Elisha Thomas Varnell and Lucy Weideman Varnell
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Tom and Lucy Varnell Picture
Tom and Lucy Varnell
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Elisha Thomas "Tom" Varnell was born in Rodgersville, Alabama, July 21, 1870. The oldest of eleven children, Lucy Weideman, was born in Cullman, Alabam, January 3, 1875.

Lucy's father came to the United States from Germany, when he was only nineteen years old. He was able to speak five different languages. He was Justice of the Peace at Cullman, Alabama, in 1878. Later he moved his family to Ellis County, where he got his naturalization papers, February 5, 1883. On December 4, 1883, he was appointed postmaster at Boyce, Texas, in Ellis County. This is where Tom and Lucy met, and were married November 2, 1893.

To this union were born seven children, two of which died in infancy. The youngest, Claude, gave his life for his country in World War II. Sargeant Varnell was awarded the Purple Heart Medal, and later received the Bronze Star Medal, while in service on Morotal.

Mr. and Mrs. Tom Varnell moved to Knox County, Texas when Loy and Lester were small. Tom left Knox County with his family in a covered wagon and made a trip to Bisbee, Arizona. Tom believed that their family did not have colds in that trip, because they cooked a hundred pounds of onions, during that time. Tom Varnell worked in a copper mine for a few years.

Richard Varnell was born in Arizona, while it was still a territory. They returned to Knox County and then later, moved to Croton, in Dickens County.

They were members of the Primitive Baptist Church, and Tom was a Deacon and Church Clerk. They would come from Croton to church in Afton in a wagon. Church was held in a little church house located on the property now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Farris McCarty. The church was located just west of their present home.

They later moved to the Afton community where the whole family had small pox. A neighbor would go to town and get what was needed, and leave it a little ways from the house.

For years Tom tried to get water on his place. He dug well after well without success. He had to haul water year after year. Today, they have water on that place and most other neighboring farms.

Tom Varnell was always interested in the up building of his community. He was school trustee for a number of years at Prairie Chapel.

Ethel said her parents were strict. Sometimes we children thought were too strict. But today we are proud they were. We understand because we have children of our own. As we were growing up, we all learned to work together.

Source: History of Dickens County; Ranches and Rolling Plains, Fred Arrington, ©1971
Claude died January 19, 1945
E.T. died June 21, 1938
Lucy died January 18, 1953

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Tom´s family 1909


E.T. Varnell, 68, of Afton died at his home at six o'clock Tuesday afternoon after a short illness. Mr. Varnell suffered a paralytic stroke Monday and his condition was very serious from the first. Two physicians were summoned to treat him but there was nothing that could be done. The children who lived in Arizona and New Mexico were sent messages to get to father at once, but he passed away before they could arrive.

He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Lucy Varnell; four sons, Loy Varnell of White River, Arizona; Lester Varnell of Dickens; Richard Varnell of Afton; and Claude Varnell of Farmington, New Mexico; one daughter, Mrs. Ethel Young of Afton; his father, R.F. Varnell of Knox City, three sisters, Miss Daisy Varnell of Knox City; Mrs. Buelah Keith of Lubbock; and Mrs. Cordelia Woodrum of Knox City; two brothers, A.R. Varnell of Lubbock and D.M. Varnell of Elton.

Funeral services were held at Afton Baptist Church Wednesday afternoon at six o'clock. Rev. V.J. Lowrance gave the funeral discourse. Interment followed in Afton Cemetery with Ward Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.

Pallbearers were: J.F. Young, H.E. Bennett, E.J. Offield, Lewis Daniels, Harvey Barton and P.H. McDorman.

Mr. Varnell was born in Alabama, but moved to Texas in an early day. He has been a citizen of Dickens County 26 years. In the community where he lived since coming to this county, he has always been held in high esteem. He held a high ideal of what is right and stood true to his ideals. He was married at Boyce, Texas, to Miss Lucy Weideman, and they had maintained a home nearly forty-four years.

©The Dickens County Times, June 23, 1938
Transcribed September 2004, B. Hodges

Funeral services for Mrs. Lucy Varnell were held Monday, January 19, at 3 p.m. in Afton Baptist Church. She died January 18.

Mrs. Varnell was born January 3, 1875, in Cullman, Alabama, and moved to Dickens County in 1911. She was married to E. T. Varnell on November 21, 1893. She joined the Primitive Baptist Church in 1817.

Rev. Jess Bass of Crosbyton officiated.

Pallbearers ere Jim Offield, Newman Young, Charline Fullingin, Colene McCarty, Jeff Randolph, and Jeff Lemley.

Survivors include three sons, Loy, White River, Arizona, Lester and richard of Afton; one daughter, Ethel McCarty of Afton; two sisters, Mary Trice of Snyder and Emma Border of Ennis; ten grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Interment was in the Afton Cemetery with Chandler Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.

©The Texas Spur, January 22, 1953

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