Grayson County TXGenWeb
Orbia Burl Stephens & Family

from Ruth Walsh
Whitewright Sun, published 1930, probably in Dec (specific date unknown)

(Editor's note: The following article was printed in the Sherman Democrat last week, and while it has been read by some of The Sun's readers, there are hundreds of others who have not read it, and we take the liberty of reproducing it.)
   WHITEWRIGHT.--Most future presidents of the United States have ten little fingers and ten little toes, but Orbia Burl Stephens of Whitewright, aged six months, has in addition, ten living grandparents--and he's the only grandbaby in the whole connection.   As timber for president (probably independent party) the grandfathers and grandmothers speak for him as to what he thinks of present business conditions.  Picking up fast, he is quoted, and if you doubt him, look at that smile.  Prosperity is coming back in a hurry, his actions infer, although he is not ready to announce his platform as yet, he will soon be able to make a few suggestions for speeding things up.
   Orbia Burl is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Claude Stephens of Whitewright. His grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. C.S. Blanton of Whitewright and Mr. and Mrs. John Stephens of Tom Bean.  His great-grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. B.F. Blanton, Whitewright; H.M. Cowan, Shamrock; H.M. Davis, Tom Bean, and Mr. and Mrs. Joe Stephens, Tom Bean.
   Orbia Burl's backers say he has as strong a constituency as any candidate has ever had, and his grandparents form a strong party that will back him to the limit.  One of his favorite stories will concern his great grandfather, B.F. Blanton, and how Mr. Blanton fell in love with a Miss Blanton who
became Mrs. Blanton.  It goes like this.  Mr. Blanton, not Mr. Stephens, speaking:
   "One day when I was just a kid back in North Carolina, my father and I were going to town.  On the way we met a neighbor, who by the way, had the same name, though not related to us.
   "Father and the neighbor got out of the wagon and began talking.  In the meantime, I observed that our neighbor had a daughter.  I had (torn) ... seen her before, but I liked (torn)... looks, and decided I would see her again.  When I was not looking at her I could see out of the corner of my eye that she was looking at (torn)...  We did not say a word, but it was love at first sight.
   "We did not meet again for some time, but neither of us had forgotten. Some time later, a county commissioner offered me a job on his farm across the river at $10 a month (torn)...  was near Julia Ann's father's place.  A few days later I suggested to the daughter of the house that she invite Julia Ann over to spend the evening.  She did and with that our courtship began.
   'A few months later we were engaged to be married.  Then the war came and I left to fight for the South.  We were not married until three years of war
had passed, but she waited for me.  That was nearly 65 years ago.  "So far as I know, Mr. Blanton finishes his story, "we never have had a fuss.  Fusses never pay, so why have them.  We've never owned an automobile
so there's never been any back seat driving.  I think that helped."    This pair of Orbia Burl's great grandparents left North Carolina in the fall of 1870 for Texas, making the trip in a two-horse wagon.  They were eleven weeks on the road arriving in Whitewright in January 1871.  When they left there were three wagons in the train and when they arrived there were ten.
   Mr. Blanton rented 22 acres on the Routh farm east of Whitewright near where Ely community is located.  Then after six years he moved to a farm which became the Blanton homestead, taking a prairie strip that had been turned back to the government, and driving to Sherman to arrange for homesteading it.  He bought it outright somewhat later and farmed it successfully until recently when he and Mrs. Blanton moved into Whitewright.
  At the time he took the land, the north side of what is now Whitewright was owned by George Blanton, a cousin of Mrs. B.F. Blanton, and the eastern side was owned by Henry Sears and George Gowdy.  The first public building was there, a store owned by Jim Reeves and Jim Batsell and was moved  from Kentuckytown to a location where Lilley's dry goods store now stands.
  The Blanton family, then are pioneers in North Texas, and when Orbia Burl gets ready to make his first political speech, he can truthfully say that his sturdy American ancestry goes way back, and has its roots in the rich soil of historic Texas, or whatever the beat presidential candidates will be saying by 1970.

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