Monthly Archives: December 2016

Beatrice and Bill …part II

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Bea and Bill
Another year has come and gone. I am looking forward to 2017, researching my ancestors, sharing their stories with everyone, continued writing. This year saw not as many posts as the year before but when my mother-in-law Maxine left us, she left a little hole in my soul. She was the last piece of our lives that we had held onto, that little piece of a parental love. Now, I will continue my stories and hope to bring each person to life, just a little bit, for a brief moment. As always, my editor, Taylor Bennett, has my sincere gratitude for her patience and love and helping me put together my thoughts. This is my last post for 2016 and my first post for 2017 will conclude the Beatrice Mary Jackson Bennett story. Cheers!


Beatrice Mary Jackson met William George Bennett on June 30th 1927 when two missionaries came to her home in England. Brother Bennett was there to meet a missionary who he left Canada with on his mission and was told to meet him at the home of the Jackson Family. William played the violin and Beatrice played the piano. They had that in common and by the time that he left, Bill asked Bea to write to him. They had only seen each other in person three times. They wrote to one another over a one year period. He sent her a ring that he had purchased in England and taken home with him to Canada. He sent for her and on March 31st, 1928 Bea embarked on the S.S. Montcalm for an 8-day trip across the ocean to Canada at the age of 18. She had a wonderful trip.

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Montcalm
She disembarked in Canada and went by train to Lethbridge where Bill was to meet her. He wasn’t there. She stayed on the train to Cardston. When she arrived, she was met by a stranger who introduced himself as Ed Wolsey. He told her his wife was in the hospital with a new baby boy. She was Merelda, a sister to Bill. Bill had been given the wrong time that the train was to arrive and he’d missed her. She was in bed when he finally arrived and it was a joyous meeting. They were married a week later, April 19, 1928, her 19th birthday.

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They stayed with his parents for a couple of months until they found a third-floor apartment that they dubbed “Seventh Heaven” and they had very happy days there.

After that, Bill wanted them to live on a ranch that his father owned. Bea felt that was a mistake as she was no country girl. Their nearest neighbor was a mile away and they lived on the U.S. border.

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Bill’s father wanted them to move to Kimball and take care of his ranch there so they did. Lloyd was born on August 21, 1929. Her parents wanted to come to Canada and she wanted them to come. They thought they would be able to help care for her family while her father looked for a job. It didn’t work out that way. It was 1929 and impossible to find a job anywhere. She wished they had never come because her father never ended up finding a job. Her father decided to take her brother Ray and head back to England. He had nothing to go back to because they had sold everything to get to Canada.

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Eventually, Bill had sold enough wheat that they could make a down payment on a little house in Cardston. Times were very difficult. The rest of her family went back to England and the day Bill came home, Bea was sitting at the table with Lloyd on her lap because the electricity had been turned off. They simply had no money. Bill’s father died on July 3, 1933 and they had no one left to turn to. That following April, Bill had walked miles and miles looking for work and couldn’t find a thing. They sold their car to make ends meet. On April 19, 1933 Bill left the house and didn’t wish her a happy birthday or happy anniversary and she cried after he left. He came home early in the afternoon and had earned 75 cents. That was the happiest birthday she had ever had. She said it was funny how love grows when you only have each other and one small boy.

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Bill, Bea, Lloyd, Aunt Poll
She was seven and a half months pregnant on May 3, 1933 when she became ill. Her second baby was born and lived for less than two short days. No money to bury her poor baby. They wrote to her folks in England and they were told that they could have jobs if they went back to England and so she, Bill and Lloyd, now 4, sold everything they owned then had to catch a ride with a stranger who was traveling to Montreal in a Packard Straight Eight and wanted help driving.

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They arrived in England and in short order they both had jobs and were doing much better. She paid her parents for their room and they both recuperated. They had a good life in England, Lloyd started school and they did well until 1938. Bill had continued to want to return to Canada, his home, but they were very happy in England.

In 1938, things were becoming very troubling in England. Hitler had taken over Germany and Jews were being arrested and murdered by the thousands and many had escaped to England with terrible stories.

