Items of Genealogical Interest
Volume 22 Number 6
LaVonne I. Bennett
LaVonne has received permission from Grayden Slowins to edit and submit Sebewa Recollector items of genealogical interest, from the beginning year of 1965 through current editions.
THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR, Bulletin of The Sebewa (Ionia
County, MI) Recollector,
June 1987; Volume 22, Number 6. Robert W. Gierman, Editor;
submitted with written permission of current Editor Grayden D. Slowins:
SURNAMES: OLRY, SAYER, WELCH, LOVELL, CRAMER , PANGBORN, LOUDEN, GOODEMOOT,
The Annual Meeting of The Sebewa Center Association will be held at Sebewa
Center on Monday, Memorial Day Holiday with a potluck dinner at 6:30 P.M. on May
25, 1987. Carol Leak and Anne Slowins have been named as the Refreshment
Committee. Wilbur Gierman’s 3 year term as President expires so that office must
be filled by election. Allen and Leah Cross have been appointed to act as a
This year in conjunction with our annual meeting there will be a special event
of naming the Olry house as an historical building registered with the State
History Division. Grayden and Anne Slowins are inviting all to their farm on
Musgrove highway, just east of Shilton Road for the Ceremony of unveiling a
bronze plaque designating the house acceptance as an historical building. The
time is 4:30 P.M. on May 25, 1987. The house will be opened to visitors for
inspection from basement to attic. Also of interest is the sheep farm where
Grayden has 175 ewes and 292 lambs, one of the largest flocks in Ionia County.
After that inspection and celebration we urge all to come to Sebewa Center for
the potluck program.
The houses of Ken Seybold, LaVern Carr and Lila Towner, all built in the 1870’s
and of the same Italianate style are eligible for the same honors. Another house
just west of the Center on what was once the Frederick Gierman farm was of the
same style but was burned about 1900. Please read carefully the following story
about the Olry house.
Giving Credit where Credit is due, Sherm Pranger would like us to know that Jack
Barker replaced missing letters in making restoration on the Sunfield Service
Board. Mr. Barker lives just north of M 43 on Shaytown Road.
Watch the Sunfield Sentinel for notice of a June unveiling of a State Historic
Marker to be placed at the Sunfield Grand Army of the Republic (G. A. R.) by the
Daughters of Union Veterans (D. A. V.).
Mrs. Edna Sayer, who will have her 97th birthday July 5, has been moved to the
Masonic Home in Alma for care. Myrtie Welch of Sunfield whose experiences we
have shared in the serialized story, shares the same birth date as Edna Sayer.
Myrtie enjoyed a wheel chair trip down town on a recent warm day. She enjoys
visitors to her home.
The Guys and Gals Home Economic Sewing Club has been using our schoolhouse for
the past season on Saturdays. Recently they had installed on the front of the
building a new mercury vapor yard light.
The Stevens Thompson Mason Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution
DAR are about to have a ceremonial ritual of marking a grave of a soldier of the
American Revolution. There are three Revolutionary soldiers buried in Ionia
County. William Pangborn is buried in Snow’s Cemetery in Ronald Township, at the
age of 110. Sebewa Township has the DAR Marker for Jonathan Ingalls on the
roadside a half mile south of Sebewa Corners. The other veteran, Louden Andrews,
is buried in the Letts Cemetery, Berlin Township a half mile west of M 66 on
Peck Lake Road. If ever there was a marker for him, no one seems to remember.
Members of the DAR have contacted Washington for his record and now have a
bronze marker to be placed in his memory. June 20 at 2 PM has been selected as
the time for the unveiling. Louden Andrews lived north across Bennett Road from
the white former Wesleyan Church on M 66 near the Harwood farm.
The letter from Dr. Andrews that follows came from Mrs. Doris Hogan. She is the
grand-daughter of George Goodemoot. Her mother, Clarice was married to Charles
Andrews who was descended from a brother of Louden Andrews. Mark your calendar
or date book for this event. There is likely to be no other such ceremony.
