Every Body Has at Least One
At the visitation for Mother Shumaker, I happened to be standing by our Mother and Hattie White while we looked on her silent form. As they reminisced, Mother said, "I don't know how I ever could have made it without her. She helped in so many ways: sewing, canning and knowing the answers to all the questions." Then she suddenly realized, and said, "But, Hattie, you were the youngest of your six, three brothers and two other sisters. And you were only fifteen when your Mother died. How did you make it?" Hattie pointed down into the casket, and said, "I had her." That must have been about 31 years ago. And it brings tears to my eyes, even as I write this story now. It surely must be very ok to have more than one Mother!
After the Civil War, Grandma and Grandpa Luker were married and had the first two of their eight children, they joined their covered wagon to ten more and made a train of eleven covered wagons leaving Alabama for the great new state of Texas. They traveled west day after day, crossing out of their home state, and through Mississippi and Louisiana until they came to the River. It flows down the middle of Louisiana. They set up camp. They built a raft of fallen logs. On the day of crossing all was ready. Then by daylight they were loading the first wagon, family and whatever belonged to them onto the raft. They launched out into the waters of the river with cattle and horses in tow. As they rowed forward, they drifted down river. By the time they reached the west bank, they were about a mile down river. So then they had to tow the raft up river with horses far enough that the unloaded and empty raft could be guided to drift back to the waiting wagons at the camp site on the east bank. It took all day. The last wagon was unloading from the raft on the west bank of the Mighty Ole Miss in the moon light. Grandma said, "I'll never cross that river again, even if I never see my Mother." What sacrifices people sometimes make! The good part is that her Mother eventually made the trip to Texas and lived out her life with her family over there.
Our own Mother gave birth to eleven little babies. It was the fourth one of us who was still born. So we never got to know him, hug him, hold him, kiss him, rock him, play with him, or even name him. He is the one who has gone on to heaven, ahead of us all. I know that Mother and Daddy measured the time of his loss by comforting the parents in other homes who had experienced the untimely departure of one of their own. Once when I was home from College, I waited in the car for about an hour while they visited a couple who had recently dealt with such pain.
The angel warned Mary, mother of Jesus, that she would suffer much pain in her life time. God warned Eve that women would suffer pain in child bearing. I think many Mothers suffer lots more pain than that. During a revival meeting I preached at the Oregon, Illinois Church of the Nazarene, a gracious older lady came crying to me at the close of one of the services. She said, "I thought when I got my children all raised, that would be the end of my troubles." She and her husband had ten or eleven children. Years ago when their children were younger, their house caught fire in the night. Their oldest, thirteen year old son, died in the fire. When the Husband told me about it after forty or more years, his voice broke and tears ran down his face. She continued her story. Their oldest daughter and husband had been married thirty or thirty-five years. They had several grown children, five or six. Almost all those years they lived in south central Wisconsin. Late every Sunday afternoon he bid goodbyes to his wife and children. She manned up to the household chores and guided the kids through the thick and thin of life on the lot, in the school and through the summer. He came home after work every Friday. Saturday and part of Sunday were their hours together. The dear old Lady and old Man reported the sad story they had just learned the week I was there. The faithful laboring man brought money ever week so the wife, their daughter, would have no needs. Now, he had just confessed, he had been living with another woman and had raised another family with her. Should he be congratulated on being faithful to each, wife and woman? Should he be congratulated on raising all his children, on supplying enough income to support two families? O the awful pain, heart ache and deception that sin brings.
Our Great Grandmother (Bond) Shumaker was a girl of twelve years when her parents immigrated from England to the United States. They moved to Texas. There were ten children in all. Their Daddy's name was James Bond.
