He captured the moments and lived the life: Gary Bass was one of the good ones

Gary Bass, 1953-2017
Gary Bass, 1953-2017

Words often come very easily for me.  Until life happens in a way so unexpected and so difficult to comprehend that my usually trustworthy word-producing mind lets me down, finding a void where words should be plentiful.

But I feel extremely inclined to offer whatever words I can for a long-time close friend of mine who just yesterday lost her beloved father.  For words are the least I can offer.  And perhaps they are the most I can offer as well.

Gary Bass, a lifetime Sabine Parish resident, passed away suddenly yesterday.  I do not know the details… but what I do know is that it was sudden and it was unexpected… From what I understand, he was alive and well just yesterday morning.  He was full of life and love and so much good.  And now, he is gone from this Earth… I can only imagine for his family, this is barely comprehensible, if at all.

Gary’s daughter, Martha Bass Snider worked with me at the local newspaper for many years, during the 1990s.  We watched as local citizens of prominent status… doctors, lawyers, judges, politicians, bankers, and businessmen… were posthumously honored with Page One obituaries and feature articles in the newspaper, detailing their lives on this Earth.  As it happens, and quite frankly, as he wanted it, Gary Bass was not a prominent citizen per se… He probably fancied himself a common man but in truth, he was actually quite uncommon.  A bit of a rarity in this world we live in.

Gary Bass, in fact, was as honorable of a man as I’ve ever come across in my lifetime. A man who deserves fine mention in any and every manner.

And so with this in mind, I offer to my friend Martha and to her family my heartfelt and sincere words and thoughts about Gary Bass. And by offering these words here, in this forum, I wish to honor Gary Bass and the man that he was to any of 22,933 followers of All Things Sabine who take the time to read this.

Gary Bass was a good man.  I say this with seeming simplicity, but it is so very much more than that.  In this world we live in, coming across truly good people is the exception rather than the rule.  A bit of a rarity, if you will.  I guess perhaps because it is not always so simple to be good… I mean to be truly good.  It is not so simple to be selfless and it is not so simple to put others first, as Gary did.

It warrants repeating, Gary was an honorable man… one of the good ones… one of the individuals who will never be forgotten by those who knew him in any way beyond just a “Hello.”

He was a family man through and through.  A bit of a lost breed.  Not to say there aren’t true family men out there, but his devotion to his family was both phenomenal and special.  And yes, a bit rare in today’s times.

He was a wonderful husband to Myra… To say devoted doesn’t scratch the surface of who Gary Bass was.  I remember thinking many times how strong and evident their mutual love and adoration for each other was.  Gary’s relationship with Myra was so simple and pure and yet equally unique and complex… I say with a high degree of confidence that it was apparent to all who knew Gary and Myra knew that they were still truly in love with each other after all their years of marriage.  That, too, is rare in this day and time.

Gary was a wonderful father… he doted on his children and they on him.  He worked and sacrificed to provide for them.  And I could tell that with him, it was not so much a matter of obligation or duty, though both were certainly inside of him, but rather a matter of pure love and adoration and wishes for the happiness and well being of his children as youths and later on as adults.

He was an amazing grandfather… the kind who regularly made moments to be forever remembered and cherished by his grandchildren.  The kind who set examples for these youngsters through the way he was and the way he lived.

Gary was a hard worker.  Always.  Even in times of injury, he never made excuses… work was second nature to him.  He did what he had to do… he knew exactly what it was he had to do and he always seemed to make it happen.

Gary was a religious man.  He worshiped regularly and celebrated in his faith.  His strong faith was evident in his consistent positive attitude… another rarity.

He was an incredibly kind man, who welcomed any one at any time.  He had a keen sense of humor, witty sometimes but warm all the same, and he made people laugh.  Mostly, he made people smile… there was just that something about him… that something I can’t put my finger on but it was there, in his presence.

Gary was always, always accepting.  He was truly interested in others and what they were doing.  He asked questions, and he listened, keenly… with genuine interest and caring.  He never seemed to judge, for through his strong faith, he knew well that was not his place.

Gary loved his Country, and he loved the country.  He was a country man if I ever met one, and I mean that in the nicest way.  He loved Sabine Parish and he loved the countryside.  He loved open spaces, at home and on the road.

