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Lora Frank Wilson Smith
and the history of the Wilson Family of Waller, Texas
The great grandmother of Darrell Smith

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"The Yellow Rose of Texas"

Lora Frank Wilson, better known to all as "Granny", was born June 23, 1894 to Hiram Frank Wilson and Lona Huffman in Waller, Texas. She spent her childhood in Field's Store community, Route 2, Waller County, Waller, Texas where she attended the local school, "Possum Walk", and New Hope Methodist Church. In order to attend school and church she had to walk. Thus, she gained her well-known stamina. The church stood where the Masonic Lodge building now stands, next to Field's Store Cemetery.

Frank was also raised within Field's Store Community. He had three sisters, Maggie, Lizzy and Carrie. He also had two brothers, John and Rufus. Their father was known for his faithful teaching of the Bible in Sunday School at the Methodist Church.

Lizzy, the oldest daughter married Arthur Howell. Lizzy and Arthur and 4 children, Maggie, Scott, Mamie and Ted. Mamie married Elmer Soresby and Scott married Alma Sorsby. The Sorsby's were well known around Waller and Hempstead, Texas.

Maggie married G.O. Vaught whose daughter, Annie Mae, married Frank Ed White. Frank Ed White was Superintendent of Waller School in the 1930s and 1940s. He was well known as fair but strict Superintendent. The children knew to obey Superintendent White.

Ted hung himself, which was a shock to the entire family.

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There is very little known about Granny's mother, Lona. Lona had been married three times. Lona's first husband's last name was Noel. A son was born of this marriage, Clarence. Clarence kept in touch with Granny until his death in the early 1960s.

When Clarence was small, Lona married a man whose last name was Haggerty. There were no children born of this marriage. After Haggerty's death, she married Frank. Lona and Frank had one daughter, Lora Frank ("Granny").

Frank's grandfather gave or traded a parcel of land for a wife. Granny could remember Indians camping along the creek behind their home. According to Granny, the Indians kept to themselves and bothered no one.

Lona died and was buried on Decoration Day (now called Memorial Day) which the last Monday in May, 1902. Granny was eight years old.

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After Lona's death, Granny and her father lived alone. Granny could remember that they did everything together from working in the fields to cooking their own meals. The highlights Granny remembered were trading (or shopping) in nearby Waller or Hempstead. They would travel to town and back in a wagon, which took all day. If it was cold weather, they would take a bowl of chili to eat or, in warm weather they would buy cheese, crackers and summer sausage for a picnic on the way home.

Approximately three years after Lona's death, Frank married Jesse Timmons. From this marriage was born ten children; six girls and four boys. The girls married names are Estella Trout, Wilma Warner, Sadie Wren, Rosa Gardner, Edna Sanders and Emma Cook. The boys were named Hiram, Jimmy, Earl and Alvin.

On November 17, 1912, when Granny was eighteen, she married James Henry Smith. They were married in Myrtle Grove Baptist Church, now known as Reids Prairie Baptist Church.

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Granny and Henry had many happy times, but some very hard struggles as well. To them was born five children:

Ola Francis born on September 27, 1913, Clarence Ervin born on January 19, 1915; J.H. born on February 5, 1917; Mellie Lou born on August 25, 1921 and Marvis Leon born on November 29, 1922.

In 1926, Henry's father, William Jasper Smith, passed away. Henry moved his family in to take care of his mother and the farm. Soon thereafter Henry's brother, Will had a stroke. Will needed someone to care for him. Will then moved in with Granny and Henry on the farm. Caring for an elderly mother-in -law and an invalid brother-in-law and five children was no small task for Granny. But she endured.

In 1935, Henry's brothers and sisters decided to sell the farm. Henry's health was beginning to fail, so he moved the family to Waller. Henry went to work for Waller County and Granny worked for P.W.A., a government project. She served the Government, took in sewing work and later on, worked at Waller County Courthouse in Hempstead. Her duties entailed copying old records. Her handwriting may be seen as a part of the records at Waller County.

On August 12, 1941, after a long illness, Henry passed away. Granny became a widow at 47 years old. She became a cook and eventually managed the cafeteria at Field's Store Elementary School. While working there, World War II began.

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J.H. was soon called to serve in the War and joined the Navy. Soon afterward, Marvis joined the Navy where both served in active duty.

Soon after here sons were called into service, Granny started working for the city of Houston in the Purchasing Department at the old Jeff Davis Hospital.

Granny prayed may prayers for her sons, "Lord, here's my life, but please bring my boys home safely." They did return home in 1945 and 1946, respectively. Granny taught Sunday School for many years in different departments, sang in the Choir, taught in Bible School and in later years, she helped serve in the kitchen. She was always willing to give her testimony for what God had done for her.

Granny could sit for hours and quote almost every poem and little song that she learned as a child. Her speech and memory was as fast as it was when she was young. She could say "Peter Piper" faster than others could think it.

Granny lived to be 96 years and 10 months. One brother and one sister, Hiram and Erma, two sons, Clarence and Marvis, two grandsons, Richard Gene Parr and Bobby James Thomas, proceeded her in death.

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At the time of her death, April 9, 1991, she was survived by three children, 16 grandchildren, 41 great grandchildren, 8 great great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Lora, Mother or Granny, whichever name was used, was deeply loved by all and will surely be missed.

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