seventy years ago, a self-educated farmer and justice of the peace in Henderson
County starting writing letters to the Athens Daily Review.
In a few months,
Cicero Witt Corley was so popular that he was given a regular newspaper column
he called “Korley’s Kolumn.”
Corley’s columns are treasured as yellowed clippings put away in the scrapbooks
and trunks of older people who remember him as a lively, satirical writer and
Writing from his home in Shady Grove, a rural community eight
miles north of Murchison, Corley was an elementary school dropout due to the untimely
death of his father.
He possessed a keen wit that made people chuckle.
His eighty-eight year old daughter, Edith Mayfield of Brownsboro, once said her
father “loved life and liked to laugh with people.”
One March in the 1930s,
Corley wrote that he was plowing a field when “I heard “the buzzing of a Ford
car”.and the refrains of “Love Lifted Me.” When the car stopped, he looked inside
and saw a couple who wanted him to stop his plowing and marry them. Corley married
them with his mule as a witness.
Corley often offered his services as a
resident seer and answered questions from his readers.
One reader asked:
“How long will my husband continue to flirt with women? Corley replied: “Until
the undertaker is called, which may not be long.”
During the Great Depression, a reader asked “when will the depression be at its
Corley responded: “During May, June and July, as neither of these
months have a R and rabbits killed in a month with no R are not good to eat.”
A lady reader supposedly wrote: “Will I ever receive my diamond stick
pin that was stolen from my husband?”
Corley wrote: “I am very sorry to say the pin was not stolen. The person who got
the pin while in a very friendly conversation with your husband lives in Houston,
is a brunette, is 35 years old and powders and paints excessively.”
poor farmer asked Corley: “Will Congress be able to enact any laws that will relieve
Corley replied: “Yes, I see Congress passing several laws
that will no doubt relieve you in many ways. No doubt they will relieve you of
Corley often struggled with the fact that man had one rib
fewer than women. “I wish someone would tell me why,” he said, “because I feel
I have been shortchanged.”
The highlight of Corley’s career was winning
a trip to Boston to see the World Series after making friends with Dallas
radio broadcaster Gorden McLendon.
Even though he lost his eyesight, Corley
continued to write until he was in his eighties. He passed away in 1980 and was
buried in Ashberry Cemetery, a small country graveyard in Van Zandt County.
to legions of fans, he is still remembered through the cherished clippings of
his old newspaper columns.
25, 2007 Column,
updated 8-12, 2012
Bob Bowman's East Texas
A weekly column syndicated in 109 East Texas newspapers