"IT REALLY HAPPENED"
By Marie B. Anderson
early facts of this story had to come from parents and/or relatives in
Tennessee. My parents, William Reed Bailey and Ida Maye White Bailey, were
each born in 1871, married in Fall Branch, Tennessee, on June 10, 1896.
They lived in Romeo, TN and operated a general store for a year or two,
but my father was always dreaming of the West, and what he believed it
would offer a young man. He had attended both Athens College, and Tusculum
College, then taught school at Oakland Seminary in Baileyton, TN. To this
union were born; Pearlie White Bailey, the firstborn was still-born ,
Alexander Whitelaw, Lady Mary (Marie), Walter Harry, Beryl Blanche,
Richard Clay, Claude Ivan, who died at age 5 ½, and Nina
Mother had a few months of college at Carson Newman, but in
those days priority was given to the male children. Uncle Alvan N. ("Bob")
White was the oldest brother, and was educated at CarsonNewman. He went to
Silver City, N.H. as a lawyer and did well. In a few years he was elected
as Representative to the State Legislature. He became Speaker of the House
later. (Ed. note: He was the first Speaker of the House for the new State
of New Mexico.)
In the meantime, Grandpa and Grandma White moved to
Oklahoma (while it was still "Indian Territory") because Aunt Kate (Kate
White Bracken) had "drawn" a land grant of 160 A. three miles north of the
settlement that would become Lone Wolf, Oklahoma in 1901. (It was listed
as "I.T." until then.)
Of the children who came to Oklahoma with
their parents, Aunt Bertha White died April 3, 1902, and was buried in the
Lone Wolf Cemetery. (In later years both grandparents and Aunt Ella White
were buried there.)
During the above early years, Papa had taught
school at Union City, I.T., near the present El Reno, Okla. Harry was born
there on January 15, 1902. They must have moved to Lone Wolf soon
thereafter--probably when the school term ended. According to them, we
lived in the back of a saloon in Lone Wolf, for several months until a
3-room house was built on the 160 A., just a mile north of the Rock Island
R.R. that served the area for travel. (Papa paid $600 for the
My first recollections were seeing the flat land and a lone
cottonwood tree, growing along a "draw". Then we could hear the coyotes
howl from the Bluffs, three miles north of us. West of us, we could see
the low-lying Granite Mountains, about eight miles away. (They were used
sometimes as a picnic area by our church and school. A branch of the Red
River had to be crossed, and one had to beware of quicksand.)
episode of our early days on the "Pioneer Jersey Farm" was when Harry
became 4 years old on January 15, 1906. He had only worn dresses up to
that time, but was now old enough to wear a pair of pants. Mother had made
them from an old pair of Papa's. Harry was quite miserable, and went to a
crib (It was the old 3-room house. We had built one with 6 rooms.) and
crawled under it. The weather was cold, of course, but no one was able to
convince him to come out until I bribed him with a gift/as well as urging.
By the -time Clay and Claude were four, they were already wearing
From the early days, the community demanded a good school
system. The first frame building was soon replaced by a large Brick one.
How well I remember marching in, with the Janitor beating on the Triangle:
Left, left, left, right, left. (That is the way she wrote it, but I wonder
if they really took three left steps before taking a right one! Ed. Note]
We had to stay in a straight line, or receive a "whack" by a teacher! No
talking in line!!
Whitelaw had been in school for one session, and
as Mother helped him with the Primer, I listened ayidly. As long as I
could hold his book, I could read fluently, but failed when another was
used. However, due to his having to miss many days, because of illness, I
caught up with him. He never forgave me!
Most of the pupils were on
a par, financially, and had to do the best they could. For us, it meant
one pair of winter shoes. In the Spring the soles were either ragged, Or
re-soled. When the grass began to grow, the pupils with good shoes could
have fun sliding on the grass. There was one girl in my class, with older
brothers working for pay, who would buy Ola a pair of shoes each Spring.
She was one of the best sliders, but a bit hateful. One morning she pushed
me off the grass, telling me my old shoes wouldn't slide. What did I do? I
just went up to the brick wall, bumped my head and "bawled" as loud as a
I remember my Third Grade teacher, Miss Hammond, as
being too strict for comfort. A set of tin play dishes caused me to get
into her disfavor. I had put them in the back of my desk, and they rattled
when I reached for my Reader. She took them, I wept. When school closed at
3 p.m., she gave then back. No more dishes in my desk!
many times that the Oklahoma weather conspired against our walking the
mile to school. Blizzards, cyclones, and dust storms, were just things to
be borne. No home was ever completely clean. The dust would slip in where
nothing else could! We were the victims of cyclones several times. Believe
it, or not, wheat straws could be driven into telephone poles. We were
never left homeless, but the house was damaged several times. Our storm
cellar was a refuge many night during the storm season, but how we
children hated to get up and go to it--far into the night. There was a cot
for the youngest children, but we olders sat on boxes, or old chairs, and
nodded. The half dug-out had two windows above the ground, and it was
possible for a parent to watch, and know when it was safe to go back to
our beds. We always kept a lantern, kerosene, and matches along with an
axe (or sharp shovel) for emergencies.
