A Justice of the Peace in a rural county requires someone honest, fair, loyal, hardworking, tough, humble and friendly. In September of 1995, the Commissioners Court of Archer County found just such a person. His name was C.T. McDaniel. For the past 24 years until the end of 2018, he served as the Justice of the Peace in Precinct 1 of Archer County. The County Commissioners appointed him to fill the unexpired term after the death of Pee Wee Hutson. A tribute to his service to Archer County was evident as he ran unopposed for the office in every election except the first one in 1996. He won that election by a landslide. Last Monday afternoon C.T. McDaniel died.
In his passing Archer County lost much more than a retired JP. It lost a great friend, an unsurpassed Bible teacher and Bible scholar, a top-notch cattleman and farmer, and a man with a joyous sense of humor. His family lost a dear husband and a caring father. From a rough upbringing in the fields near his native town of Crowell, he grew into one the more gentle Christian men anyone would ever hope to meet. The man people saw in his duties as a Justice of the Peace saw only a small portion of the storied life of C.T. McDaniel.
He married the former Jo Ann “Jody" Patrick in 1960. They met while attending Midwestern State University. After dating only six weeks C.T. and Jody married, a union lasting nearly 60 years. Archer City has been their home since 1961 where they raised two daughters, Mitzi and Teresa. For 12 years before accepting the position as JP, he ran a feed and fertilizer business while farming and ranching on his own. He did custom farming and baling for many years before becoming Judge McDaniel.
His Bible studies for youth and adults at the First Baptist Church of Archer City have been ongoing for fifty-five years. The classes were a result of his in-depth study of the Bible and his unselfish willingness to share his knowledge. As many as 25 people at a time from all over the community attended. Included were members of other churches and some who did not attend church at all.
Roger Deerinwater, the Pastor at First Baptist for over 20 years, said, "When
you have a good Bible teach-er, you leave them alone and let them teach the Bible. He was part of what made our church a strong Bible-teach-ing church. He was one of the pillars of our church. He is the kind of Bible teacher every pastor dreams of hav-ing in his church, that’s for sure. He will be missed.” One of his Bible study students is current Precinct 1, Justice of the Peace, Joe Aulds. Aulds commented, "C.T.'s knowledge of the Bi-ble was as precise as any civ-il or criminal law dealt with in the JP's office." He is remembered fond-ly by Archer County Judge Randy Jackson. Jackson has a perspective both on his service to Archer County as the Justice of the Peace and also as one of his workers in the farming and ranching conducted by Hardly Able Cattle Co., a partnership composed of McDaniel and D.W. Stone. Jackson spoke of Judge McDaniel, "If you owned a mistake, he was as understanding a judge as you could get. But if some-one was trying to bypass the system or anything less than honest, he was pretty tough. If you owned it, he would work with you. If you were anything less than truthful, it would backfire on you." Jackson often would stroll over to C.T.’s office to talk about old times, allowing them both to relieve some of the tension and burdens of the day. They would laugh and reminisce about work-ing cattle or farming. Jackson remembered Mc- Daniel as one of the first people to commission Lex Graham for calendars. In one of those calendars Hard-ly Able Cattle Co. is billed as Owned by Several Banks, C.T. McDaniel (Branding & Gathering), D.W. Stone (Ear-Ticking, Dehorning, and Castration), located on Lake Kickapoo, Texas, with no phone, no zip, no area code. Jackson feels McDan-iel and Stone were templates for many of the characters that appear in his drawings. When asked about how it was to work for Hardly Able Cattle Co., Jackson replied, "It was an adventure. It wasn't always fun, believe me because they would work cattle when it was 10 de-grees or 110 degrees. Sissies weren't allowed. Sympathy wasn't allowed. They were a couple of tough guys, but I enjoyed being around them." Jackson, 20 years young-er than McDaniel, was sad-dened and emotional, at los-ing a friend, but he talked openly. "C.T. enjoyed the humor in things, always. He loved young people, and hu-mor was a big part of his life. He was as honest as they came; his obligations were more important than money ever was. If he said it, he meant it. I like to remember him when he was 50 or 60. He was very much a man.” McDaniel was a father figure to Abby Abernathy. Abernathy wanted to tell his life story, but could not get consent to do so. Abernathy remembered C.T. saying, “There’s nothing I need to say that the world needs to know about me.” Abernathy probably summed up all that anyone would need to know about C.T. McDaniel saying, "He was a fine, fine, Chris-tian man, no finer."