Our True Story, Daddy’s Part

Our True Story, Daddy’s Part

This story is one of two, which Aunt Mary wrote down from a conversations she had with her Mother, Faustina Cline Ragland, and her Father, George Wallace Ragland. She typed both of the stories, drew some nice covers, and then stapled all the pages together.

Its title is “Our True Story” , which is then broken down into sub-sections labeled “Mama’s Part” and “Daddy’s Part”. I am typing the text here exactly as she did.

This is “Daddy’s Part”

George Wallace Ragland, was born Dec. 18, 1902 at Commerce, Tex. on a farm near my grandfather Hurt’s place. We lived there until I was three or four years old. We moved to Seymore and lived there for a year. The doctor told Papa to leave there, so he put all our things in the wagon. There were two sets of side boards to hold the furniture in place. The the bed springs and mattress was put on top of them. This is where Mama, Papa & Mabel slept at night. We three boys boys slept on pallets under the wagon. We always built big camp fire to cook and warm by at night. When the fire died down to glowing embers you could see the polecats and possums come up to the wagon hunting for food. In the back ground you could hear the coyotes howling. Sometimes when we woke in the morning there would be snow on the ground and on the quilts that covered us. On the side of the wagon was a Water barrel that was filled at every watering place. Also there were tools such as an axe, shovel, grubbing hoe. Sometimes they were used to clear out our a road or help get thru a mud hole. On the back end of the wagon was the chuck box where our food was carried. When the door was open it made a table for Mama to prepare food. She made biscuits that were cooked in a big iron skillet with a lid. It was set by the fire with coals of fire under it and over it. When you were young and hungry those biscuits tasted oh so good with butter and syrup.

When everything was loaded and the bows were in place with the wagon sheet streched tight over all the two extra horses and a milk cow were tied behind the wagon. John D. would hitch the best two horses to the wagon tongue, take up the reins and cluck to them and we were on our way to Arkansas. We traveled for days without to much trouble. Then one of the horses died and the others were getting tired. Papa was almost our (out) of money se (so) he decided to go to Eastland County. Someone had told him about the sandy land that grew peanuts and watermelons. When we finally got to Eastland it was the fall of the year. The cotton was ready to be picked, so Papa inquired around and found a farmer that needed someone to help him harvest his crops. He had a vacant house, so we moved into the house and went to work. After the cotton was all picked, corn gathered and peanuts on the vine were in the hayloft it was the middle of winter and so cold. We still needed money for food, so the man told Papa we could pick off the peanuts for him. Half of what we picked off we could sell. So we all set around the fire place and worked.

In the spring Papa rented some land from the man who owned the place on the thirds and fourths. We stayed there a year. Then we moved to Cisco. We lived in an old two story house. We didn’t use the upstairs. One day when Mama busy i decided to go upstairs. It was fun running up and down the stairs and sliding down the hand rail. I finally got tired of that and decided I’d see what was in those rooms up there. I found an old clock with the works removed. Someone had left a bottle of ant poison there and child like I ate some of it even tho it tasted awful. Mama found me sick as a horse. She saw the open bottle and knew what I had done. Papa rode a horse to get the doctor. While Papa was gone Mama gave me three raw eggs and a half a cup of lard. Of course that made me sicker than before but it all came up. When the doctor got there he gave Mama some medicine for me to take. He said what she had given me was all that had saved me.

Bertha and Ova were married and lived at Temple, Okla.. So we loaded our things in a wagon again and started for Oklahoma. On the way one night we camped in an old two story house. Someone told Papa that it was haunted, but haunted or not it was shelter from the cold. After Mama had cooked supper on the big fireplace and things were tied up we all went to bed. I had my pallet in-between Mama and Papa. I was scared a HAUNTED HOUSE! After all were settled down and we were asleep there was a noise upstairs. Papa lit the lantern. With it in one hand and a stick of fire wood in the other, he started up the stairs. I was right behind him hanging on to his long-johns. Papa shined the lantern all around and we could see two shiny eyes. They began to move. It was a coon with a chain in its leg. It had been some ones pet and had gotten away and come to this old house for a warm place to stay. There was a hole in the roof where it came in and out for food. When the coon saw us it was scared and went running back thru the hole in the roof dragging the chain, making a clanking sound. So that explained why the people thought the house was haunted.

