissolved in 1907. Grapeland was not reincorporated until 1924.
1st-All residents must remove their livestock from the streets.
2nd-Tax on all real property not to exceed 65' on the $100 evaluation.
3rd-All males between 21 and 45 in the city are subject to street work for 5 days or $5.00.
4th-The speed of the train must not exceed 10 miles per hour in the city limits, 5th-Occupation Tax:
(1) From every traveling person selling patent or other medicines, $1.50 per day or $6.25 for each three months.
(2) From every person keeping or using for profit any hobby horse or flying jenny or device of that character, $7.50 per annum.
(3)From every foot peddler $3.50 per annum; from every peddler with one horse, $3.75 per annum; from every peddler with two horses, $5.00 per annum, from every peddler with a motor vehicle $7.50 per annum.
(4) From every person who sells or offers for sale on the streets of Grapeland any fruit or meat, other than such as has been produced by such person, $10 per annum.
(5) From every auctioneer, $5 per annum.
(6) From every circus or wild west show, $5 for each performance.
(7)From every side show or exhibition, $1.50 for each performance.
(8)From every concert, $1.00 for each performance.
(9)From every show giving exhibition of music, dancing or any kind of performance in a tent, house or elsewhere, where such productions are used for profit by the sale of medicines or other articles of value, $1.50 for each performance, or $6.25 for every 3 months.
(10)For every person operating a skating rink, $25, 00 per annum.
Oct. 1924--Texas Power and Light Co. started the high line for Crockett to Grapeland.
1929-A municipal building was built behind the school for fairs, livestock, shows and fair booths.
May, 1929--The First Traffic Ordinance--All owners of automobiles or other vehicles must drive on the right hand side of the road.
April 1930--The first ordinance for Public Water Works.
July, 1930--Moody Seagraves Gas Co. were granted a gas franchise to put gas lines in Grapeland.
April, 1931--The first fire truck was purchased for $450.00 and a siren for $75.00.
1938--H.L. Thackwell, engineer, drew up plans for a sewage system in Grapeland.
June, 1939--The first city streets were paved by the City of Grapeland.
July, 1944--The first street lights were put up for the City of Grapeland by Texas Power & Light Co.
April, 1945--Public Scales were bought.
February, 1946--The first paving project for streets in the residential section was approved.
Dec. 1947--A fire station costing $10,000 was built.
1958--New dial telephone system was approved.
1964--Trash pickup by the City was started.
1967--A City Office was bought from the Peanut Growers.
1968--Government Housing Development approved.
1971--Government Housing for the Elderly and Low rent was approved.
Feb., 1973--40 acre tract east of Percilia was purchased for a landfill.
Feb., 1974--City entered Social Security Program.
June, 1974--Water lines from existing line on Olive St to Oak Grove Church were approved.
1974--A sewer line from the Maytag Laundry south was approved.
1975--A sewer line on South College to the Lockout Road was installed. 1976--Sewer lines were added in the southeast section of town.
1982--The Community Park was donated to the city by the Grapeland Junior Chamber of Commerce and the Community Council.
1983--The city was given a Hud Block Grant for sewer improvements and street improvements in the southern section of town.
1984--The city hired Joe Willis as the city's law enforcement officer with the title of Police Chief.
1985--The city applied for a permit for a new sewer plant to be located on property purchased by the city next to the existing plant.
1986--The city awarded a contract to Caldwell Tanks, Inc. for a new 200,000 gallon elevated water storage tank to be constructed on an acre of land on north Main. The land was donated to the city by Nucor.
1986--House numbers were assigned and put on all the houses in the city by Gary Raines.
MAYORS & COUNCILS
1899-Mayor, Dr. H. S. Robertson; City Secretary, S. E. Howard
1905--Mayor, Dr. F. C. Woodard, City Secretary, and S. E. Howard The city unincorporated in 1907 and reincorporated in 1924.
