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April 13 2014

Leonard Travis and Josephine Phillips Cranford

Leonard Travis Cranford (143) and Josephine Phillips Cranford (144) were the parents of Maud Cranford Martin. L. T. (known as “Trav”) was born in Alabama February 2, 1840 and died March 14, 1923 at his home in Wolf Bayou, Arkansas. He served four years in the Civil War and was wounded twice.

L. T. and Josephine Cranford L. T. and Josephine Cranford

Josephine was born November 17, 1853 in (Birmingham?) Alabama, died at Heber Springs, Arkansas October 24, 1946. She was thirteen years younger than her husband and experienced the Civil War as a child. She told me stories about the Union soldiers coming through her father’s farm and taking whatever they could get from them in the way of food and supplies.

I don’t know anything else about Josephine’s childhood except that it was short. They were married December 16, 1869, about a month after her sixteenth birthday! They raised nine children, Thomas, Ella (Pritchard), Mollie (Beasley), Dora (Sharp), Maud, Leonard, Oscar, Ada and Myrl (Inman).

Theirs was a farm family which meant that the whole family had to work hard. I have a brass bell that they used to call in the people working in the field for the noon meal. My mother, their grandchild, remembers getting to ring that bell when she would be visiting them as a young child with her mother.

Lorene Martin Stuart, one of their grandchildren, remembers riding a horse there when she had to stand on a stepping block to get in the saddle. She remembers the wagon shed and the apple orchard. She said there were some homemade bookshelves behind a door in the house where they must have kept a box of apples in season, as she remembers it smelled like apples.

She says their house might have been built in two stages with the two parts joined by a porch like a breezeway. There was a fireplace in each section. Where they joined, the porch had a step up and was a lot of fun for the grandchildren to run and jump on.

Lorene remembers that her favorite part of the house was Aunt Ada’s room. It was pretty, smelled of talcum powder and had her organ in it. Once when they arrived, Aunt Ada told them there were two white eyelet dresses in her room for her and Myrtle, Lorene’s sister, and the first one back there could pick the one they wanted. I wonder if their feet touched the floor on the way!!

L. T. (“Trav”) Cranford died March 14, 1923 of prostate cancer. His obituary says that he was confined to his room for thirteen months and that his many friends, family and neighbors were constantly with him and did all they could for him. Lorene remembers being at the spring when he died and hearing them mourn, “Oh, what will I do?, What shall I do?” At the funeral she remembers they sang “Oh they tell me of an unclouded day” as the storm clouds rolled overhead at the cemetery.

“Grandpa” Cranford was gone before I was born, but I remember going to their house as a child to see “Grandma Cranford” (Josephine) and seeing the big grandfather clock and a spinning wheel. By that time spinning wheels were not commonly used. A few older people had them but I don’t recall seeing anyone actually use one, so I don’t know if theirs was still functional or not.

I remember going there to a “quilting”, the only one I remember attending. The quilt’s pieces for the top had already been sewn together, placed over a layer of cotton (raised on their farm) and a lining, then attached to a quilting frame which hung from the ceiling. Friends and neighbors sat by each side of the quilt and hand sewed through two layers of fabric and the cotton on a design that had been marked on the quilt. I was probably about ten years old, but as I recall, I quilted for a little while. However, the main “contribution” of the children was to play with the other children and eat plenty of the good food prepared by the women when they would take a break from quilting.

Ada was the only one of their children who did not marry. She was a teacher for many years and taught just about everybody in the community at one time or another. When she began her career she probably had the kind of certificate people could get in those days by finishing a one-room school, going to a Normal School, and taking a test. However, she continued to add to her education in the summer and whenever she could until I believe she graduated from what was then called Arkansas State Teachers College at Conway, Arkansas.

Ada continued to live at home with her mother for many years while she taught at the Concord school, driving her little Model A coupe to school every day.

For some reason, in the early 1940’s they left the home place at Wolf Bayou and went to Heber Springs to live. I don’t know if this was because Ada could get a better job teaching at Heber Springs or if she needed more help to care for her mother. Mollie, another of Josephine’s children had been widowed many years before, and lived at Heber Springs, supporting herself by sewing. Ada and her mother moved in with Mollie, and Josephine lived there the rest of her life.

Josephine was active as long as she could be but as she gradually became more feeble physically she couldn’t walk much, so she pieced quilts. I believe she always wore long black dresses, so they would have a lot of black scraps, and I remember they would always work them into the quilt pattern. When her eyesight became poor, her stitches were not as perfect as they had been, but she continued as long as she was able.

