My grandpa, Jessie Burrell Leatherwood, was born 13 Dec., 1902 in Washita, County, Oklahoma to James Franklin Leatherwood and Mattie America Stewart. He died 4 March, 1978 and is buried in Port Cemetery, Port, Oklahoma. He first married Katie Carrie Sullins, my grandmother. Three children were born to this union: Nina Vee, JB, and Jimmie Dee (my Dad). He married second, Leola Bailey and two sons were born to this marriage, Butch Valgene and Ron Vincent.
Jessie and Willie were both born in the dugout that their father, James F. Leatherwood burrowed from the east bank of Little Elk Creek on the land he claimed in the 1892 Oklahoma Land Run. Grandpa (Jessie), was twelve years old when his father died. Willie was about 13. Grandpa, his sister, and their mother, Mattie America, worked the homestead. Grandpa’s success as a farmer/rancher speaks volumes for a man with a fourth grade education and a physical disability. He later purchased more farm land and leased even more. He was quite a business man. It is said by locals that he wouldn’t pay a penny more than he thought something was worth and he wouldn’t sell for a penny less. Though disabled, at the time his disability had no name, it did not curb his ambition to succeed. Walking across a field, climbing on a horse or tractor, and working with his hands, was not easy, but he was still successfull. Now we know that his disability was an inherited neuropathy (CMT). I also have CMT and Grandpa has been my inspiration to never give up or give in. I am proud to be the Granddaughter of Jessie Burrell Leatherwood.