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Mother’s Family Stories – Installment 11

My mother’s 100th birthday will be this November (Martha Evelyn Mount, born November 28, 1916, in Morrow, Ohio and passed away on July 31, 1991).  When she was 72 in 1989, she made a taped recording of family stories for both sides of the family.  In her honor, and still incredulous that she sat and dictated all of this into a tape recorder by herself, I’m going to post what she wrote along with pictures whenever possible.  She had a rather rambling, random method and said whatever came to her mind at that moment, punctuated by hearty laughing.   I’ll post the stories in the order she told them and will only edit the posts to keep out anything that might be offensive or embarrassing to other members of the family.

8/89 – Family Stories Tape by Martha Applegate
Transcribed 5/19/01 by Lillian – notes in parenthesis by Lillian

Installment 11

Ralph - 4 yrsRalph Mount, age 4 years

Don’t remember too much about my brother (Ralph Mount) – he was so much older than me but I remember he always had a car and I remember when I was little he had an old car.  I remember we were going over to Ft. Ancient and the durned old thing couldn’t make the hill and we had to get out and he put rocks behind the wheels and we had to walk up the hill so he could drive up the hill.

But he would take us for rides and he took us over to show us that big meteor or whatever it was that fell over there between Morrow and Lebanon  – a great big rock that was as big as a building.  Now, it’s  way down, it’s really small now but it’s still there.  He used to write stories – I think that’s where Nancy (my daughter, Nancy Breen) gets it – they were good stories, he could write real well and used to write stories and then he decided when he was about 18 or so he was going to be a magician.  And he was good at that.  He had me and my girlfriend – we used to put on little skits and sing songs and we’d sing Ramona, I can remember singing Ramona.  The only funny part was I always dressed like the little girl and sang alto and she dressed like the boy and sang soprano – that was kind of an odd mixture.  He belonged to the Juniors and he’d have us come over and he’d put on his magic act and we’d put on our little skit, but then he got married about that time and Hazel (Hazel Wilson) didn’t care for the magician part of it – she broke that up.

MotherStoryA_0001 (2)Ralph Mount, ca 1925

As long as I can remember I’ve always loved to dance.  My girlfriend and her mother liked to go to dances and she’d take us and we’d get out there on that floor – I was only about 10 years old – and we’d Charleston and we would dance and I’d go home and I’d wind up that old Victrola and put on records and I taught everybody around how to dance.  I taught Alice Mae (Mother’s older sister) and her girl friends, they’d come in and get me to teach them how to dance.  Alice Mae never could dance and she’d get so mad because I could teach them how to dance.  I guess I still love to dance to this day – I guess you never lose that.

Mom was good to us and she done very good – done as good as she could – she’d take in washings and do everything.  We were very poor but we always had nice holidays – nice Christmas and Thanksgiving and we always had good things – she’d see to that.  I remember one time when I was real little, the day before Thanksgiving the Ku Klux Klan came in – oh, it scared us all to death – they were all dressed in white with pointy hats and all you could see were their eyes, but they had a great big basket of, oh, everything – turkey and the whole bit – and we were scared to death but we didn’t even know them, of course, but we kind of suspected it was our next door neighbor because we’d be out of coal and Mom would say, “Just go down and see if you can scrape up some coal dust or
something to burn – just enough to get supper with” – we’d be out of coal, and we’d go down and that coal bin would be full of coal and we always kind of suspected the neighbor of putting it in there.  The Ku Klux might not have done any good but they were good to us.

Mother-Mable-AM-GM (4)Mom (Helen Conover) in her garden

Next time – the final installment of Mother’s stories.

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V-J Day in Cincinnati -1945

A post from five years ago – memories of VJ Day.

Lillian's Cupboard

In August of 1945, I was 12 years old, enjoying the last month of vacation before entering the 8th grade at old Highland School in the East End neighborhood of Cincinnati.

I was obsessed with the Cincinnati Reds who were just terrible that year, but I followed them on the radio, listening to Waite Hoyt’s expert calls interspersed with his stories about the 1927 Yankees where he had been a star pitcher and teammate of Babe Ruth.

