ANIMATORS AT WORK -- Local students from grades 3-12 created their own stop motion animations Thursday using the Edge of Imagination Station interactive lab at Livingston Municipal Library. The mobile workshop, developed by artist Johnny Villarreal, teaches young artists the basics of storyboard writing and provides an easy-to-use computer workstation that utilizes different mediums. The program was part of the library's spring break week of activities. (Enterprise photo by Albert Trevino)
LIVINGSTON – On March 23 the Trinity-Neches Livestock Show and Rodeo will open for the 70th time and show officials are taking the opportunity to look back at the history of the event.
This is the second of a two-part history and background on the TNLS. The first, in the Sunday edition of The Enterprise, featured the time of most change — the event's first 10 years. This part will outline the background on the man given credit for founding the event in 1945, and tell of a few changes and updates made until now. A special thanks goes to TNLS Vice President Kurt Wilson, who provided much of the information. -----
In 1945, J.E. Seamans founded what would become the Trinity-Neches F.F.A. and 4-H District Livestock Show and Rodeo. A small gathering of 14 boys placed entries 70 years before in the "F.F.A. Project Show." The show was local and for the purpose of advertising the boys stock.
A total of 18 business firms gave prizes in the form of feed, cash, and equipment. There was no set premium list, but every boy who entered received some type of award.
Held on the Livingston Gin Company's grounds, pens were built by the boys out of sawed timbers borrowed from J.W. Cochran and Co., while the doors and gates were made of scrap lumber. The entries included hog breeding stock and laying chickens, and all entries were of high standard.
Seamans was born Jan. 17, 1910 in Chester, where he lived until he was the age of nine. At that time, his family moved to Livingston, where he would finish school.
Upon graduation in 1928, Seamans attended Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches for a degree in agricultural business. He returned to teach agriculture in Livingston and a goal of providing his students a chance to raise and show animals came to fruition a few years later.
More recent changes to the show include a livestock-judging contest added to the lineup in 1978, along with stall awards for beef cattle, dairy cattle and swine. There was also a market steer rate of gain award and market meat pen rabbits.
The "no pass, no play" rule had an impact beginning in 1984 and influenced the number of exhibitors and animals that were shown. Dairy goats were another new aspect of the show that year.
The last "new" animal was added in 1989, when market lambs were included.
Today, more than a dozen different shows and divisions are displayed and judged during the five-day occasion.
There is a barbecue cook-off; an arts, crafts, food and horticulture show; a cupcake battle; and large auction highlight the event.
The show is made of entries from bona fide FFA chapter members from Big Sandy, Corrigan, Goodrich, Leggett, Livingston, and Onalaska, as well as the Polk County 4-H Clubs who are at least eight years of age and in the third grade through seniors in high school.
No entries are accepted from any individual except bona fide members of the above groups, except breeding beef cattle, breeding swine, breeding meat goats, breeding rabbits and production poultry. These divisions are open to all valid FFA, 4-H members or 4-H Clover Kids who are at least five years of age through seniors in high school.
LIVINGSTON – Those with a desire to help others are now being sought by the American Red Cross to fill a wide variety of volunteer positions in the East Texas region.
From working on their home computers for a few hours a month to traveling throughout the nation to help at disaster sites, the national organization can accommodate just about every volunteer's desire and skill.
"The Red Cross was founded by volunteers and we just cannot operate without them," said Dave Gray, recruitment specialist from the Red Cross' Lufkin office. "What ever time that someone can give us is appreciated and we will work around their schedules because we know people have lives and other commitments."
Gray and Kassie Laughlin, the disaster program manager from the Red Cross' Spring office, were in the area seeking to spread the word about the opportunities offered to Red Cross volunteers.
"It's not all about responding to major disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes, although that is something that we do," Laughlin said. "We do so much more that people may not be aware of and we need volunteers to fill a variety of needs."
On the local level, Laughlin said they have Disaster Action Teams (DATs) who try to respond to every house fire and provide assistance to the victims. She noted the Red Cross has resources and contacts that can be used to help those who have lost their homes and possessions.
In addition to providing families with some financial support, the Red Cross DAT team can assist them in finding temporary shelter and direct them to other resources that might be available to help with their recovery.
Laughlin noted families who lose their home and possessions are often in shock and have no idea how to respond. "If nothing else, the Red Cross has a lot of experience with these situations and our trained volunteers will be able to help them with what to do next," she said, adding they continue to work with the victims for two to six weeks after the fire or similar disaster.
