TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

CHAPTER 1

THE IVYS Page 2

 

CHAPTER 2

THE MCLENNANS Page 57

 

CHAPTER 3

THE HOUSTONS Page 88

 

CHAPTER 4

THE HUGHESES -

MARRIED LIFE Page 138

 

MEMORIAL Page 184

 

CONCLUSION Page 188

 

PICTURES

 

INDEX Page 189

 

HASKELL COUNTY TEXAS -

MY MANY MEMORIES

 

by RUBY CLOTHILDE IVY HUGHES

 

Chapter 1: The Ivys

 

The Ivys came to Texas in 1893 and settled on an area known as the Wild Horse Prairie, 10 miles west of Haskell, Texas. In 1895, they moved to a spot 5 miles southwest of where Stamford is today. At that time, Stamford wasn't even on the drawing board. The children went to school at Cold Corner School, half a mile south of Sunnyside Community. In 1900 on a winter day, the first train came to Stamford.

When Stamford was founded, the Ivys moved into Stamford. Then in 1902, they moved to the Rockdale Community.

 

I, Ruby Clothilde Ivy, was born October 25, l9l3, to Frazier Brown Ivy and Margaret (Maggie) McLennan Ivy. This happened at a farm in southeast Haskell County, Texas, on the land of Alexander McLennan, east of the California Creek, in the home of Betty and Lemuel Sidney Ivy, where my parents had lived all of their married life. Dr. Bickley (not the same as Dr. Bunkley mentioned later) was the attending physician. L. S. and Betty Ivy were my grandparents.

Frazier Ivy and Maggie McLennan Ivy were also living in the house with L.S. and Betty Ivy, Frazier's parents, when their first child, Lester, was born. Lester Lindsey Ivy was born Dec. 31, 1910 on a very cold night, in fact, the coldest one of the year. Frazier went over to the McLennans to call the Doctor. But they had an old battery phone which worked some of the time and sometime it didn't. And that night, it didn't. So Gladstone McLennan, Maggie's brother, rode a horse to Stamford, Texas. The horse was part Hamitonia, some kind of a race horse, named old Lazarus. No one could ride him but Glad. He'd pitch them off. Glad stopped at the Morrell place, which was on the way to town, to use their phone, but still couldn't get through. Tom Morrell told Glad that he would keep trying but for Glad to go on. Tom thought that maybe he could get the doctor later, and did. By the time that Glad arrived, the doctor had a big fire going and a pot of coffee on. In a few minutes, a man came up in a car and took Doctor McReynolds out to the Ivy place. He told Glad to stay there and get warm and drink some coffee. He also said, "I may need for you to bring me something. I don't know exactly what I may need."

So Gladstone stayed until he was sure the doctor didn't need anything before he started back home. He said it wasn't quite as bad going home because he didn't go as fast as he did coming to town. He said that old horse really took him to town.

 

My parents moved from there when I was one month old into the house with "Uncle" Dave Lindsey, who wasn't really an uncle, but everyone called him that. This two-story house was north and a little east of the Lindsey Chapel and about a mile from it. Uncle Dave was nearly 81 years old, at that time, but very active, still riding his horse "Old Paint." He owned quite a lot of land, and also cattle, mules and horses. He wanted someone to farm the land, take care of the stock, and also a woman to cook and care for him and wash his clothes. Uncle Dave was a very religious man who never drank, smoked or chewed tobacco. He didn't use ugly words either. He was a member of the Church of Christ, and he didn't want anyone to work for him unless they were also members of his church. He gave the land to build, Lindsey Chapel, a Church of Christ, along with most of the money.

Uncle Dave came and settled in Haskell County in 1880. He donated land for the first school near him in 1901, which was called Rockdale. It later burned. Then another one was built on that site in 1923, which was two room. I went to school at this one. Kate Jones, Ruby Rowland, and Sweetie Bogard were my teachers.

Sometimes Uncle Dave drove a buggy pulled by a white mare. He always carried a big pocket watch in his pocket. It had a picture of a race horse on the back by the name of "Ole Dan Tucker." He was always happy to show it. He appeared to have money as he loaned it to nearby farmers for 10% interest, which was a lot way back then.

 

He bought boxes of fruit from peddlers that came through the country, such as apples, peaches, and pears. He never drank coffee. It was always milk. I remember one time when my mother forgot his milk and he said, "Maggie. What have I done? Are you mad at me?" She said, "No, Uncle Dave. What makes you think that?" "Well, you didn't give me any milk."

 

I remember walking with Uncle Dave to the Lindsey Chapel on his 90th birthday. It took us only eight minutes. That really thrilled him. Then we came back home to a birthday dinner that Mother had cooked for him. People came from all around, even from Nugent. There were people and food all over the place. He had a ball!

 

Uncle Dave was an old bachelor. He never spoke of ever having a girl friend. He slept on a feather mattress, and it took Mama quite a while to fluff that bed just right every day. Us kids dared not touch it.

Dave owned several hundred acres of land in southeast Haskell County. He rented his land to Church of Christ members only.

Uncle Dave was also a very saving person. He wore his old clothes until they couldn't be patched anymore. His shoes had holes in the soles. My mother said that was why he died of pneumonia. He got his feet wet and they stayed wet all day. Dr. Fred Hudson was his doctor who came to the farm to see him. When he got sicker, people came from miles around to sit up with him at night.

David Lancelot Lindsey was borne Apr.2, 1832 and died Dec. 15, 1923. He had one sister that I know of. Her name was Blanch Slaughter, and she had one son, John. He went back there to visit two or three times. She never came here.

 

I don't remember too much about my father. I do remember Mama handing Lester and myself up to him on the horse, Lester behind the saddle and me in front of him holding on the saddle horn. He would take us to the pasture to see about the cows, stopping and visiting with neighbors and also to the country store and post office, "Nabors."

Nabors, Texas was located in the southeast part of Haskell County. It was just about a quarter of a mile off the main road going to Stamford from the Rockdale Community. It was half way between the Bunkley house and the little hill back west, near the Shackelford County line. The old house burned down.

We know it was founded before 1913. Rosa Ann Bouldin was the clerk and her son, Olin, with her daughter, Annie, helped her in the store if she needed them.

The post office was on the south side of the room and groceries were on the north side where you entered. The store had staple groceries, such as flour, sugar, coffee, along with canned foods, and also tobacco and snuff. The Bouldin family mostly lived in the back of the house. As best I remember, it was two story.

As a town, Nabors could be no smaller. It consisted of just one house. Mail was delivered to Nabors by Mr. Nole for years. It seems to me like he just delivered it about three times a week. He used to drive a Model T Ford. He also had a cart and horse to deliver when it was muddy. I don't know when the mail stopped coming there, maybe when Mrs. Bouldin died. Anyway, in the early twenties, a Mr. Thornton who lived at Lueders started delivering it to the mailboxes. He was really a quiet man. He would never say a word to me. Then one day when I was there to get mail, a plane flew over. He actually said, "See that airplane?" It scared me when he said something. Guess I was afraid of him anyway. Why? I had no reason. I was just scared of everything.

I remember my father another time when I was sick. Mama thought I needed some castor oil, a "cure-all." She had tried to give it to me and I spit it out. I guess I was about three. He came in still wearing his chaps and cowboy hat and asked what was wrong. Mama told him I was sick, but wouldn't take the castor oil. He walked over to the "baby bed" where I was and took me out of the bed and sat down in the old rocking chair and started rocking and singing. After a while he asked me to take the medicine and I said "no." He reached in his pocket and took out a new half dollar. He said, "I'll give you this if you will take the oil." I took the castor oil and got the 50 cents. He rocked me a while, then got up and put me back in bed. He then said, "Let me put your money up here on the mantel so you won't lose it." He put it up and that's all I remember about the half dollar.

My father really enjoyed being a cowboy. He liked to ride horses and rope cattle, just being out in the pasture with the animals. He also enjoyed singing and had a good voice. The people from all around the community would gather once a week at Rockdale School and sing for hours. My parents always went. He could also play a French harp. My mother and other relatives told me this. They said when he played the "wolf and the hounds," he could make the harp sound just like dogs barking.

I do remember when he took blood poison the last time and was too sick to get out of bed. I just couldn't understand why. Mama would talk on the phone about how sick he was. Then the doctor said, "bring him to the hospital." They left with him and someone took Lester and me to the hospital to see him. We went into the room and saw him in the bed. He held out one hand and patted Lester on the head and said, "You be a good boy son and help your mother. She is going to need your help. Take your little red wagon and bring in wood and chips for her." Mama then put me on the other side of him. He just hugged me tight and started to cry. Someone took us out of the room. I don't remember the funeral, but I do remember we came back to Grandpa McLennans that evening. There was a bad sand storm blowing and the old curtains on Alex's old Ford was flapping in and out. The car stopped at the gate going into their barn yard. I looked up and asked Mama "why didn't we go home?" She said, "We'll go home tomorrow." I guess we did.

He had died from blood poison, April l7, l9l8. This wasn't the first time for him to have blood poison, but the 3rd time. Dr. Bunkley had told him to come to the hospital and take some kind of shot to help build up his blood. But the shot cost $20.00. He didn't have the money, so he didn't go. The first time he got the infection, he had cut his hand on a fence. Then later he cut his hand really bad while killing hogs. The last time he roped a calf and the rope got away from him somehow and he got a bad rope burn. The doctors thought at first it was rheumatism, but his arm started swelling and he had a hurting in his chest. It didn't take very long to find out different, but it was too late.

 

The only time I ever rode a train was December 5, l9l6, when Uncle John and Aunt Trezzie Ivy's small son, Buel Ray, died with diphtheria. Daddy, Mama, Lester, myself, and I think some more people, went with us, probably L.S. and Betty Ivy, my grandparents. We caught the train at Stamford and rode to

Aspermont. On the way to Aspermont, Lester wanted some money to put in some kind of a machine on the train. Someone gave him a penney. He put it in the slot and got a little ring out of the machine. He finally got it on his little finger, but it was too small. His finger started swelling and hurting and he started crying. When we got to Aspermont, they took him some place and had the ring cut off. Someone met us in Aspermont and took us out to Uncle John's in the country. I can't remember that funeral either.

 

After Daddy died, Mother, Lester and I continued to live at Uncle Dave Lindsey's. He told Mama he wanted us to stay there. She could work the land, help with the cattle, take care of his laundry, and care for him. He would pay all expenses for farming and also buy the food. She would give him one half of what she made. It was hard job for her I know, but he helped her with us kids, taking us with him in the buggy to help him poison prairie dogs.

 

When I was five or six years old and Lester was three years older, Mother was working in the field. Dave Lindsey, who was 86 years old, was supposed to be looking after us. He probably was doing the best he was able to do. Anyway, Lester and I wanted some candy and we knew it was the day the old peddler came around. He always had several different kinds of candy. So we started looking for eggs to trade to the peddler for candy. Lester went to the barn, looked, and found a few, but not enough he said. I looked in the kitchen and found one. This was still not enough! Then I remembered the old cellar, which had fallen in. I had seen some eggs in it, but usually the old hen was on these eggs. I was afraid of the old hen and also of the cellar. But you could get in there if you were really careful and small. So I thought a minute and went to the old cellar. I could see a few eggs, and the old hen wasn't down there. So being a stupid and brave little girl, I crept down through the debris very slowly. I got the eggs, put them in my pockets, and took them to Lester. He asked no questions and just said that's enough. In a few minutes, we spotted the peddler's old yellow truck. It stopped at the Garvin home for a few minutes and then started on to our house. We went out to the front gate to be ready to do our trading. Lester had the little pail of eggs, and I just following along.

The peddler stopped, got out, and put the sides down so we could see the goodies. He then asked what we wanted. Lester told him that we wanted to trade the eggs for candy. He gave us the candy, took the eggs, and put them with the other eggs he had gotten on his trip.

That was on Friday. A few days later, one night at supper, Mama said, "Uncle Dave, it don't look like we are going to have those little chickens that I told you about. I looked in the cellar this evening and the old hen and all of the eggs were gone. Guess an old snake got her eggs and she quit her nest." Then I knew exactly what was going on and why those eggs were left there. But I didn't tell or say a word. Actually, I didn't have to. Because the next Friday when the old peddler came around, Mama and I went out to meet him. She got a few things and paid him with some money and also some eggs. As he was putting her eggs away with his other eggs, he calmly said, "You know, last Saturday morning when I went to my truck to get my eggs so I could take them to the produce house, I found two little chickens in there." Mama looked at me and just replied, "Yeah." But that wasn't what she said to me and Lester when I had to tell the truth.

I didn't care too much about that old peddler after that. If the truth was known, he probably wouldn't have cared too much about me either, if he knew the whole story. Every time I saw him after that, I thought about those little chickens. But I assure you, I didn't ask him about them.

 

Lester and I would gather up old dried horse and cow chips for Uncle Dave to pour liquid carbon on. Then he would put them into a prairie dog hole as a gas poison. We would put rocks in the hole so the prairie dogs couldn't get out. The dogs ate the grass and also made deep holes in the ground. If a cow or horse stepped in these holes, they sometimes broke a leg.

 

When Lester and I were just kids, we attended a Methodist Church one Sunday, and several people were added to their church. It was our first time to see anyone sprinkled. Well, every evening Uncle Dave took a nap in his swing chair, which was a steel frame with a duck cloth back and seat. It also had steel arms, and he could make it lay back. So there he was asleep, and Lester and I thought it would be nice to sprinkle Uncle Dave, who was a big Church of Christ believer. I crawled up on the arm of the chair, and Lester got a saucer with water in it. I put my hand in the saucer and got it wet and shook it on Uncle Dave's bald head and started to pat it. He came up from there yelling. "Maggie! Come in here and see what these kids are doing." She came, stopped at the door, and said, "What are you all doing?" We told her we were baptizing Uncle Dave into the Methodist Church. That was just too much. She gave us that look and snatched us off Uncle Dave's chair, and to the back porch we went.

Needless to say we didn't ever try to make Uncle Dave a Methodist anymore. He could be whatever he wanted to be. It was fine with us.

 

I think my grandmother, Betty Ivy, must have kept me quite a lot when Mama was in the field because I remember her so well. Mama was always busy. She had to do the milking, cooking, washing, ironing, cleaning, work in the field, and cattle feeding in winter time. She also had two small children and an old man 85 years old to care for.

We also used wood for cooking and for the fireplace in the winter time. So someone had to haul the wood and chop it. Lester would bring it in but too small to do much chopping.

 

Uncle Dave had a lot of company. Men came from Nugent and Deadman Creek (wherever that was). I remember one name was the Manly's. Nearly every Sunday after L. S. got too old to preach, Mama had a preacher to cook for on the weekends. But she didn't complain and she was also a good cook. She cooked her Sunday dinner before going to church.

 

The days after Daddy's death I'm sure were hard for Mama. I can remember her hitching up the team (two horses) to go plow. She used a single row cultivator. In other words she plowed one row at a time, but she got it done. One time she planted cotton and didn't cover it very deep. Uncle John planted at the same time, but covered it about four inches deep. Well it came a hard rain and Mama's cotton came up with the seed's hull still on the cotton. Uncle John's didn't come up. It just crusted over, and he had to plant again. Mama didn't. I remember them joking each other about that years later. He said that he covered his just right and Maggie didn't. Mama said that she must have covered hers right and he didn't. After all, he had to plant over and she didn't.

I also remember going to church and hearing all of those old women saying, "poor little orphan kids" and patting me on the head. I hated those words. I knew I didn't have a daddy, but I didn't like to be told about it every Sunday. I think they did it for show. They didn't try to help us any.

 

Lester and I wandered what had happened to Daddy's clothes. We knew he was gone now that his clothes were gone. Mama had told us not to go in the north bedroom upstairs. But one morning when she was milking the cows, we thought we would see why. So we went upstairs and Lester opened the door, which was a little hard to do. We went into the room, and near the East wall, we saw Daddy's chaps, spurs, two pair of boots, two hats, and a big box. Lester turned the box over and Daddy's other clothes were in there. About that time he looked out the window to if Mama was coming from the cow pen and she was. We got out of there fast, trying to get out down the stairs before she got to the house. Somehow I stumbled on the first step and rolled to the bottom. So when she came in, I was crying at the foot of the stairs with a lump on my forehead and skinned knees and elbows. Her first words were, "I told you not to go upstairs." Then she put something on my skinned places. I'm sure she knew what we did. We left the door open and the clothes were still on the floor. Lester went back up there in a few days and looked around, but she had moved everything. So we asked no questions.

I always thought my Daddy was partial to me and Mama was partial to Lester. After Daddy died, I guess I turned to Uncle Dave who was nearly 85 years old. He was always there to help me with things I couldn't do, since Mama was usually in the field, tending to the cattle, washing, or doing house work. If Lester and I had a fight, Uncle Dave always blamed Lester when I may have started it. I'd run and get in Uncle Dave's lap, and Lester wouldn't bother me. I found that out pretty quick. I was a mean little girl I guess, but I got a lot of whippings for it. I didn't always get by. When I started to school, I'd sit in Uncle Dave's lap by the fireplace at night and he would help me with my reading. In fact, he read it to me, and I would memorize it. The next day I would read it to the teacher and not miss a word. One day I was reading and Kate Jones was my teacher. She said I was reading every word but hadn't turned a page. So she stopped that and fast. I told Uncle Dave and Mama that night what had happened. It upset him too because he didn't know that I had been memorizing the lesson. So he just started telling me the words that I didn't know. I had a hard time for a little while but soon learned to read and not memorize.

On Friday evenings every week, we would have a spelling match. One Friday sometime in l920, Uncle Gladstone McLennan came to the school that evening to take Kate Jones, our teacher, somewhere on a date. He arrived a little early and we were spelling. The teacher had given me a word to spell and I was having trouble putting the e before i. Uncle Glad pointed to his eye. I caught on fast and spelled the word. She had her back turned to him and couldn't see what had happened. I might add that Aunt Kate paid me to help her get ready for school, although she wasn't my aunt at that time of course.

 

Lester and I walked to school when we lived at Uncle Dave's. It was about two miles. But when the weather was bad, Mama took us in the buggy.

Lester was always setting traps to catch skunks or opossums so he could sell the hides and make a little money. Some of his traps were near the road on our way to the school house. One day while going to school, we found a skunk in a trap. He was afraid if he didn't kill it then, it would get out of the trap before he got out of school that evening. So he found a stick and killed the skunk, but not before it has sprayed him with its musk. We went on to school, but were a little late. When we got into the school, the teacher had a fit. "You smell like a skunk. Go home and clean up and come back to school." He started home but went by and picked up his skunk and skinned it before he told Mama. He didn't want to go back to school. It was nearly dinner time by now. Mama made him bathe, put on clean clothes, and she took him back to school that evening.

One evening after school, Lester was setting a trap not far from the house. Mama was in the field, and I was just watching. He told me to go to the house and get him some meat to set the trap with. I went and looked and looked for some meat, but couldn't find any. Then I remembered seeing Mama put a box of some kind of meat up in the cabinet and saying, "I'll make some kind of a pie out of this meat." So I got me a chair and climbed up on the cabinet and got the box and took it to Lester. He took the box and said, "This don't look like meat to me." I assured him it was some kind of meat because Mama had called it meat. He read on the box and said "Yea, it does say meat." So he opened the box and scattered it all around the trap. When Mama got home, she asked me, "Why is that chair pulled up to the cabinet? Did you climb up there?" Yes. " I've told you not to climb up on that cabinet. Why did you?" I said, "to get the meat for Lester to set a trap with." Well, that was too much! We had wasted mince meat for the pies and I wasn't supposed to crawl upon the cabinet both. Needless to say, we didn't do that again.

 

Uncle Dave gave Lester a little black Spanish mare. He named her Trixie. She knew what she wanted and usually got away with it. She didn't want anyone to ride behind the saddle and would buck and kick up her heels. She also didn't want any horse to outrun her and usually they didn't. I usually rode the old gray Jenny. She was slow, didn't care who outran her. In fact, she didn't care about going in the first place. I was always last, but we usually got there. I didn't have a saddle but had to ride bareback. Lester always had a saddle, which had probably belonged to Daddy. We enjoyed going horseback riding.

One day Marion Martindale, who lived on one of Uncle Dave's places, came by to see Uncle Dave and borrow some money to buy food until he could sell something. He just threw the reins of the bridle over a post when he went into the house. He had been there about three hours talking, and the horse was getting restless as it was getting late. Mama was at the cow lot milking. I went up to that old horse and he seemed gentle enough. However, he didn't have a saddle on. So I pulled him up to the fence and climbed up there and slipped the reins off the post and said "get up." And he did, by running down the road towards home. He was ready to "call it a day." Mama saw what was happening, since the road went by the cow lot. She ran out of the lot yelling, "Whoa, whoa." The horse then left the road and started across the pasture. The first big tree he went under caught me on the chin, and off I went. Mama came running as did Mr. Martindale also. I wasn't hurt too badly but had the air knocked out of me. I didn't do that again either. I did learn the hard way. However you don't forget it so easy.

 

John M. Ivy and I would ride our old Jennys together. They are a little contrary at times and don't want to leave the lot. However, we enjoyed it. One morning I was over at Uncle John's house and John M. and I were playing with some blocks on the kitchen floor. Betty Ivy (Grandma) was in the house with us and Aunt Trezzie was outside doing something. She came to the kitchen window and told Grandma to keep the kids in the house because the horses were running away with John and she was going out to try to help him. Well, Grandma put John M. and I under the cabinet. It wasn't a built in cabinet but an old time cabinet which stood about l8 inches off the floor. Then she pulled up a chair and sat near us and started praying. I can still see her, with her head bent and that hackberry (snuff dipping toothbrush) in her mouth. I just knew those horses would be coming through that window at any minute, but they didn't and no one was hurt. Grandma was always telling Lester to find her a toothbrush. She liked hackberry best, and when he found some, he usually got several.

 

One Sunday, John M. came home with us to each lunch. We were going back to the church at 2:00 p.m. that evening, so Aunt Trezzie told John M. not to mess up his clothes. But as soon as we ate, we went outside to play. I can't remember how, but he tore an "L" shaped hole in his new pants. Then he began to cry. We went in the house and told Mama. She said, "Don't cry and I will fix those pants and Trezzie won't ever know you tore them." She got some thread the color of the pants and told him to take them off. She started just weaving the thread in and out, all the way around. It took a while, but when she finished, you couldn't tell where the torn place was. The pants were a mingled color. She pressed them, and it just blended in. Aunt Trezzie didn't know he had torn them until Mama told her months later. Aunt Trezzie said, "If we tear anything else, I'm bringing it to you to be fixed." And she did, but she also helped Mama in other ways.

 

John M. and I were playing with a ball one day. One of us didn't catch it, and it landed in the horse lot. The lot gate was closed, but we didn't see anything in the lot. However, we couldn't see around on the west side of the lot, as the barn blocked the view. What we didn't know was that a few hours earlier, they had put a bull in the lot. The bull had cut its foot and had gotten screw worms in the wound. They had also doctored the bull's foot, and that had made it mad. There was a place in the lot fence about l8 inches wide, which had fence post on each side and boards nailed across it to keep the stock in the lot. That was where John M. and I crawled through. We got the ball and started back out. I guess the bull heard us. Anyway, he started toward us, pawing the dirt and snorting. John M. was trying to get through the hole but wouldn't bend his back so he could go under the board. But when I saw that bull, I pushed his back down and through the hole he went. I also went through it and over him. But it hurt his back.

A doctor was called and he said to keep him in bed and to not play around for a few days. But that evening, a bad cloud came up and Grandpa Ivy said, "Take him to the cellar." And we did. Now I'll tell you about that cloud.