V-E Day (the end of the war in Europe) had occurred in May and everyone was hoping and praying for the end of the war in Japan.  I remember seeing pictures in magazines of how things would be once the war was over.  I was particularly impressed with a picture of a candy store display that actually had chocolate bars along with the Chuckles gum drops, taffy and hard candy we were used…

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Mother’s Family Stories–Installment 10

My mother’s 100th birthday will be this November (Martha Evelyn Mount, born November 28, 1916, in Morrow, Ohio and passed away on July 31, 1991).  When she was 72 in 1989, she made a taped recording of family stories for both sides of the family.  In her honor, and still incredulous that she sat and dictated all of this into a tape recorder by herself, I’m going to post what she wrote along with pictures whenever possible.  She had a rather rambling, random method and said whatever came to her mind at that moment, punctuated by hearty laughing.   I’ll post the stories in the order she told them and will only edit the posts to keep out anything that might be offensive or embarrassing to other members of the family.

8/89 – Family Stories Tape by Martha Applegate
Transcribed 5/19/01 by Lillian – notes in parenthesis by Lillian

Mother-Mable-AM-GM (3)Friend Virginia and Mother (Martha Mount)

Wearing necklaces made of buckeyes

One time, I had a little friend named Virginia and she was crippled because she had infantile paralysis when she was little and Morrow had never had a fire engine – they always had the kind of engine that men had to pull and we had just gotten this new red fire engine this day.  This is the day that Virginia and I decided to go up in the graveyard.  Alice Mae (Mother’s older sister) and her friend, Jeanette, had told us that there was a monument up there that had six screws in it and had two hands pictured on it.  If you took those six screws out and you looked in there, those two hands would be shaking up and down, up and down.  This was the day Virginia and I decided to investigate and see if the hands were there.  We got one screw out and they let loose with that new fire engine siren and like to scared us to death and we took down over that hill.  I’d run a little ways then I’d wait for Virginia, then I’d run a little….and to this day there’s one screw missing in that monument.  I don’t think anybody ever did look in and see if the hands were there.

My daughter and I made a trip to Morrow on July 16, 2016, to visit the old cemetery.  We visited my grandfather’s grave and remembered how Mother considered the cemetery her personal playground because her father was buried there.

Morrow_GeorgeMount

The monument with the clasping hands is a big beautiful piece.

Morrow_hands01

We checked the “shaking hands” portion of the monument and the screws were all in place on this side….

Morrow_hands03

…but one is still missing from the back plate.

Morrow_hands04

Then one day Alice Mae and Jeanette – we never were allowed in the house, Alice Mae was a very good little housekeeper – she’d clean house and she wouldn’t let us in.  So, one day she told us, she said, “Come in the house”, her and her friend said.  We went in and everything was real dark and all of a sudden they jumped up from behind the davenport, they had two of Mom’s sheets on  – Mom would have killed them if she knew they had her sheets – and made like a ghost – like to scared us to death.

Mother StorybBrother Ralph and sister Alice Mae (with her Susie doll)

ca. 1916

One time when we were little and going to school we lived beside a preacher and Mabel (Mother’s younger sister) was little at the time and she called them the “peachie kids”.  We went to school one day and we used to always just go get our lunch and we’d just stand around the table and eat and Mom would always leave us money and we come home and the neighbor next door told us that the preacher’s kids – she looked over there and they were in the house, they were eating our lunch and taking the money.  So, Mom went to the preacher to ask him about it and he said…he got ahold of the kids then and yeah, they had candy and balloons and everything bought with the money and he made them give the balloons and everything to us and he gave Mom back her money but he said it was Mom’s fault because she tempted the kids by leaving money lay out.

MotherStoryA_0002The “peachie” kids

I used to love my grandmother – that was my father’s mother – and I’d go and see her  – oh, just any time I’d walk over and see her – she lived a couple of streets away from us.  But she was a very little woman, would rarely have anything to say.  Lillian reminds me so much of her.  The only thing I can ever remember her saying was – she’d look through those old bifocal glasses and she’d say, “New dress?  Did your mother make it?  Hmmmm.”  On cold winter days she’d have our cousins stop at school and tell us to stop in for dinner and she would have beans and dumplings and all kinds of jellies and relishes and all kinds of things like that – Lillian reminds me of her like that – just every kind of a jelly thing you could think of and oh, we loved that.

