Let’s Talk Clovis: Carma Drury (109 years old), Grandson of Frank Drury (1852-1953), “The Grand Old Man of Clovis”

Carma Drury celebrating his 109th birthday with family in Gainesville, Florida. (Courtesy of Drury Family)

Carma Drury surpassed his Grandfather Frank Drury’s life span of 100 years. He resides in Florida but plans to come here for his 110th birthday.

Frank’s son, Clayton W. Drury (1875-1950) enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1899 and mustered out in 1903. He moved to Clovis after World War I and became the Plumbing Inspector for the City of Clovis.

Clayton and his wife Lilly May Brown Drury were parents of twins, Cuma & Carma. They were born on December 9, 1911 on a farm in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri.

Carma lived in Clovis, Madera, Merced and now Gainesville, FL. He graduated from Fresno State with a teacher’s credential. Few positions were available and he began working for Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E). He became a training instructor.

Cuma Drury Riggs Schofield lived at North Fork. She established a nursery in Madera and specialized in Camellias. The twins celebrated 100 birthdays together.

Frank Drury, 1852-1953. (Courtesy of Clovis Museum)

The community title given their Grandfather Frank Drury: “The Grand Old Man of Clovis”, recognized his significant accomplishments during his 100-year life. He arrived in Clovis in 1906. He had two main goals in life: to see Franklin Roosevelt out of office and to live to be 100 years old. He realized both.

Frank Drury was born in Cooper Township Kalamazoo County, Michigan. He was the fifth of seven children; only three would survive to adulthood. During the Civil War, ten- year old Frank would earn six bits (75 cents) for clearing and plowing 40 acres with a team of oxen.

In 1885, Frank moved his family to Cass County, Missouri, located at the plateau region of the Ozark Mountains. He was active in church affairs, school, and politics.

He organized the Independent Telephone Co. that fought Bell Telephone and won. He built a timber dam across Finley River for the Ozark Electric Co. He also helped organize the Ozark Special Road District and was their first supervisor.

Marcus Pollasky brought the San Joaquin Valley Railroad to Clovis in 1891. He commissioned Shepherd and Teague Land Company to subdivide the square acre of land that would eventually become the city of Clovis (incorporated 1912). H.G. DeWitt (a street is named after him) was selected to market the property. He did not have a realtor license and hired Frank Drury as his sales manager.

Drury would frequently sell land to young Clovis families with no down payment, years to pay with minimal interest. His office was located on the NE corner of Fourth and Pollasky.

His daughter Pearl would marry Friant rancher Harry Willis Ball.  Their daughter Azalea Ball Knight Biglione was born (1909-2008) at the home Harry built on the present sight of the Clovis Veterans Memorial Building. He also built a grain storage directly east of that location.

Frank enjoyed speeding and the community called his car the “blue streak”. His license was suspended and he retaliated by riding his favorite strawberry roan (stabled at his home 444 Oxford) daily to town. He rode in the Clovis Rodeo Parade for 40 years and was their Grand Marshal in 1950.

The Drury families are a part of our rich heritage.

Peg Bos is the president of the Clovis Museum on 4th and Pollasky avenues in Old Town Clovis. She not only manages the museum but she also writes her Let's Talk Clovis column in our publication which features and highlight the amazing history of our city and culture. One fun fact about Peg Bos, she was the first female mayor of Clovis from 1984-86.