Arts, Sports & National Defense

And They Served...
 
 
...In The Arts
 
As a youth, Johnnie Swearingen attended Petersville Grade School located approximately 3 miles North of Chappell Hll along FM Road 1155.
 
Reverend Johnnie Swearingen was a member of John Daniels A.M.E. Church. He Later became an active member of Allwise Missionary Baptist Church and preached there on several occasions.
 
In his early years as a Folk Artist, he used flattened cardboard boxes and shoe polish to create unusual colors to paint portraits such as family life on the farm. From this humble beginning, he graduated to oil paints and canvas to create his now famous materspieces.
 
He was quite creative in his efforts to sell his art.
Often times he drove through out the community with paintings hanging from the side of his car - for sale.
 At that time his art was only worth pennies on the dollar compared to todays value.
 
At one point in his life, he moved into the home of his mother-in-law, Mrs. Annie Mae Williams, who proudly hung his art in her home for all visitors to admire.
 
In addition to folk art, he was a fantastic storyteller. During evening visits with families members and friends he would  keep everyone entertained hanging onto his every word. One winter evening, he told the story about the time...
 
In 1975, an article in the Home and Garden section of the Houston Post featured extensive coverage of his work.This publicity exposed his art to a broader audience and propelled his work onto the national stage.
 
The Chappell Hill Historical Society and Museum holds an extensive collection of works by Reverend Swearingen - truly a must see collection.
 
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...In Sports
 
Roosevelt Leaks All American running back at Brenham High School, All-SWC for UT in 1972 and 1973, South Western Conference MVP, 1973
Consensus All-American for UT in 1974
Third in Heisman Trophy voting, 1974
Set SWC season rushing record 1,415 yards      
Set single SWC rushing record -342 yards -
against SMU in 1973 (Stood for 25 years).
College Football Hall of Fame
Texas Sports Hall of Fame
 
A tremendous running back and fearless pioneer, Roosevelt Leaks, from Chappell Hill became the first black athlete to earn All-American and All-Conference honors for the Texas Longhorns, forever changing the complexion of football at Texas and the Southwest Conference.
 
Drafted by the Baltimore Colts, Mr. Leaks enjoyed a nine-year professional career with the Colts and Buffalo Bills.
 
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...Defenders of our Nation
 
Many sons and daughters answered the call to bravely serve our nation.
They served and makes Chappell Hill proud!    
 
 
 Tuesday August 13, 1968- Brenham Banner Press Issue,
"Chappell Hill Navy man playing Key Role..."
  
James L. Taylor, Jr.,  a 'Chappell Hill son.'
 
From the Department of the Navy
Commander Training Command
United States Pacific fleet
San Diego, California 92147-5030
 
To: BMCS James L. Taylor, Jr.,   
 
After more than 28 years of honorable active naval service...Since his initial entry in the active service in August 1961..."you have served, both ashore and afloat, which include: INACT SERCRAFT FAC Pearl Harbor: USS CASTOR (A-11: USS REGULUS (AF 57): USS MISPILLION (AQ 105): COMRIVRON ELEVEN: NAVDEVTRACEN San Diego, USS ALAMO (LSD 33): USS HOLLAND (AS 32): COCRUDESGRU ONE: COMCRUDESGRU FIVE: USS ARKANSAS (CGN 41): and Naval Technical Training Center, Treasure Island."
 
Medals and Awards
 
 Silver Star, Purple Heart (3 awards) Navy Commendation with Combat Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation, Navy "E" Ribbon (2 awards), Good Conduct Medal (5 awards), Navy Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (5 stars), Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation, Vietnam Presidental Unit Citation, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Unit Citation, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. He also earned Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist and Small Craft Insignia.
   
 The courage, honor and service of those unnamed is likewise commendable.
 
We Salute You! 
 
 
 
© All rights reserved, Madelyn Benford O’Brien 2010