Memories
of
Grandmother
Guiling

(Ella Jane (Lowe) Guiling)

By Guy W. Guiling (one of her grandsons)

Submitted by Norman Guiling



I believe that my sister Inez and myself are the only living relatives of Grandmother Guiling that knew her well and or lived close to her for some period of time. These are my recollections and those of my sister Inez and they cover the times when we were together.


Grandfather Guiling died in 1895 at 43 yrs of age and left Grandmother Guiling with several children to rear alone. Had they all lived and according to my records Golden would have been 2, Pearl 4, Arthur 6, Candella 8, Florence 10, Isom 12, Adrian 14, Mirty 15, Nellie 17 and Monroe 18 when Grandfather Guiling passed away. My motherís account was that two of the children died at birth or very young, they were apparently Candella and Mirty. To add to Grandmothers problems, her oldest son (Monroe) left home around this time and was not heard from again during her lifetime. This left Nellie at 17 years old and Adrian next at 14 years old to help Grandmother keep the family together. It is safe to assume that she had some rough times rearing several children with no husband to help. They had homesteaded 160 acres near the Claude School House and were improving and developing the land as is required to finally get a clear title.

Virtually all homesteaders and small farmers at that time were what I call subsistence farmers in that the primary goal was to grow enough food to feed the family and sell a calf, pig, eggs, chickens or do some day labor for the county government or some of the larger and more prosperous land owners to get some cash money. Some cotton was grown as a cash crop but the land was not very fertile and it was rocky as well as hilly. Many of the people that grew cotton could normally not get a full bale and had to pool their harvest in order to make a bale of cotton to take to the cotton gin.

Grown or partially grown boys were almost as productive as a husband in this situation and there were obviously some at home most of the time. Girls were also expected to work in the fields as well as help with the gathering, preparing and preserving of fruit, berries etc during the growing seasons. Times and situations were such that everyone in the family was expected to contribute. There were no welfare or government programs to assist families so it was hustle and make some sort of living or fall by the wayside. This situation was surely a major factor in forging our Grandmothers personality. She was a strong, honest and proud woman. My father (Golden) being the youngest child lived with Grandmother until he went into the army during world war one. He obviously had grandmother declared a dependent, as there was no one left at home to help her and that is how she lived during the war years. Dad took pneumonia while serving and while in the base hospital contracted tuberculosis and lost the use of one of his lungs. The government gave him a 100% disability and he returned home to again live with Grandmother on the original homestead.

Dad married my mother (Zora McCoy) and they bought a farm and built a home near Beverage Town and the Gravel Hill School. This is 3 or 4 miles from the original homestead. Grandmother moved in with Mother and Dad for a short period of time before, as you can anticipate this arrangement became explosive. You see mother also was a strong-minded woman. Dad soon built Grandmother a house just north across the field and the storm subsided somewhat. We continued to supply Grandmother with the meat, cornmeal, milk and all other things that she needed and she seemed to be quiet contented with this arrangement. She kept several chickens and they provided her with eggs and chickens to eat. She also raised a garden and canned and preserved the things that she grew, as was the custom.

We moved to Morrilton and lived there for four or five years. This put us approx 25 miles from Grandmother so dad made frequent trips to check on her. There was a country store just a few hundred yards from her house so she could get necessities from there as needed. There were no phones so communications were by mail or by someone from the neighborhood bringing a message to us from Grandmother. During this time Grandmother became ill and needed to be taken to the hospital. Uncle Adrian came down from Missouri and along with my Dad and Sister (Inez) they took her to the hospital in Morrilton. Inez being the oldest girl in our house was several times called on to do things that required a womanís touch. Mother was normally with small children and also did not get along with Grandmother so Inez fulfilled that role quiet well. Grandmother stayed in the hospital until she passed away without ever leaving or regaining her health. She was 80 yrs old and the year was 1938. She was buried at Pleasant Grove Cemetery in a solemn and appropriate ceremony with all of our family along with several of Uncle Aderonís family present. The memory of that day is still quiet sharp as this was the first close family member to pass away and it made a very large impression on me. The small church was filled as many people in the community knew and respected Grandmother.

Inez, being older than me and being of the female gender, had more to do with Grandmother than I did so I ask her to give me some of her thoughts and recollections of Grandmother. She recalled that when they were getting Grandmother out of the house to take her to the hospital she forgot her hat and had to go back to get it. Her comment was that she would need it when she left the hospital. She always wanted a hat and normally gloves when she was in public. She also remembered that she and Grandmother were walking somewhere and Grandmother told Inez to straighten up her shoulders and walk like she was somebody. This was Grandmother. She was not a loving and hugging Grandmother but one that expected you to tow the line, do your work and not complain.

In her house Grandmother had a wood heating stove, a wood cooking stove and a small Kerosene stove that was somewhat like a two burner electric hot plate. The kerosene stove was for times when she did not want to heat up the kitchen with the wood cook stove and or times when we did not get wood cut that she could burn in the cooking stove. For you city folk - wood for a wood cook stove has to be split quiet small and uniform to go in and burn in the cook stove.

One of my memories is Grandmother, quiet often, standing on her front porch calling my father to bring her some milk, flour, butter, cornmeal etc. There were no phones and she would have to stand on the porch for some time calling before we would hear or notice her. More than a few times she read the riot act to us for not being more attentive. She had deep feather beds that you sank into when you laid on them. This was common practice as the nights were cold and bedrooms never heated. The houses were quiet porous and let the wind come through without much hesitation. The deep feather beds were cherished and they worked very well.

Grandmother had a large steamer trunk that she kept her valuables and mementoes in and she would let Inez look in it and handle some of the items but always admonished her to put everything back exactly as she found it. Dad had a similar trunk and used it in much the same way. Grandmother was a member of a Baptist Church that was known as " Hard Shell Baptist". I do not know whether that was and is an official name or not, but I am sure that it was a church with quiet fundamental beliefs. One of Inez's memories is going to church with Grandmother when part of the ceremony was the washing of your fellow church members feet. She said that Grandmother wore knee length stockings and removing them in public was somewhat of a challenge for most of these very conservative ladies with their long dresses. I also remember attending church services where this washing of feet was part of the church service. Only grownups that were church members participated and we children simply watched in awe. Bobby Sandlin contributed from her memory or the memory of others that the washing of each otherís feet was to teach a lesson of humility just as Jesus showed when he washed the feet of his disciples. In her memory the men went to one room and the women went into another room. In the churches we attended as children there was never more than one room. I do seem to remember that the ladies went to one side of the room and the men went to the other side of the room for as much separation as circumstances permitted.

Her oldest son (Monroe) leaving home, and she never knowing what happened to him, was often on her mind and was just another burden that a mother had to handle.

Her latter years seemed to be reasonably happy in that she was as comfortable as most people could expect to be at her age and in her circumstances. She seemed to be contented to live alone and did not invite or seem to encourage we children or neighbors to visit or stay with her. As far as we could tell Dad was her primary sole mate through out the latter years of her life.

I would like to consider this story a work in progress and invite any and all to comment, add to or suggest change in order to get all sides covered and all ideas included. Look in 1870 & 1880 census for John Guiling in Howard Co Indiana. Also look for spelling of GEILING.

1900 United States Federal Census Name: Ella J Guiling Home in 1900: Craig, Van Buren, Arkansas Age: 42 Estimated birth year: 1858 Birthplace: Indiana Race: White Relationship to head-of-house: Head