Thursday, April 14, 2011

Grandma Edna and Grandpa Reub

Edna Lula (1894–1961) and Reuben Russell ROBERSON (1893–1959) Family Memories
From Histories by Amzel Nadine ROBERSON WALTS (1914-2003) and by Grandma Wanda (living)

Amzel: "In a quaint little country village of English, Indiana, my father Reuben was born [tenth] of the twelve children of [Fielding ROBERSON and Mary Ann DENBO.]" " A few miles away in still a smaller town of Grantsburg, Indiana, my mother, the ninth of nine children was born to [James Thomas SEATON and Rhoda Helen BAYSINGER.]"

Wedding of Reuben and Edna: 2 Mar 1913 Mt. Carmel, Wabash, Illinois


"The way the two got together wasn't a miracle because two former SEATON girls had married ROBERSON Boys. The Seaton girls, Anna and Eva raved because she was getting ready to marry into the ROBERSON family."

James Washington ROBERSON (1875-1964) married Mary Ann SEATON (1876-1945) 16 Aug 1899.
William Fielding ROBERSON (1888-1978) married Eva Lavadeth SEATON (1891-1978) 12 Jan 1910 at English, Crawford, Indiana.

Amzel: [1914] "My parents lived in Mt. Carmel, Illinois. My dad worked fort the railroad and we lived close by in a little cottage. As long as I live I will never forget the train rides, especially the ones back to Mt. Carmel to visit my grandparents. Their house was a very very busy place with all the "cousins by the dozens" gathering there for a big get-to-gether, also there [were] many visits to our place, after we moved to the farm."

Reuben ROBERSON far right with neck tie.

Amzel: "From Mt. Carmel, my parents and I moved to Louisville, Kentucky, in a little cottage down on Madison Street. To me that sounds bad now but in 1916 that was the heart of Louisville. My dad was a street car conductor....We lived next door to my Aunt Dora and Uncle Charlie Roberson...."

Reuben ROBERSON Street Car Driver.

"It was the fall of 1918 when my dad and mother decided to load us all up and move to the farm.... We moved to Craig Patrick's farm in Grantsburg, Indiana on a very small place."

"Now as I write I think of one great memory. back in those days we had outside privies. mom took the slop jar to empty and I saw her coming back, feet high in the air and slinging the slop jar. What was the matter? She had seen a big snake in the privy. Talking about snakes, the place was lined with them. Mom wouldn't let us outside the house."

"My grandpa [Fielding] Roberson had given my dad 40 acres, with no house, two miles south of English, Indiana. It was there he became a carpenter, which was later to be his entire career. He started a two room house. It was very cold weather when we were ready to move in. It was crude, but a nice home and it was ours to have and to cherish and bring back pleasant memories years after."

"The picture my sister Wanda Painted now hanging on my living room wall prompted me to write this book."

Amzel: "Finally dad built a porch across the front of the house..., I can see my mother sitting and rocking, with one child or another on the porch."

Amzel: Also, dad started his first farming. When the crops were over, he worked on the railroad in English, Indiana to pay the taxes and to buy shoes and keep bread on the table for us."

Amzel: "The fall of 1918 we started a very cold and bad winter.... It still bareds very strong in my mind. The jouy was seeing my mom and dad and Uncle Irvin and Aunt Lottie [Roberson] sleigh riding down the hill having fun. Also, my Uncle Irvin hooking up his beautiful team of horses to the sleigh. Mother would gather up quilts and us kids and away we would go. Eight miles to see my Aunt Bertha and Uncle Charlie Laswell. We sang and had a wonderful time, plus the bountiful dinner she put on the table."

Amzel: "[1919, Mom was expecting her third child.] We all got the flu. Mother went into Pneumonia. She was very ill...."

