John Levi Sheppard, lawyer, judge, and legislator, the son of John Levi Sheppard and Amanda Morris, was born in Bluffton, Chambers County, Alabama. After his father died in 1858, the family moved to Texas and settled near Wheatville, now in Morris County, where Sheppard's maternal grandfather, Rev. Samuel Morris, lived. Sheppard was educated in the common schools of the area, and in the early 1870's he operated a general store while studying law on his own. He was admitted to the bar in 1879, and in 1880, in partnership with R.D. Hart, he opened a law office in Daingerfield. In 1882, he was elected district attorney for the Fifth Judicial District, a position he held untill 1888. He was elected district judge in 1888 and reelected four years later without opposition. During his terms as district judge Sheppard became active in the state Democratic party and servied as a member of the platform committee at the 1890 state Democratic convention. He was an ardent supporter of James Stephen Hogg, whom Sheppard met when he was serving as district attorney. In 1892, Sheppard was the choice of the Hogg forces for temporary chairman of the state Democratic convention and was chosen for the position after the supporters of George Clark had left the convention. The next year Hogg appointed Sheppard as a delegate to the National Bimetallic Convention in Chicago. In 1896 he was a delegate to the Democratic national convention and was chosen a member of the committee that traveled to New York to inform William Jennings Bryan of his nomination. In 1896 Sheppard retired from the bench and entered private law practice in partnership with J. F. Jones. In 1898 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives from the First Congressional District. He was reelected in 1900 and nominated for a third term in 1902. Sheppard married Margaret Alice Eddins in September 1873. He suffered from Bright's disease, and in the summer of 1902 he began traveling to various health resorts in an attempt to regain his health, but to no avail. He died in October 1902 and was survived by his wife and seven children. His oldest son, John Morris Sheppard, succeeded him in Congress.
The above is from The Texas Handbook Online
JOHN MORRIS SHEPPARD
May 28, 1875 - April 9, 1941
Morris Sheppard, United States senator and champion of the Eighteenth Amendment, son of John Levi Sheppard and Margaret Alice Eddins, was born at the family farm near Wheatville, Morris County, Texas, in 1875. Morris, the oldest of seven children, was named after an ancestor of his mother's, Robert Morris, who helped finance the American Revolution and signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. After attending both public and private schools Sheppard enrolled at the University of Texas in 1891. There he excelled in a variety of academic, oratorical, and extracurricular activities. In 1895 he earned a bachelor of arts degree and registered in the university law school. While in law school in Austin, Sheppard joined the Methodist Church. After graduation in 1897 he attended Yale University and earned a master of laws degree in 1898. From that time until 1902 he practiced law in his father's firm, first in Pittsburg, Texas, and then in Texarkana. He also worked for the Woodmen of the World. In 1902 Sheppard ran for Congress and won the seat previously held by his recently deceased father. He then journeyed to Washington to begin what became a ten-year career in the House of Representatives, most of that time in the minority Democratic part. As an admirer and friend of William Jennings Bryan, he worked unsuccessfully on legislation to insure small bank deposits, to provide other forms of low-cost credit for low-income groups, and to prohibit the shipment of alcohol into dry areas. But perhaps as important as legislation, by 1912 he established himself as a renowned orator. Whether delivering speeches to the House on subjects of political concern or traveling around the nation supporting fellow Democrates, he commanded respect as one of the most entertaining public speakers of his era. Since his seat in Congress was relatively safe, he spent election years raising money for his party and votes for his colleagues. Still another accomplishment of his time in the House was Sheppard's mastery of the tariff issue. He participated in the significant debates on the issue, in