I was born just across over in Llano County. I suppose I moved over to this side when I was two years old. I went to school at a country schoolhouse called Stephen's Bend. My first teacher was Miss Sally Hill, born right down here on the creek. Some of the families that had kids in school were Hallmark, Thompson, Clendennan, Peacock, Faris. I guess they closed that school in 1915 or 16.
I was partners with Dad, and the rest of the kids moved off. Then he passed away. We moved over on this side of the river about 30 years ago. My grandmother had moved here about the time of the Civil War and then my father had the ranch, mostly on the other side of the river. You know there was a cemetery that had to be moved when the dam was built and the lake was built. We had some pretty good farming land, but most of it was ranching. All up and down the river was good for farming. We grew some cotton there.
There was a ferry on the river up here by our place. It was about 4 bits or 6 bits to go across on it, just pushed along by a pole. When they built the dams I guess most people just went along with it. Some of them were old and they weren't ranching much anymore anyway, so they moved. Myself, I liked the river better. I don't guess anybody was really satisfied with the amount of money they were paid for the land, but it was all it was worth then.
During the Depression my wife and I had the biggest time. Just before it hit, my Dad and I bought some sheep, and then of course they went down just like everything else. You couldn't sell anything and the bank was busted. My father had to borrow money from my brother to pay his taxes. Nobody could sell anything much. But we probably had more to eat than a lot of people because we raised a lot of garden and could kill our beef or sheep. Ever once in a while some people would trade around, but not much. You just made out with what you had yourself.
We had a T model car that I paid about $275 for, and it was the best car I ever had. It was second hand. Gasoline was about 14 cents a gallon.
I'm sure city people had it bad, but the country people had milk, butter, chickens, their gardens, so they did a little better.
Burnet was a pretty dull place, really. There wasn't much reason to go there except when you had to pay your taxes. We went into Burnet in a wagon or a hack when I was a boy. My uncle and cousin usually took me. I remember there were some bootleggers that had a place down near the old depot. I thought they were outlaws, but I guess they weren't as bad as that.
We usually traded in Llano or Lampasas because they had more stores.
When they held court in Burnet, everybody came to town. Whole groups of people from Marble Falls would come up and camp out while court was going on. Some people stayed at the Jones Hotel.
During the 20's we did a lot of ranching, but never made a lot of money. I told my father once in later years that with the river so close we should have just fished instead of ranching and probably would have made more money.
During WWI, I was drafted, and lots of people from here went. They had war bond drives and the women knitted sweaters and socks. There were several groups of women that got together for that.