When the last sun has set for me and the first faint stars of eternity light my way into the night, donít grieve too much. I would not leave you sorrowful and sad. But joyously recall the glorious companionship weíve had, and thank God for it all.
Action is good and excitement, love and tragedy and travel, and to live again the things one has seen, heard, or felt with ones heart, but rest is good also at the end of a full day. I have lived several years over half a century, so now I will try and write a few things about my life that may be of interest to those I love.
Life began for me in a log cabin in a little town called Antioch (which later was changed to Andrews) in Huntington Co. Ind. in the year 1873. My father was Joseph Luther Boone, his mother was Eunice Pratt Boone, and his father was Sammie Boone. My mother was Maggie Gray Boone and her father was William Gray. Her mother was Mary Burel Gray. In my fatherís family there were four girls and six boys. In my motherís family there was four boys & three girls. There were only two children in my fathersí family, myself and a baby brother William Burel Boone; he lived only six short months. My mother passed away shortly after his birth. I spent some time with my grandmother Gray but finally came to my fatherís parents where I made my home until Grandmother Boone died. They lived on a farm near Wabash, Ind. and I grew up there much as the other little animals on the farm, although I now realize it was a very happy life. I came very close to nature & played alone, and rarely ever had anyone my own age to associate with, except when going to school, and I know I must have appreciated those times more than the children of today who have so many pastimes that I never dreamed of. I created most of my toys and I remember the one and only large doll I ever had. I played with her Sundays when I was cleaned up. And then she was then laid in a dresser drawer until next Sunday, she was dressed up in some kind of pink slick material, and well do I remember the cold Sunday morning I opened the drawer and the wax on her face had all cracked and left her looking like one with some kind of bad skin disease. Of course I was heart broken but it really proved to be for the best, for I could play with her all the time. So of course she didnít last long, and I soon playing with my corncob and little dolls. I went to a little red brick schoolhouse, that was about one mile from our house. Of course there was no way to get there, only walk. Some times the snow was so deep the men would have to break out a road for we children. There wasnít such a thing as paved roads. So when the mud got so deep we could not wade it, we just didnít go to school. It got terribly cold too at times and I arrived at school one morning to find the tips of my ears frozen and later peeled off like a burn. We just had one room in our school and all grades were taught by one teacher. I donít remember how high the grades went, for I never got there. We carried our lunch in a tin bucket and all drank from the same water bucket and dipper, and took turns going after water, we had to go to someoneís well and carry it to the school and as a very special privilege, one of us was allowed to pass it to the children. My religious life was sadly neglected, and I know I missed much that would have helped me in after years. My mothersí family were church people and my mother objected to my fathersí people raising me on that account and wanted her mother to have the care of us (my little Bro. was living at that time) but from one cause or another it didnít happen that way, so I was raised by Grandmother Boone. We had a bible but I donít remember ever seeing anyone read it. It was a safe place for keeping papers, etc. that we didnít want lost. And I remember very few times going to church or Sunday school.
My grandmother must have read it some for she believed fully in that scripture ďspare the rod and spoil the childĒ I remember how very much I wanted to wear hoop skirts. My grandmother and an older cousin wore them and it was the one desire of my heart to wear them too. (Little girls wore their dresses to their shoe tops) so in some unaccountable way I escaped the ever watchful eye of grandma and stole out my cousinsí hoop skirts. At the time the hoops were not as broad as you have seen pictured. They were going out of style, so they were making them much smaller, so I tied up enough of the wires to make them the right length and go into them and went to town. I say town (Belden), it was really just one store, a flour mill and post office. I have many times wished for a picture of myself. I am sure I was a quaint little figure, if I had on shoes, I know they were heavy perhaps brass toes. In that time childrenís were made with a strip of brass across the toes to keep us from wearing the toes out so quickly, but as it was summertime I imagine I was barefoot, my hair done in two little pigtails tied with a cotton string. I must have made the trip successfully and returned the hoops without any one at home knowing it for I donít remember getting any punishment for my escapade. Shortly after this my grandmother passed away, and it was decided I should come to Texas to my father. Several miles from our house in a big swamp there grew some very lovely Pampas grass. At least that was what we called it. It had lovely creamy white, feathery heads, which would stay beautiful indefinitely. So I decided I wanted to get a bunch of them to take to Texas with me. As I said grandmother was gone and I didnít particularly care if the others found out what I did. So another girl and myself hitched a horse to a two wheeled racing sulky and away we went. We had to ford the Wabash River, but that bothered me not at all. We found our grasses and got a great bunch of them and started home. When we got back to the river on account of heavy rains further up the stream, it was on the rise but that was a small matter in my young life. So in we went. The men working at the flour mill told my grandfather later, they expected us to be swept away any minute and I remember we were carried some distance and came out below the ford but the beautiful grass graced my home many days after I came to Texas. So I was getting ready to make my third and last trip to Texas. The first was made when I was about six weeks old. My father and mother were coming to Texas to make their home, they came by rail to Denison and from there to Denton by wagon, my father said he walked most of the way and carried me. I had the earache and yelled most of the time like a young Indian, I suppose the jolting of the wagon made the pain worse. My mothersí health