Remembering Lola and Hattie Pope on Mother’s Day





Hattie and Lola Pope were sisters who grew up on the edge of the prairie near Fort Scott, Kansas. Born nine years apart, their father and mother were William David Pope and Elizabeth Ellen Smith. Down the road from them lived two brothers, Walter and Thomas Ferguson. Their parents were Thomas Bunn Ferguson and Mary Elizabeth Baker. The two families were destined to be intertwined when Lola married Tom and Hattie married Walter.

Lola, the younger sister, married early at the age of eighteen. Hattie married at the age of thirty-two. They were both tiny women. In a time when babies were born at home, Lola delivered six children; one died in infancy. Hattie delivered three children; all died. We don’t know if the children died at birth or in infancy, but how sad for Hattie. And while her children thrived, it must have been sad for Lola to see her sister lose one child after another.

Mother’s Day became a national holiday in 1914 and by the mid-1920s people were wearing red or white carnations to honor or remember their mothers. On Mother’s Day, Lola’s children wore a red carnation to church to honor her and a white one to remember her in later years after she was gone. While Hattie was loved by her husband and extended family, no children would wear a red or white flower for her. Was Hattie sad to know there would be no child to remember her when she was gone? Perhaps she was, or perhaps she accepted what life gave her.

Today people are more likely to send their mothers flowers for Mother’s Day or get together as a family to honor Mom. Hattie and Lola are gone, as are my mother Bonnie and my mother-in-law Betty. So Happy Mother’s Day. We love and miss you everyday. And this white rose is a symbol of our remembrance, especially for you Hattie, you are not forgotten.

Dying the Good Death … James Madison Pope

“Do not save your loving speeches for your friends till they are dead. Do not write them on their tombstones. Speak them rather now instead.”    

                                                                                                                                 Anna Cummins

In another post, I provided information about the early life of James Madison Pope. James and his family lived in Blue Mound Township in Macon County, Illinois. James, and his brother Zachariah, gave their lives for their country in a war where brother fought brother.

James’ father Dempsey Pope, and his mother Sarah Edwards Pope had moved to the area in 1827 when James was about three years old. When the family moved there, little did they know that in the future the United States would be torn apart and their family would be changed forever.

Blue Mound is about forty miles from Springfield, the capital of Illinois and fourteen miles from Decatur, the Macon county seat. I can’t help but think that the Pope’s were very aware of the local politics. Abraham Lincoln lived just west of Decatur and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1846. Being of voting age, it’s very possible that James may have cast a vote for Lincoln in that election.  Lincoln did not run for a second term but over several years he was very involved in politics eventually running for and winning the presidential election of 1860.’

As James farmed on his quiet acreage in Macon County, Illinois, the union of the United States was slowly falling apart. During the 1860 presidential election, Southern leaders began to lay the framework for secession in the event that a Republican president was elected. After Lincoln was elected, Confederate forces fired upon Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861; and thus the Civil War began.

Pope, Zachariah Picture_2

Zachariah Pope, private, 115th Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry

The expectation was that the war would end within ninety days with the North being victorious. As the war continued for over a year, in July of 1862, President Lincoln called for 300,000 volunteers. The call was quickly followed by another request for 300,000. In his book, History of the 115th Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Isaac Henry Clay Royse wrote, “The later calls came to men of homes and families who loved the quiet of their firesides to go forth in defense of home and country ; to men who had much to sacrifice. The answer came quickly and with enthusiasm, and the cry ran through all the North, ‘We are coming, Father Abraham, 600,000 strong.’ Companies and regiments came forth as by magic. In the midst of their harvests farmers stopped their machines and laid down their implements to go to the recruiting rally, and there enlist for three years or the duration of the war.”²  In answer to that call, James joined the 115th Illinois Infantry Regiment, Company E, on the 13th of August as a sergeant. His brother Zachariah answered the call as well and joined the same day as a private. Willis, the brother born between James and Zachariah, stayed home, most likely to continue to farm his land and help his mother and the wives of James and Zachariah.

