Part 2…Criminal in the Family

Welcome back to The Hogue Connection and Part 2…Criminal in the Family! Today I’ll begin to tell the story of our most notorious criminal in the family. So far, that is. I’d like to begin with some background information here in Part 2, before we get into the big reveal.

Let’s Go Back to Texas in 1880.

More specifically, Morgan Mill, Erath County, Texas, and the Larner and Davis families. The Larners had been in Texas since 1842, after relocating from Carrollton, Illinois. Led by William Larner, they helped settle the town of Carrollton, Texas, which is now a suburb that is part of the greater Dallas/Fort Worth area. There is still a Larner Road near downtown Carrollton. Eventually, the Larners moved south west down to Erath County. For a map of the area, click here.

The Davis family, following the lead of William M. Davis, settled near Morgan Mill in 1878 or so after stopping off near Cullman, Alabama for a bit. My great Grandmother Ida was born in Cullman. The rest of her siblings were born in Texas, and later in Oklahoma Territory. We know this is where the two families connected, and where many of our kin farmed for decades. Wheat, cotton, and cattle were the big cash crops at that time. Ida’s father, Lewis Newton Davis, secured a land grant of 160 acres near Cleveland, Oklahoma Territory, 4 Mar 1895. This is where Ida and William married, on 6 May 1894, then returned to Erath County.

A Friend Suggests the Move to Oklahoma Territory.

William found work for a time at a cotton seed mill in Alvarado, TX. There he met Daniel Walker, originally from Nebraska. Daniel was excited about moving his family up to Washita County, O.T. and suggested William do the same. It took William a while to pull the trigger, though. They remained in Morgan Mill until after the birth of their first two children, Ray, and Kenneth, and then made the move. They settled in the area of Elk Township, Washita County, just south of the new town Dill (renamed Dill City in 1944), and west of Cordell, in early 1898.

The farming was good here and the community growing. William and Ida’s family was growing , too. Here the next five children were born: Winnie, Marion, Ruby, Effie, and Lowell. For reasons unknown, William decided to move the family up to Guymon, OK, in the Panhandle, in 1908. This seems strange because he had acquired a land grant of his own for 160 acres on 3 Apr 1905. Prices for farm land at that time ran about $15-18 an acre, but I’m not sure if he sold the property before moving north, or not. Their daughter Frieda was born in Guymon in 1910, and they returned to Dill in 1912. Ray, the oldest, age 17, stayed behind to finish high school in Guymon. They would remain in the Dill area for many years, rounding out their family with two more children, Eldon, and Crystal Faye (my Grandma, born 21 Apr 1919).

The Stage is Set in Washita County.

In total, there were 11 children born to William and Ida, with eight making it to adulthood. Kenneth was killed by a runaway horse in the front yard in 1907, aged 10. Ruby died of some type of paralyzing disease in 1922, aged 17. They also lost a stillborn baby born in 1913 after returning from Guymon.

All in all, the Larner family lived in this part of the Oklahoma Territory and the state of Oklahoma for over 50 years. Living in any place that long makes for quite the family story. Most of the children scattered in the 1930’s; many of them heading west to California and Arizona. Ray eventually retired to the Dallas, TX area and Lowell ended up back in Arkansas and Kentucky, where his oldest daughter Carole settled. In Part 3, we’ll look at the life of our notorious criminal in the family, Will and Ida’s fourth child and third son, Marion Newton Larner.

Thanks for reading Part 2…Criminal in the Family on my blog! See you back at The Hogue Connection soon! You can return to the Home Page here.

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