William Riter & Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders

This blog post is about my maternal great grandfather, William Sherman RITER. William was married to Laura Ann BULLOCK. I’ve written about William in the following blog posts, in case you’re interested in catching up before you read this post:

Times for Remembering (includes a much better photo of William)

Lost and Found (the first of a two-part series about William’s life after the war)

Lost and Found, Part 2 (the second of a two-part series about William’s life after the war)

Week 4- Weekend Wrap-Up (includes a short paragraph about William)

For one week every summer I have all my grandsons over to my house for Cousin Camp. One of the activities I was planning for this coming summer was a family history related activity so they can begin to learn about their ancestors and the stories that belong to those ancestors. The activity involves some cute little magnets I created on Shutterfly. Here’s William RITER’s:

I tried to get a better picture of it, but you get the general idea. So if this magnet were chosen, I would tell the boys the story about my maternal great-grandfather, William Sherman RITER, and how he was one of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. In the process of planning this I thought it would be fun to get a picture book about Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders to read to the boys so they could learn more. I was unable to find a picture book that I felt was appropriate for my grandsons so the thought entered my mind that I could write one and self-publish. I began doing some research in preparation to write a short picture book story. In the process of gathering information I have begun to doubt whether William RITER was really a Rough Rider. But let’s back up to the beginning so I can show you how the whole Rough Rider story came to be.

Rough Rider in Town!

The above article was taken from Newspapers.com. It’s a copy of a news item from The Sedalia Democrat, Page 1, 30 March 1899. William had just been mustered out at Augusta, Georgia on 27 March 1899. He had served in the Spanish-American War with Company E, 15th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry out of St. Paul, Minnesota. The 15th Minnesota had an outstanding reputation and, at least according to newspaper articles of the time, the people of Georgia were sad to see them leave. What I found interesting when looking through newspapers was that you could follow his train trip home by watching newspapers along the route he took. Every time a group of the 15th Minnesota arrived in town, the newspapers were covering it. So, between March 27th and March 30th I could follow his progress from Georgia to Oklahoma. (By the way, when he enlisted for this war he lived in Wheaton, Illinois but at some point he acquired land in Oklahoma and that’s where he went after the war.) As I continued researching, I learned that the Spanish-American War was a war that Americans very much supported (thanks to false and misleading stories pushed by the media- sound familiar???) and the servicemen were loved and welcomed back home (unlike the shameful situation with Vietnam and the servicemen returning from that war).

In researching William’s service online, I found such conflict in the records that I don’t know what to believe anymore. In addition to the question of whether or not he’s a Rough Rider, there is the issue of whether he went abroad during his service. According to newspapers, the 15th Minnesota was going to go to Camp Allyn Capron in Puerto Principe, Cuba on 27 November 1898. The plan was for them to serve a short stint and come back home in 1899. Wikipedia supports the statement that on 27 November 1898 the 15th Minnesota sailed from Savannah, Georgia to Nuevitas, Cuba for “occupation duty”. However, Theodore Roosevelt’s own book about the Rough Riders says nothing about William RITER or the 15th Minnesota. (You can find his book online at https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Index:Theodore_Roosevelt_Rough_Riders.djvu.) Then there is this website that shows the 15th was in Cuba between December, 1898 and December, 1899 as well as the above article referencing William as a “Rough Rider”. In any case, by late November 1898 the war was over. According to newspaper articles, the 15th Minnesota was mustered out and sent home from Augusta, Georgia on 27 March 1899 without having gone abroad to serve.

But what about the Rough Rider claim? Well…if William was a Rough Rider, I haven’t been able to prove it through records. The only positive indications I have are the story that Granny BATES always told and the newspaper article at the top of this blog post that referenced him as a Rough Rider.

Below are William’s pension cards:

I have been unable to obtain his service records from the National Archives although I know someone in the family does have them because once I saw one paper out of his service file. The National Archives told me the records were “lost”. I have a hunch they were being filmed and if I requested them again I might actually get them- as long as I paid them another fee, of course!

So, once again I’m leaving you with a mystery. My quest to write a little story for my grandsons hasn’t gone so well this week. I have no idea what story I will tell them in place of the Rough Rider story but I’m sure I’ll come up with something that will interest them. In the meantime, I want to leave you with a few more photographs that I found interesting.

This is Company H of the 15th Minnesota Infantry. I include it because I would imagine an image of Company E would look much the same. This photo was found at the US Genweb website.
The 15th Minnesota Spanish American war drum. This photo was found at the Minnesota Historical Society’s website.
The 15th Minnesota Regimental battle flag. This photo was found at the Minnesota Historical Society’s website.

Stay warm and dry this week, friends!

Until next time,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

Laura Bullock Riter: A Woman at Work

The Woman and Her Tool

I started this post a couple of years ago but never found the time to finish it.  Laura’s birthday is today.  She was born in 1887.  I thought this might be the perfect time to go ahead and publish this part of her story.  Laura is my maternal great grandmother- my granny Bates’ mom.  I’ve written about her before on the Livejournal portion of my blog at http://happy-girl-24.livejournal.com/37741.html.

Laura Bullock Riter

Laura Riter with her daughters including my granny on the far right.

Sometime around the 1930’s-1940’s Laura worked in Hiwasse, Benton County, Arkansas at a canning factory.  She hulled strawberries and got them ready to process.  She used this tool to do her job:

 Laura Riter strawberry huller

 The engraving on the metal says, “Indepent/Marion, Ind./Supply Co.”.

That huller is still in the family and it’s a very unique kitchen tool.  I’ve tried looking it up online and have never found an image of one like it.  This tool was used to seed and cap the strawberries.


