Friday, January 3, 2014

Church in the Singer Store

Publisher found early life full of hardworking, honest people

Published: Monday, April 19, 1999
(EDITOR'S NOTE The following article appeared in the March 2, 1924, edition of the Lubbock Morning Avalanche as part of the "Early Days on the Plains" series and was written by James J. Dillard, founder of the newspaper. In this, the 12th installment of a 25-part series, he reflects on some of the pioneer farming families on the South Plains).
There are a number of old-timers who contributed their time, money and presence to the development of Lubbock and the adjoining counties, who endured the many hardships of the frontier. Among those who tilled the soil in the early 1890s was J.R. Shackleford, now past 83 years old, who emigrated from Anderson County to Parker County before the war between the states, Parker County being on the frontier.

After serving four years in the conflict between the states, he returned to "Old Parker," where he farmed a few years, when he moved to Jack County, where he resided continuously until 1896, when he and his family emigrated to Lubbock, locating on Section 68, Block A, where he farmed for a number of years. During the 10 years that he farmed, he tells me he never made a complete failure growing feed.

Among others who came about this date were R.W. (Bob) Graves, who farmed and freighted from Colorado City, hauling much of the material in many of the earliest buildings in Lubbock. He now resides on a farm near Ropesville, in Hockley County, and is considered a successful farmer.
In 1899, J.W. (Jack) White, a boyhood friend, came to Lubbock with his family and lived in a tent for two months until he could freight lumber from Colorado City to build a house. Jack built a small two-room house on two lots, which he purchased from Geo. R. Bean in Block 168, Old Town, paying him $10 for the two lots in the above named block, and two wagon loads of wood, which also included lot 10, in block 119, facing west on the east side of the courthouse. Jack, as we affectionately called him, was one of very few real workers in Lubbock County at that time.
About 1900, J.W. (Will) Graves came to this country and he and Jack formed a partnership to do hard work, such as tanking, moving houses and especially grubbing mesquite, which all know who have tried it that it is the hardest of all work. Later Jack and Will began farming. Graves farmed on section 4 block in 1904, growing 20 bales of cotton, sold at a price less than 10 cents per pound. He paid Frank Wheelock, who owned the land, more rent than he asked in money for it.

The writer remembers that Jack had a crop of maize on sod land on a portion of the west half of the section adjoining the original town section on the south, making a yield of one and one-half tons per acre. White is at present a prosperous and respected citizen of Lynn County. He says that he has the record of all South Plainsmen in rearing a family of 10, not one of them starving or freezing to death.
Jack White and M.A. (Bud) Wood were the Nimrods of the surrounding country. Wood said he killed an antelope on the Lubbock townsite on Christmas Day, 1890. Wood was one of the first citizens coming here from the coast.

About the time M.A. Wood arrived, J.P. (Jim) Nelson and Walter Nelson drove into the country, which was 34 years ago. Jim and Walter are still here with us. Jim says that he has freighted and slept on the "ballies" when the wind blew 75 miles an hour and the thermometer registered 15 degrees below zero. He says he has hung enough wall paper in the buildings of Lubbock to reach around the Earth three times, and he and Walter Nelson have mixed 19 carloads of paint, each car weighing 20 tons.

The Carraway family was among the many early families coming to the county in 1891, locating some four miles southwest of town. The family consisted of Jno. K. Caroway, his wife, daughters, Lou and Cotter. Among the sons were Pete, Joe, Tol and Sid, and several young ones. Jno. Carraway was respected by all who knew him, being kind, big-hearted and generous. He died several years ago.
Isham Tubbs was another pioneer who came to the county in 1890. He raised a large family, a number of them living in the county at this time. He farmed, freighted and was a stockman. He farms now on a large scale, some six miles west of Lubbock. He has contributed much of his time and money in the upbuilding and development of the county.

William Tubbs, who recently died, came to this county about the time that his brother, Isham, came. He, too, was blessed with a large family, several now living in the city, among them Mrs. Lizzie Sanders Goggins, at present proprietor of the Cova Hotel.

A.M. Beeton, near Estacado, was one of the early farmers, coming to Lubbock in 1896, and has farmed and raised stock continuously since. A few of the many successful farmers coming to the county in 1900 and 1901, were S.A. Pool, in northeast Lubbock County, near Petersburg.
The writer did many things in 1900-01 and 1902 to earn a living. Among the occupations was that of "land agent," and I recall selling four sections of land for N.M. Akerson of Hale Center, the land being located in the northwest part of the county. These four sections were sold to J.G. Hardy for $1,050, the $50 being added as commission. I remember that I rode horseback the day that this sale was made from Lubbock to the ranch known as the K.M. Jay's, near Estacado, and then across the county without any road to the Akerson "bonus" and then back to Lubbock, covering approximately 60 miles. Among the family of Mr. Hardy were some two or three sons, who now live in the county, and two sons-in-law, one of them being Claud Denton, present county commissioner of precinct No. 4.

J.L. O'Bannon was one of the many pioneers settling on the south side of the county, near the east end of block 20. He died a number of years ago, but his wife yet lives in the city and will be remembered by all old-timers.

Other successful farmers who came to Lubbock County along about 1900 were J.T. (Jim) Brown, L.O. Burford, T.B. Williamson, Percy Acuff, Albert Jones, J. Augustus Caldwell and James Andy Caldwell, a successful farmer near Slaton, locating there about 23 years ago. William Haddock, who farms near Monroe, located in Lubbock County in 1900 and has followed farming and sheep raising since coming here. I recall that he paid $960 cash for section 29, block D, one mile east of the present site of the Monroe switch. He has been sheep inspector for the county for a number of years and is one of the best posted men on the sheep industry in the country.

If my memory serves me correctly, this article and the one in last week's issue, mentions practically all of the citizens who came to Lubbock County between March 10, 1891 and 1902, who successfully farmed for profit, except perhaps J.D. (Jeff) Woods and W.S. (Billy) Clark. Woods, also Clark, did much freighting. Woods worked as a cowboy for a number of years. I recall, however, that he married a Miss Nelson, the ceremony being performed by Judge P.F. Brown on Dec. 25, 1896. After that date, Jeff and wife occupied a home on section 6, block A, some three miles northeast of Lubbock for a number of years before later moving to Lubbock.

Billy Clark settled on section 8, block A, where he lived for more than 15 years, disposing of his land and moving to Lubbock. Bill tells us that he landed in Lubbock County May 24, 1890, camping about one mile north of the present location of the stock pens and the next Sunday morning he drove on to Singer's store. Among the few men who were at or came to the store that morning were Geo. Singer and wife, W.D. Crump, H.M. Bandy, Bill Clark and wife, and Albert Clark and one or two others that he does not now recall their names.
He says Bandy preached a sermon that Sunday morning with an audience of fewer than 10. He recalls that Bandy called their attention to the singularity that it was the first known sermon delivered in the county. That the history of the church extension work was that perhaps with only a few exceptions that the Methodists were the first to enter all new land and undeveloped country, but that it would be a historical fact that the first sermon delivered in Lubbock County was delivered by a minister belonging to a congregation known as the Church of Christ.

Bill tells us that he left in Company with Geo. Singer on the Monday following for Amarillo after freight.

Albert says that Singer asked him to keep the store until his return, which he agreed to do, but just as Singer was leaving he called his (Singer's) attention to the fact that he had not left the store keys with him, whereupon Singer remarked that he had no keys and that the building had never been locked and if the wind did not blow too hard to leave the doors open during the day that he had left the house open and unattended for as long as two days at a time, and on his return he would find nothing missing except such as had been paid for, and the money left in the money drawer.
In those days, locks and keys were a reflection on honesty, and many considered it an insinuation and a direct insult equal to calling them a thief.

The writer recalls even as late as 1900 staying for the night at a dugout ranch headquarters of the U Bar ranch in Terry County, no one being at home, making myself comfortable, eating and sleeping as though I was a guest, only registering my name on the wall when I left.

Once I recall that a lawyer, E.B. Muse from Dallas, had occasion to visit Lubbock in 1897 to make an examination of the records, reaching Lubbock about sundown, having been two days out from Colorado City on the mail hack, which carried passengers. He at once left for the county clerk's office at the courthouse, but to his surprise, he found the clerk's office door open, also the door to the vault. He looked the courthouse over, but could not find the clerk.

The clerk was out of town and did not return until late at night. The following morning Muse met the clerk and informed him that he was at his office after dark and the vault and office doors were open. The clerk remarked that he seldom closed it, especially when he was leaving town for any length of time, for the reason if anyone should come in town who wised to inspect such things as they were interested in without hunting up the clerk to unlock the office.
In closing these remarks and referring to many who came to this county early and endured the many hardships and privations in their undertaking to mold a citizenship and build a community that would reflect the sentiment of their life work for ages, and observing that the farmers have had much influence on the past of the county and will yield a greater influence in the years to come, I recall the following:

"Over the Plain the farm boy goes,
His shadow lengthens along the land,
A giant staff in a giant hand.
In the locust tree above the well
The katydid begins to sing.
"Into the yard the farmer goes,
With grateful heart, at the close of day;
Harness and chain are hung away,
In the wagon shed stands yoke and plow;
The straw's in the stack, the hay in the mow,
The friendly sheep his welcome bleat,
The pigs come grunting to his feet
The whinnying mare her master knows
When into the yard the farmer goes.
"Now to her task the milkmaid goes
The cattle comes crowding through gate
Looing, pushing, little and great;
About the trough, by the farm yard tank
The frolicsome yearlings frisk and jump;
The new milch heifer is quick and shy,
But the old cow waits with tranquil eye.
And the white stream into the bright pail flows,
When to her task the milkmaid goes.
Top supper at last the farmer goes,
The apples pared, the paper read,
The stories are told, then all to bed,
Without, the crickets' ceaseless song,
Makes shrill the silence all night long.
The housewife's hand has turned the lock;
Drowsily ticks the kitchen clock;
The household sinks to deep repose,
But still in sleep the farm boy goes.
BYLINE1:Next Monday: Dillard's salute to the South Plains pioneers continues, focusing on area ranches and many former cowboys from those ranches who wound up settling in this area.

Historical landmark

Published: Sunday, January 04, 2009
In May, 1890, a small group of faithful Christians gathered in Singer's Store situated above the draw flowing with water headed southeast to the Brazos River. The family and a preacher-farmer formed the beginning of what was to become the Broadway Church of Christ, one of the earliest Christian churches on the South Plains of Texas. The education wing was added in 1979. Between those years the people met in homes, schools, the courthouse, the jail, a blacksmith shop, the dining room of the Nicolett Hotel as well as three other constructed church buildings.

Liff Sanders was the first preacher on salary in 1900. Since then the congregation has had 13 pulpit ministers, and now has a staff of eight ministers filling a variety of roles with an administrative staff of four and hundreds of volunteers to help with the Lord's work. Broadway has been the core of many congregations throughout the city. The latest of these - Carpenter's Church - is the direct result of the work of Carpenter's Kitchen, a Sunday noon free meal in the Youthreach building that is a cooperative effort between Broadway volunteers and the South Plains Food Bank.