Riley Warren Fuller

With Betty Fuller

Warren FullerEuless, Texas was first settled in about 1867 as a small farming community in North Central Texas. The City is located midway between Dallas and Fort Worth Texas, just west of DFW International Airport. It was incorporated in 1953 and at the time of the 2000 U.S. Census had a population of 46,005. The City of Euless encompasses approximately 16.3 square miles. (42.1 KM2)

Riley Warren Fuller was born on March 13, 1902 in Euless, Texas and died on June 22, 1995. He was the first mayor of Euless.

Betty Fuller is a long-time resident of Euless, Texas. At the time of this interview she was the member of the Euless Historical Preservation Committee responsible for collecting narrative interviews.


Betty Fuller: Today is April 8, 1993. I am sitting the home of Warren Fuller in Euless, Texas. For our records give us your full name. Tell us your parents name and anything you want to tell us about what life was like when Euless was out in the country.

Warren Fuller: My daddy was Jim, J. R. Fuller, and my mother was a Blessing, Fannie Blessing. They were both from Euless, Texas.

Betty Fuller: Warren, I understand you were one of a lot of children and I think your daddy lost a couple of wives. Can you tell us about that?

Warren Fuller: When my Daddy married his first wife, she was a Mayes. They lived together for about a year and a half before she died. About that time is when their first child was born and Fannie Fuller was her name and she died at her birth. She was my half sister.

Betty Fuller: Is she still alive?

Warren Fuller: She is not alive and I had 5 brothers and 5 sisters.

Betty Fuller: Give us their names Warren.

Warren Fuller: Ruth Millican and Virginia Peyton are my only two living sisters. All of my brothers and sisters are now dead. My oldest brother was Andrew Fuller. He was born and reared a mile north of Euless which is now Harwood Road in Euless. All of them were practically born in the same home. I was mentioning my brothers and sisters. My older brother was Larkin Fuller. Ed Fuller was my next brother. Homer was next and Callie Whitener was my older sister, just older than me. She died about three months ago.

Betty Fuller: Warren I understand your mother was a Blessing and she died when the youngest of the children, Jennie Peyton, was about three years old. Tell us a little about that

Warren Fuller: Jennie was younger than Ruth or I. I was 5 years old. Jennie was about 3 and Ruth 5. At that day and time, most families, a child was born every 2 years. Most families in Euless were big families. Our family was one of the bigger families. Most of them had 9 or 10 children and some of them had 12. That was a great time and poor hard times. Everyone was poor it seemed like but we all had plenty to eat and plenty to wear.

Betty Fuller: When Jennie was about three your Mother died, did your Father re-marry?

Warren Fuller: He did re-marry some two or three years later. He married Nancy Wiser.

Betty Fuller: Now, did he have any children by her?

Warren Fuller: No, he had no children by her. She already had one child when he married her, Lela.

Betty Fuller: She married your brother didn't she?

Warren Fuller: She married my brother Andrew. That is where the families kind of get mixed up.

Betty Fuller: You told us you were born down there by Harwood Road. Who were your Grandparents and where did they come from?

Warren Fuller: My Granddaddy was Mood Fuller. He came from Tennessee and my mother was Fannie Blessing and they came from Tennessee.

Betty Fuller: Oh, the Blessing's, I did not realize they came from Tennessee too. Well, tell us what life in Euless was like when you were growing up, anything you can think of and would like to talk about.

Warren Fuller: Well off the top of my head, it was pretty hard times, but everyone had plenty to eat and as I said before plenty to wear. No problems like we have today. We had no roads much but dirt roads. When it rained here in Euless, we didn't have any bridge here in Euless between the school and where we lived north of Euless. When it rained, come a good rain, the only way we could get to school was a buggy. We didn't go to school when it come big rains.

Betty Fuller: Warren, where was that school?

Warren Fuller: That school was where the Methodist Church exists now, just across the road, about 100 yards off the road and just south of the road which is now Highway 183, south of it. We had one room and we had all the grades that we taught here in that same room. We had one teacher that taught the classes while all the others waited by and all in the same room.

Betty Fuller: How about that! Is there anything else? What did your daddy do for a living? Was he a farmer? What kind of crops did he raise?

