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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Tuesday, June 29, 1999

Oklahoma ropers top first rodeo event

By JON FULBRIGHT
Staff Writer

PECOS, June 29, 1999 -- A pair of Oklahoma cowboys were the winners of the first go-round of steer roping this morning at the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena, as slack competition for the West of the Pecos Rodeo got underway.

Bucky Hefner of Chelsea, Okla., and Ralph Williams of Skiatook, Okla., had the best times this morning, with Hefner posting a 12.3 second time to earn $1,621.44 and Williams a 12-6 time, earning him $1,409.95.

Steer roping was the first event run today, and the second go round got underway shortly after 10 a.m. Slack competition continues this afternoon at 5:30 p.m. with the first go-round for calf roping, steer wrestling and team roping.

The second go-round for those events will get underway at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Buck Jackson Arena, and at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday the go round for steer roping will continue, along with special sections for ladies barrel racing, and bull riding, with almost 50 riders scheduled to compete.

The full four nights of the rodeo get underway on Thursday, with each show scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.

Just behind Hefner and Williams in the first go round of steer roping was Neil Worrell. The Fredonia, Kan., cowboy collected $1,198.95 for his 12.8 second time. Leo Campbell of Canyon was fourth this morning, with a 13.1 time, worth $986.96, while two former West of the Pecos champions Buster Record and Guy Allen were fifth and sixth in the first go round.

Record, of Buffalo, Okla., had a 13.6 second time, with $775,49, while Allen, the 13-time world's champion and last year's West of the Pecos Rodeo winner, had a 13.9 second time. The Lovington, N.M. roper picked up $563.98 for his effort.
More Rodeo

Trail Riders' annual trip at halfway point

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, June 29, 1999 -- West Texas Trail Riders left Fort Davis Sunday for the annual trek to the West of the Pecos Rodeo.

Trail boss Dusty Snodgrass of Monahans said they should ride into Pecos around mid-afternoon Wednesday.

The first night out, the group camped near Wild Rose Pass on Texas Highway 17. Balmorhea was their campsite Monday night, and tonight they will stay at the old Hoban Gin site.

Wednesday's noon stop will be at another old gin south of Pecos. They will rest Wednesday night, then ride in the rodeo parade on Thursday, Snodgrass said.

Snodgrass is serving WTTR as president for the second time. He said the group meets monthly to ride and enjoy being together.

Ligons honored as `99s Pioneer Family

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer

PECOS, June 29, 1999 -- A family that has been part of West Texas for over 100 years will be honored in Pecos over the Fourth of July weekend.

The Ligon Family will be honored as Reeves County's Pioneer Family for 1999 with a special reception and program in the descendants' honor scheduled from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday at the West of the Pecos Museum.

An exhibit on the Ligons went on display at the museum on June 15 and will continue through July 15. Admission is free to the public and friends and family are encouraged to attend the program and reception.

The Ligon family of Reeves County started with the birth of Seddie Ligon, Jan. 8, 1851 in Virginia.

A young girl, probably kin to the Ligons, kept a diary and records history while traveling with a wagon train that brought Seddie, his family, and several other Virginia families, to Texas. The diary was entitled, "Day Book From Virginia To Texas By Land." Starting on Sept. 4, 1851, the trip was an extreme hardship to say the least.

The Virginia mud was probably the most overwhelming obstacle. When the mud did begin to dry the wagons could roll easier, but the rains would start to fall again causing the black mud once more to slow the pace. After crossing into Tennessee, the wagons encountered just the opposite of mud...rock. The diary calls this the rockiest road they had ever seen, and it slowed the wagons roll almost to a stop. In the diary she went on to say that on a good day they would travel seven to 12 miles and she describes beautiful blue water springs, grass covered mountain passes and groves of trees.

The trip took four and a half months, starting in Amelia County in Virginia on Sept. 4, 1851, and ending, in Fayette County, Tx., near La Grange, on Dec. 26, 1851. Dysentery did take human lives along the way, stopping the wagon train only long enough to bury the dead and then move on. The trip was also hard on the livestock. The horses that died had to be replaced.

There were five Anglo families (26 in number), 79 African-American, 42 horses, 10 wagons and five carriages that made the long journey to a new home in Texas. The Ligon family moved on west and settled in Haynes County, outside of a small town called Buda. In that same year, 1873, Seddie Ligon, now 23 years old, became a trail driver and rode on the famous cattle drives from Hayes County, Texas to Dodge City, Kansas. Seddie married Rebecca Louise Barton in 1871.

On Oct. 23, 1872, Seddie and Rebecca were blessed with a daughter, Ella May Ligon. Living only four months she died on Feb. 6, 1873 and Seddie and Rebecca buried their daughter starting the cemetery at Buda.