Amzel: "Mom kept getting worse. The doctors expected her to die. Our Doctor Hammond told dad a Doctor Pallie from Louisville, Kentucky could operate and maybe save her. But before he would come he had to have the money, $100.00. So dad sold our only horse, 'Mid Nite' so the surgeon would come down and operate as it was impossible to move her. Oh, what a night for a child to remember. He prepared the kitchen table and it was there he operated on my mother hoping to save her life. The part that stands out very clearly was Mrs. Sudduth, Mrs. Austin and Mrs. Patton who stood out on the porch to wait for her to die so they could lay her out. but in the night the doctor went out and said that he had given her a shot that would either cure or kill her. With that he left. My dad was very [a] good nurse. He worked day and night for 21 days. It was a very dragged out process but she lived. [Three months later the baby was born.]"

Amzel: "..Dad started building on to our house. My grandpa [Fielding] Roberson was coming to live with us. Hebuilt two rooms across the back and another porch that we used as a summer kitchen. My Grandmother Seaton was weaving rugs for people so she wove us a wall-to=wall carpet for our sitting room. It consisted of an organ, couch, chair, a three-quarter bed and of course the old wood stove. Also, an Aladin lamp, a library table and a wall telephone."

Wanda: [The year I was born, 4th of 9 children, Dad grew watermelons] he tells me that he fed me watermelon juice at age of three days....
Amzel: "...My dad had a wagon load of watermelons and cantaloupe ready for selling. That was our cash crop for the year (10 cents each.)"
Wanda: We lived in a four room house at Pleasant Hill, a farm community about five miles from English, Indiana. Dad had planed an apple orchard with never did bear fruit. We never did know why but it must have been a great disappointment for him. He had cleared the land of persimmon and sassafras trees but now the wild blackberry bushes had taken over."

Wanda: "My family was probably classes as poor folks. We never had much money but I can't remember ever going hungrey. Dad worked for the State Highway Department as a good democrat and then we had our garden, milk, fruit and wild berries and nuts. Hickory nuts, hazel nuts and black walnuts all were plentiful."

Amzel: "Every evening my dad had to read to Grandpa Roberson...."
Wanda: "Grandfather Fielding Roberson lived with us and I can remember standing on the rockers of his chair as he rocked, I must have had a deep love for him which was returned...."

Amzel: "My memories [of living in the Indiana country are great.] Such as dad getting out the apples and sitting around the stove, or me dipping my hand in the sour kraut barrell and eating it fresh. Oh boy that was good."

Amzel: "The times were hard but the family grew....It seemed like the work grew harder but we were a very happy family. I can remember mom often bought ten yards of material at five cents a yard and made us all dresses alike."

Amzel: "Our Christmas's were really great and very simple. The dolls were put away in October and guns were hid. Come Christmas morning we had new doll dresses and caps for the guns, and our stockings were filled with oranges, apples nuts and candy."

Amzel: "In the summer time the Veterans of the Civil War had and held what was called and still is the English Reunion. They made and served chowder and since Grandpa Rorgerson was a Civil War Veteran we could all have our dinners free. So at 6 in the morning the horses were hitched to the wagon and us with our new dresses and away we went for the festivities of the day. After eating dinner and seeing all the people, they always gave us kids all the lemonade and bananas we could drink and eat. My brother Chester ate and ate and was pretty sick of bananas.

Amzel: "It was in the summer of 1924 that Grandpa and Grandma Seaton came from Mt. Carmel, Illinois for a visit with us. She had a stroke and died at our house.
Wanda: "Grandma [Rhoda Helen BAYSINGER] Seaton also lived with us before she died. My only remembrance of her is when I fell on the stove and burned my hand. She wrapped it for me."

Amzel: "When Grandpa and Grandma Seaton came, Grandpa Roberson took his suitcase and went to visit his daughter, aunt Bertha Laswell. He fell and broke his hip and died that fall.
Wanda: ...He went to visit his son, Alva, and while there fell and broke his hip which led to complications. He died soon from acute nephritis when I was only three years old. One of my Uncles came by in a wagon and took me to see Grandpa before he died. I can still remember the wet kiss he gave me. I think these are my earliest recollections."

