The Rusk Cherokeean. (Rusk, Tex.), Vol. 110, No. 45, Ed. 1 Thursday, May 1, 1958 Page: 2 of 16
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The Rusk Cherokeean, Rusk. Teros
MAY 1, 1958
McGee Bend Dam
Battle Still Raging
By ROBERT M. HAYES
East Texas Bureau of
The Dalla Morning News
The Battle of McGee Bond dam
has erupted again in full fury.
The 20-year old conflict; which
has divided a large section of East
Texas into two bitter factions, in-
volves the construction of a $50.-
000,000 federal hydro-electric
power dam on the Angelina River
just above its confluence with the
Neehes River near Jasper.
One group, represented by the I
Lower Neches Valley Authority,
insists that the project, with its
power features, is essential to the1
continued growth of East Texas.
The other, represented by the'
Neches River Conservation Dis-'
trict, contends the multi-purpose
dam is not economically feasible. <
The NRCI) backs its contention!
with an unfavorable report made
in 1954 by the U.S. Corps of Army
Far more than that, however, is
at .stake. The white hot dispute
has been compared to the historic
tidelands fight in which the fed-
eral government claimed a "para-
mount right" to violate a century-
old treaty giving Texas the title
to her tidelands.
Today the federal government
is exercising its paramount rights
in building the costly power dam
without permission of the State of
Texas. Under Texas law all such
projects are cleared through the
State Board of Water Engineers.
Federal courts have held, in ef-
fect, that the state has no juris-
diction and the state board's per-
mission is not needed.
Opponents of the power dam,1
including the NRCD and a group
of 56 property owners, have filed
.suits in federal court but have
The original suit, filed in Fed-
eral Judge \V. H. Atwell's court
in Dallas early last year, was dis-
missed. The case was appealed but
the circuit court at New Orleans
upheld the dismissal. Subsequent-
ly. a motion for rehearing was de-
nied. The final plea for relief will
be taken to the U.S. Supreme
Residents of the upper Angelina
watershed, opposing the power
features of the dam, say that all
of the water that falls upstream
will be needed to keep the giant
turbines in operation and this will
imperii industrial expansion in a
large East Texas area. They feel
that smaller conservation and
flood control dam would best
meet the area-wide needs.
W. R. Beaumier, publisher of
the Lufkin News and past presi-
dent of the Texas Press Associa-
tion, says if the fight to eliminate
what he calls the "wasteful hydro-
electric features" of the proposed
dam is lost "we might as well give
up our struggle for state rights."
He continued: "Advocates of
public power throughout the na-
tion are keeping their eyes on Mc
Gee Bend Dam. It ranks second in
importance only to Hell's Canyon
which right now is probably the
nation's Number One battleground
in the struggle between the forces
of public power and private en-
The dam will be about 11 miles
northwest of Jasper. Groundbreak-
ing ceremonies were held last
September and a total of about
$6,000,000 already has been ap-
Both sides agree that a dam is
1 needed. But that's about as far as
j the agreement goes. The contro-
j vcrsv centers around the hydro-
The power dam, if completed,
will inundate 129,000 acres. Most
of this is productive timberland.
If the power feature is eliminated j
the smaller flood control and con-
servation reservoir will cover only
Here is the gist of the opposing'
Beaumont leaders and others in
the lower end of the watershed
say the hydro-electric power dam
is needed to assure full industrial
development of the area. This is
particularly important if the pe-
tro-chemical industries are to ex-
pand. They say the project is as
important to the economy of East
Texas as the discovery of oil. An-
other lower watershed argument:
the 129.000-acre reservoir would
serve as a year-round playground
that will bring in a rich harvest
of tourist dollars.
Leaders of the opposing group
contradict all these arguments.
They feel that fl) to inundate 129-
000 acres of valuable timberland
would be a crippling blow to the
lumber industry, (2) a hydro-elec-;
trie dam in the relatively flat
coastal country would be unsound
economically and consequently a
waste of tax money and (3) any
benefits that might accrue to the
Beaumont area would be at the
expense of growing cities and
communities in the upper water-
The history of the project goes
back to the late thirties when the
U.S. Corps of Army Engineers
made a study of the development
of the Angelina and N'eches Rivers
and submitted a report to Con-;
The Corps recommended not
one but a series of dams in the1
World War II came along and
the program was deferred.
In the meantime far - reaching j
changes were taking place in the
East Texas economic picture. The
war had drawn heavily on the tim-
ber resources of the area and the
¡value of productive pine forest
rose spectacularly. New industries
bobbed up in every pan of the
I area bringing an increased de-
j mand for water. Recurring dro-
uths lent gravity to the situation.
