WILLIAM CLINTON GARRETT

12-14-1859 to 12-1-1954
text by Lila Garrett Murphree (daughter)
Taken from History of Dickens County, by Fred Arrington, 1971, pp. 246-249

On a cold December morning, in the year of our Lord, exact date--December 14, 1859--in a small cabin on the White River, near Augusta, Arkansas, in Woodruff County, a small son, who was named William Clinton, was born to Maranda and Jim Garrett. He was the second child of this pioneer family and one of two children that survived. An older brother, James Thomas, was one year older. We will learn more of James Thomas Garrett in another chapter of this book.

When Clint was a year old the Civil War broke out and Mrs. Garrett was left behind with the children while their father served his country. Clint often said that about the clearest memory he had of his father was when he returned from the war--Clint was probably five years old then--his father came walking down the road playing his fiddle.

His father only lived a few months more and then his mother passed away about four months later. Clint and his brother, Jim, were taken into different homes of two of their uncles where Clint remained until he was fourteen. This uncle was Harve Hughes. Clint remembered him as being a very strict, firm old gentleman. Clint was taught to work and earn his living by the sweat of his brow.

Life seemed cruel to Clint and he began to get itchy feet. He remembered another uncle, Bill Garrett, that had moved a few years before, out somewhere around Ft. Worth, Texas. He thought a lot of running away and going to Texas to try to find Uncle Bill and Aunt Mary. One morning he got up early and thought he was slipping away. He went out around the back of the barn, took a small trail, or path, down through the dense forest and swamps of White River. Uncle Harve's horse had gotten out the night before so he had risen early and caught him. Clint heard a noise and looked up and right before his eyes was Uncle Harve on his horse. Clint expected to be reprimanded and told to go home, but instead Uncle Harve asked, "Where are you going?" Clint said, "To Texas," Uncle Harve looked him straight in the eyes and said, "Take this advice: Don't never spit on the floor or cuss before women." From that day on he was out in the world on his own.

Clint remembered a cousin, Ben Garrett, who lived about a day's walking from there. He reached Ben's about sundown. Next morning he learned from Ben, who had recently married, that he and his bride planned to leave by covered wagon for Ft. Worth, Texas, in a few days. Ben told Clint and his younger brother Lewis that they could join them providing they could earn their way on the trip.

They started out early one October morning and were about two months on the trip. They would drive until they got tired, make camp, put out their traps and fishing lines, in near a river or hole. They trapped skunks, badgers, coyotes, and any kind of varmint and sold the hides and pelts to get money to keep going. The hides usually brought from ten to thirty cents apiece. Beside the fish, they killed wild game such as deer, antelope, wild turkey, rabbit and squirrel for food.

They arrived in Ft. Worth about the first part of December. after inquiring around Clint and Lewis left Ben and Betty and started out on foot to find Uncle Bill and Aunt Mary. They stopped and inquired of everybody they met. People were accommodating. Dugouts were scattered over the countryside then and most of the time people took them in, gave them supper and breakfast, and let them roll their pallet out in front of the fireplace. Everybody had a fireplace or wood stove then, so before Clint and Lewis left next morning they would cut up enough wood for several days to pay for their keep. They started west from Ft. Worth. Soon they began to find people who knew Uncle Bill or his brother Uncle Leve. Every place they stopped he was a little further on. Clint and Lewis trudged on and on. They walked the soles off their shoes.

Finally, the day before Christmas eve, it was almost dark when they came to a place where the first thing they saw were hog heads, livers and hearts strung around the picket fence at the corral. They knew at once it had been hog-killing day and said, "Oh, are we hungry!" The man said he knew Uncle Bill, but on looking the boys over, he told them it was a couple of miles on and asked them to come in. Mrs. Dacus fixed them a good supper of fresh pork and sourdough biscuits. That was a meal they never forgot. After a good night's rest they left for Uncle Bill's--happy to know they were getting near.

