Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Texas Tuesday: Oldest Father?

Is Guy Jumper, of Como, the oldest father in Hopkins County this Father's Day? If not, he must be among the very oldest, as he joins that elite group of "centurians," on Wednesday of next week. Born on June 22, 1905, Mr. Guy Jumper has seen a Como and Hopkins County, that only you and I read about in books.

Born on his grandfather, Jefferson Davis Jumper's 300 acre farm, east of Como. Mr. Jumper recalls his grandfather's stories of coming to Texas on a wagon train in approximately 1895. "They left Mississippi looking for some better land and a new start in life. And, Grandpa Jumper (called 'Gosh Darn' Jumper by residents in the Como area) told of how my father, Gus Jumper, was a small boy on the wagon train to Texas and one morning the family went to wake the children in the pre-dawn hours and he was gone. He had sleepwalked during the night and traveled some three miles from the campsite," recalls Guy Jumper. "Grandpa had to unhitch a mule and look in the forest until he found him. He found him curled-up beneath a big oak tree, sound asleep, and he didn't remember a thing!"

Jumper's family moved to Como when the little settlement southeast of Sulphur Springs was known as Carrolls Prairie, and "Mr. Guy" remembers vividly the First National Bank of Como. "I didn't have much money to put in it back then, but I remember it well," denotes Mr. Jumper, with a sly grin. "And, I can remember when there were two drugstores, four or five mercantile stores, and every village of any size had a blacksmith shop or two. Then, I can remember the coal mines that were everywhere in this part of Hopkins County!"

One of Mr. Jumper's first jobs after reaching adulthood was working in those shallow coal mines. "When I was about 18 or 19 years old, I decided that there must be a better way to life than following 'the south-end' of a mule around a cotton patch, so I decided to go to work in the mines," recalls Jumper. "You didn't make over a dollar a day, but a dollar went a whole lot farther then than it does now!"

Following time spent in the mines and when they quit producing in the area, Jumper served four years in the U.S. Army, during World War II. The time he spent stationed in Germany and Italy, are his only times to leave the Como area. He drove an amunition truck during the war.

Jumper is the father of two daughters and two stepsons. He has ten grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. "I hope to live long enough to see the next generation," denotes Jumper. "I kinda got started on this 'father thing' late. I was over forty years old, when I married my wife, Agnes, and she had two sons, Carl and Dewayne. Then, we had two daughters, Sherry and Sue!" Agnes Jumper will be 90 in August, but resides in Sunny Springs Nursing Home in Sulphur Springs, due to health problems. However, "Mr. Guy" lives in his home in Como, that he shares with daughter, Sherry Lee. His step-son, Dewayne Scarborough, keeps his lawn mowed and family members are constantly dropping-by to meet his needs and keep him company.

Guy Jumper was the eldest child of Mr. & Mrs. Gus Jumper and was reared on the family farm. He attended school in Como and has two sisters, Mrs. Drucille Johnson and Mrs. Gussie Bays, that are still living. Two brothers, Ned and Dub Jumper, and a sister, Hazel Staples, have passed away. When asked about his longevity, Jumper quipped, "I guess it was all of that 'clean living' I've done!"

However, Jumper has done some mighty dirty work in his almost a century of living. Besides breathing coal dust, he's been a dairy farmer for a number of years, and then worked for 30 plus years at the Thermo Brick Plant. "I've been blessed with health and the ability to work," affirms Jumper. "I may not have gotten rich, but the Good Lord has always kept me comfortable!"

Guy Jumper was a member of the Como Christian Church as long as it met in Como, but due to age doesn't make the drive into Sulphur Springs for services, once the church moved.

When asked what his wish was for Father's Day or a birthday present on Wednesday, Jumper quickly stated, "Well, I guess I could use a new pair of overalls!"

And, when asked how long he'd worn overalls, he reflected, "I guess pert nigh on a hundred years, wouldn't you say? I don't remember when I wasn't wearing overalls!"

Family and friends are invited to drop by the Jumper residence on Wednesday and wish Mr. Guy Jumper a happy one-hundredth birthday. His children request no gifts, just a warm hug and a handshake to this remarkable man, who has spanned the age from writing with a slate to computer technology.

Mr. Guy Jumper waved good-bye from his chair beneath the shade tree in his front yard, and invited me back to visit with him on his hundred and tenth birthday, when he hopes he has a great-great grandchild to "brag" about!

Happy 100th Birthday and Happy Father's Day, Mr. Guy Jumper!

by: Bobby McDonald
Article reprinted from this site initially published June 2005.


Hammer said...

What a cool guy. If by some miracle I live to be that old I hope to have a similar attitude towards life.

Loving Annie said...

Wow, that's awesome. You find the most interesting people to post about, NoMas !!!

How is your Tuesday going ?

You were tight about adding 'hope' to my gratitiude list, btw ! Thank you for pointing it out. Perfect timing.

BBC said...

Boy, not sure I want to live that long. The world just drives me nuts the way it is.

Maybe the key to happiness in old age is to ignore the world as long as your world is okay, and for the most part mine is.

I hope my neighbor lives a long time, she is such a good neighbor and friend.

NoMas said...

Hammer - if i were not going to be cremated, i'd want to be buried in overalls! he he

Anne - it's a sucky day. depressed and lying up due to slicing my leg opene on barbed wire this weekend. Probably should have gotten stitches (the wound is deep and about 8 inches long) BUT I'm just keeping it pulled together with butterflies and popping antidepressants! ye ha.

BBC: I'm not sure if I want to deteriorate; however, if I am in good spirits and healthy, 100 would be interresting. Can you imagine the changes we'd see?