Five Southall brothers came from Southall England, on a ship to America. They settled in different parts of the United States. The ancestor who became head of our line settled in Bessemar, Alabama, where William L. (Bill) Southall (1853-1924) was born. That family then moved to Sullsbury, Tennessee.
When Bill grew up he married Mollie Amberzine McCommon (she said, "Pa drem't my name.") (1857-1937). Two sons, Henry and John were born there. Bill, Mollie and sons next moved to Poetry, Texas. Two sons were born there, Will and Joe. The family rented land to raise cotton and corn, kept cattle, horses and mules, and one pair of oxen.
In 1888 Bill decided they should go to the new land called Greer County. Bill, Mollie, the four boys and a family named Woods brought all their belongings in several wagons, driving the other animals along after the wagons.
They camped at Vernon, Texas, where the families were given beds in the wagon yard. They forded Red River, where a crossing was made by piling straw to make a firm road bed at Doan's crossing.
Bill drove across the prairie where there was only grass, prickly pears, coyotes, rattlesnakes, prairie dogs and occasionally an antelope. When he came to a wide expanse of level grassland he said, "This is good wheat land" so they stopped, camping at a dugout north of a half section where an earlier nester had once lived a while and gone back to Texas. As this was before the opening of 1889 they were called Sooners.
Bill and the boys soon dug a large dugout, and went to Vernon for lumber and supplies. Their first cotton was hauled to Wichita Falls to a gin.
When James Alexander (Jim) Southall (1890-1980) was born a neighbor rode to get Dr. James. Since there were no houses or landmarks he rode across the prairie lost until Bill thought to put a lantern outside. The doctor saw it and arrived in time and Jim had a proper escort into the world. A daughter Lola (1896-1909) was also born to Bill and Mollie.
The boys walked to Dunbar to school. The whole family attended church at the school building when the circuit rider came by.
Mary Candace Minor (1892-1984) came to Greer County with her parents, Hugh and Maud Minor via Kentucky and Paris, Texas. She attended Frances school and Normal school at Edmond, later teaching at Glendale.
Jim and Mary were married October 9, 1910, they had seven children - Maude Sumrow, Minor Southall, Lola Birdsong, Ruth Young, Virginia Phillips, Mary Cribbs, Jimmie Hamilton - twenty two grandchildren and forty four great grandchildren.
They lived at Humphreys, Porter High and then returned to Humphreys, where they were active in church and school in both communities. Jim was on the school board and church board in each community and Mary was active in Home Extension. Moved to Altus in 1979.
Submitted by June Southall. Online transcription by Susan Shields Sasek, 2 Sep 1990.
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