William Thomas and Katherine Lard

William Thomas Lard, born in 1828 in Bedford County, Tennessee, was one year old when he moved with his parents to Clay County, Missouri.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

He became a freighter and an Indian trader and was known as “Uncle Billy” to both Indians and whites. On April 4, 1848, he married Katherine Staley Chittun, and they became the parents of nine children: Sue, Jennie, twins Elida Ellen and John, twins Emma and Tom, William Simpson (Mage), James David (Dave) and Albert Lee (Bert). W.T. Lard moved his family from Missouri through Kansas and Old Fort Elliott (Mobeetie) to Roberts County, Texas.

They were in Council Grove, Kansas where twins Emma and Tom were born, died and were buried. The family was living with Indians and outlaws on the Kaw Indian Reservation near Council Grove in 1863 when James David (Dave) was born. The W.T. Lard family came to the area of Fort Elliott in 1881 and lived for a time on the McCamey ranch, seven miles from Mobeetie. For three years Katherine Lard did not see a white woman.

She had a three-legged black pot in which she washed many clothes and also made soap. Bert, about eleven years old, was assigned to cut wood for the stove and to build a fire under the pot. For his use, he had a bright red hatchet that W.T. had bought while on a trip to Fort Dodge for supplies. One day Bert began to chase a squirrel and dropped his red hatchet. Two blanket-clad Indian squaws7appeared out of nowhere and one of them began to roll on the ground as though she was in great pain.

While Katherine hurried for turpentine and camphor, the squaws disappeared and so did the hatchet. When W.F. heard of this, he went to the Comanche village and threatened to kill all of the inhabitants if the hatchet was not returned. The hatchet was returned. Katherine Lard, who became known as “Grandma Lard” in Mobeetie, was an angel of mercy in pioneer homes as a midwife at childbirth or illness of any kind. She had a skill for nursing and always knew just what to do. W.T. Lard helped with civic affairs in Mobeetie.

In 1886 he was one of five men appointed to view and lay out a road from Mobeetie to a point on the Canadian River near the mouth of Red Deer Creek in Hemphill County. Also in 1886, he was an election judge or foreman for Precinct number one in Mobeetie. In 1887, W.T. and Katherine Lard moved to Chicken Creek in Roberts County. W.T. died there in 1888 after a horse kicked him in the stomach. After his death, Katherine lived with her sons, still helping the sick or needy.

In December 1895, she received a letter from Billy Dixon asking her to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. Her visit to the Dixon home is told in John L. McCarty’s book, “Adobe Walls Bride”, about the life of Olive King Dixon. The baby, Dora Miles Dixon, was born December 29, 1895. Katherine, “Grandma” Lard died September 9, 1903 and was buried in the cemetery at Miami.

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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