My father was Alanson F. Stone who was born at Mendota, Illinois. He was the son of a farmer formerly from Pennsylvania.
My mother before her marriage was Ella Vanette Jackson, born at Paw Paw, Illinois, the daughter of a blacksmith who also had come from Pennsylvania.
Mother had only the common grade school education, but I think my father had some sort of higher education. He did beautiful handwriting.
Mother had a great desire to be a nurse. Although she never had any training she was very good with the sick and was always very helpful.
They had been sweethearts at school, and when Mother was seventeen, her parents decided to go to Kansas--as everyone there was talking of going west. In the summer of 1877 they came and settled on a farm near St. Marys.
The following year my father had the idea Kansas was where he would like to live and persuaded his parents to go west. They came to St. Marys, bought a farm and raised hogs principally.
They were married Dec. 1, 1880 and, as he was in partnership with his father, They lived with his parents for three years. It was there Lilla was born on Dec. 3, 1881. Then they bought a farm near Adrian. I am not sure whether Jessie was born before or after they moved. Anyway, when I arrived on June 11, 1885, I had two sisters: Lilla, 4, and Jessie, 2 (born April 5, 1883).
Another girl! Three girls, and how they wanted a boy, but they decided to keep me and called me Mabel Rose. They tell me Father said, "She will have to be my boy. I'll put overalls on her and she can help me." If only I could have.
I must have felt welcome, for I let them know I was there. I cried every night until I was three months old, and one night when Mother got up to rock me as usual, she was so worn out from lack of sleep that she fell asleep first. Somehow I wiggled loose and before she could catch me I slide to the floor. They didn't tell me whether or not I was a better girl after that but I hope I was.
Then July 15, 1887 another girl arrived, Ella. Perhaps by then they had given up hope of getting a boy, for she was certainly welcome and was always the pet of the family.
Years are all alike to little children so I can remember only happiness until Ella was about two, then somehow things seemed to be different. Grandpa and Grandma Stone came more often, stayed and helped with the chores. And they made us be so quiet. Soon we know that Papa was sick. Although he worked as usual they tried to get him to rest more. The doctor called it liver trouble. It seems that was what all sick people had in those days. The medicine didn't help him and he was advised to go to a different climate. Grandpa and Grandma stayed with us and there was a hired man.
Papa went to California but for how long I do not know. I only know he came back in the fall of '90. It was January when they knew he must be nearer the doctor. Mother took him to Rossville where they stayed at the hotel. Someone went every day and it was Feb. 7, 1891 that they came to tell us he was gone.
The weather was too bad for we little girls to go to the funeral. They left us with an aunt.
I remember the days that followed. Our whole world was upside down. Aunt Lottie came to stay with us and two of Mother's brothers came and helped. With Grandpa, they arranged to have a sale. Mother was to sell everything in hopes of being able to pay the mortgage, but found she was short $400.
They rented the farm to a young man 18 years old. He was to stay with us, which he did for two or three years or until he married and went on a place of his own. Henry M. Clain was his name. Then Mother rented the land to neighbors.
We were all in school by then and our greatest trouble was to make the rent go 'round, with taxes, interest and the bare necessities. Somehow she managed to keep us in school and Sunday School and I am sure we always had a new dress for Last Day of School and "Children's Day."
Every one of us knew exactly what the score was, and just why we couldn't have things like some other children did, so we accepted it. We never, as I recall, complained or teased for things. Perhaps we learned a lesson from it all, for I know I never envied anyone for having things.
Although we were so very poor, we had good health. Often we would play rough games as all children do and I remember we used to be afraid we'd get hurt and cause a doctor bill.
We had good neighbors where we would go when Mother had to be away. She was often called to help with the sick, that being her specialty, and whenever there was a new baby she was always there.
