James Franklin Sweazea

JAMES FRANKLIN SWEAZEA  was born 12 Mar 1850 in Shelby County, TX (Source: Edmund West, comp. Family Data Collection – Births[database online] Provo, UT: Ancestry.com, 2001.), and died 14 May 1923 in Crosbyton, Crosby County, TX. He was the son of Mathias Sweazea and Hannah Lucinda Stephenson.  He married SARAH ANN POSEY 26 Jan 1869 in Texas. She was born 25 Dec 1850 in Benton, AL, and died 18 Dec 1915 in Dimmitt, Castro County, TX.

Notes for JAMES FRANKLIN SWEAZEA:
Killing Follows Opening Of District Court At Crosbyton
Crosbyton, Texas, May 14, 1923 – Shortly after District Court convened this morning, Maud Rippy and J. Sweaza of Dimmitt, Castro County, were shot and instantly killed by a fusillade of .45 caliber pistol bullets as they sat on the courthouse steps.
Six bullets penetrated Rippy´s body, one of the shots going into his heart. Sweasa was shot twice, once through the heart. D.L. “Poppin” Payne of Lamesa, formerly of Ralls, surrendered to sheriff John McDermett in the courthouse. Payne was taken to Lubbock, where he was placed in jail.

Maud Rippy, Dick Rippy and J. Sweaza were to be tried in court for attempting to murder Payne. Maud Rippy and Sweaza were at the east entrance of the courthouse conversing with their attorney when the shots were fired. The third defendant in the assault case was in the courthouse when the shooting began. Hearing the shots, Dick Rippy locked himself in the men´s room until Payne could be captured.

The vendetta between Payne, Sweaza and the Rippys began when Payne won their money in a poker game. The trio beat Payne with a cane-bottomed chair until they thought he was dead. The attackers summoned an undertaker to pick up Payne´s body; however, when the mortician arrived he discovered that Payne was still alive.

Knowing that Payne earned his nickname “Poppin” because he was an expert shot and fearing that he would seek revenge for his beating, the gang decided to finish the job by ambushing him as he approached a Ralls barber shop. Payne was wounded but survived this attack as well. Next, the trio fired upon him from an automobile as he worked in his garden in Ralls. Payne, although hit with buckshot, managed to grab his rifle, but his wife prevented him from firing back at his assailants. Unfortunately, she was unable to prevent today´s shooting.

From the “Sweazea Family History” Author Uknown

James F. Sweazea lived about eight years after losing Sarah Ann. He spent his time tending to his business and visiting with his daughters and their families. The C.W. Slovers of Tahoka, TX; the J. B. Turners of Portales, NM; the B, B. Wises of Wilson, TX and the Lint Merrittts of Hart, TX; and the Press Dyers. The last year or two of his life, he was semi-retired and lived with the Lint Merritt’s. James Franklin had neighbors about 4 or 5 miles SW of his home. A Widow names Cone, who had two or three daughters and about four boys, This was a big responsibility for a lone woman in any day and time. James neighbored with and befriended the Cones’. He loaned several of the Cone boys money to go to college at WTSU at Canyon, TX. Mutt Cone still owed James F. for some money for schooling when James F. was killed. While Lint Merritt was Executor of the Sweazea Estate, Mutt paid all he owed James F. back to the Sweazea Estate with money made working for an Oil Co. in Venezuela.
Maude Rippy, a son-in-law of Mrs. Cone, who was County Commissioner of SE precinct of Castro County had a brother, Dick Rippy. He lived in Crosby County, Dick Rippy got Maude word he was having serious trouble with a neighbor named Poppin Payne. He wanted Maude to come down to help him decide what to do.
Maude had an old Model T Ford that he was afraid wouldn’t make the trip from Castro Co. to Crosbyton. James F. Sweazea had a New Dodge touring car. Maude prevailed on James F. to take him to Crosbyton. When they got to Crosbyton, evidentially Dick and Maude decided they had to kill Poppin Payne. With James F. passed out from drink, they drove by Payne’s house. Payne was out in the garden. One of the Rippys, while the other drove, shot Payne with Buckshot. Payne fell so they thought they had killed him so they went on their way. Payne’s wife was said to be a tough old lady, so they didn’t want to hang around and have a gun battle with her.
Payne wasn’t killed, supposedly he had just gotten buckshot in an eye. James F., Maude and Dick were arrested by the Crosby County Sheriff and charged with attempted murder. On the 5/14/1923, they were at Crosbyton to stand trial. During a recess, James F., Maude and their defense attorney, A. B. Martiof Plainview, were sitting on the top step of the stair to the second floor of the courthouse. Poppin Payne slipped up behind them, shot James F. in the back of the head. Maude jumped to run and was shot in the back. He fell and started to crawl and was shot several times until he was dead. Payne saved his last round to shoot James F. in the forehead. Dick Rippy had gone to the outhouse to relieve himself and so escaped with his life.
Poppin Payne was charged with the murder of James F., because he was an innocent victim and not involved in the Payne-Rippy feud.
Payne was tried at Canyon, Texas on a change of venue. He received a sentence of seven to twelve years. His attorney’s appealed and got him a new trial. The second trial was at Tulia; he received a sentence of 3-5 years. He later had a sanity hearing and was declared insane. He spent some time in the criminally insane asylum and was later pronounced sane and served his time in the pen.
He was married to Sarah Ann Posey on 26 Jan 1869.

