Mountain View Pioneers
Harry and Mary
This is the story of Harry Trobridge Wanzor
(1871 - September 27, 1934) and Mary Esther Anderson Wanzor (August 7,
1870 - March 5, 1963) as written by their first-born, Sarah Eva Wanzor
Stone. Sarah was nearing her 80th birthday in 1977 when she wrote this
story . Sarah wanted the descendants of Mary and Harry Wanzor to know
about the life of their Oklahoma Pioneer ancestors. Sarah distributed this
story to all the Wanzor relatives for whom she had an address and
requested that copies be made and distributed to future generations of
In June 1896, Harry and Mary (Anderson) Wanzor
came to the (Oklahoma) Territory from Western Kansas. Harry had been
raised in Brooklyn, New York and knew little about country life. Mary had
been in the country quite a bit, as she was born in Red Oak, Iowa and came
with her family to Western Kansas. Harry got his first western experience
carrying the mail by buckboard from one town to another. Harry and Mary
were married on June 15, 1896 (Harry was 25 and Mary was 26 years old) and
left for the (Oklahoma) territory a few days later. Mary had a brother,
John Anderson, who had (gone) to the territory a couple of years back. He
was an old bachelor and was working for some people he had met.
took Harry and Mary four weeks to make two hundred and fifty miles. Their
means of transportation was a covered wagon with five light ponies to pull
it. One day, two of the ponies would pull and the next day, the other two
would do this job. Sometimes, they would rest a day or so because (the
horses got) lame feet or sore shoulders. I remember them telling me about
some good people helping them cross the Canadian Rivers, both North and
South; since these rivers had lots of quicksand, you had to move faster
than Harry's team could make it.
When they finally got to where
Uncle John was, he helped them to find a half-dugout to live in. A half
-dugout is more or less a cellar, dug in the ground. Of course, they would
lay logs on the top of the ground about two feet high, then build a roof
on top of that. The floor was earth. The place was furnished with a small
cook stove, table and chairs, and a bed. On the floor, Mary had her
home-made carpet. All of these things were brought from Kansas in the
wagon, along with eight hens and a rooster. They also brought canned
fruit, which was fine as long as it lasted. After this, the diet consisted
of cornbread and sassafras tea with no sugar for sweetening.
got a job teaching school. The school house was another one of those dirt
dugouts with split logs for seats. In the meantime, he filed a claim on
one hundred (and) sixty acres of land (in Washita County), but to keep it
you had to improve it and be living on it within a certain length of time.
By this time, they were expecting their first baby, which came on
Christmas day 1897, just three weeks before the deadline for moving in on
the homesteaded land. There were still no improvements and the neighbors
got busy and helped to dig the dugout and cut the logs, and Harry and Mary
were able to move in right on time.
There were no fences anywhere,
so anyone who had cattle let them run the range. If anyone needed milk,
they could put a calf in a pen and when the cow would come to the calf to
feed, you could milk. You could milk her just so you left enough for the
calf. When the calf got older, you would turn it out and get another one.
Crops were planted by hand. Someone would make a row with a hoe and then
drop seeds by hand. We were 45 or 50 miles from town. There was a country
store and a post office about twelve miles from us. The mail came once a
week. We lived a lot better after the first four or five years.
When Mary's baby was two years old, she went back to Kansas by
train to visit her parents. She brought back plants and seeds for the
farm. One thing in particular was a gallon of peach seeds. She brought
back an extra trunk full of things to plant. Well, the peach seeds were
planted and grew very well and produced each year. We lived in that dugout
for four or five years and things were looking up some and the railroad
had been extended to our little town, Mountain View, that had been formed
since we had been there. It was known as Mountain View because you could
look to the south and see the Wichita Mountains. With a railroad, we could
get lumber so we built a big one room house.
The holidays were
always a happy time, as Harry's mother and six sisters (from Brooklyn, NY)
would send a barrel of things. It would contain such things as candy,
nuts, fruit cake, plum pudding, tea, coffee, all kinds of clothes and
always a toy for the children.
Mary picked ripe sand plums which
grew wild. We would pick bushel after bushel of plums to swap for the
merchandise that the Indians had received from the government. They were
too lazy to pick plums for themselves. They got green bean coffee and
never roasted it so they could make coffee of it. They also got sugar.
Lots of their pretty blankets, of which she got an ample supply, were
traded to Mary for her plums. Most of the Indians were of the Kiowa Tribe.
