Euless, 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)
Virginia “Jennie” May Fuller – Payton was born in Euless, Texas in April 1907 and was the youngest of 10 children born to J.R. and Fannie Fuller. She died in July 2007
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 February 8, 1995. I am at the house of Jennie Payton who lives at, Jennie your address is?
Jennie Payton: 214 East Huitt Lane, in Euless.
Betty Fuller: Jennie is going to tell you some things about herself. She will tell you when she was born and where she lived as a child. She is a lifetime Euless resident, so we will let Jennie talk a few minutes. Jennie Payton was born Jennie Fuller.
Jennie Payton: Virginia Fuller. This is Jennie Payton and it is a beautiful day, February 8, 1995 and I would love to tell you a little bit about my life. I was born April 27, 1907, near what is now Harwood Road where the apartments are just off of North Main, east. My mother’s name was Fannie Blessing and daddy’s name was J.R. Fuller (December 12, 1858 to September 11, 1936. He was born in Bedford County, Tennessee).
Betty Fuller: Jennie, what did the initials J.R. stands for?
Jennie Payton: James Riley Larkin
Betty Fuller: James Riley Larkin
Jennie Payton: He had three initials. There were twelve children in our family. They were in order of birth: Carrie (lived two years), Mary Francis (Fanny), Andrew, Edna, Larkin, Henry (lived seven days), Essie, Ed, Ida (Callie), Homer, Warren, Ruth, and Jennie. My daddy was a good provider. We had a good house on a 360 acre farm. We had good eats! We lived “high on the hog,” as people say now, or used to, but we didn’t know it. There was ham shoulder and bacon. We always had a good garden with all the vegetables. My Grandpa’s name was Moody Fuller and my step-grandma’s name was Sarah Fuller. There was Grandpa Blessing and Grandma Blessing and Grandma and Grandpa Fuller. I didn’t know them much except Grandpa Fuller I guess because Grandpa Fuller had cancer of the face. Grandpa Blessing lived across the field from us, just south. He would walk to the barbed wire fence then crawl under it. We were so happy when he would come. We would sit on the front porch and visit. My mama died when I was eighteen months old and my daddy married Nancy Wiser. She was an angel in disguise. We loved her so much. Her name was Nancy Wiser Fuller. Since we had a farm we had lots to do. We had cows to milk, chickens to feed, hogs and cows to feed twice a day. Working the field, we had to plow and hoe. We didn’t have many groceries to buy because we raised nearly everything that we ate. We bought sugar, flour, and things from Uncle Tom Fuller’s grocery in Euless. It was located northwest of where Taco Bell is. There was not a highway there then. When I was seven years old I started school down on South Main where it is located now. I went to the 10th grade. My mother, Nancy Wiser Fuller, was sick so I had to quit school to care for her. Abe Payton and I got married in 1925, on May the 2nd. Since we didn’t have any money, we lived with his parents for a while. Abe and I have two lovely boys Jimmy and Jerry, who are doing fine. That’s all I wrote.
Betty Fuller: Jennie I’m going to ask you some questions.
Jennie Payton: Yes.
Betty Fuller: When you were going to school, did you take your lunch to school?
Jennie Payton: We did, we took our lunch to school. It was mostly sausage and biscuits.
Betty Fuller: Is that what you had?
Jennie Payton: One day a boy that we knew and his brother stole our lunch. Papa had given us money to buy it that day from “Dep.” Cruse’s store.
Betty Fuller: Now where was “Dep.” Cruse’s store?
Jennie Payton: It was on the southwest corner of the highway (Hwy. 10 and Main Street).
Betty Fuller: Could you go from the school down there to get a lunch?
Jennie Payton: Yes, and we were so proud of that lunch because we had Vienna Sausages and crackers. When we found it gone it was a good surprise.
Betty Fuller: You’re always saying we, is that you and Ruth, your sister?
Jennie Payton: Yes, me and Ruth.
Betty Fuller: You and Ruth went to school together?
Jennie Payton: Yes
Betty Fuller: Was she one grade ahead of you in school?
Jennie Payton: I guess two.
Betty Fuller: Two grades ahead of you in school?
Jennie Payton: She’s two years older.
Betty Fuller: You talked about when you went to the grocery store and went shopping. Did you go in a car or did you go in a wagon, how did you get there?
