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Family Memories
by
Vance Thurland Blalock Sr.

*I am sending some of the information you requested. Alfred Moore and Mary Ellen were living in Comanche, Stephens County, Oklahoma (Indian Territory) when they were married January 12, 1902. The marriage was performed by Mary Ellen's father, W.N. Hendricks who was a minister of the Gospel. Alfred was age 34 and Mary Ellen was age 21. Ulis Lincoln was born January 2, 1903. Mary Lucille was born August 13, 1904; died five months later -- cause of death: infection from a mosquito bite. I, Vance Thurland was born October 24, 1905.

It was some time before 1909 that Alfred and Mary Ellen decided to journey to Atascosa County, Texas and settle in the town of Christine. Before reaching their destination they made a stop-over for a while in the city of Berclair, located on Highway 59 between Goliad and Beeville in Goliad County. It was here Alfred taught singing school as that was what he did as an occupation. He also repaired clocks and watches. Before he met Mary Ellen, he was also a professional music teacher and played the fiddle for dances and other entertainment groups. He gradually quit teaching music after his arrival in Christine.

The journey was made in a covered wagon, and upon arriving, Alfred camped by an old flowing well until he was able to purchase 28 acres and build a one room house. There after, he would purchase 20 to 40 acres at a time until he had accumulated a small ranch covering around 400 to 500 acres. Most of the land was bought at tax sales. Aflred's brother, James Robert and wife, Becky, moved here, probably about 1911 or 1912. Since there was no closed season on deer hunting, both he and Dad did a lot of deer hunting. They also did a lot of trapping for fur-bearing animals as there was money to be made on furs. Uncle Jim's daughter, Viola, who was about 13 years old, clubbed to death a coyote that was caught in a trap.

In a later letter from Vance, he enclosed an article from the San Antonio Express News. The article was entitled "Simmon's Suckers Span the Globe," by George Carmack. The article was written following an interview of a St. Louis couple who came to Christine in 1909 as one of thousands of "Simmons Suckers." The article went on to relate that people came from all over the U.S. to buy land here in the land of milk and honey. This land sale was probably the biggest land swindle in history of the U.S. Dr. Simmons bought this land at about $1.50 per acre and sold it for about $10.00 per acre, besides the $2.10 application fee.

The land was not fenced when dad started farming, so we just turned the milk cows on the free range and put bells on them. They were fed burned pear that was burned on a wood fire and hauled to the house where we chopped it up and covered it with cotton seed meal. Does "land of milk and honey" sound like an easy life to you?? The reason we had free range for our cows and horses was because many people that bought land got up and left. The land was not what Simmons claimed - they had to leave or starve.

Dad was never engaged in the bee business. That was an occupation started by Ulis, which I later took over. I was still in the bee business when I married Edna in 1929. However, since Edna was allergic to bee stings, I took up farming and raising turkeys on the side. In 1936, Edna and I bought first 51 acres from C.W. McPhail. Then in 1946 we bought 80 acres from William Meuth of San Antonio, thus a change over to the cattle business, in a small way. Later, we would buy 20 or more acres until we accumulated about 500. At this time we and the children own about 1400 acres.

*Data from letters written by Vance to his sister, Sylvia