Mr. J.P. Koonsman and wife, Nancy Harriet, and their family of seven children moved to Dickens County in November of 1912. They moved by wagons, and on horseback, drove their small herd of cattle across the great plains country, from Hale Center to the home five miles East of Dickens. They camped one night on the old Gollihar farm near McAdoo, the farm house on this place was a land mark near McAdoo for a number of years, but it was destroyed by fire a few years ago.
Mr. Koonsman served on the Croton school board for some six or eight years. He was instrumental in helping to establish the Community there. He was considered a pretty fair fiddler in those days, and a new piano was bought for the home a short time after they moved to the Croton community, and this home, because it was a home of much merriment, happiness and entertainment, often found the young people there being entertained with parties, musicals and Sunday night sing songs.
The Koonsman family farmed and ran cattle, there were always four or five saddle horses in the corrals, and as many saddles in the racks. Mrs. koonsman used to say she was happiest when her boys were all home, and all four saddles were in the stalls. In later years the boys began to leave home and establish homes of their own, she said it was a sad feeling to look out and see no saddles at all.
Mrs. Koonsman was in poor health the last few years of her life. She was taken seriously ill on June 6, 1944, which will be remembered as "D Day". One grandson, Billie Pat Winkler was in the service and stationed at Glosenburry, England. She never recovered from this illness and passed on to her reward on July 29, 1944, in the old home which she had loved so well, with her husband, and children, a few friends at her bed side.
Mr. Koonsman lived alone for 17 years, and was visited often and looked after by his children. He celebrated his ninetieth birthday on June 2, 1960, at the old home place, but his health broke, and his hearing and eye sight were so bad, that he could live alone no longer, at the present time he is living in Dickens with his oldest daughter and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. Grover Small. Mrs. Small was the former Nola Koonsman, other children are Mrs. Charlie Brindle, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Mrs. Alec (Emma) Winkler of Dickens, Martin Koonsman of Abilene, who entered the Teas Rangers at the age of 20 years, he was one of the youngest men in the Ranger service, he retired from National Theft Bureau of Investigation in 1965. Johnnie of Dickens, who served Dickens County as sheriff, Tax Assessor and Collector for 6 years, he was the youngest sheriff to ever serve the county, and the 2nd youngest sheriff in the State when he took office in 1935. Jess Sweeter of Athens being the youngest at age of 26. Johnnie now owns and operates the Dickens Drug, and runs cattle. Sam owns his business here in Dickens, the Texaco service station. Jim, the youngest son is a stock farmer in the Wichita community where he and his wife have lived on the same place since their marriage. There are nine grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren and three great great grandchildren.
The old house five miles east of town is now vacant and silent, just a house by the side of the road, that once was a home of happiness and pleasure, the saddle racks are empty as well as the corrals. Mr. Koonsman, who has passed his ninety sixth birthday sits and begs to go home, his home for so many years, the house with nobody in it.
Source: History of Dickens County; Ranches and Rolling Plains, Fred Arrington, ©1971 page 280
Mrs. J. P. Koonsman of Dickens, died July 29 after a period of illness at her home there. Funeral services were conducted by Rev. H. L. Burnham at the Baptist Church at Dickens at 3 p.m., July 31. Pallbearers were George Pierce, Robert McAteer, Cecil Meadors, Robert Reynolds Ern Scott and Otho Thompson. Chandler Funeral Home was in charge.
Nancy Harriett Hollis Koonsman was born in Erath county, April 1, 1871. She was married to J.P. Koonsman Jan. 13, 1891, and moved to Dickens county in 1909. She was converted when she was 28 years of age and was affiliated with the Missionary Baptist church. Rev. Burham baptized her 28 years ago when she joined the Croton Friendship church. Her death was the first in her family of seven children.
Mrs. Koonsman is survived by her husband, J.P. Koonsman of Dickens, 4 sons: Martin, Abilene; Johnnie and Sam of Dickens and Jim of the Wichita community. Three daughters: Nola Small, Alamosa, CO; Addie Brindle, Albuquerque, NM; and Emma Winkler, Dickens; 5 sisters, 8 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.
©The Texas Spur, August 3, 1944
Funeral services were held Sunday at 2 p.m. for James Patrick Koonsman, 97, in the First Baptist Church, Dickens, Rev. D.J. Peters officiated.
Born in West Virginia, Mr. Koonsman came to Texas as a child. He had been a resident of Dickens County since 1912. His wife preceded him in death in 1944.
He was a retired farmer and rancher.
He is survived by three daughters, Mrs. Grover Small, Mrs. Charlie Brindle and Mrs. Emma Winkler; four sons, Johnnie, Sam, Jim and Martin. Ten grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren are also listed.
Grandsons served as pallbearers.
Interment was in Dickens Cemetery.
©The Texas Spur November 23, 1967Transcribed by Becky Hodges, September 2004
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