It seems we must have had a share of the grain, for she used to haul corn to St. Marys, the nearest market, 14 miles away. One night when we got home from school she wasn't home yet, so we thought we'd like to have supper ready for her. We wanted it to be good, so decided to have fried chicken, but we had never killed one. Yes, we could do it. Jessie would use the axe; I was to hold the chicken's feet, but to be sure it didn't move Jessie took hold of the head and instead of hitting the neck she cut the end of her finger. The chicken was not hurt.
We ran to Mrs. Milligan, the neighbor, and she did all she could to stop the bleeding. It was badly hurt, and when Mother came she had to take Jessie to St. Marys to the doctor.
We had lots of fun, just Mother and we girls. Sometimes, at the supper table after our work was done, we would get to acting up and if we could get her to laugh it was a green light for us. Often she would try to quiet us, lest we should get too wild, I suppose. But, if she joined us, we would have a barrel of fun. I always liked lamplight suppers. Maybe that is the reason. Even yet, I enjoy supper after the outdoor work is done.
We must have been little rascals for we got spankings enough--for just little things like eating green apples, wading in the creek when the water was as cold as ice, and climbing trees 'til Mother had to get a ladder to rescue us.
We were growing up now. I was old enough to go and stay with the aunts in summertime to help with the babies. The other girls had been doing it for some time. And of course we visited and played with the neighbor children. Also, we went to church. When we were old enough, if we wanted to, each joined the United Brethren Church. I was 10. We understood what it meant. It was to help us to be better, and I tried. But I thought in order to be good you must give up the things you wanted most, like your turn at play, candy, or to do somebody's work for them. I used a calendar with a space for each day and if, at the end of the day, I thought I had not been good enough, I would black out that day. I tried so hard to get a perfect week, but never could.
Jessie liked to fish and the rest of us didn't care much about it. She would want me to go with her and would even hire me to go. She would do my work if I'd go. Wasn't that mean?
They no longer referred to us as "The Big Girls" and "The Little Girls." We had paired off differently. Lilla and Ella slept together. With Ella being the youngest, Lilla sort of looked after her. Jessie and I became a team.
We all had our work to do and one day Jessie and I were sent to the garden to weed the onions. I was always afraid of worms and said "If I find a worm I am going to quite." Well, we soon found one, an ugly striped one, and I was through. But Jessie said "If you don't get to work I'll put it on you." There was no help near, so I pulled weeds. It was all in fun, but she sat there and held the worm on a stick until my half was done. Then, believe it or not, I helped her finish her half.
Aunt Lottie had taken the older girls to a circus--now Ella and I were to go. She took us on the train, our first train ride. We rode to Topeka, a place we knew only from our history lessons, and we saw the circus. We were so excited we thought we had seen everything.
There was a man who visited us often; his name was Dave Wells. He was from Rossville and worked in a grocery store. He always brought candy to us.
Then some time later Mother told us she was going to marry him. We didn't think we needed anybody else, but she said, "If we had all the crop instead of only a share, maybe we could have more things." Anyway, they were married and he became our stepfather. We accepted it and called him Pa like other children called their fathers.
We may have had a little more. We did get to go out more, like to Literary at the school house at night, etc. It seemed so strange, having had only relatives and mostly women around the house, to have man around all the time.
We tried to be good, but I have wondered since what kind of a stepdaughter I was. Pa was kind and never punished us. But somehow he always seemed like company.
We no longer worried about the business. If Mother did, she never discussed it with us.
School was our main interest now. We all were trying to make perfect attendance records, and would go in all kinds of weather.
A year later when Clyde was born we were all thrilled. He was a nice baby and no one know until he was three that he would never be like other children. Mother believed it was caused by a fall and a brain concussion. Of course, no one knew for sure. We only know she spent the rest of her life trying to help him. He went to school and learned to read and write enough that he was able to make his own way.
My parents had a grocery store in Adrian for awhile.
Lilla was married at eighteen. She married a younger brother of our stepfather, making a mixed up relationship.
