JAY - They live an 80 acre ranch within the town limits of Jay, Oklahoma… Now, that is a real rural town.
The Sherman family came to these parts in 1905 to begin ranching and raising horses, cattle and hogs, settling in around Zena and then expanded into the Jay area.
The family raised most everything they served on the table as they had chickens, hogs, milking cows, plus a garden.
They had a huge garden, growing most every vegetable, eating from the garden while in season and canning so they could eat throughout the remainder of the year.
Without fail, potatoes had to be in the ground by March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day), no matter the weather, whether there was snow on the ground, rain or sunshine…and they still live by that rule.
Even today, the family still cans vegetables from the garden to be available year-round, with now the youngest Sherman, Lila, a senior at Jay High School, adding her help to the family’s efforts.
Today, Grandpa and Grandma (Bob and Brownie) live on the 80 acres in Jay where they have raised pure-bred quarter horses, with people coming from Texas, Louisiana and other states to purchase their colts.
Bob got his first horse when he was eight years old, using his horse to get around, until he sold his horse in his senior year in order to be able to go to college.
His parents worked for the County to supplement their farm income and dollars were tight, so they weren’t able to pay for his college education, “so you did what you had to do.”
He earned his teaching degree, came back to the area where he taught 7th grade Social Studies for 30 years, while his wife Brownie taught 3rd grade for 40 years, supplementing their ranching.
In 1986, Bob scaled back the horse business and began building a cattle herd, beginning with “5 half-breed cows and 1 Beefmaster bull.”
Today they have 35 head of Charolais cattle.
While their son, John, was growing up he “had to hustle home to help with chores” after school, plus other ranching duties.
John grew up helping with the horses and then the cattle, but his adult life took a little different turn, though he still continued the ranching legacy of his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.
Though he kept his hand in the ranch, he became a police officer in Grove, then eventually becoming chief of police at VoTech.
He also took his knowledge of growing and harvesting hay to “smaller” plots of land as he launched Big John’s Lawn Service in the area, growing it to 55 residential and commercial clients.
He has since dialed that back to 15 lawns/businesses, while his wife Christy continues to teach 4th grade in Colcord, OK.
Through the generations the family have always done what they needed to supplement income in order to keep on ranching, whether that was working another job or raising their own food.
As the fifth generation is coming into her own, John and Christy’s daughter Lila is following the same path as she works lawns alongside her dad, with plans to eventually take over the business.
Lila also is beginning to grow her livestock herd as a high school senior.
She has kept her grand champion does (female goats) to become the base of growing her breeding herd.
For years she has and does work alongside her grandpa with his cattle, while she gleans knowledge from her grandparents and parents about growing a livestock herd.
Besides livestock, she helps with the canning and cooking.
Plus, her list of awards is very long reaching back to 8th grade winning grand champions for her does and wethers (male goats), Beefmaster cattle, lambs, plus judging horses.
Additionally, she has held offices of president, treasurer, reporter and Chaplain in FFA as she pursues her State FFA degree.
Lila plans to attend NSU to major in Speech Pathology and minor in Early Childhood Education.
Her college area of interest comes from her personal struggle with hearing and vision issues when she was young and she knows how important it is to have had someone with expertise to come alongside.
Lila plans to return to the Jay, Oklahoma area after she graduates, continuing to grow her breeding program with her goats, work as a speech pathologist and keep the lawn business flourishing.
She continues a five generation Sherman legacy of ranching, growing livestock herds and contributing to the community.
Little did her great-great grandparents know what they were birthing as they settled in the Jay and Zena area, nor the impact the five Sherman generations would have on the Jay area, including Zena and Colcord.