A Hard Row To Hoe

A Hard Row To Hoe


My memories of stories that mother told me about her family . The hardships they encountered.

Stories about A Hard Row To Hoe

The Legend of Clara

  • Clarksville, Texas

My Grandmother Clara Gertrude Morgan was near 16 years old when a man rode up on a horse at her father's ranch.  James Lafayette Morgan born Apr. 14 1854 and Cassie Louisa Hensley Madison Morris Morgan born May 15, 1850 were my Maternal Great-grandparents. They had a ranch at Clarkesville, Texas.

Lafe and Cassie had numerous children: G-grandma had a son named Samuel Morris from a former marriage.  She and G-grandpa had Ella Morgan, born Oct.7, 1874 died Dec.16,1875: Emry Warren Morgan ,born Aug. 6, 1876, death unknown: Arlinda Ann Morgan, born Mar. 15, 1879, died June 28, 1963 : William Lafayette Morgan born Feb.8, 1881 died Jan. 20, 1970: Clara Gertrude Morgan, born June 6, 1883, died May 30, 1975, had Auburn red hair : Terria( Turie) Morgan Aug. 30, 1885 ,couldn't talk, never married, died young : Rachel Lydia Morgan, born June 26, 1887, death unknown : Cullen Morgan born Apr. 12, 1889, died Oct. 25, 1889: Samuel Arthur Morgan  born Aug.12,1892 died July 22, 1913, died young, kicked in the head by a horse. Mother said he had beautiful Auburn red hair. : Edward Morgan  born-unknown ,death -unknown probably infant birth.

This man was Benjamin Franklin Hardiman . Supposedly he was born in Davidson County, Tennessee. I was told that he was 1/4 Cherokee. He asked my G-grandfather Lafe for a job in which he obliged. So Frank Hardiman went to work for my G- grandfather.

They later moved to Daisy or near Redden, Oklahoma in Atoka County where my G-grandfather Lafe bought some land. Frank Hardiman born Sept. 2, 1862 and Glara Gertrude Morgan  born June 6, 1883 were married  Dec. 24, 1899 at Atoka, Oklahoma. He was 37 and she was 16.

To this marriage were added:

William James Hardiman : born 1900, died 1939 at Eastern State Hospital, Vinita, Oklahoma.- burial unknown.

Sarah Lillie Hardiman : born Sept. 26, 1902, Mother said she was born 1 mile east of Stringtown at the foot of a mountain. She died Feb. 26, 1991, buried at Highland Cemetery, Durant, Oklahoma. Died after she broke her hip and  was left laying in one place for 4 days before setting the hip and got a bed sore, which after she returned to the Nursing home got infected and killed her. Robert Mills (Charlene's husband) and Artie H. Whitworth  (her son) officiated at her funeral. Dean Mills played the organ. Marcus Whitworth (her grandson) sang. Herb and Sally Clark sang. Pallbearers were: Gerald Whitworth, Russell Andrew, Wesley Morgan, Uldis Reinfelds, Dale Fish, Marcus Whitworth:

Samuel Edward Hardiman born 1904 died 1905. Granny said it was from him nursing her after she was pregnant with Ozie. Probably old wives tale. Probably buried at Redden.

Ozie Marie Hardiman: born Mar.1, 1906, died July 27 ,1960 at 54 years 4 mos. and 26 days. We were told that she choked to death on a piece of watermelon at the State Hospital at Norman. She had marks on her neck as though she had been choked to death. Funeral service at Murray Funeral Home in Durant, buried at Wade, Oklahoma. She is buried next to Aunt Cassie. All of our family attended her funeral. She had only one person sign her book, one of granny's friends and she only had 3 flowers, one from the family, one from Cousin Cassie and Shorty Whisenhunt and one from Abundant Life Temple. Rev. Artie Hansel Whitworth officiated. Her pall bearers were Joe L.Whitworth, Aaron  Gomer Whitworth, Edgar Page( Katherene's husband) Edward .W. Andrew ( Charlene's Husband). Jude Wright, and A.L. Hatcher (both Joe's friends)

Cassie Elizabeth Hardiman: born Dec.29,1907, died Dec.23,1959. Died from kidney poison. The funeral was at Wade Church and she was buried at Wade Cemetery. Wade, Oklahoma. All of our family attended her funeral. Aunt Cassie was almost 52.

Ruby (Nanney) Jewell Hardiman born Apr.2,1910, died Nov.22,1994. Service at Lockesburg Cemetery. (right on the highway near the front left side), Lockesburg, Ark. Aunt Jewell also died from a broken hip and complications. Robert and Charlene attended her funeral.

