Business, Maternal Kin, Oral History, Other Documents, Photographs, Virginia, Vocation

Texaco liked the work.

In the summer of 2002, my uncle Charles C. Allen told me this about my grandfather John C. Allen Jr.:

[Daddy] had to get reestablished after the war. But he had a friend named Buster Reynolds. And Buster Reynolds was reputed to have made his money in the numbers, and so when the numbers were getting real hot and heavy, when it was reputed that the Mafia was trying to take the numbers over, Buster got out. And he built this service station, and he had a Texaco franchise, and he had Daddy to build the station. And Texaco liked the work so much that Daddy built two more stations for Texaco. And both of the stations that were built in the black community are still up. They’re not gas stations anymore, but the buildings are still up. And the one that was built Overtown is gone. But even the station that was in the white community, Texaco had him to build that one, too.

Today I found this:

2 1 1948

The Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), 1 February 1948.

My uncle passed away in January; I wish dearly that I’d been able to share this with him.

Texaco 2

The former service station at 28th and Chestnut, Newport News, 2002.

North Carolina, Oral History, Paternal Kin, Photographs

It is a glory to her.

My father’s mother told me:

And so Mama was working at the factory, and I used to go up there and look at her. And so that’s when I first cut my hair. I went there, and the lady was asking Mama at the table where she worked to, and she didn’t say nothing to me, and she said, “Unh, who is that child with all of that long hair?” And she took one of my plaits and held it up. I had it in three plaits. I’ll never forget it. I had one down here used to come here. Yeah, it come down to below the shoulder. Like I plait it up, and it be from there. Two plaits here and then this one down across. And I always put that one behind my ear. ‘Cause I didn’t like it parted in the middle. Seem like it just wasn’t right in the middle. So I asked Mama ‘bout cutting my hair, could I cut my hair. ‘Cause everybody: “How come you don’t cut your hair? ‘Cause you’d look pretty in a bob.” I don’t know. I just wasn’t half combing it. And it was nappy. Like I’d go to try to comb it, and knots would be in there. And then I’d get mad with it. Then I’d take the scissors and clip that little piece off.   And then all that other part would come off. And so I wondered, “Mama, could – ” “It’s your head. It’s your hair. I don’t care if you cut it off.” And so one day, a fellow stayed up there on Vick Street was a barber downtown, a colored fellow, Charlie Barnes or whatever his name is. So he passed there one day, and I asked him, “Would you cut my hair for me?” And he said, “Yeah.” Said, “You come on down to the shop.” And I said, “Where is the shop?” And he went on and tried to tell me, and then he stopped there one day, and he told me, he said, “You say you want to get your hair cut?” He said, “You got too pretty a hair to cut.” And I said, “Yeah, but I can’t half comb it.”   He said, “Well, anytime you want to come on down there, I’ll cut it for you, if it’s all right with your mama. You ask your mama?” I said, “Yeah, she allowed me to cut it.” So sho ‘nough, I went around there one Saturday morning, went down there. And so, he turned around and cut off my plaits on both sides ‘cause I had two plaits there. He cut them off, and then he put some kind of stuff on it and then somehow fluffed it all up. Awww, I thought I was something. I reckon I was ‘bout 12, 13 years old. After then I cut it off in a boyish bob.


With the boyish bob.

She also said:

I got a plait of [Hattie’s] hair and a plait of my mama’s, Bessie’s hair, and then mine. I was looking at that the other day, and I looked at it, and I said, “Huh, it was that long?” Rudy, Rudy Farmer took that picture. ‘Cause I – He saw my hair. I was standing there with my housecoat on. I still got that thing now. And, “Goodness! I didn’t know your hair was that long!” We were staying on Reid Street. And he said, “I’d sure like to have a picture of that.” And I said, “Well, you got a Kodak?” And he said, “Yeah! You’d let me take a picture?” I said, “Yeah.” And so he went home and got it and took a picture of it. I was standing up in one and sitting down in one.


The standing up picture.

Those plaits of my grandmother were kept in a small soft green valise with all her photographs. We visited her in Philadelphia every summer, and usually one of the first orders of business was to “see the hair.” They captivate me no less now than they did then. Perhaps even more, now that I know exactly what I’m seeing.

