George E. Darsey JR.
George E. Darsey Jr. was born in Grapeland, Tx on February 11, 1894. He was the son of George E. Darsey Sr. and Lorena Murchison Darsey. Geo. E. grew to manhood doing odd jobs in his father’s store. He graduated from Grapeland High School in 1910 and got his Bachelor of Arts degree from Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX. He returned home to work in the office of his father’s store. When the United States entered World War I, George E. joined the U. S. Army and served in France until the end of the war. He remained in France an extra year to attend Sorbonne University. George E.’s sister, Mary Lou, married Leon Anderson ofCooper, TX. While visiting his sister, George E. met and married Leon’s niece, Margaret Josephine (Maggie) Combs (b. 03/04/1900 – d.10/10/84). She was the daughter of Robert Combs M. D. and Cora Anderson Combs. Maggie was working in a hospital in Paris, TXas a registered nurse when they married. On their arrival in Grapeland, the new bride and groom were met by a group of light-hearted friends who placed Maggie in a chair in the back of a truck and paraded her down Front Street. That night, the newly-weds attended the local movie house (silent, but for the piano player). As they walked down the aisle to their seats, Mrs. Maude Howard played the wedding march. Nice that the bride was not timid! George E. and Maggie Darsey loved Grapeland and the people of Grapeland. If anything was happening in or around Grapeland they were involved in it either as an organizer or as a participant. George E. was a 32nd degree Mason, a member of the Grapeland Volunteer Fire Department, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and served the community both as a city councilman and a member of the school board. He enjoyed ‘Fair Days’ and actively participated in helping make them successful. Many of the early day entertainments were large picnics at the lakes-Myrtle Lake and later the Grapeland Country Club and church meetings by different churches in the area sometimes called ‘dinner on the ground’ and community singings. George’s E. family was always there. Upon the death of George E. Darsey Sr. in 1930, George E. Jr. became a partner in George E. Darsey & Co. This was a partnership involving about eight members of the family. In 1953, George E. and his son, Charley, bought out the other family members. They set out to modernize the grocery store and enlarge their stock of large appliances. With the new machinery available for the storage of meats, frozen foods, and milk they began handling meat from packing houses, ice cream, and milk from dairies. Up until this time, most of these items were delivered to the homes by local farmers or bought from local slaughter houses. Darsey’s Store had the first grocery store in Grapeland to sell ice cream in individually packed boxes (the drug stores were the only ones prior to this time to have ice cream for resale-this came in large cans and had to be repacked at the fountain when sold). Darsey’s Store also was the first to sell packing house meats and frozen foods. George E. Darsey Jr. was active in his business until his death in 1962. His interest in the community and its happenings led him to a side occupation. He was the local correspondent for the Dallas Morning News and the Houston Chronicle. During the years that George E. was correspondent, the sports events, train wrecks, and many other happenings in Grapeland were reported to the papers by him. Maggie Darsey worked side by side with George E. in Darsey’s Store. She first worked in the dry goods store and then in the grocery store. She used her nurse’s training to help many young women with the feeding and care of their children and families. Maggie also helped the local doctors when called upon to care for people in their homes. She helped deliver babies, care for the mothers, and nursed the sick in the home. During World War II, she taught first aid classes and organized groups to prepare bandages for our armed forces. When our hospital was built, she helped to set up the supply rooms and organized the nursing schedule in preparation for the opening of our hospital. She served as our first R N until one could be hired to come to Grapeland. George E. and Maggie Combs Darsey had three children, George Edward III (b. 04/15/24), Charley Combs (b. 5/12/27) and Lorena Murchison (b.09/17/36). George Edward Darsey III served in the signal corps during World War II and returned home to finish his education at Texas A. & M. He graduated from A & M as an electrical engineer and first worked for Western Union inNew York City. In 1949, he started working for the Sperry Gyroscope Co. and traveled a great deal in his work. While in New Yorkhe met and married Dorothy (Dottie) Elam. They married in 1952. Dottie is the daughter of Robert and Winnie Elam of Greenfield,Tennessee. George III and Dottie moved to Dallas, Texas in 1957 and George III went to work for Texas Instruments. George Edward Darsey III and Dottie had three children, Deborah (b. 08/30/53), Suzanne (b. 10/02/54-d. 10/06/78) and Robert Wynn (b. 08/03/57). Deborah Darsey received her degree from SMU and now manages a clothing store (a Laura Ashley Store) in San Diego, Ca. She is married to David Lamb who works for Union Bank in New Port, Ca. They have one son, Alexander David, born September 29, 1986. Suzanne Darsey was a lover of animals and spent her summer vacations helping at a local animal clinic. She was a student at A & M. She was killed by a passing motorist while trying to rescue an injured Irish setter on a residential Street inDallas. Robert Wynn Darsey majored in Spanish in College and worked for a while in Spain to increase his language skills. He now resides in Dallas and is unmarried. Charley Combs Darsey, second son of George E. Darsey Jr. received his bachelor’s degree from Texas A & M and returned to Grapeland to go into business with his father, George E. He married Martha Ann Hill (b.03/08/30) daughter of Charles C. Hill M. D. and Myrtle Gossett Hill on June 25, 1953.
Charley Darsey has followed in the footsteps of his parents and grandparents and has served his community in any capacity where he felt he could contribute to the welfare of his hometown. He has served on the city council, served as mayor, served as a volunteer fireman, served as a volunteer EMT, served on the Methodist Church board, served on the Community Memorial Hospital Board, served as president and director of the Community Council, and participated In any other activity where his skills were needed. His wife, Ann, has also worked with him on various projects in the community. Ann Darsey received her degrees fromSam Houston State Teacher College and has taught school off and on for over 10 years. Charley Darsey became the sole owner of Darsey’s Store on the death of his father, George E. Darsey Jr. and operates it at the present time. Charley and Ann Darsey have three children, George E. Darsey IV (b. 11/30/57), Catherine Jane Darsey (6.04/30/61) and Charley Hill Darsey (b. 05/12/66). George E. Darsey IV received his bachelor’s degree in business from Sam Houston University and after working for a short time in Houstonas a food broker married a fellow student from SHSU, Brenda Farley (b.02/28/60). Brenda is the daughter of Harry and Carol Farley formerly of Pearland, Tx. Brenda is a graduate accountant of SHSU and works for the Texas Commerce Bank of Houston. Catherine Jane Darsey received her bachelor’s degree in photography from SHSU and is working as a photographer in Huntsville and also doing graduate work in photography. Cathy has donated her time and skills to reproduce the family and community pictures for ‘Crossroads to Progress’. Charley Hill Darsey is a senior at SHSU majoring in business and finance. He is a reserve member of the Grapeland Fire Department and Ambulance Service. He is a licensed volunteer Emergency Medical Technician. Lorena Murchison Darsey, daughter of George E. and Maggie Darsey, is a graduate of SHSTC in library science. She married H. F. (Buck) Taylor, son of Frank and Ora Sue (Howard) Taylor of Grapeland, and lived on the Taylor farm located fifteen miles west of Grapeland. Buck and Lorena have three children, Josephine (b.11/17/62), Frank Edward (b.09/28/64) and Margaret Sue (6.12/28/65). Josephine and Frank are graduates of SFA and Margaret Sue is a senior student at SFA.