I went to see her during her last months when she was too weak to get out of bed. Her mind was still clear and I, for some reason, asked her to tell me again about her memories of Civil War times. She was well and sweetly cared for by her two daughters until she died when she was almost 93 years old October 24, 1946.

Cranford Family

CRANFORD

The family of Leonard Travis and Josephine Phillips Cranford, about 1904.
Front, left to right; Ada, Mollie, Leonard Travis, Josephine and Merle.
Back, Dorah, Thomas, Ella, Leonard L., Maud, Oscar.

Trav and Jo, as they were called, married in Alabama. Her father had already made plans to head out for Arkansas, so the newlyweds made the trip with the rest of the family. Records show Trav’s land patent in Section 10, Healing Springs Township in 1871 joining land of his father-in-law, Reuben Phillips who patented earlier that same year. All of Trav’s children were born in Healing Springs with Wolf Bayou listed as their address. When the oldest son, Thomas, was barely eighteen he homesteaded land nearby as did the Phillips boys who were Jo Cranford’s brothers.

Sometime in the early 1900’s this family moved to Section 25 near Wolf Bayou along the southeast side of the old Cherokee Boundary Line. I think this is land that once belonged to some of the Dill and Chastain families. Trav and Jo spent the rest of their lives of this land as did their younger sons, Oscar and Leonard.

Leonard Travis Cranford (1840-1923) and Josephine Phillips Cranford (1853-1946) are buried in Oak Grove Cemetery at Wolf Bayou.

Cranford sons

Sons of Trav and Josephine Phillips Cranford
Left to right, Thomas, Leonard and Oscar Cranford.

THE L.T. “TRAV” CRANFORD HOUSE

Cranford House

L.T. and Josephine Phillips Cranford came from Alabama with her father’s family around 1870. After living a few years in the Macedonia community (Five Mile) they moved to the Wolf Bayou area. This house was on land they purchased from the Dill and Chastain families. It was just a short way south of the Longview School where some of the daughters taught at different times. It was about a mile east of Wolf Bayou and divided by the old Cherokee Boundary Line.

Trav and Jo spent the remainder of their lives here. He died Mar. 14, 1923 and she died Oct 24, 1946. They are buried at Oak Grove Cemetery. Their children were Thomas, Dora, Mollie, Maud, Leonard, Oscar, Ada and Murrel.

Cranford Women Standing in back is Wilson Mannon, seated left to right; Josephine Phillips Cranford, Fanny Phillips Mannon (wife of Wilson) and Jeanette Phillips Ward, about 1938.

April 13 2014

Maud Ulan Cranford Martin


JANUARY 10, 1882 – JANUARY 9, 1966

Maud was born January 10, 1882 on a farm near Five Mile in Stone County, Arkansas. She later moved, with her parents, to Wolf Bayou, Arkansas. She was the fifth child of Leonard Travis Cranford and Josephine Phillips Cranford. Their family consisted of Thomas, Ella (Pritchard), Mollie (Beasley), Dora (Sharp), Maud, Leonard, Oscar, Ada and Murrell (Inman).

I don’t know any stories about Maud’s childhood. Her daughter, Lorene, says she didn’t tell stories about when she was young, and we didn’t think to ask her.

Like most other children in that time and place she began very young to work. Maud learned to do all the jobs of a farm — cleaning, cooking, gardening, canning, washing, ironing, sewing, quilting. I assume that she also had some time to play. She had many brothers and sisters who remained close all their lives so I suppose those good relationships began in childhood. Dora was the girl nearest to her in age, and I remember that they continued to communicate and visit each other as long as Dora lived. When Maud began her own family, she and/or Hubert made a corncob doll for their first little girl to play with. Did she do that because her parents had done the same for her? Clelan says he remembers his mother saying that sometimes when she was a child American Indians would come to the door asking to work for food–doesn’t that make it seem long ago?

Maud went to school from the time she was 6 or 7 years old in a one-room school. One day at that school when she was around 10 years old a new student came to school.

Maud’s uncle and aunt (Fayette and Nanette Ward – Nanette was Maud’s mother’s sister) and had taken in Hubert Martin to live and work with them and they let him go to school. He was a couple of years older than Maud and had never been to school before. However, she remembered that he was so eager to learn that he soon passed up all the younger children. He must have made quite an impression because they were married two days after her 17th birthday!