1924--Mayor, A. H. Luker; City Secretary, W. D. Granberry; Council, J. C. Kennedy, George E. Darsey, Jr., C. L. Haltom and W. A. Riall
1927-30--Mayor, George E. Darsey, Sr.; Secretary, W. D. Granberry; Council J. C. Kennedy, A. B. Spence, C. L. Haltom, W. A. Riall (George E. Darsey, Sr., died in January, 1930)
1930--Mayor J. C. Kennedy; Secretary, W. D. Granberry; Council, A. B. Spence, C. L. Haltom, W. G. Darsey and W. A. Riall .
1932-1938--Mayor, council, and secretary all remained same as 1930.
1938--Mayor, J. C. Kennedy; Secretary, W. D. Granberry; Council, A. B. Spence, C. L. Haltom, M. E. Darsey and W. A. Riall
1940--same as 1938.
1942--Mayor, J. C. Kennedy; Secretary, W. D. Granberry; Council, A. B. Spence, M. E. Darsey, M. D.
Richards and W. A. Riall
1944--Mayor, P. H. Parker; Secretary W. D. Granberry; Council, M. P. Herod, Jeff R. Jones, M. E. Darsey, W. A. Riall
1946--Mayor, lra Rials; Secretary W. D. Granberry; Council, M. P. Herod, M. E. Darsey, Joe Pridgen, W. A. Riall
1947--Mayor, Ira Rials; Secretary, W. D. Granberry; Council M. D. Richards, P. H. Parker, W. W. Carrothers, M. P. Herod and Joe Pridgen
1948--Mayor, Ira Rials; Secretary, W. D. Granberry; Council, M. P. Herod, M. D. Richards, W. W. Carrothers, P. H. Parker and Joe Pridgen
1949--Mayor, Ira Rials; Secretary, W. D. Granberry; Council W. W. Carrothers, M. P. Herod, M. D. Richards, N. V. Streetman and Joe Pridgen
1950--Mayor, John Kennedy; Secretary, W. D. Granberry; Council, W. W. Carrothers, W. I. Kennedy, Merle Luker, M. D. Richards, N. V. Streetman
1953--Mayor, John Kennedy; Secretary,W. D. Granberry; Council, W. I. Kennedy, Merle Luker, M. D. Richards, Harry Pridgen, N. V. Streetman
1954--Mayor, John Kennedy; Secretary, W. D. Granberry; Council Merle Luker, N. V. Streetman, Harry Pridgen, M. D. Richards, C. C. Darsey
1955--Mayor, Merle Luker; Secretary, W. D. Granberry; Council, Arthur Walton, Sr., Leon Anderson, Mike Dailey, N. V. Streetman, C. C. Darsey Mr. W. D. Granberry was city secretary from 1924 until 1956. In 1956 Bettye Hill became city secretary and continued as such until 1963.
1956--Mayor, Merle Luker; Council, Leon Anderson, Arthur Walton, Sr., Mike Dailey, C. C. Darsey and N. V. Streetman
1959--Mayor, Charley Darsey; Council, Leon Anderson, Arthur Walton, Sr., Mike Dailey, Horace Jones and M. R. Murchison
1960--Mayor, Charley Darsey; Council, Leon Anderson, N. J. Campbell, Jack B. Long, Horace Jones and M. R. Murchison
1961--Mayor, Charley Darsey; Council, Leon Anderson, M. R. Murchison, Jack B. Long, Grady Owens and N. J. Campbell
1962--Mayor, Charley Darsey; Council, Grady Owens, Horace Jones, M. R. Murchison, Jack B. Long and Leon Anderson In 1963 Mrs. Pauline Burnett became city secretary, and served in that capacity until 1984.
