Site hosted by Build your free website today!

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

accomplishment 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