My grandmother’s plait, an astonishingly heavy rope measuring a full thirty inches, is essentially one of the braids shown above. Tired of the headaches brought on by carrying that weight, she cut it at the nape of her neck about 1957. It is coffee-brown with silver strands, bound at one end, as are the others, with thread.


Hair piled high, early 1950s.

There are actually two plaits from my grandmother’s mother Bessie Lee Henderson (1891-1911), most likely cut just before or at her death at age 19. The longer measures just over two feet; they are a lustrous deep brown, a shade lighter than her daughter’s and smoother to the touch.


Bessie Henderson a la Gibson Girl.

Hattie Mae Jacobs (1895-1908) was Bessie’s first cousin, daughter of Sarah Henderson Jacobs and an unknown white man. Hattie died at age 13, and her slender, blondish-brown braid was likely cut on her deathbed, too.

The last plait is something of a mystery, but I am fairly certain that it belonged to another Henderson who died in her teens — Bessie’s mother Loudie (1874-1893), my great-great-grandmother. The tradition, then, may have started when her mother Margaret wove a narrow braid and clipped as it a memento of her youngest daughter’s short life. It measures 25″ and is dark brown with a hint of auburn.


The plaits — Bessie’s, Hattie’s, probably Loudie’s, my grandmother Hattie’s.



With fiancé Jonah Ricks, not long before she cut her hair.


Hattie Henderson Ricks (1910-2001) at age 90. After years wearing it just below ear length, she let her hair grow out again in her final years.

 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.  

I Corinthians 11:15

Interview of Hattie H. Ricks by Lisa Y. Henderson, all rights reserved. Bottom photo by Lisa Y. Henderson.

Agriculture, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Oral History

He had it in his pocket.

My mother: Tell Lisa about that thing you were telling me about your step-grandfather. Mr. Hart.

My grandmother: Mm-hmm.

Mother: And what he brought you.

Grandmother: He used to always bring us something, you know. It wouldn’t be much, but it would be a little something, you know. So this night, he brought me a chick. A little live chick. And told me to raise the chick, and I did. And it was a –

Mother: Where was it, Ma? Where was it when he brought it to you?

Grandmother: He had it in his pocket. [We laugh.] He had it in his pocket. And, oh, they were called game chickens. And they got great big bodies and long necks and their heads were small. You know, they’re funny-looking, but they’re very productive. You know, they lay a lot of eggs. And he had all kinds of stuff like that. He was a lawyer, really. But he did real estate, and he farmed. But anyway, he gave me this chick, and it was a hen. And she laid eggs and everything. And so Mama sat the eggs, sat her on her own eggs, and she hatched this little group of chickens, you know. And I don’t know why it was separate from any other ‘cause Mama had chickens and all. She had chickens then, but anyway this chicken was separate from the chickens, and it was ‘round on the side of our house. And the house wasn’t, you know, where you cover the bottom of the house. It wasn’t –

Me: Oh, yeah. It was up on pillars.

Grandmother: Yeah. And right there where she was there was none, and she made a little coop for her and her chicks. They would run around, but they would come back to that thing ‘cause she was in there. And one day a dog came along and was messing with the chickens, and oh, this hen was just a-jumping up and screaming and carrying on and stuck her head out the thing, and the dog bit her head off. Lisa, I nearly died. And you know, Mama wouldn’t cook her. We wouldn’t have eaten her nohow.

Me: Did she have a name?

Grandmother: I can’t think of the hen’s name. I can’t think of it, Lisa. But I’m sure she had one.


Game hen, courtesy

Interview of Margaret C. Allen by Lisa Y. Henderson; all rights reserved.

Births Deaths Marriages, Maternal Kin, Oral History, Virginia

Kin to Thomas Jefferson.

My mother told me this long ago, and today she repeated it: “I don’t know where this came from, but they always used to say that Papa was kin to Thomas Jefferson.”

Thomas Jefferson’s mother was Jane Randolph Jefferson. Jane had a sister, Susannah Randolph, who married Carter Henry Harrison. Carter and Susannah had a son named Randolph Harrison, who had a son, Thomas Randolph Harrison; who had a son, William Mortimer Harrison; who had a son, Edward Cunningham Harrison.

“Papa” was John C. Allen Jr.  Papa was Edward C. Harrison’s son.  And so, as Thomas Jefferson’s first cousin five times removed, Papa was kin indeed.

