Archive for the ‘Abbott Texas’ Category

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

Willie Country (December 1986)

Sunday, May 31st, 2015


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!


Willie Nelson writes about his Christian faith in new memoir, “My Life: It’s a Long Story”

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

By Mark Ellis

To say his Christian faith is unconventional is an understatement. A rebel since his teens, the singer’s tumultuous career and personal life mirror the ups and downs of his spiritual journey, which seems to resemble a tapestry of many colors.

But embedded deeply in his DNA is his Christian upbringing in the Abbott Methodist Church in rural Texas, where he and sister Bobbie sang gospel songs as children.

His mother deserted him shortly after his birth, which undoubtedly left a painful void. A short time later, his father remarried and left Willie and his sister in the care of grandparents, Mama and Daddy Nelson, who loved the Lord.

Daddy Nelson, a blacksmith, bought him a guitar when he was six and taught him a few chords, which began Willie’s life-long love affair with music.

Their grandfather gave sister Bobbie a piano he procured for $35. Bobbie recalls their grandmother singing the gospel standard “The Great Speckled Bird” while she and Willie played along in church, according to an interview she did with Matt Curry, a Presbyterian minister.

“I don’t sing,” Bobbie told Rev. Curry. “When I was very young, I used to harmonize with Willie when we would sing in church. His voice is so good, and I never had that quality of voice. He didn’t need me. I could get in his way. So I just played piano for him to sing. That’s what we still do.”

The Abbott Methodist Church still holds a special place in Willie’s heart. When the church faced financial problems in 2006 and considered selling the building, the singer purchased it so they could continue holding services.

“Now, you’re all members of the Abbott Methodist Church, and you will be, forever and ever,” he told congregants then, according to news sources.

The church’s Facebook page describes it as a “wonderful ole country church saved from destruction by Willie and Bobbie Nelson. God is alive and well at the Abbott Methodist Church!!!!!!” The worship schedule includes the notation that “you just never know who will be there for service.”

As a younger man, Willie taught Sunday School in Fort Worth, Texas and sold Bibles door-to-door to makes end meet.

About the writer: Mark Ellis is a senior correspondent for ASSIST News Service and also the founder of, a website that shares stories, testimonies and videos from the church around the world to build interest and involvement in world missions.

** You may republublish and any of OUR ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (

Abbott Methodist Church 2015 Scholarships Announced

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

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 $90,000 in scholarships to local area students.

They have announced the scholarship recipients for 2015.”:

Jacob Brown
Brandon Urbanovsky
Koy Moser

Mike Marin

Hunter McRae Keszler

Johnnie Arthur King Jr.

Dustin Wade Gant

Logan Leeann Warrick
Lauren Jane Heckard
Matthew Reed
Cooper Southard

Congratulations and best of luck to this year’s recipients.

If you would like to support the scholarship program:

Abbott Methodist Church
P.O. Box 105
Abbott, Tx 76621


Abbott High School (1949)

Friday, February 6th, 2015


Abbott High School Annual 1949

Donald Reed (upper left page)

Willie Nelson ( lower right)

Thank you Rick Pinner for the post

Jimmy Bruce, “Heartbeat of Abbott, Texas”

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

“A Winner never quits, and a quitter never wins”: The Facts of Life (and other dirty stories), by Willie Nelson

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

The Facts of Life: and Other Dirty Jokes
by Willie Nelson

“Our motto in Abbott was, and still is, “A winner never quits, and a quitter never wins.”  This was written above our black panther logo in the school gym.  I saw it every day.  It must have stuck.  I believe that you can’t lose if you don’t give up.  Even if you die, you’ll die fighting.  I remember one of the Rankin boys saying one day in a basketball game between Abbott and Byrum — someone offended him in some way — he jumped out in the middle of the gym and said, “My mama didn’t raise nothin’ but fighting kids!”  I thought, “What a nice family.”

The Abbott motto has carried me around the world several times, and helped me through a lot of interesting situations.  Like when I first came to Houston.  I hit town with my wife, Martha, and daughters, Lana, age four, and Susie, two.  I was looking for a place to stay and I needed rent money, so I began to search for a place to play.  I found a little place in Pasadena and got a job at the Esquire Ballroom, all the way across Houston, about an hour drive on the Hempstead Highway.

It was a Monday afternoon, about three o’clock.  Larry Butler and his band were rehearsing in the Esquire.  I walked in, sat at a table, and waited until Larry took a break.  I introduced myself and asked Larry if he wanted to buy any songs — ten dollars apiece.  I sang them, “I Gotta Get Drunk” and “Family Bible.”  He said, “Those songs are worth more than ten dollars, but I’ll loan you the money to pay your rent, and I’ll give you a job in my band.”  Thanks, Larry Butler.

One night, Larry was left in charge of the club while the owner Raymond Prosky, went somewhere.  Everything was fine until some drunk started giving the waitress trouble.  Larry came off the bandstand to straighten things out.  Naturally I had to help.  When the dust cleared, Larry had his teeth knocked out and I had two broken ribs.  Thanks, Larry, we’re even.  Just joking.  I owe you a lot more than that.”

Abbott Methodist Church 2014 Scholarship Awards

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

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. We are proud to announce the scholarship recipients for 2014:

Abbott ISD

Jake Brown
Tanner Pope
Laura Kucera

Aquilla ISD

Mike Morian

Whitney ISD

Cooper Southard
Lauren Heckard
Matthew Reed

Congratulations to all the scholarship recipients.


Profits from the sale of these limited edition Willie Nelson and Bobbie Nelson coins go to support the Abbott Methodist Church Scholarship Program.

Since  the Abbott Methodist Church was rededicated by Willie and Bobbie Nelson in 2006, the church has given over $60,000 in scholarships to local area students.  Now, in support of the Scholarship Program, these rare Willie Nelson and Bobbie Nelson coins are available for sale.  The minted coins were available for sale several years ago, and there are only a few additional coins remaining.

Don Reed and Willie Nelson

 The coins are selling for $75.00 each, which includes shipping and insurance. If interested, leave a message at the Abbott Methodist Church Facebook Page.
Anyone wanting to make a donation to the Church’s Scholarship Program can send your  check or money order payable to Abbott Methodist Church, to:

Abbott Methodist Church
P.O. Box 105
Abbott, Tx 76621



Abbott Methodist Church (7/2/2006)

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014


Thanks to Janis Tillerson for these photos she took at the Abbott Methodist Church, July 2, 2006.





Willie Nelson honored in Abbott, TX (9/24/13)

Monday, October 14th, 2013


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.