Samuel Leslie May (1892-1971) & Lillie Belle Goosby May

Samuel Leslie “Less” May was born December 16, 1892, in Falls County, Texas. He was the second son of the five boys born to S.R. May and Frances (Roberts) May. Less was twelve-years-old when the May family arrived in the Newburg Community on June 14, 1904. They settled near the homes of Frances’ sisters, Maggie and Nan. They had to grub trees and brush in order to clear the land, backbreaking work but worth the effort.

Less married Lillie Belle Goosby on November 5, 1915, in Newburg. She was born May 26, 1894, in Coryell County, the daughter of John Goosby and Mattie B. (Allen) Goosby. Lillie Belle’s great-great-grandfather came to Texas in 1821 with Stephen F. Austin’s “Old Three Hundred” colonists.

Less and Lillie Belle with little Frances

Less and Lillie Belle with little Frances

Less and Lillie Belle set up housekeeping and started farming in the Newburg Community. Less adored Lillie Belle, and they had three beautiful daughters before tragedy struck and Lillie Belle died suddenly from an apparent brain hemorrhage on January 5, 1924.

She was just thirty-years-old, and she had three little girls when she collapsed while baking cookies. Lillie Belle May is buried in the Newburg Cemetery. Less and Lillie were members of the South Leon Baptist Church.

Less and the girls Frances, six, Jean, four, and Nina Belle, two, moved in with his mother and father. His youngest brother, J.D., also lived in the household. J.D. was a tremendous help with the girls. He always had time to listen when they wanted to talk and even taught them to swim in the nearby creek.

Less’ brother, Earl, was married to Lillie Belle’s sister, Mary Lou, so naturally they were especially close to Aunt Lou and Uncle Earl. Less had two other brothers and they, along with their wives, all took the girls under their wing and helped in raising them. The May family was always a very loving, close-knit group.

Less played the fiddle in his younger years, and they all loved music. He enjoyed fishing and hunting with his grandchildren and was an expert marksman.

During World War II, Less did his best to help with the war effort and at the age of fifty, he moved with his eldest daughter, Frances, and son-in-law, J.N. Isham, to Denver, Colorado in order to work in the Remington Arms Ammunition Factory. In a letter home, Frances described his job as “pushing a truck,” which was a cart that carried bullets from one place to another. His starting pay was sixty-six cents per hour. As soon as the war was over, Less came home to Comanche County.

Less received great enjoyment from talking politics. He was a staunch democrat and voted a straight democratic ticket. “To get a good argument going, all you had to do was criticize Less’ democratic candidate or tell him you didn’t think you were going to vote that year in the election. He valued freedom and the right to vote very highly.”

Less died on June 14, 1971, and is buried alongside his beloved wife, Lillie Belle, in the Newburg Cemetery. Less was completely devoted to raising his daughters, but he never seemed to recover from his loneliness, always missing having Lillie Belle at his side.

Their children:

1. Frances Barbara Earl (2-26-1918; 6-15-1977, Oakwood Cemetery) married J.N. Isham (1-29-1917; 5-28-1979, Oakwood Cemetery) on May 14, 1938. (See separate article.)
2. Lillie Imogene “Jean” (2-09-1920; 3-10-2006, Oakwood Cemetery) married Doyle H. Dillard (3-01-1908; 10-05-1987, Oakwood Cemetery) on November 29, 1942.
3. Nina Belle (2-01-1922) married Rogers R. Foster (4-14-1911; 9-16-1995, Shreveport, LA) on July 8, 1961. Nina currently resides in Shreveport.

Info from Nina May Foster of Shreveport, Louisiana, Dale Isham of Granbury, Texas, and Janice Isham McCullough of Comanche, Texas

About Fredda Jones

Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for texansunited.com and marketing small-town Texas.
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