Orders came for the recruits to report to Camp Butler on the 25th of August. Tears flowed as the recruits boarded a train on the Illinois Central Railroad  that took them on a ten-mile ride to Decatur, Illinois. Another thirty-five mile ride on the Great Western Railroad took them to Camp Butler where the regiment was officially mustered in.

On the 4th of October the regiment was loaded onto trains that eventually took them to Cincinnati, Ohio where they were marched across the Ohio River to Covington, Kentucky. A good portion of their day was spent on company and battalion drills. From the 18th of October to the 23rd the men marched to Falmouth. On the morning of the 24th they continued their march to Lexington, arriving on October 28th. Rain and snow greeted them along the way.

On the 13th of November the regiment was ordered to Richmond, Kentucky. The march took a heavy toll on the regiment. By the time they arrived in Richmond, one-hundred and fifty were sick. Soldiers sleeping on beds of straw placed on the damp ground contributed to the sickness.  Again, Isaac Royce wrote, “The doleful funeral march was heard almost daily, and many of our most valued men were left in the Danville Cemetery…Measles was the greatest scourge. Great numbers were so afflicted, and many cases turning into pneumonia proving fatal. At one time nearly two-thirds of the regiment were in the hospital or on the sick list in camp.”³

Zachariah Pope was one of the soldiers who died in a hospital in Lexington, dying of measles. James died of measles and cardiac obstruction at a regiment hospital in Danville. So where does dying the good death come in? People of that era expected that if they lived well into their adulthood they would die the good death by dying peacefully at home, among loving family. They would be able to get their affairs in order and, upon death, transition into the hereafter.

The Pope family was lucky. Nearly one-half of the Civil War dead were never identified and many were buried far from home. The bodies of James and Zachariah made it home, most likely by train. James is buried in the Hall Cemetery in Blue Mound. In September of 1938, a military headstone was placed upon his grave. Zachariah is buried in Pope Cemetery in Blue Mound. A military headstone was also placed upon his grave in June of 1938.

Fortunately Dempsey left this earth before he saw fate take two of his sons. But the living were left bereft of their loved ones. Poor Sarah, she lost two sons within a month of each other. Louisa and her six sons, one a baby, were left without their beloved James. Emily, Zachariah’s wife, was left without a father for her children.

I can’t help but wonder would the Pope men have joined the Confederacy had they grown up in North Carolina, the state of their parents birth? Did the fact that they lived so close to the political activity in Macon County have a bearing on their quick response to Abraham Lincoln’s call to defend the Union and their subsequent deaths? We can’t answer those questions, but so we don’t forget, let’s speak of James Madison and Zachariah Pope and all of the others who lost their lives too soon in a war that tore our nation apart.


¹Abraham Lincoln. (2016, April 9). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16:49, April 20, 2016, from

²Isaac Henry Clay Royse, History of the 115th Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Regiment, PDF download, Internet Archive ( : downloaded 19 Apr 2016), 12.

³Ibid., 46

James Madison Pope…The Early Years

James Madison Pope, my husband’s great-great-grandfather, was born on August 16, 1824 in Robertson County, Tennessee. His father Dempsey Pope, and his mother Sarah Edwards Pope, left Wake County, North Carolina and settled in Robertson County. Apparently things did not work out because the family was on the move again. The Popes settled in Blue Mound Township on the Mosquito Creek. The land was rolling and fertile. A good portion of the land was in timber. Despite the possibility that Mosquito Creek was named for the critters that bred there, the family thrived in their new home.

James was one of four boys and eight daughters born to Dempsey and Sarah. By 1840, when James was sixteen, five of his older sisters were out of the house leaving the four brothers and three sisters to help with the farm. Dempsey and Sarah were aging and needed all the help that they could get, especially from William who was eighteen and James who was sixteen.

On November 4, 1847 James married Louisa Hanna Taylor. He was twenty-three and she was eighteen. During the first year of marriage, on the October 8, 1848, their first son William David Pope was born. Within three years this young couple had a thriving farm of twenty-five acres of improved land and fifty-five acres of unimproved land. Perhaps the land was from his father; no document of him purchasing this land has been found by me.

