Willie E. Bledsoe, a prominent citizen of the Estacado community, came to the country in 1890. In his early day he was an Indian fighter; he was a sheep and cattle man of note. He enjoyed the acquaintance of men of high standing all over the country.
Born in Stonewall County, Missouri, in 1856, he came with his parents to Wise County when it was a frontier. In 1880 he married Lillie Smith, who was born in Grayson County, Texas. After they married they operated a hotel at Ft. Griffin. He acquired a ten-section ranch west of Estacado, where he ran 3,000 to 10,000 sheep and from one to two thousand cattle.
He took an active part in the Texas Stock Raiser´s Association. Like other pioneers he hauled the lumber for his house from Amarillo over unimproved roads. After her husband´s death in 1926, Mrs. Bledsoe lived on at the ranch. The Bledsoes reared a large family worthy of the name of the pioneers.
The son, Robert, a sheepman like his dad, married Pearl Boatner, a native Texan; they have two children, Betty and Mary Frances, May is the wife of Aubrey Jones, a stock-farmer; they have three children; Rosa, wife of Emmett Burford, Lubbock; Goldie, wife of Eugene Wood, Canyon; Emma married a brother to Aubrey, J.O. Jones; their daughter, Thelma, married Edd Coffman. Carl is the second son; he is a stockman near Aurora, Colorado. He married Josephine Main and has 3 children, Mary Jo, Billie and Beverly. Frank, a stockman in Lubbock County, married Zilpah McDonald and has one son, Donald, who is also a stockfarmer. Henry, a stockman of near Colorado Springs, Colorado, married Daisy Smith; they have two children, H.A. and Mary Lillie. Ed, a stockman near Arlington, Colorado, married Lillian Robertson and has one child, Edalyne. Jim and Edward. Mr. and Mrs. Bledsoe and both girls are dead. Jim and his eldest son, Jim, Jr., were killed in an airplane crash.
True to their rearing all the Bledsoe sons have gone the route of their mother and dad in that they are all dealers in sheep or cattle. All are outstanding citizens in the communities in which they live.
Jim Bledsoe Jr., had been on several very dangerous missions during World War II. He had flown many missions, carrying feed during the terrible blizzard to their marooned cattle, in Arizona, 1948. He and his father and a co-pilot took off early that cold winter morning to see about their stock, when suddenly the plane crashed, killing all three.
Source: "Through the Years, A History of Crosby County, Texas" by Nellie Witt Spikes and Temple Ann Ellis ©1951; The Naylor Company, San Antonio, Texas
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