Mikiel Edwin (Ed) Beaver was born on Abe Lincoln’s birth day, February 12, 1867, to Maney Jane and Joseph R. Beaver, Jr., in Bates County, Missouri. when he was 7 years old his Parents, along with several other families, migrated by wagon train to Texas. A more detailed history of this trek has been related in Part I – ROOTS. Along with the wagon train was the family of Charles and Elizabeth Pearson and their seven children. Their 4 year old daughter was Samintha (called Minnie), born December 15, 1870, in Bates County. Her three brothers and sisters had all been born in Tennessee.
After all the families settled in Erath County, Texas, on farms purchased from old Brother Miller, they formed a community and called it Millerville. They built a primitive school house and a church building. Ed Beaver became smitten by the pretty little Minnie Pearson and they soon became school day sweethearts. As the years went by their puppy love developed into a blooming romance, and they became engaged in 1388. They were married January 6, 1889, by the justice of the peace of Erath County. Dad told me that was their decision since they were of different faiths. He was a staunch member of the Church of Christ and she was Methodist. However, soon after their marriage she became united with him in the Church of Christ and they reared all 10 of their children in the Church. The family was poor except for three important resources: Love, Hope and Faith in God.
On November 15, 1889, a baby daughter was born to them. She was named Nancy Elizabeth, for her two grandmothers. Then on July 2, 1891, a son, William Kelly arrived. March 7, 1895, another son was born, Rollie Elbert. Two years later, February J, 1895, a son, Edwin Clay arrived, followed on November 17, 1898, a baby boy, Amos Olin. He was born with a disease called hydrocephalus, and he lived only 2 years and 7 months. The 26th of September 1900 brought them another son, Charles Joseph, whom they named for his two grandfathers. These six babies were each delivered by Dad’s Aunt Ebaline, a professional midwife. November 1, 1902, their sixth son, Frank Hubbert, was delivered by an old doctor who had started commuting from Hico in his buggy to deliver babies. In later years I was discussing all of this with Mama, and I remarked that it was funny that she would have six boys in succession. With her usual ready wit she replied, “I can tell you right now that it wasn’t a bit funny”.
Three years later the scene changed in the Beaver family when the first of four baby girls began making their appear ances. Lee Ella was born August 29, 1905 and named for Dad’s sister, Lee Beaver and Mama’s sister Ella Pearson. I was told that the older sister and five brothers spoiled her terribly. I, Allie Lois was born October 15, 190S. Mama took a look at me and thanked the Lord that “the arms connected to the shoul der bones, and the legs connected to the hip bones”, because three days earlier, her neighbor, Ora Howerton had given birth to a baby girl who had no arms and legs. What a tragedy! On May 20, 1911, Mama had another baby girl. She was a beauty, with dark curly hair, and Mama named her for herself, Samintha. Lastly, their only Kent County child was born June 21, 1913, and they named her Iona. Later she added Jane to her name.
Our brother, Clay, was afflicted with asthma from birth, and the ailment worsened as he grew. Mama’s niece, Minnie Taylor and family lived out in West Texas near Girard. It was decided that he would go to live with them for a while in the hopes of the climate benefiting him. He went in 1911 and stayed a year. His remarkable recovery caused Mama and Dad to make the hard decision to sell their property and relocate in Kent County. This must have been a traumatic decision since all of the relatives lived back there.
In 1912 they loaded our belongings into a covered wagon, and a surrey ”with a fringe on top”, and we began our exodus to, seemingly foreign lands. In the meantime, Elizabeth had married Joe Ratliff, and they already had a baby when I was born, making me Aunt on arrival. Also Kelly had married Sadie Norrod. So the ones of us who made the 213 mile wagon trip to Kent County were Mama and Dad, Rollie, Charlie, Hub, Lee Ella, Samintha, and me. I was only about 4- years old, but I do recall a few instances of the journey. The older children were privileged to ride in the surrey, which was pulled by a fine little span of mules.
The trip was exciting for us kids. Dad built’ a chuck wagon sort of cabinet on the back of the wagon, and from it Mama made some delicious meals which she cooked on a camp fire. Our beds were unrolled on the ground at night with nothing but the stars above above us. What wonders I eyes must have beheld above while waiting for sleep to come. I remember one night, we unrolled our bed and just settled in when one of us discovered that we had infringed on a bed of angry red ants. Did we move our sleeping quarters in a hurry? Wow!
We arrived in Kent County in early September of 1912, and our first place of abode was in the Bonds Chapel community southeast of Girard. Dad rented Ben Spradling’s farm with a three room house on it, and soon the older ones start to school at the Bonds Chapel two-teacher school. It was while we were living at this place that our baby sister, Jane, was born. Also, it was here that our brother, Rollie, met and married a neighbor girl, Donie Edwards.
