Laura is my maternal great grandmother. Hers is the first death date anniversary I’ll be honoring this year. So if you’re lighting a candle with me today, now would be a good time to go do it while you’re thinking about it.
On the far right is Jessie RITER BATES and to the left of Jessie is Jessie’s mom, Laura BULLOCK RITER. To the left of Laura are two of her other daughers, possibly Bertha (second from left) and Myrtle (far left).
When I was younger I asked Granny to tell me about her mom, Laura. What she recalled the most was that Laura always went outside and played WITH her kids instead of sending them outside to play alone while Laura took care of chores and household business. Granny also recalled Laura being a good cook. When I asked my Mom about her grandma Laura, my Mom also remembered Laura’s cooking. She remembers going to Laura’s house on Sunday’s for meals and Laura almost always fixed Angel Food cakes with sprinkles inside for dessert. I talked about those cakes in this blog post. Mom loved those cakes! In spite of Laura’s good cooking, she was always a thin, petite woman. My mom didn’t recall ever hearing Laura yell or get loud.
Laura lived in several different houses in Sulphur Springs, Benton County, Arkansas. Laura’s brother, Uncle Ed, always lived near Laura all his life. I don’t think he ever married. I remember Mom telling me once that it was almost like he stayed to take care of Grandma Laura.
Just before Laura’s 23rd birthday, she married William Sherman RITER. They had five children together. Granny always told me there was another baby that didn’t live but I have no proof of that. This baby that didn’t live was Laura’s first baby which would make a total of 6 children that Laura gave birth to. When Laura was just 41 years old, William passed away and left her to raise those five children alone. She raised them well and never remarried. Granny recalled that it took Laura almost a year to get William’s military pension started. That year was very difficult as the family didn’t have much money to live on.
In the mid-1950’s, Laura’s daughter Bertha was diagnosed with cancer. In the fall of 1957, when Laura was 70 years old, Bertha died due to the cancer. That left Bertha’s children with their stepfather with whom they did not have much of a relationship and while he loved them, he had no way to raise them on his own. Laura moved those five children back from California and finished raising them. In January of 1970 at the age of 81, after raising 10 children, she passed away. She died on a Saturday. At the time of her death her son William lived in Panama City, Florida. Her daughter Myrtle (RITER) PENDERGRAFT lived in Sulphur Springs (as did Laura). Laura’s daughter Jessie (RITER) BATES live in Southwest City, Missouri. Her daughter Faye (RITER) STEVENS lived in Anderson, Missouri. Her brother Ed BULLOCK lived in Sulphur Springs, Arkansas near Laura as I talked about earlier. He is also buried in the same cemetery as Laura (Butler Cemetery near Sulphur Springs, Arkansas).
I’m leaving a photo of Ed’s gravestone here since the name on the stone is different than what they called him. He doesn’t have any descendants to remember him or clean his gravesite and leave flowers. If you’re ever in the area, you might stop by and leave flowers for he and Grandma Laura and clean off the stones.
Laura’s brother Oscar BULLOCK lived in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Oscar was a World War I veteran and when he passed away he was buried in the Fayetteville National Cemetery in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Her sister Cynthia (BULLOCK) BATY lived in Gilroy, California. Another of her sisters, Alice (BULLOCK) ROTRAMEL, lived in Southwest City, Missouri. At the time of her death, Laura had 29 grandchildren (5 of whom she finished raising as noted above) and 53 great grandchildren (of whom I was one of the newest, being less than a year old at the time of her death).
Me at approximately the time Laura BULLOCK RITER passed away.
If you have any memories of Laura I’d love to hear them. If you have any photos to share, I’d love to see them.
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives