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John W. Pinkerton


Linda, my wife for over fifty years and a native of Somerville, and I have often laughed at folks who proclaim,  “Somerville is about to boom.”

We’re not laughing at the latest proclamation.

It  is predicted that we will soon greatly increase our local population: there are several major housing projects in their planning and approval stages.

Reaction by locals to this prospect is a mixed bag.  Personally, I’m looking forward to the “strangers” choosing our community as their home.

Of course, business owners are thrilled by the prospect of new customers.  Our community has several excellent businesses which includes our bank which has prospered and expanded its branches, and an increase in population should prompt new businesses, and new businesses and new homes should increase our tax base and our property assessment and tax rate should please  the new folks.  The current businesses are real survivors because they have survived various versions of hard times.  The tie plant---not neckties, railroad ties---is one of our anchors.  Lake Somerville, a Corp of Engineers’ project, is another.  Undoubtedly, the local school, Somerville ISD is the largest employer.

In Laws, Plato specifies the number of its citizens of a town should be equal to 5,040 and remain constant.  I’m not certain how Plato arrived at this conclusion, but being Plato, I’m sure he had good reasons.

Somerville presently has a population of slightly over 1300—just 3740 new citizens to go.

To the new folks about to join our community, I say, “Welcome.  We need and welcome your help.”

We need your help to support our churches and our schools and accept the many volunteer positions in our community.  I have watched folks move into our community and quickly realize that their help is welcome.

A fellow local to the county once commented to me,  “Folks here don’t like being told what to do”--- especially if accompanied by superior attitudes.  True, my friend, true.

I suggest you take time to try to understand where you are.  Somerville, unlike many small communities in the area, is a community composed of 29% Black, 29% Hispanic, and 42% White.  Whatever our problems may be, race is not at its heart.

The following is a poem based on my personal experiences: remember I’m not a local, but I’ve lived and worked here for over fifty years.

Southern Welcomes

By John Pinkerton

The Southern folks welcome new folks to town

With a smile, a handshake, and not a  frown,

But I’ve got news that may be a bummer:

Years later you’ll still be a newcomer.