Hubert may have had a premonition of things to come, because soon after they were married he sawed off a section of a nice round hickory limb, sawed, shaped and smoothed it with hand tools to make a very durable rolling pin. Did he know how many biscuits would need to be made? The rolling pin (which I have now) was one thing my mother requested to remind her of her mother and the life she led. I believe that Hoyle and Ethelene have the enormous wooden bowl she used to mix those biscuits.

After their marriage Hubert and Maud moved into a house that would today be considered uninhabitable. The only reference she made to me about that house was when she, with her son, Claren and his wife Lucy, stopped to visit Tom and me in Dallas in 1954. We had just moved into our first house which by today’s standards would be modest – 1 bathroom, single garage, but nice and new with tiled bath and kitchen, hardwood floors. She looked around and said, “Law me, if you could see our first house!”

When I told my mother what she said, Mother said she thought it had a dirt floor. They lived there while Hubert continued to work for Mr. Ward. Their second house was a log house, a portion of which still exists. A history of the house and a picture of it are on pages 50 and 51 of Louie Clark’s book, Wolf Bayou, Arkansas and Healing Springs Township. The house was built by Jacob Artimus Kever, great grandfather of Hubert Martin. Maud and Hubert’s first child, Elva, was born there March 2, 1900. At least by the time she was crawling, they lived in the house with a floor, but the floor was made of wood that was so rough and splintery that it was a hazardous place for a crawling baby. Clee and Clyde were also born in this house, January 21, 1902 and August 31, 1903.


 

About 1905 Hubert became an entrepreneur. He acquired a grist mill and some land that had previously been owned by “Mat” Clark and his son “Rafe” Clark. They lived in a little log house about a mile or so down the road toward Big Creek. This house may or may not have been an improvement over the house at Wolf Bayou as far as the quality of the housing was concerned, but Hubert now had the opportunity to make something of his business, and that’s where he concentrated his efforts.

Maud’s role was to take care of the growing family – a new member arriving regularly about every two years. There were probably very few months when she was not pregnant or nursing a new baby. She made most of their clothes, cooked, cleaned, washed clothes, planted, hoed, harvested the garden, canned or otherwise preserved the food, made the quilts, kept the fire going, to say nothing of disciplining and teaching the children.

Her children say that she was strict, but even-tempered and “kept her cool” as compared to Hubert but she would “switch their legs” as needed to teach them to behave and obey her.

Cloyse was born June 7, 1905 and Myrtle made her appearance on February 19, 1907.

Maud’s health started to deteriorate to the degree that they were afraid for her life. In 1909 they were worried about her enough to send her to Pearson to live with her older sister, Molly Beasley, and Molly’s husband who was a doctor. She stayed there several months while her sister nursed and cared for her. The two younger children, Cloyse and Myrtle, were sent to stay with Maud’s parents for the better part of a year – even for some time after Maud returned home. It must have been very difficult for her to be separated from her family like that. She must have worried about all of them, but they didn’t have much of a choice.

While she was gone, nine year old Elva did basic housekeeping for her father, two younger brothers, and even cooked for the mill hands who had their noon meal at the house. She said “Aunt Mary” (wife of Gatis Martin, Hubert’s brother) who lived on the adjoining farm, helped her as she could, but she had her own family to care for. Seven year old Clee probably began then to help at the mill. Somehow they made it through this difficult time and Maud’s health was finally restored. As far as I know there was no real diagnosis of what was wrong with her, so I assume it was just that she got completely “worn out” from the constant child-bearing and the work load.

With five children, the little old makeshift house was becoming seriously overcrowded. Hubert didn’t want to take the time from his business to build another house, so he got his brother and neighbor, Gatis, to build one for them on the Banner – Wolf Bayou road before Lorene was born in 1911. When it was first built it had a large fireplace room big enough for a bed or two, a large kitchen with room for a big table for eating (a bed could be fitted in there too), a bedroom downstairs big enough for two beds. From this bedroom there was a stairway up to a large finished room upstairs.

By the time I came along there was a drilled well by the back door, but I’m not sure when that was put there. However, even with the well there, they carried water from the spring which was maybe 50 yards down a slope on the east side of the house. I don’t know if the problem with the well was the quality or quantity of the water. The washing was done down by the spring too, so the clothes had to be carried down there and back. A fire had to be built under the big iron wash pot so the clothes could be boiled as somebody punched them with a wooden stick. They were, of course, cleaned with “lie soap” which Maud had made herself, and rubbed by hand on a rub board before they were rinsed and hung on the line to dry. These were of course not “wash and wear” synthetics, but rough heavy fabrics like denim that had to be ironed with an iron that was heated on a wood-burning cookstove (even in summer.)