 

It was a spring afternoon, probably in 1920. Mother and I went over to Uncle John and Aunt Trezzie's to visit with Grandma. Also Mama wanted to know how John M. was doing after the run-in with the bull the day before. Late that evening as we were fixing to go home, Grandma Ivy said, "Maggie, from what I can see in the west, it looks like we could have a storm tonight. I just don't like the looks of that big black cloud. I think you should bring the kids over here to the cellar." So Mama left me with Grandma and she went home to cook Uncle Dave Lindsey some supper and get Lester and come back to the cellar. Before she got ready to go, Uncle Dave came in and said, "Maggie, if you all are going to John's, you had better hurry. That cloud is coming and fast." Meanwhile back at John's, Grandpa got the coal oil lantern out and filled it with oil and took it to the cellar. Grandma brought John M. out on the front porch and put him on a quilt and told me to watch him. She got busy getting some chairs out of the house and taking them and quilts to the cellar. Aunt Trezzie was busy getting little chickens into shelter. Everyone was watching the cloud and trying to get things prepared before it hit. The cloud was getting nearer. You could hear thunder and the lightning was really flashing. Grandpa was standing at the cellar door watching for Uncle John to come in from the field and Mama to return with Lester. He finally said, "If John and Maggie don't come on, they will be caught out in that storm." In a little while, John came in and put the horses in the lot. About that time Grandpa said, "I see a cloud of dust coming over the tank dam. Maggie will be here pretty soon." I wouldn't get into the cellar but instead stayed at the door with Grandpa, looking for Mama. In a few minutes, we saw her. She had the old gray mare running with the buggy. Uncle John saw her too and ran and opened the barn yard gate. She came through and stopped the horse, then Mama jumped out on one side and Lester on the other. Undoing the horse from the buggy, Uncle John grabbed the horse by the reins and put it in the lot with his horses. Grandpa and I got into the cellar, and they were there shortly. In minutes after the cellar door was closed, it was raining and hailing and blowing very hard. Grandpa was holding the rope that was tied to the cellar door, to help keep the door down. The wind blew the cellar door up a little and Grandpa said, "John, I need some help." He got it. Everyone that could hold on to the rope did. Then water started running down the cellar steps. They picked the quilt up to keep them from getting wet. Grandma held onto me while Aunt Trezzie was holding on to John M. After the rain, hail, and wind had nearly stopped, Grandpa pushed the cellar door up a little and just stood there looking toward the house. And when it lightened again, he said "John the house is gone." And it was. Grandpa started praying and Grandma started crying. That cellar wasn't a very happy place that night. When the rain stopped, they started talking about what to do where to go. The cellar was too wet to sit in, and we couldn't just stand up in there all night. Mama said, "Lets go to our house." Uncle John replied, "Maggie we can't get to your house. We'd have to cross over the tank dam, and the water will be running in on one side and out on the other, as much as it has rained tonight." Grandpa said, "We'll go to Ed's." That was his oldest son.

We all got out of the cellar and into the wagon and started to Ed's. We had to cross a ravine, which was filled with water. In fact, the wagon bed floated up a little in the back, but we made it across and finally got to Uncle Ed's They appeared happy to have us. Lou, Ed's wife, gave me a big hug. The window panes had been blown out of their house, and she was picking up glass and sweeping the water out of the house. When she finished, she said, "I'll get some quilts out and make some pallets down in the east bedroom. It isn't wet." She made a pallet for mother, Lester, and me in one corner and for Uncle John's family in another corner. Grandpa and Grandma slept on a bed.

Mama woke Lester and me up at daylight to go home and see about Uncle Dave. He wouldn't go to the cellar with Mama but stayed at home with a hired hand. When we got home, we couldn't get in the front door. They had nailed it shut because the wind had blew it down and also its latch off.

That storm blew another one of Uncle Dave's rent houses away that night where Marion Martindale and his family lived. They were in their cellar, so no one was hurt. She had put her wedding band on a nail beside the kitchen door that evening and forgot to get it off. The ring was never found.

Another house was blown away in that same vicinity. The man's family wasn't at home, but his body was found nearby in the fire place. They thought he may have strangled on soot from the fire place. His name was Davidson.

That night is still very vivid in my mind today. It seems as if it could have been only yesterday. I'm also very scared of clouds and guess I always will be. When a small child goes through an experience like that, it usually leaves its scar people say.

So, it was a good thing we ignored the doctor's advice and took John M. to the cellar. For when the house blew away, the chimney fell in on John M.'s bed.

 

I mentioned going to Ed's house after the storm. He also had two sisters, Emily and Ella, that I never saw. They married in Alabama and never came to Texas as far as I know. However, their sister, Aunt Sally, came to Texas with Grandpa Ivy or soon after. We went to Lueders to see her a few times. She was always too sweet.

And their brother, Uncle Dan, was really a good, jolly man. I actually knew him better than the rest. We visited with him a lot, and he and Aunt Emma also visited us. He would give you his shirt off his back if you needed it.

Eph, another of their brothers, lived in town and was a carpenter. He had a horse, so we saw him pretty often. We really enjoyed him and Aunt Lonnie and the girls visiting us. In fact, he and Aunt Lonnie stayed at our house that night with my father's corpse. After someone had passed away in those days, they were always taken back home until burial time.

I remember Elish coming to our house one time. Transportation was a problem, since if you didn't have a horse, you stayed home. And that's the last of my father's half brothers and sisters.

As far as my father's full brothers and sisters, there was Uncle John and Aunt Leta. I have mentioned Uncle John in lots of places in these stories. He only lived a mile away and came by our house nearly every day. As for Aunt Leta, she was married to Uncle Monroe, and they had an orchard. They had lots of berries, peaches, watermelons, and cantaloupes. Uncle Monroe was the carpenter who built Mama and Pa's new house.

 

Lester had a bulldog. Daddy got the dog for him when the dog was a pup, and when Lester was small, he named the dog "Old Bulger." He really was a good watch dog. He also hated rattlesnakes. If he could get to them, he would grab them and bite and shake them to death. If one got under the house and he couldn't get to it, he would bark until someone came out and helped him get the snake out. He was bitten by rattlers about eight times Mama said. It nearly killed him the third time, but after that it wasn't that bad anymore. We all loved Old Bulger. Once a rattlesnake crawled under the dining table and started rattling. Bulger tore the screen off the door and got in the house and killed that snake.

Mama would put out food for Bulger to eat, but sometimes he couldn't eat all of it. The neighbor's dogs would then come and finish the remains. Lester didn't like that. He wanted old Bulger to have food whenever he wanted it. So we started tying tin cans to these neighbor's dog's tails. Sometimes we would put a few gravel in the cans so they would rattle and scare the dog. And we also threw small rocks at them as they started off, so they would run faster. Then one day, Marion Martindale told Mama that someone was tying tin cans to his dog's tails. And yes, we admitted doing it, because they were eating all of old Bulger's food and we didn't like it. Well, we shouldn't have done that either, but it was fun while it lasted.

Old Bulger lived to be about 12 years old. We had gotten another dog about three years before Bulger died. It was a shepherd dog. They stayed together all the time and got along fine from the start. We called this new dog Shep. One day, Old Bulger didn't show up. Mama called and called, but he didn't come. Then we looked and still couldn't find him. Sometimes Shep was there, and later we couldn't find him either. This went on for about five days. And when Mama fed Shep, she saw him take a biscuit in his mouth and go southwest with it. She told Lester to follow Shep. He followed and Shep had taken the biscuit out to where old Bulger lay. He had been dead two or three days then. But there were several biscuits around old Bulger. Old Shep had tried to feed him, but it didn't work. We were all very upset because old Bulger, our old faithful dog, had died. We buried him and time marched on, but we still missed him.

 

When I graduated from Rockdale, I had made the highest grade in my class. So I was the one who had to make the valedictorian speech. The teacher had told me to stand in a certain place on the stage, and I stood there every time while practicing the speech. We didn't have electricity at the school house, so Uncle John Ivy brought a gasoline lantern. He then hung it up on a nail just above where I was supposed to stand. When the time came for my speech, I was half scared to death and didn't look up. I was also tall for my age, so I walked out, and my head hit the bottom of the lantern. Everyone laughed. That is, everyone except me. I was so embarrassed. I wanted to cry, but somehow didn't. I just backed up and said my speech. I still remember how terrible I felt afterwards and how proud I had felt before. But that brought me back to earth and fast.

Years ago, people in the Rockdale Community would attend both churches if possible. For example, one Sunday morning, the Church of Christ might just have Sunday School, and if the Baptist Church had a preacher that Sunday, the Church of Christ members would go up to the Baptist Church after Sunday School that day and attend the preaching. Or the reverse might happen. We would also go back for church at night.

Well, I remember one Sunday night when we attended preaching at the Baptist Church. The Fox family were there also. Their daughter, Nannie Gertrude (Sissie) Fox, and I, who were good friends, were on the front row. I don't know why we sat there, but we did. Anyway, Grandpa Cobb was standing by the preacher. The congregation was singing a song, and Grandpa Cobb was singing along. He had a little goatee and it kept going up and down as he sang. Sissie Fox said to me, "Look at Grandpa Cobb singing. He looks like a goat eating grass." We got tickled and every time I looked at him I laughed. And when everyone stopped singing, we were still laughing. We just couldn't seem to stop. So Uncle John came down and got me by the arm and took me out of the church. I stopped laughing then. He told me I could stay out there until I thought I could behave myself. He came back later and got me and put me on a back seat. I was so embarrassed.

 

One Sunday morning at Lindsey Chapel after church, Aunt Trezzie invited several to her house for dinner. It was her birthday. John Williams, who was a big tease and joker, asked her how old she was, but she wouldn't tell him. Then he asked Uncle John how old she was. Uncle John said, "She hasn't told me either. But maybe she will when she cuts the cake." John Williams teased her a while longer about her age, but he didn't go to the birthday dinner. We went home with them for dinner. And while eating, people started talking about ages and when each was born, where, and so on. I listened carefully, to see how old Aunt Trezzie was, so I could tell John Williams if he asked that night. What a cruel thing for an eight-year-old to do. Anyway after church that night, everyone was talking, and John Williams, as usual, asked Uncle John if he had found out how old Trezzie was. Uncle John said, "No, I didn't." But smart alec me said, "I know. She is 30 years old." I knew in a second I should have kept my big mouth shut. No one said a word. It was kind of like I had dropped a bombshell and everyone was waiting for it to explode. Thinking back now, I wonder why. Thirty years old isn't bad at all. But I guess Mama thought otherwise, and I never told how old anyone else was. They could be any age they wanted to be. It was fine with me.

 

One Thanksgiving probably in 1920, Mama was cooking a turkey dinner for the Ivys. She always raised turkeys, therefore she usually cooked one. This year, the turkey gobbler was too large for her oven, which was very small. So she cleaned up a small wash pot, put water in it, and covered it with a granite dish pan. Then we built the fire around the pot, and when the water was boiling, she put the turkey in the salted water. We covered it again with the dish pan, to keep anything from falling into the pot. She put it on early that morning and then started the rest of the food. Well Grandpa Ivy who was always in a hurry, walked over to our house. I guess it was about a mile from his house to ours. He got there about 10:30, talked with Uncle Dave a while, and then asked Maggie when dinner would be ready. She told him she had told Leta and family and Johns family it would be nearly one o'clock before she could get it ready. Then he asked if the neck of the turkey was done. Mama told him she would go and see. She took it out, and it was done. He told her he wanted to eat it because he liked the neck best anyway, and he didn't have time to stay any longer. Mama had cranberries cooked and also potato salad. She fixed his plate, and he ate and walked back home before anyone else arrived. Grandma came with Uncle John's family later on. Grandpa Ivy was like that in everything he did. If you had something to do, get it done and forget about it. He was really a hard working and honest man my mother always said, and she should have known, because she and Daddy lived in the house with them from 9-26-1909 until 11-25-1913.

 

One day Aunt Trezzie and John M. came by our house going to the mail box, which was usual. But she had a new horse and cart. She said that John had just gotten them, and the horse was fairly gentle, so she thought she could handle it. Mama and I got in the cart (If you don't know, a cart has only two wheels.) Well, we made it to the mail box fine and had started home. Just before we got to our pasture, something went wrong. I don't know if something broke or just came loose. The shaft went into the air, and we went to the ground. Aunt Trezzie was driving, and she held onto the reins as long as she could and was dragged a few feet. The horse ran away and went home. We all got up and walked home. Everyone was OK. If Aunt Trezzie ever drove that cart again, I don't remember it.

 

On April 1 was always April fools day at school. And on this day, I don't remember what year, but I know it was after Uncle John built his new house just north of the school house. A bunch of the older children, meaning Lester and those about his age, were going to run off when the teacher turned us out for the last recess. It was a cloudy day, but no one paid any attention to that. Some of us younger ones went to the fence with them. All but me went back to the school house. I didn't know what to do. Lester and I had rode old Trixie to school that day. And if he was gone, I couldn't go home. So I too ran after them. We didn't get very far until it thundered once and started raining. We were nearer Uncle John's house, so we all took off to his house. We knocked on the back door. Aunt Trezzie let us in and to my surprise there stood Mama. She had come over to visit Trezzie. From there I don't remember, but I think I can guess. Anyway, the teacher made us memorize some poems and also made us stay in at recess for two weeks. And we got rained on too. What a day!

 

Every summer after the crops were laid by, as the old saying went, families in the community would plan a fishing trip to the river. Back then, we went in wagons. So everyone had make plans to go on a certain day in July, and Mama had did her cooking that morning for the trip. But when the time came for everyone to gather at Uncle John's place to go, a big cloud had formed in the northwest. Uncle John had told Mama that he would pick us up, and she had things ready. She said she told John when he came for us, "John, that cloud looks like it could do anything. Maybe we should stay at home." Uncle John said "Maggie, a cloud never comes up on a moonlight night in July. It's a full moon and I know it won't rain." So off to the river we all went. However, by sundown you could tell that the cloud wasn't paying any attention to the full moon but was coming up anyway. So the men fixed the wagons in a way to try and keep things dry and also keep the people dry, putting wagon sheets over the wagons. They also tending to the horses needs.

Mama said when it hit, the wind was terrible. The wagon sheets went flying in the air, and it was just pouring down rain. And there she was with two little scared, wet kids. Also, many more were in the same shape. The beds, food, and everything got wet. But they made it through the storm. I don't remember if she mentions how many fish they caught, I don't think Mama ever let Uncle John forget that it sometimes rains on a moonlight night in July.

 

We really didn't visit too much. People were busy most of the time. If they weren't in the field working, they had horses, cows, hogs, and chickens to care for, which took a lot of time. There was milking the cows and feeding the horses and hogs twice a day. Also there was feeding and watering little chickens, as well as cleaning out the chicken house.

 

Leola and Evelyn Ivy, Uncle Eph and Aunt Lonnie's girls, would come out and spend a while with us and Uncle John's family every summer, and their visits were always welcome. In fact, they were the happiest part of the summer for us. We usually found something to do. We may not have did it right, but we did it anyway. We fished, rode horses, went swimming, and also went to parties.

The year after Leola graduated from high school, she was wearing her class ring and helping us hoe one morning. And when she took off her gloves, her ring was missing. We looked and looked but never found the ring. She may have taken her glove off before and dropped it then. Anyway, we will never know. I thought about her ring every time we worked in that part of the field and would look, but never did find it. We always hated to see them go home as it was back to the old grind for us. They were always missed.

We went on lots of fishing trips to the river with them. We usually went after Uncle John got his car. Some of us would go in it. I guess the rest went by horseback or maybe in a wagon. I remember his car couldn't get up the hill if he tried to go forward. The gas just wouldn't get to the engine, so we would get out of the car, and he would back it up the hill. And we had to walk up the hill, but we enjoyed it. We also got to go swimming.

Uncle John's telephone line didn't go into town, but he could take a three-foot wire and hook his to the top line that went into town to talk there.

 

I remember when Merle had pneumonia. It had to be in late in 1921 or 1922, since we moved in 1923. Anyway, Mama had been going over to help Aunt Trezzie tend to him, but he seemed to be getting worse, so they called Dr. Southard. He came out in his little Roadster car, examined Meryl, and said, "Trezzie. Get your red bandana on. We are taking this boy to the hospital."

Mama came home crying, thinking about what could happen. Uncle Dave asked about Merle, as he always did when Mama had been with the sick. When she told him, it upset him too. You didn't take anyone to the hospital back then, unless they were very sick. And of course, I got upset, and started crying. I remembered what had happened to Aunt Trezzie and Uncle John's first child, Buel and also to my daddy. It was pretty sad around there for a few days. Then we got the good news. Merle was better. But, I still worried about him. Mama kept telling me that he was going to be fine. But every now and then I'd still cry until he was at home and up playing.

 

Merle was always a happy person and appeared to want people happy around him. I remember one day, they ate Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner with us. And after Merle finished eating and was leaving the table, he came back and said, "Oh I forgot. I don't want Aunt Maggie to think I didn't like her cranberries." So he took the spoon out of the cranberries, and put a little in his plate. Then he just smeared it around with his fork to show her he had eaten some of them. To say the least, he did try.

I think Lester and Merle were a lot alike. They both enjoyed being with people and never saw a stranger. If they did, they wouldn't be a stranger long if they could help it.

I guess when Lester and I were growing up, we were close to Uncle John's family more than the others, maybe because we were nearer and saw them every day. But I also know that Grandpa and Grandma Ivy cared more about our well being than Grandpa and Grandma McLennan did. There were all the difference in the world in the way the Ivys did and the way the McLennans did. Grandpa Ivy would walk to our house every day wanting to help, and did. Although he was old, he'd help Mama with her plowing, showing her how. He also helped Uncle Dave and me to hoe some Johnson Grass patches. I still have the scar on my leg today where I hit it with a hoe and cut it to the bone while hoeing a patch of Johnson Grass with them. I'm sure I was more in the way than I was help, but I was there. Uncle Dave took his handkerchief out of his pocket and tied it tight around my leg to stop it from bleeding. Sanitary, I'm sure, but helpful anyway.

Grandma Ivy, like Grandpa was also very warm, loving, and friendly toward us. I'm sure they missed their son, and we were part of him. We missed him too. No one knows about that until they have to face it. They may say they do, but believe me they don't. There is always a part missing.

Mama, Lester, and I went to town just before school started. That was a treat for Lester and myself, for we seldom got to go, as someone else usually got our groceries for us. However that day, Buster Brown was in town, in a wagon and driving a team of two black horses wearing fancy harnesses. He had stopped his wagon on the north side of where the post office is now. And a small crowd had gathered to hear him talk. Of course it was about Buster Brown Shoes, which he was selling. Before he finished, he asked how many children were wearing Buster Brown shoes. Several held up their hands, including me and Lester. Then he asked one little boy to show him. The boy showed him his shoe. Then Buster Brown asked all kids that held up their hands to untie the strings and take the strings out of the first three holes and show him the inside top. It so happened that Lester and I were the only ones with his picture and emblem at the top. So Mama held us up, and he put us on the seat in the wagon, showing us off and also giving us some kind of a prize and a stick of candy. I felt so big and important. Guess I was about six years old and was honored once in my lifetime, if it was only for the brand of shoes that I was wearing.

Lemuel Sidney Ivy was my grandfather, born May 18, 1842 in Atlanta Georgia and died Dec. 2, 1922 at home with a heart attack and is buried in the Rockdale Community Cemetery in southeast Haskell County.

Grandpa Ivy had very high moral views and was a good family man. He was also hard working and honest. He was up at four o'clock in the morning to feed his horses so they could eat while he was eating. If there was field work to be done, he was in the field at sun up. Or if working with cattle or fixing fences, he was always on the job at sun up to give the man he was working for a good day of work for his money. Of course, he was a very religious person, being in fact a Church of Christ preacher. He had no time for fishing, hunting, or sports. He had work to do, and he did it and well. However, if the ox was in the ditch and on Sunday, he was always ready to help get it out. But he would also have church somewhere when working with the cowboys. They would work until noon, then he would say, "time for church boys." It might be under a shade tree or wherever they were. He and the cowboys had church. When he was at home, he usually walked to church on Sunday, reading his Bible on the way. He also said that his horse worked all week and needed its rest on Sunday.

After his son Frazier Brown Ivy, my father, died, I remember him walking to our house, about one mile away, every morning to see how we were and if he could help in anyway. He was a great man.

This is just a small part of his colorful life. He fought in the Civil War and was also shipwrecked. Only himself and one other man made it to shore. Lemuel Sidney had lost all of his clothes in the water. He probably took them off as it would help him swim and not get so tired in the water.

When he got to shore, he fell to his knees and prayed with waves splashing over his head. His father was also fighting in that war and was wounded Feb. 1863 and died. L.S. was near his father at this time, but didn't know it until later. Elisha Ivy, Lemuel's father had enlisted in the Confederate Army in March 1862. Lemuel enlisted in 1861 and was captured near Fredericksburg, Virginia on May 3, 1863. After his release, he came home and married Harriet Gravley on Dec. 17, 1865. Four boys and three girls were born to this union. They were Edward, Elisha, Ephraim, Daniel, Emily, Ella, and Sally. Harriet died in Georgia in 1887 and was buried there.

Lemuel Sidney Ivy married Betty Davis Frazier May 18, 1890. They later moved to DeKalb Co. Alabama, where a son, Frazier Brown Ivy, was born May 12, 1891. In 1892, L.S. began corresponding with John Garren who lived in Haskell Co. TX. and made a trade with Garren to bring his family to Texas. His two married sons, Edward and Elisha (named after his Grandpa Elisha), and their families, along with Ephraim, Daniel, Sally, and Frazier also came. They came by train to Abilene in 1893. The Garrens met them at the train with team and wagons to move them to southwest Haskell County, to help the Garrens farm the land. Later L.S. preached one of the first sermons in Haskell Co. TX. Another son John Franklin Ivy was born soon after they arrived in Haskell Co. John was a Haskell County Judge from 1942 to 1946.

 

Then they moved to Jones County, 15 miles southeast of where Stamford is today. And a daughter, Leta Velma Ivy, was born there. In 1900 they moved into Stamford. That's when the town was born. The next move took them to the Dave Lindsey place 18 miles east of Stamford. Dave Lindsey wanted to organize a church and L.S. was a Church of Christ preacher and also a good worker. So Dave would have both. L.S. preached in school houses as well as churches. The Ivys moved again to the Alexander McLennan place.

L.S. Ivy's son, Frazier, later married Alexander' McLennan's daughter, Margaret, (Maggie). Frazier and Maggie lived in the house with L.S. and Betty Ivy until 1913, when Frazier and Maggie moved into the house with Uncle Dave Lindsey, and L.S. and Betty moved into one of Lindsey's houses also. They lived there until their death. L.S. died 2nd of Dec. 1922 at home with a heart attack. Betty died 22nd of Feb. 1924. Frazier died 17th of April 1918.

Maggie Ivy and children remained at Dave Lindsey's until Jan 1st 1924.

This morning, April 17, 1994, my son, Dolin, and I took a little trip to the Rockdale Community. It brought back lots of memories, both happy and sad.

So many of the houses that one time years ago held our relatives, friends, and neighbors are gone. Only a few are still standing, and these are in very bad condition. In other words, they too are about to fall in. It was a little hard for me to recognize where I was. Everything looked so different.

We were passing a place where we lived in 1931, and I said, "We used to live there." My son said, "Where? I don't see a house." It too was gone, and that was how it looked all along the road.

We soon arrived at Ellis and Billie Bean's house, one of the few still standing. It is in really good condition. They have kept it up quite well. Two big, black dogs met us at the draw, about one hundred yards from the house. They came running and barking and didn't appear too happy to see us.

We stopped and Ellis came out. They called off the dogs and scolded them. We asked Ellis and Billie to go with us to the old house where L.S. and Betty Ivy once lived. My parents lived there also when Lester, my brother, and I were born.

They got in and we drove about two miles to a gate leading into a pasture, found it unlocked, and drove up to the place where the old house once stood proudly years ago. Cattle were grazing around the place. They came up to meet us, expecting some food, but soon departed. The old house had fallen inward into one big heap. It wasn't scattered but instead had some walls still standing. Dolin took some pictures of the rubble. Then he got out his metal detector and found a few small tokens from the past.

I just stood and looked at that rubble, thinking of all the good and also the bad things that must have happened there. If only it could talk.

We loaded up again and traveled to the Rockdale Cemetery. We went first to my father, Frazier Brown Ivy's, grave. As it happened, it was on the same date that he had died 76 years ago, April 17, 1918. Then we visited his parent's graves, L.S. and Betty Ivy, nearby. Next, we went to Uncle Dave Lindsey's tombstone. We had lived in his house with him for ten years. Then we went to the rest of the head stones. I knew nearly all of the people buried there. They were relatives, neighbors, friends, school mates and church members.

