During the mid 1950’s, summer found me in Falls County, Texas working for my Uncle, Shelton Gafford. There he owned and leased thousands of acres of farm and ranch land, a dairy and some grain storage sheds that he leased from Billy Sol Estes, who was a famous crook/politician of the 40’s and 50s’ in Texas.
Each day, part of my job, if the Brazos River wasn’t “up”, was to cross it on a low water crossing at The Falls and take the short drive, 5 miles, to his Perry Creek place, check his cattle for screw worms, a terrible pestilence that hounded our State’s cattle industry until millions of sterile, male screw worm flies were released in the 1960’s. This procedure, developed by Texas A&M saved our cattle industry and spawned the terrific deer herds that we now have across our State!
If untreated, screw worms would kill a grown Cow in 5 to 7 days and a calf in 2 or 3. If the river was up, I had to drive into Marlin and around to Perry Creek, 20 miles. I always carried my fishing tackle because there were 2 stock tanks on the Perry Creek place that were full of bass.
The river also offered some very good fishing. One night we caught a mess of yellow cats trot lining and another time my dad and I waded out below the low water crossing, just hoping, something would be there. We ended up with 20 nice white bass. Below the crossing and the falls, all the way to the Gulf, there was no damn on the Brazos, and there still isn’t, so I guess, the whites came up as far as they could before spawning.
I visited The Falls Of The Brazos, State Park, last year. The low water crossing is still visible, but I don’t think it’s in use anymore.
Not knowing it at the time, one of my relatives, a 3 G Uncle, Buck Barry, crossed the Brazos here over one hundred years before on a trip from Sulphur Springs to the new capital of the State, Austin. Between the two towns that were over 100 miles apart, the one settler, and then the only survivor, at the falls, had just lived through a Comanche Indian raid losing everything, his slaves, cattle and women, to the Indians.