The LaBriere Family

Pioneers in Texas & the West
Compiled from Family Information & Writings provided by
Dr. David Ballard of Avoca

 


John La Brier, a descendant of the Haskell County LaBriere family, visited the LaBriere house in 2009.
Photo courtesy of John La Brier

 
John Leonard LaBriere was born in Ste Genevieve county, Missouri, on July 2, 1860.   His parents died when he was a young boy and at the age of 12 John came to Granbury, Texas, where he had relatives - the Henderson family.   Not long afterward, he returned to Missouri and brought his brother, Henry, to Texas.

John walked most of the way and let 8 year old Henry ride the pony.   Next John  returned to Missouri and brought sister Louisa (Lou) to Granbury where she lived with the Henderson family and later married J. K. Millwee in Hood County, Texas.

The 1880 Census for Haskell county showed John living at a line camp on California creek in southeast Haskell county with the Matthews family.   His brother, Henry, stayed at the ranch headquarters where he worked as a wrangler.  The Matthews and Reynolds ranch was a very large ranch in Throckmorton, Shackelford and Haskell counties.

In 1882, John returned to Missouri and married Miss Sally Ballard, daughter of Tom and Emma Ballard.   She was born July 11, 1860.   Their marriage date was July 24, 1882, in Ste Genevieve county.   John brought his new bride to Texas where they lived at Rice Springs (later Haskell) and built the first house there in 1883.  It was known as the LaBriere House.  Lumber was hauled by wagon from Albany.   There were no roads or bridges at that time.

Their first child, Lucille, was born in Haskell on March 24, 1884.   She died January 18, 1886, and is buried in the Tom and Emma Ballard plot in the Haskell Willow Cemetery.

The other children of John and Sally LaBriere were:

Zeno LaBriere b. Nov 24 1886 in Haskell.   d. in Colorado Jun 30, 1963
Artie LaBrier b. Jun 19, 1889 in Colorado.  m. W. J. Stehle
Pearl LaBriere b. Sep 30, 1891 in Colorado.   m. Roy Henry
Ashley LaBriere b. Aug 23, 1895, in Oklahoma.  d. May 1970  m. Loree Wood
Philamine LaBriere b. Jun 27, 1898 in Oklahoma. d. Jan 30, 1950  m. Chas Williamson
Ruth LaBriere b. Feb 11, 1902  d. Jun 1967   m. 1 N. J. Porter; 2 Fred Winn

John and Sally lived a life of Pioneers in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.   They ranched most of the time and operated a trading post in Arizona for several years.

Trailrides were the way cattle were taken to market and John took the largest number ever taken as one herd when he took 3300 head from Haskell to the railroad in Kansas.   An article appeared in the Haskell paper in 1929 telling about it.   

In 1976 another newspaper article (in the Abilene Reporter-News) told of the restoration that had begun for the LaBriere House.   It had been purchased by the City-County Bicentennial Committee as their project for the Nations 200th birthday, and moved from its original site on Avenue C.  The Progressive Study Club began its project of restoring the little house as near as possible to its original early Texas style.

After John died on September 16, 1935, Sally lived with her daughter, Pearl and son-in-law Roy Henry, in Silver City, New Mexico.   She died on April 7, 1948.   The two Haskell pioneers are buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Silver City, New Mexico, and  the house that Sally and John built in 1883 now stands restored and cared for by the members of the Haskell community and the Progressive Study Club of the town.

From Family Information Furnished by Dr. David Ballard.  2008