My Granny

After a two-week hiatus I'm back and I brought a friend with me to write today. This week's theme is “live long”. I knew right away that I wanted to write about my granny, Jessie Ann (RITER) BATES, for this week's theme. Then my niece Ashley said she wanted to co-write a blog post about Granny and I knew this was perfect timing. There are many stories that can be told about Granny but I LOVE LOVE LOVE that one of our youngest up-and-coming family members wanted to write about Granny so much that she spent part of her spring break doing it. That's dedication and love! So here is our blog post. We hope you love it. Please feel free to leave your memories of Granny BATES in the comments section.

^^ Granny and Papa right around the time they were married.

Few, if any, of us remember Granny as she was in the pictures above. But we all remember how much we loved her. These are Ashley's memories of Granny.

When I was little I would go to my great grandma’s house with my grandma.

My great grandma had dementia and we got to look after her. We would go

to garage sales and play Yahtzee. Sometimes I would go pick apples off of

her apple tree in her front yard. Some days we would visit Aunt Mae before

we went to Great Nanny’s house. My Nanny Kay and I would also go

shopping and help Great Nanny shower. I will never forget the horribly sad

day when she passed away at 100 years old.

^^ Ashley and Granny.

^^ Granny at her 100th birthday party.  She always said she was going to live to be 100 years old.

I think Ashley captures Granny's favorite pastimes perfectly. I also love that she said she “got” to look after Granny. Ashley already embodies the beautiful spirit of the BATES women who have always put family first and cared for their family members in all circumstances without complaint. She's following a beautiful tradition of caregiving set by her parents, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother. She also reflects the Christian spirit of caring for others. I'm so proud of her!

Here are a few more pictures of Granny for you to enjoy as you reflect on your own special memories of her.

^^ Granny with Papa and all her children except David and JD.  (By the way Ashley, behind them is the apple tree I remember when I was growing up.  Seems like Granny always had an apple tree.)

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^^ Granny with David.

^^ Granny with Kay.  Love this one!

^^ Granny with Derek and Shaina.

^^ Granny quilting.  One of my all-time favorite pictures of Granny.

Don't forget to check out Becky's blog at  Also check out my friends' genealogy blogs at and

Until next week,

~ Lisa at Days of Our Lives

Close to Home, Close to the Heart- Part 2

There were a couple of late entries for stories about Uncle David so I thought I would do a mid-week post. Included in this post is an article I recently found that mentioned my Aunt Carol so I thought I would include it as well.

After publishing the previous blog post, my cousin said he remembered the long drives from Iowa back to Oklahoma that his family made when his dad wanted to go fishing with David. He remembers his dad and David shooting at snakes while the kids swam. Troy and David would sit on the bank fishing while the kids swam and they would shoot at the occasional snake they saw in the water.

Memory is a strange and unpredictable thing. After reading the previous blog post, David’s sister Kay commented that she must have been wrong about David enlisting at such a young age. David was actually 17 years old when he enlisted.

David’s brother-in-law, Roy, remembers going noodling with David over in the Disney-Tiajuana, Oklahoma (Delaware/Mayes County), area when they closed the spillways on the dam. They took a gunny sack to put the fish in. Roy caught some fish and put them in the gunny sack but David made him take them back out and throw them back because David said they were too small. Afterward, David regretted that because they didn’t get too many fish that day. Roy commented that David always knew when they were going to close the spillways and he could go fishing. Overall, everyone commented how much David loved fishing. Here is a photo from the GRDA website showing the Pensacola spillway gates:

Photo found at

My Aunt Carolyn passed away a few years ago. Yesterday I was doing genealogical research on and came across a newspaper article that mentioned her. The article was from the morning edition of the Abilene Reporter-News (Abilene, Texas- Taylor and Jones Counties) dated 14 October 1954. Below is a transcription of the relevant portions of the article:

Tuscola Residents Visits in Missouri
“TUSCOLA, October 13 (RNS)- Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Larkin and children, and his brother, Carl Larkin, visited in Southwest, Mo. with Mrs. Gene Drake, sister of Ralph and Carl, and her family. They were accompanied home by Mrs. Drake and her daughter, Carolyn, who visited the Larkins and the N. J. MINITRA family.”

The Ralph LARKIN mentioned here is not our great-grandfather but rather his and Bess’ son, Ralph LARKIN, JR.. Ralph, Carl, and Audrey were siblings. I have no idea what connection the MINITRA family had to ours.

I love that old newspapers include gossip sections like this. They hold interesting information on our ancestor’s lives that can help us place them in a certain location at a certain time. This article also helps explain why Gene and Audrey moved back and forth between McDonanld County, Missouri, and Abilene, Texas, several times between 1954 and 1957. An article similar to this one that was published in 1953 helped explain why Ralph LARKIN, JR. moved to Abilene, Texas. It stated that his then-wife was a long-time resident of the area and her family still lived there.

