William Alexander McConnell & Mary Bell Ray

Submitted by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

April 2006

Randy has generously shared these for publication with the Christian County Mogen Web site.No data may be reproduced or published without permission of the author. Please note that web host to delete names and data of the living altered the manuscript.  

 

William Alexander McConnell — known as "Will" to friends and “Pa Bill” to descendants  — was born in Christian Co., MO, near Nixa on March 11, 1867 to John W. McConnell and Matilda Edwards, his first wife. Pa Bill often misspelled his name with a single “n” in his personal records.

On Dec. 9, 1886, Bill was married to Mary Bell Ray (Nov. 10, 1870-Oct. 24, 1927) in Christian Co. before Elder James Monroe Holderby. John W. signed for his underage son while stepmother Sarah Jane Ray did the same for Mary Bell. At the time, men needed to be 21 and women 18 to sign independently for a license.

Mary Bell is shown as "Mollie" on the license. She is also listed as Mary Elizabeth in at least two family Bibles, but a loan she co-signed in the 1920s — apparently on behalf of both she and her husband — shows the middle initial of “B.”

Mary Bell was the youngest daughter of George M. Ray (1826-Aug. 14, 1881), the former county assessor, and his first wife Mary Ann Craig (July 1, 1829-July 29, 1876), both of them Tennessee natives who came to Christian Co. after the Civil War. The Ray family hailed from Bedford/Marshall Cos. of Middle Tennessee, but had lived briefly before and during the Civil War in Cape Girardeau Co., MO and Batesville, Independence Co., AR. The family came to Christian Co. in November 1867.

The happy-go-lucky Bill seems to have been reluctant to enter this commitment. Mary Bell should have been obviously pregnant long before they took their vows. She gave birth to their first child, Ernest, seven weeks later.

 

The life of ‘Pa Bill’

Bill appears to have inherited one-ninth of father John W.'s not-inconsiderable estate, but those who knew Pa Bill recall little if anything of value that he owned, such as real estate and vehicles. Early on, he and Mollie sold off her property inherited from George Ray. Tax records show Bill owned livestock, usually a couple of horses, from the 1890s on, but no real estate.

He farmed as a tenant, or on his father's place, starting in Christian Co. After 10 years of marriage, his taxable assets consisted of two horses in 1896; in 1899, he was down to a single horse and $15 in other personal property with a tax bill of 18 cents that he never paid.

In mid-1900, Bill and Mollie were residing with his father in Porter Township, Christian Co. Later they moved onto land along current Missouri 14 owned by his Young family cousins just west of Nixa; there the last child, Henry Burl, was born in 1905.

The family isn't listed in the 1910 Christian or Greene Co. censuses. Some recall the family living along the old railroad tracks on the back side of the Steele farm on the Greene-Christian county line in the community known as Wilson's Creek, which was a quarry town and railroad depot. An isolated farm there was owned by W.S. Jennings, and nearby land belonged to the Hudsons, Sanderses, Stewarts, Martins and Glidewells. The census takers likely were unsure in which county or township the McConnells lived, and they were skipped.

By 1914, at least, the family had settled into Greene Co. because daughter Hester gave that address when she filed for her marriage license. A move back to Christian Co. followed because Pa Bill, Mary Bell, children Frankie and Henry are found there in the 1920 census. The obituary of Pa Bill's son Henry said he had lived in the Republic and Battlefield areas continuously since he was age 18, or in 1923, which probably dates the family's permanent move to Greene County.

During the period before and during World War I, the McConnells appear to have fallen delinquent on their rent payments for several years, according to old rental records, but the debts were repaid in the 1920s.

The 1920 census shows this picture of the family:

Pa Bill and Mollie Bell were living almost exactly where he was born, west and just south of Nixa. On one side were John P. and Eva Mae McConnell Edwards, both his cousins — on the other, Stevie Bolin, who was related through the Rays.

Except for Ivy, who had settled with Will Wade and three children at 2080 N. Grant in Springfield, Bill and Mollie's children had congregated in the James River Valley in the northern reaches of Porter and Logan townships along the Greene Co. line. In Logan Township, Walter and Grace took a rental on Linzy and Eliza Patton's farm, next to Linzy's father and aunt, William H., 70, and Martha, 60.