More About JAMES FRANKLIN SWEAZEA:
Census 1: 1850, Shelby County, TX, HH 504, Oct 29, 1850
Census 2: 1860, Shelby County, TX, Clays Mound, Beat 11, HH 527, July 28, 1860
Census 3: 1870, Shelby County TX. BuenaVista P.O. Precinct 5, HH 235, Sept 10, 1870
Census 4: 1880, Clay County, TX, Precinct 2, ED 164, HH 98, June 10, 1880
Census 5: 1900, Castro County, TX, Precict 1, ED 152, HH 60, June 27, 1900
Census 6: 1910, Castro County, TX, Precinct 1, ED 21, HH 63, April 25, 1910
Census 7: 1920, Castro County, TX, Precinct 1, ED 16, HH 131, Feb 6, 1920

More About SARAH ANN POSEY:
Census 1: 1870, Shelby County TX. BuenaVista P.O. Precinct 5, HH 235, Sept 10, 1870
Census 2: 1880, Clay County, TX, Precinct 2, ED 164, HH 98, June 10, 1880
Census 3: 1900, Castro County, TX, Precict 1, ED 152, HH 60, June 27, 1900
Census 4: 1910, Castro County, TX, Precinct 1, ED 21, HH 63, April 25, 1910

More About JAMES SWEAZEA and SARAH POSEY:
Marriage: 26 Jan 1869, Texas

Children of JAMES SWEAZEA and SARAH POSEY are:
i. HANNAH L.3 SWEAZEA, b. 1870, Shelby County, TX.

More About HANNAH L. SWEAZEA:
Census 1: 1870, Shelby County TX. BuenaVista P.O. Precinct 5, HH 235, Sept 10, 1870
Census 2: 1880, Clay County, TX, Precinct 2, ED 164, HH 98, June 10, 1880

ii. ZIDDIE B. SWEAZEA, b. 19 Jan 1873, Probably Shelby County, TX; m. JIM TURNER.

More About ZIDDIE B. SWEAZEA:
Census: 1880, Clay County, TX, Precinct 2, ED 164, HH 98, June 10, 1880

2. iii. MATTIE SWEAZEA, b. 02 Mar 1875, Clay County, TX; d. 27 May 1944, Castro County, TX.
iv. ADA SWEAZEA, b. Jun 1879, Clay County, TX; m. JOHN SMITH.