Warren Fuller: He was a farmer and farmed until he died. We had cotton, corn and truck crops. Watermelon, cantaloupe, tomatoes and all truck crop stuff.

Betty Fuller: Then some of your land used to be on what, was called the Grapevine Prairie. You had some black land you raised that cotton on, I guess.

Warren Fuller: No, it was all sandy land.

Betty Fuller: Ok, you told about some things of what Euless was like but you haven't talked about when you met your wife or courting days and you talked about school, but you didn't say anything about courting days. Did you have some girlfriends in school?

Warren Fuller: Best I remember I had some, but I had one and one was always my favorite. I married Jessie Cannon, Arch Cannon's daughter. We were sweethearts from the time when we were in the fifth or sixth grade until we married. We went together for some twelve or fifteen years until we got enough money to get married actually.

Betty Fuller: You said Ruth and Aunt Jennie were already married before you got married, so you waited a while.

Warren Fuller: I was the last one to marry. My two sisters, who were younger than me, married before I did. My Daddy took cancer and there was nothing he could do and I didn't marry, but the biggest reason, I guess, I was too poor, no money.

Betty Fuller: Did you scrape up enough money to get married, tell us about that?

Warren Fuller: My wife and I saved money, had very little to save. We saved, and I'll never forget it, $37 is all we had. We bought all of our furniture, stove second handed and paid for it with $37 at that time.

Betty Fuller: Did you go on a honeymoon?

Warren Fuller: We went from here to Dallas on our honeymoon. My sister lived down there and they were gone and so Jessie and I went down there and we stayed the night for our honeymoon. The next day we went to work.

Betty Fuller: You said you went to work. Where did you live and where did you go to work?

Warren Fuller: We lived here in Euless. We built, my Daddy built, a two room house that we lived in and started farming here. The crops failed the first year to make anything. After that we decided I'd try to get a job. I got a job. I had a good friend of mine that was boss in Ford Motor Company in Dallas. He hired me and gave me $20 a week. That was what Ford paid back then. You worked 5 days a week for $20. It was a great job back then.

Betty Fuller: What year did you get married? I forgot to ask you that.

Warren Fuller: We got married in 1926.

Betty Fuller: You said you lived in that two room house, how long did you stay there, for a very long time? Those were depression years.

Warren Fuller: We lived there a little over a year is all we stayed there. When we didn't like Ford Motor Company, my brother, Homer, who had infantile paralysis three or four years before, couldn't do anything. He built a store. A twelve by fourteen, a little small place to try to have one gas pump that was in the Model T days. We married on what we had. When he got the business started out with a bang, I quit the Ford Plant and went into business with my brother, Homer and later his son–in-law Robert Nail came in with us.

Betty Fuller: Where is that store located?

Warren Fuller: Where the original one is now, on Main and now 183. (Now Highway 183)

Betty Fuller: That store is not there anymore is it?

Warren Fuller: The store is torn down now and the home that he lived in is still standing.

Betty Fuller: What else was in Euless during that time?

Warren Fuller: Well, actually Euless was barely getting started. There was one gas station and one small garage, not very big, that they had here and could work on Model T's, only just about. Actually there wasn't much other businesses here. It was rough going and rough to start a business here.

Betty Fuller: Wasn't there one little old hamburger place across the street from you? They had an Ice House over there didn't they?

Warren Fuller: Yeah, that was Raymond Fuller and his wife. They made hamburgers there and they were fine. They was a little high in price. They were a nickel a piece or six for a quarter. We had people come by here to get those hamburgers and they were really, really delicious. Raymond Fuller and his wife Lorena were the ones that ran that. They had a great business. I had one man that came out here to buy real estate that bought acreage and stuff. He would come out here and eat two or three of those hamburgers and drink a Coca-Cola and a pint of milk. We had a great hamburger place, just one, and I don't know how many we have now but, a lot.

Betty Fuller: Fast food places huh…?

Warren Fuller: Yeah fast food…we have fast food.

Betty Fuller: Now there were two gas stations here and somebody named Weaver Burch, had one?

Warren Fuller: Yeah, Weaver Burch had one for about several years, I don't know exactly how long.

Betty Fuller: There was somebody named Fitch and a McGinnis or somebody?

