Kiwanis hear about Norwegian
Waerenskjold’s writings helped fuel Norwegian
Monitor Staff Reports
GUN BARREL CITY–Cedar Creek Lake Kiwanis members got a brief look
Wednesday at a documentary about one of the area’s pioneers, Elise
Almost forgotten in Texas, Waerenskjold is a well-known public figure
back in her native Norway, primarily through the numerous letters she
wrote about her life in the then-wilderness of East Texas.
Kiwanis member Elian Haan-Bakke learned about Waerenskjold through books
written by Houston historian Charles Russell. Those books inspired her
to develop a play about the Norwegian pioneer and begin work on a
Bakke played some snippets of the documentary for club members,
explaining “there are so many things here, and so many stories to tell.”
“There’s a lot of footage that needs to be edited,” Bakke said.
Generating the money necessary to fund the editing process has been one
of the major projects she has been involved with during the past couple
of years, she added.
“We have a very interesting European background here,” Bakke said.
Viewed from 100 years in the future, Waerenskjold was a very “modern”
woman, in that she divorced her first husband because she wanted to work
outside the home, something almost unheard-of at the time.
She was well-educated, and became involved in writing for and later
editing an emigration magazine in Norway, Norge og Amerkia (Norway and
America), Bakke related.
Waerenskjold emigrated to Texas in 1847. During the arduous sea journey,
she met the leader of the expedition, Wilhelm Waerenskjold, and married
Landing in New Orleans, the Norwegian expedition crossed the Sabine
River and settled in Four Mile Prairie, now known as the Prairieville
community north of Mabank.
The daughter of a noted Lutheran minister, Elise Waerenskjold and her
husband were instrumental in forming the first Lutheran church in the
After 160 years, Four Mile Lutheran continues to minister to
Prairieville area residents, Bakke pointed out.
“Every day, she wrote letters back to Norway to tell them about life in
Texas,” Bakke said.
Waerenskjold told potential emigres what to bring, what equipment to buy
and where, available modes of travel and other practical how-to advice.
Her letters were widely circulated through newspapers and magazines.
Waerenskjold was honored with a statue in Sletta, Norway, in July, 2007,
commemorating her role in Norwegian emigration.
The Waerenskjolds were ardent abolitionists, and their stance on
slavery, along with the fact they took a young black girl into their
home, may have caused some strife with their slaveowning neighbors.
In 1866, Wilhelm Waerenskjold was murdered in front of the Prairieville
store, stabbed to death by N.T. Dickerson, who promptly fled the area.
Dickerson was arrested some years later, and his trial in Kaufman caused
a sensation, according to handwritten accounts discovered in musty
Kaufman County records, Bakke said.
“Mr. Russell is writing a book about his (Wilhelm Waerenskjold) life and
the trial now,” she added.
Waerenskjold died at her son’s home in 1895, having spent the last 48
years of her life in her adopted country.
Bakke said she and her husband continue to work on the documentary’s
script, which she said was the most difficult part of the process.
“It’s like a puzzle,” she added. “Every time you work on it, you find
This track is made for walking
Gun Barrel City completes half-mile walking
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–Fine cool weather, mild temperatures (except for the
occasional cold front) practically beckon one away from the office for
outdoor frivolity and fitness.
Streets supervisor Mike Horton is happy to announce the completion of
Gun Barrel City’s expanded walking trail located across from the fire
station and running up behind the baseball fields.
A ribbon of blacktop loops around covered picnic tables, including a
fork in the path for contemplation of the path less traveled.
The track itself spans eight feet for walking with friends and is just
70 steps short of a half-mile in length.
The three-month project was funded in part by a grant from the Economic
Development Corporation of $21,300 to pay for the asphalt paving.
EDC member Courtney Hill worked closely with Horton in planning the
Other additions are expected to include benches, a Frisbee golf course
and more trees.
“The track is safe from dogs and will be well maintained,” Hill said.
“Mr. Horton and his crew have done an excellent job with the project.”
The American Heart Association has conducted much research on the
benefits of walking.
