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Enid Justin was born in Nocona, Texas, in 1894. Her father, Herman Joseph Justin, called "Daddy Joe" by his family, established H. J. Justin & Sons, a successful bootmaking business on the Red River, where cowboys driving their cattle along the Chisholm Trail would stop and buy his boots. When the railroad was built through Nocona in 1887, Daddy Joe moved his family and business south. Enid and her six brothers and sisters grew up helping in the shop, and Enid was stitching boots by age twelve.

For the next decade, Enid worked closely with her father, learning the craft of bootmaking and the details of running a business. After the death of Daddy Joe in 1918, Enid's brothers decided to move the family business to Fort Worth. Enid strongly believed that Daddy Joe would have wanted to keep the boot shop in Nocona and decided to stay. In 1925, she opened the Nocona Boot Company.

The town of Nocona became known has a home for skilled leather workers and quality leather goods. This was due, in part, to the success of the Nocona Boot Company, as well as that of other leather manufacturs including the Nocona Athletic Goods Company (originally Nocona Leather Goods Company), which became famous for producing Nokona baseball gloves.

As the company grew, Enid hired more salesmen and expanded business nationwide. Nocona Boot Company opened two more factories in Texas and eventually grew to become one of the top five boot companies in the country. In 1981, Enid sold Nocona Boot Company to Justin Industries, her brothers' company in Fort Worth. She continued to live in Nocona and serve the community until her death in 1990 at age ninety-six. 


On November 13, 1981, Dr. Floyd Jenkins from the University of North Texas Oral History Program interviewed Enid Justin in Nocona, Texas, as part of the Texas Business Oral History Project. The following is an excerpt from that interview. The full transcript is available to scholarly researchers and members of the general public through UNT Special Collections.

Born into the Boot Business

Enid Justin: My paternal grandparents . . . left Germany, came to England, and from England to New York. My father was just a young boy. He died when he was fifty-nine. They came then to Lafayette, Indiana. My father was born in Lafayette, Indiana. As an eighteen-year-old boy, his father was a cigar maker, he didn't like the profession and he came west. He landed in Gainesville, Texas, and worked in a shoe repair shop there. I remember the people's name very vividly. It was the Norton Shoe Store, and these two daughters had inherited the business. Miss Nell visited in our home several times even. I remember real well about those days. [My father] worked there a while, then he bought a little leather. His business would be 101 years old this year. We celebrated the hundredth year last year. In Spanish Fort, Texas, a little inland town down on the Red River and close to the Chisholm Trail. He made a pair of boots, he sold them and made a little money. He bought some more leather. That is the way he got his start. My oldest brother was born in Spanish Fort. My mother was a country doctor's daughter, Dr. S. A. Allen. He travelled in a horse and buggy. My father married my mother in Spanish Fort. When the railroad came to Nocona, he moved here, because of the shipping facilities, of course. My brother, John, would be ninety-two years old now, and he was just a baby when they came here. He was born in Spanish Fort. There were seven children in the family. I am the middle one. There were two boys and a sister older, and a brother and two sisters younger than me. I am the middle spoke. That wheel has gone round and round. They almost broke that spoke down but not quite yet.

So, Daddy Joe as we called him, the grandchildren started calling him Daddy Joe, and everybody that knew him called him Daddy Joe. He gave the girls the same opportunity that he gave the boys to learn the business. And I stitched the boot tops when I was just a kid, fourteen or fifteen years old. Here in Nocona. I was born and raised right here [in 1894]. My oldest brother was the only one born in Spanish Fort.

My father died in 1918.  My husband and I had a little girl that died also in 1918 in January. My father died just six months later in July, at the early age of fifty-nine years. When my older brothers chose to go to Fort Worth, I remember very well. You know the Chamber of Commerce always wants industry. You can't condemn them for that. But the man that came up here was B. B. Buckridge. He was with the industrial board of the Chamber of Commerce. He painted a beautiful picture, you know. It excited those boys to death, and it didn't touch me a bit. But anyhow, they chose to go. When those big old trucks and vans moved my father's machines, it just broke my heart. My father had planned building a new building for the factory. He had already bought the real estate. It is the building now occupied by Justin Leather Goods. It is down on our main street. We had just one main street, one little street, here in Nocona.

