Joe and Sybil Price


        Joe and Sybil got Farm Unit 13. It had been his “dream” to own a place on Red River where life, work and river were all one. Two sons, Dean and Delton, growing up in Mulberry, will walk in their father’s shadow. While describing the family’s life, Dean (born in the Parker Grove community in 1941) will eventually focus his research, creating first Treasure River, then River of Dreams where neighbors and friends may find themselves in “that life” again.

Joe and Dean (1941)

on the “Lower Rocks” in Red River

Sybil and Joe (left) with brother Earl Price and wife Dovie


photo (right): John Evan (who died about 1903) and Mary Jane Price. She (born 1844) was the the second child of Samuel and Malinda (Kitchins)  Johnson.

    A son of this Evan and Mary, John Samuel Price (1866-1959), married Emma Elizabeth Gibson (1868-1963); they lived in the Parker Grove community across Caney creek, and both are buried in Fairview Cemetery .

photo: John Samuel and Emma Price (seated) with son

Joe, Sibyl and grandson Dean (1941)

Sibyl (born 1915) was a daughter of John Henry Morgan (1888-1971)

and Mary Ida Duty (1870-1965). The Duty family owned a plantation

on the Oklahoma side of Red River.

(right): the Duty family home and

(below): Cotton field workers

Sibyl’s grandparents (seated):

William Marshall Duty (died 1933), “Pinkey”

and Mary Alice Flanagan (1867-1945)

(standing): “Uncle B”, Charlie, Elizabeth,

and Lena Duty


Sons of John Samuel and Emma Price on their 60th Wedding Anniversary

(left to right) Frank, Burly, Bill, Rob, Earl, Clarence, Joe, Oscar

Dean Price (born 1941), son of Joe and Sybil, will remember these family members in his book about growing up in Mulberry, River of Dreams. (With permission, selections from the text follow.)


From River of Dreams (2008)

by Wildwood Dean

    Little did I realize, as I followed Dad and our mules, Gray and Grady, breaking the watermelon patch with the turning plow, that I was beginning a life in Dad’s footsteps. (p.4)

                Dean on melon at Uncle Frank’s house (1943)

    Some of my warmest childhood memories are of sitting round the sheet iron heater at night listening to Dad spin tales about trapping and night hunting with our family dog, Mickey. (p.7)

    Mother knew that Red River held Dad’s dreams - whatever it too, she was willing - his dreams were hers. Red River was Dad’s River of Dreams. (p.11)

    “One look at that Red River farm in Mulberry is just too much for my bones to bear. We have to own her,” he told my Mother. (p.13)

    Mulberry was our government’s experiment in Socialism. When the Great Depression of the 1930’s ended, the Rural Resettlement Administration bought the land from the starving farmers who owned it. The dust days and then the Great Depression had farmers everywhere in starvation’s



                 Dean’s Mulberry “school picture” (1947)

    Our farm consisted of one 50-acre block for farming, one 40-acre block right on the banks of Red River for pasture, and 23-1/2 acres where a wood frame tract house sat. The house, barn, smoke house, hog pen, cow lot, chicken pen, garden and outhouse used up 3-1/2 acres. That left 20 acres of perfect sandy soil for truck farming. Mother named our truck farm “the Big Twenty” (p.14)

    We were off and running. The moon was waxing toward a full harvest moon and a chill filled the air. Mother moved inside and lit the lamp. Dad, Delton and me followed her inside and finished our

nature study. Another day in Mulberry, living on the Price Family farm, came to a close. The first growing season had come and gone; replaced by dreams of a Red River winter. Dreams of trapping mink and ‘coon and ‘possum and of making fishing nets for the upcoming fishing season overshadowed farming.... Just a few short years back our only dream was getting something to eat, Dad thought. (p.23)

    It was my first time to be down in the river bottom after dark. Dad was driving Ol’ Johnny [the tractor] and I was way back in the trailer sitting on the woodpile. With all the hoot owls, goblins and wompus cats. (p.27)

    “... He had a right to cry. He is my little man, though. He’ll grow out of crying, and then I can start takin’ him ‘coon huntin’ with me.” (p.28)

    Cutting wood, according to Dad’s calculating, was important enough to keep me out of school, but not the net-tying business.... “First you wrap the net twine, off of your net needle, around a Prince Albert can twice then tie a secure square knot....”

    Uncle Frank held up his hand, as if to say wait a minute. “Before we go to bed ... Joe, in the mornin’ you pick out one of my big killin’ hogs. It’s plenty cold enough for hog killing....” (p.34)

    The tension of surviving our first winter was over. The first full year on the Price Family farm, on Red River, in Mulberry came to a close.

    Time would prove how serious Dad’s plans were. Everyone knew, though, that Joe Price as serious about his fishing. Red River held as many dreams as ever for him. (p.37)  

Delton, Joe and Dean with Big Fish (1950)

    Jim and Nora Duty showed up just as the last picking of wild plums came off.... She [Mother] sent Delton and me to Red River to gather her some sandbar plums. (p.47)

    “Red River’s a thing I don’t want you boys to be fraid of. You have got to respect her ‘cause she delights in taking those who panic. Don’t ever fight against her current. Let her have her way with you, and she’ll eventually spit you out ... if you fight her, she’ll swallow you up.” (p.51)

    ... where layers of shale and slate rock lined the bank. After Red River turned the corner and headed east, it became extremely swift. This was “the rapids.” (p.55)

    Mother said blessing.

    She had a way of making us feel so sorry for something we had said or done. If there was anything we hated more than a switching with a switch, that we had to go pick, it was for Mother to pray for us, in her presence.

    “Dear Lord, bless these beans that I worked so hard to wash and soak and cook. Please help Delton to like them. Lord, I love him so much, and I want him to love you and to love the things that I cook for him ... Amen.” (pp.56-57)

    The moon was rising and the fire had consumed all of its fuel; it was nothing more than a dying flickering twinkle.

    Dad and Delton had already flickered and twinkled out, but I was wide awake. It was the time of day I enjoyed most of all. I was by myself, just me, my fishing pole and my thoughts.

    I traced imaginary constellations in the star-lit sky. The warmth of boiled coffee seeped through my veins and lulled me into an aristocratic feeling..

    This night ... this river ... this time, is exclusively mine. (p.61)

    In Mulberry, a different smell filled the air ... the smell of harvest. The musty smell of corn shucks drying in the sun; the sweet, nutty, clover-like smell of peanut digging time and the smell of cotton bolls bursting open filled the air. (p.65)

Joe’s Tomatoes and Melons (1963)   


Joe and Sybil “on TV” June 15, 1961

with County Extension Agent,

Wayne Cranville (left) and Walt Oliva

of Channel 12, Sherman

“Our Club” ... Gary and Jerry [Hall] were already under the pecan tree where the campout was to take place when everyone else arrived.

    The air was thick with tension; the little boys were scared to camp that close to the Mulberry Bridge.

    The road into Mulberry came off Mulberry Hill and went through a long sand bed, then crossed a slough over a rickety old bridge. All the young men in the community had their own version of a ghost story about a one-armed ghost that lived under the bridge. The person telling the story would always end his story by saying something like: “It’s a known fact, because I saw him....” (pp.168-69)

... finally Wildwood Dean’s “Creations” from Red River dogwood canes