Think there’s no one left who remembers coming to this area in a covered wagon? Wrong! Just ask Missy Jones of Comanche, Texas who remembers very well coming to the county in a covered wagon when she was three years old.
“I can remember so much about that trip, the sounds, the smells, even that it turned cold while we were enroute.”
Here’s how it all came to be:
Minnie Steward and William Cornelius Cox were married in Comanche County in 1912. In 1923 or 24, the couple packed up their young family and moved them to Big Spring, Texas where William joined his brother Joe in a farming venture.
“Daddy paid seventy-seven dollars to rent a boxcar to carry all of our belongings and livestock. These were huge farms with a home furnished on them.
“Mama and Daddy were doing really well. They had an open touring car and came to Comanche many times. They even had enough to load up the car with vegetables and chickens and take them to share with Mama’s sister and her husband who lived in Midland, Texas.”
And then something called the Great Depression possessed the country…
“My daddy said that during the late 1920s and early 1930s you couldn’t sell your farm products or even give them away. Nobody had money or even a job to make any money. He said that they would have a wagon load of headed maize that they had planted, harvested, cut the heads off of, and haul…and no sale.
“Many didn’t have a place to go during the depression years, but we were fortunate because my grandfather, Cornelius Nicholas Cox, owned a place in Comanche County, near Gustine. There were still two houses on it, and we decided to move into one of them.
“When Mama and Daddy decided to move back, he sent $20.00 to two nephews in Comanche, Willis Steward (Beth Martin’s Dad) and Hilton Burks (and that was a LOT of money then). They rode the bus to Big Spring where Daddy had a flatbed truck.
“They loaded the furniture and anything else that was coming back to Comanche on the trailer, and Willis and Hilton brought it all back to Grandpa Cox’s place. He had passed away, but the family owned the place until the mid 1940s.”
Believe it or not, the Cox family then traveled from Big Spring to Comanche in a covered wagon. Missy was only three-years-old, but she remembers much about the trip.
“I can see so well the light coming in through the ducking (wagon sheet) over the wagon. Mama had made the cover, and it was a light creamy color. In typical style, she made the back of it with a drawstring that you could pull tight and close into a circle, but I remember how the light looked.
“Daddy had extended the wagon bed out a little for two beds on the back sides of the wagon. My brother, Wilburn, loved to read western magazines (called Pulp magazines). I can just see him lying on the right side as we went down the road, reading. He could also play the French harp (harmonica) really well. I can just hear him playing “Ragtime Annie,” an old dance tune.
“I can also hear the trace chains and the harnesses jangling as we went down the road. I remember seeing a house as we passed by. It was foggy one morning, and these people had chalkware animals setting out in their yard for sale. Daddy bought Geneva a big green frong that she had for many years.
“I was told that it turned really cold as we were traveling. Geneva could make the best light breads and hot rolls. We were bringing the bread “starter” down to Comanche, and it froze during the trip.
“I did not think to ask how long it took to travel that distance. This was in the spring of the year when we moved.
“We rented a house for a few months until the other house on the place was ready for us. Wilburn and Daddy made a peanut crop that first year.”
And as I say nearly every single day of my life…you just never know, do you? We would LOVE to tell your story as well here at Texans United…and we DON’T expect you to have traveled in a covered wagon!
*Photo from encyclopedia.com