I am Samintha Beaver Craig, the tenth of eleven children, born to Mikiel Edwin and Samintha Pearson Beaver. I was born May 20, 1911, in Erath County near Hico, Texas. I was given my mother’s name, Samintha. To the family I am known as Sam, and to my friends as Sammie. I have worn my mother’s beautiful name with pride.
My father was a dryland farmer, and some years, crop failures came down hard on us. However, we always had plenty to eat since we raised hogs, chickens, and cows at home. My mother was a great cook. Her fried chicken could put Kentucky Colonel’s to shame. I always helped Mama cook. I can remember standing on a chair making biscuits for the family breakfast. My chocolate and coconut cream pies were my specialty. I can no longer make them so well.
Mama could be heard singing as she worked in her kitchen. The echo of her high-toned voice rings in my ears even now, as she sang, “Tell Mother I’ll be There,” “A Blind Child’s Prayer,” and many of the beautiful old hymns we sing at church today. She had the potential of becoming an opera singer, had she been able to develop her talent.
I am eternally grateful for the Christian home my parents provided, and for the religious background instilled within my heart. I have kept that faith, and have spent my life in Christ’s glorious Church. I remember hearing my dad and my brother Clay recite scriptures as they shaved and shined their shoes getting ready for church. That type of living settled deep within the heart of a little girl and has remained for life.
When I was two years old, my father put the family and a few possessions in a covered wagon and moved to West Texas. He kept a daily log of travels and activities of the trip. I‘m told I threw the little book out just before we reached our destination, losing some valuable history. I wonder if I received the spanking I deserved.
Dad bought some land in Girard, Texas and built a four-room bungalow house. That’s just what it was, four rooms, a porch, and a hall leading to the back yard. There were no clothes closets nor built-in cabinets, so, we hung our few clothes behind the doors. That is where I grew up and went to school. I graduated from high school and planned to go to college to become an old maid school teacher. Due to crop failures, my dreams were crushed. I worked at the Girard Post Office for dear old Brother and Sister Woody as part-time help.
One day a new boy came to town. I met him, and it was not long before Jess Craig became a daily visitor to my parlor. He had traveled a lot as a boy, and he said, “I came back to Texas to get a pretty corn-fed girl for my wife.” With his happy-go-lucky Irish charm, he soon changed my desire to be an old maid. We were married October 20, 1933, at Jayton, Texas. The family and friends came to the wedding, and afterwards we ran through a shower of rice and old shoes. The boys took Craig and the girls grabbed me, keeping us apart until 2:00 a.m. the following morning. Such was the custom in those days.
We moved into one of Dad’s rent houses. It had only a bedroom and a kitchen. We made it real cozy by putting a grass rug on the floor, adding a pretty poster bedroom suite and two maroon velvet chairs. In the kitchen we had a big green kerosene range and a dinette set which we painted ourselves. This was our little honeymoon house, where we spent many happy hours getting to know each other.
We had a grocery store in Girard, but credit customers, who could not pay their bills, caused us to close our doors. We moved to Ft. Sumner, New Mexico where my brother, Hub, and my husband went into the cleaning business. Later, Craig worked on a big dam which was being constructed near Ft. Sumner. He was making one dollar per hour. Wow! What big money.
While living at Ft. Sumner, our first child was born. Larry Thomas Craig arrived on a warm Monday morning at 4 a.m., July 20, 1936. We were so proud of him, so excited to have our own baby boy to consumate our love and marriage. He was so sweet with his big blue eyes and little bald head, making him look like a “bye-lo” baby doll. He was a healthy baby and soon be came the center of our world.
When Larry was nine months old, we packed up and moved to California in our new Pontiac car. How thrilling it was for a country girl, who had never seen a city except Dallas, to walk down the streets of Hollywood. We lived first in Santa Ana, and while there I suffered an acute attack of appendicitis and had to undergo emergency surgery. Larry was a nursing baby. What could we do? Craig had to work, and we had made no friends as yet. We called our preacher, and rignt away he discovered a lady who was a sister to a friend of ours in Ft. Sumner. She kindly took Larry and weaned him for me during my two week’s stay in the hospital. That was a real Christian act.
