The following detail was submitted by my mother, Mrs. Martha Barker of Shamrock, Texas.
Papa was an accomplished cabinet maker and carpenter. As a hobby, he made and gave away little girl’s cabinets and cradles. He also made sling shots for the little boys.
Papa and Mama were very sincere workers in the first Christian Church, where he served as a deacon and Mama taught classes for many years. Papa built the pews for the church at Hedley in the early 1900’s. As an added duty and love for people, Papa built caskets and Mama lined these for seasonal workers that had the sadness of losing a child while in the Hedley area. Of course, there was never a charge for this labor of love.
Mama crocheted many articles during her lifetime. During World War Two, Maggie Ruth bought ecru colored thread, a ball at a time (that’s all she couId afford!) for Mama to crochet a bedspread for her. She had this spread for about forty years when she had it divided down the middle and Martha has half and her sister Bettye has the other half. They both have them displayed on wooden quilt stands that stand on the floor. Mama crocheted hundreds of baby booties and gave them away to anyone she knew with a new baby. She kept them in a tan suitcase made of cardboard and sprinkled talcum powder lightly over them so they always smelled so good.
When Maggie Ruth was three years old, Mama was badly burned when her long dress was ignited by a wood fire under a wash pot in the yard. Many years later, Maggie still had memories of seeing the flame running up from the hem of her mother’s skirt. Mama ran into the house, screaming for Annie, the oldest, to help her. Annie was sweeping, and in her panic, began slapping the flame with the broom, which only fanned the flames more. Mama fell to the f1oor and rolled up in a rug. The burn was severe on the back of the right leg from the thigh to the ankle. This took several months to heal, but with the help of Papa and the children, it did heal and Mama walked fine. By the way, the doctor, Dr. Sorvis, came every other day to dress and treat the burn.
When all the children married and moved away, Papa and Mama moved to McLean, twenty miles north of Hedley. Maggie and Skinny lived there, as well as mother’s Aunt Annie and Uncle T.J. Coffey. This was the late 1930s, so Papa was about sixty years old and retired from cabinet making. He continued to work with wood as a hobby, for several years.
They lived the remainder of their lives in McLean. Papa suffered a severe stroke, which took his sight and he was bed-fast for six and a half years before his death. Mama stayed right by his side and helped with any of his wishes and needs. He died November 4, 1946 at the age of eighty-four.
Mama stayed in her own home, actively working in her beautiful garden, until she fell and broke her hip in January, 1960. She continued to enjoy her home with Maggie Ruth and other family members staying with her and tending to her needs. She died September 17, 1963 at the age of ninety.
Footnote: We remember how old Alva was on the trip from Lampasas because he always said, “The family stopped to rest and they put me out of the wagon. I had to learn to walk so I could catch up or be left behind!”