Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dime Box Texas to Good Old Arizona

Dime Box is one of those names that I never forgot. I thought that it was a funny name when I first heard it years ago after finding out my friends mother was born there. Texas is a big state and has plenty of names that are intriguing.
I had a chance to dig a little to see where it was located and how the name came about.

Dime Box is a little town in lee County Texas. I am told that the name came from a local tradition before the federal post office was located there.
The small community was named Browns Mill at first and settlers deposited outgoing mail and a dime in a small box inside of Joseph Brown's office
for a weekly delivery to Giddings.

There was also a community by the name of Brownsville and mail was being mixed up between the two towns.

The post office in Browns Mill closed in 1883 and reopened a year later.
The Town so I am told was renamed Dime Box to eliminate the prior confusion regarding the mail deliveries. Old Dime Box transitioned into New Dime Box.

There was however no confusion when a little baby by the name of Christina was born in Dime Box to Homer and Ola Mae Haislip, the proud parents. Some folks spell the name Heslip.

Ma Stine is what I called her as well as everyone that knew her. I first met Ma Stine somewhere around 1956 or 57 when I went to her house in Mesa Arizona
with a couple of her children.

It was on a Monday and I went to hang out there until it was time to go skating.
Over time I met all of Ma Stine's children from the oldest sons Willie and Robert Lewis to the youngest son Arvis.
The girls were Ruth, Dorothy, Alice, Helen and Carrie.

Over the years the relationship grew, not only with the children but with the parents as well.

Ma Stine was married to a wonderful man known as "Chick" whose real name was Adolphus Hicks. He was also a character and he worked hard to feed his family. He also had a green truck and would use it to haul food scraps to feed the hogs that he raised.

From Mesa the family moved to Phoenix and so did all the laughter and good times.
In the household was Ma Price, Ma Stine's mother. She was a wonderfully spry lady who had us in stitches as well.

I do believe to this day that it was the camaraderie that the whole family had was the reason people loved being around.

I did not really know how to drive but in my haste to get over to the Hicks house,
I did the unthinkable when my mother went to sleep. I took her car!!

It was a white Chevy stick shift and I jerked all the way to Hadley street just so I could get in on the fun. When it was time for me to go back home, Carrie had to drive me back and Arvis followed in his car.

Needless to say I had stripped the gears and I can still see my mother trying to figure out what happened to her car. Did I own up? Noooo, No, Noway, not until many years later! You know how they used to say that they would knock you in to next week. Well,next week would have been to soon for me to try and make my way back to earth if I had confessed.

I gave Ma Stine my phone number just in case she needed me to take her somewhere if the kids were busy.

I got my call on several occasions when night time hit. I didn't mind one bit because I loved talking to her.
I found out later that she had me sneaking her over to the Po Keno House. I don't think she thought her daughters wanted her to go and play that poor mans bingo.
She loved going and playing even though she could not see very well later in life.
She would get her keno slips and her bottle tops and listen to the caller call them numbers out loud. B and that's a 5, or I and make that a 15. !!!

Most of the time when I would take her, I would sit back in amazement and watch the folks laugh and talk until the next time they met.

As I was thinking back and reminiscing, I decided to see if I could find them in Dime Box in the 1910. And boy did I hit pay dirt.

The 1910 Census for Dime Box Lee County lists Christina at age one enumerated with her grandparents Ruben and Mary J E Hornsby. There is another grandchild Henry who was two years old. The other children of Reuben's were Nelly,Dave,Isabella,Clinton and Henrietta Freeman. Also listed in the household was mother Christiana Mitchell who was eighty seven years old. I am not quite sure if this was Reuben's mother or Mary's mother because of a source I also found has Mary Elizabeth listed with a maiden name of Mitchell. I am wondering if this is who Ma Stine was named after.

I did not see Ola Mae and Homer in the house hold but they may have been out working somewhere.
I did find fifteen year old Homer though in the 1900 Census in the household with his parents Benjamin and Emily Heslip. Also listed were Benjamin Jr, Willie, Arther, Ida and Robert his siblings.

The next time I saw Christine was in the 1920 census. Since people traveled around for work it was no wonder that the Hornsby's were found in Fayette County Texas.

Same scenario but this time Christina is listed as nine years old, and in the household are children David, John C, Sylvia Davis and her son Willie. There is also a boarder by the name of Samuel Brazell living with them. The Hornsby's must have went looking for work in a group because there are several Hornsby families living several houses down.

When Christine's mother Ola Mae married William Price, her second husband, they moved to Arizona taking along nineteen year old Christine and her infant son William McDuffy. I found them living in Goodyear Arizona in 1930 where William J was a Laborer in a cotton camp. I was surprised, because I was thinking they would have been in Mesa.

Last stop Phoenix! The journey has been well worth it. Ms Christine Hicks sure caught my attention. She started off making a mark in Texas and ended up leaving a legacy in Phoenix Arizona. Well done Ma Stine, well done.


Amy Coffin, MLIS said...

Great post. One trip from Austin to Houston, I turned off the road and headed to Dime Box. The name intrigued me so much that I just had to see it. A tiny town, but you can definitely feel the history behind it.

Ms Vicky said...

How I wish I could visit some of those Tx towns via back roads. Thanks for the read Amy I sure appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Vicki Mikulin Prentice said...

I remember when those three brick buildings housed a dry goods store (Riske's), grocery store (Jatzlau's), and a cafe/domino parlor (Wolf's).

Angela Y. Walton-Raji said...

I am laughing at you stripping the gears!!! What a riot, I can see you jerking the car all the way! Great read!

Ms Vicky said...

Thanks for the information! I bet those walls held so many memories.

Ms Vicky said...

@ Angela I am still shaking my head (lol)