A Visit With a Lubbock Woman Older Than the City Itself - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock


A Visit With a Lubbock Woman Older Than the City Itself

Over the last century, Lubbock has seen many changes from the days of horse-drawn buggies to state of the art medical facilities. Today only a few still remain who witnessed those changes and remember Lubbock at its birth. 

However, Elizabeth Lupton Owen remembers, as she is older than Lubbock.  "There wasn't much of Lubbock when I was born. I was born February 28, 1907 - I'm older than Lubbock," Owen said.

Her eyesight is almost gone, but that does not keep this 101-year-old from her morning crossword. Today family and friends call Owen, Big Red.

Born in Lubbock, Owen spent her early years on a ranch about 70 miles away in Yoakum County. "It took us two days in a buggy to come visit from Yoakum to visit my grandmother," Owen said. "They road their horses and just hitched them up to the hitching pole, and outside a store would be four of five horses tied up," she added.

Owen said, "The women would climb out of the wagon, and buy all the groceries and they would load them up and go home"

At just 17 Big Red started a teaching career that would span more than 50 years. "The first was a one teacher school and I had all the grades," Owen said. "We had chalk boards and badly beat up desks," she added.

In the 1950s, Big Red moved to a bigger school. "They built Christ the King and they hired me as a teacher, and I was there for more than 20 years," Owen said.  

While teaching children to read and write, Big Red was swept away by a fellow teacher. "Lewis Owen, he was teacher 30 miles from where I taught," Owen said.  

Their romance started on a dance floor. "They had a band the Buffalo Rhythm Stompers from Lubbock. That was about the only thing young people could do in those days - was go dancing there was no television," Owen remembered.

She was 24 years old when the two married at Lubbock's St. Josephs Church in 1932. "I had a blue dress and big white hat," Owen said. 

A year after the wedding, Big Red had her first of 10 children. To this day, Big Red still wears the engagement ring she accepted in the 1930's. Mr. Owen, as she called her husband, died more than 50 years ago. "If they knew as much about the heart as they do now, he could have probably made it," Owen added.

Owen is living piece of history who has seen Lubbock transform from a small ranching and farming community to the hub of the South Plains. In addition, even at 101, Big Red continues to give lessons this time the subject is life.

"So what's your trick to living to 101?" NewsChannel 11 asked. "I didn't smoke, I didn't drink, I worked hard," Owen said. "Work at something you like and stick with it," she added.

Big Red still lives at home on her own, but has many visitors as she has more than 90 grandchildren.

Lubbock's First Doctor: M.C. Overton
Lubbock's first "professionally trained doctor" wouldn't arrive until the turn of 20th century. And as NewsChannel 11's Julia Bruck found out, no part of Lubbock's early development would escape the touch of Dr. Overton.

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