Corn field, Library of Congress

From Library of Congress

The land and sweat of their brow provided much of what the family needed to live. Chores on the farm were well-defined. The men took care of the tilling and harvesting of the crops while the women took care of the children, cows, pigs, and the garden. The Popes had a few cows, fifteen sheep, and forty hogs. No doubt the six hundred bushels of Indian corn James tended were to feed the family and livestock. In addition to corn, the farm produced thirty bushels of wheat and thirty bushels of oats. Their orchards provided them with products worth one-hundred and fifty dollars that they could use to barter for items the farm didn’t produce. Louisa oversaw the production of molasses, beeswax, honey, and butter. Their farm was small, but James and Louisa were able to provide a good life for their growing family.

Over the course of the next ten years five sons were born to James and Louisa. Thomas John was born July 28, 1851, Charles Willis was born May 22, 1853, Millard Fillmore was born August 6, 1856, James Franklin was born July 5, 1858, and Zachariah Taylor was born January 17, 1862. James was a very patriotic man. Their only daughter Sarah, the namesake for James’ mother, was born and died in February of 1861.

Illinois Central Flyer_Chronicling America

James would have seen a poster like this telling of the land sale by the Illinois Central Railroad. From Chronicling America

James’ prosperity continued to grow. In November of 1854 he added eighty acres of land that he purchased from the Illinois Central Railroad Company. On the same day his brother Willis purchased eighty acres of land next to his.

In 1860 the sheep were gone from the farm but the number of hogs had increased to one-hundred and twenty. James had increased the number of cows he owned to fifteen. He had increased the production of wheat to three-hundred and fifty bushels, Indian corn to five thousand bushels, oats to one-hundred fifty bushels, and had added fifty bushels of rye to the mix.

It’s clear that James needed help. His five boys ranged in age from two to eleven. During that era children were expected to help out at an early age. So William, Thomas, and Charles would most likely help with the fields, perhaps planting seeds, weeding, and binding wheat in the fall. Milking was considered “women’s work” but, since Louisa had no daughters to help, the boys would have been pressed into milking the cows and helping with the pigs. As the boys grew older they would plow, chop wood, split rails, and build fences.¹ The agriculture census of 1860 was very telling. It appears that the family no longer produced molasses, honey, or beeswax. Perhaps it was an over-site of the census enumerator, or, perhaps Louisa had too much to do to produce these items for barter. At any rate this family worked hard to provide for their living.

James and Louisa lived in a time when the United States was in turmoil. Slavery and states’ rights were issues whose discussions were a crescendo of sound eventually ending in a huge clash of noise that exploded into the Civil War. This couple was caught up in this clash that would not end well for their family or the United States.




¹Jack Larkin, The Reshaping of Every Day Life, 1798-1840 (New York, New York: Harper & Row, 1988)

²Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection, LC-USF34-040143-D

³Chronicling America, Printed Ephemera Collection, Portfolio 17, Folder 33


Cowboys Rule

Ferguson, David on his Horse Altered

My husband Dave and I grew up in Maplewood, Missouri, a middle to lower middle-class community. World War II had been over for several years. The economy was growing, and anyone willing to work could find a means to make a living.

It was a time on Saturday evenings when boys pushed carts down our streets loaded with Sunday newspapers to sell to those who were ready to catch up on the latest news.

It was a time when we locked our skates onto our shoes and buzzed up and down sidewalks, balancing precariously trying to avoid the cracks in the concrete. And sometimes running home with skinned knees expecting a kiss from mom and a dab of stinging iodine on the wound to make it all better.

Those of us of a certain age remember a variety of people personally coming to our door to collect insurance payments, sharpen our knives, and deliver milk. On a hot summers day we would meet the man who was delivering ice for our “ice box’ in hopes he would chip off a little piece for us to help chase the heat away.

It was a time when Dave was about five or six and a man came through the area taking pictures, for a price, of the would-be cowboys in the neighborhood. The TV show, Hapalong Cassidy, was the rage at the time. Each week Hapalong, and his horse Topper, fought the bad guys. Is it any wonder that all little boys wanted to be like Hapalong?

