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Memories of Wilma Catherine Morrow
Transcript of a tape recorded by Wilma Catherine Morrow b. August 21, 1899, d. January 01, 1997
Wilma Catherine Morrow recorded these memories sometime between 1971 and 1980. They are memories of family and neighbors in Highlandville, MO, sometime around 1905-1906.
Thanks to Nina Ruth Vaughan, daughter of Wilma Catherine Morrow, for permission to post these memories on the Christian County GenWeb page. Thanks to Don Sasser for sharing this transcription with the Christian County, MOGenWeb page.
When I was a little my daddy would bring green coffee and my mother would clean the coffee in a iron... Something like a shallow skillet. My mom would get me my little box to stand on. I would stand on it and stir the coffee until it was parched. Then she'd put it in the coffee pot that was up on the wall until she needed it. Then she'd grind it and make the coffee. I use to like to help her do those things like that. We had a rocking chair she'd be in and when my father was plowing the fields well she go milk the cow so she'd put our supper on. We had a little wood stove and we had to build a fire in it and she'd bake the bread every day or ever meal. And so she'd put that bread on and make corn bread and it would take about 30 minutes and so she'd put me in this rocking chair and tie me in so I couldn't fall out . And then she'd put a stick of stove wood under the front rockers and one under the back rockers so I couldn't rock it too far back or rock it too forward and spill my little baby brother so she'd put my little baby brother Truman in my arms and I would hold him and sing to him while she went to milk cow. And the little fellow he'd go to sleep and all I knew how to sing was Bye Ole Baby Bunton I didn't know any thing else. And I remember I would sing that and I remember that I wished I could sing something else but I couldn't remember what my mother had told me. And he'd look at me, little fellow, and quite ways and He'd shut his eyes and sometimes I'd go to sleep and my hand would slip. I had my fingers locked together around him holdin him and they'd slip apart and it would scare me and I would wake up and would take a another hold on him and take a new hold on the little fellow. He'd keep sleeping until my mother would come in a put him in the crib. That's the way she have me take care of him... And I thought that was a great thing I could do. I was real tickled.
In the fall of the year I was 5 years old Phoebe got married my father's sister Aunt Isophena and she married Uncle Jess Horner he'd been married before and he had a family of children . The youngest child was a boy. He was about my age. He was a littler than I was. Well I went to this wedding it was held over at my grandpa's house where he had lived and where he died. And I remember I went to that wedding, I guess that was the first wedding I ever went to that I remembered. It was quit fancy kind of a wedding. I know I can remember how pretty the table was and every thing and everybody. And I remember my Auntie, I liked her real well and I was very fond of her. They got married, I don't remember how many of his children were there but I remember Neal (George Neal Horner) was there. That was the youngest one... And that was quite an eventful thing for me and I can remember that was something unusual and I know she went over to live with him. I felt bad when she went away and wasn't close there where I could see her that was quite some thing for her to live so far away. Why it wasn't very far away, but it was far me because we didn't go over there, it too far to go.
I remember that Mr. & Mrs. McCarty lived over there. They were neighbors they live close to us and their daughter was married my mother's brother. And they lived in Missouri and my grandfather and grandmother Sasser ,my mother's mother and father. They decided that … the families did that Mr. & Mrs. McCarty would take their covered wagon and my father and mother and we 3.. 4 children. It was Maude and my self , Alma, Truman , Truman was small. We all go to Missouri to visit them. It was in the summer time I think it might have been around the first of August, because I know after I got to Missouri a little while I had a birthday. So we had these cover wagons and put our camping gear in there and everything and we traveled. Alma road in the wagon because she was little and they'd like to have her with them she road with Mr. & Mrs. McCarty in their wagon. I remember I guess that we camped out two nights. But I can't remember about one campin out. But I remember one night we camped out. We crossed a spring just down below where the water came out the hill or mountain. It was coming out kind of a rocky place. A great big spring. I remember when we crossed in the wagon the water was about up to the horse's knees. I know my father let the horse's drink. We got some water I don't remember if we got it then or drove on down the creek below the spring a little ways. We campedthere that night. I know that water was so pretty and clear and mama let us let us wade in it. I think she might of let us take a bath in there I'm not sure. I don't remember that part of it. I remember a wading and seems like held on to my hand. She told me I know not to get out in the deep water. I said it don't look deep, I can see those rocks down there. She said, yes but they're deeper than you think they are. I know she wouldn't let me go out there very much because, and I can remember that part of it because she wouldn't let us get out very deep. We stayed all night. I can remember of em making a camp fire and us a eating, but I can't remember too much about that. But then we drove on. I don't remember if it was the same day or the day afterwards we camped, I can't remember that part. We crossed White River and it was quite a good sized stream and they didn't have any bridges then. Wasn't any bridges on these streams. There was a ferry boat. So when we got to it I think they had to make us a sign or ring the cow bell or something I don't know exactly what they did, but I think they rang a cow bell and these men that worked on the ferry boat came across. They had a cable up there. I don't know if there was two cables or how they worked. But each men took ahold of it and pulled on one of these cables with there hands and they pulled us and we got across. When we got on that thing I guess