"James Noble Haile"
Every ranch needs buildings and pens to work the cattle and store feed. Jim started to work in his spare time and soon had a nice barn, a corncrib, a cottonseed house, a smoke house, and several cattle and horse lots and stalls.
Wolves and coyotes were a special menace to ranchers with young calves. Jim would get together with some neighbors and they would hunt the wolves and coyotes and kill them. Hunting soon developed into a profitable venture for Jim and soon he bought a few hounds to help in the hunts. It was a thrill to ride with a group of men on fast horses to help in the hunts. It was a thrill to ride with a group of men on fast horses and help to rid the county of wolves and coyotes, especially as they jumped over the rock fences with the horsemen right behind then.
It was the fall of 1885 and Lizzie was expecting her third child. She told Jim that she would like to have a doctor present this time and wanted a little more privacy. Early in the morning of October 11, 1885, Lizzie woke Jim and told him to take Ollie and Ada to the neighbors and then to go to Fairy and get Dr. Young. Now Dr. Young was really a horse doctor but he was all that was available and most folks used him to help deliver babies. Jim made the 10 miles to Fairy and brought Dr. Young back in short order. The doctor came in his buggy so he would have a way home. Soon Lizzie gave birth to another boy and they named him Dudley Jackson Haile. The day Dr. Young returned to Fairy, and Jim went to the neighbors and brought Ollie and Ada home to see their new little brother.
In the summer of 1886, Jim began to work up another cattle drive. He got the herd together with the neighbors and made the drive to Kansas City without incident. However, railroads were beginning to criss-cross Texas and soon it would not be necessary to drive cattle to Kansas City for a market.
Jim had some help in the fields now besides Lizzie. Ollie was 6 years old and he could drop the cotton and corn in the furrows that Jim plowed. He could also help with the milking and feeding. Jim was really a busy man. He had to continue to clear the rocks and trees off the land, break it with a walking plow, plant his cotton and corn and oats, take care of his cattle, horses and also work part time for Mr. Hooker and Mr. Bruce.
It was the fall of 1886; Ollie was 6 years old and anxious to start to school. He had to walk three miles to Boggy school and his teacher was J.E. Corrigan. Jim Haile didn't like the idea of Ollie having to walk so far to school since he was just a first grader, so he bought a two-room house and moved it just south of the ranch house across the road. Now the school was only ¼ mile away and since it was close to Gum Branch, it was named Gum Branch School. Jim Haile helped find a teacher, Miss Clemmie Allen, and it wasn't long before all the local children were going to the first Gum Branch School.
On April fools day, 1887, Lizzie told Jim to stay handy to go after Dr. Young. She didn't have many days to wait because of the 5th of April 1887, Lizzie asked Jim to take Ollie, Ada, and Dud to the neighbors and then go after Dr. Young. This time the new baby was another girl. They named her Sarah Lorena and called her Lola. Jim was 33 years old, Lizzie 25, Ollie 7, Ada 4, Dud 1 ½ and Lola the new baby.
There was spring planting to be done, calves to be castrated and branded and more land that had to be cleared of rocks and trees. It was also time for Jim to go to Hico again for a few groceries and supplies. He took some corn along to be ground into meal. He went to Petty's general store and bought some sugar, coffee, flour, salt, spices, a few canned vegetables, and fruit, some coal oil for the tiny coal oil lamps, some thread and material for Lizzie to use to make clothes and some liniment for sprains on man and horse. He also went to the drug store and bought a half-gallon of red whiskey to be used as medicine and a swallow a day that Jim took just to keep healthy. Jim remembered to buy some bacon and a ham because he had used up all the hog meat that was put up last winter.
Jim and Lizzie and the kids always milked 6 to 8 cows. Lizzie and the kids did most of the milking while Jim fed the horses, hogs, and other stock. Lizzie always skimmed the cream off the top of the milk to make butter. Then the skimmed milk that the family didn't drink, along with the table scraps that were not fed to the hounds, was fed to the hogs. She kept a bucket in her kitchen and would put potato peelings, eggshells, coffee grounds and any other table scraps into the slop bucket. When it got full, it was taken to the hogs. She would also bake up some corn bread and put a few meat scraps with it and feed it to the hounds when table scraps ran low.