Amzel: "My big thrill was coming home from school on a cold winter evening, snow falling and walking in and getting a sniff of cookies baking and supper on the wood cook stove. Those days not much work to do at night, only what mom couldn't get done in her busy day....They tore down the school and built a new one-room school house. All eight grades attended. It wasn't a very large school but we got our learning there, carried our lunches and sat by a big pot bellied stove. It seemed every new college graduate taught their first year there. Three of my double cousins (yes, remember three sisters married three brothers,) taught at the school."

Amzel: "I'll never forget when we were kids and if dad asked 'who did it?' and no one answered, he would line us up against the house and whip us all. Then he was sure to get the right one. "

4-Wanda (bare legs), 6-Howard, 5-Norman, 3-Marie, standing in front of mother Edna and dad Reuben. The house belonged to an Uncle. The door is covered with canvas to help keep out the cold wind.

Amzel: "Times were getting worse every year. It was impossible to live on a small farm so dad started talking, selling and moving to Montana. Now us larger kids didn't care to go and leave our friends. But he even tually sold our farm and bought a big truck and built it into a van. we had a sale and sold our furniture and packed our clothes..."
Wanda: "Dad decided almost overnight, that we were going to Great Falls, or rather to a ranch between Dutton, and Power, Montana, to live with my Uncle Grover Roberson and work in the wheat harvest. Eight of us, mon dad six children and another man made the trip. we traveled in a Model a Ford Truck with athe truck bed built for we children to ride in. Mom usually rode in the back with the children while Chester rode up front with dad and the man."

Wanda: "There are only a few things that I really recall about this trip. These include my first taste of canned pork and beans and [store] bought apple butter. The trip was in the fall and we were trying to beat the bad weather. However, it does seem like we still had cold and rain. The roads weren't paved and I still have an imbedded ear of winding mountain roads. They were so narrow with drop-offs that seemed to me to never end. We walked up many hills with the bigger ones pushing the truck. I remember on mourning waking up in the tent where we slept and they were all gone pushing the truck up another hill. They were to come back to get us later but I thought for sure they had forsaken we small children. Uncle Grover had homesteaded a section or two of land when he went west to teach school and had become very successful. He was very tall and handsome with a gold tooth in front and a big wide mouth, Roberson smile. I am more of a Seaton and look like my mothers family.
Amzel: We had our problems on the way, but on May 8, 1927 we arrived in Dutton, Montana. Dad raised wheat on 320 acres of my uncles Farm, so that put us all to work. I shocked wheat right along with the rest....

Wanda: Grover told us of his first day at school when he took over a room full of teen age boys who had run several teachers away. He took a big buggy whip and dared them to do anything. He never had trouble teaching that year. He must have had mixed emotions about our entry into his life. He was a bachelor and I'm sure we must have been a terrible intrusion. Mom took over as cook. I remember her baking bread in huge pans that held four to six loaves side by side. We had dried purnes for our only fruit in the winter. we had contests to see who could eat the most prunes. One morning I was so happy-- I had had a loose tooth for some time and was sure it had fallen out-- it was only covered with a piece of prune skin.

Wanda: Dad pulled out teeth regularly. We'd all line up and he'd pull the loose and nearly loose teeth. This was as bad as everyone getting a whipping for something that no one would own up to.

Standing-mother Edna
Seated-Marie, Norman, Wanda and Howard photo taken in Montana

Wanda: I started school here in Montana.

