The Story of Alfred Middleton and Family

 by Barbara Dietrich

ALFRED FERGUSON MIDDLETON

1869-1951

 

About the time of his fifth birthday, Alfred Ferguson Middleton, completed a trek that few people of today would attempt.  He walked from Wisconsin to Missouri.

 

Alfred’s father was Thomas Jefferson Middleton.  After Thomas’ first wife died in 1862, he married Hannah (Anna) Louise Stephens on September 22, 1864, in Clinton County, Ohio. She came to live with him on his farm in Caesar’s Creek, in Greene County, near Middleton Corner, Ohio, and was a loving mother to his four children: John Watson, Mary Alice, Susan Maria and Frederick Keiter Middleton.

 

The next year in late June, Thomas and Anna welcomed a new daughter, Annie Jolly.  But tragedy would come just 13 months later. The little girl toddled from her doorstep to a well and fell in. The next month, September, 1866, Charles Stephens was born.

 

In 1867, to escape sad memories, Thomas moved the family to Wisconsin, not far from the upper waters of the Mississippi, onto a farm near Annaton, in Grant County.

 

Alfred was born there January 4, 1869. Sister Elizabeth Jane was born in January, 1871, and Louisa May followed in May, 1873.

 

For reasons unknown, Thomas moved the family again in late 1873, this time heading for Missouri.

 

Thomas and the older children rode horseback, Anna and the two baby girls and the family’s possessions filled the covered wagon, while Charlie and Alfred walked along beside.  A 450-mile trip.

 

The family crossed the ice over the Missouri River at Lexington in January, 1874. [Before the Army Corps of Engineers dredged out a navigable nine-foot-deep channel in the river in the 1930s, the wide shallow river would “freeze over” shore to shore.]

 

Thomas settled in Sni-a-Bar Township, Lafayette County, between Oak Grove and Bates City.  He and Anna amassed over 700 acres, and built a handsome landmark home on Sunrise Lane off Fulks Road. 1.

 

Between 1875 and 1888, five more children were born: Thomas Preston, James William, Frank Leslie, Marion Bab, and Rose Ellen Middleton. 2.

 

Alfred was always a good student, and attended classes in the winter months when he wasn’t needed for work on the farm.  He started his education the same year as Callie George, the girl he would later marry.  She was a good student also, and when she finished her eight grades, she went to Normal School at Warrensburg. Missouri.  She took two years of “graduate work” before returning home to become a teacher.

 

Alfred would finish his eight grades of education in Callie’s classroom, before he too went to Normal School at Warrensburg, where he completed one year of study.3.

 

Alfred and Callie were married October 16, 1895, when they were 25 years old, in a double wedding ceremony with her cousin Pauline Adline George and Frank Fountain Conard. Callie’s parents, John Hicks George and Lavisa Adline White, were brother and sister to Pauline’s parents, Hiram George and Mary White.

 

Times were hard then.  The second worst recession in American history, called the Panic of 1893, would last seven years.  Callie wrote: “All we owned when we married was a nice buggy and a good horse.”  They moved to 40 acres given to them by Callie’s father.  [A gift of land was a typical wedding present in the George family.]

 

Their land was located at the south end of Johnston Lane in Lafayette County. Alfred built a house there, and three children were born: Tredgar in 1896, Ruby in 1898, and Thelma in 1900.

 

Alfred’s father Thomas would die just days before the turn of the 20th century, on December 22, 1899.  Thomas had been eager to see the beginning of the new century, but he was caught in bad weather while riding, fell ill, and soon died of pneumonia.

 

Alfred had always been very close to his older half-brother John.  After their father’s death, John sold a parcel of Middleton land to Alfred, ample acreage for a growing family. Before occupying the new property on Milam Road just south of White Road, Alfred and Callie lived briefly in a house just south. Son Roy was born there in 1902.

 

The new family land was undeveloped, no building of any kind or even a fence post.  Alfred traded labor for money to purchase dynamite, and blasted out rock for foundations of the structures he planned.  He cut trees and hauled them to a mill to be cut to his specifications.  After the first buildings went up and a well was dug, the family moved onto the property, sometime in 1903.

