On Train or by Wagon


    Peter Cornelius Jackson (1823-97) moved to Texas with his younger children in 1874. Probably born in Kentucky, Peter married “Nancy Jane” (b. 1830), a native of Ohio: “Pennsylvania Black Dutch German and part Choctaw,” the result being “black” Jacksons as distinct from “fair” Jacksons. Peter’s was “a reddish complexion.” Mary Jane died after childbirth in April 1874 in Missouri; Peter then decided to move to Texas because his oldest daughter Elizabeth (b. 1853) was marrying William Tom Spencer.

    It will later be said, “he [William Spencer] owned a general store in Ravenna for 30 years.” His son, Frank A. Spencer, born in Mulberry in 1878, also taught school there “where he was instrumental in erecting a three-room building.” Frank’s grandparents, Elisha (1819-95) and Mary A. (1824-96), were buried at Mulberry. Their children’s birthplaces indicate the Spencers had lived as far north and west as Nebraska.

    Peter Jackson’s oldest son, another Frank (1850-1915), married another Spencer, Nancy Ann (1861-1937), in Missouri in 1876. They moved the same year to Mulberry where two children, Claude and William, were born in 1877 and ‘82. After nearly a decade in Arkansas, and four more children, the Frank Jackson’s moved back to Mulberry, and on to Wade, Indian Territory, in 1905.

    William T. “Will”  Jackson (1882-1972) was born in Mulberry. He married Willie Bland Hamilton in Wade, Indian Territory, in 1906. “His hair was coal black and very curly.” Between 1907 and ‘28 nine children were born. “Grandad was a small man by standards. He stood about 5’ 8” and weighed around 150 pounds, but he was very strong and firm. He didn’t take anything off of anyone.... He had the most beautiful penmanship I have ever seen for a man. He could almost do script writing, it was so perfect....” Will Jackson was appointed a U. S. Marshall in 1913.

    Carlene DaVault in her Kindred Spirits tells:

    They were living on a place, owned by the Choctaw people, deep in the woods around Wade, Oklahoma. Late one night, several men rode up to their house on horses. They hollered for Granddad and asked him to come with them. They told him there had been a killing at the “ole Joe Brown home place.” This was an old log cabin deep in the piney woods, south of Wade, near the Red River. The family’s name was Landers. Grand dad got dressed, and Granny went with him. When they arrived, they found a terrified, young boy of about sixteen and his mother. The body was outside on the front porch. Granddad looked under the quilt to see who had been shot and discovered it was the husband and father, Cole Landers. Granny went inside to be with Mrs. Landers. As she stepped into the kitchen, she saw Mrs. Landers throw a braided rug across some dark stain on the floor. She went back outside to tell Granddad about this. He came into the house and asked Mrs. Landers where the body had been found, and she said on the front porch. Granddad pulled the rug aside and asked her about the blood stains. She began to cry and told him what had happened. It seemed Mr. Landers was as mean as a snake to the young boy and beat him constantly. On this particular night, Mr. Landers had whipped the boy savagely with a barber strop. He got loose and ran into the kitchen and got the rifle. As his father approached to finish the beating, the boy shot and killed him. His mother tried to cover up for him by telling Granddad that someone had shot her husband on the front porch and she didn’t know who it was. Granddad had to take the boy into custody and, later, to Wade to jail. Three days later, the boy hung himself in his jail cell. Granddad always believed if he had waited just a few days, a judge would have set him free.

    Wiley B.
Province (b. 1829 in Tennessee) married Sarah Coffee (b. 1838) in 1855. Daughter Susan was born the next year, followed by seven more children, including “Nannie” and “Bud,” while the Provinces lived in Missouri. But after Susan married Joe Franklin Spencer (b. 1856, brother of William Tom) in 1876, the Provinces (like the Jacksons) moved to Texas. “Grandma Province said they would just sell their farm and all move to Texas, or they would never see Susan again.” Joe and Susan Spencer (pictured) had four children between 1877 and ‘89, all born in Mulberry: Lodusky Bell, Lolie “Lola” Lou (married Mose Jackson), William Arthur, and Goldie May. Lodusky married Phillip Burleson, a school teacher, in 1894, then Mose Perkins. Elaine (Perkins) Harp believes the Spencers left Mulberry after 1910, the year Susan, aged fifty-four, died tragically. She fell face-down in a wash-pot of boiling water.

