Manning People
Miriam Havard Tatum
Gary Havard
Robert L. (Bob) Poland
.
KIRKLAND: Dear Old Golden School Days At Manning
Saturday, February 14, 2009 12:00 am
When Robert L. Bob Poland bumped into Lola Will Taylor at the PineCrest
Retirement Center some 80 years after they left the little community of Manning, it
was like rolling back the calendar to happy days at school, to lifelong friendships and
memories of a bygone era that will never come again. Although Bob and Lola Will
were not in the same grade at school, everyone knew everyone else and enjoyed
the lifestyle that bound youngsters together in this unique and prosperous sawmill
town. They walked to school and they did all the things that way-back rural living
afforded: unorganized good times like, for the girls, exploring surrounding forests for
historical bits and pieces buried beneath pine straw, and scouting for wildflowers in
hidden places to take home as a surprise for Mother. Games on the spur of the
moment, time for daydreaming and toying with makeup — these were part and parcel
of Manning girls' enjoyment, while the boys were free to hunt, fish and swim at a
moment's notice, of course with parental approval, which was the norm in those
days. Lola Will's dad, Willie Powell, was the secretary/office manager of the Manning
mill. Bob's dad, Rob Poland, managed the wood yard, and he was known as the
"wood foreman." Exactly where was Manning located, and what happened to this
very alive community that is remembered in detail so well by those who knew it best?
To reach the townsite of Manning, directions say, "Take highway 69 south from
Huntington for 2.1 miles. Turn right onto FM 844 through Shawnee Prairie for 7.4
miles." The historical marker reads, "The community of Manning grew up around the
operations of the Carter-Kelley Lumber Company, established here in 1903. The
town was named for Dr. W.W. Manning b. 1820, who started a sawmill here in 1867.
By 1929 Manning had a population of thirteen hundred and included a movie
theater, school, stores, churches, post office, and railroad depot. The town began to
decline after a fire destroyed the mill in 1934, and operations were moved to
Camden 30 miles west. The townsite is now marked by homes, sawmill ruins and a
cemetery where an annual reunion is held each June." Erected in 1980. Perhaps
surprisingly, the school at Manning was rated superior to others in the state. Bob
Bowman, East Texas historian, reported that in 1929 there were only two schools in
Angelina County that were accredited by the State of Texas. One was in Manning
and the other was in Lufkin, The Manning school had seven teachers. The sawmill
town had its own form of currency called "Manning checks" or "Manning money." The
first automobile in Angelina County was a Ford roadster owned by Dr. Manning in
1916. Bowman added that the land is now owned by M.M. Flournoy. Lola Will's family
left Manning in 1931 and settled in Lufkin. She married Robert L. Taylor in 1937 and
they had three sons — Bob, Bill and Joe. She taught Sunday School at Lufkin's First
Baptist Church for about 45 years and she has enjoyed a host of friends through the
years, including those in civic clubs where she was an active member, and those in
the Anthony Smith Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, which provides
much enrichment to life. She and her husband moved to PineCrest Retirement
Community in 2003, and he passed away that same year. After the mill burned, Bob
Poland's family moved to Shawnee Prairie, out from Huntington. He grew up to be a
prominent member of society, active on the steering committee that planned the
building of Angelina College, and he served on the building committee for
Huntington Memorial Library. In 1945 he got his first job with Lufkin Industries and in
1967 he was named to the post of president and CEO of the company. Bob's wife
was the late Adell Slover Poland, whom he married in 1945. Their children: Joy Dell,
Robert, Charles and John. After Adell's death, Bob moved to PineCrest Retirement
Community. He and Lola Will spend time bringing back memories of Manning and
sharing thoughts about mutual friends and neighbors during those days. "Many
conversations center around what life was like those 80 years ago," Lola Will said.
She is a voracious reader. Bob loves poetry, reads poetry and writes poetry. Lola
Will is a good audience and he reads poems to her or quotes those he has
memorized, which are many. Asked to quote a poem he wrote, Bob responded with
his favorite: "There is a memory in my heart/And you are hidden there,/I put you
there one day at PineCreSt/When you were unaware./Your memory comes out at
night/When I am all alone/I think of you and dream of you/ Until there comes the
dawn/Then I can see you in the morning light/ Knowing you are my very own." Heady
stuff, that, but Bob explained, "When you are 90 years old, like I am, and memories
bind people together, real friendship is so important that it just sounds better in a
poem." Margie Kirkland is a member of The Lufkin Daily News' Board of Contributors
For SCHOOL page
October 17, 2010
Lufkin Daily News

Angelina County Genealogical Society

The director of Kurth Memorial Library
will be October’s featured speaker for
the Angelina County Genealogical
Society.

Lorraine Simoneau, named as library
director several months ago, will
discuss ideas for the future of the
library. A previous report has said the
library would consider converting
unused storage space to allow for
expansion — including expansion of
the genealogy facilities. The meeting is
scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday at the
library. A meeting of the library’s
executive committee has been set for 4
p.m., according to president Dickie
Dixon.

Twenty-four members and guests
attended the ACGS September
meeting. The group heard the
descendant of a Manning family
describe that sawmill town, which some
say was the Angelina County’s second-
largest in part of the first half of the
20th century. Charles Poland, whose
father Robert Poland spent his
boyhood in Manning and attended
school there, discussed and showed
pictures of Manning, including the mill,
the downtown area, and some of the
residents.

Robert Poland wrote the book, “Were
You at Manning?” in which one
estimate of the population was given
as 1,500. One Texas Forestry Museum
document showed a population
estimate as high as 3,000 people
before a fire destroyed the mill and
sent most of Manning’s residents
packing. Included in the slides Charles
Poland showed were mill pictures and
a reconstruction of Manning from Bob
Flournoy, local attorney whose parents
lived at Manning.

Those attending the September
meeting were Cynthia McMullen,
Lester B. Sparks, Mildred B. Sparks,
Dan Cates, Isaac Goodwin, Oleta
Stewart, Kent Richardson and Mrs.
Richardson, Mary Griffin, Sam Griffin,
Janelle Hennington, and Bob Ham.
Also, Charlene Ham, Mary Willmon,
Angelena Durham, Carol Mathis,
Charles Poland, Jodie Keith Allred,
Herschel Dixon Jr., Elizabeth Neel, Ann
Colwell, Betty L. Preston, Fred
Preston, and Dorothy Swor.
Manning      Schools    Trains    Cemetery    Mill
Ruins                 " Were you in Manning" Book
(Leon Day)