Margaret Eva Holdridge (1902-1992) and
William M. Coley(1885-1967)
MARGARET EVA HOLDRIDGE, daughter of Horace Benton8 and Mary Ophelia (Morgan) Holdridge, was born 30 August 1902 in Mt. Pleasant, Titus County, Texas, and died 10 November 1992 in De Leon, Comanche County, Texas. She married in De Leon, Comanche County, Texas, 22 April 1934, WILLIAM M. COLEY, who was born 7 July 1885 in Heflin, Cleburne County, Alabama, and died 26 December 1967, in De Leon, Comanche County, Texas, son of James Washington Coley and Louisiana Louella Noell.
Margaret Eva Holdridge Coley, known to many as Aunt Eva, was born August 30, 1902 in Mt. Pleasant, Texas, Titus County, after her parents, Horace Benton and Mary Ophelia Morgan Holdridge left Alabama. Two brothers, Melvin and Caver, were with them, but a baby sister, Annie, died while living in Alabama. Little did Eva know there would be six more boys born, and she would grow up the only girl with eight brothers.
Early in her life the family moved to Downing and Suez communities southwest of De Leon in Comanche County, to farm. Her father had a grocery store in Suez. Marvin, Lee and Paul were born before moving into a house Horace built in the northwest edge of De Leon near an apple orchard. W.C. was born here. This was in 1910 when Eva was eight years old. In all probability she started school nearby in North Ward Grade School.
Then the family moved to the Strickland place, southwest of De Leon. This farm was near William M. and Molly Nabors Coley’s farm. While living at the Strickland place, Coy was born. Mrs. Walter Mathis came and popped corn for everyone while waiting for Coy to be born, and W.C. ordered him from the Sears Roebuck catalogue.
In 1912 Eva walked to New Hope to school with her brothers to attend Sabanna District School. W.C. was not old enough to go, so he played by himself at home chasing butterflies and horney toads. Grandma had been busy having babies every two years but had a five-year rest between W.C. and Coy. All the family attended church and revivals at New Hope Methodist. Melvin left for the service while living here.
Eva attended the 7th grade before moving to the Greenwalt place near the St. Joe Community. W.C. remembers that all of them went to Grannie Greenwalt’s and waited for Fred to be born. They attended Ross Chapel Methodist Church. Eva had become her mother’s helper with all the housework, child care and sewing. She stayed home and prepared lots of fried chicken, creamed potatoes and gravy, three-layered cakes, biscuits and cornbread to eat with sweet milk. She learned well how to make fruit cobblers --- peach, apple and blackberry. She made fried pies (by the dozens) from dried fruit. Many were put in a paper sack or wrapped in a newspaper to take to school for lunch. They were also eaten after getting home from school. She and grandma pieced many quilts. A double wedding ring quilt-top Eva had in her cedar chest has been quilted to keep and cherish. Melvin came home from the Navy in 1919. Oh happy day!
The Holdridge family moved to the Malonee place just southwest of De Leon. It required a lot of washing to keep the large family in clean clothes. The older boys worked in the field. Coy and Fred were quite small and couldn’t work. On wash days W.C. was asked to get chips of wood for a fire. He also filled the buckets with water. There were three tubs on the wash bench. One had a rub board and was filled with soapy water, one to rinse the clothes, and the third for a final rinse. Then there was the process of hanging the clothes to dry --- sheets from all the beads, towels (hemmed unbleached domestic) and clothes for all the family plus Grandpa John Henry. Clothes lines and fences were full.
While plowing in the field side by side with Marvin, Grandpa John Henry fell off the planter and died in the field in 1921.
Eva walked to work, for a short period of time, at the De Leon Peanut Factory --- the only money she made working outside the home. She took piano lessons from Julia Ann Morton. During this time the family attended the Morton Chapel Methodist Church and sang hymns together.
Yardwork was also Eva’s job. A clean yard was a well-swept, well-kept yard, with no grass or weeds growing on it. She swept it spotlessly.
Horace started a grocery store in 1923 in Archietown and around 1924 the family moved to a house on the Sipe Springs Highway which was moved there. They added two rooms and a car port to the south (actually a kitchen, bath and bedroom). Horace had done carpenter work. Eva had a front room to herself. Lee and Paul slept together and Marvin and W.C. slept together in one room. Coy and Fred slept together in the room with their dad and mother.
Flower beds around the house included beautiful peonies, periwinkles, phlox, bluebonnets and Johnny-jump-ups. Many early pictures were taken in the phlox and bluebonnets.
Horace was a substitute preacher, preaching at different churches. The family became a part of First Methodist in De Leon with Eva, Marvin, Lee and W.C. still being members there. [in 1992]
William M. Coley was a good friend of the family and their mail carrier at the store. His wife, Molly, died in 1932. They had moved their farm to a house north of De Leon on Highway 6. William M. and Eva began courting and were married on a Sunday afternoon, April 22, 1934, at her parents’ home in Archietown.
Her father officiated. Paul and Ersel happened to drive down from Dallas and attended the wedding. Paul and Ersel had married in July of 1929 and he was the eldest daughter of William M. and Molly. So there was “double kin” in the family now, making Paul his own uncle. Eva’s other stepchildren, Geneva, Frances, and Bill had married and were away from home.
By 1938 “Will” and Eva had started building a house of native rock in De Leon, at 104 E. Labadie, just diagonal from the Baptist Church. The original owner of the block was E. H. York. “Will” purchased the property for $3600 and Duff Boswell built the rock house. Eva lived in and cared for her home for 48 happy years. This house was sold August 1987 to Roger Mae Smith.
Children of Margaret Eva Holdridge and William M. Coley:
- Anita Larue Coley
Margaret Eva Coley, "A History on her 90th Birthday", by Anita Coley Conway, daughter of Margaret Eva Coley, from the Holdridge Family History/Directory, August 1985-1992, compiled by Delta Holdridge Hafford, used with permission from Delta's son, Thomas Hafford. There is more to this story but not added to the website due to privacy issues for living people.