Bill wanted to take her and Lloyd to Canada. She wrote to a church elder who had been in World War I, and he told her that England would be at war within the year. They left their jobs, gave up everything they had acquired and prepared to leave for Canada. They had purchased tickets for a ship but it kept getting moved from date to date. Finally, they left Liverpool on the Montroyal, which was loaded with people. Two ships went out with two destroyers next to them. The Germans had sunk a ship by the name of Athenia. They were carrying a lot of passengers that had survived that sinking and their stories were tragic. One woman had lost her husband and children on the Athenia. Her child was in the bathtub and she could hear him screaming when the torpedo hit the ship and couldn’t get to him. While they were on board the SS Montroyal, they heard an explosion and their ship rocked from one end to the other. Lloyd was about 10 years old and white as a sheet. They scurried up to the deck with their gas masks. The sirens were screaming and they got into their lifeboats as they had been instructed. They found that a submarine had been following one of the ships and the destroyer next to them had dropped a depth charge and sunk that submarine. Passengers on deck had seen oil raise from the submarine.

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They finally made it to Canada and took the train to Cardston and met up again with Bill’s family.

They adopted a baby girl, Darlene, in February of 1940 and they had a happy little family. Bill was working as a Manager of a grocery store when Pearl Harbor was bombed and Bill decided, against Bea’s wishes, to enlist in the Canadian Army. Bea was left with two children at home in Canada.

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When Bill returned, he found a job at Will Cooper Transport and they soon adopted Miriam. Bea had gone to Lethbridge with Bill in his truck and when she was returning to Cardston she saw a little girl sitting in the cab of the truck. She asked Bill who she was and he said Miriam Bach, the child of a man who worked for Bill’s father on the ranch. Miriam was nine years old. She asked if she could come and stay with Bill and Bea. They told her yes and they took her home for two weeks but she stayed the entire summer. She acted so hungry and couldn’t get enough to eat. When summer was over, it was time for her to return to her home and she cried and cried so much. The following year, Miriam wanted to come back to Bill and Bea’s home and Bea told her no.

Bea was working part time in a grocery store when she met Alfred Bach, Miriam’s half-brother. He told her that when Miriam had left them the year before, her mother didn’t’ pick her up as promised but Miriam was staying at Bill’s cousin’s home. Her mother had gone away with another man and Miriam was ill and in the hospital.

The following week Bea went with Bill to Calgary and found that Miriam was a very sick little girl. She had been underfed, under clothed and overworked. They went home and a week later Bea called her in the hospital and when Miriam asked if she could return to them, Bea told her that Bill would go and see her father, to see if he would allow them to raise her.

Bill talked her father into letting them keep Miriam and she came with such threadbare clothing, they simply threw everything away and started from scratch. She had suffered in the hospital with yellow jaundice and looked pitiful. Miriam ate and ate and after dinner asked if she could have a peanut butter sandwich. Bea told her she could. Miriam had nightmares when she first came to them. Two weeks later, Bea found out that the other children had been removed from Miriam’s home too. Miriam was afraid she would be returned to her mother but Bea and Bill put in to legally adopt Miriam.

Miriam was a good and loving daughter. She became very good friends with Lloyd and both she and Darlene adored their brother.

 

So, Bea and Bill went through a lot in their lives. World War I, the Panic, Depression, back to England, World War II, birth of two children, the death of one child, adoptions, a return to Canada and a more settled life. It will take one more post to finish their story, as they lived a very full life.

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Paul and I traveled with his parents and grandparents and this picture was taken in North Carolina on that trip. I stayed in the same room with Grandma and Grandpa.