was very bad, so they didnít remain in Texas very long. We discovered she had, what we called consumption, we know it now as T.B. so as I stated before I was taken care of by my fatherís parents. The second trip was made when I was ten years old. My grandmother, cousin, and myself visited my father who had returned to Texas after the death of my mother. It was a very impleasant trip, my grandmother got a fall at the hotel in Fort Worth and broke her hip and never walked a step the six weeks we were there. And the next day after our arrival my father had a stroke of paralysis and cam near to losing his life. So I look back on that trip as a nightmare or ugly dream of some kind. Grandmother lived three years after our trip, never fully recovers from her fall, was many days on crutches and walked with the aid of a cane the rest of her life. And now I am ready for the third and final trip alone and when I say I was just a green country gal, I mean just that. And again, I must have been a queer looking child. I remember on account of my grandmotherís recent death, my aunts thought it would be proper that I be dressed in black. They finally decided on account of my youth, I might have a red feather on my hat. So I set forth, dressed in black dress, black cloak of the dolman kind, a pair of high topped button shoes, a huge lunch basket with enough food in it to last the entire trip, thirty cents in my purse, and a five dollar bill in my shoe. I must have had some kind of gripe but canít remember it. I was also given a kind of letter to who so ever it might concern, telling my name and where I was going. I remember I was very indignant over this, and never let any one know I had. I was admonished to talk to no one and if I was obliged to ask a question I should as some one who wore a uniform, like a railroad employee or a policeman. Also not to spend any money unless there was a necessity. So I sat in dumb silence the four days and nights I was on the train. I was told when I reached St. Louis, where I had to change trains, to follow the crowd and they would lead to the depot. Itís strange how a song, perfume, or some word brings back a memory. I remembered when I entered the depot in St. Louis, the smell of oranges was heavy in the air and I thought I hand never smelled anything that smelled good, but it never occurred to me to buy one. So often times when I get a whiff of oranges, I see myself, a lonesome little country, alone for the first time in a big city, so I told a Negro porter I wanted to get the train to Ft. Worth and would he please see I get the right train, he said he would and in a short time he came and said ďMiss, Iíll put you on your train now. So he took my lunch basket and led me to a coach. Just one coach way out in the yards and set me down. Well, I was the only one in the coach and I was almost in tears before any one else came in and they made up the train. My father met me in Ft. Worth and the rest of the trip of sixty nine miles to Sunset Montage Co. was made without further trouble. My Aunt met us at the train in a two horse wagon drawn by two immense mules. So before long we were in her home where I stayed several days waiting for a box of bedding etc. that had been shipped by freight train from Ind. When it came my father and I set up housekeeping in a small house in Sunset. I being the house keeper and I must say it was sorry house keeping but with his help and that of my aunt and cousins, I managed to get along in a sort of a way. He insisted on me going to school and it was quite a job to keep house and attend school at the same time. He always made me do the things he wanted done by telling me if I didnít he would move out on a farm he had near Sunset and as in the meantime had met the young folks of Sunset. I didnít relish the idea of going to a farm. You know I had just left a farm in Ind. My father didnít live quite three years after I came to him. As I look back they were three of the happiest years of my life. On the seventeenth of Aug 1889, my father had another stroke (if he had lived until Sep 8 he would have been 36 years old) and only lived about twenty minutes and I was again all alone. We buried him in a county churchyard Smyrna near Sunset and the same big wagon and mules that met me when I came from Ind. bore him to his last resting place. I had many dear friends in Sunset who offered me a home with them but I was engaged to my husband so we decided since I was terribly alone we would just get married. So on the sixteenth of Oct 1889, we were married in my Aunts home near Sunset. He was born in Brandenburg, Mead Co. KY, April 25, 1860. His father was William Powell and I think was born in Virginia, I donít know the date. He was a tall slender man, of English descent and one of the finest men I have ever known. The few years I knew him I never heard him speak an unkind word of anyone. He died at Sunset of pneumonia in Jan. I donít remember the date. His mother was Elenor Webb Powell and she also was born in KY, there was five boys and one girl in my husbandsí family. John, Dick, Leroy, George, Will, & Clarence, and I believe there was one child died in infancy. Leroy died at the age of sixteen. After our marriage, my husband started clerking at W.A. Nuckles Dry Goods store in Sunset. I remember his salary was twenty-five dollars a month but I really think we managed much better than that, then many of today, that draw three or four times that much. Later he worked for W.C. Stripling and later he and his Bro. Dick bought out the Stripling store. I remember he traded Dick the farm my father had owned for his half of the store. We didnít have much money and Dick put up the money for the deal and took our land for his payment. My husband liked the merchantile biz. but Dick had always been a farmer and wanted to get out of the biz. so my husband bought out his brother and changed the name from Powell Bros. to Geo Powell Dry Goods Co. The biz. prospered and we stayed in Sunset in this biz. close to thirty years, after which we sold out, and moved to Ft. Worth at 1819 Alston Ave. My husband entered the grocery biz. and later dealt in Real Estate. He passed away Jan 13, 1939 at 1721 Ash Crescent St. at the age of seventy eight years. He was a devote member of the First Baptist Church and since his going- I have learned to walk alone
From day to day-
To bear my cross through shadows gray;
No other can bear this load for me;
I would not really care to be set free
To drift as sea weeds drift upon the sea,
To drift as stray leaves shift with every breeze;
I have learned to walk alone,
Slow but sure,
Hoping that every step I take
Will lead me on to realms secure.