Our next move was to the Tom Bonds rent farm. We had church services in the school house, and one big protracted revival outdoors in the summertime. I was 5 years old, and I still have a ghastly recollection of a happening one night at the meeting. There were kerosene lanterns hanging on posts in advantageous spots around the plank seats. As was the routine in those days, the sen were knelt on the ground when prayer was being offered, in a semicircle, and Brother George Rucker was wording the prayer. Suddenly a five foot rattlesnake came gliding toward the men, and someone yelled, ”Lookout, George, there’s a rattler”. I don’t know which was the worse scared, the men or the poor snake who hurriedly slunk to the harkened weeds. I can imagine that God found a little humor at the interruption of this prayer.
Soon we started having church services at Girard, in the upstairs auditorium of the brick school building. It seemed a long way to go to church in a wagon, especially at night during a revival meeting, but we were taught that it was a sin to miss the worship services without a valid reason. So, Mama would put quilts in the back of the wagon for the kids to go to sleep on the way home. I believe that I still have knots on my head caused from those iron wagon wheels bounx ing over chuckholes on the unpaved road.
Mama always took care of the communion set, the linens and the homemade communion bread. Our home was usually the home for visiting preachers, as Lad was one of the two elders. I remember some of the preachers who stayed with us, such as Brother Bentley, Brother Mansfield, M.M. Young, Foy E. Wallace and Dave Black.
I am confident that Mama’s most embarrassing moment was one that happened in church one Sunday morning. She was holding our talkative three year old Jane, while the communion bread was quietly being served. Jane noticed that our sister-in law, Sadie, who was not a church member at that time, didn’t partake, so she said quite loudly, “Sade, didn’t you take a pinch?”
By the year 1914 Dad had saved enough money to purchase a twenty acre plot of land just a quarter of a mile from Girard. He and the boys built a four room bungalow on it at the cost of $700.00, a fortune in those days. It was great to get to move into a brand new house, even though it was poorly furnished, no rugs on the floor, kerosene lamps, no water piped into the kitchen, and baths were taken in a galvanized washtub. But I don’t recall spending much time thinking about the things we didn’t have. We were a happy, big family, and this is where we learned how to share and to get along with one another, how to work, how to be thrifty, what it meant to be honest and car ing, and most importantly, to give thanks to God daily for the things we had.
During the dry years of the early twenties there was one crop failure after another. Dad had to take a job with the section hands working on the railroad in order to feed and clothe the family, and he was fortunate to have the job. In 1923 he ran for the office of county commissioner of Precinct one, and he won the election. The county courthouse was in Clairemont, 18 miles of unpaved roads away from home. Many times he would have to spend several days over there during court session. This displeased Mama so much that she talked him out of running for a second term.
Radios were unheard of in homes when we were growing up. However, when Clay came home after World War I, (an account of his tour of duty is related in the chapter of his life), he ordered from Sears catalogue, a Silvertone phonograph. It was in a tall oak cabinet with a door below for storing records. We all enjoyed it and the old 75 RPM records. I wish I had it today to show off with my few other antiques.
Although we didn’t have much in the way of this world’s goods, Mama always seemed to be able to dress us four little girls in pretty dresses that she made, and it always pleased her so to have people compliment the way we were dressed. She always had a little money stashed away in her big handsatchell that she kept hanging on a nail near her bed. This was her own personal cash earned from her sales of butter and eggs. She sold butter for 25¢ a pound and eggs for 5 or 10¢ per dozen. Her weekly customers were always calling ahead to be sure that she would have that beautifully molded pound of jersey butter for them.
We had no ice box, but Mama had a milk cooler that stood on the back screened in hall. It was about 5 feet tall, made of galvanized tin with shelves. The bottom and top shelves were troughs in which she filled with fresh water each morn ing. She kept a large sheet-like piece of cloth that she called her cooler rag wrapped entirely around the frame end fastened with clothespins, the bottom and top of which hung into the troughs of water. This kept the cooler rag wet at all times, and the cool breeze kept the milk cool. She was very meticulous about keeping the rag clean every day.
During the first hard cold spell of winter, we looked forward to going home from school on hog killing day for we knew that Mama would have fresh tenderloin and hot biscuits for supper. Dad had built a smokehouse in the back yard, and there is where they smoked and sugar cured their hams, bacon, shoulder sections and sausage, hanging them from the ceiling. We kids had to tske turns grinding the sausage and packing it into the 12 by 5 inch bags that Mama had sewed from flour sacks These, too, were hung in the smokehouse.
Where we lived in Kent County, the well water was gyppy because a stratum of gypsum rock lies beneath the surface. The water was useless except for stock water. Dad hired a well drilled and erected a windmill over it. It produced lots of water, but was not good to irrigate a garden. And so, the roof of our house was completely surrounded by a gutter that emptied when it rained, into a filter, and from there into our 25 foot deep concrete cistern. I remember that during the rainless years of 1913 and 1919, our cistern became empty and we had to haul water from Spur. Before they put the new water into the cistern Dad said that one of us girls would have to go down and clean the dregs out. of the bottom. I, 10 years old, was selected, and Dad let me down on the rope they used for drawing the water. I spent most of a morning down there shoveling mud into buckets for Dad to draw up and empty.
