LOUISE T SNYDER
Mon, 19 Jun 2000 Em, with contributions from brothers Frank and Don:
Louise Joyce Thompson was born on January 13, 1890, in Hamilton, Ontario, to Emily Reeveley Lewes. (Oops! Mom, I think I just rattled the bones of our first skeleton. The names don't match. WHY???)
Louise was considered beautiful in her day
Louise and Lloyd, 1911
Louise met Chester Arnold Snyder through his cousin, Ruth Cobb. Ruth and Louise were teaching in Altus, Oklahoma. Chester was working in Chicago and came to visit Ruth. The story goes that Chester went to the school where mother taught. All the teachers were gone for the day but mother. He just caught her as she was leaving.
They were married June 8, 1918, in Altus, Oklahoma. Regine took the name of Snyder. Dad would visit back and forth. One time he missed his train and sat on the cow catcher of the engine and was half frozen when he arrived in Chicago. He needed to be in Chicago by morning for work.
Seven children were born of this marriage. Many times we were told that since they were both the only child, they'd have as many as the Lord would send. They did.
Their first son, Edward Carnie, was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on March 3, 1919.
Two sons were born in Chicago, Illinois: Franklin Reeveley, on October 13, 1920, and Donal McLean, on Aril 12, 1922.
The family grew. Daughters Emily Marie born on May 3, 1924; Muriel Eileen born on March 21, 1927; and Phyllis Lee born on November 18, 1928. All three girls were born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
We had a nice home. Chester worked at the Post Office and Regine worked in a department store as a dress designer.
Then the bomb fell. Dad, (Chester) was ill. He had TB. The doctor said he must leave the city and go live in the mountains or maybe not live a year. Arrangements were made to homestead in Lee Creek, Arkansas, which was situated at the bottom of a steep valley, in the Boston Mountains of north west Arkansas.
Our place was a 160 acre tract of U.S. public land. A log cabin and barn were the only buildings on the land. No electric lights, no running water.
We left Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on Sunday, April 12, 1929. Don was 8 years old. Our transportation was a Nash and a Model T Ford.
Arriving, at Blackburn, Arkansas, we had to leave our cars and continue by wagon and shank's mare (walking). Dad carried the youngest, Phyllis, on his shoulders. Since it was spring, the creek was up, much too deep for mother to wade across. Dad sat her on our cow, Brindel, and across the creek the two went.
When we reached the cabin, the beds were up, and all was ready for us. Dad had gone once before with the supplies we'd need. The cabin boasted a second floor with very narrow stairs that one went up.
A spring down a hill from the cabin provided the only "running" water. It seemed as if it were several blocks when ones turn to carry water to the cabin came around.
I remember the huge window in the loft of the barn -- just an open place with casing. My brother and I sat up there eating green apples once. We learned something that day: Green apples give one a stomach ache!
Dad made friends easily, and people would stop by to meet us, smoke his already rolled Camel cigarettes, and listen to our battery powered radio.
A riding grocer would come by, take our order, and deliver it some weeks later. Our nearest neighbor was two miles away -- a very different lifestyle for a lady used to teaching Sunday School, being the president of the American Legion Auxiliary and giving frequent parties.
Eddie had a friend visiting from Oklahoma who was a big help, especially when Dad had to go to Hines Hospital, in Chicago, leaving Mother and the children behind.
Frank said he was gone at least a month.
During this time, our groceries began to run low. When the man didn't come for our order, Mother sent Eddie and his friend to Winslow, a small town 13 miles up the mountain, for food. Even though they had left early in the morning, when darkness came, the two boys hadn't returned. Mother was getting concerned. The last part of the way was pitch black with no real road to follow.
Mother would stand by the front gate calling, "You Whoooo", over and over. She would come in the house awhile, then go back out to give her call of "You Whoooo."
Finally, she heard another "You Whooo" coming from the direction the boys would be coming. What a happy time. They were home, safely, and with the food.
Trees were felled by neighbors and our "men". A garden was dug and vegetables were planted. We kids pulled the weeds and mother did the canning - no ice, no freezer. How she did it, I'll never know.
Once, when the boys were riding the horses, Eddie lost control, and the horse ran through trees and vines, trying to knock him off, which resulted in an ugly cut on his neck.
He told many different stories, through the years, about how he got the scar. I remember him telling us once that the Head Hunter Indians, in Panama, cut him... He served there three years, with the army, just before WW II.
In another version, Don said Eddie told him that a Spanish lady cut him.
The other story Eddie told us girls was that they were playing hide and seek at night when Eddie ran into the close line, which was made of wire.
Take your pick.
Mother said it was the horse running that did it.
One day mother needed to send a message to our neighbor, Thurlow, two miles away. I was the one sent. I was put on Maude, one of the horses, and told to just hold the reins and she would do the rest. "But don't kick her in the flank, because she'll run like crazy."
I went across this meadow sitting stiff as a board, scared spitless to even move, rode across Lees Creek, where the water was low, and on to Mr. Thurlow's house I went. He took me home.
Don said that mother sent the boys to the mill 10 miles away with bags of corn to be ground into corn meal. They had lunch, went on to the mill, waited for it to be ground, put it on the horses and went home.
The locals said the Jessie James gang used to hide in some of the caves in the area.
The boys had the whole valley for a play ground. It was a memorable time, even though Dad was sick through much of it.
After eighteen months, we left Lees Creek and moved up the mountain, southwest of Fayetteville, on Highway 62, to Prairie Grove.
Our house was right on the highway. Mother was expecting (Carol) and was not up to par since she spent all 9 months vomiting. This was where Curt Sanders, who eventually married into the family, entered into the picture.
When we arrived in New Orleans and when we left New Orleans for Mississippi, we crossed the river by ferry. We crossed at Kenner, Louisiana, on Houston's old Highway 90 to New Orleans.
Louise's third marriage ended August 4, 1957, in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, when Chester had a fatal heart attack.
Louise T. was "some kind of lady." A very remarkable lady who lived by faith and passed it on to her children.
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