Amzel: Now it was fall and we had to start school, you could see the school from our house. We had been warned of bad blizzards, so we had plenty of food and coal in.
Wanda: That winter we were caught in our first blizzard. dad came after us early in the afternoon because we had gone to school without coats. It started our as a warm winter day. The blizzard came up so fast that we got stuck on the way home. It was snowing so hard that when dad would back the car up to get another run the snow would fill up his tracks. We left the car to walk back to the nearest neighbor which was about one half mile. Dad carried me but I still got both hands frozen. They thawed them out with snow and in a few days all the skin peeled off. Dad left us with the neighbor and walked home. He didn't want mom to worry and do the chores. It was a miracle that he made it home y following the fences.
Amzel: The winter came in fast and dad started after us. The storm hit and we got stuck. The kids stayed at a neighbors while dad tried to make it home. The storms aren't simple out there. The next morning it was 50 degrees below zero and four feet of snow on the ground. The horses went in to their bellies.

Wanda: There were lakes between our house and the school which froze over and dad would make a short cut by driving across them.. One day I fell out of the truck and went sliding across the ice but didn't get hurt.

Amzel: Now Christmas was coming and it was very bad, but one day dad and he and mom went into town. Dutton, Montana was eleven miles away and that is where they bought our Christmas. That was the year I got the Kodak camera I still have. Then dad bought a car. A top heavy ford. We went to Great Falls shopping. When dad missed a road he had to back up and he noticed a tire gone. Some one had stolen our tire. so back to town we went and got a new one. That was to be our one and only Christmas on the farm.

Wanda: That year mom cut my hair real short and it stayed straight. I guess the dryness did it. Anyway I only had memories of my long curls.

Amzel: Dad bought a lot in Great Falls, Nontana, dug a basement and we moved in. It was there I started High School. It was a new school and a friendly place. I had plenty of friends.

Wanda: We moved to Great Falls and lived in a motel. We used one room for living quarters where mom and dad slept and we kids slept in the other one. I remember getting up and running barefoot through snow to get down to the warm one. Dad built us a house on second ave. north across the road from the motel. Our little brother was born while we lived here. He only lived three days and this was my first real grief. [1929 - Infant son not given a name.]
Amzel: [When the baby came]
Mom got real sick so it was thirteen year old Amzel who had to take over. By this time I had said several times, 'If I ever marry I'll never have any children.' The thrashers came, thirteen men and I did all the cooking, with mom's supervision, and washed all the dishes. I'll never forget the old gentleman from Walla Walla, Washington, who said to the men 'Any one who leaves his plate and cup on the table had to give me a quarter.' So I had some help. I cooked and took care of them for ten days.

Montana school Wanda in the 2nd grade.

Wanda: One day at school I was standing in line waiting for the bus to take us home and just as the bus arrived, an Indian boy Jimmie Billadeaux came running and shoving and pushed me under the bus. both front and rear wheels ran over my legs between the knees and ankles. The snow on the ground kept them from breaking. I was quite the important one for a time. A girl gave me a beautiful china doll--my first.

Wanda: My teacher for third grade was Myrl Cody and here is where I got the idea to spell my middle name. No one seemed to know how it was supposed to be spelled.

Wanda: My first lesson in, "Thou shalt not steal," was learned here. "All the kids" had money for penny candy and I found where mom and dad kept some change in a pocket so I helped myself. several times I did and kept taking more until I had to own up to stealing. I got a good talking to and I am sure a spanking. I'm sure that as poor as we were, every penny was missed.

Wanda: Dad sold our house after a short time and we moved into a tent on 2 ave. South while he dug a basement for a new house. We moved into the basement and never did finish the house. Our basement was curtained off with yards of white material with tiny red ships. Mom and dad's bed hung from the ceiling on chains. Here we went to 4H Club and I saw my first ventriloquist....We got a nice Holstein cow to produce 5 gallons of milk a day. She kept running away to join the steers that still ran loose on the prairie. I was scared of the steers. We would get a treat once in a while at the root beer stand. It was in the shape of a barrel and the waitresses wore orange and brown uniforms. I think we must have always been a little hungry or maybe things tasted better then than now. Rattle snakes were everywhere and occasionally we had sand storms. Dad got a nail in his hand and was sick with blood poisoning for several days.

