Wise As It Was: In the paper 100 years ago…

By Messenger Staff | Published Saturday, February 17, 2018

Share this page...

From Friday, Feb. 15, 1918

Soldier Fowler makes a statement to citizens

Some two or three weeks ago a report was in circulation that two of the Wise County soldiers at Camp Bowie had tired of army life and had taken leave without notice. … The following letter from “Boss” Fowler is self-explanatory; he just “took a little trip to enjoy a little life”: ‘Dear Citizens of Decatur: There have been several mistakes made. I am not a deserter of the army. I took a little trip to enjoy a little life. I have never taken off my uniform and will never take it off until I have served my time in the army. I am sorry that this report has gotten out that I am a deserter. I am going back to camp and make one of the best soldier boys Decatur has ever had. I thank you for your kindness.’ FLOYD O. FOWLER.


  • Postmaster Cates reported that not one alien enemy had registered in Wise County. “This is a good record for the Wonderful County every citizen a loyal subject of the good old U.S.A.”
  • George Ragsdale, former citizen of Delightful Decatur, was in town shaking hands with his old friends.
  • Citizens were urged to obey the rationing laws and observe meatless Tuesdays, porkless Saturdays and potato Fridays, when all householders were urged to serve “copious quantities of potatoes.”
  • Citizens were urged to buy smileage books for their soldier boys.
  • Changes were reported in the wages earned by soldiers. A private was paid $33 a month while in the U.S., an additional 20 percent when abroad, plus allowance made for wife and children, including illegitimate children a soldier acknowledges, and if born in the U.S. after Dec. 31, 1917.


From Thursday, Feb. 18, 1943

  • Point rationing registration was to begin Feb. 25.
  • Lt.-Col. Martin P. Crabtree returned from North Africa for a few days leave.
  • Black-Draught was advertised as a best-selling laxative all over the South because it’s thrifty and fits most folks’ needs.
  • Citizens are urged to “praise the Army’s mettle by giving it your scrap metal.”
  • StarBrand workshoes cost $2.19 to $6 at Perkins-Timberlake Co.


From Thursday, Feb. 15, 1968

Bank Installs Device to Discourage Robbers

With two Wise County banks hit by robbers in thirty days, the First National Bank in Decatur took extra precautionary steps last week to protect its funds and personnel from hijackers.

“There is no 100 percent sure way of keeping a bank from getting robbed,” Pres. J.A. Ferguson said, “but the equipment we have installed will make it a little harder, maybe to the point of discouraging robbery.”

Equipment for making motion pictures of a robbery has been installed at strategic points in the bank. …

Ferguson invited law enforcement personnel … in last Friday to see the equipment and be briefed on its use …

“I’m sure glad to see this,” Sheriff J.R. Branch said. The sheriff said that if officers do not get to the scene of a robbery within 10 minutes of its occurrence, it’s too late. “Ten minutes means 10 miles on today’s roads,” the sheriff said. …[U]nless he leaves some good evidence he may completely escape apprehension. The photo equipment will provide that evidence.


  • At the Sunset Drive-In, the following movies could be seen: “Jack of Diamonds” with George Hamilton; “The War Wagon” with John Wayne and Kirk Douglas; and “Rosie!” with Rosalind Russell and Sandra Dee.
  • Thirty pecan entries represented Wise County in the Regional Pecan Show in Fort Worth. 13 placed.
  • A fire at Bennett’s Washateria destroyed a large dryer and also burned the clothes that were drying in it.
  • Selfhood in Contemporary Films was discussed at the circle meeting of the WSCS of the First Methodist Church.
  • Two loaves of bread cost 49 cents.


From Thursday, Feb. 18, 1993

  • The federal prosecution of former Wise County Sheriff Leroy Burch, former Chief Deputy John Yarborough and others was ongoing, with the prosecution wrapping up its case earlier in the week.
  • Chico trustees cut the fall sports budget by 10 percent.
  • Decatur police reported no criminal complaints for the previous week. Bridgeport police reported five crimes.
  • Gringo days were Mondays and Tuesdays at Armondos Mexican Food.
  • Sean Fuller of Boyd was named to the all-state band.
  • James Wood in Decatur had a NASCAR Lumina on display, just like the one Dale Earnhardt drove to a second-place finish at the Daytona 500!
  • Irene Mercer of Decatur represented the Decatur Walmart in a commercial filmed at the North Richland Hills store.
  • The Plaza Cinema III showed “ALIVE,” “Sommersby” with Richard Gere and Jody Foster and “Forever Young” with Mel Gibson.

Leave a Reply. Note: As of March 24, 2011, all posted comments will include the users full name. News and Blog Comment Guidelines

You must be logged in to post a comment.