Lockesburg Cemetery records:

DENTON, N. D. "Neb"                 Jan 12, 1905     Mar 1, 1993
DENTON, Ruby Jewell                  Apr 2, 1910    Nov 22, 1994

Mother said that Aunt Jewel was named Nanney Jewell but that Aunt Jewell had it changed to Ruby.?

One day my grandfather Benjamin Franklin Hardiman got on his horse and rode off leaving my grandmother  Clara with 5 children to raise. Having no means and no way of making a living she was forced to move back in with her parents, Lafe and Cassie. She divorced my grandfather in 1912.

Granny always had to work in the fields to raise her children. Times were rough. I remember mother saying that one time all they had to eat was pumpkins. They had eaten pumpkin so much, one day Aunt Jewell said , Mama what are we having for supper? Granny said, Punkin , my child punkin. Aunt Jewell said punkin, punkin, my God punkin.

Granny would leave the kids to cook dinner and  go to work in the fields, one day Aunt Jewell said, Mama make Ozzie make the bread while the baby( speaking of herself) makes the gravy.

During that time mother said Edward William had Epilepsy. He would have a (spell) and fall into the fireplace etc. so Granny put him in the State Hospital at Vinita where he stayed until he died in 1939 . I remember mother telling that she sent him clothes etc. They were required to furnish his personal things.

Granny met and married John D. Oyzort, a fisherman, an alcoholic, suposedly a Cherokee Indian also. I do not know for sure but I  would guess he worked on my G-grandfather's ranch also. I remember mother telling that he would be drunk and threatening my granny and they would hide in the fields and sleep there all night.

Not such a good life it seemed, but the kids grew and went to school at Redden, Oklahoma. I remember Mother telling what fun they had playing in McGee creek and how beautiful McGee Valley was.

I remember Mother telling about going after milk at a neighbors house, on the horse. Something spooked the horse while she was coming home and the horse began to run . The milk was in a syrup bucket tied onto the saddle strings. The lid flew off and milk went everywhere, spooking the horse all the more. A neighbor down the road ran out and stopped the horse. She didn't say if she went back to get more milk.

As they grew up they went to work at various places. My mother (Sarah Lillie) worked in a boarding house at Tuskahoma. She also worked at various restaurants.

Granny and Grandpa Oyzort moved to Smith-Lee to be near the Red river. They lived in a tent and a dugout on the river. Mother stayed in Tuskahoma and worked. She got homesick and wrote that she was coming to Smith-Lee. Granny got Joseph Lewis Whitworth who ran a grocery store at Wade to go to Durant to the train station and pick Lillie up and bring her to Wade. This was probably late 1923 or 24.

J.L.'s wife and mother had both died in 1923 so he was lonely. Mother, Sarah Lillie Whitworth  and J.L. became close and were married on May 12, 1924 on the steps of the Bryan Co. Court House at Durant, Oklahoma by a judge.  Mother said she fell down the steps of the court house  and broke the heel off her shoe. What a way to start a marriage. My daddy had told Mother that he was 40. When they went to get their marriage lisense she discovered that he was born  on Sept. 25 1867. So he was almost 57. Mother was almost 22.

Clara my grandmother was so mad at my mother for marrying J.L. She didn't speak to her for a long time.

Sometime after that Granny put my Aunt Ozie in the State Hospital at Norman. Mother said that when she came into womanhood she went crazy and she put her in the State hospital. Who knows?

At sometime before 1936 my grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Hardiman came to Bryan County. He was sick and came to see the girls. My Aunt Cassie Elizabeth had married Homer Boyd and I believe this marriage only lasted about 3 months. To this marriage was a little girl named Edith Juanita born Aug.13, 1926. Aunt Cassie came back home to Granny. She later married Branum Denton , born Aug. 8, 1892, died Jun.20,1976. To this marriage was born a little girl they named Bonnie B. Denton .  She was born Jan. 2, 1933, died Nov. 24, 1994. Aunt Cassie and Uncle Branum Denton also had a little baby boy born dead at Colbert, Oklahoma. I guess he is buried at Colbert.

My Aunt Jewell had married Branum's brother Neasbit D. Denton, born Jan. 12, 1905, died Mar. 1, 1993. To this marriage was born a little girl named Wanda and one named Florene which both died at age 5. A daughter named  Katherene who still lives and one named Norma Jean, who is still living. Aunt Jewell and Aunt Cassie both lived near Eagle lake in Southern Bryan County at Karma near Yarnaby.

