*Note* - It is unknown as to when this story was written, but was
passed to this researcher by Grace Awilda (Howard) Rose. It is in
reference to David Charles Howard, his wife Etta Mae Turner, and their
protect the privacy of living individuals, their year of birth has
been removed from this article.
Life in Beaver
As told by: Hattie (Shenks) Howard
David Charles Howard and Etta Mae Turner were married April 20, 1904,
which was Etta's' nineteenth birthday. Since David Charles, known
as Charley since his dad carried the name of David, was a man at twenty-three
years of age, he could file for land. They filed on 160 acres four
miles northwest of Logan. It was there they proceeded to build a home.
First a wood shack; probably a 12 foot by 14 foot, which they lived
in until enough sod could be turned to build an adjoining room of
sod. This was completed by October 27, 1906, when their first child,
a daughter, was born. This sod house became the birth place of eleven
of their twelve children. As their family grew an additional room
was added. This one, known as a dug out, was made by digging a large
hole in the ground, making a cement floor and walls, with a cement
slab on the top for a roof and ceiling. At first their wood shack
had only a dirt floor. As they prospered a floor was added.
Furniture was made of table and benches. A wood heater was made of
a tin barrel. Which was made of a fifty gallon drum, standing upright,
with a lid, hinges, and a stove pipe behind it. A wheat drill wheel
was installed near the bottom for a grate. A wood cook stove was purchased
with four lids and a reservoir on the back to heat water. Beds were
made of straw ticks.
Ed Howard got a well drilling device and drilled wells for the families,
which was eventually operated by a wind mill. Fuel for heat and cooking
was not too plentiful. Sometimes a large tree could be purchased for
five dollars. Then the father took the sons and a cross-cut saw in
a wagon, and went out for a day of wood cutting. After falling a tree
and sawing it in chunks, it was split, loaded on the wagon, and moved
to the wood pile near the house. When wood was scarce the family was
called on to pick up cow chips. With a crew on each side of the wagon,
it was soon loaded and delivered to a large pile near the house, for
As the family grew, so did the horses and cows, hogs and chickens,
supplying food for the family. Monroe was born March 8, 1908; Walter
Jan 26, 1910; Chester Charles Dec 26, 1911; Virgil Jan 20, 1914. Then
came the twins, Irma and Herman May 3, 1916. Helen was born on July
18 - about the time the men registered for the Army during World War
I. Mable was born February 4, and Zelpha Molene Nov 14, 1922.
Zelpha lived only two weeks, and was buried in a home made casket
near the home of Christopher Howard. A cemetery was on the corner
of their land. Ed Howard built the casket, and she was kept in the
corner of the sod house over night, until burial the next day. Sarah
'Sis' Lindsey, carried the casket on her lap in the back seat of a
car that was used as a Hurse. Just a few short months later, on Jan
31, Steven Duane was born.
Charley, had bought more cattle and horses to provide for his large
family. He rented another 160 acres across the road, making 320 acres.
He farmed wheat and rowed feed. He milked cows, as many as 8 or 10
at a time. They separated the milk in a old cream separator, feeding
milk to the young calves, hogs, etc. The cream was churned into butter,
hens laid eggs; and also provided fresh fryers for the family table.
It took a lot to feed this large family.
On July 20, their oldest daughter was married to Conrad Ferguson,
and made their home with them. The first Granddaughter, Myrtle, was
born June 1. David Charles borrowed money from the bank at Fallett,
Texas, from Art Kinkade, the banker. The home was mortgaged, and hard
days of depression, with crop failures and hard times, prevented the
payment of his bills. The bank foreclosed and this family began moving
out of Beaver County.
With 2 wagons, 4 horses (2 teams), and 3 cows, they moved to Dewey
County, stopping for a few days with his sister, Belle Simpson, and
her family, until he could rent a place. The cows were moved by Ed,
who owned a truck. Chester and Virgil went with him. Monroe and Walter
helped their Dad drive the wagons, (including one covered wagon).
Conard and Juanita then owned a car, so they moved the rest of the
family in it. This move only lasted a short while. It was hard to
start over. Their machinery had been left in Beaver County.
Rabbits and squirrels were hunted for meals, and. when spring came,
there were greens and sheep sarrel for pies. Food for so many was
hard to find. The Howard family was saddened when Grandpa and Grandma
Howard's health failed. They left the Farm and moved to Sulfer, Oklahoma
for their health. However, after 45 years of marriage, in 1921 Helen
Howard died. David married again, but he too died in 1923. Ed became
the administrator, and Charley gained permission to move into the
grandpa's old home place. It was here that Charley and Etta's youngest
child, a daughter, Grace Awilda was born on Aug 12, 1926. She was
the 12th and only one of their children not to be born in the old
Charley and Monroe got jobs harvesting wheat, and followed the machine
into Texas. A part of their wages were paid off with a Ford car. How
modern they felt. Very soon, their family was moved again, to the
Jim O'Neal place. This was a large 2 story house with a barn and a
hog shed. Here they raised a lot of hogs, made a garden, and raised
food for the table. There was a cellar for canned food and provisions.
The older boys secured jobs with other farmers. Conrad and Juanita
moved to Lavern, where he carried mail from Lavern to Logan.
Soon a new career began, when Charley, his son, and Chester, got a
job on the Katy Railroad. They moved into the section house in Lavern.
It was here that Walter found Pearl, and they were married.