It was June 2, 1900 and Jim and Lizzie had just closed the deal to buy 1476 acres of land that was apart of the J.W. Neighbors land survey. Four dollars and seventy-five cents an acre was a lot of money to pay for land but Jim Haile wanted it so he made arrangements with the First National Bank at Hamilton, Texas for the money. Jim and Lizzie now had possession of 1990 acres of land but they owed a lot of money on it.
The Hailes now owned 75 head of horses and around 300 head of cattle and were farming about 200 acres of land. The cotton and corn would need to be worked one more time and it would be ready to lay by. The oats were ready to be cut too so Ollie and Dud got the binder ready and started cutting. This binder cut a 6-foot swath and tied a string around the oats and made a bundle. The operator could catch maybe a dozen bundles and then drop them in a pile. Ada, Lola, Allie, Suc, Tug, Kate and sometimes little Jim then came along and shocked the oats by hand. Then in about a month they hauled the oats to the barn and stacked them to be ready for winter-feeding.
"Kate and I always played together. We made play houses together and when a little chicken or duck died we'd go make us a graveyard. Kate would do the preaching and I'd do the crying," Alma laughs, "and the next time we went to our graveyard one of the dogs would have our graveyard all dug up.
We had to go to Olin, about 3 miles west, once a week for the mail," Alma recalls. "Besides the letters we received, we got the Hico Newspaper and several magazines, one of which was The Comfort and we also got the Sears and Roebuck catalogue about once a year. One time when Paw went after the mail there was a letter from his mother saying that his father had died and by the time Paw got the letter his dad was already buried." Peter Oliver Haile was born May 8, 1822 in Tennessee and died August 31, 1900 in Texas. He had come to Texas from Tennessee in the late 1850's with his wife Sarah Majors Haile, their two children, Susan Elizabeth and James Noble and had bought land in Collin County. He is buried in Nevada Cemetery in Nevada, Texas about 35 miles north east of Dallas.
The fall cotton and corn crop was good. The kids gathered 60 bales of cotton and about 600 bushels of corn. Jim drove some cattle to Ft. Worth and had enough money to make a sizeable payment on his note at the bank. The hogs had been killed and the turnips had been gathered and stored. The Haile family always enjoyed eating turnip greens every fall along with the fresh hog meat.
It was almost Christmas this fall of 1900 and the Hailes gave a community party at their house. "Paw went to town and got about 30 pounds of fancy candy in a big wooden bucket," Alma recalls. "Paw and Bascum Burney passed the candy around and of course some of them acted like a hog and took a whole hand full of candy. I knew Paw took the bucket of candy out before it was all gone," Alma laughs. "I said to Kate, they didn't eat all that candy, lets see if we can find it. We went down to the cotton seed house and found what was left of the bucket of candy behind some boards in the corner so we got us some more candy and Paw never did know it."
The Texas winters were very cold and the houses were not built well and cold air came thru the floor and walls. "We wore lots of clothes," Alma says. "Paw would go to town and buy a bolt of red cotton flannel and a bolt of cotton check material. Ada and Maw would make a long handle underwear for us. Us girls wore short-legged underwear and a red flannel underskirt under our cotton checked dresses. Each girl got two dresses each fall. Us kids always had to go outside night or day winter or summer when we had to go to the rest room," says Alma, "the chamber pot was reserved for Paw and Maw."
In the spring of 1901, a neighbor, Mr. Groomer, died. He had quite a large number of long horned cattle and Jim Haile bought them. They had never been out of the brush and were wild and very hard to handle. Jim took all the boys and the hired hands and about a dozen wolfhounds and finally succeeded in rounding them up and driving them back to the ranch. Jim got some of the neighbors to come help him to saw off the long horns and brand them. "All of us kids and the neighbor's kids were up on the plank fence watching them," Alma recalls. "All of a sudden the gate just flew open and those wild cattle came boiling out of there. Well, all us kids jumped out in front of them and started waving our arms and bonnets to try to keep them in the lot." "Get out of the way or they will kill you," Paw yelled. "They all got on their horses and got them all back in the lot, except one. They didn't know at the time that there was one of those wild cattle still running loose. Paw sent us kids to the field to hoe cotton," Alma says. "All of a sudden we looked up and saw that old wild cow in the cotton patch! Well, we thought we better drive her out of the field because she would eat the young cotton. All of a sudden that old cow took out after Lola! Lola took off down the hill and boy she was really running," Alma laughs, "she was flopping her coat tail. Well, Lola was running so hard she fell down and the cow's horn just touched the back of her hand and the cow just kept on running! We were so excited and we ran to tell Maw!" "Maw said, it's the God's blessing you fell down Lola," Alma remembers, "and I guess it was at that, cause the old cow would have run her down for sure."
