Sunday, May 08, 2011


Mom!  So special, so loved and so missed.

Florence Louise Stone was born Oct 31, 1908 to Hugh Emery and Adla Charlotte (Larson) Stone in Hendley, Nebraska.  She was the youngest of 7 children, 5 of whom lived to adulthood  As a small child she moved with her family to Humansville, MO.  Grandpa was a farmer and had heard the land in Missouri was better for farming and had more trees.  They did farm and even had a small canning factory at one time.

Mom attended and graduated from Humansville High School.  From her high school yearbooks she was very popular and studious.  One quote describing her in her Sophomore year book said: "Florence Stone: "Always wears a smile." She was a member of the Glee Club and Teacher's Training Class.  After graduation she attended Springfield Normal School, now Missouri State University, in the summer of 1928. During those years after taking  high school training classes and some college courses a prospective teacher needed only to pass a teacher's examination to teach in rural school.  Mom taught school in Plum Grove and Pleasant Ridge (1930) rural schools near Humansville, boarding with parents of the children and walking to school.  It was on one of these walks to school that a certain young man stopped to give her a ride to school.

Because of her mother's illness, Florence quite teaching to care for her.    Not too long after the free ride to school this notice appeared in the local paper:   "One of Humansville's popular young ladies is wearing a 'nifty' and beautiful new diamond engagement ring.  This ring was sold by the OK Reisinger Jewelry and Gif Shop  Now watch for the wedding bells 'ere long.  But in the meantime just put your peepers on the wagging tongues as the curious dames try to 'figger' out just who the prospective bride is to be."

Mom and Dad were married Jan 1, 1933 and after a year or so moved to Springfield.  Mom and Dad welcomed 4 children and gave us a great start to life.

Mom was such a good cook, always seemed to have that smile,  kept us in line and tried to teach us manners.  She helped to raise a huge garden and canned what wasn't eaten fresh.  Our house was filled with relatives for each holiday.

Mom was always associated with church activities. A cradle roll certificate has Florence Louise Stone enrolled in the Cradle Roll Department of the ME Church of Hendley, Nebraska on Dec 27, 1908. Throughout her life Mom was very active in Methodist Church activities.  A picture of the summer Ozark Wesleyan Institute in August of 1930 in Cathage MO has her seated in the second row.  Her  membership and activities involved in the Broadway Methodist Church were highlights of her life.  She taught Sunday School, sang in the choir,  was a lifetime member of the women's group and was even treasurer for the church at one time.

Beginning in 1967 Mom was a volunteer with the Burge-Presbeterian Hospital auxiliary (now Cox North Hospital) and contributed over 14,000 faithful hours.

Mom loved poetry, music and reading. She loved to play Scrabble and could always beat me.  She loved her family and was always happiest when they were all around.  We tried to all gather at special occasions and especially her birthday.  She always said she just enjoyed sitting and listening to all the conversations.  After Dad died in August 1977, she showed such strength, living alone until her death in September, 2002 at the age of 93.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Recreating a photo op

Shortly after I was born Dad began working for the Frisco Railway.  He  frequently worked the shift from midnight to 7:00 a.m. which meant we were continually cautioned, "Shh, Dad is asleep."  My younger brother remembered this when he sang the Christmas carol,"It came upon the midnight shift."  Most of the time, however, Dad worked the shift from 3:00 until midnight so he had more time with his family.  Dad worked for the railway for 39 years.

One of the perks of working for the railroad was the free passes to travel.  Christmas 1937 Dad got us all on board and headed from Missouri to Arizona to visit Grandparents.  One of the tourist stops made on that trip was to visit the Hole in the Rock, a formation in Papago Park in Phoenix. It can be seen for miles around and a favorite climb, especially for younger legs.  Posing with Mom and Dad were John, age 4, Vena, age 2 and Fred, 2 months old.

Last week Fred and I climbed up to that Hole in the Rock and had a picture taken again, after 73 years. I wonder, did it take those little 2 and 4 year old legs as long as it did us to climb?  It may not be monumental in the world but it was fun for us to do this.  Thanks, Fred.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Wrapping it up--

This time of year we do just that.  We finished the wrapping of gifts that are now unwrapped, the clutter is being cleared and we settle down to wrap up another year.  We remember events that happened to shaped our life for the last 365 days and we also remember events that have shaped our lives in years past.