Credit also goes out to Evelyn David and Joyce Petrie for helping publish the
OUR CENTENNIAL EVENT
On February 28, 1986, the John C. Olry Farmstead became Site #1294 on the
Michigan Register of Historic Sites, for reasons of historical and architectural
significance. On May 25, 1987, the plaque marking the site will be dedicated, at
4:30 PM, prior to the potluck & annual meeting. A guided tour for members and
guests will be provided.
The Olry farmstead was taken up from the United States Government on April 17,
1849, by John F. and Margaret T. Olry. The first dwelling was just east of the
present structure, and the first barn was southwest of the present barn. This
spacing was inconvenient, but was their only fire protection.
The family was French Catholic and was always considered a bit pretentious by
the neighbors. Perhaps this is why they built the only brick & sandstone,
Victorian-Italianate home in Sebewa Township; and why the house most always
seemed to require a hired girl to help care for it.
The older Olry sons often walked to Westphalia to church on nice Sunday
mornings, or at least as far as Portland, where they might hitch a ride on the
back of someone’s wagon. The 1850 Census shows:
John F. Olry, age 31, born in France; Clarissa (Margaret?), age 33, born in
France; Catherine, 15, born in Ohio; William, 13, born in OH; John C., 12, born
in OH, Margaret, 10, OH; Mary, 8, OH; Lewis, 7, OH; Francis, age 11/12, born in
John F. Olry was born in 1819, died April 13, 1861, at age 42. Margaret was born
in 1817, and her death date is unknown. They may be buried at Westphalia
Cemetery. John was Sebewa Township Treasurer in 1852. The Abstract of Title
shows the following heirs of John F. Olry who were paid off by John C., thru
Quit Claim Deeds or Warranty Deeds:
Catherine D. Sherwood, William and Mary Elizabeth his wife, Margaret, Mary Ann
Estep, Lewis A., Francis
William & wife and Francis are buried together in the West Sebewa Cemetery.
Lewis A. is buried at Lake Odessa Lakeside Cemetery. Catherine’s share of the
estate passed thru her heirs – Frank, William Hl, and George Sherwood. John C.
and his wife, Lora, are buried in East Sebewa Cemetery. Lewis had the farm where
Martha & Maynard Thrams now live. William was on the east 40 acres of the Doris
Leak farm. Catherine was not a part of the Sherwood families in the Berlin –
Ionia area. Margaret Jr. has not been traced. If there is any Olry bloodline
left at all, it may be in the Estep families.
John C. Olry built the front barn in 1870 and the cowbarn about 1882-1885. He
began excavation and footings on this house in 1876. Bill Caswell handed up
square nails to the carpenters on the front barn at age 6. At age 14 he was
hired man here when the house was built. He told about the construction shortly
before he died in 1964, at the age of 99 years, 11 months, and 23 days. The
Portland Observer also gave a running commentary as follows: May 21, 1879, “John
Olry is getting up an elegant residence. The stone work by Thomas French is much
admired”. June 11, 1879, “Unquestionably the best wall ever laid in this
township is now being built for the foundation of Mr. John Olry’s new residence.
The workman, rather than the artist, is Mr. Thomas French, who in this job is
outdoing himself. The building is in the hands of Mr. George W. Cole, who is
capable of creating a substantial and handsome residence. Mr. Olry congratulates
himself in having procured the services of two such expert workmen”. And finally
on October 23, 1879, “John Olry’s beautiful residence is approaching completion,
and when finished will be one of the handsomest houses in the township.”
