Center in Shelby County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Poultry Pioneers Plaza
In 1948, the farming income of Shelby County was disappearing due to competitive prices on cotton from West Texas and on tomatoes and watermelons from South Texas. To survive, it was imperative that the county and its farmers find an alternative revenue source.
Five visionary leaders of Shelby County recognized this dire need and dedicated themselves to the creation and establishment of a poultry industry for the area. This memorial honors these men and their story: County Agent John Moosberg, Martin Middleton of Middleton Milling Company, Jack Motley, President of Farmers State Bank, and Malcolm and Martin Weaver of Weaver Brothers Lumber Company.
Moosberg, Motley and Malcolm Weaver traveled to Gonzales, Texas, to explore the poultry business. Excited about its potential, Moosberg asked Middleton and Martin Weaver to accompany him on a trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas, for further study. Upon their return, all five men agreed that this poultry industry would be a natural for Shelby County!
Middleton started the first broiler feed operation in East Texas and facilitated bulk feed trucks and transport of the chickens. Jack Motley provided the funding for the purchase of baby chicks, feed, medication and poultry equipment. Martin and Malcolm Weaver, along with Arch Price of Ralston Purina, designed the
This began the rapid growth of broiler production in the region and made Shelby County the birthplace of the commercial broiler business in the long-style poultry house for Texas and Louisiana. To this day, Shelby County is still the largest poultry producer in Texas.
This memorial is a tribute to the vision and hard work of these individuals who risked their personal finances and reputations for the development and growth of a secure economic future for Shelby County. This community will forever be indebted and grateful for the commitment, leadership and labors of these outstanding men.
Erected by Tyson Foods, et. al.
Location. 31° 48.357′ N, 94° 11.624′ W. Marker is in Center, Texas, in Shelby County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Express Boulevard and Civic Center Drive, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is located near the main entrance of the John D. Windham Civic Center. Marker
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within one mile of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Martin McCoy Middleton (a few steps from this marker); Martin Weaver (a few steps from this marker); John O. Moosberg (a few steps from this marker); Malcolm S. Weaver (a few steps from this marker); Luke (Jack) Motley, Jr. (a few steps from this marker); John Joseph Emmett Gibson (approx. one mile away); Shelby County Courthouse (approx. one mile away); Shelby County (approx. 1.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Center.
More about this marker. Marker is one of a group markers telling the stories of five pioneers in the Shelby County, Texas poultry industry
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Shelby County Texas Poultry Pioneers
Also see . . .
1. History of Center, Texas.
The economy of Center has evolved through four distinct stages. The first stage was cotton; Center boasted a number of cotton gins. Cotton production eventually gave way to timber production and the city had two pulpwood mills. In the 1950ís the poultry industry was introduced in Center as the timber industry was not as lucrative. In the early 2000ís, the Haynesville Shale gas formation was discovered in Shelby County and natural gas production activity became the staple of the economy. (Submitted on December 6, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Shelby County Poultry Production.
Various types of poultry have been raised in Texas since the Spanish period, but commercial production did not begin until the 1840s and was extremely limited until the twentieth century. Most families raised their own poultry, and there was little market for any excess. Eggs and chickens were produced in every county in the state in 1950; the leading counties were Fayette, Lavaca, Williamson, Washington, and Gonzales. Between 1953 and 1963 cash income from poultry, including chickens, broilers, eggs, and turkeys, ranged from $128 million to over $157 million annually. Commercial broilers normally exceeded 100 million birds per year. In 1960 126,885 farms raised chickens, 2,409 raised broilers, 49,620 sold eggs, and 11,297 raised turkeys. Leading counties in poultry sales during this period were Shelby, Nacogdoches, and Gonzales. (Submitted on December 6, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Categories. • Agriculture • Industry & Commerce •
Credits. This page was last revised on December 6, 2017. This page originally submitted on December 5, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 67 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on December 5, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.