[W. M. Prece]
Gauthier, Sheldon F.,
Tarrant Co., Dist. #7
W.M. Prece, 70, living at Baird, Tex., R.F.D.#2, was born Jan. 5, 1868, at Jackson, Miss. The Prece family immigrated to Texas in 1878, and settled in Callahan co. The family's means of transportation was a covered wagon pulled by an ox team. After arriving in Texas, W.M. Prece started his range career. He secured a job working for M.S. Smitson, who owned a large number of cattle, and had his cowcamp located on the [Conaho?] River, 75 miles west of San Angelo, Tex. After working as a cowboy for several years, Prece made several cattle drives to the North. His story:
“I was born in Miss., near Jackson, on a plantation, Jan. 5, 1868. The Civil War left my family in bad shape and my folks decided to go West, to the frontier of Texas, and try to make a new start.
“We started to Texas [1878?]. I was 10 years old at the time. The family loaded our belongings in a covered wagon and hitched old Dave and Buck, our two oxen, to the rig and headed West. We crossed the State of Louisiana, and continued westward after crossing the border of this state, until we arrived in Callahan county
“While making the trip, we had plenty of time to get a good look at the country we traveled through, because we traveled only about 20 miles a day. What we called roads these days were trails. In fact, most of the people referred to the highways as “the trail”.
“There were not many bridges. If a stream could be forded, during its normal stage, no built was built to cross on. Then, if one arrived during a rise, well you just waited till the water lowered. If the stream was too deep for fording, then, in most places, a ferry operated to carry traffic across.