A history of Deaf Smith County, featuring pioneer families Page: 44 of 174
- Highlighting On/Off
- Adjust Image
- Rotate Left
- Rotate Right
- Brightness, Contrast, etc. (Experimental)
- Cropping Tool
- Download Sizes
- Preview all sizes/dimensions or...
- Download Thumbnail
- Download Small
- Download Medium
- Download Large
- High Resolution Files
- IIIF Image JSON
- IIIF Image URL
- View Extracted Text
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
Deaf Smith County
IRA ATEN, 1893
Escarbada Division Boss
The early life of Ira Aten included all the stuff of which
television westerns are made. First as a Texas Ranger
for $30 per month then as foreman of the famed Escarbada
Division of the fabulous XIT Ranch he personified
the "gunsmoke" era. He was a native Texan having been
born near Austin in 1862.
During his six and a half years as a Ranger, the sixshooter
totin' Texan witnessed frontier fights from El Paso
to Brownsville. He often told of the fights between Democrats
and Republicans for offices in 1889. During one of
those fights the sheriff of Castro County was killed, and
the governor appointed Aten to fill the vacancy. He was
then elected for a three-year term.
Arsonists who were believed to have set fire to the XIT
were among those chased out of Texas by the former ranger.
The apprehension of horse and cattle thieves occupied
much of the young sheriffs official activity.
In 1893 Aten was invited to become foreman of the
Escarbada and moved to Deaf Smith County that year. He,
ran that outfit until he sought new horizons in California's
Imperial Valley, where he continued to pioneer. He
and his wife each filed on 320 acres of land there and developed
their place into a progressive irrigated farm.
Both at Hereford and at Burlingame, Calif., Aten
helped to organize the towns' first banks. He was a civic
leader in California, where he died at the age of 90 on
Aug. 6, 1953.
C. R. Smith went to work for the Escarbada under Aten
in 1900 and succeeded him as foreman in 1903. Of him
Smith said, "He was a good ranger and a good boss. He
had a reputation as one of the best frontier sheriffs."
While living in Hereford the Atens were close friends
of the Ed Connells, who named a son, Ira Aten Connell,
Mrs. Aten still was living at the time of her husband's
death. They had two sons, Marion of El Centro, Calif.,
and Ira O. Aten of Albuquerque and two daughters.
J. N. ASKREN, 1891
Ran Broom Factory Here
Many farming firsts were recorded by Mr. and Mrs.
James N. Askren, who had come to the Panhandle by
covered wagon in 1891 from Sherman, Tex. An "only"
might be added--that of operating a broom factory in 1911
in his enlarged barn at the farm 10 miles north-east of
Hereford. He had previously sold Harrison Elevator the
first car load of broom corn grown in the county.
Askren sold the first carload of oats grown in the area
and was a pioneer in growing wheat and grain sorghums
in quantity. The Askrens helped to finance the first
school in their area of the county, known as the Higgins
Mrs. Askren once recalled that it took almost every
man in the county to hold court at La Plata when they
first moved here. She described the life of a pioneer
woman as "hours of hard labor, raising baby chicks
and gardens, or seeing after the welfare of our families".
The Askrens moved to Hereford in 1916, and Mrs.
Askren accepted work in a grocery store, which she
continued until 1926. At that time she went to work for
Cronin Dry Goods Store and continued there until her
retirement. Born Sarah E. Ford, she was known as Mrs.
S. E. Askren for many years. She was an active member
of the First Christian Church.
James N. Askren was born in Indiana in 1863 nd came
to Texas from Ohio.
R. W. BAIRD, 1886
Stayed On Third Move
R. W. Baird made his third move from East Texas to the
Panhandle before he finally "took root" on the plains. He
came first to the T Anchor Ranch, with headquarters at
Canyon, in the early spring of 1886. The first trip from
his native Grayson County was made on horseback.
Jim Moore was ranch boss, and Cal Walker was wagon
boss. Baird went with Walker in driving one of two herds
of steers from the T-Anchor to market at Kiowa, Kansas,
for shipment to the Chicago market that spring. The following
winter he spent with two other cowboys in a line camp
dugout located three or four miles down the creek from
the present site of Hereford.
After the spring round-up, he joined the LX's crew and
helped drive a herd of steers to their Montana ranch near
the Canadian border. They swam the Missouri River,
drowning 16 steers.
Near the end of the year of 1888, he rode back to Grayson
County and married his school-days sweetheart. In
the summer of 1892 he loaded his wife and two sons, Fred
and Horace (Mike), into a covered wagon and again headed
for the high plains. This time they located on a half section
five miles north-west of Canyon. Farming and ranching on a
small scale proved unprofitable; so he went back to Grayson
County after a year or two.
Finally deciding he had had enough of East Texas chills
and fever and five-cent cotton, Baird made his third move
to the high plains in 1900. He and three other men came in
a covered wagon; he filed on two sections of land southwest
of Hereford, just across the line in Castro County.
He built a house, broke out and planted a few acres of
land, as required by the homestead law.
Leaving his wagon and team with a neighbor, he returned
to Grayson County to load his household furniture,
livestock, and farming implements into an emigrant car
headed for Hereford. He and the two boys came with the
car, and Mrs. Baird came by passenger train a few days
One of the first things young Fred Baird recalls was
seeing his father riding a black horse and hauling water
in a keg from a creek near their house.
Baird moved his family to Hereford in the fall of 1901
to put the boys in school. He and L. R. Bradly established
a grain and coal business in Hereford. He was elected
sheriff and tax collector of Deaf Smith County in 1910
and served in that office for three terms. Mrs. Baird died
in 1914, and after his term of office expired, R. W. Baird
made his home on the ranch with his son, H.C. (Mike)
Baird, until his death on August 14, 1946. He had been
born in Grayson County, Texas, on Oct. 12, 1864.
Fred and Mike Baird attended school in a wooden building
located where Central School now stands. Later they
attended the Christian College in Hereford. They recall
that there was a great deal of school spirit, with the entire
student body joining in all activities. They played
on the first football team organized in Hereford at the
college in 1910. The following year Fred was enrolled
at West Texas State Normal College at Canyon and
played against the first high school team in Hereford,
including Mike. Records show that Hereford High School
defeated the West Texas Buffaloes twice that year.
The Baird boys were among the young people enjoying
recreation provided by the then clear, flowing Tierra
Blanca Creek. Fred recalls going swimming with Otho
Price on March 15 one year. The water was clear but
cold; so the daring swim lasted just long enough for the
boys to find a good place to climb out.
Fred Baird spent some time in the army and worked
at Dallas, El Paso, Louisiana, and other places. He returned
to Hereford in 1930, worked on a ranch, then as
Here’s what’s next.
This book can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Matching Search ResultsView five places within this book that match your search.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Book.
Patterson, Bessie. A history of Deaf Smith County, featuring pioneer families, book, 1964; Hereford, Tex.. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth16011/m1/44/?q=baird: accessed July 12, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Deaf Smith County Library.