Warren Fuller: Yeah, there was a man by the name of Fitch, Reese Fitch who had a store here and had a gas pump out front. Then McGinnis had one, I think McGinnis?

Betty Fuller: That gas station isn't still there because Mr. Tolbert bought it then tore it down and built another one, isn't that right?

Warren Fuller: That's right.

Betty Fuller: Now, long ago, up there where the fire station is today, was there a Woodman Hall or something like that at one point in time?

Warren Fuller: Woodman Hall, at one time, was down on Old Main Street. It was not a street at that time. One time, there was not much of a street going towards Dallas. It was a dirt street. But back then, that two story building was built way back as long as I can remember and I was born here in 1902, but there was a Woodman of the World Lodge above on the second floor where they had insurance with their lodge. You got a pay of insurance and I understand they are existing paying off policies.

Betty Fuller: Now, we heard that way back before 1900, way back before your time, there might have been a cotton gin, but you don't know too much about that I guess.

Warren Fuller: All I remember about that was that it was close to where the old Tennessee dairy use to be.

Betty Fuller: There was a dairy here? Tell us about that.

Warren Fuller: Tennessee Dairy had a place here where you would cool milk out and the people brought their hot milk from the cows after it was milked and cool it out. They would take it to Dallas, Tennessee Dairy.

Betty Fuller: Do you remember any people who worked or ran Tennessee Dairy?

Warren Fuller: Comer Horton and Alter Horton, and his brother Paul Horton. They just about ran this Tennessee Dairy.

Betty Fuller: None of them are left alive today. They are all dead?

Warren Fuller: All dead.

Betty Fuller: I see. I have another question. Do you remember when they built the other school after the school you attended, farther, down Main Street, close to where you live now? Do you remember anything about that school being built?

Warren Fuller: I do not remember the date. I remember it going up and built in time when things were cheap, but I do not remember the year. (1913)

Betty Fuller: You didn't go to that school?

Warren Fuller: I went to that school.

Betty Fuller: You did? Tell us about that school.

Warren Fuller: When I was the last one at home working and farming and no money much, I was going to that particular school till I got into the sixth, seventh, eighth grade. My father got sick with the cancer, and I never did finish the eighth grade, actually my knowledge in schools…

Betty Fuller: But that school in those days didn't have, more than ten grades. Evelyn Whitener said they added the tenth or eleventh when she was in school.

Warren Fuller: That's right. They borrowed some school kids from the Hurst and Irving area and they come up here in a buggy and a horse, a bunch of them, and we had enough to keep the high school.

Betty Fuller: The question I wanted to ask you, we were back talking about when you built a house a long time ago and you said you were renting a house for ten dollars a month, tell us about that house.

Warren Fuller: When I went to work for the Ford plant in Dallas, I rented a house from a man I had paid ten dollars a month and bills paid. But I wasn't getting but twenty dollars a week from the Ford Motor Company.

Betty Fuller: How big was that house? What did you have in it?

Warren Fuller: I had one living room and the bedroom was one room, and the other room was the kitchen and the dinning area and a bathroom.

Betty Fuller: Yes, you had an indoor bath. Was this your first indoor bath or not?

Warren Fuller: That was my first indoor bath, we went to outdoor toilets.

Betty Fuller: In 1930, I think you built a new house, a great big nice house, tell us about that one.

Warren Fuller: In 1930, a man came to me. We were in the grocery business then, and I had saved a little money, and I could save, I had saved an insurance policy that I never drawn on and I could draw on $350. The man told me he could build me a 3 bedroom house, hardwood floors, wood burning fire place, unattached 2 car garage for $750. He paid a dollar a day for labor and they worked from sun up to sun down.

Betty Fuller: You later her sold that house to somebody that built that first airport, not DFW, and not Southwest, but an airport that was there when I was a kid and it was built by the time of the Second World War…

Warren Fuller: That was the first airport we had in Euless.

Betty Fuller: Where was that airport?

Warren Fuller: It was where...that part of the Southwest airport was, before they got the new airport.

Betty Fuller: You sold the house to that man for a profit?

Warren Fuller: I paid $750 of it I told you, and I got $12,500 for that home.