It brought back so many memories, thinking something about each, as we stopped by each grave. The cemetery was well kept. We took the Beans home, and we returned to Stamford on a different road. We went out on the south road out and came back on the north road. It too had changed, with so many houses gone.

Coming home, I thought about how hard most of these people had worked. They were trying to make a living, plowing their fields with horses. Lots of them never owned a car and had no electricity or running water. However, as best as I can remember, they were much happier than people are today.

Back then, neighbors were neighbors. If someone needed help, people helped. They weren't thinking about how much money will I make for doing this. No one lived under a lock and key then. But things have also changed everywhere. Now you could get knocked in the head for one dollar or less.

Back then, our government didn't have to spend all of their money building prisons to put criminals in. If someone killed a person or raped a woman, they probably wouldn't go to trial or jail. The nearest tree was just fine. In other words, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

On our way home, we passed the place where the old post office, Nabors, Texas, once stood. At one time, Nabors was on the map of Texas. Nabors was just one big two-story house, located in the southeastern part of Haskell County, standing off the road that ran east from Stamford to the Rockdale Community, about fourteen miles from Stamford. It was also half way between the old V. F. Bunkley farm house and the little hill west of Bunkley's. I don't know when it was founded, but I do know it was there in 1913. Mrs. Annie Bouldin was its post mistress. She also had staple groceries there to sell. The post office was on one side of the room, and groceries were on the other side. She had flour, sugar, coffee, beans, rice, and several other things. Tobacco and snuff were also stocked. Mr. Nole of Avoca, Texas brought the mail there in a model T ford car. When it was muddy, he came in a house drawn cart. It probably was closed in the late teens.

Our mail then came out on the Lueders, Texas route and a Mr. Thornton brought it to us.

 

Thinking about that post office reminds me of another story. Everyone who knew Gene Martindale knew he liked to play pranks on people. So one day, Lester was going to the post office for the mail, and Gene was at our house. He told Lester to bring back some snuff because uncle Dave wanted it to doctor a horses foot. So when Lester came in, he went to Uncle Dave's room and said, "Uncle Dave, Mrs. Bouldin was out of snuff, and I couldn't get you any." This put Uncle Dave really out of snuff. He said, "Lester, you know I don't dip snuff. Why did you try to get me any snuff?" Lester told him, "Gene Martindale said you wanted some to doctor a horse with." Uncle Dave shook his head, "I just don't know why Martindale tells things like that anyway," as he walked off still mumbling to himself.

 

Another old house in the Rockdale Community lost its occupants of 65 years today. The walls that once heard babies crying, pitter patter of little feet, music, laughter, also rattling of dishes, now will only hear a few mice scampering through the house, searching for a morsel of food and the wind whistling through the trees. This house will be forsaken but not forgotten. The occupants had to abandon their storm cellar years ago when the rattlesnakes started moving in.

But no water and their ages sent this couple to town to live today. It's really a sad day, but it's something we all have to face sooner or later.

When a house is abandoned, it seems as if the house doesn't care anymore. It just starts to fall apart. One shingle comes off and then another. One window falls out and on and on it goes until it's finally all gone. That is something I just don't understand. Why do they fall apart so soon after they are deserted? Maybe they feel lonely and deserted too. I guess anything would. But one of the good things you can say about that house is that it served its purpose. It well protected its people from the cold wind and snow in winter storms and rain in springtime and also heat waves in summer. It also saw three generations of children. I'm sure there are many happy memories of that house and also sad ones. I know many secret tears will be shed today before it's over. And when they closed that door today, I'm sure it touched the spot where all fond memories linger on and never are forgotten. God luck Doc and Lillian. I know you'll make it.

Christmas of 1994 has come and gone. It was a nice Christmas. We went to my sister's house for dinner. There was so much food and a room full of presents, very nice and expensive presents. It was so different from the first Christmas I remember. We didn't have a Christmas tree and decorations, but we did have turkey, dressing, and all the food we could eat for several days. Lester and I had been told like all little kids are told that old Santa drives reindeer and rides in a sleigh and also comes down the chimney. Well, we had a fire place and a chimney, so we hung our stockings on the mantel. Mama told us to use a clean stocking to hang up and we did. The next morning, our stockings were filled with pecans, walnuts, and several other kinds of nuts, along with lots of hard candy in various colors, stripes, and solids. I had a small doll in my stocking, and Lester had a red top, which when wound up, would spin when put on floor.

However, Lester and I both knew if old Santa came in a sleigh and drove reindeers, there would be tracks outside. So we went out to see where Santa had tied the deers but found nothing. We may have been country, but we knew there should be some tracks. So we questioned Mama about that, but somehow got no results. She said maybe old Santa parked on the housetop. We told her we looked all around the chimney and found no tracks. We were still puzzled but I'm sure someone at school told us pretty soon.

One thing for sure, we didn't have two or three plastic bags full of wrapping paper and boxes to get out of the way after the presents were handed out. We just emptied our stocking into shoe boxes, and Mama washed the stocking, and it was over very quick and simple.

 

The first Christmas tree I ever saw, Marvin Cobb brought it to the school house for the kids Christmas program. He lived on the Brazos River. Here he found a small cedar tree, cut it down, and tied a rope around the trunk. Then he tied the rope to the saddle horn, and the horse pulled the tree to the Rockdale School. We all had a ball. We made paper chairs and popcorn for decorations. We also hung a few gifts on the tree. They weren't wrapped but just hung there with a name tag. I think he had put the tree on a small sled of some kind so he could pull it better.

In later years after the Baptist Church was built, Marvin Cobb and a few more men went down to the river and again cut down a large cedar tree. They hauled it to the church in a wagon. They built some kind of a stand to hold it up. The ladies of the community came in and made some things to decorate it and also got some tinsel to put on it. Everyone around was welcome to come and put gifts on the tree for whomever they wanted to. I remember so well that I got a handkerchief off the tree that had a blue bird printed on it. I was so happy. Little thing meant a lot to people then but not anymore. It's not that the world has changed. It's the people that have changed. Everyone these days is not only trying to stay up with the Joneses but trying to get ahead of them.

When I went to school, we did not have any play ground equipment. At recess and noon, we just jumped the rope. If someone brought a ball from home, maybe we played catch. Otherwise, it was pop the whip, red rover, or farmer in the Dell for us. Sounds exciting doesn't it? Well we made it through school without fancy things. No one was shot on the school ground either. However, there were a few fist fights. But the teacher whipped them for fighting and I might add, they got another one when they got home from their parents.

In case you are curious and don't know, I'll tell you about those games I mentioned, as best as I recall. Pop the whip or pop goes the weasel is played by kids joining hands and some big boy or girl whipping everybody around in a circle. Of course, the kid on the very end is going fastest and the intention is to pop this one off the line. Actually, more than one may lose hold and go tumbling onto the ground. It kind of gives you the thrill of a merry-go-round when you don't have one.

Red rover was played by two lines of kids facing each other. One side would yell, "Red rover, red rover, why don't you come over?" Then the sides would run toward each other, with kids on one side trying to catch and hold onto someone and kids on the other side trying to dodge and get past the others. It was a mild form of football without the tackling.

For Farmer in the dell, a circle was made by all joining hands except for one boy in the middle. He chooses a wife, who joins him in the middle, surrounded by all the other kids. Then she, the wife, chooses someone to join them in the center as the child, who chooses the dog, who chooses the cat, and so it goes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2: The McLennans

 

Donald McLennan, my grandfather's brother, came to Haskell County in 1901. He bought 640 acres of land and in the western part of Haskell County near Rule. He then built a house on this land before bringing his family to Haskell County.

My great-aunt Lottie, Donald's McLennan's wife, was a very funny and lovable person. She enjoyed life and people, always appearing happy.

It was told that she bought her a blue taffeta dress to be married in. However, it was raining on her wedding day. So she wouldn't wear it, afraid the rain would spot and ruin her new dress.

I remember in 1932 when she was visiting my grandparents and we went over there to see her. She wanted to come home with us. We told her that we came over in a wagon. She said "I've ridden in a wagon all of my life. It won't hurt me now." We were happy she came. She stayed a week. We enjoyed every minute of it. The trip in the wagon didn't appear to hurt her. We were concerned because by this time, she was elderly and heavy set. So we bounced, talked, and laughed all the way home. Aunt Josie Bean took her back to Grandpa's in her car after she visited with them.

Lottie told the story that she was born in Michigan and had one brother. Her father, Tom Barham, remarried and moved to New Jersey, where he died. Lottie was not happy with her step mother, so she moved to Chicago to live with her maternal grandmother, who adopted her. So Lottie took the name of Holmes.

Lottie was in or near Chicago at the time of the Chicago fire. She was having eye trouble and lost some sight. She lost track of her eye doctor after the fire but later found him, and he helped restore her seeing.

Lottie also told of her grandparents driving their wagon loaded with belongings into Lake Michigan to escape the Chicago fire. Donald McLennan went to Chicago after the fire to work as a brick mason and met Lottie there. They later corresponded after he came home. Then later she came to Texas to marry him. When asked what she would have done if he hadn't married her, she said, "I'd have gone back home." That's the way she was, and we all loved her for it.

She was living with her daughter and son-in-law, Maggie and Henry Jeter, on a farm near Lamesa, Texas when she died in her 90's.

 

I remember some of what I'm about to tell. Other parts were told to me by my the family. Sometimes the tales differed in detail a little, but they were about the same.

 

Alexander McLennan married Mary Montgomery in Lorena, Texas. Mary was born in Big Cane, Louisiana.

 

While in McLennan County, Texas, Kenneth and Alexander McLennan owned a freight line running from Waco to San Antonio. They decided to sell it and look for land to buy out West, since everyone was talking about how cheap this land was. So they went West to look at some land, liked the looks of it, and bought 3200 acres at $1.00 an acre. They were partners in the land deal, buying it under the name of K & A McLennan.

Another McLennan brother, Donald, who was married to Lottie, also bought some land in Haskell County. His was 640 acres of land southeast of Rule, Texas in an area called Wild Horse Prairie. He then built a house on the land before bringing his family to Haskell County.

 

Kenny and two of Alexander's sons came out West in covered wagons, bringing some of the household things and leading a milch cow. Alexander came by rail with his stock and some other things. He rode with the animals in the box care. His wife and the rest of the kids also came later by rail. One small child, Alex (we pronounced it "L LICK") commented, "That's the longest clothes line I ever saw," referring the high lines by the railroad tracks.

The men put up tents before the rest of the family arrived. While Kenny was cleaning out his trunk, he gave Gladstone some gunpowder to throw away. Glad decided to throw it on the campfire, and it exploded, burning his face, arms, and hands. He was sure happy to see his mama when she got there, so she could take care of him. He was sick and vomiting, laying under a tree after the incident.

 

So Alexander, Kenny, and the rest of the family began their new life on the California Creek in southeastern Haskell County. The family lived in tents until they could build a barn. They cooked on a camp fire outside of the tent. And when they washed, the hung the clothes on trees and bushes to dry.

However, they started building a barn very soon, which had two large rooms on ground floor and a large one above, which they called the loft. The boys slept up there until they could build a house. They lived in this barn briefly with the livestock.

 

Eight of the children were born at Battle, Texas and came with them, namely Bill, Pearl, Josie, Glad, Maggie, Vera, Alex, and Ellen. Dick, Mary, and Tom were later born in Haskell County.

 

Kenny was digging a post hole to make a fence to hold the horses and struck water. So they made a well and had better water to drink than the creek water.

There were only four houses between them and Stamford, about a 12-mile trip. Their house was near the McKenzie crossing on the California Creek. They had bought land on the creek so that their stock would have water to drink.

 

The McLennans also wanted their children to have an education. So they hired a private school teacher to come and stay in their home to teach their children about five to seven months of a year. Some of the teachers were Grace La Min of New Mexico, Hassie Robinson of Waco, Eva Ludecke of Stamford, and Mrs. Peevy. Hassie Robinson later married Bill McLennan.

By 1905, several more families had moved into the area. So the men of the community built a one room school house near the banks of the California Creek on the main road into Stamford. The road sign reads Rockdale Road these days, but in the early 1900's, it was called the North Road. This building was destroyed by fire in 1913, and a bond issue was called for in September 1915 to build a new, two classroom building with a library. It was constructed about one mile west of the old site. The new school also had a cistern, as the children had to bring drinking water since 1905. This was when Ellen McLennan died from typhoid fever from drinking creek water so they say.

The teachers still lived in the McLennan house after the school was built. They paid $12 a month for room and board and also was given a ride to school in a cart. Mrs. Steel, Grace Nelson, Winell Alexander, and Bess Nowlin taught at this school.

After a few years, the McLennans bought 600 more acres of land. They paid $1.00 an acre for it I was told. They put lightening rods on the house they built. It had four large rooms, and a kitchen was added on with a little breeze way between the dining area and the kitchen. There were two large porches, with a shed room on each porch. Uncle Kenny took the one on the front porch for his use, and the boys used the back one. A cistern was also added to the screened in back porch.

There is a new house on the site now, but the cistern still remains.

 

Alexander took care of the heavy work. Kenny took care of all the bookkeeping and business decisions of buying and selling of things. These divisions weren't absolute. Kenny was known to hoe and help feed, and Alexander certainly helped make business decisions. It's just that Alexander was big and strong and better suited for heavy labor, whereas Kenny was small with a bad leg and better suited for book work. Kenny once said that Mary, Alexander's wife, could throw more out the back door with a tablespoon than he could bring in the front with a wheel borrow.

 

Kenneth hurt his leg in the woods before coming to Texas. It never healed properly and eventually had to be removed some time after coming to Haskell County. Thereafter, he wore a wooden leg.

Both Alexander and Kenneth had a Scottish brogue and were hard to understand at times. Alexander taught me to count to ten in Gaelic. Uncle Kenny could speak, read, and write in Gaelic. Grandpa McLennan (Alexander) could speak Gaelic but could read very little.

Grandpa had lots of trouble with his eyes. He lost one when he was about 65 years old, "doing woman's work," as he put it. He got hit by a splinter while chopping wood. Old Dr. Sledge was the one who removed the eye. This eye doctor had his office over the B. H. Baird grocery store in Stamford. Grandpa was nearly blind when he died.

Uncle Kenneth, his brother, also had trouble with his eyes but was able to read until he passed away. He liked to read the "Readers Digest" and anything else he could get his hands on. Then he would tell Alexander what he had read. They sit on a screened in back porch when it was warm enough. In their later years, Alexander sit on a Davenport and Kinney sit in a chair. Kenneth would read something then tell it to Alexander. When Alexander repeated it, it wasn't like Kenny had said. Then they would argue. Alexander would say, "You told me that." Kenny would say, "No. That's not what I said and on and on every day." They were never appearing mad but just arguing.

 

Alexander and Kenneth never drank coffee. They always had a cup of hot water with cream and sugar added at every meal. They both talked with a Scottish brogue and were a little hard to understand at times.

 

Kenneth was a very smart man and had a wonderful memory. He never complained. He was also a quiet person, never yelling like Alexander did. Alexander appeared to be a very stern person, causing his son to leave home early. One of his daughters, Margaret, ran off and married Frazier Ivy when she was 16 years old. When her sisters came home from church and told their parents what had happened, he got his walking stick and threatened to go get Margaret and whip her all the way home but didn't. He then said that she could never come home again. And she didn't for nearly a year. When her mother's nose started bleeding and they couldn't keep it stopped, Alexander sent someone to get Maggie. He thought her mother might die. She came home and all was fine. Every time Alexander worked cattle, he sent for Frazier, saying his boys couldn't rope worth a damn and Frazier was a good hand.

 

Grandpa McLennan was know to say, "I don't need a bath! I ain't going no where and I ain't got no jackasses to sell." Still, Grandma would bring in the big washtub and bath him, with Grandpa fussing all the time.

 

One day when Kenneth was in the field hoeing, a rattlesnake bit him on his wooden leg. He came in at noon and was telling Mary what had happened. She was having a fit about what to do before he could explain to her that the bite was on the wooden leg. It scared her very bad.

 

The McLennans owned jacks, mules, cattle, and a stud horse and both bred and sold their animals. They charged the neighbors $10 for each fold when born. Alex liked to talk, so he would ask all the men to stay for dinner. Mary never knew how many she might be cooking for from day to day.

Grandpa and Uncle Kenny bought five jennies from Spain for $15,000 in fold. They also put some land in cultivation. Some of this land was farmed by Sidney Ivy, father to Frazier Ivy, who married Maggie McLennan.

 

I'll explain a little more about the animal part of the McLennan's business. My grandpa McLennan called a male donkey a jackass. But my mother and grandmother just called them jacks. If you bred one of these jacks to a mare (a female horse), their offspring would be a mule.

And a female donkey was called a jenny. Grandpa McLennan didn't use jennies in his business. But as a young girl, I rode one that Uncle Dave owned. I was allowed to ride a jenny but not a horse because it was safer. It was smaller and didn't go as fast as a horse. When I rode along with others who had horses, I was usually the last to arrive at our destination.

Anyway, I'll get back to explaining about what we called animals. A stud horse is a male horse used for breeding. At one time, Grandpa McLennan briefly owned a stud horse. But his major interest was in breeding jacks.

In the early 1900's, people used horses to go places and mules to work the fields. So you might say that my grandpa made these mules by breeding his jacks with his customer's mares.

Actually, people could buy mules directly from grandpa or they could bring their mares over to his farm to be bred. When someone would bring a mare onto the place, the women folk would tell us kids to get into the yard. We weren't suppose to watch the breeding.

He usually had two jacks that were always kept in a pen at the barn. This is because if allowed to roam free in the pasture, they would chase the mules and horses. When breeding time came, they would go down a chute to meet the mares in another pen.

There were mules and mares in the pasture to be sold to anyone in the community. Also when Grandpa bred mares to stud horses, he sometimes got a male horse. This male horse would be castrated and was also in the pasture to be sold. We called a castrated male horse simply a horse, whereas we called a male horse used for breeding a stud horse or a stud.

I explain this because you would have had to have lived in those times in order to understand the inner workings of Grandpa's business. No one else near him provided this kind of service. It is interesting that he died about the time that this service was no longer needed. Someone born around 1935 will remember people working the fields with mules. Someone born around 1940 will only remember tractors being used in the fields.

Alexander and Kenny built a little shed on California Creek and installed a water pump under it. The place where the pump was installed was henceforth referred to as the "Engine House Hole." This was naturally at a deep spot on the creek and was a good fishing place. They then ran a pipeline from it to the cement tank in the barn yard so they could water their stock. But they didn't pump any water to the house. They carried it to the house in buckets.

 

Kenneth lived with Alexander and Mary the rest of his life. The kids were warned to stay out of Kenny's room unless he was in it and asked them to come in. He kept his room very neat with everything in a certain place.

Mary's kitchen wasn't too large. However, she had a very large wood burning "Home Comfort" brand cookstove in it. It had a fire box on one end, and a large reservoir on the other end, which would hold several gallons of water. The fire box was the place in the stove where the wood burned, and the reservoir was actually a part of the stove. So when the stove got hot, the water would also get hot after a while. It was used to wash the dishes, clean the kitchen, and also other things. A wood box was near the stove. It always had wood in it. She didn't have a cabinet to store her food in. There were just shelves built across one end of the kitchen to hold staple supplies. Large lard cans under the shelves held home made lard, flour, sugar, and dried fruit. Flour and sugar were bought in 100 pound bags and dried fruit in 5 lb. Boxes, mainly apples and peaches.

She also had a home made work table on the north side of the kitchen. That was where she made her biscuits and rolled them out with a mesquite rolling pen that her son, Bill, had made for her. She had a very large bread pan which came with the stove and just fit the oven. She made this pan full of biscuits three times a day. They were also good ones. I think of her as always being in the kitchen. She stayed in there most of the day.

When her married children would come to visit, they would always go to the kitchen. It appeared to be the meeting place for the family.

 

Christmas was always a big day there. She raised turkeys to sell and always cooked a big gobbler for Christmas dinner. She also make a big roosting pan of rice dressing (never cornbread). Also, she cooked a big pot of cranberries. The children brought in food to help out. There was never a Christmas tree and few presents. There was just food and visiting.

 

Mama, Lester, and I were always going to Grandpa's in an old buggy. Mama would talk about coming to Haskell County and all of their hardships they had. But she said they were a lot better off than the first settlers that came out here. She showed us a few big rocks and one or two big logs left of where some of the first settlers lived. The place she showed us was about two hundred yards from the old road and a little east southeast of the California Creek Falls and southeast of the old McKenzie crossing. Some Indians had raided that place or so the story goes.

From all the reports and books that we have found, it was in 1876 when the Indians were last were seen in Haskell County. When that log house was built or destroyed, I don't know. But Mama said Grandpa and his boys had gathered up nearly all the logs and brought them in for firewood.

She also said not too far from that place and near a big tree, Grandpa had burned a bunch of his cattle. I think 18 head at one time had died with tick fever, and they burned the cows to try and destroy the ticks. There used to be a vat on Swenson's land in the Swede Community where people took their cattle and dipped them for ticks. Lester and I went with Mama over there one day when she had her cows dipped. They put the cows in a chute and drove them down the chute, and they would just walk off the platform, drop in over their heads, and swim to the other side.

 

When I was a small child about five or six, I didn't relish the idea of going to Grandpa's house. The buggy was all we had to go in. Our dog Bulger always followed. We had to pass through the pasture where all of the untamed mules and horse were kept. They would see us, come running, and get after Bulger. He would get just behind the buggy and upset the animal that was pulling the buggy. Then the wild animals would run in front of the mare hitched to the buggy, causing her to try and run away with them.

Next we had to cross California Creek at the Mackenzie Crossing. The old creek usually had running water in it. After a rain, it was up about a foot or more. Then there was the mud to go through when coming out of the creek bed. The horse would nearly bog down sometimes when trying to get up the hill. So I worried all the way over there and until we got back across the creek and out of the horse pasture.

 

I remember one time after my father died, my mother was farming on the other side of the creek from my grandfather on the Dave Lindsey's place, about five miles east of the creek. My grandfather, Alexander, came over to our house to help Mama hoe out her cotton. About two day's later, it came a big rain. Grandpa wanted to go home early the next morning, saying it was too wet to hoe. Mama told him to wait until after dinner, knowing the creek might be too high to cross. He said, "No. I want to go now!" So Mama, Lester, Grandpa, and I got ready to go. Grandpa, Mama, and I rode in the front seat, with Lester in the little squeeze place behind the seat. Old Bulger, our dog, followed.

The roads were muddy, but we didn't have any trouble going over them in a narrow wheel


buggy. But when we arrived at the creek, it was rolling on pretty good. It was red and looked very angry. Mama stopped the buggy and said, "I can't see any of those rocks down there. It's too high to cross." There was a ledge of rocks about a foot or more high, just before you got into the creek bed that Mama was looking for. Grandpa said, "Naw. We can make it." And down the bank we went. Well, the water was pretty high. It came to the bottom of the buggy, and splashed in on us as we started over. The dog swam across in front of us.

We finally got across, but mud had settled deeply on the other side, as it usually did, on the bank going out of the creek. So Mama thought it best to try the long bank out of the creek, as it wasn't as muddy or steep a climb as the short route. But Grandpa thought different. He grabbed the reins and jerked the horse over to the short side, nearly turning us over. The mud was knee deep on the horse, and she stopped. Grandpa grabbed his cotton hoe and whammed the horse on the rump, yelling at her. She lunged forward and up the bank we went. But if anything had of come loose, we would have landed in the rushing water of that creek.

That old Mackenzie Trail Crossing caused a lot of problems at other times for us, as well as others. Lots of mishaps occurred there at that crossing.