Minerva close-upMinerva Alice Hutchinson Mount, Mother’s paternal grandmother

Minerva Ralph HelenMy mother’s grandmother, older brother, Ralph, and mother

Next time, Mother will tell about her big brother, Ralph, and about some mysterious day-before-Thanksgiving visitors.

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My Mother’s Family Stories–Installment 9

My mother’s 100th birthday will be this November (Martha Evelyn Mount, born November 28, 1916, in Morrow, Ohio and passed away on July 31, 1991).  When she was 72 in 1989, she made a taped recording of family stories for both sides of the family.  In her honor, and still incredulous that she sat and dictated all of this into a tape recorder by herself, I’m going to post what she wrote along with pictures whenever possible.  She had a rather rambling, random method and said whatever came to her mind at that moment, punctuated by hearty laughing.   I’ll post the stories in the order she told them and will only edit the posts to keep out anything that might be offensive or embarrassing to other members of the family.

8/89 – Family Stories Tape by Martha Applegate
Transcribed 5/19/01 by Lillian – notes in parenthesis by Lillian

Installment 9

My earliest memories are of Mother telling stories of her wonderful childhood in Morrow, Ohio.  Times were hard:  her mother was widowed with three children and worked in a munitions factory in Kings Mill, Ohio (near where King’s Island amusement park is now).  She remarried and her husband left her when he found out she was pregnant.  She continued to work, leaving the housekeeping to little daughter Alice Mae and the general care of her toddler Mabel to my mother.  Mother always said they grew up like Topsy (the little girl in Uncle Tom’s Cabin) but at least she and Mabel had a lot of fun growing up Topsy-like in the little town of Morrow, Ohio.

Morrow 1910“If you want to go to Morrow, you can not go today,

for the train that goes to Morrow is already on its way.”

Railroad St., Morrow, Ohio – 1910

 

After my father died, Mom had a hard time raising all of us.  She remarried again (Fred Bailey) and when I was five, Mabel was born and, oh, I dearly loved her.  We played together and we had such good times together always.

Mother-Mable-AM-GM

Mother-Mable-AM-GM (2)Martha and Mabel, ca 1929

We used to go swimming every day in the little creek and we’d always go in, in an old dress.  We’d go down and there’d be a mud slide and we could slide right down into the water in the mud, but we’d always ask Alice Mae (Mother’s older sister) first.  Some days we liked to maybe go up and get some clay.  To get the clay we had to go through the grave yard and up the railroad track and around the bend and then come down over the hill where the water trickled and it would make clay.  We would take that home and you could just mold anything out of it, make little dishes and everything and play.  Some days we’d say we’d go to Flat Rock and I’d always put Mabel in my wagon wherever we went and I’d pull Mabel along – I was about 10 and Mabel was about 5.

Then some days we would go up to Irma’s, up the railroad track – Mom took care of her when she was having a baby and we knew her.  Every time we went she would go and she would kill a chicken and she’d have chicken and gravy – oh, and that tasted so good – that fried chicken.  And she’d take us down to the spring house, the milk house, where they set the pails of milk right down in the spring and it would be ice cold – oh, that milk tasted so good!  And she’d do it any time we’d come.

Then one day we were there we were told not to go into the orchard but we did anyway – we went into the orchard and climbed up a tree and we looked down and saw why we weren’t supposed to go in the orchard – there was a great big bull standing right under us.  We had to wait there until her husband could come and get us down.

Irma always liked for us to come because to go to town, to go to Morrow, she had to drive a horse and buggy and she was ashamed of it – nobody drove a horse and buggy in those days – that was 1925 – everybody had a car by that time.  So, she’d tie our wagon on the back and down we’d go over the hill and I’d get to drive the horse through the gate.  Oh, I thought that was wonderful – to drive that old horse down there.

Mabel and I one time we were playing in the graveyard – up there playing with our wagon and we thought we were allowed to go anywhere because my father was buried there and we’d slip in and we’d play cowboy and we’d ride that cannon like a horse and we rolled all the cannon balls down the hill – none of them are left, they’re all gone.  One day the caretaker told us that we weren’t allowed to ride our wagon down the hill and we were very insulted because my father was buried there and we could do anything.  I see they’ve got a sign up there that says NO WAGONS OR BICYCLES.  I think they put that there for us, but that was a long time ago.

mabel-mother-1940sMabel and Martha, ca 1948

Next, time Mother continues her stories about friends and family in her favorite place, Morrow, Ohio.