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Myself, Grandma Bea and Paul at our wedding, 1989

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Taylor Bennett and her Great-Grandma Beatrice reading together

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Maxine, Lloyd and Grandma Bea

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Grandma Bennett

Beatrice Mary Jackson Bennett

So, in keeping with my “people I knew” theme, I am going to start my Bennett posts with Paul’s Grandma, Beatrice Mary Jackson Bennett. Grandma Bennett was a short, outgoing woman who was always well dressed and who adored me. You can see why I started with her. When I met Paul, she was the first person to really welcome me and always made me feel at home. My mother-in-law Maxine wasn’t too warm to me in the beginning (my sister-in-law raced out to the driveway, just to see if I was “another bimbo with big-boobs” (I wasn’t!)). But Grandma Beatrice, she adored me.

She was always well dressed and my family thought she looked just like the “Queen of England”.  She wasn’t the Queen of England, but she was born there. She weighed 12 pounds at birth and her father said, “My gosh, she’s a funny thing.”  Her mother’s feelings were hurt because she was so proud of her new baby. They lived at 19 Brook Street in Northampton, England on April 19, 1909. Her father was Harry Jackson and her mother was Beatrice Wardle Jackson. She had four siblings, Evelyn (Eve), Albert (Bert) Raymond (Ray) and Eileen.

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Beatrice in front of 19 Brooks St, Northampton, England
My parents really loved her too. She treated my parents very well. Grandma Bea was a very warm and engaging person. She could get hyped up, especially if she thought you might throw the silverware into the trash or if a Christmas gift she purchased for someone was lost in the shuffle and she was frightened someone else might open it in error. But she was always in my corner. One day, right after Paul and I got married, an old girlfriend of his called his parents home, just to say hi to him and check in. Grandma Bea told the girl that he was married now and had no wish to talk to her. Funny, right?

Harry Jackson and Beatrice Wardle Jackson holding Beatrice Mary Jackson
When she was a young child, she remembered The First World War, her father leaving for the war when she was about 7 and her mother would sit by the fire and cry. Before he left, they had experienced their first air raid. Her father had gotten them out of bed and then went next door to collect Mrs. Smith and her children, as their father was already gone in the war. The windows were all covered with dark blinds and they all sat in their home waiting. They heard bombs falling and one fell at a home behind her Aunt Phoebes and people were killed.


She could remember her Grandfather Henry Wardle (1860-1914). He used to walk up to their home every day. That was his daily walk. He would say he was coming to play with the “Childer”. That was a Yorkshire word and he was from Yorkshire. She just loved him and he would play school with her and he was a special person. He would take her down to the store and she always got a little treat and then he’d let her watch the children play on the field in the school nearby. One day he didn’t come and she would ask her mother, “Where is my grandpa, why doesn’t he come anymore, Mum?” and she said her mother would just cry and cry.

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Henry Wardle

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Mary Jane Mottram Wardle
When she was about seven, her mother would send her down to the “cue” line to wait to receive food. Her mother would warn her not to let the women push her out of line and that it was very important she get that food because if she didn’t, they might not have any food for the week. Bea would stand there with her sister Eve, who was two years younger than her, holding onto her hand and fighting for their place in line. They would get pounds of potatoes or pounds of carrots.

There was an old wood yard on Broad Street in Northampton where she and her sister Eve would push their baby pram to the yard to pick up wood. There was a German prisoner who was very kind to her and her sister. He had two small daughters at home in Germany so he would fill the carriage as much as he could get into it and then she and Eve would push it back home. The wood cost them sixpence.

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Beatrice and Eve
She remembered the day the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918. They weren’t allowed to go far from home but that day they were free as birds and could go anywhere, so she took her sister Eve to the Market Square alone and people were passing out pennies.

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Bea and her mother, Beatrice
Her family joined the Mormon Church when she was 12 years old. Her father had a best friend who had gone off to America to live in Salt Lake City and he sent two missionaries to their home in London and they were baptized into the LDS church. She said it wasn’t easy to be a Mormon in those days. No one wanted to be friends with them and missionaries were having a rough time too.

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Harry Jackson, Beatrice Wardle Jackson, Beatrice Jackson, Eve Jackson
She attended St. George’s School for Girls in London. She loved school very much and her best friend was Betty Cook and they were called “the inseparables”.

