by Frances Miers Muller
On one of my visits to Bethel Cemetery in the early 1990s, I walked around to other parts of the cemetery. To my surprise, I found the graves of Mack and Minnie Fisher. I guess I thought they would live forever. They are not my ancestors, but they were good friends of my grandmother, George Ella Tarpley (Mrs. Sterling F.) Mack and his sons, Donald and Jasper, took care of my grandmother’s farm in Denton County. My first remembrances of them was while my grandmother was still living with my family in Dallas in the mid 1940s. A couple of times, they would come to our house in the summer and bring a couple of baby turkeys to raise before Thanksgiving. Several other times, they would bring baby chickens.
About 1948, my grandmother moved back to Frisco. She had been born and raised in the neighboring Little Elm community. When she married, in 1901, they lived in a house near the Collin County/Denton County border. My mother, Everal, was born in 1902 in that house. In 1903, there was a huge crop failure and that drove my grandfather Tarpley away from farming, almost. He moved his small family into the new town of Frisco and became a salesman for J. I. Case Implement Company. In 1905, my uncle Beale was born and in 1908, my uncle Frank was born. After this, they moved several times, to Texarkana, Denton, and lastly, to Waco, where they stayed. My mother married in 1935, in Waco, to Wesley S. Miers, a lineman for Texas Power and Light who was always proud of having “pulled” the first electrical wires, bringing electricity into many of the East Texas and Central Texas towns. My grandfather Tarpley died a few months later. In the summer of 1937, my parents moved to Dallas and my dad began his career as an electrical draftsman. In 1940, my grandmother closed her home and life in Waco and moved to Dallas with my parents and I.
After my grandmother moved to her house in Frisco, during the summers, I would go there several times and spend a week with her. I loved these times. During each of these visits, Mack and Minnie would invite my grandmother and I to supper. This was a dream come true for a city girl, now in upper grade school. During our visits with the Fishers, Minnie would take me out to the chicken house to collect eggs. She would stick her hand under those chickens that would skwalk and flutter and settle back down. Then Minnie would encourage me to get the eggs. Those hens scared me and I would back away, but Minnie kept encouraging me to get the eggs. I always settled for taking eggs from nests where no hens were sitting. Yet, I looked forward to trying this every visit. Minnie gave me my only exposure to farm life and I wanted to be a farmer’s wife, like her.
One time when my grandmother still lived with us in Dallas, Mack Fisher called. All the farmers had wheat ready for harvesting and there was a storm coming. The co-op had brought in three huge combines to help harvest all the wheat in the area. They were much faster than the smaller combines that the local farmers had. Mack and my grandmother were very excited about the larger combines because without them, the wheat would rot in the fields. He wanted us to come up and see them. Up we went.
When we arrived, we pulled off the road to watch. One of the Fisher’s sons came to the car to ask if I would like to ride on the large combine. I was a shy, meek, little kid and refused, although I really wanted to take that ride. Every one in the car tried to talk me into it, but I was too shy continued to refuse. I have never forgotten that day and have regretted it all my life. That was the only time I ever had an opportunity to ride on a combine … and I missed it.