A Texas Century Farm
This Farm Has Been Registered In The Texas
Family Land Heritage Program, Certifying That It Has
Been Maintained In Continuous Operation For More
Than 100 Years By The Same Family
Certified By The Commissioner
Texas Department of Agriculture
Let me take you on a tour, and tell you a little history of the land where I live. My father, Perry Wakefield, in accordination with his siblings occupy the land at present. We have a pecan orchard with four thousand pecan trees, and over one hundred acres. Every weekend for the past twelve years we have worked on the trees. The land that was not willed to us by my great-grandparents, Lloyd and Cressie (Hurley) Wakefield, was given to my great-aunts Jean Riggs and Jo Stem.
Lloyd and Cressie raised a variety of animals on the farm including beef cows, chickens, goats, and catfish. Cressie chose to keep the family roots and stay on the farm to raise her family. As Lloyd got older he became legally blind, thus making it harder for him to find his cows when they would stray from the herd. When this happened he would enlist in the help of me and my brother and sister find his lost cows. He knew the roads so well because he had lived there all his life that he drove while we searched for the cow. Cressie inherited the land from her parents, A. and Ola Hurley.
A. and Ola Hurley built a new house after being married the first of January 1890 in Stephenville Texas. Their families owned adjoining farms which is how the two meet, this would explain the abundance of land owned by my great-grandparents. They raised everything they ate except sugar, which was bought by the barrel and coffee. He had cows and hogs which he butchered to give the family ham, he always made sure the family had ham to eat. He also raised peanuts, peanut hay, peaches, watermelons, cantaloupes, black-eyed peas and corn. A.’s brother, Hugh, lived with them and raised sheep. A. Hurley often went fishing with his cousins in their free time. He always wore striped overalls and kept a line and a cork in his pocket. At this time the only part that still stands of the house where they lived is the parlor. A. Hurley inherited the land from his father Andrew Hurley.
Andrew Hurley came to Erath County from Hunt County following his parents, Reverend Henry Hurley and Deborah (Bowen) Hurley. He made this journey to enlist and fight along with his brothers as a Texas Ranger. Andrew Hurley with wife Sarah (Parsons) Hurley arrived in Erath county in September of 1872. They lived on the farm, Prairie, which was the Henry Hurley place. He had a ranch five miles away which he traveled to frequently. This trip became too much for him so he rented out the house to the Casey family. This house became known as the Casey house, the oldest in Erath County. The lumber for this house came all the way from Shreveport Louisiana. Andrew’s wife, Sarah Parsons, died at the two story house at the Museum here in Stephenville. Andrew Hurley hunted the local wildlife, but being a Texas Ranger he was often away, therefore, he did little or no farming. Andrew Hurley’s house was a meeting place for the women in the area to take shelter while their husbands were away. Sarah had three dogs trained not to let anyone in until she gave the word. Andrew was away several months and when he rode up late one night the dogs would not even let him off his horse until Sarah said: “That’s all right Uno, Ino, and Guess.” Some thought one room in the house was haunted, therefore, no one would sleep in that room. That used to be the east room on the porch and today no longer stands. When Andrew Hurley was twelve, in Tennessee, he fought along side his father, Henry Hurley, and David Crockett.
Henry Hurley was the first Primitive Baptist Preacher in Erath County. He left Tennessee and started many of the early churches in counties across Texas. He had a reputation for being a powerful preacher. Farming and preaching is what occupied most of Henry’s time. In 1859, the Bosque Church of the Primitive Baptists was constituted in a log house which had been deserted by its owners because of Indian hostility. This was the first Primitive Baptist Church in Erath County, which does not stand today. He moved from this location to where I live now on the twentieth day of January 1860 because of the anguish of his granddaughters drowning in the Bosque River. The land was surveyed in June of 1860 to be given to him by the state of Texas. He got this land free simply because he came down and settled on it. The farm consisted of three hundred and twenty acres. Henry Hurley lived here until his death in 1869 when he was shot during the night by Jake McCarty along with Jake’s dad and three year old son. Ironically, Jake McCary is buried next to Henry Hurley in the Duffau Cemetery.
The land adjoining the Hurley property, was owned by J.T. Starr (Ola Hurley’s father), who fought in the second battle of Bull Run, at Shady Springs, in the Civil War. In this battle he lost one of his legs, but did survive and even returned home. The Starr part of the farm was joined with where I live now when A. and Ola got married.
Your tour is now complete. You will now return to the present date, with the knowledge of why the farm where I live is a century farm.
Erath County. Marriage Record. 1 January, 1890.
Henderson, Louise. Personal interview. 10 April, 1998.
Jene, Riggs. Personal interview. 10 April, 1998.
We were a Texas People. Tucson; Alpha Graphics, 1981.