We finally arrived at Temple, Oklahoma and stayed with Bertha and Sid Walker until Papa found us a place to live. He farmed cotton there a year, then we came back to Texas.

There was a farmer named Hose Poe that had a big farm. He had just cleared 100 acres of land to be put in cultivation. Papa rented that, although the trees had been removed there were stilll gubs and some stumps and in the spring, sprouts began to come up. Papa said, “You boys get your hoe and chop those sprouts so I can plant.” One day we were working cutting those sprouts when one of Clearance’s friends came by. They sat down to talk, so I sat down playing in the dirt. I was about 8 years old and Clarence was about 14. He told me to get back to work. I said not until he did. So he got him a long switch and preceeded to make me. I ran to the house crying with Clarence right behind me. Mama took the switch away from Clarence and gave him a good thrashing, sent him back to the field and let me stay with her. This was the year I started school. The school house was about a half a mile down the road from where we lived. I don’t remember very much about my first year in school but I am sure I learned something.

For some reason or another we went back to Oklahoma. This time there was a n Indian reservation clost (close) to where we lived. It came down to the river where (we) lived. The Indians did not know about a seine but Papa and the neighbors had decided to have a fish fry and they knew about this place that had lots of fish. So they took their seine and had gotten a big sack of fish. I was holding the sack. We looked up and a bunch of Indians were riding up on there horses. They had neither saddle or bridle, just a grass rope around the horse’s head. The Chief came took the fish, destroyed the seine and rode off. After that I made friends with the Chief, he would give me a buffalo nickle (nickel) every time he saw me. When we left Okla. I had a tobacco sack full of nickles (nichels) he had given me.

We moved back to Texas the following year. We left Okla. in January. when we started it was misting rain and very cold. By night it was sleeting and everything was covered with ice. The ice was breaking limbs off the trees. Someone told Papa about a water-hole that was a good place to camp. So we made it there by nightfall. there weren’t any roads, mostly trails. The weather stayed icy and cold for about three days. When we got to the Red River the ice had begun to melt and the crossing was muddy and slick. papa didn’t think our horses could pull the wagon thru the water so he hired a man with big horses to pull the wagon across the river. It was cold fording that river. There were no bridges. When we got to the other side we camped for the night. There were caves cut out of the side of the cliffs. where you could be protected from the weather. We stayed there that night. On our journey we met up with a man and his that were going to Eastland county. so we travelled on together. The man was a big tease and he nicknamed me Bolivar the Hard Tail. why i don’t recall. One night we camped by the river not far from a little town. mama was out of flour so Papa went and bought some store bought white bread for supper. It was the first I ever ate. i didn’t like it as well as Mama’s biscuits.

Out journey finally over, we were back in Eastland County. We lived there two years on Hosea Poe’s farm. From there we moved to Hogtown or Desdemona as it is called now. Papa bought a place there, made a down payment, come to find out the deeds weren’t any good. It belonged to a bunch of heirs. So Papa lost his money, but we stayed there a year.

Later we moved to the Davis Place where we stayed two years, raised peanuts, cotton, and corn. Mr, Davis wanted to sell the place to Papa, but he said it wasn’t big enough with three big boys to work the fields. So he rented the Emery Place. This was the year World War I Broke out. Clarence got his call and went overseas and fought in France. We made good crops that year. Papa paid all his debts, with some left. This was about the time the Duke Oil well blew in and there was a big oil boom. So many men came there they couldn’t find a place to eat or sleep. So Mama decided to keep boarders. I got a job driving a commissary wagon for a pipe line company hauling groceries from Gorman to where they were camped. When they finished the pip line and moved on, I went to work helping Mama cook and wash dishes. I did this for about a year. Then I got a job with Strate Oil Co. as a roustabout, did this for six months, went to work on the casing crew, putting casing in the well they drilled. We went out on a job one day and they weren’t ready for us to start. The driller told me to grab a sledge hammer and help him sharpen a bit. Then he wanted me to go to work for him dressing tools. I worked some time for him.