A few doors down lived Lewis Geil, 19, the stepson of Claud Griffith and son of Mary Sharp Geil Griffith. Lewis soon would woo Frankie McConnell as his bride.  Over another hill lived Hester McConnell and her second husband, Ora Faught; further down the valley was the home owned by June Patton, 26, the son of William H. Patton, and his wife, Line McConnell, then 25. Hester and the Pattons already had children.

Through at least 1922, Bill and Mollie remained in Christian Co., according to tax and loan records. (These papers from 1915 to 1931 are the sole remaining personal effects of Pa Bill and Mollie; they apparently were retrieved by Frankie McConnell Geil after Bill's move to Springfield, and after her death, Lewis Geil gave them to Mae Inman McConnell.)

In 1923, Bill and Mollie moved to Brookline and a rental home on the Little York farm of Greene Co. Sheriff Marcel Hendrix, who co-signed for Bill's loans. There, the McConnells lived along busy railroad tracks and, on one dark morning, while getting hay for the horses, Bill scooped up a sleeping hobo instead. No harm was done.

The following year, he changed landlords and homes, moving south to a farm owned by Charley Anderson, who lived on Summit Avenue in Springfield. The Anderson (later Earl Howard) place lay across from the old Buleh School, along what is now Route M south of Brookline.

Pa Bill's papers — which appear to document every loan or credit purchase he made in the 1920s — indicate a pattern: each spring he would sign a new rental agreement that he would pay off with grain or pig sales in the fall. He also maintained the farm for the Andersons and, on occasion, performed personal tasks like cutting cedar lengths to rid the Anderson closets of moths, according to his correspondence.

Bill was known to be fond of a touch of rye, just like brother Frank and three half-brothers, and the combination found him on the Christian County court dockets a handful of times through 1906. But in his later years with Mary, he was content to lead a relatively sedate, if impoverished, life. His grocery receipts show he was fond of tobacco and raisins.

 

Nan Melvin

Mollie died Oct. 24, 1927 and was buried in McConnell Cemetery near Nixa.  Her medical bills on account still exist, but the cause of death is unknown.

Bill on Aug. 30, 1930 married again to Nannie (probably Nancy) P. Melvin, the second wife who alienated his children and their families except for Iva Ann and the Wades. The others sensed that while Nan showed public affection for Pa Bill, she resented their presence and wanted only the company of her previous family. Daughter-in-law Mae Inman McConnell grew so incensed by the treatment that she insisted Henry move her family out of the Anderson-Howard house.

Bill and Nan moved to Nixa by October 1933, when his half-brother Ed died. Around 1931 the couple hadmoved to Springfield for several years before Nan disappeared from the scene as quickly as she had captured his affection. In her divorce petition, Nan said she left Bill on Sept. 1, 1940. She sued for divorce in Greene County Circuit Court, which granted her a decree as an "innocent party" on June 20, 1941. She won by default; Pa Bill didn't contest the matter. Her previous name of Melvin was restored.

In her petition, which was evidently embroidered to gain support payments, Nan alleged:

“Defendant on several occasions assaulted the plaintiff with his hands and fists, was overbearing and quarrelsome when drinking, that defendant spent of his money for liquor and threated to kill the plaintiff a number of times; that defendant associated with other women and has been living with another woman for some time as his housekeeper; that defendant neglected, failed and refused to provide for the necessities of life for plaintiff....” Nan said she was “greatly humiliated” by Bill's conduct.

She further alleged that Bill, then in his 70s, “is an able-bodied man and makes very good wages when he works and...plaintiff is a poor woman and wholly unable to pay the costs of this prosecution of this suit and she is without means of support, except what she earns herself.”

No doubt the judge found the allegations laughable that a man in his 70s was an incessant womanizer who could pay Nan support if he only worked more; but Pa Bill, if he ever heard the contents of her petition, must have been proud. Nan didn't get a dime.

 

Grace 'Daisy' Wright

Never a man to be without female companionship for long, Bill soon married his third wife, Grace "Daisy" Wright Alley (Feb. 11, 1880-November 1975), a woman of similar age who had nine children from a previous marriage.

A native of the eastern Taney Co. town of Brownbranch, Daisy had married Dec. 27, 1898 at age 18 to the much older Samuel M. Alley (May 1, 1858-Oct. 6, 1931), a widower with two young sons, Walter and Samuel. Daisy's parents are not known, but Wrights were prominent in this area of Taney and Douglas Cos.  Based on her children's marriages -- to well established families like the Kittermans and Ivys in Taney Co. -- the Alleys remained there until after Samuel's death.

