Monday, July 26, 2010

My Mother Viola Estelle McKnight - 1888-1973

Mom and Dad had eleven children nine boys and two girls, I will write something about each of them starting with the oldest through the youngest, me.

As far as I know mother quit school after the third grade and went to work in the cotton mill which was about the only place for a youth to get employed. After Dad got out of the army he went back to college before getting a superintendent job with the mill where she worked. I guess things worked out for them to meet, start dating, and get married.

All I can say about what happened from that time will be just what I remember hearing when I was growing up. They got married September 14, 1905. Mom kept working in the mill until she had her first child Edna. After that she stayed home and took care of the home. They had a new addition to the family about every two years which stopped when I came along in 1928. Dad died in 1929.Being the baby of the family, I guess mom took better care of me than the rest of the children; I followed her around and did about everything that she did. I can remember her making me little gowns from flour sacks and later on making shirts from feed sacks. I don't remember every getting a new shirt from the store until I was in the seventh grade in school.

I would help her do the house work and she always did the gardening. Later I would help her with the plants; as I got older she would make me feed the chickens and the pigs then later cows and mules. As far back as I can remember she would be up before daylight to have breakfast for all of us guys so that we could work in the fields. She always work until after dark since there was so much to do in those days. One time she fell down the steps of our upper staircase and broke her hip. The doctor wanted to put it in a cast but that would keep her from doing the work around the house. This was around this time the older ones were leaving the farm and doing public work. She had to put her knee in a chair and slid it all around the house while she did everything that needed to be done. This picture is Mother with a friend of the family, Lo Campbell pictured at our old home place.

She would try to teach everyone to cook. She would say that we might marry a sorry woman that wanted to sleep all day. She taught me to cook about everything. I did not marry a sorry woman although she did not know how to cook so my cooking came in handy.

I can say mom did a great job keeping the family together after dad died. Some folks wanted to split us up and put us in a home for orphans; she always said that she did not have orphans. She kept us together on a little two horse farm as sharecroppers and with her determination and Gods help she made it. Later on in life some would say that she was a harsh woman but I think she was a hero for what she went through and what she stood for. I guess my being the youngest I could know her better and knew the life she had to live. She did it all for her children and I can vouch for that after having a family of my own to raise. I did not realize how much mom suffered until I got old and have all kind of medication for my ailments, she had none.

She spent her last six or seven years in bed and her two older daughters took care of her and she had many bad days and sometimes she seemed not to be the mother that she surly was. It was my Mother that made me to be what I am today, she taught me the Bible and what it was all about trusting God for everything and never complain about anything. She said that if I truly trusted God, everything would be alright, and at 82 years she was right. She was a great person as a young single mother was able to keep a family of eleven together during the great depression. She did her best and with Gods help she made it. This is a picture of her father, Samuel M. McKnight and some additional pictures of Mother.

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