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My Mother’s Family Stories–Installment 8

My mother’s 100th birthday will be this November (Martha Evelyn Mount, born November 28, 1916, in Morrow, Ohio and passed away on July 31, 1991).  When she was 72 in 1989, she made a taped recording of family stories for both sides of the family.  In her honor, and still incredulous that she sat and dictated all of this into a tape recorder by herself, I’m going to post what she wrote along with pictures whenever possible.  She had a rather rambling, random method and said whatever came to her mind at that moment, punctuated by hearty laughing.   I’ll post the stories in the order she told them and will only edit the posts to keep out anything that might be offensive or embarrassing to other members of the family.

8/89 – Family Stories Tape by Martha Applegate
Transcribed 5/19/01 by Lillian – notes in blue and in parenthesis by Lillian

My mother’s family was pretty ordinary when compared to the overly exciting Applegates.

Episode 8

mothercarMartha Evelyn Mount, ca 1918

My family wasn’t very exciting.  My mother was only 4 years old when her mother died and left quite a lot of children.

Emily Creager ConoverEmily Creager Conover, ca 1869

My mother’s mother married real well – married a rich farmer (Emily E. Creager and William Henry Conover) and they always had black people working for them – had ex-slaves working for them.  But she died when my mother was only 4 years old and there was quite a lot of them in the family. She was very proud, my mother’s mother was.  When she was a young lady she would ride the fox hunts side-saddle, a very proud lady.   (Although Grandma and all of her sisters told this story, we have not found anything to prove this prosperity in her family.)

How she come to die so young was one of the girls was taking piano lessons and she wanted to go through the room and she wouldn’t go through the room because she was pregnant.  She went through a window – jumped out of a little window – and caused her to lose the baby and she died in childbirth.

All of Mom’s brothers and sisters were well to do but Mom didn’t have very good luck – she had lost her husband so young and always had to work, but she was a very proud lady, too, and she was very strict in her way but very good to us children.  She never spanked us – I never got a spanking in my life.  But you knew when she said to do something, you done it – you knew you had to do it.  She was a little Dutch lady to begin with – her real name was Wilhelmina.  When she went to work the conductor on the railroad train when he took her ticket asked her what her name was and she said Wilhelmina Conover and he said, “Oh, go to hell and meet me Conover” and it made her so mad she changed her name to Helen.   Every time he’d see her, he’d say, “Go to hell and meet me Conover”.

Gr Helen 2
Wilhelmina Conover, ca 1906

Mom was very strict – she talked a lot of that Pennsylvania Dutch kind of talk but you didn’t dare make fun of her, she’d say, “You know what I mean” and you didn’t dare laugh at her.  I remember when Johnny, my husband, and I just got married she’d say to people, “Martha’s husband wants to make a race horse out of himself”.  What she meant was he wanted to make a race horse driver, but she’d say he wanted to make a race horse out of himself.  We always thought it was funny but we didn’t dare laugh.

Her husband, my father (George Dale Mount), died when he was only 28 – I was only 2 – I don’t have any memory of him at all but my sister (Alice Mae Mount) always said he liked her the best so I guess it’s good I don’t have any memory of him except he give me my name and I was always proud of that.  On Thanksgiving Day he come downstairs and he told my mother, he said, “I dreamed we had a little girl and we named her Martha” and she said, “Well, you better go get the doctor because I think your dream’s going to come true” and he went for the doctor and I was born before the doctor got there.  He went running down and said, “Hurry up, hurry up, doctor, the baby’s already here” and old Doc said, “There’s no use hurrying if your baby’s already here”.

George-derbyGeorge Dale Mount, ca 1909

My father (George Dale Mount) died of the flu during World War I and I always wondered where I got my love of dancing and Aunt Mabel (Mabel Conover) said I got it from him.  He loved to dance and he would dance as long as anybody would play music and he was quite a singer, too.  He died young.

My mother told me when I was little I always woke up and cried – I would cry for an hour.  Nothing they would do would stop me from crying so they just let me cry until I cried it out.  One day her and her sister, my Aunt Mabel (Conover), were sitting in the kitchen and I woke up from my nap and, of course, I sat at the top of the stairs and I cried.  They said, “Come on, Martha” and usually I would just come down one step at a time crying all the way down.  But this time I just kept crying and crying.  They said, “Come on, Martha – come on, Martha” and I’d just keep crying.  So, finally they come to look and see what I was doing and here I was, I was hanging by my heel on the carpeted steps that they had in those days and I was hanging upside-down and to this day I’m afraid to take that first step – I’m scared to death to go down stairs.