Gary was one of those individuals whose love of life was ever present.  You could just sense it in his presence.  And from what I saw, he lived life to its fullest… he relished the busy times and the simple times alike.  For him, there was a time for all things, and he captured the moments and he lived the full life… honorably and with dignity, purpose, and lots of love.  That is a rarity… a bit uncommon by today’s standards.

Gary Bass was a common man in self-declaration who lived an uncommon life and held uncommon values dear.  He was a rarity.  He was, in more ways than I can count, prominent in his own right… for he stood out indeed, the very definition of prominence when you get right down to it… Gary Bass, in fact, stood well above many men in many ways.

His time came too soon.  Certainly too soon for his family and his close friends.  I have no place to say, “he’s in a better place,” or “God called him home because he needed another angel”, or any of the things we hear when lose a loved one.  What I can say, though, is that Gary Bass was, without a doubt, one of the good ones… a fine man with a thirst for life who made the absolute most of his time on Earth.

And for the life he lived, Gary Bass will be welcomed in Heaven and missed on Earth.






Canal between Rayburn and Toledo was once in the works

Following was an Associated Press article, originally published I believe in the Longview News-Journal, in September 1965.   It relates to a proposed canal between Sam Rayburn Lake in East Texas and Toledo Bend Lake.


$25 Million Tag Placed On Canal Between Lakes

SAN AUGUSTINE — A $25 million price tag has been hung on the proposed interbasin canal linking Sam Rayburn and Toledo Rend reservoirs in East Texas.

The estimate was made in a report by Forrest and Cotton Inc. of Dallas to the Deep East Texas Development Association .

The cost includes $13 million for earth excavation, $8 million for a lock with a 46-foot lift, and $1.6 million for right-of-way and relocations.

The engineers recommended a 17.2 mile canal beginning at Six-Mile Creek on Toledo Bend’s western edge and ending at the confluence of Devil’s Ford and Ponpanaugh creeks on Rayburn’s eastern side.

The single lock would be built a few miles north of Stringtown in Sabine County.

Based on estimates for a 12-foot canal with a bottom width of 150 feet. the engineers estimated 52 million cubic yards of earth wouldhave to be moved.

Relocations would affect the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railroad immediately east of Rayburn, State Hwy. 87, U. S. 96, and several pipelines

Copies of the report were forwarded to the Corps of Engineers. which agreed last month to include a feasibility investigation of the canal in a comprehensive study of water needs and navigation in the Sabine’ River Basin.

The canal, which will be built by a multicounty navigation distnct created by the last Texas Legislature. would connect two of the largest man-made lakes in the South.

Rayburn, on the Angelina River, will cover 115.000 acres when completed next year; Toledo Bend, on the Sabine, will inundate almost 185.000 acres when finished in 1967.  East Texas leaders also see the channel as a means of tying the heavily – industrialized Lufkin area into a projected navigation system on the Sabine


Archaeological sites exposed along Toledo Bend during severe drought years

While searching for details on the Indian village discovered near Noble and researched in the 1960s, before Toledo Bend, I also found a more recent article relating to the Caddo Indian Village.  A little over 11 years ago, in September 2006, The Shreveport Times published an article relating to the village, as discoveries were being made in the area during a drought season which left banks along Toledo Bend Lake high and dry.

Following is the article, written by Vickie Welborn.

Archaeological sites exposed at reservoir
■ State warns public against removing artifacts from lakebed.

Caddo village scene. Painting by Nola Davis, courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Caddo village scene. Painting by Nola Davis, courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

TOLEDO BEND RESERVOIR —The expanding shoreline of the drought-stricken Toledo Bend Reservoir is raising more than just the ire of recreational users frustrated with the limited access and hazardous conditions.

It’s also elevating the concerns of state archaeologists who have learned the exposed lake bottom has become a drawing card for curiosity seekers in search of archeological treasures hidden underneath the water’s surface for the past 40 years.

Many people don’t realize it is illegal to excavate or remove items from state-owned lands, including exposed river-beds and lakebeds, said Jeff Girard, regional archaeologist on staff at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches.

“It tends to get worse when there is easy public access such as what you find now on Toledo Bend. But we’re trying to educate the public as much as we can,” Girard said.

