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Gaston Farm House Built 1911

The Ras and Mattie Gaston farm house, located about 7 miles northwest of Cranfills Gap, Texas, was built in 1911 for about $1200 by Ras Gaston and an elderly man Ras hired as a carpenter.  The photograph of the Gaston farm house (date photo made unknown) was made before the wooden front porch was replaced with concrete (date unknown when porch was replaced.)  Just to the west of the house, a water well was dug by Ras Gaston and a Chicago Aermotor windmill was assembled sometime in 1912.  That windmill was delivered in a horse drawn wagon. The windmill is still in use today and when I saw it in the mid-1980s, it had no sign of rust on the galvanized steel that it was made from. A large concrete water storage tank was also built, but the date of construction is unknown, though probably around 1912 when the windmill was built.


The old farm house was two stories and consisted of a living room, two bedrooms, a hall, a dining room, kitchen and small upstairs room.  The upstairs area was accessed by a wooden staircase and was a bedroom, though it did not cover the same area as the house and consisted only as a small area as the upper floor.  You could look out the front windows (two dormers) to the south, and see the large old Live Oak tree. You could look out the window on the west side and see the windmill and storage tank. From the window on the east side, you could see the outhouse and wind generator, when it was in operation. The wind generator located on the east side of the house, was a tall wooden structure with a propeller that was turned by the wind to create electricity to charge the battery used for a battery operated radio. This was before they had electricity at the house. I do not know when this was built or when it was taken down. They used kerosene lanterns for light. They got electricity sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s.


There was no indoor bathroom!  There was an outhouse about 150 feet northeast of the house.  The only “indoor plumbing” was a pipeline from the windmill storage tank to the kitchen sink, and it was gravity flow. Hot water was obtained my heating a large pot on the kitchen wood stove. I remember the old large black cast iron wood cook stove with porcelain pieces with words printed on them. There was a bucket of various sized small pieces of wood by the stove. I remember a steel long handle to lift the stove lids on the stove top.  There were several “spun wire” handles. I recall seeing my grandma Gaston and Aunt Ola cooking on that stove. I also remember seeing my grandma Gaston sitting in a chair in the kitchen churning butter in a tall crock container with a wooden lid and a wooden handle. I also recall my aunt Ola bringing a large bucket of fresh snow-white cow’s milk from the barn and sitting it on the kitchen cabinet. I have been told that when they got electricity, my grandpa and uncle John, who lived in a small house on the farm, hauled the old wood cook stove to the north pasture and dumped it in a gully.



John Ras, Mattie Elizabeth, Maggie Viola, Nora Pearl, and Raymond Richard GASTON 1899


Live Oak tree in front of Gaston farm house


Gaston farm house in July 1968

Sadly, the Gaston farm house was torn down in the early 1970s. Some of the lumber was used to build a small house to the north of the old house location.  The old barn where they parked their 1951 Chevrolet and sometimes the farm tractor was torn down as was the old feedlot barn and Ola’s chicken house.  About all that remains of the original farm house site is the windmill and concrete storage tank.


The Gaston Chicago Aermotor Windmill


Gaston Windmill - June 1989

The above  photograph is of the windmill and storage tank looking west from where the farm house was located. Photo was made June 1989. 
Most of the windmills around Clifton and Cranfills Gap, Texas, had "Chicago Aermotor" on the wind direction fin.  The Aermotor Company is still in business making Aermotor windmills and the company history can be seen at

The photograph below is the Gaston farm house and windmill taken from the southwest, looking northeast. The photo was made in July 1968.  Unfortunately the photo is blurred, But you can see the farm house, windmill and Aunt Ola's chicken house.


Farm house, windmill and Aunt Ola's chicken house

Below is a photo of my last visit to the Ras and Mattie Gaston farm house in July 1968 before it was torn down.


My last visit to the Gaston farm house in July 1968