Lake Life

& Such

Boy Scout Troop #398 meets at the Cedar Creek Bible Church from 7-8:30 p.m. each Tuesday. For more information, call (903) 498-5725 or (903) 498-3830.
Cedar Creek Art Society meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the last Thursday of each month at the Mabank Volunteer Fire Department. A $3 donation per artist is asked.
Cedar Creek Domino Club meets each week on Wednesday at the Mabank Volunteer Fire Department. For more info, call (903) 887-6549.
Cedar Creek NAR-ANON meets at 8 p.m. on Thursday at 715 S. Hwy. 274, Ste. D in Seven Points. (903) 432-2405.
Cedar Creek Narcotics Anonymous meets at 8 p.m., Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, at 715 S. Hwy. 274, Ste. D in Seven Points. (903) 432-2405. There is a 2 p.m. Sunday meeting, also.
Cedar Creek 49ers Club meets every Thursday for fellowship and dancing. Doors open at 6 p.m. The club is located off Arnold Hill Road in Seven Points. Call for more information, (903) 432-3552.
Cedar Creek Lake Kiwanis Club meets at noon each Wednesday at The Jalapeno Tree in Gun Barrel City, except the second week of the month, when the club meets Thursday in conjunction with the area chamber of commerce luncheon.
Cedar Creek Optimist Club meets every Tuesday at noon at the Dairy Queen in Seven Points. For more information please call Danny Hampel at (903) 778-4508.
Cedar Creek Republican Club meets every fourth Thursday. For more information call (903) 887-4867.
Cedar Creek Rotary Club meets at noon each Friday at Vetoni’s Italian Restaurant. For more information, call Dee Ann Owens at (903) 340-2415.
Cub Scout Pack #333 meets at the First United Methodist Church of Mabank the second and fourth Monday at 7 p.m. For information, call Mary Harris at (903) 451-5280 or Tonya Capley at (903) 498-4725.
Girl Scout Troop #112 meets at the First United Methodist Church in Mabank on Fridays at 6:30 p.m. For more info, call GeriLeigh Stotts at (469) 323-7943, email,  or (800) 422-2260 or visit
Disabled American Veterans Chapter 101 meets the second Monday of each month at the Senior Citizens Center on Hwy. 31 in Athens.
Girl Scout Troop 2667 meets every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Aley United Methodist Church. For more information, please call Suzann Smith at (903) 887-3889.
Gun Barrel Quilter’s Guild meets from 10 a.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at the Tri-County Library in Mabank. For more information, please call (903) 451-4221.
Kaufman County Republican Women’s Club meets the third Saturday of each month at the Farm Bureau Insurance Company, located at 2477 N. Hwy. 34 in Kaufman. For more info, call (972) 287-1239 or (903) 880-6770.
Kemp Kiwanis Club meets at noon each Thursday at La Fuente Mexican Restaurant in Kemp. For more information, please call Dr. Jim Collinsworth at (903) 887-7486.
Lake Area Council of the Blind meets at 6 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month at West Athens Baptist Church.
Lake Area Democrats Club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month at the Library at Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points. Email for more information.
Mabank Al-Anon Family Group meets at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays at Mabank First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall. Families of alcoholics are welcome. Call (903) 887-2781 for info.
Mabank/Cedar Creek Area Lions Club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Tri-County Library in Mabank. Call (903) 887-5252 for info.
Mabank Garden Club meets at 2:45 p.m. at the Tri-County Library on the third Tuesday of every month (different times in May and December).
Oak Harbor/Tanglewood Crime Watch meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at the R.T. Beamguard Community Center in Oak Harbor.
Rainbow Girls, Masonic Youth organization meets on the second and fourth Saturdays at 10 a.m. at the Cedar Creek Masonic Lodge. For more information contact Donna Dean at
Roddy Masonic Lodge meets at 6:30 p.m. the second Monday each month. Call (903) 887-6201 for info.
RootSeekers meet at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of the month in the Tri-County Library in downtown Mabank. The public is welcome to attend.
Southeast Kaufman County Senior Citizens Center Board of Directors meets at 1 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month at the center, located at 300 N. Dallas Street in Kemp. For info, call (903) 498-2140.
Suicide Survivors Group for those grieving the loss of someone by suicide, meets every Monday at 6:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Mabank.
Tamarack Ladies Club meets at 11 a.m. the first Wednesday of each month at the TLC Hall.
TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meet at 6 p.m. each Monday at the First Baptist Church of Mabank. Contact Gaye Ward at (903) 887-5913 for more info.
TVCC Singles meet at 7 p.m. each Monday in the Nutrition Center at TVCC, located off Park Street near the Athens Country Club. This is a support group for singles of all ages and is supported by TVCC. For more info, call Hilda Anding at (903) 675-7270.


Historical marker honors Lee Powell Simpson
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

PAYNE SPRINGS–A man who was instrumental in bringing public education to Payne Springs was honored with an historical marker recently.
Though the school building he helped build burned in 1939, its replacement still stands today, as does the voting box for which he successfully petitioned county commissioners back in 1890.

Courtesy Photo
Four grandchildren of Lee Powell Simpson help mark the dedication of a Texas Historical Marker Nov. 28. Pictured are (from left) Nelda Frazier Reynolds, Twyla Frazier McManus, Wilma Frazier Childress and Gene Frazier.