The Law and The Era

Shortly after the first known cannery was opened in Hiwasse in 1920, new legislation (Act #140) was enacted allowing canning factories to hire women and work them for more than 9 hours a day.  The change in the law also provided for women to receive time and a half overtime and made provisions for fair pay and for redress for women who were doing “piece work”.  Working the strawberries for the canning factory was considered piece work since the women were paid by the bucket for the work they did.  (Fayetteville Daily Democrat, 13 June 1921).  Within a year, newspapers were making a big deal about hiring women to work in the canning factories.  There was such a shortage of workers for the canneries that they were eager to dip into their new supply of female workers.  One newspaper article entitled, “Big Demand for Women at Canning Factories” stated, “men will not peel apples” and, “women are faster”.  (Fayetteville Daily Democrat, 26 Aug 1922)

 laura bullock riter women in canning factories

Newspapers.com clipping. 

In the early 1920’s Laura was in her 30’s.  In 1928 she lost her husband and had a house full of children to care for.  She chose to work rather than marry again.  It was in this climate, with the first world war safely behind us, laws having been changed to assist factories, and in the beginning years of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl Era, that Laura went to work.


The Canneries: Her Potential Employers

I always thought (and was always told) that Laura worked for Allen Canning Company.  Once I started researching, I began to question which company she worked for or whether she might have worked for multiple companies with Allen’s being the last she worked for.  There were several canneries that operated in Hiwasse in the 1920’s through 1940’s: Gentry Marketing Association’s cannery which was later sold to Allen Canning and then later sold again and known as Hiwasse Canning, a different company operating as Hiwasse Canning (two separate canneries operated under the name Hiwasse Canning), and Appleby Brothers cannery.


Fayetteville Canning Company

In a 1919 edition of the Texas Trade Review and Industrial Record, I found one sentence stating that Fayetteville Canning Company had plans to establish a canning factory in Hiwasse, Arkansas.  I was never able to establish whether they did, in fact, build a canning factory there.  I’ve never seen any other mention of this anywhere so possibly this canning factory is the one mentioned in the next section or possibly it never came to fruition.


W. E. Cherry and Hiwasse Canning Factory

W. E. Cherry seems to have been the first known canner in Hiwasse.  He started his factory about 1920 in Hiwasse.  In addition to owning the canning factory, he was also the first (although temporary) Chairman of the Hiwasse Berry Growers’ Association, an organization which he helped organize.  This fact leads me to believe that Mr. Cherry’s cannery probably canned strawberries, although I have no proof either way.  Here is a 1921 article about the Hiwasse Canning factory owned by W. E. Cherry:

 w e cherry canning factory hiwasse

Newspapers.com clipping

I have never been able to find much about the Hiwasse canneries online.  While researching, I discovered that Shiloh Museum in Springdale, Arkansas has an amazing online exhibit about the Benton County canneries.  I highly recommend visiting their website.  You can find a history of the local canning industry here.  You can find images of the different cannery labels here,  a photo gallery of local canneries hereand audio clips of people who were involved in the local canning industry talking about the canneries and cannery work here.    There are a couple of other links in the online exhibit that I did not include.  Please take some time to check out Shiloh Museum’s digital exhibit. 

Since I couldn’t find much online, I decided to call Shiloh Museum and ask if there was anything they had that wasn’t included in the online exhibit that might be relevant to my blog post.  I spoke with Ms. Rachel Whitaker, a Research Specialist at Shiloh Museum.  She was so kind as to search their holdings and get back with me (the same day!).  Ms. Whitaker found a listing for W. E. Cherry’s cannery in Hiwasse in The Hiwasse History Book. This book includes an ad showing that Mr. Cherry’s cannery handled blackberries, tomatoes, and green beans.


Appleby Brothers’ Canning

The Appleby Brothers had a cannery in Hiwasse also.  (Fayetteville Daily Democrat, 10 Apr 1923).  You can see an image of Appleby Brothers’ canning label at the Shiloh Museum website’s online exhibit in the “Canning Label Gallery” linked above.

I know for certain that Appleby canned strawberries because there is an ad in the 6 Apr 1940 edition of The Northwest Arkansas Times advertising for 300 people to cap strawberries.  Strawberry canning season typically lasted from April to early June.  In Brooks Blevins’ book Hill Folks, Mr. Blevins noted that the Appleby Brothers- George and Charles- also organized a “strawberry growers’ association” in the area.  Although I found the 1940 ad for Appleby Brothers, in Rachel’s research, she found that Appleby Brothers’ properties were auctioned off as noted in the 10 August 1939 edition of the Northwest Arkansas Times newspaper. 

In addition to the information listed above, Rachel also found that Appleby’s cannery in both the 1921 edition of the Marketing and Industrial Guide: Directory of Manufactures and the 1922 edition of the Canner’s Directory.  Appleby’s was also mentioned in Brooks Blevins’ book Hill Folks.


Gentry Marketing Association’s Cannery

Gentry Marketing Association was created by and for the local farmers who supplied produce to the canneries.  It was a surprisingly strong and united group.  The farmers took care of one another, advocated for fair prices for produce, staved off outside big businesses who were coming in and trying to take away profits and produce from the farmers and canneries, and successfully marketed the produce and products of Benton County, Arkansas. 

The association owned its own canneries and one of those canneries was in Hiwasse.  If the cannery had a name, I’ve never found it.   This plant was sold off a couple of times in the latter half of the 1940’s.  In 1946 it was sold by the Gentry Marketing Association presumably to Allen Canning (then called Allen & Son of Siloam Springs).


Allen Canning

Earl Allen founded Allen Canning in 1926.  Mr. Allen “established a solid reputation for his honesty in dealing with growers, forging relationships that would benefit the company for years to come”.  (http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/history2/5/Allen-Canning-Company.html)  Mr. Allen apparently only owned the Hiwasse factory for a couple of years from 1946-1948.

