By 1921, my grandfather David D. Fast #112786 (1884-1974) was 37 years old, single, and owned a section of good farm land near Hooker, Oklahoma. On 28 February 1921, he borrowed $10,000 from C. H. Bailey of Hutchinson, Kansas, something that I found in the land records at the Texas County courthouse (Mortgage, D. D. Fast to C. H. Bailey, 28 February 1921, Texas County, Oklahoma, Deed Book 96:128, County Clerk's Office, Courthouse, Guymon). When I showed the mortgage to my uncle, he said Grandpa used that money to buy new John Deere farm equipment; and here is a picture from a local history book showing my grandfather using that equipment to harvest wheat.
|Source: Hardesty History (Hardesty, Okla.: Hardesty Extension Homemakers Group, 1973) 2.|
|Warranty deed, D. D. & Elizabeth Fast to C. H. Bailey, 4 August 1931, Texas County, Oklahoma, Deed Book 170:366, County Clerk's Office, Courthouse, Guymon.|
But my grandfather was an indomitable optimist, and he managed to save a few head of cattle out of the debacle. He had always wanted to be a rancher instead of a farmer and had made a few attempts to get into ranching. But now he had no choice since he needed to make a living and all he had left were a few cattle. He rented some ranch land around the Rock House and eventually built up a good herd. By the 1950s, he owned 680 acres of excellent ranch land and rented another 1320 acres. At the age of 78 in 1962, when most men his age were retired or already dead, he built his dream home on his ranch. He lived in it another 12 years, until he died in 1974 at age 90.
Here is the deed, again from the courthouse, for the first 80 acres of land that he bought in 1947, the first time that he had owned real estate in 16 years:
|Warranty deed, Minnie Binkley to D. D. & Elizabeth Fast, 27 May 1947, Texas County, Oklahoma, Deed Book 277:451, County Clerk's Office, Courthouse, Guymon.|
Courthouse documents alone can be fashioned into an interesting story if you think what it must have been like to experience the events that they represent. And adding memories and family histories to the mix can make it truly exciting.