Weatherford Democrat

Viewpoints

March 17, 2013

NOW HEAR THIS: The fragmentation of Parker County

By LARRY M. JONES

For those like myself who are fortunate enough to have survived our allotted “three score and ten,” we are both blessed and cursed by the transformation we have witnessed here in North Texas.

For better or worse, the Parker County I knew as a child is gone forever.

When my family first arrived here over 150 years ago, changes came slowly. With each, whether it was building a church or school, clearing a new field in which to plant crops or cutting a road across this pristine land, they came at a huge cost in terms of “sweat equity.” This slow-paced agrarian lifestyle continued for decades until World Wars I and II turned a nation of farmers into an industrial super power. There was a song that came out of World War I entitled, “How You Gonna’ Keep ‘Em Down On the Farm?” (After they’ve seen Paree). After these great wars, millions left the farm, and today they are returning.

When I returned to my “roots” following retirement from the Navy in the late 1980s, much of what I remembered of Parker County was still intact. Multigenerational family businesses were still common, large peanut and melon farms existed, dairies were common, large ranches were evident, traffic on South Main manageable, and if you wanted anything of significance, you had to go to Fort Worth to get it. Yet, changes that had taken root a decade or two earlier were beginning to come to fruition. Larger farms are becoming fragmented into smaller “ranchettes.”

In this regard, Dr. Gideon Lincecum wrote the following in the Texas Almanac:

“Now that all the world and the rest of mankind are coming to Texas, it behooves those who intend to remain here to look around them and see what portions of nature’s widespread bounties can be saved from the destructive tramp of immigration.”

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