Her children used both Alley and Allie as spellings of their last name. The new stepmother with her family mixed far more easily with Pa Bill's sons and daughters. The couple was living in a small cottage at 1509 W. Olive on Springfield's near-northside when Pa Bill died on May 5, 1952.

He was a member of Brookline Baptist Church. When he died, Pa Bill had 24 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and 4 great-great-grandchildren.

Bill lies beside his first wife, Mary Bell, in McConnell Cemetery. Daisy died at age 95 in Dallas, TX where one of her sons was living. She is interred at Greenlawn.

Nan vanished.

 

Children of William Alexander

and Mary Bell Ray McConnell

 

Ernest McConnell

(Jan. 28, 1887-April 9, 1888)

Ernest's birth and death were never registered with the county  — as required by a widely ignored state law from 1883 to 1889 — but are found in a family Bible.

 

Iva Ann McConnell Wade

(June 26, 1889-June 7, 1969)

Iva, or Ivy, married Will Taylor Wade (April 5, 1883-Aug. 6, 1967), a farmer and later Frisco Railroad and Springfield Street Department worker. He was the son of Edgar M. Wade (1854, KS) and Frances Fredelia Slay (October 1860, AR-after 1910) and grandson of Ramper Slay.

Iva and Will first lived in Porter Township, but moved to the railroad town of north Springfield in 1919.

Both are buried at McConnell Cemetery. Among the couple's children:

John Edgar (June 6, 1908-May 11, 1909).

Raymond Jasper (March 11, 1910-Jan. 30, 1953) married twice and eventually was found dead after a beating while in custody at the Los Angeles County (CA) jail; officially, Raymond died of lobar pneumonia. He lies in McConnell Cemetery.

He married Lillian Ross of Bristow, OK before serving in the Army in World War II, and the couple had a son, Raymond Jasper Wade Jr. (Feb. 1, 1938) while living in San Jose, CA. But nine months later, while visiting her parents in Bristow, Lillian died unexpectedly. She miscarried a tubal pregnancy that the doctor had failed to detect; the tubes burst, killing her.

The task of raising Raymond Jr. fell to Iva Ann, then 50, and Will, who was confined by arthritis to a wheelchair. Will was receiving a pension, but Iva Ann didn't qualify yet for Social Security. She drew Aid to Families with Dependent Children (commonly called welfare) to help raise Raymond. Iva Ann also took in laundry to make ends meet.

The sacrifices paid off, for Raymond Jr. worked his way through college and went to Baptist seminary before joining the Army. A chaplain, Raymond served two one-year tours of duty in Vietnam and twice took his family to Germany where he was stationed. After retiring as a major from the military, he counseled troubled boys in a Fayetteville, NC, residential facility.

Raymond Jr. married Martha Bristow of Springfield, and the couple had four children: Mark Alan; Patricia Renee; Sarah; and Jeffrey, who was adopted while the family lived in Germany.

Elma Jean (Feb. 9, 1912) married Arley I. Stockstill on Jan. 12, 1929 and raised four children.

Erma Jewell (April 14, 1919) married Cleo Christo Evans (July 6, 1914,. St. Clair County, MO), who retired after 43 years as an office engineer, or draftsman, in the communications and signal department of Frisco Railway, now the Burlington Northern.

John Walter McConnell

(Dec. 21, 1892-Aug. 25, 1960)

John Walter McConnell (Dec. 21, 1892-Aug. 25, 1960), known better as just Walter, married Grace Bell Inman, the daughter of Finley Glover “Bud” and Mary Alice Dewitt Inman of Porter Township, before entering World War I. His war records, according to Army personnel, were destroyed in a St. Louis fire.

Walter was living with W.L. Eoff near Battlefield in November 1914, when he had a major brush with the law. Walter and his cousin Alva, son of Frank McConnell, were charged with forgery, apparently for signing Eoff's name to a $10 note from Farmers and Merchants Bank of Springfield. The Greene County prosecutor was Samuel McConnell Wear, Walter's cousin. (Wear was the grandson of William S. McConnell, who was the brother of John W. McConnell, Walter's grandfather).

Hosts of neighbors and family were subpoenaed, and Alva was acquitted because he had only conspired, not committed the forgery. Walter was convicted on Dec. 14, 1914 and sentenced to two years in prison, but granted probation.

