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Golden Years

Tuesday, April 21, 1998

Bevill celebrates 90th birthday at museum

Staff Writer
Twenty years ago Callie Bevill, flying on route back to
Pecos, from South Carolina, where she had attended a
wedding, pressed her forehead against the glass of the
airplane window. Below she saw a "great big smiley face on
top of a large water tower." By her own account, that yellow
face kept her smiling for the rest of the day.

That touching smile returned to Bevill's face as her 90th
birthday cake was presented by an adoring family.

Callie Bevill celebrated her 90th birthday recently with a
reception held in her honor, and catered by family members,
at the West of the Pecos Museum.

Her roots in Pecos began in 1886, when her father came to
Pecos with a few head of cattle and started working with a
man named Millican.

Bevill stated that a receipt she found for her birth, was
for $5, made out to Dr. Jim Camp, in 1908.

Bevill's father, Bill Ross, looked for cattle to buy, then
ship to market and Millican made the contacts and sold the
cattle at market, according to Bevill.

"He provided the funds and papa gathered the cattle," said

In 1892, her father went back to Erath County and on Dec.
18, he married.

"A frame home was built then and the couple moved in around
February or early March, on the corner of Third and Plum
Streets," said Bevill. "My father bought the west half of
the 600 block," she said.

The site is the same location where the Pecos Funeral Home
is now located. The frame house was later moved and a new
brick home erected in its place.

"The brick house, which was built in 1915, is still the
same, the bedrooms upstairs left the same, just the lower
floor has been remodeled to resemble a funeral home," said

Bevill was the last of six children born in that same house.
The first funeral held at the home was that of her father,
Bill Ross. "In those days people would hold the services in
their homes," said Bevill.

"We had just moved in there again, after the new house was
built in Feb. 1915, and papa died that September," said

Bevill's first birthday at the new house was her seventh. "I
remember mama made me a special dinner that day," she said.

Bevill remembers that in 1914, the family purchased their
first car, a Buick.

"It was either in 1913 or 1914, that papa was working cattle
in the river country, at the round up ground near old Rock
House, when papa's horse, Shoofly, fell and his leg was
broken," said Bevill.

Bevill stated that getting him across the old Pecos River
and up to the Santa Fe tracks was a chore. They flagged down
the train and came into Pecos. Their home which was
currently being built (the brick home) was not yet ready and
the family stayed in the Sid Kyle home.

In 1914, Bevill attended second grade, while her sister,
Edna who had attended Simmons College and had graduated that
spring, was teaching Latin at the high school.

"The school, which is located on Fourth street, was for all
the grades and the high school was on the third floor," said
Bevill. "That's the floor my sister taught at, elementary
grades were on the second floor and the first three grades
down in the half basement along with boiler room and all its
rumblings, as well as rest rooms," she said.

"During this time, they were working on the new home and we
were back in the little home we were all accustomed to, just
located one block away," said Bevill.

Old Uncle George lived with the family and working in the
garden. He sold vegetables to friends and neighbors as well
as being a wonderful story teller, according to Bevill. "He
and I made lots of trips between the two houses," she said.

On Dec. 18, 1914, Bevill's sister married Jack Johnson.

In February 1915, the family finally moved into the new
home. "Papa became ill late that summer and he died on Sept.
5 of that year," said Bevill.

In 1917, the United States entered World War I in early
spring. "None of our family was the right age to be called
to duty, but several boys who worked on the ranch were
called," said Bevill.

During 1924-1925, she attended Hockady School for girls in

"In 1927 mama opened up Ross Boulevard known as Sunset
Heights, a home for my brother and his wife and a rent house
for mama," said Bevill.

Then in 1925-28, Bevill attended Simmons College, graduating
in May 1928.

"I experienced a great year, in 1928, studying at the Art
Institute in Chicago, Ill.," said Bevill.

She met her husband, Leslie Bevill, in 1931 and from
1933-1935, taught elementary grades fourth through seventh.
"Four teachers taught together and each had a grade with
home room duties plus a subject," said Bevill.

On June 4, 1935 Leslie and Callie, got married in Pecos. The
couple had two children, Whitney Ross and Bill Bevill and
were married for 24 years, before Leslie died of cancer. "We
weren't married nearly long enough," said Bevill.

The family lived in Ft. Worth for several years. "Leslie was
asked to move into Ft. Worth as chief electrical engineer
for Community Public Service and the boys and I stayed in
Pecos until the summer and in August 1948 the family moved
to Ft. Worth," said Bevill.

"We had wonderful neighbors," Bevill said. "I stayed there
until my youngest son graduated from college," she said.

"Bill graduated from Baylor, Uncle Sam picked him and put in
the service and he got married all at the same time," said

She decided then that it was time for her to do something.
"So I called Mr. Whitley and told him I needed a job and he
said come on down here and we'll put you to work," said

This was in 1968 and Whitley was the superintendent of the
Pecos schools. Bevill taught in the Pecos schools for 17

The old homestead located on Third Street was eventually
sold to Billie Sol Estes who later sold it to someone else.

Bevill stated that she still enjoys painting with oils and
water colors and is a member of the Pecos Art Association.
"I also like to do church work and I taught Sunday School
for a long time," said Bevill.

"I enjoy working outside and love to do arts and crafts,"
she said.

Her family was also one of the first families honored as
Pecos Pioneer Families by the West of the Pecos Museum.

"We've been here a long time and I really like Pecos," she

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