The materials are believed to be Ionia sandstone and VanderHeyden brick, but no
distinguishing marks have been located as yet. The house was completed before
John Friend and associates began to manufacture bricks, in 1880, on the rear of
the E. C. Derby farm, near the mouth of Sebewa Creek in S ½ of SW ¼ Sec. 18
Danby, on the land now owned by Hitchcock and Laughlin. The house is built of
ivory brick, sometimes called white brick or yellow brick, over mailing girts,
over 2x6 rough sawed studs, giving almost 8” space to fill with insulation. The
sandstone was used for headers & sills on windows and doors, also at the top of
foundations. The 10’ ceilings are untouched, except in the kitchen. A small
maid’s bedroom was removed from the kitchen about 1925. Prior to that the
cookstove was in the dining room, at least in winter, and the sink was there
also. The cupboards were moved from the pantry to the kitchen, and the pantry
was turned into a bathroom about 1937, when electricity came and provided water
pressure from the pump on the cistern. This also provided water for the
water-heater, but inside drinking water did not come until 1957. This change in
the pantry explains why the indoor stairway to the basement is reached thru the
bathroom. Only one interior door has been closed, from the pantry-bathroom to
the living room. The only exterior change has been enclosing the front and west
porches about 1935.
All original woodwork remains intact, mostly walnut finish, with solid walnut
stair banister. The windows are high & narrow in the Italianate style, as is the
hip roof. The house has no fireplace, although most town-houses of that style
and period did have. The original heating was woodstoves in the kitchen or
dining room, living room, and parlor, with stovepipes thru the bedchambers
above. The parlor guest bedroom is now a music room, 9’ x 9’. Central hot air
heating was added, first with wood and coal and later oil.
The Portland Observer says “May 18, 1881, Born in Sebewa on the 17th instance to
the wife of John Olry, a 9 ½ pound boy (Glenn J. Olry.)” The house was completed
just in time. A daughter Harriet was also born here. No others in all the years
John C. Olry took over the farm at the time of the death of his father, John F.
Olry, on April 13, 1861, at age 22. He was born Nov. 15, 1838, and died Dec. 26,
1903, at age 65. His wife, Lora E. Kelly, died in 1922. They are buried in East
Sebewa Cemetery. Glenn J. Olry took over the farm at the time of the death of
his father, John C. Olry, in December, 1903, at the age of 22 also. Glenn died
June 5, 1956. His wife, Fern VanHouten, daughter of Charles & Cora VanHouten,
was born in 1882, and died in 1972. They had no children and are buried in East
Sebewa Cemetery. Glenn’s sister Harriet (Hattie) and husband, Charles Ralston,
lived on the next farm west. Charles was born across the road, in the house
which is a duplicate of this but built of wood. Charlie lived with Glenn and
Fern after Hattie’s death in 1915. Glenn inherited 105 acres from John C., got
25 more from Lora’s 55 at her death in 1922, and the final 30 at Charlie’s death
Descendants by way of Lora Kelly Olry’s family are Richard & Jean Dawdy of
Portland. By way of Fern VanHouten Olry are Coralane Boyes, Verland & Rod
McLeod, Betty Farmer Pohl, John & Neil VanHouten, of this area. If there are any
blood descendants of John Olry, they have not been located.
Grayden & Ann Slowins purchased the farm for $100 in 1855. Glenn J. mortgaged it
for $2600 in 1923. Grayden and Ann mortgaged it for $22,000 in 1966. Jimmy
Carter’s inflation drove the market price to $240,000 in the early 1980’s, but
it was never worth that much, based on it’s earning power, and today the True
Cash value is much less.
- Grayden Slowins
Dr. L. H. Andrews, 325 Wallace Ave., St. Joseph, MI 49085, November 21, ’74:
Dear Mrs. Carigan: I was very glad to receive your letter and would have written
sooner except that I have been under the weather a bit and my wife fell again
and badly injured her arm……
I think the Andrews family will take the prize for leaving as little in the way
of family records as they did. I can not tell you much but it might possibly tie
in with what you know.
