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Dickens County Biographies

In Remembrance of

Lester and Lena Ericson
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Lester Yelma Ericson, only son of Joseph ("Judge") and Dora Lane Ericson, was born 9 February 1900 at Ericsdahl, Jones County, Texas. His parents divorced when he was a young boy, and for several years he lived part of the time with his mother in El Paso, Texas, Morenci, Arizona, and Pacific Beach, California. At other times he lived with his father in Dickens and Jones Counties on the two divisions of the SMS Ranch.

Lester enlisted in the United States Navy in 1918 while living in Dickens County where he had already begun working as an SMS cowboy. He rose to the rank of a First Class Fireman before being honorably discharged 19 September 1919. Thereafter he returned to Spur where he again became a Swenson cowhand. Shortly after returning home, Lester married Lena Agnes Ellis at Spur 16 June 1921.

Lena Agnes Ellis, only daughter of Smith ("Dock") Ellis and Martha Jane ("Mattie") Pruit Ellis, was born 13 May 1901 at Dickens. Mattie Ellis died 9 March 1906 and was buried at Dickens. The following year Dock Ellis married Ellie Netherland, and the family settled in Kent County. In 1911 Lena and her family moved back to Dickens County and lived there until 1918 when they went to Throckmorton County.

In 1925 Lester and Lena moved from Spur to Throckmorton County where Lester was employed by the SMS as a camp man. There their two sons were born, Joe Ellis 9 June 1925 and Lester Lane 24 July 1927.

Shortly after Lester Lane´s birth the Ericsons moved back to Spur where Lester and J.R. ("Monk") Rucker established a Boot and Shoe Shop. Later, about 1929 or 1930, Lester purchased the Spot Cash Grocery from the Samples family. Lester and Lena operated a grocery and meat market on Spur´s main street until 1944 when they moved first to Matador and then to Lubbock. While in Lubbock Lester first worked for two grocery firms and then with Lena operated a variety store. They moved back to Spur in 1962 and opened a variety store on Main Street which they sold in 1968. At that time they moved to Seminole, Gaines County, to help Lester Lane with his three sons following the death of Peggy Jean, Lane´s first wife. Lester died in a nursing home in Denver City 8 March 1974 and was brought back to Spur for burial in the Spur Cemetery. Lena continues to make her home in Seminole.

Lester and Lena were both faithful and loyal members of the Methodist Church wherever they lived. Lester was Worshipful Master of the Masonic Lodges in Spur and Lubbock. Lena was Worthy Matron of the Eastern Star in Spur and Lester served as Worthy Patron. Both held state offices in their lodges. Lester was also active in two church related organizations: the Gideons and the Full Gospel Businessman´s Association. Lena continued to be active in church, Eastern Star, and Senior Citizens organizations.

Written by: Joe E. Ericson

The second son of Lester Y. and Lena Agnes Ericson, Lester Lane was born July 24, 1927, at the North camp of the Throckmorton Ranch owned by the Swenson Land and Cattle Company. The family´s roots were already deep in the history of Dickens County and the Swenson Land and Cattle Company. Lester, or Lane as he is known in the Dickens County area to prevent confusion with his father, grew up knowing the ranch and its history as part of his everyday life. At the time of his birth his Grandfather Ericson was Range Boss for the Swensons and the vast holdings at Throckmorton, Tongue River, Flat Top and Spur where Grandfather Ericson also served as foreman. At the same time Grandfather Ellis, Lena´s father, was foreman of the Throckmorton Ranch and Lester Y., Lane´s father was Camp Man at North Camp on the Throckmorton Ranch that summer. Lester Y. had moved to North Camp with his family in January, 1926, where he could become a camp man making more money than the position of "Straw Boss", which he had held before the move. The position of Camp Man raised his pay from $35.00 per month to $40.00 per month and provided a residence for his family.

