"In a few days we got a letter from Carl Carson in Chattanooga, Oklahoma telling us that Lola had had another baby on April 7, 1909 (Aubrey) but that she had taken Typhoid fever and was bad sick and might not live," Alma recalls. "Carl wrote us that the drinking water in Chattanooga was from an old pond and they didn't have any way to purify it so he thought that was where Lola got the fever. She had just had her third baby and was weak from that. Well, this worried us all a lot and especially Maw, cause she was beginning to realize just how sick she was."
"Maw just kept getting worse and worse and then she began to have trouble getting her breath. I would sit up with her and fan her cause I thought she was hot. I had all the windows up," Alma recalls. "One night she seemed especially bad and Paw sent Blair Burney, one of the hired hands, to Olin to call for the doctor. Paw also sent Dud for some of the neighbors. Mrs. Lynch, Dud's mother-in-law, was pretty good with sick folks so she came. She had us close all the windows, warm some irons, wrap them in newspapers and put them around Maw to warm her up cause she said Maw was chilling."
"It was raining and lightening real bad and when Blair Burney got to Olin, he tried to phone the doctor in Hico but he never could get thru because of the storm so he had to ride his horse into Hico for the doctor. By the time he got back to the ranch with the doctor it was about daylight and Maw was about dead," Alma recalls.
"When the doctor got there he had us take the irons from around her. I was washing dishes and I didn't know that she was that bad sick until Paw came and told me she was dying," Alma remembers. "Death struck her right after sun up."
Eliza Elizabeth (Lizzie) Atkinson Haile passed from this life on May 18, 1909. She was 47 years old and the mother of 12 children.
"The women bathed her and made her a black silk taffeta dress," Alma says, "the finest dress she ever had. Paw went to Hico and picked out a casket and they made a pine box to put the casket in. The neighbors set up with the corpse all that night as was the custom. Paw decided to bury her under some live oak trees just a little way from the ranch house."
Brother Deaton, a local preacher, preached the funeral service there under the trees at about 10 o'clock the morning after she died. The neighbors and Lizzie's girls had brought lots of pretty flowers and laid them all around the casket.
"We are gathered her this morning by these beautiful live oak trees," began Brother Deaton, "to pay our final tribute to a neighbor, a friend, a faithful wife and a loving mother and grandmother. Eliza Elizabeth (Lizzie) Atkinson Haile was born May 11, 1862 in Tennessee. She lived on this earth 47 years and 7 days. Her mother died when she was but a child and in the year 1873 her father moved his family to a farm just a mile from this place. She met, and on May 6, 1879 she married James Noble Haile. She is mourned this day by her husband, eleven living children, Ollie, Ada, Dudley, Allie, Alma, Kate, James Travis, Mollie, Cubbie and Ella all residing in this area and Sarah Lorena who lives in Chattanooga, Oklahoma but is not able to attend today because of sicknessan infant daughter was born dead July 2, 1898. Also her brothers and sisters of the home and many other relatives and friends are here to mourn her passing."
It was a sad day this May 19, 1909, when the Hailes said good-by to their mother and Jim said good-by to his wife. "They had dinner fixed for us after the funeral," Alma Said, "but we couldn't eat much, we were so sad about losing Maw."
"I was the oldest girl at home now so I became the 'mother' for all the kids that were left at home," Alma recalls. There was me, Kate, Little Jim, Mollie, Cubbie and Ella.
"We were awful worried about Lola. We hadn't heard much from Oklahoma about how she was getting along, " Alma Remembers, "so a week or two after Maw died Paw and Dud went up to see her."
Jim Haile and son, Dud, went to Lawton then on to Chattanooga on the train. Chattanooga was the end of the line, so while the train unloaded and turned around, Jim and Dud went to see Lola. She was beginning to recover from Typhoid fever and was very glad to see her dad and brother. Jim told her that her mother had died and that they had buried her under the live oak trees. They were there about 2 hours and were on their way back to Texas.
"When we were kids we went to church at Boggy and then later on we went to Sunday school at Gum Branch school house and then went on to Olin for church," Alma recalls. "The people of the community decided to organize a church and meet at Gum Branch School. It was a Baptist Church but we called it Pilgrims Rest. It was a pretty good church and it did real good for about 6 years and it was organized just about a month after Maw died."
"Paw almost buried Maw over in the Chitwood pasture but he decided he would rather have her closer to the ranch house," Alma recalls. "Right after she was buried he put up a log fence around the grave and along in the summer of 1909, about 3 months after she died, he went to Hico and bought a nice head stone and had it inscribed with her name, date of birth and death. He also had his own name inscribed with his birth date and the death date left blank. He then went to Hico and bought a beautiful wrought iron fence and put it around Maw's grave to replace the log fence." The wrought iron fence still stands today."
"After he got the fence up Paw decided that he wanted to move the remains of the little baby girl that had been born dead July 2, 1898 and had been buried in Preachers cemetery," Alma continues. "He went to court in Hamilton and got permission to move her remains. Dud said the bones looked like rabbit bones. Paw and Dud built her another little casket and placed her by her mother and also put up a headstone."
Alma was 18 years old and a good mother to the kids and Kate was 16 and helped a lot with all the work that had to be done in the house and around the ranch. Little Jim was 14, Mollie was 10, Cubbie was 7 and Ella was 5.
Dud and his wife Allie, still lived in the little gray house just down the hill and he helped his dad just the same as he had always done.
