On April 10, 1956, Mabel Bryan Morriss, secretary-treasurer of Bowie-Cass Electric Cooperative handed a check for $175,000 to REA Administrator Archer Nelsen in Washington, D.C. The check was an advance payment of $121,689.70 which pays off six years ahead of schedule the co-op's first two loans.
The additional $53,310.30 paid a year's payments in advance on all other outstanding notes. The co-op had previously been $81,973.54 ahead on loan payments. Many co-ops in the country have paid notes in advance, but for Bowie-Cass there was a special satisfaction in the mammoth payment and for Mrs. Morriss it was a personal triumph.
The slight, pleasant East Texas lady with limitless hope for the future and belief in her fellow East Texans brought the Douglassville co-op into being almost single-handedly, braving numerous condemnations of the project as "economically unfeasible." A few years back when employees and members of Bowie-Cass Electric Cooperative were asked about the organizing of the co-op, they would reply, "Ask Mabel Bryan Morriss. She did it."
It all started one warm night in May 1935, as Mabel Bryan Morriss read the latest issue of the Atlanta Citizens-Journal. If she hadn't been too interested in the story about the new-born Rural Electrification Administration and its offer to finance electricity for everybody who could qualify, Mrs. Morriss could have heard the whispers from other pioneers about the obstacles to be encountered along unblazed trails, and the heartaches and rebuffs that go hand in hand with the challenge of leadership.
The first real break came when REA sent a representative to visit the area of the proposed project. It was as if lightning had struck Cass County when the fiery little Scotsman exploded at Mrs. Morriss, "You haven't done anything! If you don't get some information in within a week your project is dead!"
On October 18 William G. Morrison of Waco, friend to many co-ops was chosen engineer, and Will Thompson of Dallas was appointed counsel. The October 18 meeting also approve a salary of $100 plus three cents a mile, but not over $35 a month, to go to the "project superintendent" who was to be selected by the REA. The directors were to receive $3 a meeting and five cents a mile to and from meetings - providing that such reimbursement did not exceed $70 a month for the entire board.