"Maw was expecting her 12th baby and all us girls helped her a lot. We did all the house work and outside work and took care of Mollie and Cubbie," Alma recalls. "It was a cold winter and the wind blew hard and it snowed a lot. We kept pretty warm cause we all wore all those cloths that Ada and Maw had made for us."
Ella Ibera was born January 21, 1904. Him was 50, Lizzie 42, Ollie 24, he was married and lived on the Roger's place, Ada 21, Dud 19, Lola 17, Allie (Sue) 15, Alma (Tug) 13, Kate 11, Little Jim 9, the daughter that was born dead would have been 6, Mollie 5, Cubbie 2, and Eller was a new baby.
"There was somebody extra staying at our house all the time," Alma recalls. "Peddlers selling pots and pans and spices and books just anything. The neighbors would send them to our house to stay the night. One old feller got to calling himself our malignant boarder cause he stayed so much. Candidates running for county offices like tax assessors, county commissioners, sheriffs, travelers, ranchers just anybody traveling through would stay all night," Alma recalls. "They would sleep in the room with the boys or if it was somebody real important or an extra good friend of Paw's, then they would sleep in the girls room and all of us girls would have to sleep on the floor by the fireplace. One time there were two cowmen who came to the ranch to stay all night and of course, all us girls had to move out and let them have our room. We didn't have any place to put our Sunday hats so we put them in the boxes and pushed them under the bed. Well, those two fellows were pretty good sized and when they went to bed they broke the bed down and mashed our hats," laughs Alma, "we were pretty mad about it too."
Carl Carson was 20 years old and was very much in love with Sarah Lorena Haile who lived across the road on the Haile ranch. Carl was jealous of Burt Burney and he could hardly stand for Burt to come around the ranch to see Lola. I remember the day Carl came to ask for Lola. He got on a horse and rode to the field where Paw was working. "How are you going to make a living," Paw asked him. Carl said he didn't know for sure so Paw told him he better go down and talk to Maw. I can remember when he came to the house. It liked to scare me to death. I didn't want Lola to get married cause I thought it was awful for a family to be separated. I just cried and cried! I'd hear Maw and Paw and Lola talking about the marriage and I'd be drying dishes and I'd go out behind the house and cry some more.
May 24, 1904 was a very special day at the Haile ranch. Jim and Lizzie's first daughter was getting married. Big plans were made for the wedding. The Carsons were invited, all the young folks in the community came and of course, all the Hailes. Brother S.A. Raines, who had married Ollie and Dora, performed the ceremony.
Carl Francis Carson 20, and Sarah Lorena Haile 17, were married this beautiful spring day in May. After the wedding we had a big dinner. Then we all went to the Olin Baptist Church for a worship service.
They lived with Carl's folks for a while. Then they moved to the little 2 room gray house just down the hill from our house where Ollie and Dora lived for awhile. Then they moved across the road into a little log cabin on Grand-Pa Carson's place and that's where Oran was born. It was the same little log cabin that all the Carsons lived in when they first moved out from Hico. Paw gave Lola a cow, a horse, and two pigs to help get them started.
The following children were born to this union. Oran Haile, March 3, 1905, Clyde Lewis, December 10, 1906, Aubrey Francis, April 7, 1909, Thurman Orville, December 27, 1910, Raymond Morris, January 27, 1913, Evelyn Lorena, January 6, 1915, Ursie Louise, July 28, 1923, Carl Francis Jr., November 3, 1925, and Edward Eugene, January 21, 1928.
Jim Haile loved to hunt. He had probably a half dozen coon dogs and maybe 8 or 10 wolfhounds. On rainy days Jim would take his boys, any neighbors that wanted to ride along and all his wolfhounds and start out. The sport of the hunt was to see the hounds run a wolf or coyote down and to follow along on horseback. On cold fall nights Jim would take his coon dogs and hunt along the Leon River. It was a great pass-time for him and he really enjoyed it.
In the spring of the year if Paw happened to see a bee getting a drink of water at a river or creek where he crossed he would watch that bee fly off. Then he would go in the direction the bee had flown and soon he would find the 'bee tree.' He would rob it and boy did we ever enjoy eating honey in the comb.
Paw would find a swarm of bees and he would build a hive and put the bees in it. Then he would put sugar in the bottom of the hive for the bees to eat. The trouble was that the ants would get in there and kill all the bees.
We had a neighbor who would occasionally slip over into our pasture and steal a few head of cattle. Paw always knew who it was, but when Paw would get to pressing him close, the neighbor would slip the cattle back into our pasture and things would quiet down for awhile and then he would do it again.
Ollie and Dud broke the hoses. Ollie was good on a horse, but he never could ride like Dud - he was best at riding and roping that I ever saw. Every spring we'd have a roundup to castrate and brand the new calves. The neighbors would help Paw and the boys with our roundup then when the neighbors got ready Paw would take the boys and the hired hands and go over and help the neighbor back. Course Paw always did more for the neighbors than they did for us but that didn't make Paw any difference.
If some of the neighbors got sick and couldn't hoe his cotton or pick it in the fall, Paw would send all us kids over to help him. Paw furnished milk cows for several of the neighbors who couldn't afford to buy them. He would also let them cut wood off his land if they would get the dead wood. Paw was good to help his neighbors.
