Charles Alvin Shue
Birth: 06 SEP 1907 Ludington, Mason County, Michigan
1910 Census: 20 APR 1910
Place: Pere Marquette Twp, Mason Co, Michigan
Note: Living with parents, Amos and Elnora.
1920 Census: 14 JAN 1920
Place: Ludington, Mason Co, Michigan, USA
Note: Living with parents, Amos and Catherine Shue.
Marriage:30 NOV 1929 Caldwell, Michigan
Occupation: Worked on gold watches at the Star Watchcase Factory
Place: Ludington, Mason Co, Michigan, USA
1930 Census: 15 APR 1930
Place: Ludington, Mason Co, Michigan
Note: Charles and Leah are living with Charles's mom.
Birth of Daughter: 09 DEC 1930
Name: Marilyn Grace Shue
Place: Ludington, Mason Co, Michigan
Birth of Daughter: 02 MAY 1932
Name: Margaret Eleanor Shue
Place: Ludington, Mason Co, Michigan
Religion: Was a member of the Holiday Free Methodist Church in Holiday, Florida and attended the Trinity Evangelical Free Church in Ludington when he visited the area.
Birth of Son: 25 SEP 1942
Name: Charles Alvin Shue Jr.
Place: Ludington, Mason Co, Michigan
Charles, Marilyn, Margaret, Leah & Charles Jr.
Died: 24 MAR 1991
Note: Died of Colon Cancer
Place: Bay Tree Nursing Home, Palm Harbor, Pinellas Co, Florida
Obituary: AFT 24 MAR 1991
Note: CHARLES A. SHUE SR., Ludington, Mason Co, MI
Note: Have funeral book.
Click here to see parents: Amos Shue and Catherine Elnora Sanders
Note: I arrived in Ludington, Michigan on September 6, 1907. This information I received from my mother. She was much older than I and she should know. Two other boys had already arrived ahead of me: Chauncey Joseph about eight years before and Chester Sherman about four years. I don't remember at all what they looked like then. When my father saw me, I think right then and there he decided - this is enough! I never had any sisters, don't know what they're like, don't know if I was better off not having had any or not. I will never know now. My mother told me she was born in Westminster, Maryland, in the year 1869 on the sixth day of February. Her mother must have told her, too - I can't believe she remembered all this. She was named Catherine Elnora. her father's name was Henry Sanders. I was told he was born in Washington, D.C. in the year 1840. His parents had died and he had been placed in an orphanage. His parents, I have been told, were full-blooded Irish. Their last name was Miller. This we can't prove but it's not important anyway. He sure looked like an Irishman, red hair and a complexion to match. He sure liked to tell stories, some of which I still remember. I was only ten years old when he passed to his reward. My mother had taken him into our home when he was sick and needed someone to care for him. I would like to leave at least one of his stories for my children. Here it is: There was a man who always prayed one of those 'give me' prayers. One particular time he prayed, 'Dear God, please send me a barrel of sugar, a barrel of flour, a barrel of salt, and a barrel of pepper.' After praying this, he realized what he had asked for and immediately changed his mind and said, 'Oh Lord, that's too much pepper.' He passed away at our house in the year 1918. It was February the tenth. I remember it real well. My mother's mother was born in the state of Maryland in the
year 1843. Her maiden name was Magdalene Leahy. Her birthday was March 1. Henry Sanders and Magdalene Leahy were married in the year 1863. Mother's maternal grandmother passed away when my mother was ten years old. She is buried in the Locust Grove Cemetery in Henry County, Indiana. Her name was Catherine Leahy. She had a previous marriage to a Mr. Brenneman, who had passed away. Children were born in both marriages. So my grandmother had several half brothers and sisters.
There were ten children born to my mother's parents, three girls and seven boys. Elnora, my mother, was the first girl in
the family. Theodore, the first boy, passed away in the state of Kansas where he had been working as a brick mason. He was engaged to be married. He was twenty-one years old when he died. Then there were Edward, Joseph, Elnora, Daniel, John, Lydia, Mary, Charley, and Alvin. Joseph and Charley became ministers and for some reason, known only to God, outlived all the rest.