Walking can boost your heart health and help you live longer, enhance
mental well-being, reduce the risk of osteoporosis and improve your
blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
In addition, the AHA reports that walking is the most economical,
convenient and safe exercise.
So, get out of the office at lunch time and hit the track, the walking
track that is.
“It’s ready, all it needs is you,” Horton said.
Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
City secretary Christy Eckerman, Tanya Mathews, councilwoman Kathy
and EDC secretary Rita Evans stretch their legs on the newly expanded
track across from the Gun Barrel City fire station.
‘Red Garter’ is finally here
Special to The Monitor
TOOL–The big, bad hurricane named “Ike” only delayed the best party of
the season – it didn’t cancel it or dampen the spirits of the organizing
committee and all the volunteers who’ll be stepping up at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 1, to welcome guests to “A Night At The Red Garter
Saloon,” the annual fall fund-raiser benefitting the Cedar Creek Lake
Area Chamber of Commerce.
For $35 per person, ticket holders will enjoy a steak dinner with all
the trimmings, chips to get started on the gaming tables, a ticket on
valuable donated prizes and a unique, fun night that had originally been
scheduled for Sept. 13, the same night that “Ike” was predicted to pass
over East Texas.
Like so many other volunteer groups, the Red Garter Committee made a
quick and wise decision to plan the event for another night, so that
ticket holders and volunteers alike wouldn’t be put in harm’s way during
the predicted storm.
“We hope that our friends that are holding tickets purchased before the
cancellation will all be available to come out and enjoy the fabulous
party and be a part of the same great night that was already planned.
“The event is basically the same, just a little later in the season,”
Cedar Creek Lake area Chamber of Commerce president Jo Ann Hanstrom
Chamber volunteers will open the doors of the Red Garter Saloon
(Promenade Hall on State Highway 274 in Tool) at 6 p.m., where an
evening of country flavored music presented by Dino “Danger” Perelli,
auctions, gaming (for fun tickets), saloon girls, and many surprises,
all with an “Old West” ambiance, await attendees.
A special steak dinner, cooked on the spot by the Chamber Grill Team,
and supervised by Sharon Strickland of Sharon Strickland Catering, will
be available to start the evening right before everyone gets down to the
serious business of having some real Ol’ West style fun.
The list of live and silent auction items is long and varied. including
the famous “Red Garter Money Hat.”
Tickets for “A Night At The Red Garter Saloon” are available at the
Chamber office, 604 S. Third St., Ste. E, in the Lawndale Building in
Mabank, Southside Bank/Gun Barrel City, First State Bank/Mabank,
Citizens State Bank Mabank, Franklin Bank/ Seven Points and at the
Athens Visitors Center on the square in Athens.
Tables of six ($210) and eight ($280) are still available, but must be
reserved through the Chamber of Commerce office and pay by cash, check
or MasterCard/Visa when the reservation is made.
For any questions about the event, call the chamber office at (903)
887-3152 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or, you may visit www.cedarcreeklakechamber.com for a complete calendar
The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake
My name is Nelson. I am a
beautiful male Dachshund. I was brought to the shelter by animal
control, so I have no history. So far, I seem pretty laid back
and gentle. I am a wonderful boy looking for my new forever
My name is Oreo. I am a beautiful
female black Lab. I was brought to the shelter by animal
control, so I have no history. I seem to get along with other
dogs. I need help with leash training. I have been started on my
shots and need to be fixed. I am a beautiful girl looking for my
We are a whole litter of Shepherd
mix babies. We were brought to the shelter by animal control, so
we have no history. We have been started on our first set of
shots. We are good kids looking for our new forever homes.
I am a beautiful Border Collie,
who is four months old, or so. I was brought to the shelter by
animal control, so I have no history. I have not been at the
shelter long, so not much is known about me. I am a beautiful
kid looking for a new home.
Pictured are just a few
animals at the Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake in Seven
Points in dire need of a good home. Please call or stop by the
Humane Society today and rescue one of these forgotten animals.
The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake is located on 10220
County Road 2403 in
Seven Points. For more information, please call (903) 432-3422
after 11 a.m.
We are closed on Wednesday and Sunday.
For further information
visit our website at