The Hereford bread of cattle was developed in the county of Hereford in England. The breed first was brought to the United States when Henry Clay imported Herefords in 1817 for his Kentucky farm. But they were not brought in on a large scale until 1850. The breed became popular in 1880 with cattlemen everywhere, especially Texas. They were short and stocky, produced much beef, were hardy and made a good crossbreed with other cattle. Their red bodies and white faces made them a popular addition to any ranch.
Jim Haile was beginning to bring more Hereford cattle into his herd and to sell off his mixed breeds. He also kept the best-marked bulls for his own breeding purposes. He probably had about 100 head of cattle and 35 horses and he branded them with a big "JIM" on the right side. He registered his brand with the county court house in Hamilton on February 19, 1888.
It was that time again. Lizzie told Jim to take Ollie, Ada, Dud and Lola to the neighbors and then go to Fairy after Dr. Young. It was another girl and they named her Susan Allie born February 20, 1889. In time they would nickname her "Suc." Jim was 35 years old, Lizzie 27, Ollie 9, Ada almost 6, Dud 4, Lola 2 and Allie was the new baby. Jim had quite a large family to feed, especially when he and Lizzie also roomed and boarded the schoolteacher. Also travelers stopped by quite often and they were always welcome at the Haile ranch.
It was spring and Jim and Ollie had broken the land with three horses hooked to a disc plow. Jim had hand planted the oats and he and Ollie had planted the corn and cotton with a one row planter. Lizzie had also planted her beans, two kinds, potatoes, tomatoes, squash, radishes, cucumbers and other garden things. There were new calves to be castrated and branded, horses to be broke to work and ride and hogs and chickens to be looked after.
Jim had recently learned that 100 acres of land that joined his ranch land was soon to be for sale. This land was a part of the G.W. Poe survey and was owned by a man named Gray. Jim was counting on his calf and cotton crop to partly pay for the land. However, on September 23, 1889, he learned that Mr. Gray wanted to sell the land then so Jim went to the First National Bank of Hico and borrowed $440 to pay for the 100 acres of land. There was also a little two-room house on the land and this house was included with the land purchase. The little house would be used in the future for Jim's married kids to start out married life in and was also used one time for a school. This latest land purchase gave Jim and Lizzie 295 acres and now they were beginning to feel like big land owners.
Jim, Lizzie, Ollie and Dud picked the cotton and corn crop and with the calf crop they had enough to almost pay for the new 100 acres of land. They lacked a little having the cotton all picked and Jim saw a cloud coming up so he called Lizzie, Ada and Dud to help him finish the cotton before the rain came. They were all working and all of a sudden they missed Dud. They began to look everywhere for him and were calling his name. Finally they found him under a big cotton stalk hiding because he didn't want to pick cotton. Jim pulled the cotton stalk up and gave Dud a good going over and before long Dud wanted to pick cotton real bad.
It was May 25, 1891 and Jim had taken Ollie, Dud, Ada, Allie, and Lola to the neighbors and was on his way to Fairy for Dr. Young. Another girl, Alma Elizabeth, came into this world and made the third girl in a row. Jim had quite a large herd of cattle and horses and Lizzie wasn't doing badly in the baby department either.
Jim Haile was a man of many responsibilities. Besides his large family, this spring of 1891, he had 75 to 100 head of cattle and calves to look after. It was calving time and along with the new calves he had some new colts from his mares. Jim had about 30 head of horses and mares that he bought, raised and traded for. He now owned about 300 acres of land, which was part pasture, and part tillable land. He and Ollie, who was now 11 years old, had broken the land with a two disc-breaking plow to which he worked three horses. Ollie and Dud, who was 6 years old, had planted the cotton and corn with a one row-walking planter that Jim had traded for. Jim had planted the oats by hand and all three crops were up pretty.
Lizzie was out of bed now after Alma was born and was getting her garden in. Jim had broken the garden up with his disc plow and had plowed up big beds with furrows between them. Lizzie and Ada, who was 8 years old, would open the beds with a hoe and Lola, who was 5, would come along and drop in the white and red potato eyes, onion sets, cucumbers, pinto and navy beans and radishes. Lizzie brought the tomato plants that she had started earlier in the house and they planted them. "Paw wouldn't let us plant okra," Alma recalls, "he said it was like Johnson grass, if it ever gets started, you can't get rid of it." "Maw was real sure that we would get a good stand of everything cause she saved the best seeds from the year before", Alma remembers.