His main worry is the potential of losing a significant part of this region’s history.

Readily discovered in the past two weeks near Converse Bay is a duster of sites providing evidence of the Caddo Nation Indian tribes living on what once was high bluffs along the Sabine River.

It’s not a surprise, given that the Caddo are an integral part of the state’s history.

But little is known about the Caddo Nation in relation to the Sabine River basin, especially in more prehistoric times, which makes Girard’s archaeological finds —and those that might be in the hands of unsuspecting looters — all the more important.

“A lot of the early history on the Sabine River has not been documented,” Girard said.

Part of the reason can be blamed on the creation of Toledo Bend Reservoir. An idea borne out of a 1958 feasibility study, the 186,000- acre lake — the fifth largest in the nation — was once 150,000 acres of standing timber straddling the meandering Sabine River.

Land acquisition began in 1963, with construction of the earthen dam, spillway and power plant following in 1964. Impoundment of water began in 1966.

During the construction phase, at least one Caddo Indian burial site was discovered and hundreds of remains were exhumed. “It was a site dated to the 16th century,” Girard said.

The burial ground unknowingly was located behind Earline and Robert Bison’s home, south of Converse, that once sat close to the Sabine River. The Bisons moved to higher ground before the lake swallowed up their family home, and Earline Bison recalls watching the University of Texas and Southern Methodist University college students painstakingly remove the Native Americans’ remains.

“My husband had dug up pottery during the years when he was gardening, but we had no idea that was behind our home,” Earline Bison said.

Girard is concerned that former burial site might be exposed again as Toledo Bend continues to drop to levels not witnessed since its creation.

Friday, the lake measured 161.97 feet. Until earlier this month, the reservoir had never dropped below 162.5 feet. The bottom of the power pool is 162.2feet and the top is 172 feet.

The opportunity to collect and record artifacts from Toledo Bend’s lakebed is only temporary, said Phillip G. Rivet, archaeologist with the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism’s Division of Archaeology.

“The lake will be coming back so now is a great opportunity to collect representative samples, get them cleaned and recorded,” Toledo Bend is usually at its lowest in late summer and early fall, and there’s been some years that shallow lower parts of the lakebed, especially from the Converse area north, has been briefly void of water.

But not to the extent witnessed in recent days, Sabine River Authority Executive Director Jim Pratt said. The water has receded so much on the north end that an old roadbed extending from near the public boat launch in Converse has re-emerged.

The barren roots of hundreds of tree stumps once hidden under several feet of water stick up from the now dusty ground. Small mounds of dirt dotting the sandy soil also are evidence of the weekend artifact hunters, Girard said.

Within seconds of scouting the surface, Girard picks up more than dozen small brown objects that at first glance appear to be merely pieces of chipped rock or slivers of hardened dirt. But upon closer inspection, Girard identifies some as small pieces of clay pottery and others as crude tools that likely were used to tip a spear or used like a screw-driver.

Mark Moore found one such tool Tuesday morning. Moore, who drove to Converse Bay from his home near Marshall, Texas, walked the lakebed for only 30 minutes before finding a brown sharp-tipped stone that Girard dated any-where from 400-500 B.C. to 500600 A.D.

“What fascinates me is that I could be the first person to see this since then,” Moore said. Girard estimates some of the scraping tools to be 7,000 to 8,000 years old, with the pottery pieces dating to the late 1500s.

“That tells you how ancient this river area is,” Pratt said.

The mixture of old and new is intriguing to Girard, who is spending several days a week walking the dusty lakebed with a GPS device in hand. Girard is able to pinpoint exact locations of the suspected cluster of Indian villages onto topographical maps to forever document this new discovery in the Caddo Nation’s history.

Ancestors of the Caddo Indians were agriculturalists whose way of life emerged by 900 A.D., as revealed in archaeological sites in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma. When members of Hernando de Soto’s expedition entered the region in 1542. thriving Caddo communities were distributed along several rivers, including the Sabine and Red, according to a brief history of the Caddo Nation appearing on its official Web site.

Efforts to reach spokesmen Bobby Gonzales and Robert Cast were not successful Thursday or Friday.

“We don’t know a lot about this river… it never was studied much…. I don’t know why. But we’re trying to document as much as we can.” Girard said.

