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Dee Burris Blakley ([personal profile] dee_burris) wrote2011-08-20 01:11 pm

Remembering Aunt Emma

Aunt Emma was the oldest sister of my paternal grandfather, Goerge Washington Burris, Jr. She was the only one of his four sisters to live to adulthood, and I always had the sense that they were a very close sibling pair - after all, Granddaddy named his second daughter after her.

Aunt Emma outlived my granddad by eight years.
She was born Dora Emma Burris, fourth child of George Washington Burris, Sr., and Mary Mathilda Wharton, and their first daughter.

Dora Emma Burris, c. 1890

She was, as were all her brothers and sisters, born "on Isabel Creek," in those days before birth certificates required exact locations of birth. Isabel Creek was, and still is, an important landmark in rural Pope Co., AR.

Emma married Walter Thomas Crites, who was known as Tom or Tommy, on 15 May 1906, just before her 21st birthday. Tom Crites was the son of Adam "Green" Crites and Mary Elizabeth Worsham.


Emma's firstborn son, Eldrege, was not quite six months old when she and Tom Crites married. My understanding is that from the day they married, Eldrege became - and was always treated as - Tom's son. End of story.

Emma's family grew. She and Tom had a son, Elston Reece, on 9 Sep 1907, and a daughter, Hazel Matilda, on 10 Oct 1908.

Emma must have been pregnant with Hazel when this family photo was taken.

Left to right: Emma, Eldrege, Tom holding Reese

Emma and Tom had a son, named for Emma's father and younger brother, on 15 Nov 1909. George Washington Crites died shortly after his first birthday on 30 Nov 1910.

Tom Crites died on 10 Jul 1950, so I never knew him.
I knew Aunt Emma when she was much older - in her late 70s and early 80s.

When I was a kid, we camped not far from her little house on Crites Road - the house that still had a wood cookstove. I'd go to her house to dig beside her chicken coop for the big, fat worms we used for fish bait. She always sent us home after the weekend was over with something she had canned.

And if the conversation took a turn she didn't like, she turned her hearing aids off, and shouted, Can't hear ya...
We have photos of Aunt Emma on grandaddy's birthday and hers.

Emma helping brother George survey his birthday loot

Emma on her 88th birthday in June 1973

Dora Emma Burris Crites died on 15 Apr 1982, and was buried beside her husband in St. Joe Cemetery, Pope Co., AR.

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