1963--Mayor, Charley Darsey; Council, Grady Owens, Willie Cheatham, M. R. Murchison, Leon Anderson and Jack B. Long
1964--Mayor, Charley Darsey; Council, Ed Luker, Leon Anderson, Grady Owens, Willie Cheatham and Jack B. Long
1965--same as above
1966--Mayor, V. E. Murray; Council, R. C. Pennington, R. L. Bennett, Ed Luker, Jack B. Long and George Bartee
1967--Mayor, George Bartee, Council, R. C. Pennington, R. L. Bennett, Jack Long, Ed Luker, and Gerald Hinson
1968--Mayor, George Bartee; Council, Jack B. Long, Dan Walling, R. L. Bennett, Ed Luker and R. C. Pennington
1969--Mayor, George Bartee; Council, Jack B. Long, R. C. Pennington, L. M. Scoggins, Dan Walling and R. L. Bennett
1970--Mayor, George Bartee; Council, Weldon Kerby, R. C. Pennington, L. M. Scoggins, Dan Walling and R. L. Bennett
1971--Mayor, George Bartee; Council, Weldon Kerby, George Murray, Dan Walling, L. M. Scoggins and R. L. Bennett Ben Brooks served the City of Grapeland for thirty years and one month as Tax Collector and City Water and Sewer Superintendent, until his retirement in 1962.
1972--Mayor, George Bartee; Council, Weldon Kerby, Geo. Murray, Dan Walling, L. M. Scoggins, R. L. Bennett. Curtis James was hired as water superintendent to replace George Cheatham.
1973--Mayor, George Bartee; Council, R. L. Bennett, Geo. Murray, L. M. Scoggins, Dan Walling, Bob Jones.
1974--Mayor, George Bartee; Council R. L. Bennett, Geo. Murray, L. M. Scoggins, Dan Walling, Bob Jones.
1975--Mayor, George Bartee; Council R. L. Bennett, Bob Jones, Dan Walling, Frank Dailey, Roy Weisinger.
1976--Mayor, George Bartee; Council R. L. Bennett, Frank Dailey, Dan Walling, Marian Nichols, Roy Weisinger.
1977--Mayor, George Bartee; Council R. L. Bennett, Frank Dailey, Dan Walling, Marian Nichols, Dick Murchison.
1978--Mayor, George Bartee; Council, R. L. Bennett, Frank Dailey, Dan Walling, Marian Nichols, Dick Murchison. Wendell Caskey replaced Arthur Walton as Fire Chief.
1979-1981--same as above.
1982--Mayor, George Bartee; Council, Marlan Nichols, Dick Murchison, Frank Dailey, H. L. Franks, Nelda McLen. Nelda Owens McLen was the first woman to be elected to serve on the City Council.
1983--Mayor, George Bartee; Council, Marian Nichols, Dick Murchison, Frank Dailey, H. L. Franks, Dan Walling.
1984--Mayor, George Bartee; Council, Marlan Nichols, Dick Murchison, Frank Dailey, H. L. Franks, Dan Walling. Pauline Burnett resigned as City Secretary. She served from 1963. Sybil Yates Sanders became City Secretary. Joe Willis was hired as law enforcement officer.
1985--Mayor, George Bartee, Council, Marian Nichols, Dan Walling, H. L. Franks, Calvin Skidmore, Carol Owens. Wendell Caskey resigned as fire chief and Mike Bennett was elected to serve as fire chief. Susan Merchant was selected to serve on the Grapeland Volunteer Dept.- first woman on dept. 1986--Mayor Dick Murchison; Council, Marian Nichols, Dan Walling, Calvin Skidmore, Carol Owens, Bob Jones. 1924
I, A.H. Luker, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me, as Mayor of this city of Grapeland, Texas, according to the best of my skill and ability agreeably to the constitution and laws of the United States and of this state and I do further solemnly swear that since the adoption of the constitution of this State: I, being a citizen of this State, have not fought a duel with deadly weapons within this state nor without it, nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons nor have I acted as second in carrying a challenge, or aided or advised or assisted any person thus offending and I further more solemnly swear that I have not, directly or indirectly, paid, offered or promised to pay, contributed or promised to contribute, any money or valuable thing, or promised any public office or employment, as a reward for the given or withholding a vote at the election at which I was elected. So help me God.
