Mom’s story


Effie Elvira (Gray) Ware

Mom

Born in Willoughby Vermont, September 26 1903.  Parents Orrin Gray (33) and Edith E. (Day) Gray (26).

Willoughby, VT

(The following is a listing of all the places that mom lived from the time she was in Morse Code School in Massachusetts where dad met her in order)

Lexington, Mass      19 Sherman St.

Mass. Ave.

Boston, Mass.         Bowdoin St.

Willmington, Del

Bunshine, W. Va

No Theteford, N.H.  –before Theresa was born for a short time–May to Aug

Woburn, Mass.       3 Conn. St.  (Woburn House then Church St)

17 James St.

Church St. (Theresa born here)

Lyme Center, N.H.   Ginnie was born here

Willoughby, VT  Mar to Oct then on to Florida- bus to NY then boat to Fla

Jacksonville, Florida- left here for PA by train

Philadelphia, PA- Millie, Pete & Dolly born here

Springfield, OR- Drove to Springfield 5th & B Sts

Wendling, OR

Eugene, OR- Omie born here on the hill by Elks Park (Sacred Heart)

Springfield, OR – 1007 Mill St.  Jack born here (Sacred Heart)

Hwy 101 S near Waldport

Eugene, OR – 1953 Riverview St (Millie & Bob)

–         River Road  (Ginnie & Junior)

This is mom’s story in her own words…

My Dad was married to Effie Leazoh, they had 7 children.  She died in childbirth.  All children died.  Then my father married Edith Elvira Day in 1902.  She was from Smith Mills, P.A.  My father was working on a steel crew for Boston & Maine Railroad.  They made their home in Willoughby, VT.  Oreleans Co. 5 mi. south of Barton, VT.  They owned a home there of 98 acres.  They always thought it was 49 acres more or less.  After their death, when I was selling it, had it surveyed and found out the real acreage.  Wish I had never sold it to Maurice LaClain.

Samuel Parker Ware I met in Boston while I was going to Mass. Radio & Telegraph School at 19 Boylston St.  I lived with my father on Boiudoin St.  My father worked for Pinch Gas Co.  at East Cambridge, for B&MRR.  I had 6 more weeks to go to finish my training but never finished it.  We were married by Judge Doff, went to N.H. on honeymoon.

I was born in Willoughby, VT on Sept 26, 1903 to Edyth Elvira (Day) Gray and Orrin Gray.  They were married in Nov 1902.  Willoughby was later changed to Kimball.  Then later, all mail went to Barton, VT which was only 5 miles north.

Barton was a very pretty village.  It boasted at that time of two butcher shops, bakery at lower end of village, two hotels, a Peerless, two grist mills.  Charlie Barrows had a big grocery, dry goods, shoes, ready-made clothing store.  Ed Barron had the same kind of store at upper end of village.  Then a couple or three blocks south another store CANute but he carried harnesses, grain, etc.  Kinda crummy but later turned it into a real nice store.

A creamery, boarding house, two blacksmith shops each end of village.  A big for the area academy, besides Catholic School.  A few small groceries (stores) scattered in different areas.  A nice lake with summer homes on back side of lake.  Dr F. R. Hastings, he later had a hospital by adding to his home.  He was my mother’s doctor when I was born.  By the way, he was still going strong in ’27.  Dr. John Blake was my father’s doctor.  Also he pulled teeth.  (Scared the tar out of me once when he pulled a tooth).  Dr. E. M. Nickles was my mothers doctor later (he didn’t have a rat terrier who jumped all over his patients like F. R. Hastings).  When (about) Dr. Nickles, I don’t know if he died or what but then Dr. F. Prime was her doctor and our family doctor.  O boy what a doctor, he got tangled with a telegraphers wife, Mrs. Blousher at Summit.  Some mess.  It straightened out though.

A catholic Church, Methodist Church, a couple others.  One restaurant.  I remember mostly boarding houses.  Harness maker and Cobbler shop- Phillips, a big store.  Bank, Post Office, jail, a 5 & 10 cent (Percy’s), one novelty store, millinary shop, a big dry goods store that I can’t remember the name.  A movie, two drug stores, Lang’s Camera Shop and eye doctor, stationary, fruit store, hardware- one big one but other stores carried some hardware also.  Telephone office, lawyers- how many, I can’t remember nor do I remember how many dentists- one was Peerson.  Fred Whitcher’s Harness Shop.  Wagons, buggies, sleighs, even cattle and sheep, hogs.  Charlie Nute also was a dealer in cattle and sheep besides his grocery store.  Will Hanson dealt in horses and stock- big dealer.

