Shelby County News

Week Ending February 17, 2005


Corrections/Additions/New Stuff 


Neuville or Gunnels Cave    

        In June, 1935, Center Chamber of Commerce was working for the designation of a State Park for Shelby County.  The chamber wrote to the State Park Board for information regarding the improvement of the Neuville Cave as a park.  It was the state policy  that 500 acres be donated on the proper site, a CCC camp would be established, and the area worked over for a park would include the building of roads, shelter houses, tables, benches and dams where practical.  Neuville Cave was bypassed as a state park and nothing more became of the proposal. 
        In the 1930's and 1940's the cave became a place for teens and young grown-ups to visit.  Rumor is that Sam Houston hid in the cave from the Indians, and that Davy Crocket spent the night there.  It is also said that the Declaration of Independence was drafted in this cave, and that the first sermon preached in Texas was preached directly in front of it.  General Taylor, on is way to Mexico, spent one night here,  Immediately over the cave is a large tree, it is said,  under which General Robert E. Lee spent one night on his return from the Mexican War.  A rusty and blood stained knife was found in the cave and with this knife in this cave Sam Houston cut Santa Anna's throat.  This was after Santa Anna had escaped from the field and was captured in this cave. I leave it to you --- "believe it or not."

        The Neuville (Gunnels) Cave is located on private property south of what once was the old Gunnels farm house.  The cave itself is a unique attraction for East Texas.  It is approximately 270 feet long, and has two parts.  One part tunnels through a hill and opens into an immense sink-hole covering an area of at least two acres, and with an average depth of 40 feet.  In the sink-hole several springs have their origin, and the small stream goes through the main tunnel and out the west opening. 
        In the cave is one long room, 20x40, and the ceiling is approximately 290 feet high.  The roof of the whole cave is arched, and the hard sand and clay deposits offer a solid wall that appears to be safe from cave-ins.
        The western end of the cave opens into a deep canyon that contains some of the tallest trees of all descriptions to be found in East Texas.  Other springs in the ravine add to the volume of the water in the creek which would make a beautiful lake possible at the lower end of the area; perhaps a mile southwest of the cave.

Edited from article in Center Daily News June 27, 1935 and People, Places and Things, by Mildred Pinkston.
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    Nina Lee Bishop Tyer, 79, of Nacogdoches died February 11, 2006, at her residence.  Burial was in New Prospect Cemetery, Shelby County.   Born April 4, 1926, in Center, she was the daughter of Aaron Van Bishop and Maggie B. Baker Bishop.  Mrs. Tyer was preceded in death by her parents and brother, John Nathaniel Bishop.  Survivors include daughter, Carol Sue Tyer Smith; sister, Alice Ann Beasley of Garrison.    Taylor Funeral Home.
    Allen Laure Moore, 70, of Center died February 14, 2006, in Nacogdoches.  Burial was in Pleasant Hill Cemetery.  Born November 7, 1935, in Shelby County, he was the son of William and Pearl Anderson Moore.  Mr. Moore was a Painter.   Survivors include his wife, Gloria Molleda Moore of Center; six children, Patsy Holloway of San Augustine, Buddy Moore of Timpson, Brenda Mattingly and Linda Parker, both of San Augustine, Cathy Koonce of Huntington and Michael Ray Moore of Nacogdoches; brothers, John Moore and Waymon Moore, both of Shelbyville; sisters, Verna Lou Snider of Center and Syble Jernigan of Shelbyville.  Mangum Funeral Home.
    Edith Fowler Williams, 83, of Center died February 13, 2006.  Burial was in Sardis Cemetery.  Born February 19, 1922, in Shelby County, she was the daughter of Odie and Maxie Harris Fowler,  Mrs. Williams was retired from Southwestern Bell Telephone Co.  She was preceded in death by husband Charles O. Cain.  Survivors include husband, Harry Williams of Center; daughter, Colette Metcalf of Center; sister, Frances Fallin of Tenaha.  Watson & Sons Funeral Home.
    Jacqueline Michelle Gibbs, 31, of Carthage died February 15, 2006.   Burial was in Short Cemetery, Shelby County.  Born March 19, 1974, in Center, she was the daughter of Jack Michael Murphy and Deborah Brown Murphy.  Survivors include husband, Israel Gibbs of Carthage; mother, Deborah Jones of Cetner; son, Mitchell Lane Gibbs of Carthage; sister, Tammie Smith of Center; brother, Tim Murphy of Center.  Watson & Sons Funeral Home.
    Zelma Palmer Lacy Pate, 88, of Center died February 15, 2006 in Nacogdoches.  Burial was in Oaklawn Memorial Park.  Born July 17, 1917, in Center, she was the daughter of William James and Camilia Ida Tyler Palmer.  Mrs. Pate was preceded in death by her first husband John Neal Lacy.   Survivors include husband, James Henry Pate, Jr. of Center; son, Dr. Joe Neal Lacy of Galveston; daughters, Nancy Warr of Center, Linda Reinhart of Columbus, Ohio and Janis Compton of Lufkin; stepdaughter, Sheron Outlaw of Bulverde.  Mangum Funeral Home.
    Frances Lawson, 79, of Joaquin died February 16, 2006.  Burial was in Lone Cedar Cemetery.  Born January 27, 1927, in Joaquin, she was the daughter of John Taylor and Odell Childress Taylor.  Mrs. Lawson was married to Billy Lawson and he preceded her in death.  Survivors include daughters, Phyllis Griffin and Billie Jean Kay, both of Joaquin; sisters, Wincie Worley and Edith Stone, both of Shreveport and Blanche McMullen of Bethany, Louisiana.  Watson & Sons Funeral Home.

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