Grapeland Texas

Slack, Wesley

Wesley Slack

Grapeland Texas 75844

James Slack, grandfather of Wesley Slack, was from Kentucky. He was born in about 1797 and married Patsy Coyle in 1816 in Felicana Parish, Louisana. He had several children, the youngest of which was Wesley Slack’s father, Robert Leroy Slack (1859-1916). Robert Leroy Slack thought he was named for Robert E. Lee, but the E. was omitted from his birth record. He was commonly known as Lee Slack. Lee Slack like many men of the times moved from place to place looking for a good location to raise his family. One of the main requirements being a good school for his children. During his children’s preschool years he moved from Webster Parish, La. (sometime after 1893) to Shelby Co., Tx to Liberty Co., Tx near Splendora to Angelina Co. back up to Sayre, Oklahoma to Burke, Tx and finally settled in Lufkin in 1913. Lee Slack’s first wife was Mintie Lunsford. She died six months after their marriage. His second wife and mother of his children was Sarah Adams. They had one girl and five boys. The oldest child was a girl and was named Mintie (b. 1885 in Shangaloo, La.) for Lee’s first wife. Mintie married J. D. Green in 1901 when the family was inOklahoma and remained there to live. Mintie had one child, Jess L. Green. The five sons of Lee and Sarah Slack were Arthur Cairrell Slack (b. 1894 in Shangaloo, La.), Ellis Elvert Slack (b. about 1897 and died at age 3 in Center, Tx), Leslie Slack (b. 1897 and die at the age of 2), John Henry Slack (b. Apr.26, 1900 in Liberty Co.), and Wesley Slack (b. January 1, 1903 in Burke, Tx.). Sarah Slack died in 1906 and the Slack household became all male. This caused the boys to grow up having many varied work experiences. One amusing family story tells of one of the boys, Henry, making ‘cast iron puddin'(the intention being to make cornbread) which accidently contained kerosene instead of peanut oil. This ‘cornbread’ was placed in a cast iron pot and cooked in the fireplace. The lid of the pot began to puff smoke and when the lid was lifted, the bread burst into flame. It was promptly covered again until done. Believe it or not, the boys ate the ‘cast iron puddin’, and the brother, Henry, was awarded the nickname `Puddin’ from then on. Lee Slack died in 1916, but with the help of their Uncle Bob and also because of their experiences in having to help care for themselves, the boys grew up to fulfill the dream their parents had for them to receive a college education. Cairrell Slack went to business school and became a successful business man in the building trade. Leslie Slack, Cairrell’s son, started the lumber company, Leslo Sales. Henry received his degree and became a teacher and Wesley Slack graduated with a bachelor of science degree from Sam Houston State Teachers College and a master’s degree in music from Northwestern University in Evenston, Ill. Wesley Slack came to Grapeland after a year of teaching at Sam Houston College and served on the Grapeland faculty for 12 years as football coach and band director. He started the first football team and the first band in Grapeland. He also supervised the building of the football field. Wesley Slack married Ardis Murray of Grapeland in 1927. The Slacks moved to Hempstead where Wesley became superintendent in 1930. They remained in Hempstead until 1937 during which time he started their first football team and their first band. For the next thirteen years, Wesley Slack served as band director and teacher in the Tomball Schools before returning once again to Grapeland in 1950. Wesley continued his teaching career until 1970 at which time he retired. He served as band director, chemistry instructor and for the last two years as elementary school principal. He also helped manage the Murray farm during these years after the death of his wife’s father, Joe Murray in 1952. One could say that he served where he was needed.  In the ‘Sandie Dune’ of May 16, 1958, the Grapeland school newspaper, one of Slack’s past students stated, ‘He is one of the best teachers in the United States. He is always firm but still gentle. He is as kind to everyone as they will allow him to be. He can be as tough as a boot when someone needs to be brought into line. He does not teach a course, he teaches the students.’ Wesley and Ardis Slack have two children. Helen Claire and Dr. Joseph Slack. Helen Claire married Elbert (Eddie) A. Howard. Helen and Eddie have two children, Wesley married Judy Musick and Ardis Alexa married Charlie Spence. Ardis and Charlie have a daughter, Hope Elaine. Dr. Joseph Slack married Bobby Verlon Lewis and had three children: Shelly Marie who married Terry Sunsuker, Kelly Joann and Kirk Murray Slack. Wesley Slack died at his home in Grapeland in January, 1984.