It was June 24, 1901 Ada's 18th birthday. "Paw gave her a gold watch," Alma recalls, "this was unusual cause us girls always just got a 'whipping' for our birthdays. Paw almost always gave the boys a saddle or a calf for their birthdays cause I guess he figured they needed them cause they would someday have a farm of their own."
Samuel Francis "Doc" Carson had decided that he had had enough of clerking in Sellers and Connley hardware and general merchandise store in Hico so he made a deal with Mr. Hooker to trade some land that Mr. Carson owned, to Mr. Hooker for about 400 acres just across the road west from the Haile ranch. "I can remember the Carsons coming out to look at the land," Alma recalls. "It was summertime of 1901. They came out in a covered wagon Mr. And Mrs. Carson, Carl, Thurman and Forrest. Arien came out that day cause I think she didn't want to move to the country. They came over to see us, I guess to see what kind of neighbors they would have," Alma Says. "Mrs. Carson went into the house to talk with Maw and Mr. Carson went to the field to talk with Paw. Dud took Carl out to the let and they rode some calves. I can still remember seeing Carl jump over the lot fence and take out after a calf," Alma laughs.
The Carsons must have liked the neighbors because they bought that 400 acres of land and Mr. And Mrs. 'Doc' Carson, Carl, Arien, Thurman and Forrest moved to a little two-room log cabin there in the fall of 1901. The house had a small room on the front porch where Carl and Thurman slept. "There was a family named Burden living in the larger plank house at that time," Alma recalls, "then the Burdens moved out in the spring of 1902 and the Carsons moved up to the larger plank house."
The Haile kids and the Carson kids went to Gum Branch School together and also attended Sunday school there too. "Some older person would teach the lesson and sometimes there would be 30 or 40 young people in the class," Alma recalls. "Mrs. Mattie Carson taught the class a good bit of the time. After Sunday School those that wanted to go to preaching service would go 3 miles west to Olin Baptist Church. The Carsons put their letters in the Olin Church while they lived on the farm across from us," Alma recalls.
It was right after Christmas of 1902, the Hailes and Carsons and other neighbors had parties together and Lizzie was expecting her 11th child just any time.
January 6, 1902, Jim sent all the kids to the neighbors and then he went to Fairy after Dr. Young. Lizzie gave Jim another boy and they decided to name him Cubbie Hooker Haile. The middle name 'Hooker' was for Mr. Hooker who was a respected businessman and landowner of the community. Jim was 48; Lizzie 40 and they now had 10 children at home. Ollie 22, was courting a pretty girl, Dora Laing, whose family had recently moved to the community. Ada was 19, Dud 17, Lola 15, Allie 13, Alma 11, Kate 9, Little Jim 7, Mollie 3 and Cubbie was the new baby. The daughter that was born dead would have been 4, had she lived. Cubbie's first name was from Mr. Hooker too.
Jim Haile now owned almost 2000 acres of pasture and farmland and also rented land close by, but like all landowners, he wanted more. On February 2, 1902, he bought 640 acres from the W.W. Morris survey for $33 and acre. This purchase gave him a total of 2632 acres for which he paid a grand total of $11,967, at an average of $45 per acre.
The springtime of 1902 was beautiful. "I can still remember when us kids were walking home from school we would see Paw with a tow sack across his shoulder sewing oats by hand," Alma recalls. "He could sew 15 or 20 acres a day that way," she said. The cotton, corn and oats were up pretty and Lizzie's garden was a joy to behold. Her beautiful flowers that were a part of every spring helped make the ranch a better place to live. The zinnias, periwinkles, morning glory vines, marigolds and cannas were a joyous part of her day.
Jim had been raising Hereford cattle for several years and the new red calves with white faces were enough to make any rancher proud. His new colts were pretty too, especially the paint colts. Jim liked paint horses and decided that before long he was going to buy every paint mare he could.
Across the road the Carson's crops looked good too, especially the cotton.
Jim and Lizzie felt that their kids needed to know something about music so when spring came they sent all their kids that were old enough to singing school, which was held at Gum Branch School. "They always had writing schools in the fall and of course a local person who knew a little bit about music and wanted to make a little extra money. He charged $1 a head for tuition. I was only 11 years old," Alma recalls, "and I couldn't catch on to all of it. I learned the lines and spaces and could sing do re me but I never really caught on. The teacher said I would make a good alto. Poor Dud," Alma laughs, "he couldn't carry a tune in a bucket, but the teacher would fa so la ti do. Everybody would get so tickled at him, but he stayed right there and tried anyway." The Carson kids, Carl, Arien, Thurman also attended these singing schools and it was there that Carl really began to notice Lola.