They were very lazy; they lived in bunches of teepees. The men would hunt
wild animals for food, but the women did the major part of the work. If we
went for a while without rain, one of these little Indian villages would
have a rain dance and beat the tom-tom all night. They would keep this up
until it rained. When the Indians killed an animal, they would cut it into
strips, hang it on wire, and build a fire under it, smoke it and let it
dry; then it was ready to eat.
In 1907, Mary and Harry had a
family of four children and the Indian (and Oklahoma) Territory had become
the State of Oklahoma. By this time, Harry had managed to build what they
called a "shed kitchen" onto the large (one) room house. We were enjoying
life a lot more. There wasn't much to do; only sing songs at night, roast
a big pan of peanuts, pop corn or make taffy candy out of sorghum
molasses. On Sunday, we went to church at the school; for there were no
churches. One Sunday it would be Baptist and the next, Methodist. In the
summer time, each organization would have a revival meeting for two or
three weeks each. All of the men of both churches would cut poles and
brush and build what was known as a brush arbor. They would also get
lumber to make benches to sit on and a platform for the pulpit. People
came every morning and at night. Harry and Mary would take a couple of
quilts along for the children to sleep on while the grown-ups worshiped.
Harry sang with the choir. Some people would camp there. They would cook
their meals over a campfire.
There would be a Community Picnic
each year. The men would barbecue a beef all night. We had a favorite
place on the Washita River. In the morning after the men had cooked the
beef all night, families would arrive with large containers like tubs,
dish pans and baskets filled with home-cooked food including all kinds of
cakes, pies, fancy potato salad and fried chicken. Mary's favorite was a
large home-cured ham weighing about twenty-five pounds. She would go to
the smoke-house, dust the salt off, wash it clean, and put it in the old
black wash-pot and start it cooking, which would take most of the day.
While the ham was cooking, she would bake about twelve loaves of bread.
These loaves were about eighteen inches long. Mary was the prize bread
baker of the neighborhood. She made her bread with everlasting yeast,
keeping a starter (a reserve of dough enriched with sugar) after each
baking. Well, when we all got to the picnic, swings were put in the trees
for the children's entertainment. Somebody would make about twenty gallons
of lemonade. In later years we had ice for it, at first it was just cool
water. After a day of visiting and feasting, everyone went home until a
The first school Harry's and Mary's children went to
was almost two miles away. It was one big room with one teacher who taught
eight grades. In about 1910, we had a two room schoolhouse; and then,
there were two teachers.
Well, as the children grew older, there
were six Wanzor children. We needed some kind of entertainment, so Harry
got on a rural telephone line; not much service but a lot of fun! That was
not enough and we wanted an organ. To get one, we had to order it to be
shipped in by freight from Oklahoma City. Harry set aside a small piece of
land and said we would plant it in cotton, and whatever we made on that
land would go for an organ. We got the organ that year and it meant a lot
The Wanzors were a working family. Cotton was our
main money-maker; but for extra money for the family, we planted a truck
garden which contained all kinds of vegetables such as potatoes,
watermelons and cantaloupes. Mary always had eggs and home-made butter
also. Mountain View was almost 800 in population. We lived four and a half
miles from it, and Harry with his sons put a cover on the big farm wagon
and each evening the family would pack a load of the produce. In the
morning, we would arise about four-thirty, cook breakfast; Harry and the
boys would feed the horses and milk the cows and Mary got herself dressed
to start for town. The oldest son would go along. They would be in town by
the time the people had breakfast; they would go up one street and down
the other selling to the residents. By ten-thirty or eleven, they would be
finished in town. If they had any watermelons left, they would go to one
of the two Indian camps about one-half mile from town.
they could not sell them anything because they never had any money after
the first of the month; that was when they got their government allotment.
When they got their checks, they bought all kinds of dishes, complete
sets, cookware and trinkets; none of this they used. At this time, the
government was building them houses and furnishing them, but they still
lived in the teepees and under arbors, which they built with a hard board
bunk to sleep on. They would look at the watermelons and say, "You swap?"
meaning "will you trade?" Then they would go in under the bed and bring
out the cups and saucers of a set. Before the summer was over, Mary had
maybe two sets of dishes with glassware to go with it.
the summer, after we were through with the field work, the whole family
helped with the canning. As I mentioned earlier, the peach trees did well
and besides the thirty gallons of peach butter, every year we had canned
peaches, pickled spiced peaches, and peach preserves. We also put up lots
of plum jelly and plum butter. Then there were the dried peaches - always
good for fried peach pies. The children did not like to dry the peaches,
as you would have to climb up on the roof of a steep porch and you did not
dare let it rain on them or they were spoiled. Every time we got that roof
covered with peaches, it seemed to rain! Down came the peaches and into
the house, spread on bed sheets on the floor until the shower was over. We
always got them dried!