Floyd Jenkins: Tell us about your growing up here in Justin, your recollections of that.

Justin: I went to Nocona High School. And when we had my oldest brother's twenty-first birthday dinner party, we had a large home and a large wide hall all the way downstairs. Our bedrooms were all upstairs except the master bedroom. And when I went to school the next morning, Mr. Patty said, "Enid, did you dance last night?" I said, "Yes sir, I had a wonderful time." We had a very, very narrow-minded school board in those days, and they had known about it that early in the morning, a school day. And he said, "I have had orders from the school board not to expel but to suspend you for three weeks."

Jenkins: For dancing.

Justin: For dancing in my own home. I got up, I got my books, and I said, "Anytime anybody thinks there is a party going on in my own home and I am going upstairs and going to bed has something else to think about." And I don't know why Mother and Daddy Joe didn't make me go back, unless at that time I had advanced from the factory proper to helping him in his office.

Jenkins: You were already working in the shop.

Justin: Yes, on Saturday and holidays, I was right by my daddy's warm side. Mother always said , "You are certainly your daddy's child." I guess I was more like him than any of them. I have got his size, too. But I went to work then in the office helping him, doing the shipping and everything.

Jenkins: You didn't finish high school, then.

Justin: No.

Jenkins: Let's go back and look at going to school in Nocona in those days, and some of your recollections of what the town was like, what school was like, how many students were there, what kind of heating and lighting systems you had and such as that. Restroom facilities.

Justin: We had not the kind of school building we have now—very small school building. It was rock; it was made of rock. My kindergarten teacher was later the wife of the president of the F. & M. Bank. She passed away. And I can recall very vividly how I would write my name En- and then I would put –id. I wouldn't join that -n and -i. And Miss Nell, as we called her, would spank my hands a lot of times with a ruler. She never did break any bones, but she broke me of the habit. I never write my name that I don't think of that. It stayed with me.

Jenkins: And you quit school then as a result of being a sinful dancer. 

Justin: I was going into the eighth grade. I danced my way out of school.

Jenkins: You went to stitching boots first at about twelve years of age. How many different kinds of work did you do as you grew up in the boot business?

Justin: I pasted the linings on the front of the boots, you know. I pasted those together. Then I stitched the tops. They were very simple. Just one row of stitching then, very simple patterns. I did the shipping for my father. I did that after I got in the office, you know. I did the shipping. Do you want any fun into it, too?

My second oldest brother, when he married, his wife was up on a balcony, she was up there watching me, or thought she was helping me. She said, "Did you ever put your name in a pair of boots?" I said, "Why, no." In shipping them, you know. I said, "Why, no, I had never even thought of doing that." She said, "Well, do that." At that particular time I was wrapping and mailing a pair of boots to Montana to an individual. Well, I put my name in there just because she suggested it. I got a letter from that old boy, and I answered it for fun. And I got another letter, and he told me how many sections of land he had, how many cattle he was running. Of course, he was building it up pretty good. I was the bootmaker's daughter. Then the third letter I got he sent his picture, and I never did answer that. He was a little short cowboy like you have seen pictures of. He was just as bowlegged as he could be with chaps on. I didn't answer that letter. I dropped the whole match right there.

Jenkins: Just like the cartoons of cowboys.

Justin: Yes, it was real funny.

A Family Affair

Justin: I married when I was twenty-one. This nice-looking man came to town. He was a telegraph operator. He lived in Muenster, this little German town. We started dating and dated two or three years before we ever married, though. We were married in the Catholic Church at Muenster, Sacred Heart Catholic Church. We were both twenty-one. He was two weeks older than I.