which he supported the traditional position of the Democrats-lower rates. In 1913 Sheppard collected enough support to win the United States Senate seat recently held by Joseph Weldon Bailey. From that time until 1921 he worked much more successfully than he had earlier, largely because Democrats were in the majority and Democrat Woodrow Wilson was in the White House. Sheppard consistently supported Wilson's policies on tariff reductions, on solutions to border conflicts associated with the Mexican Revolution, on war preparedness, and on the League of Nations. He also continued to sponsor progressive reform legislation promoting rural credit programs, child labor laws, and antitrust laws. Throughout this time he was also an advocate of woman suffrage. But Sheppard increasingly devoted his legislative time and talents to prohibition, an issue he had strongly promoted and been identified with since his early days in the House. In 1913 and 1914 he introduced an unsuccessful amendment to ban the sale of liquor. In March 1917 he authored an act that abolished the sale of liquor in the District of Columbia. Then on April 4, 1917, the day Congress declared war on Germany, Sheppard introduced the prohibition amendment, which was debated throughout the summer. Finally the senator negotiated a tactical move by offering to limit the time for ratification in order to get a vote on the amendment. His manuever worked. By the end of 1917 the measure passd the House, and by 1919 the Eighteenth Amendment gained the requisite number of states for ratification. For the rest of his life, Sheppard gave an address on the anniversary of ratification. In 1920, the same year in which prohibition went into effect, Sheppard witnessed the victory of the Republican party in the presidential race and in many of the congressional races. He continued his work, however, and achieved some success in a politically more conservative atmosphere through his membership in the nonpartisan agricultural bloc that subsequently became the progressive bloc. In a little known but significant piece of legislation, Sheppard actually passed a reform law in 1921. The Sheppard-Towner Act provided for maternal and pediatric clinics and for an investigation of infant and maternal mortality. Although the law lapsed in 1929, the ideas found expression again in the Social Security Act of 1935. Within his own party he progressed when he gained a seat on the steering committee, and then in 1929 he became the Senate Democratic whip. In 1932 the economic crisis of the Great Depression brought significant political and social changes that affected Sheppard. His party captured both houses of Congress and put Franklin D. Roosevelt in the White House. Just as Sheppard had believed that the government was obligated to protect human welfare through the Eighteenth Amendment, he now believed that government must act to preserve American institutions. He supported the president on every issue of the New Deal except the repeal of prohibition. Some Texans even criticized Sheppard for being a rubber stamp for the administration, especially when he spoke for the president regarding the attempt to pack the Supreme Court with Roosevelt nominees. In 1934, the year in which Sheppard became the most senior member of Congress, he also added to the New Deal with a piece of his own legislation, the Federal Credit Union Act. In spite of major administration opposition, he maneuvered this law through the legislature. But in his last term in the Senate his major contributions were in the field of foreign affairs. As chairman of the Military Affairs Committee, he worked on increasing spending for defense, especially for the air force. He also supported bills to aid veterans and to increase the number of cadets at West Point. Then, in response to the war in Europe, he fought for the passage of the Selective Service Act and Lend-Lease. Soon after his work on this last measure, he suffered a brain hemorrhage, from which he died on April 9, 1941. He was survived by his wife, Lucille (Sanderson), whom he had married on December 1, 1909, and three daughters. President Roosevelt remarked that Sheppard "was my friend through many years." Later Gen. Douglas MacArthur tol Mrs. Sheppard that her husband had been the first casualty of World War II.
The above article was copied from The Texas Handbook Online.