Christmas gifts of a few years ago certainly weren't all the electronic marvels or the extravagance that seems the hype and hopes of all the Christmas retailers.  Even as a child we always had a Christmas tree and were thrilled with the presents we had to unwrap.  Mom and Dad, as we did for our boys, took advantage of the clothing needs at Christmas time as well.  Socks and underwear were always needed it seems and our boys were eager to unwrap the  presents under the tree knowing that some were no doubt disguised as socks and such.  Each pair of socks was wrapped separately so there seemed to be more gifts to unwrap!

One year Mom refused to put names on the packages under our tree as we always shook and felt to see if we could discern what it was and who it might be for. Christmas morning the packages still had no names but it was fun to choose something to unwrap and then laugh and exchange ones not meant for us.

This week all news channels have the best and worst events of 2010 reminding us of the joys and sad times throughout the world.  It's time for us to think of the not so good times and the joyous times of the past year with hopes that 2011 will have more of the latter ones.

My wish is that this will be an exciting new year in good health, with much happiness and lots of love in 2011!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thankful for--

Eating and visiting were the two things we always remember about the holiday seasons.  Thanksgiving was always a favorite.  It was the fun of the eating, gathering of family and visiting but without the hassle of gift giving and quite so much decorating.  For all these times I'm thoroughly thankful as I remember many, many such wonderful times.

Uncles, Aunts and cousins frequently gathered with us around Mom and Dad's table as we were growing up.  Mom was such a wonderful cook and it seemed so effortless for her to have such a bountiful table.  Many of her recipes have become necessary regulars for each of our tables as well.  Nothing could beat her pumpkin pie, cornbread stuffing or chocolate chip cookies--- naming just a few.

Because Mom was such a good cook and did it with such ease that I didn't learn to cook with her.  The first Thanksgiving after we were married and moved to Colorado, I suggested Mom, Dad and sister come out to see us.  I really got a feeling of panic when they agreed as I had never cooked a turkey let alone cooked for more than two and was still painfully experimenting.  A teacher at school suggested I cook a turkey in a brown paper bag.  No problem getting it prepared and in the bag but I was terrified each time I opened the oven but saw only a brown paper bag stapled shut.  Was it cooking, what if it caught fire, was it going to be done, what if it doesn't taste good?  When the time was up it turned out to be a perfectly browned bird done to a tee.  With my folks, we had Bob's brother, wife and son as well.  I'm still not sure where we had room for everyone as I recall that tiny, tiny apartment but it was a time to remember.

Another 'remember' was a day when all the family was coming to our house when we lived in Missouri.  I had cooked ahead and ready to put the big bird in first thing Thanksgiving  morning.  Overnight, one of those legendary snow storms hit blocking us in and keeping everyone else from getting in.  I'm not sure what the families of brothers, sister and parents did for eats that day as they had to 'defend' for themselves.  We had enough food for an army!  We lived on campus at that time so Bob went to the dorm to find kids who had planned to leave for a family dinner and invited them over.  Not much food was left after they all left but we had a good Thanksgiving feeling.

Later as children grew with activities of their friends and school and dividing time between inlaw families we began to gather on another special day for our family -- Halloween.  Mom's birthday was on Oct. 31 so we always tried to get all the family together on a weekend closest to that date.  Of course we also gathered on the other two feasting days as often as we could.

Such events and many more have evoked such wonderful and thankful memories.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Stouthearted Stone

Charles Stone, Jr. was born May 6, 1757 in Stockbridge, MA.  He served as waggoner in the Revolutionary War carrying supplies to the Army.  In 1782 he married Polly Springs (1764-1838) and sometime after his marriage he went into the Mohawk Valley to establish a home.  Because of his wife's ill health at the time, he left that region and in 1791 moved his family to Broome Co., New York.  He settled on the bank of the Chenango River about 5 miles north of Binghamton.  Part of this time and until around 1800 he carried the mail on horseback through the woods from Owego to Catskill and related experiences with man and beast on these journeys.  His daughter Lura rode horseback to Catskill to attend school about a 50 mile round trip.

Leaving this location that was clear of debt he moved west. But "in an evil hour" trying to do a good deed for a reported reliable friend, he signed a security bond for $5,000.  The friend did not turn out to be so reliable and Charles was required to pay out this amount.  He was just recovering from this when not long after this as he was deciding where to build a mill, he was persuaded to purchase a certain site.  On this site there was not water sufficient to run a mill and this event left him absolutely penniless. It was said that his wife, Polly, had more practical wisdom and opposed many of his unfortunate undertakings.