His legacy lives on in the Payne Springs United Methodist Church and neighboring Payne Springs Cemetery, established on land he donated to the church for community use.
Payne Springs wasn’t always called Payne Springs. It was known as the Mallard Prairie Community. Later, noted Civil War hero William K. Payne settled in the area and its name was changed.
However, when Lee Powell Simpson first relocated there, along with his twin brothers, youngest sister and her husband, from Washington County, Ala., most likely in 1870, it was known as Mallard Prairie.
Simpson would become “a leader in community affairs in Payne Springs.”
Following a Woodmen of the World meeting in 1876, Simpson, then still a young man, convinced the men that their sons and daughters deserved a better education than they could get learning how to farm and homestead from their parents.
“You need to remember this meeting – tonight history was made,” Jenkins repeated his father’s words to Simpson’s granddaughter Nelda F. Reynolds.
“He (Jenkins’ father) said that no one else had even thought of a school at that time,” Jenkins added.
Simpson himself paid the first teacher the next year, with classes held in the Woodmen of the World building.
As attendance grew, Simpson decided the school needed its own building, so he set up a fund for the Mallard Prairie School; and at most public gatherings, he passed the hat.
His next-door neighbor (who became his wife), Mary Catherine, often teased him that everyone groaned whenever he arrived at a meeting or party.
A two-story square brick building was built on land owned by the school. It served the community well until it burned in 1939.
Another building was built in 1940, and still serves the community today as the Community Center, housing Payne Springs City Hall.
It is often used for cemetery association reunions and other important gatherings, as well as housing the Payne Springs Water Company office.
However, the school was not without its challenges. In 1892, the adjoining school district petitioned the Henderson County Commissioners to sever the southeastern part of Mallard Prairie School District No. 27.
Simpson immediately responded with a counter-petition, pleading against severing any part of the district.
“That the patrons of the said district have given up too much personal, physical and financial expense to build up the school district the Court has originally laid out for us by the Commissioners Court. We have succeeded in the building of and improvements for a good school, good school buildings and have induced immigration into our said district,” he wrote.
Further, the number of students had grown from 40 to 50 and then to 180, Simpson reported.
“If there be those adjoining us who wishing to avail themselves of the efficient facilities to be had in our school, we gladly take them in on their own motion. We neither wish to be disturbed nor will we disturb anyone,” he stated in the petition.
The adjoining school district lost its request for severance.
Simpson served as school trustee for many years.
In a 1949 interview, Bonner Brown (1886-1977) told Nelda Reynolds that “it had been said many times, when he was a young lad, that there would not have been a Mallard Prairie School District No. 27, if a very young man from Alabama had not decided the young people of the community deserved an education.”
The school district continued until it was consolidated with the Eustace ISD in 1954.
Eventually, Simpson’s brothers moved to Navarro County with their wives, and his sister also moved away, but by then (1882) Simpson had purchased an 80-acre farm on the Michelli Survey from Gilbert McLaughlin.
For a year, he cleared acreage and built a home before marrying the daughter of his next door neighbor, Mary Catherine Everett. As their family grew, rooms were added on.
The farm is among the few in the county to have remained in the same family for 100 years. Lee and Mary had five children there, three of whom survived childhood.
By 1890, the community had grown and Simpson decided the voters should have their own voting precinct. Until then, school voters had to go to Goshen, a community about 10 miles northeast, near present-day Purtis Creek State Park.
The Henderson County Commissioners granted Simpson’s request, and today voters in Payne Springs still go to the old Mallard Prairie School Building (Community Center) to cast their ballots.
Two of Simpson’s granddaughters can usually be found there helping to work the elections.
In 1919, Simpson deeded one acre of his farm to the Mallard Prairie Methodist Episcopal Church, South, to become the site for a new building, though he didn’t live to see it completed.
As the cemetery next door to the church grew, the church deeded a portion of the one acre for the expansion of the cemetery behind the church.
When Lee Simpson became very ill, his daughter, Annie Frazier, and husband George moved from their home in Village Mills to help care for him.
In fact, Simpson got to watch his twin grandchildren learn to walk by his deathbed. Simpson died in June, 1921, and was buried on the land he donated to the church.
The Fraziers continued to live there with Lee Simpson’s widow, who helped rear her nine grandchildren, all born at the family farm.
Though the farm was usually filled with the laughter of children, grandchild Jacqueline Frazier Meridith recalls a time in the 1930s when she saw her grandmother grieving while sitting on the porch.
Catherine Simpson watched her cattle being shot and their carcasses laced with poison as one of the early measures to help bring up the prices of commodities taken by the government under President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression.
Around 1943, the family moved into a newly built house in Payne Springs, and the farm passed to grandchild Roy D. Frazier.
The old farmhouse was torn down. However, some of the lumber was used to build a house for Roy’s twin sister, Mary Lee, and her husband, Clifford Pelham, at Payne Springs.
No one knows precisely when the community’s name was changed from Mallard Prairie to Payne Springs. It is known that Civil War hero Payne bought out the Mallard Prairie store, located near the local springs.
Sometime after Payne’s death in 1877, the residents voted to change the community’s name in honor of Payne.
The Mallard Prairie Methodist Episcopal Church, South, is now the thriving Payne Springs United Methodist Church, offering many services to the community, including a parenting course called Love and Logic, which starts a new class in January.
Lee Simpson, his wife and children, as well as other relatives, have all been buried in the Payne Springs Cemetery and that is where you’ll find his own Texas Historical Marker, just behind the church.
The marker to Lee Powell Simpson was dedicated Nov. 28 with the reading of two proclamations, from the Henderson County Commissioners and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

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