Pecos County People A look at people and business in Pecos County

A hometown visit

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On what could be their last trip to Fort Stockton together, one family came to check out where their dad grew up.

Roby Hadden, 90, brought his three children Lynne Clarke, Wes Hadden and Arthur Hadden back to Fort Stockton to show them the history and memories he holds dear.

Roby was born in San Antonio and later settled in Tyler, Texas but his early to teen years were spent in Fort Stockton.

As the youngest of seven, Roby has fond memories of playing in Fort Stockton and graduating from Fort Stockton High School in 1947.

“It's the Fort Stockton that I knew as a little boy growing up,” he said.

The point of the trip is to show the kids where he grew up and things like the Pecos County Courthouse which was built with the help of his grandpa LB Westerman.

He remembers playing sports and lettering for Fort Stockton and helping the team win the district in tennis.

Roby's dad was a lawyer and his mom ran a bookstore in the location where the Grey Mule Saloon sits today.

His dad, W.A. Hadden took a job as deputy county clerk when he got to Fort Stockton in the early 1900's.

He remembers fun times with his best friend Dorbandt Barton and hanging out at the Pavilion of the Comanche Springs where the teenagers would have dances, complete with jukebox.

He remembers swimming in the Comanche Springs long before the pool was in place.

“The Comanche Springs flowed big, bubbly water,” said Roby.

While growing up he held several jobs including lifeguard, cutting grass for the neighbors, ice slinger, gravity meter operator and janitor for the church.

“I turned into a cowboy on the weekends,” he laughed.

His best friend Dorbandt had a ranch and they would spend every weekend riding horses and rounding up livestock.

The trip down memory lane has been a treat for Roby and his children alike.

“It's an epic journey,” said Lynne. “This is very important to our dad.”

The trip has helped bring up fun childhood memories that Roby may have forgotten over the years.

“It rejuvenates him,” said Lynne. “It's great to see the legacy that began here.”

With four children, one deceased, 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, Roby said he has lived a full life.

“I am very blessed,” he said. “God blessed me with all that family and I'm fortunate to have them bring me here for a historic visit.”

Roby was married for 59 years before his wife passed in 2015.

The pair would visit Fort Stockton for high school reunions.

“I think this trip has given me a sense of our legacy,” said Wes.

The group made sure to visit the museum and all of the historic sites before heading home.

“This trip has given him a lot of adrenaline,” said Arthur. “It's been really fascinating to learn about the facts of Fort Stockton and how my family played a role in that.”

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