So along comes the man with a pony, and Russ and Betty Ferguson saw the opportunity to make their little boy happy. It’s doubtful they were able to buy the full cowboy regalia; the outfit probably came with the pony. It doesn’t matter that the pony and outfit weren’t Dave’s. The picture is a snap-shot in time in the 1950s when life was simple and cowboys ruled. It was a time when a little boy, on a pony in full western regalia, could pretend that he was a cowboy, if only for a moment.


Happy Birthday Bonnie Lane

Today would have been my mother’s eighty-ninth birthday. She broke my heart when she left me on that twenty-ninth day of June in 2002.

Schwegler, Bonnie Keep

Mom and her String of Fish

My mom was a little, spunky woman who could cuss like a sailor. I suppose that is because she had nine brothers. One summer weekend when I was about ten or eleven, my brother Bill and I were fishing with my mom at my grandfather’s clubhouse on the Gasconade River. Bill and I were standing on the bank fishing with our poles and bobbers. Mom was sitting in the Jon boat fishing with a rod, reel, and sinkers; no bobber for her. When we fished with mom and dad, they spent a lot of time putting worms on our hooks and getting our lines untangled. How they had the patience I’ll never know.

Mom was a good fisherman. I’ll never forget the day when she caught a fish and was reeling it in. Suddenly she stood up and started hitting at something with her rod. She was cussing a blue streak the whole time saying, “You S.O.B., you’re not getting my fish.” (S.O.B. is the abbreviated version of what she really said.) At least I think that’s what she said. I was too shocked to really take in all of what she was saying because, to my horror, I saw the head of a water moccasin raising itself up out of the water coming after the fish on the end of her line. Its mouth was wide open so I could see the white lining of its mouth. That little lady stood her ground and beat the snake back and successfully pulled the fish into the boat.

I guess S.O.B. was one of her favorite words. I surmise that because when I was five years old we were driving to visit my grandmother and grandfather. I was sitting in the back seat between my mom and dad talking to them when a large truck came along side of us, which scared the life out of me. My reaction was to blurt out, “You S.O.B.” My mother turned to me and said, “What did you say?” I repeated my salty words. I learned that day that I was to do as my mother said, not as she did.

Lane, Bonnie Keep

Mom was tough as nails. She made us play outside in all weather but rain. She was a stern disciplinarian. But I never felt she was unfair in her discipline. She wasn’t one for church, but encouraged us to go to church with friends if they asked. She had a spiritual side; she introduced me to the writings of Norman Vincent Peale. She was my mother, but managed to parent while being my friend. We didn’t have much money, but she made sure we had what we needed. And she always, always put us kids before herself.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Memories of Spring

Spring has come early to my little corner of the earth. Every year I look forward to the sun and pop of color that springs up from lawns and trees. Maybe that’s why they call this time of year spring. 

I got my love of flowers from my mother. But even at a young age I remember the flora and fauna of my homes as much as the details of the houses we lived in.

Our first house in Maplewood, Missouri was on Greenwood Avenue. My parents rented a three room house that sat behind a larger house. This little house was probably the servant’s quarters. The big and small houses are long gone replaced by a apartment building.  

To get to our house from the street we had to walk on a sidewalk that wended its way along the side of the house to a gate in the back that divided our yard from the yard of the big house. Along this path to the back was a row of Rose of Sharon bushes. I’ll never forget the abundance of pink and white flowers when the bushes bloomed.  

Perhaps I remember the persimmon trees in our yard the most because my mother would yell at us not to walk on the persimmons after they fell because we would drag the mess in on our shoes. Also in the yard was a bush that had long, thin branches. This was the source of the dreaded “switch” of which my brother Bill and I were threatened if we misbehaved. It only took feeling the switch once and from that time on we quickly fell in line with the mere mention of “do you want me to get a switch?”


