County, Texas sits along the Red River, which separates Texas from
Oklahoma. Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower was born in
Denison, just south of the river. Sherman, the County Seat, lies
south of Denison. Dallas is 50 miles further south.
Alvis Edgar Owens Sr., a native of Texas, and his wife, Arkansas
native Maicie Azel Owens, tilled the land at their farm outside
Sherman. The Owenses were sharecroppers, trying to make a living
to support their children. Mary, the first, was born in 1927. On
August 12, 1929, Alvis Edgar Owens, Jr. was born. Two other children
would follow, Melvin in 1931, and Dorothy in 1934.
At times Alvis Sr. worked at a dairy farm in Garland, Texas, near
Dallas. That life, his eldest son remembers, was difficult.
You get up about 2-3 oclock in the morning and get through
about 7 or 8 and 12 hours later you start all over. Thats
the worst kind of work a person can do. You have to do these two
shifts to get one day.
Buck was a mule on the Owens farm. When Alvis Jr.
was three or four years old, he walked into the house and announced
that his name was also Buck. That was fine with the family;
the boy was Buck from then on. Music was an integral part of the
Owens family. Maicie Owens played the piano and exposed her children
to gospel music through visits to a number of churches before joining
a Southern Baptist Church. The eldest Owens children worked in the
fields as soon as they were old enough.