Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Ross Solon McGee: Grandfather
Ross Solon McGee, Dad's dad was born 24 Sept 1882 in Missouri. Here is a photo with seven of the ten kids of his parents. (One missing and two having died earlier.) This photo was taken sometime during 1951 when Grandpa Ross was in his late 60's. Dad identified who is who. Grandpa wrote a sketch of his life (dated in 1952) I've given excerpts before. Here are some more describing some of his childhood:
While in, or near, Adair [Oklahoma], we [his fathers family when he was under 10 years old] rented a farm and had raised corn
and wheat and a few hogs and the like. I say we. Some of we boys
were pretty young at the time. But after all, there isn't one of
us lads can remember when we were too young to help with the
work that had to be done on the farm and around the house. With
six rough and roudy boys there was plenty to do. And we had a
most wonderful and patient mother to guide us in our work and in
our lives. ...
Our father and the older boys wanted to get land of our own, so
in the early Spring of 1893, I think March or April, we moved
about 30 miles east, near Vinita, Indian Territory, and located
on 160 acres of new land under the Cherokee rights. At that time
very sparingly settled, the nearest town of any Vinita, which
was 18 miles away. Our post office, 3 miles, Ruby, Indian
Territory. Our neighbors were scattered and far between. Our
nearest neighbors lived about three-fourths of a mile away. A
Mr. Webb and family. So our environment was mostly around the
home and home was in the making. At times it wasn't so easy sledding.
The house put up, the fencing of 160 acres and fixing for spring
plowing and planting our crops. All in a pioneer way. The older
boys did most of the work with the sod plow, and old "Tobe and
Mal", (a mule team). We had a few other small horses, but old
"Tobe and Mal" were the old stand-by.
With warm spring weather coming and the blooming of beautiful
wild flowers that were plentiful in that wide open prairie
country, it made things look very pleasant.
With all the work and chores there were to do, we, as boys, had
plenty of time for fun and play. By this time we had pretty well
surveyed all the country aroundabout. We picked out the best
"Swimming holes", as we would call them, for part of our
summer's recreation. Ice skating in the wintertime, etc. And as
time went on, some of the boys rated pretty good in swimming and
springboard diving. I mean as we became older.
Now back to some more work. With a pretty good crop of corn, it
had to be shucked and put in the crib which we had built during
the summer. We rasied sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and all kinds of
melons, vegetables and so on. With the fall work done, including
the cutting of the wild grass for hay, and with the corn put
away, and a few pigs fattening for our meat, we were all ready
for a hard, cold winter. We also raised sorghum cane and made
molasses, as this insured us pretty well for feed for our stock
and something in the way of food for ourselves.
Now there were other things for us to do, such as our winter
fuel. We had learned how to find coal, by the formation of the
rocks on the creek banks, where we would dig down from 4 to 6
feet and find coal with a depth of 12 to 14 inches. As time went
on and we became older, some of the boys got pretty good at
digging coal. When we would sell it we would get $1.00 per ton
on the ground. So you, the reader, can imagine how much money we
would make. But what we did get, we got the hard way.
... More later.
Grandpa Ross raised 11 kids and passed away just before he reached 96.