That’s why he cautions the weekend artifact hunters to not remove or unearth objects. “The early history of this area is being lost. And from the Caddo’s point of view, this is their history. How would you like it if someone came digging around in your grandparents back yard?”

While it against the law for people to remove items from the lakebed, Pratt admits it is almost impossible for the SRA to enforce it. Pratt asks citizens to contact Girard if they find or have found anything significant.

“We want people to know we won’t confiscate their finds. We just want to document them because once it’s lost, it’s lost,” Girard said. Rivet said another concern is the possible disturbance of human remains should the collectors move beyond scraping the surface. “Our main issue is to make the public aware that it is illegal to dig for artifacts.” Rivet said. the_times_mon__sep_18__2006_1 the_times_mon__sep_18__2006_


Caddo Indian Village site on Sabine River studied before creation of Toledo Bend


One of the readers of All Things Sabine, from Leesville, La., messaged me this morning, asking if I could find something on “an Indian burial site that was excavated back in 1966 or 67.”  The reader said he recalled going to the site, which was referred to as “Bison’s Homeplace” and watching the excavations.  I found this quite interesting article, which was published in The Sabine Index, Spring of 1966, and written by Index journalist Mary Calcote.  The article follows, along with pictures that were published with it:

The was the year 1266.  The Sabine River left its banks and rolled over the land in West Louisiana.

It was springtime, and the crops were budding and blooming and trees were green.  There was much game to hunt and the fish were plentiful.  But in the spring of this year, the Caddo people were burdened with sadness.

The oldest and wisest of the Indian tribe called by the name of Swift River was dying…

The sky was darkening and the amber moon was rising over the trees.  It was time to light up the evening fires and begin the chants that would take the sickness out of Swift River.

Death Nears

The time of departure was near for the old Indian and the chants of his followers could not save him.  As the sun rose over the hills, Swift River died.

Red Clay, the oldest of his sons, was the one the tribe would turn to today.  Swift River was buried that day, along with his eating utensils, drinking vessel, pottery, his arrows and his smoking pipe.

White Man Comes

The years rolled by faster and faster until the white man took over the beautiful country that the Caddos loved so much.  Soon, there were cabins built, farms planted, and our ancestors settled in to their new homes in Sabine Parish.

Robert Bison came to own the old Indian Village site, located about eight miles west of Noble.  And as he plowed the lands, he would often find the arrowheads and other artifacts left by the Caddos.

Then came the creation of the gigantic Toledo Bend Reservoir, and Bison was among many who had to move out of the Sabine River valley.

In 1963, working under a grant given by the National Science Foundation, a survey was made of Indian Village sites in the Toledo Bend Reservoir area.  This initial survey was made by Dan Skarlock of the University of Texas at Austin.  He mapped this and other sites in Sabine Parish.  Dr. Ed Jelks, a professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas, worked on the project.  He later moved to Southern Methodist University.


Digging Starts

About mid-April, anthropologists from SMU in Dallas began digging at the site.  Ned Woodall served as archeologist in charge of this, the second of four field seasons by SMU this year in the Reservoir area.

This was the third site in Sabine Parish to be explored and other sites in upper Sabine Parish will be looked at later.

When I arrived at the scene Friday afternoon, May 6, the rain was slowly falling, but archeologists were busy under a tent that had made from a parachute.


I introduced myself to Dave Brown, who served as assistant in charge, while Wodall was in Reno, Nevada to give a speech.  Assisting Brown was Hiram Gregory, professor of Anthropology at Northwestern State College in Natchitoches, and several of his students.

700 Years Old

Gregory, who is an authority on the Indian cultures of this area, said these Indians lived about 700 years ago.  They were Caddo Indians, so very early that the anthropologists gave them the name “Belcher Focus.” The Caddo tribe was believed to be of the same tribe that has baen discovered in a line running into Arkansas and East Texas.

Gregory told me these people were hunters, fishers and agriculturists.

When I was there, four burials had been found. Three had grave goods which consisted of arrowheads, vessels, pottery, and smoking pipes.

To find a lead as to where the graves might be located, the archeologists dig trenches with back hoes.  Gregory said these Indians were buried from five to six feet deep.  When the archeologists get near the skeleton, they are very careful not to disturb it or any of the grave goods.  They carefully use bamboo knives, trowels, and paint brushes as wisk brooms to uncover their finds.