 

Though Alfred had never sought to travel after his long childhood trek, Callie did have wanderlust.  One or both of them would travel to St Louis to see the wonders of the World’s Fair in 1904. 

 

Then, events in the summer of 1905 would compel Alfred to undertake a lengthy, unplanned, quite extraordinary trip.  Earlier in the year, John, still a single man, had left for Albuquerque, New Mexico, alone, to try to recover from a lung illness. As months and weeks passed without word from John, Alfred knew he had to go in search.

 

He boarded a train for New Mexico.  The little railroad depot then was over a mile southeast of Albuquerque’s center, the Old Town Plaza. Besides the train station, the only buildings there were a trading post and a livery stable.  

 

Desperate to find John, Alfred asked every one he saw, “Have you seen my brother?” He was told, finally, that a man of John’s description had left long before with an Indian, heading towards the Sandia Mountains east of town.  They had not been seen since. Alfred outfitted himself for the search, rented a horse, and set out.

 

He rode up one canyon after another tirelessly in his search for John. At long last, he came upon John’s camp.  The Indian was cooking and tending to John.  John had not regained his health; instead tuberculosis had debilitated him.  Alfred begged John to come home with him.  John said, “Not now, but soon I will come.” With great reluctance, and heavy heart, Alfred returned to his family.

 

Daughter Thelma had just turned five, but remembered the day of John’s return, December 9, 1905.  A telegraph operator called their home, giving notice that John was on an in-coming train, near death. He would be helped off at the Bates City depot.

 

Alfred rode away at a gallop.  Callie gathered the four children, hitched the horses to the wagon, and drove at a fast clip over the rutted road.  Bates City was only a “wide place in the road,” with the little depot, a tiny post office, and a house or two.  As the family approached, Alfred came out of the house next to the depot, and shook his head. John had died, but had held on long enough for Alfred to hold him for his last breath.

 

Over the next few years, Alfred continued to develop his property. He was a talented architect and builder and an able mathematician.

 

He would design and erect a fine-two-story home, a three-bay carriage house with loft, smoke house, hen house, cold cellar, privy, wells, windmill, and a large four-level barn with gambrel roof. 4.

 

He fenced fields and pastures for his crops and cattle, using strong Osage orange wood for posts.  He laid out an orchard with a variety of fruit trees—about 30 of them—on 20-foot centers. Several of the trees still live and bear fruit today—after a century of time. Callie planted an extensive garden, while Alfred put in shade trees near the house. 

 

The family grew too. Another daughter was born in 1907. Oldest son Tredgar named her Pansy Mary, after his mother’s favorite flower and after Alfred’s oldest half-sister, Tredgar’s favorite aunt. Horace Frances was born in 1909, the last child of the family.

 

The primary source of income for the family was cattle—the “cash crop,” though there were grain crops too for home use.  Alfred kept careful records of what he fed his animals, and weighed them regularly, to study what diet and care worked best.  For flavorful meat, the steers were fed grain to supplement their forage.

 

After two-years, the steers would be ready for market.  Roy remembered their annual “cattle drives” to Bates City. Alfred, Tredgar, and Roy, riding horses, drove the animals north to White Road, east to Walton Road, and north into town to the train tracks, where there was a chute to load the cattle onto the freight car… a three mile journey.

 

After the train arrived and the animals loaded, Tredgar and Roy would return home. Alfred would climb aboard for the ride into the sprawling stock yards in the West Bottoms of Kansas City. (In those years, only the Chicago yards were larger.)  He would stay by the pens all night, and watch over the animals until they were auctioned the next morning. He would board the next train back to Bates City and walk the three miles home with the cash money for all the next year in his pocket.

 

The cash money would be reinvested into maintaining and advancing farm operations. The family provided for their own sustenance, clothing, shelter, and entertainment.

 

For family use, they raised chickens, free range, eaten when of proper weight, as well as pigs, butchered in the fall usually, then smoked or salted to be eaten later. (A pig takes only one year to “feed out” unlike a steer, which takes two years.)

 

Fruits from the orchard, if not eaten immediately, were either canned or dried, having been pared, sliced, and spread on sawhorse tables outside to dehydrate. Vegetables from the huge garden were canned if not eaten when harvested.  