Stone sheds employed several men who were stone cutters.  Cattle yards, Willoughby had two grocery stores, Post Office, RR depot, bobbin mill and farms, some logging.

My father was section foreman, he made $16.50 per week.  They paid for a home, owed no one any big bills.  Our home consisted of 6 rooms and a basement, out buildings like a big shed, carriage floor.  Barn, we had a cow and horse  then our cow was killed.  We had three horses, chickens, pigs.

My mother died in December of 1918 with cancers of female organs.  Nowadays a doctor would take out the organ with no trouble and save a life.  She never was well after my brother was too large to be born normal so doctors took off one arm and a leg so he could be born (19#).  He was born in Dec of 1909.  Mother never got out of bed for all day until she went to hospital in July.  Was operated on by doctor and son team Maurice Richerson at New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston.  The doctors discovered the cancers then and sewed her up and sent her home.  She never was really well after that.  While mother was in hospital, I spent my days either with my cousins Gladys and Harold Gray (Uncle Will’s children) but usually I stayed with my father on the track.  I spent my 7th birthday on the track.  I loved it.  From 7AM to 6PM then we walked a mile home, had chores to do, fed horses, pigs, chickens, dog and cat.  My dad also had a garden he worked on week ends.  My mother came home soon after my birthday.

She got so she could be around the house in a little while, seemed good.  I lost a lot of school because of mother’s illnesses just to get her water and something to eat at noon and do errands for her.  No one seemed to offer help.  My dad got a hired girl to come live for some time.  Which he paid her $2,50 per week.  Then when I was 9 years old, my mother got pregnant and the doctor aborted her.  Another siege of illness but not long.  It was a girl.  Mother was 5 mo pregnant.  Then everything went quite smoothly only for my dad’s drunken brother once in a while until my mother kicked him out.

Then my grandmother Gray was making soft soap outside upin mountains of N.H. and her clothing caught afire so my mother went to help.  She died but not before Aunt Emily, Uncle Gib Gray’s wife, died in childbirth all in the same house.  Uncle Gib was ornery to her, used to beat her with a wide belt.  Mother stopped this after Aunt Emily was buried.  The day of her funeral, Aunt Etta gave grandma an overdose of sleeping pills when Aunt Etta left for the funeral.  Grandma died.  After her funeral we went home.

Soon after my dad trusted a hired hand on his section.  Uncle Gib, who daddy gave a job.  Dad sent him with a flag to stop a fast freight but Uncle Gib did not go the proper distance with the flag so the train couldn’t stop.  My dad and his crew were changing ties and steel.  Train hit the push car loaded.  Engine and tender went over bank and engine over half buried itself in ground.  Engineer and fireman were not hurt.   (Uncle Gib had no right with flag as he was 4th man.  3rd man should have had it.)  So dad transferred to Grand Trunk RR and got charge of a steel crew.

A short time before this wreck I was riding a horse which my mother disapproved of but my father OK’d.  I went to get milk every morning from a neighbor a mile away.  I was nearly home, just across railroad track by a snow fence made of boards when horse started to run because of a crop on saddle.  I tried to save milk and was thrown into fence, mangled my left elbow.  I walked to house but my mother saw me coming and ran to meet me with dish towels and bound my arm tight.  The only thing that saved me.  She had laid me on a couch and ran up track for help to telegraph office.  They sent for a doctor.  One operator came home with my mother.  One mile to office.  Soon, my dad came off section.  Doctor came and did what he could but my dad had the 10AM train stopped at crossing.  He took me to St Johnsbury to Brightlook Hospital.

After ten days Dr Allen amputated my arm.  My dad was in operation room all the time.  My poor mother had two nurses close to her all this time.  In another ten days I went home but  had to have the stump dressed every other day for the first week then twice a week until it healed.  This was in September, about the fifteenth.   I had my 12th birthday in the hospital, got home on October 6th, 1915.  Soon after this and after the train wreck we moved from the little place in Sutton back to Willoughby on the farm place.  Things went pretty good until my mother’s last illness which lasted from Feb 7, 1918 until her death in December 1918.  My dad and I stayed at home place alone until April.  My dad rented place, he left me there, he went to Springfield, VT then on to Boston in summer.  But May 3rd of 1919 I went to Lexington Mass. To a friend of my mother and dad’s.  Went to school there then in 1921 I started school at Massachusetts Radio and Telegraph School on Boylston Street in June.  July 14th I met Parker and we were married 6 weeks later on September 24, 1921.  The moving started.