Finally Clarence came home from the army. We decided to all go together and buy us a place. Clarence found us a place in Harbin, Texas that was for sale, so we bought it. This was in 1920. Mama wasn’t happy there so we sold the place and moved back to Hogtown. In the meanwhile Mabel married Bert Stockton and they lived in Dublin. He had a shoe shop and I learned to fix shoes. So we lived with Mabel and Bert for a while. When we lived in Harbin I met Faustina, so I continued to go out there. We went to parties, on hay rides, and to church. We were married July 15, 1921. We lived with my parents from July to Nov. 1st. I got a job with Gates Oil Company so I bought some furniture and we moved ourselves. Our first child was born in 1923 in an old farm house on a sandy hill. Dr. Snodgrass was our doctor. When I was laid off work there we moved to Harbin were I farmed and worked in Bert’s Shoe Shop.

in 1937 I went to Fort Worth and bought some second hand shoe shop machinery and put in a shop at Calton, Texas. We moved there in Jan. of 1938. I drove a school bus, janitored at the church and worked hard to support my family.

When World War II started I closed the shop and went to work as a carpenter at Kileen, Tex. helping build Ft. Hood. When that waas finished I went to work at Gateville. We moved back to Harbin and I went to Ft. Worth and worked in the Bomber plant cutting metal for airplanes.

We went to South Texas to visit Faustina’s sister Catherine. While we were at Kenedy I got a job on a drilling rig. Then I got a job with Continental Oil Company keeping a lease so we moved in the house furnished by the oil company. This was near Pettus. We stayed there two years.

We came to Clarkwood to visit a cousin, Allen Goodlet and his family and I got a job working as a roustabout for Seaboard Oil Co. I worked there until the war was over. When the men began to come home they gave them their jobs back so I was let go.

I heard American Smelting was needing carpenters so I put in my application, got the job and worked there 22 years. I retired at age 65. We had our home paid for. I have a 1965 Ford Flatbed truck, a 1967 Cheverlot Caprice car, half acre of land with a house, garage, shoe shop, wood work shop, honey house and I have over 100 hives of bees. I ‘m 71 years old and still able to work some. Faustina and I have about everything in the way of material things we need. I hope the remaining years we have are fruitful and happy ones.

I’m very thankful that God has been so good to me. The way I was raised has made me a better man. I just wish I could have done more for my parents before they passed away.

I love my children very much and am very happy that they are so good to come and see us. May the Good Lord smile on each one of them as he has me.

John David Ragland was born July 18, 1860 in Wilson County, Tenn. Minnie Bell Hurt Ragland was born Aug. 21, 1869 at Commerce, Tex. She was the daughter of Ira Octavis Hurt. her mother was Duncan Hurt.

John and Minnie Ragland had seven children as follows:

Bertha Ragland Walker born Oct. 15, 1891
Ova May Ragland Rushing Mincey born Nov. 13, 1893
Clarence Earl Ragland born Feb. 12, 1896
Ira Octavis Ragland born April 2, 1897
Lester Ragland born Aug. 13, 1899
Mabel Rose Ragland Stockton born July 8, 1901
George Wallace Ragland born Dec. 18, 1902

From Text Typed by my Aunt Mary. She typed the following as an attachment to her “Our True Story ” :


©2006 Texas Tortilla Factory – Mike Vauthier

One Response to “Our True Story, Daddy’s Part”

  1. Marci DeBord

    My grandmother is Lavada Caroline Ragland, which makes Faustina Kate Ragland (Cline) my grannie which I loved very much and still have her letters she wrote to me, do you have any other stories of grannie or grandpa or of their relatives?
    Marci DeBord

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