|Notes for Mary Edith Byford|
|Born on her father's homestead. Buried at Sunnylane cemetery in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.|
The following is taken from her family tree book in her words:
In May 1899 Dad and family along with Mother's Grandmother, Camilla A. Shaw (Cash) and her second husband Jesse Robison moved to their newly purchased lands in Western Oklahoma Custer County. This was about 18 miles northwest of Butler, Oklahoma and about nine miles southeast of Leedy, Oklahoma. Travel was by covered wagon. They passed an Indian teepee encampment and noted an Indian burial pillar on the outskirts. The Indians used to bury their dead this way with all of the personal belongings that the deemed necessary for the afterlife.
While camped, a large Indian approached with just a blanket wrapped around him and got into the food. After filling up, asked for tobacco and dad gave him a chew. He left, but dad fearing that more would be back hitched up the team and they traveled until about 10:00 pm before stopping again. Not finding any wood or water they slept in the wagons.
After living on the west side of their 160 acre claim for awhile, they moved to the East side. That was where I was born. Dad had to go back with mother's Uncle George and drive his cattle as they were penned up in McGee until he could get a shelter built for them. George was crippled from being thrown by a horse when he was young. He never married.
Dad built a two room house, a barn, and dug a well. He also made sheds for the hogs and cattle. He put up a windmill to water the stock.
The well water was pretty bad so dad put up a cistern that would catch water from the eve trough (a cistern). This was the water used for drinking and cooking. Snow was also put in here to supplement the rain water.
While living on the West side in a half dugout, dad bought a cricket sod plough and he made a planter from a wash pan by punching holes in the bottom and attaching a board to the top. He planted kaffir corn and maize this way. He also had a planter similar to a post hole digger that planted one seed at a time.
Mom took my sisters Buelah and Era with her to pick currents while dad was working the field. She all of sudden got a feeling that they were in danger so she picked up Era and ran through the thicket. Their old dog Trip was the last one through and was bitten by a snake. There were two holes in his lip where the snake fangs went through but he did live. That dog was really watchful of the children to not let them get snake bit or into trouble when my parents were not around. He was last seen trying to follow on a return trip to McGee. He was limping so badly but would not let anyone pick him up to put him in the wagon.
Dad put out a large orchard and people would come from miles around to get peaches to can. He put out peaches, apples, cherries, and grapes. Sometimes directions around the area were given with reference to the large popular tree that dad planted. He also planted a black walnut tree that grew to great heights.
Dad built a smokehouse jus west of our house. He butchered hogs every fall or winter as soon as it got cool enough so that the meat would not spoil. He would hang the meat and smoke it with green peach limbs until he thought it was ready. Then he would take it down and salt it real well and then store in in a wooden box in the corner of the smokehouse. We would cut off bacon or ham as needed. We used the fat meat for cooking beans and mom would render the pork fat for making lye soap. They would always render enough lard for cooking for the year. This and milk were stored in the fruit cellar so that it would not spoil. A few times we put milk in gallon syrup cans with a tight lid and lowered them into the cistern during the summer months. We also churned our own butter in an old wooden type churn and from the clabber would make buttermilk.
Around the 4th of July, dad would go to town and buy a big cake of ice and we put that in the cellar to keep it from melting too fast. Mother would and Era would make a cake and then mother would make an ice cream mixture of eggs and heavy cream in a gallon syrup can. In the cellar, she would put the syrup can in a larger bucket and then chip the ice and put layers of ice and salt to the top of the syrup can. She then rotated the bucket back and forth until she had ice cream. There was usually lemonade and soda pop at this time of year which was a big treat for us kids.
Mother used to make wonderful delicious cobblers, jellies, and jams from the different fruits. We had a large garden every year with cantaloups and watermelons. Mother also raised chickens and we kids used to get excited for the first fried chicken every spring.
