Festus Columbus Spurlock
1. California Death Index, 1940-1997, "Spurlock", page 6.
"Spurlock, Festus Columbus, born 03/18/1882 in Arkansas, died 11/02/1958 in Los Angeles County, California. SS #547-34-5628. Mother's Maiden Name: Leverton Father's Surname: Spurlock."
Notes: From the Spurlock Story by Austin Spurlock:
“About 1909 Festus and Ed Thompson (a friend) worked for a horse outfit. They worked together a long time and became close friends. They were famous horse tamers, bronco riders and were also known as fiddlers and guitar players as well as all-around cowboys. I believe the horse outfit belonged to an old man named Thurston. Both Festus and Ed told me their experiences with the owner.
Mr. Thurston made an agreement with Festus and Ed to run and boss (operate) his horse ranch as he was getting too old to care for his horses and ranch. He wanted to live in town. I believe it was Glendive or maybe Miles city, Montana. He agreed to pay them a small salary in cash as I recall – about half the usual wages then in that country. They, Ed and Festus were to get a percentage, I believe it was 10 % of all the young horses they tamed. There were about 200 unbroken geldings, young horses, on the ranch that were ready to be tamed. Festus and Ed worked for several months breaking the horses and caring for the ranch and herd of brood mares and a few cattle that the owner had. The owner kept stalling about paying their wages, he just paid them enough to buy some groceries. He told them to take some horses to a prospective buyer who wanted to buy 20 to 30 head. They delivered the horses but the buyer took only a part of them. The buyer paid them for these few horses and they brought the rest of the pack back to the ranch and reported to the owner. The price of the horses was not enough to pay for back salary due. The owner never figured out the owner only wanted to break the agreement and thought the best way was to have them sell some horses then accuse them of stealing them.
This he did, but the sheriff of the County sent them word to come into town or he would send officers for them. They knew the owner was influential politically, so they decided they had better move out quick, which they did.
Ed came to Arizona and worked for Dick while he was foreman of Avondale Development Company. That was in 1911. Festus went to Elko, Nevada and worked for Miller and Lux Cattle Company. It was operating a large ranch north of Elko. Festus used the assumed name of Jack Moran. (Note from Betty: We always knew his name was Fet or Festus but also as Uncle Jack) The company later took him to one of their California ranches where he worked as foreman until he decided to quit ranching to work in the oil fields in 1918 at much higher wages and with regular hours.
He worked in the oil fields in California at Signal Hill and Santa Fe Springs until he retired. He married after going to work in the oil fields but was not happy. His wife died before he did in 1949 I think it was. Festus died in Los Angeles of heart trouble and complications on November 3, 1958.
Ed Thompson arranged with a lawyer friend who thought he could get him off the hook with authorities in Montana. With that assurance, Ed returned there in 1912 but instead of getting the alleged horse stealing charge dismissed as the lawyer thought he could, Ed was sent to Deer lodge State Prison for 18 months I think it was, even though he told of selling the horses, but at the request of the owner so he could pay their salaries.
Ed later married and acquired a small ranch and some cattle. I know he had a son but don’t know of any other family he had. Ed gave my daughter Zona a violin when he left Arizona in 1912. It is a keepsake for the friendship and loyalty between Ed and Festus, and also our own friendship with Ed.
Festus returned to visit Mother and Father as often as his work permitted until they died. He attended about all of the family reunions at Rans’ ranch in Arizona.” . . . .Quote from Uncle Austin’s book.
Notes from Betty:
On the 26th day of August 1920 Austin and Josie Spurlock and Festus and Marie Spurlock applied to the Counties of Nogales and Maricopa for passports to Mexico for the purpose of looking at property in Mexico with the possibility of investing. There are pictures of both couples with physical descriptions. The witnesses were Charles M. Beckham and Dick Pincham. From these documents we learn Marie’s full name and full birth date and place, something we did not have before. This information is found on Ancestry.com under Immigration and Travel. Copies attached.