More About ADA SWEAZEA:
Census 1: 1880, Clay County, TX, Precinct 2, ED 164, HH 98, June 10, 1880
Census 2: 1900, Castro County, TX, Precict 1, ED 152, HH 60, June 27, 1900

v. JOHN SWEAZEA, b. 25 Feb 1881, Clay County, TX.

More About JOHN SWEAZEA:
Census: 1900, Castro County, TX, Precict 1, ED 152, HH 60, June 27, 1900

vi. ETTIE SWEAZEA, b. 01 Oct 1883, Clay County, TX; m. FRANK HUNT.

More About ETTIE SWEAZEA:
Census: 1900, Castro County, TX, Precict 1, ED 152, HH 60, June 27, 1900

3. vii. DEANNEA DELL SWEAZEA, b. 19 Sep 1887, Clay County, TX.
viii. CLAUDE SWEAZEA, b. 30 Nov 1889, Clay County, TX; d. 10 Oct 1913, New Mexico.

More About CLAUDE SWEAZEA:
Census 1: 1900, Castro County, TX, Precict 1, ED 152, HH 60, June 27, 1900
Census 2: 1910, Castro County, TX, Precinct 1, ED 21, HH 63, April 25, 1910

4. ix. JIMMIE AGNESS SWEAZEA, b. 25 Jul 1896, Clay County, TX.

Generation No. 2

2. MATTIE3 SWEAZEA (JAMES FRANKLIN2, MATHIAS1) was born 02 Mar 1875 in Clay County, TX, and died 27 May 1944 in Castro County, TX. She married BUD B. WISE Abt. 1902 in Texas. He was born Abt. 1878 in Texas.

More About MATTIE SWEAZEA:
Census 1: 1880, Clay County, TX, Precinct 2, ED 164, HH 98, June 10, 1880
Census 2: 1900, Castro County, TX, Precict 1, ED 152, HH 60, June 27, 1900
Census 3: 1910, Chavez County, New Mexico, Precinct 8, Plains, ED 29, HH 210, May 11, 1910
Census 4: 1920, Lynn County, TX, Precinct 2, ED 180, HH 152, Feb 28, 1920
Census 5: 1930, Castro County, TX, Precinct 1, ED 35-2, HH 27, April 3, 1930

More About BUD B. WISE:
Census 1: 1910, Chavez County, New Mexico, Precinct 8, Plains, ED 29, HH 210, May 11, 1910
Census 2: 1920, Lynn County, TX, Precinct 2, ED 180, HH 152, Feb 28, 1920
Census 3: 1930, Castro County, TX, Precinct 1, ED 35-2, HH 27, April 3, 1930

More About BUD WISE and MATTIE SWEAZEA:
Marriage: Abt. 1902, Texas

Children of MATTIE SWEAZEA and BUD WISE are:
i. ZORA MAY WISE, b. January 1, 1903, Texas; m. BUFORD POWERS, Abt. 1919, Texas; b. Abt. 1897, Texas.

More About ZORA MAY WISE:
Census: 1920, Lynn County, TX, Precinct 2, ED 180, HH 152, Feb 28, 1920

More About BUFORD POWERS:
Census: 1920, Lynn County, TX, Precinct 2, ED 180, HH 152, Feb 28, 1920

More About BUFORD POWERS and ZORA MAY WISE:
Marriage: Abt. 1919, Texas

ii. J. A. WISE, b. Abt. 1908, Texas; m. OPAL G. UNKNOWN, Abt. 1930, Castro County, TX; b. Abt. 1915, Texas.

More About J. A. WISE:
Census 1: 1920, Lynn County, TX, Precinct 2, ED 180, HH 152, Feb 28, 1920
Census 2: 1930, Castro County, TX, Precinct 1, ED 35-2, HH 27, April 3, 1930

More About OPAL G. UNKNOWN:
Census: 1930, Castro County, TX, Precinct 1, ED 35-2, HH 27, April 3, 1930

More About J. WISE and OPAL UNKNOWN:
Marriage: Abt. 1930, Castro County, TX

3. DEANNEA DELL3 SWEAZEA (JAMES FRANKLIN2, MATHIAS1) was born 19 Sep 1887 in Clay County, TX. She married LINTON MERRITT Abt. 1908 in Texas. He was born Abt. 1877 in Texas.

