Clyde D. Woolworth and the Woolworth Family

Clyde Dean Woolworth (1883-1938) was the first member of the family to come to Lea County. He was born to a large family in Carthage, Panola County, Texas. His father was Justus Morgan Woolworth and his mother was Mary Jane Paxson Woolworth. Clyde was one of at least eight children.

The family story is that Clyde and his sister Elizabeth and learned of land that could be homesteaded from an article in a Dallas, Texas newspaper. They came to the area in 1915, after statehood but before the county was to be created in 1917. Clyde and Elizabeth each homesteaded a half section of land and it is said that they built their home where their property adjoined, partly on each other’s land.

The siblings were later joined by three other sisters, Martha, Litie and Clara. Their property was the nucleus of the Woolworth Ranch near Jal, New Mexico. Finding a reliable and plentiful water source was always an issue in the area. The family told of facing the usual pioneer hardships including extreme weather, rattlesnakes but managed to remain. Oil was later discovered on their property.

After an illness of several months, Clyde died at the age of fifty-five in 1938 while residing in San Angelo, Texas. Mr. Woolworth was a single man and is buried in San Angelo, Texas. He was survived by five of his sisters: Clara, Litie, Mae and Elizabeth Woolworth, all of San Angelo, and Mrs. Claudia Woolworth Watkins of Henderson, Texas, one brother, Dr. Joseph Dean Woolworth of Louisiana; and was predeceased by one brother, James G. Woolworth and one sister, Martha Woolworth.

The Woolworth family is noted for having donated funds to found the Jal Library.

Sources include various newspaper articles and the Summer, 2010 edition of The Lea County Tradition, a periodical.

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