Judge A.J. McClain, the first elected County Judge Dickens County, was born in a small family of eleven boys and two girls in Southern Kentucky, of Scotch and Irish parents, in 1844.
He served a time in the confederate army during the Civil War, and one experience he never forgot, "The Seige of Vicksburg", in Mississippi. This battle enabled him to understand General Sherman's statement, "That war is Hell".
After the war ended he was employed by a Dr. Chenault, near where he was growing up, to manage about 100 ex-slaves, who desired to remain and work for the Doctor. He worked at this job for four years.
He, along with some of his kin and friends heard of land ine the town of Spur now stands at the home of the late Jonas Carlisle. There they learned where some of the West that could be homesteaded and he sold the grocery store and farm to Mollie Bailey, the show woman, and he traveled West in two wagons drawn by a yoke of oxen. He brought along a few head of horses, cows and chickens.
During this trip West they saw their first tornado near the town of Cisco.
After some weeks of travel, they camped southeast of wher the land was located they hoped to find. It was located in the southwest part of Dickens County.
After filing a homestead on Red Mud, he rented a small house in Espuela to live while waiting to hear from his application, and to prepare some sort of residence which was incidentally a tent and a half dugout on his homestead.
While living at Espuela, friends sought him out to make the race of County Judge for the new county of Dickens, organized in 1891. He won the election but later a squabble arose because it was found that he had built his residence about 200 yards beyond the county line.
He later purchased four sections of land in Kent and Garza counties and still later other lands and continued in farming until he retired.
He did not have the advantage of much education in the public schools, but he soon decided that a lifetime could be utilized as an extended educational undertaking, and he became a well read person in the matter of politics, economics and social life.
His acquaintances and friendships covered a broad area, in this western country, and he raised a family of seven children, four girls and three boys.
Source: History of Dickens County; Ranches and Rolling Plains, Fred Arrington, ©1971, page 300
Simmie A ELDRIDGE b. 1, Apr. 1859 in Tennessee d. 24, Sept. 1926. She married Andrew Jackson MCCLAIN b. 20, Mar. 1844 in Tennessee. d. 16, June 1922 in Spur, Texas. They were married 1876. He was also known as Judge A.J. McClain as he was a circuit judge in the area.
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