"If we don't respond to a fire, it's because we were not told about it," Gray added. "Right now we need more volunteers for more DAT teams in the area. Volunteers in this area can get a lot of satisfaction because they will be helping their neighbors."
During the seven-month period from July 1, 2014 through Jan. 1 of this year, the Red Cross provided assistance to 14 Polk County families who suffered a fire or other disaster involving their home. In addition, 19 people were given first aid, CPR or Automated Electronic Defibrillator (AED) training and six other completed the Red Cross water safety program.
"We have volunteers working in all of these areas and if we had more, we could help more people," Gray noted. Gray noted that one of the Red Cross' strengths is its training program for its volunteers. He noted that regardless of what volunteer slot they select, the Red Cross will make sure they receive the training they will need to do that job.
"We also encourage our volunteers to think about changing jobs from time to time, especially if they don't enjoy what they are doing," Laughlin added. "This way they can try different things and find something they really like – and at the same time pick up additional training along the way."
She noted many retired people volunteer and while some want to do something similar to what they did during their business careers, many have expressed the desire to try something completely new. And for younger people just getting started, working with the Red Cross can provide training they can use during their current or future careers.
Laughlin noted they are also actively seeking volunteers to fill positions such as: -- Volunteer engagement leads, who will help new volunteers set up their training and make sure they stay caught up with new training that becomes available. -- Caseworkers, who work with people following disasters and provide assistance with their recovery. After training, this job can be performed remotely from the Red Cross office. -- Dispatchers, who call volunteers needed to respond to disasters and help arrange meetings between the responding volunteers and the clients. Day and night time shifts are available and the work can also be performed remotely. -- Preparedness leads, who educate individuals, groups and businesses about disaster preparedness. -- Preparedness team members, who work with the preparedness lead in the education effort.
For a listing of the various volunteer positions available or to volunteer, go to redcross.org/tx/orange/volunteer. Those interested in becoming a volunteer can complete an online application at the site as well as an online background check. They also will be able to schedule a new volunteer orientation.
LIVINGSTON – When the Trinity-Neches Livestock Show and Rodeo opens on March 23, it will mark the 70th anniversary of an annual event that has been important in the lives of countless Polk County FFA and 4-H members.
On this milestone for the livestock show, organizers are looking back at its history to pay tribute to those who created this annual event. The first 10 years of the show's history saw the most changes and they will be reviewed in Part 1. The remaining years, as well as the background of the man credited for founding the event, will be spotlighted in Part 2, which will appear in the March 19 edition of The Polk County Enterprise.
A special thanks goes to TNLS Vice President Kurt Wilson, who provided much of the information. April 28, 1945
The inaugural edition of what is now the Trinity-Neches Livestock Show and Rodeo had 14 boys who placed entries in the "FFA Project Show." The show was local and for the purpose of advertising the boys stock. A total of 18 business firms gave prizes in the form of feed, cash, and equipment. There was no set premium list, but every boy who entered received some type of award.
Held on the Livingston Gin Company's grounds, pens were built by the boys out of sawed timbers borrowed from J.W. Cochran and Co., while the doors and gates were made of scrap lumber. The entries included hog breeding stock and laying chickens, and all entries were of high standard. April 5, 1946
The event's second year produced 14 FFA boys from Livingston, Corrigan and Chester, and 4-H boys of Polk County entered livestock in the Polk County Livestock Exhibition. The show was held at the Trinity-Neches fairgrounds and considerable improvement in the stock was shown over the previous year's exhibits.
A judging contest for Greenhands and Chapter Farmers was held, with Chester winning first in the Greenhands division and Livingston first in the Chapter Farmer division. An exciting feature of the Livestock exhibit was the calf scramble, the first to be held in Livingston. Four calves were caught with eight boys participating.
Cash awards totaled $117.50 and businessmen supplemented this total with feed and agriculture implements. Breeding animals and fat barrows and broilers were exhibited. An auction was held with good results. April 25, 1947
This year the chamber of commerce decided to make the livestock show an annual affair to be called the FFA and 4-H Club Boy's Livestock Show. A carnival was engaged for the purpose of helping finance the show.
The show was held at the fairgrounds in Livingston. Two all-star softball games and a calf scramble were the show's features. Eight boys scrambled for four registered beef-breeding heifers. A record-breaking number of exhibits were entered with 11 boys from Livingston participating.
