Marriage to Velma Yarborough

I had went with several girls but had not given much thought about marriage. Doubt I would ever have married as long as my mother lived. I was going with Velma YARBOROUGH. We got married in September [1920]. Dad and I made a good crop. We thrashed 1300 bushels of oats. Our corn and cotton was good. But we just got one load packed while the price was good then it got so low it would not pay for the picking. We left it in the field.

I had 25 head of cattle, yearlings in pasture. They were outside on the range and were scattered all over the country. I sold them to my wife’s father, Joe YARBOROUGH for 25 dollars a head. When I got them rounded up knew that I had to sell my little horse that I had bought at Ft. Gibson. I was making a good cow horse of him. I had so much to buy, because I was getting married, I thought I had to let him go But I could have of kept him. Andy TAYLOR at Gideon got a hold of him. He made a roping horse out of him.  Andy let him go he said for 900 dollars. He weighed 900 pounds. He sold for a dollar a pound. He would bring in the thousands now. He was said to be the best roping horse in the state. They was taking him to a rodeo and had him tied in back of a truck. The horse was thrown out of the truck [I suppose in some kind of an accident] and his neck was broken. My dad  married a woman that had a farm a mile west of where we lived. It had 2 sets of houses on it. I rented part of it for 1921. I made a good crop of cotton. Prices had came back up. Was a fair price that fall. My dad had a sale and sold out and moved to Kiowee Oklahoma. Dad rented the place to his brother, my uncle Cal Neel [William Calvin Neel Jr.]. I rented a place across Spring Creek in Black Smith Hollow.

My daughter was born that year. In 1922 May the 8th. I made a good crop but the bowl Weevils ate my cotton up. My dad moved back that fall. I rented a house down towards Bethel. I started to move and took sick. I had Tonsillitis. They had a quack doctor at Peggs he came to see me and poured cold oil down me. I liked to a strangled to death could not swallow Water. They moved me up to Peggs to my wife’s parents. The old doctor lived there close to him He and his wife come to see me one evening. The old doctor’s wife had a flash light. I ask them what they was going to do with the flash light? He said that he was going to cut my tonsils out. I told him he was not about to do that. They moved me to my dad’s house. My tonsils busted and my lungs abscessed. I almost died. We got a doctor from Hulbert a colored doctor, D BANKS. He was a good doctor that sat up with me for quite a while. I was given up to die. After I got up I learned dad was up at Peggs one day and he told them up there that I was not expected to live through the night. I remember the night when there was a lot of my folks coming in to see me. I got up and finished moving but was not completely well yet. Dad wanted me and my family to go to California with him. One of my sisters thought that I would go with them when they went to California.  Instead of going to California I bought out a grocery store in Peggs. It had living quarters in the back of the store. I got to feeling better. I bought a team wagon and harness and some farming tools. Rented some land out on Peggs prairie from Arthur TAYLOR. I thought that I would plant a corn crop. My wife could take care of the store. I started to plow and it come up a big rain and I had to quit plowing. I never did go back to the farm any more.

My dad was still wanting to go to California. I still was not very well. I sold my store to Jim YARBOROUGH. My wife’s brother sold my team, wagon, harness and plow tools. Dad and I bought a model T Ford and we started to California. I had a brother and a cousin in west Texas. It took us 4 or 5 days to get there. The roads were bad and there wasn’t very many highways then. We stopped in west Texas for a few days. Dad decided to sell the car and go the rest of the way on the train. We sold the car to my cousin, Oliver JARVIS and went the rest of the way on the train.  We got off the train at Colton California and got on the bus and went up close to Yacaipa CA. We got off the bus at one of my double cousins house.
Their names were Dora [NEEL] and Bob SMIGH. I was broke I had 50 cents and my wife had it in her pocket book and when she got off the bus she left it on the bus. Dad owed me 50 dollars but he couldn’t pay me until he worked a while. We rented a house together and got a job. I just worked a few days and took tonsillitis again. I had to go to San Bernadino to the hospital. As soon as they could they took my tonsils out and in a few days I went to work for a man by the name of COB, picking apples. He had a 40 acre apple orchard. I worked a few days for him.