Uncle Kenny, who already had a wooden leg, got the same leg broke between the knee and hip one day at that crossing. And Grandpa suffered a broken collarbone and cracked ribs during the same mishap. They were hauling hay from a field across the creek to the house with a team and wagon. When they started down the creek bank, the load shifted and some of it fell on the team, scaring them. The horses started running, hit the creek bank, and turned the wagon over. The men hit the ground and were unable to get up. When they didn't come home for lunch, the family started looking for them and found them nearly in the creek. Although they were getting old by this time, they recovered nicely. However, Grandpa yelled all night about his collarbone hurting, and they finally had to take the brace off. Then he was happy. Uncle Kenny was taken to the hospital and remained there a few days. They had to put his leg in a cast.

 

I thought Grandma McLennan was a very peculiar person. Her actions showed her partiality to some of her sons and also to some other people. In fact, when the McLennan Estate was divided, she wouldn't sign any papers unless some of her sons got what they wanted. This is not hearsay. I was there and heard it. Half of the 3800 acres belonged to Uncle Kenny. His will said share and share alike to all of Alexander's children, naming each one. However, Alexander also had a will someone had hand written. Alexander couldn't write. But his will stated that Mary and Vera got the home section. Well, Vera said, "If Alex, her brother, takes the 125 acres they let him use to build his house on, in addition to his part, then I'm going to also take an additional 213 acres Uncle Kenny gave me, in addition to the home section of land."

We had visited with Grandpa not long before he died, and he was talking about some of his boys. He made this comment, "I wonder if Alex is going to be a man and do what he promised to do, or will he be a hog and keep the 125 acres, not counting it on his part." I heard Grandpa tell Mama that. Grandpa also said, "Alex asked us to give him the land his house was built on, because if we didn't, some of his brothers or sisters might take his house away from him."

When the land was divided, Alex took his share plus the 125 acres. And Vera also took the 213 acres extra. And Grandma wouldn't sign any papers unless Tom got what he wanted. It wasn't share and share alike, as Uncle Kenny thought it should be. Oh, there were lots of objections, but what good did it do? Grandma just wouldn't have it any other way.

 

When I was about six years old, Grandma let me know how she felt about Lester and me. She showed her partiality toward Doris and Cecil Stephens, Aunt Pearl's children, whom she took to raise. However, my daddy died in April 1918 and Aunt Pearl died in December 1918. She did not help us in any way that I ever heard about. When Daddy died, Uncle Gladstone, mother's brother, who was in California at that time I think, sent Mama $100. She never forgot that. She always talked about it. I'm sure it was badly needed and appreciated.

When I was about six years old, Lester and I were spending the night with Doris, Cecil, and Tom, Grandma's son. Tom was a year older than Lester. We were at the supper table. I was sitting by Grandpa on one side of the table and Lester was by me. Tom, Doris, and Cecil were across the table. Grandma came in and gave Uncle Kenny and Grandpa their hot water, which they drank every meal with the cream and sugar added. Then she gave Tom, Doris, and Cecil a glass of milk. She brought Lester and me a glass of water. I guess I was watching her every move. Anyway, I jumped up and said to her, "Why don't you give Lester and me milk. You gave Tom, Doris, and Cecil milk?" Grandpa yelled, "Mary. Don't tell me you didn't give these kids milk and gave the rest milk."

She looked hard at me and her eyes flashed. She quickly put her finger to her lips and shook her head. In other words, "Shut your mouth!" I did but I didn't forget it. Grandpa couldn't see all this. His eyes were nearly gone. She went back to the kitchen and didn't answer Grandpa.

Gerald McLennan, who is younger than me, talks about Grandma's cookie jar. I'm like Ruby Bean. I never saw it. But I do remember Aunt Hassie bringing cookies over there. Us kids ran out to meet her. She gave us some cookies but guess she thought we were going to eat all of them. So she told us she had brought some for the adults too and took the rest into the house. When we went into the house later, probably for more cookies, they had all been devoured.

She had made several different kinds. Some had sugar on the tops, and some raisins or pecans. I could understand why they were gone. They were good.

One Sunday morning, Mama fixed some food for Uncle Dave and Lester to eat for lunch, saying she and I were going over to Grandpa's after church to see how they were. So after church, we got into the old buggy and started over there. But going in a buggy and opening and shutting all of those gates takes a while. When we arrived, they had finished eating and were cleaning up the dishes. Mama helped Grandma finish the dishes, but didn't tell her we hadn't ate.

About four that afternoon, I was so hungry I was kinda sick at my stomach. I didn't eat any breakfast as I just didn't want any. I told Doris I was hungry but not to let Grandma know I said it. Mama had always told us not to ask for food there. Doris and I went into the kitchen and was looking around. Grandma asked Doris what she was looking for. Doris said, "I'm hungry." About that time she found two biscuits in the warming cabinet of the stove. She gave me one, and she took one. I saw a piece of onion on the kitchen table, got it, and put it in my biscuit, and gulped it down. The next time I saw Doris, she told me that after we left, Grandma had asked her if we hadn't ate before we came. Doris told her that we hadn't. She said, "I knew they hadn't ate because Clothilde ate that bread and onion like she was starving to death." I thought I was. I was afraid of her. I don't know why. I'm sure she had a hard life. Her mother died when she was four years old. She had one sister, Emily, who was two years younger than her.

Their maternal grandparent took Emily to raise, but they didn't take Grandma. The best we can find out from records, one of her father's cousins took her to raise. I'm sure Emily had a much better life than Grandma did. Emily stayed in Louisiana where she was born, and the Gay's migrated to Texas in a covered wagon with Grandma. She was a moody person, sometimes appearing happy and sometimes not. I never knew just how to take her.

 

Grandpa tended to the jacks himself as long as he was able and could still see pretty good. Us kids were always told to stay out of the jack's pens. However, Grandpa always called them asses and would leave the jack part off.

One day, Grandpa and Uncle Kenny had bought a new and young jackass and was bringing it home tied behind the wagon. Kenny was driving the team when they passed Tom Morrell's place, who lived about three miles from them. Mrs. Morrell was standing in the yard watching them go by. Back then, very few people passed by. The Morrell's had some horses near the fence, and Kenny, knowing how jacks behave around mares, looked back to see how the jack was doing, being afraid he might get loose. When he looked back, he accidently pulled the team that way and got the wagon in the ditch. Grandpa yelled, "Kenny. Stop looking back at that damn ass and look where you are going. You have got the wagon in the ditch."

The lady heard Grandpa and thought he was talking about her. She told her husband what had happened. Tom Morrell, being a stock farmer and knowing about stock, knew Grandpa referred to jacks as asses. He told a neighbor about it, and the neighbor spread the news. It was very embarrassing for all.

 

The McLennans had a very high silo built in the barn yard, which was probably 50 foot tall or more. One day when the silo was empty and all of the doors were out, I told Doris I could climb to the top of that silo. She said I couldn't. I guess I was about eight or nine years old. I thought I would show her I could and started climbing up. My legs were short, and it hurt my hands a little, but I went on. When I got about half way up, she said, "You come down. I see you can climb to the top." But hard headed me, I went on. However, it was hard for me as my legs barely reached from one hole to the other. When I finally reached the top and looked down, she looked very small, and that really scared me. I didn't say a word or look down anymore. I came down very slowly and held on very tight. I was sure glad when I reached the ground, and I never mentioned climbing that silo again ever. The good Lord was there helping me that day or I couldn't have did it. It was also a tiresome trip.

 

When Grandpa got sick in the later years of his life, he would always have Mary to call the kids and tell them to come home. So when his youngest son, Tom, took Erysipelas on his head, he told her to call the kids, and they all came. They were using a Stamford doctor named McReynolds. He told them he had done everything he knew to do. And Tom was still getting worse. So Dr. McReynolds called a Doctor Estes from Abilene to come over and check on Tom. The doctor came, shaved Tom's head, and applied some black ointment to the head. When he had finished, Grandma asked the doctor if he thought that would help. The doctor looked at the heater in the room, which was red hot, and replied. "If it don't, I'll eat that stove." Tom began to get better in a few hours. We talked about this during the last conversation I had with my brother, Lester. It makes me sad to think of it now.

 

An incident happened soon after Mama had gotten her land and built a house on it. All of the fences hadn't gotten built, so our stock could get on Grandma's land, and her stock could get on Mama's land. Anyway, Mama, Peggy, Margaret (a baby), and I went down to visit Grandma and Aunt Vera one afternoon. We were all in the kitchen talking. And in a few minutes, Vera, who was sitting so she could see out the window, got up and went toward the barn. She returned in about fifteen minutes, looking very upset. Grandma asked her what was wrong. She said, "When I got to the lot, Tom and Kenneth, Uncle Bill's boy, was stealing Maggie's mare. They had her in the truck and were taking her to town and were going to sell her. I made them unload her and they left." Everyone was dumbfounded. Things got a little quiet in the kitchen, but they couldn't help what Tom did. We went home pretty quick to check on the rest of our stock.

Maybe Grandma should have told Grandpa more often what the boys were doing. But Mama said, "Grandma would always say, 'Don't tell Papa.'" She knew he would fuss and yell, and I guess she didn't want to hear it.

Mama said that when she, Josie, and Pearl were growing up, Bill was married and had a cotton patch. But they had to pick the thirteen bales of cotton that he made and didn't get paid. None of the boys picked. I guess that was before women's rights. Don't know.

 

As everyone knows, it is just like kids to do what parents don't want them to do. And the McLennan grandchildren certainly fit into that category. We were told to stay out of the cow lot and leave the calves alone. But we wanted to ride them and tried. But the calves would throw us off. We were in the cow lot at Grandpa McLennans one day and were trying to ride the calves. But this time, one of the calves was a large one. We finally got it caught, and Lester got on it. The calf threw him off and kicked him on his chin. The calf's hoof cut a large and deep "v" shape place there to the bone. Cecil ran to the house and told Mama and others what had happened. Lester was crying and the blood was running all over him. We started to the house, but stopped at the cement tank where the stock drank, to wash the blood off. Mama yelled from the yard, "Don't do that. It will get infected."

She took him to the house and cleaned it up and also stopped the bleeding. Then she said, "You will have a scar on your chin for the rest of your life." Lester, still crying, said, "I don't care what I look like, just so I don't die." He did have that scar, but it got dimmer and dimmer and went kinda under his chin. But when he got older, he did care what he looked like.

 

Grandpa McLennan liked to take walks in the afternoon, but if he didn't get home before sundown, he would get lost. And everyone would have to go and look for him. One night, he got lost, and they didn't find him until morning. He said he heard them calling but thought it was cattle rustlers and wouldn't answer them. He said he put little rocks in his mouth so he wouldn't get so thirsty. When the sun came up, he said he threw a stick in the creek to see which way the creek was running. Then he started home, but he couldn't see very well. That was why he got lost in the first place.

Doris, Cecil, Lester, and I were always doing things our parents didn't approve, like going to Uncle Kenny's watermelon patch, breaking open several watermelons, and just eating the hearts out. In fact, they said it looked like the wolves had found the patch. I'm sure we knew better. I'll assure you that we didn't do it again.

One time at Grandma's, me and Doris were told to wash the dishes and pots. I washed them and Doris dried them. After she had finished drying, she looked up and said, "You haven't finished yet. There are all of those pots over there." I said that I was tired and she could wash them if she wanted them washed. And so we got into another one of our arguments. Anyway, she ran and told my Ma that I wouldn't wash the pots. I promptly got a whipping and also had to wash the pots.

 

There was another time when me, Lester, and Finley Martindale were walking home from school. Well, Finley and Lester got into a fight as young kids sometimes do. They probably weren't all that mad at each other. I guess Lester got the best of him, and we walked on ahead of Finley. Then Finley suddenly caught up and ran past me toward Lester. I threw my dinner bucket at him, and it got tangled up in his feet, and down he went. He got up again and ran home to tell how mean I was. But when he went in, he found Ma there a visiting his parents. He suddenly got very polite, stuck his head out the door, and said, "You all come on in, Your Ma's here."

 

Cecil and Doris Stephens were Pearl McLennan Stephens' children. Grandpa and Grandma McLennan took them in to raise when Aunt Pearl died with the flu in 1918. Cecil also died when he was thirteen years old in 1929. He had a tumor on his brain. They took him to Ft. Worth to have an operation, but it was too late before they found it. He had been having bad head aches, but the doctors couldn't find out why.

 

My Aunt Ellen died from typhoid fever as a young girl. She slept in a trunnel bed under her parent's bed. Grandma McLennan said that she died because the hogs were under the house, directly under Ellen's bed. But Grandpa McLennan said that she died from drinking creek water. Who knows? Anyway, they moved the hogs.

Gladstone McLennan was burning prickle pears one day for his cattle using a coal oil burner when it exploded. He got burned very badly on his face, legs and arms. But he was able to make it back to his sister's house, who was my mother. It was about a half mile walk. He could hardly see where he was going, but he went in the direction of Ma and Pa's two barking dogs. They came and met him, and he just kind of followed them to the house. When he got to the house, no one was home. My parents had gone to buy groceries, and such at Stamford. He did find the phone but couldn't see how to dial right. Back then we had local operators and, he must have dialed "O" or something to contact one. He told her what had happened and where he was and that he needed help. The operator, Louise Plumlee, then called my brother-in-law, Dempsey Bolding, who was a phone lineman out working that day. Dempsey told her to phone Alex and Claire McLennan who was one of the closest neighbors. My parents returned home at about the same time that Clare arrived. Pa and Claire loaded Glad into Claire's car, and off to the hospital they went.

 

Glad was in the Stamford Hospital for a very long time and nearly died. He had skin grafts and lost one of his legs. He nearly lost the other one and was on crutches the rest of his life. But he wasn't bitter. He continued to tend to cows and plant and work in his garden.

 

After falling and breaking a hip, my Grandma McLennan never walked again. Her daughter, Vera, and son, Bill, took care of her until her death. Mary McLennan, born Mary Montgomery on Jan. 11 1876, died on the McLennan farm on Apr. 29 1959.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3: The Houstons

 

In 1920, Maggie made a good crop, a bale of cotton to the acre and needed some help to get it gathered. Well R. T. Ferrel, a neighbor, came by one day on his way to Stamford. He stopped as usual, and asked if they needed anything from town. Maggie said "yes, I do." I need some cotton pickers and I'll board them. If they don't have cotton sacks, go to Bryant Links and get the material there and I'll make the sacks, and charge the material to me.

So that evening R. T. Ferrel came back with the material and two men. Olin G. Houston and Ern Morris. Houston said later, "I saw this man, and I told Ern, He looks like a farmer. Let's see if we can get a job." They asked Ferrel about a job, and he told them "Yes, he could get them a job. But they wouldn't be working for him, but instead for a widow woman who is as pretty as a peach." Houston said, "Hell man, why didn't you say that thirty minutes ago. I'm ready to go."

Mama made them sacks, and they stayed and got the cotton gathered. One of the first things Houston did while emptying Maggie's sack was to knock me out of the wagon. But I was okay. After Houston went home, he and Maggie kept in touch corresponding. He also came back for visits but not to pick cotton.

On July 10, 1921, Houston caught a train to Stamford, Texas. And Joe Bean took Maggie McLennan Ivy to town to met the train. They were married that evening and stayed at the Stamford Inn that night. Joe Bean went to Stamford the next morning and brought them out to the McLennan's for a big dinner. And they started their life together on the farm.

 

I'm sure it was hard for Mr. Houston to adjust to farm life, perhaps kind of like a child with a complicated toy. What kind of plow is this? What will I do with it? However, Mama was there to show him also help him.

The first thing he tried to do on the farm was to pitch up bundles of oats and wheat to a man on a bundle wagon, which in turn took the bundles to a threshing machine to remove the wheat and oats from the straw. A bundle wagon is just a wagon, which has frames sticking out on each side so you can stack more bundles on the wagon. These bundles were in shocks about ten bundles to a shock, which looks like tee pee's. You used a pitch fork to lift the bundles up to the wagon. In case you don't know, a pitch fork has a handle like a hoe, and the fork end is made kinda like an eating fork. However, the tines are about a foot long and the size of a little finger and come to a point on the end. The men at the thresher called him the Dude from Dallas but not to his face.

I can understand why. He went to the field wearing a silk shirt, dress pants, slippers, and a Charlie Chaplin hat, a very stiff hat made of straw with a 2-inch brim, and flat on top. That was the only kind of clothes he had. Mama tried to get him to wear one of Uncle Dave's old blue chambray, cotton shirts to the field, but he wouldn't.

I don't remember exactly who was driving the bundle wagon, but I think Adrian Nichols. Anyway, when he took the wagon to the thresher to unload the bundles, Mr. Houston went to another wagon and filled it, while his wagon was at the thresher. When Adrian came back, Houston went back to fill his wagon again. And Adrian told Houston what the hands were saying at the thresher. They had caught a snake, and when that Dude from Dallas comes in to get a drink, we are going to throw this snake on him. Houston told Adrian to tell them if they don't want this damn pitch fork rammed through them, they had better forget about that damn snake. I guess they did. Anyway, when Houston went to the thresher to get a drink, he saw no snake. And no one mentioned it. However, he kept his pitch fork nearby.

Those old farmers wore high-top brogan shoes, overalls, and usually a patched shirt, with a big old floppy straw hat and a red or blue bandana tied around their neck. Mama finally got Houston some blue chambray shirts and high top shoes, some work pants, and a different hat. But he only wore them in the field, and not all time.

We still lived at Uncle Dave's, with Mr. Houston tending to the cattle and helping with chores around the place. He also tried his luck at riding unbroken horses. He rode some, also got bucked off some.

One Sunday morning Mr. Houston had ridden old Brownie over to the west pasture to see about a sick cow, which wasn't able to get up. They had been tending to her every day.

He wasn't home at church time, so we went on to church. When we returned from church, we found him lying on the bed in the front room. Von and Dan McAda were standing there, just looking at him. They told Mama that when they returned from church, they heard someone saying "Help me. I need help." Looking out behind their house in the pasture, they saw a man just kinda staggering along. Finally they recognized him and went to him. He told them he had been over in the west pasture checking on a cow, and the horse stepped in a prairie dog hole and nearly fell down. The horse then came up bucking and threw him off, but his foot hung in the saddle stirrup. The horse then started running and kicking and dragging him through prickle pears and over rocks. Finally his foot came loose, and he had managed to get nearly to their house. So they brought him home and put him to bed. He was bruised and skinned all over. Also, he had prickle pear thorns all over his back mostly. Mama called the doctor, and he came out. He found only bruises with no broken bones. Mama finally got the thorns out, but it took a while. I don't remember if he ever rode old Brownie again or not. He was a crazy horse. You just couldn't trust him. If he got a small chance, he took it.

 

When it came time to head the maize, I was the designated driver of the wagon. I would beg them to let me head the maize and let someone else drive the team. But no, I was too little. I had to stay in the wagon. I just detested that job.

I guess I was about eight or nine years old, and in the wagon, driving the horses as usual. Mama, Pa, and Lester were heading the maize. Old Brownie and Nannie were hitched to the wagon. Somehow, old Brownie got his bridle off. I saw him look back and see the wagon. I also saw that the bridle off, but it was too late. He was gone, just kinda pulling Nannie along with him. I started yelling, "whoa," and pulling back on the lines. But Brownie didn't have a bridle on, so he just kept on going. I was pulling back so hard that it did turn old Nannie just before they reached the fence. She just kinda started slowing and circling around. Pa started after the wagon, got tangled up in the Maize stalks, fell down, and stuck his maize heading knife in his knee. But after Nannie, who was a gentle mare, settled down, Pa finally got up to her and stopped them. He put the bridle back on Brownie, fastened the neck strap good, turned the wagon back around, and started heading maize again. I was always happy to see the maize patch finished.

Well, it seems like old Brownie continued to give us problems. He got really sick with colic we thought. Anyway, he was rolling, grunting, and kicking his hind legs. They gave him several different things, but nothing seemed to help. Mama took some paregoric out to them and told them to try it. So they got a long neck bottle, put some water in the bottle, and a lot of paregoric in it. Then they raised the horses head, put the neck of the bottle kinda down his throat and slowly poured it down him.

It wasn't too long before he began to act better. So Mama went to the house and was in the kitchen fixing lunch. There was a small window in the north kitchen wall. She heard a noise at this window, looked around, and Brownie had his head against the screen at the window. They had left him in the barn yard, and he could get to the house, so he came. Mama always said that was his way of saying "thank you." He seemed to be a better horse after that, becoming more gentle. I think it was about time.

 

About that time, Eutice and Arlin Howe kind of moved in with us. Their father just ran off and left their mother, so the story goes. She was Van Martindale before she married a Howe. He deserted the family and she then married Dan McAda. But he wouldn't let her sons live with them. The Martindale men's wives wouldn't keep them either. And they were too young to hold down a job. So here they came to our house. Mama cooked, washed their clothes, and cleaned up after them. They also wore some of Mr. Houston's clothes. They were there off and on for about four years, until they finally got old enough to hold down a job. Then people would hire them. But when the job was over, they would come back. I guess they appreciated the Houstons for they came back to visit and tell them how much they did for them. When Mama died in 1979, Arlin Howe and his wife came back for her funeral. They lived up near Borger, Texas. Eutice had died years before.

 

Well, I think it was the summer of 1922 when Mr. Houston's family came out to visit. There was his father, mother, two sisters, one cousin, and one nephew. Mama knew that they lived in a house with running water, electricity, and an ice box. These were things that country people just didn't have. But she really cleaned that old two-story house up, washing and scrubbing windows and starching window curtains and top sheets and ironing everything. She also borrowed extra beds from some relatives who weren't using them. She had beds upstairs, downstairs, and also on the porch. We went to town and bought groceries, but of course we had our own chickens, milk, butter, and eggs. She had also saved a home-cured ham for them.

She would grab a fryer or two, pull off its head, skin and wash it, and have it ready to fry in a few minutes. Then she'd cook and mash some potatoes, make a big pan of gravy, along with some red beans, cabbage slaw, and a big pan of home made biscuits. She made biscuits three times a day. She always had lots of dried fruits and can goods on hand.

I think they understood what country living was like before going back to Dallas. And I assure you they had plenty of good food to eat while visiting in the country. You have always heard how stupid country people are. Well, I think city folks can be just as stupid.

I remember another year that the Houstons came out to visit us. It was the first time for his sister's little girl to visit. She was about five years old. She just couldn't understand the chickens, hogs, and cows. It was amazing to see her look at them and ask why?

We took her down to the tank fishing one evening and the cows were nearby in the shade of a tree. When we returned, her grandmother said, "Dorothy, what did you see?" Her eyes got big and she said, "I saw a cow climb a tree." Her grandmother said, "No Dorothy. Cows don't climb trees." She replied, "Well, this one did and all of the other cows watched her." She was a sweet little girl, always wanting to know what things were and why. She was very eager to learn about the country.

 

Looking back through the 1900's, I can see now just how primitive we lived. However, all farm families lived alike, with no electricity, no running water, no gas stoves, and no bath rooms. We did have an outhouse about one hundred yards from the house. We used a wash tub to bathe in, heating the water on a wood stove, as we had no water heaters. We used wood to cook and warm by. A coal oil lamp was used to see by at night, which was a glass bowl placed on a glass stand. A little tin burner was screwed on top, which held a little one inch piece of heavy cloth, called a wick, which went down into the oil. You could regulate the height of the flame with a little screw on the side of burner. The lamp also had a chimney would get smoked real quickly and needed cleaning every morning.

We also heated our dish water on the cook stove in a tea kettle. Every home had one or two tea kettles on the stove all time, as the coals that were left in the fire box after a meal would keep the stove warm for a while. So the warm water could be used later, if needed.

We also had what was called "an old safe" to keep the dishes in. It had drawers for the knives, forks, and spoons. It also a storage place at the bottom for pots and pans. I guess it was about 6 foot tall and about 16 inches wide, with two doors at the top and bottom.

Since we had no electricity and no ice box, everyone had what they called a milk cooler, which was about three foot tall and about two foot across. The top was made of a large pan about 2 inches deep, which was fastened at the four corners with a piece of tin going down to the bottom pan to hold the top pan up. You would put water in the top pan to be siphoned down to the bottom pan. This bottom pan was the same size as the top pan, except it had a hole in it with a cork stopper in the hole to be removed, to let the water out and clean the cooler. It also had two shelves inside to put milk, butter, eggs, also other food to keep cool as possible. You would put a cloth around the cooler with the cloth in the water at the top to be siphoned down to the bottom. The cloth fastening in front, so you could get things out better, This milk cooler was usually was put so the wind could blow on it.

