Thursday, April 20, 2006


Joe Hall indicted
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

ATHENS–Henderson County Precinct 1 Commissioner Joe D. Hall was named on three indictments handed down by the county’s grand jury.
Hall, 56, was indicted for Abuse of Official Capacity, and named on two indictments for Perjury, according to information released by District Attorney Donna Bennett’s office.
The indictments were among 70 True Bills issued by the grand jury following a session April 13 and released to The Monitor Tuesday.
Last month, reports surfaced that Hall was being investigated by the Texas Rangers for using county employees and equipment to do work off county right-of-way – specifically, paving two church parking lots.
The churches in question were Antioch Baptist Church in Malakoff and Landmark Baptist Church in Athens.
Hall readily admitted doing the work.
“I checked with the county attorney and the attorney general before I did it, and as I understand them, as long as the church provides services to the public, it is okay,” Hall said. “I did not feel I was doing anything illegal.”
Hall said both churches paid for the material used in the parking lots.
Attempts to contact Hall Tuesday were unsuccessful.
Also, the grand jury indicted Coffee City Mayor Mike Warren, 43, for Abuse of Official Capacity, and also indicted his wife, Rose, 44, for Theft Over $500.


2 wrecks injure family, couple over Easter
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE– Two accidents involving local residents sent the injured to the hospital by ambulance and helicopter Saturday.
The first happened around noon on State Highway 274.
A Kemp couple was on their way to do some Easter shopping.
Dale and Camille Collinsworth were traveling south on SH 274 on their way to Wal-Mart, according to their son, veterinarian Dr. Jim Collinsworth.
A car approaching from the other direction pulled over to the right, preparing to make a U-turn, he described.
He misjudged and clipped the back end of the new extended cab Dodge truck with the Collinsworths, he said.
The impact sent the truck rolling into the ditch.
The accident occurred between Cedar Creek Tire Shop and Economy Tire.
The couple was transported to Kaufman Presbyterian Hospital, where Camille was treated for a separated shoulder and a mild concussion, and later released.
Following a CAT scan, Dale Collinsworth was transported by helicopter to Parkland Hospital with a fractured second vertebrae in his neck.
Surgery was set for Tuesday, his son said.
“Mom’s going to be all right,” he said.
The couple are known for their participation with the Kemp Kiwanis Club.
Camille Collinsworth is an employee at the Kemp Post Office.
The second accident took place between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Farm-to-Market Road 90 east of Prairieville where County Road 4015 intersects.
Details were very sketchy at presstime, as Trooper Brewer, the officer who worked the accident, had not returned calls for information.
Reports from those at the scene of the accident say the one-car rollover resulted in what appeared to be serious injuries to two, perhaps three, young girls, who were airlifted from the scene.
Amanda Morris, the daughter of James Knight, was driving her two daughters and one other little girl to get their photos taken, it was reported.
On Tuesday, The Monitor learned two of the girls were hospitalized and reported to be in comas.


Battle of San Jacinto recalled
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff writer

TOOL–Few people are aware that a special day commemorating Texas history is at hand.
San Jacinto Day, April 21, recalls the Battle of San Jacinto, when Sam Houston’s forces defeated the Mexican army, led by General Santa Anna.
A Tool resident, D.W. Whitaker, is very aware of the battle, and the history involved, as one of his ancestors helped destroy a bridge that kept reinforcements from coming to the aid of the Mexican Army.
“He was my great-grandfather,” Whitaker said, speaking of Y. P. Alsbury.
It was the famous scout, Erastus (Deaf) Smith, who led six volunteers to burn the bridge over Vince Bayou, the major access to the San Jacinto field.
Smith had reported to Houston earlier that 500 reinforcements were coming to join the Mexican forces.
After convincing Houston he could take six volunteers and burn the bridge, Smith asked for volunteers.
Y.P. (Young Perry) Alsbury stepped up, along with five others.
The bridge was a wooden structure that spanned the deep bayou.
But it wouldn’t burn. Recent rains had soaked the timbers making up the simple, narrow structure, so using axes that had been placed there earlier to chop the wood for the fire, the Texans chopped down the bridge.
Smith then raced back to the Texas lines shouting, “I have chopped down the bridge! Now fight for your lives and remember the Alamo!”
Later, in the battle, Y. P. Alsbury took a shot to the side of his head, but he lived to fight in the Civil War, Whitaker explained.
No bridge is located at the site now. A historical marker, at the outskirts of the city of Pasadena, recalls the event.
The plaque is mounted on a solid piece of granite with the wording: “Site of Vince’s Bridge, destroyed by military permission April 21, 1836, by Deaf Smith, John Coker, Denmore Reeves, John Garner, John Rainwater, Moses Lapham and Y. P. Alsbury.
This heroic deed is believed to have assured the capture of Santa Anna,” the plaque states.
Today, visitors can walk the trails where Texas men fought.
It took years to provide a park and monument at San Jacinto.
It began first, following the battle, as those who walked the now hallowed fields paid their respect.
Finally, funding was obtained in 1890 to purchase the land.
As the 100 year anniversary approached, enough money was raised to build a proper monument.
Designed by architect Alfred C. Finn, the construction took three years, finishing in 1939.
The 48-foot, octagonal base houses a museum.
At the peak of the monument is a 220-ton star made of stone, steel and concrete.
Today, visitors can visit the memorial, which stands 15 feet taller than the Washington memorial.
As for Whitaker’s family, their adventure began years before the war.
Stephen F. Austin wrote to Whitaker’s great-great-grandfather in Hopkinsville, Ky.
“The letter asked the Alsbury family, which included seven sons, including the youngest, Y. P. Alsbury, to move to Texas, which they did,” Whitaker said.
Land was the carrot that enticed the family to move to the area.
“My great-great-grandfather was given two leagues and 1½ labors, somewhere between 9,000 and 10,000 acres,” Whitaker explained.
“The property was located on the west bank of the Brazos River,” he added.
“My great-great-grandfather was a frontiersman. He was one of the founders of Hopkinsville, Ky,” Whitaker said.
“Three of the older boys were also given land. It was in the Indian country, along the Gulf Coast, a bit west of where the Dow Chemical Company is now located,” he said.
Three of the brothers kept accurate diaries and historical accounts of the period.
“One brother, Horatio Alsbury, kept the most history,” Whitaker said.
Whitaker explained Horatio worked with the Spanish and Mexican governments as an interpreter.
“His wife was one of the women at the Alamo when it fell,” Whitaker said.
Whitaker is a member of the Austin 300, an organization of descendents of the original American settlers in Texas.
The headquarters for the club is located in Richmond.
The group meets once a year, sometimes at Washington-on-the Brazos, and sometimes at different colleges.
“We get to hear guest speakers on Texas history,” he said.
Whitaker is a yearly photo contributor to the official publication for the club.