Mother's parents were members of the Church of the Brethren, sometimes nicknamed 'Dunkards'. This name came from the mode of Baptism used by their church. They believed in immersion, but three dips were required, one for each of the Three Persons of the Trinity. These three dips must be face forward. Mother attended a service being held by the Free Methodists in Custer Township. She had heard that they had received a new pastor, Brother George Barrett. She heard the gospel in a new way and was deeply stirred; we used to call it 'conviction'. She went forward and prayed and became wonderfully happy in the Lord. Later her brother Joe and her parents and some of her other brothers and sisters were converted. Mother, her brother Joe, and her parents joined the Free Methodist Church.
My father was born in York County, Pennsylvania, in the year 1853. His birthdate was October 29. His home was near the
Gettysburg Battlefield and he heard the canons boom during the battle. His parents were German Reformed. My father's father or mother or possibly both were born in Germany. I never had contact with his relatives, as they lived far away and we had no way to travel except by train, and that took money, of which we had very little.
My father had left home when he became twenty-one years old. He told us kids that he had a wonderful mother but he couldn't give the same compliment to his father. He said his father would collect his earnings until he was twenty-one years old. My father never had any money until he became of age. Many times as he was working on the roads he had no shoes and sometimes had only frozen sandwiches for his dinner. After awhile when he was on his own and had saved trainfare to
Michigan, he left home for Michigan, where he had heard there was work. Michigan was considered then a new country with opportunities for work. Pioneers were clearing the forests and opening up new farm lands. His first job was on a farm. The farmer who hired him said he would have to wait until fall when the crops were harvested to receive his wages for the summer.
My father worked from daylight until dark, from spring until fall, expecting to receive his wages. He needed clothes. The
farmer refused to pay him one penny. A whole summer he had worked for nothing. Some things are bad today but some are
I don't know much about his life after this until he married my mother on July 4, 1885. I wasn't around then so I have to rely
on my memory of what was told to me. The man who introduced my father and mother was Jonas Dague. His grave is near my parents' graves in the Riverside Cemetery in Custer. This is a pretty spot along the banks of the Pere Marquette River. This is located at the site of one of the last battles between Indian tribes in that area. Many Indians are buried there.
One Indian, whom I never met but remember my mother telling me about, was 'Good John'. He had been converted to Christianity and attended the early Free Methodist meeting in that area. They say he was a real Christian. A few years ago a stone was placed on his grave by some of the Indians living in that neighborhood. They say he always had a testimony to the point and the church folks always enjoyed them. One I remember hearing my mother tell us was something like this: 'Sometime, you no more see Good John. He go home. Big Camp Meeting. No more black coat - white coat!' I'm looking forward to seeing him in heaven. My mother can introduce me to him - I'm sure she will.
Mother and Father were married by an Elder in the Church of the Brethren. His name was Kreigh. I had better tell you my father's name before I forget. It was Amos Shue. I don't know if he had a middle name or not. If he did, it could have been George. A few years ago we stopped at the courthouse in York, Pennsylvania, to inquire about my father's relatives. We saw in a large book (record of wills) a family that could have been his. The children's names listed were very similar to my father's family. There was one exception. There was no Amos listed, but there was a George. This could have been my father's middle name. The rest of the names were exactly as the ones in my father's family. These were: Leah, Mary Jane, Alice, Susan, and a boy named Levi. After my parents were married, they waited thirteen years before any babies came to their home. Then one came, a stillborn, which must have been a disappointment. Then two years later another came, Joseph by name. He was born in 1900. He received a free pair of shoes. All babies that were born in the year 1900 in Mason County received them as a gift from Groening's Department Store in Ludington.
Before any babies had arrived in our home, a woman gave her little baby to my mother. She just handed it to her and said,
'You can have it.' Mother named her Ollie. From all I have heard from parents and friends, she was very intelligent and
could predict and foretell things that were to happen. Maybe you won't believe this but I do. My mother wouldn't have said
so if it wasn't true. She could tell when mother's sisters were expecting a baby. She could tell what they had purchased
for Christmas, and she knew two weeks before she became sick that she was going to die. She had asked everyone to forgive her and would ask if they would cry if she died. She died at the age of five years from the then terrible typhoid fever.