Jessie graduated at sixteen and went one year to Rossville High School and later worked in the store. I am not sure of the dates on all this. I do know I graduated in 1902, but I went back to school the following term, as I had always hoped someday to be a teacher.
In the Spring of 1903 Jessie and I were allowed to take a short term at Campbell College in Holton to better prepare us for the examination in June. I was eighteen on the 11th, and the exam was later in the month.
It was not easy to get a school in those days because there were so many teachers. Jessie got one at Whiting and mine was near Lilla and Clarence's so I could stay with them.
Things were not going too well at home; crops had been poor. The store didn't prove very successful and only the mortgage grew. So, the very day we left to go to our schools, the family moved to Holton. It was a sad day when we left the old home. I realized I was not only giving up my home, but also my childhood and must now take a place in the adult word. But I got along well with the children and learned how to manage them, I guess, for somehow I got through the term, and the next one was much easier. I really wonder how I ever got along, for now I know how ill-prepared I was.
The folks moved to Holton. Pa worked for the city a few months, then got a job as guard in the penitentiary at Lansing. We were at home very little after that and no place they lived ever really seemed like home.
It was great to have money of our own, little as it was. But Jessie and I felt we should share with Ella and Mother, so we sent home what we could spare. But we couldn't spare much. With summer school and all, a teacher's money never seems to quite go around.
The next year it was easier to get a school, having had experience and I wanted to be near Jessie. I got the adjoining district. We couldn't board together, but were together a lot. I knew it was to be for only one year, for a girl from the district was to have it the next term. I enjoyed this year more and kept learning.
While at school I met Gertrude Coleman, a girl from the South Star district, and she said there was a vacancy and wanted me to apply. I did. Her father, Charlie Wells, was on the board. I don't remember the other board member's name.
I began teaching in September. The children were nice, as all the others had been. I liked everyone I ever taught. At first I stayed where Langley lives, until the lady, Mrs. McClintock, had to go away. Then I moved to the Bank Haun place and later over to the Coleman home.
After we were settled in school I became acquainted with some of the parents and some young people. I heard the children speak so often of Cleve Martin-- naturally I wondered what he would look like, for they seemed to think he knew everything.
One day one of my pupils, David Boydston, was absent and they told me he was sick. Several days passed, then they said he was very sick and they were having to sit up with him. So one evening I walked over to the home to see if I could help. His family seemed glad to have the offer, so I stayed. After supper there was a knock at the door and they ushered a young man into the room. Upon being introduced, I learned he was Cleve Martin. Everybody visited a while. The sick boy was somewhat better, and we were invited into the parlor where Mrs. Boydston played and sang for us. Well, Mr. Martin stayed the sick boy a part of the night--and that is how and where I met Cleve Martin. That was on the Chapman place. We met by chance a few times after that. I met his parents. Lolly, his sister, began taking postgraduate work at school. Soon we were seeing each other often, and had a pleasant winter.
We sent around with Elva and Floy some. I enjoyed his company; By spring I thought he was wonderful, and in 57 years that opinion has never changed.
We were married July 11, 1906 at Atchison, Kansas, and went to live in Kansas City. Cleve thought he could get a better job there and he was sure he didn't want to farm. With his education he was fitted for a good job, but rather than wait around for just what he wanted, he went to work at a foundry. It was very dangerous work. He was badly burned once, and to make it even worse, there was a strike on at the plant which added to the danger and made it more unpleasant.
His father was alone on the farm with more than he was able to do. Together his parents persuaded him to come and take over, as they wanted to retire and planned to move into town.
We moved to Meriden in January and embarked on a career of farming which proved to be very pleasant and, I am sure you would say, very successful. we lived together with his family for a time. They were all very nice to me. I learned much from his mother, who was a very kind and patient person. It must have taken a world of patience with us kids, but there was never a cross word spoken.
There was a vacancy in the school there and I completed the term of 1907. Then we began farming and that is where we lived and raised our family. Maybe together Cleve and I will finish the story.
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