Mill Pond -
N. Ray Maxie
Who Owned It?
Pond, this is not. Nor is it "On Golden Pond". But, in my humble opinion,
a very close second. Some early childhood memories will always remain.
From the beginning of my memory, as a small child barely old to remember
anything on this planet, I clearly remember a serious quarrel. A quarrel
that very nearly escalated into a deadly situation, but cooler heads
prevailed. You know how things like a serious conflict can permanently
stick with a small child very quickly and forever? It was a neighborly
quarrel that involved a very strategic and important property line.
The property line in dispute involved Moss's Mill Pond. The pond was
actually a nice lake, about four acres in size with a rapid current.
The water was really cold and clear. It had a nice spillway on the
upper end that had previously been used for a "great" mill site.
Moss's Mill Pond was about two and one half miles due north of McLeod,
in Deep Northeast Texas. There's a large region there known as the
Tri-States area, encompassed by the much larger Ark-La-Tex region.
My family tells me that I was born in an old farmhouse under a big
walnut tree only a couple hundred yards east of the mill pond.
found this picture of me and my family... It was taken in 1942..."
The main county road running north out of McLeod,
to the Maxie place, was wide and very sandy. The sand was deep and
unstable. That old 1939 Chevrolet truck's wheels would spin in the
sand and jump up and down real bad as my father drove to and from
McLeod. On one trip
into town, we had a bucket full of eggs. About three dozen fresh eggs
gathered from our hens nests and placed in a metal bucket to carry
to town and sell. As that old truck jumped up and down on the sand,
the severe shaking broke every last one of those eggs. It was a scrambled
mess. There went the much needed egg money for that day. Proceeding
on, after the long stretch of deep sand, we would go up a long hill,
which turned into clay and down the hill into another long stretch
of sand. Soon, we approached the mill pond on the east side of the
road at the Moore's homestead. Turning right, we proceeded to enter
the Maxie place.
My grandfather wanted half of that mill pond very badly. It was his
best source of water for livestock. He had bought his place with the
understanding and the paperwork that showed the property line was
the center of Moss's Creek. The creek was there long before the mill
pond was ever built many, many years earlier. The Moores had papers
that were prepared after the mill pond was built, that showed the
property line to be the high water marks on my grandfather's side
of the pond. So you can see how this serious dispute occurred. My
family understood that they owned half of the mill pond, out to the
center line. The Moore family understood that they owned the entire
Bad tempers flared frequently. Angry words were exchanged over time.
Threats of vengeance often arose and violence was sometimes very near.
This was during a time of very little law and order in that part of
Cass County. But, eventually, to the credit to everyone involved,
cooler heads did prevail. Favorable negotiations developed and a mutually
agreeable deal was struck. I am extremely happy that it was. Throughout
history and even in this modern day and time, killings very often
occur over property line disputes. My grandparents later divided all
the property between their four surviving children. Years later they
all sold out and headed for greener pastures, like city life. Moss's
Mill Pond is still there and I am fond of visiting it occasionally.
After all, it is my birthplace.