Archie Grey Ballenger, Sr.

Archie Grey Ballenger was born 27 March 1878, in Itasca, Texas, to Thomas Wood Ballenger and Mary Melindie Ann Adams.1 According to his daughter Mary Ethel, Arch Senior was born a "blue baby" (lack of oxygen) and it was thought by the delivering doctor that he would not survive. His mother, Mary Melindie, refused to accept this, and she made the doctor continue to work on the child through the night. Much to everyone's surprise, the newborn lived through the night, and began to improve. In honor of the doctor's efforts, the baby received his name, Archie Grey.2 They lived near Clifton, Texas through 1900.3

Some time before 1910 the family had moved to Quay County, New Mexico.4 In 1913 Arch applied for a land patent of 320 acres at the General Land Office in Tucumcari, likely for the purpose of cattle ranching.5 Arch became active in a newly formed Presbyterian Church that met at a nearby school. While teaching a Bible class, Archie met his future bride Maud Ethel Stephens.2 They were married on 14 January 1914, in Tucumcari.6

The new family moved for a brief time to Columbus New Mexico, where Arch worked as a bookkeeper for local businessman Mr. Dean, owner of the town grocery store and three lumber yards. While in Columbus, their first daughter Laura Lou was born (2 Nov 1914).7 In the early morning of 9 March 1916, the Mexican bandit Pancho Villa's forces attacked the town. Maude (pregnant with daughter Mary) and carrying young Laura in her arms, fled in terror into the countryside and hid in the sagebrush from the sound of gunfire.2 Archie's employer Mr. Dean was shot down in the raid.8 They returned to Tucumcari in 1917 9; Archie carried daughter Laura with him on his horse, while pregnant Maude took the train. Daughter Mary Ethel was born in Tucumcari on 26 October 1917.10 Arch and Maude lived in Tucumcari for several years, where Arch became a cattle rancher. In 1915, he added to his previous land acquisition 160 acres on the adjacent section.11 Arch's father Thomas also purchased a nearby acreage.12

At some point before 1920, the family moved from Tucumcari to Hemet, California where Archie purchased several acres of land, on which he set up an apricot orchard.13 Son Archie Grey (Junior) was born 17 January 1920.14 Archie's father and mother moved with them, as Thomas Ballenger had a medical condition (possibly asthma) that doctors felt the climate of California might assuage. Thomas passed away in 1921,15 and his widow Mary continued to live with the family for several more years, alternating between Hemet and the Fresno area (where her daughter Minnie Lue (Ballenger) Harbin was living). Mary died 5 April 1932.16

In 1941, Archie sold the property in Hemet, and he and his wife moved to a half-acre lot on Coolidge Avenue in Riverside, California.17 There were no apricots on this property, only oranges and walnuts.18 They lived there for another decade until, at the age of 73 on 28 March 1951, Archie Grey succumbed to colon cancer. He died at home, and was buried in Olivewood cemetery in Riverside, California.19 The property was sold, and the proceeds were used to buy a home for his daughter Laura Lou. Maud lived with her oldest daughter until she passed away on March 17, 1961 at the age of 79. She is buried next to her husband.19

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Archie Grey c.1900