When we married we went to Galveston on our honeymoon, and our pictures were on front of the Dallas News and a story about it. We said that we would be away for three weeks, which we had planned. We married on Tuesday, and we were there on Wednesday and part of Thursday. He had rented a little house in Muenster, already furnished. I am domestic, too. I always liked housekeeping and cooking and things very much. So I said, "Let's go home. I am just anxious to go to housekeeping." He said, "Well, okay." And we left at four o'clock on the train the next morning from Galveston, and at seven o'clock that beach hotel that we were staying in was swept away with that flood in 1915. The Lord had his arms around us, didn't He?

Jenkins: Yes.

Justin: We lived there in Muenster a couple of weeks. As I say he was an operator, and he went down to the depot where he worked with the telegraph business. And he came back home—I had invited a couple of girls from home to come spend the weekend with us—and he came back home and said, "I am going to Nocona on the ten o'clock train." And I said, "Oh, I want to go, too." He said, "Well, what are you going to do with your company?" They were coming down that afternoon. I had prepared for them, and had invited them, and of course I couldn't go. He said, "I will be back in the morning." It was on Saturday. "I will be back in the morning on the eight o'clock train." In the good old days we had three trains a day each way from Wichita Falls to Denison.

Jenkins: He probably could ride free because he worked for the railroad.

Justin: Yes. Well, he came home all right on that eight o'clock. He told me when he was going up there, he said, "Your daddy called me and wants to talk to me." And as I said before I was so close to my daddy, and he probably wanted me at home. So he came on home back to Muenster, and he said, "We are moving to Nocona." I said, "When?" He said, "Tonight." We came back on the eight o'clock train that night. Mother and I went back down and packed up all of our things, of course, and I had it moved. He went right to work in my daddy's shop. He made a good bootmaker out of him. He really was careful about his work and a very, very fine person.

Jenkins: You were both working at the factory.

Justin: Yes. In 1925 my brothers moved our family factory to Fort Worth. That is when I told my husband, "I am not going." He said, "What are you going to do?" I said, "We will start our own shop." I knew how to do it. I knew how to order the leather, where to buy the leather, the things that I had done for my father in his office. That is how the Nocona Boot Company was born. My husband stayed home with me, and we started our Nocona Boot Company [in 1925] here in Nocona, with me as founder and president, and first salesman on the road.

Get Up and Fight

Justin: I want to tell you about my husband leaving me. When he was forty years old, there was an old girl, and the way I describe her is as one of the devil's imps in women's clothing, working in the shop. She started going in after him with whiskey. He didn't ever drink that way. He would drink beer maybe, but he never did drink. And he was a very, very fine man, the way I knew him. Well, he just got off on the wrong foot and going with the wrong kind of people.

He came one day, I always had prepared lunch at home, and he said, "I am not going home to lunch." I said, "Are you sure?" "No, I am just not going to," just nonchalantly. I thought nothing of that, and I went on home and ate my lunch. At five o'clock when we started home together, he said, "I am not going home." I said, "Where are you going?" I had no idea. I was very naïve about the way of life of some people. He said, "I am going to the hotel to stay." I couldn't understand it. I still couldn't think about it. Well, I went home, and I shall never forget that night. Of course, I didn't sleep. I was worried, not knowing the score either. The anticipation is greater than the realization sometimes. So I couldn't sleep and I couldn't eat, and I just lost weight, and had to go home from my little office and rest a while during the day. I would go back and work again. I just had to fight that thing. In a little town, everybody knows more. The right person never knows it. Nobody ever said it.

Mother came up, they called her to come up [because] I wasn't well. She sat down beside my bed and Mr. McCall, who was the president of the bank, I told you that his wife was my kindergarten teacher. The families had always been very close, and we still are, the next generation. And Mr. McCall was standing at the foot of my bed. Mother said, "Enid, it is another woman." And I said, "Oh, no, Mother." It never entered my mind. And Mr. McCall said, "Enid, it is true. You get up and fight. The whole town is behind you." Now isn't that some expression? And I still have a lot of friends, I know I have. I always tried to do right. I have tried to help my town all that I could.