Back to travel: When we
finally had a school truck coming by the house, it was a small one, driven
by a neighbor who used a white mule and a brown horse to pull it. If the
truck was not full, we were allowed to ride. Sometimes, we drove a buggy
with a gentle horse, put him in a Livery Stable for the day or perhaps 25
cents. Otherwise, we walked the mile!
One reason I did not want to
miss a day of school, was a friend who always had money to buy candy! Her
name was Blanche Moore, and due to the questions about her mother, the
girl was often shunned. She lived with her father (who was a good worker)
and a crippled sister, who lived in a wheel-chair, but did all the
housekeeping. She could wash, iron, and sew--as well as cook. The house
was always immaculate when I "went home" with Blanche. Her mother lived
"up north" and only came home for brief visits. All of this became known,
and some busybody told Aunt Jen (White Callahan) to have my parents stop
my friendship with Blanche. There was a mandate: "quite playing with
Blanche Moore". My lack of tact,~about age 12 was missing, so I just ran
off from her at recess and hid, telling some other girls that I wanted to
be with them, not Blanche. I've hated myself many times, and wished that I
could undo the wrong!
There was not much in the way of
entertainment around Lone Wolf, but a small circus came one day. Aunt Ella
White took me to see the animals, and I got too near a monkey on a chain.
He tore a plug out~ of a new dress, and after that it was called my
"monkey dress". About that same era I had a stick "horse", with a red
string for a bridle. No one dared to ride my "horse" without permission.
He was well-tied in a safe area each night, and was always waiting for me
to prance off down the driveway.
Then we had a real horse named
"Doll" that was old, patient, and careful. She was never really
worked--just used to help all the children learn to ride. If one fell off
she stopped and waited.
Other horses remembered from my youth
were"Snow"--who just appeared at our barn, after a seemingly long, hard
ride. No one ever claimed him. "Tom" was a spirited riding horse, who
never wanted to be passed by another horse. I raced him one Sunday with a
horse that a friend bragged about, and he never stopped running until he
reached the alley in the barn. I was flattened out on his back to keep
from getting brushed off. (Just missed a peach-tree switch, because of the
run!) Then there was "Buck", a heavy one with big feet. He pulled the
buggy for me when my feet barely touched the floor-boards, The drives were
made to deliver farm produce, then bring back supplies. There was a
farm-size umbrella fastened to the buggy seat, to help out in the hot, or
It was also necessary to watch the cattle when Papa
wanted them to eat alfalfa for as much as two hours. Since it was an
after-school job, I rode about and studied Latin Grammar (when I was about
14 and a Freshman.) When we bought a Model T Ford about 1915, much of the
horse riding ceased. I learned to drive in a 40-acre field, then started
driving the Ford to ‘Lone Wolf. The maximum, speed was probably 10 MPH,
and oh, how hard it could be to crank. When we left OkLahoma in 1918, we
shipped our two Fords to Alabama. They were in a baggage car with my
piano, a dining table, two or three beds, a few chairs, and cookstove. (We
bought dressers and the like in Alabama.)
Today, while watching
T.V., I was reminded of what was a routine happening every summer. Many
times the young chickens would never see (or feel) a rain until they were
good size. As Papa usually planted one piece of wheat near the barn and
chicken, to help feed them after the wheat was cut, the young chicks would
roam all over the field. A sudden rain meant trouble. They just
"panicked", and some would drown before we could get to them. With straw
hats on, two or more of us would grab a tub and, go rescue the chickens.
If there was a sign of life we put aLl ~that we could find in the tub and
hurried to the house. Mother would have a warm fire started, and wrappings
for the chicks. It was a one by one project, but we saved most of
My First Love
When I was 14 in the 8th grade, a boy
named Willie came to our school, and was seated across the aisle from me.
l~had black hair and sparkling brown eyes, and was always happy-looking.
In a day or two he wrote me a note, wondering if I would write him one. Of
course, I would!
A short time later there was to be a Halloween
Party in Lone Wolf, and we were both there. To choose partners an old
sheet had two round holes cut, and the girls were to look through them. If
a boy guessed their identity, they were partners. Believe it, or not,
Willie gave the right answer, and we were partners. I asked him how he
knew me, and he replied that I had beautiful blue eyes! Sugar could not
have been sweeter, Much to my regret he had to move away soon
. When I was growing up, I was the "Child-tender" for
the younger ones. It was hard for they to say "Marie", so they managed
"MEE", and would call on me if threatened. As for my real name, it was
first "Lady Mary", then Marie. The song, "Sweet Marie", sung by Uncle
Harry White and others, caused the family to call me "Marie". However, at
school I was either "Lady Mary~~ or "Mary". When we left for Alabama in
1918, I informed everyone that I would use only "Marie".
red cherries that grew along the path to the garden! When it was ripening
time I would try to get up first, and rush to the trees. Don't remember
saving any for the other children, but maybe I did.
