Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Love of the Land

Can't you just hear the swing creaking and the screen door slamming in this wonderful painting by Duane Bryers? A trip over to the farm this week brought back that familiar "Home Sweet Home" feeling. We were there to mow and spray weeds, a work day so there was no time for porch sitting or moon gazing but I have those memories tucked away and they will never fade!

Our Grandson went with us and mowed the yard, hard work for a 12 year old! Gavin has inherited a love of the land, not sure how that happens when you've been a city kid all your life! He begs to go with us and wants to help out with the work involved. I wonder if farm life may be in his future. It suited my Grandparents, they chose that lifestyle while Grandpa's brothers and sisters moved to California during those Depression years for better wages.

I've heard my Mother time and again tell about when her parents bought a wheat thresher to help them with the harvest. They took great pride in this piece of machinery that made their lives so much easier.

Until they were able to buy the thresher, hay rakes were used to harvest the wheat.... can you imagine?

This instruction manual was in the top of one of the closets, it didn't take me long to locate the pictures of the delivery day of this much anticipated machine!

 This had to be either the banker or the salesman... a suit and farm work don't exactly go together! Grandpa is in the background.

 Here Grandma and her cousin show how easy it is to operate this big rig!

Today's farmers face many challenges, costs for producing crops are astronomical with the price of corn and gasoline, not to mention farm equipment. When I look at these pictures, I am in awe of the strength my Grandparents must have had to run their farm. Really it was just the two of them, and somehow they managed. We've come a long way, American farmers feed the world. Quite an accomplishment!

Monday, May 25, 2020

Confederate Cemetery Fayetteville, Arkansas

One of the few posts my husband ever wrote on the blog, definitely one of my favorites! Memorial Day weekend is time off for most of us, we gather as families and many of us visit the cemeteries of our loved ones to decorate the graves. This cemetery is located just blocks from the historic Fayetteville downtown square and the day we visited we were the only ones there. It contains the remains of men who died in the service of the Confederacy in North Arkansas. Some of the soldiers buried here died from illness in disease ridden camps or from battle in one of the most violent and desperately contested fronts of the Civil War. Their graves once dotted the hills of Northwest Arkansas until 1878 when the Southern Memorial Association of Washington County established the beautiful cemetery. The bodies of fallen soldiers were exhumed and brought here for final burial.

These pictures and the poignant words of my husband tell why we can never forget these old cemeteries...

The trees seem to watch over these soldiers,  almost as if they stand at attention to salute those who rest beneath.  These ancient trees speak to me, I wonder if they speak to each other?

Do they encourage each other to be strong?  In the face of decades of tornadoes, ice storms, wind storms, droughts, floods, and everything else that nature has offered them, they don't give up.  I saw a very large depression in the ground with the remnants of a rotten stump.  Do the trees whisper to each other that one of them has fallen?  Does this increase their resolve to remain strong until the younger trees can grow to a size to shade the soldiers?

They remind me of a photo I saw of a 92 year old World War II veteran who had the opportunity to visit the new WWII memorial in Washington, DC.  He flew out on a Honor Flight from our airport wearing his old uniform.  My company helps sponsor these flights so that the few surviving WWII vets who are able to travel have the opportunity to see it.  In the picture he made a valiant effort to stand straight and salute.

The trees here are very much like this gentleman, proud to salute those resting there but too old to stand straight anymore.
I wonder if they will still be there next Memorial Day?  Will any finally fall when the next storm comes or will they make it another year, just waiting for the small ones to relieve them of guard duty?

The graves in the old Confederate Cemetery honor someone's father, husband, friend. Somewhere there are family members who've never seen this cemetery. They can't imagine the beauty and the peace that surrounds their loved one. I just wish they knew that he is honored by all who call themselves Americans.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Risley Family Pictures

It's hard to explain genealogy, and for most of us we aren't remotely interested until we get older. "Older" is a relative term, sometimes it happens when you are "younger!" For my family, that was the case. My maternal grandmother lost her Mom and Dad both by the time she was 16, her Aunt Zulah stepped up and was there for her. My Dad's side, the Risley's were always vocal about past generations. But it takes awhile to soak in, for me I was in my 40's before I ever did a search on Ancestry. If you're lucky enough to have family still around that remember, ask them now. And if you are really lucky and have pictures take the time to tell your kids who they are, even share on social media. I use and it's a wonderful way to share information with relatives.

Oliver Lee Risley and Nancy Elizabeth Ledbetter Risley married Sept.19,1875 
 Back L-R May Risley Groves, Alice Risley Yocham, 2nd row Virgil Risley, Oliver Risley, Nancy Ledbetter Risley, Ross Risley front row Troy Risley, Minta Risley Farmer, John Risley.

Oliver(b. 4-22-1852 Ozark County, Mo. d. 2-24-1930 Peel, Ar.)was the son of Silas and Catherine Adams. 
Nancy Ledbetter(b.1-29-1858 Texas County, Mo. d. 3-24-1933 Marion County, Ar.)was the daughter of Jones Ledbetter and Cathrine Nation Ledbetter.

Both are buried at Peel Cemetery Marion County, Ar.