A horse show was slated for Saturday morning, featuring the utility farm horse. An old-fashioned box supper was held Friday evening at 7 p.m. Several clubs arranged educational exhibits in the fair building and over $100 was offered on the premium list.
Wallach Dickson, an FFA club boy from Corrigan, was the proud owner of the grand champion steer. Dickson had been awarded the grand champion ribbon in the regional fair the same year and was sold to Hooks Bros. of Livingston for $352.57. The calf was in the 500-800 pound class. Reserve champion honors with to James Earl Phillips of Livingston FFA, whose calf was in the 250-500 pound class and sold at auction for $228.36.
April 8-9, 1948 Four FFA Chapters — Livingston, Corrigan, Goodrich, and Chester — were represented in the competition along with 4-H clubs of Polk County when the show opened Thursday. A full program was scheduled for Friday with band concerts, shooting contests, an amateur contest, a cakewalk, a pig chase, and an auction sale.
Miss Elizabeth Sirman, a Corrigan 4-H participant, showed the boys how to feed beef animals when she took top honors with her 800-pound Hereford heifer. The champion Hereford steer was owned by Livingston FFA member R.B. Phillips. It was sold to Mr. W.S. Gibbs of Huntsville at 38 cents per pound.
Every club that entered the show arranged an educational exhibit. The cattle division of the show increased this year with many fat calves — dairy and beef cattle — being shown. Broilers also took an important part in the show. Six pigs were caught in the pig chase with 12 boys entering. The participants won the largest amount of premiums ever paid at the show.
April 14-15, 1949 The Polk County FFA and 4-H Livestock Show was held at the fairgrounds in Livingston. John Sirman, a 4-H boy from Corrigan, showed the top steer, which weighed 750 pounds. A lightweight, three-month old Hereford took reserve honors, owned by Gilbert Crawford of Camden. Off Polk County farms came a showing of 84 hogs.
Dick Hubert of the Livingston FFA showed the champion barrow. A pen of broilers owned by Hubert was named champion. The champion steer was sold to Mr. Bryan Cheek of Livingston for 55 cents per pound. Five farm boys came out of the show with good beef calves. Ten civic clubs of the county presented the carnival attractions scheduled.
April 13-14, 1950 The name of the show was changed to Trinity-Neches FFA and 4-H Club Livestock Show. Over 150 cowboys and several bands participated in the first parade ever held in connection with the show. The Area IX FFA Sears Roebuck Swine show would be an added feature to the show on Thursday.
Entries came from 23 East Texas counties and entries for the Trinity-Neches show came from eight FFA chapters in Polk, Tyler and San Jacinto counties. There were 63 head of hogs that topped all the entries in the show with four different breeds. The 38 poultry division entries made the largest exhibit in the history of the show.
John Sirman of Corrigan showed champion steer, purchased at 42 cents per pound by Texas Longleaf Lumber Company. The champion barrow raised by Dick Hubert was bought by J.W. Cochran and Co. at 26 cents per pound. Mr. Clyde Pearson paid $3.60 each for the champion broilers raised by James Bodie of Livingston. Clyde Wainwright of Livingston showed the reserve champion steer.
In all, 20 Livingston boys showed 35 exhibits. Seven events included a two-hour roping show featuring boys form Polk, Tyler, and San Jacinto counties. A complete carnival was on hand to furnish enjoyment for all. For the first time, breeding animals were not sold at the show auction, only fat stock. While no price was outstanding at the auction, the average was high.
April 5-6, 1951 The largest crowd in the history of the Livestock Show, 3,000 strong, witnessed the first rodeo performance put on by FFA and 4-H Club boys of Polk, Tyler, and San Jacinto counties. Seven teams of two members each contested for nine registered Duroc gilts in the pig chase.
An attractive event was added to the show in the sweetheart contest, where 14 girls participated with Miss Joy Stewart of Shepherd FFA taking the honors. The overall winner of the rodeo was the Livingston FFA. A huge parade was staged Thursday morning and a band concert at the fairgrounds afterward, with the Livingston High School band winning first place.
The records revealed that 72 head of swine, 15 head of dairy cattle, 19 head of beef cattle, and 128 head of poultry were exhibited at the show. Saturday, April 7, 1951 the Area IX FFA foundation show was held.