Bea was very close to her father. He would wake her early in the morning and say, “Girlie, would you like to go for a walk?” They would walk for miles. She could talk to her father and they would sing and pick blue bells.

Jackson Family

She had to leave school at the age of 14 and go to work to help her family. She worked in a shoe factory on a special beading machine.

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Christmas was a special time for their family and her parents would sit near the fireplace and sing. Her father would make up song lyrics, like “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing, Beechams Pills are the just the thing. Peace on Earth and Mercy Mild, two for adults and one for a child”. They would laugh and her mother would say, “Harry you fool.”

Her Grandmother Wardle and Aunt Gladys would come for Christmas in a taxi paid for by her father. They would to go her Aunt Frances’ home for Boxing Day then to her Aunt Annie’s home for a treat.

Evelyn                                                               Bert and Ray

One time she and her sister Eve had gone to her Aunt Poll’s home, wearing lovely white dresses, new white shoes and socks then decided to play in the water barrel where she kept the soft water to wash her hair then into the chicken coop. Aunt Poll cussed then said, “You young buggers, get out of those clothes.” She washed their dresses, worked on their shoes and socks and sent them home again with a warning to “not tell your parents, you buggers.”

Aunt Poll’s  son, Aunt Poll, Lloyd and Bea in about 1934

She met her husband Bill Bennett only three times before she married him. He was on a mission to England when he met her the first time. After that, the corresponded by mail and eventually she traveled on her own to Canada to marry him.

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Bill and Bea Bennett
Bea’s story continues when she arrives in Canada to marry  Bill but I will continue that on another post. It is a long story and well worth re-telling, well worth remembering. She was a woman who lived through World War I, the boom of the 1920’s, the Great Depression, World War II, a child who lived, those that died and those that came into their lives.

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Grandma Bea lived long enough to spend time with my children and to get to know each of them. She really adored Taylor and she, along with Grandma Maxine, took Taylor to lunch every Wednesday at Home Town Buffet. Taylor was allowed to pick her lunch and they would spend several hours together, reading books, playing and just being good to my daughter.

Beatrice was a good Mormon, but she wasn’t such a good Mormon that her husband wasn’t allowed to drink a Coke. But like all good Mormons, she made an incredibly detailed autobiography of her life. She also left a voice recording of her life. Genealogy was very important to her. She spent hours researching and her work meant so much to her. I am not a Mormon nor are these my people but her work means a lot to me, because without those people, my children would not be who they are.

I have to say a big Thank You to my sister-in-law Anita Bennett McBride. Had she not shared all of these items with me, we wouldn’t have such great detailed memories , pictures and a pretty complete history of Beatrice Mary Jackson. Now, all of Bea’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren will have access to those memories as well.

 

 

 

Charles Jackson Hardin

Charles Jackson Hardin was born on March 5, 1892 in Graysville, Alabama. The fact that Graysville started out being called Gin Town because Graysville had the only cotton gin for miles made me laugh. I guess that is where my grandfather got a taste for alcohol. His father was Alfred Jackson Hardin and his mother was Georgia Tallulah Young.

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Charles is on the left. Fun hair, right?

Alfred Hardin had been previously married to a woman by the name of Martha Bivens. Together they had three sons. William Lenox (WL) Hardin, born 1879, Issac Luther Hardin born in 1881 and Samuel Hardin born on 14th of May, 1883. Martha Bivens Hardin died on the 29th of May, 1883, two short weeks after her child’s birth. Samuel died five years later in 1888.

Alfred Hardin married Georgia Tallulah Young in 1891 and she inherited two young boys. Charles Jackson was their first child born a year later in 1892.

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Charles’s subsequent siblings were Moses, Esther, Ida, Thelma, Gracie Ann, Tom and Felix, who was called Bryan.

 

In 1900, the family still lived in Graysville, AL and Alfred working as a farmer. His two oldest sons, WL and Issac were working as farm laborers.

 

By 1910, they had moved to Massy and Lacon Road in Morgan County, AL and were still running a farm. Charlie was 18 and helping his father on the farm.

