By Judy Sheridan
W. H. “Dub” Bearden, 83, knows a thing or two about Aledo.
He moved to the little country town in 1950, married local girl Verna Shaw in First Baptist Church soon after, and worked to raise a daughter and two sons in the community. Kathy, Randy and Rusty were all educated in Aledo public schools.
When First Baptist invited him to be a deacon in 1951, Bearden offered his support — and still does.
When Aledo VFD was recruiting volunteers the same year, he put his life on the line, serving the department until 2010.
As a former Aledo ISD trustee, Bearden can remember a dirt contractor blading the Bearcats’ first football field. The fledgling team felt lucky to score, he said, much less win a game.
“There were only two or three substitutes on the team, and if a kid wanted to play sports, they had to play football first,” he said. “They had my 100-pound-plus son on the line as a guard.”
In 1963, when talk of Aledo’s incorporation began to surface, there were lots of protests, Bearden said.
“There were several who did not want it,” he said. “They claimed it would ruin the town.”
Privately, Bearden shared the political shenanigans of some who were opposed — “best left as a dead horse,” he warned, but recalls why he was in the opposite camp.
“One of the main things I was interested in was tying into the sewer,” he said. “I had built a three-room house on black dirt, and septic tanks don’t work well in that. The city was going to put water and sewer in, but I couldn’t tie into the sewer without tying into the water.”
After the incorporation was approved — by a wide margin, Bearden remembers, he was appointed as one of Aledo’s first city secretaries.
Briefly he worked alongside Mayor Bob Daugherty and a city council of two — Felix Reynolds and Vernon Whitmire — before landing a job as a foreman at Mary’s Creek Ranch, north of the Interstate.
In later years, Bearden has also served on the city’s grievance board and board of adjustments.
Though the longtime resident protests his mind is “like a computer that erases every night,” he recollects earlier times with ease — the town’s three former grocery stores, for example, the advent of natural gas.
The incorporation was a good thing, he reflects, giving the city organization and control.
“If we hadn’t done that, we’d still be a little country town,” he said. “We wouldn’t have all these additions coming in.”
The attitudes of Aledo residents — especially toward growth — have changed as much as their surroundings, Bearden observed.
“People were different then,” he said. “Back then, people who came in didn’t want anyone to come in behind them.”
Bearden’s home on FM 1187, sandwiched between commercial property, is hard to get to these days with the corridor’s reconstruction, but he knows the down side is fleeting.
The change will only add value to the lot he bought and paid for long ago.
“I’m sitting on a gold mine,” he said.