Walter's attorney, Alex West, a longtime family friend of the Rays, supervised the probation. In July 1915, he wrote the court that “I have been keeping an eye on him since and have not heard of anything but what he has conducted himself in an exemplary manner,” and West recommended extending the probation.

In November, West asked for early release: “At first I thought it might be best to keep him the full time, but I learn he has joined the church and contemplates getting married.”

In early 1918, Grace and Walter married, but he enlisted in the Army on July 16. During Walter's WWI tour of service, Grace moved back into her mother's Christian Co. home.

In 1920, the couple was living on the Linzy Patton farm south of the James River and northwest of McConnell Cemetery, when their first child was born. Within two years they had moved southeast of Springfield.

When his father moved to the Marcel Hendrix farm near Brookline, Walter and Grace rented the nearby Little York home of a Mrs. Harper.

By the late 1920s Grace and Walter, a farm laborer, settled into the VonWagen house south of Brookline in Greene County along today's Highway M. In the "big house" on the so-called Anderson farm next door were his father William Alexander McConnell and whichever wife was current.

On several occasions, while pregnant or recovering from a birth, Grace was joined by her sister, Mae, to help with the family. Grace "had a hard old go of it," Mae said. "The kids were so close together."

By the fall of 1929, the young McConnells had moved onto the John Wilson farm on the north edge of Elwood, just west of Springfield off U.S. 66. There, they lived in a small cottage behind the main Wilson house.

Grace was pregnant again before she died in 1929 in Elwood from the complications of miscarriage and pneumonia. She was buried in McConnell Cemetery on Thanksgiving Day. The records of Wallace Funeral Home at the State Historical Society in Columbia show the charges for the funeral were billed to R.E. “Turman” — apparently reflecting a cooperative agreement with R.E. Thurman, a Republic undertaker.

Among Grace and Walter's children:

Ray (April 25, 1920-June 20, 1977), who never married, mirrored some of his father's worst problems with alcohol and was buried in McConnell Cemetery.

Mary Elizabeth "Verna" (June 7, 1922-1998) married Edgar "Ed" Thomas Springer.

—      William Okla (Feb. 29, 1924-Feb. 24, 1978, Groom, Texas).After mother Grace’s death, he was taken in by uncle George and aunt Lucy Sparkman Inman, who farmed near Nixa. Okla only once mentioned the incident that prompted his flight – a very severe whipping that somehow convinced a boy of 13 that he was better off on his own in 1937. He soon left for California and passed through the school of “hard knocks” as a teenager.

He soon tired of the family connections in California, but Okla and a friend named Amos hopped railroad cars until he reached Amarillo, TX at age 16. There, a man bought him an ice cream cone. – “the best ice cream he had in his whole life.because he was starved to death,” as his daughter Jaynie recalls Okla telling the story. Okla went to work on the man’s Canyon, TX farm in the ranching and cattle country 15 miles south of Amarillo.

With the outbreak of World War II, Okla joined the Navy, where he served until he was honorably discharged in 1946. He then returned to Canyon and the same job on the same ranch.

In 1949, Okla met a fetching young photographer named Frances Eileen Connelly (June 14, 1926), daughter of William Bernard and Marie Elizabeth Frank Connelly. kla and Eileen were married July 29, 1950 in Amarillo, where they made their home.

Okla shortly took a job as a trucker with Great Western Distribution that he kept for 18 years. He retired in 1970 after a truck accident left him unable to handle over-the-road driving.

Known as a quiet man, even to family, Okla and Eileen after his retirement moved from Amarillo to Groom, TX – about 40 miles to the west in ranching country – and opened a store. There he died on the morning of Feb. 24, 1978 when he had a coughing spell and his esophagus ruptured. He was buried three days later in Groom Cemetery. Eileen still lives in the community.

Okla married again in 1978, shortly before he died – to the same woman, Eileen. She had been raised a Catholic, but they had married outside the church and raised their family as Lutherans. She wanted to regain her full status as a Catholic, so they were remarried with the church’s blessing.

 

Walter was known as an irresponsible alcoholic, and the problem grew worse in his bereavement. The other Inman family members intervened quickly to raise the children, who early on, but briefly all moved in with young Mae Inman and Henry McConnell. Walter frequently locked horns with the family, particularly over the care of his eldest children, Ray and Verna. Walter was apt to stir up trouble with his brothers and sisters by complaining to others about the children's treatment.