Mose and Lodusky (Spencer) Perkins

children (from left): Ocie, Otis, Otto and (standing) Goldie Mae Spencer

    Elaine Harp, daughter of Ocie, granddaughter of Lodusky, wrote me:

    She spoke well of a very good friend, whom she had the highest respect for. Belle Starr was her name.  At first grandmother was a little shaky when this woman came riding up to their door on a horse. Very rough looking and dressed in men’s wear with a rifle alongside the saddle, and wearing a holster with pistols inside, needing a place to spend the night. They took her inside and fed her and watered her horse and told her she could bed down in the barn.  Next morning when they went outside, the woman was gone. After that, Belle Starr came by frequently. Sometimes she’d stay long enough to get fresh water, then move on.  She might spend the night, or maybe two or three days and nights. Grandmother said you never knew about her. One time she showed up, out of the blue, and stayed two weeks. She was running from the law and Indians in Oklahoma. The law she knew she could get away from, but when the Indians got on her trail, she wasn’t so sure she could make it to Red River. During this two week stay, they came to know the true Belle Starr.

    Lodusky Spencer Perkins owned two guns: a Hex barrel 22 short Winchester with only four serial numbers, and a double barrel shotgun, hand made in Bonham, Texas, with no brand name or serial numbers. These were her prized possessions. These guns were used when Belle Starr taught her the finest points of shooting and the greatest respect for guns. No one messed with Lodusky. She’d shoot first and ask questions later. Her shotgun was always shot at midnight on Christmas Eve, or I should say, the first of Christmas Day. When she got so old she couldn’t handle the kick of the shotgun, one of her two living sons (Otis or Otta) would shoot the gun. Now that they are all gone, my brothers keep the tradition going still.

    Belle Starr was killed on Feb. 2, 1889.  Loduska Spencer was twelve at the time. By her first marriage to Phillip Burleson, Lodusky had one son, Roscoe. Phillip died during the flu epidemic of the early 1900s. Roscoe died around 1910. By her second marriage to Mose Perkins, Lodusky had three children, all born in Mulberry: Otis Alrudy (b. 1910), Ocie Ola (1912) and Otto Victor (1914). Mose Perkins was buried on the northeast corner of the Mulberry cemetery without a gravestone. Lodusky died in 1962 in Durant and was buried in Bokchita, Oklahoma.

    Nancy “Nannie” Province (b. 1874, sister of Susan) first married Mulberry’s music teacher, Charles Hildebrande; he died in 1901. She then married Joseph Plummer (1862-1937) in 1904. Joseph arrived in Mulberry prior to 1898 “because he taught my Mother when she was still in school. I didn’t know until after I was grown, but Mama was married in 1898 to....”

    photos: Nancy (Province) and Joseph Plummer

    1911 February 3: (Bonham News) J. W. Plummer of Mulberry was here [in Bonham] yesterday and sold the last of his cotton crop.... There isn’t a county on earth that can beat this record.                                                                                                   


    Andrew Jackson “Bud” Province (1858-1918) first married Lottie McInnis. Their daughter was Texia (pronounced “Tech”) who married Tom Roche in 1904. Women in Mulberry “felt sorry for Texia.” A brother not seen for years sent word he would be in Bonham. Tom wouldn’t let Texia go, and when he got back from the meeting, he didn’t say a word.

    Bud’s second marriage was to Ella Robinson. Their children were Lusk and Alma. Bud lost a bale of cotton’s price to a pickpocket at the Ravenna depot. (Old Roustabout has told.) Ella was one year a widow at the time of the cyclone (1919). Another Robinson, Virginia (b. 1889), married Marcus (b. 1883), a son of Lucy (Lightfoot) and Thomas Moore. Emma Robinson married Caywood Baker.                                   

    The Escues left Mulberry in 1906. Son William Thomas had married again in 1901, to Willie Ann Daugherty, an orphan “at different places.... They lived near the river bottom after they married.” A child of this marriage was Gussie Lee. Lavon Brown, in her letter:

    Mother (Gussie) used to tell me the story of a black lady that she loved dearly. She called her Aunt (somebody) [Patsy Oliphant?] and Mother would slip away from home to go play and probably get fed some kind of goodies....

    Mother was almost five and Little Sister (Jessie Marie) was just past two when they took a barge across Red River to Durant to catch a train to the Indian Territory in New Mexico.... Grandma (Willie Ann) Escue often would remember the beauty of the countryside around Mulberry compared to the dry arid climate of the high plains of eastern New Mexico. My grandparents and Uncle Wash and Aunt Annie Escue homesteaded on a quarter section of land under the Homestead Act. Uncle Wash’s family didn’t stay but Granddaddy and Grandma stayed the course.

    I’m extremely proud of my pioneer heritage and the hardships they endured in Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico to make my life as pleasant as it is today. There was a great wealth of faith, tenacity, and courage given in legacy to me which is the greatest inheritance of all. We still have the farm today they homesteaded on [near Portales] and our son has built and made that his home now. Grandaddy had acquired other quarters when people would give up and move back from their claim.