Rockdale-area preachers 1963 (From left, fill in ĎReverendí or the appropriate
title): Richard Sparks, Milano Baptist; S. J. Ciatti, St. Josephís Catholic;
J. N. Forman, First Baptist; O. E. Lybarger, Church of the Nazarene; F. T.
Sager, Peace Lutheran; Frank Cady, St. Johnís United Methodist; William Ernst,
Mt. Zion Baptist; M. E. Brown, Full Gospel Chapel; Reuel Cooper, Thorndale
First Baptist; Frank Buechley, First Christian.
Some of the Guys Who Gave Our Streets Names
by Mike Brown - Editor's Corner
Rockdale Reporter - May 30, 2013
The photo you see with this column is an old one. I found it in the 1963 Reporter files
while looking for information on Rockdaleís library.
Itís 10 of our areaís preachers and it was taken during a meeting of the Ministerial
Alliance in March of that year.
What got my attention was the third guy from the right. Itís my late father, Rev. M. E.
Brown. Itís a good picture of my dad, his smile looks genuine and warm. It was that way
in real life too, but when you told him you were going to take his photo, he usually
tried to force a ďfor the cameraĒ smile and ended up looking like he was preparing to
swallow a football sideways.
My son has the same camera smile, just like my dadís, except Markís looks a lot more
painful. That little trait skipped a generation. My smile is perfect, charming and
debonair. Why for much of my life the only people who appreciated it were females over
the age of 87 I donít know. Thatís a topic for another column. (Donít hold your breath
waiting for that one, by the way.)
Then I started looking at the other preachers. I remembered quite a few, but there were
also some I didnít remember.
When I noticed Rev. F. T. Sager of Peace Lutheran and Rev. Frank Cady of St. Johnís
United Methodist standing side-by-side something went ďclick.Ē
There are Rockdale streets, prominent ones, named for both of them. In fact all the
streets in the big Linwood Acres subdivision are named for ministers.
Developer Linwood Mehaffey had that idea and carried it through.
In addition to the two in the photo, streets are named for Rev. W. F. OíKelley of First
Presbyterian, Rev. Earl Yokley of St. Johnís United Methodist and Rev. Ben Skyles of St.
I donít know what churches Joe Rockdale Road or Bobby Brazos pastored.
Once, many years ago, I wrote something referencing Rev. OíKelley and incorrectly
referred to him as Episcopalian instead of Presbyterian.
The next morning there was something of a delegation of the sweetest Presbyterian women
in my office to inform me of my error.
It was the nicest trip to the woodshed Iíve ever had, correcting any error Iíve made, in
the past 39 years.
The next week I apologized in print and mused the Presbyterians said my mistake had been
foreordained and the Episcopalians said it didnít matter how many mistakes I made so long
as I was only baptized once.
Theological humor is always a risk, but Iím confident Rev. Jack Chelf of First Baptist
will get that joke even if nobody else does. Rockdale has lots of streets named for
Several are named for founders of Texas. Like many towns, we have streets named Houston,
Crockett, Travis and Austin.
We have an Austin Street? Yes, we do, itís a one-block street that basically goes behind
some business in the Texas Star Plaza. I wouldnít advise trying to turn left into it off
A much larger subset is named for prominent Rockdale residents of bygone erasóHogan,
Alford, Copeland, Scarbrough, Coffield, Vogel and Iíll stop there because if I tried to
name them all Iíd leave someone out and get another delegation to my office.
Some were named during the Alcoa boom of the 1950s. Calhoun Construction Co. built many
of the houses in western Rockdale and Fritz Hunter was that companyís building
Rockdaleís newest ďfor someoneĒ named street is in honor of a different kind of
superintendent. Walter R. Pond Drive goes from US 79 to the intermediate school.
Itís named, of course, for the Rockdale ISDís longest-serving superintendent.
The first fall that school opened I thought Walter was really having a bad time obeying
Every morning and afternoon on the police scanner Iíd hear ďtraffic stop....Walter R.
Pond, traffic stop...Walter R. Pond.Ē Then I finally realized that was a location, not a