Betty Fuller: I say that is pretty good profit. The grocery store got bigger and bigger, and you expanded and took on some feed, the selling of feed and milking machines. Tell us some things about that.

Warren Fuller: We had milking machines over 5 to 6 hundred. We had a big grocery business and 101 percent credit, I mean a 101 percent. I say, a man would come in with a feed bill and a grocery bill for 3 or 400 dollar and he would charge a coca cola. After Safeway came in, my brother and I and Robert decided we would sell out and we did. Had a man to buy it. We sold out and I got into the real estate business.

Betty Fuller: Before we get into the real estate business, that grocery store didn't close up completely. Didn't it open up under a new name like EZ Way, or something?...

Warren Fuller: It opened up in another man by the name by the name of Lynn Cannon bought that store and he stayed there for years.

Betty Fuller: Now, tell us about how you got into the real estate business. Can you tell us how you saw Euless growing in the real estate business around here?

Warren Fuller: It grew fast. I figured it was growing fast. And a man came for me from the Texas Company and we had built a Texaco station across the street and it was doing great. He said if you would sell out this grocery. Warren, I will get you a job with Texas Company with your own territory and we started to talk and I said, Well, I am getting my real estate license, but I said I would be able to talk to him. He came out the next day or two and he interviewed me for a job for Texas Company and I would have my own territory. All I how to do with them was to check in each week a very easy job. He asked me where I started in school and I said I went to school in Euless with a primer….and then where….I said Euless. Then he said, when you got into next grade, I said to Euless. Then he asked where did you go to college? I said I didn't…I went to Euless. He said, there was no college in Euless. I said no, I didn't go to college. If I took that job, I would always be sorry because that first year of real estate I did really good. My first big money and much, more money than I made in my life.

Betty Fuller: So the real estate business just boomed would you say?

Warren Fuller: It really boomed. I tell you. They had build a share and people built houses and went broke. The real estate business broke a lot of savings and loans, and banks. Everybody was trying to get ahead. I don't think we ever had any crooked business in any savings and loans, or a bank in Euless. It was poor management, and money loaned to people who had bad luck and couldn't make it, in the business.

Betty Fuller: Euless wasn't a city until 1951 about, I understand. Who was the first Mayor of Euless?

Warren Fuller: I was the Mayor of Euless in 1951.

Betty Fuller: How many people were living in Euless then?

Warren Fuller: Oh, I guess somewhere between 50 to 60 families.

Betty Fuller: I remembered they said, in 1950 about two-three hundred people. You really had to hunt at night to find some of them. The Historical Association of Euless has been talking about old structures and buildings in Euless and unfortunately a lot of those old buildings are no longer around. It was brought to my attention that there is an old house on Main Street that possibly once was in the town of Tarrant. It started out as a church. Then it was moved somewhere near Euless school and became a grocery store. What do you know about that?

Warren Fuller: Well, years ago, Tarrant used to have a Baptist Church. It had services on Sunday afternoon partially. I have been to that house that finally moved here on Main Street in Euless and I have been seeing different things, that, in Tarrant Texas, that Baptist Church. It still exists, and it's been well preserved. And it's painted and it's got a front porch. The front porch was added but the building is still good….

Betty Fuller: Now they had a grocery store. Who had that grocery store?

Warren Fuller: Tom Mays brought that on South Main here. He had a store and a filling station there, down close to the existing South Euless Elementary School. Since that time, it's been moved up on Main about 3 or 4 blocks across the street and it still exists, in good shape, physical and frame. That is about the oldest standing building, a brick building. I guess my brother owned it and it is still up there where our grocery store was. There was a Baptist Church that bought that land with that house on it and I understand the City, they are trying to get that house and try to preserve it. Some part of the city. That some kind of an office. I don't know all this for certain.

Betty Fuller: We neglected your family. You and Jessie lived here in Euless all your life. We haven't asked you, how old are you?

Warren Fuller: I'm 91 years old.

Betty Fuller: 91 years young?

Warren Fuller: 91 years young (laughter) I feel like it. I sure don't feel any older than when I was 50 years old.

Betty Fuller: That's great. How many children did you and Jessie raise?

Warren Fuller: I had 2, Troy and Veta.

