By the early 1920’s,
the Teague family had already built a successful business and Joe Teague Sr. had
already become a well-known citizen. Joe Teague Sr. became such a successful Slaton
businessman that he became the first city marshall and later mayor (1939).
Teague family began their business on June 15, 1911, the day thousands of people
arrived in Slaton to start
a new life in a new town developed by the Santa Fe Railroad. The Teague legend
began when Joe Teague Sr. and Jr. began working for Hamlin Supply serving food
to train crews. Five years later, in 1916, the two Joes opened their very own
confectionery in the lobby of the Palace Theater. By 1921, they had developed
a successful business on the town square and had built twin houses for their family
on 430 and 450 West Lubbock St.
In the early 1920’s, Slaton
was a thriving city with a population of more than 6,000 and various candy shops
and confectioneries fought and competed over satisfying Slaton’s
sweet tooth. The 1920s was a golden age for candy companies throughout the country
and even some of the sweet treats enjoyed today were introduced to the public
during this savory era including The Baby Ruth Bar (1920), Mounds Chocolate Bar
(1923) and Milky Way Candy Bar (1923).
Bonnie Abel Deering, as a young
girl, was no stranger to the Teague’s candy shop. “No one who ever lived in Slaton
could possible forget the Teague’s Drug Store,” she wrote in Slaton Stories.
“Founded by old, ‘Uncle Joe Teague,’ and later operated by his son, ‘Little Joe
Teague.’ It was a sort of gathering place for the towns people at times, especially
the young folk.”
As young children gathered at one of the 12 candy shops
and confectioneries that sprinkled the square, young Deering, possibly wearing
heavy tweed outfits, Mary Jane shoes and thin white stockings, with lollipop breath
and chocolate stained dresses, wrote that there were various gatherings in the
community during her childhood but her most memorable were the church revivals.
“My father was a Baptist and my mother a Methodist so we attended both churches
and had no problems,” Deering wrote. “Most of the time we attended Sunday morning
services at the Methodist and evening services at the Baptist.”
in 1922, the Baptist Church continued with their social struggles.
Pedigrew Hardesty wrote in his autobiography, Preachers of the Plains,
“I had been in Slaton exactly
one year when I received the following letter,”
July 4, 1922
“You are in for it. We attended several of your sermons in Slaton
and the one here. We don’t like your ideas. You are too much KKK and talk too
much about other denominations. If you don’t get out of this county in 10 days
you will go out feet first. Try us and see.
We do not go to church but we are
Skull and Crossbones
received the letter a few weeks after the revival at the Methodist Church. “In
that meeting I had not hesitated to give sin a black eye,” Hardesty wrote. “I
had called a spade, a spade.”
Hardesty wrote that immediately upon the
receipt of the letter, he went to the editor of the Slatonite and asked
for space to announce his reaction. “I stated in the announcement that I would
reply to the ‘Skull and Crossbones’ note in my sermon the following Sunday night,”
“How well I remember those revival meetings,” Deering
wrote in Slaton Stories. “Usually held behind or at side of the buildings.
Since there were no cooling systems in those days we had to sit outside or ‘burn
up’ or fan ourselves to death. We sat on hard benches made from new lumber and
many people brought pillows. Bright, bare electrical bulbs were strung all around,
and at night bugs for miles around went into orbit and came right there to do
their dive-bombing. If the bugs didn’t get you the mosquitoes did.”
Hardesty wrote that on that particular revival, the night when he was to address
the Skull and Crossbones militia, the Associated Press carried an account of it.
“On Sunday night there were more people on the outside of the church building
than on the inside,” he wrote. “People came from a radius of fifty miles.”
the citizens uncomfortably sat and waited, some out of concern, some out of respect,
and some out of mere curiosity, Hardesty rose in front of the crowd and, “calmly
and sweetly,” gave his sermon. “I had come to Slaton
in response to a united call of the church,” he said before the anxious crowd.
“I had not asked any one’s permission to come, and I would leave Slaton
just when I was good and ready to go; my family was enjoying the best of health
and I knew of no good reason for a change; I was prepared to die; I liked Slaton,
and had as soon be buried in Slaton
as any place I knew.”
Soon after the revival, Hardesty wrote that the
city council held a meeting and made him a “Special Officer,” and told him when
he went out, especially at night, to carry a gun.
However, to Deering
who was a guileless child listening but not fully understanding the dangers that
were thinly hidden to young minds, she remembered the picnics, band concerts from
the little band stand near the City Hall, holiday parades, parties and dances
in private homes. Through the sickly sweet scent that wafted through the Slaton
streets from the various confectioneries, she also remembered the revivals and
had no true understanding, during her childhood, of the various workings of the
Skull and Crossbones, the KKK or any other organization that, for decades before
and after, would blur the line between miscreants and saints.
some wonderful preaching,” she wrote, “and good singing, seems I can almost hear
them now.” She wrote that one of her favorite hymns sung at those revivals was,
Shall we Gather at the River, and Deering, as a young girl, wearing a short bob
cut hairstyle, with small swinging feet beneath the pews, would join the chorus
of people as they sang, “Soon we’ll reach the silver river, soon our pilgrimage
will cease; soon our happy hearts will quiver with the melody of peace.”
Guest Column, September 10, 2010
in The Slatonite, Slaton's newspaper
shoe horses, don't they?"