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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Roscoe in Years Gone By: Windmills

(Photo by Sheree Herd)
by Marion Truett Duncan

Editor’s Note: In 1982 and 1983, Marion Duncan (1913-2004), who lived his entire life in the same place three miles southwest of Roscoe, wrote a number of articles about life in early-day Roscoe that were published in the Roscoe Times. Some reflected his own memories while others were learned by hearing the stories from his parents and older siblings. The following article about the windmills is one of those.

Windmills had a major part in the settlement and growth of West Texas. The first thing the early settlers did was to find water on their farms and ranches. Where the best water was found, they would put up their windmills and build their homes and barns. The windmills also supplied water to most of the West Texas townspeople before the tall water towers, tanks, and underground water systems were built.

In the early days there were two kinds of windmills, the wood mills and the steel mills. Both kinds were popular. Some of the windmills had large wood wheels and towers and could be seen for miles. One of the most interesting things about the windmills, they were made to govern their speed of running or turning and would automatically cut off when the wind was too high. In an average wind, the fan wheel would face the wind and turn at a normal speed. When the wind was too high a level, the big wheel would turn sideways to the wind and slow down or stop. The windmills would pump a lot of water when there was enough wind and it was always interesting to watch them run.

When I was a boy on the farm, we had a metal cistern on a high wood platform to hold the drinking water for the house. Also a concrete water trough and dirt tank for the livestock, also a garden. The windmill would first pump water into a cistern and from there was an overflow pipe to the water trough, garden, and stock tank.

Sometimes we would run out of water. These kinds of times didn’t happen very often, only once every few years. It was during the drought years when we had our worst water problems. During the hot and dry summer months, the wind would often stop blowing, the windmills would often stop running, the stock tanks and creeks would dry up, and the clouds would pass over and not rain. The drought years were difficult years, and it was always hard to find water when you needed it.

When our stock tank dried up, we would drive and lead our horses and mules to some place where there was water. We had a different problem with the cows. When we had to drive them very far, we found it was easier to haul water for them in wood barrels in a wagon. We poured the water out of the barrels into wash tubs or troughs, and the cows would drink all they could hold.

During these kinds of times, we always looked for rain clouds that might bring rain and enough wind to turn the windmill. I can remember when we used up all the water in the cistern, one of us would climb up the windmill ladder to the platform and turn the big wood wheel by hand and get enough drinking water for the family

During the winter months, our water trough and stock tank would often freeze over. We always had one horse or mule that would walk up to the frozen water and break a hole in the ice with their front legs and hoofs. They would drink and the rest of the livestock would follow.

I would like to write one other story about how the windmills were of help. During the West Texas drought of 1917-1918, there were people who left their homes to go places to find work. Some traveled by covered wagons. We lived on a cross-country road, and sometimes the wagons stopped at our place and the drivers would ask for water for their teams and for drinking water. It was the custom in those days to give anyone water who asked. The travelers carried small wood barrels on the side of their wagons. The barrels held from twelve to fifteen gallons of drinking water. They would water their teams and we would fill the barrel with water from our windmill or cistern. When traveling on the road, their teams would often need water. The wagons carried medium-size buckets, and the drivers would drain some of the water from the barrel into the bucket and the horses would drink from it.



Plowgirls shown are Bonnie Wilkinson (23), Kinzie Buchanan (33), and Jaci Alexander (10). (Plowgirl photos by Tamara Alexander) 
The Plowgirls lost a heartbreaker to Stamford at the Special Events Center yesterday evening, falling in double overtime to the Lady Bulldogs 74-71. Earlier, in a game played in Haskell on Friday, the Maidens beat the Plowgirls 76-45.

Haskell 76 – Plowgirls 45
Scoring by quarters:
Haskell             22        42        55        76
Plowgirls            9        18        28        45

Individual Plowgirl Scoring: Bonnie Wilkinson 11, Jaci Alexander 8, Veronica Cuellar 7, Jaleigh Morales 6, Kinzie Buchanan 5, Bergan Trevino 4, Lyndi Wilkinson 3, Jovana Peña 1.

Stamford 74 – Plowgirls 71
Scoring by quarters:                                      OT1     OT2
Stamford          13        32        48        59        61        74
Plowgirls             7        25        45        59        61        71

Individual Plowgirl scoring: Morales 20, B. Wilkinson 20, Alexander 13, Cuellar 10, Buchanan 8.

The Plowgirls have now completed their season. It’s time for them to get out their track shoes.



Brayden Beal brings the ball upcourt as Johnathon Cuellar (30), Cam Boren, and Jose Ortega look on. (Plowboy photos by Zane Graves)
In a low-scoring game in Haskell on Friday, the Indians downed the Plowboys 35-19.

Haskell 35 - Plowboys 19

Scoring by quarters:
Haskell              9          16        25        35
Plowboys          2            2          8        19

Individual Plowboy scoring: Johnathon Cuellar 6, Jose Ortega 6, Jack Phillips 3, Brayden Beal 2, Cam Boren 2.

Then at Roscoe last night, Stamford defeated the Plowboys 49-35. At posting time, the Hard Times had not yet received the stats for that game.

The Plowboys have two more basketball games. On Friday, they face Hawley in Roscoe, and next Tuesday they play Anson in Anson. Both games are scheduled to start at 6:15pm.



