Archive for the ‘Abbott Texas’ Category

Rest in Peace, Don Reed

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

Don Reed has passed away, at his home in Texas.  He and Willie Nelson were friends for over 70 years, and grew up in Abbott, Texas together.


Willie Nelson and friends, Joyce Reed, Fayedell Clements, Don Reed, Jackie Clements and Bobby Messer, taken on Willie’s bus, at Carl’s Corner, Texas.  Thanks to Stephen Girsh, for sharing this photo.

Janis from Texas took this picture at Carl’s Corner of Willie and Bobbie Nelson’s friends from Abbott:  Donald and Joyce Reed, and Fayedell and Jackie Clements.

When Willie Nelson learned that the Methodist Church in Abbott, where he and Bobbie and Don Reed attended with their families, was going to be sold and moved out of town, he bought the church building.   Don Reed said Willie told him, “Don, I bought that church.  And I am depending on you to take care of it.”  “And here I am,” said Don.

Sunday service live from Abbott Methodist Church

Sunday, April 1st, 2018

You can tune into  services live from the Abbott Methodist Church on Face Book on the first and third Sunday of each month.

Follow them on Facebook here.

Willie Nelson receives American FFA Degree

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

Willie Country, by Don Holland

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017


Willie Country
By Don Holland

Howdy!  Willie Nelson came to Abbott on Wednesday, December 3, and it was not so long  before he was surrounded by a lot of friends and fans who turned out to greet him.  Willie was accompanied by his sister Bobbie who plays the piano when they perform with the band.  They had come to Abbott to shoot some publicity photos to be used on the cover of a gospel music album that will be released in the future.  The reason why they came to Abbott is to have the photos taken in front of the Methodist Church that Willie and Bobbie attended when growing up here in Abbott.

Willie and Bobbie were dressed in their Sunday-go-to-meeting finest.  You can see for yourself how sharp they looked in the photos that have been placed on various pagers of the paper.


Rev. Wayne Dunson, the present preacher at the Methodist Church, is the same one that preached there when Willie and Bobbie attended in their youth.  He was in the area when Willie and Bobbie showed up and asked me to take a photo of him and Willie.  “But, he whispered in my ear, I need to go over and change my coat before you take the picture.  I don’t think it would look right with Willie looking more like a preacher than I do.”


Yours truly really enjoyed seeing Willie in Abbott.  He had come through town several times during the past month or so and I was always out of town and missed him.  Again, true to form, I was out of town, but Jan got on the telephone and had me located in Waco.  My brother Ben found me as the screen printers where I was picking up some new T-shirts of Willie as the Red Headed Stranger, and got the message to me.  I returned to Abbott immediately and was able to get the photos that you see in this issue.


While chatting with Willie, I asked him whether the movie entitled “The Red Headed Stranger” would be released.  He said, “Plans are made to release it February 19, 1987.”  So all of you fans stay on the lookout for the movie and remember you can get tee shirts and pictures of Willie as the Red Headed Stranger right here through the Souvenir Shop, either in person or by mail order.

Some of you no doubt read about the Susie Nelson Show that we had booked at the VFW Club in Cameron, Texas, this past November 15th.  The show was very successful as the folks there enjoyed the music and singing of our stars Susie Nelson and her band and Chris Robbins with Stagecoach Symphony.

Several phoots that I took are included in thgis issue (page 7) for your eyeballs’ pleasure.  Enjoy!  Also, we appreciated a big fan of Willie’s coming to the show — Ann Willis of Temple.  Ann showed me a lot of photos that she has taken around the countryside and we will try to run some of them in future editions.

Other recent visitors to Willie Nelson Country have come from Robards, Kentucky, Prag, Oklahoma; St. Joseph, Missouri; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Battle Creek, Michigan; Judsonia Arkansas; Jacksonville, Illionois; and Dallas, Garland, Red Oak, Mesquite, Austin, San Antonio, Temple Branson, Corsicana, Crossroads and Springtown, TX.  Coming the longest distance was Lucas Wegmann from Newcastle, Main.  We really enjoy meeting and visiting with Willie’s fans from all over the country!


This day in Willie Nelson history: Willie Nelson Honored in Abbott, Texas (November 4, 1973)

Saturday, November 4th, 2017

Abbott, Texas, honors its best-known hometown boy with Willie Nelson Day

Billboard Magazine
November 24, 1973

Abbott, TX.   Some 10,000 country music fans were in the neighborhood when Willie Nelson’s hometown honored him at it’s 1973 homecoming last week.  With Willie, who now makes his home in Austin, were his friends who put on a 12-hour stage show for the town’s 375 people and their thousands of guests.   Appearing on stage with the Atlantic recording artist were Waylon Jennings, Billy Joe Shaver, Jerry Jeff Walker, Kinky Friedman, Johnny Bush, Michael Murphey, Kenneth Threadgill and Sammi Smith.

