COTTLE COUNTY TEXAS

TheTXGenWebProject


JOHN WAYNE BREWER, 6 November 1935

Although I'm not a native of Cottle County, I consider it to be my boyhood home. I was nine years old when my family moved to Cottle in the summer of 1944. I trace my line from Chatham and Wake counties in North Carolina. These are both located in north central North Carolina. My branch of the William Mainord, before 1735-1818, family is from Wake County NC. My great great great grandfather Silas Mainord born in 1788 moved to Overton County, Tennessee in the 1830's and settled in what is now near Allons Tennessee and died there in 1860 or 1861. Silas married my great great great grandmother Tabitha Marcom in 1811. Tabitha bore 19 children before she died in 1846. Silas then married Tabitha's sister Delila whose husband had died about the same time as Tabitha. Delila had one child, Wesley Roberts by her first husband, Gabriel Roberts who died about the same time that Tabitha died.

The Weaver branch came from Chatham County, North Carolina, where my 4th great grand parents, Shadrack Weaver born 2 August 1766 to 1849 and Lucy Greene 4 March 1774 to 15 October 1826, lived all their life. Shadrack and Lucy had 10 children. My great great grandmother Lucy Ann Weaver 1824 to 1872 married William Harvey Brewer about 1845. They lived in McNairy County, Tennessee (southwest Tennessee) where they raised 7 children before Lucy died in 1872. The Brewer family moved to Springtown, Parker County, Texas in the 1880's. William Harvey Brewer born 21 Sept 1824 in Tennessee and died in Springtown, Parker County, Texas 9 January 1912. All the Brewer family lived out their years in Parker County, except my great grand father John Franklin Brewer 1856 to 1940 and his bride Sallie Tennessee Young 1856 to 1954 moved to Pickins County, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territories which later in November 1907 became Stephens County, Oklahoma. My grandfather Burney Letcher Brewer 1883-1953 married Roy Electa Mainord 1890-1966 (oldest daughter of John Solomon Mainord and Agusta "Stella" Miller) in September 1905. My father Fred Saunders Brewer 30 June 1908 to 20 January 1978 was the second child of eight children born to Burney and Roy Brewer. Fred married Dorothy Mae Bunch, 20 March 1913 to 6 June 1985, in 1935. Dorothy was the daughter of James Bunch 1883 to 1959 and Effie Marvin Royal 1890 to 1917. James Bunch was the son of James and Mary Bunch both born in the mid 1850 in Louisiana. Effie Royal was the daughter of William P. Royal and Mary Rebecca Pye both born in Georgia. William was born April 1853 and died in Tarrant County Texas in 1939. He was the son of William Ransom Royal born 1828 in Georgia and died 1904 in Mederian, Bosque County, Texas and Mary E. Martha Jenkins born 15 July 1828 Georgia and died 15 April 1905 in Mederian, Bosque County, Texas. Mary Rebecca and a son William P. Royal Jr. both died during the great flu epidemic of 1917-1918 in Claude, Armstrong County, Texas.

