A century and counting
by Joy Garcia
Mar 12, 2013 | 1874 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
John Freeman Lott sits in his favorite chair at his Goliad County home. Lott, a lifelong Goliad County resident, celebrated his 100th birthday Feb. 22.
John Freeman Lott sits in his favorite chair at his Goliad County home. Lott, a lifelong Goliad County resident, celebrated his 100th birthday Feb. 22.
GOLIAD COUNTY – John Freeman Lott recalls the time during a drought in the 1950’s when his daughter, Alicia Cowley, saw rain for one of the first times.

“You cried because it rained on you and you didn’t know what rain was,” Lott said to his daughter last week after celebrating his 100th birthday on Feb. 22.

The rain story was one of many Lott shared at his home on Farm-to-Market Road 1351.

Lott was born Feb. 22, 1913 in Goliad County and was married on that same date to Allene Pettus. He grew up in the western part of the county and loved living on the San Antonio River.

“We once camped out on the river for a month,” Lott recalled.

Lott resides in the house where his grandfather lived and his father brought his mother as a bride.

Lott has participated in the Goliad County Library oral history project and has been mentioned in Louise O’Connor’s books detailing cattle ranching and the San Antonio River life.

Lott has ranched all of his life and continues to run cattle, but he loved cat hunting and his hound dogs were known throughout South Texas for hunting this region as well as in Mexico.

He recalls there being no paved streets in Goliad and a time where there was no electricity or running water and where fireplaces were in every room to heat the house.

Lott said he owned 200 head of cattle by the time he was 19 years old.

“I borrowed the money from Edward Martin in Goliad,” Lott said. “He owned the bank at that time.”

In the foyer mounted on the wall is a large set of steer horns that Cowley said reminds him what built their home, which has been standing since the 1850’s.

“Dad spent his whole life around cattle,” Cowley said. “His mother swore she cried him through high school, because he told her there wasn’t anything they could teach him about cattle.”

Lott attended one semester of college at Schreiner University in Kerrville, where he enjoyed another one of his loves - baseball.

“That was during the spring baseball season,” Cowley said. “When baseball was over, he came home and that was the end of that.”

Lott also told stories of going to Mexico to hunt panthers with his hound dogs.

“We had a lot of fun,” Lott said.

Lott recalled learning of the start of World War II while on his ranch.

“Momma drove up to the Dohmann place and they told us that bthe war had started,” Lott said. “We had declared war.”

Lott said his aunt, Mary Lee, was a niece to the Confederate General Robert E. Lee. He also recalled a storm that hit Goliad County in 1942.

“We were living in Berclair in an old two-story house,” Lott said. “It was a hell of a storm. I had to put back up 19 windmills after that.”

These days, Lott enjoys watching deer, bids and squirrels out from his kitchen window.

Lott has also learned to be computer friendly enough to enjoy another favorite past-time.

“He may not know how to turn (the computer) off or on or anything else for that matter, but he sure knows how to play online poker on it,” Cowley said.
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