Mother Storyb (2)
Martha Evelyn Mount, ca 1918

I remember my first little boy friend – we called them “beaux” in those days – his name was Homer Bailey.  He was the prettiest little thing – he had blonde curly hair and blue eyes – the prettiest blue eyes.  There was only one thing – every day in school he’d wet his pants – we were just in the first grade.  And he used to walk me home from school every night and his house was beyond mine.  One day he wanted to stop and play and Mom said, “No, no!” and I never could figure out why she didn’t want me to play with that pretty little boy.

Grandma school photoMorrow School, ca 1929

Martha Mount, 2nd row, 3rd from right

Alice Mae Mount, 2nd row, 3rd from left

Grandma school closeMartha Mount, closeup

martha report card

In the next installment, Mother describes the joys of playing in and around small-town Morrow, Ohio, with her young sister, Mabel, in tow.

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Mother’s Family Stories-Installment 7

My mother’s 100th birthday will be this November (Martha Evelyn Mount, born November 28, 1916, in Morrow, Ohio and passed away on July 31, 1991).  When she was 72 in 1989, she made a taped recording of family stories for both sides of the family.  In her honor, and still incredulous that she sat and dictated all of this into a tape recorder by herself, I’m going to post what she wrote along with pictures whenever possible.  She had a rather rambling, random method and said whatever came to her mind at that moment, punctuated by hearty laughing.   I’ll post the stories in the order she told them and will only edit the posts to keep out anything that might be offensive or embarrassing to other members of the family.

8/89 – Family Stories Tape by Martha Applegate
Transcribed 5/19/01 by Lillian – notes in blue by Lillian

INSTALLMENT 7

Mother continues with her stories of the Applegate family, starting with my great-aunt Anne, John B’s sister; my father’s cousin, Almy; and the sister of my paternal grandmother, Lizzie.

Goldie_LizzieGoldie, wife of Bill Applegate, and my great-aunt Lizzie

Note the black and white dog on the running board

Aunt Anne (sister of John B), she was another one.  She would go into a store – she always took an umbrella with her and she would shoplift.  She got caught two or three times and they had to send her away – I don’t know where they sent her.  But they had to send her away so she wouldn’t be arrested.  But we lived beside her down there on Gotham Place (Cincinnati’s East End) out there during the war when the kids were little.  She had a great big old white dog and some way this white dog did something to the kid across the street from her – didn’t hurt him, just scared him – but every time she’d go down through there walking her white dog, that old man (the boy’s father) would sit on the porch and he’d say, “Oh, hello, Annie – how’s your white dog, how are you,  Annie, how’s your white dog” and he kept that up and kept that up and was tormenting her and pretty soon she said to him, “White dog nothing, you SB, you come down here, I’ll show you a white dog, I’m tired of your hollering at me.”  Well, he got scared of her, actually got scared of her, and he had her arrested and she come down to me, “Oh, Marthy, will you go to court with me?” – they all called me “Marthy” – and I said, “Yeah”, I said, “I’ll go to court with you” and so she got down there and she got up in front of the judge and he said, “Alright, just what did you say to this man?”  And she said, “I told him you big-bellied son-of-a-bitch, you come down here and I’ll….” and he said, “How old are you?” and she said, “72” and he said, “Case dismissed!”

3 pix (2)Aunt Anne, my mother, Grandma Helen

and the big white dog

And she used to sell bootleg beer all the time – in those days everybody made homebrew.  They were all down there – she had a whole gang in her living room and Uncle Jim (James Everett) and all of them was there that day, too, a lot of other people – and every time somebody wanted a drink, she’d go in the bedroom and she’d come out with the drink.  Uncle Jim was wondering where she was getting all this homebrew and he followed her in and she had it in her chamber – in her pot – and was dipping it out of there so nobody would find it – they always had to hide it.  He tore the house up – he like to killed everybody that day.

