Barney's New Caddy
By the Rev. Guston H. Browning
When I was pastor of First United Methodist Church in Livingston in the early 1960s, one Barney Wiggins, owner of Wiggins Land Company, was developing small lakes with surrounding homes throughout the western edge of the Big Thicket. By bulldozing a few roads through the pines and hardwoods and driving stakes in the ground all along the roads, he provided opportunities for lots of folks from Houston and other places to "own their share of nature" and have weekend places to come to and escape the rat race back home.
Barney used a bit of his earnings to buy himself a Cadillac, the ultimate sign of
in those days. The story was told in
Livingston that one day, about 1966 I think, he went to
Houston to buy a new one, there being no Caddy dealers in
Livingston in those days. He must have been
dressed in his usual khakis and probably unshaved as he
often was. His East Texas background was also
probably evident in his conversation with the
salesman. When Barney told the salesman he
wanted to buy a Cadillac, the guy looked him over and
quickly said, "Right this way, sir. We
have some nice used ones just outside. I have
a 1959 black one that has very low
mileage....". Barney quickly interrupted
him, "1959?! Hell, feller, I drove down
here in a '65!" Shortly after, he drove
home in a brand spankin' new 1966.
It may have been on that trip that Barney decided to erect a big billboard on U.S. 59 that travellers headed north saw for many years: "Quit reading these signs! Keep your eyes on the road! Wiggins Land Company, Livingston"
The Texas Big Thicket Home Page | Index