The clothes were dirty to a degree that we seldom see these days, from working hard at back-breaking labor with lumber and machinery. Clyde says she washed just once a week, on Thursdays. Lorene pointed out that it wasn’t necessary to wash more often, as they typically had only one change of clothes and they were expected to wear it a week between changes!

Baths were often weekly affairs, and this probably made them susceptible to getting “the itch” from other kids at school. Once five of the little boys had this very uncomfortable disease, so Maud gave them a “poke root” bath. She dug up some poke salet plants, boiled the roots and bathed the little boys in it. They never had “the itch” again. I’m not sure whether that special bath cured it for all time or if it stung so bad they started keeping themselves cleaner so they wouldn’t have to take that “cure” again!

The spring served a purpose other than providing water – that of a cooler. Hubert poured concrete around the spring to help keep it clean so debris wouldn’t accumulate in it. A separate milk cooling area was constructed to provide a nice level place to set milk containers where the overflow from the spring would constantly surround them with cool water. In those days of no refrigeration, that was very nice to have, but it did mean that you had to carry the milk down to the spring after you did the milking and strained it, then go get it and carry it back up to the house every time you needed milk.


 

Ingenuity provided other improvements to their living arrangements. Maud spent a lot of time and effort putting up fruit, vegetables and even meat in half gallon glass canning jars. In the winter, it was quite possible to have things freeze in an unheated room, and those glass jars needed to be protected. Uncle Gatis built a pantry for Maud in a corner of her kitchen with a door and sawdust-filled walls for insulation.

Hubert probably plowed up the garden for Maud in the spring, or had it done, and he may have helped her in some other ways as well, but household things were mostly her job. He needed to spend his time on the mill, but he probably enjoyed it more too. In their, probably unspoken, “division of labor” he was supposed to keep the fence up around the garden to prevent “open range” animals from getting into the garden and damaging or destroying it. He often neglected to keep it in good repair.

Time after time the neighbors’ pigs would get into the garden and she would have to run out and chase them away. One time she must have been particularly frustrated when the pigs appeared again. This time she determined to teach them a lesson they wouldn’t forget. She scooped up a shovel full of hot coals from the fireplace, ran out to the pigs where they were trying to escape her wrath by going to the barn. She threw the hot coals at them! She would probably have felt great about all this except for one problem – it caught the barn on fire and burned it down! She was very fearful of Hubert’s anger, but I’m glad to report that nobody remembers much of a reaction on his part.

Maud had two babies that were either born dead or lived only a few hours. There is some question about when they were born, but possibly 1913 and 1914. Their little graves can still be found near where the old house stood, marked with hand made bricks. Lorene and Myrtle went over to the old “Clark houseplace” near where Hubert’s gristmill was first located, found the bricks and brought them over. Samuel Cleston Martin was born May 31, 1915 and Claren Otis was born December 10, 1917.


 

Now there were eight children at home. Hubert’s business was going well, so he added a “front room” to the house. It was separated from the original part of the house by a wide covered porch, like a “breezeway”, and had a wide porch all around it. It was a large room with a door in each end and two windows on the front, a nice and much needed addition.

As this room was being added, two special events were being planned. Maud was expecting her ninth child, and their first child, Elva, was planning to be married. Elva and Earl Stuart were married in that new front room October 25, 1919. Mildred Ward Reed (Earl’s niece, daughter of Rosa Stuart Ward) remembers that Maud was a little sad to be losing her first child to marriage, but said that it was a good thing she was marrying, that Elva hadn’t done anything while Earl was in France in World War I but “sit around and cry.” Well, she undoubtedly didn’t mean it literally. Elva was in some ways like having another mother in the house. Cleston remembers that Elva dressed him for the wedding in a “little white suit.” I’m sure that Elva’s presence and the work she did to help was missed.

Clelan Eugene was born December 6, 1919. Raymond Clinton was born May 2, 1922 (called Raymond, the first boy not to be called by a “Cl” name.) Their last child, Thomas Hoyle (what, no “Cl” name!?) was born December 27, 1924. Clee married Opal Collard January 24, 1921 and Cloyse married Alta Bell January 1, 1924, so by the end of 1924 there were seven children still at home. Clyde was not married yet, but left to go to St. Louis to work.

Myrtle and Lorene were old enough to be helpful, but there was a tremendous amount of work to make a home for the family, including five little boys from newborn to nine years old. As the boys got older they too did hard physical labor at the mill and on the farm. Can you imagine the food that had to be produced and prepared?


