Saturday, May 9, 2015

A Mother's Day Post: Martha Elizabeth White




Martha Elizabeth White was born on April 10, 1882, in Rheatown, Tennessee, her father was James Randolph White and her mother was Mary Mary Ann Emily Good. Her grandparents were: Isaac White and ELizabeth J Morley and Hartsell Good and Martha Milburn.

She married James Ruble Bailes on August 16, 1903, in Greene, Tennessee. They were married by the Reverend T. D. Roe in the Methodist Church in Rheatown.
James Ruble Bailes was the son of John FM Bails and Delphia Coldwell. Her husband served in CO F of the 8th Infantry and was sent to Peurto Rico during the Spanish American War.
They had 13 children in 20 years: Minnie Eva, James Ralph, Walter Randolph, William Howard, Mary Ellen, Lynn, Lillian Geraldine, Henry Kenneth, Carl Ruble, Eleanor Hassie, Hartsell Luther, Frank White and Robert Wilford.

Mrs. Bailes endured much hardship during her life. Her younger siblings, Elbert Carl and Elma both died young. Elma and Carl were twins, Elma died shortly after she was born and Carl died of pneumonia in 1915. Her brother James Henry White was killed during WW I. Her children, James Ralph, Mary Ellen and Lynn died when they were very young.
She worked hard to care for her family and her home was the gathering place for our family for many years. She purchased a washing machine and did laundry for the barber shop where her husband worked and also for some of her neighbors.

Mrs. Bailes was not a Great Grandmother who rocked me sleep or read me bedtime stories. Yes, I called my Great Grandparents Mr and Mrs Bailes. I was the first great grandchild and no one ever suggested that I call them anything else.

Her son Howard comitted suicide on Farragut Ave, near Sharp's Ridge on 28 May 1942. Her sons: Walt, Carl, HL, Frank and Bob and grandson Walter (Buddy) all served in World War II. Hartsell Luther was killed on May 30, 1945 in Luzon, Phillipines.

HL and Howard

Through the years we continued to gather at their house, even though many of their children had larger homes. I am not sure how we managed to fit in their house- surely the laws of physics must have been stretched to the limits!   I remember the house being filled with people, but it never seemed crowded. We met at Christmas and sometimes just for Sunday lunch. The table was always overflowing with food, but what I remember most was seeing my Aunts and Uncles and my cousins. What a gathering of cousins! Sometimes we would take our plates and sit on the floor in the hallway while we were eating.

We also met at their home in times of sadness. It was a place to be with family when a dear friend or family member died too.

Her son, and my Grandfather died on March 13, 1957 at their family home and Mrs Bailes died on December 4, 1957. Her death was the first time that our family gathered at their home without her and her absence was sorely missed. I do think that she was proud of how everyone continued with the traditions that she had started.

Although I dont't have any warm, fuzzy memories to share (don't worry, I have many wonderful memories of my Aunts and Uncles), I did learn some very important lessons for her and for these, I am thankful.

I learned the importance of service and the meaning of sacrifice for our country. 

 Her Grandfather Hartsell Good was killed in the Civil War, her husband served in the Spanish American War and suffered side affects from an illness he contacted while serving over seas. She lost her brother during WW I, in a battle near Chateau-Thierry, France. She saw five sons and one grandson go off to war and only four sons return.

I learned the importance of perseverance and hard work. 

 Raising a family during the Depression was not easy and supporting a large family on a barber's salary meant that everyone had to work.

I learned the importance of faith.

I learned the importance of family: 

“Other things may change us, but we start and end with family” Anthony Brandt

I think that she must have learned a lot of these lessons from her Mother, Mary Ann Emily Good (Molly), because when Molly died, this is what her husband had engraved on her headstone:

"She was a kind and loving wife, a fond Mother and a friend to all."

I think this was true for Martha Elizabeth White Bailes too.

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