Thursday, January 31, 2013

HOW FAR COULD YOU GO: 1847 - 1899

They were called Clemie and France.  They were born in Arkansas in 1847.  They lived through the Civil War.  She was Margaret Clementine Brenson.  He was Francis Marion Easley.  He grew up with his Grand Parents on the west side of White River.  His Grandpa owned a general store and operated a ferry on the river.  She grew up with her parents on the east side of the river.

After the war they got married.  They were eighteen years old.    His Grandpa soon died.  I don't know about her family at that time.  It seems that she and he" soon left for Texas.  When Uncle Will, their first born, was a year old they left Texas for California.  There they took a train up the coast to the State of Washington.  They were in the same area that Aunt Pearl and Uncle Everett move from Grandpa's farm at the beginning of World War II.  There they saw a combine cutting wheat which was pulled by 64 horses.  For some reason they didn't like it out there.  So they came back to the area around Fort Worth, Texas.  Grandpa and a partner developed a trade route from there to El Paso.  Uncle Lawton has a tin type photograph of Grandpa and his partner on one of their trips.

It seems that he had a farm or an acreage where they raised their family.  Papa told me about living there.  They had a poor neighbor family living down the hill.  Easley's had extra milk from their cow or cows.  They offered buttermilk to that family.  He said the eleven year old daughter came with a two and a half gallon bucket to get the milk.  He remembered watching as she started down the hill toward home.  After a little distance she lifted the bucket and took a good long swig.  He thought that meant how hungry she must have been.

Grandma and Grandpa had six or seven sons and three daughters.  One little boy died, Walter must have been about two years old.  He was between Uncle Virgil and Papa.  I think most, if not all, their family was born there.  Grandpa hired a man to build a good fireplace in their house.  The man guaranteed it would have enough draft to pull a twenty penny nail out the top of the chimney.  He built it with mud mixed with sticks and straw.  After it was well dried, the great test came.  He stuck the nail through a sheet of paper, tossed it into the fireplace and those watching outside the house were totally amazed and pleased to see it come flying out the top. 

Now Grandma could cook inside during cold and rainy weather.  In 1885 Grandpa bought an iron cook stove, so Grandma didn't have to use the fireplace in winter.  In summer she had been cooking over a bonfire.  Papa told me they dried their meat by slicing it thin, then hanging it over a wire.  I asked about the flies?  He said they tied the wire above fly line.  I was so surprised I didn't think to ask, "how high is fly line?"

Finally in 1899, Grandpa and his sons traveled by horse and covered wagon (s) to Jackson County, Oklahoma Territory to purchase a claim an Old Man had staked in 1895.  After the transaction was made, they returned to Texas and brought the family and possessions to their last home, in 1900.


  1. That is interesting! I didn't know about their brief sojourn to Washington! We visited the museum at Fort Walla Walla a few years ago... just a couple hours from here. One of the buildings had life-size models of the 64-mule team. (Life-size "statues" of the mules all harnessed up to the combine.) There was a cat-walk around it. It was pretty impressive to see how much space that big of a team took up. There were also old photos of the team in action.

  2. Thanks for the note, Karla. When I was in Junior High School, our Geography Book had a picture of that Combine and Team in the field. That was pretty interesting to see, just in a picture. It must be awesome in full life display.

  3. Very interesting! You told about things I had never heard before. Daddy took me to the cemetary where "Clemie's" family are buried, but we don't have much information on them.

  4. Interesting. Some things here I didn't know about. Thank you for sharing your memories.

  5. Carlton, not sure if you will see this as it is Feb 26 and I am just catching up on reading this. A few minutes ago I was thinking about Grandpa going to El Paso and then you mentioned it. Do you have more info on it- how many time did he make the trip and more than one in a year and what all did he sell. When we were in Van Horn, U. Lawton told me he thought the route might have been thru Marfa, Tx which is about 75 miles south of Van Horn. I remember Daddy telling how he would hid his money to keep it safe from banditos or Indianas!! Thanks for your wonderful work!! Paul

    1. Paul, you asked about Ryan's. As I remember the story, Percy's uncle came riding through the area when he was 21 or so and the country was just opening up. I don't remember the Uncles name, but he said the grass was so tall, as far as he could see, he could tie it together over his horse's neck. He staked claims,brought cattle and in time became well off. I don't know if he settled the town, but he owned a lot of property in the town. Judy Cook or Albert Lee might have some good information. There are more interesting stories about the Uncle and those days.

      You also asked about Grandpa's trading route to El Paso. I don't know: what they hauled, or what the route was. Keith told me that Lawton had shown or told him of the "pass" in the mountains where they traveled. Edwin might have some of that information. Lawton showed me one time a tin type of Grandpa and his partner. Somewhere along their trips they met up with a photographer who made the picture. Grandpa gave it to him, when Lawton was young, maybe a teen.