My husband was very, very fair and fine in a settlement. In fact, he gave me my stock, his stock, and a home, everything and only asked for $3,000. He wasn't all bad. He was just weak and got off on the wrong foot and didn't feel my equal.

Jenkins: When he left, then you became president [of Nocona Boot Company]?

Justin: Right. In 1934.

On the Road

Justin: I was our first salesman on the road. In 1926 I took my kid sister with me in my little Model T Ford with a turtle back, and took some boots in a case. My first stop was at Jacksboro, Texas. I sold some boots to Shabay Brothers, and I think they are still on our books. Syrians, I guess, or something. I had a sister living in Brownwood at the time. We went to Corsicana and all the way through. When we got to Comanche, Texas, I stopped to have the car serviced and had the oil changed and everything. I tried to make a town every night with good hotel facilities. I felt responsible for my little sister. So we got to a little town named Italy. Did you ever hear of it? It is just outside of Dallas.

That little Ford was just almost burning up. At Comanche they failed to put the cap on when they put the gasoline in and the oil. I looked all around, and I couldn't see any place that I would think would be available to spend the night. Well, we finally got into Gatesville. I said, "Let's go on," and we got to Gatesville. I don't remember how far that was, but we got there. The hotel was a two-story frame hotel. As the little man carried our luggage up the steps, I said, "What do you do in case of fire?" He said, "Jump." I was jumping all night.

Jenkins: How much were you paying for a room then?

Justin: Oh, I guess about eight dollars a night, very, very meager, a very small amount of money.

Jenkins: Well, even for the depression, that put a hole in your budget, didn't it?

Justin: That's right. We went to Waco. We got down as far as Coleman and Brownwood and spent a day down there with my sister. She and her husband lived down there. And started on our way back. Bonita is about five miles from here. On this side of Bonita the back left wheel of my car jumped off. We weren't going very fast. We couldn't, there was no pavement, you know. It was just dirt roads. It flew clear over a wire fence into a farm. There was hardly any traffic at all. We sat there for a while hoping somebody would come by. Finally someone came by, and they were coming this way. And I told them to please tell my husband what had happened and to come and get us. He got a car to come out. He came with them to bring us on in home. That was fun. I reminisce a lot.

Jenkins: Were there many paved roads around then? Were most of the roads you were travelling on dirt roads?

Justin: They were all dirt roads.

Jenkins: Did you get stuck much?

Justin: All dirt roads. Between Jacksboro and Mineral Wells it rained; believe it or not, ruts, real deep ruts. And Murl now is much younger than I was. I am not mechanically minded that way. She knew how to change a tire. And I had a flat on the left side in the back. Murl said, "I can change it." She got out and was working with the flat tire, and I saw a car coming. I said, "Murl, you get out of the way, you are going to get hit." She didn't pay too much attention to it. This car was in a deep, muddy rut. I screamed at her to get out of the way, and that car hit that very place, my fender, right on that wheel she was working on. After we got to a hotel, I believe it was in Corsicana, way in the night she started crying. I said, "What is the matter?" She got nervous about the accident. She said, "I am just thinking about how near I did get to being killed."

Jenkins: You were the first road salesman, then, for the company.

Justin: I was the first salesman.

Jenkins: What was your approach? How did you go about it?

Justin: I just went in and showed my wares, and told them who I was and that we were making western boots. That was western boots then. And showed them the boots and made a sale.

Jenkins: Was it very unusual to have a woman doing that at the time?

Justin: Not that I know of. I was liberated long before that name was defined, liberation.

Jenkins: You didn't find anybody paying much attention to the fact that you were a woman?