When they reached Uncle Bill's next morning he was out chopping wood. When he looked up and saw the boys he stopped chopping and yelled, "Mary, Mary, come here quick. Here's Clint!" Aunt Mary was in the kitchen baking pumpkin and mincemeat pies for Christmas dinner. With her apron on she came running and gathered Clint into her arms. This was a welcome and memory that Clint treasured the rest of his life. He had a home now. In a few weeks Lewis returned to Ben's home.

We have no record of Clint for the next few years, but know he was around Mineral Wells, Graham, Gorman, Gordon and Palo Pinto.

Clint met his first and only love in Palo Pinto County, Texas. He and Malinda Jones were married in Palo Pinto on Christmas eve day, December 24, 1885. They lived awhile at Gorman, then in July of 1886, Clint and his bride of a few months left in a covered wagon for West Texas. After several weeks on the road they arrived in Dickens County and settled in the Red Mud community. Some of their neighbors will be remembered as the R. M. Parrish family, the A. M. Mannings, Grandma Thomas, Jim Johnsons, E. Luce, John and Zona Luce, Bargers, and Gilberts, and others. Clint was a well respected citizen and truly a good neighbor and friend. He helped bury the first person in the Red Mud Cemetery.

In about 1897, on one of his trips to the railroad he brought lumber home to line their dugout, as he had promised his wife. Soon after he got the ceiling and walls up one of the neighbor women passed away. Clint took down boards from the walls and built her casket. Two of her daughters visited the cemetery in about 1954 and was inquiring of Mr. Garrett. They finally located his youngest daughter, Mrs. Mamie Martin, who lived nearby and told her they well remembered this kind deed. At that time they placed a stone at the grave.

Mr. and Mrs. Garrett lived in this community about seven years. Three children were born during this time--Edna, Annie, and Jim.

Then they heard of opportunities in Oklahoma. With his family and that of the R. M. Parrish family they moved to Greer County, Oklahoma, near Mangum. While there three more children were born--Walter, Lila and Mamie. Mrs. Garrett became ill and it was her wish to return to Dickens County to live her remaining days. They returned and settled this time about three miles north of the cemetery. Mrs. Garrett passed away March 14, 1900, and is resting in the Red Mud Cemetery. Mr. Garrett, with his children continued to live on there. He was a farmer and kept a few cows. His favorite horse was a big beautiful red sorrel named "Old Bird."

His large fruit orchard will be remembered by old timers for the many tubsful of Alberta peaches he gave away. Also raising sweet potatoes was quite a hobby of his on his sandy land farm. He delighted in seeing his friends drive off with a tub or box of peaches or potatoes or a sack of spanish peanuts to enjoy.

In those days peddlers or book salesmen were numerous and they always found Clint's house for over night lodging.

Added to the list of the early day settlers on his return to Dickens County were the Jim Airhearts, Lockets, Crosses, Fuquas, Perkins, McClains, Danforths, Turners, Will Martins, Gardners, Petersons, Harrises, Greers, Preslars, Hinsons, Sparks, and six or seven families, of Smiths (Tandy, Bob, Alva, Arth, Willis, Jeffie, were among them), Braintners and many others, Dickens County was filling up.

During the next nine years, after Mrs. Garrett passed away, Clint operated a freight line for the Spur Ranch, Espuela store, then run by "Scotch" Bill Elliott, to the nearest railroad, Colorado City and Rotan. He also freighted for E. Luce and Son who owned the old Tap store nearby.

Mr. Garrett was civic minded and was active in community affairs. The served on the School board and was instrumental in helping build several rural schools in Dickens County. He was part-owner and operator of a neighborhood gin.

He was appointed by the Federal Land Bank to help appraise Dickens County land in the early twenties; was a member of the Farmers Union; was a member of the Red Mud Cemetery Association which is still active.

His fraternities were The Odd Fellow Lodge, Woodmen of the World (W.O.W.), and he was an active Elder and Layman in the Church of Christ for many years.

