As we are in our third month of the COVID-19 virus, I thought it might be interesting to look back at times when the Great Depression was in full swing, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt with his staff desperately tried to figure out a solution.

Many people today are using that time as a standard for our future.

I chose Jack County, Texas, as my area to compare with Hunt County.

Jack County had more ranching, with less rainfall. but about the same population as the cotton growers of Hunt County. Many of you may know Jack County has been home to my families since before the Civil War.

I used the Portal to Texas History to peruse the Jan. 5, 1933, issue of the Jacksboro Gazette.

The Jacksboro Gazette was a weekly newspaper for the entire county. It was filled with local news about who went to visit whom.

In this issue, the epidemic of influenza seemed to have subsided after almost 16 years.  

The first issue of every newspaper contains reports from schools and governmental offices. In 1933 the Home Demonstration Agent assisted in conserving food valued at $22,548. That was 31,388 tin cans and 23,00 glass jars.

Club members made clothing valued at $26,546.25, saving a total of $883.51 by making clothes at home.

Club women attended a meeting showing how a housewife with a big open shelf pantry could arrange 1000 containers of food at the cost of only $4.00 for shelving and curtain materials. Yes, families ate these canned goods instead of fast foods.

Someone suggested hiring unemployed men to cut timber for sale. It was be cheaper than gas and would give unemployed men work. However, wood stoves that had been stored away with no intent to bring them out again must be approved with the housewife who had to keep the house clean.    

The owner of the Gazette warned his readers that legal notices in the future must be paid only with cash before the ad was published. The past few years the Gazette had lost over 50 percent of its profits when clients didn’t pay.

The paper came out on Thursday with one page of comics.

 Two ads in the paper encouraged all residents to come to church – to any church. One grocery story encouraged attendance at church, even suggesting that the wife come in on Saturday so she could have ample time to prepare the Sunday dinner and still make it to church. No mention was made of dining out.

One of the county tractors fell into the West Fork of the Trinity on the Post Oak road, as a result of the bridge giving away. No injuries were reported.

Yet, Dan Tuggles, another Jack County resident, suffered a serious injury to his right hand as the result of a friendly scuffle. According to reports, Mr. Tuggles was in Nash Grocery when the accident occurred. He was taken to Fort Worth (about 60 miles away) for treatment, but due to the fact that he had a high temperature, from “flu” when he reached that place, the surgeons did not operate on his hand.

Finally, an interesting ad for Saturday, Jan. 7, 1933.

Oranges … 15c

Baking Powder … 23c 3 lbs. Folgers Coffee … $1.65

All Cigarettes … 15c Gallon Karo Syrup … 55c

48 lbs. Crown Flour … 78c

8lbs. Jewel Shortening … 49c.

The store was called Hokus Pokus. Who knows why?

Taylor is chairman of  the Hunt County Historical Commission. She can be contacted at carol@carolctaylor.com.

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