Grandfather Joe Ericson, or the "Judge", had been a part of the Swensons´ operations since the first days of the family´s ownership of the Spur Ranch when he came to look over the newly purchased ranch. Among his first duties was to help put the other Swenson holdings under fence. Joe Ericson gave his loyalty to the Swenson Land and Cattle Company for all of his adult life and left the ranch only once during that time, to live in town for a period, but town living was not for the Judge and he soon returned to the Ranch. Lester Y. was raised on the ranch with his father for most of his younger years. Grandfather Ellis, or "Dock" came to the Swenson Land and Cattle Company after the death of his first wife, Martha Pruit. It was on the ranches that he raised his young daughter, Lena, and brought his second wife, Elly. "Dock" Ellis followed the "Judge" as foreman at the Spur Ranch and lived his life working for the Swenson Land and Cattle Company. From this close relationship it was not unexpected when Lester Y. and Lena Ellis were marred by the Justice of the Peace in Dickens on June 16, 1921. Lester Y. was the straw boss for the Swensons and the newlyweds moved into their first home at the Westside Camp on the Spur. Here the first son, Joe Ellis, was born on June 9, 1925. But Lester Y. had begun to realize that the future of his sons could be advanced only by leaving the ranch and providing them with the advantages of living in town. In July of 1928, he moved his family to Spur where Lester Y. opened a boot and saddle repair business. Spur was an "up and coming" community.

Lane´s childhood was spent during the peak of Spur´s growth and he remembers it as a thriving community with doctors, a hospital, the Spur Inn, banks, and a variety of businesses. But center to his life would also be the ranch. During summer vacations, school holidays, and weekends "Dock" Ellis would drive by, honk and Lane would be out the door and on the way to the ranch with his grandfather. It was a young boy of seven or eight who had the opportunity to ride and learn from the cowboys whose names are now linked so closely to the history of Dickens County. When the wagon rolled and the cowboys were working the cattle, Lane would sometimes be allowed to stay over at night and sleep under the "fly" near the wagon. Even being dragged by his horse and finally thrown into the barbed wire fence is a precious memory of those days on the ranch.

Lane was too young for the service when World War II broke out. His high school days were spent in Spur where he played football. Lane actually counts two classes as his senior class, the class of 1944 and the class of 1945. Since he was not yet seventeen when the class of ‘44 graduated, Lane stayed another semester, graduating with the class of 1945. After graduation his attempt to join the Navy, like his father before him, was rejected but the West Texas boy found the ocean by joining the Maritime Service. V-J Day, August, 1945, found Lane in New York City soon to be sailing for the Philippines on board a hospital ship to bring home the wounded. It was on this maiden voyage the young sailor decided to return home and enter college. Returning to Lubbock, where his family now lived, Lane entered Texas Tech.

While at Tech pursuing a degree in Animal Husbandry, Lane met Peggy Tyler from Spade, Texas. It was 1949; Peggy was working for Southwestern Bell and Lane was working for the college for the massive sum of fifty cents an hour. It was obvious to Peggy and Lane that permanent plans had to wait. Lane graduated in May, 1951, and in June of that year received his greetings from Uncle Sam. The Korean Conflict was in full swing. He was sent to Schoffield Barracks in the Hawaiian Islands for 24 months. Peggy waited at home. It was a short time from June 1953 to December 29, 1953, Lane and Peggy´s wedding day. Lane returned to Tech to work on his Master´s Degree in Animal Husbandry and a minor in Ag Education.

On December 28, 1954, in Lubbock, Timothy Lane Ericson arrived, the first of three sons. In August, 1955, Lane graduated and the family moved to Meadow where Lane´s first teaching assignment was as vocational agricultural teacher. After three years in Meadow the family returned to Spur and before the boxes could be unpacked Jimmy Wayne made his appearance, September 1, 1958. Lane had accepted a teaching position in his old high school and for five years taught chemistry, biology and general science.

A change of professions brought Lane back to the land when he left teaching for the Farmer´s Home Administration which led to a position with Lubbock Production Credit in Seminole in October, 1965. The third son, Bobby was born in Spur, May, 1965. Just three short years after the move to Seminole tragedy struck Lane´s family which would alter forever the family´s history.