My mother and dad, Lillie and J.L. lived at Wade where my dad owned and ran a grocery store.

My grandfather lived near Aunt Jewell in a dugout. He got very sick and my Aunt Jewell told me she had gone over to check on him and he was laying in the yard sick. He hadn't eaten anything so she asked him what he felt like he could eat. He said, "Chicken and dumplings". She walked across the pasture to her house and killed the chicken and cooked it and made the dumplings and when she took it over to him he was dead. He died Aug. 25,1936. He is buried at Yarnaby next to Aunt Jewells little girls, Wanda and Florene. My brothers and I bought a marker and Robert and I put at the place where we thought he was buried. It is near the back  middle part of the cemetery

My mother Sarah Lillie and J.L. lived in a big house at Wade, Dad had built for his 1st. wife and family. They had come to Wade from Jackson, Tennessee in a wagon via Telephone,Texas where he had farmed for a while before he came across the river and bought the grocery store. As I said He and Mother married May 12, 1924. On Jan 18, 1926 a little boy was born named Odie Loyd. He died the same day. Mother said the cord was wrapped aroung his neck. The story was that it was caused from reaching up above her head hanging out clothes. Another old wives tale. He is buried at Wade. Daddy went to Durant and bought him a little casket and made him a marker.

Then on April 18, 1928 another little boy was born named Lewis Junior Whitworth. When he went into the Army they would not accept Junior as a name so he put his name down as Joe L. Whitworth. Joe died May 30th, on my birthday, 1989 with a massive heart attack. He is buried at Green Hill Memorial Gardens, Sapulpa, Oklahoma where he lived and taught school for many years.

Artie Hansel Whitworth was born  on October 8, 1933, died Jan. 17, 1996. He died from liver cancer  caused from a bad blood tranfusion he had gotten at Oklahoma City Crippled Children's Hospital when he had back surgery as a child and caused Hepatitis. His funeral was at the Nazarene Church in Durant and he is buried at  Albany Cemetery, Albany, Oklahoma where they lived. He had built them a beautiful little house there after he had retired from the ministry.

Aaron Gomer Whitworth was born on Dec. 7, 1935. He is still living.

Emily Charlene Whitworth was born on May 30, 1938 and is still living.

Grandpa John Oyzort as I said was a fisherman and drank a lot. He would ride his horse from the river to Wade to the beer joint and get quite drunk. When he got drunk he gobbled like a turkey, thus he was called Turkey John. He used to come and spend the night with us, he would be drunk and Mother would put him upstairs in the boys bedroom to sleep He always had his (our) dog Snowball with him and he would talk to the dog. Mother never allowed dogs in the house except at this time, she would never buck Grandpa when he was drunk or otherwise. He would say, You don't like a big dog, you don't like a little dog do you little Bang. ( His name for Snowball)  One time he was drunk and at my dad's grocery store and some men were in there aggravating him. They picked up a bottle of pepper sauce off the shelf and said, Here John, here is some good Whiskey. He drank it and it almost choked him to death. When Daddy saw what they had done he ran them all off. Grandpa John would drink anything if he got out of Whiskey. He drank Bay Rum, Vanilla Extract, White Lightening, anything he could find. He was implicated in a fight one day at the store across the street from us which sold beer. They all had a knock down and drag out. One guy got his ear bit off. We watched from our porch afraid that Grandpa John would get killed but he survived, got on his horse and rode off.

Granny Clara divorced Grandpa John Oyzort in 1936 because of his drinking  and moved to Durant where she worked at many places. She worked at the Egg Plant in Denison, Texas, at the Little Onion Cafe on N. 3rd St. in Durant, in peoples home cleaning their houses. Granny had no car so she would walk from her house on the East side of town over to the West side where the rich folks lived to clean their house and walk back home after she had worked all day. Granny was of Holliness belief and attended church regularly.  I used to love to come to Durant and stay with her and go to church. She would let me eat viennas, pork and beans, and cookies. Things we never had at home. She would ride the mail car down to Wade to see us. I always loved it when she came. She would bring candy and chewing gum, and toys people had given her where she cleaned house. She and my dad, J.L. wasn't too fond of each other.

