My grandfather was William Marion McAlister (JN01-6). He was the sixth child of James Newton and Lucinda Garrettson McAlister. He was born in Morristown, in Grainger County, Tennessee on November 16, 1865, the year the Civil War ended. His wife, Mary Alice Richards, was born in 1871 in Tennessee. They were married on January 7, 1894 in Morristown, and moved to Texas soon thereafter. He bought land in Ellis County, Texas in 1896 and lived there until his father died in 1906. He then moved his family to Reed, in Greer County, Oklahoma, where he died in April 8, 1943. Mary Alice preceeded him in death in 1934.
The McAlister farm in Texas was approximately 4 miles north and west of Midlothian, Texas. When the McAlisters moved from Texas to Oklahoma, they shipped their belongings by train to Mangum. The family dog didn't like Oklahoma, so it went back to Midlothian, Texas.
William Marion McAlister moved his family from Texas to Oklahoma Territory between 1905, when Minnie D. was born in Texas, and 1907, when Elmer Haskell (my uncle) was born at Reed, Greer County, Oklahoma Territory. My dad, Walter Luther "Sock" McAlister (JN01-6-6)was born February 20, 1903 in Waxahachie, in Ellis Co., Texas.
My brother, John B. McAlister, told me the following story about Grandad.
Grandad always wore bib overalls, and a denim jumper when the weather was cool. Grandad chewed tobacco, and smoked a pipe. He had a handlebar mustache that was stained around the mouth from the tobacco or nicotine. He kept his pipe tobacco loose in one pocket of his blue denim jumper, so it would always be handy whenever he wanted to smoke his pipe. In his other pocket he also kept some 22 cal. short ammunition for plinking at tin cans, rabbits, squirrels and other varmints.
In later years, one of grandad's favorite pastimes was to go to Reed. He would sit on the "Spit and Whittle" bench in front of the general store and swap tales with his friends. This was a good place to catch up on world affairs such as rainfall amounts, politics, hound dogs and other worthwhile subjects.
One such day grandad was in the midst of a great yarn when the urge hit him to have a smoke. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his favorite pipe, reached into the other pocket and filled the pipe with loose tobacco, tamping it down tight. He had forgotten that when he emptied his 22 rifle that morning, he inadvertently dropped the shells into the wrong pocket. He struck a match on the bench. Still talking and using ample hand gestures, he put the match to the tobacco, took two or three quick puffs and a long deep draw on the pipe. Getting it lit to his satisfaction, he took it from his mouth and resumed his story. Grandad paused, took another long drag from his pipe, and was taking it from his mouth when the 22 shell exploded. (What happened next is unclear, and the language that ensued is unprintable, I am told.) Needless to say, it cleared the bench of the National Order of the Reed, Oklahoma "Spit and Whittle" Club, demolished grandad's pipe, and was the hot subject around town for some time. Luckily, no one was injured.