In the spring of 1886, Seddie and Rebecca moved from Hays County to Tom Green County in two covered wagons. Their family had grown to six children _ sons Arthur 9, Stokely 7, Earl 2, Burney 1 and daughters, Olene 11, Lucy 12 and Katy. The Ligon family bought a small stock farm in the community of Grape Creek, ten miles northwest of San Angelo. From 1889 to 1893 three more children were born, Loyd, Aston and Eddie.

An epidemic of typhoid fever hit Grape Creek in the fall of 1892. Daughters Lucy and Katy died of the fever, and during the three week epidemic several other Ligon children contracted the fever, but they survived. The two girls are buried in the Grape Creek cemetery.

The 1890's was also remembered for a great drought. In 1896 a severe winter followed a dry summer, many livestock froze to death forcing the Ligons to sell the remaining livestock and look to some other income. The freighting business seemed to be the answer. Hauling supplies from San Angelo to towns and ranches in several counties, including Pecos County. On return trips the Ligons hauled sheared wool back to San Angelo. This was the only wool market accessible to the West Texas area. The Ligon freight company consisted of two wooden wagons, coupled together, and pulled by six to eight horses and or mule teams. They had two complete sets of these wagons and teams. One of the teams was driven by an older Ligon son. When traveling they followed well-marked trails and government stage coach routes when possible.

One of Seddie's earliest freight jobs was driving a wagon pulled by thirteen yoke of oxen, (26 animals) and hauling a big safe from San Antonio, to be used in the State Capitol building while it was under construction.

On Jan. 19, 1896, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Grape Creek was organized. The Seddie Ligon's were charter members; with eight children in the family they provided a significant part of the new membership.

In the year 1898, Seddie and his older son, Arthur, bought a steam powered well drilling machine and the Ligons quit hauling freight. This steam engine was the first of its kind in dry West Texas. Water welling was a family effort with Seddie and the oldest sons doing the drilling, and the younger sons cutting fire wood to feed the boiler.

The first wells were drilled in Tom Green County with Irion, Upton, Crockett and Pecos Counties to follow. The water well drilling machine and steam engine crossed the Pecos at Flat Rock Crossing, near where Iraan is today. This river was a swift flowing stream and dangerous to cross and could only be attempted at designated places.

When the rest of the Ligon family followed the drilling crew to Pecos County, in 1890, they crossed the Pecos River by ferry boat just below Sheffield, Tx. A second steam engine was bought in 1900. Some of the better known Pecos County water wells are; the Jim Harmaon, six miles east of Fort Stockton on the Aweir Field Ranch. The Eugene McKenzie Ranch or "Golly Whoper" McKenzie. The Anderson Ranch; the Will, Ed, Arthur and Alpheus Harral Ranches, the Trent, Sherbino Brothers, Prosser and Brown, White and Baker, Colonel, Knak and the Big Canyon Ranches, the Rooney Farm, north of Fort Stockton, and in 1911 they drilled a well and put up a windmill at the depot in Fort Stockton.

The Dupont Powder Company was prospecting for sulphur and needed a water well. The Ligons drilled a well to be known as the "Miracle Well" for the Powder Company. The Ligons found water, but the famous Powder Company found little to no sulphur.

Seddie Ligon bought a ranch in Reeves County in 1903. He also bought some adjoining sections to the homestead for one dollar and fifty cents an acre. Drilling several wells on the land he then turned the water well drilling business over to his sons. The Ligon sons erected windmills, built stock tanks, water troughs and corrals in West Texas and as far south as Val Verde County and as far north as eastern New Mexico. Seddie and Rebecca raised cattle and farmed watermelons on their Reeves County ranch until the 1920's.

From there they bought a home in Fort Stockton where they lived until their deaths, his April 16, 1940 and hers Aug. 23, 1933. Most of the Ligon children also moved to Fort Stockton and Pecos County became their home.

The Ligon brothers quit drilling wells in the 1915's-1916's. Loyd, Aston and Eddie Ligon served in the United States Army in France in World War I. Burney, Ed, Loyd and Eddie went into ranching and continued until their deaths in 1971, 1973, 1975 and 1977 respectively. Earl is the only son to hold onto the homestead in Reeves County. Aston was the only Ligon to stay with the windmill business until his death in Sept. 20, 1967 from a car-truck accident.

Arthur Ligon was the oldest son and became a master mechanic. He applied for, and received, several windmill patents. The first was for a coupling corrections for pump rods, dated July 2, 1929. Also a windmill guide device dating Jan. 22, 1935 patent number 1,988,626. A.L. (Arthur Lee) Ligon died May 10, 1962.

Stokely Ligon was the only son not to follow in the foot steps of his father or his brother. From his younger years until his death April 23, 1961, he worked for the United States Government in wildlife conservation from the University of New Mexico and is the author of several books on the subject.

