The Jarvis Family and Other Relatives

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Memories of Grandpa and Texas

We spent a lot of time at Grandpa Jarvis's ranch when C. D. (Clarence Damon) and I were little. I remember when Dub (Walter Curtis) was born there and the doctor's horse and buggy was hitched in front of the house most of that day. C. D. and I were sent out to play and I think we spent most of the day down at the creek. We were wondering what strange things were going on up at the house.

I remember one Christmas spent there and going to church in Lampasas in Grandpa's buckboard. Anyone who never did it sure missed a lot of real fun riding wagons, buggies and buckboards. We always got to ride in to town to get the few groceries not grown on the place.

Most of all I remember summer days when Grandpa made ice cream, using ice from his ice house that has been cut on the creek the winder before. He would wrap us up in blankets to keep us warm after we got at least two helpings of that good homemade ice cream.

He (Grandpa) loved to try little poems and "tounge-twisters" on us and once, when I flubbed up on "I had a little dog his name was Rover, etc.," he laughed so hard, while I was on his lap, the rocking chair broke down.

Once while we were there, Uncle Damon took C. D. and I with him to pick peaches. Naturally C. D. and I ate too many green ones, so Uncle Damon said if we ate some salt right away we'd vomit them up and not get the cramps. Well, we figured if that was the case then some of Grandpa's Brown Mule chewing tobacco might help along the process - it did! Needless to say, I don't think either one of us ever tried chewing tobacco again until many years later.

Grandpa had a nice big fireplace where we always gathered after supper on winter evenings to listen to panther stories and the way things went "in the old days." We stuck it out until we fell asleep and got carried off to bed.

I remember how fascinated we were to watch how Grandpa could peel apples for us, leaving a single long peel without breaking it. Also he impressed us wit his ability to pick up red hot coals from the fireplace to light his pipe and put it back in without getting burned. I also remember what a disaster it was when I tried it.

All the uncles and aunts called Grandpa "Pap." We always enjoyed it when he would come to visit us in Corpus Christi and Odem, Texas in later years.

He loved to go fishing and I still remember how he once came and held onto the back of my overalls to keep a big red fish from pulling me off the pier in Corpus Christi. We couldn't lift it up on the pier and had t play him back to the beach to drag him out. He also came to my aid once when a tarpon made short work of my cane pole and cotton line. I think I was six or seven at the time.

Grandpa Jarvis died at Uncle Jim's farm on the Oden-Sinton Road. He was more accustomed to the dry summer heat of the Hill Country and the humid heat in Odem brought on a sun stroke that killed him. He was returned to Lampasas to be buried in the Dobyville Cemetery beside Grandma Jarvis.

Grandma Jarvis died when I was about one year old and I have no memories of her except from hearing the uncles and aunts talk about her.

I do not remember anything about Uncle John and do not recall ever seeing him. He died when I was about 7 years old and Dad and Uncle Jim went to his funeral in San Antonio.

Aunt Annie was a superintendent at the asylum in Austin until she retired, as I recall it. I don't recall seeing her until after she had married. She and Uncle Barnes came to visit us in Odem in the late '20s. I still remember how he would laugh each time he saw a Texas jackrabbit and saying "We never had hares in England with ears like that." He laughed a lot and still thought cowboys still led the same kind of life they did back in the trail driving days.

Aunt Jennie (Mary Jane) used to visit us in San Antonio and at Odem when we were little. I don't remember much about her now but I think they lived in Calallen, Texas at the time. I remember visits from her daughters, Joyce and Selma, but I don't think I ever saw any of them after the early 1920's. So far, I have been unable to contact anyone that can give me their history.

I recall seeing Uncle Ten (Tennyson) in Corpus Christi, but do not recall ever seeing him until we moved to Odem. I recall several visits to their house in Corpus Christi while we were still in school. Grace, T.M, Leslie and all of us played together often in Corpus Christi. I recall when Grace was "Maid of Cotton" one year. Also, I remember we had to war those hated knickers until Leslie and T.M. got the first long pants in that area and then I was able to talk mother into letting me get some. How I hated those "knee pants" and those caps with ear flaps. I used to hide my cap under a bush on my way to school and pick it up on the way home. I couldn't wait to get a wide brimmed hat. I'll never own any cattle or a ranch, but I'll wear the Texas sombrero until I die.

