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Russett, Oklahoma

Mr. Fred A. Chapman

By Earl Pollard

This will be the appreciation of my days at Russett and the time leading up to us being there.

In the early 30's we lived northeast of Blair, Oklahoma on an eighty acre sandy land farm where we raised cotton and a small amount of grain crops to feed the team. We usually made 3 or 4 bales of cotton and we had a garden that we grew food for the table and canning. We also raised our own meat and we had about 5 or 10 acres of apricot trees.

My uncle once owned this farm but he and his wife broke up and he got one farm and she got this one and she later died and left this farm tied up in heirs. My dad was promised if he would help her brother get the title to the place in his name that we would have  a home as long as we wanted it but in the first part of January the next year after dark one evening, there was a knock at the door and it was the new owner  who had promised us a home as long as we wanted it. He said "Montie I'm moving in".

There we were in the deepest depression in history with my father, mother and seven of us kids with no home,  no job, no money,  no transportation and no nothing. So, we started moving around to here and there and we wound up in Ardmore as my folks were from there in the earlier days.

My dad did odd jobs roofing houses and other carpenter work. I can remember walking the allies of Ardmore looking for aluminum and brass to sell for junk to buy food for the family. I would mow a lawn once in awhile for a few penny's and I worked in a cafe washing dishes for three dollars a week and my meals.

One day while my dad was up in town at Ardmore looking for work and he ran onto a man that said that he owned a lot of land along the Washita River  and he had a house for us to live in and a land that we could sharecrop on and we could have a garden and that he grew a large garden that he shared with his employees.

This sounded like a voice from Heaven to us after what we had been going through. So we moved to the Lewis Chapman farm. We lived in the first house east of the highway or a little over mile east of where Wayne Easterwood now lives.

We farmed what was called the Rough 20 and other land. We had a big garden just northwest of the barn and near to where Mr. Watts lived.  I remember hunting rabbets in the winter there but I dropped out of school, which Mr. Chapman didn't approve of and he was right, and I started feeding cattle for Mr. Chapman with a Claude Hudgens and Archie Airs. We hauled silage from several silos and mixed it with cottonseed meal or cottonseed cake.

To the best of my memory, we were feeding about 1500 head of cattle and about 50 head of horses and mules. We fed seven days a week or 365 days a year as the animals had to eat daily.
Seven days a week, seven dollars a week in so called bean orders that many of us griped about at the time but as time went on, I as well as others become thankful as we looked back. We didn't think of how grateful we should be for the man who help pull so many of us through that depression. I can't imagine where we may be today if it were not for him. Many who worked for him have been very successful and we have all  advanced in life due to the so called "BEAN ORDERS".

I know that Mr. Chapman has gone on to meet his maker and I think we all owe him many thanks for bringing us through those hard times so I close this short story with many thanks and a,
SALUTE to: Mr. Fred Chapman





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Last modified: 05/27/07