dee_burris: (Default)
2012-06-11 08:33 pm

Tombstone Tuesday: Edmonson Family Plot

This is the Edmonson family plot at Oakland Cemetery in Little Rock. These are my brother-in-law's maternal ancestors.

Graves in this plot include:
Jonas Smith Edmonson, 1828-1894
Phebe Harris Edmonson, 1835-1903

Their daughter, Mary Frances "Mamie" Edmonson Jordan, 1861-1948

Mamie's children:
Harry Jordan, 1887-1887
Helen Phoebe Jordan Rutherford, 1899-1978

Helen's son from her first marriage to George Ira Brandon, George William "Billy" Brandon, 1910-1927

Helen's second husband, Herbert Hoshall Rutherford, 1899-1930
dee_burris: (Default)
2012-01-28 09:05 am

In search of Ruth's story... Part 1

I think of them as my orphan relatives.

The ones who left no descendants - no one to tell their stories. The aunts and uncles who may or may not be remembered fondly - or at all.

As generations pass, those who knew the stories of the orphan relatives pass on also.

The stories are lost.

I'm going to try and piece together the story of my grand aunt, Ruth Lucille Balding. I'm getting some help from first cousins in California and New York, an aunt in Texas, my sister, and all the old familiar resources available to family historians.

I recognize that perspective is subjective. Ruth's siblings no doubt had their own perspectives on their family of origin, and passed those down to their descendants.

I hope I do Ruth justice in the telling of her story.
Ruth Lucille Balding was born in Little Rock, Pulaski Co., AR on 9 May 1903 to her 15 year old mother Hattie Belle Chapin, and her 29 year old father, Victor Claude Balding.

Ruth lived in Little Rock all her life.

I believe she was named for another Ruth, her mother's sister, who died when Hattie Chapin was about 5 years old. Three years after Ruth Chapin's death in 1892, Fred Chapin brought his wife Eada, and 8 year old daughter, Hattie, from Fort Scott to Little Rock.

I think her sister must have been on Hattie's mind when her first daughter was born.

Hattie and Victor had six other children after Ruth - Eugene Victor in 1905; Doris Geneva in 1907; Vera Virginia in 1910; Marion Chapin "Murnie" in 1912; Marvin Parrish in 1915; and Russell Ellington in 1917.

As was often the case in large families, Ruth became a surrogate mother to her younger siblings. She may have felt she lost her childhood, as evidenced by a conversation one of my cousins remembers being related to her by one of our relatives. Teen-aged Ruth stumbled upon her parents getting frisky, and told them to cut it out, because she wasn't going to raise any more of their children.

By 1920, Ruth was employed at the Brandon Stove Company (later The Brandon Company) as a stenographer. She was 17 years old, and with her father, provided the financial support for the family of nine in their home at 217 Dennison Street.

Until she married the owner of the Brandon Stove Company, Walter Nathan Brandon, Sr., in 1932, Ruth lived at home with her parents, contributing her income to the common good, including that of some of her teenaged and adult siblings.

But she did find some time for fun with her we'll see in Part 2.

Part 3
Part 4
dee_burris: (Default)
2012-01-28 09:01 am

Ruth's story... Part 3

On 21 May 1932, when she was 29 years old, Ruth married her boss, Walter Nathan Brandon, Sr. He was just a few months younger than Ruth's father. Ruth was Walter's third wife.

From a business standpoint, the match was an excellent one. Ruth was already the company bookkeeper, and the 1937 Polk's Directory for Little Rock/North Little Rock listed principals of the business as Benton D Brandon, President; Walter N Brandon, Vice President, and Ruth Brandon, Secretary/Treasurer.

According to the company's current website, ...the Brandon Co was founded in 1903, as a supplier of sundries, heaters, stoves, linoleum, and rugs to hardware and general stores throughout Arkansas. The company distributed products from several flooring manufacturers including Sandura, Rubberoid, Pabco, Armstrong, Mannigton Mills, and G.A.F. Brandon quickly gained a reputation for being the leading distributor in Arkansas for flooring, as well as stoves and hardware.

The Company was originally located at 610 East Markham Street in Little Rock, Arkansas. In the 1930's, Brandon Co. suffered a fire at its original location and moved next door to 608 East Markham Street. This is where Brandon Company called home for the next 60 years, until 1994 when Brandon Company expanded to its current location at 401 North Vine Street in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

By 1942, the principals in the Brandon Company were Walter and Ruth.
After their marriage, the Brandons lived in Walter's home at 1922 South Battery Street in Little Rock. For a period of time, Walter's son from his second marriage to Alma Mabel Spinner (who died in 1930), Walter Nathan Brandon, Jr., lived with them.

Photo taken 2 Jan 2012

It was from Walter Jr.'s young daughter that Ruth purchased cartons of Girl Scout cookies to ship to one of her nephews stationed overseas - an act of thoughtfulness that got her nephew teased by the men in his unit about which troop he belonged to.

That same nephew sought Ruth's career advice when he returned from his military service, and he was employed by the Brandon Company for several years.

Ruth and Walter Brandon, undated photo.

Although Ruth and Walter Brandon were married for sixteen years, they did not have any children together.

Several members of my family think it was possible Ruth had enough of raising children while she was growing up.

On her 45th birthday, 9 May 1948, Ruth's husband died. He was buried in Oakland Cemetery in Little Rock, in the Brandon family plot.

And the dynamics of Ruth's family began to change.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 4