 

Maud could do everything fast. When I was a child there were still five boys at home, all working with their father at the mill as well as some garden and farm work. They were all big people by then but she still did almost all the cooking, cleaning, laundry for them all. Of course, since she didn’t have any daughters at home by then, Hubert might sometimes assign a son to “help your mother” if her need was great.

I remember one day watching her patch overalls. It was amazing to see how fast she made that needle move to sew on that patch. When she died, my mother got for me a thimble of hers which I treasure. It has several holes punched all the way through by pushing those needles through heavy fabric so many times.

She had a foot pedal operated sewing machine but patching was done by hand. How it looked was not so important, but sewing it to stay on was and getting it finished was important because dinner had to be cooked.

By this time the men’s clothes were purchased ready made, because by then they were much more affluent, but in the earlier days she also made a good part of their clothes. My mother said that Maud was not really a good seamstress in that the emphasis was on making it sturdy and getting it finished, not on the decorative aspects.

Probably Maud’s cooking followed her general pattern of work, “Don’t get fancy, just do the basics very well.” As time went by she may have enjoyed branching out more as far as cooking. I remember a strawberry shortcake that was the best! It was several thin layers of cake with strawberries between each layer and rich cream on top. Marilyn Martin Hamlet says her coconut cake was the best she had ever eaten.

Most of the family remember that Maud’s cooking was great! My brother, Charles, remembers her biscuits. I remember smelling that pot of beans simmering in an iron pot on the fireplace. As was true in most homes in that area in those days, the food was basically what was raised in their gardens and from farm animals.

When I think of how she started each day, she probably did more work by 9:00 a.m. than most of us do all day. She would get up and make breakfast which would consist of a pan full of biscuits – the pan Hoyle says was about 18″ x 24″ and the biscuits were about two inches thick. To go along with this would be fried salt pork, eggs, gravy, sorghum molasses and butter, homemade jams and jellies. The men would often be preparing to go far away to the mill site. (The sawmill was somewhat portable, so could be moved to where the timber was.) She would pack food for their noon meal which would include a cake freshly baked every day. Many times this would probably be a molasses cake to cut down on the sugar they had to buy.


 

When Hubert and the other “mill hands” were working close enough to come home for the noon meal it was called dinner and usually consisted of dried beans cooked with salt pork seasoning, potatoes and another vegetable or two cooked fresh in the summer or home-canned when they were out of season, and of course big pans of cornbread. Clyde says her corn bread had a thick crisp crust that was so good the boys would almost fight over it. Dessert, was usually molasses cake or cookies, or a cobbler made from home-grown fruit. Often the evening meal consisted of leftovers from the noon meal, but it was often a challenge to cook enough at noon so there would be enough left over for supper.

My brother, Douglas, remembered the daily admonition of his grandmother as he and his uncles, Clelan and Raymond, came in after school, “Now stay out of the supper bread!” The bread was stored in the “warming oven” in the upper part of the cook stove. If the boys got into the “supper bread” she would have to build a fire and cook more bread. A lot of time could be saved if she didn’t have to cook another meal from scratch.

Since purchased bread was a rarity and yeast bread (light bread) almost as rare since the yeast had to be refrigerated, it was valued even more than homemade biscuits and corn bread. Clelan tells a story on himself to illustrate this. Most lunches sent from home for any of the families were made up of sandwiches of homemade biscuits and eggs or jam. The Brackett family ran the store and the Brackett boys sometimes brought sandwiches made from light bread. Clelan was very envious of this. He dreamed of a day when he too could have light bread sandwiches. Clelan one night was invited to spend the night with the Brackett boys and he went secretly hopeful that they would have light bread. The next morning Mrs. Brackett made biscuits for breakfast but found when she started to make lunches that she was out of light bread. She asked the boys if they would rather run to the store for a loaf of light bread or would they just as soon take biscuits. Each boy voiced his opinion and Clelan said, “I’d rather have light bread, that’s what I come for!”

An illustration of the fact that the niceties of food presentation took a back seat to substance can be seen in a lunch box story. Cleston, Claren, Clelan and Raymond were attending school. Their mother would send the lunch to school in a syrup bucket and the older boy was responsible to get it to school. At lunch time all 4 boys would gather around the bucket to see what was for lunch. One day she sent cornbread and milk in the bucket–not separate in four jars, just a bucket of milk with cornbread floating in it. They loved cornbread and milk. There they stood all ready to eat, but they did not have spoons. Soon Cleston said, “I bet there’s spoons in the bucket.” He reached into the milk with his grubby little school boy fist and pulled out four spoons. They all happily ate their cornbread and milk.