Mama had a penchant for quilting. I can’t remember a time when she didn’t have a quilt in the frames and rolled to the ceiling at night. She carded her cotton for bats and they were ever so soft. Dad made her a quilt box that always sat in the hall. She padded the outside with cotton and covered it with flowered cretone, tacking it with brass carpet tacks eight or ten inches apart all over it. It was her pride and joy, and as she had taught us girls how to quilt, that old puilt box housed some beauties. I don’t know what became of it when she broke up housekeeping, but I can still see it in my mind’s eye.
Before the days of automobiles, Dad bought Mama a dandy little one-horse buggy. She knew how to hitch our old mare, Daisy, between the shafts, and she would put us four little girls in the buggy and away we would go to spend the day with Fannie or Minnie or Uncle Frank, and «unt Carrie. Mama was not a midwife, but she was called to help with delivering babies along with the doctor, by all the neighbors. For that, her buggy came in handy.
Our old mare, Daisy, was a dependable 21 year old horse, that I used to ride bareback to bring the milk cows home in the evenings. I also hitched her to the go-devil and plowed the orchard occasionally. Daisy had a colt that we raised to be a fine horse. We named him J.T., the initials of his sire’s owner, J.T. Bonds, never dreaming that we would later have a family in-law named J.T. That horse became such a beloved part of our family that many of the grandkids have their pictures on him. ‘He were all grief stricken when he had to be destroyed because of the infirmities of old age.
One of the menial jobs that I hated as a kid was when it came my turn to clean out the chicken house. The chickens roost at night on narrow boards about 5 feet from the floor. All of the house was closed tonight, a skunk kept getting in it in the fryers. We might mama put some poison on a piece of meat and place it just outside the chicken house door. Sometime during the night our little nine-year-old dog, Dime, got out of the house and eat the meat. We were morbid with grief when we found him dead the next morning.
When Kelly and Sadie moved to Girard, he had just finished making a concrete cellar at the old Bloomfield school in Cooke County, Texas. He convinced Dad that we needed one like it to replace our old dirt dugout. They worked for weeks on it and the finished product was one to be proud of. The thick concrete walls and the sturdy roof made it a forerunner of a modern fallout shelter. Mama furnished it with a bed, a table with a kerosene lamp on it, some chairs, books and games. It was a delight to us kids when a storm approached warranting an escape to the cellar.
When Clay came home from the war he had saved some of his army pay, so he and Dad pooled their resources and bought our first car, a brand new Maxwell touring car, at the cost of $655*00. What price luxury! It came equipped with snap-on curtains made of heavy black duck with small isinglass win dows to keep out the cold and rain, We took several trips, all 7 of us, in that Maxwell. The engine had a humming sound that even our dog, Watch, could detect it a half mile away. We kept it until the 1924 Model T. Fords came out, then Dad traded it in on a new Ford touring car.
Dad continued to buy a little more acreage along as he had the cash to pay for it, until the home place finally contained 96 acres. They sold the place to John Boland in 1946, and bought a compact little house in Jayton. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary there January 6, 1949. Dad’s health began to fail soon after that. He had acute glaucoma in one eye and had to have the eye removed. He developed heart problems and died November 23, 1949, at the home of our brother Clay and family. He was buried at Girard on Thanks giving Day 1949. Mama sold the house in Jayton and spent the last 8 years of her life with us children. She was at Jane’s when she died at Lubbock February 20, 1957. She was laid to rest by Dad’s side in the Girard cemetery.
Mama was a small, feisty little woman who could do a day’s work in a couple of hours. She was slightly opinionated with a very candid way of expressing her ideas. She loved her home, her man, and her children deeply, yet it was not her disposition to show a great deal of affection. She was a strict disciplinarian, who never allowed us girls to go on a date unless another couple (approved by her) went along. After she was old and we girls were all married and had children of our own, I overheard her tell a friend, ”I am very thankful that none of my girls disgraced me”. I am thankful, too, Mom.
Our dad was a mildtempered, honest, hardworking man, whose gentle demeanor endeared him to his family and friends. He was a learner, who liked to be current on all world happenings. He was interested in our school books, and he was proud of our every accomplishment in the learning process. If Dad could have had the opportunity to even attend high school, he could have become a man of great knowledge, combined with his God-given wisdom and good Judgment. He was a good student of the Bible, with much of it committed to memory. To me, they were both role models, and’ I am so thankful for the “unfeigned faith which dwelt first in them,” and was instilled in me by them. From reading all of the chapters from their descendants, I can read the effects of that faith in each and every one of them.
Where are the lines of demarcation between past, present, and future? ’We relive the past in our memories, and our present is continually focused on expectations of the future. It seems that we, as children, of necessity have to become parents our selves before we can really begin to relate to the sacrifices, anxiety, and responsibilities that our parents endured, and we fail to give them the praise and appreciation for them, until it is sometimes too late.
Dad has been gone from us 36 years, and Mama 28. Yet, they are in our memory as though they were here yesterday. Praise God for memories.