 

Back then, when a farmer broke something while doing farm chores, he didn't run to town to buy something new but would try to repair it. Maybe in a crude way, but it usually worked. If a leather strap broke, they would find another piece of old leather and cut a piece about two inches longer than the break. Then the farmer would take an awl and punch some holes through the leather on both sides, get some brass brads, and stick them through both pieces of leather on each side. Next, add a washer to the brad, put everything on a piece of iron, and hammer it all together. About two brads to each side made it pretty strong and ready to use again. Most farmers had their own blacksmith shops, so they could sharpen their sweeps and do other things.

 

Somewhere around 1922, Ma, Pa, Lester, and me picked a bale of cotton. Uncle Dave was about 90 and didn't do this kind of work. Now this bale weighed around 1000 pounds. Picking is different from pulling cotton, in which you pull the burr along with the cotton and seeds off the cotton stalk. To pick cotton is to pick the cotton and seed out of the burr.

So after this cotton was on the wagon, Pa and Uncle Dave took it to town. This wagon was pulled by two horses. There was a double tree on each side of the horses that ran back to a six-foot board. Then the tongue of the wagon was attached to this board. The men either sit or stood on the cotton on the way to town, which made for a long, uncomfortable trip. Anyway, I had told them I wanted a cupie doll, and Uncle Dave bought me one. However, on the way back home, one of them stepped on it. When they bought me that sack of glass, I could have died! I never did get a cupie doll.

 

In the early 1920's, I had my younger 1st cousins, Uncle John's kids to play with. I remember one time when I went home with Uncle John and his family after church. Mama went home and got Olin, my stepfather, and came over to Uncle John and Aunt Trezzie's later. I said Mama was wearing rouge and I asked what that red stuff was on her face. She told me that it was just a little coloring. That afternoon, the adults played croquet while us children stood around.

 

About this same time,

Late in the fall when "ole Jack Frost" started hanging around and all the vegetation had fallen to the ground and most of the flies had departed for the year, it was hog killing time for country people. This was usually a very busy day. Some neighbors would gather over to help with the work on hog killing day. They would bring a wash pot to help boil enough water. Most of the time, about three pots were used. They would also bring their butcher knives, as there was always lots of meat to be cut.

They filled the pots with water and piled lots of wood around the pots and then started the fire. While the water heated, men dug a hole just the size for a 55-gallon drum to sit in at a lean. Then they put the hog into the water in the drum to be scalded, so the hair would slip off easily. They put a large log under the front and open end of the drum for the drum to lay on so the water would stay in the drum when they put the hog in, usually raising the front of it about 15 to 18 inches above the ground. Just before the water started to boil, they killed the hog. Its throat was cut so it would bleed freely, then it was taken to the drum that someone else had already filled with the boiling water and a shovel full of ashes, which helped to get the hair off.

With help on each side, they slowly put the hog in the water. Here they kept it in the water, shaking it around a few minutes. Next they pulled it out to let it air out and then put it back into the water. Now it was taken out and put back in, head first this time. Sometime during this process, more boiling water might be added to the drum.

When they thought the hair would come off the hog easily, they pulled it out and put it onto a wooden platform, usually side boards of a wagon, just in front of the drum, and started scrapping immediately. If they got a "good scald," the hair came off easy. It not, it took a while longer.

When the hair was off, they hung the hog up by its hind legs, usually to a rafter of a shed where they were working.

Then they took boiling water and washed off the hog good. Next they cut off its head and let it bleed some more. Afterward, a wash tub was put under the hog, and they started cutting down its stomach, letting the intestines fall into the tub. The tub was sat aside, so the fat could be taken off the intestines later, to be rendered into lard. Now a meat saw was taken and each side was divided at the back bone. You had two parts hanging now. Each part could now be divided into three pieces, namely the back legs or ham, the front legs or shoulder, and the bacon or rib area. They would trim these pieces of meat to suit the man the hog belonged to, putting some pieces into a box to be made into sausage and lard later. The meat was taken to a place of storage, usually a smoke house or just a small closed-in barn. We usually rubbed our meat with a sugar cure, which contained several ingredients or just bought Morton's sugar cure, which was already mixed. It was rubbed on both sides really hard. Each piece went through this process every day for three days. Lots of people just used heavy salt, but we liked the sugar cure for our meat.

The cure was left on a hog for about three weeks. A bigger hog would take longer than a small one. Also, we would cut to bone in some places and put cure ingredients there for two or three days. The idea was for the curing to penetrate throughout the meat. We were concerned that if the meat wasn't totally cured, it would rot.

Later we quit curing meat and putting it in a smoke house. Instead, we kept it from rotting by renting locker space at the locker plant in Stamford, where it was frozen. We would open a thick, heavy door and walk into a hall way that had food lockers in the wall. Even the hall way was below freezing, so we didn't stay in the vault very long, especially if we were wearing short sleeves in the summer. But I thought the cured meat tasted better than this new way of freezing.

Anyway, back to the hog killing day. The trimming from the hams, shoulders, and bacon were cut in their strips and put through a sausage grinder, which had a handle on it. Someone had to turn the handle around and around while someone else fed the meat into the grinder, which was fastened to a table. After the meat was ground, we put a mixture of salt, red pepper, black pepper, and sage on it and worked it in. We did this until it suited our taste when we cooked a small amount. The meat was then put into white cotton sacks about two foot long and three inches across, which were made before hog killing day. You would pack the sacks very tight and solid and then hang them in the smoke house with the other meat. It tasted better to me after it had been there for a while.

Next the fat that was removed from the meat and cut into small cubes, to be rendered out the next day for lard or shortening to cook with for the rest of the year. Then you had to clean up the mess, and it was a big, greasy mess. We also gave the neighbors some of the back bone, ribs, and liver for their help. And we also told them to let us know when they planned to kill hogs so we could help them.

Well, it's time to start rendering the fat out of the cubes that were cut up before. I will add that we also left the skin on the fat cubes.

First, clean and dry the pot well. Put a small amount of wood around the pot to begin with, so you don't burn the fat before it starts melting. Keep stirring at all times so it won't scorch and turn brown. You can add more wood later to make a larger fire, but this is really a tedious process to cook the fat out and keep it pretty and white. When the lard has most of the water cooked out, it will begin to bubble. When the bubbles got about the size of a pin head, Mama would add about a teaspoon of baking soda to the pot. Then rake all the fire away and get ready to put the lard into an eight-gallon lard can. Put a thin piece of white cloth as a strainer over the can, holding it in place with clothes pins all around to keep the cracklings from getting into the can. Dip up the cracklings and fat with a long handle stew pan to pour into the can. After finishing, put a cover over the top of the can to keep dust out until the lard has had cooled enough to be brought into the house. It was usually stored some place where it would keep cool. If it got too warm, it would start to taste old sooner. However, we usually used ours up and gave some away before that happened.

Now, it was time to use the cracklings that were left after rendering the lard.

We usually mixed about 15 lbs. of cracklings with three cans of lye and one gallon of water. Soap can be made many ways.

Anyway, we put a gallon of water into the pot and built a fire around it. Then we opened the cans of lye very carefully and shook the contents into the water, while turning our heads into the wind to keep the lye out of our eyes. Then we adding the fat. Lye is very dangerous if it gets into your eyes. Let it boil, stirring all time. When all of the cracklings were ate up by the lye, we removed the fire and placed a wash tub over the pot and let it sit until it got cold and solid, usually by the next morning. Then we sliced it out, cutting it into two inch by four inch pieces. We stored this soap in a box to be used for washing clothes, cleaning, and also for washing dishes and hair. When used up, we made more with meat drippings, using the same recipe as I just mentioned.

That reminds me of another hog story. When Margaret was a very small girl, the hogs broke out of their pen and started toward the house. She saw them and came running into the house shouting, "The mama hog is coming to the house and all of the meat scraps are following her."

Our wash days started early. First we got some wood and put around the black pot. Then we would fill the pot with water, which was usually hauled from stock tanks in barrels using a team and wagon. We would then chop up about one cup of lye soap and put it in the water. Then we would start the fire. When the water got pretty warm, we would carry it in buckets to the wash tub, which sat on a bench on the back porch. Then we would add more water to the pot so there would be enough to boil the clothes in later on.

We started with the white clothes first, rubbing lye soap on stains and spots. We pushed the clothes up and down a rub board inside the tub until they looked clean. Next we put the whites in boiling water in the pot while we started rubbing the dirty colored clothes in the tub. When all the clothes had been rubbed, we emptied the tub and rinsed it out and filled it with rinse water.

We had a long, wooden paddle which was used to punch the clothes down into the water and later to lift the clothes out of the pot. After the clothes were removed from the pot, they were taken to a tub of rinse water that I already mentioned. Also another tub was filled with water for the last rinse, with a dash of bluing added. Then the colored clothes went into the pot and got pushed down good with the stick and went through the same process as with the whites. Finally everything got hung on the line to dry. Washing has really changed since then.

 

I remember one time when I was about eleven years old and lived on the Simpson place. I had fainted one morning a few days before while hoeing cotton. Mama didn't want me to get too hot that evening and told me I could finish the washing and she would go hoe, so everything would be finished that day. She added, "All I lack are the towels and cup towels, but you need to go to the well (about a quarter of a mile away) and get two more buckets of water. There isn't enough water for the last rinse." I didn't exactly like to carry water from the well but did every day. However, it so happened that Mama had fixed some curds earlier. Now, curds and whey is what you get when you let milk sit out and go sour. When Mama dipped out the curd, this left a large bucket of whey. It looked clean to me, so I used it as the rinse water for the towels and cup towels. Well, I hung them on the fence, cleaned up the tubs, and put everything away.

Everything was OK until we started bringing in the dried clothes, and the towels and cup towels were as stiff as if I had starched them. Mama said, "You didn't rinse these clothes good. You didn't go and get any more water." I said, "Yes I did. I put the whey in there, and it was enough." From the look on her face, I knew that it wasn't enough. She said, "Well, we'll have to wash them over tomorrow. Just put them in the clothes hamper." And we did. So this was another lesson I learned the hard way. However, I think I knew it before but just didn't want to go and get more water.

 

On the last of July in 1923, Uncle Dave called us in one morning to talk to us, saying he couldn't rent the place to Olin any more because Olin wouldn't become a member of his church. He said, "Me and my members have decided I shouldn't rent to anyone who wasn't a member." So that was that. Then Mama and Mr. Houston thought maybe Uncle Dave would sell me 160 acres of his land. So they asked me to go and talk to Uncle Dave. I went and asked him if he would sell me 160 acres. He looked at me and said, "Child. I can't sell you any land. I've made my will and guess I'll have to abide by it. But I'd sure sell it to you before I'd ever sell it to anyone else." He appeared to be hurt. There were tears in his eyes. Somehow I felt like the congregation was putting the pressure on him, probably thinking they might have a better chance with him, never thinking or caring what Mama had done for him or about the two orphan kids.

No, Olin wasn't a member of his church. But he did take two orphan kids in. And that was more than any member did. Dan McAda was a member, but he ran Eutice and Arlin off. Where did they go? They came to Olin Houston's and he gave them a place to eat and sleep until they got big enough to work. Then people hired them. Their uncle was also a member, but he wouldn't keep them either. It always seemed funny to me. Uncle Dave was always talking about Lipton's orphan home, and when he died, part of his money went there. But I also remember when he put two orphans out of his house. Because the man who was making a living for them was not a member of his church.

I also learned early that there are wolves in sheep's clothing as well as sheep in wolf's clothing. I thought a lot of Uncle Dave. Everyone said he thought a lot of me, but guess I found out different.

 

Bene Gillespie called Mama after she found out about our having to move and told Mama for her and Olin to come over there. They wanted to sell their place to them. They went over and made a trade with the Gillespies. Mr. Houston called Dallas and his father told him he would loan him the money to buy the place. He would send the money when they were ready to sign the contract. Mr. Houston went to a lawyer (Andrews I think). When he got it finished, he called Houston and told him and the Gillespies to come to town on a certain day.

Mr. Houston went to town to sign the contract. But when he arrived at the lawyers office, he found not only Gus and Bene there but nearly all of the other Gillespies. Also, the lawyer then said, "Mr. Houston, I'm afraid the deal is off. Mrs. Gillespie has changed her mind and don't want to sell the place." This was just too much for Mr. Houston. He got very angry because they were the ones that had called, saying they wanted to sell their place. But they didn't sell it.

Aunt Josie Bean then told Mama that a Mr. Simpson and two of his sisters who lived on the Plains, wanted to rent their land that they had bought from the Beans, (or maybe they traded. I can't remember which). The Simpsons were contacted, and we rented the land from them. We could also keep some cattle on the pasture. There were about 200 acres in cultivation besides the pasture. So we bought two mules, old Rose and Blossom. They were very gentle and slow.

However, before we moved in December 1923, Uncle Dave took a bad cold. Mama tried to keep him in the house and not get out in the bad weather. His old shoes were worn out. There were holes in the soles, and he would just put some heavy paper in them and go on. He was just too tight to buy clothes. Anyway, he had to see about Old Paint, his horse. Mr. Houston told him he had already fed Old Paint, but he went anyway.

He developed pneumonia and got very sick. Mama called Dr. Hudson. He came out to see him every day and tried several things, but it didn't help. Mr. Houston kept a fire going night and day. He also helped turn and feed him and gave him meds at night. I'm sure Uncle Dave knew he cared for him, because one night he looked up and said, "Olin, I made the biggest mistake of my life when I didn't rent to you. I hope you and God will forgive me." Mr. Houston told him not to worry. He had rented another place. And we'll be all right.

I doubt if Uncle Dave really wanted to get well, knowing the ones he had spent the last ten years of his life with and also who loved him, wouldn't be with him anymore. For they would be moving soon. That was too much for an old man 91 years old to take.

I remember the night he died so well. I could hear people talking and Mama crying. So I started getting up. Mr. Houston heard me. He came in and told me to go back to bed. It was too cold and too late for me to be up. I can still see him crying at the funeral. He really did care about Uncle Dave. I'm sure Uncle Dave realized that before he died.

 

Uncle Dave didn't have any relatives living here. What few he had lived in Kentucky. One nephew came for the funeral. The day he left to go home, he bought me a big set of China dishes made in Germany and Lester a French harp saying, "I think Uncle Dave would want me to do this."

When they settled up Uncle Dave's estate, they were so generous to me, saying, "You were Uncle Dave's favorite person. He thought so much of you." They gave me Old Paint and the old gray jenny. But Mr. Houston wouldn't let me have the jenny because she was breaking in the field all time.

When we moved, we took old paint, but he didn't live but about two months. I thought being moved to a new place with Uncle Dave not around was too much of a strain. He just gave up. It just wasn't home. He stopped eating. He got down and never got up and died. I guess there was nothing to live for.

I could understand that. Maybe it was kinda like the old house. It just wasn't home, and that place never seemed like home to me.

Lester and I still attended school at Rockdale. It was a long way to walk, probably 3 or 4 miles. Sometimes we rode old Trixie. But she didn't like for me to ride behind the saddle, and let me know it by trying to pitch me off. She didn't try too hard or could have. She just kinda kicked up and switched her tail. Sometimes we'd go in the buggy.

 

Aunt Josie was our nearest new neighbor and the only one we visited. Every time Doris, Ruby, and I got together, we made us a play house and mud pies. We also put eggs in them. How stupid kids are. But when the adults found out about that, we were in trouble again.

Early one morning, we saw a big fire over in the direction of the "old home place," where we had lived so long and thought it could be the old house. So we went to Aunt Josie's house and she backed her old car out of the garage. We all got in and went over in that direction to see what was going on. When we arrived at the old two story house, that we had called home for so long, it was nearly burned to the ground. It didn't belong to us, but it really hurt to see it gone. We just couldn't keep from crying. Fay Cobb was there washing and had a fire under the wash pot in the yard. She and Glen had just built them a new house and had moved all of their things out of the old two story house to their new house. She didn't appear to care if it burned down or not. Her father-in-law, Marvin Cobb, had bought the land and house from the Dave Lindsey estate. Fay just said that the old house wasn't any good and she wouldn't miss it. But somehow it still seemed like home to me, with so many memories. I had spent my childhood there and I loved it.

For a long time after we moved to the Simpson place, I would have nightmares at night. I guess that's what they were. Some times it seemed like I could see angels just flying over my bed. One's face looked like Daddy and one like Uncle Dave. I couldn't recognize any more of them. Usually there were five or six at a time. It was frightening. I'd wake Mama up, crying and yelling, but was afraid to tell her what I was seeing. She would say, "Go back to sleep. You just ate too much." I was afraid to go back to sleep and afraid to stay awake. I hated to see night come. But I finally stopped having that dream, or whatever it was.

It seemed to me as if my life had made a complete turn around. I had been such a carefree, daredevil of a kid, and suddenly I was afraid of everything. I was just a different person, always looking for something bad to happen. Uncle Dave had always been there when I thought I needed him. Now he was gone. Maybe that was part of it. Living in a house with someone all of your life and then knowing that he had told you to get out was pretty hard for a ten-year-old to understand. In fact, I still can't understand it and never will. I've always tried to tell myself that it wasn't his idea, for he knew Mr. Houston wasn't a member when he moved there, and he was still the same man.

 

After we moved, we had more land to work. So we were pretty busy. I was in the field more. I always used Rose and Blossom since they were so gentle. Mr. Houston had to plow with the wild and mean ones that were always running away and tearing up everything. It always scared me to see them running away and being afraid they would come my way. I'd keep my eyes on them until they would stop, but they never came near me. After everything was under control again, I'd go back to my plowing but would keep checking on them for a while, just in case they decided to try it again.

I usually did all of the harrowing, if there was any to do. The harrow we had was a two-section harrow. Each section was about three foot wide (I think) and pulled by two animals. I walked behind the harrow. It was made of iron strips and had spikes of iron about six inches long that went into the ground, which helped hold the harrow up and also broke up the clods of dirt and got small weeds and grass that was just coming out of the ground. They were about six inches apart. The weight of the harrow kept the spikes in the ground.

I also plowed with a single row cultivator. We had two of those. The ones we owned were called wiggle tail cultivators, that you rode on by sitting in a seat. When one side of the plow was getting into the row of crops, you just pushed the other way with your foot and vice versa. We hitched two animals to these also. The crop was usually maize for the animals to eat or cotton to sell.

When we got a double row, that was different. You put at least two animals on each side of the tongue and sometimes we used three. You could go faster and get more done if you used three to each side.

Two hundred acres of farming land doesn't sound like much today, but if farmers now had to farm with horses and mules and one or two rows at a time, it wouldn't take them long to find out just how much things have changed. Also horses and mules get tired just like people and get slower in the afternoons. Now they just add more fuel to the tractors and keep going.

 

We made good crops in 1924 and 1925 and were able to buy a new 1926 Ford Touring car. We bought it just before Christmas, as Mr. Houston wanted to spend Christmas with his parents. We got all packed up and left home on the 22nd of December.

Mama and Mr. Houston rode in the front seat with Lester and me in the back seat. Mama thought since she raised turkeys, she should take a big gobbler to Dallas for Christmas dinner. So they tied the old gobbler's legs together and put him in a gunney sack. She also tied the top of the sack but cut a hole in the sack and pulled his head out of that hole so he could breathe better. She put the turkey on the floor between Lester and me, and off we took. It was a very cold day of course. We had no heater and those old side curtains were a flapping. But it was great going for us in the first car we ever owned. We left home at 8:00 A.M. and arrived in Ft. Worth at sundown. That was about the time they were starting to build the highways, and we would have to detour and go down through some real rough ground going around the working crews. Back then, old Fords didn't run too fast any time.

We finally got there and put the gobble in a pen in the back yard for the night. Mr. Houston cut the turkey's head off the next morning, and Mama picked and cleaned it. She also cooked it and made the dressing. It appeared to be a novelty to them and probably seemed country too. But they ate it and also appeared to enjoy it. Mama made the cornbread and biscuits for the dressing. They had always gone to town and bought theirs already cooked.

We spent two weeks in Dallas. Guess Aunt Josie took care of our dog. I can't remember. I tried to roller skate for the first time by renting a pair from a girl next door for 25 cents an afternoon. I didn't do too well and fell down a few times. I also heard some boys across the street say, "Look at that girl. She can't skate. She keeps on falling down." They were also laughing. I took the skates home and wouldn't try anymore. I didn't like to stay in Dallas. I wanted to go home. I knew I wasn't a city girl and didn't want to be one.

The trip home was about the same. They were still working on the roads. But the old gobbler was missing, and that was nice, because he would flop around sometimes. He probably got tired of being tied down for so long and also in one position. I can't say that I blamed him.

 

School had started the day before we got home. So it was back to school for me and Lester. We could use the old buggy all time now since they had a car to use if they needed to go somewhere.

Guess things went as usual. Lester still didn't want to study. In fact, he didn't like school. He and I were in the same grade. I'd get his lessons for him that he had to hand in. I'd try to tell him the rest on the way to school. But he was always looking around for something else to talk about and not talk about lessons.

When Ruby Bean, Aunt Josie's daughter, started to school, they said if we would pick her up, we could use their buggy. It was a better buggy than ours, so we went by and picked her up every day, using their buggy.

I finished at Rockdale in 1928. It was a two-room school. We went through the 4th grade in one of the rooms and the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade in the other room. So in the fall of 1928, I started to Berryhill School. They had three teachers at Berryhill and taught through the 10th grade. I rode a horse part of the time and walked at other times. But it was a long walk.

Lester quit after attending Rockdale and did not go to Berryhill.

In January of 1929, we moved to the Shaw place, which was in the Ericksdale School district. They taught through the ninth grade there. So that's where I attended school. Miss Ollie King was my teacher. She was a very nice lady and also a good teacher. We were still living there the next year when she taught about three pupils some more subjects. She was able to do this because she had so few pupils in her classroom. Children would quit school if the parents would let them. Johnny Hanson started to school that year, and he and I walked together. He really enjoyed talking.

 

We farmed the Shaw Place in 1929 and 1930. These were very dry years and also hard on farmers. No rains means no crops and you would have worked all year for "nothing." In 1929, Mr. Houston had to go someplace to find work. So he went to the Dallas area and worked for his cousin so he would be able to send money home for his family to buy food with. Not only him but several other families had to leave to find work so they could eat and also pay taxes on their land. Lester and I went to O'Brien in Knox County to pick cotton, as it had rained up there, and they had made a pretty good crop. Uncle John and Aunt Trezzie, McKeevers, Cokers, and also a few more went up there. The next year was nearly as bad. Some families went to South Texas that year. I pulled for Mr. N.M. Hansen, who made a few bales. He also pulled about three bales for us. We just pulled in spots, places where the water had stood.

That was the year Holly Shaw died. His wife found him in a tank, but couldn't get him out. So she came to Mama's to get help. Mr. Houston had gone to town, so Mama and Mr. Hanson went and helped her get him out of the tank. Annie, his wife, said he had drowned. But Dr. Hudson said, "No, he didn't drown. It was maybe a heart attack." He had gone to the tank after lunch that day to take a bath. He was going to town after groceries that evening.

After Holly died, Mrs. Shaw, his mother, divided up the land. Fred Shaw moved into the house with his mother. Annie moved to her mother's. Fred said he was going to farm all of the Shaw place, but we could move into the Martin house that he was leaving and farm that land.

So we moved to the Martin place in Dec. of 1930. We made a pretty good crop that year, which really did help. Lester and Retha Mae got married that year on the 25th of July. Lester and Retha Mae and Arlin Howe and Audie Coker had a double wedding in a lumber yard. Joel Grimes married them. He was working there as a carpenter and we all went back where he was working and he stopped long enough to marry them.

 

Lester and Retha Mae moved into the house with us and took my bedroom. So I went back to the baby bed one more time. It was called a baby bed, but it was really longer than a baby bed. However, we did remove the front side rail. But I wasn't too happy because it was the first time I'd had a bedroom to myself.

