Clarence Worley came to Logan in 1929, bringing a cotton gin from Stillwell, Okla.
The Worley family lived in Logan until 1934, when Clarence moved them to Portales to build another cotton gin, one in Dora, and another in Causey.
Later his brother, Olan Worley, and his father Arthur Worley, joined him and they formed Worley Brothers Co., and later built a one-man feed-grinding mill, adding a small elevator and putting up a flour mill built of wood construction by the family, as there was no steel available since World War II was just beginning.
In 1944, the first concrete elevator was built in Portales to handle wheat and milo grown in the area. In 1954, the Farwell location was bought and construction of an elevator began; it was the Worley Mills. In 1955, Clarence decided he wanted to build the most modern feed plant between Kansas City and the West Coast, in Clovis, and he did.
During the 50 years Clarence Worely has been a resident of New Mexico. He had had a driving desire to build. He built 12 Worley Mills locations in New Mexico and Texas. He and his son, Richard (Dick) had operated a 22,500-acre ranch and farmed approximately 2,200 acres of irrigation farm land in Curry and Roosevelt counties. The ranch was a part of the old Spanish land grants over a 150 years ago.
Clarence’s wife, Lois, was active in the women’s clubs, the garden clubs and church. During the early 1940s, she played the piano for Radio Station KICA to help supplement their income.
An only child, Dick Worley had two grandchildren. He worked with his father at the mill in Clovis on South Prince Street.
On Aug. 1, 1974, the big Worley Mill Elevator on South Prince Street just south of the Santa Fe tracks, caught fire. Clovis firemen smothered a fire that might have led to an explosion of the highly volatile grain dust in the elevator. The fire that damaged a motor in a grain elevator was the second fire that week.
Dick Worley suffered second- and third-degree in an earlier methane explosion, according to Clarence Worley. Dick lit a cigarette while in a restroom of the Mill office. The fire ignited methane gas, which caused the explosion in the restroom. It blew the door and Dick out onto the desk in the office. Dick was taken Memorial Hospital where he remained for three or four weeks, according to Clarence Worley.
The Worleys were great people. I knew Lois quite well. Clarence died Dec. 24, 1979, and Lois died Sept. 13, 1993.
Don McAlavy is Curry County’s historian. He can be contacted at: email@example.com