Skeleton Uncovered

I then saw one of the graves just as they were. uncovering the skeleton and grave goods. It gave me a good feeling to know that I was watching history being made.

Brown told me the digging at this site would definitely go on until Friday, May 13. He said that if other things of significance were uncovered, the exploration may go on longer.

Brown told me the digging at this site would definitely go on until Friday, May 13. He said that if other things of significance were uncov-ered, the exploration may go on longer.


As I left, I looked at Mr. Bison’s old barn still standing a few feet from the grave sites, and wondered if someday archaeologists would be uncovering it. You see, in just a few months it will be covered by about twelve feet of water when the Toledo Bend Reservoir fills.

This was springtime, 1966.  I looked at the Sabine River 150 yards from the graves as it rolled by, increased by heavy rains from u north.  I looked back at the Indian Village, then again at the river, and left.

Excavation at the 700-year old Caddo Indian village on the Sabine ended a few weeks later.  This brought to an end the month of digging at the Robert Bison place, and ended with the uncovering of about 10 grave sites.

Woodall told The Index that his team had found evidence of houses at the old site.  He said holes were found in the ground, showing that poles supporting houses were once there.  A hearth area was also uncovered.

Woodall said the location was a wonderful place for a village.  Clear springs feed the Sabine River about 150 yards from the grave sites.  Fishing was good in the river, hunting was good, and the soil was rich.

The anthropologist said that deer bones and mussel shells were uncovered at the site.  He said the Indians planted corn and squash.

Those working at the village area said Saturday and Sunday were like carnival days at the site, with steady streams of people coming all the time.  They said as many as 500 people were at the site at one time.


East Texas Twain

E. I. KellieYears ago, I came across an article on a quite interesting journalist from East Texas.  To say Edward Irwin Kellie, who founded the still operating newspaper of Jasper, Texas, was a “character” seems to be a bit of an understatement.  In an August 1967 edition, Shreveport Times writer Norman Richardson compared Kellie to Mark Twain, and in fact, named his editorial piece “East Texas Twain.”

Following is the text of the editorial:

He was a 190-pounder with piercing eyes, a big walrus mustache and a pen of penitence that dug furrows in the conscience of Jasper County citizens.

Once, when his words evoked the wrath of carpetbaggers, they arrested him and tied him to a tree on the courthouse grounds.

Later, when he was dying, he insisted on being buried wrapped in a Confederate flag.

Capt. Edward L. Kellie was the Mark Twain of East Texas, a plucky little publisher who found-ed the Jasper News-Boy in 1865.

Twain dreamed of being a cowboy. So did Kellie, Twain labored in a print shop as a boy, as did Kellie. Twain loved the river and longed to be a steam-boat captain, as did Kellie. And both possessed a biting wit.

Kellie’s parents died of yellow fever in New Orleans in 1856. Three. years later, tired ‘ of walking the streets, he headed for Texas with a body full of the cowboy fever.

In Galveston, looking for work, he was given a job as a printer’s devil, with duties of keeping the office clean, picking up the type dropped on the floor and whatever else he was told to do.

He stayed there a year and then took a steamboat to Sabine Pass and hooked on with a newspaper there in the same capacity.

Edward KellieIn 1861 the Civil War broke out and Kellie immediately enlisted in a Confederate company.

“We drilled on the prairie for about six months,” he once wrote. “Seeing no chance to get into a fight, six of us under age who wanted to fight packed our duds without asking anybody and went up to Jasper, where we learned a company was going to war.”

Kellie’s baptism to fire came at Elk Horn in Arkansas but he later wrote that, “I never did know which whipped, as the federals quit and so did we, they going north and we going south.”

Jasper News Boy, early daysIn 1865, with the battle flag of his Confederate company hidden under his uniform, Kellie re-turned to Jasper, found a hand press and a box of jumbled type in an old newspaper shop, rented an office and founded the Jasper News-Boy.

Few escaped his pungent scoldings. He wrote on many things, including this note on Masonry:

“We have always thought Masonry was a good thing and we intended to try to join them when we could get money enough. But this stripping a fellow and tearing his undershirt (during initiation rites) all to pieces we don’t like. We ain’t got but two undershirts and blamed if we know what to do if one of them was tored up.”

