King H. Kennedy moved with his family from Comanche County to Fisher County in 1894, in covered wagons and horseback. He tried to farm in Fisher County but the dry weather forced him to another location. He had heard that there was land to be homesteaded in Dickens County and that it was a prosperous country. Well, he decided to see about it. He had a good horse so he made the trip on horseback alone.
He would spend nights at ranch headquarters. He left his family in Fisher county while prospecting. He was gone three weeks. It took three days to ride to Dickens County; his horse was tired so he stayed extra to let his horse rest and look the country over.
He homesteaded 320 acres of land about six miles northeast from Dickens and then came back to Fisher County to move his family.
At that time the family consisted of K.H. Kennedy and his wife, Hattie; three daughters, Pearl, Addie and Goldie, and two sons, Vernon and Sabe.
Our father knew he would be traveling several days so he built some feed boxes on the front of the wagon for the horses to eat out of; then he got a 10-gallon keg to carry water in. He fastened the keg on the side of the wagon. He made a chuck box to fit in the back end of the wagon with shelves for the pots and pans, and other miscellaneous items that we would need on our journey to Dickens.
All went well the first day but the first night our baby, Goldie, fell out of the wagon in the middle of the night.
Just before we left Fisher County, my mother's brother, Chap Howard came to visit Addie and I, and gave each of us a horse. My horse was an Indian pony that was really gentle. He worked good to a buggy. So Addie and I put all of our "belongings" in the buggy and led her horse.
When we came to the Double Mountain River it was up; there was no bridge across the river. Father went to Mr. Rogers; a farmer, who lived near by and got another team to put in front of our team so they could go fast and they wouldn't sink in the quicksand. Addie and I rode in the buggy behind the wagon; the water was up in the buggy except in the seat. We stood up in the seat yelling as loud as we could. I remember seeing our things go down the river. I shall never forget that muddy old river.
We got to Dickens in May 1898. We stopped on the south side to rest and let our horses have water. There was a saloon on the northwest corner of the Square. The courthouse was really new and shiny. It was built in 1893. We spent the night there. The next day we went on to our claim near Croton Flat, where we were to make our home.
At first we lived in a tent. We had a dug-out but it was like a strainer, it never quit leaking. We had to use all the pots and pans to keep the water off of us. Afterwards we went further down the flat, and this time built a good warm dug-out. We lived there several years and sold the place.
We went to school in a one-room house, called Noview, and taught by C.L. Sone. Most of the children rode horseback, and some came a long distance. The house was located on the J.M. Foster's place down under a hill; you could not see very far, so that is why they named it Noview.
We had preaching once a month. Brother Bilberry and Brother Stegall, early pioneer preachers preached for us. Mrs. L.G. Crabtree played the organ and led the singing. We had Sunday School every Sunday and L.G. Crabtree was our Superintendent.
In the summer, when it came time for a "A Great Revival" the men built a brush arbor and dug a well under the old Cottonwood tree. I remember several families would come and spend the week. There were shouting at those meetings. Something about those meetings that made you want to attend every service.
In the summer of 1902 a meeting was in progress, Mrs. W.L. Law and Mrs. John Rogers shouted and went to everyone there and asked them to go to Heaven with them. On the following Wednesday God took Mrs. Law to Heaven. Little Alice Ham was drowned in a cistern and Mrs. Law started to go over to the Ham's place and the horse became frightened and turned the buggy over breaking her neck. So Little Alice and Mrs. Law were buried at the same time in the Dickens Cemetery.
Our father worked on ranches and was gone from home most of the time. We children had a lot of experiences with rattlesnakes and Prairie Dogs. It wasn't anything unusual to get thrown off of a horse.
One time it came a real cold norther; only thing we had to keep warm was by the cookstove; when the norther was over and weather was warm, we kids decided to build a fireplace to the dug-out. I guess we would have made the Dirt-dobbers ashamed of themselves if they had seen it.
We used that fire place as long as we lived in that dug-out and kept warm by it. We used red clay to make the rocks stay together.
We had a bull-dog that wouldn't let our daddy come home without someone guarding him. One time he came home while we were gone to church. The dog guarded him until we got home.
There were 13 children in our family; three died in infancy. Sabe Kennedy died in 1947; Minnie Kennedy Jenkins died in Houston; the other children are Pearl Kennedy Richey; Addie Kennedy Bouchane; Ruth Kennedy Partridge; Goldie Kennedy Nichols, Ted, Orval, Louis and Vernon. Our father died in 1931 and mother died in 1954.
Sabe and Vernon Kennedy served in World War I with the Armed Forces in France and Germany; Sabe was with the Cavalry and Vernon with the Artillery. Louis went to Japan in the Second World War. He got malaria and has been in bad health ever since. He is classified as being totally disabled and spends most of his time in Veteran's Hospital.
There were lots of hardships for the old timers, but they were also mixed with good things, while he was enduring these hardships.
Source: History of Dickens County; Ranches and Rolling Plains, Fred Arrington, ©1971, page 278
King H. Kennedy, 70, native Texan and pioneer of West Texas died at his home at Dickens, Monday December 21. Mr. Kennedy had been in ill health for the past several months, suffering from dropsy, and although he was known to be in a critical condition, his death came as a shock to his family and many friends over this section.
Mr. Kennedy moved with his family to this county in 1895 and has been a continuous resident here since that date. He was a highly respected and progressive citizen and has taken in active part in the upbuilding of the county and community in which he lived. This section suffers a real loss in his passing.
Surviving members of the family are his wife, Mrs. Hattie Kennedy, Mrs. A. J. Richey, Louis, Sabe, and Maggie Kennedy, Mrs. Cecil Nichols, and Mrs. Ruth Partridge.
Interment was made in the Dickens Cemetery.
©The Texas Spur, December 24, 1931
Funeral services were held Friday morning at 10 a.m. at the First Baptist Church, of Dickens for Mrs. Hattie K. Kennedy.
Mrs. Kennedy had lived in Dickens since 1898, moving here from Comanche county, Texas. She died unexpectedly Tuesday morning, Aug. 31.
Born April 12, 1870, she was married to King Kennedy on Sept. 12, 1892. She joined the Methodist Church at the age of 13 years.
Rev. Victor Crabtree and Rev. A.P. Stokes officiated for the final rites.
Mrs. Kennedy was survived by her children, Vernon H. and L.D. of Miami, AZ, Ted of Lordsburg, NM, Orville of Coolidge, AZ, Mrs. C.A. Nichols of Baird, Mrs. Ruth Green of Dickens and two step daughters, Mrs. Addie Bouchane of Detroit, Mich. and Mrs. A.J. Richie of Dickens.
Other survivors include one sister, Mrs. Joe Gaines of Matador and one brother, Buddy Mille of McAdoo, 28 grandchildren, 29 great grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren.
Serving as pallbearers were Fred Arrington, Johnnie Koonsman, Hugh Swaringen, Frank Murphy, Robert Reynolds and Gene Carroll.
Interment was in Dickens Cemetery with Chandler´s Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.
©The Texas Spur; September 9, 1954
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