More About DEANNEA DELL SWEAZEA:
Census 1: 1900, Castro County, TX, Precict 1, ED 152, HH 60, June 27, 1900
Census 2: 1910, Castro County, TX, Precinct 1, ED 21, HH 64, April 25, 1910
Census 3: 1930, Castro County, TX, Precinct 1, ED 35-2, HH 91, April 26, 1930

More About LINTON MERRITT:
Census 1: 1910, Castro County, TX, Precinct 1, ED 21, HH 64, April 25, 1910
Census 2: 1930, Castro County, TX, Precinct 1, ED 35-2, HH 91, April 26, 1930

More About LINTON MERRITT and DEANNEA SWEAZEA:
Marriage: Abt. 1908, Texas

Children of DEANNEA SWEAZEA and LINTON MERRITT are:
i. HAZEL4 MERRITT, b. Abt. 1910, Castro County, TX.

More About HAZEL MERRITT:
Census 1: 1910, Castro County, TX, Precinct 1, ED 21, HH 64, April 25, 1910
Census 2: 1930, Castro County, TX, Precinct 1, ED 35-2, HH 91, April 26, 1930

5. ii. CLAUDE SWEAZEA MERRITT, b. 16 Dec 1914, Castro County, TX; d. 11 Jun 2004, Lamar, Prowers County, Colorado.
iii. JOHN L. MERRITT, b. Abt. 1917, Castro County, TX.

More About JOHN L. MERRITT:
Census: 1930, Castro County, TX, Precinct 1, ED 35-2, HH 91, April 26, 1930

iv. SARAH L. MERRITT, b. Abt. 1918, Castro County, TX.

More About SARAH L. MERRITT:
Census: 1930, Castro County, TX, Precinct 1, ED 35-2, HH 91, April 26, 1930

v. INA DEE MERRITT, b. 15 Mar 1920, Castro County, TX; d. 10 Sep 1985, Castro County, TX; m. UNKNOWN KENDRICK.

More About INA DEE MERRITT:
Census: 1930, Castro County, TX, Precinct 1, ED 35-2, HH 91, April 26, 1930

vi. GLENN L. MERRITT, b. Abt. 1926, Castro County, TX.

More About GLENN L. MERRITT:
Census: 1930, Castro County, TX, Precinct 1, ED 35-2, HH 91, April 26, 1930

vii. PERCY MERRITT, b. 13 Aug 1927, Castro County, TX.

More About PERCY MERRITT:
Census: 1930, Castro County, TX, Precinct 1, ED 35-2, HH 91, April 26, 1930

4. JIMMIE AGNESS3 SWEAZEA (JAMES FRANKLIN2, MATHIAS1) was born 25 Jul 1896 in Clay County, TX. She married PRESLEY H. DYER Abt. 1913 in Texas. He was born Abt. 1888 in Texas.

More About JIMMIE AGNESS SWEAZEA:
Census 1: 1900, Castro County, TX, Precict 1, ED 152, HH 60, June 27, 1900
Census 2: 1910, Castro County, TX, Precinct 1, ED 21, HH 63, April 25, 1910
Census 3: 1930, Castro County, TX, Precinct 3, ED 35-6, HH 15, May 7, 1930

More About PRESLEY H. DYER:
Census: 1930, Castro County, TX, Precinct 3, ED 35-6, HH 15, May 7, 1930

More About PRESLEY DYER and JIMMIE SWEAZEA:
Marriage: Abt. 1913, Texas

Children of JIMMIE SWEAZEA and PRESLEY DYER are:
i. WAYNE P.4 DYER, b. Abt. 1915, Castro County, TX.

