"James Noble Haile"
Jim and Lizzie still owned a 1/3 interest in the 256-acre estate of Jim's father P.O. Haile. Jim's sister Susan who was married to J.E. Stienbaugh had sold her 1/3 interest to their brother Oliver in 1888. Jim and Lizzie decided that since his brother had stayed on the land and worked it that he should be the only heir when their father and mother, Peter and Sarah died. On June 22, 1893, for the sum of $1 paid by Oliver R. Haile, Jim and Lizzie deeded their entire 1/3 interest of the 256 acres of the P.O. Haile estate to Jim's br4other Oliver. This made a nice wedding present for Oliver because he had just married Susie Mae Hall, June 6, 1893.
The Hailes had 2 boys and 5 girls now and Jim was hoping the next child would be a boy. Jim had already decided that if the child was a boy that he would name him after himself. "You got yourself another boy," Dr. Young told Jim as he brought the crying infant out of the bedroom to the kitchen where Jim was waiting this June 25th, 1895. "I'll name him James after myself and Travis after Col. William Barret Travis who died defending the Alamo," Jim said. And so it was done. James Travis Haile, who would be called "Little Jim" all his life. Jim was 41, Lizzie was 33, Ollie was 15, Ada was 12, Dud was 10, Lola was 8, Allie was 6, Alma was 4, Kate was 2 and James Travis was the new baby.
It was early summer of 1896. Jim was getting ready for another trip to west Texas to catch wild horses. Ollie was going on this trip and was as excited as a 16-year-old boy could be. Jim had his chuck wagon all ready and was rounding up his riding stock. He noticed his old glass-eyed gray-specked mare was limping. She had cut her foot on the new barbed wire that Jim and the hands had strung around the pasture on the home place. "Barbed wire was beginning to be brought into the country," Alma remembers, "and I guess the old mare wasn't used to it." "Paw said the mare crossed the plains 6 times and would have crossed the 7th time but she got her foot cut on the barbed wire," Alma recalls. "I can kind remember Maw leading her up to the back door and doctoring her and by the time Paw got back, old glass-eye was well."
"Your mother and dad are coming to see us," Lizzie told Jim when he got back from west Texas, "we got a letter today." Jim's dad and mother, Peter and Sarah Haile, had driven a covered wagon from Collin County just north of Dallas to Hamilton County, a distance of about 125 miles. "Grandma had baked two pound cakes to eat on the way down," Alma recalls, "and they had one left when they got to the ranch." "They had never seen Maw or any of us grand-kids so in order to get acquainted with us they cut the pound cake and gave each one of us a piece." "Grandpa and Grandma seemed to really enjoy holding us little kids," Alma remembers, "and they were sure amazed that there were so many of us."
Jim took his dad and mother over his ranch and showed them his cattle and horses. That night Jim killed a fat calf for supper. "We couldn't keep beef like we could pork," Alma said, "so what we didn't eat we gave to the neighbors." "But there was never much left to give away cause all us kids had a pretty healthy appetite." Lizzie had beans, fried potatoes, cucumbers and tomatoes out of the garden to go along with the fried steak. For desert they had fried apple pies.
Peter and Sarah Haile stayed about three days and then decided it was time for them to be starting back home. He was 74 years old and she was 66. Jim promised to come see them next summer, they hugged their little grandkids and shook hands with the big ones and were on their way home.
The cotton and corn crop was better than average this fall of 1896. Jim drove about 50 head of fat steers to Ft. Worth and got a good price for them. He was able to make a sizable payment on his land with the money he got from his cotton and calves. He really needed more land because his herds of horses and cattle were growing. He learned that 100 acres of good pastureland was for sale that joined the land he already owned. He hesitated a few months because the price of $14.75 an acre was more than he really wanted to pay. However, he and Lizzie decided that they couldn't pass up this opportunity so on December 1, 1896; Jim borrowed money from the First National Bank in Hamilton, Texas, and bought the land. He and Lizzie now owned 400 acres of land and about 175 head of cattle and maybe 40 head of horses. He was on his way to becoming the big rancher that he dreamed of being.
"Tug, go to the field and hoe with us today," Suc said. "I recon I was about 6 years old and I thought that would be fun," Alma recalled. "But I knew I better go and ask Paw cause if he found me over there and he hadn't told me to go I'd be in trouble." "I went and asked him if I could go and he said 'sure, go ahead'." "That was all of it, I had to hoe from then on," Alma remembers. Suc said, "I'll tell you what I'll do, I'll go fix us some bread and butter and take it along and if you get hungry you can eat it." Maw said, "no, you better not do that cause if Paw catches you over there in the field eating you will get a whipping." "Well, we didn't take any bread and butter with us cause we sure didn't want a whipping, especially from Paw."
The summer of 1897 was going to be a dry one. The oats had been bound, hauled and stacked at the barn. The garden had been gathered. Ollie and Dud had plowed the oat stubble and cultivated the corn and cotton with the new one row cultivator that Jim had bought. "Some of us kids had to follow along behind the cultivator and uncover any cotton or corn that had been covered by the cultivator," Alma recalls, "we always did this even if it meant staying out of school to do it."
Jim Haile had a grain binder in the early 1900's that he used to bind his oats and wheat. At first the bundles were hauled to the barn and stacked for winter-feed for the stock. Later when threshing machines came into the country, Mr. Haile had his grain threshed.