The Wanzors had enlarged their house, made
a two-story affair out of it. They had also added a windmill to pump
water, a milk-house with cream separator. Mary would raise chickens; we
ate at least two fryers a day from about Easter until time to butcher
hogs, which was the first or second good freeze. At first it was a
difficult job to kill hogs on account of the way they scalded them to get
the hair off of them. They would heat the water in a wash tub and pour it
in a wooden barrel, which they had sunk in the ground on an angle. They
would stick the front half of the hog in the barrel, take it out, add more
boiling water and insert the back half.
This was a slow and awkward
process, but since Harry was a reader, he read in some magazine how to
build a scalding vat. It was very simple, and Harry had one made you could
heat up the water in and with a couple of harness chains two men could
scald the hog, regardless of size, in a few minutes. After the hog was
scalded, they would scrape all the hair off it (with sharpened butcher
kinves); it was ready to hang and prepare for curing. About noon time on
hog killing day, the men had gotten far enough along to send the liver to
the house. We would have a platter full of fried liver for dinner. Harry
would kill six or eight big hogs and then the work really began; getting
the meat ready to salt down, making sausage, souse (hog head cheese),
pickled pigs feet and tongue. We also rendered lard and put it in stone
crock jars for the year. The meat was about all gone by summer time and
that was when the fried chicken began.
One thing I almost forgot to
mention that is very important was Mary's home-made (lye) soap after the
butchering was over. The lard rendered (melted into pure lard), then she
would take the cracklings (the crispy skin portion left when the fat or
lard was melted away) with lye and water and we had plenty of laundry
When I think of grocery lists that we had when we went to
town - if we got everything, we bought sugar, coffee, baking power, baking
soda, salt and flour. We would buy toilet (body) soap and lye to make
laundry soap. On almost every Saturday, Harry would buy a beef soup bone,
never cost more than 15 or 20 cents, and on Sundays Mary would get the big
black iron pot going for a feast of beef vegetable soup. We were all fond
of it and this was every Sunday. Mary was a good cook and always had a
variety of food to pick from. Most all of the food was raised on the farm.
We all worked in the field in planting, raising, and harvesting the crops,
so it was to bed at 8:00 P.M. and up by 4:00 A.M. Each of the family had
certain chores to do. Saturday was a busy day. Mary's fresh butter and
eggs must go to town; Harry had to get the soup bone for Sunday dinner and
the yard had to be swept clean, the house mopped and probably cakes and
pies baked for Sunday. Our Sunday clothes were put in order for Sunday
School and Church.
School was never more than five months a year,
as the children had to help with the crops. Much of the winter months was
spent getting ready for spring planting of gardens and crops. Way before
time to set out the garden, Harry and Mary would make what was known as
"hot beds", made of fresh barn yard manure, which makes the ground very
warm when mixed with soil and dampened with water. Seeds would start to
grow early, (such as tomato, cabbage, pepper plants, etc.) and had a good
start by the time the garden (soil) was warm enough to plant. The plants
would then be transplanted from the hot bed into the garden. Sweet potato
plants were also raised this way.
One of the prize vegetables was
asparagus. Mary brought some roots of it from Kansas and finally managed
to raise enough roots to set two rows of it almost 100 feet long. Every
spring, the asparagus is the first green vegetable. It is very prolific;
it you don't cut the spears early they will go to seed and make a
fern-like plant; but as long as you get the spears every day, you have a
tender, edible plant. When you finally have all you want and it goes to
seed, it is a pretty plant the rest of the season. In the fall, it is cut
even with the ground and a little dirt bedded over the top and left until
spring. There were lots of wild greens that were very tasty, such as
lamb's quarter, sour dock and yellow dock, wild lettuce and dandelion.
These could be cooked together like turnip greens or any other greens, and
you could get these before the garden was ready.