Maud must have been very well organized or she wouldn’t have been able to accomplish so much. The way I remember their house, it was always clean and neat. In the afternoon she would be sitting, on the porch in the summer or the fireplace room in the winter, maybe patching or darning something, but serene and unstressed.


 

In spite of all the family obligations, Maud found time to help neighbors when they were in need. Clelan remembers that she was especially sympathetic to women who were left widowed with children to raise. “Aunt” Velda was married to my father’s (Earl Stuart) brother Lawrence (Lon) Stuart until he died in 1918. Letha Stuart Crow remembers that her mother was teaching the “Martin School” soon after her father died and they would sometimes spend the night with the Martins if the weather was too bad. Once the weather was bad but Aunt Velda needed to go home anyway and she left Letha (maybe four years old) to stay with the Martins. Letha remembers that she really admired Cloyse who was a few years older. When it came time to go to bed she insisted that she wanted to sleep with Cloyse and at first would not be dissuaded. Finally Myrtle and Lorene “bribed” her with chewing gum to sleep with them instead. Everybody was happy – until the next morning when the gum was firmly stuck to Letha’s hair!

Another example of Maud’s desire to help a woman in need was when she asked Alice Berry to come and stay with her to help out some of the time when Maud was having a baby or in poor health. Alice had given birth to an infant out of wedlock and was somewhat ostracized in the community and treated badly even by her father. Maud’s acceptance of her helped her to “come out of her shell” and live a more normal life, eventually marrying and being a good neighbor to Maud.

Some of the stories they tell about their childhood make me wonder why Grandma only had one health breakdown! Maud ordered overall fabric in such quantity that she earned a premium large enough to order a coaster wagon, a red wagon with side boards. The boys would push the smaller boys in the wagon in a circle around the porch that ran around the house. There were wash tubs set on the low side of the house to catch the rain water. They were several feet below the floor of the porch at that point.

The boys pushed Raymond in the wagon as fast as possible around and around until finally the wagon skidded and dumped Raymond and the wagon into the washtubs full of water!

They didn’t have any passive children. They were always investigating and learning about how things worked. As they became more affluent, they started to get some conveniences – a kerosene refrigerator and a gasoline powered washing machine. The boys were fascinated. They were watching the agitator and got to wondering how powerful it was. Clelan and Raymond were teenagers with powerful muscles from all the work lifting and working with lumber and they were able to hold the agitator and stall the motor. Hoyle, a few years younger, was frustrated because he couldn’t do it, so he got the idea of bracing his arm against the side of the tub — and broke his arm! He wouldn’t cry because he knew he shouldn’t have been playing with it, but Myrtle examined it and declared it broken. A washing machine should have been an unmitigated blessing, but even that caused a problem!

Hoyle tells of an experiment he and Raymond did using a fire under a syrup bucket to produce steam to power a wheel’s turning. They used a tooth pick stuck in a hole in the bucket as a safety valve. It worked fine at first, but as the wooden toothpick got wet it expanded and failed to pop out. The steam blew the lid off the bucket and the steam covered Raymond’s face in an instant. It must have been extremely painful, but Raymond’s first thought was not the pain, but whether their Dad would know what they had been doing, so he immediately said, “How do I look?” At that moment the skin just peeled from his face. It is amazing that there was no permanent scarring. It must have taken nerves of steel to survive as the mother with things like that going on all around you.

 


 

Clyde married Robbie Stuart June 23, 1929. Myrtle married Troy Jeffery in April 1930. Lorene married Doyne Stuart December 24, 1932. The grandchildren had started to arrive well before Maud had finished having children, Douglas Stuart in 1921, Wallace Martin (Clee’s son) in 1922. Before their last child married (Clelan in 1948) they had 22 grandchildren. In all they had 27.

As a hostess to her adult children and their families, she was amazing! At the time, I took it for granted, but for countless Sundays everybody went to their house and stayed most of the day, eating together and visiting. For the grandchildren it was wonderful to get together with all those cousins (probably at least a dozen at any given time.) In the summer we would play in the “branch”, the stream running by the springs, on the sawdust pile, or maybe practice riding Hoyle’s bike (which usually didn’t have a chain so had to be pushed up the hill so you could coast down it.) Another favorite activity was playing with the newest babies. Sometimes some of the men would take a truck and go to Batesville and buy a 100 pound block of ice and make ice cream! It gives me a tic in the eye to even think of having such a crowd of people coming to overrun the place every week or so!

