Wiley Henry Anstead was born March 17, 1889, in Hill County, Tex. He was joined in holy matrimony with Ollie Elizabeth Stoker March 12, 1911, by the Rev. J. M. Dawson, pastor of First Baptist Church, Hillsboro. Ollie was born in Hill County July 1, 1893.
With their two sons, Lenard Mancel and Ulric, the family left Hill County in 1914 on a train for new land in the West. Their destination, I am told, was a depot known as Cedric and was located two miles west of Ralls. Unloading all of their personal possessions, which consisted of two sacks of cotton seed with which to plant the first crop and the usual trunks for transporting clothing and cooking utensils, the family immediately settled at a ranch known as the White and Robertson Ranch one and a half miles south of Farmer community.
Ollie´s sister and brother-in-law, Delia and Frank Ivey, were aboard the same train. They reportedly accompanied the Ansteads to the ranch to help with the ranching. The ranch was somewhere in the vicinity of 2,000 acres and wild whitefaced cows were milked through chutes. Settlements in the area where supplies could be purchased were Emma and Estacado, a Quaker settlement.
In 1918, Wiley Henry Anstead rented a 320 acre farm from John R. Ralls located three miles southwest of Ralls. While farming here the third son was born and was named John Ross. He was reportedly named after John R. Ralls, however, his grandfather and great-grandfather Anstead were both named John.
Farming was increasingly becoming the way of life in Crosby County, so Henry Anstead bought his own land southeast of Ralls. Cotton was now a good price, bringing 41 cents a pound. While traveling home one afternoon in the family´s new Model T Ford, a rain and hail storm suddenly fell. It beat the top completely off the new automobile and filled the floor board and seats full of hail stones. All of the crops were beat to the ground by the hail and the rain washed the stalks down the rows to the bar ditch. The price of cotton dropped to five cents per pound overnight. Searching for a way to meet the needs of the family, Henry Anstead moved his family to Ralls in 1921, two blocks south of the water tower and began a freight line business. With a Model T Ford truck that had solid rubber tires, Henry transported freight between Lubbock and Ralls. He later added an ice delivery route to the new venture. The fourth child was born March 5, 1921, and with great joy to the family, the baby girl was named Oleta Beatrice.
Once again, farming was on the upswing in 1923 and memories of the storms of 1921 were fading. Henry Anstead was going to become a farmer again. The T.C. Bower farm, about three miles southeast of Ralls, was rented from 1923 through 1925. Wiley Henry Anstead, Jr. was born July 12, 1925, at the Bower farm.
The Lawrence Moore farm was rented in 1926 and the family moved to the New Home Settlement.
Dollie Ralls owned a farm one and a half miles west of Ralls. Dollie was the wife of John R. Ralls and most everyone called her Aunt Dollie Ralls. The Ansteads moved to the Ralls farm in 1928, and milking the cows on the half and farming the land. The family didn´t live there long before moving to the League Four settlement on the Wells farm, also in 1928. The Ansteads farmed a section of land on the halves with Ollie´s brother-in-law, Frank Ivey, and his family. They bought one of the first Farmall tractors available and it had steel lug wheels.
During the spring of 1929 Henry, Ollie and the family moved to the Julius Payne farm approximately two miles south of Ralls. With the crops in the field, Henry was stricken ill and had to have a mastoid operation. The family was working the crop and doing some part-time work in Ralls to supply the family needs. September 4, 1929, brought another rain and hail storm that ruined the cotton crop. Not one sack of bolls had been pulled. Everyone did not lose their crops so all the kids pulled cotton 14 days of each month and went to school just enough to get a report card.
Henry Anstead had enough farming disasters at this point. He moved the family back to Ralls, Dec. 24, 1929, and started to work for Consumer Fuel Service Station earning $3 a day. Dave Benton was owner. After working three years, the business was purchased from Mr. Benton. Henry and Boyd Carpenter also bought Bob Brown Service Station. Their businesses were reportedly sold in 1934 to purchase the Panhandle Wholesale Oil and Gas Company which was operated until 1946. At the close of World War II, when automobiles were once again starting to be built, Henry thought it a good time for such a business. In 1946, he opened the Dodge and Plymouth dealership with his son, Ulric. Anstead Motors put many people in new post-war automobiles. Anstead Motors was sold to a Mr. Haber in 1948 in order that Henry and his son, John R. could purchase the local furniture store and did business as Anstead Furniture until 1951, at which time Henry Anstead fully retired.
Henry and Ollie Anstead were godly people, devoting everything possible to Crosby county and its citizens. Many remember the times that Ollie was busy caring for the sick and seeing that their families had good meals. The Bible was the law book in the Anstead home and the church was the center of the family´s life. I am reminded that Henry was baptized in a stock tank in Farmer community as a young man and was a charter deacon in the First Baptist Church at Ralls.
Times were hard during the early years in Crosby County. Drought followed by rain and hail storms, diseases and death. One can only believe their faith in God and the joy of the Lord was their strength.
Source: "Crosby County History Book 1876-1977", Crosby County Historical Commission, ©1977
RALLS (Special) Mrs. Ollie E. Anstead, a Ralls resident who moved to the area in 1914 from Hill County, Tex., died at Crosbyton Hospital Friday.
Services will be at 2 p.m. today at First Baptist Church in Ralls. The Rev. Larry B. Stallings, pastor of Burton Hill Baptist Church in Fort Worth and James Eubanks, minister of the Church of Christ in Ralls will officiate. Burial will be in Ralls Cemetery, Carter Funeral Home in charge.
Survivors are four sons, Lenard and W.H. Anstead Jr., both of Kerrville, Ulric of Abilene and J.R. of Ralls; a daughter, Oleta Anstead of Denver; six brothers, Byron M. Stoker, M.C. Stoker, W.S. Stoker, and R.C. Stoker, all of Hillsboro, S.E. Stoker of Fort Worth and H.R. Stoker of Nocona; two sisters, Mrs. Clyde of Fort Worth and Mrs. Thelma McGrady of Stamford; eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
©Lubbock Avalanche Journal, December 21, 1968Record provided by Crosby County Pioneer Memorial Museum
transcribed by Linda Fox Hughes
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