Milton Garrison Leatherwood, known as Mitt, came to Crosby County from Johnson Co. in summer of 1898 with his father, James V. Leatherwood, Sam Starrett and Steve Carol in a wagon and hack. James purchased land in August of 1898 in the area of the county later to be known as East Plains. Mitt came with his mother, Cornelia, and his father, James V. and sister, Alabama. Matt Anderson, a boy who was living with the family, came too.
The family lived in a half dugout. Mitt returned to Johnson Co. to bring his brother, Henry, to Crosby Co. When they arrived at Henry´s new home, Mitt jumped out of the wagon and said, "Get out boy! This is your new home." Henry gazed over the hole in the ground. His eyes surveyed the miles upon miles of grassland. Years later he would tell his nephews how he wondered how this vast empty land could ever become home.
Mitt´s job in building the permanent house was to build the flue, which was a vent for the stove. He was perched upon the roof proud to be finished with the job. Since he was using a trowel to smooth the mortar he kept a bucket of water beside him to keep the trowel clean. The young man decided it was time to have a little fun. Mitt called to his sister, Bam, who was inside the house to come take a look up the flue and tell him if it was straight. Bam stopped what she was doing and looked up into the flue intently. Mischievously, Mitt poured the bucket of dirty water down the flue into the face of Bam. People who knew Mitt and Bam say that no one would have enjoyed the mischief more than Bam.
Mitt was to return to Johnson Co. to marry Cora Ethel Sanders (12/30/1885--3/19/1943) in her parents´ home Mar. 13, 1904 at 6:00 in the evening. As soon as the wedding festivities were over, Mitt loaded his bride into the wagon to bring her to her new home in Crosby Co.
Mitt and Cora lived with the James V. Leatherwood until they could build a house of their own.
Mitt and Cora had four boys; James Dudley "Jake" born Aug. 21, 1905, Calvin Buck "Bud" born Oct. 31, 1907, William Happell "Cotton": born Sept. 27, 1909, and Van Milton "Buster" born Sept. 13, 1911. Buster was only to live seven years.
Mitt and Cora were part of the hospitality of the Plains. One son, Cotton, remembers coming home many times to find that people had stopped, come into their house, cooked, eaten and left. Sometimes the family would know who had been there and sometimes they never knew. Homes were open to other pioneers. If a family came by just before dark, the family was always welcome to stay the night.
Mitt inherited from James V. a pair of tooth pullers. The tooth pullers were kept in a locked black dresser drawer. Many of the children of the community remember thinking that they were going to Mitt´s house for a visit only to return home minus a tooth.
Mitt´s membership in Masonic Lodge was so important to him that he would ride his horse to Floydada and spend the night in order to attend. On one occasion, Mitt and L.A. Wicks "Judge Wicks" who lived in Crosbyton agreed to meet at George Smith´s Caprock sometime before sundown. Mitt rode on the east side of the canyon as Wicks rode through the canyon from the south to the top. The two men continued together on horseback to Floydada to attend the Masons meeting. Judge Wicks told later that "He rode the goat" that night.
Cora membership in Eastern Star was important to her. Bam Richardson, Mrs. R.A. Crausbay and Cora would travel by buggy to Spur, attend the meeting and spend the night. What fun the ladies must have had visiting while on their outings.
Mitt farmed, ranched and hired out as a cowboy to earn extra money. The cowboy´s life was not an easy one. Henry Leatherwood wrote Mitt in 1909, "I tell you we have been up against it with these cattle and the itch; they just keep on dying. I haven´t done anything but pull their tails since you left."
Mitt donated the land on which Leatherwood School was built. In 1921 the Leatherwood family moved to town so that the boys could attend high school. Cotton and Jake finished in 1927. Bud finished in 1928. The Leatherwood boys were very active in sports. Cotton tells of their "sandlot football teams."
Mitt was not to have a long life. He died Jan. 19, 1927. He rests in Crosbyton cemetery.
The burden of farming and ranching fell on the shoulders of Jake, Bud and Cotton. The boys accepted their responsibilities of land management and took care of their mother.
Bud married Lottie Eulah Barrett Dec. 7, 1932. Jake married Jessie Mae Stout in December, 1932. Cotton married Jewel Steadham Aug. 12, 1933.
Cora bought a house in 1937 in Crosbyton at 420 West Aspen. Cora lived there until her death Mar. 19, 1943. She is buried in Crosbyton cemetery.