I do not know just when my great-grandfather, Louden Andrews, came to Michigan
nor do I know if he came before my grandfather or after. My grandfather was
Luther Andrews and he was born in New York State. I am sure June 15, 1816 (This
is written in the Bible of my grandfather). He and his bride drove an Ox team
from New York state and settled about two miles west of Homer, Michigan. At that
time the U. S. Engineers said that Michigan was a hopeless swamp that would
never amount to anything. It was very rugged. My grandfather said that as he
drove over the log roads, thru swamps, every little way there was a spot where
some horse or Ox team had slipped off the log road and their bones were sticking
up thru the muck. I do not know what year this was but I guess it was about 1835
or 36. At that time this area he moved to was heavily populated with the
Pottawatome Indians, with whom he became very friendly and helped them fight
battles with the Hurons who came here to attack them. I do not know if I spelled
the tribes’ name correctly and I can not find it readily. His father, my great
grand-father Louden Andrews, and two of his brothers settled near Ionia, on
farms, I think.
One Christmas my grandfather went up there to visit, and Christmas morning he
and his brother, I think it was John, went out to hitch up a team to the sleigh
when the old man came out and asked “What are you doing?”. They told him and he
said “You boys can ride if you want to but I am going to walk”. He was over 90
years old at that time and the boys had to “hump” as they called it to keep up
with him on a walk to another brother’s home about 8 miles away cross country.
I do not know that the brother’s name for sure but I thought it was Charles.
Another brother went west and was never heard from again. Louden carried a
British bullet in his hip until he died. The lady from the D. A. R. who wrote me
that the old settlers remembered him, said that his grave had been marked by the
D. A. R. and I thought that was good enough. I was very busy at the time and was
not able to go to Ionia but once. In the meantime, I had lost the lady’s name
who wrote me and nobody seemed to know much about it. She told me in her letter
that he was almost 100 years old when he died. According to what my grandfather
told my mother, and that is all that I know about it, the brother he visited was
John. I know from what my mother learned, from my grandfather, Louden was too
young for the Draft or the army at that time. They had a neighbor by the name of
Weaver who was called to serve in Washington’s army but because he had a family,
he did now want to go and my great-great-father lied about his age and went into
the army under the name Louden Weaver. A Librarian at the Benton Harbor Library
looked up the names of the soldiers from New York and found the name of Louden
Weaver. But there was no Louden Weaver. It was Louden Andrews who actually
served, and he was in Washington’s army four years. He was at Valley Forge I am
pretty sure and also at Jockey Hollow. Those were the two most bitter winter
campaigns and he told about tying rags to their feet during the winter but they
were not very good. The British tracked them by the blood on the snow. About
everything I know was the things my grand-father told my mother. He was an
invalid following an accident and developed osteomyelitis in his leg. They did
not know how to treat it then and all they did was pour carbolic acid in the
wound, which is the worst thing they could have done. My mother took care of him
for several years before he died and he told her all I know. Nothing was written
To do a little supposing, if my Great Grandfather was too young for the army, he
was probably about 16 years old when he joined Washington’s army under the name
of Weaver. That would make his birthday about 1760. My grandfather visited him
when he was about 90 years old, and I imagine from what the lady wrote me, if he
was nearly 100 years old when he died, that might be between the years of 1850
and 1855. Now if these dates help you any, maybe you can tie it in to what you
know. What I know is very little in fact, and I can not prove much of that.
Written records were not kept very well then. I was born in Albion, Michigan but
the State of Michigan has no record of my birth. My army discharge might be the
only way I have, to prove that I was even born, or that I am now almost 78 years
old. My father was the youngest son of my grandfather, and my grandfather was
the youngest son in that family.
I am afraid that I have not been of much help to you but the two names that are
most important in my family to tie to are Louden and Luther. If anybody has any
recollection or records of such men in the family, there is very likely a
connection, as those were not common names. According to what I have been able
to learn from some of the people in Ionia, John and Charles are names that occur
quite frequently in the family. That makes it hard. My grandmother Andrews was a
daughter of Cornelius Putnam but I do not know if he was a son of Israel Putnam
or of Israel’s brother. Cornelius goes in that family too.
I am sorry that I can not help you more. If you learn anything that might help,
I will be very glad to learn of it. The Andrews name is not too common and I
think that they are all related, way back perhaps.
