Raymond and Ona Hancock

Raymond and Ona Hancock

Raymond Armon Hancock was born 13 July 1906 about 2 miles Northeast of Purves, Erath County, Texas on his Grandfather, William Thomas Hancock’s place. His Grandfather, William Thomas "Tommy" Hancock (1848-1927) had come to Erath County from Limestone County, Texas in November of 1875. He married Mary Elizabeth Hancock (1847-1931), daughter of Benjamin Timothy Hancock in Limestone County on the 3rd of November 1867. Their first four children born in Limestone County were Lydia Ella married W.A. Houston, Accasia Clementine married James Alexander Turnbow, Elizabeth Jane married J.T. Turnbow and Nancy Irene married Robert Lee Goodwin. The remaining six born in Erath County were Timothy Jackson married Sudie Pearl Foreman, Marvin E. married Nora E. Wyche, Joseph Lee married Anna S. Ascue, Jasper Newton married Effie Izora Coppedge and Elma married W. Dixon Pickett.

Raymond’s father, Jasper Newton "Jep" Hancock, (1884-1967) and his wife, Effie Izora Coppedge (1884-1967) spent most of their early married life on farms around Purves. They spent the years 1910-1912 operating a general store in Purves with his brother, Tim. In 1922-23, he moved to Floydada, Texas where he farmed and operated a garage. When he came back to Erath County he farmed and during the depression, he and Raymond operated a store in Purves from 1931-40. He operated the store with his son-in-law, Lavelle McPherson in the 1940’s and in the 1950’s sold his 200 acres of land, retired and moved to Dublin. Jep and Effie had three children: Raymond, Cleta married Lavelle McPherson and Leta married Guy McPherson.

Raymond attended Purves schools except for the two years spent in Floydada. On November 6, 1927, he married Ona Mathews from the Wilson Community in Comanche County. Since Ona’s father was so protective of her, people often asked Raymond how he managed to get Mr. Mathews to let him marry Ona. Evidently, he was a pretty good politician. He loved life and being around people and there were very few that didn’t like being around him. Raymond and Ona had four children: Robert Norman married Clista Mae Patterson, Peggy June married Bill Traweek, Rance Forson and Don Rusk, Ramona Lea married Thurman Thompson and Martha Nell married Joe Starnes.

During the depression, Mr. Hancock operated a general store in Purves from 1931 until 1940 with his father. In 1940, he bought the John Turney place which he farmed, raising crops, cattle, sheep, goats and poultry. There was a brief period when he tried raising hogs. This was in the 40’s when the President asked everyone to do their part and raise hogs. After the market dropped drastically, he laughed and said that was the last time he would do his part. Later, he went to work for the Dublin Hatchery and worked there for several years and with the help of his family continued farming as well.

Being very involved with the community, he was active on the school board, served as Democrat precinct chairman, and was instrumental in forming the Pecan Cemetery Association, where he was president until his death. In 1936, he organized the Purves Homecoming Association of which he remained chairman until his death. Other activities he was involved in for the community included plays that were enjoyed on the stage in the old gym by the community, the domino games and skating parties in the gym.

Being a devout Christian, he was superintendent, song leader, board member and Sunday school teacher for the Purves Methodist Church for over forty years and was instrumental in moving the church to Dublin in 1961 after the population of Purves declined. One story he used to tell of the church was when someone asked to use the building for a meeting saying they would open and close with a prayer. They were granted permission and Raymond’s family attended (he was twelve at the time). After the meeting got underway, someone shot the lights out and it sure broke up the meeting. They found out later it was a meeting for the ku klux klan and he said it took a week to get all the glass out of their hair.

In 1975, with the help of his daughter, Ramona, his wife, Ona, and input from many Purves "alumni", Raymond published the book, "PURVES-ERATH COUNTY, TEXAS", a 296 page history of Purves and it’s families with short stories of the life and times of the area.

Mr. and Mrs. Hancock died from an automobile accident in Ft. Worth, while returning from a trip to Oklahoma in May 1976. They were laid to rest in the Purves Pecan Cemetery.