 

I didn’t get to meet my grandfather. I will get to that part shortly. However, in 1977 my parents took me and Jackie on a trip across the US heading to Florida. In Birmingham, AL we stopped and spent the night with my Great Uncle Bryan and Great Aunt Lilly. Uncle Bryan took us out to the cemetery and as we were walking through, Uncle Bryan points to a grave and says, “That’s Charlie’s first wife.” I was shocked. I didn’t know Grandpa had been married before. What do you want to bet that the picture above where it has been cut out from a larger picture included his ex-wife? I can see the slightest hint of a black dress next to his shoulder.

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So, Charles Hardin had married a woman by the name of Serepta Viola Wilhite. I had no other information other than that Charlie had been married to her. I assumed she must have died before he married Grandma Flora. Nope. She died in 1976, the year before we visited. I was shocked (it didn’t take a lot to shock me at that point). I found that on the 1920 census, Viola Wilhite was listed as a “widow”. That made me laugh. I thought, hm, history revisionist? Lol. My guess is that Charles was married to her sometime in between 1911-1915. Married and divorced. I don’t have any other information than that.

By June 5, 1917 Charles is living in Covington, Kentucky and working as a Clerk at Adams Exploration Company. He was single when he signed up for the WWI draft. He is listed as having a bad ankle.

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On June 21, 1921 Charles Jackson Hardin took a bride, one Flora Mae Burgess. He was 29 years old, Flora just 19 years old. I suspect she was swept off her feet. She had been living in Tulsa, OK working at an office and living as a border in a home. I think she must have longed to have a “real home” and a “real family”, a symptom of having been raised without a mother since the age of eight. They were married on the same day as a race riot had erupted in Tulsa.

Flora on her wedding day, on the left
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Tulsa History

Grandpa Hardin was already working for the railroad. He held several jobs with the railroad and they traveled by railroad during their married lives.

 

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Charles and Flora, traveling by train with their grandchildren, Robert Condit, Sally and Sam Kosich
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Train pass for CJ and wife, Western Pacific RR

One month into their marriage, Flora and Charles were living in the Killmer Apartments in West Tulsa, OK when they received a knock at their door in the middle of the night and Flora was informed that she would be one of 21 heirs to inherit a fortune.

 

The Tulsa Tribune and my grandparents on the cover

So, although the article makes a big proclamation that my grandparents were to live on Easy Street, that was not to be. Flora’s Grandmother was descended from a Texas family who had owned property where oil was discovered. I can only imagine that it rocked their marriage early. You can see from the article that he was employed as a Switchman for the Frisco road in West Tulsa and Flora was the Credit Manager at Hunt’s Store. To me, the sweetest part of the article is what their dream was…to move to Texas and buy a ranch, raising cattle and hogs. A real country life! But first, they were going to buy a car and drive to Alabama to visit his family.

They do not make it to Easy Street, but they do make it to Texas. Just in time for the Dust Bowl. But first, they moved to Colorado. A year later, in June of 1922, Charles Jackson Hardin Jr. was born. He was a pretty baby and Grandpa Hardin must have been so happy with him.

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But his dear little life wasn’t to be, either. Grandma Flora was already pregnant with my Aunt Kay when Junior died at 15 months old. I cannot fathom how hard it would have been to lose their baby, but Grandma Flora used to walk, every day, a mile to the cemetery and a mile home, crying all the way. This had to have had a lasting effect on their marriage and on their home life.

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CJ Hardin, Jr. and Sr.
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Denver, Colorado (P.S. in the 1920’s not enough money for them to buy this headstone. That was added in the 1990’s by Timothy Jacques, Ruby’s husband and Charles’ son-in-law as a surprise for Ruby, who hated that her brother didn’t have a headstone).
The little family persevered. In the 1920’s he continued working for the railroad. By 1930, they were living in Borger, Texas, had two daughters, Kathleen and Virginia. Flora had their last child, Ruby Mae Hardin on February 9, 1930.