Wanda: ...My boy friend was Billy Madison who had a cousin Leroy Johnson. Their father ran Johnson Madison Lumber Co. in Great Falls. My first remembered embarrassment was Billy seeing my black garters. All the other girls wore supporters which were fastened to loops on their undershirts. I longed for supporters. We wore long cotton socks and some were too short, or my legs were too long.
Then dad started building a house to sell. It sold and then another one. As I started my third year in High School dad decided to move back to English, Indiana. Mom was home sick. He bought a star car and we loaded in. It took seven days to get home. By that time my mother was pregnant [with the 8th of what would become 9 children]. Dad Rented a house at Granstsbur, Indiana.... Dad finally got a job building a firehouse in English.

Wanda: One night we came home from school and were told we were going back to Indiana the next morning. We just left all our stuff except mom's sewing machine. She had it shipped. We stayed in better motels and some farm homes Dad was a great personality and would talk people into keeping us for the night. The roads were better and our trip was fun even though we were more crowded because we were larger. We would all lean together and get the car sawying aroung corners until dad really layed it on us.
Wanda: Back in Crawford County we started living in rented houses. first, we lived in one of Alice Robersons close to Gransburg and walked to school at Grantsburg.... Our teacher was Helen Reasor. We were all in the same room at school. Then we moved to a house at the top of Needmore hill near English. It had three rooms and we went to English to school.

James Russell WALTS (1914-1983) and Amzel Nadine ROBERSON (1914-2003).

Amzel: In the summer of 1932 mom and dad went over and rented the house we sold and fixed it up. It was that September, 1932, that I met the man of my life. The man I was to marry, Russell Walts. He lived at Centerfield, Indiana, ten miles away. He walked that to see me every weekend and spent the night at his aunts in Pleasent Hill.
Wanda: Our old house became vacant, the one that I was born in, and we moved back to it. We had to walk two miles to the school bus. Lots of times we carried our shoes to the gravel road, washed our feet in the creek and put our shoes back on. I guess I was getting older and more dreamy. I loved our walk through the woods. Junior Longest carried my books and, trombone later, I took advantage of his mooney eyed love for me.

Wanda 1938.

Wanda: My first love happened during the eight grade, I was tall, skinny, and homely as sin. I had started wearing horned rim glasses in the 7th grade and found out how near sighted I was and what the world really looked like. I would wear a pair until they broke and then after weeks or even months of not having any, Dad would take me to Louisville to get new ones. These were special occasions for me to be alone with dad on the train trip and stay for a couple of days. He would get me a couple of new dresses and treat me to a lot of little things that we never had at home....

Wanda: I didn't get involved in extracurricular activities much at school because we lived so far away. Mom and Dad went to town on Saturday but we girls did the cleaning and laundry etc. on Saturday. Saturday night was when the kids went to town but we could not go....

I graduated from Hi School in 1939, with a class ring and attendance at the prom. Everyone went to the prom since a date was not required. The prom was mostly a big dinner. I w3on a scholarship to Indiana U. but with no encouragement at home, I didn't take it. Instead, I went to beauty college at Kentucky Beauty College in Louisville. I graduated in three months and went to my first job in Madison, Indiana. I earned $10.00 per week with room and board. We slept in the third floor room above the shop. It was while working here that I met Lee... the man who was to become a big part in my life....

Mary, Amzel, Joe, Chester, Edna, Reuben, Norman, Marie, Howard.

Chester, Joe, Amzel, Edna, Mary, Wanda and Reuben.

Reuben Russell ROBERSON (1893-1959) and Edna Lula SEATON (1894-1961).

Edna Lula SEATON (1894-1961) and Reuben Russell ROBERSON (1893-1959).

Ancestry Chain: great grandparents Reuben Russel ROBERSON and Edna Lula SEATON, Grandma Wanda, MRR, JR.

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