Willis Martin and Bamma Mae Hazel were among the early settlers of Spur. Willis was born in Van Zandt County, Texas, in 1881 and attended business college in Dallas. In 1908 he married Bamma Mae Skelton, who was born in Mississippi in 1889 and moved to Shannon, Texas, at an early age. She was attending a normal college in Bellvue, Texas, preparing to become a teacher at the time that she and Willis were married.
Willis and Mae farmed for eight years in Clay County, Texas. In 1916 they and their four children, Cleo, Lanoy, Evalene, and Sybal, ranging in age form seven to two years, left Clay County in a covered wagon to find their destiny elsewhere. For two weeks they traveled by day and camped at night, searching for the place they envisioned. They wanted a community of promise, a community filled with good people, a community where hard work would provide a good life for their family. When they arrived at the townsite of Spur, Willis looked around and stated, "This is the place we´re looking for," and Mae agreed. Within the year another daughter, Imogene was born; she died in infancy in 1917. Their last child, Melba, was born in 1919.
Willis´ first business was the Spur Wagon Yard; next he started the Spur Grain and Coal Co., which was his main livelihood. It was located on the quarter block he owned on Harris Street, which is the present location of the Spur Bank, having been purchased by the Directors in the late fifties from Mae Hazel. In addition to the "feed store," Willis also had on this site a mill, a hatchery, and storage for carloads of coal, the main source of heating in Spur at that time. Willis had first a wagon and later trucks to unload the coal coming in on the Santa Fe train that came to Spur in those years, and to ship out the wheat and swine that he sent to market.
South of the Post Office on Harris Street, Willis had three warehouses to store feed and the grain that was threshed for the area farmers with his threshers. Late at night, he often went to the warehouses to turn the grain so it would not spoil. At other times, he would separate a new litter of pigs from a sow or water down the hogs in hot summer months on his swine lot south of Spur.
While Willis took care of these various enterprises, Mae, assisted by the children form time to time, helped tend the office, keep the books, and collect the bills for the feed store. The boys also helped in hauling coal, feed, and grain in making deliveries to customers.
As progress came to Spur, Willis gradually eliminated from his business enterprises the coal, the wheat, the mill, the hatchery, and the swine. By 1940 the five children had completed their college eductions, and he was then free to develop his interest in raising cattle on his ranch land three miles north of Spur. He also enjoyed operating the tractor on his farm land that was located south of the Experiment Station. In his younger years in Clay county, it had often been said that he plowed the straightest furrow in the county.
W.M. Hazel served as city councilman, and he was on the tire rationing board during World War II. He also served as deacon of the First Baptist Church for many years. Mae taught an adult Sunday School class and a Bible study for the women´s circle throughout most of her adult years. She never refused to feed someone who knocked at her door or to provide help and clothing for the needy. Willis often gave a sack of coal to families during the depression years. He said, "The Lord provideth and I divideth."
Willis Martin Hazel died at the age of 70, in November, 1951, and Mae Skelton Hazel died 22 years later in November, 1973. Both Willis and Mae and the infant Imogene are buried in the Spur Cemetery.
The five remaining children are all living as of this date, 1983. Harry Cleo Hazel earned his BBA from Texas Tech. In World War II, he was in the Navy and stationed in San Francisco; he made his home there and was active in real estate until he recently retired.
Dr. Lanoy N. Hazel spent most of his career at Iowa State University specializing in animal breeding and genetics. He served as head of the Animal Science Department from 1968 until his retirement in 1973. He now resides in Mountain Home, Arkansas, where he raises beef cattle.
Melissa Evalene Hazel Man taught in Spur before becoming chairman of the home Economics Department at Amarillo College. Then she was professor of Fashion Design and Merchandising at the University of Houston until her retirement in 1977. She returned to Amarillo, where she now designs clothing and does oil painting.
Mary Sybal Hazel Brierley taught in the Amarillo Public Schools where she was head of the Business Department at Tascosa HIgh School until her early retirement in 1975. Her permanent residence is in Amarillo, but she spends much time in the Taos Ski Valley and in traveling.
Melba Jo Hazel Pope taught in the Amarillo Public Schools several years. She now lives in San Antonio, where she has been chairman of the English Department in Burbank High School for a number of years.
Existing at the present time are 26 descendants from Bamma Mae and Willis Martin Hazel. In addition to the five surviving children are ten grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren, a living legacy to a man and woman who had a dream and the faith, courage, and determination to make it become reality.
Funeral services were held Saturday at 10 a.m. in the First Baptist Church for Mrs. (W.M.) Bammie Mae Hazel, 84. Rev. Norris Taylor, church pastor, officiated.
Mrs. Hazel died Nov. 22 in a San Antonio Hospital. She had been a resident of Dickens County since 1916. She was a member of the Baptist Church.
Survivors include three daughters, Mrs. Evalene Man, Houston; Mrs. Melba Pope, San Antonio and Mrs. Sybal Brierley, Amarillo; two sons, Dr. L.N. Hazel, Ames, Iowa and Harry Hazel, San Franciso, CA; 11 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.
Pallbearers included C.P. Scudder, Guy Karr, John F. Moore, O.L. Kelley, Jerry Ensey, JuDon Rickels and Horace Hyatt. Burial was in Spur Cemetery.
©The Texas Spur, November 1923Submitted by Lillian Grace Nay, transcribed by Linda Fox Hughes
Funeral services for Willis Martin Hazel, 70, resident of the Spur are for 35 years who died Friday at his ranch of a heart attack, were held at 10:30 a.m. Monday in the First Baptist Church here with Rev. H.L. Burnam officiating.
Hazel was born in Van Zandt county, Texas on February 8, 1881. In Shannon, Texas on August 2, 1908 he married Mae Skelton.
Hazel served as city councilman and deacon of the First Baptist church for many years. He was converted to the Christian religion in 1907 and joined the Baptist church.
A former feed dealer, Hazel went into the cattle business four years ago. He was considered a civic leader of the community, and a well-liked successful businessman.
Survivors include his wife, two sons, H.C. of Richmond, Calif., and L.N. of Ames, Iowa; three daughters, Mrs. Evalene Holly and Mrs. Robert Brierley of Amarillo, and Mrs. W.G. Pope of Austin; a sister, Mrs. Doris Creagle of Grand Saline; three brothers, Osa of Dallas, Oscar of Fruit Vale and Percy of Los Angeles; and eight grandchildren.
Pallbearers were Bruce Browning, Joe Long, George S. Link, Clarence Watters, George Gabriel, C.L. Lindsey, John Adams and John King, Jr.
Honorary pallbearers were Penn Shugart, W.F. Godfrey, Jackson East, Rob Simons, Will Watson, Jerry Ensey, Clyde C. Jones, Jack Lewis, Pete Bird, Ed McArthur, and F.W. Jennings.
Burial was in the Spur cemetery under the direction of the Chandler Funeral Home.
©The Texas Spur December 6, 1951Transcribed by Becky Hodges
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