Like many other electric cooperatives across the country, J-A-C Electric Cooperative began with a group of area farmers that were anxious to lift the darkness and drudgery from the countryside and make farming and farm life more attractive.
Farmsteads were burning coal-oil lamps, pumping water by hand, using fire-heated flatirons on clothes and refrigerating with the coolness of damp cellars. The existing power companies did not believe it was economically feasible to run electric lines to the rural areas. After President Franklin D. Roosevelt created, by executive order, the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) in 1935, many rural electric cooperatives began to organize and electrify the countryside.
J-A-C Electric Cooperative, Inc., Bluegrove, Texas, was organized at a meeting of area residents on July 5, 1938 in the General Store in Bluegrove. The name selected is the first letter of the principal counties that it would serve electricity. Many of the local people gave their time going from house-to-house to get people to join the cooperative and wire the homes for lights.
The REA provided money to J-A-C for it to loan to customers for wiring their homes and equipping them to use electric service. The money had to be paid back in regular installments at 6 percent interest. Many people were reluctant to have electric service because the $5 dollar membership fee was difficult to pay during those hard times.
In August 1939, J-A-C energized its first 117 miles of line to areas including Bluegrove, Deer Creek, Windthorst, Scotland, Antelope, Shannon, Joy and other points in between. Mr. W. E. Lanham of Bluegrove was the first president of the board, Mr. Anton Schlumpf of Windthorst was vice-president, Mr. C.N. Powell was secretary-treasurer, Mr. John E. Middlebrooks was manager/superintendent and W. W. Patterson was office manager and bookkeeper.
The Cooperative office has always been located in Bluegrove. During the first few years, it was located in the General Store and later moved across the street to the ground floor of the Masonic Building. It stayed there until a new office building was built in 1964. This is the location of the office today.
J-A-C has had seven general managers including: John Middlebrooks, W. E. Lanham, James E. Fields, Robert H. Bunting, Sarah T. Sears, Kim Hooper and present manager, Shane Wiley.
Good, competitive rates, dependable electric service and friendly, local employees are characteristic of J-A-C Electric Cooperative. The board of directors and employees consistently strive to keep the cooperative operating successfully for the benefit of its members.