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By Raymond Powell

As this writer has stated many times in the past – History can take many forms. Today’s article primarily concerns a man that few in DeSoto Parish know or remember, Travis Spears. He and his wife were born here in the early 1900’s and he went to work in the oil fields in the 1930’s for the Standard Oil Co. After working in the drilling or production end for 15 years he was sent to Standard Oil’s South American Division in Venezuela. There he worked his way up to management in production. He and Mrs. Spears moved back to Mansfield with their 5th grade son, Travis, Jr. and they built a nice home on Hwy. 84 West near where Jeff and Jill Heard presently live. Travis, Jr. later became an M.D.

Now, why is the above background important to History? Mr. Spears was not a very sociable man but he was very interested in education. I felt the message he had about Venezuela was worthy of being heard by our school children so I invited him to speak for an assembly program at Mansfield Elementary School. Mr. Spears pointed out in his talk in the early 1960’s that Venezuela was very much like the U.S. in natural resources. It had been started by people from Spain and Portugal. The government was becoming socialist and away from a democracy. At the time the natural resources of Agriculture, Ranching, Forestry and Oil made it capable of rivaling us but with the government beginning to take over the oil industry Mr. Spears stated that the economy would fail.

 

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