Memoirs of Mattie Lindholm Cox

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A FEW THINGS ABOUT LIFE IN FRIO COUNTY (1969)

The Lindholm's moved into Frio County in 1882. They bought a small farm about four miles east of Big Foot in the Luka community. Luka was near the Siestadera Creek and the community was more often referred to as Siestadera than Luka. There was no post office there then, but several years later there was one near where the Kyote Post Office is now. There was only a small grocery store and a small saw mill there in 1882. The only lumber sawed on it, that I can remember was sawed from hickory to make us a "smoke house."

The long drought that lasted through 1886 moved in about the same time we did, so my dad, in order to feed his family, had to take his mules and go help construct the Aransas Pass Railroad, working near San Antonio. He stayed with that job about two years. Things got so very bad in Frio County that rations were shipped in to those who needed them, which was just about everybody. My mother came to Pearsall to get ours and with team weak and almost no road, she left home at daylight and got back after dark. Now, one could run down there and back in an hour or so, the difference in a wagon and team and automobiles.

Our school was a one room log house. Benches were wide boards laid on stumps set into dirt floor. We did have slates and readers, as wall as "Blue Backed Spellers." School only lasted about three months and it seemed that almost anyone who could read, write and figure a little could have the job of teacher. There seemed to be little competition for the job. At Big Foot, there was a better school, a church and a store. We attended church when we could. People were very friendly. There, I saw my first windmill and my first painted and ceiled residence.

As our droughts do, usually, this one ended in blessed rains and my Dad made good crops in 1887, 1888, and 1889.

FRIO COUNTY SCHOOL LAND

In 1890, Frio County began to sell the school land consisting of the area now known as Buck Horn and Key Stone (Shallow Wells) communities. The rains had brought out a crop of sage grass all over the big pastureland which made it look like fine farm land. So my Dad sold the Siestadera farm and bought school land. The price was $5.00 per acre, longtime payment and low interest. Buyers flocked in and homes were being built fast. Some of them were average farm homes, others just temporary shelters. But there came drawbacks! Rain failed to come, and when it did rain a little, it was with bad windstorms. And there was, in the Buckhorn community only one well, bad water, and one old windmill that broke down every few days. Then, grass fires began to happen.

The men had to fight the fires by plowing strips ahead of it, and beating flames with wet towsacks, if there was any water. The fires were terrifying, and severel times men fought all night to save homes. Also, when grass burned off, the land was found to be full of Cat-claw bushes, which had not been seen because of the tall grass. So now, there must grubbing done before plowing. The farmers had little money and no time as it was already planting time - but - it did not rein, so, there was just about nothing planted in 1891. Most of the families (and there were dozens of them) put their scant belongings into their wagons and left.. As I remember, only about six families "hung on". These were the Clausewitz, Malone, Campbell, Whitley, Lindholm, and maybe the Pope families.

Those in charge of land sales sent out word in about 1894, that if settlers would bring in orginal sales papers, they would cancel them and resell land to those who wanted it at $1.00 per acre. But few of those who left could be contacted and as far as I know, none of them came.

Those who stayed rebought what they had and, also, bought more. Rains came, many buyers came and the community grew into one of Frio County's most thriving neighborhoods. There are many good people and good farms and homes there today. I doubt, if any would sell their land today for $100.00 an acre.

GOLDFINCH COMMUNITY

In 1914, if I remember correctly, the Oppenheimers and Langs of San Antonio began selling some of their 40,000 acre ranch land. It sold readily to cotton farmers, who built homes and moved in. This called for a cotton gin, gas station, post office, etc. Mr. B.F. Johnson built a gin and made application for a post office to be established. He volunteered to serve as post master and suggested the name of the post office be "New Home." The government agreed on the post office but wrote there were already too many "New Home Offices" and suggested the name Goldfinch. B.F. Johnson appointed postmaster April 17, 1916, Mary B. Johnson July 22, 1918, Wm H. Ricks October 20, 1920. Mr. J.C. Nations bought a store that was there and built a gas station;-moving his family to Goldfinch. In 1920, the Johnsons sold out to J.C. Cox and Mrs. Cox, who had lived in Pearsall because there was no school at Goldfinch, moved back and was commissioned postmaster on February 24, 1921. A school was completed there in 1920 and was continued until 1928. It was consolidated with Pearsall School District and children were transported to Pearsall by school bus.

In the meantime, cotton farming had been replaced by peanut farming, partly because of boll weevil and partly because of demand for peanuts.

In 1942 Mrs. Cox resigned as postmaster and applied for Goldfinch to be placed on Star Route from Devine. This is still in operation and the people find it quite satisfactory.

TXGenWeb, Frio County - Memoirs of Mattie Lindholm Cox updated on 08/12/2005

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