In September, 1968, Peggy died, leaving Lane and three sons without their center and focus. Lane was faced with the task of raising three sons, and providing a home and a living. When Lane called his parents back in Spur with the sad news Lester Y. and Lena came immediately and never returned to Spur to live, but sold their home, closed their business and moved to Seminole with Lane to help raise the boys. Lester Y. passed away in 1972 and is buried in the Spur Cemetery near his father and "Dock" Ellis, Lena still resides in Seminole.

For nine years after the loss of his first wife, life was normal and steady. In March 1976, Lane entered politics and ran for Gaines County Commissioner. During the campaign he met Bonnie Haley. They were married in November 1976 and Lane started over again raising children. Dean and Denise, twins were five and Darrell was four.

The family still lives in Seminole where Lane is a real estate appraiser and Bonnie practices law. Bob, 20, is a junior at Texas Tech. Jim lives in Midland with his wife and twin son and daughter. Tim has two children and lives in Seminole. Dean and Denise are freshmen in high school and Darrell is an eighth grader.

Source: "Dickens County, Its Land and People", Dickens County Historical Commission, ©1986
Submitted by Gerald Farley

Others Researching This Family

Doyle and Beverly Thomas,
3 Priscilla Lane
Greenville, Tx

Burial Site

Headstone Photograph, Inscription & Sentiments

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Additional Information & Documentation

     ERICSON, Lester Yelma
     Born: Feb 2, 1900, Ericsdale, TX
     Died: Mar 8, 1974, Denver City, Yoakum Co., TX
     Father:  Sven Josef (Joseph) ERICSON
     Mother: Dora J. LANE
     Married: Lena Agnes ELLIS, Jun 16, 1921, Spur, Dickens Co., TX
     Born: May 13, 1903, Spur, Dickens Co., TX
     Died: Feb 8, 1996, Seminole, Gaines Co., TX
     Father: Smith "Dock" ELLIS
     Mother: Martha Jane PRUITT	 	 



Funeral services for Lester Ericson, 74, were held Monday morning at 10 a.m. in the First United Methodist Church, Seminole, Rev. Rodney Williams, officiating.

Masonic graveside rites were held in Spur Cemetery at 1:30 p.m.

Ericson died about 4 p.m. March 8, 1974 in a Denver City convalescent home following a short illness. A native of Stamford, he worked for several years on the Swenson Ranch, Spur. He also operated a grocery store in Spur, and more recently a variety store. He was a resident of Spur for some 30 years.

Mr. Ericson was a member of the Methodist Church; a member of the Masonic Lodge No. 957; Order of the Eastern Star; Lubbock Scottish Rites Bodies, and Full Gospel Businessmen´s Assn.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Lena Ericson, Seminole, two sons, Joe Ericson, Nacogdoches and Lester Lane Ericson, Seminole and six grandchildren.

©The Texas Spur, March 14, 1974
Submitted by Kay Laster;  From the records of Lillian Grace Nay

Graveside services for Lena Agnes Ericson, 92, of Seminole, were at 2 p.m. Saturday, February 10 in Spur Memorial Cemetery.

Rev. Shell Denison, First United Methodist Church, Seminole, officiated. Burial was in Spur Memorial Cemetery under direction of Campbell Funeral Home.

Mrs. Ericson died February 8, 1996 in Seminole Memorial Health Care Center. She was born in Dickens county May 13, 1903 and lived in Dickens County most of her life before moving to Seminole in 1968. She married Lester Y. Ericson in Spur on June 16, 1921. He preceded her in death on March 8, 1974.

She was a clerk and a homemaker. She was also a member of the Eastern Star and had been a hospital auxiliary volunteer for 16 years. She was a member of the First United Methodist Church.

Survivors include two sons, Joe E. Ericson of Nacogdoches and Lester Lane Ericson, Seminole; nine grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.

Memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church or Eastern Star Home, Grand Chapter of Texas--OES, 1111 E. Division in Arlington.

©The Texas Spur, February 16, 1996
from the records of Lillian Grace Nay

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