Sincerely, L. H. Andrews
P.S. My Grandfather was quite a character. I could recite some interesting
things that would characterize the man. That might be a family trait.
L. H. A.
MYRTIE CANDANCE (LOVELL) WELCH
MA SLIDES DOWN HILL – I slid down a strawstack trying to gather eggs but my
Mother slid down hill to feed the hogs. This could have happened any year
between 1905 and 1909. Sylvia left home in 1905 and Grace in 1909. Grace, Ma,
Pearl and I were living at home. One morning we awoke to find our world had
changed over night into one covered with ice. Limbs of the Evergreens in our
front yard weighted down with ice, trees in the orchard behind the house
covered, all roof tops, too, with huge icicles clinging to the edge. Just
everything was covered, especially the ground leading down the hill to the barn.
That was a glare of ice. Sun shining, though, made it all very sparkling and
beautiful; but WE had chores to do.
Ma and Grace picked up the pails and made it to the barn to milk the cows. Pearl
and I watching from the north windows of the kitchen. Out at the east side of
our dooryard, along the road, was a strip probably twenty-five or thirty feet
wide covered with Cherry and a few Butternut trees. This was where the slope
towards the barn began. Grace and Ma, walking very carefully, headed for this
group of trees. Wasn’t quite so icy at the end of the trees, the ground leveled
off and soon they were at the southeast corner of the barnyard. Clinging to the
barnyard fence, they easily made it to the barn. Door right at this corner and
they pop out of our sight.
Soon Grace and Ma returned, each with a pail of milk in their hand. Neither one
had fallen nor spilled a drop of milk. Ma said now if she could get the pail of
swill down to the hogs without spilling it but she didn’t know how she would
ever do it. Grace said “Let me go” but Ma wouldn’t allow that.
Now the hog pen was built just west of the barn and the path down to this was
even steeper than the other. Ma managed to get past the granary, a little more
than half-way, sitting the pail down to rest a bit and plan her strategy, she
came up with this idea. “That pail has a good strong bottom, I think if I set it
between my knees, I could plant my feet firmly on each side and slide down this
grade right to the hog-pen door. No sticks or stones sticking up that I can see,
I’m going to try it”.
We girls, watching from the kitchen windows couldn’t imagine what she intended
doing, when all at once she gave her skirts a hitch above her knees, squatted
down, one foot on each side, gave the pail a little nudge and down she went
directly to the door of the pen. Not a drop did she spill. The pigs had their
drink, suppose they were happy and so was my Mother! She could always find a way
out of a problem. Some way she would get the task done. Guess I’ll try and give
you a better idea of our home. It wasn’t all up and down that hill I’ve written
so much about. The house was built on the hilltop but to the north the ground
sloped gently down towards the barn, then leveled off. Was perfectly flat when
the barn and hog-house were built. Our farm and all others north of us were
perfectly flat for miles and miles.
Our farm, directly behind the house was level, that stretched through many farms
west of us. Directly behind our house was our beautiful orchard. I wonder now if
that wasn’t the reason Pa built the barn below the hill. Really no other place
for it without sacrificing a lot of fruit trees.
Maybe, now, I hope, you will get the picture a little better.
NAILED TO THE POST
One lazy summer afternoon, we girls were enjoying ourselves on the front porch
doing nothing. When out of the quietness came this distress call from Ma.
“Girls, the pigs are out!”.
Ornriest animals anyone ever had on a farm. Now, cattle will form into a group
and they will not hard to manage; but pigs, you have to chase one at a time.
They’ll go this way and that, maybe turn around and come right towards you.
Chasing them finally back into the hog lot, we are grunting as hard as the pigs;
we find they have broken the big gate (maybe ten feet long) completely down. We
will need the hammer and some nails, Pearl goes to the granary for them, Grace
and I try straightening the gate back up. Now, the top board has been nailed,
with the flat side down, to the end posts. Grace pulled one end up, boards all
in place, I pulled up the other post. Boards all in place here excepting my end
of the top one.
