“Poor Boy” at Birth


    1899 January 3: James Earl Spies bought 150 acres, the same that Gideon, Jr. mortgaged in Paris. The Smith Plantation, including 686 acres W. D. Oliphint bought from Nancy Smith in 1888, was passing to Spies.

    1908 March 10: (Bonham News) John William and Allen Spies, two of Prof. Spies boys were out rabbit hunting a few days ago. Allen carried the gun. By John William getting between Allen and the rabbit he received a charge of No. 6 shot in the flat of his foot, which produced a painful wound.

    1914 January 23: (BN) Prof. Spies is said to be building one of the finest and largest houses ever constructed in the Red River section, on the old Dr. Smith farm. It is two stories high and 12 rooms, besides several closets and pantries. The new rooms are all attached

and circles the old Smith mansion.  Jno. W. Owens [is] architect and contractor....

    Young Mr. Yardly had his left hand cut off in Spies’ gin here last week. His hand was cut off by the same gin stand that cut off Prof. Spies’ hand a few months back....”

     I am glad to give you the meager information I have concerning my parents [Allen Spies writes]. My father and mother were raised in Cedar County, Missouri, and went to Warrenbury State Teachers College, where both graduated. They came to Texas soon after they were married and settled in Paris, Texas, where my father was made superintendent of the West Paris High School. My mother was a teacher under my father in Paris. My father and mother moved to Mulberry community about 1895 and settled on the old Dr. Smith plantation, which I understood was an old slave plantation. My father bought additional land from Gid Smith and others, and lived on and owned this land until about 1930. It is now known as the Bond Farm. My father lived a few years in Ravenna, Texas, where he was engaged in the mercantile business and lumber business. He shipped large quantities of lumber [from] Spies Switch, the latter place was named for my father. He was later elected County Judge of Fannin County in about 1934. He died June 21, 1942 in Bonham. The Bramletts and C. W. Parks were living in Mulberry before my father moved there in 1895. My father, John Earl Spies, was a “poor boy” at birth, but managed to get an education and was a school professor before moving to the Mulberry community. Mother was Mary Love Spies.

    1906 August 3: (Bonham News) Are Getting Busy. Lumbermen Are Building Boats For Operation On Upper Red River. Channel Now Permanent. Work Of the Government Quarter Boats Has Made Big Change In Stream. River Plenty Deep For Boats. Since the government forces have succeeded in making Red River comparatively clear of snags, a number of persons are building steamboats and using them on the river a few miles below Denison.... A freight steamer 70 feet long and 25 feet wide has been put on the river by a lumberman who intends to build two more.  The boat will handle supplies, logs and timber. It recently made a trip as far toward Denison as the mouth of Bois d’Arc. Captain Spees [Spies], a lumberman who operates northwest of Ravenna, is preparing to built a steamer and two barges. They will be used to handle lumber and will transport it to the railroad. The river has been high enough for steam boating all spring and summer.... Judge Moreland now has his quarter boat northwest of Ravenna, which is about 20 miles this side of the end of his division. He is working back up the river and will arrive at the Denison landing in two months...navigable for steamboats of from 2 1/2 to 3 feet draft. When the work of clearing the river was commenced Judge Moreland had the idea that it was a hopeless job. Since then he has had his eyes opened and now believes that the stream can be made a good waterway for commerce.... With a revival of steam boating on the river, there is but little question that Congress will continue its appropriations for the work....

    1908 February 28: (BN)  When a dry spell comes we have good roads, but when a wet spell comes we have a new road, from one to two feet under the old road.... The hog, the hen, the cow and products are much sought after these days. They lead on to health, wealth and happiness.... We attended the peanut party in Bonham last Saturday...learned more about goobers than we ever knew before.... Spies & Company are still shipping car load lots of cottonwood lumber to Kansas, Missouri and Indiana.  Parties here are hauling walnut and bois d’arc logs for shipment....


    1915 September 8: (BN)  School Trustees Held Meeting.... J. E. Spies, a member of the County Board of Education, made a splendid talk, showing how it is becoming necessary for rural schools to combine and have better schools. He gave methods and results as he saw them, which will be derived from such combinations.... Mr. J. A. Plummer was elected secretary. [Spies succeeded I. W. Evans as chairman of the board in 1919.]

September 26: (BN)  Automobiles Registered...998—Mrs. J. E. Spies, Maxwell; 1017—F. W. Wisely, Maxwell....

    1936 January 7: James Earl Spies

was a pall bearer at the funeral of

J. F. Hall.

Photo montage: James Earl (left) and Dr. Tom Spies; the Spies house (1914) “circles the old Smith mansion” in Mulberry

    John William Spies,

“a graduate of the University of Texas and the Harvard Medical School, also graduated from Yale University in preparation for a professional career, and specialized in  the treatment of cancers in the noted European universities of Louvain, Berlin and Stockholm. The Rockefeller Foundation sent him to Pieping, China, for four years, where as a member of the hospital staff of the Union Medical College he treated a native of India who happened to be a man of considerable means and who is now supplying the funds for a hospital in Bombay which is being constructed under the supervision of Dr. Spies....”

    Tom Spies, died 1960, in New York City: Among the men who have achieved medical greatness by finding a way to alleviate pain and suffering, the name of Tom Spies will go down in history. Dr. Tom was a product of Fannin county, born on a plantation in the Red River valley near Ravenna 57 years ago, going on in that comparatively short span of time to become great in the eyes of the world...recognized as the country’s foremost authority on diseases caused by dietary deficiencies...in 1957... honored as “Doctor of the Year.”