Robert Inman raised Wayne while George Inman took in Okla. Lela Mae went to her Campbell-Inman grandparents' custody until her death, when she was living with them at 304 W. Elm in Springfield. Clyde moved in first with Grace's cousin, Florence Inman Jones and her husband Harvey, who took the child to California in 1937; the boy later was raised by Harvey's parents, Matt and Babe Jones, formerly of Nixa.

Verna lived intermittently with Henry and Mae McConnell before she was taken by her father and rescued by Frances Inman and her first husband, Dale Harrington, who then almost assumed custody. Ray also spent considerable time at the home of Henry and Mae, who as a 12-year-old had helped raise him while living with Grace and Walter. One memorable winter in the Depression, Henry and Mae, their five children, Walter and Ray all weathered together in a tiny two-room shack on Schuyler Creek southeast of Republic.

Walter died at the Veterans Administration hospital in Fayetteville, AR, after a life as a panhandler and transient in Springfield, Highlandville and Kansas. Despite his drinking and continuing complaints about how badly his in-laws and siblings were raising his children, Walter had his appealing side. "He'd come and stay for a while and then go off for a weekend. He'd come back with all the (neighborhood) stories. He could be right good company," said Mae.

Walter, who never remarried, is buried beside Grace in McConnell Cemetery.

 

Ida Evaline McConnell Patton

(June 23, 1895-May 3, 1975)

Line, or Liney, married James June Patton (June 25, 1898, Battlefield-Aug. 15, 1991) on May 9, 1914.  June, as he was called, was descended on his father's side from a colorful TN family who was forced to leave the state after implication in an ax murder; the Pattersons, his mother's family, had walked to MO from AR -- a story that attempted to capture their status as the very first settlers of Greene Co. in the 1820s who were forced to leave to preserve Indian claims.

His parents, William H. Patton (Nov. 12, 1850-March 3, 1923) and Mary Belinda Patterson (Feb. 18, 1855-1922) who farmed near the James River, were divorced in a bit of scandal for the family, which once spelled the name "Patten." The couple had four other children: Noah Clay (Feb. 26, 1883); William Linzy (Feb. 11, 1886), who had a farm near the James River; Rassie Gail (Oct. 3, 1887); and Charles Baker (June 29, 1889).

Line and June farmed — truck farming in particular — and sold the goods from his truck in Springfield. The farm was nestled in the James River Valley of Christian Co., just northwest of McConnell Cemetery. June also roamed the hills of the valley as one of many hellfire-and-brimstone preachers of the day. Upon their retirement, the couple moved to a home in Republic on Miller Street.

 

 

Hester (Feb. 1, 1898-July 22, 1953)

One of the most colorful women in McConnell annals, Hester married four times, lived much of her life near Sacramento and carried the scars from a shotgun attack by one deranged husband, who then committed suicide. Her husbands had a habit of dying on Hester, who was by no means an old woman when she passed on.

On April 26, 1914, Hester -- whose seldom-used middle name may have been Georgia -- first married Robert "Frank" Barnett (1892-1918), the son of Tennessean John Lucius (April 4, 1853-Nov. 8, 1918) and Indianan Mary Malissa Hunt Barnett (Dec. 2, 1861-Feb. 20, 1947) of Porter Township; Frank had been a hired hand who lived and worked on the farm of Sarah Ray, Hester's step-grandmother. The Barnett farm lay nearby on Guin Prairie.

The couple had daughter Ora Marie "Bobbi" (July 17, 1916) while the family was living in a log cabin on the farm of Hester's aunt, Ann McConnell Beverage.

After Frank died in the great influenza epidemic of 1918, Hester married his cousin Ora Lee Faught (May 1887-1939) of Nixa, the son of James M. and Lucinda Maynard Faught and a cousin to the McConnell family's Faught members. Like Malissa Hunt Barnett, longtime widow Lucinda was a member of the Maynard-Hunt families that descended from the McCoys (of the Hatfields and McCoys) in Kentucky.

Bobbi strongly suspected that Faught — and his buddy, her uncle Walter McConnell — coveted the money that Hester had raised by selling the late Barnett's farm equipment; the sum would provide pocket change for a full year of drinking, which it did.

The Faughts were on the road to CA in 1927, when Hester's mother Mary Bell died, and the family could not notify them. Ora Lee and Hester stopped their Model A in Binger, OK, and picked cotton for four months before heading for Ontario, CA. These were the days that provided the model for The Grapes of Wrath, and when the family arrived in California, they "almost starved to death. Nobody who didn't live through the Depression can believe how horrible it was," Bobbi says.

