Dorotha (Dot) Haswell Thomas was born in 1912 and grew up in Cedar Hill during a time when Cedar Hill School did not offer the last two years. Dot rode the bus to Lancaster those two years and on cold days the bus driver would give them a hot brick to put their feet on as there was no heater on the bus. Dot was raised when electricity was so limited and expensive that you were only allowed to iron on a certain day. Electricity from Dallas did not come to Cedar Hill until the late 1920’s.
Dot was working the telephone switchboard when Raymond Hamilton, part of Bonnie and Clyde’s gang robbed the bank in 1932. Postmaster Cathey told her “Call the Sheriff’s Department, the bank’s been robbed.” She said it excited her to death.
Dot remembers her mother ordering groceries regularly by phone to be delivered to their home. Most everyone ran a charge account at the local businesses. Dot and the other youngsters could walk in, get any small item and say charge it and walk out. When Dot was growing up, the hotel burned that was also the local restaurant and she remembers her mom many times cooking for people that worked for her father.
Dot and her husband, Jay, had two children, Walter and Helen. During the early years of their marriage Dot and her husband organized the first Cub Scouts in Cedar Hill. She was the first Den Mother and he the first Cub Scout Master. Dot called herself a Campfire worker running a camp for about 15 years during the 1950’s and 60’s.
She was an avid gardener and a member of the Super Seeders organization. Dot was very civic minded. She was on the first Parks Board and remembers it as 1970 or 71. “We didn’t have a Constitution or bylaws or anything and I told the Mayor if you want me to stay on the Park Board we had to organize.” And organized they did from her dining room table, she and Mrs. Tucker and two others studied all the nearby city’s documents, drew up bylaws and handed them to the councilmen and they accepted them.”
Dot predicted the electric car. Since the 40’s and 50’s Dot would voice here opinion even though it wasn’t the fashionable thing to do. “Oh I’m not a woman’s lib. I still want my husband to open my car door. I believe in the fact that a woman can speak her piece when she pleases. I think we need more women in our government offices because a man can’t see from a woman’s view point and I don’t mean to say it should be all women. I think it should be a 50-50 thing and I certainly feel we should have a woman on the city council.”
Dot passed away in November, 2011, but will always be remembered for her giving spirit and dedication to children and community.