13310 Highway 305 · P.O. Box 5
Lipscomb, Texas 79056
February 15, 2009
WOLF CREEK HERITAGE MUSEUM NOTES
by Virginia Scott
A quiet slow week that gave us another chance at catching up with our assignments. Our newsletter will be mailed out soon and my goal of four issues this year is one issue closer to completion. Our board meeting is scheduled for this week and we will discuss and set our goals for the historical commission and the museum.
We received a donation from PNM Foundation recently in honor of the volunteer hours of Georgia Couch. This is the company that Georgia worked for when she retired and they have an employee program that donates money in return for their employees volunteerism. These are great programs . We have received several donations from matching employee programs. This is a great way to donate to your community. There are numerous non profit organizations in our area, please find one and donate your time. Be a volunteer this year.
Frank Balch was an early settler in Lipscomb County. He was of Irish descent , the son of James and Alice McClain born in Cincinnati , Ohio on June 16, 1879. He was only seven weeks old when both of his parents died. He and his sister were placed in an orphanage in Quincy, Ill. At the age of seven , he was adopted by Luke and Clara Balch, who owned a large farm in Adair County, Mo.
The only food he had ever eaten was boiled milk and sourdough bread. So when Ms. Balch served him fried eggs for his first breakfast , he thought they were very good and requested more and kept asking for more. He ate a total of 13 fried eggs that first breakfast. He attended a one-room school and helped his parents on the farm. He took a course in blacksmithing and horseshoeing at a school in Quincy, Ill.
In 1908, he married Ruhama Pope,who, with her parents had homesteaded east of Higgins, Texas but had moved back to Missouri. In the fall of 1909, The couple returned to the panhandle arriving in Podunk, OK by train. They bought a farm in Lipscomb County, five miles south of where Darrouzett is now located. They bought a quarter section at $7 an acre and added to it over the years. Frank built a one-room house hauling lumber from Higgins, and lived in this one room while building another room and an attic .
Frank hauled water for all uses for three years from their closest neighbors,Jim Barnes. He finally drilled a well for $285 and continued adding to the house with additional rooms and a basement. Frank planted broomcorn, barley (for hog feed), and wheat, his main crop. He would harvest his wheat, storing it in his barn hayloft, then when harvest was over, start hauling the wheat to Glazier to sell. He hauled with a team and wagon that held 60 bushels, using two horses and two mules to pull the wagon. He would scoop on a load of wheat one day, get the horses ready that evening and leave early the next day; returning home the following day and let the horses rest a day before starting another trip. On the last three return trips he would bring coal in the wagon on two trips and bring 48 pound sacks of flour and 50 pound sacks of sugar on the last trip. The family grew the rest of their groceries on the farm with a garden , chickens , milk cow and hogs. During the 30s he would take hogs to market and would give hogs to his neighbors.
The Balches enjoyed their 50th wedding anniversary in 1958 on their farm and remained on their farm until 1964 when they moved to Amarillo. Frank died in 1965 and Ruhama in 1981. They are buried in Darrouzett Cemetery. Their son Glenn still lives in Darrouzett and wrote their history for the Lipscomb Heritage newsletter in January 1989. This is the source of this article. The Balchs were one of early families that set the standard of generosity and friendliness that this county is known for.
Enjoy the week!
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