Family Histories of Coleman County, Texas

by Joe Hemphill

From A History of Coleman County and Its People, 1985 
edited by Judia and Ralph Terry, and Vena Bob Gates - used by permission

Zeno Hemphill, son of Charley Wade and Wagie Ellen Carter Hemphill, was born in Coleman on May 2, 1921.  Zeno, the youngest of eight children, attended Coleman schools and graduated from Coleman High School in 1938.  Following high school, Zeno was employed by the First Coleman National Bank.  Following a year’s employment at the bank he enrolled at Texas A&M College.  While a student at A&M, Zeno married Joe Morris (see Press Morris Family).  After their marriage on February 8, 1942, they returned to College Station to complete his schooling.  They remember returning to College Station with two horses and twelve chickens!  They soon leased a small arena to rope calves, these crossbred calves were to be the first JZ cattle.  Their first child, Lucy Rebecca, was born November 9, 1942.  With World War II in full swing, Zeno’s class at A&M was accelerated and he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in January of 1943.  Immediately following graduation he was commissioned with a rank of 2nd Lieutenant and went into armored force training at Fort Knox, Kentucky.  Zeno served in the assault troop in the invasion of five Pacific islands.  He was awarded the Bronze Star for bravery in action, and also received a Purple Heart.  While Zeno was serving in the armed forces, Joe returned to Coleman County to live with her family until his return.

Joe grew up on the ranch and attended Cotton School there on the ranch and then Coleman schools.  As a child Joe was extremely interested and involved in ranch life.  She hunted and explored the country along the Jim Ned Creek both horseback and on foot.  She also developed a great interest in native plants, collecting seeds and planting them in the ranch yard.  She and her older sister, Patsy Mary, began helping with the cattle workings at very young ages.  Those working on the ranch took a chuckwagon and camped out while work was in progress from Echo on the south to Novice on the north.  Joe graduated from Coleman High School in 1938.  She attended SMU and then Hardin-Simmons University where she rode with the Hardin-Simmons Cowboy Band as one of the Six White Horsemen.  She was Coleman Rodeo Association Queen in 1938.  In 1941 she was a Ranch Girl Honor Guest at the Fort Worth Exposition and Livestock Show.

After World War II, Zeno and Joe resumed ranch life in a home they constructed themselves on the bank of the Jim Ned Creek.  They began ranching interests of their own and in conjunction with Press Morris.  Press died in January of 1947 and after this property was divided and most ranching interests were under the JZ brand.  While the property was operated separately, many of the ranching activities were still in conjunction with Carrie Morris and Patsy Morris.

On December 18, 1947, a son, Joseph Patrick, was born (see Joseph Patrick Hemphill).  As the children began school in Coleman the entire family became quite active in 4-H, sports activities and church activities at the First Methodist Church in Coleman.  Through the years Zeno has taken an active part in many community organizations.  He has been an active supporter of the Coleman Rodeo Association, having served as arena director as well as president of that organization.  He also coached Little League baseball as well as taking an active part in the Bluecat Booster Club while his children participated in school atheltics.  In addition to conservation on his own ranch, Zeno once served as District Supervisor for the Soil Conservation Service.  Zeno is widely recognized as a horseman and a Quarter Horse breeder.  At one time he was very active in showing horses as well as judging shows as an accredited Quarter Horse judge of the A.Q.H.A.  He is presently serving as a director on the board of the First Coleman National Bank.  Joe in addition has interests of her own.  In past years she has worked with many civic activities.  While Zeno was Rodeo Association president she acted as his secretary.  One of her loves has always been Garden Club work.  In 1958 when the Town and Country Garden Club was founded she was a charter member and has been an active member ever since.  She became a National Flower Show Judge in 1966, a Life Judge in 1969 and a Master Judge in 1983.  She is widely known for her flower arranging and speaking on the subject of native plants.  Joe and Zeno have many common interests.  Their primary interest still lies in the ranching business where they and their son, Joe Pat, operate the family ranch.  They currently raise registered Quarter Horses and commercial beef cattle.  They have always been avid hunters and fishermen as well as conservationists.  In recent years they have become avid quail hunters and enjoy raising and training bird dogs.  Their daughter, Becky, married Dale Greaves, August 23, 1964, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Greaves of Coleman (see Lawrence Decatur Greaves).  She and Dale live in Shallowater, Texas.  They have three children: Pam, born August 7, 1966, Cindy, March 1, 1968 and Dusty, July 13, 1971.

(Image to be added)

Left to right, Zeno, Joe, Becky and Joe Pat Hemphill, March 16, 1957


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This page last updated November 20, 2005
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