Almy, she was one of the cousins, and she always drove a Model-T Ford – in those days not many women drove a car.  You had to crank them and she always kept the crank on the seat beside of her and one day she had to come to a stop there as you turn on Wooster Pike going over towards Newtown there by the bridge and some man stepped up to her and said, “I’m going to rob you, I want your money”.  She said, “Rob me nothing, you SB” and she took that crank and beat him over the head with it.

Her husband died and she remarried, married an old man, and she was 65 or so at that time, had already had a heart attack.  She said all her life she always wanted a motorcycle.  She got her a motorcycle with a side car and she put this old man in the side car and they went all the way down to Gatlinburg, down in the mountains.  She said she couldn’t do it after she was dead – she had to do it while she was alive.  If she wanted to fix the roof on her house, she’d tie a rope around her waist and tie a rope around the chimney and she’d fix the roof of her house.

One time when Grandma-up-Dayton (our term for our paternal grandmother who lived in Dayton, Ohio) was with that old Murphy, that old mean Murphy, Lizzie – that’s her sister (Elizabeth Illie) – and Almy (an Applegate cousin) was there visiting and somebody brought in a big basket of pretty tomatoes.  Almy said, “I’ll fix that old Harry Murphy” and she put poison in the biggest tomato and put it right on top and Aunt Lizzie came along and said, “That old Harry Murphy ain’t going to get the biggest tomato this time, I’m going to get it” and she ate it and she like to died.

Aunt Lizzie, that’s Grandma-up-Dayton’s sister, was married to Sam Robbins – now there’s a character for you.  Grandpa, John (B), said he remembered the first night they were married, Lizzie and Sam, they heard a knock on the door, they got up and there stood Aunt Lizzie at the door in a great big fur coat.  Sam, all he ever done was coon hunt and fish and things, and he’d save and make furs and things like that and she had all his furs tucked up underneath that fur coat – she’d left him in the middle of the night.

Old Sam was a fiddle player and he made all his own fiddles.  He’d go out in the woods and pick a certain tree he’d want, he’d make the wood part, all of it.  He played fiddle all over – he played on the radio and everything.  He walked everywhere he went – never rode anywhere – he always walked – he’d go to all the fiddling contests and all that.  My brother and his wife (Ralph and Hazel Mount) said they remember going to his house back in prohibition days when everybody was selling homebrew and they’d have homebrew and baloney sandwiches and Sam would play the fiddle and they’d dance, but all he’d play was “Sally Lost her Petticoat Going to the Ball” and finally everybody’d get so darned mad hearing the same song over and over they’d finally leave.

END OF APPLEGATE INSTALLMENTS

Epilogue:

Although John B. had been a drinker all of his life, he met his match when he married Helen Conover.  She had already lost one husband in the 1918 flu epidemic, leaving her with three children.  She remarried and had that husband desert her when she became pregnant, so when at the age of 55 she met John B, she was in no mood to put up with much out of husbands.  Her strong will and strict rules about having no alcohol in the house, turned John B. into a sober man who rarely took a drink and then only if he could keep it secret from Grandma.  They were together until he died at age 65 in 1945 and Grandma lived on to be 92 when she died in 1978.  

3 pixMy grandparents, John B and Helen Applegate, 1943

My paternal grandmother, Lillian, was the perfect apple-cheeked grandma when I was growing up, baking and gifting us with lovely store-bought clothes.  
DCP03027
Grandma Lillian, ca 1942

In her later years, she married a Pawnee Indian Chief and moved to Pawnee, Oklahoma, where she died in 1968.  She wrote on the back of this picture:  “Lillian – from Grandma, Jan. 29, 1960 – headband was given to me in Pawnee, Oklahoma.  I was adopted by the tribe.”

3 pix (3)

My father gave up his beloved horses to give my sister and me a stable, old-fashioned upbringing.  He was a self-taught electrical engineer and built our first television set, one of the first in the Cincinnati area.  In 1950, he went back to the horse business and was a respected harness horse driver and trainer until his death in 1978.  He died of a heart attack after finishing second in a photo-finish in a race.  The family said he died on the track where he would have wanted to be, but he would have wanted to win the race.

horn75An earlier picture of a winning race for John A and Peter Horn,
the horse my father was driving when he died

This ends Mother’s portion of the tape about the Applegate side of the family and goes over now to her family – “not very exciting”, in her words.  Mother gives a nice description, though, of life in small town Ohio in the 1900s, along with some stories about her ancestors.