Later, Charles and Polly were forced to live with their children.  At one time living with daughter Harriet and her daughter in Port Crane among the wild basket makers of that region.  It is reported that he was so lame with sciatica that he had been seen hoeing corn on his knees, being too lame to bend over.  His remarkable conscientiousness was noted by the fact that in spite of these infirmities he picked huckleberries to pay a second time a note for a yoke of cattle, rather than run the risk of making the mistake by swearing he had paid for them.

In the spring of 1837, after selling his personal effects at auction, Charles now in his 80s was so crippled he could barely walk with two canes. With his wife, daughter Harriet and Granddaughter Frances he traveled on a raft down the river, took the canal as far as they could, over the mountains by emigrant wagons and then by steamboat to Cincinnati, Ohio to live with Charles' brother Ethan.

Polly Springs Stone died there in the fall of 1838.  Charles died in the summer of 1848.  I have nine children listed for Charles and Polly, however, I believe the last child Aaron, to be either a grandson or nephew they had taken in to live with them.  The birthdate for Aaron is 18 years after the 8th child on the family tree.  Clarification of this mystery still eludes me.

A paper found among family histories and photos recounts the above story.  It was dated 1909 but no author is listed.  This account was also found reprinted in the bicentennial publication by The Chenango Bridge Civic Association in 1976, titled, Chenango Bridge, Our Heritage.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Great Grandparents

We did not have a chance to meet Grandpa Stone's parents.  We have only this picture of Aaron Stone and except for genealogy facts and dates we have no anecdotal information about him.  Aaron was born in1818 and died in 1898.  He grew up on the homestead that had been in the family for generations.  The census records have  always listed Aaron as a farmer. Grandpa and his father had a strained relationship when Grandpa moved to Nebraska.  As far as we know Grandpa never returned to New York and only Aaron's siblings visited him.                                                       

We had this picture, a nickle silver spoon engraved 'Jane Temple' and a letter written to Grandpa in 1888. Researching this summer I have found a bit more factual  information.  Jane Gray Temple was born in 1822 in Chenango, New York and died in October 1890.  Jane was one of 10 children born to James Temple and Manda Alenda Sherwin.  Her mother was born in New Jersey and her father in Connecticut.  The genealogy of her family reaches back into England even farther than the Stone family.                                                                 
  Aaron and Jane were married 3 November 1844 and produced 6 children.                                                                      
More information and facts about the Stones and Temples keep popping up so perhaps there will be more stories to come.                                                                                         

Friday, October 08, 2010

This day in history --

When I read the morning newspaper I'm always happy when I find something that connects with me or the family. Today is the anniversary of the Chicago Fire in 1871.  I remembered a story I had read about a member of the Story family with ties to the Chicago Fire.

Wilbur Fisk Story, a cousin of Bob's great grandfather, was born in Salisbury, VT, attended local schools and worked many years in Vermont, New York City and Indiana.  He went to Jackson, MI, and after being proprietor of a drug store, established a newspaper and read law for two years.  He was appointed postmaster by President Polk and was removed from office by President Tyler.

His newspaper career continued when in 1853 he bought an interest in The Detroit Free Press and eventually became the sole owner.  Under his leadership the Free Press came to be regarded as one of the leading democratic newspapers in the west.  In 1861 he purchased from Cyrus H. McCormick, the The Daily Chicago Times bringing with him a large part of his staff.  He changed the title to Chicago Times and continued the paper with a democratic voice.  His paper was  unpopular because of his support of the Civil War.  Because of his views on the Civil War his plant was raided and partially destroyed.  However, popular sentiments prevailed and the paper reopened.  After the Civil War, Story using the motto "to print the news and raise Hell," turned the Times into an outspoken, eccentric and critic of Chicago Society.

The Chicago fire of 1871 destroyed his plant but Wilbur rebuilt the building and continued to publish.  Wilbur edited the Times until 1884 when failing health intervened.  He died Oct. 27, 1884.

The Chicago Times, after a few merges and name changes was eventually bought by a Melville Stone, but Melville Stone apparently is not a link to the Stone side of the family.

Family trivia is fun to find.