before we got on, the man told my father since my father, he had a team of mules, and one of them was real high strung and he was like to run away. It was real scary to get on that ferry boat. So, I didn't want to get on or I didn't want to go across that river. It was too big and muddy looking and scary to me and I didn't want to go across and they wanted me to get out of the wagon so I got out and I stood on the bank. My father drove the team on it. Mother and sister, she had my little brother in her arms, they got on and I stood out there on the bank. I did not want to go. I guess I cried. I don't remember if I cried or not. More than likely I did because I was scared to death of that. And I had heard them talking about the mules might run off in the water and drown us and that scared me much worse. There was a tent right on down below on the river and there was a black family down there fishing. Mama said well OK, If you don't want to get on this boat with us and we'll cross and you can just stay here and you go on down there and live with them and be that woman's little girl. We'd seen some little kids down there. I said OK I'll go. Mama said no you wont, you get on here with us. So this man picks me up and puts me on there with them on this boat. I stood by mama. She told me to hold her dress. But you know what I did? I held on to mama with one hand and put my arm through the spokes of the wagon wheel and reached around and held on to my own dress. I was just hugging that wagon wheel. They didn't know it but if that mule had a run it would have jerked me off with that wagon with them. Mama didn't notice, I guess she was tickled to death to get me on it. She didn't pay any attention to Iwas a holdin the wagon wheel, but I know I was. Afternoon or about noon the second day I guess we was out, it might have been the 3rd. I think we did stay two nights out. We got to Uncle Tom's. This is where Mr. & Mrs. McCarty, were they were going. I don't know how far it was to my grandpa's, not too far I guess. We stopped and they wanted us to come eat with them. They was lookin for them to come about that time of day so they had prepared a meal. I think it was later than noon. We stayed any way and had dinner with them and visited with them a little while. Then my father drove on over to my grandfather's.. He lived in the edge of a little town called Higlandville. That was in Missouri. We visited first visited with grandfolks and had a good time.
After we stayed there a while and visited they talked my father into going back to Arkansas and selling his improvements on his homestead. Getting all he could hall in the wagon and selling every thing else and coming back to live. He went back to Arkansas when Mr. & Mrs. McCarty did. He took the wagon and we said with grandpa. I had my 6th birthday along about that time. It was in August, because my birthday is the 21 of August. My father went back to Arkansas and sold his improvements to his cousin. He had a farm that joined the one we had. Papa retained his homestead rights but this fellow bought his improvements on his home stead. When he got back to Missouri, we bought us 40 acres of land with a two roomed house on it, a barn, chicken house and things. We moved on it. From where my grandfather lived you went through this little town of Highlandville. About a mile south of Highlandville . Our house set on a little hill. We had some land down in the little valley like. A little while after we bought our place my grandfather bought 40 acres on the other side of the road from where our lace was on. The acreage that he bought cornered with the northeast corner of the Wilburn place. He had an apple orchard over there a rather good sized house. His house was bigger than ours. I think he had two bedrooms upstairs (something like that). I got to go to school. The teacher, her name was Mrs. London. I still remember it. She lived with an old lady about a block form the school house. Her name, we called her Grandma Ellingsworth. On her fence she had a row of raspberries out by the side of the road on the edge of the garden. The raspberry got ripe and the children who waked with us to school picked those raspberries.. My sister Maude wanted to pick some, too. I knew we weren't supposed to and she did to. But she picked some and I went home that evening and I told my mother that Maude picked some of those raspberries. My mother explained to her that we were not supposed to pick anything that did not belong to us if it was on our own field wild berry or something , but this lady grew her's on her fence and they were her's in her garden and we were not supposed to pick them.
So the other kids would laugh at us because we wouldn't pick em. Sometimes the lady would come out and tell the kids not to pick the berries. She knew that my sister and I did not pick them. A little poem I learned. I went to school, I was in the first grade. I have a cat I call her kit and on my knee she likes to set.Each day I give her dish of milk and I smooth her fur until it shines like silk. I like Kit and Kit likes me and I love kit and kit loves me .
When I went to this school there was this crippled little boy. One of his legs had not developed very much. He went on crutches. He was older than I was. I don't know what grade he was in. We just had this school, it just had two rooms. It had a large room downstairs and I was on that ground floor. The older boys and girls went to school in the upper story. We had these two teachers. The one I had was called Mrs. London and the one upstairs was called Mr. Plague (?). The little crippled boy chase the girls around the class room threatening to hit them whit his crutch. My mama told us to be nice to him. He was just like that because he could not go out side a play like the other little boys. You be nice to him. He can't help it because his leg is like that. Just talk to him and play with him. I was awful scarred of him at first. I told the other little girls what my mother had said. So we played with him and talked to him. I thought that was a good lesson that my mother had taught me.
When we went to school we went by Mr. Ketett's (?) Place. He had some Pea Fowl that I thought were they were the most beautiful things I had ever seen. In the evening time they'd be out along the road and this male pea fowl would spread his feathers out and strut and he was so pretty. This man, he ran a grocery store up there in town.