All the Ligon sons except Arthur married. Stockley married Rose Kunz. Earl married Susan Deda Bell and they had three children, Earl Jr., Louise and Lucille. Burney married Pet Smith and had two children, Lenoar and J. Burney. Loyd married Nora Ditmore, they had no children, but the Ditmore family and the Ligon family were friends and neighbors back in Tom Green County before 1900. Aston married Frances Voight and they had two children, David and Dulcie. Eddie married Eta Singleton and had two children, Jerry and Barbara Olene, the only surviving daughter when the Ligons came to Pecos County married Albert Bell. She died at the age of 78, Jan. 20, 1954. The Seddie Ligon family ended with the death of Eddie Ligon on Oct. 24, 1977.

The Ligon family of Reeves County lives on into it's 96th year. The Headquarters was moved down the hill, north toward the river two and a half miles. In 1960 Seddie Earl built a cinder tile three bedroom house. The house is still lived in and used to this day. Pecan trees and lilac bushes he planted still flourish there. In 1999 five generations of Ligon's have lived on the original home place with two generations still living in Pecos.

Showers fall in spots north, west of Pecos

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, June 29, 1999 -- Clouds keep gathering over Reeves and surrounding counties, and some have carried pretty good rains.

Jim Kenney, who ranches in the Guadalupe Mountains northwest of Pecos, said he saw five or six different rain showers as he drove into town Monday afternoon.

"We got some pretty good rain in different spots," Kenney said. "I was real pleased to get a little. All that country has greened up and looks pretty good."

Kenney said the rains fell as far south as the Dixieland Ranch, operated by Mike Harrison.

"It was good grass rains," Kenney said. "It is all appreciated."

His own "D" Ranch has gotten several showers in the last two weeks, and Kenney is hoping for more to restore the pastures that have been hard hit by drought.

Orla has had several rains lately, and Monday's showers favored them again. Postmaster Susan Gahr said that puddles were standing this morning.

"And Screwbean Draw is running," she said. "Somebody got some rain."

Pecos missed the rain, but a few drops fell at the Texas A&M Research Station, where temperatures reached 110 degrees. The overnight low was 76.

Showers and thunderstorms developed today over the South Plains. The Panhandle and upper Trans Pecos were mostly cloudy to cloudy.

Winds were mostly southerly to southeasterly at 5 to 15 mph.

Most early-morning temperatures only cooled to the upper 70s and mid-80s. But readings reached the upper 60s in the Panhandle. It was 76 at College Station, 80 at both Midland and Abilene and 83 on Galveston Island.

A chance of thunderstorms continues for North and West Texas through Wednesday. But a high-pressure ridge is blocking some of the rainfall through the week's end, allowing only isolated showers and thunderstorms to develop.

A better chance of rainfall will develop at week's end as the ridge weakens.

Stands expect fireworks sales to heat up

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer

PECOS, June 29, 1999 -- Rick Scott and Ray Upchurch were relaxing today, taking a break from the many customers who have approached their stand.

The two are running one of the three fireworks stands near Wal-Mart on Cedar Street.

"There have been quite a few customers and have sold out of one very popular package," said Upchurch.

The package that was sold out contains an assortment of firecrackers, bombs and other popular fireworks.

"We also have what they call a Pro-Mac package," said Rick Scott.

The Pro-Mac package, which is a professional kit full of the bigger items and the more elaborate rockets, bombs and fireworks, sells for $65.

"We only have one of the other package, it was really popular," said Scott. "We actually had quite a few of those, but because it was cheaper than the Pro-Mac, it sold out."

Dry conditions have resulted in bans being placed on the shooting of fireworks in Reeves County in recent years. But showers over the past several weeks have kept that ban from being put into effect in 1999, though fire marshal Jack Brookshire warns shooting off fireworks inside the Pecos city limits remains against the law.

The fireworks stands will remain open through July 4, and Scott said, "We're expecting a bigger crowd as the big day approaches."

"We have other items that are really bargains and some that are for younger kids," he said. "We just want them to be cautious when using any of these items."
 

Museum inviting old timers to reunion


PECOS, June 29, 1999 -- Old timers and new ones will gather at the West of the Pecos Museum, from 8 a.m. until noon on Thursday for the 35th Annual Old Timers Reunion.

Everyone is invited to come out and visit and enjoy watching the West of the Pecos Rodeo Parade, which begins at 10 a.m. on the west side of town and will pass in front of the museum shortly after 10:30 a.m.

The museum is located on the corner of First and Cedar Streets.

For more information call 915-445-5076.
 

Lotto

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Cash 5 drawing Monday night: Winning numbers drawn: 2-6-21-22-33. Number matching five of five: 0. Matching four of five: 227. Prize: $866.

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Monday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 1-6-7 (one, six, seven)
 

Weather

PECOS, June 29, 1999 -- High Monday 110; overnight low 76. High last year 111, low 69. Record high for this date, 114 in 1957. Record low 58 in 1983. Rains in area; none in Pecos. Tonight, partly cloudy. Low around 75. Breezy southeast wind 15-25 mph and gusty, decreasing to 5-15 mph after midnight. Wednesday, partly cloudy with a less than 20 percent chance of afternoon showers and thunderstorms. High around 100. South wind 10-20 mph.
 



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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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