When I straightened my end of the gate and set the post in the proper place,
that board being fastened at the other end, just swung around and set itself
into its proper place. The nail was still in the board so it settled right down
in the original hole. Good! Gates all back together, no problem, we’ll just add
some more nails to make it stronger then we can go back to the house and relax
after our long hot chase.
Wait a minute, just one small problem. I am nailed fast to the gate. I had
placed my hand flat down on top of the post, when the board flew back of its own
accord, that old nail went right through my hand. Just about an inch down from
the base of my third and my little finger on my right hand. Grace screamed and
cried but pushed the board up and released my hand. Nail went right between the
bones of those two fingers, never even drawing a drop of blood. Never hurt at
all. Ma had me soak it in Epsom Salts water, then put her favorite remedy,
turpentine, on it, then covered my hand with a bandage. All of this was not
necessary, nothing to bandage. A little round hole in my hand was all you could
see. The scar was plainly seen for years, but no more. Can’t prove it without
the scar. I assure you it really happened.
My mother told me when I began learning to walk, I humped my shoulders up in
such a peculiar way, that my father began callimg me “hump” and he never even
then called me Myrtie. I was always “Hump” to him.
Just once in my life, I can remember him saying Myrtie. That was because I was
disobeying him. At the dinner table that day my father said he was going to get
feed ground for the pigs and wanted me to come out and hold the bags for him to
put the grain in. I said I would, then I finished my dinner before he did and I
slipped upstairs. I was reading a book, as usual, and I very much wanted to
finish it before having to help Pa. Thought if I read real fast, I could make
it, just a few more pages.
At the head of the stairs there was a west window and through this I could see
the granary door. I settled down on the top step, picked up my book and
proceeded to read. Had one eye on the book the other one glancing now and then
toward the granary. Now, I saw my Dad when he went out to work, also heard him
call “Hump”. Just two more pages, I thought, I can’t stop now so I kept on
reading. All this time, I didn’t realize he could see me just as well as I did
him. Calling out “Hump” a second time, I didn’t move but the third call was
MYRTIE in no uncertain voice. It really meant move and move I did. I was so
frightened, I threw my book and down those stairs I went. Maybe he’d spank me
although he never had; but I knew I deserved one. You know what happened, I
walked into that granary, never a word did he say, just handed me a bag and
began shoveling the grain.
Pa never called me Myrtie again that I remember. He never had to in that tone of
voice, I learned my lesson.
RUFUS, ARBY’S NICKNAME FOR ME
I was always reading to the older ones. This day, I lay flat on the floor with a
book laid out in front of me, entertaining Sylvia, who was busy ironing. My
story was about a certain boy whose name was Rufus Roughwig. I didn’t know how
to pronounce those big words, so I asked Sylvia, Ruffus Row-wig. Giving the
letter “u” the sound as in “up” instead of just plain “u”.
Arby came into the room where we were and sat down to listen. Well, that boy’s
name soon came up in the story. Arby said for me to let him see but he thought I
was miss-pronouncing that name. I said I wasn’t because Sylvia told me how. He
answered, “She probably didn’t know how herself”. Sylvia said she did too know
how, she was just playing a trick on me, knowing how badly I felt over
miss-pronouncing a word. They bantered back and forth awhile, then Arby said
“Guess I’ll call her Rufus, then she’ll never forget how to pronounce it. From
that day on, the rest of Arby’s life, I was Rufus to him. No one else called me
I always thought Sylvia deserved the name but Mae, Arby, Sylvia, and Grace were
One, cold, fall day, my Mother was husking corn. Guess I better back up and tell
you the primitive way of harvest corn for already I can hear you asking “What
did you say your Mother was doing?” I’ll try to explain.
Remember, in the beginning of my story, I told you how evenly the rows of corn
were planted, now it’s fall and time to cut it down so it can be husked. There
was a real pattern to this. A perfect square was blocked off by counting eight
or maybe ten (I’m not certain) rows each way. Then going to the very center of
the block, you’d tie the tops of about four hills together to start your shock
of corn. Then with a hand corn knife, you grasped the top of each stalk in one
hand, then cut it loose from the ground about six inches up.