It was quite a cast for a show sponsored by the Abbott PTA.   The audience played no favorites.  It responded uniformly and favorably to all of the entertainers.  Most of the audience was college and post college age.

People began arriving Saturday night for the Sunday show and the 300-acre site reserved for the event was dotted with campers, pickups, mobile homes, tents and bedrolls.   Some of the latecomers had to park several miles away, but were offered lifts in cars and pickups of those who were willing to chance finding parking closer in.

Willie and his band had to drive across Texas to make the event, having worked for the Saturday Terligua Chili Cook-Off.  He worked the morning stint, then closed the show with Sammi Smith.

Willie Doll at the Abbott Methodist Church

Monday, July 17th, 2017

Published by Stephen L Girsh
Willie is in church at Abbott Methodist Church this morning!!!!”

Abbott Methodist Church Announces 2017 Student Scholarships

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

Photo of Abbott Methodist Church, by Monique Claus

“One mission of the church is to provide scholarships to students who might not otherwise be eligible or receive financial assistance to further their education.”

Since  the Abbott Methodist Church was rededicated by Willie and Bobbie Nelson in 2006, the church has given over $109,000 in scholarships to local area students.

They have announced the scholarship recipients for 2017:

Aaron Blanton – China springs

Jake  Brown –  Abbott

Nicole Winters – Hubbard

Cassie Pavlas – West

Hayden Sinkule – College Station

Kyle Langford – Abbott

Dustin Gant – Clifton

Lauren Heckard  – Whitney

Matthew Reed  – Whitney

Brady Brunett – Aquila

Trevlon Winder – Aquila

Willie Nelson Fun Facts

Friday, May 5th, 2017

(CNN) — Here’s a look at the life of Grammy Award winning musician Willie Nelson.

Birth date: April 30, 1933

Birth place: Abbott, Texas

Birth name: Willie Hugh Nelson

Father: Ira Nelson

Mother: Myrle (Greenhaw) Harvey

Marriages: Ann Marie D’Angelo (1991-present); Connie Koepke (1971-1988, divorced); Shirley Collie (1963-1971, divorced); Martha Matthews (1952-1962, divorced)

Children: with Ann Marie D’Angelo: Micah and Lukas; with Connie Koepke: Amy and Paula; with Martha Matthews: Billy (died in 1991), Susie, Lana; with Mary Haney: Renee

Education: Attended Baylor University, 1954

Military: US Air Force, 1950, medical discharge

Other Facts:
Raised by his grandparents.

Sold encyclopedias door-to-door and taught Sunday school.

Has collaborated with Johnny Cash, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Lee Ann Womack, Rob Thomas and Snoop Dogg, among others.

Has a fifth-degree black belt in GongKwon YuSul.

Nominated for 49 Grammy Awards and won eight, including a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Nominated for one Academy Award.

Composed the song “Crazy,” which was made famous by singer Patsy Cline.

Is on the advisory board of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

1957 – Releases his first single, “No Place for Me.”

1960 – Moves to Nashville.

1962 – Releases his first album, “And Then I Wrote.”

1970 – Moves back to Texas.

1973 – Holds the first annual Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic in Texas.

1975 – Wins a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male, for “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain.”

1978 – Wins a Grammy, with Waylon Jennings, for Best Country Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group for “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.”

1978 – Wins a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male, for “Georgia On My Mind.”

1979 – Makes his acting debut, alongside Robert Redford, in the film, “The Electric Horseman.”

1980 – Wins a Grammy for Best Country Song for writing “On The Road Again.”

1980 – Stars in the film “Honeysuckle Rose.”

1982 – Wins a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male, for “Always On My Mind.”

1982 – Stars in the film “Barbarosa.”

1985 – Releases the album “Highwayman” with Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson.

1985 – Organizes Farm Aid, a concert to benefit family farmers.

1988 – Releases his memoir, “Willie: An Autobiography.”

1990 – The IRS seizes Nelson’s property and possessions to settle a $16.7 million tax debt.

1991 – Nelson releases the album, “The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories?” Nelson gives the profits from the album to the IRS.

1991 – Nelson’s son, Billy, commits suicide.

1993 – Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

1994 – Is arrested for possession of marijuana. The case is later dismissed.