Thanksgiving and Christmas of 1909 wasn't the same because Lizzie wasn't there. The cotton and corn crops were good and Jim had sold a good crop of calves and was beginning to get a few paint colts from his mares and Mango. Still Christmas was the real sad holiday because all the Hailes missed Lizzie so much. The little kids had hung their stockings on the mantle of the fireplace and Jim had bought each of them a present and Alma and Kate had baked cakes and pies and they had the neighbors over for the party. Ollie and Dora and sons Noble and Wallace, Fred and Ada and daughters Edna Mae and Irene, Dud and Allie and son Jim, Wyley and Suc and daughter Gertrude were all there for the party and this helped to comfort the kids. Lola was the only child that wasn't there. She lived in Oklahoma with husband Carl Carson and their three sons, Oran, Clyde and Aubrey.
"All of us kids went to school each day," Alma recalls. "Then we'd come home and help with the chores. Ollie and Dud still helped Paw with the farming and the cattle and Paw would help them back. Kate and I did the cooking, washing, sewing, milking and also helped the others in the fields. We had a real good garden and lots of peaches, plums and grapes this spring of 1910 and the oats, wheat, cotton and corn were up pretty too."
It was May, and Lizzie had been gone about a year. Jim could sit on his front porch and see the little family cemetery where she was buried. He could also see his paint stallion 'Mango' in his pen and several of his paint offspring that were now grown and broke to ride.
Jim recalled how much Lizzie had loved the beautiful paint horses so he decided to do something special, maybe in her honor. He got Ollie, Dud, Jim, Cubbie and Noble, Ollie's oldest son together and they each rode a paint to Hico. Jim on Mango and the boys on five of his offspring. Jim got Mr. Wiseman to take their picture on these horses down by the Bosque River at the edge of town.
He also hired a sign painter to come out to the ranch and paint on the roof of the ranch house in big bold letters, "J.N. HAILE RANCH * WELCOME." In Jim's mind this was another tribute to Lizzie because she always made every guest feel welcome to stay the night even though her home was already over crowded with her own family.
"Paw had been thinking of marrying again," Alma recalls. "He had been writing to a woman in Gainesville. One day he took a notion to go down to see her so he wrote and told her to meet him at a certain place. He told Dud that if he didn't come back that night to come to the phone in Olin the next morning and wait for a call. We knew where he was going cause Little Jim had sneaked some letters out of his trunk and we all had read them," Alma laughs.
"Kate, Jim and I were gathering corn when he passed by the field on the way to see this woman," Alma says. "Jim and I were going to show Kate how we were going to spank our new step mother, and we started to spank Kate. Kate was awful strong and she took us both down and sat on us," Alma laughs.
"Well Paw got to the appointed meeting place a little ahead of time so he could look this woman over. When he saw her he knew he didn't like her looks so he came back home without talking to her," Alma Says. "He got back home right after sun up."
Jim Haile's pasture joined Mrs. Couch's pasture. He would cut fence posts and scatter them along the fence then send his hired hands down to dig the holes for the posts and set the fence up. When the crew got there the posts would be gone and Jim always figured Mrs. Couch got them. "Paw really didn't like Mrs. Couch at all," Alma recalls.
Mrs. Couch had a daughter whose husband had died and left her with two small children. The daughter, Mrs. Lizzie Jones, lived in a little house that she and her husband had built before he died on a few acres given them by her mother. Lizzie Jones was hoeing and picking cotton for the neighbors and milking a few cows to make a living for herself and her two children.
Jim Haile passed her house on the way to feed some of his stock in a pasture further down the road towards the Leon River. Jim stopped one day and knocked on the door and the two children came. "Where is your mother?" he asked. "She's down at the lot milking," they answered. "Paw would go to the lot and talk to her," Alma recalls. "I don't suppose he talked to her more than four or five times."
"I didn't know he was thinking about getting married," Alma says. "Suc and Wyley and daughter Gertrude had decided to go to Chattanooga, Oklahoma to see Carl and Lola. Lola was expecting her 4th baby. Paw said, "Tug, you or Kate one, can go with them." and I went cause I felt like Paw wanted me to go. He didn't want me to know that he was going to get married cause he knew that I had been taking care of the house and the kids and if he married and brought another woman, there might be hard feelings.
"We got to Chattanooga in time to spend Christmas with Carl, Lola and their boys Oran and Clyde and Aubrey," Alma remembers. "In just a day or two Lola got sick so Carl sent Wyley to Chattanooga for the doctor. Before Wyley got back, Thurman was born on December 27, 1910 and Suc and Carl helped Lola with the delivery. We stayed a few more days to help until Lola was feeling pretty good. Just before we left to go back to Texas we got a card from Kate telling us that Paw had married Mrs. Lizzie Jones on December 21, 1910."
"Ollie and Paw met us at the train station way in the night, in two buggies," Alma says. "Wyley rode with Ollie and Suc and her baby Gertrude, and I rode with Paw. He never said a word about being married. The first thing I saw when we pulled up in the yard at the ranch was Maw's old kitchen safe sitting on the front porch of the little house at the back of the ranch house and it made me mad."
"I didn't say a word one way or the other," Alma says, "we might have thought a lot of things but we didn't dare say them. Of course Mrs. Lizzie had a nicer, newer safe so that's why Paw moved Maw's safe out and Mrs. Lizzie's safe in. Paw had already moved her and her two children into the house too so now she was in charge of the house. But as it turned out, she was a real nice lady and we never had a bit of trouble. We had quite a bunch in the house again there was Paw who was 55, Mrs. Lizzie 24, and her two children, a boy about 3 and a girl about 4, and me, I was 19, Kate 17, Little Jim 15, Mollie 11, Cubbie 8 and Ella 6."