~Excerpts from The Messenger~
February 14, 1907-Abolish Corporation
At this sitting of the Commissioners court a petition before it signed by a sufficient number of citizens asking for anther election to abolish the incorporation of Grapeland. About a year ago an election was held for this same purpose and corporation was sustained by a small majority. The Messenger was then in favor of the corporation, but it must be remembered on what grounds we based our opinion. Up to that time the corporation had accomplished very little and we made our plea to give it a chance, that it would be a good thing if properly run. We still cleave to that opinion, but the corporation had not made good. If anything, it has gone from bad to worse until now it is a menace. The thing has been run so long in such a loose haphazard way that a first class business application would kill it as dead as Hector. In so many words it is a plain mockery. This may sound hard but it is a cold fact. The ordinances are not enforced and the incorporation is now so deep in debt that script is only worth about .65 on the dollar. The Messenger favors abolishment of the corporation and the adoption of the public school tax to issue bonds for the purpose of building a commodious brick school building. Have you thought how easily it could be done if the corporation tax is done away with? Had you thought of the impossibility of levying a special school tax so long as the people have to pay a city tax? We have thought about these things and arrived at the conclusion that a brick school building would be better than a shoddy corporation.
Mayor Replies To Editorial
February 21, 1907-Mayor Woodard, On the Corporation-Replies to the Messenger Editorial.
The Corporation is denounced in general terms as a menace to the town, but specifies nothing except that there is a petition before the commissioners' court sufficient to insure an election, and that the script is worth .65 on the dollar. The first is true, the second is not. Our city marshal himself admits that he has served as night watchman, but has not tried to perform the duties of a marshal. The present administration has accomplished the following.
When we began men and boys both were jumping on and off the freight and passenger trains every day and night. This is not the case now.
Men were getting drunk and cursing and swearing in all parts of the town. They do not do that now. Guns were being shot and all kinds of birds were being killed for amusement. That is not done now. There was lots of trash and filth in all parts of the town. There is some now and will be so long as filthy people live in the town, but it has been wonderfully improved. Roads and streets have been worked with all the tax that the city allowed. We have made the Grapeland Messenger our city paper and gave it all the advertising and printing we had to have done and I doubt very much whether it has received much less than .99 on the dollar for its work. (The Messenger has never been able yet to find a dollar in the treasury when it had script to cash although kept on file for months. Ed.) We have caused a nice respectable depot to be erected which the railroad company refused to build.
We have built a respectable calaboose and had it declared legal by the attorney general. (If our memory serves us right the Messenger agitated the construction of a calaboose until action was taken by the citizens of the town and it was built by private subscription. The editor owns stock in the building which he will sell for less than .99 on the dollar. Ed.) We have written and signed agreement for the opening of the streets and alleys of the town to take place in the near future. Those who fence other people's property without permission are imposing upon the private and public alike. We have stopped ball playing on Sunday outside of enclosures. We have stopped the shooting of guns, canon crackers, roman candles and torpedoes on legal holidays as well as all other days. It is true some who have no respect for law or order shot them secretly but not openly. (How many citizens can remember the very 'quiet time that prevailed last Christmas? Even now we can hear the echo of the combustibles resounding in the distance. A special police force was on duty too. We believe more fireworks were discharged then than year’s before.-Ed.) Our financial condition is as good as the school and our script is worth .99 on the dollar. It takes time to regulate the taxes of a city and some of the taxes have not been paid. As for the brick school building--a building that would cost between $7000 and $10000 to fasten on this corporation. This would be a tax of at least one percent for 20 or 30 years. The scholarships of our students from the old hull are not inferior to those in this county in brick buildings. That would be fine financiering and the tax of the incorporation would be a great hindrance.
Trade morals and order for a school house? (Why certainly not, mayor, but look here. We should place a value on the lives of our students and teachers. The old hull is going to fall on them some day. A brick school building such as we needed costs about $5000. You say the corporation is in as good condition financially as the school district. Our teachers are always paid promptly and their checks are not discounted. The school district is much larger than the incorporation. Now consolidate the two, issue bonds for $5000 on as much time as it is necessary and see how much the tax would be, Other towns are building brick school houses and we can too, and never feel it.-Ed.)