I had a double cousin that was working on a county road that went up to Big Bear lake. [Big Bear Lake is high in the San Bernadino Mts.] It was a control road. The cars just run one way at a time. [the road was 11 miles long.]  You had an hour and a half to make the trip, If you did not make it in that time then you had to park the car while the traffic went the other direction. There was 4 of us working on the road. We had a camp on a little mountain stream, The water was as cold as ice. It was snow water. The road looked like stair steps. We would go up on Monday morning and come down on Friday evening . Our Boss’s name was Clyde. He would come up once or twice a week and stay an hour or two. He lived at Redlands. There was a lot of wild animals up there, Deer, Bear, Turkeys and Mountain lions. In the night you could hear the lions a screaming. One of the men that I was working with said they would not hurt you and that they would run from people. I said we would get away from one another pretty fast for I knew I would run pretty fast from them. We had a Ford pickup truck that we drove that belonged to the county. It was a model 12.

My wife had a cousin out there. He was awful good to us. He helped us when we needed help. His name was Oscar CABE. His Parents lived at Peggs where my wife’s parents lived. They were going back on a  visit and he told my wife and that they could go back with them. I knew that I was a going to return to Oklahoma. I told her to go ahead. I worked on for a while.  My dad and my cousin took a notion to return to Oklahoma and I went back with them. Dad had a 13 model ford car it ran good. It had a good radiator and had coal oil lamps on the side of the car. We made pretty good time. I was glad to get back home but was broke. I had to start all over again.

My wife had a uncle that was moving to south Texas he had a farm a half mile south a mile and a half west of Peggs He wanted to rent it to me. I rented it for 1924. I had to go in debt for everything. When I got my crop made I owed 600 dollars. I made a good crop and paid all my debts off and had plenty of feed for my animals and had some money left. It was a cool summer. It rained just when we needed it the most. I had just planted cotton and the 11th of May and it spit snow all day. I wore my over coat all day. I bought a red sow and a red Boar from Uncle John WILLARD. In the fall I fattened and butchered the Boar. The sow got to catching chickens. [I gather that the sow was killing them.] George ROBINS lived at Peggs he had a little farm over in Bryant hollow across Spring Creek.  All of the hills around his place was free range and no body lived back there behind his place. Mr. Robins run hogs back there. He asked me one day if I would sell him my sow. I told him I would but she caught chickens. He said that he didn’t care for there were not chickens where he was going to let her run. I sold her to him in a few days I saw him and asked him how his new sow was doing. He said she was about to run herself to death trying to catch the other pigs that are out there with her.

In 1926 I lived on the Richard Wright place. I paid cash rent for it. I give 125 dollars for it. I took sick and the doctor thought I had TB and I did not work much that year. I rented the land out. I helped my wife in the garden . I had my teeth pulled that year. They pulled them and made me a false set for 50 dollars. I have to same set of teeth now. It will cost from 500 to 1000dollars to get a set of teeth now days. I sold a mule colt for 50 dollars the same as what I paid for them. I bought 40 acres of land that year from Bill LITTLEFIELD. It joined the WRIGHT place. I give 400 dollars for it. It was a good land but did not have any buildings on it.

In 1927 my Dad and wife had separated and he come and lived with me. I had enough land for both of us. He had just started to plow a had a stroke and just lived 3 days and then died. That tore me up for he was just 63 years old. My dad never had been sick. I was not satisfied there any more. I rented the Wright place out. I bought a house and lot and 7 acres of land in Peggs from my wife’s uncle Jim Cabe. I give 350 dollars for it. I had all the land I needed and my 40 acres too. I lived on the place in Peggs almost 2 years. My boy Harold DEAN was born April 25, 1928. In the summer of 1928 after my crop was laid by I let a friend of mine, Claud SULLIVAN, talk me into going to California with him and his family. I sold my place there in Peggs to Will WAREN. I sold about everything but my crop and it was not ready to gather yet. We all loaded into Claud’s Model T Ford after we got every thing loaded you didn’t hardly have room to breathe. There was Claud and his wife and 4 children. Me and my wife and 2 children. We were 8 days on the road. We went up close to Yucaipa. We rented a house together and went to work. There are bad forest fires in California. While we was there one was raging up in the mountains. They would get out and pick up fire fighters. They could make you go. You were paid but I didn’t want any part of it. It was dangerous hot work.

Neel, Yarborough,

Biography, History,

Neel, Walter Alexander. Recollections of My Life.

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