Until this weekend,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

Close to Home, Close to the Heart

This week’s theme is “close to home”. I wanted to write about someone who was closest to me in physical location. There were several I could have written about but my Uncle David BATES was on my mind this week. So in memory of David, I give you these stories about him along with some photographs shared by David’s sister. (Thank you!!)

David was described to me as being gentle and kind and calm. When he spoke, he meant what he said. I got the impression he didn’t talk a lot but when he did it was meaningful. He was very caring. One of his sisters-in-law remembers that he never failed to ask her how her parents were when he saw her. She observed that his two sons inherited that kindness from their father David. He was a family man and loved his family dearly. David was not saved until after he got married but once he was saved he was very dedicated to his Savior. His sister Kay remembers that he loved being outside and as a young boy he would set traps for rabbits and whatever else he could catch in them. David’s dad, Lum, used to sell pelts and I wonder if David did that as a boy as well.

Dennis and David – not quite trapping age yet.

David is in the front row on the left. He’s with his siblings- Troy, Jerry, Dennis, Paul, and Kay. Doesn’t look like he’s quite made it to trapping age yet. And it looks like Kay isn’t too happy. Troy was probably pinching her. 😉

David is in the front row, the middle child. Here he is with his siblings again. Still not quite trapping age yet. Later in life, David loved to rib his older brother Dennis by saying that it “took a man to have boys” since Dennis had girls and David had boys. Dennis always replied that “it was harder to put the water works on the inside than on the outside”.

David was very smart but school did not hold much interest for him. Kay recalled that he joined the military before he was old enough, and she guesses that their parents must have had to sign for him to go into the military. David’s sister recalls that their mom, Jessie, was told that when they tested David, his scores were those of someone with 2 years of college under his belt.

A school photograph of David. I bet he had an ornery streak. 🙂

David’s sister believes he joined the military when he got out of 8th grade. David served his country in the Marines from 13 March 1961 to 12 March 1965. He was particular about calling his military uniform pants “trousers”. He said that the other military branches called them “pants” but Marines called them “trousers”. He was proud to serve his country in the Marines.

Above is a picture of his Veteran’s Memorial stone at the veteran’s memorial in Jay, Oklahoma.

This is the best copy of his only formal military picture.

David in his beloved Marine trousers.

Another shot of David in uniform.

I love this more casual photo of him in uniform.

Here he is with his dad (Lum), mom (Jessie), and brother Butch. Kay thinks that was David’s car in the shop.

When David met his wife, he was a pipeliner and was gone for months at a time. Prior to getting married, he quit pipelining so he could be at home more. After he quit pipelining he and his brother Paul started driving a truck for Springdale Farm and that was where he was working when he married Rhoma on 28 July 1966. David’s brother Paul remembers the one thing David wanted was a long-nosed Peterbuilt truck that would outrun a Greyhound bus. I don’t think he ever got that Peterbuilt, but David’s youngest brother Mike remembers David driving home from California on a brand new blue Harley Davidson motorcycle. I’m sure he was proud of it- as any young man would be.

David and his wife, Rhoma.

David drove a truck until his first son, Clayton, was born. After his first son was born, David quit driving because it kept him away from his family too much. After ending his truck driving job, he went to work at Beaver Handle Company running a hickory mill and that was where he worked until he passed away in his early 30’s on 1 May 1975.

His wife described him as a very loving husband and daddy. He was a very hard working man and was so very proud of both of his sons- Clayton and Doyle.

His oldest son was only 6 and his youngest son only 2 when David succumbed to cancer. I was slightly younger than Clayton and only have a very vague memory of David lying in a bed and sick. I don’t have any specific memories of him but remember having fond feelings for him.

David has been described as a good and honest man. All his siblings recount that he loved to fish. He would often call his brother who lived in a neighboring state and say the fish were biting and that weekend his brother would be in for a visit with family and a lot of fishing.

His oldest son remembers him as being a good dad with a desire to train his sons to be well-behaved men. Once when his son was still young enough to be in a highchair, his son belched at the table during dinner and David told him to say “Excuse me”. His son refused and David took him from his highchair, gave him a swift spanking, sat him down and again told him to say “Excuse me”. His son refused once again. His son remembers that David spanked him three times before he finally gave in and said “Excuse me”. All I can say is David’s parenting must have had a positive effect because both of his sons grew up to be exceptionally well-mannered men and I know without a doubt David would be so very proud of both of them.

I look forward to the day when I will see David again along with many other family members I have loved in my lifetime. I am so grateful to my Savior for giving me the opportunity and ability to see my loved ones again. I hope and pray you also make the choice that will give you the same opportunity.

Peace and love,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

PS- Click on over for more genealogy goodness at Down in the Root Cellar.