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Crosby County Biographies

In Remembrance of

Wesley and Julia Spikes

Rose Spray

Individual Photograph Not Available

Birth Date:   Sept 29, 1841      Birth Date:   1843
Death Date:   Mar 8, 1892      Death Date:   1933


Service

Rank: Captain 3rd Lieutenant Confederate States of America
Organization: 12th Texas Cavalry

Biography

"John Wesley Spikes, born in Alabama September 29, 1941, came to Texas with his parents, John and Lucindy (Carter) Spikes, and settled in Kaufman County when it was a frontier. His father was a slave-owner; he gave his children the best educational advantages. Wesley, six foot two, was jovial and stalwart. He married Julia Ann Fox, a slave-pampered beauty, daughter of the pioneer M.D. Fox who moved his family to Texas from Mississippi July 3, 1861 - before leaving for the army of the South. John Wesley was attached to Captain Kizer, 12th Texas Cavalry, Parsons Brigade, and soon was raised to rank of lieutenant. His duties were to pick up draft evaders. He was slightly wounded at the conflict at Arkansas Post. He returned home, broke, and unqualified for farming. He was appointed captain of a Vigilante committee to help cope with the elements after the war. After years he decided to move his family where they would make homes for themselves on cheap land.

Much to Julia's disapproval, the family, consisting of Jeff, John Ernest, Fred, Sam, Elizabeth, and Etna (Spikes) and Arch Paschall and family, moved west. A daughter, Ella (Spikes) Paschall and her family remained at Kaufman.

The Spikes family lived in a tent at Estacado for a short time, until Wesley made a trip to Amarillo for material and built a two-room house near the new townsite of Emma. Rob Linn dug a well, the family moved to their cold home with its corrugated roof, adobe lining and many cracks through which the wind whistled.

Wesley had brought to the Plains some three or four hundred steers, arriving with them in August. He turned them loose on the prairie where they froze to death that winter, a disheartening blow to the pioneer.

Captain Spikes helped establish the town of Emma. He hauled lumber for a school building, his boys helped with the construction, and when school opened, they furnished half of the student body of about ten.

Arch Paschall, a fair carpenter, helped in building homes, windmill towers, and other improvements. Then he and his family moved to California.

The daughter, Elizabeth Ann, married Temple Ellis in 1892. They had two daughters - Ruby Catherine and and Lesly Opal. Mrs. Ellis is co-author of this book.

Wesley had hardly gotten started in the new country when he was killed by the kick of a vicious horse, his being the third grave in the Emma Cemetery, Crosby County.

Jeff Spikes said, "We settled near Emma and I helped vote county seat away from Estacado, the Quaker colony, in 1891. The winters were hard, the houses frail, but the dug-out warm. I have seen cattle dead along the drift fence that stretched from the Plains to New Mexico. In the spring of the year, cattle would be dead along the Yellowhouse River after a cold rain. It was outside country; cattle drifting from blizzards and snow and cold rains as far north as Amarillo. Then they struck the drift fence, they lay down, never to get up again, others falling on top - a terrible sight."

The Spikes cattle brand was XX, called by Wesley the "Square and Compass".

John Spikes married Lillie Carter, daughter of Henry Carter, They ranched in Crosby County until cattlemen began trying to keep out the small men. He sold out, and taking his family and younger brothers, Dick and Ernest, he moved to New Mexico near the Mesa Redonda, fifteen miles from Tucumcari. Here on January 21, 1902, John and Dick met their death at the hands of some unknown murderers who lay behind a bluff and shot them from their horses, as they came riding home from removing a drift fence. Fred was seriously wounded, but he managed to reach a Mexican Camp after his horse died and was taken to Hereford to a doctor.

Fred later married John's wife and helped raise their family. He died 1951. Sam Spikes, youngest son of Wesley Spikes, lived in New Mexico at the time of his brother's death. He then moved to California.

Source: "Through the Years, A History of Crosby County, Texas" by Nellie Witt Spikes and Temple Ann Ellis ©1951

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