GranPa's ChildHood Homes
If you kids every get to big city of Lueders, Texas and want to see the 2 houses your GranPa was raised in you can stand in the middle of the street and see both houses.

In August of 1943 when GranPa was 9 years old, he moved from the Lease House located 3 miles east of Lueders into what was a fairly large house in Lueders.

As of 2005 the house is still one of the larger ones in town and according to a recent previous owner, the house is now referred to as the "Smyth House". Could be because the front entrance gate still bears the initial "S" which was put on the gate when my Dad had it built and the place still has the fence, detached garage, barn and a tall TV Antenna which my father built.

So, when you get to Lueders, just ask for Smyth house and you should get directed to it's location or just drive around in the southwest part of town and look for a large house with a tall antenna in the back yard.

GranPa's kind of getting the horse before the cart in telling this story so let us now begin with the remembrances of your GranPa and his childhood homes.

I don't remember anything about the houses in Longview, Texas or Wichita Falls, Texas as my very first remembrances started as told in the "There to Here" story when we moved from Wichita Falls to Lueders.

As told in that story, I was 2 years and 5 months old in January of 1937 when my Mother and Father moved to a new Oil Lease 3 miles East of Lueders, Texas which was in the Post Oak Community near the Bluff Creak Ranch in Shackelford County.

The J. P. Vickers lease house was a 4 room box house which consisted of a living room, kitchen and 2 bedrooms. But, NO bathroom and NO Electricity and NO hot water.

To view a photograph of the Lease house, Click:..  HERE

Note:  A "Box House" has no studs in the walls and is built from 1 X 12s butted together and over lapped with 1 X 4s. Some Historians give credit to the box house construction method for helping open up the west.

The lease house kitchen had a gas cook stove which got it's natural gas supply directly from the oil wells on the oil lease.

Unusually for now but, not in the 30's, we had a refrigerator which was also run on natural gas from the oilwells.

The kitchen was also our bathroom in the winter time because we all took baths in a #2 wash tub sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor using hot water heated in a pan on the gas cook stove. At bath taking time, we all used the same bath water except each person got a fresh pan of hot water. Us kids were always last as I recall it and we had to stand up and let mother rinse us off with another pan of fresh water after taking our bath.

In the summer time we had a choice of taking a bath on the back porch using the wash tub or taking a shower in the bath house sitting in the back yard.

In the back yard was an enclosed tower with a water tank on top which provided water to the one facet on the kitchen sink. We called this enclosed tower the "Bath House" because it had a concrete floor and in the summer time we took showers by running water into a gallon bucket hanging from the ceiling with holes punched in it to provide the shower effect.

The bath house also had visitors because the first time my mother used the bath house, a big Texas Rattle Snake was there to take a bath with her.

To keep the bath house water tank filled, the water was hauled in by truck at first but, then a big tank (Today called a Pond) was dug on the Bluff Creek Ranch a half mile or so from the lease and Daddy ran a 2 inch pipe line down to the tank and we pumped water from the pond to the tank on top of the bath house.

Also in the back yard was a 8 X 10 foot tin building called the "Wash House" which was were we washed clothes using a Maytag Washing machine powered by a one cylinder Maytag Gasoline engine.

Two tubs sitting on a bench beside the washer were used to rinse the clothes out and a roller wringer on the Maytag squeezed out the water so the clothes could be hung on a line to dry.

To see a Maytag washer with the wringers, Click:..  HERE

Later, my mother started washing our clothes at a wash house (Today called a Laundromat) in town and we turned the wash house into a chicken house.

I remember gathering the eggs and I remember my mother catching them old chickens and wringing their neck and plucking them for cooking. As I got older she started me going out and wringing their neck and I can remember one old chicken I wrung and wrung and wrung and the head wouldn't come off. "Poor old chicken".

The Wash House was moved into Lueders with the lease house in the late forties.

To see the wash house as it was in 2003, Click:..  HERE  

Later on after we moved to Lueders and I was older, I took the engine out of the washing machine and built a car from a wagon and powered the car with that Maytag Engine. My childhood buddies, Carol Felts, Mike Latimer, and I pushed that car further then we ran it but, it did run and someplace I have a picture of Mike Latimer and me sitting on that car built from scrap lumber.

Another interesting thing about the lease house is the fact we used gas from the oil wells for lights in the house. All 4 rooms of the house had a pipe which dropped through the ceiling and there was a globe arrangement with a mantle much like a Coleman lantern has. You turned on the gas and lit the mantle and that was the house lights.

Later on, my Daddy got what we called a "Light Plant" (Today it's called a "Generator") It was out in the Bath House and at dark time you could fill it up with gasoline and then around 9 or 10 depending on when it was started you had to decided where you went to bed or went out and shut the thing down and filled it up again.

One light bulb hung in each room and the wires with the light socket were taped to the gas pipes coming out of the ceiling.

