By Devin Corbitt, The Belton Journal
The only thing Belton historian Berneta Peeples loves more than the color blue is her family—which just so happens to consist of the entire city of Belton.
Not literally, of course, but it’s very difficult not to immediately fall in love with the sharp wit and extensive memory of one of Belton’s most famous citizens.
Peeples is always dressed to the nines, which is almost always something blue to match her sparkling eyes.
But the most remarkable thing about Peeples is not her fashion choices, but her mind. As one of the oldest living native residents of Belton, Peeples has experienced everything from the Great Depression to the Second World War to Belton’s first elected mayor. And she remembers everything.
But lately, Peeples has begun to rely on a few friendly voices to help check on her and keep her mind sharp. The RU-OK? program begun by the Belton Police Department gives Peeples a call twice a week, and they have become quite the blessing to Peeples’ life.
So, Peeples bestowed just a few of her many memories and tidbits of knowledge on TammyJo McCleney and Anita Wyatt, two members of the RU-OK? program, during a lunch they hosted on Tuesday to celebrate her birthday.
One such gem was a story about a $30,000 bond issued by the City of Belton that mysteriously disappeared in the early 1920s. Because the money disappeared, and city officials along with it, Belton was broke in the years leading up to the Great Depression. Of course, the Depression didn’t help matters, but Belton managed to hold on through those years and is now growing rapidly.
Peeples has also been a long-time employee of The Belton Journal, where she began working as a high school student. She has since become the Journal’s crown jewel, as she can always be counted on to get the full story and to know everything that happens around town.
“I’m very proud that The Belton Journal is the oldest continuously running weekly in Texas, and I’ve loved every minute of my 98 years of it,” Peeples said.
We wish many more years of love and life to Peeples. Happy birthday, Berneta!