I’ve always wondered if John Allen knew who his birth father was. This bit of family lore suggests that he did.

Enslaved People, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Oral History, Photographs

Roadtrip chronicles, no. 5: Daltonia.

I saw that big, block of a white house, but I didn’t know what I was looking at. And, really, I wasn’t even much looking at it, because my whole attention was zeroed on a small building a couple hundred feet beside and behind it. A one and-a-half story log cabin sitting on fieldstone piers, mud-chinked, with small windows in the gable ends and central front door. In pristine condition. What was this?


I turned to P.P., who shifted uncomfortably in her seat. “I don’t even want to say this,” she started, “but it’s true. It’s just so ugly.”

“Please do. Please do,” I urged.

“Well, the official story is that’s where the Daltons lived while they were building the house.”

The house — oh. This was Daltonia.


“But that log cabin was Anse Dalton’s house.”

Wait. “Anse Dalton!? Anderson Dalton? That was — he was the father of my great-grandfather Lon W. Colvert‘s first wife, Josephine.”

“Yes, well, after the War, he was a driver for the Daltons. But in slavery …”

Yes? “In slavery, he was a — I hate to say it — he was used to breed slaves. That’s what they called this — ‘the slave farm.'”

I sat with that for a minute.

“It’s terrible,” she continued. “They thought, just like you can disposition an animal, you could breed people with certain traits. He had I-don’t-know-how-many children.”

I knew about slave breeding, of course. About the sexual coercion of both enslaved men and women, particularly in the Upper South. I’ve read slave narratives that speak of “stockmen,” but never expected to encounter one in my research. I thanked P.P. for her openness, for her willingness to share the stories that so often remain locked away from African-American descendants of enslaved people. Not long ago, I started working on a “collateral kin” post about the Daltons. I knew Josephine Dalton was born about 1878 to Anderson and Viney (or Vincey) Dalton; that her siblings included Andrew (1863), Mary Bell (1876), Millard (1880), Lizzie (1885) and Emma (1890); and that she was from the Harmony/Houstonville area. I’d stumbled upon articles about Daltonia and had conjectured that her parents had belonged to wealthy farmer John Hunter Dalton. I’d set the piece aside for a while though, because I had no specific evidence of the link beyond a shared surname. However, here was an oral history that not only placed Josephine’s father among Dalton’s slaves, but detailed the specific role he was forced to play in Daltonia’s economic and social structure.

P.P. did not know Anse Dalton, but Anse’s son Millard and her grandfather had grown up together. P.P. was reared in her grandfather’s household and vividly recalled Millard Dalton riding up to visit on his old white horse. “You can have her till I go home,” he’d tell her as he handed off the reins.

I can finish my Dalton piece now. Though I will never know the names of the children that Anderson fathered as a “stockman,” genealogical DNA testing may yet tell the tale, and I have a clearer picture of Josephine Dalton Colvert’s family and early life.

Photographs taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2015.

Oral History

How have entire lives been so reduced?

“Written records are more reliable than oral tradition, by a disconcerting margin. You might think that each generation of children, knowing their parents as well as most children do, would listen to their detailed reminiscences and relay them to the next generation. Five generations on, a voluminous oral tradition should, one might think, have survived. I remember my four grandparents clearly, but of my eight great-grandparents I know a handful of fragmentary anecdotes. One great-grandfather habitually sang a certain nonsense rhyme (which I can sing), but only while lacing his boots. Another was greedy for cream, and would knock the chess board over when losing. A third was a country doctor. That is about my limit. How have eight entire lives been so reduced? How, when the chain of informants connecting us back to the eyewitnesses seems so short, and human conversation so rich, could all those thousands of personal details that made up the lifetimes of eight human individuals be so fast forgotten?”

— Richard Dawkins, The Ancestor’s Tale

Education, Enslaved People, Land, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Other Documents


My grandmother tells a story:

… Jay and I were supposed to clean the house on Saturday. You know, do the vacuuming and dusting and cleaning and everything. And then I would play, and we would play, and Grandma would say, “I’m gonna tell your mama. I’m gonna write your mama and tell your mama how you act.” She said, “I can’t write her right now ‘cause I’m nervous,’ you know.” Couldn’t write a lick. [I laugh.] Couldn’t read …. I don’t think she could read or write, but I know she couldn’t write. Bless her heart. She says, “I’m gonna tell your mammy on you. You see if I don’t. And, see, if I wont so nervous, I’d write her, but I’m too nervous” – couldn’t write any more than she could fly! [Laughs.]

Martha Miller McNeely, born into slavery in 1855, may not have been able to read or write, but her children signed their names in clear, firm hands that evidence both their early education and their easy familiarity with penmanship. Their father Henry, the literate son of a slaveowner, may have taught them rudiments, but they likely attended one of the small country schools that dotted rural Rowan County. (My grandmother said that her mother Carrie finished seventh grade and was supposed to have gone on to high school at Livingstone College, but the family used her school money to pay for an appendectomy for one of her sisters.) The document below is found in the estate file of Henry’s half-brother, Julius McNeely, who, unlike Henry, was not taught to read during slavery. Julius died without a wife or children, and Henry’s offspring were his sole legal heirs.

Power of attorney

Signatures are often-overlooked scraps of information that yield not only obvious clues about literacy, but also subtleties like depth and quality of education and preferred names, spellings and pronunciations. They are also, in original documents, tangible traces of our forebears’ corporality — evidence that that they were once here.


 Interview of Margaret C. Allen by Lisa Y. Henderson, all rights reserved. File of Jule McNeely, Rowan County, North Carolina Estate Files 1663-1979, Original, North Carolina State Archives.

Births Deaths Marriages, Oral History, Paternal Kin, Photographs

Remembering Nina F. Hardy.

My parents married in 1961. When my mother arrived in Wilson shortly after, my father took her around to meet the elders who had not been able to travel to Virginia for the wedding. Along the way, they stopped at Dew’s Rest Home. As my mother stepped through the door, Aunt Nina threw up a cautionary hand: “Wait. You ain’t expecting, is you?” My mother, mortified: “No, ma’am!” “All right. ‘Cause it’s some uggggly folks in here!”

My paternal grandmother had a thousand stories about Nina — with a long I — Frances Faison Kornegay Hardy. Though she called her “aunt,” Nina in fact was her cousin. She was born March 15, 1882, probably in northern Duplin County, to John Henry Aldridge and Addie Faison. (John H. Aldridge, born 1844, was the son of John Mathew Aldridge, and first cousin of my grandmother’s grandfather, John W. Aldridge.)  She seems to have been married briefly to Joe Kornegay in 1899 in Wayne County, but I have not found her in the 1900 census. By 1910, she had made her way 40 or so miles north to Wilson and was boarding in the household of Jesse and Sarah Jacobs as “Nina Facin.” The census also shows a “Nina Facon” living and working as a servant in the household of Jeff Farrior in Wilson. Though described as white, this is almost surely Aunt Nina, who cooked and cleaned for the Farriors most of her working life. Though she and her husband lived just outside Wilson on what is now Highway 58, she was at home only on her days off.

Said my grandmother:

Aint Nina lived up over the Farrior house on Herring Avenue.  Herring’s Crossroads, whatever you call it.  And that’s where she come up there to live.  Well, the maid, as far as the help, or whoever, they stayed on the lot, where they’d have somewhere to sleep. So Aint Nina was living on Nash Road, way down there, and when we went to see her, me and Mamie would run down there five miles. She was working for Old Man Farrior then.  When she was living out in the country, she was working for white people, and so she went up to their house and cooked for them.  And when we’d go down to her house, she’d have to come from up there and cook when she get home.  So we would go and spend a day, but it would be more than likely be on her day off.  But when we had the horse and buggy, Mama drove out there once, and we went, I went with Papa with the wagon to where you grind corn to make meal, down to Silver Lake or whatever that place was down there.  Lord, them were the good old days.  

The Farriors, their back porch was closed in.  It had windows.  And had a marble floor in the back, and that stairway was on, where it was closed in on the back porch, you could go upstairs, and there was a room up there.  You couldn’t go from out of that room into the other part of the house.  You had to come back down them steps then go in the house.  And that’s where Aint Nina stayed.  I said, Lord, I wouldn’t want to have stayed up there.  And then something happen … She had to come down and go down the steps, go upstairs, I mean, and come out of the kitchen, and then go up them steps out on this porch in her room.  So she stayed up there.  Lord, I wouldn’t want to stay up there.  She get sick out there, she couldn’t get nobody.  I didn’t see no – I was up in there one time, and I went up there just to look around.  Well, she had a nice room, nice bed and chair and dresser and everything.  There was a whole set in the room where she was.  That was the only time I was up there. But I wouldn’t want to stay up there.