Moved to 3 Connecticut Street in Woburn, then to 17 James Street in Woburn where Edythe was born at Choat Memorial Hospital.   Dr.      was my Doctor.    Then we moved to Willmington, Massachusetts close to Parkers work, he was boss over a rigging crew for Merrimac Chemical Works.  My dad went to work for him.  Then my dad went to board & room down the road about a block in winter because Parker got hurt and soon as he was alright we went to West Virginia to Parker’s sister Lucinda’s.  We rented half a house at sunshine just a little ways from Aunt Lucinda’s.  Parker went to work in the coal mines and in afternoons he went to Mannington got a shop and started painting cars.  HW was looking for a job for my dad and found what my dad wanted, driving team.  My dad was coming down and we were all so happy but he didn’t come when we expected him.  (Dad had gone back to Vermont to do some repairs on the small place before coming to W. Va.)  He didn’t show up for three days and then we got a telegram he was found dead in bed.   I went to Vermont, then to N.H. with my Uncle Jack and Aunt Letta until Parker came up.  I was pregnant with Theresa.  My dad died in May.  In August I went to Woburn, Mass. Where Parker had got us living quarters until after Theresa was born at Woburn House.  We were all set for winter when woman who ran the place sold out so we moved to Church Street in Woburn.  Parker was painting cars with spray paint and he got lead poisoning so we went back to New Hampshire as he wouldn’t stay away from paint where we were.  Eventually we went to live with Uncle Clarence.  I didn’t want to because he drank heavily but Parker felt sorry for him.  Well, Ginnie was born there but then I got out of there.  We went to my home in Willoughby.  What a mess!  Hardly any work for Parker.  He ended up in Erie, Pennsylvania then on to Jacksonville, Florida.  So down there I went with three little ones.  Got there on 1st of January, 1927.  In August Parker went to Philadelphia and got work.  In September here I went again.  We had an apartment and Millie was born on November 11th,  1927.  We lived in Philadelphia until Dolly was a baby.  Pete was born there also.  Then in April 1932 we came west to Springfield, Oregon.

Mother died of cancer December 7, 1918, born 1877 Smith Mills P.A.  to Elba Gardner Day and Zilla Frances Ritter (died Dec 1919) Three children survived epidemic of Black Diptheria-  Charles died in ’33, Willard Elba died around ’44 and Edith Elvira Day married Orrin Gray Nov of 1902.   Orrin (2nd son?) died May 1924.  (poison?) son of Aaron Gray and Sarah Simpson, born in Sheffield, Vt.  Brothers: Clarence (3rd son), Jackson (oldest-was in reform school for awhile), Jessie Gilbert Gray (5th son),  Will (4th)  Uncle Will and Aunt Mary had two children, Gladys and Harold.  Uncle Jack was married twice, first time to a woman by name of Lavina.  They had a daughter, Hattie, who married John Forrest of Willoughby, Vt.  They had one baby which he burned in a heating stove when it was born.  They separated she ended up in a house of prostitution and I never knew any more of her.  Another daughter, Florence married Whitaker who bore a son Ivan and a daughter.  Uncle Jack and his second wife raised Ivan after Florence died.  Jack married Etta Mussey for his second wife.  They had a son Harley and a daughter Margaret John.  Jack died in 1941, Etta in 1947.  Maggie married Harry Guitar from Canada.  They had Phineas (Skip), —-one was killed, Melvin and Wilfred.  Harry died in 1960, Maggie in 1961.  Skip married a Japanese girl.  Melvin married Phyllis Haden of Montana.  Wilfred married and lives in N.H., he’s a carpet layer.

I’d like to clarify some dates.  I’m sure  Pete was born in ’29 or ’30 because he was eleven years older than I and  Dolly in ’31 or ’32 so that Hupmobile doesn’t seem quite so crowded now does it.

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  1. […] Mom’s story  August 16, […]


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