The auction sale showed a new all-time high with total sales at $3,261. The champion fat steer, exhibited by Clyde Wainwright, was sold to Texas Longleaf Lumber Co. of New Willard for just over 75 cents per pound, or a total of $483.20 The champion barrow of Joe Sirman's sold for 27 cents per pound. Champion capon sold for $10.00 and the champion pen of broilers for $13.75.
April 3-4, 1952 The clubs participating included FFA chapters from Shepherd, Woodville, Coldspring, Corrigan, Spurger, Goodrich, Chester, Colmesneil, Livingston and the Polk County 4-H Club. The Trinity-Neches FFA and 4-H clubs stock show got off to a good start with a 12-band parade and a concert immediately after at the fairground with the Dayton band winning honors.
Six calf-roping teams competed for the calf-roping championship. The livestock show was judged Friday morning, at 2:30 p.m. the auction was held, and a rodeo highlighted the night. Events included horseback and steer riding and a pig chase with 20 boys and 10 pigs. A sweetheart contest with 13 girls elected Elizabeth Sirman of Corrigan its queen.
Shepherd FFA won the rodeo. A total of 153 entries made up the livestock and a total of $293 was paid in premiums. Fat steers, fat barrows, broilers and capons were sold at the auction. Donald Beathard of the Livingston FFA sold his 670-pound champion steer for 72 cents per pound to Texas Longleaf Lumber Company of New Willard. Allen Wilson of Woodville sold his 205-pound champion barrow to Mayor Ernest Cochran for more than 31 cents per pound. Mrs. Clyde Pearson of Livingston paid $7.50 per bird for the champion pen of broilers.
April 9-10, 1953 FFA clubs of Corrigan, Shepherd, Livingston, Goodrich and Leggett and the 4-H club of Polk County participated in a program that launched on a Thursday evening with a six-band parade and concert.
Colmesneil won concert honors and the Livingston FFA team won the rodeo. The sweetheart contest was held in connection with the rodeo. It was a gala event, with Miss Patricia Pritchard of Livingston FFA selected as the winner. A total of 16 boys scrambled for eight registered Duroc pigs at the rodeo. Concession stands and rides made up the midway. A total of 109 head of stock was exhibited and $290.50 was passed out in premium money. W.T. Carter and Bros. purchased the champion steer, raised by Wilton Castle of Goodrich, for 50 cents per for each of its 820 pounds. Claude Hughes of Corrigan sold the champion barrow to D.C. Duvall of Corrigan for 41 cents per pound. Mr. Putt Watson paid $6.60 a head for Wilton Castle's champion broilers. Joe Sirman of Corrigan sold his champion capons for $9 per head.
April 8-9, 1954 Last minute applicants swelled the entries to more than 150 exhibits. A full parade with high school bands provided early entertainment and a national officer of the Future Farmers of America attended the show for the first time. The officer was Charles Ritter Jr. from Ambry, Mississippi. He judged the sweetheart contest at the rodeo Friday night.
The chapters and clubs participating were Livingston, Goodrich, Corrigan, Shepherd, Coldspring, Polk County 4-H, San Jacinto County 4-H and Tyler County 4-H.
The name was changed to Trinity-Neches FFA Livestock Show. Southland Paper Mills of Lufkin bought the 920-pound champion from Jimmy Earl Matthews of Livingston. A 255-pound champion barrow owned by Royce Nettles, also of Livingston, went to Livingston's White Kitchen for 30 cents per pound. An unusual trend marked the auction, in that the champions undersold the other exhibits by more than two cents per pound for the steers. A barrow sold over the champion by six cents per pound. A two-night rodeo performance was scheduled, but the last night's performance was rained out. A calf scramble provided eight lucky boys $30 certificates to use in buying grade Jersey heifers. A pig chase was scheduled for the rodeo Friday and was not held. Due to rain, the sweetheart contest was held in the main exhibit building.
CHALLENGE WINNERS -- Donna Fabian (left) and Jose Torres, members of the Seven Hills Running Club in Huntsville, won their respective divisions Saturday during the annual 5K Fun Run/Challenge Walk benefiting Habitat for Humanity of Polk County. The event was held at Escapees CARE Center in Livingston with proceeds from the event to be used to help built housing for families in need.
