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Dawson County


Dawson County, Texas


Family History

 If you have any history you would like to share, please contact the county coordinator.  Thanks to all who share. 


Lettie Edna McLEMORE  (Photo)

   Lettie's family lived near the Gaspar River in Logan County, KY.  She was the oldest child of a large family, her father having married several times.  The family was poor, according to letters written by her mother to an older half sister, Letitcia Berry.  Lettie was no doubt named for this aunt.
   Lettie's subsequent life in West Texas was no different, because life was very hard for her family in that environment.  She always said that to she was left handed, both hands had to work and we do not doubt that. 
   Lettie was a charter member of the First Baptist Church in Lamesa.  She had to work some distance to church, but hat and gloves and fan went with her as she was very much the lady.  Her kids used to say that whenever they had a few pennies, they were required to contribute to the church building fund.  They surely had a large ration of "Hellfire and Brimstone preaching" in their young lives.  Lettie would read her Bible everyday, sitting in a straight backed chair, and then she would fold her hands and mediate about what she had read.
   Some of my early memories include the sifting of the chaff, no biblical reference intended.  We put wheat into bedsheet and tossed it to separate the hulls and the grain.  There were corn shucking after the crop was dry.  The corn would be taken then to the millers for grinding into corn meal.  We ate a lot of cornbread and even more homemade biscuits.  Some children took biscuits to school in their lard bucket lunch boxes.  That was often all they had.  Aunt Francie said that everyone was really glad to have fresh green beans when they were ready, as there was not much in the way of fresh fruit and vegetables.  My mother told of watering the large garden with five gallon buckets.
   Grandmother Lettie would install a quilting frame which hung from the ceiling.  When a quilt top was ready, she stretched it inside the frame and invited ladies to come and help quilt it.  I finished up one of Grandma Lettie's applique quilts, featuring my baby clothes.  I decided that was the hardest work I had ever stretch your body over a frame and make those tiny stitches by hand was laborious.  Lettie usually pieced her quilts by hand, although she had a treadle sewing machine, which was said to have been delivered on the same day that I was born in Grandma's home.  My mother Elsie said that she worked and made the payments on that machine, which could not have been large payments, but mother said it was hard to get 15 cents together in those depression days.  The warm woolen patchwork quilts made of the boys old clothing, though scratchy, were real snuggly on a cold winter night.  The sewing machine was put to making dresses for the girls from the feed sacks fabrics they collected.
   On wash day and house cleaning day, Lettie took off her usual bonnet and put on a bandana.  She washed the old fashion way, boiling the clothes in the yard and scrubbing then on a board.  Wash day was Monday.  Don't know what happened when the sand was blowing on a Monday.  She cleaned house on Saturday, taking a brush and dustpan and sweeping piles of sand from the window sills.  Lettie had a sneeze that could be redistribute all the dust in the entire house.  For a gal of five food one, she had a powerful sneeze.  Joe and Lettie raised a family that loved and respected each other.  That was quite an accomplishment.  Lettie died at ninety in Hale Center, Texas Rest Home and was laid to rest in Lamesa Memorial Cemetery, beside her husband and their daughter Dorothy Jean, who died at 17.

Submitted by Pat McKinney Grant

Joseph Beauchamp SHACKELFORD  (Photo)