Betty Fuller: Troy lives where?

Warren Fuller: Troy lives in Fort Worth right this minute He is moving partly with me and Veta lives in Dallas of course. She married Dr. George Boswell.

Betty Fuller: You lived in this house for a long time here on South Main?

Warren Fuller: 37 years.

Betty Fuller: 37 years, in the same house? That's a long time. Now let's stop this for a minute.

(Break in interview)

Betty Fuller: When you were growing up, your father was a farmer. What did the farmers, what they do with all the stuff they raised?

Warren Fuller: We took that stuff, tomatoes, cantaloupe or watermelons, whatever we had for sale by wagon. A team took almost a day to get to the Dallas Market. We left here early in the morning and then took the team out and put them in the wagon yard. At night, people would come at night in a buggy and horse and buy produce from us.

Betty Fuller: I understand something exiting happened to you in your earliest memories. How did you get from here to Dallas? What route did you take? How did you go?

Warren Fuller: We went from here east then went through to Irving and turned to the right and went down through what we called Kit.

Betty Fuller: Kit? Did you go through Sowers before you went through Irving?

Warren Fuller: Sowers and Irving and then….

Betty Fuller: Kit?

Warren Fuller: A little further down, you went down by the river bottom and went to Kit.

Betty Fuller: I remember Kit.

Warren Fuller: At this particular time, my daddy was going to take us that night. Two more of the men with their boys about my age. He told me later that I was 5 years old when this happened. We were going downtown to a picture show they had, never been to many, maybe one or two. We hadn't been to any and we started down Elm Street. He showed me later where we were. When we were walking down Elm Street, about 5 minutes after we started walking, I heard a bell ring and by this time I looked up. We were in front of a fire truck and all the firemen. The bell kept ringing and two horses came up from the stalls and up to the tongue of this fire truck and run up to it and the harness fell off those horses automatically and locked. By this time this fire men was crawling on there and getting ready for the ride. That was some experience I will never forget.

Betty Fuller: Did you ever get to the movie?

Warren Fuller: We got to the movie. We certainly enjoyed seeing the movie for the first time of our lives.

Betty Fuller: How about that.

Warren Fuller: We couldn't imagine.

Betty Fuller: You were born in 1902. What year did you say?

Warren Fuller: About 1907.

Betty Fuller: Was this a silent movie?

Warren Fuller: Yes, oh yes.

Betty Fuller: Warren, we may run out of tape, before you get through with this. I understand you had two pretty hair raising things happen to you during your course of business in Euless. One happened when you were running the grocery store and the other happened when you were in real estate. Tell us about the thing that happened at the grocery store?

Warren Fuller: The thing that happened to me at the grocery store. A man came by that I knew. He came by wanting to borrow my shotgun. He said, "I am going to kill this man and I won't mention his name at this point. I'm going to kill this man tonight." I said, "No, no surely not." He said, "Yes I am," and he numerated the thing that he had supposedly done to him that ruined his life. He said, "I'm going to kill him and I am going to kill him tonight." He wanted to borrow my shot gun and I had an excuse that it wasn't there. I didn't let him have it. But, I forgot all about it and didn't think he would do it. That night when Tennessee Dairy people began to bring their milk, hot milk to be cooled, I don't know how long it had been when it started. There was a bunch there and the store was full of people. Someone ran in and said, Mr. so and so had shot Mr. so and so, I won't mention these names. I didn't remember what he said, but I said, "He did what?" Then, he did what he said he would do.

As I said before, someone, when they came in said, "A man has been shot." I remember him telling me that he was going to do this tonight and sure enough it had happened and I didn't believe what would happen did happen.

When they announced to me that a man had been shot, I knew who it was. It was at that time that I saw him coming in the door, the front door. I could see when he looked back, for someone calling him. He looked back and the man outside shot him again with a shotgun. He had shot him in the jugular vein with a pistol. He was bleeding profusely. A whole lot of blood, his stomach, when he would breathe, the blood would flush out. Then he came on in and he fell there. The shooter came on in and followed him. He had the shotgun in his hand. He had it pointed right at him. He had fallen on some soda water cases. He was bleeding, and he had that gun right on him. I said, "Don't shoot him anymore, please!" Everybody left the store but me. But I said, "You have got him, please don't shoot him again," he said, "All right, ok, Mr. Fuller I won't do it." He said, "You are lying in your blood you son of a b.... and that's where I want to see ya." Then he said, I am leaving here and going down to kill the rest of them, meaning his wife's folks and his wife too. He invited me to go with him but that is one trip I didn't take….

