Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Ruby Florine Sreaves:

My mother, Florine Macy, was diagnosed with brain tumors in early 1983, an occurrence that was partly responsible for my family moving from Mountain View, Missouri, back to my hometown of Noel.  Mom was hospitalized for awhile, and then returned home where she remained alert and able to get around (with some difficulty) for about a year before becoming housebound.  She slowly got worse over the next couple of years before succumbing to her illness on December 8, 1986.  While her memory faded, she always recognized my voice and would respond to me right up until the very end.

On December 22, 1983, while Mom still maintained her faculties, I walked from the house my family and I were renting up the hill to my parent's house.  There I sat and interviewed Mom for a half-hour or so.  After her death, I gave copies of the tape to my Dad (unfortunately his didn't work properly), to two of Mom's sisters, Ruth Marble and Christine Dobbs, and perhaps to her brother, Floyd Sreaves, as well - though I am unsure about that.

Many years later I rams-sacked the desk drawer where I thought my copy of the interview had been kept, but I had moved too many times over the years -  and discovered that the tape had been lost.  Through a few phone calls I also learned that Ruth's copy was gone as well.  Both Ruth and Christine had passed away by that time, and I gave up - considering the tape to have been lost forever.

Then recently (January of 2017) while digging through some old genealogy files that had been boxed and stored in the garage, I came across a transcript of most of that tape that I had forgotten that I had prepared back when the tape was relatively new.  The transcript is incomplete because I stopped for some reason, but I believe that I captured most of it.

Mom did tell one story toward the end of the tape that I remember.  The family bundled up at Christmas time and rode in their father's horse-drawn wagon through the woods to their grandmother's house to celebrate the holiday.  (I don't remember if it was Grandmother Sreaves or Grandmother Roark.)  She said that while they were riding along they all sang:  "Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother's house we go."

What a lovely memory!

Here, then is the part of the interview that I managed to save:

Rocky:  Sit down and don't worry about this.  I'll handle it.  This is Rocky Macy and it's December 22nd in the morning.  I'm at my mother's house and I'm talking to her - Florine Macy.  And what I want to do today is to go back and ask her some questions about her family, and just visit - and we're having hot chocolate and dough nuts.  Okay?

Florine:  Uh huh.

Rocky:  Okay.  You'll have to open your mouth and talk a little here or we won't hear you.

Florine:  I'm not a very good talker.

Rocky:  I forgot to add that the year is 1983.   Okay, I've brought up my cards from my family tree box and I wanted to ask you about your grandparents and about your parents - and this is just real at-ease.  The first card I've got is your Granddad Roark, and according to the way I figure it you were only about four-and-a-half years old when he died.  Do you remember him?

Florine:  Uh huh.  Just barely.  I remember the day of his funeral and that's all I remember.

Rocky:  What do you remember about the funeral?

Florine:  That I was - carried some of the flowers - flower girl.

Rocky:  That's interesting.  Do you remember what he looked like or anything about him?

Florine:  Oh yes, but I mainly refer back to pictures that I've seen of him to when I think.  He had a mustache like you've got.  That much I know.  (She laughs.)

Rocky:  What about Grandma Roark?  You knew her pretty well, probably.

Florine:  Uh huh.  She was a little woman, just real tiny.

Rocky:  Like you?

Florine:  (Laughter)  Similar to me.  Uh huh.

Rocky:  It's funny, though, because her daughter, your mom, was pretty good sized, wasn't she?

Florine:  She was more like her dad, Mother was.

Rocky:  I can remember her myself (Nancy Jane (Roark) Sreaves), back when I was three or four years old.  It seems to me like she was a great big woman.

Florine:  She was.  Uh huh.

Rocky:  Like Martha?  (Dan Sreaves second wife)

Florine:  Yeah.  She was a big woman.  And I've seen pictures of her back when she was a girl, and she was a big girl.  But she was a pretty girl.

Rocky:  I remember you telling me once about your Grandma Roark had some mules or a pair of horses.  Was that hers that your dad bought at the auction?

Florine:  No.  That was Grandma Sreaves.

Rocky:  Oh, Grandma Sreaves.