Craig was following government construction work, and we were sent to Paso Robles, California. It was here that our first baby girl was born, Anna Jane arrived February 19, 1941. How nice to have a baby sister for Larry. She was a tiny baby with dark hair and beautiful bright eyes. Ours was a wonderful world in which to live. When she was three months old we moved to Gallup, New Mexico for awhile, then back to Texas to stay. It was good to be home.
While living in Paris, Texas, another baby girl was born to us, November 2, 1943. She was darling with her laughing blue eyes and soft, cuddly body. Little Mary Beth made our family complete, one born in New Mexico, one in California, and now, one in Texas. My husband said, “No more moves. Every state we moved to we got another baby.”
I am fortunate to have two of my children living in Tyler. Larry and his beautiful wife live just a stone’s throw from me, which gives me a feeling of security. Larry is a loving, caring son and is my strong shoulder to lean on. I often wonder what I would do without him.
Janie and her husband live in Silsbee, Texas. Bobby, her husband, is an elder in the Church of Christ in Silsbee. Janie is a precious daughter, one who shows her love in many ways. She finds it so easy to say, “I love you,” which is a characteristic inherited from her father. She has, since childhood, been my little grown-up lady. Theirs is a fine Christian family.
Mary Beth, our baby, is a pleasure to all of us. She and her husband, Charles O’Neal, and two teenage children live in a big, beautiful log house in the country from Tyler. She fills her place well as a loving daughter, always finding time in her busy world to listen to my “old lady” whims and notions. She is a big part of my life. She calls every morning and chats with me about the children—my favorite subject.
I could write a book about my wonderful grandchildren. I have four beautiful grandaughters, two handsome grandsons, four goodlooking step grandsons, one grandaughter-in-law, two grand sons-in-law, and three step great grandbabies. I love them all. I could ask for nothing more.
My dear husband departed this life October 29, 1976. The years have been long and lonely without him, but precious memories of our forty-three years together buoy me on. The magic of young life together as we reared our family is always with me. I live alone, in an apartment. I find old age rewarding as I experience the wonders of life.
Two prisoners looked out
From behind the bars.
One saw the mud
The other saw the stars.
I have seen the stars. My children and my grandchildren are my stars.
Good luck on the book, Lois. We appreciate your effort in bringing us all closer together.
Below is a poem written by Samintha Craig upon the death of her beloved husband, Jesse Thomas Craig:
TO MY ONE GREAT LOVE
The darkness of the night surrounds me,
I sit in my chair all alone.
Beside me your chair is left empty,
Though you chose to remain at home.
But God, in His wisdom, called you
To a place in His kingdom above.
Why did He not take me with you,
So I could stay by your side, my love?
Now that you’re gone, there’s no sunshine.
No laughter to fill our home;
No voice to whisper, “I love you”,
No arms to keep my love warm.
The love in your blue eyes shining
Will follow me throughout the years.
Your eyes that could fill with laughter
Or the tenderness of falling tears.
In springtime when flowers start blooming,
And green gardens begin to grow,
I’ll glimpse you, darling, in heaven,
Tending garden for God, row by row.
God help me to be ever loving.
As you, precious one, were to me.
Help me to be kind, sweet and gentle.
So again your dear face I will see.
My darling, as I sit here so lonely,
Can you know how my heart aches for you,
For the familiar echo of your footsteps,
Or the sound of your voice I once knew?
Just rest and sleep on, my dear one,
For soon He will call my name.
And I will come lie down beside you,
As in eternity we will remain.
I took the liberty of including this poem in my book with out asking permission from Sam, but I thought it was too lovely to remain hidden in my scrapbook. L.S