Jim had a cotton planter in the late 1890's. It was all wood except fro a duckbill furrow opener in front and two duckbill row coverers in the rear, both made of metal. The drum of soft wood measures 20 inches in diameter and 13 inches wide. About the center of the drum is a wooden, metal-rimmed wheel, which ran down the furrow, keeping the seeder on course. Near the wheel, and all around the drum are 13 evenly spaced holes thru which the seeds fell.
The creeks that furnished water for the stock in the pastures away from the ranch were beginning to run less and less all the time and there was no rain in sight. Jim didn't have any ponds to store water so the creek water was all he had for his cattle. "Paw pumped water for the stock on the home place from the well," Alma recalls. "The well was shallow and could only be pumped about 30 minutes before it would run dry." "Paw would get up every thirty minutes all during the night and pump the well dry to keep water for the stock." "When the creeks on the other pastures finally went dry, then Paw had to sell a lot of his stock and this sure did hurt," Alma remembers. "We had to carry water to the hogs and pour it in their wallows to keep them cool."
In spite of the dry weather the cotton and corn crops were fair. Jim drove what steers he had left plus a few more that he bought to Ft. Worth. Ollie and Dud were both very good horsemen and helped their dad with the drive.
Hog killing day was quite a special time. Jim had 12 hogs to kill this crisp November in 1897. Ollie shot a hog, cut his throat and bled him. Then he drug him with a team to the scraping vat that was full of boiling water. It was Dud's job to keep a good fire under the vat so that when the hogs were put into the vat, rolled with chains and then pulled out, their hair could be scraped off with butcher knives. When the hog was scraped clean of all hair, his hocks were split and a single tree was hooked thru the tendons of his legs and the hog was then hoisted up with a fence stretcher. Jim gutted each hog, cut off his head and chopped down his backbone with an ax. The Ollie and Dud would put their shoulders under a side of the hog and Jim would cut the tendon and each boy had half a hog on his shoulder. The meat was carried to a big table where Lizzie cut it up into hams, shoulders, ribs, tenderloin and sausage meat. The fat hat was cut off was saved to be made into soap. The intestines kept to be scrambled with eggs and the heart and liver were kept to be fried up and ate. The feet were boiled, the meat taken off and along with other scrap meat was made into souse or hog head cheese.
Lizzie then ground the sausage meat with her hand grinder and flavored it with salt, pepper, sage, sugar and other spices. Then it was stored in cloth sacks and some of it smoked. Other sausage was cooked down and then stored in big crock jars in lard. The scrap fat meat was cooked down and the fat was stored in buckets to be used for lard thru the year. The cracklins then were put in a big pot along with some lye and water, cooked and let cool then sliced and used for lye soap.
"We hung the shoulders, hams and side meat and some sausage in the smoke house," Alma recalls. "Then we would build a smoke and watch it for about a month so that the meat would have the right flavor." "Of course we had put the meat down in salt for awhile then washed all the salt off before we smoked it," Alma remembers.
The greatest joy of hog killing time was breakfast time when Lizzie and Ada fried the ribs and made brindle gravy. It would be poured over hot biscuits and butter, then covered with honey. The tenderloin was the featured meat for supper. It was a joyous time as Jim, Lizzie, Ollie, Ada, Dud, Lola, Allie, Alma and Little Jim sat at the sides of the long wooden table in the kitchen and lapped up their feast.
"We always boarded the school teacher too," Alma recalls, "and along with all of us around the table the teacher was there too." "If it was a man teacher, he would sleep with Ollie and if it was a woman teacher, she would sleep with us girls," Alma recalls. "I remember all my teachers," Alma remembers. "There was Mr. Hitt and Miss Cora Jinkens, she was my first teacher." "About the last eight years I went to school Charlie Wade was the teacher but he had a home close by so we didn't board him." "And then there was always some rancher or politician or some other traveler that stopped and stayed all night and ate with us," Alma says, "so you see we always had a bunch around our table."
It had rained a lot this spring of 1898. Jim's cotton, corn, oats and a little wheat were up pretty. Lizzie's garden looked like it would make plenty of potatoes, beans, tomatoes, sweet corn, onions and lettuce. The new calves and colts were a job to behold.
It had just rained and Jim decided it was time to go wolf hunting again. "I guess I was about 7 or 8 years old when Paw got his first hounds," Alma recalls. He got three to start with and then he raised them until he had about fourteen." "Paw made a horn out of a cow horn and when he blew that thing the old hounds just came running and howling like they were going to have a picnic." "Then Paw, Ollie, Dud, the hired hands and maybe a neighbor would all get on their horses and start out for the pastures." "They would try t keep up with the hounds when they got after a wolf and they always carried their hammers along with them and when they came to a fence they would take it down and when the hunt was over they would come back thru and put the fence back up." "Course they always jumped the rock fences cause they were not as high as the barbed wire." "When they caught a wolf the hounds always killed them" Alma says. "I remember one time Dud jumped a wolf as he was riding the fences." "Well, he didn't have the hounds with him so he took his cow whip and ran that wolf down and whipped it to death with the whip." "Paw went coon hunting down on the Leon River a lot too," Alma recalls. "He would go on a night when the moon was full and bright." "They caught lots of coons too."
Jim bought another 120 acres of land on May 9, 1898 for $400 and Lizzie was expecting her 9th baby in July. Jim decided that he would make another trip to west Texas to catch more wild horses. The trip was fairly successful but Jim knew that hunting wild horses was going to be a thing of the past soon because settlers were beginning to move into the west Texas desert lands.