 

Alfred and Callie were very interested in their children’s education. Alfred, being one of few men of the neighborhood with Normal School training, served as long-time director of the nearby one-room Webb School on White Road, attended by all his children in their young years, as well as those from farms within a mile or so radius. 5.

 

Because Oak Grove High School was not accredited for a time, the older three children attended Odessa High School 13 miles away, which required tuition. They roomed in Odessa through the week and came home on weekends.  The younger three attended Oak Grove High School after curriculum was added and the school received accreditation.

 

The Middleton farm was popular place in the community. Tredgar’s senior class from Odessa High School came for their graduation picnic on the farm.  Ruby was married on the front porch.  Family and neighbors would stop by, years on end, on Sunday afternoons to visit.

 

Others came by to get wise counsel, or help with finances 6. or farm problems, and sometimes with domestic problems. Roy remembered that when a neighboring family had “trouble,” the men of the community “stepped in” to help. (And women helped too, through their “Sunshine Club.”)  

 

Alfred, like other farmers, followed politics, particularly as related to agricultural interests.   In 1908, the Democratic Party nominee, William Jennings Bryan, came through Oak Grove on the Chicago and Alton Line and spoke from the rear platform of the train.  Thelma remembered that, under her father’s direction, all the family dressed in their best and drove into town to hear the “whistle-stop” oration.  Bryan was a populist on economic issues and supported easier credit for farmers.

 

Alfred was also in the Odd Fellows Lodge, a benevolent society in Oak Grove. He lived his life staying true to their motto, Friendship, Love, and Truth. 7.   

 

In 1917, after the country entered WWI, Alfred and Callie’s oldest son joined the Field Artillery.8.  Tredgar’s unit trained in North Kansas City. At the end of training, the family came to see him off.  The picture taken that day was the only family picture of Alfred and Callie and all six children together.

 

Later, Tredgar was in Charleston, SC.  He was boarding his ship bound for Europe just as word came that the Armistice had been signed…November 11, 1918, his birthday.

 

Not long before, daughter Ruby had graduated from the German Hospital Training School for Nurses in Kansas City. (German Hospital was renamed Research Hospital in 1918.)  She would tend not only wounds of war, but also a flood of persons afflicted by the Influenza Pandemic, after she herself had recovered from the disease. Her personal protective equipment was her apron, and a mask during surgery.

 

The 1920s would be a hard decade for the family, with heartbreak at beginning and end.

 

Late in 1919, Ruby came home to help the family care for her younger sister Pansy, who was battling bone cancer.  It had been a two-year struggle. In early spring, Pansy was taken to General Hospital in Kansas City. 

 

Tredgar, the brother who had named her, was called from his job in southwest Missouri. He took the next train back. Alfred and Roy went on foot to Union Station to meet him.  When he arrived, the three ran hard up the long steep hill from the station to the hospital.

 

Decades later, Thelma tearfully told of the scene at the hospital. Pansy was near death. As Tredgar came to her bedside, she held out her arms to him, and died only minutes later. Beautiful, brave, and beloved 14-year-old Pansy died April 6, 1920.

 

To honor her and the family, the men of the neighborhood, without being asked, found two pairs of matched white horses to replace the usual black ones to draw the hearse from home to church…”for a special girl,” they said. The night before the funeral, an untimely spring storm laid down a blanket of heavy wet snow.  Neighbors, again unasked, hand-shoveled the entire quarter-mile lane so the hearse could pass. 

 

Alfred would fashion a tribute to Pansy at the grave. He took a wagon wheel, and cut one spoke from it, and tied early spring flowers to it.   He told his family that they would never again be quite as strong, but that they must go on. Roy would write later, “Pansy’s death marked us all.” Roy could never speak of it.

 

In October, 1920, Alfred and Callie posed for their 25th wedding anniversary portrait.  They were serious and stood erect, close together.

 

The next month marked the first national election after the ratification of the 19th Amendment allowing Women’s Suffrage. When Thelma asked her father if he thought she should vote, Alfred told her that too many had sacrificed too much and worked too hard and too long for her ever to ignore the privilege. She followed his advice. 

 

By 1921, the commodities markets were crashing, years before the stock market crash of 1929.  Goods produced now sold for much less than before.  It was a hard time to make a living on the farm.  But work went on. Soon, Horace was the only child at home to help.