I cannot remember Uncle Lewis and Aunt Cora. I think they had already gone to East Texas when we were little. I think they did visit us once in Odem.

We lived near Uncle Jim (James Franklin) when we first moved to Odem and in the same town until I left Odem to join the Navy. We stayed at their place after we left San Antonio and were waiting to get a place in Corpus Christi. We later got the farm near the Steins and not far from Uncle Jim's place. So all of us have many fond memories of times spent with Uncle Jim, Aunt Myrtle, Cleo and Regina. Since I was the first Jarvis to leave Odem the rest will have memories of things I missed out on.

When we were small we usually lived near enough to Uncle Floyd, Aunt Phrona and Leslie so that there were frequent visits. Uncle Floyd is the only one that I had a chance to talk to and ask questions about the Jarvis family history and that was the few times I got home on leave after joining the Navy. He was a great kidder and loved to tease. Once when I was asking where the family came from, he got that smile on his face and said, "Well, we never really kept up with the ones that didn't have the gumption to move to Texas." I remember trying to talk Aunt Phrona into fixing me some of her good fried potatoes when mother cut me off after the doctor said I was eating too much of them. We had some good fishing trips to the bay and Leslie and I had great times playing together when they lived in Regugio and when he visited us on the farms in Odem. Now, Aunt Phrona, the one one left of the family, has married Sam Purcell and those of us that have visited them love Sam just like we always knew him. I felt like I'd known him all my life after talking to him a short time.

I can't recall seeing Uncle Mark until he, Aunt Thelma and our cousins visited us in Odem in the late 1920's. I think it was while Uncle Mark was a postmaster in Oklahoma. Aunt Thelma still lives in Arapaho, OK. The last I heard, she was recovering from a broken hip, but was afraid she would never be able to walk well again.

I vaguely recall seeing Uncle Simon and Aunt Josie when we visited Lampasas right after W. C. was born, but don't recall seeing them again until we visited them in Lampasas in 1973. Aunt Josie was very ill then and died the next year. I was surprised to find Uncle Simon so tall and believe he was still about 6' 4" and he seemed to be in excellent health, but he died before we went back to Texas in 1975.

We got to visit Aunt Lula and Uncle Hubbard on their ranch several times when we were small. They had lots of sheep and a large flock of turkeys. I can remember Dad and Uncle Hubbard splashing through a swampy area after bull frogs and that Mother and Aunt Lula had a time cooking the legs because they were still jumping in the frying pan. No one would eat them except Dad and Uncle Hubbard. That was the time I jumped up to chin myself on a rafter on the front porch and ran a fish hook through my thumb - lots of noise around there when Dad cut off the barb and pulled it through. Also, that's the time we were watching flying squirrels on a big oak tree in front of the house just before dark and lightening struck the tree, split off the top with flying squirrels going in all directions. It shook the house like a quake and almost burst the wood stove apart, to ruin a batch of Aunt Lula's good biscuits that she had almost ready for supper. We were able to visit Aunt Lula in 1973, 1975 and in 1980 when she lived alone in another house on the same ranch.

We got to see Uncle Damon and Aunt Ethel fairly often when we lived in San Antonio, but I don't remember much until they moved to Odem and lived next to us when Wayne was born there. The last time our family visited in the Lampasas area was the time we made that trip in the truck Dad fixed up for the first school bus to be used in the Odem area. Dad used it to bring in students from the Edroy area to the Odem schools. While we stayed at Uncle Damon's on that trip, I slept in the bus and one morning the wild turkeys calling on the creek woke me up real early and I crawled out with my old long barrel Stevens.22 - it was cold and frost was on the ground. I spooked the turkeys, but spotted a squirrel in an oak on the bank of the creek. The squirrel was going round the trunk trying to hide - I was following him around, looking up trying for a shot when I tripped and fell backward into that cold creek - took me only a few seconds to run back to the truck and get on some warm clothes. After they moved away from Odem to the Hill Country I never got to see any of them again. I still remember that I once talked Uncle Damon into letting me shoot that big Colt 44 Frontier model pistol he had and it nearly broke my arm - I was aiming at the bottom of a big mesquite tree and hit a branch on top of it!

Written by Hamelton Warren Jarvis
Everett, Washington
April 15, 1982

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