When Allen Canning was still in business in Siloam Springs, Arkansas they had a large Popeye statue that stood outside their office.  Here is my brother standing with the Popeye statue:

  Jared and Popeye statue

In 1948 Allen Canning sold the plant to Frank Brandhuber and Hill Diven and it was called Hiwasse Canning.  My mom says that my grandparents (her parents- the BATES’) and great-grandmother (her maternal grandmother- Laura BULLOCK RITER) always referred to working for Allen Canning.  A few years ago before Allen Canning sold out to Sager Creek (who then sold out to Del Monte), my mom called them and asked if they had any photos or historical materials pertaining to the canning factory in Hiwasse and the people who worked there.  They did not have anything.  She says they referred to the Hiwasse factory by name and she thought they said they bought the canning factory from Appleby Brothers.  So perhaps Allen Canning had two different stints in Hiwasse.  I’m not sure.  I could go to Benton County Courthouse and try to look up deeds but that would delay publishing this blog post and who knows when I’ll get a chance to go there.  I’ll leave that task for another day and another blog post.  For now, I’m going to publish what I have.  Perhaps it is meant for someone else to find those records.


Hiwasse Canning

It isn’t surprising that a member of the Diven family purchased the factory from Allen Canning.  Members of the Diven family were heavily involved in various canning companies in Benton County, Arkansas during this time period.  (Joplin Globe, 28 July 1929)  They even took their business into Texas and had canning factories there.  Unfortunately, not much is known about Brandhuber and Diven’s Hiwasse Canning company- or at least not that I could find in my research.  Ms. Whitaker at Shiloh Museum was unable to find any information about Hiwasse Canning either.  I can only assume that since Brandhuber and Diven called their factory Hiwasse Canning that by this time, Mr. Cherry’s Hiwasse Canning factory had already closed.


Working Conditions

I want to be sure you understand what kind of conditions Laura worked in at the canning factories.  Here is a link to an audio clip from Shiloh Museum’s online exhibit talking about the oppressive heat and how you couldn’t get away from it when working in the cannery.  There was no air condition.


Whenever you think you have it bad at work, just think about Laura in the heat and humidity of an Ozark summer working in a canning factory that produced more heat on top of the already oppressive heat and humidity outside.  I really encourage you to listen to some of the audio clips the museum has online to get a feel for the conditions Laura worked in.  Just as a reminder, you can find those audio clips here http://www.shilohmuseum.org/exhibits/canning-listen.php. 


Miscellaneous Information

There were other mentions of Hiwasse-based canning factories in newspapers of the 1920’s to 1940’s era but most of the time the Hiwasse plants were not named or identified in any way so it’s hard to say if there were more than the factories mentioned above in Hiwasse. 

I made a trip to Hiwasse with my mom on June 23rd– just this week- in search of the location of the old canning factories.  Mom suspected they were on Main Street.  At the intersection of Old Main and Highway 72 were two very old buildings.  One was a former gas station.  The other building turned out to be the old Banks grocery store.


banks grocery ad

Virgil Banks Store ad for 1947 canning season.  Newspapers.com clipping from The Journal-Advance newspaper out of Gentry, Arkansas, 20 February 1947.

Banks grocery hiwasse ar 2017

The old Virgil Banks grocery store on 23 June 2017 in Hiwasse, Arkansas.

I began at the Hiwasse post office and asked if the woman working the counter knew where the canning factories had been located when they were still standing.  She said she wasn’t from the area and couldn’t help me but she directed me to the Holloway family at the corner convenience store in town.  Mom and I (and two of my grandsons who were with me that day) headed down the highway to the Hiwasse convenience store.  The owner was very busy taking lunch orders so the girl at the counter directed me to an elderly gentleman sitting at one of the tables.  I introduced myself to him and told him what I was looking for.  He said his name (I think- it was loud and hard to hear) was James Adams.  He said he’d only been in Hiwasse for about 15 years and couldn’t really help me but said I should go back down the street to the lawnmower shop and ask the people there.  They would know, he said.  I thanked him and left.  We headed West again on Highway 72 back to the small engine shop in town.  There, the lady at the counter directed me to a small office to talk to Jan.  Jan was wonderful.  She loves history and was more than happy to share with me what she knew.  She said she moved to the Hiwasse area from South Dakota about 40 years ago.  This is home for her now and she would never leave.  She loves it here.  She said there used to be a lot of old-timers here who told her all the history of the place but they were all gone now.  She said when she first moved here, the canning factory buildings- there were 2- were still standing but they’re gone now.  She gave me specific directions and told me what to look for to know I was in the right spot.  Mom and I headed West again on Highway 72- maybe a block or so and turned South onto Sandusky Road- a little dirt lane that was barely noticeable.


Sandusky Rd Hiwasse AR sign

 As we were leaving the canning factory site I took a photo of the Sandusky Road sign.  From the highway heading West it was completely covered by the tree.  We guessed at where the canning factories had stood.  As we were making a second pass down the dirt lane I noticed an older man sitting in his truck in front of a mobile home.  Being from the country, I knew better than to pass him by.  He’d be wanting to know what we were doing and what we were looking for.  Things would go better if I stopped and introduced myself.  Besides, I might get more information.  So I stopped and introduced myself and told the gentleman what we were looking for.  His name was Mr. Gallion and as it turns out, he is only a few years older than my mom.  He knew of my mom’s family- the BATES’- and she was familiar with his family name as well.  We talked for a while.  He told me all that was left of the canning factories was one cement pad and the well house.  These two things stand behind the yellow house about the distance of 1 and ½ city blocks south of Highway 72, on the West side of the road just past the big storage buildings (the storage buildings are on the East side of the road).  I didn’t get a photo because there isn’t anything you could see except the yellow house and I didn’t want to take a photo of someone’s home and put it up on the blog.  He told me that the Easley sisters- two elderly, unmarried women had lived in the mobile home we were all sitting in front of.  Hattie Easley had been the Postmaster of Hiwasse back in the day and her sister Esther (?) Easley had been the teacher at the one-room school- Banks School House. 