 

Don and Jack McQueen came down that year from Borger to visit their Uncle Gene Martindale and cousin, Arlin Howe. Don wanted to meet me. He had seen me about three years before, but hadn't met me. So Arlin and Audie got us together. Guess they stayed around about three days. A bunch of us got together every night. We also went kodaking (taking pictures) on Sunday.

After he went home, he sent me a fine pound box of candy and also a letter. We corresponded for about six months. He came back for a visit and we dated while he was here.

He asked me to marry him, but I wasn't ready to get married and move off to Borger, Texas. So I said, "No. Not now anyway." We wrote a while longer, but that finally ended too. I just didn't think I knew him well enough to spend my life with him, although he was a nice man and also good looking.

He and Arlin Howe came to our house on the creek one morning after Slue and I married. Arlin came to the house and talked to me, but Slue was outside when they got there, and Don stayed outside and talked to Slue. That was the last I ever heard of him.

 

In 1932, we moved to the Joe Bean place, as the Martin place had changed owners, and they wanted the place to farm.

We made a bale of cotton to the acre that year, but the price of cotton wasn't very high. It helped anyway. I picked cotton all fall for 25 cents a hundred. We had several cotton pickers that year. I also took their weights when they weighed their cotton and kept up with how much cotton was on the wagon. The Myers brothers came back and picked for us every year for several years.

 

One year we made good sugar cane. It had rained a lot, and the stalks were really juicy. We told Uncle John about the sugar cane, and he wanted to make some syrup out of the cane. He said he had some kind of a machine that squeezed the juice out of the stalks. Grandpa Ivy must have brought it to Texas with them from Alabama. I don't know. I'd never seen one before or since. Uncle John and Aunt Trezzie came over in a wagon and brought the mill. We had gathered the cane stalks to make the syrup. We all went over to a well in the back of our pasture. I don't remember why. Maybe it was to wash the stalks. Then they set it all up. The best I remember, it was a round outfit. And had a place to put a long pole into the side of the mill. A horse was hitched to the pole, and the horse would go around and around, and someone was feeding the cane into the mill during this time. The mill had a spout on it, and the juice went out of the spout into a vat of some kind. The juice was then put into a pot and boiled until it got as thick as they wanted it. Then it was put into sterilized jars and sealed. We made several jars of syrup, and it was pretty good. We ate it. This is about all I can remember, but I can still see that old horse going around and around. I think they pulled one line tighter than the other one so that he would do this.

 

Speaking of Uncle John's horses, one day John M. came in the house and asked Aunt Trezzie if they had a new horse. She told him, "No, I don't think so. Why?" John M. replied, "Well, I saw Daddy out in the lot trying to catch a horse, and he called it, son of bitch." I'm sure Aunt Trezzie's mouth flew open in shock. Uncle John told us about this. I'll assure you Aunt Trezzie didn't.

Now, if you have never had the pleasure of living on a farm and tried to cope with uncooperative stock, you may not understand this. But I certainly can relate to it. When you needed to get somewhere in a hurry or finish plowing and you almost get the horses into the lot, you think maybe you have made it, and "bingo" they have ran off again. Then when you finally get them in the lot and start toward them with a bridle, they run to the other side of the lot. When you finally catch one it might try to hold it's head so high it's really hard to bridle it. Call them what you like, they don't care. Just so they can get out of work. I have heard lots of horses and mules called various choice names by farmers when they are working with stock. Somehow, I can't blame them. It can be as flustering as fixing a flat tire in a snow storm. I have done both.

 

There was an old black man in Stamford that stuttered. They called him stuttering Sam. Mr. Houston was always talking with Sam. One day while plowing, Mr. Houston hit a stump in the field with the plow and the team got scared and ran away, breaking the 4 X 6 which he had four mules hitched to. He, Mama, and I went to town to get one. We tied it on the side of the old Ford, and about that time, Sam came along. "Wha, wha, wha, what's that Mr. Houston?" I broke this Sam while plowing and had to get another one. Sam slapped his leg and said, "Wha, wha, what's you wo, wo, working Mr. Houston? El, el, elephants," and just laughed and laughed. We all laughed too.

 

Late one November Sat. evening, Mama, Peggy, and I were at the cow lot milking. Mr. Houston had took a bale of cotton to town and hadn't returned. I had finished milking my cow and was standing under the cow shed with Peggy. I was waiting for Mama to finish so I could turn the calf loose, so it could go and finish sucking its mother and have its supper.

We saw a green car stop at the gate, which was about one hundred yards east of the cow lot. A man got out and opened the gate, and someone drove through. We didn't know who they were. The car came on to the cow lot and stopped. Mama was near the road. A man got out walked over to the fence and spoke to Mama. And said he wanted to talk to Clothilde. Mama called me and I went over there reluctantly. I didn't want to see anyone. I was wearing a pair of printed pajama type jump suit, all in one piece and tied on the shoulders in bows to hold them up. When I saw him, I thought he was Slats Hughes, who was a neighbor who had just moved there about a year before. But I didn't know him very well. I did know the man in the car was W.C. McCown, who I had known all of my life.

Anyway, he asked me if I would go to the show with him.

I said "No. Mr. Houston isn't here, and Mama don't like to stay by herself." At that point, Mama said, "Go on. If Olin don't get back, Peggy and I will walk up to Josies." So I said "Okay, I'll go. But I have to go to the house and get ready." It maybe took me fifteen minutes. You can't go from a cowpen and get cleaned up and ready to go some place any sooner. Anyway, when I came out, he said, "I thought you had changed your mind. It took you so long." That wasn't a very good start. I didn't know him and didn't want to go anyway. We went by and picked up W.C.'s date, Effie Reves, and went on to Stamford. I don't remember the name of the show, but it was a comedy, and once I got tickled, it was so hard for me to stop laughing, more especially if funny things keep happening all time. Anyway, I laughed and laughed my fool head off. Some man behind us laughed as much as I did. Everyone laughed, but not like we did. I finally decided the man got tickled at me. I'm sure I never laughed that much altogether in the next two years that we went together. Effie took a headache, and W.C. and Effie went to the car. So Slue and I left before the movie was over. I was ashamed to stay any longer. I did find out that his name wasn't Slats but Slue. They did look alike and about the same size. When we got home, he walked me to the door and to my surprise asked if I would go out with him next Saturday. And to my surprise, I said yes. I just wasn't expecting it.

 

Before I continue, I want to name all the places where I lived during my younger years.

After my parents got married, they moved in with Grandpa and Grandma Ivy (L.S. and Betty). This was where both my brother, Lester, and myself were born. Further along in this story, I call this Uncle Glad's house because he later lived there, after him and Aunt Kate got married.

As best as I recall, my Grandpa Ivy was only getting paid by my Grandpa McLennan for working the farm land. He was not getting any share of the profit.

 

When I was one month old, we moved out of Uncle Glad's house. Both my parents and grandparents, who were living in this house together, moved into separate houses on Dave Lindsey's land. Now the men were farming for Dave "on the halves." That is to say, Dave furnished everything and gave them half of the profit.

I was now a baby living in a 2-story house with my parents and Dave Lindsey, about a mile south of my grandparents. The deal was that my mother made meals, cleaned the house, and in general "took care of Dave," while my father, Frazier Brown Ivy, did the farming. We had really come up in the world! This was a "bunch" more room.

Things continued this way until my father died from blood poisoning. Then my mother continued working the land on halves.

 

When my mother remarried Olin Houston, things changed. My stepfather wanted to buy his own groceries and to charge Dave $20 a month for lodging and groceries. So it was a trade off. Dave didn't have to go buy and pay for the groceries anymore, but he did have to pay my mother and stepfather something.

 

Things continued along this way until we moved January of 1924 to the Simpson place. Somewhere around August of 1923, Dave told us we would have to move because my stepfather wouldn't join the Church of Christ. But Dave died in December of 1923, so we were destined to move, one way or the other.

Mary, Louise, and Scott Simpson traded some land they had on the Plains with the Beans for some land in the Rockdale Community. And it was this Simpson land we farmed for 1/3 on the maize and 1/4 on the cotton. We also had some pasture land for our cattle.

Here we stayed for four years. And during the last year on the Simpson place, Peggy was born. It seems like in the years soon following her birth that women started going to the hospital more often to have babies.

Indeed, Peggy was born on June 5, 1928. It was summer, so we had taken the old heater down. But her birth was on a cold and wet day. So the nurse that came with Dr. Fred Hudson said that we would need some heat in the room for the baby. So Mr. Houston and Aunt Josie went to work and put the old heater back up and built a fire so they could bathe the baby. That was probably the last time it rained that summer.

 

The 10th day of Jan in 1929 was moving day for us again. We were leaving the Simpson place where we had lived since Jan 1924 and moving to the Shaw place, which was seven or 8 miles away. But the trip was in a wagon, which made it seem longer. I remember so well that we couldn't build a fire in the cook stove or heater either that AM as the stoves had to be cold before we could load them into the wagon. We cooked breakfast on a campfire in the front yard. I remember Mama fried some cured ham and later cooked some potatoes on the coals and put some of the ham drippings in the potatoes. Those were the best potatoes I ever ate. I really don't like potatoes, but those were so good. I've tried and tried to cook some like that later but they never tasted the same.

We had an old Tom cat that had been in the family for several years and it had to be moved. So I was supposed to hold the cat. As we moved along, I tried to, but as we were passing Odis Alston's house, out came his two dogs to fight our dog. The dogs barking and yelping scared old Tom out of my hands and out of the wagon. He went across the road and out of sight. Well, that made us more unhappy. The move was bad enough, now this was too much. Pa and Ma were sitting in chairs in the front of the wagon. Peggy was a baby in Mama's lap, and I was sitting on mattresses in the middle of the wagon. The cat I was once holding was now gone. But on we went, thinking we would never see old Tom again. We finally arrived, unloaded, and got the stoves going before night. This was a good thing, because it came up a blue norther that night and got very cold.

By the next AM a little before nine o'clock, there was a knock on our door. When we opened it, Aster Alston was standing there and dropped old Tom on the floor. He said Tom had come to their house that AM and they saw us moving the day before and thought he was ours. He was. It made us so happy and the cat too. He also asked to take me to school. He was in a car. I said, "No, I have to go to Berryhill first where I had been attending school and get my grades before I could start to school at Ericksdale."

 

Anyway, back to our move. That old house was a terrible one. Mother and I put up some "building paper" as they called it. It was very heavy paper to paper the walls. We were trying to keep out the wind and cover the dirt. But the first high wind took care of that. Off it came. That's where we lived during the depression. We were also very depressed. We had no rain and no crops for two years. But we made it and were never hungry. We always had milk, eggs, butter, chickens, and pork to eat. Mama always raised chickens and turkeys to sell.

 

Both Holly Shaw and his mother died during 1930. At this point, the land was divided up between Fred Shaw and others.

While we were on the Shaw land, Fred had been farming the Martin land. But now he wanted to farm his newly inherited land and offered to let us farm the Martin land.

So it was to the Martin land we moved for 1931. We had a nice house to live in, and we made a good cotton crop for that year. This land was owned by Detta Martin.

This only lasted for a year because Granville Martin, her son, decided to move back and farm the land.

 

Then from 1932 through 1935, we farmed on the Bean place on 1/3 and 1/4 ths. My Uncle Joe Bean farmed the south side and my stepfather farmed the north side of a field. It was while we were living on this place that Margaret was born.

 

The first Christmas tree we ever had was in 1932. It was a rainy week before Christmas and was too muddy to try to drive our Ford coup to town. So we waited until Christmas eve, and it had dried up enough for us to get over the roads by the afternoon.

So Mama did the rest of her shopping in town, after having ordered most of the things from Sears Roebuck. I had spent nearly all of my cotton pulling money except for a few cents. After Mama bought groceries and we had started home, I asked Mama if she had any change, and she looked and found a few cents. Both of us together had 19 cents.

I had seen an artificial Christmas tree in Penneys for 19 cents. It was very small, standing about 15 inches tall. I asked them to go by Penneys because I wanted to buy something. It was getting dark, but they took me by. When I went in, Penneys was about to close. I walked over to the manager at the counter, and he asked me what I wanted. I told him I wanted that little Christmas tree. He went over and was taking down the largest one up there, which sold for 49 cents. I said, "No. I want the little one." He said, "Well, wouldn't you rather have this big one?" I told him yes, but I've just got 19 cents. He told me that I could have it for only 19 cents.

That tree looked so pretty to me. It was maybe four feet tall. You could fold the branches to the center. It set in a little square 6x6 box painted ivory and had red designs on it. We used the tree for years, storing it in the loft during the summers.

That manager really made a few people happy that Christmas and for several more to follow. We just folded the stems back and wrapped the tree up and put it in the attic until the next year. I'll never forget that manager.

 

When Peggy was about five years old, she was playing in the front yard on Joe Bean's place. She was trying to catch a cat, and she ran into a mesquite bush. It was very thorny, and she stuck a thorn in her eye. We took her to the Stamford hospital, and the doctor there told us to take her on to Abilene. This Abilene doctor was a "quack" that operated on the eye. We found out later that this was the worse thing he could have done. She didn't get any better, so we went to a Dr. Grubbs in Abilene. He had to remove the eye. That was really a hard thing to take. She was so small.

It was a tragic thing to happen to a small child. The kids at school were so cruel, calling her glass eye, glass fingers, and anything else they could think of. I often wonder if you have to pay for all the cruel and bad things you do in life. But she made it. I'm sure it was hard. I can say for sure that we worried about her.

I can remember after she started to school the first year. She was living about 3 miles from school on the Joe Bean place. If Pa hadn't returned home in the car by three o'clock, I walked to Rockdale School to get her and walk her home. Sometimes I carried her part of the way. This didn't happen one time but lots of times. It was a long way for a young child to walk, going through pastures with cattle in them and crawling through fences.

We didn't have this problem for long, because in February of her first year, the Houstons built a new house on their inherited land and moved into it. Now she was five or 6 miles from school, and when she went, my parents had to take her and pick her up because it was now too far to walk.

Soon however, Rockdale and Ericksdale consolidated into Paint Creek, which had buses to pick up and deliver the kids. This was a very good thing.

 

Lots of things happened quickly about this time. In July of 1935, Alexander McLennan died. In November of 1935, I marry. Slue and I live on the Bean place with my parents during December. Then we move to the Hughes place in January, about the same time as my parents start building a house on their newly inherited land. To finish this out, my mother and stepfather move from the Bean place into their new house in March of 1936.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3:

The Hugheses - Married Life

 

After we were married, Slue told me that W.C. had asked him what he thought of me. He said, "I think she is mine if I want her." If he had told me that then, things wouldn't have happened like they did. For I sure didn't think anything about wanting him or anyone else. I still don't know why he felt so sure of getting me if he wanted me the first night. He sat on one side of the car and me on the other side. We just talked with W.C. and Effie. In fact, in the two years we were together, we didn't have a very romantic courtship. He told me several times if my door came open, I would fall out because I sit against it. He was always very nice to me, coming to the door to get me, opening the car door, and shutting it. Also, he opened it for me to get out. My, how things change when you say, "I do." I guess it means, "I will not help anymore. You do not need it."

We went together for two years before he really asked me to marry him. He didn't ask me to marry him then. He said, "Will you cook for my dogs?" I should have said, "Well, who will cook for you?" But I didn't say that. I said, "yes."

It was in April 1935 when he asked my parents for their permission to marry me. They told him they had no objection of him. But since Mama was pregnant with Margaret, they would like for us to wait until after the baby was born to get married, as I was needed to do the work around the house until Mama was able to do it again. So we waited. Margaret was born June 5, 1935, and we married November 28, 1935.

 

My grandfather McLennan had died July 8, 1935. The McLennans had divided up the McLennan land. Mama had gotten 303 acres of land joining the Hughes ranch (no relation that we know of). Slue and I were going to put some of the land into cultivation and did. Before we married, we went over to see Mr. Hughes about us living in one of his vacant houses near the Houston place. He said "I don't care, but the windows are all out." Slue told him that we would buy the windows and put them in, and we did.

We were married on Thanksgiving Day. Then we stayed at Mama's about two weeks and got the old house ready to move into.

We spent our honeymoon picking Slue's cotton. I also had a cotton crop, but had gotten mine out before then. I asked him why he hadn't gotten his out? He said, "I didn't want to pick by myself." So on Monday morning, we went to the cotton patch.

After we finished picking the cotton, we went to a second hand store and bought a dining table, chairs, and a dresser. Someone gave us an old wood cookstove and a cabinet. We also bought a new box heater. Mama gave us Uncle Dave's bed and mattress. We then bought some springs. We again cleaned the old house and moved in.

In January, Uncle Monroe started building on Mama's new house. But the weather got bad and didn't get any better until Feb. 1, 1936. Then they started up again. Uncle Monroe and Booger Masters, his helper, stayed with us. Mama brought a bed from her house, and the kitchen was a very large room. So we put the bed in there. I cooked for them until they finished her house. Booger Masters just stayed a few nights with us, but ate lunch every day until they finished the house the last of February.

 

Shorty Williams one wayed 100 acres for Mr. Houston. It didn't have any trees on it. Slue grubbed out some trees and put in about 30 acres. He borrowed a team from his father. We didn't have any horses, but we did have two cows. I had one and he had one. So we had milk to drink. Aunt Trezzie gave us an old hen with 13 little chickens and also a quilt. Mrs. Hughes gave us five old hens, and we bought a few more. So we also had fresh eggs, not too many but enough. We were given a shower, but it came a snow storm, so not too many people were there. We got a coffee pot, some bowels, towels, and Aunt Claire gave us a set of glass dishes.

Back then, sterling silver China dishes and crystal and things like that were out of the question. We did well to get the necessary things. I remember Mrs. Hughes gave us meat drippings to cook with. They killed several hogs and cooked a lot of pork, so she had plenty of drippings. We were happy to get it. After Mama got an ice box and the ice man delivered ice, she gave us a small hunk every night to put in our milk. We really enjoyed that.

In the fall after the Houstons built a house, we decided to build a small one down near the creek. We didn't have much money, and borrowing money was out of the question for Slue. So we built a three-room house. I think the lumber just cost about $100.00, and the labor was also cheap. I think we paid the man a dollar a day and board.

We took our four windows out of the old Hughes house and used them. Slue was happy to move to the creek. He really enjoyed fishing and hunting. The only thing I could find to be jealous of was his fishing and hunting and also his dogs. I thought they came first in his life. However, his father always said that he had rather his sons were out with a good dog than with a woman. But I have never seen a dog cook a meal for a man, wash and iron his clothes, make up his bed, pick up dirty clothes, or clean a house. So maybe women aren't so bad after all.

 

I guess the maddest I ever got at Slue was one day he wanted me to help him seine minnows or perch. Anyway, I told him no. The last time I helped him do that, he got mad and yelled at me because I couldn't do it like he wanted me to. He said, "I won't say a word. You can just stand there and hold the seine." So I went with him.

He waded out into the tank, and I just stood there holding the other end like I thought was right. Anyway, we didn't catch anything. So he had me to do different. And we still caught nothing. I just wasn't keeping it on the bottom. So I got in the mud and water. Still nothing. He yelled again, and I got out of the tank, threw the seine down, and walked to the house. No more seining for me. Never again!

 

When Margaret was small, she always wanted to go with Slue and me to the Hugheses or any other place we were going, and we took her. One day we all went to his parents, and Slue carried her into the house. His brother Slats and his new wife, Louise, was there. When we walked in, his wife jumped up and said, "You told me that just one of your brothers had children, and that was Homer." Then Louise pointed to Margaret and said, "Well, who is that?" Slats explained that it was Clothilde's little sister. She looked dumbfounded but said no more.

Another time, Mama, Peggy, and I went to a birthday party. Doris Bounds had it for her daughter, Mary Helen. Quite a few kids were there. They opened presents, ate cake, then went outside to play. I think that Margaret was about the youngest one out there, and I was going to watch out for her as usual. After we went home Opal Bounds, a sister-in-law, told Doris, "Clothilde sure has a pretty little girl." Doris replied, "Clothilde doesn't have any kids. That was Aunt Maggie's little girl." Opal then said, "Well. I never saw Maggie looking after her. It was Clothilde who did that." Doris then said, "Maggie don't have to. She knows Clothilde is going to." Maybe I have always been a mother hen.

The best thing that ever happened to us was the birth of our son, Dolin Frazier Hughes, born December 27, 1939. It had come a big snow just before Christmas and had started melting that day. I got sick about eight o'clock that evening, and we went up to the Houston's, as we were going to use their car to go to town in. But slue wanted to wait until the ground froze a little if we could, so we wouldn't get stuck in the mud. Finally Pa went out and said, "It's starting to freeze. You all had better go."

We didn't have any trouble with the roads, but before we got to the hospital, I was having trouble. I guess we got there about 10:30 P.M., and Dolin was born at 1:45 A.M.. Slue spent the rest of the night there and went home the next AM. He and Pa came back to town, and stupid me, I asked Dr. Hudson if I could go home. And he said I could. So they loaded us in the back of the old Chevrolet, and took off with us. Pa parked at the front gate, and Slue carried the baby in. Mama threw a fit, "Why did you all bring them home? I wasn't looking for you all to do that." They put the baby on the bed with Margaret, who was sick in bed. Slue came back and got me, carried me into the house, and put me in the front bedroom. By that time, I wasn't feeling very well. They hadn't even cut a hole in the sheet rock so they could run a stove pipe into the flue, despite all of us knowing that I would be staying in that room. However, everyone went to work and it didn't take too long. Slue went to our house and got a wood heater and brought it back, and they finally got a fire started. However, it took a while for the room to get warm. Then I started hemorrhaging, but got it stopped pretty soon.

We were breast feeding and the milk didn't agree with the baby. So it cried a lot and also had lots of bowel movements. We stayed at Mama's for two weeks before going home. But the baby was still having lots of bowel movements. We talked to the doctor and talked to the doctor, but what he told us to do didn't help.

After about six months, I passed out carrying the baby home from Tom McLennan's in a rain storm. We had gotten stuck in a mud hole and had to walk to Mama's, which was over a mile. Slue tried to carry the baby, but I wouldn't let him. I was afraid he would let it get wet. Just before we got to the gate going into Houston's pasture, down I went backwards. However, I still held onto the baby, and thank goodness it wasn't hurt. Slue then took the baby and got me up somehow, and we finally got to their house. We went in the front bed room and then to bed. The reason we were at Tom's was because Peggy had the Chicken Pox, and I was afraid the baby would get it. A bad storm had came up, so we went to Tom's cellar.

However, I was able to walk on home the next morning, but couldn't get up the next day. Pa called Dr. Hudson, he came out, and said I didn't have enough blood. Also, that was why the baby was having so much trouble with his bowels. He gave me some meds to take to help make blood and also a formula for some milk for the baby. And it really helped him. It took me about six weeks to really get to feeling good again.

Peggy would come down every day and help Slue with the cooking also dish washing. It was summer, so she was out of school. We really appreciated her help.

 

Our son's first Christmas wasn't very big. We didn't have very much money. The best I can remember, Slue was the one who did the shopping. He bought a little doll and a little bulldozer of some kind. It ran on tracks and did like a bulldozer. Just wind it up. It would go to the wall and try to climb it, but would fall back. That just tickled Dolin. He would want you to do it again and again.

The second Christmas, Slue got him a tricycle, Lincoln logs, and some kind of metal strips that you bolt together to make things with.

He got more pleasure out of the little red wagon than any of his other toys. Tom McLennan gave him a little puppy. Dolin named it Pluto. He would put the dog in the little wagon and pull him around the house. At first, the dog would get out. But he learned to stay in the wagon, like it or not. When Dolin would stop, the dog would get out.

I fixed Dolin's orange juice every morning by squeezing the juice out of the rind. Dolin would give it to Pluto. He would lie down on his stomach and hold the rind in his paws and eat the pulp out. I guess the dog thought if it was good for Dolin, it would be good for him. Sometimes Dolin would take his orange juice outside to drink it.

Dolin still has his electric train and lots of his toys. He always took care of his toys. He picked them up when he finished playing with them. He had a big wooden box to put them in and he put them there. He and Patty Bean would play for hours with little cars they called "chuggies."

