Harry Martin

My Dad's first cousin

From: Dickens County – It’s Land and People, 1986, page 225

On January 15, 1915, a son was born to Forrest and Mamie Garrett Martin, 12 miles west of Spur. The land is still owned by the Martin family. Forrest and Mamie were children of early Dickens County settlers. Forrest was the son of W.H. and Belle martin and Mamie was the daughter of Clint and Melinda Garrett. The Garretts came to Dickens County in 1893 from Oklahoma, and the Martins in 1892 from Jones County. Harrison Garrett was named after both sides of the family. He was called Harry from birth and haws always been called that. This is the story of Harry and his family.

Being a farm and ranch boy he learned to ride horses at an early age and still rides when the occasion demands. He started to school at West End, not far from where they lived; then went to Highway School driving a Model T Ford school bus at age 15. When Highway high School transferred to Spur, he had a new 1931 pickup with hand built body to take high school students to Spur. He played football for Spur, graduating in 1934, going on to college on a football scholarship. He first went to Amarillo College, then Altus, Oklahoma and to New Mexico State at Las Cruces where he received a degree in 1941. He later attended Texas Tech for work on a masters degree.

In 1940 he married Bessie Lee Hendrix, went back to Las Cruces to finish college. They both worked toward this goal. In 1941 a son, Harry Bob was born at Roswell, New Mexico where Bessie Lee’s parents lived.

After seeking their fortune at El Paso, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Gallup where he was employed with Standard Oil Company, they decided Dickens County looked best. They moved to a farm near Spur. On July 28, 1943, a daughter, Melinda Bess was born in the old Nicholas Hospital above the post office. Melinda has been teased by her older brother for being born in a post office. In 1945, James Michael joined the family. “Mike”, as he became known, was born in Lubbock, Texas.

Farming was not to our liking so we decided to into the teaching profession. After one year at Dickens as coach and history teacher, we went to Idalou as coach and teacher. Harry was offered the superintendent’s job in Dickens in 1947, so back we came to Dickens County and after 7 years, resigned and ran for county school superintendent. We got beat and had to look for a job. We were hired as Hamlin junior high coach and teacher where we stayed for 5 years. We bought a farm in Highway Community and spent our summers there working the farm. In 1959 we built our home there where we live now.

Harry Bob graduated from Hamlin High School in 1959, and we decided it was time to move to the farm permanently. Melinda and Mike graduated from Spur High School in 1961 and 1963.

Athletics is still Harry’s first love so we enjoy all games for and near. Our hobby is antiques. Bessie Lee opened an antique glass shop in 1979. Harry collects lamps, old harnesses, and old fruit jars. We also enjoy our church work where Harry is an elder at the Church of Christ in Spur, Texas.

By Bessie Martin