In the dust bowl of the 1930's Oklahoma had very little to offer in the way of employment. My father worked with the WPA in Stephens County, Oklahoma operating a mule drawn fresno, a scraper shovel that would move about a wheel borrow of dirt at a time. He told of working from daylight to dark for 50 cents and was happy to have it. He would go home and do his chores after dark. He lived about six miles form the work site and walked everyday. My father also farmed 40 acres with a mule, was the last of his family to move to California in 1937. He settled in Sunland in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angles and lived there until 1944. During the Second World War my brothers and I would sit on the curb on Foothill Blvd. and watch the convoys of troops and vehicles going to the Port of San Pedro, south of Los Angles. Dad worked for the Los Angles County flood control where he was injured in a dam accident. He lost a leg in this accident in early 1942 which kept him out of the service during WWII. Mother worked for Lockeed Aircraft making fighter planes during the war. Her skin was sensitive to some of the chemicals that were used and she had to leave that. Dad's sister, Stella Mae Brewer also worked for Lockeed. Mother's departure from Lockeed is when my parents decided to move to Texas where two of my mother's sister's families were living. One, Willis T. "Bill" Neeld was about 5 miles south of Paducah on the east side of highway 83. The other, Ed Frank "Buster" Neeld, lived northwest of Cee Vee near Tell, Texas. We lived with Bill Neeld while we were hunting a place of our own. I started the school year of 1944 in Valley View school. In late 1944 my father bought Clyde Tucker's cotton crop on the Nobel Ingram's farm. I rode the "Orange Greyhound" from Dunlap to Paducah to attend the Alamo Elementary. I was small for my age and someone wanted to rub my nose in the dirt every recess. I was mean and ornery by time I got to Goodwin Junior High. For the next five years we struggled with scratching out a living dry land farming. On Saturday nights we would listen to the radio if we could get the battery to provide enough power. Pulling boles in the cotton patch is an experience that everyone should have to do. That long canvas sack and the strap would roll up no matter what you did. When you got the sack full you would have to carry the sack to the wagon or trailer to weigh and empty. Then you went back to the place where you left off. I remember pulling along and just happened to look about three or four feet in front of me and there was a rattlesnake as big around as my leg. I weighed about 100 pounds then and my leg wasn't very big. Anyway, I gave the rattler the row and moved out in the other direction. One of my brothers wanted to know where I was going and I told him there was a rattlesnake down the row. We went back but we didn't find it, just the snake track. After the cotton was ginned and the bales sold to the Compress, the work began all over again. You started immediately getting ready for the next year. We pulled stalk cutters over the fields and then we would run the breaking plows that cut a twelve to sixteen inch deep furrow covering all the vegetation on the surface of the field. Later in the year you would lay out the furrows. After the last frost in mid to late April you would plant and hope for enough moisture to get the seed to sprout. If a rain came the ground would crust over and the seed couldn't break through the ground surface and would rot. I remember dad pulling boards with nails driven through them to break the crust so the seed could sprout. After you got a good stand you would thin the cotton to the width of a hoe. Yes you walked up and down the rows thinning the cotton and chopping out the weeds. Later in the summer you would "chop" cotton again depending on how thick the weeds were. Many of you are aquainted with "dry land farming" as it was called. It takes a special type of individual to put their hopes and money into the uncertainties of the Texas weather. My dad told of plowing all day long behind a mule, smelling mule "excretions". The sun blazing down, sweat getting in your eyes and the dust so thick at times you couldn't breathe. Wondering if it was going to rain so you wouldn't lose it all this year. There was no weekly or monthly paydays. You hoped when you sold your crop there was enough to pay all the bills so you didn't start the next year in debt. The next year started the same as the last, putting what was necessary "on the tab". Merchants, who carried the farmer, what wonderful people they were. They knew when the crop was sold the farmers would be there to give them, more times than not, all their money which did not cover all the charges. The merchants would go right ahead and start putting it "on the tab" again.

We had about 5 good years in the end of the 40's and dad sold out and we moved to town to become "city slickers". Mom and Dad operated Dorothy's Cafe on the North side of the square next door to Elmer Petty's Barber Shop. For those of you who can remember those years also recall that the early 50's in Cottle County was not the place to be "dry land farming". In the early 1940's a man could make a living on two hundred acres. Then came the soil bank. Can you remember when the government would pay you not to farm your land. I honestly believe that this was the beginning of the end of the small family farm. A farmer couldn't just sit and watch the grass grow. Young people had no incentive to learn how to farm. Hey, you didn't have to depend on the fickle Texas weather. The government check came on schedule, it didn't matter if it rained or not. As a farmer you could move to town and get a job. That old government check kept on coming.

Do you remember the Piggly Wiggly that was just west of the old First National Bank. They had ticket books in a rack and when someone came in and got groceries, they would write it in the book and tear out one copy for you. You could call the grocery store and tell them what you wanted and they would bring it to you. I bagged groceries there and remember having to fill out those orders. You knew what kind of flour, Mrs. So in so used. If you didn't you would make an extra trip. People used to buy what they needed for one day. Frozen food cases were non-existent back then. Most people still used the "Ice Box" where you put a block of ice in the top and it would keep the food below cool. The Ice Plant next to the CokeCola plant would send the Ice Truck out each day and the houses had a sign they put in the window. It had 25, 50, 75, 100 in each corner and the side that was up was the amount the iceman would bring into the house and put in the top of the icebox. People didn't lock their doors and delivery people just where in and put their product where it belonged.

