De Leon Centennial Celebration 1981
De Leon celebrated it’s centennial throughout the summer of 1981 with activities planned by the Centennial Committee. The committee was headed by Chairman Donnie Nowlin and Co-chairman John Mac Weaver.
The committee began by setting up a tourist and information office in the old F.&M Bank building. The members created and issued commemorative medallions in bronze, silver and gold, published “A Pictorial History of De Leon, Texas 1881-1981, and had numerous displays of photos and memorabilia from De Leon’s first hundred years in stores and store windows throughout the community.
On July 7th, the date of the auction of the town lots in 1881, De Leonians gathered at the city park for an old time picnic before moving to the Festival stage to honor the the Centennial Queen, Mrs. V.V. Bell and King Lee Northcutt. Mr. Northcutt had turned 100 the previous October but his health did not allow him to attend the celebration.
Mrs. Bell was 99 at the time. She was born in Erath County and came to De Leon in 1903. Perhaps the best indication of her sharp humor and still active mind, came during her interview by Co-chair John Mac Weaver. He noted that she had seen numerous presidential administrations in her long life and asked what she felt would be some of the problems facing President Reagan. Without a moment’s hesitation she responded, “Well, his biggest problem is that he is a Republican.”
Following the presentation was a style show featuring De Leonians in actual dresses and military uniforms from days past as well as newly created historical style dresses made for the celebration. Birthday cake and ice cream was followed by the largest fireworks show ever held in De Leon.
The Centennial theme was continued a month later at the 80th Peach and Melon Festival. On Saturday afternoon August 8, 1981, a time capsule was buried in the lawn at the site of the old De Leon High School now the location of the First United Methodist Church. Families were encouraged to place items in the capsule for their descendants to discover fifty years hence. One item of particular interest placed in the capsule was the hat of Archie Humphries, the beloved founder of Archie Town.
The capsule is to be opened on August 8, 2031. The celebration concluded with a multi-screen media show on Saturday night of the Festival.Centennial Committee Members Chairman-Donnie Nowlin Co-Chairman-John Mac Weaver Corresponding Secretary-Norma Locke Recording Secretary-Eula Weaver Treasurers-Mr. and Mrs. Lee Dendy Reporter-Nell Mohon Jack Barnes Nancy Brown Kevin Caraway June Carruth, Xandra Morgan Mathis Carter Judy Coan Mary Alice Crittenden Wallace Cook Lowery Easley Ruth Ann Gilbert Jack Hasty Rae Jean Hasty Ray Harvey Daryleen Hodges Max Keith Mrs. A.G. Lee Emmett Locke June McDaniel C.L. Mohon Darlene Morris Marie Morris J.R. Otwell Charlotte Parker Dean Pounds Lucille Preston Nelda Priddy Sherman Sides (Festival Chairman) DeLoyn Singleton Hiram Smith Jr. Roger Mae Smith Ronald Spruill Debra Stephens Edna Merle Stewart Al Strasner Phil Tate Betty Terill Trent Thomas Doyle Welch Cindy Wilkerson Glenda Wilkerson Wanda Wright