LONGVIEW — Nadine Jackson is preparing to celebrate her 100th birthday just days after her hometown celebrates its 150th.
As longtime Hallsville resident and 1938 Miss Hallsville, Jackson remembers the town when it’s school district had less students than any one of its grades now enrolls.
Jackson, a member of the 1938 Bobcat class, will celebrate her 100th birthday on Nov. 15 and her beloved hometown will celebrate its 150th birthday during the Hallsville Sesquicentennial Celebration set for Oct. 24-26.
“I was born in Upshur County, in Indian Rock, and when I was two years old, we moved to Walker’s Mill in Hallsville,” Jackson said on Tuesday while reminiscing in her apartment at Longview’s Alpine House with daughter Patricia Anderson, son Tom Landers and niece Sandra Walker.
“When I was 19 years old, my senior year, I was voted Miss Hallsville 1938, to represent Hallsville at the Yamboree,” Jackson said. “I don’t know how I won, I was at home sick that day.”
Despite not being at school the day she won Miss Hallsville, Jackson, who at 99 is still full of spunk and sass, remembers exactly what she wore for the three day Yamboree festival when she represented her hometown.
“I was there for three days at the Yamboree,” she said. “At the tea, I wore a formal taffeta dress that was a deep red color. The next day, we rode in the car at the parade that had the Miss Hallsville sign on the side of it and I wore a teal blue suit that was trimmed in Persian lamb.”
Jackson said throughout the years, the Walker’s Mill area of Hallsville where she lived just a few years shy of a century, has changed greatly.
“Back then, there were a lot of houses in the Walker’s Mill area,” she said. “We had three grocery stores, an Ice House, three saw mills and two planing mills.”
Jackson said the city of Hallsville, especially the school district itself, has probably changed the most in all her years as a resident.
“The town has really grown up through the years and the school district is wonderful,” Jackson said.
Anderson and Landers agreed.
“When we were at the football game the other night, they introduced the 2019 Miss Hallsville contestants before the game and there were 38 of them,” Landers said. “There were only 32 of us in my graduating class of 1960.”
Walker, who runs the Hallsville Floral Shop in downtown Hallsville, said the town’s first bank was at her neighboring business, the GoForth Building, and the original vault that was in the bank still stands.
Jackson said she remembers working to save enough money to go to nearby Marshall for the fair.
“My older sister’s husband had planted some cotton so I would pick just enough cotton to make one dollar because that was all I needed to go to the fair in Marshall,” she said. “They would ask me if I wanted to pick more to make more money and I told them no, a dollar was all I needed. You can’t get anything nowadays hardly for that.”
Later in life, Jackson worked at a couple of downtown Marshall businesses, including Logan and Whaley and Woolsworth’s. She later went to work in Longview at Ridgeways Bath and Gift Shop.
Jackson said she is grateful to have spent her life in a town like Hallsville and she considers herself blessed.
“I have had a good life,” she said. “God has really blessed me with a full life.”
Jackson will be celebrating her momentous 100 years on earth on Nov. 15 with a trip to one of her favorite places, the casino.
“The most I’ve ever won was $1,000,” she said. “El Dorado is my favorite and I do really and truly love going to the casino.”
Jackson can be found there with her birthday crown on next month sitting in front of a quarter machine, hopefully striking it rich, though she considers herself already rich in all the ways that matter.
“I’ve been married twice. I have two children, three grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren,” she said. “God has really blessed me.”
Meanwhile, the city of Hallsville will be celebrating its momentous birthday downtown with a weekend long list of events and activities during the Sesquicentennial Celebration.
The planning committee has planned a jam packed Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the city’s 150th birthday, first with a Historical Section set up Oct. 24 and 25 on the land across from Hallsville City Hall where Shiver’s Sno Cones currently sits.
The Historical Section is set up by committee member Rob Key who also serves as an organizer for the annual Battle of Fort Crawford event.
“We will have real Native Americans there and they will perform a traditional dance,” Welch said. “We will also have a blacksmith set up there, and soap, candle and syrup making, as well as a leather making. We will have teepees and chuck wagons set up and there will be a recreation of the buildings in Hallsville from that era, including the post office and Masonic lodge. Everything will be in a historically correct theme.”
In addition to the Historical section, the event will host a historic period themed parade at 10 a.m. Oct. 25, beginning at Brookshire’s, following along on U.S. Highway 80 East to the Hallsville Park.
Wagons will be put on trailers for the parade and the Hallsville High School Bobcat drill team and band will join in the parade, as well as several antique cars and tractors, Welch said.
Immediately following the Saturday parade, U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert will be on hand to speak at the Hallsville City Park amphitheater, as well as Hallsville Mayor Jesse Casey.
“We will have a huge birthday cake for everyone at noon at Gold Hall Community Center to celebrate the city’s birthday,” committee member Laura Welch said.
During the day on Saturday, vendors will be set up at the park while bands play live music on the amphitheater stage.
A Little Miss Sesquicentennial and Junior Miss Sesquicentennial Pageant will be held at 2 p.m. Oct. 25 at the park’s amphitheater. Girls ages 3 to 7 years old may compete in the Little Miss pageant while girls ages 8 to 12 years old may compete in the Junior Miss pageant. Sunday dress is requested for pageant attire.
Those wishing to sign up for the pageant or the parade may pick up forms at Hallsville City Hall. Welch said a small participation fee will be required per pageant contestant.
“From about 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, we will have constant back to back entertainment, old games, live bands and wagon rides around town. The Hallsville ISD Band Boosters are set to host a fundraiser dinner from 4 to 6 p.m. at Gold Hall Community Center,” Welch said. “At 7 p.m. on Saturday, Beau Brumble, who is a Hallsville native, will perform at the amphitheater at the park.”
At 8 a.m. on Oct. 26, a church service will be held at the Non Day Camp on FM 450 North, Welch said.
“We want everything to have the historical aspect in honor of our cities’ 150th anniversary,” Welch said. “We plan to have the Native American dancers, antique tractors, a parade and we will host events with old games and old candy from that era. We want vendors that make things so it stay correct to the historical theme.”
For more information about the event, to sign up for the parade or pageant, or to become a vendor, visit www.facebook.com/Hallsvilles-Sesquicentennial-Celebration-306742696575193/ or send tax deductible donations to P.O. Box 116, Hallsville, Texas 75650.