In conclusion, I, as mayor, have done the best I know how. The majority of the council has always been ready to assist in everything that we thought for the best interests of the town. I need not speak for them... They are competent to speak for themselves. I do not believe that the people of Grapeland are worse than people of other towns, but when all restraint is withdrawn, I am sure that many of you will see that any town of much importance should be incorporated. I would not be surprised if the corporation is abolished. It will be a long step backward for Grapeland. That half threat that it would be dangerous to try to enforce law emanates from a perverted judgment. Everything is not as good as many of us desire, but it has been growing better, and it would not be long before law and order would be firmly established.
by F. C. Woodard.
P.S. Allow me to say that the present administration is nearly out. Would it not be better to change officers than to break up the corporation?
Corporation Abolished Cock-a-doodle-do!
Corporation abolished. March 7, 1907.The corporation of Grapeland is now a thing of the past and will go down in the annals of history as the greatest failure the town has ever experienced. The vote last Saturday was 40 to 9 in favor of abolishment. The reading public can now easily see that the Messenger was correct in its statements that the corporation was a farce and was not giving satisfaction. We always give facts to the best of our knowledge, and try to follow the maxim of that great hero, Davy Crockett, 'Be sure you are right, and then go ahead'.
Incorporation Talk Begins Again....
June 22, 1916-INCORPORATE GRAPELAND?
How does it strike you to incorporate Grapeland? Not for the purpose of enacting a lot of silly ordinances, but for self-improvement. We could grade the streets, build sidewalks, clean up the town and do many other things to add to the health and beauty of the town, What do you think of the proposition? Let us hear from you in a short article through these columns.
April 17, 1924-GRAPELAND
VOTES TO INCORPORATE-137 TO 18 FRIDAY
Grapeland was a town for about fifty years before it was incorporated. In every other phase of social and commercial life, Grapeland citizens have always been keenly alive. There are no better people in the world than who populate Grapeland and its surrounding territory.
To the elder citizens it seems that in a period of fifty years, you should be will prepared to appreciate the improvements that are to follow incorporation and systematic organization of co-operative efforts. To the young generation, there are greater opportunities for making Grapeland better, bigger, and more beautiful than she ever was in the early days. Grapeland's future rests in the hands of the young men and young women who make their home here and many of whose parents still live here. What will ye do with Grapeland? Are you ready to enter into that great spirit of brotherly love and cooperation in serving the town and its surrounding territory?
Even though the first settlers cast their lot here more than half a century ago, the country has many idle acres, yet to be developed and made to produce wealth. Are you ready to help bring about this added development? It takes work and the expenditure of funds, but they will not be wasted. You could make no better investment than to invest your efforts and money in the big program of development and improvement that is necessary in this immediate section. The dividends may not come quickly and they may not come to you during your lifetime, but they will come to posterity--a posterity full of young blood and new ideas who will take up the work where you have left it and carry it on nearer to a glorious completion.
As neighbors and friends, anxious to achieve something that will be worth while to those who are to live after us, we should now be ready to start reinforcing the foundation of a good town, making it sufficient for the building of a city.
Let us proceed. Are you ready?
Memories Of Grandfather
By Elwood Pennington
These memories go back to about the year 1920 or so when I was a small boy. My Grandfather (Henry Pennington) and Grandmother lived only a mile or so from my home. My cousin, Susie Lee Pennington, lived with them. We were about the same age. I can remember visiting them and enjoying playing with Susie Lee and eating Grandma's good cooking.
One day while visiting, grandpa came into the room for lunch, straight from the cotton fields, washed his hands and face from the old wash bowl. He headed for the back door, splashing water all over grandma's clean porch floor.
"Elwood! Come out here. I
want to show you something," he called to me. I trotted
outside to find Grandpa standing beside an old wooden keg
under a big oak tree.
