Stephen F. Austin State University

1937, Royalty in our Midst: Queen Geraldine Peacock and Her Court (July 2014)

1937, Royalty in our Midst: Queen Geraldine Peacock and Her Court
By Deborah Burkett

While researching East Texas women, I keep "discovering" royalty in our midst. The Jacksonville Tomato Festival began in 1934 with much pageantry. A Queen and her Court were selected with Princesses from East Texas communities such as Wells, Palestine and Dialville to name but a few. Girls in the court also hailed from states as far away as Tennessee and Kentucky. This grand event ended when WWII began.

My second grade school teacher in Mixon, Mrs. Navoleine Roddy, mentioned she had been a princess but couldn't remember what year and had no documentation to back her claim. Recently a friend in Alto, Marie McCullough Thomas, knew of my research and sent me this old newspaper clipping. I was thrilled to see two dear friends had been selected as princesses in 1937-Navoleine Ross Roddy and the late Julietta Jarvis.

The fourth Jacksonville Tomato Queen and eight of the princesses are pictured in the 1937 newspaper clipping top row, left to right: Virginia Earle of Alto, Queen Geraldine Peacock of Jacksonville, Emodean Acker of Dialville. Middle Row: left to right: Navoleine Ross of Mixon, Julietta Jarvis of Troup, Essie Elizabeth Slaughter of Corsicana. Bottom Row: l to r: Dana Sherman of Wells, Elizabeth Stafford of Palestine and Katherine Boone of Athens.

Marie McCullough Thomas and her niece Judy Johnson, both of Alto, Texas, are seen in the second photo as they look through Marie's scrapbooks of old memories.