Heritage, Volume 9, Number 1, Winter 1991 Page: 19
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decorated coffee cans at street crossings
and in front of the local discount store
asking for donations, giving each donor a
red lapel heart.
High school cheerleaders created a
"Have a Heart" cheer and paraded about
the football field with a beautiful handmade
quilt donated by an elderly Woodville
woman as a means of raising additional
funds. A Vintage Talent Show was
staged at the local opera house. A woman,
who had once worked at the Village and
remembered its heyday, donated her
cooking skills for a huge tamale sale in front
of the Woodsman newspaper, which headlined
the money-raising efforts each week
on its front page.
It was a display of unity and strength
thought impossible in a town of less than
3,000 and a county of only 15,000.
Donations came from every sector in
amounts from ten cents to ten thousand
dollars. The deadline was October 27. On
that day Heritage Society President
Christine Moor Sanders, Board Member
Jack Whitmeyer, and Woodsman Publisher
John Yearwood signed the papers, and the
Tyler County Heritage Society was in business
as Heritage Village Museum, a nonprofit
educational facility, dedicated to the
preservation of Tyler County history.
Since that time the Society and the
Village have spread their unified wings to
encompass many areas of historic preservation
and to present the resulting efforts
as an effective teaching tool for generations
to come. People of all ages and persuasions
are taking the bait to learn about
An early acquisition in the life of the
museum was the donation of 11.5 acres of
adjoining wooded land, boasting most of
the natural beauties of the Big Thicket.
This land, donated by Jack and Manie
Whitmeyer and named The Big Woods, has
been developed into well-labeled hiking
trails, where park rangers often come to
speak to special groups about the ecological
wonders of the thicket.
Funds are being sought to restore a
historic 1876 home, donated by the Hamm
family of Town Bluff and moved to the
head of the hiking trails, as a nature center
for the museum.
Another early effort was the Society's
Oral History program headed by Iris
Wiedenfeld, who is recording the memories
of as many of Tyler County's senior
citizens as time will allow. Tapes with
accompanying pictures and documents are
being stored and will eventually find a
permanent home in the Village's Genealogy
Library, which is fast becoming an
important research center for genealogy
and history buffs alike. Already available to
researchers are microfiche and microfilm
readers and genealogical cross-reference
directory as well as a growing collection of
family histories, papers, and books.
A full time manager, Marjorie Schultz,
came on board in April of 1988 and has
since overseen the rebuilding of one side
of the Village's main street, the moving
and rebuilding-log by log-of a historic
cantilever barn from the John Henry Kirby
family homestead in northwest Tyler
county, and the enlargement of the
Blacksmith Shop. It is here that Marjorie's
husband Charlie, a fourth generation
blacksmith, started the East Texas
Blacksmith Alliance, which now provides
volunteer blacksmiths whenever a special
occasion or a tour is scheduled at the Village.
Clara Gallier, descendent of one of the county's oldest families, shoos idlers off the front porch
of the 1866 Tolar Cabin-the focal point of Heritage Village Museum.
One side of Main Street at the Village consists of the Pluck Post Office, the Barber Shop, and the Jail.
An area in the foreground is being developed as a wagon shed to show off some of the Village's old vehicles.
HERITAGE * WINTER 1991
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 9, Number 1, Winter 1991, periodical, Winter 1991; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45422/m1/19/: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.