Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June 28, 1898

My grandmother, Hazel Alfreda Thompson Evans was born to Seth Campbell Thompson and Mary Olive Fisher Thompson, "Papa and My dear little mother," on this date in Coolspring Township just kitty corner from the Coolspring Church. The house was made the "Showplace of Mercer County" by her grandfather, Edward Campbell Thompson, a Civil War veteran and sheriff of Mercer County.
As a sort of re-gifting today to me, I was looking at our bookshelf downstairs this morning. I saw a book, The Re-Creation of Brian Kent, Wright. It is very old and I wondered was it written by Harold Bell Wright, the author of The Shepherd of the Hills. That was the name on the title page, but the real gem were the names on the flap. Mrs. Mary E. Fisher and above it read "to Grandma from Tad"- I have no idea who Tad is, but below Mary's name was written,"To Hazel from Grandma" A re gifting from 1919! Plus, I'm inspired by The Shepherd of the Hills, so it will be fun to read another book by Harold Bell Wright. The book itself is in good shape.
Grandma had a little sister, Arvella, but somewhere along the line, a hired hand remarked about a girl wearing overalls, "Well, you're a little Jim" And Jim stuck as her nickname. They were five years apart with a strong sibling rivalry. I don't believe Grandpa Thompson ever used the name Jim, but he blew on the fire of their competition. My mom said she would over hear him as he was giving money to one, "Now don't tell Arvella." or "Don't tell Hazel"
Mary Olive died when Grandma was seven and Jim was two. The girls were very pretty, but I'm sure it was hard on Grandpa Thompson with running a farm and two girls for which to care. Grandma talked about her mean German grandmother, that was Hannah Barnhart Thompson, she married Edward after the Civil War, Sept. 1865. I have the date, record somewhere. It was in Sharon, PA. She was from Clarksville, now Clark as was Edward- his mother being the one who was widowed by Charles Koonce, of Tara fame.
Soon Grandpa Thompson married a school teacher, Miss McMillin- I have to look up her first name. Later her sister married Grandpa Evans father, his second wife after they moved from Pittsburgh to Coolspring Township, so she was Aunt Eva to my mother, even though she also was a step grandmother. As yet another aside, Great Grandpa Evans was the choir director for Coolspring Church. I could write a whole blog on Coolspring Township.
Grandpa Thompson, and Mom called his second wife, Grandma Thompson, had a son Burdell. They made a big fuss over him, because Grandma Thompson was old when she had him. Years later, he committed suicide on the farm. Grandma Evans didn't talk much about him

that I can recall. My mother loved his daughters, Wilma and Verna Mae.
I think because Grandma was seven when her mother died in 1905, she was considered almost an adult. I know they had no grief counseling then. She may have had more sympathy from her mother's family. They wanted her to move with them out West. She cried, but Papa couldn't let her go. My sister has the letters they wrote to her from California.
I'm sure this is getting too long for a blog post. As you can imagine there is much information. Grandma has been dead for twenty five years. She was confused in her last days. She thought baby Katie was my oldest sister's baby. She thought my dad had died not her son, Bill. She had a stroke and quietly died in August 1989. My mom and dad were with her.
Before my mom died six years ago, we both missed Grandma more and talked a lot about her. She had funny sayings. In the winter, "you needed to get out and blow the stink off." She never got strange names right, Herman was Norman, HoChi was HoJo, Toni, her great granddaughter, was Tonya- which made the grandfather irritated, "Toni, Mom, Toni."
Grandma is buried beside her beloved June, her youngest daughter, who died in 1962 of uterine cancer at age thirty three. Very tragic. Affected our whole family for many years. June, the month was also her favorite, as well as lavender for color, violet for flowers. She put kitty litter around her violets and they were extraordinary.
Happy Birthday, Grandma! We miss your jolly self!
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