Mother’s Family Stories–Installment 6

My mother’s 100th birthday will be this November (Martha Evelyn Mount, born November 28, 1916, in Morrow, Ohio and passed away on July 31, 1991).  When she was 72 in 1989, she made a taped recording of family stories for both sides of the family.  In her honor, and still incredulous that she sat and dictated all of this into a tape recorder by herself, I’m going to post what she wrote along with pictures whenever possible.  She had a rather rambling, random method and said whatever came to her mind at that moment, punctuated by hearty laughing.   I’ll post the stories in the order she told them and will only edit the posts to keep out anything that might be offensive or embarrassing to other members of the family.

8/89 – Family Stories Tape by Martha Applegate
Transcribed 5/19/01 by Lillian – notes in parenthesis by Lillian

Uncle Jim was James Everett Applegate, brother of my grandfather, John B, and Bill was his rascal son.

EPISODE 6

Uncle Jim, he was the one who had Bill – that was his boy.  And that Bill – he was something else, he was a rough one.  Him and Johnny used to go down when Johnny was real young yet and they’d go down on Broadway down in Cincinnati, down to the saloons down there, and Bill would pick a fight every time – the bully of the town, that’d remind you of Bill – and he was really something but Grandpa (John A), he’d crawl under a table and wait until the fight was over.

Bill would remind you of Wallace Beery – just as ornery as the dickens but you couldn’t help but love him.

Bill ApplegateBill Applegate in one of his more peaceful moods

We lived beside him out at Tower Hill when Shirley (my sister) was born.  He’d get on those crazy drunks and one night he had poor Goldie, that was his wife, hold the lamp while he chopped up the garden – poor thing starving, that’s all they had to eat was the garden.  He chopped it all up in little pieces and then he took off and to get out of there he had to cross the railroad tracks.  Well, Johnny and the other boys they got to wondering after awhile if he got across that railroad track ‘cause it was about time for the train to come through.  They went up to the railroad track and there he was, he got tired, laid down, rested his head on the railroad tracks and was sound asleep just about five minutes before the train came through.

Bill’s wife, Goldie, she was a little on the strange side.  She was mad at Bill.  They had a little girl, Gertrude, and she got sick.  Bill was out running around on her and she called for Bill to come home and he didn’t come and little Gertrude died.  When she was put into the grave, a little piece of her dress got caught in the coffin and was waving and Goldie always said that was a bad omen.  Right after that she had twins – she had little Paul and Pauline.  She wouldn’t nurse Pauline and everyone said she let Pauline die just to get even with Bill for not coming home when little Gertrude was sick.  Now, whether that’s true or not, I don’t know.  (Or maybe the poor thing just didn’t have enough milk to keep both babies alive, my opinion.)

Jim_Rose_Bill3Goldie and Bill

I remember one time Grandma-up-Dayton (my paternal grandmother) was sick in bed, about to have a miscarriage and Goldie yelled, “Get up, get up, there’s a snake under your bed!” and Grandma jumped out in the middle of the floor and she almost died.  Goldie swore she was psychic and she could make tables move by just putting her hands on them.

John (B) had a cousin called Everett, I don’t know which one of the boys he belonged to, but he owned a piece of land down on Eggleston Avenue (downtown Cincinnati), right at the foot of Eggleston Avenue, right where the McDonald Bridge is – right along in there – he owned all that bottom land along there – and he traded it for a cow and a fiddle.  And he was going away, I don’t know what for, but he had to go away and he told John that if he never came back the fiddle was his because John was the only one in the family who could play it – that wasn’t very well, but he could play it – and so Everett never came back and John kept his fiddle.  And everybody in the family argued who that fiddle belonged to but John kept hold of it and just before he died on his deathbed he said, “I want my first grandchild to have the fiddle” and that was Lillian and that’s how she came to get the fiddle. (John B died on March 31, 1945, while their home was being devastated by a major flood.  The fiddle was severely damaged in the flood, but I still have it in its case.)

JohnB_cigarMy grandpa, John B. Applegate, ca 1944

In the next installment, which is the final one about the Applegates, Mother talks about some female members of the family as well as an in-law who was an expert fiddler and who had tried very hard to get Grandpa’s fiddle away from him.  After that, she tells about her own family which was “not very exciting”.


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