Jennie Payton: Well we had to go in wagon usually.
Betty Fuller: Who usually went to the grocery store?
Jennie Payton: Well my daddy and I. I guess he selected the groceries. Mama wrote a bill (a list) and sent papa to the grocery to get sugar, flour, and things that we needed, other than vegetables.
Betty Fuller: What did your daddy raise? Did he raise things other than animals?
Jennie Payton: He had crops. We raised feed. They call that a row crop, of Sorghum and several kinds of feed that he grew in the field. We had a silo and we would fill that silo every year in the fall.
Betty Fuller: Did he raise cotton?
Jennie Payton: We didn’t raise much cotton. One day Ruth and I took our lunch to go to the field to pick cotton, just me and her. We ate by 10 o’clock and we went home. That was a surprise too; we thought we’d been out there all day.
Betty Fuller: That was hard work, wasn’t it!
Jennie Payton: Very hard work!
Betty Fuller: Jennie, the clothes that you wore, did your step-mother Nancy Wiser Fuller make those or did you go to the store and buy them?
Jennie Payton: Yes, she was a good seamstress and she made our clothes. We bought our…we use to call them dry goods, at Grapevine.
Betty Fuller: Did she ever have a sewing machine?
Jennie Payton: Oh yes, she had a sewing machine.
Betty Fuller: A Treadle sewing machine?
Jennie Payton: Yes.
Betty Fuller: Tell us how you met Abe Payton. Did he come up to visit or…?
Jennie Payton: I was with a boy from Grapevine and we went to the Baptist Church. Abe Payton was there and he made a date with me for the next weekend and I guess that was it.
Betty Fuller: When you dated did you have a car to date in or?
Jennie Payton: Abe did.
Betty Fuller: Tell me about it.
Jennie Payton: He lived in Midlothian and he would come every weekend we had a date.
Betty Fuller: What did he do in those early days?
Jennie Payton: Oh! Well they had a farm and later he was a car salesman.
Betty Fuller: Right, for the longest time he worked at…?
Jennie Payton: Bob Cooke Ford in Arlington.
Betty Fuller: Did your son, Jimmy, work there also?
Jennie Payton: Yes, with Jimmy. Then Jimmy bought Payton-Wright in Grapevine.
Betty Fuller: What year did Jimmy buy Payton-Wright? Do you remember?
Jennie Payton: It’s been a good while. He come in one Sunday and he had been asking us about…telling us about this place. He married in 1950, so it hadn’t been too long…one day he said, well, I’ll be the guy to either put up or shut up, I’ll be the guy to buy Payton-Wright or let it go, and he bought it. He’s been happy ever since.
Betty Fuller: Jennie, before you lived in this house on Huitt Lane, where did you live before that?
Jennie Payton: I lived on Main, up by the Fuller’s store on the south side by the dock where they loaded feed and other things.
Betty Fuller: Jennie, I remember when I went to Euless School, you worked at the school. You did our cooking and you made the best rolls I’ve ever eaten. Do you remember any experiences when you were at school?
Jennie Payton: Well I sure do. Your husband, James Fuller, even now when he sees me he will say something about those rolls at school. We enjoyed it. We worked with Kate Neely and Ruth Millican. Ruth Millican, my sister, and Willie Byers were the foremen. Willie Byers said that everybody was getting compliments on their food, but hers didn’t get compliments, so she just made some potatoes. She’d thought they’d be so good and nobody said a word.
Betty Fuller: Oh bless her heart. Also, you and Ruth did some other hard work. I know that you ran a washateria (laundromat) for awhile?
Jennie Payton: Yes, we just let other people wash their clothes at the washateria. It was up on Huffman Drive, pretty close. It wasn’t too far from Main Street.
Betty Fuller: It was down there close to where Massey’s engine service was, wasn’t it (current location of Race Trac on Hwy 10)?
Jennie Payton: Yes, that’s Huffman Drive.
Betty Fuller: Go on.
Jennie Payton: We worked from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. We let people wash and get all their clothes clean and pretty.
Betty Fuller: Tell us about the washing machines you had there, were they Maytag’s or were they…?
Jennie Payton: They were Maytag’s and they were electric. The washing machines did not wring out the clothes so good.
Betty Fuller: They were electric?
Jennie Payton: They were electric. They were not like the washers of today. The washing machines we have now wring them out so well. Back then, we had to put the clothes through the wringer.
