An interview submitted by Cara Scogin Olson, of her granddaddy, William P. “Billy” Hallman: A man who is washed by the blood of the lamb, and is living proof of the abundant grace given by God.
Involvement in Agriculture: “We’ve always been involved in agriculture. I was born in 1917. When I was a child, just a little boy, we picked cotton on our farm in Grandview. Dad had a cotton gin. We had 5 or 6 Jersey cattle. My brother, LeRoy and I milked cattle all the time. We’d milk that many, you know. We’d bottle the milk, and then deliver to people’s houses. Some people wanted pints, some wanted quarts, you know. One time, we made chocolate milk, half pints, and ooh, it was good milk. We’d buy Hersey’s chocolate syrup; buy it by the gallon jug. You’d just add to it what you’d need, and pour it in the little half-pint bottles. We’d sell them to the café’s for a nickel and they sold them for a dime. During the depression, Leroy and I would pop popcorn and sell it at the rodeo. At the end of the night, LeRoy and I would go into the bathroom and lock the door, and sit on the floor and count all of the nickels and dimes we made. We could make more money than a grown man with a week’s wages sometimes at those rodeos, popping popcorn. Later on, I went to school at the University of Texas in Austin and graduated with a business degree in 1938. I got a job over here in the Court House in Cleburne on the 1st of January, 1939. Stayed here three years and worked in the tax office. That’s of course, where I met Momma. The first time I saw her, she was sitting on top of a desk with her legs crossed and I thought those legs were the most beautiful legs I had ever seen. I said hello and learned her name was Ida Ruth James. I went home that day and told my mother that I was going to marry Ida Ruth and of course, we did marry two years later in 1941. But I guess that’s beside the point. We moved up to Amarillo, after we were married. That Amarillo job was a land job, see, with the Oil Development Company, a division of Santa Fe. We had thousands of acres, or I don’t know how many there were, but most of them were wheat or corn and we got a 1/3 of everything and keep all of the minerals, and then would sell the land for Santa Fe. Santa Fe owned barrels of money up there; no telling how much. Did that for about a year, and then came back and worked for Trader’s Oil Mill out of Fort Worth. Trader’s Oil Mill bought cottonseed all over the country. Manufactured the oil, and pressed the oil out of it and used it for cattle feed… you know what cottonseed cake is, don’t you? It’s just cottonseed meal cake. They press all of the oil out of the seed and then they take the seed and grind it up into meal; had the consistency of flour, what it was. It was good. They would make ProFlo; protein flour made from cottonseed meal. I sold that darn stuff out as far as Atlanta, Georgia, and let’s see, North Carolina, and I’d be gone about three weeks on those trips. After about a year for working for Trader’s Oil Mill, I entered the service for WWII, as Lieutenant JG Officer of an LST Naval ship. After the war in 1946, I came back to work for Trader’s Oil Mill, and then got a job with National Cash Registry, selling accounting machines. That was a good job. I quit that to start my office supply business I had here in Cleburne, TX and had Hallman Office Supply until I retired in ‘68. First Angus Cattle I ever bought were in 1967. We had Angus cattle and cut and sold Coastal Bermuda hay up until we finally sold out of all of the registered Angus in the mid 90’s. My son, Jim and I still have Coastal Bermuda hay that we sell on our farm here, south of Cleburne.
We’ve had a good life, we’ve enjoyed it… I’ve had a great life, myself, personally. I mean, I’m just thinking about Momma, with her, that’s been the best part of it. 70 years; I can’t believe that. Very blessed in many, many ways, and I’m grateful for it.”
Most Difficult Moment in Agriculture: “And the worst time; I don’t know when that would be. I imagine the worst time would be this dern drought we had this last year, summer 2011. By far the worst time, because hay was so high, and we didn’t make a bale of hay. It was a hard time for a lot of people.”
Most Joyous Moment in Agriculture: “In 1969, we drove down to a ranch in Grandview, drove in on top of hill and you could see the whole darn ranch from that hill. Prettiest ranch you ever saw. All 738 acres of solid Coastal Bermuda pasture, divided up into 12 pastures, and every one of them had water in it. I just knew I had to have it. So my brother, Leroy and I bought it together. Put some good registered Angus cattle on it and then sold out in 1980. But that day on that hill was probably the happiest memory in my farm life.”