Thank-You’s and Closing Thoughts

Before I close, I want to thank my mom who almost always gives me the basics of the stories I tell about her family.  Thanks to Rachel Whitaker at Shiloh Museum for assisting me with research in Shiloh’s collection.  Thanks to Hiwasse residents who either helped me or referred me on to someone else who could help me: the lady at the Hiwasse Post Office whose name I did not get, James (?) Adams whom I spoke with at the Hiwasse convenience store while he was having coffee.  The lady at the small engine repair shop who led me to Jan- another lady at the small engine shop who knew how to find the old canning factory sites and who shares a love of local history with me.  And lastly, thank you to Mr. Gallion who took time out from eating his lunch to chat with us about the canning factories and the old families and places of Hiwasse. 

Mr. Gallion talked of the old hotel that has since been torn down and of many of the other wonderful things about Hiwasse that were gone now.  He lamented that newcomers just consider themselves part of the town of Gravette now.  Only the old-timers still call this place Hiwasse.  I guess that makes me an old-timer.  My Papa BATES was born in Hiwasse so I grew up hearing stories about this place.  To me, this will always be Hiwasse.  I commented to mom that the day is coming when I’ll go to a place and ask about the old places, old families, and old times and no one will remember.  That’s one thing that keeps me writing about these old places and people from times gone by.  They’ll live on as long as someone remembers. 

So always remember- and always tell your stories…even if you think no one is listening. 


Until next time,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives


P. S.- There is still work to be done in regard to this topic if anyone is interested in taking up the research.  University of Arkansas Library Special Collections has records of some of the local canning companies that I’ve never looked at.  I’m wondering if the David and Barbara Pryor Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas contains any collections that would be informative to us about this topic.  There are two Hiwasse history books that I hear would be beneficial to my research.  Shiloh Museum has records that are not included in their online exhibit that I’d still like to see even if none specifically mention Hiwasse.  Also, a visit to the Benton County Clerk’s office to look at land records would help shed light on which companies owned land in Hiwasse and when.  There is so much research to do and I won’t live long enough to do it.  Feel free to help me!

Week 4- Weekend Wrap Up

There is so much to tell you and I’m just going to jump right into it!!

One of our good friends (and DeReK’s good friends), Herman Garcia, messaged me with a photo and story after I posted the blog about DeReK. Herman was unable to message during the week leading up to the post because he was in drills and did not have access to his phone. Here is the photo and story he sent:

Herman’s story:

photo was taken when I helped Derek move to Dallas. He was a big OU fan obviously and we enjoyed watching, talking crap on Texas longhorns. Every start of football season I think about watching games together when we were at NSU.

I miss him and another thing I wanted to share was how he has inspired me even today on establishing a relationship with the Lord. I faced some trials in life and I often think about how strong his faith and I wish sometimes I could call him and talk about scripture and what I could do to grow my faith but I know one day in heaven we’ll be able to hang out and hang out with God talking about OU football. Marley recently asked me where she got a caterpillar and I told her uncle Derek got it for her and I told her how he was daddy’s friend and how he was a good man I even showed her this photo. She said we were silly which she was right. Being around him you knew you were going to laugh about something. I love you and Bart and Shaina and August, Melissa. Happy Birthday Derek.

We’re so proud of Herman. He’s become an incredible man and father. He’s a proud American and a great law enforcement officer. We love Herman and his family and I was so glad to hear from him.

William LARKIN and Minerva UNDERWOOD LARKIN (Dad’s family); and, William and Laura (BULLOCK) RITER (Mom’s family)

Going back a couple of weeks ago to when I was talking about William LARKIN: I was able to acquire both of the death certificates I talked about in that blog post. The one that I speculated might be Minerva UNDERWOOD LARKIN was, unfortunately, not her. However, the person it was is related so I want to talk about that for a minute. I actually wanted it to be it’s own blog post (and maybe it will be someday) but for now I’ll just give you the straight information without a story. It turns out the death certificate was for an infant that did not live. The baby belonged to Samuel Anglus and Frances DEAN (or possibly BEAN) LARKIN. Samuel was a brother to our William listed above so the baby was our William and Minerva’s nephew. The baby was not named therefore there was no name on the death certificate other than her last name. She died the same day she was born- 19 March 1917. I do believe she lived a few hours since the death certificate says she lived 1 day as opposed to saying she was stillborn. The cause of death was “premature labor”. She was born in McBride, Cherokee County, Oklahoma and is buried at Baldridge Cemetery in Gans, Sequoyah County, Oklahoma. I don’t know if her grave is marked but I’m hoping to go see about it soon. I would say that it probably is not marked for the simple reason that when I looked up that cemetery online, there were only 2 graves listed and neither was hers. I created an online memorial for her if you would like to go leave flowers. You can find it here . Even though her mother’s surname on the death certificate is BEAN, the marriage certificate for Samuel and Frances says “DEAN”. If I had to choose one, I would say the correct name is probably DEAN. I’m sure Frances was upset and stressed at the time the baby died. The doctor wrote up the death certificate information. I’m sure he wrote what he thought he heard which accounts for the BEAN name. I could be wrong but that’s my guess and my theory. I’m not going to include other details because I’m looking for an opening in my schedule to tell you about this family soon. Most likely, there is no death certificate for Minerva UNDERWOOD LARKIN but I’m going to keep searching until I’ve exhausted all avenues.

