By Margaret Thomas – Special to the Navarro County Gazette
Growing up in Eureka many years ago, things were decidedly different than today. My Dad bought and sold livestock for a living. This entailed daily interaction with the local farmers and ranchers in the community. At that time my Dad and cousin, Robert Davidson, were the only two men in the Eureka community who owned a livestock trailer. Thus, the farmers who were primarily cotton farmers and owned a few cows had no way of selling their calves at weaning time except via a country cattle buyer, like my Dad.
There was a non-written rule of respect to other cattle buyers with the same livelihood as my dad who lived in nearby communities, in that they seldom bought livestock outside the range of their community. In the Winkler area Hallie Rash bought most of the cattle, the Kerens area buyers were Ben Cherry and Joe Baxter. In the Rice/Chatfield area, Earnest “Sheepy” Cummins and Johnny Spencer were active cattle traders. B.W. Lee lived in Corsicana and traded frequently with cattlemen around Corsicana. Vel Carroll and Chester Lee Carroll were cattle buyers in Streetman and Fairfield. These are just a few of the men I recall but there were several more through the years.
Livestock was a major source of additional income and food for the cotton farmers as every one of them had a milk cow. Many had hogs also as a source of income and meat.
As there was no telephone in those days, either you ran into a farmer at the local store buying groceries, at the cotton gin in the fall harvest season, or you rode the country roads stopping by to see if they had weaning calves for sale or had a need for a new milk cow.
Those years going with my Dad were happy times for me, and I got an education that money could not buy. I will admit there were a few things maybe I did not need to know but quickly taught me to never tell everything you know. I learned the process of buying and selling, which was beneficial in later years. But best of all were the many families we met and the friendships that were established.