1 Windmilling, Swisher County Texas 1976-1977, Swisher County Historical Commission, P.O. Box 145, Tulia, Texas, Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas, Texas 1978.
William Lee Pearson was born January 26, 1867 in Quitman, Arkansas He attended college there and by 1888 was ready to see the world. He and his brother, Jess, decided to "Go West."
The two young men set out to find their place in what later became Swisher County. They came on horseback to the Big J.A. Pasture and were cowboys there. In 1890 they each claimed a section of state land. The land joined and they decided to build a half-dugout, half on each claim. They lived here until 1904. These woodsmen had to adjust to looking across land and seeing nothing except flat prairie. They traveled to Geta for wood for home, fence post, and stove. These two were willing to conquer weather, loneliness, and wild animals to claim their lands.
Jess and Will located fifteen miles northeast of Tulia in the Valley View Community.
Jess began teaching at Pleasant School. He married and moved to the Knight Ranch. When Salem built a new school, Jess rode horseback and was the first teacher there. In 1920, Will's oldest girl, Edna, taught school at Salem.
Will and Jess went back to Pearson, Arkansas to convince their father of the opportunities of coming to Texas. Their parents were Benjamin Franklin Pearson and Rebecca Elizabeth Susan Thompson Pearson. They had married in 1859. They had moved to Arkansas but when the Civil War began, he and his father went back to Tennessee to fight. The story is told that before the war was over, he wrote his wife to take all the confederate money and buy mules, horses, and cows, so all their money was in livestock.
By the end of 1890, Benjamin, Will, Jess, and Mort had filed on land in Swisher County.
Benjamin lived to see the time in 1908 that he and his sons had nine sections under one fence.
William Lee married Nora Ellen Elkins in 1898. They traded their Pitchfork place for a place 2 miles east of Union Hill School. Will acquired more land located southeast of Fancion Post Office.
Perhaps the most historic part of their lives was their family. Edna was born in 1900, Lee Franklin in 1902, the twins, Velma Nora and Thelma Orah in 1905. Six years later in 1911 the triplets were born. They are William Hardie (Jim), Wilmer Ardie, and Winnie Arney. in 1915 Ethel, the last child was born.
Will freighted lumber from Big Springs to build a large house for his family. Nora was known for her good cooking. She cooked turkey and dressing to perfection. She cooked for thrasher crews, and company who sometimes stayed a month. She kept her father and mother, Henry and Louisa Elkins, in her home until their deaths.
Will's mother, a full-blooded Cherokee Indian, had taught many skills to her son. One of the most useful, tracking, is still handed down through the family. Will was also an artist at whittling.
Ben Pearson and Henry Elkins, fathers to Will and Nora, were influential in helping get the town of Tulia organized.
Will and Nora farmed until Will died in 1934. By this time most of the 8 children were away from home, but the triplet boys helped Nora continue to farm. Ardie had married Evelyne Evans in May of 1939, so Jim was the only child to move to town with his mother when in 1944, Nora was ready to give up her title as farmer and retire. 1
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