 

The three older children were now married, and in 1925, the first two grandchildren arrived—little girls, Billie Lee and June.   

 

In 1929, at Thanksgiving time, many of the family were at home, in the kitchen, talking, enjoying one another’s company.  Roy, who was working in St. Louis, had driven in, planning to see the MU-KU football game in Lawrence, Kansas, on Saturday. (MU would win, 7-0.)

 

Then someone smelled smoke. Roy and Horace went to the attic, opened the door, and saw flames. Word went out to neighbors. Some went into the house and threw out or carried out things they thought might be of value, while others formed a bucket brigade from the barnyard pump to the house. 

 

Granddaughter June remembered that things brought out were often of lesser value than of what was left inside. But everyone was working desperately, giving their best effort.

 

Electricity would not come to farms until after President Roosevelt signed the Rural Electrification Act in 1936. The act forced power companies to expand service to the less profitable rural areas.  Without pumps to “push” the water, there was no saving the home. It burned to the ground. Precious things lay in the embers.

 

Thelma would recall her father’s crestfallen face that day.  Though cash money would now be more scarce than ever, Alfred and Callie immediately took out an advertisement in the next Oak Grove Banner, thanking their neighbors for their help. 

 

Winter was coming.  Little time for sad thoughts. They set about cleaning the drafty hen house and moved in for the winter.  Where the displaced chickens went is unknown.

 

Soon, Alfred was sketching again.  This time he drew a more modest house of craftsman style.  It was built in 1930 and still stands today, 90 years later.9.

 

Life continued, but at a slower pace.  Alfred was not as hale as before.  He used two canes to get around.  But the farm was kept running, using paid or in-kind labor at times.

 

Alfred still went to the fields, but now spent more time in his barn and carpentry shop. There was always something to fix or mend or to add to the new house. And, when there was a death in the neighborhood, often the family would ask him to craft the casket, because of the high quality of his work. He did this work in tribute to his neighbors.

 

Two more grandchildren arrived—Barbara in 1931 and Robert Alfred (Bob Al) in 1932.

 

Barbara has early memories of the farm, in the 1934-1935 years, of weekends when family and friends stopped by.

 

The cars would line up outside the back yard fence. Upon arrival, the men would slip on overalls and begin some task planned for them.  The women would head to the kitchen, bringing in cold dishes they had prepared before.  They put on aprons and settled into a cadence of meal preparation and conversation. 

 

The Middleton farm was always a team operation, and each member of the family—young and old—took joy in the work…an early lesson for Barbara.

 

Family gatherings on Sundays were cherished.

 

Sunday dinner would involve three settings.  The first table was for the men—family, visitors, and farm hands.  Dishes were cleared and washed, table reset, and more food put out for children and younger family members—the second table.  Dishes cleared and washed once again, table reset and stocked for the women—the third table. The women would linger at the table in conversation for a time after their meal.

 

In summer, all might adjourn to the side yard under the maple trees for a slice of watermelon or pie, served with stories and kind humor. In winter, a table or two of pinochle might be set up in the living room.

 

When Roy and his family were transferred to Texas in 1936, this presented the opportunity for the last long trip of Alfred’s life.  The next year, Tredgar and his wife drove Alfred and Callie to Dallas to visit Roy and then on to Anahuac, Texas, to visit Alfred’s youngest sister, Rose Ellen.

 

In 1937, US highways were two-lane roads with no shoulders, following the “lay of the land,” up and down over hill and dale.  Horse-drawn farm wagons shared the pavement with cars and trucks.  Forty miles per hour was a “good clip.” Air conditioning in cars, homes, or commercial buildings was years in the future, and hotels and motor courts in Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas were simple then, with few “amenities.”

 

Despite summer daytime temperatures in Texas routinely hitting 100 degrees and above, parching the air, making travel exhausting, this was a yearned-for trip.  Alfred’s beloved little sister had married in January, 1910, and left immediately with her new husband who began his law practice in the small Gulf Coast town on the Texas-Louisiana border. She was not able to return to Missouri even for her mother’s funeral in December, 1910.

 

Alfred and Rose were joyfully reunited one last time after not seeing each other for 27 years. The affection shows in the photographs.