Justin: No. They were courteous and nice to me, maybe out of curiosity, I don't know.

Jenkins: If they liked your boots, they bought them.

Justin: Yes, they did.

Jenkins: When you first started, who were the big bootmakers?

Justin: Well, H. J. Justin and Sons was the only one I knew of.

Jenkins: So you were starting in the shadow.

Justin: That's right. I was the family competitor. I didn't want to be a competitor, but I didn't want to leave home, either.

Jenkins: Well, they had most of the family down there.

Justin: They took all of my daddy's machines. We had to start from scratch. And the United Shoe Machinery Company, at that time and until a few years ago, their machinery was just leased, and you paid by the stitch. You paid royalties. There was an indicator on each machine. They were so nice to help us. And the Singer sewing machine, we called them flatbeds where they stitched the flowers, the patterns, on the top. One of the United Shoe Machinery men, they sent him here to help us to build those flatbeds and helped us get started. Well, they knew me through my father's connection, and I guess they felt sorry for me or what. They were real nice. They helped us.

I had a good deal of stock [in Justin Boot Company]. I tried every way in the world to sell my stock so I wouldn't have to borrow money. I don't like borrowing. I don't like to do that. But anyhow, I could not find a buyer. I finally borrowed money from the bank up here.

Jenkins: How much did you borrow?

Justin: Five thousand dollars. I paid it back pretty fast. In a year's time.

Making Ends Meet

Justin: Not only did I run my shop, but I kept boarders. I sold the first electric washing machine that was ever sold. Now this book says it was a Maytag, but it was a Norge. They didn't have the dryers. I would demonstrate them. I would put the washing out. Had to hang it out, because they didn't have any dryers. I recall one banker's wife. I was trying to sell her one. She said, "If they will get Jim Clark's cuffs clean," he always wore a white shirt and on his desk, you know how they would get dirty, "you will make a sale." I said, "Well, I will just rub a extra little soap on there." And it came clean. Every time I see these detergent ads on TV, I get a kick out of that. I made that sale, too. It came clean. I used P&G Soap. Did you ever hear of it? Procter & Gamble. I used a lot of Ivory Soap, too.

Jenkins: Did you have a shop or were you just selling [appliances] out of your house or how?

Justin: No, I would just take orders from home. And coal, we didn't have gas in our town then, and people burned coal. I would take orders for coal, so many tons, you know. One lady was kind of like I was, an old lady that had a boarding house. She used a lot of it. She wouldn't let the sun go down on her head owing anybody anything, because one of the banks had gone broke one time, and she had lost her money, money that she had to pay back. She was a good little old woman.

Jenkins: Were you doing anything else?

Justin: I fixed lunches for some of the oil field workers. One man asked me one day, "Would you fix our lunches for us?" We just had one restaurant here. He said, "All they give us nearly is a piece of cold steak between two pieces of bread." I said, "Sure I will fix your lunch." They said, "We pay fifty cents down there. We will pay you seventy-five cents if you will fix them." "All right, I will do it." And I fixed nice lunches. I would have fried chicken, and I would have little individual salads and pies. I took a lot of pride in it. I liked to cook anyhow. Many times they said that other people around the other rigs [who] would come while they were eating said they looked like they had a banquet.

Jenkins: You were selling coal; you were doing all of these things out of your home, other than running the boot company.

Justin: Right. I would take orders for so many tons. That old scale is still down here on the other side of a building down close to where the railroad was.

Jenkins: Did you have children?

Justin: I had one little girl. We lost her when she was one year old.

Jenkins: You were looking after her and doing all of this. Did you have any help at home?

Justin: No, not then, I didn't. I did it myself.

Nocona Boots Nationwide

Jenkins: Let's go back then and kind of watch the boot company grow; see how you extended out into territories, how it grew in number of people that you were hiring, how it grew in terms of maybe the different kinds of boots you started making. Just kind of show us that.