In the winter it must have been even worse. Probably even then the children spent some of the time outside, but not as much. I remember running all over the place, up and down the porches that ran around the house, playing hide and seek. Once I hid in the attic when Hoyle was “It” and he stopped looking for me! Maybe I’ll forgive him some day. Now I wonder if Grandma put him up to it. That would keep us quiet at least for a few minutes!

I have no idea who cooked all the food for those get-togethers. I don’t remember my mother taking food for a pot-luck, but maybe it was done that way and I didn’t pay attention because I took the good food for granted.

 


 

Claren married Lucy Troy in December of 1936 and Cleston married Ivon Womack in December of 1937, leaving just three teen aged boys at home.

When World War II came along all five of the youngest Martin boys were in the age to be eligible for service in the armed forces. However, Cleston and Claren were married and had children. They went to Memphis to do work in some kind of defense work, so were not called into service. However, Clelan, Raymond and finally Hoyle were in the service. This was a very stressful time for this country with much fear, anxiety prevalent everywhere. I recently spoke with Lorene about how it must have felt for a mother or father to allow a son to go into the service in wartime. She said that her mother was devastated by this, that Clelan and Raymond went first, and then when even Hoyle, her youngest child, was called it was almost more than she could bear. They had some fearsome experiences but came home safely after the war.

During the war Hubert could not get the necessary parts to keep his mill operating, so closed it down and retired. In 1942 he built them a new three bedroom house with a living room, dining room, kitchen and bathroom. There was a basement with a well in it that had an electric pump for pumping water to the kitchen and bathroom. The house was a few miles away from their Banner house, on Highway 25 in Concord. For quite a few years they had been doing very well financially. Maud was able to have electricity in the old house even before the REA (Rural Electric) lines came through – powered by a Delco gasoline powered generator. She could buy whatever clothes she needed. They had a new car every few years. The new house was built just the way she wanted it – well, almost.

After the war the last three boys married, Hoyle to Ethelene Parish in December 1945, Raymond to Opal Davis in October 1946 and Clelan to Ava Newton in 1948.

When Tom and I visited Maud in the early 1950’s in the winter their pipes were frozen and she was having to carry water up in buckets from the basement. She was frustrated and annoyed remembering that Hubert, when the house was being built, kept saying, “That’s enough – that’s good enough!.” She mimicked his words as she, a 70 year old woman, went bouncing up the steep concrete stairs with a large bucket full of water in each hand. He, according to her, couldn’t be bothered to wrap the pipes properly so they wouldn’t freeze.

 


 

I don’t know much about the relationship between Hubert and Maud. It is said that Hubert had a temper and took it out on his children at times, but I haven’t heard stories of his taking it out on her. However, she probably was afraid of his anger and maybe used “wiles” sometimes to get what she wanted. In a conversation with me and other women, probably my aunts, she said that if she couldn’t get what she wanted from him she would sometimes cry – lie across the bed with her face down and cry. It worked! The way she told the story it was humorous and showed a side of her that I had not known about before. She was great telling a funny story!

Lorene says she remembers her mother telling the children that she could tell when Hubert was mad by the way he walked and would imitate that walk. This, of course, was done out of his sight and was apparently meant to help them know when to be quiet and stay out of his way.

Maud did not take public roles. While Hubert liked to take leadership roles and lead singing, for instance, Maud did not. She did not pray in public or “testify” in church. I heard her once tell about the time when she was so ill, that she prayed and promised that if she lived she would see that her children were Christian and I have no doubt that she herself was devoutly Christian. Clyde says he remembers when he and the other children were still small, that she would sometimes call them in during the afternoon and kneel down with them and pray for them. He never forgot it.

Many times there would not be a functioning church in the Banner community, but they sometimes went to Uncle Leonard Cranford’s at Wolf Bayou and attended the Oak Grove Methodist Church. Some of the children were baptized there. Later she was inclined to prefer non-denominational churches. She became disenchanted with the way the local churches were operated with a great deal of arguing and controversy between them. This probably made her susceptible to the Jehovah’s Witness representatives in her later years. She listened to them, took them seriously and agreed with them in many things. She would get their literature from the Rudolphs but didn’t let Hubert see the literature. Hubert didn’t like or agree with the Jehovah’s Witness people and made them leave when he saw them there.