In 2004, J.M.B., a Farrior descendant, sent me copies of several photos of Aint Nina. My grandmother had described her (“She wasn’t real short.  But she was heavy built, and she had big limbs.  But she wasn’t that fat, but she just had big limbs and had a big face.”), and I had seen a couple of pictures of her before, like this one, taken in the mid-1950s with my uncle’s children:


And this one,


[There’s a photo booth shot that I can’t find right now. But I will.  UPDATE: I found it. 1/3/2016]

But these …


… these touch me. Nina at work. Nina in a kitchen with a floured pan, perhaps making biscuits, perhaps the dumplings my grandmother relished. Nina, her own legs aching, tending to whitefolks. The columned Farrior mansion, since torn down, with Nina’s little room tucked out of sight.

In 1917, Nina married Julius Hardy in Wilson township. It is likely their house that my grandmother and great-aunt visited out on Nash Road:

They had guinea chickens.  A car run over a chicken and killed it, and it kept going.  And we, me and Mamie, was going out there, and we picked up the chicken and carried it ‘round there.  And Aint Nina poured water and scald the chicken and picked it and cooked it, and we had the best time eating it.   Wont thinking ‘bout we was going out there to eat.  And so we come walking in there with that chicken, and she wanted to know, “Well, where’d you get that?”  “A car run over it, and we picked it up and brought it on over so you could cook it.”  And she said, “Yeah, it’s good.  A car just killed it?”  And it wasn’t too far from the house.  And I reckon it was one of her chickens anyhow.  Honey, she cooked that old stewed chicken, had to put pastry and vegetables in it.  Lord, we stayed out all that time, then had to come home from way out there.  But we was full. 

And her brother, his name was James Faison, lived across the street from her, and his wife, and I think the lady had been married before because they wasn’t his children.  It was two girls.  And he worked at the express, at the station.  The place was on that side, Nash Street station was over on this side.  Baggage used to come over there.  The baggage place where’d you take off the train.  That’s where you put it over on that side at that time.  And he was working over there.

Nina was a font of information about the family back in Dudley that my grandmother barely knew. Mama Sarah was impatient with questions about the past. Nina, on the other hand …

Mama never talked about her daughter Hattie.  But A’nt Nina, she would tell everything.  Mama got mad with her, said, “You always bringing up something.  You don’t know what you talking ’bout.”  So she’d go behind — Mama wouldn’t want her to tell things.  And she never did say, well, if she said, I wouldn’t have known him, but I never did ask her, who Hattie’s daddy was.  I figured he was white.  Because she looked — her hair and features, you know, white.

Even as she waited on others, Nina struggled with her health:

But she was kind of sickly, and I went up there for something.  See ‘bout her.  Carry her something.  And then when her leg was sore, and she come to stay with us.  Oh, she stayed with us a long time ‘cause she had to go to the doctor, had to be taken to the doctor with that leg.  That leg was still big.  But it was much bigger than the other one.  But it healed over.  But it was so knotty-looking, like it’d heal up and draw up in places, and it just looked so bad, and so she’d wear her dresses long.  But she had big feet!  Oooo, she had big feet.  With those big legs … And she was the one that Mama made Mamie iron her clothes on Sunday.  ‘Fore you even got to playing, had to get her clothes.  She was at Rocky Mount in the hospital with that leg.  They had operated on that leg and Mama would go every Sunday and take her clothes, bring her dirty clothes home and wash ‘em and bring them back to her.  So, Lord, we had a time with that.  And I looked at that big leg and just said, ‘Wooo….  What in the world is that?’  Looked like it just swelled up.  And I saw a lady right here in Philadelphia.  I had passed, and I seen her, and she had a great big leg.  And so by that woman having that big leg, I said, ‘Lord have mercy, I hope I don’t get that.  I wonder what’s wrong with it?  How come the swelling won’t go down in it?’  People don’t know what they’ll have to go through….  Yeah, ‘cause we went over there, and you didn’t have — it was an open sore, and it was always running.  She had to keep her foot up and had to keep the flies from on it, and so I said, well, finally it got better, but that leg healed up, it drawed up and you could tell where the sore was all on her leg.  And that leg was much bigger than the other one.  It took a long time to heal.  It was all healed up though before she died.

