Farris descendant recalls early life in Uvalde County

“I can still hear the coyotes howling at night, and it was so quiet out there that I could hear the train going through North Uvalde.”

Jo Ann Farris Goodell, now 87, vividly remembers growing up on the Farris Ranch 12 miles north of Uvalde off Farm to Market Road 2690, then just a dirt road. Goodell still owns a share of the ranch, which once totaled 5,000 acres when her grandfather Charles Jefferson Farris first owned the land.

Goodell’s grandfather came to Uvalde County in 1891 along with a brother and a nephew. In 1893, he married Ida Rutland.

Over the years, some of the land was sold to other settlers, eventually becoming known as the Farris community. Early families included Lenice Gilleland, his wife, Mollie Rutland, and Albert Gremmel and his family.

Out of necessity, Farris donated land for a school to educate the children of the community. Located on the main road east of the Farris Ranch, the school operated from 1901 to 1935. Among the teachers who taught at the school were Gladys Dotson Alexander and her brother Elmer Dotson.

The Farris Ranch house, circa 1900, built by Jo Ann Farris Goodell’s grandfather Charles Jefferson Farris.

Goodell, the youngest child and only daughter of Charles Lester Farris and Jane Anna Knibbe, was born in the 10-room, two-story ranch house in 1931.


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