Tumbleweed Smith
Tumbleweed Smith

David Abernathy is the mayor of Pittsburg, Texas. His father held the same position for 52 years.

“I made a campaign promise I wouldn’t stay here 52 years,” says David.

He started serving his city at an early age.

“ I was working at the fire station by myself when I was 16. You could get a driver license back then at 14.”

He became a Justice of the Peace when he was in college.

“I became the youngest JP in the state at the time. I was still going to college and coming in and holding court. After that I was starving to death so I got into the newspaper business for about a year.”

Then he joined the Forest Service.

“I was with the Texas Forest Service 34 years. Whether it’s a hurricane or wildfire we had that under our bailiwick and then also I did training and supervised providing assistance to all the fire departments in East Texas. A lot of people don’t realize it but Texas has as large a forested area as any other southern state that’s entirely forested. We’ve got roughly 52 million aces of forested land in Texas. It’s a great agricultural commodity that comes out of East Texas in timber value.”

David and his dad built fire trucks.

“We built eight fire trucks together and gave them to the community. We literally built them from the frame up. These are fully functional fire tracks. He built two others besides the eight others that he and I built. “

David’s father was a mechanical engineer.

“My father was such a perfectionist. When I was a senior in high school we built a fire truck together. Every screw slot on that truck is straight up and down. There’s not a screw that’s turned perpendicular. They’re all straight up and down. It serves no purpose. It’s just because we could. That fire truck that he and I built when I was in high school is in service today.”

David says Pittsburg has a lot going for it. The downtown is healthy. The area produces poultry and hay and has some beautiful mansions built in the late 1890’s. Carroll Shelby, the Ford Mustang man, grew up in Pittsburg. The city is the hotlinks capital of the state and it has the Ezekiel Airship.

“It crashed on the way to the St. Louis World’s Fair but the state recognizes it as flying one year before the Wright Brothers flew their plane at Kitty Hawk. They just had all the documentation and this one didn’t.”

David is in his 53rd year of serving as a volunteer fireman.