HOME ON THE RANGE
Hood County News – March 23, 2005
by Shirley Smith
In the 1870’s, and for many years before the railroads built through our area, land for railroad use was offered to the public.
William E. (Bill) and Lucy Jackson bought a half-section (320-acre tract) of this railroad land. They settled on the edge of what later became the town of Cresson. This was in 1874. Most of their ranch and farm was in Hood County, but part of it extended into Johnson County.
Bill Jackson was a Mason. He and his wife were active in the Methodist Church. Their children were: Emirintha, married W.C. Woodard; Rosette Lee, married Dan Moss; Samuel Edmon, died in 1920; William Albert, married Eva Anderson; George Baker, married Sally Kelly; and Robert Earl, married Ida May Hall.
Mr. Jackson was a farmer and rancher. He owned all the land from Highway 377, around the city limits, to Highway 171. He also rented and operated a ranch on Bear Creek. It was known as the Bloss Ranch.
He kept an old steam engine and threshing machine in a big barn on his Cresson ranch. When he fired up the steam engine, it could be heard all over town. He custom-threshed grain for several area farmers.
Anna Fae and Ella Mae Holmes, twin sisters and now 98 years young, told me one time that an aeroplane force-landed in Mr. Jackson’s pasture after running out of gas and that the schools were dismissed so students could see the plane. There weren’t many around Cresson in 1917.
Some residents paid a dollar a month to board their milk cows in this pasture. I recall my brother, Cecil Smith, riding home bareback on our milk cow so he would not get mud on his new school shoes.
James Abernathy drove their cow home, also. He used the word “putt-putt” and sang it to the tune of “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” at the same time clapping his hands in front and back of him. Sounded pretty good, too.
Sam Hunter, a railroad worker, kept his milk cow in the Jackson pasture. The cow always stayed one mile away on the backside of the pasture. Sam rigged up an old Model-T Ford by wrapping rubber inner-tubes around the rims and ran that milk cow home every day.
Mr. Jackson had a large pond in the middle of his ranch. When water wells in the area froze solid in winter, residents hauled water from this pond. One year, C.R. (Buster) Putteet and I broke the ice on this pond and took a hurried swim.
We were about 6 years of age. We almost got by with the swim, but Buster put his shorts on backward, and his mother caught him.
At this time, Buster’s brother Billy Joe had the flu and his sister Christine had pneumonia. How we lived through this adventure, we will never know.
Many of us can remember crawfishing on this ranch and hunting rabbits, varmints and birds. After Uncle Bill Jackson, as he was referred to, passed away in 1932, the ranch changed ownership.
The second owners were Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Braxton of Fort Worth. They had one son named Hubert. Ester was his wife and Emma May their daughter. J.W. was a manager for a department store, The Fair, in Fort Worth.
Hubert operated the ranch for cattle production. Ester had a field of cotton on the Highway 171 side of the ranch near the Stan-O-Lind oil pumping station.
Many of us Cresson School students picked cotton for her after school was turned out each day. We could make 15 to 25 cents from 4 p.m. till dark. Ester caught one of her pickers putting green cotton bales in their sack to make it weigh more. She fired the youth on the spot and sent him home.
During the Braxton ownership of the ranch, a new rock house was built on the spot where an old wood house had once stood. J.W. Braxton worked every spare moment he had to improve his land.
After moving into the new home, J.W. decided to build a water tower one hot summer. While working in the bottom portion of the tower, he was overcome by the heat and almost died before he was discovered inside.
In late 1952, the ranch was sold to Mrs. Bessie (Yates) Hudson, a widow. She ran cattle and horses on the ranch. She had a lot of work done remodeling the house in which she lived.
Bessie was a Yates before she married. They were an oil family with large land holdings in South Texas and West Texas.
She had a male poodle she would let out of the house on occasion. Her neighbor, Ted Putteet, had a terrier named Queenie, which was also let out of the house. For some reason, Queenie had four puppies. Ted’s grandson, now Dr. Gary Putteet, persuaded Bessie to give him one of the pups, which he named Boots.
Mrs. Hudson sold the ranch to George and Bessie Glasscock in 1955. The Glasscocks had moved to Cresson in around 1935 from the Eastland area. They had no children. They bought one of Frank Burnet’s ranches located at the top of the hill on the old Granbury road.
They lived in a house on that ranch until moving into the house on the ranch they purchased from Mrs. Hudson.
George Glasscock was a well-known name, not only around Cresson but throughout the United States. A member of the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, he raised Brahman bulls for use at all the rodeos around the country.
He was one of the co-founders of the Cutting Horse Association in 1946. He also raised cattle to be used in the cutting horse contests.
The preliminaries for the Fort Worth Stock Show cutting horse competition were held for several years at a rodeo pen on his ranch. He allowed the Cresson School PTA to sell Chappell Bryant’s Chili, sandwiches, pies, cold drinks and coffee at these events.
PTA president Marjorie Smith said the money they made was used to build girls and boys restrooms at the Cresson School building.
Mr. Glasscock passed away in 1991. His nephew, George Harrell, inherited the ranch. George ran some cattle on it but wound up leasing out the grazing land.
In 1996, Mr. Harrell sold the ranch to Mr. Jack Vail Farr and his wife, Sharon Lynn Farr, from Hudson Oaks. They have four children: Kaitlin Myhre, Kelly Rae, James Bryce and Jack Graham.
Mr. Farr was a member of the Hudson Oaks city council and now serves the city of Cresson in the same capacity. What he has done with the ranch is almost unbelievable. In just eight years, he has built the first Motorsports Ranch in the world. It is now the 304-acre Sportscar Country Club.
It features a road course, skid pads, car rental garages and a covered grid area. Racers can practice their skills on a 1.7-mile, 11-turn course. There are also opportunities to attend performances and driving safety schools and test drive several various sports cars and race cars. Some members have begun building retirement houses on the ranch.
I was taken on a courtesy ride over the course by Mr. Farr. It was a thrilling experience to ride with him in his new yellow 6-cylinder, 210 horsepower Mustang, taking the sharpest curves at over 75 mph. The ride was a sharp contrast to my having ridden a one-horsepower donkey over the same ground at the age of 10, some 70 years ago.
Jack Farr loves Cresson as much as I do. Drop by and say “hi” to him in his office at 9012 Performance Ct. He just might take you for a ride over his ranch like he did me.