 

Roy brought his family back to Missouri to visit twice during the late 1930s, and again in the summer of 1940.

 

One special memory for Barbara on the 1940 visit was of thrashing time, a large operation, both in field and kitchen. Neighboring men gathered to harvest an oat crop,10. and the women labored to feed them all.

 

Cousins Barbara and Bob Al (eight and seven years old) were assigned “water duty” that summer afternoon. The pump was in the barnyard, and the thirsty men were working in the nearby field under a clear bright blue sky.  Barbara and Bob Al took turns pumping water into one-gallon stoneware shoulder jugs (jugs with finger loops).  When filled, it was time to run to the field to place them in the shade by the fence, pick up empty jugs, and run back to the pump to begin again.  Heavy work for children. 

 

In the field, where the crop had been cut, men with pitchforks were tossing the unbound stalks to a man standing on a flat bed wagon with upright racks on each end. With his pitchfork, he would arrange the in-coming to stay on the wagon.

 

When the wagon was heaping, the big draft horses pulled it into the barnyard, where two large machines, the thresher and the steam boiler that powered it, were connected by big belts.  Noisy. The oat stalks were fed into the thresher.  Grain flowed out of a pipe into a waiting wagon with solid sides.  Horses pulled that wagon into the barn by the grain bins for unloading. The straw (the plant shafts) spewed out from another side of the thresher.

 

No trouble getting to sleep that night for anyone.

 

By 1940, only Alfred and Callie were left on the farm, though Horace stayed close by, helping often. They were in their early 70s now, and farm operations had to be cut back. Neither ever drove a car, nor owned one.

 

On December 7, 1941, news came of Pearl Harbor. Our country went to war. There was one last Christmas at the farm that year before gas rationing curtailed recreational travel.

 

Many of the family gathered. Two new grandchildren had joined the family in 1939 and 1940—Patricia and Jane Ann. Alfred always took great delight in the littlest ones. The tree was in the corner of the living room—adorned with big pointy, chandelier-sized colored bulbs and a lot of tinsel. Presents were modest but meaningful. Sweet moments.

 

Sometime in the next year or two, Alfred would leave the farm he loved so much.  He knew every inch of the land, and the rhythm of all the seasons.  But hired hands able to tend farms had gone “to service.”  And, his children strongly urged him to sell.  Because of his arthritis, they feared he would fall in the barn with his lantern. (Still no electric service in the area.)

 

Reluctantly he and Callie moved into a house in Oak Grove, 1800 South Broadway.

 

On September 2, 1945, with the formal surrender of Japan, the world-wide destruction that was WWII ended, and people were thankful. The next month, in October, Alfred and Callie celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a reception in their small home.  

 

Barbara remembers that a cloudy day did not dissuade the crowds.  It seemed to her that the whole town and countryside came pouring through the door.  The embraces were heartfelt.  “Álfred, remember the time that you helped me…”  “Miss Callie, do you remember me?  You were the best teacher I ever had.”   A happy day, a tribute to their well-spent lives.

 

In July, 1951, a cerebral hemorrhage stilled his wonderful mind. He died three days later on Friday the 13th in the Independence Hospital at 10:15 p.m. with family at his side. 11.

 

Later Roy would say about him, “He knew so much.  Things we don’t know today.”

 

Indeed he did. 

 

Telling time by the stars. Cutting a willow whistle. Playing a mouth harp. Herding his cattle by whistles to his dog, Jack.

 

Knowing the winds and weather and soil.  Tending his crops and animals in ways we are rediscovering now, and reaping their harvest humanely.  Calculating crop yields by looking at the developing plants…multiplications in his head—without paper or pencil.

 

Finding a life balance between his work and his family.  “Ten hours a day is enough for man or beast.”

 

Alfred was not a church member, but he was a spiritual man.  He communed with his God by going into his fields and looking up for his conversation.  He lived the Golden Rule. He understood the gift of each day.

 

He and Callie were equally matched in intellect and work ethic. They were respectful of each other. Together they raised educated, honorable children, who, without exception, loved, admired, and respected them.

 

Voices were not raised in the home.  Humor was gentle.  Untruth, puffery, exaggeration, or profanity not tolerated. Alfred listened and thought before he spoke.   