It was August of 1904. The oats had been harvested and the ground plowed, the corn and cotton was laid by, the garden was gathered, the preserves and jellies and pickles were put up. The cattle and horses looking good and the hogs were almost big enough to butcher.
Jim Haile decided to take his family to Collin county, about 125 miles north and east, to see his mother and his brother Oliver and sister Susan and their families. Maw didn't want to go cause she was sick all the time and Ella was only 6 months old. Paw felt like the whole family should go cause grandma was old and we might never see her again. "Tell you what I'll do," Paw said. "I'll put a feather bead in the wagon and you can lay on it all the way up and back," he said to Maw. Course it would have been better for Maw if she had sat in the spring seat of the wagon cause when you lay on a feather bed all the feathers go out from under you and you are lying on the hard floor.
Carl and Lola had been married about three months and lived in the little gray house just down the hill from the ranch house and Ollie and Dora lived on the Rogers place about a mile north. Paw decided to let Carl and Lola milk the cows, pick the peaches, and feed the hogs and chickens one day and Ollie and Dora do it the next. He let them keep the peaches and milk and eggs and he thought this was fair to all of them.
We took a covered wagon with the grub box at the back. The back let down and made a table and also held all the grub and eating utensils. We also took a double buggy and two horse backers and led one extra horse in case a horse went lame. We put Maw's feather bed in the wagon just behind the spring seat. There was Paw, Maw, Ada, Dud, Suc, Tug, Kate, Jim, Millie, Cubbie, and Ella that made the trip.
The first night out we camped at the side of the road right by a cemetery and I was never so scared in all my life. I was afraid one of those dead people would come out of a grave and get me. We all got to bed on our pallets and just as Paw blew the lantern out he said, "Kids, a dead person won't hurt you," and that scared me worse than ever. I never slept a wink that night I was waiting for the dead people to come out of the graves and get us. Paw had a horse that always came and laid down at the end of his pallet and his horse kinda served as Paw's watch dog cause if anything came around that horse always got up and started making noise. During the night the horse jumped up and I did too and so did Paw and Dud, but there wasn't anything wrong the horse was just moving around a little bit. That was an awful night for us kinds being there lying on the ground on that very dark night right next to a cemetery.
We got to Cleburn, Texas the next day at noon and ate dinner with Maw's brother Uncle John Atkinson. We had to leave one of the horses there that had gone lame. We left Cleburn the next morning early and Paw decided to go through Dallas to show us kids the town. We went right down the main street about an hour before sundown and the wagons, buggies, and horses were so thick in the streets that we could hardly move. Of course the streets were not paved and the dust was so thick we could hardly breathe. It settled all over us and almost choked us to death and we were so glad to get out of there and find us a place to camp.
It took us over three days to get to Nevada, Texas just NE of Dallas where Paw's folks lived cause Paw never would let his horses trot. Grandma Sarah was an old, old woman and Paw couldn't get over how much she had aged since he had seen her last. We stayed a day with Aunt Susan Steinberg and her kids and Ada and one of her grown boys went to the First Baptist Church in Nevada that night cause it was Sunday. Susie Mae, Oliver's wife, had just had a baby before we got there and Maw and Ada had to do her work for a day or two until she got to feeling pretty good again. Grandma hadn't seen us bigger kids for 5 or 6 years and this was her first time to see Mollie, Cubbie, and Ella.
We got back to Uncle John's at Cleburn and stopped and stayed all night and got the horse we had left there. There was a Negro woman walking by the side of the road carrying a little black baby. I asked Maw if I could stop and get that little nigger. I wanted it so bad. Maw said that that mother thinks as much of that baby as I do any of you. I thought that little black baby was so cute and I wanted it so bad and I would have had my own little nigger.
When we got back to the Brazos River it was running bank full and rolling and red. Dud and Jim rode across the river on horseback to find a place where we could cross. We started across and the water got up in the wagon and buggy beds and we were all pretty scared of being washed away.
When we got home we were all so tired that we all went into the house and went to bed. The next morning Paw went to the cotton field and it was as white as snow with cotton that needed to be picked right then. Maw and Ada started making cotton sacks and we started picking cotton and it took us until almost Christmas to get it all picked, but we had some help.
This cotton crop of 1904 was the biggest crop that Jim Hails ever made and it kept him busy hauling the cotton to the gin in Hico. We looked up one day and saw two wagons coming toward the cotton patch. Paw had hired two families to help us. We had never had help before but this was such a big crop that Paw decided we needed help. We made 90 bales of cotton and Paw got about $30 a bale so we did pretty good that fall.
Jim Haile's corn crop of 1904 was better than average too and this gave him lots of feed for stock feed and home use. We used lots of corn meal at the house making corn bread. It took a lot of it to feed us, and the dogs too. We made hominy too but we only made it in the winter. We would fill the wash pot about half full of corn then fill the pot on up with water. When the corn swelled the pot would be brimming full. We'd tie up a rag full of ashes and put it in the pot of corn and cook it all day long. The ashes would make the husks come off the corn then we'd wash the corn at the well to get the husks off and the ashes out, and then we'd store the hominy in crocks.