At first we had a very small Light Plant and you could only turn on two light bulbs at a time. If you turned on more than that you would kill the light plant. In other words if you had two rooms on and wanted lights in another room you had to turn off one of the other rooms. Later on we got a larger light plant that would run it all.

So on the oil lease we had the house, a bathhouse with water tank on top and a washhouse for washing clothes. Also an outhouse that sit about 50 yards west of the lease house. AND then in 1938 Daddy built a one car garage which is another GranPa story.

Down a ways from the lease house Daddy built a hog pen and he would get two little pigs and fatten them up in the pen for us to eat. After slaughtering he would get 2 more little pigs and the cycle started all over again.

The oil lease was on the J. P. Vickers farm and his farm house and barn was a short distance from us and Daddy made arrangements with Mr. Vickers to build a pen for a couple of cows next to his barn and then use his barn to stow the cow feed so we could have fresh milk.

My sisters Ellen and Eileen did most of the milking and then the old cows would have a calf and then after fattening the calf Daddy butchered the calf and in those days we canned the meat. Then later on we had Freezer Box at the Locker Plant in Stamford and then after Buster Winkles built a Locker Plant in Lueders we used it.

On the Oil Lease i.e. Jeff Vickers farm we usually had two cows and two pigs. When we moved into town we only kept one milk cow.

While living on the lease, One of the calves we fattened was named "Joe Boy" - I still remember the night and it was dark when they loaded Old "Joe Boy" in the trailer to take him to butcher.

They parked the trailer in front of the lease house and I expect Daddy and the butcher were in the house having a beer or two. But, I was out on the trailer petting Old "Joe Boy" and crying my eyes out because he had become such a pet to me. Mother was attached to him also and she cried with me.

In those days we canned the meat and Joe Boy was canned. I never would eat any of Joe Boy. If Mother was opening a can of meat I always wanted to know if it was Joe Boy.

To view a picture of GranPa and Joe Boy, Click:..  HERE

GranPa liked living in the country and on the oil lease because of the pure freedom of romping all over the big wide open spaces and at night you could nearly touch the stars while listening to the wolves talk to each other.

We lived in the lease house for 6 years and 7 months. In August of 1943 my mom and dad purchased a house in the town of Lueders, Texas

The house in Lueders was a fairly large 2 story house and sit on about an acre of ground. Downstairs it had a kitchen, living/dinning room, bath and 2 bedrooms. Upstairs it had 2 bedrooms. Also on the back of the house was a screened in porch with a utility room on one end.

The Screened in porch had a cistern beneath the floor for catching rain water running off the roof and then it had a pump at the kitchen sink for pumping up the cistern water into the sink.

A man by the name of Kell had built the house and it was vacant and for sale when Mother and Daddy purchased it in 1943.

At the time of purchase there was nothing else on the property except an old unpainted 2 car garage which my father tore down.

The house had been vacant for awhile and need a lot of work so before we moved in Daddy made some improvements.

Les Tonroy, a Lueders painter completely painted the house inside and out. The inside walls are wood and canvas wall papered and Les also repapered the complete house.

My Dad enclosed the screened in porch with windows and when we first moved there my bedroom was in the utility room on the back porch.

In addition, Daddy built a new 2 car detached garage out of 8 inch Lueders Cut Limestone before we moved in and then right after moving in he had the fence with it's stone entrance way built.

My father designed the gated entrance way to the house out of Lueders Splitfaced Limestone and Bozo Walls, a Lueders Rock Mason built it.

To view a photograph of the house and front entrance, Click:..  HERE

The one car garage my Dad built on the lease in 1938 was moved and made into a barn at the Lueders House.

GranPa has also wrote a story about the barn because it has a life and history all on it's own.

What really made the Lueders house a very nice home was, the basement, den and 3rd bedroom with bath on the second floor that my father added in 1947.

In 1943 my dad had paid $1,500.00 for the house and then in 1947 the basement, den and upstairs bedroom plus the 2nd floor bath was added and I recall that costing around $7,500.00 - Hard to believe, huh!

This place was home to your Grand Father from August 1943 when he was age 9 until August 1955 when he was age 21 and married your Grand Mother.

My father died on June 20, 1962 and my mother sold the house in 1964 so she could move to Abilene and work.

But, today after 60 + years you can stand in one spot and see both of the childhood homes your GranPa was raised in because after 1943 the lease house was sold to Sandy Raughton who was the father of one of GranPa's Lueders Classmates in the Class of 53. Her name was Edith Raughton and her father moved the house on to a lot across the street from the Lueders house and the Wash House from the lease was also moved and now sits behind the lease house in Lueders.

So, if you kids ever get to Lueders you can not only see both childhood homes of your Grand Father from one spot, you will now know the history of the buildings before you.

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Copyright © 2005 by E. Ray Smyth