The girl, Our Great Grandmother, married Elbert Shumaker. They had several children, in two groups: George, Bessie, Johnny, (?) and then our Grand Daddy Shumaker, Ernest Albert, Uncle Bill, maybe Fannie Beth, Uncle Jim and Uncle Milton. Those four older ones were married and gone from the house by the time our Grand Daddy was thirteen years old. At that time Great Grandfather told Great Grandmother that he just could not give up his addiction to alcohol. So he wanted to leave home rather than be a bad example to those younger boys. He took all the cattle, drove them to market, sold them and left. Great Grandmother was a woman who loved God and attended Church with her family. There was a wonderful family in the Church who were best friends with Great Grandmother. The good family was an evangelist, Rev. Davis and his wife. They had six children. The oldest, a boy, Everett Davis was best friends with our Granddaddy, Ernest.
Ernest naturally became the man of the house. The Davis family gave encouragement and hope to Great Grandmother. Eventually Ernest met Liffa Mae Maberry at a Church social. He drove her to her home that night in his buggy. She said of the event, "The rest is history." Liffa's parents, we all called, Mama and Papa Berry. Papa Berry's occupation was, "trader." He made his living by trading: cattle for horses, or a team for an acreage, or a house for something else, a well made pocket knife for a one carat diamond ring. So they were often moving from one place to another. Roosevelt, Oklahoma was one destination, Another small farm was down the hill to the west of High Point, five or six miles east of Eldorado, Oklahoma. The Maberry's had five daughters and two little sons. The boys were younger than the girls. Chester, died at about two or three years of age. Homer lived to old age. Liffa, V., Alta, Dazie, and Lou were the five little girls. They all grew up to be remarkable Mothers. Sometime in the 30"s or 40"s Mama and Papa Berry moved to California. There he bought or started a Grocery Store. I think they ran it until they retired. Around that time, Aunt V. moved to California, also. Eventually Aunt Alta moved to South Texas and Aunt Dazie to Tuscon, Arizona. That left Aunt Lou (she lived to be 100 years old) and Mother Shumaker in Oklahoma. They all were outstanding women. Because I knew Mother Shumaker week after week for years on end I knew her to be a most phenominal woman! She is a story all her own.
Our Great Grandparents: Easleys and Lukers lived near each other in north central Texas. Both Great Grandma Easley and Great Grandma Luker were amazing women. Grandma Easley had seven sons and three daughter. Grandma Luker had four sons and four daughters. Easley's eldest son, Will married Annie, third daughter of the Luker's. Some years later Easley's sixth son, Frank, married Kate, Luker's youngest daughter.
There in brief, you have the seeds of our roots: Shumaker's, Maberry's, Luker's and Easley's. At least three of our four Great Grandfathers served in the Civil War. They married wives, raised families, traveled by foot, horse back, buggy, wagon, boat, train and car in their own life's time. All eight of our Great Grandparents were born by or just before the middle of the 1800's. Our Easley Grandparents: Frank and Kate (Luker) Easley were born in 1887. Our Shumaker Grandparents: Ernest and Liffa Mae (Maberry) Shumaker were born -- Ernest in 1889 and Liffa in 1891. Airplanes were first built in 1903. All eight of our Great Grandparents lived beyond that time in history. Great Grandma Luker died in 1918, our Daddy was
three. Great Grandma Easley, Great Grandpa Luker, Great Grandma and Grandpa Shumaker all died in the 1930's. Great Grandpa Easley died on Christmas Eve 1940. Papa and Mama Berry died in the 1940's.
The first of our Grandparents to die was Granddaddy Shumaker in 1958. He was 68 years old. Mother Shumaker was 91, Papa was almost 92 and Granny lived to 101 years and 4 months old. The amazing thing to me is that all our four Great Grandmothers and two Grandmothers lived to their old age. In the years of their times, it was not unusual for women to die early in their lives and sometimes to die in child birth. We are so very fortunate and grateful that so many of the Mothers in our family lived long and have highly impacted our own lives. Praise God for our Mothers: Mothers who pray and are such wonderful examples to our families.
God bless, favor, protect and guide our Mothers through all this present century or until Jesus comes!