The Story of Elsie (Lard) Hall

Elsie May Lard was born on October 10, 1906 in the Meers house in the second block of E. Francis.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

She was the daughter of Bert and Annie Lard who had recently come to Pampa from their ranch on Tallehone Creek in Roberts County. As a small child in 1910 or 1911, she saw Bones Hooks, a well-known black cowboy, ride “Old Bob” to a standstill at Rider’s livery stable (near the present White House Lumber Company at 101 S. Ballard). The “unridable” black mustang belonged to Moore Davidson who lived south of Pampa. Elsie started to school in the red brick building at 309 N. Cuyler.

She was one of the pupils who danced around the decorated flag pole in a May Festival on the lot where the court house is now located. Elsie went to Pampa High School in the original tan brick building at 126 W. Francis. When she graduated in 1925, there were 45 seniors (nine girls) in her graduating class. While in high school she played the piano for students to march to the audi- torium on the third floor for chapel on Thursday mornings.

She was in the choral club and had a part in every play. She was a member of the first Pampa High School Girls Basketball team, organized in 1921, and she was on a tennis team that no team ever beat. The area of present Central Park was a popular place for recreation when Elsie was in high school, but there was a tragic incident when Haynie Robinson drowned in the lake.

People used to skate there in the winter and would skate west past M. K. grown Auditorium. Elsie’s brothers were among the skaters and her brother Jeff was a fancy skater. Elsie and her brothers entered many dancing contests, and Elsie always won prizes for dancing the Charleston. Elsie was a patron at the first movie theater in Pampa located at 123 N. Cuyler Later when silent movies were being shown, she played the piano (sometimes the player piano) at the Cresent Theater at 114 N. Cuyler.

Dances were held there on Friday nights. Elsie was still in high school when she became a baby-sitter for Mary Beth and Betty Jean Crawford, daughters of Postmaster William Crawford and his wife Elizabeth. At the time the post office was in the White Deer Land Building and the Crawfords lived lived in an apartment at the back of the building. After graduating from PHS, Elsie worked at Kraft’s Mint at 103 N. Cuyler.

She usually ate lunch at the Crystal Palace at 121 N. Cuyler and often went to the room at the back to watch Jimmy Martinas make vinegar taffy and melt chocolate to pour over peanuts, Elsie was still working at Kraft’s Mint when she met Roy Hall, a driller who came to Pampa with the oil boom. Elsie and Roy were married on January 4, 1928 by the Rev. James Todd in the parsonage of the First Christian Church at 209 N. Ballard. In 1929 Roy and Elsie were listed at 508 N. Starkweather. Roy was accidentally killed in 1966. Roy and Elsie had two daughters. Marcheta and Zeporia (named for her grandmother Annie Zeporia (Newby) Lard. Both Marcheta and Zip graduated from Pampa High School where they played volleyball and sang in the school choirs. Marcheta married J. N. Wright, and they made their home in Burleson, Texas. Zip married Bill Caswell, and they had two daughters: Kelley and Whitney. Kelley lives in Dallas.

Whitney married James Morton and they have a daughter, Tandia, and a son, Austin. Zip, who still lives in Pampa has retired from Bell Telephone Company and is now a substitute teacher for the Pampa school system. Elsie, a devoted mother, said, “Whatever my girls were in, I was in.” She played for their dancing classes for nine years. She was their Girl Scout leader and their room mother for 12 years and she participated in P. T. A. In later years the Halls lived east of Pampa on five acres where they kept horses.

Marcheta and Zip rode in many rodeos and won trophies and ribbons. Zip belonged to a square dance team that danced on horse back. Because Elsie had four brothers who served their country during war times: Frank and Jeff in WW I; Roy and Albert in WWII, she was interested in helping veterans. While still in high school, she went once a month to the Veteran’s Hospital in Amarillo where she entertained the patients by singing and dancing. She was an active member of the American Legion and the V. F. W. In later years, Elsie attended the Highland Baptist Church where she sang in the choir and sometimes played the piano.

Also she visited the rest homes to play and sing for the residents. Elsie never lost her love of singing and dancing. When she was about seventy years old, she came to Baker Elementary School to teach steps of the Charleston to a group of girls who were preparing a program about American music. Also she taught the teacher to play “Five foot two/eyes of blue/ Has anybody seen my gal?” While riding around Pampa with a friend, Elsie told of people and places she had known and remarked, “Oh, I could write a book.” If her book had been written, it would certainly be an interesting and a valuable addition to the history of our town. Elsie (Lard) Hall died on November 21, 1997.

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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