The next death certificate was the one I hoped was for our William LARKIN. If this William LARKIN is related, I haven’t found the connection. This William was born in 1851 in Illinois and died in 1926 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. None of our direct-line LARKIN’s went through Illinois so if he’s related it would have to be through a collateral line (brother/sister of our direct-line ancestor).

One more issue with William LARKIN. I attempted to get more information about the mine he owned. Mom and I visited the Missouri Southern State University Archives & Special Collections and spoke with Archivist Charles Nodler. He oversees an incredible collection of Tri-State Mining maps. I was able to narrow down the section of Aurora where the mines are located but was unable to locate the specific mine William owned.

See all those tiny dots on the map? Each tiny dot is a mine shaft! This is only the town of Aurora.

All is not lost- there are other places I can look but I wanted to keep you updated on the search for the mine that was once in the family. While there I asked if there were documents that might list miners in the area and associate them with a particular mine – employment records or whatever might list names and associate them with mines. Bart and I and even our daughter-in-law all have many miner-ancestors who were working in the Tri-State area. The archivist didn’t know of any employment records and pointed us back to city directories. I have access to some directories online but he did take us to the directories he had on hand. We were able to find my mom’s grandparents, William and Laura (BULLOCK) RITER in the 1925 Polk’s Directory for Joplin. I wrote about Laura in week 1 and have written about William *****in the Lost and Found series that starts here.


The same week I wrote about William LARKIN, I also wrote about Ralph LARKIN and his sister, Alice EDENS. I hypothesized that Alice was Ralph’s sister and not his aunt. I gave my reasons for this belief. Here is one more piece of documentation that further supports the theory that Alice is Ralph’s sister, not his aunt.

(Jess is Ralph’s brother.)

In addition to this article, I found one more news article this week about Ralph and Bess announcing the birth of their son, Paul, so I thought I would share it here:


Last week I wrote about Dettie Louisa GIBSON BATES and her sibling, half-siblings, and step-siblings (all 23 of them!!). When Mom and I visited the archives at Missouri Southern State University, we looked not only at the Tri-State Mining Maps collection but also at a small file about the Old Peace Church Cemetery in Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri. Dettie’s mom, Lucinda DOW ALBIN GIBSON JONES GATEWOOD, is buried there but we’ve been unable to locate her exact burial spot. We were hoping to find it or at least get a little closer. Unfortunately, what we discovered is that we will probably never know for sure where her burial spot is. Information in the file shows that no burial records were ever kept and in fact, information about burials were so bad that sometimes bodies were buried on top of other bodies. I haven’t given up, but I’m not holding out much hope we’ll ever get any closer than we’ve already gotten.

Troy and Jessie RITER BATES

Remember last year when I wrote about finding a deed? I took one of the deeds and compared it to Satellite maps on Google and came up with finding directions. (See blog post here) Well, one day this past December when Bart was off work I asked him to go driving around with me and we found what we believed was the property listed in the deed. Then this week I took my mom back to that area and asked her to show me where their old property was and she took me to exactly the place Bart and I had gone. (It’s nice to have validation!) She had so many stories to tell me connected with that place. I took photos both times I went and when I get an unscheduled day on the blog (soon) I’m going to post the photos and stories for you. It was a nice trip. She also showed me some of the properties where her grandparents lived and I’ll be using photos of these properties later in the year on future blog posts.

Enjoy your weekend, family! I start my new job next week so I’m hoping I can keep up with the blog!! Bart starts jury duty next week too, so it’s going to be a crazy week here.

Until tomorrow,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

Laura Ann BULLOCK RITER- The Consummate Mom and Grandma

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.

Until tomorrow,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

You Got a Document for That?

Today’s theme is ‘document’ and we’ll be looking at documentation for my Nation American heritage.

My 3rd great-grandfather was Jefferson LATTY. (For my family, the line goes from Granny BATES to her mom Laura BULLOCK to Laura’s mom Druziller Mahala LATTY to Druziller’s dad Jefferson LATTY. Researchers believe that Jefferson’s wife, Irena WALLS, was also Native American- 1/8 Cherokee and 1/8 Catawba- but I have not seen any kind of proof for that.

Jefferson was Cherokee and was censused with his family on the Drennen Roll. The Drennen Roll was called the “Trail of Tears” census. Some believe this census was a list of those who walked the Trail of Tears but no evidence has been found to prove this is true. It was the first census of the Native Americans after the Trail of Tears happened. Jefferson was living in Saline District, Indian Territory at the time of the census and was living with A-ke, and Na-ne LATTY. If all my records were not packed away I think I could tell you who A-ke was. I believe Na-ne was his mom but couldn’t be certain until I get my hands on those records I have packed away. They were living near the TINER (also spelled TYNER) family who intermarried with LATTY’s and were also living near Allen, David, Diver, and Peggy LATTY. I know Peggy and Allen were siblings of Jefferson’s. I cannot remember the connection with David and Diver. (I really need to unpack all that genealogy so I can share it with you!)

Jefferson is toward the bottom in the left hand column.

Jefferson gave testimony in front of the Commission regarding his Native American heritage but he was not given a roll number. I can’t remember if the reason was that his sister had previously given testimony to the Commission that he was dead and somehow that was used against him or if it was because he did not still live in Indian Territory when roll numbers were issued. When I can find his testimony I will definitely update you on that.

