Big changes have come to — all content is now read-only, and member subscriptions and the Shop have been discontinued.
Learn more



I was born at Zafra, Oklahoma in 1941. Alton was born in 1939, Bonnie in 1935 and Mattie Belle in 1932. All were born at Mt. Herman, Oklahoma
Our parents were Robert and Mattie Speaks. They were married at Boswell,Ok. in September of 1913. Our oldest brother Earl was born in New Mexico in 1917. So they had traveled that far and back to Oklahoma by 1919. Our oldest sister, Violet was born at Mr. Herman in August of 1919. Before she was a year old they had moved again. All of this by wagon, I'm sure. They lived in Texas until about 1929 when they went back to Mt. Herman. Another sister was born while living in Texas. This was Ruby in 1927. Our father did farm labor and worked on a sheep and goat ranch in Texas for a while. This is where Earl and Violet started to school in Bronte, Texas.

Grandmother died when our mother was 3 years old in 1901. Grandpa whose name was Walter Edward Burgen, had remarried and moved his family to the Sherwood community near Mt. Herman. He had a farm not too far from the school where his children(our mother's half sisters) attended in the 1920's and 1930's.
When our parents came back to Oklahoma, Earl and Violet went to school at a one room school called the Cherry School, which was south of Mt. Herman. It was just west of Highway 259 on what is now Weyerhouser property.
The Choctaw-Lumber company allowed families to live on their land and have a garden. The land was free range for cows and hogs. This is where our father built a house such as they could afford. Probably logs they cut or slabs from a saw mill. There was only a dirt floor for some time. Violet remembers Mother using tow sacks to cover the floor. Sheets were hung to separate the bedroom.
These were Depression days and times were especially hard around Mt. Herman. Mother was very unhappy while living there. Any pictures we have of her taken during this time she looks so depressed. Papa and Earl would always have meat from hunting deer. squirrel, rabbits, ect. I'm sure our father was in on some of the moonshining that went on during that time also. Mother always hated this.

About the Burgen family
Charley and Martha Burgen lived in Grayson co. Texas in 1880 and in the area of northeast Texas near the Paris, Tx. area in 1889. This is where Charles Robert Burgen was born, youngest of six children born to Charley and Martha Burgen.
Charley Burgen was born in Missouri. His father was born in Kentucky. As far as we know all of Charley and Martha's children were born in Texas. Sometime before 1898 they moved to Mayhew, Ok, Indian Territory. The post office at Mayhew was moved to Boswell a few years later. Mattie Lou Burgen was born to Walter Edward and Lizzie Weeks Burgen on June 30 1898. Lizzie died when Mattie was 3 years old(1901). Charley and Martha took her to raise. She attended school at Crowder Prarie School south of Boswell.

Mattie married Robert Lee Speaks Sept. 15 1913 at her grandparents home. We do not have any information as to where Mattie and Robert lived or what they were doing until jan. 23 1917 when a son Walter Earl was born at Capitan, New Mexico
Charley Burgen was in Kimble Co. Texas in 1916 and died may 15 1917 Noxville, Texas, Kimble Co. Robert and Mattie may have traveled to Texas with the Burgen family before going to New Mexico for work. Robert worked on a goat and sheep ranch while living in New Mexico.

Speaks-Burgen(Steenbergen) Home page
Updated August 23, 2010

Carl Ray Speaks Sr.
Box 318
Arp, Tx 75750
United States

Edit Your Page

My Family History


Family Photos

  • Burgen family with Robet Lee and Mattie Speaks (78 KB)
    Standing Back Row: Jessie Dale Laxton Burgen, Lilly Burgen, Martha Harrison Burgen, Mattie Speaks, Jessie Burgen, Charlie Robert Burgen Front Row: Lee Burgen, Ida Burgen, W.E. Burgen holding Lora Burgen, Charley Burgen, Robert Lee Speaks
  • Grandma Lizzie Burgen (35 KB)
    Grandma Burgen died when my mother was 3 years old. My mother(Mattie Speaks) then lived with her grandparents, Charley and Martha Burgen. Her dad later remarried to Jessie Laxton.
  • Henry Newton Speaks (10 KB)
    Henry Newton Speaks was Robert Lee's father
Created with Family Tree Maker

The content shown on this page has been submitted by a customer, and is not subject to verification by Neither nor its affiliates are responsible for the accuracy of any information contained on this page. The opinions expressed on this page are the author's alone and not the opinions of

Home | Help | About Us | Site Index | Terms of Service | PRIVACY
© 2009