 

He led by example, and others followed.  He was a Good Man.

 

 

                                                                                              Barbara Middleton Dietrich 8/1/2020

                                                                With sincere appreciation to Steve Ferguson for his valuable advice

 

END NOTES

 

1.

The high-ceilinged, two-story frame home was modern for its time.  A rock basement held a boiler for heating.  On the first floor was an imposing entry hall with a long staircase, plus six other rooms, which included the parents’ bedroom. The dining room and parlor had carved walnut and cherry paneling. Upstairs were six bedrooms for children, and a stairway to the roof top, where there was a railed walkway from which Thomas could look out over his property.

 

2.

All of these children would live to adulthood except Jimmy (James William), who died at age 17, shot as he was showing a new “unloaded” rifle or shotgun to a friend. Thomas and Anna came home from a funeral and found him dying.

 

3.

Normal Schools were teachers’ colleges.  A student could complete one year of study and be certified to teach curriculum in the first eight grades of school.  Two years study allowed one to teach more difficult subjects beyond that.

 

High schools were not prevalent in rural Missouri in the 1800s. Many people today with higher educations would find the final eighth grade exam of those times to be a challenge.

 

The Normal School at Warrensburg is now the University of Central Missouri.

 

4.

Overall, the barn was a master work of design.  It was built solidly and would have stood much longer than the 114 years it lasted if only a later owner had kept the roof in repair.

 

The floors were three layers deep, bottom boards running northwest-southeast, middle boards running northeast-southwest, and top boards running north-south.

 

The structure was placed on ground which “fell away” to the east by a half level. It was longer north to south, and was built in three connecting sections on that axis.

 

On the east side away from the house, the lowest level, were the pig pens. Above them was the carpentry shop on the south and grain bins and harness storage to the north.

 

On the west side, at ground level (a half story higher than the pig pens) facing the house, was a hall connecting the horse stalls and tack room, and milking stall. Over them were bins for storing equipment, accessible from both the center section and the stalls.

 

The center section was accessed by half story ramps on north and south for the wagons to run through or be stored. Along the sides of the “main hall” inside were the carpentry shop and grain bins on the east and the storage bins on the west mentioned before.

 

On the north end was the ladder to the loft, which covered all three sections of the structure. The gambrel roof was the first in the district, and other farmers came to see how Alfred had framed it.  The gambrel allowed for more hay storage in the loft. 

 

5.

All of the five children who lived to adulthood graduated from high school. (In the U.S. in 1920, only one in six (16.2%) over age 17 had completed four years of high school.)

 

Four of the children pursued higher education. Tredgar and Thelma graduated from Kansas City Business College.  Ruby became a registered nurse after her education at German Hospital in Kansas City (later called Research Hospital).  Roy received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Missouri. Horace, though he did not pursue formal training after high school, served several years as general foreman, overseeing construction of major buildings at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, the former Normal School.

 

6.

Though there were many brothers and brothers-in-law in the Middleton and George families, Alfred was chosen to serve as executor of both estates.  He balanced John Hicks George’s check book each year for many years.

 

7.

This lodge harked back to medieval times in England when there were guilds for masons, weavers, blacksmiths, bakers and other specific trades.  The Odd Fellows were tradesmen and artisans not in other guilds.

 

8.

Tredgar tried to join the U.S. Infantry immediately after war was declared, but was rejected.  He had injured a knee during high school football, and could not march for long distances.  He later was accepted into a Field Artillery unit.  In that branch of service, he would be on horseback, or riding or driving the horse-drawn limbers or caissons.

 

9.

In the 1930 house…

 

In the basement was the Delco Electric System, with large green-blue glass vats, maybe four feet tall, with metal plates submerged in acid.  The laundry tubs may have been there, as well as a wash stand with hooks for overalls for men coming from the fields.

 

On the first floor (which was set up a few steps from ground level to allow light into the basement), there were two small guest rooms and bath, a small bedroom for Alfred and Callie, a small kitchen, a dining room of some size, and a living room. There were enclosed stairs curving to the second floor beside the kitchen.

 

On the second floor were a landing, a girls’ bedroom, a boys’ bedroom, and the attic.

