1886 – 1981
By Christopher C. Evans
Hood County News – April 24, 2001
As a businessman, the late Cresson rancher B.F. Bone Jr. was noted for being inventive and cagey, going south and buying Mexican cattle because they were cheaper, supplementing his cows with cotton-seed hulls mixed with other cut-rate fodder, then watching his heard fatten — a bad word nowadays — just as much as anybody else’s.
As a sportsman, “B.F.” — nobody called him Benjamin F. — was a competitor’s competitor who didn’t stoop to bad sportsmanship in himself or others. He owned what was no doubt Cresson’s first motorcycle. Though partial to track and field, where he trained his son Jimmy to become a record-setting pole-vaulter at then-North Texas State Teachers College, he loved all sports and bowled until a late age.
When Bone died at 95 June 1, 1981, Cresson lost a loquacious and much-loved son who was born here and effectively lived his whole life here, having been born. “He loved to talk,” said his daughter, Claudie Fae Bone Teich, who suggests that her father’s outgoing and garrulous nature lives on in his grandson, Kenneth Teich. “My father was also quite a motorcycle man.”
Indeed, Cresson vehicle registration information extracted from Hood County records by the Hood County Genealogy Society — see more below — indicate that Bone had registered two Maxwell automobiles and a motorcycle during the period 1907-11.
Son-in-law Ernest Teich said he remembers Bone utilizing the motorcycle, a three-wheeler with a sidecar, in sowing oats. “He’d broadcast his oats by hand, walking along, but I can remember him also going and getting on the motorcycle, riding along and broadcasting oats from the motorcycle,” he said.
“What I remember is that he loved to go to auction sales and he was very good at picking up bargain cows,” recalls Bone’s daughter-in-law Mary Lou Teich.
Shirley R. Smith, in his Cresson: Community Crossroads, noted that Bone Jr. was well-liked as an arbiter of balls and strikes on the baseball diamond whenst the Cresson lads went up against an opposing nine. “The only rule he had was that if anyone didn’t like his calls or tried to argue with him, he would walk off the field,” recalled Smith. “We learned quickly that he meant what he said. After (he walked) away from one game, we never argued his calls again. He was a good umpire.”
Smith also has a personal memory of B.F. Bone Jr. “My daughter Jeannie (Smith Ingram) couldn’t say B.F. Bone so she just called him `One Bone’,” Shirley Smith said Thursday. “When Lillian (Kinder Bone), his wife, was with him, Jeannie would hold up two fingers and say, `There’s `Two Bones.’
“But other than Jeannie, I don’t think anybody knew him as anything but B.F.”
Smith said the practice of feeding cattle cotton seed hulls — “not the seeds but the hulls” — was considered uncommon when Bone started doing it who knows when. “Gus Milburn , who had a dairy and ran some cattle on his place, would buy cheap feed like B.F. would, but I think it was B.F. who kinda started it all around here. He’d go to Itasca or Hillsboro or wherever it was they had a cotton gin, and he’d come back with a load of cotton-seed hulls mixed with something else that was just as cheap or cheaper.”
In his book Smith wrote that Bone not only followed his son Jimmy to track and field meets, he devised a pole vault “muscle-building” system utilizing parallel bars. Among other things, “Jimmy learned to walk over a hundred yards — on his hands” as a side benefit of the training regimen prescribed by his father. “Jimmy later set records in the pole vault at the (Fort Worth) Stock Show Meet (1938) and at North Texas State…going over 14 feet in the air.”
Sadness gripped not only the Bone and Kinder families but the entire Cresson community when Jimmy — Air Forces Lt. Jim Kinder Bone — died in action over Northwest Africa Nov. 20, 1942.
Smith in his book wrote that Bone and his bride, Lillian Kinder, were treated to a ride in Cresson’s first automobile, owned by F.O. Fidler, on their wedding day, Aug. 13, 1911. The wedding itself merged two of the area’s pre-eminent ranching families, B.F. Bone having come to Cresson in 1879 and R.C. Kinder, Lillian’s father, in 1895.
Shirley Smith’s account of another brush with B.F. Bone, when the former was a child, shows a playful, prankish side of the latter.
“B.F. once gave me a quarter to say he was a better man than Mr. (Philip) Parham,” Smith wrote. “Money ruled out and I said it (that Parham was the better) although I liked both men. It was all in fun — but the quarter looked awfully good to me as I was only five years old.
“Many pages could be written about B.F., Lillian and the whole family,” wrote Smith. “The Bone people are well-liked in Cresson and by all who know them.”
SIDETRACKS: There are two important Cresson events to remember this week. First is the important 7:30 p.m. incorporation meeting today at the school. The second is the first Cresson Flea Market Bazaar all day Saturday at the school. To participate, either bring your own saleables and set up your own “booth” outside the school, or bring items to be donated for sale to benefit the restoration of the school…The aforementioned 1907-11 Hood County auto registration records from Cresson show that traffic jams were not the problem they are today as there were only 21 vehicles total registered here during that time. The whole list, printed as written but with name corrections and types of vehicles where available in parentheses, is as follows: “4/24/1911– A.B. McCallon; 5/27/11 — E.C. Young; 5/29/11 — J.W. Donathan; 3/31/13 — Frank Burnett; 5/15/13 — Fred (Ferd) Slocum; 8/08/13 — W.H. Martin; 8/08/13 — W. R. Farmer; 02/02/14 — J.C. Stewart & E.G. Adams; 04/17/14 — R.C. Kinden (Kinder); 10/06/14 — B.F. Bone Jr. (Maxwell automobile); 06/14/15 — B.F. Bone Jr. (Maxwell); 07/21/15 — C.S. Lanham (Maxwell); 08/13/15 — O.H. Lanham (Maxwell); 09/20/15 — Ed Martin (Buick); 01/05/16 — Gus Lancaster (Ford); 06/02/16 — A.E. Lanham (Overland); 07/08/16 — Ralph Lanham (Ford); 09/18/16 — W.C. Woodard (Ford); 12/23/16 — C.W. Sears (Ford); 01/09/17 — J. P. Waltrip (Overland); 03/13/17 — B.F. Boone (Bone, motorcycle)”… April 15 death of Lucille Smith Martin evokes memories of time when she and her late husband, Shelby Martin, operated a filling station that was part domino hall, part gathering spot for Cresson locals. The much-loved Mrs. Martin was laid to rest in our cemetery one week ago.
DERAILED: Information in this space some weeks ago to the effect that Ferd Slocum Jr. (1899-1978) was at one time Parker County sheriff was incorrect. According to historian Shirley Smith, Slocum was active in the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse but never wore the sheriff’s badge.