   Susan Shackelford, J.B.'s mother deeded land to him.
   Joe owned a sawmill and lumber yard in Auburn, KY. According to daughter Elsie, he cut some 150 acres of oak trees and made lumber of same. 
   Joe Beauchamp Shackelford was living with his mother, Susan, at the time of the 1910 census.  He was 28, Susan made application for a pension for Joe Green Shackelford's service in the Civil War on Aug. 29, 1914, Logan County, KY #3414.  He was apparently listed as Joseph T. Shackelford on the application.  Taken for a magazine listing pensions in Kentucky.  This was shortly after Joe Beauchamp married and left home, taking was was presumably Susan's only means of support.  According to Joe Car Shackelford, "one George Shackelford, a doctor who had been captured and taken to Mexico, after his release urged the family to come to Texas.  His son, along with the Wassons, Hendersons and J.B. Shackelford were heading to Old Mexico in 1916.  They arrived in South Central Texas and heard about cheap land in the panhandle of Texas and changed directions.  J.B. had enought cash to buy a few lots in the central part of Lamesa.  He found work in his trade of painting and decorating.  He hired men to help.  (From Edna Shackelford).
    From Paul and Nina west (from the Dawson County Clerk's office).
Dec 12, 1916 Lamesa lots Bk 21, pp 94-95
Nov 2, 1916 Bk 24, pp 65-66 lots 6, 7 Clock #3
Nov 23, 1934 tract 2 blocks, 1, 2, 3 ,4 College Addition (now 8th street)
Nov 27, 1934 Block 2
Blocks L 165,166
Shackelford, Joe B., Defts . E-C-32 #7546; Lucy Bibb. plaintiff. 1909
  J.B. owned several lots on South Second and Fourth Streets, along with Miller, according to daughter Frances.
   The first three children of J.B. and Lettie were born in Kentucky, and the last five were born in Lamesa, Texas.  These five were born while the family were living in the house known as the Peeler place in  Lamesa.
   Two grandchildren were born in the house on 8th Street.  This house stood on four acres near the old bridge on the Stantion Highway.  This house eventually became the property of Ear, the eldest son.  Finally the house was demolished and cotton planted on the land.  Grandpa Joe smoked Prince Albert and made home brew.  He used Bay Rum for shave lotion and lathered up with a mug and brush.  He sharpened his straight razor on a strap, which was kept hanging on the wall and it may have been occasionally used for other purposes.  About once a week he visit the barber in town for a shave and possibly a haircut.
   Grandpa J.B. gave me my first job.  I received 5 cents for each nail picked up from the gravel drive so that old "Lizzie" would not ruin her tires.  Lizzie had plenty of trouble in that department, as it seemed to me that she was spending more time getting patches on her inner tubes than motoring.
  Draft Registration card of WWI has Joe Beachn Shackelford b. 11 April 1882 W USGenWeb.
  Obit:  Lamesa paper (died Jan 9, 1953
Former Lamesan died in Austin, J.B. Shackelford, formerly of Lamesa died at 8:00 AM Saturday in Austin,  Shackelford was a resident here from 1916 to 1938.  He is survived by his wife and one son, Earl of Lamesa, four daughters, Mrs. S.C. Richardson of Hale Center, Mrs. Herman Page and Mrs. Boyd Kilgore of California, Mrs. Harry Merriman of Alaska, and two other sons, Melvin of Los Angeles, California, and J.C. of Japan.
Submitted by Pat McKinney Grant

 Dozier and Augusta Thornton

  In the fall of 1906 her parents, Dozier and Augusta Thornton, and their five young children moved from Wheeler to Dawson County, settling about eight miles south of Lamesa in the Five Mile School District. Dozier bought 160 acres of land. The family first lived in a tent until a half-dugout could be built. Memories of these times remained with these children for the rest of their lives (hail storms, prairie fires, tornadoes) but none so vivid as the death of their baby sister, Mary Lee Thornton.
    Born February 17, 1909, she died two weeks later (March 1) of whooping cough. All of the children witnessed her passing--and it had a profound effect on them. In later years, none could recount the event without tears.
  Isolated as they were, my grandmother washed and prepared the body for burial. My grandfather made a little pine coffin, and she was buried in the Five Mile Cemetery.
    After a couple of years, the family moved to McCulloch County and eventually to Limestone County. The children grew up, married, moved away, had children, grandchildren. Hard times, war years, little or no transportation, took their toll. Eventually the exact location of these long ago events faded. Only the oldest son, Lodes Thornton, who lived in Lamesa for awhile, remembered the name of the cemetery. He left a brief memoir. In reading it again yesterday, and finding Five Mile Cemetery, a web search brought me to you and the photograph of Mary L. Thornton's gravestone by Jason Madison. 

Dear Peggy: I'd like to send a personal word of appreciation to both you and Jason Madison for info about and the photos of gravestones in Five Mile Cemetery in Dawson County, Texas. This place became almost mythical in my mother's family.  Please pass on my grateful thanks to him!  Sincerely,  Wanda Willard Smith<[email protected]>

Jackson Low


McWhorter Family



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Laura Gregory Roberts, County Coordinator

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