GEORGE "LITTLE HAT" JONES
October 5, 1899 - March 7, 1981
The above photo of George "Little Hat" Jones was taken in late 1964 at the time he was interviewed by Morris Craig and Tommy Young. The following is an accounting of what little is known of Jones. It is gleaned from an article written by Robert Tilling in July 1998 which was published in the British magazine "Blues and Rhythm". Mr Tilling based a lot of his article on the interview conducted by Morris Craig and Tommy Young. Little Hat was born in Bowie County, Texas, not far from the Sulphur River bottoms. He remembers his grandfather telling him stories of his life in slavery and being brought to Jefferson, Texas, about 1855. His grandfather left Jefferson and settled in Bowie County about 1870 and farmed. His father, Felix, was born on the farm in 1877 and Little Hat was born on this same farm in 1899. He and his father both were the only child of their respective families. At the time of the interview in 1964, Little Hat stated that the old house was still standing but had been abandoned. The Jones family house had six rooms. They ate well with meals consisting of sow belly pork, cornbread, garden vegetables, and raw cow's milk. Their living was dependent mainly on an annual cotton crop. Jones went to school through the sixth grade and quit at the age of thirteen to help his father on the farm. His father had become ill and had lost a cotton crop and some of their livestock had died from a disease, including the milk cow and the "plowin' mules". His grandfather had died when he was in the fourth grade. Jones stated that he first started playing the piano at the old Union Hill church and in order to get him to spend more time at home, his mother "done gone and found an old guitar for me to pick". There is a conflict in the interview as to how old he was when he started to play the guitar. At one point he states he was about seven and at another point he states he was about seventeen. Even another statement indicates he would hold the guitar while sitting in an old cane bottom chair and his feet would only reach the first rung on the chair. Apparently he was quite young when he started learning to play because another statement indicates he was was "purty good" at age seventeen at which time he figured he could make more money playing the guitar than working on the farm. By this time the farm was back in pretty good operating shape. Between 1916 and 1929 there is virtually no references as to what happened to Jones during these years. But he gained his nickname during this period while working construction in Garland, Texas. He states that he had a hat that he wore to work that had about half the brim cut off and the boss man started calling him "Little Hat", even made out his pay checks to "Little Hat" Jones. It was not actually a little hat, but had parts of it cut off making it a little hat. During the latter half of the 1920's Texas had a strong blues scene, which is well documented, with perhaps one of the greatest of all players Blind Lemon Jefferson (1897-1929) being the central and most commercially successful figure and Jefferson's influence is apparent in Jones' method of playing the guitar. It appears unlikely that Jones lived outside of Texas during this period, but probably worked on the land and in manual work much as he did in later life. It is known that he was in San Antonio in 1929 for he made several recordings on his own and with Texas Alexander. His first recordings were on June 15, 1929, for Okeh Records. Jones recorded two records of his own, "New Two Sixteen Blues" and "Two String Blues". He also provided backup on nine songs on this same date for Texas Alexander (1900-1954). Jones made other recordings for Okeh in 1930 and he states he had a contract for three years and after the contract was up he "came home". The recordings he made are "Rolled From Side to Side Blues", "Hurry Blues", "Little Hat Blues", "Corpus Blues", "Kentucky Blues", "Bye Bye Baby Blues", "Cross the Water Blues", and "Cherry Street Blues". Before the contract was up, he states Okeh Records called him to New York, but there is no record of further recordings. During the interview, Jones states that he played with T. Texas Tyler and with the legendary Jimmie Rodgers, the "Blue Yodeler". On the interview tape Jones plays a version of Rodgers' "Waiting for a Train". He also stated that he played in cities like New Orleans, Galveston, Austin, and on one occasion went down to Mexico to play. By 1937, Jones was settled in Naples, married to Janie Traylor, his second wife. Of his work, he stated "I farmed a little bit, worked in the State Department some, railroads, sawmills, big chicken ranch, from that to janitor, working at old folks homes". His obituary states that he worked for many years at Red River Army Depot. Jones died in March 1981 at the Linden Municipal Hospital, and is buried in the Morning Star cemetery in Naples. On the sleeve notes of the double album, "The Story of the Blues -Vol Two"/1970, Paul Oliver comments - "Forty years after the last recording session Little Hat Jones is just a shadowy, faintly recalled memory whose recordings testify to a great talent that was probably little appreciated by the passing crowds in the streets of San Antonio, when he could be heard in his prime". George "Little Hat" Jones is buried in the Morningstar cemetery, Naples, Texas.