Ora Lee died from stomach ulcers in 1939 and was buried in Watsonville, CA, the epicenter of the 1989 World Series earthquake. Hester then married Lester Miller from Nixa — whom she somehow found in California — in 1941, and after he shot her the next year, he committed suicide. She buried him in Porterville, CA. Hester last ventured into matrimony with Augustus Marcello in 1944, and he died from a heart attack three years later and was buried in San Jose.

Hester died July 22, 1953 from diabetes while she was on vacation visiting her daughter Maxine in Bakersfield, CA. Hester was employed as a hospital dietitian at the time and belonged to the Stockton (CA) Baptist Church.

In her final years, she cared for (George) Elmer Payne, her half-cousin on the Ray side of the family who had lost his legs. Payne served as the escort on the train that brought Hester's body back to Missouri for interment beside her first husband, Frank Barnett, in McConnell Cemetery.

A woman who enjoyed men and good times, Hester was often at odds with her stern sisters; she had more in common with the easy-going McConnell brothers. One suspects that Hester lived on through her daughter Bobbi's personality. Hester "was an extrovert, always laughing and helping others," said the irrepressible Bobbi.

Among Hester's children:

Ora Marie "Bobbi"  Barnett (July 17, 1916, Nixa-July 9, 1998, Reno, NV), after the family arrived in CA, began working in the fields and, by age 12, in canneries and later  an orange-packing plant. She was "literally married off" by her stepfather Ora Lee Faught at age 14, but she tried the institution three more times before swearing it off after her last husband died. Bobbi said Ora Lee seemed genuinely in love with her mother, but he had no use for his step-daughter. She was wed July 21, 1930 to Ogle London Kivett, who was 12 years older.

After a cool, even cold relationship for five years, she "ran away" in 1935 and obtained a divorce from Kivett. In 1937, Bobbi married Benjamin Wade, and that match lasted another five years before they divorced. Shorter still was her one-year marriage to Edward Robert Herman in 1943. She married Alfred Louis Aliff on Nov. 4, 1945, but he died June 6, 1953.

"I've always been a fighter — if I don't like it, I change it. Guess that's why I was always good in business and probably why I don't have a husband," Bobbi said, half in jest.

Bobbi acquired an upholstery shop and two nightclubs before she retired in Sacramento; she still traveled extensively in the 1990s before her death. She died, for some reason, while living in Reno, NV.

Lois Louise Faught (May 12, 1920, Nixa-July 27, 1988) married Leslie Leroy Smith (d. 1979) in 1939, and the couple lasted 31 years before they divorced.

After her divorce, Lois married Lawrence Salerno in 1970. He died on July 27, 1987, and Lois followed exactly one year later, on July 27, 1988. The couple is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Sacramento.

Living children removed.

 

Frankie (Feb. 1, 1898-Sept. 22, 1979)

Frankie, the twin sister of Hester, married Lewis Geil (March 20, 1901-Feb. 13, 1989) on the public square Dec. 15, 1920 in Springfield. Lewis was born in Elkville, Jackson County, IL, to George Christian and Mary Alice Sharp Geil.

Mary Alice brought Lewis to Christian County with her second husband, Claud Griffith, and the family lived near Frankie's brothers and sisters in the James River valley.

Lewis and Frankie set up housekeeping in Springfield, usually with land enough for a milk cow and large garden. "I never felt deprived," says daughter Josephine, who nevertheless can recount tales of nights so cold the water bucket froze, hand-me-down clothes retailored for school wear and "wash day," which lasted literally an entire day.

Lewis, however, had steadier employment for wages than much of the family and occasionally could provide something extra. Josephine recalls that "I wanted a snow suit. I saw no way of ever having one. Some way my parents got me one. How happy I was."

Frankie, while shy in public, joined her older sisters in pounding home the Calvinist themes of God and work. "Daily we heard of the evils of worldly pleasures," Josephine says. "She so instilled in me the fear of alcohol that to this day I've never tasted alcohol, beer, etc....Mom used to say to me, 'When you get tired, just work that much harder.' I guess she knew then that exercise just gave you that much more energy."

For most of his working life, Lewis was an operating engineer, using heavy equipment, for Hedges Construction Co. of Springfield.  The couple is interred in White Chapel Cemetery.

 

Henry Burl (March 1, 1905-March 13, 1955) (separate section)

Read 4385 times