Marshall Clinton Formby Sr. and Rosa Mae Freeman Formby
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In Remembrance of

Marshall and Rosa Formby
Mae and Marshall Formby
rose spray


M.C. Formby moved to the plains of Dickens County so he could set out his own shade trees.

My Dad was born in Hopkins County in 1877. He married Rosa Mae Freeman in 1898. He wanted to move west and if there were to be any tees around his farm he wanted to set them out himself. About 1909 he went out to Eastland County, looked that sandy country over, but went back to him home in the Bethel community of Hopkins county knowing that Eastland County was not what he was looking for.

In October 1916 he and my mother decided to make a move. They had never visited in Dickens county, but they had relatives around Afton-- I. N. Stovall, M.E. Stovall, W.O. Formby and others. Wtih my uncle Jim Freeman and family, we shipped our furniture, cattle, etc. in a box car and we all rode the train to Roaring Springs. As we looked out the train windows riding along the country between Paducah and Roaring Springs and seeing nothing but sand hills and shinnery, my Dad and Uncle Jim were about ready to turn around and go back to Hopkins.

At Roaring Springs we were met by various kinsman and taken to homes of relatives. My mother and I rode from Raring Springs to Afton on that day, October 5, 1916, with Otho Hale, a merchant of Afton. It was the second automobile I had ever ridden in. My Dad, and my brother John who was 14, rode to Afton with relatives.

We lived at Afton for nearly three months, Dad bought the first quarter section of land sold by the Matadors on top of the Cap and on January 1, 1917 we moved into a one-room house near our farm while my Dad and some folks built us a four-room house. I have always thought that my mother, as well as other early-day women, deserve special credit for going through those days of settling up the plains country. My mother is still an optimistic person and lives for her friends.

My Dad and John broke out the sod, walking behind a sod plow. I was only 5 1/2 years old, and wasn´t any help. We hauled water until we got a well dug, 268 feet deep. Coming from East Texas to the high plains, my Dad and John couldn´t get enough sleep. My mother says that one would break sod, while the other stayed at the house, crawling upon a big padded box, where quilts were stored, and slept. Then the other would plow, and they kept swapping. By the way, John says I wasn´t much help even when I got older and larger.

Although it has been remodeled twice, the old farm house still stands on the farm, still owned by my mother, two and one-half miles northeast from McAdoo, on the McAdoo-Roaring Springs road.

J. J. Barton and family lived just across the road west of us. Soon we had many neighbors, as pioneers came in, bought the raw land, broke the sod and built houses. Most of the land at that time sold for $15.00 per acre-- and was hard to pay for; darn near impossible.

As I recall, there was no Baptist Church at McAdoo. Sometime in 1917 my dad and mother rode in a wagon 7 miles over to Pansy, in Eastern Crosby County. Dad remarked as we rode back in the wagon, "Well, we´ve got our letters in the church, whether we ever get to go back to church or not." In 1918 a Baptist Church was organized at McAdoo. At his death in May 1957, Dad was a deacon in the church. He served a couple of times or more on the McAdoo School Board and that was a lot of help to John and me in getting promoted to higher grades from time to time.

John married Willie Elsby in 1922. Their only child, Clint, is a radio station owner and operator and lives at Hereford. He and his wife, Margaret have four children, Larry (Chip), Brenda, Marshall Clark and Scott. John and Willie live at McAdoo now where John is RFD carrier.

On October 19, 1921 a baby girl was born to my parents and John and I named her Mae Robena, Robena is now Mrs. Frank Duncan, lives at Vernon and has five children: Frankie Sue, Carol Ann, Mary, Bobby and Jull Marie Duncan.

I, (Marshall, Jr.) married Sharleen Wells of Alabama, whom I met at Austin, on Sept. 8, 1946. Our two children are Frances, born in 1955 and David born in 1957. We live at Plainview.

I´ve lived in a good many places, and have known many people down through the years, but have always thought that the kindest and best folks in the world lived in McAdoo and in Dickens County.

by Marshall Formby, Jr. 1964
Source: History of Dickens County; Ranches and Rolling Plains, Fred Arrington, ©1971

Rosa Mae Freeman was born on May 9, 1882, in Ennis, Texas, her father, Christopher Columbus Freeman, was 32 and her mother, Lorena Clementine Cooper, was 25. She married Marshall Clinton Formby on December 27, 1897, in Como, Texas. They had three children in 19 years. She died on November 11, 1971, in Wilbarger County, Texas, at the age of 89, and was buried in Dickens County, Texas.

When Marshall Clinton Formby was born on December 6, 1877, in Como, Texas, his father, John Franklin Formby, was 44 and his mother, Frances Jane Dennis, was 43. He died on May 18, 1957, in Dickens, Texas, at the age of 79. Rosa and Marshall Clinton Formby Sr. married December 27, 1897 in his hometown of Como, TX; he was 20 and she was 15. They had three children in 19 years.

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Additional Information & Documentation

Name: Marshall Clinton FORMBY 

Birth: 6 Dec 1877 in Como, Hopkins County, Texas 
Death: 18 May 1957 in McAdoo, Dickens County, Texas 

Father: John Franklin FORMBY b: 10 Feb 1833 in , Hancock, Ga 
Mother: Frances Jane DENNIS b: 14 Jan 1839 in Georgia

Marriage 1 Rosa Mae FREEMAN b: ABT 1880 in prob, , Tx
Married: 27 Dec 1898


Marshall Formby Sr. Family


Marshall Clinton Formby, Sr. Died at McAdoo on May 18, 1957.

Formby was born at Como, Texas December 6, 1877. He was converted at the age of 18 and joined the Baptist Church. He was married to Rosa Mae Freeman at Como on December 27, 1898 and they made their first home there, coming to Dickens County January 1, 1917. They have lived in the McAdoo community since then. He had been in failing health since October of 1956. He was a deacon in the Baptist Church.

He is survived by his wife, Rosa Mae Formby; one daughter, Mrs. Robert Duncan of Vernon; two sons, John of McAdoo and Marshall, Jr. of Plainview; six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Services were held at the McAdoo Baptist Church on May 19 at 3 p.m. with B.C. Arnold, Baptist minister of Olton officiating, assisted by J.C. Arnold, Methodist pastor of McAdoo.

Pallbearers were J.B. Barton, R.E. Nickels, John Burrow, L.B. Pipkin, Doug Allen and Palo Grisom.

Honorary pallbearers were Roscoe McWilliams, C.T. Wallace, John Callihan, Charles Allen, Nobel Neff and John Powers. Interment was at McAdoo with Campbell´s Funeral Home in charge.

©The Texas Spur, May 23, 1957
Submitted by Kay Laster

Mrs. Marshall C. Formby, Sr. died Thursday in a nursing home at Vernon - following a long illness.

She was the former Mae Freeman and was a native of the Bethel community of Hopkins County. Her husband preceded her in death.

Survivors include two son, John Formby of McAdoo and Marshall C. Formby, Jr. of Plainview, and a daughter Mrs. Frank C. Ducas of Vernon

Final rites are set in McAdoo Saturday afternoon with King Funeral Home of Crosbyon in charge of arrangements.

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