One more early
Spring task was for two or three of us to hunt "dandelions and ‘Poke
Salad" for a mess of greens. I still recognize dandelion, but not Poke
Salad. They made good food for us.
Chief Lone Wolf had settled his
tribe along Elk Creek, Kiowa County, near Hobart. As this was about ten
miles from us, we did not see Indians except on special occasions--as the
4th of July celebration, with picnic included. We would go in a hay-filled
wagon, as early as we could to escaped the July heat.
contrast was the snow around Christmas. The school and the church each had
a special program, and invariably there was a snow storm during the week.
Once we left the church to find a heavy snowstorm, and it was necessary to
slack the reins to the horses, and let them go where they would. In a few
minutes, they were under the shelter at the Wheat Granary. We just waited
for the snowfall to lessen, but were late getting home--a mile up the
Another hot time was when the cotton had to be chopped. I was
always wishing that I would hit a hidden treasure, and be able to quit!
We.buried our water supply at the end of a row, and were always anxióus to
return to it. We went to the house to eat, and were allowed to rest
awhile. The hot dirt would almost blister our bare feet, too. How I hated
the work at times! Yet it did not compare with my dislike of having to
miss school even one day to pick cotton. The school would often dismiss
for a day or two to allow farmers to get the cotton picked--then get the
children back to school. The sale of the cotton allowed us to have a new
pair of shoes, extra coats, long johns, and other winter togs.
you lived there your clothes would have included: thick underwear, sateen
bloomers, knit petticoat, wool dress, perhaps a long coat, hood and scarf,
The basket-ball court was in the attic of the school. There
was a strict rule: wear tennis shoes, and if a girl, pleated sateen
bloomers that were black. I managed the latter, but would hunt through
discarded tennis shoes, hoping to find two that could be worn. (There was
no extra money for such, it seemed.)
The above reminds me that in
the winter, we ate lunch in the attic. You should have seen the lunch
pails: usually a 5-lb. lard bucket. There was many a rabbit leg on.. its
last journey, but we also had chicken, sausage, or steak when possible.
Mother was a genius at fixing lunch food!
Another thing was really
good for us, and I presumee that both parents shared the idea. As long as
I can remember as a young girl growing up in a harsh environment; we had
the "Youth's Companion a magazine to read. Everything in it was good! We
also had three Sunday School papers to read. They were: "The Classmate"
for older children; "The Sentinel" for Juniors; and "Primary Life" for the
little ones. We also received good books for gifts--all of which gave us
wise counsel, and a love of reading. The mail man, in his enclosed rig,
could be seen coming almost a mile away. As there were stories "to be
continued" in the "Youth's Companion" I would miss dinner sometimes to be
the first to the mailbox! That would frustrate the others.
games were simple, and no "playing card" was allowed in the house. In
fact, I was 28 before I ever played any card game like Bridge, Set-Back,
or even Solitaire. (There my trainers were friends at the Perkin's Hotel
in Chatom. No gambling done!!)
We had three German neighbors, but
only one ever gave us concern. His name was Seifker, and rumor had it that
he had killed his first wife, but it could not be proven. As there were
four young children, he needed a mother for them, so he wrote back to
Germany, advertising for a wife. Two sisters (who had money) came and he
chose one of them. There were many fights and he finally gave her reason
to leave the house. She came to our home, but we suggested that she go to
the Albig home, about a mile across our pasture. (They were Germans, too.)
That night we kept a lamp burning, and all shades up to insure that her
husband could see that she was not with us. When we saw her again, Mother
asked why she did not leave "for good", to which she answered, "he has my
money." They made up enough to continue to live out their lives in Lone
When I was about 15, there was Latin teacher that became my
"crush", He was about 35, a very kind man, who bragged on me as being a
Latin student. When surgery was necessary for appendicitis, and I was in
the Guthrie Hospital (near Oklahoma City, Okla.) he wrote a letter,
saying: Burns wrote to "Mary in Heaven", but I'm writing to "Mary in a
Hospital". My answer was a letter of endearment, I recall. It was well
that we soon left the state, or I might have been hurt by his necessary
rejection. It was just puppy love"!!!
In 1918 the Baileys sold
their "Pioneer Jersey Farm" near Lone Wolf, and moved to Marengo County,
Alabama. They shipped their belongings not sold at the auction by freight
car, which included a few cows, horses, two model T fords, a piano, beds,
etc. that would be needed at once, planning to buy the rest when they
There Mary finished high school, attended college and got her
teaching certificate.Mary married Forrest Lee Anderson, Jr, October 29,
1930. Forrest passed away October 15, 1979 and Mary joined him January 23,
1991, just a little more than two months shy of her 91st birthday.
This information was donated to Prairie Tales by Forrest and Mary's
daughter, Marilyn Bailey Anderson Janda, and remains the property with
full copyright of Ms. Janda.
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