Just before sunup one morning, I heard Pluto yelp. He was just outside and below an open window. I looked out and saw a big rattle snake crawling off. I called Slue. He got the 22 gun and killed the snake. Then we saw the dog had been bitten on its nose. I don't remember what we did for the dog, but it was really sick for about three days. His head was really swollen. We tried to make him as comfortable as we could. In about a week, he was eating better, but not very frisky. However, he survived the bite and lived to be twelve years old. That was a very sad day for all of us. Dolin said, "I don't want another dog." And he hasn't gotten one. We took old Pluto over to the Houston's and buried him in their old garden south of the house.

One morning, Slue was working for Aunt Vera plowing and came to the house about 10 o'clock, and I asked what was wrong. He said, "I got arrested." I said, "What for?" He said, "For selling that calf." I asked why again. He said, "The law said I stole it from a man at Rule, Texas." Out the door I went and asked them why they were arresting a man for selling his own calf. They said that a man said he lost one about that same time and it looked like that one and it was his. I told them that the calf we sold belonged to us and if they would bring it back, it would suck its mama. Then they asked me why them old hens were in a pen. I guess they thought we had stolen them too. I told them they were old sitting hens, and we were breaking them from sitting.

They paid no attention to what I said and took Slue off. I went into the house and got Dolin. He had been sick in the hospital, and we sold the calf to pay the doctor bill and also because the calf wouldn't quit sucking its mama and was starving the baby calf.

We went to Mama's, and she said that Pa had gone to town. We didn't know what to do. Finally she told me to go down to Doris and Raymond's and ask Raymond to go and tell Pa. So off I went and told them. Raymond went for Pa. Meanwhile, I went and told Lester. He was farming over at the McKeevers. Then I went on to Lueders to tell Mr. Hughes. I remember so well. Mr. Hughes looked at me and said, "Clothilde, was that calf you alls?" I said, "Yes it was. Slue did not steal a calf."

So I went back to Mama's. It wasn't too long until Lester and Retha came. Then Pa, Raymond, and Doris arrived. Finally here come the laws and the man pulling the trailer with the calf in it. Slue and Lester drove the cows up, and the man got the calf out of the trailer and put it in the lot. Then Slue and I drove the old cow in the lot. The calf ran to its mama and started sucking, and she started licking the calf.

I started yelling again. That man said, "I didn't want to buy a stolen calf." I said that when you buy one from M.E. Hughes, it won't be stolen. I'll tell you that they didn't put Slue in jail. They let him out at a barber shop, and he got a hair cut. So we couldn't get any damages, so they said.

Uncle John said that later he talked with the law, and they said that the man's calf had gotten into a neighbor's pasture. And the man hadn't looked for his calf. He just saw one that someone else had bought and said it was his. The law also said that the old boy didn't say much, but the women folks got well mad and said a lot.

 

When Uncle John got to be County Judge and was moving to Haskell, he told us to come over and he would give us his dog. He couldn't move it as he had no place to keep it. So we went over there, and Dolin was playing with the dog and appearing to like it. When we started to leave, Slue put the dog in the car, and Dolin took it out. Slue put it in again, and Dolin took it out. And when Slue started to put it back in the car, Dolin said, "No. That's Uncle John's dog. It's not ours." And he started to cry. We all tried to assure him that they were leaving and that the dog wouldn't have a place to live. I don't remember if we took the dog or not. Uncle John said, "He's trying to keep his dad out of trouble. He hasn't forgotten the calf deal yet."

 

About the only recreation we did was going to the creek with Ellis and Billie Bean or W.C. and Effie McCown. However, we didn't have very much money. So it was impossible for us to go very far, until Slue started working at Bunkleys.

Before we moved to Bunkleys, we milked cows, separated the milk, and sold the cream. We put it into 5 gallon cream cans and shipped it off to some cream company. Also, we had lots of chickens. At one time, there were about 400 laying hens. We even had to build another hen house that was larger than the first. One time, some kind of virus killed a bunch of our hens and fast. It also hit a lot of poultry people trying to make a living. We would take the dead ones off to a spot in the pasture and burn them so the buzzards couldn't spread the disease.

One day I was taking a lot off. I had them in a little 2-wheel trailer behind the car. There were probably about 50 that day. I was trying to get them to burn by putting wood on them and raking them around with a pitch fork. Dolin at about five years with me and asked, "Mama. What are you crying for? We still got some. I saw them when we left the hen house." Our income went down fast as we finally lost over 200 hens. We were cleaning and disinfecting all and finally got the disease stopped.

 

Every fall, Doris Bounds and I would hit the cotton patch. After we finished pulling our own cotton, we would pull for anyone who would use us. We usually pulled side-by-side and talked and went to the trailer together. That way, we helped each other weigh the cotton and also helped each other get the sacks into the trailer. One would stand in the cotton trailer and pull, while the other would stand on the ground and push the sack full of cotton. The person in the trailer then would turn the sack upside down and empty the cotton into the trailer. We would take turns as to who stayed on the ground and who was in the trailer.

It was usually after Christmas before we got it all pulled. It was hard work, but I guess we enjoyed it. Anyway, we enjoyed what little money we made. Cotton strippers took over our job.

When Dolin was small, Mama would take care of him and I'd pay her part of the money I made for helping me.

 

Dolin started to school in 1946 but he couldn't attend too much. He and I both took a bad sinus infection the first of the fall and just couldn't get it cleared up. We got a little better then back it came again. However, the teacher at Paint Creek told me what to do, and I tried to teach how she told me. I had cards all over the room with words and pictures on them, and when he felt like it, we would study. When he would get to go back to school, he was always up and ahead of his class. He was always willing to try and liked school also wanted to learn. So he passed with the rest of the class and stayed with them until he graduated and was valedictorian of that class.

Mrs. Heflin his teacher in the fourth grade, also told me he had the highest IQ in his class. We were always very proud of Dolin. He always kept his room picked up. His dresser drawers were always straight. Everything was folded and neat. He hasn't changed much through the years.

I also know that I was too protective of him through the years. However, I lost a father at four years and part of a mother at seven. She remarried, and of course her husband wanted most of her attention then also got it. I turned more to Uncle Dave, who by that time was about 88. Then Uncle Dave died when I was ten. So all I felt I had left was Lester. Of course, Mama was still there. But it was not like it used to be. When Lester married, I felt like I had lost everything. I'm sure that people who haven't had this to deal with can't understand. It all happened so early and fast when I was so young, and I just couldn't deal with it well. So when Dolin was born, I felt scared and afraid something would happen to him. I remembered the dangerous things I did, such as climbed the silo, getting knocked off the horse by a limb, and nearly drowning in the creek. There were so many times and so many things. I just didn't want him to do things like that. I didn't want Slue to take him hunting or fishing unless I went. I know how stupid that sounds, but I couldn't help it. I worried too much and was too protective, but I think there are a lot out there that should be a little more protective. Maybe there's a happy medium?

 

The doctor said to take Dolin's tonsils out, so we had it done. He nearly bled to death. Slue had to give him blood. No one else had blood to match Dolin's. He finally got OK.

 

One day Slue, Dolin, Margaret and I were going to the Hugheses. About the time we got nearly to Boundses' house, the old car went down on the back right wheel, and we started kinda dragging. About that time, Dolin yelled, "There goes our tire." It rolled down the road and went a long way before it stopped and fell over. The kids thought it was funny, and really it did look strange, seeing a wheel with a tire on it just running along as if it was still on the car. Slue went and brought it back to the car. How a Model T ford wheel was fastened to the axle, I don't remember.

But I do know a wagon wheel is fastened to the axle with a big old tap about one inch thick, and you screw it on with a pipe wrench.

That brings to mind Henry Bean, who was always, according to account, wanting things done and his way. He and Charlie, his brother, were fixing on the field fence one day. Henry went ahead to find a place to work and told Charlie to bring the wagon and things and come on. Charlie had started, and when he got through the gate, he saw Henry at the other gate about mile away waving his hands. Charlie stopped and Henry quit waving, but when he started the wagon up, Henry had another waving fit. Anyway, Charlie went on. When he got there, Henry said, "Did you grease the wagon?" Charlie said "No." Henry said, "Why in the hell didn't you? I thought you knew why I was down at the big gate waving at you!" Charlie, a younger brother, said he was always in hot water with Henry.

The next story is about the Bunkley families. It starts when I was young and crosses many decades.

When I was in about the 5th or 6th grade at Rockdale, we had a Valentines Day Party on the 14th of February.

We usually made our valentines, but for this year, Mrs. Josie Bunkley had ordered her son's valentines out of a Sears catalog.

But they had failed to arrive when V.F. had started to school that Valentine Day. He was in tears when he rode his small sorrel horse to school that day because he had no valentines to give.

Josie Bunkley was washing when the mail ran. And just in time, the valentines had arrived in the mail.

She quit her washing, cranked up her old Ford Touring car, and went to the school house to take V.F. his valentines.

What she did gave the community something to talk about long past that Valentines Day.

 

There were many Bunkley families that we knew in the area. Josie Bunkley was married to Vestus Bunkley. She was hard working and often had the washing out by six or seven in the morning.

They were living on the Bunkley Ranch on the day she delivered the valentines.

Although it was called the Bunkley Ranch, Vestus was not the owner. It was owned by his brother, Doctor E.P. Bunkley. He was one of the few doctors in Stamford.

In later years, Slue went to work for E.P. Bunkley, and we all moved to the Bunkley Ranch. We lived and worked there from 1947 to 1967.

In addition to Vestus and E.P., there was another brother named Claude, who owned and operated the Bunkley Drug Store in Stamford until his death.

Then his son, C.E. Jr. took over the business and still operates the store as I write this in 1997.

We usually got our prescriptions filled at the Bunkley Drug Store throughout the decades, although there was also a Yates Drug Store in Stamford.

Also farming in the Rockdale Community were Walter and Hamp Bunkley, who were nearby neighbors. And I think that finishes the list of Bunkleys.

 

The story of the Bunkleys covers many years and could have been put at a different place in this book. This is also true of the story of where I have lived over the years.

 

We moved to the Bunkley ranch in 1947 and into a new house. It had been occupied only a few months previously by Flannery. It had a bath room with running water even! That was something for us country folks way back then.

Slue's starting pay on the Bunkley's was $125 a month. The house, electricity, and water were furnished. Also meat, feed for 125 chickens, and a cow to milk was furnished. We paid for our butane.

For the first year, I took Dolin over to Mama's to catch the school bus. We had an old Ford car, which didn't have a heater. But we had a lot of fun going back and forth and up and down the little hills and over the creek. We also had gates to open. We started to the bus one morning and three deer were standing at the second gate on the Bunkley Ranch. It was a rare and unbelievable sight, but there they were.

I'll never forget one rainy, stormy afternoon when the bus ran and Dolin was not on it. I just went limp. But our neighbor, Addie May, said, "Don't worry. I'm sure he got on another bus by mistake." Anyway, we started for Paint Creek and we saw a pick up coming just after we got across California Creek. Weldon Bouldin stopped, and the pick up stopped. And about that time, I saw Dolin sitting between the two men. Weldon said, "Do you have an extra boy?" The man said, "Yes." I was so happy to see that little boy coming to the car. I couldn't help but cry.

Early one morning in April, I was getting ready to take Dolin to the bus. But there was a really black and angry looking cloud in the southwest. Then it hit with a bang. The house just shook, and down came our TV tower. It started hailing and blowing, and we all got in the bathroom and into the bathtub. Slue looking out the bathroom window toward the barn and saw the tractor shed just fly apart. But it didn't damage the old truck in the shed. And our old three room house on Mama's place that we had moved out of, blew away that AM. The storm picked it up and dropped it about 100 yards away and it just fell apart.

 

We bought Dolin a bicycle for Christmas, but there wasn't a very good place to ride one. The roads were too rocky. But he did learn to ride it. However, he was riding it one day after the rain and it slid out from under him, and he broke his arm at the elbow. The doctor adjusted it and put it in a cast that he had to wear for six weeks.

 

We had a kerosene hot water heater, and it would go out. So one day, I lit it as usual, and it really took off. It was roaring really loud, and I smelled smoke. I told Dolin to go and tell Addie Mae that our house was afire. He ran down the hill to her house, and I got the water hose and opened up our cabinet door and saw the blaze. Slue and Weldon were at the barn, and they ran up the hill. But I had it out before they got there. I also had the kerosene cut off. We never used that old kerosene water heater again. We switched to butane, and the men bought new heater parts and perhaps a new heater too. I don't remember.

I really had a job of cleaning up. Water was everywhere, and every dish and every thing in that cabinet was dirty.

 

As I previously talked about, Weldon and Addie Mae Bouldin lived under the hill, and we lived on top of the hill. We enjoyed visiting them. When they moved, a couple moved in their place, who were members of Ted Armstrong's Church of God. They were a little different from us. He worked on Sunday but not on Saturday. And they fasted.

 

After this family, the Fulfers, moved, we left the house on the hill and moved into the house they lived in. And Lem and Lydia and Danny Ivy moved into the house on the hill where we previously lived. It was quite a mess with three families moving the same day. As soon as one got out, another moved in. Lem was one of the sons of Uncle Dan that I mentioned elsewhere.

Another family that lived down there on Bunkleys was the Foleys. They lived back west of us.

 

Every summer after we moved to the Bunkley Ranch, Slue took a two-week vacation, which was usually in August. And in 1956, somewhere around the first part of August, a bunch of us went on a trip. There was Slue, Dolin, and I, along with Jack and Loma Hurst, Cody, Clelie, Beverly, Carol, Brenda, Bill Susie, Pam, David, and possibly more. These are all Slue's kin. We rented a house and also camped on the Brownwood Lake, where we went fishing, played dominoes and whatever. Anyway, the house that we had rented didn't have an air conditioner, and it was a really hot summer.

We were all sitting around sweltering one day and someone said, I wish we were in the mountains. It didn't take long for that to be a fact. Slue said, "John M. Ivy lives in New Mexico up in the mountains. And we can call and see if we can rent a cabin." We called and got one. He told us how to get there, so the Thompsons, Jack and Loma, and Slue, Dolin and I left Brownwood and got ready to go to the Tres Rios Valley in New Mexico. We got up early the next morning, left, and ate breakfast in Lamesa, Texas. We got to John M's about four that evening. I think John M. showed us the cabin and said Slue, Dolin and I could sleep at their house. The first thing Dolin, Beverly, and Carol did when we arrived was to go out in the back yard and climb a mountain. It was a high mountain with tall trees. You couldn't see anywhere. We started calling but got no answer. Lucy Ivy told us there were mule deer and also some mountain lions up there. That didn't help us very much. I was afraid they would get lost and not find their way back down. They didn't know anything about mountains or the place. I was just frantic before we saw them coming back down. In fact, we had started up there looking for them.

 

We didn't get too hot in New Mexico. There was ice on the tops of the cars every morning. However, John M. and Lucy's boys went swimming. I don't know how, but they did. It was a beautiful place. We caught a few trout. One day we went over to Taos, New Mexico to visit the museums. We saw lots of pretty things. But the road around that mountain was something else, being so narrow and winding. It was scary to look down in the valley. It looked so far down and I sure it was. Loma wouldn't drive her car. She said Lucy knew how to drive there and she didn't. So Lucy drove.

The first morning we were there, Cody got up and was trying to start a fire in a little wood cook stove. He said he nearly froze to death before he got it started. We didn't take clothes for that kind of temperature. But it was fun.

We left the valley early on the 9th of August. Jack and Loma went with us as far as Santa Rosa. We went on to Carlsbad and went through the cavern. Jack and Loma went to San Antonio. Slue wouldn't go in the cave, but Cody, Clelie, Beverly, Carol, Brenda, Dolin, and I did. We all enjoyed it. Then we came back through some place and saw some Indian dancing. It was getting late in the day when we started for Abilene, Texas. We were loaded pretty good but Cody kept his foot on the pedal and we made it to Abilene before we stopped. They brought us back to the Bunkley Ranch the next morning, which was the 10 of Aug. 1956. Brent Bolding my nephew was born that morning.

 

The Thompsons and our family went on lots of fishing trips. We also caught and drowned a lot of grasshoppers and katydids and minnows throughout the years. We also ate a lot of goose liver and bologna. It tasted pretty good when you're out having fun. And we probably let a barrel of stink bait wash down the creek while trying to catch fish. But they caught a lot of fish with it. I didn't use it much. We always had fish in our freezer back then, but not anymore. Those days are gone. Old father time finally caught up with us.

 

We've fished on all of the lakes and streams nearby and also in New Mexico, and Colorado. You could see little trout swimming in the streams in New Mexico. We went with Jack and Loma to Colorado one time and fished in a small pond. Exactly where, I don't know. The water was so clear and cold. And Buffalo were grazing not too far from us. Also we could see snow on the mountains, and it was melting and running into the place where we were fishing. We also were wearing jackets. It was a cloudy and cold July.

 

The last fishing trip I went on with Slue and the Thompsons was after Slue got sick. Slue had been wanting to go fishing so Clelie, Cody, Slue, and I went to the creek down on the 70 (acres) to fish. Clelie and I went on down to the creek and put our poles in the water. Slue started down the path to the creek and fell down. It was a little steep. We tried to help him up, but he said, "No. I'll just crawl back to the pick up." And he did. He didn't try to come back and fish anymore, but just sat on the back of the pick up. We asked if he wanted to go home and he said, "No." We fished a while then ate our lunch, probably goose liver and bologna, as that was our usual meal out on fishing trips. After lunch, we went to (Uncle) Bill's tank. It was near our farm. But Slue stayed in the pick up. We didn't fish long. That time, Clelie lost her stink bait on my back while trying to put her line in the water. But she saw it and got it off. That was our last fishing trip.

 

So many people have told me what a beautiful couple my parents were. The last time I saw Marvin Cobb was the day his son was killed. Marvin was helping Slue work some cattle on the Bunkley Ranch. Marvin ate lunch with Slue and me that day. He told me again (that day) that my parents were the prettiest couple he ever saw. He also said again, "You don't look like your mother." That wasn't the first time he had said those words to me. I just smiled and said, "Thank you." That evening, I received a phone call from someone wanting to talk to Marvin Cobb. I told them he was in the pasture working cattle. They asked if I could find him, adding that his wife needs him. His son has just been killed. I told them I would try to find him, and I did. That's a hard thing to tell someone their son had killed himself. When Slue saw me, he came to meet me. I told him what had happened, and he told Marvin. Slue and Marvin had carried their horses to the East pasture in the Company pick up. So I went in Marvin's pick up to the pasture to tell him. Marvin put his horse in his pick up and left immediately.

 

On August 14, 1964, another bundle of joy was added to our clan. And really, that's what she has been all of her life. However, it wasn't a very good August in other ways. Our mother has taken a bad case of bronchitis about a month before, and it just wouldn't get any better. So Dr. Bunkley said, "We'll put her in the hospital and give her antibiotics and it will clear up." But it didn't. Kara was born while Mama was in the hospital. I'm sure Mama got upset because she couldn't see the baby. Anyway, she got very depressed. Dr. Tom said, "She isn't doing any good here and wants to go home. So, I'm sending her home." He also told me that she wouldn't ever be any better. But he also added, "I've some meds I want her to take. It a kind of tissue builder." She started feeling better soon, and I guess it worked because she got back to normal by the middle of September and had no more problems with it. I kept Brent and Tamara while Mama and Margaret were at the hospital. When we'd go to town to see about Mama and Margaret, I'd get them some funny books to keep them happy and park on the east side of the hospital, under the carport. It was cooler there and also off the street. I'd go in and see about Mama and go back to see about them. She was also on the east side, so it made things easy. They didn't give me any trouble. We just did what we had to do and went on. They were upstairs, and I'd tell them, "I'm going to see your Mama. Stay right here. I'll be back in a few minutes." Of course, they wanted to go, but children under 12 years were not allowed on 2nd floor.

 

Dolin graduated high school in 1958. He was valedictorian of his class and Carolyn Cook was salutarian. We were very proud of Dolin. He got a scholarship to North Texas at Denton and wanted to go there. So he did.

I didn't like the idea of him being that far from home, but it was his choice.

The Sunday Slue and I took him to Denton wasn't a very happy day for me. But I tried to be happy in front of him.

I wrote to him nearly every day, usually trying to send a little money so he could buy a few extras.

I started working for J.C. Penneys that fall, just on Saturdays at first. But I worked all the month of Dec. Guess what? I made 75 cents an hour, but things were cheap, so it helped out.

Also after Tom Bunkley let all of his help go but Slue, I started helping Slue, like cleaning out the hog pen, which had eight old sows in it and a bunch of pigs. Part of the time, it was a job scraping the cement floor and washing it out with a hose and water. There was also feeding cows and helping with the plowing the combining. If something broke inside the combine, I was small enough to crawl into the back of it and fix it, with Slue telling me what to do.

Brent Bolding was small boy when Dolin went to Denton to school.

He enjoyed coming to our house. We'd take him to feed the cows and hogs. He also came when he had his foot broken and was hauling maize to the barn. He thought that was funny to get in the maize with his feet. He always spoke to everyone saying, "hi." One day in town, Dr. Bunkley came by and spoke, then Brent said, "Hi." Dr. Bunkley didn't speak again, and he started kinda crying. He didn't "Hi" me.

I explained that Dr. Bunkley had "hied" both of us before he said hi. That kinda pleased Brent.

Crawling into a combine in August isn't too pleasant a job, but it was better than taking it all apart to fix it. Also, it saved time.

On Sunday once a month, we went to visit Dolin. We took food and ate it someplace. I looked forward to that. For the first year, he didn't have a car, so he couldn't come home. But during the second year, we bought him an old Ford car. It conked out one night when he was coming in from Denton. Slue and I picked him up at Bridgeport but left the car there. We bought another one and took it down there one evening and came back.

After Brent started to school the first year, he got polio. What a dreadful disease. He had already had the polio vaccine, but him and two more boys from Stamford got it.

He came home from school one evening with a headache and vomiting and a high fever. When Margaret told me that, somehow I knew what was wrong. I was afraid to call Margaret the next AM, but she called me pretty early. She was crying. Dr. Selmon had been there and said he thought Brent had polio and could I come and get Tamara home that night.

I told her I'd be there as soon as I could get there. I just jumped in the old pick up and took off from the Bunkley Ranch. They were ready to take Brent to the hospital when I got there. I went in and got Tamara, and we stayed in the living room. When Dempsey came by us carrying Brent to the car, that was such a horrible feeling. What would happen? Everyone was crying. Margaret called me from the hospital, asking me to bring Tamara out to get a shot of G.G. We went. She got one and so did I. They left for Abilene in a few minutes because tests said he did have polio.

Tamara and I went back to Margaret's and got her some clothes to go home with me. Poor little girl. She seemed to know what it was all about. She just kept holding on to me. Brent had a real rough night but got better soon.

One day Slue took Tamara and me to feed the cows and she vomited. It really scared me. I thought she might be getting polio. Dr. Bunkley was at the barn when he got back. He checked her and said that gal is fine. She isn't taking polio. I really felt better.

She stayed with us until Brent was able to come home. She never fussed nor cried. However, one of us was carrying her or holding her most of the time. Brent had stayed with us a lot in the past, but not Tamara. She was a home gal. But she was took it just fine. Doris Bounds and I cleaned Margaret's house and aired it out and washed all the toys and sunned them before Brent came home.

And I also threw some of his old funny books away, since we were afraid we couldn't disinfect them very well. I don't think he ever forgave me for doing that. I really didn't want to but was afraid Tamara might get the germ.

Dolin majored in math and physics, so he had a hard row to hoe. He also worked in the lab. When he finished school, he was hired by Lockheed as a computer programmer and went to the NASA Space Center near Houston to work, helping to put a man on the moon. And they put one up there too.

We were very proud of him. I went down there to see him one time. Slue couldn't go, as Tom Bunkley had no one on the ranch but us, and someone had to be there to take care of the hogs and cattle. It was a pretty place. Dolin took me to Galveston.

While I was there, he also took me over to the space center. It was pouring down rain when I got on the bus to leave Webster. Then the bus ran into a snow storm before it got to Austin, and the sun was shining when I got back to Stamford. It took all day to make the trip. That was in February, probably 1967.

