The Family Of Mark And Sara Simpson Fletcher

The family of Mark and Sara Simpson Fletcher came to Pampa in the early 1900s. They bought a small rooming house that they enlarged to open the Liberty Hotel at the corner of East Atchison and South Ballard. This location, catercorner from the Santa Fe depot, is now parking space for post office vehicles and drive-up mail boxes.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

Mark and Sara Fletcher were parents of five boys and four girls, all of them very musical.

Jesse and Mable Reiss from Burlington , Iowa married at Childress , Texas and came to Pampa around 1911 or 1912 to work with Mark and Sara at the hotel. Jesse sang tenor in a barbershop quartet and in the choir at the First Methodist Church . Jesse and Mabel were the parents of Hazel “Tottie” and Loretta.

Ernest also sang tenor in a barbershop quartet and in the choir at the First Baptist Church where his wife, Anna Lee, played the piano. Later they moved to Beaumont , Texas .

Wallace lived in Pampa and worked with Jesse. He moved to California . Lloyd went to Amarillo where he was an attorney and later went to Washington , D.C.

Verle “Budda” and Pearl Mathus lived in Amarillo where they taught piano and voice and participated in many musical activities.

Erle married N.B. “Pinky” Ellis and they made their home in Pampa with their children Neely Joe, who became a doctor, and Patsy. Erle taught at Hopkins school south of Pampa , Horace Mann in Pampa and at Hedley.

Belle, born in 1888 at Beeman , Nebraska in a covered wagon came to Gray County with her parents. At Laketon in 1908, she married William Daughtry Benton, son of pioneers John T. and Margaret Benton who came to a farm near Laketon in the spring of 1905. Bill and Belle lived east of Pampa on a farm that Bill bought in 1906 when the land was first put into cultivation. Their children were Lee “Bus,” Dick, Jack and Erdine Dyer.

In the early 1930s the Fletcher Estate and the White House Lumber Company sold lots to the United States of America for construction of the Pampa Post Office which started in April, 1933.

In 1936 Loretta married Bob Andrus, who came from Bartlesville , and worked for Phillips for 41 years. He died in 1982.

For Gray County Heritage in 1985, Loretta Fletcher Andrus wrote of her memories in Pampa when she was growing up in the Liberty Hotel.

“When I was a small child, there were only two hotels in Pampa , the Schneider and the Liberty , owned by my parents. When the Harley Sadler Tent Show came to town, some of the performers stayed at our hotel, and I won a dancing contest with his show when I was eight years old.

“I ‘grew up’ with Pampa ; started to school in the old Red School where the First National Motor Bank is located, and graduated from Pampa High School where the Pampa Junior High was located. I attended school with song writer Woody Guthrie, but he was also a good cartoonist.

“I saw Indian Jim lay the brick pavement in downtown Pampa . He stayed at our hotel and was later quoted in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not as the world’s fastest bricklayer.

“Ginny Simms, the popular singer of Kay Kyser and his Orchestra lived in Pampa for a short time when she was a small child.

I remember a small man called Frank who stayed at the hotel. We thought he was very poor because he wore ragged clothes and went around Pampa playing on his harp for money. After several years he became ill and was taken to Saint Anthony’s in Amarillo where it was discovered to the amazement of everyone that he owned stock in the hospital and was actually a wealthy man.

“Many years ago our winters were more severe and lasted longer. During one bad blizzard my sister and I awoke to a blanket of snow on our bed. Our summers were cooler, and when the sun went down we needed light wraps to sit on the porch.

“I’ve seen Pampa grow from a small wheat and agricultural community to an oil booming city. I’ve also survived the many bad dust storms in the thirties.”

Hazel Fletcher Carlton died in 1968. Loretta Andrus and her daughter, LaVonna Andrus Dalton, continue to live in Pampa.

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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