A Century Later
Joe Holt Anderson and Lena Lorice Kerely were married Wednesday, February 2, 1910 in Chillicothe, Texas, in the middle of a blizzard, making it difficult for their guests to come, even in the small town.
The Kerley family came to Hardeman County (where Chillicothe and Quanah are) in 1890, and Joe arrived in 1906. The couple lived in Quanah, Beeville, and San Antonio before returning to Chillicothe at the outbreak of World War I. Joe worked in the Navy Yards at Norfolk, Virginia, during the war and opened a sheet metal shop after returning to Chillicothe.
To increase his volume of business, Joe mounted his equipment on a small truck and went from gin to gin over the area to do on-the-spot repair work. Within a comparatively short time, his talent was in demand.
In 1933, he opened a shop in Quanah and moved his family there in 1936, at which time he moved the Chillicothe shop to Lubbock. Two men were employed by Anderson Sheet Metal Works when it opened in Quanah, but in 1983 34 men were required to turn out gin equipment in the Quanah plant for gins throughout the cottonbelt of the United States and Mexico.
Although his business required a great deal of his time, Joe found time to be an outstanding civic leader in the community. He was widely known for his work as a layman in the Methodist Church and served in many capacities in Chillicothe and Quanah. He was active in the I.O.O.F. Lodge, Lions Club, was president of the Chamber of Commerce and Quanah Independent School District Board. He headed Salvation Army and United Fund drives and was a member of the Hardeman County Hospital Board. During World War II he served on the draft board.
Lena was active in the Methodist Church and in clubs in Quanah. She was educated before marriage at a Roberts Business Collegebusiness college in Bowie, Texas.
Joe invented the cottonhouse valve system and held patent number 1995464 on it, the patent being issued "this twenty-sixth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and thirty-five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and fifty-ninth." The patent description states:
This invention relates to distributing devices designed for the proper distribution of cotton after the same has been taken from wagons or trucks, and particularly to means whereby the cotton may be conveyed to the stalls of the warehouse by air.The general object of my invention is to provide means connected to the conveyor pipe of this system whereby a plurality of stalls may be served from one branch elbow and a further object is to provide an elbow so constructed that it may be readily rotated through a complete circle to thus serve a plurality of stalls and so constructed that the extremity of the elbow may be shifted outward and downward so that the cotton may be discharged over the wall of said stall without the likelihood of the cotton being blown into the next adjacent stall.A further object is to provide a swivel connection between the branch pipe and the main pipe which will not gather lint and thus required to be taken apart every now and then for cleaning, and which is further so constructed that the operator by moving the swivel connection may discharge any lint or other foreign matter that has gathered thereon....
Joe also invented the traveling telescope, which uses a vacuum action to suck cotton bolls from trailers into cotton gins, but he did not hold the patent on this invention. Although the patent was stolen from him, he paid for the use of the device, while the offending company declined to pay for the patent he did hold.
Joe and Lena tithed for 57 years. From a Texas Methodist article about Joe in 1961:
Joe was born Old English, Red River County, Texas, November 29, 1887 and died February 13, 1972. Lena was born December 24, 1988, in Mexia, Linestone County, Texas, and died December 9, 1966."Once in 47 years, I was tempted to quit tithing," admits Joe ANDERSON, who is "Mr. Methodist" in Quanah, "but after I won that battle I have never been tempted again." The devil got his lick in when "Brother Joe" came out of the Navy after World War I and had a break down. He was without work for a while and finally was able to take a little job that provided enough to keep soul and body together. One day he made sales enough to clear $156.50. The youngsters were without shoes, and the family needed to spend the money on clothes. "For two weeks" the veteran tither recalls, "I held the Lord's money back playing with the idea of using it for ourselves, but finally I put it in my tithe box, and I have never been tempted since."
Joe and Lena were the parents of Lena Lorice Anderson Barnes, the mother of Lynda Lorice Sparkman and John Anderson Barnes; Alma Ellen Anderson Breedlove, the mother of Mary Ellen Prescott, Barbara B. Rollins, Carol Truitt, and Kathy Gaebler; and Joe Holt Anderson, Jr., the father of Judith Anderson and Gwen Urguidi. Their impact lives on, thriving.