Anthony Antonio Aguilar, 38, was killed in a one-vehicle wreck on I-20 about six miles west of Roscoe at around 2:30 early Sunday morning, according to a DPS report. Apparently he was headed home, driving west on the inside lane when his 2005 Chevy Tahoe spun out of control, went into a side skid off the north side of the road and rolled over. He was not wearing his seatbelt and was thrown from the vehicle and fatally injured.

Mary Ann Limones, 37, of Loraine, was also in the SUV. She was wearing her seatbelt and escaped without serious injury. She was taken to Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital in Sweetwater, where she was treated and released.

Mark your calendars for the next “Third Sunday” Lunch
February 19 – 11:30am-1:30pm.
Menu:   Homemade Beef Stew, Cornbread/Crackers
             Salad, Dessert, and Drink  -  $7 per plate

We currently running a Rental Special for the months of January, February and March.
Hurry and Book your events!!
Call Misty Reynolds for more information at 325-338-1005.



Instead of its usual meeting time on the second Tuesday of the month, the City Council will meet this Monday at 7:00pm at City Hall. The time has been changed so that City Manager Cody Thompson can make an important meeting in Abilene on Tuesday. 

Topics to be discussed include opening bids for someone to maintain the Roscoe Cemetery.



Bee Caves Bob predicts an early spring for Texas.
Once again, it’s been the time of year for bold weather predictions. Up in Pennsylvania, Punxsutawny Phil the groundhog saw his shadow when he got up Thursday morning, and all the folks up north are apparently doomed to six more weeks of winter misery before spring weather arrives. The outlook for Texas is different, however, at least if you believe in the accuracy of Bee Caves Bob, the armadillo from Austin who also made his annual prediction the same morning. He predicts that spring is upon us here in Texas, and that forecast seems hard to deny when we consider the weather we’ve had these past few days.

After unseasonably warm weather the first part of last week, Thursday and Friday were more like what you’d expect for this time of year with highs of 44°F and 41° and lows of 29° and 25° respectively. Saturday was somewhat warmer with a high of 57°, but the really nice weather began on Sunday when the sun came out and the afternoon temperature reached 74°. Monday was even warmer at 78°, and yesterday’s high was 77°. The low this morning was 51°, and this afternoon’s high should be around 76°. A front should cool tomorrow back down to a 64° high, but then Friday should bring it back up to 76°, and then the forecast for Saturday is a torrid 88°.

Those who are dubious about the ability of dumb animals to accurately predict the weather may prefer the official 90-day forecast of the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). The maps below from the NOAA website show the general outlook for February, March, and April.

Temperatures for February, March, and April. A means 'Above Normal,' B means 'Below Normal, EC means 'Equal Chances for Above, Below, or Normal.'
Rainfall outlook for February, March, and April. A means 'Above Normal,' B means 'Below Normal, EC means 'Equal Chances for Above, Below, or Normal.'



Services are pending for Dean Alexander, 86, who passed away yesterday, February 7, at The Hoyt Place in Sweetwater. He was formerly a Roscoe resident.

Mr. Alexander was born south of Roscoe on October 8, 1930. On August 5, 1951, he married Doris Lee Harvey in Denton. He was a member of the Jehovah Witnesses. He was a lifelong resident of Roscoe until 1990 when he moved to Austin, Houston and Corpus Christi. Dean was a farmer until his retirement.

Survivors include his daughter, Lee Ann Chancellor and husband, David, of Laramie, WY; sons, Mike Alexander and wife, Melinda, of Colorado City, and Kim Alexander and wife, Marsha, of Roscoe; brother, Stanley G. Alexander and wife, Nancy, of Austin; 10 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Doris Lee (Harvey) Alexander, on May 24, 1986; his mother, Johnnie Lee (Graham) Alexander, on October 2, 1997; and his father, William J. "Bill" Alexander, on May 3, 1985.



Eugenia P. Ivy, 93, of Roscoe died Friday, February 3, at her home.

Her parents, now deceased, were James E. and Viola H. Hobbs. Eugenia was the only child born to them. The family lived in Temple when Eugenia was born April 1, 1923. They later moved to Waco, where she completed elementary school. In 1936 they moved to Sweetwater, where she graduated from Newman High School in 1941. In 1942 she married her high school sweetheart, H. C. Ivy of Sweetwater. They were married sixty-five years until he died March 10, 2007, in Roscoe after his retirement from Santa Fe Railroad as an engineer. They had lived in Sweetwater forty-nine years before moving to Roscoe.

Eugenia and H. C. were the parents of three children, son James Patrick Ivy and wife Dorothy of Roscoe, daughter Jana G. Young of Roscoe, and son Christopher D. Ivy and wife Sonya of Sweetwater. She has seven grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren.

She was also preceded in death by a grandson, Thomas Edward Clinton “Tec” Ivy on January 14, 2000, and a son-in-law, Frank Young, May 22, 2016.

Eugenia was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Roscoe. She also attended First Baptist Church in Roscoe. While living in Sweetwater, she was a Girl Scout Leader for troop 310, from Brownies to junior high. She also was active in the Kindergarten Department of First United Methodist Church serving as a teacher and head of the Primary Department. Eugenia also worked as Deputy District Clerk of Nolan County when Pearle Woodruff was District Clerk. After graduating from Commercial College, she worked with John G. Woody, CPA, and as an Optometry Assistant for Doctor John Bowen.

Eugenia is to be cremated and her ashes shall be in an urn beside her husband. No public services are planned at this time.


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