Notable and quotable

Posted Monday, Apr. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Linda Davis of Arlington surprised some folks recently when she decided to retire next month after 14 years on the job.

Davis said she was stepping down May 4 to travel with her husband, retired state District Judge Fred Davis.

So now it’s up to the Tarrant County Commissioners to consider a replacement and one of the candidates is Mary Tom Curnutt, the oldest daughter of prominent Arlington attorney Tom Cravens.

On a Facebook posting the proud papa said his daughter “would be an excellent Justice of the Peace and our city would be lucky to have her serve at any level.”

He also urges others to let the family know if they support Curnutt’s nomination “to show the commissioners she has a broad base of support in Arlington.”

Curnutt, like Davis, is not an attorney but her husband Kelly has a practice in Arlington. Currently, she is manager of the Fleetwood Memorial Foundation, a private non-profit that provides assistance to families of Texas peace officers killed in the line of duty.

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Evelyn Barker and Lea Worcester don’t just twiddle their thumbs as librarians for the University of Texas at Arlington’s Special Collections.

They’ve already collaborated on one book of Arlington history, part of the “Images of America” series. On Monday, their second joint effort — this one about Arlington’s unique characters — will go in to print.

The book includes obvious figures like “boy mayor” Tom Vandergriff, James Fielder, Ott Cribbs, Col. Neel Kearby and Tillie Burgin as well as lesser known but colorful folks like Ella Virginia Day Vincent, Will Leatherman and Carolyn Cunningham.

Kearby grew up in Arlington before becoming one of the top flying aces of World War II. He earned the Medal of Honor for shooting down a record number of enemy aircraft in a single day over New Guinea in 1943. Six months later, he was shot down and died.

Vincent, who was born in 1893, recalled never walking on the south side of Main Street in her youth because that was where all the saloons were. She also remembers the day in the 1930s when she was sent home from her bank job because Bonnie and Clyde were supposed to rob it. Men with machine guns were stationed across the street, but the robbers never came.

Leatherman was a postman from 1907 to 1942. As a teenager, he delivered the mail in a horse-drawn wagon to the mostly rural Arlington area; later he rode a Wagner motorcycle. By 1939, when the postal service combined rural routes because their carriers used cars and trucks, Leatherman had a 40-mile route that included parts of Grand Prairie, Hurst, Euless and Bedford.

Then there is the story of Cunningham, who as a 6-year-old saved her siblings from a fire in February 1960 by snatching her baby sister from a burning blanket and clasping the hand of her younger brother while calling out to her older brother to flee. It was a heroic act that galvanized the community to help a black family during the height of the civil-rights movement.

“We want to recognize people that made Arlington a unique and special place. We look for people that are fondly remembered by people who grew up here,” Worcester said.

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