The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 78
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
To further define "small businessman" in this context (and with but
a modicum of financial data) all of Julian Lanier's stores within my
memory (from 1923) were one-story brick buildings, generally with
two front show windows and a central door, and were some thirty by
ninety feet in size. Regarding employees, in the depth of the depres-
sion (early 1930s) there were four regular salesclerks: my parents and
another man and woman; and on weekends, an older sister (Marjorie)
and myself. During World War II, eight or more employees worked full
time. As to the "small towns" in which Julian Lanier owned businesses,
all had populations of less than seven thousand, the largest being
Born March 16, 1885, in the Beech Grove farm community some
eight miles west of Jasper, Texas, Lanier spent his first twelve years
there on his father's small farm, where his family lived in a dogtrot
house. Along with his father and four older brothers, he helped culti-
vate a variety of crops, cared for animals, and did other farm chores. As
circumstances permitted, the family attended church and went to camp
meetings in the area. Sunday was a day of rest; the family abstained
from all unnecessary work-even cooking. For recreation the boys
hunted squirrels, fished, rode horses, swam in nearby Sandy Creek, and
played "town ball."
In the Beech Grove area were many black families. My father told me
of a fight he once had with a black playmate. It started out early in the
day and was even-matched and protracted. Occasionally both boys would
wear out and take quarter, only to resume fisticuffs a while later. This
went on "all day," and ended in a draw. Years later, he introduced me to
Regarding schooling, my father had the equivalent of a fourth-grade
education; went to Seed Tick School, a one-room schoolhouse without
desks; and wrote on a slate. Yet I knew him to be especially adept with
numbers-about as fast as the crank-handled adding machine in use in
his 1930s store.
For further details about Lanier's elementary schooling, there is a
Jasper (Texas) News-Boy story of May 27, 1973, concerning this same Seed
Tick community school. Frank Martindale, eighty-seven years old when
interviewed for this story, was likely a classmate of Julian Lanier when
Martindale entered Seed Tick school in 1893. "We packed water . ..
about 250 yards over that-a-way, ... played town ball during recess, and
toted wood for the heater." Martindale added that he attended Seed
Tick School with thirty-five to forty other students, that the school term
was for four months, and students were not grouped by grade but
according to the level of one's reader. "Each student carried his own
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/106/: accessed December 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.