E. I. KellieDuring his career as publisher—which he left in 1880 to become a steamboat captain on the Sabine River—Kellie left Jasper with somewhat of a mystery.

In 1872 he solemnly reported that the News-Boy had received a cable from Queen Victoria of England, asking that a subscrip-tion be started and sent to Buckingham Palace. “I have been a constant reader of your paper for the past year and find it impossible to live without it. It is, indeed, the life of my household,” the cable reportedly said.

Kellie never did say if the wire was authentic or a hoax.



“The motor that makes it here can make it anywhere”

1973 Evinrude ad

“The motor that makes it here can make it anywhere.”

Such was a 1973 slogan for Evinrude Motors, in an advertising campaign featuring Toledo Bend Lake.  Back then, Toledo Bend was just a half dozen years old and was filled with trees and stumps, making fishing fabulous but navigation a challenge.

“This is Toledo Bend… 80 miles of bass woods and water on the Texas/Louisiana border,” the print in the advertisement reads.

“With trees above water, jungles underneath, and stumps in between– it’s no place for weak-sister motors or tackle.

“Evinrude’s tough new bass boat motors take it in stride.

“On the long runs, their high speed efficiency cuts miles and gallons down to size.  Firepower electronic ignition keeps things smooth from top speed to trolling.  Tough new motor mountings  add strength where you need it most.  While balanced trim-tab steering and power shift keeps everything under finger-tip control.

“The tougher the going the more Evinrude has going for you.” Text of advetisement


Four dams had been planned along the Sabine River

Proposed damsI came across this article from a February 1964 edition of The Houston Chronicle.  Very interesting… curious as to what happened to the larger scale plans…  As an additional note, I did find other mentions of the dam projects in 1960s newspapers, with particular mentions of the “huge” Bon Wier dam… at least one of the article stated that the dam projects should all be complete by the year 2020… which I’m sure seemed like a life time of years back in the 60s, but now… not so much.

The following Houston Chronicle article was written by Bob Bowman, Chief of the Chronicle’s East Texas Bureau.

CENTER, Texas– For longer than most people care to remember, Sabine River leaders have been hearing towboat whistles in their dreams.

They have envisioned long strings of barges plying the river between Longview and Orange, bringing new prosperity to East Texas.

Today, instead of a bewhiskered vision, navigation on the Sabine– most prolific of Texas’ rivers– looms as an early probability.  Construction could begin in 1967 or 1968.

The river’s canalization timetable is geared to a four-year study of the stream by U. S. Corps of Engineers, but Sabine leaders feel the study, when complete in mid-1966, will show that the project is economically feasible.

Biggest reason for thir optimism is the $60 million Toledo Bend dam project, which will create a 70-mile lake spanning more than a third of the distance from Longview to Orange.

“The Toledo Reservoir should enhance greatly the feasibility of natigation on the Sabine,” D. N. Beasley of San Augustine, president of the Sabine River Authority of Texas, said.

“Not only will it create 70 miles of uninterrupted waterway for barge traffic, but its releases will greatly improve the stablized flow of the river below the dam.”

When the twin Sabine River authorities of Texas and Louisiana award a dam contract in mid-March, it will include provisions for future navigation accepted by the Corps of Engineers.

Encouragement for early canalization of the SAbine has also come from a voluminous river study by Forrest and Cotton of Dallas, SRA engineers.

The report shows that navigation is “an engineering possibility” and pinpoints probable locations of three additional dams that would be needed to stablize the river’s flow and depth.

These include a 45-foot dam at Bon Wier, in Newton County, a 40 foot dam at Stateline, near Logansport, La., and a 50-foot dam near Carthage, in Panola County.  Beasley calls these “small dams” in comparison with Toledo Bend’s 110 foot height.

The Bon Wier dam, about 100 miles from the Sabine’s mouth, would primarily creat a regulatory reservoir to catch releases from Toledo Bend and stabilize their flow.

Conversion of the Sabine to canalization will be a “simple thing” compared to the enormity of the Trinity River project, Beasley said.

Still another factor in the navigation proposal is the Sabine’s discharge, 6.8 million acre feet.

SRA members will start pushing for early canalization after their Toledo Bend project is past the point of no return.