Justin: At the time, boots were not quite as fancy as they are now. One row of stitching.

Jenkins: Mostly they were work boots, then. 

Justin: That's right. I began to put salesmen on the road. My first salesman was a Mr. Rogers from Wichita Falls. He had all of Texas. He got rich, too. He really did because he had the whole state. 

Jenkins: How long was he with you?

Justin: Mr. Rogers was with us until he passed away. I just can't recall just how long. He lived in Wichita Falls.

Jenkins: He was with you a long time, though?

Justin: Yes, he was. And he would help me take care of our displays during the Stock Show, you know. I had that, also. It used to be on the North Side. They had a real nice building out there.

Jenkins: When did you start going beyond Texas?

Justin: About 1935. The next salesman I had was a Jewish fellow named Obendorfer. His son-in-law had a store, a men's store in Wichita Falls. He covered Colorado and Arizona, all out in there. And I thought it was pretty clever. He told me many times he would walk in, and he took boots in in his arms. He would take them out of the box and take them in. He would approach the subject and, no, they didn't think they would want any boots. He just put the boots down on the counter, and said, "Would you mind if I leave those there a few minutes? I want to run down and get me a cup of coffee." Well, when he got back they were looking at his boots. That is pretty smart, isn't it? Then he would make a sale. They liked them better than they thought they would. He was the nicest old fellow. Just as good as he could be.

Jenkins: Are you in all of the states now? 

Justin: Yes. We cover all of the states.

Jenkins: Give us an idea of how you grew out into that territory over the years.

Justin: After that we began putting more salesmen for different parts of the country. There are some in east Texas, some in Louisiana, Arkansas, just covering the whole thing, anyway.

Jenkins: How many do you have today?

Justin: I believe there are twenty-five salesmen now.

Jenkins: Do you have any beyond the boundaries of the United States, like Canada, Mexico?

Justin: Don't want to go into them. We have had worlds of chances to go international.

Jenkins: But you just don't want to.

Justin: We couldn't supply the demand here. I always contended that if you wanted to call it charity it begins at home. It wasn't charity, but we had real wonderful employees. I have a buyer right now who has been with us from the very beginning, fifty years. And I have one girl, Lucille Leonard, in my office who has been with us forty-one years. Her father, W. F. Leonard, helped me set up my bookkeeping deal. 

Jenkins: How often will [the salesmen] get down here to report in?

Justin: Oh, they call in. We have a Watt line and they call in, and then they come in about twice a month.

Jenkins: Do you have an annual sales meeting?

Justin: Yes, we do. We have an annual sales meeting, and then we go to these apparel shows in Dallas at that big building. 

Jenkins: And they all kind of meet there?

Justin: They meet there, and their customers come in there. They know we will be there. We add new designs and all, you know. Now the exotic boots are so popular; python, snake; you may have seen some of that. I get more crank letters from people about that, too.

Jenkins: About using snakes and lizards and things?

Justin: Yes. 

Jenkins: Do you do a lot of credit business? 

Justin: Yes.

Jenkins: Do you have much trouble with it? Is it any worse now than usual?

Justin: No, I don't think so. We are pretty careful. We keep up with Dunn and Bradstreet's book all of the time and try to judge by that.

Jenkins: What do you do eventually, just cut someone off?

Justin: Yes, if they don't pay on time. I have a boy over there that married my niece. He was a wonderful credit man, but he was a little too stiff about some things. You have got to use some discretion. So one day he got this order from a man in Billings, Montana. He was one of our very first customers on the books years ago, and had never failed to keep his credit good. But he had bought another store adjoining his. You know sometimes it takes a little extra cash for expansions and to do things like that. Well, he was a little bit slow on his last invoice. And Chet said, "I am not going to ship to him." I said, "Oh, yes you are." He said, "I am going to do everybody else the same way." I said, "No, you are not going to do that either." And he said, "Do you want me to quit?" I said, "Use your own pleasure." He walked out, walked out of the front door. He was gone for several weeks. And he called me one night. They all call me Auntie, my relatives do. He said, "Auntie, I would like to have my job back." I said, "If you think you can do right. It is there for you if you can." He came back. He is a highly educated fool. You know, it is not what you know that counts, it is what you do with what you do know that counts.