In the photo above, taken in her last years at the rest home where she protected my young mother from a disastrous maternal impression, Nina smiles her same sweet smile despite ailing legs wrapped and swollen feet encased in split loafers.
N Hardy Death Cert
Aint Nina died 20 March 1969, just five days after her 86th birthday. Frances Sykes Goodman, granddaughter of Nina’s aunt Frances Aldridge Wynn, was the informant on her death certificate. She was buried in Rest Haven, Wilson’s black cemetery. (I’ve walked that graveyard and never seen her stone. Is her grave unmarked? If it is, and I can find it, it won’t be.)
Births Deaths Marriages, North Carolina, Oral History, Paternal Kin, Photographs

Remembering Mother Dear.

I had pneumonia twice.  The first day I went down to Graded School, that day it rained.  I come back – there was a hole in my shoe, and I slopped in all the water and got my feet wet.  That’s what Mama said, anyhow, and I taken with a fever.  

If I got wet – when I went to Graded School, it rained, and I slopped in all the water coming back from there.  Had a hole in my shoe.  Had pasteboard in there.  And then I’d go to sneezing and coughing.  And so Mama said, “You know you oughtn not to got wet!”  Well, how was I gon help from getting wet?  Had to come from school!  So that was the first year I went to school.  I remember that.  And I was sick that whole rest of the year.  I mean, wasn’t strong enough to go down to Graded School – she wouldn’t let me go down there.  So I stayed home, and Mama put all them old rags, that old flannel cloth, and she’d put it in red onions and hog lard.  And I had pneumonia.  And they was sitting up with me.  Said I hadn’t spoken in three days.  And so that old clock where Annie Bell took, it was up there on the mantel, it struck two o’clock.  Mama was sitting on one side of the stove, and Papa on the other.  So I said, when the clock struck, I said, “It’s two o’clock, ain’t it, Mama?”  And they thought I was dying.  So they had been sitting up with me.  So I think didn’t think nothing ‘bout it.  I went on back to sleep.  I didn’t know nothing ‘bout it.  Said I had double pneumonia.  So Mama got – honey, I had to wear a piece of cloth up here on my chest, one on the back, with Vick’s salve and hog grease or whatever that stuff was, mixed all up together and pinned it to my undershirt.  

And I thought about it, with Bessie dead — she died when I was eight months old.  And Mama Sarah took me as a baby and brought me to Wilson.  And I was the only child there.  Well, that’s how come, look like Papa, he felt sorry for me, I reckon.  Her husband did, and I called him the only Papa I knew.  So they all – I was always sickly and puny and: “Give her anything she wanted,” that’s what Dr. Williams – white doctor – so he said, “She can’t live nohow.”  And that’s when I had the pneumonia.  And so I didn’t want nothing but water.  So, “Well, give her all the water she want ‘cause she can’t live nohow.”  But I fooled ‘em!  Dr. Williams’ gone, Mama’s gone, all of ‘em, and I’m sitting right here!” 


The mantel at 303 Elba Street, 2014.

And for most of my life, she was right there indeed. Every summer, when we drove up from North Carolina to spend a week with her in Philadelphia. Every winter, when she came down to spend the holidays with us and my aunt’s family and her sister. Later, when I was in law school and grad school, I spent my breaks with her, and I even lived with her a short bit when I moved to Philadelphia. I will regret till I’m gone that I did not visit her more often after I left, but when I did I had the good sense to record her stories. Her death was my first real loss, the one that broke the spell, and it pangs me almost as much now as it ever did. I miss this woman.


Remembering Hattie Mae Henderson Ricks (6 June 1910-15 January 2001), my Mother Dear.

Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Oral History, Photographs

Emma McNeely Houser.


Aunt Emma was so pretty.  And I never heard her raise her voice.  Not ever.  And she was she was so sedate and so pretty.  We’d go to her house, and we’d eat, and everybody would get up and start – “Oh, goodness!  Leave the dishes alone,” she’d say, and we’d all go in the living room and sit down, and then she finally would let us get up and go clean up the kitchen. 


Photograph of Emma M. Houser in the possession of Lisa Y. Henderson; interview of Margaret C. Allen by Lisa Y. Henderson, all rights reserved.