Tyler, Henderson, Lufkin. Jack-
sonville and other important cen-
ters cast uneasy glances at their
Army Engineers made a restudy
of the McGee Bend Dam project
in 1953 and 1954 and, in the light
of new developments, reported to
congress that the power feature
was not feasible. The engineers
found, however, that as a conser-
vation and flood control project
McGee Bend Dam would be eco-
But the engineers' report was
ignored by Congress. It remain *d
buried in the files of two public
works committees while the green
light was given to the McGee
Bend project, hydro-electric fea-
tures and all.
(Do federal power dams con-
tribute to industrial and agricul-
tural progress? Conflicting view-
points will be reviewed in next
Mrs. Josie Smith,
Dies In Conroe
Mrs. Josie Smith passed away
April 22 at Conroe at the age of
81. She had been visiting her son
who lives in that city.
Mrs. Smith had been a resident
of Cherokee County all of her,
Survivors include: 5 sons. Tom
Henry Smith of Crockett. Phil
Smith. Houston; Joe Smith Con-
roe; Grady Smith Ada, Oklahoma j
and Travis Smith, Jacksonville; 3
daughters. Mrs. Linnie Brown. Ft.
Worth; Mrs. Lallie Little. Jackson-1
vilie; and Mrs. Charlotte Gains.
Palestine, and a number of grand-
children and great grandchildren.'
Rev. J. M. Schwitter read the
final rites, and was assisted by
Rev. Conn, pastor of the Corine
Final Rites Are
Read For E. C.
Swinney, Age 81
Funeral services were conduct-
ed for Erastus Carl Swinney, Rt.
1, Jacksonville, April 24th in Jack-
sonville. Mr. Swinney was 81
years of age at the time of his
He was a native of Georgia, and
member of the Baptist Church
Rev. J. M. Schwitter read the fi-
nal rites, and was assisted by Rev.
Mr. Swinney is survived by 3
sons: J. C. of Iror.ton. Clayton of
Big Springs and Alvin of Hender-
son: one daughter. Mrs. Ruth
Wells of Tyler; one sister, Mrs.
Anna Alexander of Tecula; also,
4 grandchildren and 4 great grand
Services were held in the Cha-
pel of Gragard-Spraggins Swofford
Because of the rainy weather of
last Sunday, there were no games
played in the Tri-County Baseball
Jacksonville was to have play-
ed at Sardis, Rusk at Laneville,
while Henderson was to have play-
ed host to Mt. Enterprise and Glo-
ver was scheduled to visit Frank-
ston. According to league commis-
sioner J. Perrin Willis, the games
will be re-scheduled at a later
The schedule for this Sunday,
weather permitting, is as follows:
Sardis at Rusk; Henderson at Glo-
ver; Frankston at Mt. Enterprise;
Laneville at Jacksonville. A11
games are scheduled for 2:30 Sun-
In the Dairy Division, Walter Kirby, of the Jacksonville FFA
chapter, took Grand Champion honors with this Dairy Heifer enter-
ed in the under six months class.
HOW TO RELIEVE IT.
IN JUST 15 MINUTES.
If not pleased, your 4Se back at any
érug store. ITCH-ME-NOT deadens itch
and burning in minutes; kills terms,
«mí, l«tbit*4", ! Richard Meador, Jacksonville FFA, had the prize animal of the
jurUs rasbei. Today at Breeding Beef Bulls here to take first place and grand champion of
CARTLIDGE DRUG this class.
Beef Division Grand Champion, in the female beef classes, was
won by Miss Charlotte Underwood's entry. Miss Underwood is a
member of the New Summerfield 4-H Club.
Holding one of his Grand Champion Broilers here is Alvin Ivey
of the Maydelle FFA chapter. Ivey also took third and eighth places
in the broiler class.
Guardians of Health
Registered pharmacists with
years of experience will serve
you quickly and graciously.
Only the finest, high-potency,
absolutely pure drugs are used,
and every prescription is scrup*
ulously checked . . • twicel
Come in for pharmacy service
Cart Edge Drug
l H<me MU I-I3SI Tea.
PIECE v, S®
LIVING-ROOM MT Fl
7 pc. FOAM RUBBER GROUP s
Sofa and matching chair have FOAM RUBBER
CUSHIONS, and are covered in all nylon uphol-
stery. Also included in this terrific group are, two
end tables, two table lamps, and a coffee table,
plus yours with the purchase of this group a FREE
Yes may let
year oM living
If yos choose
You always SAVE at BEARDEN'S, shop Hi* store nearest you
for teisationaJ bargains in all hinds of furniture.
You Always Save Mora it Your BEARDEN STORE —
JACKSONVILLE RUSK PALESTINE
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Whitehead, E. H. The Rusk Cherokeean. (Rusk, Tex.), Vol. 110, No. 45, Ed. 1 Thursday, May 1, 1958, newspaper, May 1, 1958; Rusk, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth150233/m1/2/: accessed May 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Singletary Memorial Library.