The above photo shows Randy Moore. Randy was raised in Naples and had a baseball career that lasted sixteen years, ten of which were in the major leagues with the
Boston Braves, Brooklyn Dodgers, and the Boston Red Sox. He was in the major leagues from 1926 to 1936. A broken leg cut short his baseball career. He roomed at times with and was a friend of the immortal George "Babe" Ruth. He was also a friend of Casey Stengel, the famous New
York Yankees manager. An autographed photo of Casey is shown in the photo below. I remember one incident when Casey Stengel visited Randy Moore in Omaha during the early 1950's and they both were surrounded by a group of boys seeking autographs as they came out of the old Omaha State Bank building. Randy married Lura "Trixie" Farrier and both are buried in the Omaha cemetery. They had two sons, Randy, Jr., and Peter, who died as an infant.
JAMES LENOY SLIDER
September 17, 1924-August 4, 1990
James Lenoy Slider was born and reared on a farm at Simms, Bowie County, Texas and graduated from James Bowie High School, Simms, Texas. He was a veteran of World War II, serving in the US Navy from February 1943 until April 1946. He was a successful businessman in Naples, having operated a service station and an insurance office. He served four years as a member of the Naples City Council, four years as a member of the Selective Service Board Number 117 from Morris County, was an active member of the Naples Chamber of Commerce. He was also active with youth activities for the area. He was elected as State Representative from District 2 in 1960 and served 12 years. During his tenure as state representative, he served as Chairman of the Parks and Wildlife Commission and was appointed to chair the State Affairs Committee during his sixth term in office. He served on the House General Investing Committee, the Legislative Council. The 67th Legislature adopted a resolution that honored Mr Slider for his distinguished service to the house during the 57th through 62nd legislatures. Considering Mr Slider's position as chairman of the important State Affairs Committee, he was appointed and assumed the duties of a presiding speaker to elect a speaker in a special session after the former speaker resigned. After Mr Slider's service in the legislature he continued his career in real estate and worked as a legislative consultant. He married Charlotte Orene Fleming of Naples on April 30, 1948, and they have one daughter, Sherri. Mr Slider died on August 4, 1990, and is buried in the Naples cemetery.
The following is quoted from a write up on www.blueflamecafe.com
"More than any other artist in the 1980's, singer Z.Z. Hill was most responsible for resurrecting interest in the blues with southern black audiences and record buyers. Remarkably, his album 'Down Home' spent nearly two years on the black charts in the early 1980's. At the time, Hill's popularity was greater than that of even B.B. King and other veteran bluesmen, though he was little known to white listeners. Tragically, Hill died in 1984, at the peak of his fame, as the result of injuries suffered in an auto accident. It wasn't that Hill had created a startling new blues sound; nor, with the exception of 'Down Home Blues', which had become one of the most familiar blues songs of the 1980's, was much of what he recorded traditional down-home blues. Hill's music was a soul-blues hybrid, with strong links to Bobby 'Blue' Bland. 'Down Home' was the right record at the right time, and was as important an album to the 1980's blues revival as Robert Cray's 'Strong Persuader' and Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'Texas Flood'. Hill's earliest musical experiences were in gospel; as a youth he sang in church choirs. After moving to Dallas in 1953 he began playing in bands on the local club circuit. With the arrival of soul music in the early '60's, Hill was greatly influenced by Sam Cooke. He fused soul with blues and recorded for a variety of labels, including United Artists and CBS, with only marginal commercial success. In the late '70's Hill even flirted with disco. It wasn't until he signed on with the Malaco label in 1980 that his career took off like a shot. Hill's first self-titled album was well received by black record buyers who knew Hill from his many one-nighters on the chitlin' circuit. But 'Down Home', his second Malaco release, made him a star. It also solidified the financial standing of Malaco and helped make Malaco the contemporary blues label for black blues fans, as Alligator was and remains for whites. In all, Hill made five albums for Malaco from 1980 to 1984. He was forty-nine years old when he died." Arzell Hill is buried in the Gethsemane cemetery about three miles southeast of Naples on the Cornett Highway.