 


 

In the 1940’s the family get-togethers became maybe not quite so frequent, but it was and is a close knit family whose members genuinely like and enjoy each other’s company. They still continued to get together frequently. My parents and their family moved to Heber Springs in 1940 but went back to Banner/Concord every week or two. When our first child was born in 1956 we lived in Detroit. We brought him to Arkansas when he was about six months old to “show him off.” Forty two people “dropped in” to see him!

Before Maud died January 9, 1966 she became afflicted with a “Parkinson like” disease with shaking of her head and hands. She also had an “Alzheimer like” ailment where she gradually had changes in her ability to function and care for the house and herself and gradually lost most of her speech. Finally about 1964 she was put in a nursing home in Heber Springs where she lived until she died. While she was there she was quite helpless but some aspects of her personality remained. She continued to show by her expression and a few words that she recognized us all when we visited. She continued to show warmth to little children when they visited. Once we were there with our little ones and visited her before we saw Grandpa. He reported that when he saw her the day after we left she remembered that she had seen me with a “bunch of babies.”

Claudine and Norman Gray who ran the nursing home in Heber Springs where she spent her last months, wrote the family after her death. “It is not true that a patient in a Nursing Home is living a useless life, for each one that has been here has taught us a lesson in some way. Your mother gave us the gift of a wonderful sense of humor that came shining through all the trials of life, even in these last years when she was so ill.”

I once asked her about how hard it must have been to have so many children and she laughed and said that she had been asked that question a number of times, and she agreed, but there was just one problem. She couldn’t find even one of her children she would want to “give back.”

Maud asked that on her tombstone it should say only that “She has done what she could.” All who knew her would agree that is indeed true, and what she did was a great deal!


From “Martin Family Stories” by Cleta Stuart-Porterfield
Sources for the information given, in addition to my memory, include:
Written notes by my mother, Elva Martin Stuart, Conversations with Maud’s children,
A newspaper article about their 50th wedding anniversary, Obituaries,Anecdotes written by my brother, Charles Stuart, after hearing them from Hubert and Maud’s children.

June 13 2013

Leonard Travis Cranford – CSA

12th Regiment of Alabama Infantry

Civil War Service Record

L. T. (Trav) Cranford actually had two enlistment’s in the 12th Alabama. The first started in March 12, 1862. He enlisted at Coosa County, Alabama to serve 3 years and was paid a bounty of $50.00. It indicates he was born in Perry County, Alabama, in October of 1862 he was 22 years old, 5 feet 11 inches tall and his occupation was a farmer.

  • Yorktown Siege – April – May 1862

He entered the Chimborazo Hospital No 3, Richmond, VA on April 17, 1862 and was transferred to the C.S.A. General Hospital, Farmville, VA on May 22, 1862.

  • Williamsburg – May 5, 1862
  • Seven Pines – May 31-June 1, 1862
  • Gaines’ Mill – June 21, 1862
  • Malvern Hill – July 1, 1862
  • South Mountain – September 14, 1862
  • Antietam – September 14, 1862

He was discharged with a Certificate of Disability for Discharge on October 3, 1862. Discharge recorded viewed below. His condition was pulmonary hemorrhage following measles.

  • Fredericksburg – December 13, 1862

He enlisted again on February 15, 1863 at Adams Store, Alabama for the period of the War.

  • Chancellorsville – May 1-4, 1863
  • NOTE: During the march to Gettysburg, Gen Rodes Brigade, including the 12th Alabama, lead the vanguard. They pushed as far north as Carlisle Barracks. The northernmost point reached by the Confederate Army. They then turned back to join Gen Lee at Gettysburg.
  • Gettysburg – July 1-3, 1863
  • The Wilderness – May 5-6, 1864
  • Spotsylvania Court House – May 8-21, 1864
  • North Anna – May 23-26, 1864
  • Cold Harbor – June 1-3, 1864
  • Lynchburg Campaign – June 1864
  • Monocacy – July 9, 1864
  • Winchester – September 19, 1864 – wounded, left thigh
  • Fisher’s Hill – September 22, 1864
  • Cedar Creek – October 19, 1864
  • Petersburg Siege – December 1864 – April 1865

Wounded on April 2, 1865 at the Battle of Petersburg, VA. Admitted to the General Hospital, Howard’s Grove, Richmond, VA. There he was captured after the surrender at Appomatox and transferred via US Steamer Mary Powell to the Point Lookout, MD hospital. He is listed there on the Roll of Prisoner of War, May 12, 1865.

  • Appomotax Court House – April 9, 1865

On July 19, 1865 he took the Oath of Allegiance and was transferred to Jackson Hospital, Richmond, VA on July 21, 1865. He was discharged in September 1865.