Doctors were scarce so Mr. Garrett was often called upon to set broken bones and pull stubborn teeth in the community.

His oldest daughter, Edna, was married to Lee Johnson. Edna passed away in young womanhood and is buried near Carlsbad, New Mexico. They had two daughters, Maudie is now Mrs. N. Betenbough and lives in Canon City, Colorado. Rachel is Mrs. Lee Jones and lives in National City California. Edna and Lee also took an orphaned nephew to raise who will be remembered as Lee Wright. He lives with his wife, Effie, in San Diego, California.

Annie, the second child, married Waiter Stephenson and lived a few years in Arkansas. They then moved their family to Dickens County and lived a few years on a farm west of Spur. Later they moved to McAdoo where the farm is still operated by their son, Nath. Their children were Edna (Mrs. M. J. McCoy) of Lubbock, Annie Grace (Mrs. Carmie Fendley), of Port La Vaca, Texas, Nath of McAdoo, John of California, Jim, of Paducah, Lucille (Mrs. Kermit Stanley), of Paducah, Charlie, of Lubbock, and Robena (Mrs. Barney Watts), of Lubbock. Walter and Annie are buried in the McAdoo Cemetery.

Their first son, Jim, was married to Maggie Reece, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Reece, and sister of Chap Reese, of Spur. Jim and Maggie lived a number of years in Dickens County, but now have their home at Floydada, Texas. They had one daughter, Carllee, who is Mrs. Quill Pierce, of Lubbock. Jim's step children are Dixie (Mrs. Elzy Pullen), of Midland, Texas, Lorene (Mrs. Carl Cummings), of Odessa, and J. Roberts, of Jackson, Mississippi.

Walter, the next son, was married to Teresa Kearney, sister of Charlie Kearney of Spur, and Mrs. Jewell Rucker and Minnie Alexander also of Spur. Their children are Vivian (Mrs. Bill Fox), of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Adygene (Mrs. J. J. DePaulo), of Albuquerque, Claytie (Mrs. W. J. Cole), of Farmington, New Mexico, Lila (Mrs. J. Howard), of Portales, New Mexico, Madge (Mrs. D. Lassater), of Sunray Texas, Clint of Farmington, New Mexico. They also reared two grandchildren, Walt Newlin, of Albuquerque, and Faunette Crimes, of Topeka, Kansas. Walter is buried in a cemetery in the beautiful San Juan Valley between Aztec and Farmington. Teresa has her home near her daughter Madge, at Sunray.

Lila, the third daughter, was a rural school teacher and taught several years in Dickens County. She will be remembered in Highway, Espuela and McAdoo communities. Lila was married to a rancher, Jake Murphree, in Roswell, New Mexico. They now live on a small ranch near Las Vegas, New Mexico. Their daughter, Jakie Jo (Mrs. J. R. Nunn) also lives at Las Vegas.

Mamie, the youngest child, has lived all but two years of her life in Dickens County, and more than fifty years in the same home. She is Mrs. Forrest Martin, of the Highway community. It will be remembered that Mamie and Forrest celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary at Spur in March of 1963. Their children, Robbie (Mrs. Jim Wyatt), of Girard, Harry, of Spur, Syble (Mrs. Cecil Estep), Doublin, Forrest, Jr., Littlefield, will no doubt be discussed in another chapter of the Forrest Martin family in this book.

Clint Garrett lived an active life until he reached the age of 93. He sold his Dickens County farm at about 80 years and semi-retired. He lived in his own home near his son Jim, at Floydada. He was always busy doing odd jobs around the place until his health failed in 1953.

Uncle Clint, as he was affectionately called in later years, passed away December 1, 1954. He was laid to rest beside his wife, Malinda, in the Redmud Cemetery just one mile from where they started housekeeping in 1886.

If Mr. Garrett had lived thirteen more days he would have reached the age of 95.