 

We also moved from the Bunkley Ranch in July of 1967, having been there nearly twenty years. When we went there, they had two men beside Slue working. When we left, he was the only one. I helped all I could. However, in June 1962, Mr. Houston had a heart attack, and he wasn't able to farm anymore. So I borrowed money from FHA and bought his farm implements from him. We made a pretty good crop and paid them off. It was up to me to work the 200 acres of land as Slue had all he could at Bunkleys. However, he would always help me change the plows over, like from listing the ground to planting it. I had been driving a tractor for years, so that wasn't a big deal. I also needed to go over to see about the Houstons every day anyway.

When we moved from Bunkleys, Slue started farming the Houston land, and I got a job at the Stamford Inn as a cook.

I had applied for a nurses aide job, but they didn't need one. They said that they would call if they had a opening. I was called the next day to come and cook. The cook was quitting, so I went and the cook told me how much to fix and what I was supposed to do. So I went in the next day and started. I was scared I couldn't do all of those things, but somehow I made it. And the RN's that were out there telling me what and how much to put on a plate said it was in record time. They never let me have a nurses aide job because they wanted me to stay in the kitchen and I did for three years.

Then I quit to help Slue on the farm. He just wasn't doing too well. However, I was starting to work at 5:00 A.M. and got off at 1:00 P.M.. So I had been going to the farm every evening anyway.

We took Slue to the doctor, and he couldn't find anything wrong with him. But we knew he wasn't well.

 

One day after we moved to town, Slue was plowing at the farm, and Margaret and her kids and I went to the farm. As we were going down the road to the house, Margaret mentioned that Slue was plowing out there. Margaret and I were helping Mama do something, and the kids were playing in the yard, so we thought. But when Brent and Kara came in, Tamara wasn't with them. We asked about her and were told that they hadn't seen her. Well, we started yelling and looking for her. There was no answer. So Margaret got in her car and went to the tank to look. I got in pickup and went to Bill's tank to look. We became frantic and decided we needed more help, so we started to the field to get slue. When we went through the gate, Slue stopped the tractor and we saw a little girl leaving the tractor. Then we knew she had walked about a mile to the field where he was plowing. Margaret went to meet her, and Slue came with her. He said he didn't know that she hadn't told us where she was going. She was old enough to know her mother wouldn't have let her walk up there, and she wanted to go. Guess she liked him too.

 

I started working at Teakwood when it opened. Ray Hughes came by and wanted me to be the boss of the kitchen and also head cook. I did that for about two months and found out pretty quick I didn't want that job. So I told Ray. He put another lady as head, and I became a helper, which I liked much better. Later on, I finally got to go on the floor as a nurses aide. But seeing those old people every day, knowing how much pain they were in, and also seeing some pass away, was about to get me down. So after five years I quit.

I went to work with M.H.M.R. at Skyview. They were a hand full sometime, but if you tried and was good to them, they really liked you. I made good friends with all of them. You don't tell them you can't do that or they'll show you. I would just take it easy and tell them lets talk about it, or if one got upset at someone else, and go off mad, I'd find a reason to take them something and try to make them happy. Maybe I babied them, but I thought they needed a little kindness. One little girl said I really was the "bestest one," whatever that was.

 

This story happened long after we both quit working and is what Slue said about Kara. "I'll never forget the day I was feeling so bad and was sitting in the back yard under the old apricot tree. Old Wildcat (a pet name he called her) came over to our house and asked me how I was. I told her I was feeling pretty bad. She pulled up a chair and sit down and started talking to me." He never told me what she said, but he said, "She helped me more than she will ever know. I felt pretty good after she left, and I sure appreciated what she did." At that time, I was in the hospital in Abilene and he was at home and also sick. However, he entered the hospital before I left there. The doctors made lots of tests but couldn't find anything wrong. That was probably the beginning of Alzheimers disease. Slue literally went through hell with that.

 

One day, Margaret, Kara, and I were on our way to Anson to see Tamara who was in the cotton queen contest, and Kara was in the back seat. She said something about the wind blowing her hair. And her mother said, "Just wait. A few years from now we'll be on our way to Anson to see you in the queen contest." Kara said, "Yea. I know I will be there, with these braces on my teeth and hair flying everywhere." Well, Tamara didn't win but she should have. She really was the prettiest one in it. But lo and behold, when Kara got old enough, we did take her to Anson. And she did win and was the cotton queen of Jones County for one year.

The M.C. that asked her a question that night was a man from one of the TV stations in Abilene. When she answered smiled, he kinda shook his head and looked at the audience and asked, "Isn't she something?" We also thought she was and still do.

 

Well, well, I do treasure my memories. Some are good and some bad. This old world has really changed, and like my memories, some of it is good and some of it is bad. I am telling things as I remember them, so they may be out of order as to when they actually happened.

 

I had one brother, Lester, who was three years older than me, one sister, Peggy, fourteen years younger than myself, and another sister, Margaret, who was twenty one years younger than me. I know that my brother and I lived in a different world than our younger sisters. We got a whipping nearly every day. I guess we needed it, but I know they got very few, if any. Maybe they were better than me, but that's one of the way things have changed.

But there's a lot to be said for good manners that were so prevalent in the good old days. It made the world a nicer place for all of us. There was a time when ladies didn't use gamy language and gentlemen didn't cuss in a ladies presence. It wasn't so much a matter of prudishness as a matter of mutual respect. When company came, children were expected to greet the guests and then vanish. It taught them manners and taught them that adults rated their special time also.

I admit that I didn't really care about the rule, "Children should be seen but not heard." However, I did understand when adults were in serious conversation, I was not to interrupt, and any display of my temper carried such a high price that it was simply unthinkable. We learned early to respect our elders and we didn't sass Uncle Charley even if he was as goofy as a waltzing mouse. When I got out of line, Mama simply nailed me with a special glare, which was strong enough to make California Creek evaporate. I knew I had done wrong and one more peep wouldn't be tolerated.

However, they were really gentler days. Also kinder neighbors did help each other, and locks and keys were not in or around our house. In other words, people could be trusted then.

People have certainly gotten smarter. First came the radio and then the TV. Who in those days would ever have thought of anything like that. And lo and behold, they even put people on the Moon. I'm happy to say that my son, Dolin, worked at NASA as a scientist to help put the first man there. He's a lot smarter than I.

 

My mother passed away Dec. 29, 1979. That really shook me up, but life goes on. Pa wasn't able to care for himself anymore, so he moved to Margaret's to live. He died in 1981.

The Houston land was divided at that time. Dolin and Slue farmed it a while, but Slue just wasn't able to do anything. But he would go and just sit in the pickup, and Dolin plowed.

Dolin got my part, and he put some more of the pasture in cultivation. We made a really good wheat crop that year, 38 bu. to the acre. Then Dolin started buying more houses and he had more than he could do. Someone was wanting something all time. Thirteen houses are a lot to keep going. When the tenants don't care what they do anyway.

 

I have been on oxygen since 1990. We have an oxygen concentrator in our home with a long tube on it, which enables me to go into other rooms to cook and clean. I'm sure this hasn't been in use for many years.

I'll never forget Tamara's two children, Reid and Tembri, who were four and two years old at the time I first got on oxygen. They just couldn't understand it and neither could I. Reid would always look to see if the meter was still on "3." One day when Margaret, Tamara, Reid, and Tembri were going to town, Tembri came into my room and said, "We are going to town. You can't go. You can't breathe."

 

On Christmas night in 1990, my sister's, Peggy's, husband was murdered. He had gone to his laundry to lock it up for the night. Someone was robbing the machines, and he walked in on them.

They literally beat his head into a pulp. That was very hard to understand. Just to think someone would do a terrible thing like that. He left his wife and two daughters, Katrina and Deena Beth. They will never forget or forgive who committed this brutal act. Peggy got the story on the TV show, "America's Most Wanted," and a suspect went on trial in 1997. The outcome is yet to be determined.

 

Another tragedy is what happened to my husband. Remembering this is kind of like going through it again. It's really hard to do, but Slue had to go through it.

The doctors finally decided Slue had Parkinsons, Alzheimers, or degenerative palsy, all about the same. It wasn't very good.

Slue got worse. He was sick at his stomach all the time, had trouble walking and thinking, and he also was falling. It was a horrible disease. Eventually he got bed sores, and doctors amputated one leg. He spent a very hard five years. It was also bad on his family. My sister Margaret was so good to go and see about Slue and take care of him. I don't think there ever was or will be a sister-in-law like her. She was a jewel and helped him all the way. Margaret was born in June and Slue and I marred in October. So she had known him all of her life.

 

I guess everyone knows what Alzheimers disease is or surely knows how it affects people's lives. But you can't really realize exactly what it can do. It's so hard on the patient and also on the care giver. But you can't just say, "I can't take it," and stop going and trying. Dolin and I were fortunate to have Margaret to help us. In fact, she did the most of it. She was a jewel. She fought his battles along with him. She tried to make him comfortable as she could. She fed him when others couldn't and went to check on him every day and sometimes more when he was sick in the hospital. She had known Slue all of her life. She was born in 1935, and we were married in 1935. I have never seen or ever known of a sister-in-law or a sister who did what Margaret did. She was there so much. I really think he knew her or knew she was his helper until nearly the end. I'm sure he appreciated her from the way he would look at her when she talked. She certainly deserves a crown. And this is just a minor part of what she did, and she didn't just do it one day. He was at Teakwood for five years, and she never slowed down. She knew as much about him as the nurses did. She found him with fever several times when they didn't know he had fever. I'd say there isn't one in a million that would do what she did.

 

Slue passed away Oct. 19, 1993. Two months later, my brother, Lester, passed away on Dec. 20, 1993. He went to Slue's funeral and appeared fine but guess he really wasn't.

 

Here's something I wrote 1995. "Life goes on. Dolin is here with me. I'm thankful for that, as I'm a shut-in most of the time. I go to the clinic about once a month. I've also been to Wal Mart twice this year and Margaret's one time. I do get around once in a while, but just not a 'going Jessie.'"

 

On June 26, 1995, Dolin, Carolyn Newbury, Evelyn Cobb, and I attended the Ivy Family Reunion on Lake Leon. Meryl Ivy told us this story about my father, Frazier Ivy.

Merle said that he had to call Dr. Calicote, who was a vet, to come out to his place to pull a calf. Dr. Calicote then told Merle that he was called to the McLennan Ranch one day to rope and castrate 49 mules. To rope a mule, you need to ride up on the left side of him and throw the rope over him and catch his right front foot. You jerk the rope and pull the mule over. Then other guys come in and do whatever they have to do to tie him down so that he can't get up. Dr. Calicote said he thought he would have to be out there for days if he had 49 mules to castrate. "But Uncle Frazier got on a horse and rode out there and made 49 loops and got 49 mules and never missed a loop while roping the right front foot." Merle also said, "I never met anyone who knew Uncle Frazier that didn't talk about his roping ability."

 

Well, it's a long road from 1913 to 1995, and lots of water has ran under the bridge. Some has flowed gently, just drifting along, while some was very rough and turbulent, which is just like life, sometimes gentle and sometimes rough, with many hills to climb.

I must say, I didn't climb too high. I guess I should have tried harder. Also I should have remembered the words, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." But it's too late to think about that now.

Although we were always poor people, I enjoyed my life. I had a good husband and a wonderful son. All of my family members were always very dear to me, from the oldest to the youngest. And I must say, they were very helpful. I am very thankful to have been blessed with this great family. May God bless each and every one of you. And I love all of you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clothilde Hughes' Memorial Service

Today we come to respect and honor Ruby Clothilde Hughes. Respect and honor come easy for Clothilde. Slight in stature, Clothilde was strong in will and big in heart. Observing her last few years of health struggles reminded me of the woman in Matthew 9:20 who had been sick for 12 years, but was healed by one touch of Jesus' robe. Clothilde was much like I picture this woman. Although afflicted by pain much of the last years, Clothilde maintained a keen mind and desire to take care of herself and her family. She was strong and confident in her own plans. Just as the woman in Matthew carried herself through the crowds to execute her plan for healing, so Clothilde maintained her own home and made her own care decisions until the end. And like the woman in Matthew, her faith and works bore great fruit and will continue to help others in the future.

Although millions may not read about Clothilde like the woman in Matthew, her impact on the lives of those who knew her is very strong. I first met Clothilde 20 years ago this summer. She was sitting in Margaret's house in a checkered long sleeve button shirt, unremarkable long pants, and blue sneakers. I liked her right away. Her infectious laughter--you just felt happy when talking to Clothilde. She cheered any gathering. When she laughed, gestured with her hands, you had to laugh too.

And work, Clothilde delighted in out- working everyone. I remember one Labor Day hunting dove out on the old home place. There was Clothilde, Dolin, and Slue dusting in a winter wheat crop. Clothilde was loading the drill with Dolin and Slue watching. It had been a very hot, dry summer and little moisture was in the soil. So, I asked Clothilde why they didn't wait a few days and enjoy the holiday. She laughed and said, "because farmers don't take holidays." Clothilde spent her whole life working, just like that Labor Day. Gerald related a story yesterday about how Clothilde could pick cotton. Only one woman in the community could pick cotton faster than Clothilde, and Clothilde got mad anytime you told her she could be out picked. I can picture Clothilde with that cotton sack slung across her shoulder and those fingers just flying. And every now and then a quick glance around to see if she was ahead.

Clothilde worked as hard at her family as she did any job. She could be more hovering than a banty hen. And any niece, nephew, cousin, or neighbor kid fell under those protective wings. I can remember at age 26 being told to get to the cellar and not having any choice. We went to the cellar. Folks even tell that she would beat up boys for her brother Lester if she thought he needed a hand, whether he felt like he did or not. She watched lots of kids while others were being born or nursed through illnesses. Her door was open to help. And many times, she went to others homes to take care of them.

Clothilde was an independent lady too. One weekend last summer, I came over and helped set up a hospital bed in her home. The most important part of that bed was the pull-up bar so she could move herself around and get herself up even though her back was aching. She took care of herself and her own and never really got in a situation she wasn't confident she could get herself out of. She'd try things just to prove she could do it. About the only thing Clothilde wouldn't attempt was a thunderstorm. She didn't like those strong clouds.

As you'd expect with someone so hardworking and family oriented, cooking was a favorite job for Clothilde. Roundup on the Bunkley Ranch was where she honed her cooking skills. Many a cowboy worked for her Bar-B-Que chicken and chocolate pies. In later years, at every family gathering, I always looked for what Clothilde made, because I knew it would be good. Mincemeat pies, black-eyed peas, and red beans and ham, dressing! I'll miss those meals. Many times when Tamara has cooked a meal and couldn't figure out exactly how to fix it, she'd call her Aunt Clothilde. Along with cooking, gardening, canning, blanching were all skills well known to Clothilde. She'd also knit you a shawl or quilt you a blanket if she thought you needed one.

Yes, we'll miss you Clothilde. But every time we gather, I'll hear Clothilde laugh. I'll see that little slight lady carrying a pot too big for her of something delicious across the alley from her house to Margaret's. Anytime the phone rings with a storm around, I'll wonder if it is Clothilde telling us to take cover. Clothilde, we'll be seeing ya and thanks for looking out for us.

 

Presented July 15, 1998,by Jodie McGaughey, nephew by marriage to Clothilde.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

Well, I tried to include everything that my mother wrote. She had these stories in many tablets, and some of the stories she put down twice but with slightly different wording. She wrote what she remembered, when she remembered it, and it wasn't necessarily in any order. I was the one who divided the book into chapters and got the stories in an approximate time sequence. And I added an index for most of the names she mentioned. But I didn't index every time that Clothilde mentioned herself or her mother, which was on a majority of the pages.

What follows is a few pictures, arranged alphabetically by last name. You can refer to the index to see where these people are mentioned in the story.

Someone once said that a book is lost every time that a person dies. Well, not this time!

 

Dolin Hughes

1312 East Wells Street

Stamford, Texas

79553-5005

 

phone (915) 773-3383

 

e-mail : [email protected]

NAME INDEX

.Begin Index. Alexander, Winell 62

Alston, Aster 132

Alston, Odis 131

Andrews (lawyer) 110

Baird, B. H. 64

Barham, Tom 58

Bean, Ellis and Billie 47, 48, 150

Bean, Henry & Charlie 155

Bean, Joe 89, 123, 133

Bean, Patty 147

Bean, Ruby 113, 119

Bickley (Dr.) 2

Bogard, Sweetie 5

Bolding, Brent 163, 166, 168_170, 173

Bolding, Dempsey 86, 87, 169

Bolding, Kara 166, 173, 175, 176

Bolding, Tamara 166, 169_171, 173, 175, 176

Bouldin, Addie May 158_160

Bouldin, Annie 7, 50

Bouldin, Olin 7

Bouldin, Rosa Ann 7, 8

Bouldin, Weldon 158_160

Bounds, Mary Helen 143

Bounds, Opal 143

Bounds, Raymond 149

Brecheen, Bill 161

Brecheen, David 161

Brecheen, Pam 161

Bunkley (Dr.) 2, 10, 156

Bunkley, C.E. Jr. 157

Bunkley, Claude 157

Bunkley, Dr. Tom 166_168, 170, 171

Bunkley, Hamp 157

Bunkley, Josie 156

Bunkley, V. F. 50, 156

Bunkley, Vestus 156

Bunkley, Walter 157

Calicote (Dr.) 182

Cobb, Fay 114

Cobb, Grandpa 33

Cobb, Marvin 54, 114, 165

Coker family 121

Coker, Audie 122

Cook, Carolyn 167

Davidson Family 28

Estes (Dr.) 81

Ferrel, R. T. 88

Flannery, Mr. 157

Foley family 160

Fox, Sissie 33

Frazier, Betty Davis 2, 3, 11, 15, 22, 23, 42, 45, 128

Fulfer family 160

Garren, John 46

Garvin Family 12

Gay family 79

Gillespie, Bene 110

Gillespie, Gus 110

Gravley, Harriet 45

Grimes, Joel 122

Grubbs (Dr.) 135

Hansen, N.M. 121

Hanson, Johnny 120

Heflin, Mrs. 153

Higgs, Monroe 30, 140

Houston, Margaret 106, 133, 139, 142_144, 154, 166, 169, 170, 173, 175, 176, 178_182

Houston, Olin 30, 88_92, 94, 95, 99, 100, 108, 111, 130, 144, 172, 178

Houston, Peggy 126, 130, 132, 135, 143, 145, 146, 176, 179

Howe, Eutice and Arlin 94, 95, 109, 122, 123

Hudson, Dr. Fred 6, 111, 121, 130

Hudson, Dr. Ike 144, 145

Hughes, Clelie 163_165

Hughes, Dolin 47, 48, 143, 144, 146_148, 150_154, 158, 159, 161, 163, 167_169, 171, 178, 180, 182

Hughes, Ed 141, 149

Hughes, Esther 140, 141

Hughes, Homer 143

Hughes, Loma 161_164

Hughes, Louise 142, 143

Hughes, Ray 174

Hughes, Slats 127, 142, 143

Hughes, Slue (M.E.) 123, 128, 136, 138, 139, 141, 142, 144_148, 154, 157, 159, 161, 163_165, 167_169, 171, 173, 175, 178, 180, 181

Hughes, Susie 161

Hurst, Jack 161, 163, 164

Ivy, Aunt Emma 29

Ivy, Aunt Leta 30

Ivy, Aunt Lonnie 29, 39

Ivy, Aunt Sally 29

Ivy, Buel Ray 10, 41

Ivy, Dan 45, 46

Ivy, Danny 160

Ivy, Ed 27, 29, 45, 46

Ivy, Elish 29, 45, 46

Ivy, Elisha 45, 46

Ivy, Ella 29, 45

Ivy, Emily 29, 45

Ivy, Eph 29, 39, 45, 46

Ivy, Evelyn 39, 182

Ivy, Frazier Brown 2, 3, 8_11, 16_18, 21, 36, 41, 44_46, 65, 129, 182

Ivy, John 10, 11, 16, 22, 25, 46, 100, 121, 124, 149, 150

Ivy, John M. 22_25, 125, 161, 162

Ivy, Lem 160

Ivy, Lemuel Sidney 2, 3, 11, 16, 25, 42_ 46, 124, 128

Ivy, Leola 39

Ivy, Lester Lindsey 3, 6, 9_14, 17_21, 23, 76, 92, 99, 122, 149, 176

Ivy, Leta 30, 35, 46

Ivy, Lou 27

Ivy, Lucy 162

Ivy, Lydia 160

Ivy, Merle 40, 41, 182

Ivy, Ruby Clothilde 2, 9_15, 17_22, 24, 25, 76, 92, 99, 139, 143_145, 147, 148, 152, 154, 159, 161, 163_165, 167_169, 171, 173_183

Ivy, Sally 29, 45, 46

Ivy, Trezzie 10, 22_25, 100, 124, 140

Ivy, Uncle Dan 29

Jeter, Maggie and Henry 58

Jones, Aunt Kate 5, 18, 19

King, Aunt Claire 87

King, Ollie 120

Lindsey, Uncle Dave 4_6, 11_15, 18, 19, 21, 25, 46, 66, 99, 108

Ludecke, Eva 61

Manly Family 16

Martin family 122, 123, 133

Martin, Detta 133

Martin, Granville 133

Martindale, Finley 85

Martindale, Gene 51, 122

Martindale, Marion 21, 22, 28, 31

Martindale, Van 94

Masters, Booger 140

McAda, Von and Dan 91, 94, 109

McCown, W.C. 127, 128, 138, 150

McGaughey, Reid 179

McGaughey, Tembri 179

McKeever family 121

McKeever, Retha Mae 122, 149

McLennan, Alexander 2, 10, 42, 46, 59, 60, 63_65, 73, 74, 136

McLennan, Bill 61, 82, 87, 165

McLennan, Dick 61

McLennan, Donald 57_59

McLennan, Ellen 61, 62, 86

McLennan, Gerald 77

McLennan, Gladstone 3, 4, 19, 60, 61, 76, 86, 87, 129

McLennan, Josie 61, 82, 110, 131

McLennan, Kenneth 59_65, 74, 82

McLennan, Lottie 57_59

McLennan, Margaret (Maggie) 2, 3, 5, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15_25, 46, 61, 65, 73, 92, 94, 95, 99, 100, 131, 143, 144, 152, 173, 177, 178

McLennan, Mary 61, 75

McLennan, Pearl 61, 76, 82, 85

McLennan, Tom 61, 75, 76, 81, 82, 145, 146

McLennan, Uncle Alex 10, 60, 61, 75, 87

McLennan, Vera 61, 75, 82, 87, 148

McQueen, Don and Jack 122, 123

McReynolds (Dr.) 3, 81

Min, Grace La 61

Montgomery, Emily 78

Montgomery, Mary 42, 59, 63, 74, 76, 87

Morrell, Tom 3, 79

Morris, Ern 88

Myers brothers 124

Nelson, Grace 62

Newbury, Carolyn 182

Nichols, Adrian 90

Nole, Mr. 7, 50

Nowlin, Bess 62

Peevy, Mrs. 61

Phillips, Dean 179

Phillips, Deena Beth 179

Phillips, Katrina 179

Plumlee, Louise 86

Raughton, Doc and Lillian 52

Reves, Effie 128, 138, 150

Robinson, Aunt Hassie 61, 77

Rowland, Ruby 5

Sam (stuttering) 126

Selmon (Dr.) 169

Shaw family 120, 131

Shaw, Annie 121

Shaw, Fred 121, 133

Shaw, Holly 121, 133

Shuffield, Dorothy 96

Simpson family 110, 114, 130

Slaughter, Blanch 6

Slaughter, John 6

Sledge, Dr. 64

Southard (Dr.) 40

Steel, Mrs. 62

Stephens, Cecil 76, 83_85

Stephens, Doris 76, 78, 80, 84, 85, 113, 143, 149, 151, 170

Thompson, Beverly 161, 163

Thompson, Brenda 161, 163

Thompson, Carol 161, 163

Thompson, Cody 161_164

Thornton, Mr. 8, 51

Williams, John 34

Williams, Shorty 140

.End Index.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HASKELL COUNTY

TEXAS

 

MY MANY MEMORIES

 

 

 

 

 

by Ruby Clothilde Ivy Hughes