Jefferson lived in the Saline District. You can see the old Saline District Courthouse for yourself. It’s in the country near Rose, Oklahoma. They have been restoring it for some time now with the hopes of opening it to the public. It’s a beautiful and peaceful place. You can also read about the Saline Courthouse Massacre here.

You can see more photos of the courthouse and get directions to find it here.

A few more facts about Jefferson

Jefferson was born in Tennessee around 1832. He married Irena WALLS in 1856 and they had five known children. He fought for the Confederates in the Civil War.

Fold3 image of service record.

He died in 1892 and is said to be buried in Jane Cemetery in Jane, McDonald County, Missouri but I have not found his grave or definitive proof he is buried there.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about Jefferson. He’s someone I’d really love to know more about. Sure would be nice if we could somehow prove our Cherokee heritage (and/or our Catawba/Cherokee heritage through his wife.) Maybe one day we’ll get there. If you want to help advance our family history please consider taking a DNA test. I recommend Family Tree DNA since they only require a cheek swab (much better for people with certain illnesses/conditions and older people since we don’t produce enough spit to fill a tube) and they don’t sell you DNA to big pharma and research companies. The tests are on sale right now and will likely go on sale again around Christmas. If you are interested, please let me know. I’d be glad to help you get started on that path to helping advance our family’s genealogy.

Until then,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

Savory Saturday- The Kitchen is the Heart of the Home

This blog post will seem long but it’s mostly pictures so keep reading!


“We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic,” Numbers11:5, The Holy Bible

Memories connected with food are strong memories. I’m sure each of us can come up with food memories both good and bad. We write songs about food (Fried Green Tomatoes is one we enjoyed introducing to our kids), we view and paint art about food:

Mom, Shaina, and I with our paintings after the Mother-Daughter paint at my church, February 2015.

We write books about food:

We photograph our food:

Yum! Prime rib!!!

We photograph each other eating food:

Edith HUBBARD DRAKE and her mother, Laura BUTLER HUBBARD- photo courtesy of Deloris NORRIS and Barbara DRAKE BRATTON.

We collect recipes:

(I’m panicking!! Where are my recipes from Kendra and Georgiann?!?! This was part of a group of recipes I received as a going away gift when we left Idaho coupled with recipes I collected from friends while in Idaho.)

We gift food:

Photo courtesy of my sister-in-law, Becky- the master jelly maker and photographer and blogger.

We medicate with food and we forage food:

This is a photo from a series of photos I took. One photo out of this series was published in a book the same year my sister-in-law, Becky, had some photos published.

Bart and I foraging mushrooms earlier this year.

We watch movies based around food (I enjoyed Julie and Julia), and we plan events around food (really- you know we have Thanksgiving just for the food). We love food!

I’m going to share a few recipes here and include a short explanation of why I treasure each one and then I’m going to set you free to enjoy your weekend- and maybe a fabulous meal!


“Hunger is the best sauce in the world.” ~ Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra

One of the things I make that my family really loves is a sauce for meatloaf. Sounds pretty insignificant, doesn’t it? But when I discovered this sauce it took meatloaf to a whole new level. Here it is (from memory so you may have to adjust it to suit your tastes. I lost the recipe a few years back.)

Lisa’s Meatloaf Sauce recipe
UPDATE: Becky corrected my recipe. You can see where I scribbled on mine because I was unsure. I should have left it alone. Here’s my recipe in Becky’s handwriting (the correct version):


Cool coleslaw trivia: 1) Colombians use it on hot dogs and it is delicious!! 2) Coleslaw got it’s name from the Dutch ‘kool sla’- kool meaning cabbage and sla meaning salad. (Foodreference.com) 3) Coleslaw was made popular as a side dish thanks to NYC deli owner Richard Hellmann who created a formula, bottled it, and marketed it to consumers as a dressing for shredded cabbage. (Foodreference.com)

My mom always made a great coleslaw to take to meals at church. That’s really what I associate this with- potluck meals of my childhood at our small country church (Poynor Baptist Church). You can see by the picture that the recipe is a loved and used recipe. Those are always the best!!

Kay’s Coleslaw


“Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing…And they all ate and were satisfied…”
Matthew 14: 19-20, The Holy Bible

My granny loved fish. On days when we took Granny with us to town, she would often choose to eat McDonald’s fish sandwiches or eat at a restaurant like Long John Silvers or Captain John’s. Here I will share my granny’s fish batter recipe in her handwriting followed by my mom’s Green Tomato Relish recipe.

Granny’s Fish Batter

Kay’s Green Tomato Relish


“You can’t go wrong with relatively simple comfort food. It’s also about ease. Some cook to impress. I cook for people to enjoy the food.” ~ Al Roker

Mam cooked for people to enjoy the food. I don’t have any handwritten recipes from my dad’s mom but she cooked and canned a lot. I’m not sure she even used recipes! Two of my favorite things that she made us were chocolate gravy and blackberry pies. Here is the recipe I use for chocolate gravy (Somewhere I have this recipe in my husband’s handwriting from my mother-in-law, Joyce, but it must be packed away somewhere).

Mix 2 Tbsp butter with some flour to make a roux. Add milk- start with 1 cup, add more if necessary. Add about 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder and 4 Tbsp sugar. Let blend. Taste test and adjust as necessary. Let it cook at a low temperature until it is the consistency of gravy. Pour over buttered biscuits and enjoy.
As you can see I sort of swag this one. You’ll get the hang of it. Or else my mother-in-law or husband will comment here and adjust my instructions. lol


I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!– lyrics by Howard Johnson/Billy Moll/Robert King
You must see this! It’s a real song: I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream.

What I remember having at Mark and Edith’s was homemade ice cream. So delicious! I don’t have their recipe. I don’t recall a recipe ever being used for the ice cream. I’m including a link to one here just as a tribute to their memory.