I worked one summer on the Pitchfork Ranch in King County. Cowboying wasn't all the glory of the movies. You spend many "exciting" hours riding fence. No wonder some old cowboys talk to them self. The next summer I drove a tractor in Motley County, pulling a 21 foot one way. I crossed another occupation of my list of things I would like to do. I quit school in the 10th grade so I could try my hand at roughnecking in the oil patch. In the early 1950's you would drive an one to two hours to get to the rig and work eight hours and drive the one to two hours back home and do this seven days a week. No glory in slapping steel in the oil patch either. I crossed another occupation off my list. Some where about 1952 or 1953 I worked for James Cash Penny (J.C. Penny) on the South side of the Square. D.Simms was the manager. We would take the cash from a customer and put it with a ticket we had written for the sale and put it in a cup attached to a rope that went up to the cashier on the second floor. The cashier would make change and send the cup back to you. There was one of the cable cups in each department. You would see several cups on the cables at a time when the store was busy. One of my friends George Clemmons worked at M.E. Moses. We would discuss whether Zack Isabell Drug Store or Bighams Drug made the best Pecan Sundae. Boy those old wrought iron chairs and the marble counter tops. Those delicious cokes, when they pulled a lever and put the syrup in the glass then added the carbonated water in. You could have cherry cokes, vanilla cokes, chocolate cokes, coke floats. Jimmie Sandlin sitting in his jewelry area, cleaning repairing watches, Patty was always around somewhere. I still think Isabell's Drug was the best. I recently came across a picture of Gearld and Evelynn Stanley who operated the Ray Hotel Coffee Shop for many years in the late forties and early fifties.

Remember the Palace, the movies were great then. You could go th the show, and get a bag of popcorn for 15 cents if you were under 12 years old and 25 cents is you were over 12 years old. You would be on the front of your seats when the action was fast and furious, which it was most of the time on Saturday's. Johnny Mack Brown, Lash LaRue, Red Ryder and Little Beaver and we can never forget Roy and Dale with the Sons of the Pioneers. William "Bill" Boyd as Hopalong Cassidy and the Lone Ranger, Gabby Hayes, and Smiley Burnett. Remember when "The Outlaw" showed at the Palace they wouldn't let the kids see it and they talked about segerating the audience. How big the Palace seemed then. A few years ago I was in town and looked at the Palace and it seemed rather small then. Our prespectives change. As a seven year old visiting my grandfather Bunch, I was amazed at the hugh quanset barn he had. When visiting with a cousin who lives next to Grandpa Bunch's place we discussed the old barn. Amazingly, he had the same preception as a youngster. It's only 14 feet tall. Grandpa Bunch had an old buckskin horse that lived for 31 years. We all used to love to ride that old horse.

Remember the dances that they used to have in the VFW Hall. Don't forget the square dances at the Rock house next to the rodeo grounds. The bands many were made up of local folks and others were from the larger towns of Fort Worth and Wichita Falls. Burl and Dwayne Simpkins and their father Walt, played in a band. We ran togeather and made many of these dances. In fact we made them all within 60 miles of Paducah. There were some name bands who made the circuit also. If I remember correctly, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys were in Paducah in the late 1940's or early 1950's.

In 1953 I decided I had had enough of the old hometown of Paducah and was off to see the world. I joined the U.S.Army. Shorty Bennett and myself went to Amarillo to the induction station. From there I went all the way to Fort Sill, Oklahoma about 125 miles. One of the first soldiers I see is David Martin of Paducah, he had been in the army for two or three years. I went on to Fort Campbell, Ky. for my Infantry training and on to Ft. Benning, Ga. for jump school. Yes I jumped out of the first airplane I rode in. I went to Korea and the 24th Infantry Division. While walking down a dusty street in a bombed out village, who do I see, none other than David Martin. I returned to the States and married the love of my life, Imogene. We are approaching 47 years togeather as I type this. I trained young troops in Fort Chaffee for three years then went to Fairbanks, Alaska. Yep, right where those panhandle northers came from. I've seen it so cold that the metal of bumpers on cars would break like glass in fender benders. I've seen the temperature down to -66 below zero. From Alaska to Fort Hood, Texas, We have three children now. The Bay of Pigs Invasion disaster of Cuba is one of the highlights of my stay at Fort Hood. Off to Hawaii, Schofield Barracks for two years and Fort Shafter for two years. 1967 and Fort Polk, LA. working in Post Hq. Nothing big happened that I can remember. Vietnam 68 and 69, I find myself in the Central Highlands with the 4th Bn, 31st Infantry, 196th Infantry Brigade, Americal Division. After seven months, I'm med-vaced to the 51st Evac Hosp in Danang, then to the 249th Gen Hosp in Toyko, Japan. A long med-evac flight from Toyko to Brooks Army Medical Center in San Antonio. 41 days later Fort Polk, La. with the 5th Traning Birgade. Seventeen months later Bin Hoa, Vietnam and the 1st Cav Div. Nine months later another emergency flight to San Antonio. Back to Fort Hood, in 1972 and retirement in 1974.

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