Family Histories of Coleman County, Texas

by Mary ALice Leathers McCook

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

Mary, the first child of J. M. “Dug” and Salhie Weaver Barnett (see John Marion Barnett), was born July 17, 1894. All of the Barnett children were born in the original house. That location was the site for three houses of the J.M. Barnetts. The second home was a fourteen room structure called the “Big House” by the family. Mary attended Rough Creek School where Professor William Colby Rickard was the head teacher. When Mary was about four­teen years old and her cousin Nannie Rathmell was twelve, they went to England with Nannie’s father, Jacob Rathmell (see Jacob Rathmell). On Good Friday, 1909, they sailed from New York City on the Maritania, sister ship of the Lucitania which was sunk by the Germans during WW I. She also attended Coleman Public Schools to enter the Col­lege of Industrial Arts in Denton now T.W.U. After a year and one-half in college she met the new, young Novice Santa Fe depot agent, Joseph Franklin Leathers. Mary and Frank were married at her home on June 16, 1915.

Mary Alice Leathers was born March 27, 1916 and Robert Barnett,June 1,1917. The Leathers family moved to Eden, in 1919. Jo Frankie, was born April 19, 1920. When Jo Frankie was twelve days old, Mary and Frank received the message that the J . M. Barnett home had been destroyed completely by fire. The insurance had been “dropped” due to the bad drought of 1918. Mary Alice can remember that day and the days following as her Granny and Papa built their third house. The Leathers moved several times along the Santa Fe line, Valera, Rio Vista, and Cleburne. Then came the jolt of the Great Depression in 1929, and by late May 1930 Frank’s good job with Santa Fe had been abo­lished.

When the J. F. Leathers family moved to Goldsboro in 1932, there was no eleventh grade for Mary Alice to attend. Her aunt and uncle, Charles F. and Kathleen (Barnett) Bailey offered to keep her so she could graduate from Ball­inger High School. She graduated from Abilene Christian University in May 1937, and on July 4, 1938, married Woodson Elmo “Mose” McCook in Anson. They taught school in Brownfield, Ozona, and McCamey. Their children: (1) Lee, was born at Ballinger, February 20, 1942; finished Abilene High School in 1960 and Abilene Christian University in 1965. He and Dorothy Kay Bryan were mar­ried in Waco, March 28, 1964. Charles attended Baylor Dental College in Dallas, and received his D.D.S. Degree in 1970. Their children are Leigh Ashlyn and Jay Bryan. After graduation, Charles and family moved to Browning, Mon­tana. The McCook family returned to Garland, in 1972 where Matt Colhin was born. After a year in the metroplex, the family moved to Post, Charles Colt was born in Lub­bock. (2) William Frank “Bill”, March 27, 1947 in Bal­linger. When Bill was eighteen months old, the foursome moved to College Station, where Mose earned a Master of Education Degree from Texas A&M University. In 1952, the Mose McCooks moved to Abilene; where he started the Athletic Supply, Inc. She taught school twenty-two years in­cluding a year at Novice during WW II. Bill finished Cooper High School in 1965; Abilene Christian University in 1969. He attended Texas Medical School at Galveston and receiv­ed his medical degree in 1973. He now lives in Hawaii.

Mary spent her last days in the home of Mary Alice and Mose McCook, she died February 2, 1961, buried in Rough Creek near her Frank (died May 3,1942-Hill County) and her parents. She had a strong working interest in Easjern Star, Parent Teacher Associations, and County Home Demonstration Clubs.

(Images to be added)

J. Frank, Mary (top), Jo Frankie (center), Robert, Mary Alice Leathers (bottom).

J.M. Barnett Home

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