He said, "Elwood, I want you to taste my persimmon beer I made. I'll bet you like it!"
Grandpa took an old tin cup from a nail he had driven into the tree and filled it about half full of this mysterious so-called beer.
He handed me the cup and said, "Taste this and see how you like it." So I did take a taste, and then drank the cup dry.
I eagerly asked Grandpa how he made this wonderful concoction and he told me it was simple---you just mash up a bunch of persimmons in a keg, put in some water and sugar, and then add some corn chops for a little "extra kick".
"So, that's all there is to it," I thought as Grandpa handed me another cup, brim-full, finishing this one off in two or three gulps.
I begged Grandpa to give me some more of that delicious drink but he warned me that I shouldn't drink too much---"its stout as a mule".
About that time, Grandma called that dinner was ready so I dashed to the dinner table for some of her good cooking. As I sat down, I began to realize how stout this persimmon beer really is. My head was going around and around and around...
To this day I do not remember what Grandma had for dinner on that day-- but I know it must have been good.
Anyway, I can say that I have drunk some home-made persimmon beer in my lifetime and can surely recommend it to anyone who ever gets a chance to do the same. By all means, don't pass up the opportunity.
The earliest graves in Grapeland were located on the block where the Baptist Church now stands. A log cabin was located on this block that was used for church services and as a schoolhouse. This log cabin was perhaps the first structure in the town site area. At this writing, no information relating to who built it, why they built it in this area, or why the area was used for burial grounds. No records have been found before 1900 of the land these graves occupied being sold for the purposes of a cemetery. The land belonged to the New York and Texas Land Co. The oldest stones found were those of Rev. Robert Mc- Coy (Apri1, 1879) and wife Barbara (August, 1879). In 1906 Mr. M. Morrison of the New York and Texas Land Co. requested that the City Council ask the people of Grapeland to move the graves out of the old cemetery. These graves were moved to the southeast corner of the new cemetery. Twenty-six of these graves were unnamed, but marked by stones and rocks. The Baptist Church purchased the old school church and cemetery area on October 27, 1900.
In March, 1900, the city bought the present day five acre cemetery for 50.00 from the New York and Texas Land Co. The trustees receiving the deed were: George E. Darsey Sr., James M. Owens, and J. E. Hollingsworth. The easement for a road from the railroad to the cemetery was donated by the Guice family.
In the early 1960s donations were made by the citizens of Grapeland and the cemetery was placed in a perpetual care trust in a bank in Dallas. The fees charged by the bank for handling the trust were so high that no money was left to care for the cemetery. The trust was then broken and the monies of the cemetery was placed in the hands of local trustees. The cemetery is a nonprofit corporation officially named the Grapeland Memorial Park, Grapeland, Texas. At present, the officers of this corporation are Adolph Haynes, president; Earl Cheatham, vice-president; and Miss Sue Taylor, secretary treasurer. The trustees of the corporation are Sam Kennedy, Walter Cook, and Ralph Walton.
Grapeland Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Service
The Grapeland Volunteer Fire Department was organized in September, 1930 with thirty-five volunteer members. The first fire chief was Ben R. Brooks. The first fire fought by the organization was the barn belonging to George E. Darsey, Sr. which had been set on fire by Christmas fireworks. At the time the department had no fire truck and the volunteers had to hand carry fire hose to the scene. The first fire truck was purchased in April, 1931 at a cost of $450.00. A siren to summon the volunteers was bought at the same time at a cost of $75.00.
Fred Thomas, a charter member of the department, became fire chief in June, 1946. Except for a time in the early 1950s when Troy Jones was fire chief, Thomas served until his retirement in May, 1969, making a total of 20 years. Arthur Walton, Jr. succeeded Thomas as chief in 1969 and served until 1978. Wendell Caskey became chief in 1978 and served until August, 1985. Mike Bennett was elected chief in August, 1985 and presently holds that position.