Jenkins: You still are in charge, then. 

Justin: Oh, you bet. You bet I am.

Merging with Justin Industries

Jenkins: Do you have an executive vice president? 

Justin: Joe, my nephew, Joe Justin, is over there. 

Jenkins: Is executive vice president.

Justin: Yes. He and I don't get along too well, either. I had him come back here.  He had a little business in Wichita Falls; pipeline, oil stuff. It gets pretty rough sometimes. We had had a lot of negotiations when I merged [with Justin Industries in Fort Worth]. They had it around my dining room table. It looked like Congress. I have a large table, and we had different attorneys and their secretaries and all.

Jenkins: So you are now part of Justin Industries.

Justin: Yes, that's right. They threw a big party down there at the Fort Worth Club on the fourteenth of July. I have never seen so many people in my life and so much whiskey flowing. I don't do that.

Jenkins: Now the stock, then, is Justin Industries. There is no longer any Nocona stock. 

Justin: Yes, we are all together. I already had Justin Industries stock that my mother had left me, but it hadn't paid anything. But it is paying good now.

Jenkins: But you are still president and chairman of the board of this company?

Justin: I am, of the Nocona Boot Company.

Jenkins: Is the present location of the Nocona Boot Company today about where it has always been?

Justin: No. We were downtown on our little main street in a little building down there that my father had had his shop in at one time.

Jenkins: Was this the next location? 

Justin: Yes.

Jenkins: And you moved out here when?

Justin: I kept wanting to buy some more. We added to that little building that faced the south then, and we soon outgrew that. And Mr. McCall owned some more real estate down from that second building that we built, and I tried to buy that from him. I wanted to build more. And Mr. McCall, if you remember, was a friend and president of the bank. He said, "Enid, quit piecing up all of these old buildings. Get in the car. "And I got in the car with him, and we drove out here. He said, "Here is the perfect location right here for a nice factory." At that time I knew the people who owned it real well.

Jenkins: Just raw land?

Justin: Yes. And there were oil wells pumping right across the back of it there, you know. I had no idea I could buy it. So I talked to Mr. Dodson who was over at Decatur at the time. He married this friend of mine, a Nocona girl. I told him I wondered whether there was any possibility of my getting that. And he said, "Enid, I wouldn't sell it to anybody but you. But I know you will build something nice that the town will be proud of." Now that is his exact remark. I was thrilled to death that I was who I was and that he was who he was. And we bought the land and started building. A contractor from Dallas built the building. 

Jenkins: When? About what year? 

Justin: We moved in in 1949.

Jenkins: So this has been here for thirty years or so. 

Justin: That's right.

Jenkins: How much expansion have you done here?

Justin: We first built 33,000 square feet in the factory proper. And it got to where you would just run into people. When I would go back there I said, "I am running into a closed street back here. I can't get through." And we expanded. We added 15,000 more in that building, plus the salesroom over there. We have around 100,000 square feet now, in all.


The Oral History Program is a longstanding research initiative of the University of North Texas. The Program records, transcribes, and archives oral history interviews covering a wide variety of subject matter in order to preserve the history of the North Texas region. Visit www.oralhistory.unt.edu to learn more.

Learn more about Enid Justin in the article "The Lady Bootmaker From Nocona," written by U.S. Senator John Cornyn for his Texas Times Column.