Florine:  Uh huh.

Rocky:  Well, tell me that story.  She had a pair that after she died he went and bought them, or something?

Florine:  Uh huh.  And then we kept them until they died.  Daddy wouldn't sell them.  That's the reason he wanted to buy them.  He didn't want anyone else to work them.  They were work horses.

Rocky:  Horses?

Florine:  Horses.  Dolly and Ribbon.

Rocky:  Reuben?

Florine:  Ribbon.

Rocky:  Ribbon.

Florine:  And they were both girl horses.  (Laughter)  And Daddy kept them and they had a colt.   Each of them had a colt.  And I don't remember what he did with the colts then.  But the horses finally died - old Dolly and Ribbon.

Rocky:  That was your Grandma Sreaves?

Florine:  Uh huh.  And I remember when they died, too.  Us kids just cried.

Rocky:  That's when you all were little.

Florine:  Uh huh.  We were up in school, but we knew them old horses so well that we were just real sad about it.

Rocky:  Let's talk about your Grandma Roark a little bit more.  What do you remember about her?

Florine:  Well, she had rheumatism real bad.  She got to where she ha to be carried around.  And Uncle Claude, I remember he - I guess back then you couldn't get wheelchairs or they weren't all that easy for him to have one, and they had just hardwood floors with no carpets on them - so he could take her in that rocking chair and he's just transport her from one room to another.  Just drag her through the house.  I remember that.  And it was rheumatism.

Rocky:  Did you ever hear her talk about her parents at all?

Florine:  No.

Rocky:  Her maiden name was Scarborough.

Florine:  I remember that.  I've heard Mother talk about that.  I remember.

Rocky:  I just wonder if the Scarbroughs were people that lived around that area.  Did you ever hear of anybody out there named that name?

Florine:  No.

Rocky:  Well, the stuff I've found on them says her father was born in England, and I never did find anything else about ti, at all.  And supposedly her mother's name was Smith, her maiden name.

Florine:  Grandma Roark was just - she was just the sweetest little woman, and she had one daughter, her oldest daughter, that was little like she was.  And the rest of the girls were big girls.

Rocky:  I just wonder where she came from.  I never found anything to show that.  She was born someplace in Missouri.

Florine:  And what about Grandpa?  Where did he come from?

Rocky:  He was born in Missouri.  His people all came out of Kentucky, though.  I don't know a lot about them.  They all came out of Kentucky.  How do we tie in with the ones (Roarks) in Anderson?  Do you know?

Florine:  Oh, yeah.  Mother's dad, Sam, and what was the one down there?  I can't remember right now what his name was, but they were brothers.  (Nathan Wilson Roark)  And they both had big families.  And there are just big families all the way through.  All the kids had big families.

Rocky:  So the brother's the one that had the Anderson Roarks?

Florine:  Uh huh.

Rocky:  Sam had the Seneca Roarks.

Florine:  Uh huh.

Rocky:  Let's see, that makes sense.

Florine:  So they lived close by there all the years.  But my grandpa was from Seneca and he was from Anderson.

Rocky:  Let's talk about your Sreaves grandparents then.  You've already told me about your Grandma Sreaves and her pair of horses, Dolly and Ribbon.

Florine:  Yes and then I didn't tell you - Grandma Sreaves took care of them horses.  She'd go out and feed them just clear up before she died.  In the cold weather.  She'd take care of her livestock clear up until she died.

Rocky:  Wasn't she the one that always had out the big garden, too?

Florine:  Grandma Sreaves?

Rocky:  Maybe it was your mom I was thinking about.

Florine:  My mother always had big gardens, and she . . .

Rocky:  Flowers in it?

Florine:  Uh huh.  Yeah.  She'd plant a row of flowers right down through the vegetables.  She had pretty gardens.

Rocky:  That's the kind of thing Rita likes, too.  She always puts flowers out in the garden.  Now, let's see.  Your Grandma Sreaves was born in Huntsville, Arkansas.  Grandpa Sreaves, nobody knows where he was born.  Alexander Sreaves.  Do we?  But there's two stories.  One I've heard was that he might be a doorstep baby, an orphan, or something.  Have you heard that one?