A Hundred Years Ago blog Black Walnut Ice Cream. I’m pretty sure I would have had this flavor made by Mark and Edith at some point during my childhood.


Fun fact about Redbud trees: They are the official state tree of Oklahoma.

Redbud trees.

I would be remiss if I didn’t include my sister-in-law’s jelly in this blog post. One of my favorite recipes is the redbud jelly. I foraged and she cooked. I’m not sure if the recipe below is the recipe she used but it is one of a few that we passed around. I know I have her jelly recipe- I just can’t seem to find it. Here is one that we looked at as a possibility at one point. It will be close enough to taste like her jelly (unless she used a secret ingredient).

This is Becky’s redbud jelly- newly canned. I hope she doesn’t mind that I stole her photo for the blog.

3 cups of redbuds
Approx. 2 cups boiling water
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
3 Tablespoons sure-jel powder
2 cups sugar
Rinse the blooms and put in a large jar, pour boiling water over to cover. Cover and let sit till room temp the put in fridge for 24 hours. Pour through strainer into a pan, discard flowers and heat to boiling. Add lemon juice and sure-jel, heat to boil again, add sugar and heat to boiling. Boil hard for 1 minute. Put in sterilized jars and seal. It’s that simple. Made 3 1/2 jelly jars.


“Life is rather like a tin of sardines- we’re all of us looking for the key.” ~ Alan Bennett

My dad has memories of Ralph LARKIN fishing every weekend and Bess canning the fish. They would can small fish whole. The canning process softened the bones so there was no need to bone the fish first. Dad says the canned fish were good. I don’t have a recipe for canned fish but here is a website I trust that talks about canning fish. Becky and I may have to try it sometime.

Ralph and Bess LARKIN fishing.


“Cakes are special. Every birthday, every celebration ends with something sweet, a cake, and people remember. It’s all about the memories.” ~ Buddy Valastro

I don’t have a recipe for (nor do I have a memory of) Laura’s angel food cakes but when I was young my mom shared with me her memory of Laura’s cakes and now whenever I make an angel food cake, I do this as a nod to Laura. When Laura made angel food cakes she put candy sprinkles in the batter before baking so it came out with colored dots all through the cake. It makes a pretty cake and is safe for diabetics to eat for dessert.

Candy sprinkles that I use in my angel food cakes.

I would love to see your family recipes or food memories. Share them here or on Facebook. I hope this weekend is all “comfort food and sprinkles” for you.

Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

Speling- Hoo Neds It??

Let's wind the calendar all the way back to the first part of April- where I got busy and couldn't keep up with the blog schedule. (This end-of-the-school-year stuff is killing me!!)  The theme of the week was, "How do you spell that?"  I chose to write about my Latty family- my great-great grandmother Druziller LATTY BULLOCK.  Her mom Irena WALLS LATTY and Irena's mom Delila WALLS also put in an appearance.  I created a Google map to go with this post but apparently no one can see it unless they are logged in to my account.  So sadly- you have no map to see how many times she moved back and forth in a very small geographical area.

You ask why I chose Druziller for this week? Well…I've seen her first name spelled Druzilla and Druziller (Druziller is, the best I have been able to find, the correct way to spell it). I've seen her middle name spelled Mahala and Mahaley and also shortened to Halie (Mahala is correct the best I can tell). And I've seen her last name spelled LATTA, LATTY, and LATTIE, and mis-transcribed as TUTTIE. I figured that was good enough for the theme this week.

Please meet Druziller Mahala LATTY BULLOCK:

I only have one photo of Druziller and it is the one posted above. Druziller was born in 1857 in McDonald County, Missouri, to Jefferson and Irena (WALLS) LATTY. She was the first of five known children (Druziller Mahala, Sarah Ellen, James, Lucinda Cynthia, and Martha E.). In the 1860 census she was living with her parents in Pineville, McDonald County, Missouri. She was listed under the name Mahala.

In 1870, the family is found on the census living in Bentonville, Osage Township, Benton County, Arkansas. She was going by the name Mahala. Mahala and her mother (Irena) and younger sister (“Elen”) were living in the household of Thomas NICHOLDS. Irena's occupation was listed as “keeping house”. Both Thomas and Irena were born in Tennessee. An older gentleman named Philip LYDICK was also living in the home along with a woman named Elizabeth LYDICK, and five children with the LYDICK surname. Irena's relationship to Thomas is not listed and I do not know what connection they had beyond this one moment in time. While trying to research the relationship of the LYDICKs, NICHOLDs, LATTYs, and WALLS', I discovered that the children listed as LYDICK children are actually Thomas NICHOLDS' children and Elizabeth is Thomas' wife.

In the home next door to the NICHOLDS, LYDICK, and LATTY families, Druziller's maternal grandmother, Delila WALLS was living with Jesse and Sarah FULLER. Nancy LATTIE was also living in the home with Delila and the FULLERs. Jesse FULLER was the nephew of Irena (grandson of Delila). Jesse's mother was Irena's sister, Elizabeth WALLS. I believe the Nancy LATTIE in this census record was Irena's sister-in-law (Jefferson LATTY's sister).

Here is an 1874 map of McDonald County, Missouri.  This is what the area would have looked like when Druziller lived there.

Druziller Latty Bullock blog.jpg

On 2 April 1879 Druziller married my great-great-grandfather, James Mathaniel BULLOCK. They married in Pineville, McDonald, Missouri.

Above is an 1879 map of the Missouri-Arkansas border- just as it would have looked when James and Druziller were married and started their family there.