Betty Fuller: Tell me, did you use bluing like we used to do in the tubs?
Jennie Payton: Sure, everybody had to have some bluing and some suds in the water.
Betty Fuller: How many rinse tubs did you have with those washers?
Jennie Payton: Three.
Betty Fuller: Three rinse tubs. Tell us how it worked, people don’t know that.
Jennie Payton: You put the clothes in the washer and let them wash. At first they always wet them before they put them into that hot water, and let them wash. Then you turned the ringer on to wring them out. After that, you put the clothes into the next tub and then into the next tub.
Betty Fuller: And the bluing went into which tub? For those people who don’t know why you put bluing in, can you tell us why you put the bluing in?
Jennie Payton: Well, when they used to hang the clothes on the line, the sun would shine and make them pretty and white.
Betty Fuller: Jennie, you have a plate in your living room of a picture of the wooden church that I remember as a child. Of course I was baptized in the Baptist Church across the street from the Methodist Church, but on the plate it says the church was torn down in 1955. Tell us a little bit about that church. It had a basement didn’t it?
Jennie Payton: It had a basement and the men of the community including my daddy and my brothers had brought teams of mules and dug the basement out. We did not have machinery to dig out the deep holes back then and that’s the way they dug it out. I can just see them now bringing loads of dirt with them mules and dig and piling it out front and then after we got all that done, we had something down there. When it rained the basement leaked water. So you know we had problems.
Betty Fuller: Jennie we know that your grandfather was W.N.M. (Moody Fuller) and that you still live on the same property that actually once belonged to your grandpa. There were some other Fullers in that family. Other than my husband’s father and your dad, can you tell us about how many of them all lived on this piece of property between what is now Highway 10 and South Euless Elementary?
Jennie Payton: Yeah sure, I’ll be glad to tell you their names, Uncle Bill (William Jefferson) and Uncle Ed (Samuel Edward), Uncle Amp (Albert Andrew), J.R. Fuller, which was my daddy, and Uncle Tom (Thomas George), Aunt (Callie) Ida, Aunt Betty (Sarah Elizabeth) and Aunt Mary (Mary Jane). There were eight of them. (He had four more children by his second wife, Sarah Boals. They were Jessie Willie, Henry Ross and two who died as infants. He was 60 years old when his son Robert was born on November 15, 1894).
Betty Fuller: Jennie, did they all live in Euless or did some of them live somewhere else?
Jennie Payton: Well let’s see, Aunt Betty Jernigan lived in West Texas.
Betty Fuller: She married a Jernigan?
Jennie Payton: Aunt Mary and Aunt Betty married brothers.
Betty Fuller: Aunt Mary lived in Euless?
Jennie Payton: Yes.
Betty Fuller: And Aunt Ida (Callie)?
Jennie Payton: Aunt Ida (Callie) lived in Dallas.
Betty Fuller: Who did she marry?
Jennie Payton: She married Oscar Evatt.
Betty Fuller: Ida (Callie) Evatt. Did any of the boys move away?
Jennie Payton: Yes, Uncle Bill (William Jefferson) lived in Arlington, and Uncle Ed (Samuel Edward) lived in Argyle (near Denton), and I believe the others lived here.
Betty Fuller: I understand that Moody Fuller bought the property where you are currently living in 1880.
Jennie Payton: It’s the prettiest place I ever saw.
Betty Fuller: So far for almost, I’d say Jennie for almost all of your 88 years you have lived in Euless. You are 88 years old, is that right?
Jennie Payton: Yes.
Betty Fuller: For most of your 88 years, even when you lived by the grocery store, was that the same part of your grandpa’s property too?
Jennie Payton: Yes.
Betty Fuller: You haven’t gone very far from home have you?
Jennie Payton: No and I don’t want to.
Betty Fuller: Jennie we thank you. Virginia Fuller Payton, Jennie, what is your middle name?
Jennie Payton: May.
Betty Fuller: Virgin…okay do you spell that M-a-e or…?
Jennie Payton: M-a-y.
Betty Fuller: Okay, thank you for sharing your memories with us.
Interview of Virginia May “Jennie” Fuller Payton
By Mrs. Betty Fuller
February 8, 1995
Transcribed by Ana Ahovelo
Euless Historical Preservation Committee
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. - November 2006