2000 – The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences presents Nelson with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

2002 – Wins a Grammy, with Lee Ann Womack, for Best Country Collaboration With Vocals for “Mendocino County Line.”

2002 – Releases the book, “The Facts of Life and Other Dirty Jokes.”

2006 – Releases the book, “The Tao of Willie.”

2006 – In Louisiana, Nelson is issued a citation for possession of marijuana and illegal mushrooms. Nelson receives six months’ probation and pays a fine.

2007 – Wins a Grammy, with Ray Price, for Best Country Collaboration With Vocals for “Lost Highway.”

2010 – Is charged with marijuana possession after US Border Patrol agents search his tour bus in Texas near the US-Mexico border.

2012 – Releases the book, “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings from the Road.”

2013 – Nelson donates his collection of awards and personal items to the University of Texas at Austin’s Briscoe Center.

July 9, 2015 – The Library of Congress announces Nelson as the latest recipient of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

July 2016 – Nelson launches “Willie’s Reserve,” his own personal brand of marijuana that will be grown and sold wherever it’s legal. The brand will feature “high quality strains of marijuana,” and Nelson himself will work with “master growers” and local retailers to establish a set of “quality standards” for his special reserve.

February 12, 2017 – Wins a Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, for “Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin.”

TM & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Willie Nelson and Bill Mack visit in Abbott

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

Bill Mack, Willie Nelson, Morgan Freeman

“Willie Nelson was parked in his bus near his hometown, Abbott, Texas, and he decided to call me, asking me to drop by for a visit. Since Abbott is a short hop from my home in Fort Worth, I whizzed over. When I walked on the bus, Willie started chatting in a normal way, asking how things were going with me, etc. Finally, after quite a while, I noticed another visitor was on the bus with his back to me. Finally, he turned around, smiled and shook my hand. It was Morgan Freeman! Willie loves to surprise me.

It ended up being a very special occasion. Morgan, a multi-Oscar winner, is one of my favorite actors. We talked about his life in the movies, although he didn’t appear to want to spotlight his activities on film. I did find out his favorite roles were in “Shawshank Redemption”, “Driving Miss Daisy” (my favorite of his roles), “Glory” and “Unforgiven”. He claimed those movies were the highlights of his career. When asked his personal favorite movies he had seen down through the years, he mentioned “King Kong”, made in 1933, “High Noon” (1952), “Moby Dick” (1956) and “Moulin Rouge” (1952).

He informed me that watching Gary Cooper in movies as a kid was responsible for his interest in films. Although Morgan is regarded as one of Hollywood’s top stars, he doesn’t live in Los Angeles. His home is in Clarksdale, Mississippi, where he owns the “Ground Zero” bar & grill and a great restaurant named “Madidi”. I was really taken by Morgan, would like to spend more time with him in the future. I asked him what had brought him to Abbott, Texas. He laughed and replied, “Well, I heard Willie was in his bus over here, was lonely, and I just decided to drive over!” Willie finally roared with laughter and said, “Oh, I forgot to introduce you guys! Bill, this is Morgan Freeman. He’s a movie star of sorts. Morgan, this is Bill Mack Smith. Bill dropped his last name when he became sort of a disk jockey on radio.” All-in-all, it was a great day.”

Abbott, TX FFA Member Sets World Record

Friday, March 24th, 2017

Abbott FFA member Daylan Schulz sold his grand champion goat, Willie, for a world record amount of $180,000 at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Friday, March 17.

Schulz, a junior at Abbott High School, participated in the Junior Market Lamb and Goat Show with Willie, who he named after his hometown hero, Willie Nelson.

Schulz and Willie won in the heavy weight class before being awarded Division 4 champion and then going on to win grand champion goat of the entire show.

“It’s just pure joy and amazement,” he said. “Filled with emotions that your hard work has actually paid off—eight years of hard work paid off.”

Schulz has been showing goats for nine years and has participated in the Houston show for eight years.

He said that the experience of winning at the show has been a dream.

After high school, Schulz plans to attend Texas A&M University and major in construction science or industrial distribution.

He is guaranteed $30,000 of the world-record sale price, with the remainder going toward scholarships for other students.

Willie Nelson from Abbott

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Long before he became a country singing legend, before the Armadillo World Headquarters and Luckenbach, Texas, Willie Nelson figured that getting drunk and hanging out in honky tonks had probably ruined his shot at eternal salvation.

Rather than run off to the nearest church pew to repent, it was more like being wet and figuring you might as well get soaked.