Harry was Justice
of the Peace; it was an elected office for the district we lived in. He
made lots of friends as well as some enemies. as he had to prosecute
people who violated the law. He believed in law abiding citizens and acted
as such. He also had authority to perform marriage ceremonies. Sometimes a
couple would show up and he would be in the field plowing but he would
stop, go to the house, change clothes and have a wedding. On one occasion,
Mary stirred up quick lunch for the wedding couple, as it was noon-time.
Harry was a joiner; he joined the Odd Fellows, masons, farmers Union, and
a number of Social organizations.
While the family all worked
together at home, if we could get finished with work, like picking cotton
in the fall, we would help some of the neighbors get their cotton picked.
Lots of time, we would earn enough money to buy our school clothes. Our
life was not all work and no play. When the children were in their teens,
on Sunday after church, a wagon full of youngsters would go home with one
family. Of course (the Wanzor's expected) them to come and have dinner of
good country food that had been prepared mostly on Saturday. After eating
came the afternoon of entertainment, when everyone gathered in the parlor
around the organ and sang songs, love songs as well as spirituals. When it
got near sundown, everyone would go home.
Unless school was in
session, you did not see anyone other than the family except once a week.
Sometimes someone would come down the farm road which cut our hundred and
sixty (acres) right in (half), and since the house was about one hundred
feet from the road, they would stop and talk. Harry liked to read, and
being crowded for time he would consume the time reading at the dining
table, which meant not much conversation while eating. If the children got
loud or made too much noise, we could expect a peck on the head with his
The Saturday Evening Post was a favorite with him;
he bought a copy of it once a week. He often spoke of it as a luxury and I
think the cost was five or ten cents an issue. He kept himself informed
with all the reading matter available and the Kansas City Star, weekly
paper, was a must with him. His mother in Brooklyn saw to it that he had
plenty of good reading as long as she lived. Harry's people all lived in
the east and there was no visiting. Harry returned (to New York) after he
had been away for twenty-one years, but by that time his parents had
passed away. He still had six sisters (living). Mary's family, father and
mother, lived in Andover, Kansas and they visited us every few years.
Mary's only sister moved to Oklahoma and lived about thirty-five miles
from us. We visited a day or so in the summer.
Well, I have not
identified the writer of this story. I have used "we, us, I," I being:
Sarah Eva Wanzor Stone, born December 25, 1897
28, 1979, San Antonio, TX).
The following are my brothers' and
sisters' names and their birthdays (and death dates):
Dorsey Wanzor, October 12, 1900
(Died; November 1, 1985)
(Margaret) Wanzor Clark, November 30, 1901
(Died; December 13, 1974)
Mabery Paul Wanzor, April 2, 1903
(Died; November 18, 1983)
Russell Westfield Wanzor, January 26, 1908
(Died; April 15th
Alma Francis Wanzor Turner, November 30, 1910
April 25, 1966)
It was a big family and we had our ups and downs,
but it is interesting to think of later. We didn't have a lot, but learned
to appreciate what we had.
Many years have passed since the
beginning of this story; the time consumed about seventeen years of the
Wanzor's family life. It would be impossible to write it all, as your
author has lived another sixty-three years, being eighty years old at the
time of this writing. This story ends about the time World War I began. It
is written for the benefit of (present and future descendants) of Harry
and Mary Wanzor.
SARAH EVA WANZOR STONE
The town site of Mountain View was originally located in
Washita County about one and one half mile north of its present location
in Kiowa County. A flood occurred in 1903 which devastated the small town.
The town fathers decided that Mountain View must be moved to a higher
elevation to avoid a future flood disaster. The new Kiowa County location
was secured and the entire town moved there in August of 1903.
Wanzor farm was located in Washita County having been obtained as a
homestead in 1887 under Oklahoma Territory land claim law. Their farm was
close to the original Mountain View town site in Washita County so the
Wanzor family became closely entwined in Mountain View town
Mountain View became home for Harry and Mary Wanzor in the
1920's when they leased out their farm and bought a house in Mountain
View. Harry began working on cotton gin machinery and became quite
proficient at his trade. Harry suffered a heart attack and died on
September 27, 1934. Mary continued to live in her Mountain View home until
the late 1940's when she became unable to care for herself. Mary's oldest
daughter and author of this story, Sarah Eva Stone, took Mary to her home
in San Antonio, TX to live with her. Sarah provided home care for her
mother until Mary died March 5, 1963. Mary and Harry Wanzor are both
buried in the Mountain View Cemetery.
Submitted March 31, 2001 by:
James W. Clark, son of Julia
Wanzor Clark, and remains the property of Mr. Clark, All rights
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