Papa and Grandpa blonged to the Mason lodge and one thing that I remember was that the Moorwood lodge gave an ice cream social for members and family. My older sister Beulah and family were visiting so we all loaded in the wagon and drove over. Charley was asleep and Beulah cautioned us not to wake him until they got ready to serve the ice cream. I guess that was too much to expect of Ora . She was afraid her little brother was going to miss out and said "Charley you better get up, they are going to eat all of the ice cream". He came up screaming and crawling out of that wagon.
When I was a small girl we had a telephone installed. Back in those days everything was on a party line. Listening in to other people's conversations was a favorite pastime. Sometimes when you were talking on the phone another person would speak up with their comments. Secrets weren't told over the phone lines in those day.
When I was growing up we had our morning chores after breakfast which included driving the calves up to their pen, milking, and feeding the livestock. Then we got dressed and walked about two miles to school. We got out around 4:00 pm and walked the two miles home. Then turned the calves out to graze for the night. The schoolhouse had seats made from split logs.
Mother was very tender headed and had curly hair. One day when she was in school she was talking with her friend when they should have been studying. The teacher took his pointer stick and wrapped it up in mother's hair and led her off. Mother said she got her curly hair form her Shaw side of the family. They were supposed to be of French descent.
Grandma had an Uncle, Tom Terrell who had two sons, Ray and Jesse. Jesse was an outlaw who rode with the Kimes boys. She said Jesse came to her house one day while she was cooking dinner. She turned around from the stove and he had a gun loaded and cocked pointed right at her head. She said "Jesse, What on earth are you doing?" He said I'm practicing.
While my grandfather (Washington Cash) was in service during the civil war, grandmother was boiling some sweet potatoes. Some enemy soldiers came to the house and started forking them out. My Aunt Melvina started crying because she thought they were going to eat them all and one of the soldiers stuck a hot potato in her mouth to shut her up. They went to another neighbors house and asked for water and the woman refused. They filled her well up with trash.
Frank W. Allen the just graduated from medical school served the folks in this community. He would carry his bag by horse when the roads were too bad for his buggy. People paid him in salt pork, eggs, grain and even wild game when they could pay him at all. He never refused a call because someone could not pay him. He later moved his practice to Leedy, Oklahoma. Doctor Granville Speers delivered my brother Bill, so Bill was named in honor of him (William Granville Byford).
My mother's Uncle George W. Cash was a mail carrier for this area. They said he was so punctual that the people could set their clocks by him. Mail boxes were usually old wooden boxes installed by the road. My mothers' sister Camilla Jane and her husband Morgan Parnell owned a gristmill where the neighbors brought their corn.
I remember my first train ride. Dad took us kids to Moorewood and we got on the train for a short ride to Hammon, Oklahoma. The old trains used coal and if you rode very far, you were covered in soot and would be in need of a bath at your destination.
When I was young we used to have an old dog named Shep. One day 'ol Shep went mad. Era was out in the pasture to bring the milk cows in for milking. I had slipped out of the house and was running Shep around and around the peach tree. Mother managed to snatched me back in the house and warned Era to be careful. After a while mother noticed her brother (Luther Lumpkins) coming up the road on horseback. Mother called to him and he slipped in the house and used dad's shotgun to kill the dog. He had hesitated because he knew how much I loved that old dog but they were afraid that it would get away.
We used to have old time box suppers or pie suppers. The girls would fix a real pretty box, all trimmed with crepe paper and paper flowers and ribbon. If it was for a pie supper, we put a home baked pie in the box. If it was a box supper, we put in enough fried chicken, cake and cookies or a variety of things for two people. The men would bid on them and you had to eat with the highest bidder. Sometimes the girls would cry if someone they didn't know very well was the high bidder
NOTE: Mom never did say if this was the way she got dad.
Mother died while living with her youngest daughter (Naomi).
|Last Modified Sep 8, 2006||Created Feb 27, 2008 by EasyTree for Windows|