A history of Deaf Smith County, featuring pioneer families Page: 110 of 174
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Deaf Smith County
After serving as deputy sheriff under John Miller,
Newell was appointed to fill out the term when Miller was
killed in a car wreckin 1936. He ran for sheriff the following
term and was elected. The Newells moved from their
home on Park Avenue to the jail and lived there during
his three terms as sheriff. He died here on June 5, 1958.
The two older children of the J. O. Newells had married
before he became sheriff. They are Charles Patton Newell,
and James Orland Newell. Both have lived in Hereford all
their lives. Charles is employed with the local Agricultural
Stabilization and Conservation office, and Orland is employed
with the county.
Gaylord, whose home is on the Dimmitt Highway, owns
the Piggly Wiggly Store, inHereford. Elaine Newell married
John I. Willoughby and lives at Oklahoma City. Virginia
Newell married Richard Winget and Nadine Newell married
Darrell Blanton; both are now living in Hereford.
F. H. OBERTHIER, 1908
He Remembers It All
Want to know when any event here really happened? Ask
F. H. Oberthier. It is probable thathe can tell you not only
the year but the month and day. Take irrigation for example.
It has been said that the firsttestwell was drilled in 1910;
he says that a group of business men took the train for
Portales in August of 1910 to see their first irrigation
well. They saw plenty of water--a deluge had just fallen
when the trainpulled into Portales at noon
but finally they
saw the well in operation during the afternoon. A group of
40 each contributed $100 to finance the test well dug by D.L.
McDonald, and the first well finally was dug in 1911.
"I believe I am the last one of those 40 men still living,"
the 94-year-old pioneer declared,
Born in Russ County, Texas, on Aug. 4, 1869, F. H.
Oberthier started west at the age' of seven traveling in two
covered wagons with his parents to Comanche County. He
soon started reading "The Comanche Chief" which he still
reads regularly. He was married there to Miss Amanda
Holmesley on Jan. 10, 1894.
In 1901 Oberthier bought some land in Castro County
and eventually owned 10 sections there. It was when his
ranch foreman Lint Merritt was ready to leave that he decided
to come to Hereford to look after his ranching
Oberthier probably is known best as the owner of the
first plant to supply electric power to Hereford. Soon after
coming here on May 1,1908, he began the building of the
plant. The town was "wired up" and the power was turned
on October 12, 1908. Electricity was produced by a steam
plant, using slack coal shipped in from Colorado. The plant
was located on the railroad right-of-way, and an office
was maintained on the north side of the 100 block of West
Third Street. He sold out to the forerunner of the Southwestern
Public Service Company in April of 1925.
At first the plant was operated only a few hours a day.
Of course local homemakers had to get used to the "luxury"
power, and several learned the hard way. One woman was
ironing when the power went off for the day. She left the
iron sitting on the board and left home for a visit without
thinking to unplug her new-found relief from the drudgery
of heating "sad irons" ona coal stove. When the electricity
came on, the iron--which of course was not automatic-burned
through the board, dropped into the clothes basket
underneath and set the house afire. Another woman left a
bedspread in the electric washing machine when the current
went off. When she returned from fishing on the Tierra
Blanca, she found her bedspread almost pulverized. The
power had come on, and the machine had run...and run...
The Oberthiers became members of the local Christian
Church when they moved here. He served as a deacon a
part of the time. He was a school trustee during the superintendency
of Miss Millicent Griffith and at the time when
Mr. and Mrs. F. H. Oberthier
the Central School building was constructed in 1909.
Mrs. Oberthier was active in church and cultural
circles; she was a member of the BayviewStudy Club. She
died here on Jan. 21, 1957.
They were parents of Fred (married Lois Maddux),
manager of Southwestern Public Service, Clovis; Louise,
who married Timothy Tinsley and after his death Wilbur
Gaines, New York; Elizabeth, (Mrs. Dewey) Lawrence,
Tyler; and Frances, who was married to Ted Houston,
Sr., and after his death to V. O. Hennen, Hereford banker.
She, too, has been active in Hereford social and civic
cirlces and in the Episcopal Church here.
E. B. ORR, 1902
Ran A Variety Store
One of Hereford's early-day merchants was E.B. Orr,
who came here for his health. After spending their early
life in Denton County, Mr. and Mrs. Orr brought their
family by train from Denton, arriving in Hereford in
July, 1902. He owned and operated a variety store and
also engaged in farming. Their first home here was 13
miles north of town on Twenty-Five Mile Avenue.
Orr and his wife were charter members of the church
of Christ in Hereford, and he served for many years as an
elder. He was born in' Tennessee in 1850 and died in
Hereford in 1910. Mrs. Orr maintained her home here
for the rest of her life.
Vida Orr stayed with the J.D. Thompson family on
their ranch about 18 miles north of Hereford during the
winter of 1903. She was supposed to teach the Thompson
girls during the week and go home on week-ends. There
was one especially bad spell during February when it
was impossible for her to go the three miles home because
the snow was so deep. The Thompsons ran out of
coal. The lack of coal was even more critical because
the "prairie coal" often used by pioneers was buried
under the frozen snow. Thompson hitched four large
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Patterson, Bessie. A history of Deaf Smith County, featuring pioneer families, book, 1964; Hereford, Tex.. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth16011/m1/110/?q=j%20b%20miller: accessed July 12, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Deaf Smith County Library.