Mulberry Reborn: Government Farms


        1937 April 27: The Federal Land Bank of Houston gave a “release” to John W. Palmore on the note it held against 180 acres, formerly of the Edward F. Lyday estate.

July 15: John W. and Merle Palmore sold 1,503 acres in Mulberry to

the United States of America.

Boundaries of the three tracts touched the “Texas-Okla. border”

and land in the estates of J. F. Hall and C. W. Parks.

The price “paid” was $33,731.31.

In February 1962 Gladys wrote:

“I have had two calls from Mr. Palmore’s funeral it was murmured around that there had been a call to Mr. Denton from Mulberry—an emergency, and they were real excited. Grace Cain was at the funeral...just nearly died.... Edna was at the funeral. It seems that Mulberry stole the show...a wave of anxiety ran up and down...until the funeral became of minor importance. Of all the people for it to happen to—John Palmore! Jubie is critical.... There are at least twenty people in Mulberry eligible to be in the same fix any day.”

    1937 June 17: Work Soon to Start on 78 Units of Resettlement Projects in Fannin County. Immediate construction of 78 farm units on Texas land recently purchased by the Resettlement Administration has been authorized.... The amount which is to be expended or loaned for construction of dwellings, barns, outhouses, and water supplies will range from $2300 to $2700. The amount of land per farm averages around 80 acres. All loans or sales are on 40-year time with interest at three per cent.

    Minutes of the July 1936 meeting of the Bonham Chamber of Commerce report Malcolm Campbell speaking as follows: “We have worked hard to get this thing going.... The major a two thousand acre tract north of Bonham near Mulberry, and fifteen thousand acres on Bois d’Arc....”

    July 10: Building 38 Resettlement Units Starts Within Few Weeks. Scores of Carpenters, Painters and Other Workers Will be Needed on Project...including residences, barns, poultry houses, toilets, wells or cisterns...mean paying out of many thousands of dollars in the community within the next few months. The residences and other improvements are to be built on the land purchased by the government under the resettlement program. The people who sold their farms sometime ago are to be removed to other more desirable property, and the government will thus aid them in getting started in life again....

    July 19: Two Carloads of Lumber and Other Material Here for Resettlement Houses... arrived in Bonham to be used in constructing 34 units...under the government program. The material is being unloaded on a lot belonging to John Catron, west of the old ice factory and adjacent to Sid Smith’s warehouse.... Actual construction is expected to begin within a few weeks.... In other words it is planned that everything will be ready for the tenant farmer to move in and go to work on next year’s crop.... The details of the size of the houses, payment for property and other information will be announced later. When work starts on these houses it is likely that all carpenters and painters will have regular work for several months.

    1937 August 3: Explains Plan for Selling Resettlement Farms. County Committee to Pass on Loans.... Loans will be made only for farms large enough to constitute an efficient farm management unit which will enable a diligent farm family to carry on successfully the type of farming best suited to the locality. Only farm tenants, farm laborers, share croppers, and other individuals who earn or who recently earned the major portion of their income from farming operations are eligible. Precedence is to be given to persons who are married or who have dependent families, and wherever practical, to persons who are able to make an initial down payment. Farmers who have been thrifty enough to become owners of livestock and farm implements necessary to run the farm are also to be given general preference.... The committee must certify that they believe the applicant will be successful in carrying out the provisions of the agreement.

Farm Unit No. 15 in Mulberry

    August 10: Benefits to Northwest Texas from Red River Dam Project to be Discussed at Shreveport.... Make Red River part of the largest inland waterway system in the world....

    October 16: Farm has begun on the Tulip and Mulberry projects and eleven barns have been completed on these tracts. Work is going ahead on the residences.... The cost of each unit was not announced, but it is understood they will be from $4,000 to $5,000 each.

    October 26: Applications for Homesteads on Fannin County Projects to be Opened November 2-3.... Sixteen farms in Mulberry Bend in Red River sandy land section.... This land has been divided into economic farm units. The size of the farms runs from 60 to 150 acres, all improved with a 4-room or 5-room house, a good barn and a poultry house. The construction work is scheduled to be completed by January 1, 1938.


    (Bonham newspaper files for the first six months of 1938 have not survived.)

    November 6: Many Applications Are Received for Government Farms...only the most deserving ones will be accepted...these are 38 houses on the Allen, Tulip and Mulberry tracts.... The farms will be supervised by a federal inspector. It is obvious that the government will select the kind of crops best adapted to the particular land and the farmers will be expected

to meet all requirements. With favorable weather conditions, it is believed all houses, barns, and other improvements will be completed early in December and the purchasers should be located by Jan. 1st, in order that they may begin 1938 crops early in the year. It is said that the government is willing to do everything reasonable to help a man purchase the farm, but he will have to do his part or else he will be removed.

    So far as the Favorite is advised, the government farms in Fannin County are the only ones in this section of Texas, and the success of the project will naturally be watched with very great interest. The government is trying to assist the tenant farmer and we all hope that the experiment will work out to the betterment of all concerned.

    1937 November 24:  Work Begins on Fannin Co. Rural Electrification the southern part of Fannin County.... [reached Mulberry sometime during World War II]

The United States of America (in 1943) started making deeds to the farm families who moved to Mulberry in 1938 under the Rural Resettlement program. Most of the “government farms” were in “the bottom” where houses, barns, chicken houses and outdoor toilets looked all alike. 

    1943 June 30: Quit-claim virtue of authority vested in the Secretary of Agriculture by Executive Order 7530 dated December 31, 1936, as amended by Executive Order 7557, dated February 19, 1937, the Secretary was authorized to execute deeds...necessary in connection with sales and conveyances of real property or interests therein held by the U. S. and under the jurisdiction of the Farm Security Administration...the U.S.A. for and in consideration of the sum of...paid by...and...his wife...being Farm Unit...containing...acres....

Hubert E. Burgess and Marie, Farm Unit. 13

[$3,500/113.744 acres]

James Venable and Mable, Farm Unit No. 15

Roy Householder and Jewel, No. 9

Steve Carroll and Cleo, No. 18

Marvin Baker and Vera, No. 17

Leonard Overton and Rosa Lee, No. 16

Ben Winkler and Virgie, No. 20

George Warren and Minnie, No. 12

Albert Underwood and Myrtle, No. 19

Norman Underwood and Otha, No. 10

Luther Ball and Iona, No. 14

photos (right): Unit No. 15, the Venable place

also (below) The Kirkhams; Glenn and Iona Hemphill,                                        neighbors, they too had government farms in Mulberry bottom.


photo (right): Iona Hemphill