 

There were three doors to the outside: the back door, facing east,  which went down to the basement and up to the kitchen; the side door, facing south, which went from dining room down to side yard; and the front door, facing west, which went from living room to front porch with steps down to the front yard. 

 

The dining room was the heart of the house.

 

In the middle were a large round table and chairs for eight or ten, plus two rocking chairs for Alfred and Callie.

 

Along the east wall was the entrance to the upstairs stairway, the door to Alfred and Callie’s bedroom, a built-in linen cabinet of deep drawers, and a potbellied stove with two or three chairs and a bucket of peanuts around it.  On the south wall was the side door, flanked by the telephone table and chair, with a resting couch under the south windows. The west side was mostly open to the living room but along a short wall was Callie’s treadle sewing machine.  On the east wall was one door to an interior hall which joined the two guest rooms and bath, and another door which went to the kitchen. 

 

In the living room, were chairs, a couch, and, for a time, an upright piano.

 

In the kitchen was a center table for working (baking and food preparation) as well as eating.  After a meal, leftover food might sit out with a cloth covering it.

 

On the east wall was a counter and sink.  No running water, only a bucket of water at the north end with a ladle for drinking.  Also used for food preparation and hand washing in a pan in the sink. On the south wall were doors to the steps to backdoor, and to dining room with space between for the four-legged stove with four butane gas burners and one small oven. On the west wall was the door to the guest bedroom and a small icebox. There windows on the north and east walls.

 

10. 

Separated (threshed) oat grain is fed to horses, but the stalks (the straw) are too stiff to digest.  Straw is used for animal stalls, filling mud holes, or a variety of other uses.  Hay crops for horses to eat include alfalfa, clover, lespedeza, or timothy. In some areas, not usually western Missouri, oat hay (with undeveloped grain heads) is fed to horses.

 

11.  

Roy could not be at the hospital to tell his father goodbye.  July 13, 1951, was the day of the single greatest flood destruction in Kansas City history. At the American Telephone and Telegraph Company’s  Long Lines Division, Roy was District Manager, responsible for all long distance telephone communications across Western Missouri and the State of Kansas. As water poured over the levees into the West Bottoms of Kansas City, the open wire lines went down, cutting all links between the city and points west.  Men in the A. T. & T. test room at 1425 Oak near downtown Kansas City worked non-stop through the night and ensuing days at the patchboards, diverting the long distance circuits around the city, keeping communications open, a lifeline in a time of great emergency.

THE FAMILY

 

 

Alfred Ferguson Middleton                 January 4, 1869                 July 13, 1951

Callie Minnie George                          November 8, 1868             November 23, 1954

     Married October 16, 1895    

     Children

          Tredgar Orval

          Ruby Oca

          Thelma Luva

          Roy Allen

          Pansy Mary                               September 15, 1905            April 6, 1920

          Horace Francis

 

Tredgar Orval Middleton                     November 11, 1895            January 30, 1956

Opal Wagnoner                                    April 3, 1903                       February 1, 1970

     Married June 29, 1926

     Children:

          Jane Ann Middleton                   February 16, 1940

 

Ruby Oca Middleton                            May 6, 1898                         July 15, 1990

Paul Cornelius Wright                          June 1, 1896                         December 28, 1967

     Married October 3, 1923

     Children:

          Billie Lee Wright                       March 20, 1925                     July 4, 1974

 

Thelma Luva Middleton                      November 7, 1900                 July 3, 1998

Eaul H. Dean                                        April 29, 1896                       March 8, 1959

     Married December 23, 1920

     Children:

          June Arlene Dean                        June 23, 1925                        January 23, 2017

 

Roy Allen Middleton                            November 4, 1902                  August 12, 1987

India Maurine Morgan                          July 18, 1903                          April 23, 1990

     Married June 11, 1930

     Children:

          Barbara Ann Middleton              November 29, 1931

          Patricia Jane Covington              June 8, 1939

 

Horace Francis Middleton                    September 1, 1909                   August 20, 1989

Virginia Frances Nivens                       December 28, 1910                  January 10, 2000

     Married January 2, 1932

     Children:

          Robert Alfred Middleton             November 15, 1932                 December 11, 1996

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