My grandfather, when he moved over close to us he had honey bees. When I went over to grandfather he'd be out there working on his bees. Sometimes he'd be fixin...one queen out of place because when you got more than one queen in a hive they'll fly away.
After we moved up to Missouri we had to change doctors. His mane was Dr. Cheetum. After we were there a little over a year my second brother was born. He was born in October. When he was born he weighed 11 pounds. He was a great big baby. My mother almost died. My Father hired a woman to come there and stay with my mother because he had t be working. He was gathering corn because it was coming up winter time. So he got this woman to stay there in the day time and see after the kids. When Leland was first born he was such a big baby they breast fed him. My little brother was so hungry he cried. They fixed up one of these things they called sugar-tip. They put sugar and butter mashed up and put it in a cheese cloth rag. You mashed it down into a little nipple and you let him suck it.
We had these friends that lived across Higlandville from us. Their name was Hale. They had a little girl named Mabel. She was about the age I was... I know we went to there house one Saturday eking I think it was. We sat out in there yard. They had a pretty yard. They had these cedar trees and other larger trees. But in the cedar trees they hung these jack-o-lantern. They could have had a little candle in them.. I don't know but any how they lit them. They had some kind of lanterns hung up and the older people played some kind of games. We younger kids played games. It was a beautiful summer day. We had homemade ice-cream and cakes. There dining room table was big and it had cakes all over it. I remember because I didn't eat ice-cream.
I remember on the 4th of July we went to a cave. It wasn't far from where we lived. We went over there for a picnic for 4th of July. They had lemonade, ice cream and played base ball.
My father and mother and my grandfather and grandmother Sasser and my uncle Henry Lee Sasser, that was my mother's youngest brother. His wife had been to Arkansas, Henry wife, Her and her little daughter visited her parents which lived which lived in Brunno Arkansas. Her father and mother's name was Nanny. She was coming home on a train. The closest depot or station was in Springfield Mo. . So my father put our night camping stuff, bedding, in the wagon and we went to Springfield. I don't know how far Springfield was from where I lived but we got up real early it was still dark. On the way to Springfield we had to cross a covered bridge. These mules we had knew we were going into a covered bridge. We couldn't hardly get those mules through there.
We got to Springfield while the sun was still pretty high up in the sky. Grandma...we, unhitched our mule and put and put them in the stall in the wagon yard and put the wagon up. There was a this kitchen that had a stove and wood to cook . Since we had been driving all day, so grandma and my mother decided to cook supper and we'd eat before we before we went over to the depot. The train wasn't supposed to be in till about 6:30. Uncle Henry had brought a watermelon. I remember taking the watermelon rine out to the a cow that belonged to the man that run the place. He and his wife lived out back in a house. We walked over to the depot. I saw I lot of sites. Before we got there a street car came along. It was pulled by mules of horse. That was the first street car I ever saw. We went on over to the Depot and when we got there was a lot of black people. The only black people I had ever seen before was on the White River when we came to Missouri. So I saw these tiny babies. I thought they were so pretty.
When the train come in, I had never seen a train before. My Auntie was not on the train. The depot man told us that the next train made the right connections and she probably would be on the next train. We went back to the wagon yard. My mother bedded us all kids down. Grandpa & Grandma and Uncle Henry waited up for the train to come in. Uncle Henry went over to get Aunt Zeel Ruth. The next day we went home.
My grandfather preached in Highlandville every other Sunday at the church in Highlandville. On the other Sundays he went to a town, I believe was Bellfont. He and grandma generally went over on Saturday evening. He preached Saturday night, Sunday and Sunday night. Then they would come home Monday Morning. But this time it was kinda cold weather and windy and rainy. He came over to get me to stay with grandma. They went in a buggy when they went. This time he went on his horse. He wore this coat they called slickers. That Monday morning she said lets cook dinner for grandfather. She let me help me make the Cornbread. Grandma had this wood tray. She'd had it ever since she come form Kentucky. They first moved to Arkansas and then to Missouri all those many years ago. She had one she called her bread tray she made biscuits on. On this one was for cakes.
She set the tray on a stool. I bet up all the eggs, flower and stuff. I was feeling so proud of my self making cornbread. About the time it got done Grandma came. Grandma Asked grandpa how he liked the cornbread. He said it was the best he ever tasted. She said, Well, Wilma made it.
Just down the road from us there was a family named Maples, they had a girl named Kelly and one named Katy. They were about the age of Maude and me. Right across the road form us there was wood. At that time it belonged to my grandfather. There were beautiful big trees over there and he told us he didn't mind if we played there. We'd take our dolls over there and play. We really had fun there. They were such nice people. The woods was close enough that our mom's could call us when they wanted us to come home. When I lived there in Missouri, Aunt Becky, mama's sister, Aunt Becky Pigg.
She passed away at childbirth. She had 12 or 13 children. They had her funeral that impressed me very very much. I don't know I might have heard my mother talking about all those children without a mother.
Latter on when I was living in Missouri Uncle Henry Lee and Aunt Zee had a little baby. I think it was the last summer we lived up there. They named her Mildred.