Fame eventually came, of course. But four days shy of his 75th birthday, Willie is on tour in Europe, heralding the joys of marijuana in Amsterdam and carrying on, still, like that hungry kid from Abbott.

Retire? Don’t count on it.

“If he ever got to the point where people wouldn’t pay to come see him play, he’d sit on the street corner and play,” said his childhood friend, Jackie Clements, 75. “He’ll play until they haul him away.”

Born on April 30, 1933, Willie Hugh Nelson grew up a few miles north of Waco in tiny Abbott, which has the distinction of being the first town, alphabetically, in Texas. Raised by his grandparents after his parents divorced, young Willie helped the family make ends meet by picking cotton and shining shoes at the Abbott Barber Shop, where the old men nicknamed the red-headed boy “Booger Red.”

Eating supper at Willie’s house meant reliving the lunch hour because Grandma Nelson cooked for the school and would bring home leftovers at night.

“We didn’t realize we were poor, because we had friends and played and had a good time,” Clements said.

Despite the poverty around them, the Nelson family found spiritual comfort in music, handed down through generations of churchgoing music teachers from the hills of Arkansas and Tennessee. There was never much doubt that Willie, whose grandmother played piano and organ at church, would follow in the footsteps of his musically inclined ancestors. Among his earliest memories: sitting on the piano bench beside his older sister, Bobbie, trying to glean whatever he could learn.

As World War II raged a world away, “music was more than a call to arms in the small wood-frame house in Abbott,” writes Joe Nick Patoski in his new biography, Willie Nelson: An Epic Life. “It was the glue that held them together.”

Childhood friend Donald Reed recalls playing baseball and basketball with Willie, too, and he describes his now-famous friend as a somewhat mischievous prankster. But Reed said he could not remember a time when music wasn’t at the center of Nelson family life.

“They were our entertainment, singing and playing at the church and at any event held in Abbott,” Reed said. Years later, when Willie’s boyhood church appeared to be headed for removal or destruction, he bought the Abbott Methodist Church and had it restored so Reed and other Abbott residents could still attend services there.

Besides the officially sanctioned gospel music he grew up with at church, Willie got an early taste of the honky tonk scene — and alcohol — when he went with his father to Albert’s Place, a local beer joint. He got chewed out by his grandmother, but the die was cast.

“I was going straight to hell, no doubt about it,” Willie thought, according to Patoski’s book. “I wasn’t even 10 years old yet, so I had in my mind, the sky’s the limit from here on. I mean, I can’t go to hell twice.”

Willie pursued his musical passion with restless vigor. By age 12, he had already written 15 songs. Today the figure stands at more than 2,000, many of them never heard by his fans.

The precocious musician nevertheless spent years struggling to succeed as a songwriter; his unusual singing voice and sophisticated melodies made him something of an acquired taste among country music fans. He sold one of his first big hits, Family Bible, for $50, and often bounced checks and bummed gas money from friends.

He even offered to sell his song Hello Walls to Faron Young for $500. But Young knew the tune had potential and lent Nelson $500 instead. In 1961, Young’s rendition of Hello Walls” hit No. 1 on the country singles chart and Nelson’s first royalty check came in like an oil gusher at $14,000. That same year, his song Crazy was recorded by Patsy Cline and shot up on both the country and pop music charts.

The song, like many other Willie Nelson standards, has withstood the test of time. According to a ranking by National Public Radio, Crazy is the most popular jukebox single ever.

Offstage and behind the scenes, the song royalties helped fuel a lifestyle marked by material excess, substance abuse and failed relationships. Over the years, Nelson has endured three divorces, a messy battle with the IRS over unpaid taxes and the death of his son, Billy, who committed suicide in 1991. Years later, he said losing his child was the greatest disappointment of his life.

Nelson declined numerous requests for an interview ahead of his birthday, and those who know him say it’s no accident that he decided to go to Europe while his fans in Texas ponder the spectacle of Willie Nelson at the three-quarter-century mark. In spite of his reputation as a cowboy intellectual and philosopher, he doesn’t spend much time pondering his legacy.

“He’s moving as fast as ever,” said biographer Patoski. “I don’t think he likes looking back.”

A deep catalog

Patoski said he continues to marvel at Nelson’s longevity and innovation both as a songwriter and performer. Soon after touching down in Amsterdam last weekend, Nelson — who has performed with the likes of Ray Charles, the Beach Boys and Julio Iglesias — appeared on stage with rap star Snoop Dogg.

Down the road, Patoski said a bank of hundreds of yet-to-be released recordings will keep Nelson’s legacy intact well into the next century and give him a “longer-lasting, deeper catalog than Elvis.”

