By Sarah Reinemeyer
This July longtime Village Volunteer, Gloria Newsome, turns 100 years young.
Dozens of buses come from Houston, Beaumont, Livingston, Lufkin, Tyler County and Louisiana each year. Visitors come by car, bus, plane to our little airport, motorcycle groups, and car clubs frequently to stop and eat at the Pickett House.
This is quite a contrast to the horses and wagons that would have traveled to a boarding house to eat during the 1800’s and early 1900’s. Many groups call ahead to request a guided tour through the Village before or after their meal.
Newsome, was an ever-present docent well into her 90’s at Heritage Village. She particularly enjoyed leading adult groups through the Village and sharing stories about pioneer life.
Newsome began her role as a “pioneer woman” at the Heritage Village on July 4, 1993 when a friend invited her to join the organization and begin new activities. In addition to conducting tours of senior groups and schools, Newsome adopted the Seamstress Shop and maintained the artifacts on display there.
Newsome, wearing a new pioneer dress, entertained attendees at the Heritage Society’s Annual Meeting on Monday, January 25,, 2016 with a history of volunteers at Heritage Village. The Village has grown significantly since it was purchased from Clyde Gray in 1987. Also, Newsome spent many years as a director on the Tyler County Heritage Society’s Board of Directors. She served several years as president of the TCHS board.
For many years, Newsome prepared and mailed the Village newsletter, which included a summary of the board’s monthly meeting penned by her. Have you ever enjoyed the Village’s Fourth of July events at the Cauble House or the Mexican Dinner at the Lion’s Club? These are events that Newsome led and worked hard to make sure we had good food and fun.
In addition to her work with TCHS, Newsome was also active with the Tyler County Extension Homemakers group. When asked about her secret to longevity, she said to “just keep on living!”
Other activities varied from leading tours, demonstrating pioneer skills, repairing buildings, decorating for events, restoring artifacts, and inventorying the artifacts. Newsome retired from us a couple of years ago when she moved to the Beaumont area.
The Tyler County Heritage Society, staff, and members salute Gloria Newsome and thank her for her dedication to our cause.
Please contact us at (409) 283-2272 and check our website at www.heritage-village.org to learn more about the Village and Pickett House hours, costs and upcoming events. Discover ways you can become involved with preserving your and Tyler County’s heritage. Newsome leaves huge shoes to fill.