More About WAYNE P. DYER:
Census: 1930, Castro County, TX, Precinct 3, ED 35-6, HH 15, May 7, 1930

ii. ELAINE W. DYER, b. Abt. 1916, Castro County, TX.

More About ELAINE W. DYER:
Census: 1930, Castro County, TX, Precinct 3, ED 35-6, HH 15, May 7, 1930

iii. LUCILLE A. DYER, b. Abt. 1919, Castro County, TX.

More About LUCILLE A. DYER:
Census: 1930, Castro County, TX, Precinct 3, ED 35-6, HH 15, May 7, 1930

iv. BILLIE L. DYER, b. Abt. 1922, Castro County, TX.

More About BILLIE L. DYER:
Census: 1930, Castro County, TX, Precinct 3, ED 35-6, HH 15, May 7, 1930

v. JIMMIE F. DYER, b. 21 Apr 1926, Castro County, TX.

More About JIMMIE F. DYER:
Census: 1930, Castro County, TX, Precinct 3, ED 35-6, HH 15, May 7, 1930

vi. MARY AGNES DYER, b. 15 Jan 1928, Castro County, TX.

More About MARY AGNES DYER:
Census: 1930, Castro County, TX, Precinct 3, ED 35-6, HH 15, May 7, 1930

Generation No. 3

5. CLAUDE SWEAZEA4 MERRITT (DEANNEA DELL3 SWEAZEA, JAMES FRANKLIN2, MATHIAS1) was born 16 Dec 1914 in Castro County, TX, and died 11 Jun 2004 in Lamar, Prowers County, Colorado. He married AVA ALLENE GRINDSTAFF 27 May 1944 in Texas. She died 05 May 2003 in Lamar, Prowers County, Colorado.

Notes for CLAUDE SWEAZEA MERRITT:
Lamar Daily News, Obituary

Claude S. Merritt

Funeral services for Lamar resident and former Kit Carson rancher Claude S. Merritt were held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 16, 2004, at Valley Memorial Funeral Chapel in Lamar with the Rev. DeEtta Goettel officiating. A second service was held at 2 p.m., also on Wednesday, at the Kit Carson United Methodist Church in Kit Carson, Co., with the Rev. Susan Warren officiating. Burial followed the second service in the Kit Carson Cemetery with flag presentation military honors.

Claude Sweazea Merritt, born Dec. 16, 1914, in rural Castro County, Texas, the son of Dell Sweazea and Lint Merritt, departed this life on Friday, June 11, 2004, at Prowers Medical Center in Lamar, Co., after a brief illness.

OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS SECTION
6/23/2004
– Funeral Notices

Born into a Texas Panhandle ranching family, Claude started riding herd at a tender age with his father and older brother. Claude attended schools in Hart and Dimmitt, Tx. Although he flunked senior English and failed to graduate, one of his favorite quotations from Henry Adams reflected his appreciation of schooling: “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”

After high school, Claude established himself in ranching in Castro County and continued to run cattle until leaving for his military service during World War II. While in the military, Claude was united in marriage to Ava Allene Grindstaff, the daughter of a Haskell, Tx., family on May 27, 1944.

Following his honorable discharge from the U.S. Army on Jan. 9, 1946, Claude saw that the Texas Panhandle was turning to farming. At the encouragement of a former Texas neighbor, Claude bought ranch land in Cheyenne County, Colorado, at $10.50 an acre.

Claude and his wife Ava raised thee children – Delbert, Gary Sue and Mike. As his fortunes waxed and waned with the cattle market, he liked to say in good years and bad that he had tripled his fortune when he moved to Colorado. When a listener looked puzzled, Claude explained that his family of on child had grown to three after moving to Kit Carson.

Claude Merritt served as a Cheyenne County commissioner from 1960 to 1968, and maintained an active interest in Democratic Party politics until his death. But in elective office, he took the term “public servant” seriously, and focused pragmatically on the needs of his constituents rather than on partisan politics. Claude also was a longtime member of the Kit Carson V.F.W. Post.

