Biography of Lester Wade FIELDS 1882-1971

LESTER WADE FIELDS by Carolyn Fields Collins March 2007

Lester Wade Fields was born February 22 1882 in Jack County, Texas. G W Fields and Francis Julia Farmer named him after Wade Farmer , her Father. They lived about 7 miles Southeast of Bryson in a great old two story house on a hill overlooking the Brown Survey.

He always claimed he was the seventh son of GW [Green Washington FIELDS] and he had mystical powers. People came to him to clear warts and various diseases. He always had a remedy of some type. He told great stories or tales to all us kids that would sit still. He told of jousting tournaments held on the Fields lands.

He was a ladies man from early on. He drove to Fort Worth numerous times to the Stockyards district. He drove a Model T in early years. He dated a Gertrude Cullars from Jack County, and had a ring for her in his pocket. She accidentally drowned in a tank [man-made pond for livestock]. He threw the ring into the tank also. He married for the first time in Graham, Young County, Texas to an Isabelle S. Harmon April 1931. She was a well propertied widow much older than he.

The Harmon [ranch] [belonging to Isabelle S HARMON] consisted of 155 acres on the Jack and Young County [county] lines. This property was known as the McCumber Survey. This property was where HA McCumber murdered George Farmer, cousin to Lester’s mother [Francis Julia FARMER] in 1894. Mr McCumber then turned the gun on George’s mule and killed him, then turned and faced the young son of George and told him if he were older he would have shot him too. McCumber then turned the gun on his own dog and then himself. This is well documented in the newspapers of Young County, Texas.

Lester was a hot tempered man, cussing often. One of his fits caused the probable death of his brother Walter Lee Fields. On that evening he had cussed Walter at length and was chased out of the house by Violet with a broom. One can surmise that he had no patience with Walter, the dreamer, because he worked all the time to make more money and could not understand a man that did not work as hard as he did. On the other hand, Lester took in families during The [Great] Depression, gave them a cow for milk for the children. Starving people were taught to mix wheat with milk on his Foster Survey land. Walter’s family was one of those families, with 13 children.

Lester seemed closest to Edwin, then Glen and then the Twins. He kept the twins working for years on his ranches. He also got them out of trouble with the law a few times. There were cattle to take care of and hogs, fence building and plowing.

My fondest memories of Lester were after I married. He would spot our pickup in Bryson, follow it to Fat and Shorty’s house on weekends. He would make a bee-line [fast pace] to see us and the cooler of beer that he knew was on that truck. He would sit and drink the first one without coming up for air. The second would be much slower and the stories would begin to flow easily. If only I had of recorded these.....

Lester died of stomach Cancer in August 1971, at the age of 89 years.
Winnie D. Davis Owen was married to Lester on December 21, 1952 in Jacksboro, Texas. She was a widow with two sons and property in Jack County, Texas.

© 2007 Carolyn Fields Collins. This work may be reproduced and redistributed, in whole or in part, without alteration and without prior written permission solely for genealogy research purposes, provided all copies contain the following statement: "© 2007 Carolyn Fields Collins. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Carolyn Fields Collins, her heirs, or assigns."

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Tall Tales and Family Lore

One of the Tall Tales told by him consisted of gold on the Brazos River. Jesse James and his gang of outlaws visited the Crow place in Palo Pinto County, Texas. They hid gold bars from a robbery in a cave on the Brazos River behind the Crow Farm where Kate Crow lived. KATE WAS COURTED BY ONE OF THE MEMBERS [of the gang], HE NEVER TOLD WHICH ONE. However the gold has never been found that we know of. Walter’s children hunted for it for years!!!

Another tale had to do with our family history. He told of GW Fields as a boy, and his father Abraham with family crossing the Mississippi River on a barge into Missouri. With them was one black slave that begged to go with them.The family hid from bushwhackers several times, according to family lore.

[editorial note: This event probably dates from the relocation of Abraham, and family, to Missouri from Tennessee between 1857 and 1860.

The black slave was likely a runaway slave. Harboring a fugitive slave was illegal, in slaveholding-states. The "crime" carried heavy penalties. Therefore, Abraham Fields put he and his family at serious risk.

During this era, travel in the western territories and states was dangerous, the roads infested with highwaymen.]