Granny loved to make crocheted rugs. She would tear old clothes and make rugs from them. My granny Clara dipped Garrett snuff. She would take a dip in her cheek and sit and crochet rugs. She seemed quite content at doing this. The snuff seemed to calm her down.  I remember one day we were at her house and she kicked over her spit can. I almost gagged. Guess I wouldn't have made a good snuff dipper.   She, Aunt Nin, Aunt Jewell, Aunt Cassie and Edith all dipped and when they were together they would just have a good dipping party. Mother never dipped, thank God.

One day the Welfare lady was coming to see Granny. Granny had some cash that she had managed to squirrel away. It was in a Bull Durham tobacco sack attached to her slip with a safety pin. She was afraid that the Welfare lady would find it so she slipped it down in the trash can beside her where she put the strings from her torn rags. After the Welfare lady had come and gone Granny had forgotten the money in the trash can and emptied it into the big trash can. The morning after was garbage day so she emptied it into the trash can outside, thus went the money, around $250. The garbage truck came and went and the money was gone. She never put her money in the trash can again.

I  loved to go to Granny's house in the later years, she could cook the best pinto beans( she always put fresh garlic in her beans) and make the best fresh apple cake I have ever eaten. Granny got to where she couldn't care for herself and went to the Nursing Home. She fell and broke her hip and died on my birthday May 30, 1975. Her funeral was at Murray Funeral with Bro. Ed Philpot officiating. She is buried at Highland Cemetery in Durant , Oklahoma, next to my mother.

Later on, Grandpa John Oyzort worked for Earl Webb at Tishomingo who owned Ballard Park. Mr.Webb sold out and went to California leaving Grandpa Oyzort alone. He worked at the park for awhile. He had a sister named Pearl at Tishomingo.  He also had some nieces, one named Bonnie Beauford. He found out that Mr. Webb had returned from California and bought a place at Muldrow, he wrote and asked if he had a place for him and he moved to Muldrow in Dec. 1952 to work for Mr. Webb again helping him on his ranch. Mr. and Mrs. Webb had to go back to California to help their son and again Grandpa John got lonely. He wrote to Aunt Cassie and asked her if Lillie's house was empty and if Mr. Harrod still sold beer and if Mr. Williams still had a truck that he would like to come back to Wade and fish . This was just a few weeks before his death. Mr. and Mrs. Webb came back and he decided to stay there.. He and Mr. Webb were feeding  the cows giving them hay when Grandpa John fell dead. This was June 23,1953. We were not notified until he was already buried. Mrs. Webb found Aunt Cassie's address on a letter in the wood stove and wrote to her. He is buried at Muldrow in Maple Cemetery, I have looked for his grave but could not find it. I don't guess he has a marker. His sister Pearl died on May 17, 1953 only about a month before Grandpa John.

I contacted the funeral home who held his services and this is my reply.

John D. Oyzort died on June 23, 1953 in Muldrow, Ok.  He was born September 2, 1883 in Tennessee.  I show he was buried on June 26, 1953 in Maple Cemetery, north of Muldrow, Ok.  I would not have any information about the location of his grave in the cemetery.  Arvil Ross is the cemetery caretaker.  Thanks.

Agent Funeral Home Sallisaw, Oklahoma 74955

I have also found  that in the 1910 Census in Atoka county that Grandpa Oyzort was married to a lady named Sallie. She was born in 1873. She had 3 children from a former mariage : Buford F. Holder age 17: Roy R. Holder, age 13 and James Lewis Holder age 10. It says Grandpa John was 25 and she was 37. I scarcely remember Mother telling me that he was married before granny .

James Lafayette Morgan  died : date unknown , granny's dad and her mother Cassie Louisa Hensley Madison Morris Morgan died Sept. 26, 1921 are buried at Redden, Oklahoma. James and I (Charlene) and my two sons, Gerald and Russell bought markers for them and set them at their grave.

My Granny was quite an individualist. She spoke her piece,which sometime we didn't like to hear. I think sometimes that I must take after her in actions and in size, but one thing for sure, my Granny was a fighter. She was a pioneer. As the name of the story states, "She Had a Hard Row To Hoe." She had two irresponsible husbands, she lost four children, ten brothers and sisters, her parents, her grandparents, four grandchildren, had two children that were mentally challenged, then lost her two husbands to death, all in her lifetime. She made a living for herself and children, kept her senses, hardly ever sick until she fell and broke her hip and lived to be 91years 11 months and 24 days. Wow! what a woman . I'll never forget my Granny. I helped take care of her, taking her to the doctor, buying her groceries, paying her bills, seeing to her needs until she went to the nursing home and continuing a lot of  that afterwards. Not one regret. She was my "Granny Oyzort".

work in progress.

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