In the 1880 census the couple was located in White Rock, McDonald, Missouri. James and Druziller are listed by their initials (J. M. and D. M.) but their daughter, who was born in May of that year, is listed by her name- Mary E. (Mary Ellen) – and so is Druziller's mother Irena who was living with James and Druziller that year. In 1883, Druziller had another girl- Syntha Jane. By 1885 the family was living across the state line in Benton County, Arkansas, where they had their first son- William Edward. In 1887, they were back in McDonald County, Missouri in a little town called Caverna where they had my great-grandmother, Laura Ann. After Druziller had my great-grandmother, she gave birth to a son- Clarence Levi in 1890- and twins Oscar Morris and Alice Mae in 1892. I am uncertain which state (Missouri or Arkansas) Clarence was born in but Oscar and Alice were born in Benton County, Arkansas.

Druziller next shows up in records in 1897 when she made a sworn statement on behalf of her cousin-in-law (Sarah Ann FULLER) so Sarah could try to get a pension on her deceased husband (Jesse FULLER) for his military service. Since I don't have access to the pension files I will have to show someone else's transcription of the record. That person states that Druziller “made a similar statement to her mother's” (Irena LEETY WALLS) on the same date as her mother. Irena's statement is transcribed as :

I, Irena Latty, do solemnly swear on oath that I was personally acquainted with William Tittle from the year 1854 to the time he left. In the same year 1862, I heard that he was dead, and

know from my own personal knowledge he never returned, and that until the present time I have never seen or heard anything more of him, and I am personally acquainted with

Mrs. Fuller and that we are neighbors and have all the reasons to know that she has not heard from or seen Mr. Tittle since his departure in 1862 and I was personally acquainted with

Mr. Fuller from his birth until his death and know that he was never married to anyone but Mrs. Tittle, now Mrs. Fuller, his widow. Signed: Irena Latty.

State of Arkansas
County of Benton

Sworn and subscribed to before me, a Notary Public, on this the 4th. day of August, 1897.
W.A. Blair, Notary Public.

In 1899, Druziller made another sworn statement for Sarah and it is transcribed like this on the above website:

State of Arkansas, Benton County.
Personally appeared before me, a Notary Public, in and for Benton County Arkansas, D.M. Bullock, (Druzilla Mahala Latty, daughter of Irena Walls Latty),

who being duly sworn according to law, certifies as follows: That she has lived a neighbor of Sarah A. Fuller, wife of the soldier, from 1860 to present date and

that she was not married to any person from 1862 to January 19, 1868, and that her present Post Office is Sulpher Springs Ark.

Sworn and subscribed to before me this 3rd, day of March 1899

F.M. Marr Notary Public
My commision expires June 13, 1900

This information was found at http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/LATTA/2006-04/1145020385.  The story of Sarah FULLER's husband sounds like an interesting one and one that the family probably talked about for a long time.

In 1900 the family was listed on census records as living in Sulphur Springs, Benton County, Arkansas. Living in the home were James M. and D. M. (Druziller), and their children Syntha J., William E., Laura A., Levi, Oscar M, and Allice M.. They were among the last few families to be visited by the census taker in Sulphur Springs Township that year.

In 1910 the BULLOCK family was living in Wallace, Benton County, Arkansas. Druziller was a widow and some of her children (Edward W., Levi C., Oscar M., and her married daughter Laura A. RITER) were living with her. She had seven children and according to this census, all seven of her children were still living at the time of the 1910 census. It looks like the three sons may have been supporting the family. Edward was working on a farm, Levi was a railroad worker, and Oscar was also working on a farm. Druziller was widowed seven years prior to this census in 1903. Laura had just married my great grandfather, William RITER, in March of 1910. I'm not sure where he was at the time of the census nor why he wasn't listed as a member of the household.

Shortly before Druziller's death, her son William Edward completed the WWI Draft Registration. On his paperwork he listed his nearest living relative as his mother, “Halie Bullock”. This is the only time and the only person I know of that called her “Halie”. He listed her address as “Gravette Benton Ark”. William's physical description said he was of medium height and build and had black hair and blue eyes. I wonder which parent, if either, he looked like. Levi Clarence's WWI Draft Registration card gives his physical description as medium height and build, brown hair and brown eyes. Oscar Morris' WWI Draft Registration card states he is of medium height and build, has brown hair and light blue eyes and that his mother is dependent upon him for support.

Druziller died on 23 November 1919 in Gravette, Benton County, Arkansas. She is buried in Hillcrest Cemetery next to her husband James. It is family oral history that Druziller's daughter, Laura, had an infant that died shortly after birth that is most likely buried at the foot of James' grave. No record has been found to verify this story. Druziller's obituary read:

Mahala Latty Bullock

Mrs D.M. Bullock died at her home northeast of town Sunday, November 23, 1919 following a few days of Illness from Pneumonia.

Mahala Latty was born in McDonald County, Missouri Sep. 19, 1857. She was married to D.M. Bullock, who preceded her in death July 25, 1903. Seven children

survive: Mrs. Ellen Gilbert, Hannock, Mo., Mrs. Cynthia Baty, Mrs. Laura Ritter, Mrs. Alice Rotramel, Edward, Lee and Oscar Bullock of Gravette. The funeral was

conducted by Rev. W.H. Weatherby Monday and burial took place at the Odd Fellows cemetery. Sympathy is extended the family.

(Gravette News Herald 11-28-1919)

According to family stories passed down, Druziller was 1/16 Cherokee and 1/16 Catawba.

For all of the records listed, I still feel like I don't know much of anything about Druziller. There seemed to be a theme running through her life of returning to places she had already been. And just as Druziller was a widow, so her daughter Laura would be, and her granddaughter Jessie as well. Hopefully one day I will meet someone who knows a little of Druziller's story and is willing to share it.

Until then,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

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