Trying to rise above his family roots in the deep South and the terrible impacts of slavery and racial prejudice, Claude was a longtime supporter of the Southern Poverty Law Center and of Amnesty International.

Claude lived with congestive heart disease for several years, and in March 2002, entered the hospital. The family was told to prepare for the worst, although there might be a chance of a miraculous recovery. He did, indeed, recover but lost his wife of nearly 58 years, Ava, on May 5, 2003. Nonetheless, Claude got a second wind. He was able to not only ride horses again, but to rope 20 calves just a couple of months short of his 89th birthday.

As his sisters, Hazel and Sarah Merritt and Ina Dee Kendrick, and brothers, James, Delbert, Percy, John and Glenn Merritt left this world, he valued telephone chats with their children and his sisters-in-law. He made the same effort with his Grindstaff kin, children of his wife’s brothers and sisters.

Survivors include sons Delbert and Mike Merritt of Lamar and Granada, Co., respectively; daughter, Gary Sue and her husband Sangkom Suwannarat of Chaingmai, Thailand; grandson Kevin Merritt of Bristol, Co.; granddaughter Tanya and husband Adam Martinez of Lamar; twin granddaughters Pen Suwannarat of Bangkok, Thailand and Pim Suwannarat, M.D., and her husband Sermsak Lolak, M.D., of Arlington, Va.; and great-grandson, Isiah T. Martinez of Lamar, Co.; numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends. All will miss his drawling voice and his familiar farewell of “Love and Luck.”

The Rev. DeEtta Goettel began the first service with a greeting and words of worship, grace, and promise. She then shared in prayer. Vocalist Marilyn Chenoweth then sang “Amazing Grace,” accompanied by organist Jayne Esgar.

The Rev. Goettel continued with Old Testament scripture from Psalms 23 and New Testament scripture from Romans 8. Following the reading of the obituary and a second song, “The Old Rugged Cross,” DeEtta read the sermon scripture of John 14 and spoke of Claude’s love of Ava, his devotion to family and community, and his deep spiritual convictions. She concluded the service with the thought that a person who comes to Jesus in repentance has eternal hope. After a closing prayer, the family left for Kit Carson where the United Methodist Women served a memorial meal to the family and close friends.

The second service began with words of grace and a congregational hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” After a prayer and scripture readings from Psalms 121 and John 14, the Rev. Warren spoke of the many fond remembrances shared with her of Claude’s time in Kit Carson. A friend told her Claude was “as good a man as you could ever meet.” She also shared a brief service message, the obituary and a prayer to our God of love. The congregation joined in the Lord’s Prayer and a closing song, “The Old Rugged Cross”.

Everyone then proceeded to the Kit Carson Cemetery for the military honors. Those serving as casket bearers were Kevin Merritt, Brock Merritt, John Merritt, Rod Taylor, Sam Merritt and Lint Merritt. Designated as honorary bearers were W.H. Rhoades III, William Bledsoe, Adolph Johnson, Allen Peterson, Nick Mousel, Don Knutson, Curtis Schrimp and Claxton DuVall.

After the graveside service, the family returned to the church where they received everyone ina time of fellowship and refreshments.

Visitation and funeral services for Claude S. Merritt were under the direction of Valley Memorial Funeral Chapel.

More About CLAUDE SWEAZEA MERRITT:
Census: 1930, Castro County, TX, Precinct 1, ED 35-2, HH 91, April 26, 1930

More About CLAUDE MERRITT and AVA GRINDSTAFF:
Marriage: 27 May 1944, Texas

Children of CLAUDE MERRITT and AVA GRINDSTAFF are:
i. DELBERT5 MERRITT.
ii. GARY SUE MERRITT, m. SANGKOM SUWANNARAT.
iii. MARK MERRITT.

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2 thoughts on “James Franklin Sweazea

  1. Under James Sweazea, daughter Mattie married Bud B. Wise, their daughter’s name was Zora Not Dora. She is my grandmother. Zora May Wise born January 1, 1903.

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