Archive for the ‘Abbott Texas’ Category

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.

Willie Nelson and Bobbie Nelson, “I thought about you Lord” (Abbott Methodist Church)

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Sorry, I can’t embed this video here, but you can go to Vimeo and watch it here.

WILLIE NELSON, BOBBIE NELSON ..I Thought About You Lord…R.I.P JODY PAYNE from Lian Lunson on Vimeo.

Abbott Methodist Church awards scholarships for 2013

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

The Abbott Methodist Church will celebrate its seventh anniversary of its re-opening in July 2013. The church is served by a great group of volunteers led by Donald and Joyce Reed who work tireless to keep the Abbott Methodist Church open and alive with the message that God is alive and well in Abbott, Texas.

Photo of Abbott Methodist Church, by Monique Claus

One mission of the church is to provide scholarships to students who might not otherwis…e be eligible or receive financial assistance to further their education. We are proud to announce the scholarship recipients for 2013: 

Abbott, Texas
John Marshall Nors
Jessica Mable Russell
Tyler Keith Russell
Kenneth Stephen Watson
Aquilla, Texas
Michal Trey Turner
Jody Alan Perry

Whitney, Texas

Justin Reed

Murphy, Texas

Megan Bynum
Leah Bynum

Hubbard, Texas

Demi Wood

Congratulations to all the scholarship recipients and may God Bless you during your future.

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



It was Willie Nelson’s Birthday, but he was the one giving the gifts

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

photo: Jim Eckenrode

So typical of Willie Nelson —  he turns the big 8-0, but  instead of sitting around relaxing and accepting gifts, best wishes and accolades — Willie Nelson starts giving gifts to everyone else.  First, he announces that his fans can help him celebrate his birthday, a day which year after year he says is ‘just another day’, and most often finds him performing at one of his regularly scheduled shows somewhere around the country or the world.  

This year, Willie invited his family and friends and fans to his home town of Austin, Texas, to celebrate his birthday with him at a concert at the Back Yard.  So, instead of him sitting around doing nothing, he works hard and entertains us fans who are sitting around doing nothing, enjoying him.   So Willie. 

Then, when the terrible fire/explosion disaster happened at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas, Willie immediately changed the concert from a birthday celebration concert, to a fundraiser to benefit the folks of West, Texas, and volunteer fire department, who lost so many precious lives and equipment that day.   Willie and his sister Bobbie Nelson were born and grew up right down the road from West, in Abbott, Texas, and had friends in the area who suffered from the event.  Willie immediately wanted to donate the proceeds from the concert to help out his friends and neighbors.  So Willie. 

Thanks, to Tim O’Connor, of the BackYard,  and their staff and crew, and  Willie Nelson and Family and Crew, for their generosity towards the folks in West, Texas.

If you couldn’t make it to the concert, there are ways you can still help out the folks of West and Abbott, Texas:


A benefit account for the “Abbott VFD- Fallen Fighters Fund” has been set up at The First National Bank of Central Texas, in Hillsboro, Texas.   If anyone would like to donate, please stop by or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate contact them.   ~*God Bless*~  The address is : FNBCT, 300 E. Elm St, Hillsboro, TX 76645. 

West Texas Relief Fund:

The City Council of West officially endorsed the West, Texas Disaster Relief Efforts Fund as the recommended recipient for all charitable donations made for the relief efforts in West, Texas.

Three local foundations – Cooper, Rapoport and Waco – coordinated together to establish The West, Texas Disaster Relief Efforts Fund, housed at Waco Foundation. This Fund is for the sole benefit of the victims and relief efforts of the West Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion. The Rapoport Foundation made the lead gift of $20,000 to the Fund in order to encourage the Waco community to be the leading contributors in support of our neighbors in West. Cooper Foundation quickly followed suit with a gift of $20,000 to the Fund. To date, the Fund has received almost $310,000 from individuals and foundations throughout the United States.  

The Fund can accept donations of cash, check, credit card or publicly traded securities. Contributions may be designated for general assistance, firefighter relief or for the victims who were directly impacted by this tragedy. General assistance contributions to the Fund are strongly encouraged as there are many other needs to be addressed that do not fit into a designated category. Waco Foundation is covering all administrative cost so that 100% of the contributions received from donors will be distributed out to the relief efforts. In addition, Waco Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity; therefore all gifts received are fully tax deductible. 

To donate to the West, Texas Disaster Relief Efforts Fund, visit and click the West, Texas Disaster Relief Efforts link on the homepage. Checks can be made payable to Waco Foundation for the benefit of the West, Texas Disaster Relief Efforts Fund. All additional inquiries related to charitable contributions should be directed to Melissa Miller, Director of Communications & Donor Services, at Waco Foundation at (254) 754-3404 or


American Red Cross

West, Texas, May 1, 2013 — Two weeks after a fertilizer plant exploded in West, Texas, claiming lives and leaving hundreds of people in the town without homes, the Red Cross continues to provide food, relief items and emotional support to residents as they take the first steps towards recovery. 

To date, the Red Cross has served more than 18,600 meals and snacks and distributed more than 19,400 clean up and hygiene relief items in West, Texas. Red Cross nurses and licensed counselors have made more than 1,200 health contacts and 1,500 mental health contacts with West residents following the trauma of this unique disaster. 

“The moment the Red Cross was notified of the disaster, teams from Waco, Dallas/Fort Worth and Austin were en route to respond to this disaster,” said Mark Felton, executive director of the American Red Cross Heart of Texas Chapter. “Just like we were here at first notice, the Red Cross will continue to be here as the people of West take the next steps.” 

As those who had homes damaged or destroyed in West continue to work on their long term recovery plan, the Red Cross will continue to be of assistance, providing the means for families to rent new homes, replacing prescription medications and eyeglasses and other services. The Joint Assistance Center in West at 2547 Jerry Mashek Road will be open through Friday, May 3. Red Cross caseworkers will continue to work with families in West to ensure that individual needs are addressed. 

For more information on how the Red Cross is responding in West, citizens can call the help hotline at (254) 826-7550 or the Red Cross Heart of Texas at (800) 733-2767. 

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at

Hooey Hats of Austin

There are probably other sites/organizations helping out, let me know if you know of any others.

Sirius/XM Radio to broadcast Willie Nelson’s Birthday Party/ Benefit Concert for West, TX (4/28/13)

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013


Hear the Willie Nelson & Family 80th Birthday Concert broadcast LIVE on SiriusXM Willie’s Roadhouse from The Backyard at Bee Cave on Sunday 4/28 9 pm ET with an encore rebroadcast on Willie’s birthday Tuesday 4/30 8 pm ET.  The concert will be a joint benefit for the Abbott, TX and West, TX volunteer fire departments to replace equipment lost in the fertilizer plant explosion last week.

Donations can also be made directly to the Abbott Volunteer Fire Dept., P.O. Box 24, Abbott, TX 76621 and the West Volunteer Fire Dep’t, P.O. Box 461, West, TX 76691.