Tales of 91 years in Clovis as a family

Don McAlvy

Fred J. and Lou Ella McCarty were the start of a dynasty in Clovis. Fred was a railroader for the Santa Fe in Kansas. He carried a pistol at work there.
He was sent to Clovis in 1912 to straighten the railroad out. That’s what his kids thought. (He was actually the bonus timekeeper in the back shop, and later as an RD inspector.)
Lou Ella ruled the roost at 412 Wallace. He liked limburger cheese. She disliked it, but he kept buying it. Every time Lou looked in the ice box he’d have more limburger. “You get rid of that cheese!” she told him. “Yes, Lou, Yes, Lou,” he softly spoke.
He still bought his limburger cheese.
Lou Ella was noted for Halloween parties for all the children in the neighborhood. During World War II she was “Mother” to the airmen at Clovis Army Air Base with socials, dances and parties she had in her big home. The airmen, she said, were “so lonesome!”
Together they had five children. Four were girls, and the boy was Jasper (Jap) whose descendants carry on the McCarty name today. The girls were Margaret, Merie, Bernice, and Ida B.
Lou Ella said the 1930 dust storms were so bad that she would make her way to Eugene Field School three blocks away and meet her children on the school steps. She would gather them up with the neighbor children and pass out pocket handkerchiefs to be held over their noses so they could breathe. Then they would form a living chain of kids so they wouldn’t get lost in the swirling thick dust while making their way home.
Billy the Kid was a McCarty and some of the family thought there was a connection somewhere between the famous outlaw and some of the Clovis McCartys. Most McCartys do as they like and make up their minds as they go along, are smart, quick to step forward, make a decision and stick to it.
They are all leaders, but none are known to have ever shot anybody.
The daughters married strong-willed men, but the girls were the bosses, and knowing what good cooks they were the men made no fuss.
Margaret married John Stebbins who started the Magic Steam Laundry in Clovis.
They had six kids. Only one, Bud Stebbins, had a horse and rode as wild as Billy the Kid.
John Wes, called the Godfather, rules the family from Las Cruces. Their sister Marcia Pearson has been the organizer of the whole McCarty clan reunions in Clovis.
Some that came from far away said it used to rain here.
Merie married Ridge Whiteman and they worked at Knotts Berry Farm in California for 19 years before they retired and moved back to Clovis in 1972. They had three kids, Jim, Katherine, and Scott. Ridge died at age 93 on Aug.
Jasper McCarty married Alene Barton and they had four children. Jasper started the McCarty Steak-in-the-Rough restaurants. (He started at Al Drive-Inn, where Foxy’s is today, and invented the popular “Tajita.” His son David later took over this chain in Albuquerque when his dad died.)
Bernice married Medford Choate who had earlier worked on the Pitchfork Ranch in Texas, but the family moved to California after their first child, Ann, was born in Clovis in 1932. Ann Choate Smith, now in Oregon, took on the task of organizing the annual McCarty First Cousins Reunions. The eighth one will be in Colorado this weekend.
Ida B married Frank Plass and later Floyd Holden and she had four children. One of them was here, Charles Plass, a Methodist preacher in West Virginia who is a Vietnam War veteran and a veteran of the Los Angeles police department.
The McCartys have done well.

Don McAlavy is a history buff who lives in Clovis.