They were the parents to Lilly Mae Risley Groves, Alice Risley Yocham, Virgil Elmo Risley, Ross Lee Risley, Troy Benton Risley, Arminta Risley Farmer, John Oliver Risley and Burl Risley.

Virgil Elmo Risley and Nola Mae Smith Risley
Married Sept. 10, 1910 Boone County, Ar.
Virgil Elmo Risley (b.9-18-1885 d.1-3-1946)married Nola Mae Smith Risley (b.3-4-1890 d.9-27,1968)
1927 or '28 (front row- Walton Risley, Joy Risley Fountain, Hobert Risley back row- Tracey Risley, Nola Smith Risley, Virgil Risley.

Grandma Nola Smith Risley's Family
on the back- 1st row: Uncle Bill O'Neil, Joy Risley, Grandma Smith, Virginia Smith, Edna Smith, Grandpa, J.W. Smith, Hobert Risley, Uncle Arthur Smith 2nd row: Avo Smith, Jimmy Smith, Aunt Walsie O'Niel, Troy Smith, Marie Ewing(Aunt Frankie's sister) Aunt Frankie Smith, Walton Risley, Nola Risley 
picture taken in 1929

on the back- From left to right front row: Tracey Risley, Cleo Risley (Pride), Walton Risley, Nola Risley, Hobert Risley Back row: May Risley (Cleo's Mother)

Virgil Risley no date, but I'm thinking probably 1920's. He and grandma Risley were both teachers at Peel School. Can you imagine teaching your own kids? I have their school bells from their desks!

 Brothers Tracey Risley (1913-1971) and Walton Risley (1917-2003)

Tracey Elmo Risley- 3 years old

Hobert Risley and sister Joy Risley Fountain with their Mom, Nola Smith Risley

Virgil Risley and son Hobert Risley
on the banks of the White River 1928

on the back- About 1911 Left to Right Standing: Arthur Smith, Jim Smith, Nola Smith (Risley), Erby Smith (Kelley), Walsie Smith (O'Neill), Seated: Mr. & Mrs. Jasper Smith, Lum Girtman (brother to Margaret Smith), and son of Lum's (these would be Grandma Nola Smith Risley's family)

Brothers Hobert and Walton Risley- November 1938
My Dad loved this picture, he always pointed out his Mom... she never missed an opportunity to be in a picture!

   The old Risley Homeplace at Peel, my Dad had so many fond memories of his childhood. He and his brothers spent many happy hours hunting and fishing. I loved to hear him talk about walking to school and cutting through a neighbors pasture with a bull in it that chased him!

 Peel, Ar. school

                          Peel School (Hobert Risley 3rd row back 6th from right) 
Fascinating stories written by Silas Turnbo about Ozark Pioneers, these have Risley's mentioned!
The following account which is sad an pathetic was furnished me by Mr. Noah Mefford and his wife Mrs. Rebecca (Risley) Mefford and relates to the death of ...

S. C. Turnbo: A Wild Bear and Two Boys Drink Water Together
Shortly after Brown's death the widow married Ben Risley and they lived a number of years near the present site of Theodosia. After the death of Risley she  ...

S. C. Turnbo: Stories of Enormous Black Snakes
The other story is a remarkable one and was related to me by Silas Risley, the well known large man who lives near Dugginsville in Ozark County, Mo. "One day ...

S. C. Turnbo: Bunches of Wolves as Viewed by Settler
Mick Risley, brother of Silas Risley, tells about seeing 14 wolves near where Lutie Post Office (Ozark Co., Mo.) (Ben Jones store) is now. They were all gray ...

S. C. Turnbo: Several Stories of All Sorts
Oliver Risley in referring to peculiar colored deer says that he killed a 5 point buck on Coon Creek in Marion County, Ark., one day that its back from the root of  ...

S. C. Turnbo: A Short History of the Lize Friend Grave Yard on Little ...
Silas Risley's wife was named Betsey and I am told that Silas was the first settler on the land known now as the sand field which is on the west bank of Little ...

S. C. Turnbo: Forest Scenes That Were Funny
Bud Risley, an old pioneer of Ozark County, Mo., was a famous bee hunter. He was similar to the deer slayer and bee hunter, Bill Clark, in hunting. When Risley  ...

S. C. Turnbo: Tieing a Grown Wolf Foot with a Rope and Pulling It ...
... two sons of Asa Yocum, Mike and John, and Oliver Risley, John Clark and Felix Jones went to the den to make a clean sweep of the young wolves that the old ...

S. C. Turnbo: The Taburs Who Were Early Settlers on Big Creek
Their daughters were Becca, Jemima and Celia the last of which married Mich Risley. Henry Tabur married Ruthy Pershears. Their children were John the ...

S. C. Turnbo: A Panther Attempts to Snatch an Infant from Its ...
The creek bottom on which he lived is known now as the "Sandfield" and was first settled by Silas Risley, another old pioneer settler on this stream. Fulkerson ...

​S. C. Turnbo: Torturing Wolves by Flaying Them Alive
Leaving the wolf fast in the trap I sought the assistance of Ben Risley and Levi Graham which was willingly given. With chains, ropes and stout thongs of dressed ...
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