The stalks were then carried to the center where the four stalks were tied
together. You sort of pushed the cut ends into the ground, then leaned them up
against the center. When the whole block was cut and stacked, the tops were
pulled together and tied. This made what was called a shock of corn, looking
much like a tepee of an Indian. It was a beautiful sight when the field was all
cut down and shocked, to see those “Tepees” placed so evenly over the ground.
The corn was then left standing in the shocks to ripen and kernels to harden on
the ears. Next step was the husking. The shock was laid over flat on the ground.
Had to take a corn knife and cut down the center stalks.
A little contraption called a husking-peg was used to pull the husks from the
ears of corn. This gadget was a steel blade, about four inches long and maybe an
inch wide with a hooked end. You grasped this firmly across the palm of your
hand, the hooked end protruding out between your thumb and finger. With the
exception of the hook, the rest was padded with leather to protect your hand,
also had straps to fasten it on firmly.
Now, you are all ready to attack that great that great stand of cornstalks.
Squatting down using your heels to sit on, you reach over and pull a stalk
toward you. Now using the husking-peg, pull off the husks, give the ear a little
twist and jerk, then toss it on the ground. Pushing the husked stack to the back
of the pile, you grab the next one then repeat until you have the whole shock
done. Now, let’s see, if that block was ten hills on each side there would be
one-hundred stalks of corn. This is just one block and maybe there’s ten or
The husked corn has to be picked up from the ground, loaded onto a wagon, hauled
to the corn crib up by the barn, then unloaded into the crib.
Think of the changes I have seen in just this one thing. A corn binder came
first, but still you had to shock it. Huge corn huskers, run by a steam engine,
combines, can’t exactly tell them all but up to the present way. So easy now.
I have seen my Mother after my Father died, go out and help Arby husk corn when
snow was on the ground and sometimes storming.
Now I’ll get back to the nickname Jim Cramer. As my Mother husked the corn, she
would give the ear a toss on the ground and I was supposed to keep them picked
up; placing them in a basket for Arby to empty into the wagon later. A few times
I would find one or two husks left on the ear, just the inside ones that
probably were not quite dry enough to snap it off. Really made no difference
because they dried up and dropped off later, but I told Ma she was not husking
that corn right. She asked me what she was doing wrong and I said “You’re not
doing it like Pa does”. She answered “So, how does your Father do it?” I
informed her he didn’t leave any husks like these hanging on his ears. I was
still just standing there looking at that ear of corn when she said “Oh, you are
just like old Jim Cramer, always standing around doing nothing. Just telling
other folks the way it should be done”.
Jim Cramer was a man she knew in her “beloved Woodland” who did just that. He
was lazier than a pet coon to hear Ma tell it.
Of course, as usual, everyone gathered around the table at noon was told that
story. Everyone, excepting me, enjoyed it.
From that time on, I was called Jim Cramer, sometimes Cramer but mostly just
plain Jim. My Mother called me Jimmy.
My brothers-in-law Fred Clay, Chas. Collier and Johnnie Welch never called me
Myrtie, it was always Jim.
PEARL’S NICKNAME “Pete”
Arby told me years ago how this one came about. Pearl had a toy wagon, on the
side of which was written two words “Little Pete”.
One day Arby, Pa and a man who was working for them sat waiting for Ma and the
girls to get dinner on the table. The hired man was playing with Pearl and he
asked her what were those words on her wagon. Arby said Pearl shook her head
“No”. The guy then told Pearl “It says Little Pete”.
From then on Pearl became Little Pete, or just plain Pete. Of course Fred, Chas,
and Johnnie never called her anything else either.
Never could understand really why I had so many, Pearl had only one and the
other four none. Since I’ve written them down, I guess maybe I deserved every
one of them.
November 15, 2013