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Thomas Jasper Hightower
born: October 26, 1885, Mount Vernon, Texas
died: August 14, 1968, De Valls Bluff, Arkansas

married: Laura Ann Batterall July 7, 1937

father: Gabriel Meek Keith Hightower born: December 14, 1846, Mount Vernon, Texas died: December 11, 1989. Talco, Texas

mother: Georgia Ann Dukes born: December 6, 1850, Macon Co., Alabama died: February 5, 1915, Chicota, Texas

parents of Georgia: Martha Ann Smith and Abraham J. Dukes grandfather: John D. Hightower born: January 10, 1810, Union CO., South Carolina died: November 18, 1882, Mount Vernon, Texas

grandmother: Nancy Casteel Meek Keith born: October 14, 1815, Madison Co., Alabama died: October 10, 1903, Mount Vernon, Texas

parents of Nancy: Casteel Meek and John Keith

Hightower Links

Gabriel Meek Keith Hightower
1846 - 1898
John D. Hightower
1810 - 1882
Robert Hightower
Unknown

Photos of Tom Hightower

History on Tom Hightower

Tom's childhood and adolescence was spent working beside his older brothers and their father on the family farm, but after the death of his father in 1898 and the older children getting married, the rest of the family left the farm in the early 1900's and moved to Chicota (Lamar County) Texas.

Some have referred to him as a loner and a drifter, and to a certain degree, they were correct. During his lifetime he certainy had a variety of occupations in a number of locatons around the country. As a young man, he was employed by the Texas and Pacific Railroad out of Ft. Worth, Texas and he worked in the oil and gas fields of Oklahoma where his legs were severly burned in a oil field fire. In the summer of 1917, he enlisted in the U.S. Army at Fort Sill, Oklahoma "for the period of the emergency" during World War I. He held the rank of Private when he was medically discharged from the Army in Janury 1918.

Tom also worked at such professions as farmer, carpenter, blacksmith, and even a short stint as a deputy sheriff in Texas before moving to Arkansas in the early 1930's. In Arkansas his life was once again centered around agriculture where he waoked as a farmer, a share-cropper and a field hand. During the Great Depression of the 1930's, Tom worked for the Works Project Administration (WPA) on road building and flood control projects in the eastern part of Arkansas.

In July 1937, at age 51, he married Laura Ann Battreall (Hale), a divorcee with three children, and began his life as a family man. Tom had been married previoulsy to Verda Mae Campbell on April 19, 1923, but that marriage was terminated by divorce after 11 months. There were no children born to this marriage.

The 1940's and the new family, brought new challenges and new responsibilities as well as new job opportunities. During part of that decade, Tom was employed by the U.S. Engineering Department and worked as a deck hand and a boiler operator on sternwheel steamboats that operated along the Mississippi, Arkansas and White rivers.

From the mid-1940's until he was well past 70 years of age, he labored as a commerical fisherman, a saw mill worker, a logger and a farmer once again until ill health and old age took it's toll and he was no longer able to work. Although he had many careers in his lifetime, he was never able to get farming out of his life and his heart.

Affectionately known by some of his relatives as "the tall one", Tom was a quiet man who spent a good deal of his time to himself, soemtimes to the point of almost seeming antisocial. When he spoke, his statements were usually breif, but if you took the time to listen, you could easily see that what he did have to say usually had not been said idly or without thought. Although he loved his children and his grandchildren, enjoyed their presence and took great pride in their accomplishments, he remained a very private man and cherished his moments of solitude.

At the age of 82 years, 9 months and 19 days, Thomas Jasper Hightower died on the 14th of August 1968. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Laura, 1 step-daughter, Mary, 2 step-sons, Tom and William, 4 sons, Raymond, Charles, John and Elvis, 1 daughter, Georgia, 26 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. He is buried in Oaklawn Cemetery in De Valls Bulff, Prairie County, Arkansas.

(written by son Raymond)


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