Florine:  Yeah.  And what was another one?

Rocky:  The other one was that he had walked here from someplace.

Florine:  Yeah:  Now that's the one that they used to tell.  But what it was I don't know.  But Aunt Ethyl, I bet you she could have told you, if you'd have got with her before she died.  But that's just it.  You always kind of hate to hit up someone like that that's old.  But Christine told me and Garland and Bob on the way to Florida - we were talking about this family tree that you were working on . . . and you never found anything on Grandpa Sreaves, very much.  And she said, "Well, I'll tell you what Margaret (Anderson) told me . . ."  See, Margaret's just a blabbering, she tells everything she knows.  She said, "I'll tell you what Margaret told me, she said the reason you couldn't find anything on him, he was a bastard."  (Laughter)  Did you hear that?

Rocky:  I heard that.  That wouldn't be real uncommon, though.

Florine:  He was a bastard.

Rocky:  But she didn't know who the parents were anyway, did she?

Florine:  No.  Huh uh.

Rocky:  That might mean back a hundred years ago you hid things like that.

Florine:  Yeah.

Rocky:  Sounds like that might be right.

Florine:  Did that come on that tape?

Rocky:  Sure.

Florine:  My gosh.  (Laughter)

Rocky:  It's running.

Florine:  And I even brought Christine (Sreaves Dobbs) into it, didn't I?  But that's all right.

Rocky:  She won't care.  Now we know his birthday was in October of 1857.  The 29th of October.  The first record I found of him anyplace, and I haven't even found him on any census records, but the first record was his wedding.  And I've got a copy of his marriage license.  They were married on the 15th day of January 1888 in Washington County (Arkansas).

Florine:  Oh, now that was Grandma and Grandpa Sreaves.

Rocky:  And granddad was born nine months later, I guess.  Yeah, nine months later.

Florine:  He was?

Rocky:  Nine months and two weeks.

Florine:  Well, I'll tell you what - what did I start to say?  Oh, talking about Aunt Ethyl and Margaret then.  Now we know this, because I remember that, and they all said that at the time - that she was like Grandpa Sreaves.  He was a comedian.  Just a typical comedian.  He'd just go places and put on shows, and have his little ole wagon with him.  And Aunt Ethyl was a comedian, and she'd get up at programs and get up and tell jokes and things.  She would - so she took after him.

Rocky:  What about his wagon?  What did he do with it?

Florine:  Gosh I don't know.  I think Grandma Sreaves had it there for years after he died.

Rocky:  Oh, I thought you meant it was part of the show.  You mean it's just what he rode around in?

Florine:  Yeah.  He just rode around in it.

Rocky:  Oh.

Florine:  But he was a comedian.

Rocky:  Well, that's interesting.  He was real outgoing then?

Florine:  Uh huh.

Rocky:  He was a farmer, right?

Florine:  And Aunt Ethyl was real outgoing, too.

Rocky:  I remember her.

Florine:  Oh she was.  Do you remember how her and Daddy used to get together and argue politics?

Rocky:  Yeah.  Your Aunt Ethyl was the Democrat and Granddad was the Republican.

Florine:  Oh, they'd just argue and fuss until we'd think they were getting mad.  (Laughter)

Rocky:  I can remember seeing in the "Joplin Globe" when Jimmy Carter was running for President, his son autographed her cast.

Florine:  Uh huh.  Oh she was a big Democrat.

Rocky:  Well, that's interesting.  Grandpa Sreave was about - you were about six when he died.  Do you remember him very well?  What he looked like, and  . . . 

Florine:  Yes.  I can't remember though, not all that well, huh uh.  I don't even remember going to his funeral, but now I remember going to Grandpa Roark's funeral because I carried flowers.  All the granddaughters carried flower barriers or whatever they called them.

Rocky:  Yeah.

Florine:  And chances are we were at Grandpa Sreaves' funeral, too, but I just can't remember that.

Rocky:  Let me ask you about some of Grandpa Sreaves' kids.  Granddad was the oldest.

Florine:  Uh huh.

Rocky:  Second oldest, I think, was Jess.

End of Transcript.

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