I said, "I don't believe I want to go. I got to keep the store." My brother was up at the milk station and I knew it so I had an excuse not to go. He left and the ambulance came. We were loading him in. He had told me when he had come and after the shooting, he said, "Tell everybody not to try and stop me or I will kill somebody else, but I am going to give up. I am going to give up as soon as I get through with this and I'm going to the courthouse, to the district attorney's office and give up." When he came back and pulled up to get some gas, I tell this about my brother who went to give him some gas. he said, "Just give me a gallon. I'm going to Fort Worth to give up. I don't need any more than that."  I looked and the gas tank was running over. My brother was standing there. He said, "I want to be damned sure he got enough gas to get there."

So we had some fun with the trouble. You never know from one day to the next what will happen next.

Betty Fuller: I understand that you went with that man who had been shot? The ambulance finally came. You went with him toward the hospital. What ambulance came and how did you go to the hospital?

Warren Fuller: The ambulance was there. Lucas Funeral home had a driver, Zippy Lucas. We started and the ambulance wasn't running too good. We had to change ambulances in Hurst. They met us at the hospital, and then it was July and the election was on. The doctor that was with me in the back. We were trying to hold his arm where we could give him a hypo. He was bleeding and broke all three needles in his arm. Can you imagine that the ambulance driving as about as fast as the small ones would run, at that time as 65 or 75 miles an hour.

Betty Fuller: Was that was Dr. Allison from Grapevine?

Warren Fuller: That was Dr. Allison from Grapevine. He was the doctor with me in there when we finally made it to Fort Worth and the Harris Hospital. We went in, and he died about the time we got two or three blocks from the hospital. We announced to the ambulance driver to slow it down he's already dead, but he kept on going. When we got to the hospital and took him in, the nurse, I happen to know said, "Mr. Fuller, what? Were you in this shooting?" I said, "No why?" "Well, you are bleeding all over the neck, and one of the shots from the shotgun had gone in under the skin." She had cut the head and worked it out. I didn't even know I'd been shot. Lots of experiences.

Betty Fuller: I understand that when you went into the real estate business, you had another hair raising experience. Tell us about that.

Warren Fuller: Another experience I had was when I got out of Semack. Retired from real estate. A man wanted to buy some property I had listed South Euless. He told one the ladies that worked there, he wanted it. He said, "I wanted to buy it from Mr. Fuller. He knows about this area and I would like to buy it from him." So eventually after two or three tries, he did catch me at home about noon. He came by my house and asked if he could go down and look at that. I said, "Well, you follow me and I will go down there" He did. He got down there and he said, "These acres' is more than I want." I said, "Well that saying on this side, I have 20 acres, how about that?" At this time he pulled a gun with his right hand and shot it right in front of my face, about 8 inches. It almost deafened me. I pulled my purse out, and I said, "Here is my money if that is what you want." He said, "I don't want your money. I want you to go with me. You're going with me." That was just his idea, but I said if he is going to shoot me, he was going to have to shoot me in the back. I started running and a gravel truck, a big eighteen wheeler was coming from Calloway Cemetery. He stopped and picked me up and he said, "What happened?" I told him, "He's trying to be kidnap me." He said, "He's following us!" He told me to get my pencil and paper and I got it out and he gave me the number. He was dodging him, keeping him from getting by. Finally he got by us and he left toward Fort Worth. I called the Sheriff. Would you believe in one hour they had the man arrested and to make a long story short, he went back to the penitentiary. He was an ex con and he went back to the penitentiary and he died ten years later.

Betty Fuller: That's a wonderful story Warren. Thank you very much. You have shared information about your life in Euless that will help people know what Euless was like from the early 1900s until now.

This narrative history was produced through the efforts of The Euless Historical Preservation Committee with assistance from the staff of the City of Euless Parks and Community Services Department. - September 2008