Enid Justin. Image courtesy of Tales 'N' Trails Museum.
Enid Justin, circa 1916. Image courtesy of Enid Justin Collection, University of North Texas. University of North Texas images made available thanks to assistance from Perri Hamilton.
The Justin family at the Justin Boots factory in Nocona prior to 1918. The gentleman labeled number one is Daddy Joe (H. J. Justin, Enid Justin's father). Enid Justin is labeled number three. Image courtesy of Tales 'N' Trails Museum.
Nocona Boot Company facility prior to the building of the 1948 factory, 1938. This is the same building that was once home to Justin Boots. Nocona Boots bought out McChesney Bits and Spurs, as reflected on the sign. Image courtesy of Tales 'N' Trails Museum.
In 1939, Enid Justin organized a re-enactment of the Pony Express, which traveled from Nocona to the World's Fair in San Francisco. The route followed the old Overland Mail Trail established in 1839. The original trail entered Texas at Colbert's Ferry in Oklahoma and stretched west through Gainesville on to El Paso, Tucson, Phoenix, Yuma, Los Angeles, and then up the Pacific Coast to San Francisco. The trip, from start to finish, was approximately two thousand miles. Here, Enid Justin cuts the starting line ribbon. Image courtesy of Tales 'N' Trails Museum.
Amon G. Carter and Enid Justin at the Pony Express Race kick-off celebration, 1939. Image courtesy of Tales 'N' Trails Museum.
Enid Justin (right) with Amon G. Carter on the day of the Pony Express Race, 1939. Image courtesy of Tales 'N' Trails Museum.
San Leandro city manager Ray Billings, Enid Justin, and race winner Shannon Davidson shortly after crossing the finish line, 1939. Image courtesy of Tales 'N' Trails Museum.
Enid Justin (second from the left) and her sisters. Image courtesy of Tales 'N' Trails Museum.
Enid Justin placing the sign on the Nocona Boot Company building at the grand opening of her new facility in 1948. This building was used until the company closed in 1999. It still stands on Highway 82. Image courtesy of Tales 'N' Trails Museum.
The Nocona Boot Company facility opened in 1948 and is still standing with its sign intact. Image courtesy of Tales 'N' Trails Museum.
Taken in Enid Justin's office. The gentleman to the left of Enid Justin is Roberts Storey, founder of Nocona Athletic Goods Company (originally Nocona Leather Goods Company), which is still in business today. Image courtesy of Tales 'N' Trails Museum.
Left-handed Nokona catcher's mitt belonging to Mike Gillette. Nokona baseball gloves are manufactured by the Nocona Athletic Goods Company, founded by Roberts Storey (pictured above with Enid Justin). Photo by Lindsey Wall.
Enid Justin at the Nocona Boot Company factory, circa 1948. Image courtesy of Enid Justin Collection, University of North Texas.
Enid Justin with boots from Nocona Boot Company. Image courtesy of Enid Justin Collection, University of North Texas.
Although Enid Justin was known as the Lady Bootmaker, she was not often seen wearing cowboy boots. Image courtesy of Tales 'N' Trails Museum.
Enid Justin at her desk at the Nocona Boot Company, circa 1950s. Image courtesy of Tales 'N' Trails Museum.
Enid Justin with film actor, singer, and songwriter Rex Allen. Image courtesy of Tales 'N' Trails Museum.
Enid Justin on a sales trip to San Antonio for the boot company. Image courtesy of Tales 'N' Trails Museum.
Enid Justin doing a television interview in San Antonio. Image courtesy of Tales 'N' Trails Museum.
From left to right: Joe Justin, Enid Justin, Sam Campbell, and Dale Gordon inspect leather at the Nocona Boots factory. Image courtesy of Tales 'N' Trails Museum.
Enid Justin breaking ground at the Vernon, Texas, plant. Image courtesy of Tales 'N' Trails Museum.
Enid Justin with the local Boy Scout Troop. Image courtesy of Tales 'N' Trails Museum.
Enid Justin being crowned honorary rodeo queen at the Chisholm Trail Round-Up, the annual rodeo held in Nocona since 1952, circa 1970s. Image courtesy of Tales 'N' Trails Museum.