The authority is completely in accord with navigation,” says Beasley, “but we’ve got to put Toledo Bend first.”

State Sen. Martin Dies Jr. Of Lufkin believes navigation on the Sabine will be the turning point of East Texas’ economy.

The Corps of Engineers study is underway by Corps distrit offices in Fort Worth and Galveston.  It began in 1962.  The current appropriation by Congress for the study totals $115,000.

The study also embraces water supply, drainage, flood protection, and pollution.

Improvements to a minor segment of the Sabine canal, from Orange to Echo, already have been approved by Congress.  Planning for this is underway by the Galveston Distrit Office.

There has also been discussion, but no study authorized, of a canal linking Toledo Bend Reservoir and Sam Rayburn Lake on the Angelina River.  Proponents say a 10-mile canal would provide the Lufkin-Nacogdoches area with a vital outlet to the Gulf Coast by way of hte middle Angelina and lower Sabine rivers.



31 years old this month: 1986 cold case gets warm, and then chills again

Ah, the intrigue of a cold case… as the case is, simply the words “cold case” can be a bit chilling.  Add TV show-like details to the cold case… body found in a water well, remains remain unidentified 30 years later, composite sketch created, additional remains sought from water well for DNA testing…  the intrigue multiples many times over.

Continue reading “31 years old this month: 1986 cold case gets warm, and then chills again”


Keep Hodges Gardens State Park open

Keep Hodges Gardens State Park open

Hodges Gardens State Park is in danger of closing on June 30, 2017, if the State of Louisiana does not find the necessary funds to adequately fund the historic state park. The Louisiana Legislature, Governor John Bel Edwards, and Lt.Governor Billy Nungeser must recognize the importance of allocating funding to keep the only botanical park in Louisiana open for visitors year round. This park, on the National Register for Historic Places, is a one-of-a-kind treasure for the entire state, vitally important for tourism in northwest Louisiana, and must not be closed.

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Hodges Gardens State Park is in danger of closing on June 30, 2017, if the State of Louisiana does not find the necessary funds to adequately fund the historic state park. The Louisiana Legislature, Governor John Bel Edwards, and Lt. Governor Billy Nungeser must recognize the importance of allocating funding to keep the only botanical park in Louisiana open for visitors year round. This park, on the National Register for Historic Places, is a one-of-a-kind treasure for the entire state, vitally important for tourism in northwest Louisiana, and must not be closed.

Through and by this petition, All Things Sabine is hoping to further convey to state legislators, lawmakers and officials that there is plenty of public support for Hodges Gardens which they take care of with the use of gardening tools from trimmeradviser.com.  We will be submitting the results to legislators and the Governor and Lt. Governor.

Please feel free to add a short message telling why Hodges is important to you.  Also, help us get the word our by sharing our petition on your social media.  We’ve provided buttons to make it easy for Facebook or Twitter.  If  you want to leave a more detailed set of comments, PLEASE feel free to by commenting in the comment section below the petiton (on allthingssabine.com… we will forward these comments as well to legislators and lawmakers).  To complete the petition, an Email addresses is required, but please note this is a petition hosted only on our local, secure server and the petiton itself will only be forwarded to State Legislators and the Offices of the Governor and Lt. Governor.  Physical addresses are not required, but we do encourage participants to add the city and state in which they live… ANYONE who cares about Hodges Gardens can participate, regardless of where they live, as we realize that support for Hodges Gardens goes well beyond Hodges’ immediate geographic area.


Flashback: Residents along Sabine River cope differently with the coming of Toledo Bend Lake

Toledo Bend Dam
Construction of the Toledo Bend Dam, in the 1960s

There were so many stories to be told as construction of the Toledo Bend Dam got underway and residents living in the areas which would be soon inundated by Toledo Bend Reservoir prepared themselves for the inevitable.

I came across this interesting November 1963 article, written for the Associated Press by Normal Richardson of The Shreveport Times.

MANY, La (AP) An almost forgotten historic site near this west Louisiana town is on its death bed.

It will die slowly as it gives way to progress and surrenders to the waters of the giant Toledo Bend Reservoir.

Continue reading “Flashback: Residents along Sabine River cope differently with the coming of Toledo Bend Lake”