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So while they lived from state to state (Virginia was born in Washington State), Charles made several trips to visit his family in Alabama. You can tell from these pictures he must have been very adored in his family and felt very close to them. I think Flora really longed for a large family with lots of people to love.

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Taken between 1926 and 1927, Tom holding child, Charles, Uncle Bryan and first wife, holding Virginia, then most likely a brother and a sister then his father and front row is Kathleen, a male cousin, Lula and her mother, Mary Young.

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Esther, Thelma, Charlie, Ida and Grace Hardin
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Tom, Issac, Bryan and Charlie
 

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Esther, Lula, Charles and Bryan Hardin
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Etta Trapp, Jack Trapp and Charles Hardin, first cousins

 

In the midst of the depression, they were living in New Mexico and had very little to spare. Relatives Jack and Etta Trapp (Jack’s mother, Eugenia and Charles’ mother Lula were sisters) had been told that there were jobs in California as well as food and sunshine. They decided to move together. Etta Trapp’s sister, Cora and Carl Smithers had already moved to California so there was a safe place to land. My mother said her father drove them to California in his Model T.

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Cora and Carl Smithers
Upon arrival in California, the family camped underneath the Woodson Bridge in Corning. My mother, while embarrassed that they had been homeless when they arrived, said that everyone was doing that, camping out. She returned to the bridge when she was married and living in the area.

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Charles, Virginia, Ruby, Kay and Flora in the California sunshine, holding a fresh picked orange


So while Charles never again lived in Alabama or near his family, he found ways to keep them close. His brother Bryan made numerous trips to California and spent vacations and miles on the road with Flora and Charles. They became really close.

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Charles, Flora, Lilly and Bryan
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Bryan, Flora, Charles traveling by train, Stockton, CA

 

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Bryan, Lilly, Charles on Carpenter Road, Stockton, CA

 

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Charles, sister Thelma, Ed Holmes

Flora and Charles moved to a number of California cities, including Yuba City, Fresno and finally Stockton. They lived on Sierra Nevada, Alpine Avenue and Carpenter Road. My grandfather built the house on Alpine. He also helped build the house on Carpenter Road. Charles worked for several train lines including the Southern Pacific RR, Western Pacific RR, Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe RR.


While Charles worked to make a living for his family, there was another side of him that Flora must have had a difficult time with. He liked to drink and he smoked a pipe or cigar. He also liked to hang out at the bar. While Flora was busy going from church to church (always looking for a home), Charles liked to hang out at a bar, watch baseball and have a drink.

 

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Dick Paulson, Charles, Kay, Jubie holding Tim Jr., Tim holding Cammie, Ray, Jeannie, (front row Sam, Sally, Cindy and Bobby)

Their marriage wasn’t easy and at one point they split up. It makes me sad but I can’t judge either of them. I am sure Flora wasn’t easy to live with and at times Charles wasn’t working. I think it is often a decision to marry in haste that comes home to roost. But those are the facts, you can’t change them.


My mother enjoyed a special relationship with her father. She was the apple of his eye. He was the one that called her Jubie and her name fit. He loved her as greatly as he could and she was devoted to him.

 

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Charles and Jubie
I wish I had known him. I have to be satisfied that my mother always said I had a big heart, just like my Grandpa Hardin and that he would have loved me. I was very close to my Uncle Bryan and my mother used to say if she closed her eyes, listening to Uncle Bryan talk was like listening to Grandpa Hardin. That slow southern drawl must have stayed with him. Hard to miss something you never had, but that is something I missed out on, having a grandfather that I could have been close to.


I think Grandpa Hardin was a genial sort of guy. He was a guy that you could sit and have a drink with and chat about sports. I know my dad liked him. Charles Hardin died of a heart attack on December 29, 1960. Three of the barmaids from the bar that he frequented attended his funeral. That probably didn’t sit well with Flora, but Charles went out loved by all sorts of people.

Charles Jackson Hardin

 

The Tulsa History Center allowed me to use the page from the Race Riot on their website…to learn more, you can find them here

http://tulsahistory.org/learn/online-exhibits/the-tulsa-race-riot/