“He is the greatest Texas music artist of all time,” Patoski said. “No one else has been as long-lasting and enduring, and he’s still vital and still active.”

So is his sister, Bobbie, a talented pianist who last year released her debut album — at age 76. She has been traveling and playing with her famous brother for more than 35 years and says if she’s not thinking about retiring, he’d better not, either.

“I’m almost afraid of 75 for Willie because I don’t want him to think he’s getting old,” she said. “Hopefully by me being older, he can see that ‘OK, Sister Bobbie, you’ve not let it whip you yet, so I can’t let it whip me.’ If I can help him do that, I’ll be happy.”

Abbott Methodist Church Scholarship Recipients announced (2016)

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Photo of Abbott Methodist Church, by Monique Claus

“One mission of the church is to provide scholarships to students who might not otherwise be eligible or receive financial assistance to further their education.”

Since  the Abbott Methodist Church was rededicated by Willie and Bobbie Nelson in 2006, the church has given over $99,000 in scholarships to local area students.  The scholarships are not merit based, but are available to assist any area student.

If you would like to make a donation to the Abbott Methodist Church Scholarship Program, send check or money order to:

Abbott Methodist Church
116 Bordon Street
Abbott, Texas 76621
attn:  Scholarships

The Abbott Methodist Church have announced the names of the 2016 Scholarship recipients.  . Residents from Abbott and surrounding area support the church and sponsor the scholarships.

Jake Brown
Nathan Cox
Courtney Walker

Hillsboro ISD

Cassandra Hughes

Hubbard ISD

Skyy Ca’tia Brackens

Whitney ISD

Matthew Reed
Lauren Heckard

Clifton ISD

Dustin Gant

We congratulate all our scholarship winners and wish them the best of luck in the future.

Janis from Texas took this picture of Bobbie and Willie Nelson, at the Abbott Methodist Church.

Willie and his sister Bobbie attended the Abbott Methodist Church on July 2, 2006, and performed along with Mickey Raphael, Bea Speers, Leon Russell, and Donald Reed.  The church in Abbott is the church were Bobbie and Willie attended as children, with their grandparents.



Willie Nelson raises $125 for West Texas and Abbott Texas Fire Departments (May 2013)

Saturday, March 26th, 2016

Willie Nelson Raises $125K For West & Abbott Volunteer Firefighters

WEST (CBS 11) – At the West Volunteer Fire Department, a day of mixed emotions. As they continue to mourn their seven firefighters killed when the West Fertilizer Company plant exploded, they take comfort in the generosity of country superstar Willie Nelson.

He held a benefit concert for West last month, and on Monday, one of his life-long friends, Donald Reed, presented the fire department a check for $80,900. “Heroes they were, even though they are not here, we should never forget them.”

Reed says Nelson was deeply touched by what happened. “Willie is so benevolent, so loving, so gracious.”

West Mayor Pro Tem Stevie Vanek says, “What he (Nelson) has done for us — with our fire department, and our fundraising, it would have taken us ten years to raise that kind of money.”

For the first time since the blast that claimed the lives of his volunteers, Chief George Nors was overcome with emotion. “Can’t express it — it’s emotional for me.”

He was injured while responding to the fire at the plant and is still wearing a brace.

“I’m doing better, I’m doing better. I got hurt in the blast, I’m still recuperating.”

The good news wasn’t isolated to West.

Nelson and the Abbott Methodist church also presented a check to the town of Abbott for $46,551.

Three of their volunteer firefighters also lost their lives.

“Willie’s always been generous to help us out anything we need in Abbott, he’s always been willing to donate or help.”

Back at the West fire department, the money will go for new equipment, such as pagers, beepers and radios.

The department has also received two donated firetrucks — a used pumper truck, and a brand new tanker that can hold 3,000 gallons of water.

It’s worth $250,000.

Vanek says, “This is a great donation for us,” according to Vanek, who explains the money will be used to buy radios, beepers, and pagers to replace those lost during the blast.

Some money will also go to the families of the firefighters killed.

Next week, the fire department hopes to resume responding to all fire calls in the city.

For now, they’re covering calls that come in only at night.

Abbott, Texas

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016


It was impossible for Janis and I to drive from Fort Worth to Austin without a trip through Abbott, Texas, Willie Nelson’s home town.  It was a beautiful day.  We visited the church, saw a street sign, and drove by his home.



Abbott Methodist Church

Sunday, September 13th, 2015

Photo of Abbott Methodist Church, by Monique Claus