History of Herring Farm

Charles Abram Herring and Linda Alice Garrett married 10/02/1873 in Mart, Texas. They had twelve children. Charles Abram died in 1902. Linda Alice and three of the sons; Washington Dennis, Marcus Eugene & Merrill Garrett went looking for new land to farm.

Olney, TX - 1910

Olney, TX in 1910

About this same time, the State of Texas was attempting to break up some of the large ranches in North Texas in order to end the ‘land lock’ they were preventing to the cattle drives headed for the rail heads in Kansas. One of these cattle drives was the Loving Cattle Trail that started in Loving, Texas – about 17 miles west of present day Olney, Texas. The ranchers finally agreed to open up and sell tracts of land that would allow roads to be built and towns like Olney to spring up.

Grandad plowing

Merrill Garrett plowing

In 1905, Linda Alice purchased three adjourning tracts of land five miles south of the new town of Olney.  The three sons subsequently bought the three tracts from their Mother, built homes and began farming and raising livestock.

Marcus (Uncle Marc) purchased the western 1/3rd, Washington (Uncle Wash) purchased the eastern 1/3rd and Merrill (M.G. – My Granddad) purchased the remaining middle section. Linda Alice, bring widowed, moved in and lived with M.G. This property was known as the original homestead.

Threshing the Grain

Threshing the grain

The boys were always the first ones to own any new farming equipment to be available. One of these was a steam powered threshing machine. They borrowed money at the bank to buy this equipment and then paid off the loan by providing services to all the area farmers.

M.G. was fascinated by photography and had a wonderful camera. This allowed him to take many pictures of the farm and how things worked.

M.G. married Lillie D. Bird 09/13/1911. Lillie was a “fire engine RED haired” Irish woman from “Indian Territory”, know now as Oklahoma. She was as tough as a 40 cent steak, but was always called Miss Lillie. They had three sons; Chester A., Robert Vern and Dennis David (Dad).

In 1929, M.G. died intestate.  Per Texas law, the property was divided as follows: ½ to the widow and the other ½ was divided among the three sons.

By the time WWII started, all three boys had married and Chester had purchased Uncle Marc’s land. Dennis married Nina Clyde Gary on 03/14/1942. All three boys were drafted, but because they were the sole support of a widowed mother, the military made them choose which one would stay and keep the farms going. Chester was allowed to return home as he was the oldest and had three children – the other boys did not have children yet.

While Chester farmed both farms, Lillie brought the three daughter-in laws into the central farm and they all helped Chester.

After Dennis returned from the war, he purchased Lillie’s ½ of the farm and he and Mom moved onto the home place.

After Uncle Vern died, Dad purchased all remaining interests from Aunt Virginia and Uncle Chester.


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