SPECIAL HONORS — Local Boy Scouts and other paid tribute at the grave of Moses L. Choate, the founder of Livingston, during ceremonies Saturday at the Old City Cemetery. Hosted by the Polk County Historical Commission, the event was held as part of the local observance of Texas Independence Day. (ENTERPRISE PHOTO BY ALBERT TREVINO)
LIVINGSTON – Despite cold, windy weather, area residents turned out force Saturday to pay tribute to local residents who helped create the Republic of Texas in 1836. While Monday, March 2, was officially Texas Independence Day – the day Texas formally severed ties with Mexico – the Polk County Historical Commission (PCHC) held their formal observance Saturday. Originally slated to be held at the Old City Cemetery, the weather forced PCHC leaders to move the ceremonies into the Central Baptist Church. The move was not far because the church is located immediately north of the cemetery across East Polk Street. The local observance paid tribute to people who had settled in the Polk County area before, during and immediately after the Texas Revolution with the principal focus on two men -- Moses L. Choate, who came to this area in 1835 and founded the community of Springfield, and Thaxton L. Epperson, who served during the Texas Revolution, the Mexican-American War and the Civil War. Both men are buried in the Old City Cemetery and special wreaths were placed by their graves as part of Saturday's ceremonies. During the program, history teacher Greg Helm portrayed Choate and outlined the man's history to the audience. Born in 1794, Choate came to what would become Polk County in 1835 when he obtained a grant from the Mexican government for a league of land – or 4,428 acres. Together with his sister and brother-in-law, Elizabeth of John James, Choate built his home here and created the Springfield community. In 1840, his four-year-old son, Josephus, died and Choate buried him on a hill overlooking his home. That hill would become the Old City Cemetery. Six years later, another son, Rodolphus, died at the age of six and was buried next to his brother. A third son, Rufus, grew to adulthood but died at the age of 21 in 1863 at the Civil War Battle of Chickamauga as a member of Company B, First Texas Infantry, Hood's Brigade. Although he was buried in Georgia, a Confederate memorial marker was placed in the Old City Cemetery near that of Josephus and Rodolphus. In 1846, shortly after the Republic of Texas was annexed into the U.S., the first state legislature created Polk County and a number of local communities sought to become the seat of the government. If officials would pick Springfield, Choate offered the new county 100 acres of land. The land could then be subdivided into city lots and sold by the county to raise funds. The offer was accepted and the name of the new county seat was changed to Livingston, in honor of the city of Choate's birth, Livingston, Tenn. Also recognized during Saturday's ceremony was Epperson and one of his direct descendants, Mary Goodwin, was on hand to outline his history. Goodwin currently serves as the District IV Representative of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. Born in Kentucky in 1816, at the age of 16 Epperson served as a military courier in Illinois during the Black Hawk War. He moved to Texas with his older sister and her husband in 1835 and became one of the first 17 men to purchase a lot in the Swartwout community on the Trinity River southwest of present-day Livingston. After coming to the area, he met and was befriended by Sam Houston who commissioned him as a captain in the Texas militia during the Texas Revolution. After the Republic of Texas was annexed and a war with Mexico erupted, Epperson joined the Second Texas Mounted Volunteers as a lieutenant and was wounded in 1846 when U.S. forces stormed the city of Monterrey in Mexico. In 1863, Epperson – now in his late 40s – again went to war when he joined the Confederate States Army as a private and was stationed at Sabine Pass. Before his death in 1904, he served as a Polk County commissioner for six years, as a constable for four years and as a deputy sheriff for another two. During the program, PCHC Chairman Patricia Snook noted the Old City Cemetery was the final resting place for 42 Republic of Texas citizens, four veterans of the Mexican-American War and 46 men who served during the Civil War. "There are 245 known burials in the cemetery," she said. "Unfortunately, many graves have been lost to the years and today there are only 167 visible tombstones." Snook also publicly thanked the City of Livingston for its efforts to clean up the cemetery grounds, removing dead trees and underbrush and installing a handicapped accessible entry off Polk Street. She also acknowledged the work of PCHC members, the Livingston Lions Club and other volunteers who have been working to clean the old tombstones. Corky Cochran of Cochran Funeral Home also was cited for helping straighten the tombstones. In another moving part of the ceremony, the names of the Republic of Texas citizens and the Mexican and Civil War veterans who are buried in the cemetery were read aloud by Cochran, who also serves as the chief of the Livingston Volunteer Fire Department. As each name was read, a fire bell was rung in tribute. At the start of the program, Whitney Sage Williams and Stephanie Williams of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas presented the invocation by both singing and performing in Indian sign language the Lord's Prayer. Boy Scout Pack 97 presented the Texas colors and an honor guard from the Livingston High School Junior Reserve Office Corps (JROTC) presented the U.S. colors.