The city's first fire station was built in December, 1947 at a cost of $10,000.00. (Prior to that time the fire truck was housed in a garage belonging to Streetman Motor Co. where Bennett's Garage is now located). In 1947 the city also bought the department's first pumper truck, a 1947 Chevrolet. The new station had two bays and would accommodate both the new pumper and the old Fords hose carrying truck. The top story contained a meeting room for the department. The 1947 pumper is still in use as a backup pumper.
In 1971 emergency ambulance service also became a function of the Grapeland Fire Dept. Funeral homes in the area that had been providing ambulance service quit doing so because of insurance and wage regulations. In order for the town to continue to have ambulance service, the fire department agreed to add that to their responsibility. A used Pontiac ambulance was donated to the department by Hassell & Foster Funeral Home and the Texas Department of Health conducted an Emergency Care AttendantSchool here to qualify department members for this work.
As the town's needs grew and as better equipment became available the department has added equipment to better meet those needs. The department now has five fire trucks and two modular ambulances. Air packs have been added to enable firemen to safely function in the hazardous environment of today's fires. A hydraulic rescue tool, usually called 'Jaws of Life', was added to aid in freeing accident victims. A radio dispatch system now saves valuable time in responding to fire and ambulance calls. Each vehicle is equipped with two way radio and firefighters and ambulance attendants have pagers and portable two way radios.
The department is organized into two divisions-fire fighting and emergency medical services. Each of these divisions is headed by an assistant chief working under Chief Bennett. Lonnie Squyres is assistant chief, fire. Charley C. Darsey is assistant chief, emergency medical services. Roger Dickey, Dan Walling and Cliff Warner are currently serving as Fire Captains. Obie Allen and Glen Mc- Queen are EMS Captains. Gregg Brown is secretary of the department. Andrew Moore serves as training officer. In addition to these two divisions the department has a reserve force consisting of former firefighters, experienced firefighters that are not able to attend the required number of drills and/or fires, and EMTs that do not wish to be firefighters.
Current members of the department are C. C. Darsey, Mike Bennett, Roger Dickey, Glen McQueen, Weldon Kerby, Lonnie Squyres, Dan Walling, Obie Allen, Sammy Joe Musick, Cliff Warner, Scott Commander, Kenny Peterson, Darrell Peterson, Jamie Smith, C. H. Darsey, Gregg Brown, Milton Ferhle, Dan Waddell, Gary Gaddie, Andrew Moore, Mary Squyres, Susan Merchant, Teresa Hollis, David Swanson, and Larry Booth. Members of the reserve are Wendell Caskey, Billy Earl Cheatham, Ann Darsey, Troy Pennington, and Joe Willis.
Members of the department have continually worked to improve their skills and qualifications through training and continuing education. Eleven of the members now Certified Firemen and more are being certified each year. Twenty members are Emergency Medical Technicians (17 EMT-Basic, 2 EMT-Special Skills, and 1 EMT-Paramedic). Many of the members serve in both divisions.
The community benefits from this training and equipment by savings in insurance premiums as well as the protection of life and property.
The Grapeland Volunteer Fire Department is proud of the support it has always received from the Grapeland City Council and the citizens of the area. The members of the fire department have always felt that the communities around Grapeland were as much a part of their responsibility as the City of Grapeland because they feel that these communities are a part of Grapeland. Much of our equipment has been acquired with this purpose in mind. A lot of our support and donations have come from these communities.
Mrs. Frank Taylor recalls hearing her Grandmother tell of the hard times after the Civil War. Her grandmother lived in a two-story home which had a chimney on each end of the house with fireplaces upstairs and downstairs. Each spring when the fireplaces were not in use, firescreens were made and placed in front of the openings. After the civil war, paper was very scarce and the family did not have any paper to cover the screens, but they did have a large stack of now worthless confederate paper money and promptly set to work covering the screens with money. The sad part of this story is that the worthless confederate money represented dreams and sacrifices in the lives and labors of our pioneer forefathers and the war they fought was the most heart-breaking and unnecessary waste of young lives in American history.