I donít feel like this biography, if it could be called such, would be complete without saying more about my husbandís mother. She was a very remarkable woman in many ways, she lived a long and full life. And passed away at Sunset, Tex. at the age of eighty five. At the time the Civil War broke out Father Powell and family were living in KY. He tried to keep out of the war but as in most cases it wasnít long until he was in it too. Her father was a slave holder and one morning he came in and Celie had twin babies last night, a girl and a boy, and she is dead. They are neither puppies or kittens, we sure canít drown them so some one will have to raise them. Mother Powellís father had married the second time and he had a stepdaughter about the same age as mother Powell so he said I am going to give them to these girls. He said Elenor, that was Mother Powell, you may have your choice, never dreaming that she would not select the girl and raise her for a house maid, but she took the boy, and named him Sam. And I was always amused when she referred to him as her pet nigger. She said her stepmother helped her daughter with her baby but never saw fit to lend any assistance to Mother Powell with hers. So her father made her some kind of a little wagon or cart in which she made a bed, and she said if she went to spend the night with any of her girl friends she always took him with her. Just think of a girl of sixteen, raising a little black baby. Father Powell was overseer of a big plantation and had many slaves under his direction. And as this plantation was near, he and Mother Powell met, and were married. I donít remember the exact place but near or at Brandenburg, KY. Her father gave her a Negro boy older than her pet nigger for a wedding gift, so she had tow Negro boys. And that was quite a nice start. Slaves at that time were considered onesí wealth, much as our cattle, horses, and lands are today. If one didnít have lands of ones own, he could hire out his Negroes and their wages went to their masters. I remember hearing her tell of Alf, that was one her father gave her. He was I suppose grown or so, any way he got in a fight with another Negro and got stabbed in the back. She called father Powell to come and help her sew up the Negroísí back, but it made him sick and he said I just canít do it. She said are you going to stand there and let this man bleed to death?, why he is worth one thousand dollars. Now donít think she thought of him only as a piece of property, for she was very kind and considerate of her fellow man, but any of us, if we saw a piece of property worth one thousand dollars getting away from us, we would do all we could do to save it. So she made him hold the Negro, she sterilized a needle and some white silk thread and sewed him up and saved his life. Alf was taught a trade, he was a cooper, that is a maker of barrels and casks etc. I donít remember her ever telling me that Sam was taught a trade. She said when father Powell had to go to war, she was left alone with her little children and these two Negro men and they made the living for she and the children. Her youngest child was born after father Powell left home. I have heard her say more than once how wise she was in taking the boy baby when their mother died instead of the girl as her father hoped she would. She said her old family Dr. came to her one morning and said Elenor, I have to join the Army. All the Dr.ís are gone and some body has to help these women bring these babies into the world. So I have brought you my medical books treating on childbirth, and you will have to read them and take my place. So she did, and many dark night some body would call her and it would be a Negro slave boy or man riding one horse and leading another for her and she would perhaps ride eight or ten miles to some lonely home where the father was gone to war and just the mother and maybe other little children, and there with just a neighbor woman to help, she would bring into existence a little life. I think she was very successful I donít remember her say she ever lost a patient. With my first and second children, she was the Dr. I had and I know that no Dr. could have done more for me than she did. I was the mother of two children before I thought very seriously on religion. And it was she who helped me find God.
PS Now, Fern, as you have asked me for something like this, I have to the best of my ability written this rather long paper. Donít know if itís what you want, if it isnít you can destroy it if it isnít okay. If you keep it you may want to make some corrections and perhaps add something I forgot or word it better.
Grandmother was named Mary Boone (called Molly). She had five children:
Eunice (died of consumption) Children: Doris, George and James Whisonant their father died in a saw mill accident 6 weeks after their mother died.
Eula married to Charles Lewis No Children
Fern Holly married to Geo. Bailey Mayer Children: Richard Brantz, Bill Powell, and Mary Annie
Margaret had two boys; one was Walter and I donít remember other (Cadger)
Charles Elbert married to Vivian No Children