Corn Flower or Bachelor Button

Our second house was on the corner of Rannels and Oakland Avenue in Maplewood. It was in this house that my love for flowers grew. My mother loved peonies and planted two pink bushes close to the sidewalk that led to our back-door from the street. On the east fence was a long row of pink, white, and blue corn flower also known as bachelor buttons. The flowers were so prolific that they reseeded themselves every year. On the south side was a bed of purple iris that extended the entire length of the fence. In the middle of the yard was a circle of a variety of roses. The fragrance of a rose today takes me back to that little yard I enjoyed so much.


Peonies and Iris in My Garden

By today’s standards this was the simplest of gardens, but it was loved by my mother, and sowed the seeds of my love for gardening today. So I welcome all that goes with spring– sunshine, the greening of grass, the yellow of the daffodils, and the aroma of flowering trees and bushes. Thanks Mom!

Aub Hood, from Mississippi to Tennessee

Aub Hood was born in Itawamba County, Mississippi about 1859, a few years before the start of the Civil War, or the War of Northern Aggression if you are a Southerner. The Civil War most likely played a huge role in Aub’s formative years.  His father was Joshua Hood and his mother was Margaret Johnson Hood. Both were born in Alabama and moved to Itawamba County sometime in the mid-1850s. He came from a large family. Aub had ten brothers and two sisters. He was one of the middle children.

When Aub was about four or five, his father Joshua enlisted for six months in 2nd Regiment of the Mississippi Calvary, Company E of the Confederate Army. Joshua’s absence was felt by the family. He enlisted about the time the crops were ready for harvest. The oldest son, James, was only about twelve at the time so Joshua’s brothers probably helped with the harvest.

A marriage record from Itawamba County, dated 5 June 1878, was located for A. Hood and M. I. Pennington, which I believe is the marriage record for Aub and Amanda Bell Pennington. Aub and Amanda were not found in the 1880 US Census, but were living close to Aub’s family based upon tax records and a deed where the older Hood children deeded land to their mother and younger siblings.

Hood, Margaret Etal, Itawamba County, Court House, Deed Rec. Book 25, Page 472

By 1900, Aub, Amanda, and their six children had moved one hundred and ninety-five miles north to Lake County, Tennessee. Lake County sits across the Mississippi River from Pemiscot County which is located in the Bootheel of Missouri. The land is part of the upper Mississippi Delta and suitable for farming.

Auburn was about forty* and Amanda was thirty-four in 1900. They were married twenty-one years. Amanda had birthed six children, two of whom had died. Their four older children, Margaret, William Jesse, Prentis E., and Ruberta were all born in Mississippi. The two younger children, Silas and Mary Denny were born in Tennessee. So it appears the family arrived in Tennessee sometime prior to 1895.

The Civil War ended large commercial farming in Lake County and for thirty-years families were forced to live by subsistence farming. Between 1890 and 1900 things began to change. The boll weevil was devastating cotton crops in southern states, the demand for cotton was on the increase, and the climate was beginning to warm enough to grow cotton as far north as Illinois. Aub and family arrived around the time this switch to cotton was taking place.[1]

The family lived in a rented home which meant they were renting land on which to farm. A search for land records for Aub came up empty, which supports the fact that they were too poor to own land. They eked out a living from the soil. Margaret, age nineteen, helped Amanda with chores and looking after the younger children. William, who was fourteen, helped Aub with the farming.

In 1905 Bossie was born and Georgie followed in 1908. By 1910, Amanda was a widow. Aub had died sometime after 1908 when Georgie was born and before 1910 when the census was taken. At this time it’s unknown where Aub is buried.

This family of Hood’s managed to survive the aftermath of deprivation that followed the Civil War in north east Mississippi. They made their way to Tennessee where farming was as difficult as it was in Mississippi. Aub died around the age of forty. Life and farming took their toll on him.




*The 1900 census showed that Auburn Hood was fifty-six years old. This is in conflict with the 1860 and 1870 census records. Despite the fact that the ages between the documents are in conflict, I believe that this is the same person based upon the date of the marriage record and the number of years Auburn and Amanda were married.

[1]David Donahue and Brenda Fiddler, Lake County Agriculture, : accessed 11 Mar 2016, Citing Marvin Downing, Editor, Published by the University of Tennessee, Martin, 1979.