Norma Nichols kindly shares her memories, information, and photos with
us about her roots in Bryan County (Oklahoma) and Fannin County
(Texas). She's a true Red River Valley Girl! Thanks so much, Norma!

I love your website.  I grew up in Honey Grove, Texas and my husband grew up
in Bryan County, in southeastern Oklahoma (Kemp).  When he presented me
with an engagement ring (in 1963) we were sitting on the banks of Red River
under the Carpenter Bluff's Bridge.  I am attempting to write my family history
and would love to have a copy of your picture of the bridge!  The picture looks
as though it was made when cars still used the one-way piggy-back side of the
bridge.  Loose planks rattled as you drove across and terrified me the first
time I made the trip to Kemp, Oklahoma. I don't know when trains quit traveling
across the bridge, but I can only imagine how frightening it must have been to
cross the bridge at the same a train did!  Today, concrete has been poured
over the railroad track and cars traverse on that side (one-direction-at-a-time,
of course).  The piggy back side is still there but very treacherous.

In my writings, I've done a little research about Honey Grove business during
1955-1960.  I graduated High School in 1960 and my dad owned a Texaco
gasoline service station at that time so I was trying to recreate that scene.  My
family has deep roots in Fannin County.  Both my grandfathers settled in
Fannin County and Honey Grove in the late 1800's.  Have you ever visited the
Honey Grove Historical website?  I can't get this link to work, but the address
is:
www.honeygrove.org or e-mail Mary Anne Thurman, administrator
(thurman@honeygrove.org).  She helped me comprise a list of businesses and
she posted a couple of my pictures of the downtown area made in 1951.  
Anyway, just FYI for what its worth.

You mentioned recipes on your website.  I recall as a child my mother often
made "Slang Jang" when she had guests over for games.  I didn't realize until I
viewed the Honey Grove historical info that "Slang Jang" is peculiar to Honey
Grove and the recipe is included there.

"Slang Jang" is like a cold soup...it is made from canned tomatoes, oysters,
onions, hot sauce, salmon and whatever else you want to throw in...sounds
terrible, but I remember enjoying eating it when I was young.  

Davy Crockett Day is celebrated October 1st.  I'm sure Mary Anne Thurman
would have the details on the event.  The legend of Davy Crockett naming the
town is also posted on the website.

One of the attached pictures is of my grandmother, Myrtle Lair, sitting in a car.  
It was made in 1951.  You can see the Western Auto Store in front of the car,
and next to Western Auto you can barely make out "Food Market" - this is
where Collins Grocery (later known as Collins Piggly Wiggly) started out, and
across to the left in the background is the Jackson and Self Goodyear store.

The other picture is of the South side of the Honey Grove square.  I've been
told the small white sign in front of the Ford car on the left was a "Taxi Stand"
sign.  Kold Kash Store, owned by J. W. Hammack, is pictured on the left.  Next
to it is Baker's Pharmacy, then the State Theater.  You can barely see the big
white 1cent scales in front of the theater.  Next to the theater is Dial
Hardware.  The Texaco station visible in the photo was operated by my father,
George Simmons.

At the time I graduated High School in 1960, I think the population of Honey
Grove was around 2000.  But the town supported a great number of
businesses. There were numerous gasoline stations, several hardware stores,
two clothing stores, movie theaters, variety stores, jewelry store, shoe repair,
grocery stores, barber/beauty shops, etc.  Of course that was before mass
marketers like Wal-Mart; small businessmen thrived - the rural community
came to town every weekend to take care of everything from entertainment to
buying groceries to getting haircuts. I think it is interesting that so many
merchants could survive in such a small town and I never realized that until I
started writing and looking back!
The old plank portion of Carpenter's Bluff Bridge. Read
my article about it at
Texas Escapes!
Norma's grandmother in downtown Honey Grove, 1951.
Honey Grove and Carpenter's Bluff
Reader Bette (Bates) Babers:
I grew up in Honey Grove, TX. The street she says is hwy 82/56
is actually Market Street. The highway is to the left out of the
picture. Thanks! (I graduated in 1966)
Questions or comments?
E-mail me:
robin@redriverhistorian.com