Another baby was born in 1903, October the fourteenth. His name was Chester. I was born about four years later on
September 6, 1907. My mother said since they had waited so long for a baby that she had prayed for one. I remember asking if she had prayed for me. She said, 'No, you were just thrown in extra.' As a child, this used to bother me, since I wasn't an answer to prayer. I suppose I have never been the answer to anyone's prayer. I was the baby in the family and some people use to say that the baby in the family was always spoiled. This I could never accept either. I have seen where the oldest child could get away with some things that the younger ones would be punished for. Leah says she is glad I couldn't get away with things.
Well, all of my aunts and uncles have died, but there is a large group of cousins, second cousins, third cousins, more
cousins, some 'kissin' cousins', and some not so kissable. There are many in-laws but a very few outlaws. All in all, it
is a fairly decent group to belong to. I can't remember as far back as some claim to be able to. My brother Chester said he remembers when he was born; he said he drove the doctor's horses. He's got me beat! My earliest recollection is when I went with my mother to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to attend the funeral of my cousin Ollie, Aunt Mary's son. He died at the age of nine years. I remember riding in a street car, the first I had ever seen. I also remember standing at the side of the casket which was in the living room. My Aunt Mary was crying and her husband came up to her and commanded her to stop crying. He said very gruffly, 'We will have no crying around here.' My mother spoke up and said, 'Let her alone; if she wants to cry, she can cry when I am here.' My mother was no coward.
I can't remember very many incidents during the first five years of my life. One time when all the Sanders family were
gathered at my grandparents' home in Scottville, Michigan, in the evening when it was getting dark and the kerosene lamp had not been lighted yet, I was climbed up into what I thought was my mother's lap. It wasn't hers, as I found out when I looked into her face. I slid down just about as a snowball would from a hot stove - just embarrassed a little! It was my Aunt Loma's lap.
During the first year of school the kindergarten teacher, Miss Shackelton, I always will remember as the kindest teacher I
ever had. She was so concerned about every child. If it was stormy, and it was sometimes, she would go all the way home
with the children if she thought it was necessary for their safety. If their parents didn't come after them, she would never turn them loose to find their way home in a blizzard. I distinctly remember trying to catch a ride on a horse-drawn sleigh. I didn't get a good hold on the back of the sleigh and I fell off - right behind was another horse coming, pulling a cutter. (Some of you old-timers know what a cutter is). It ran over me. The horse stepped over me and not on me; the runners of the cutter straddled me and I was not hurt at all, except half scared to death. I did learn a lesson. I have never tried to catch a ride on a sleigh since. I don't think I will try it now.
My father worked in a sawmill. The owner of the mill also owned the store where the men must trade. They must buy coupon books from this store, so the mill owner received most of his money back. Once a month the men would settle accounts and they would receive a small box of candy. This is about the only candy I received. Once in awhile we did get a penny to spend, and we would make a beeline for the neighborhood store to buy a sucker or a piece of licorice, usually a long black whip. Oranges we received on Christmas. We usually found one in our stocking. Mother and Father really had to plan to get us some oranges for Christmas. We called our mother 'Mama' and our father 'Papa'. It sounds peculiar now, doesn't it? If they were here now with us, they could get all of the oranges they could eat, but I'm sure they are enjoying things where they are.
My father's folks were more or less superstitious, and Papa used to tell us ghost stories. I didn't believe them and would
laugh at them, so he quit telling them to us. I wish now I had listened to them. Papa was a hard worked and did all he could to provide for his family. He walked about two miles to work, worked ten hours in a cold sawmill and came home at night, many times with icicles on his eyebrows and mustache. I never knew his as a young man. He was fifty-four years old when I came to Ludington. After working hard all day, he would usually go to bed early. I understand it now but didn't then. Sometimes he would play games with us but not often. I wish now that I had appreciated him more. Sometime I will tell him; I'm sure he will understand.
Employers those days paid as small wages as they could. My father received $1.00 for ten hours of work. Labor unions in
some cases have gone to extremes but were a good thing in the beginning. They brought those hard-working men out of slavery and made them feel like human beings with a right to live. I remember when Henry Ford announced that he was raising the wages for his men to $5.00 per day. This was really a big news item and raised the hopes of many. It was necessary for my mother to work, too, to support our family. They had bought a home and payments must be met, so
mother took in washings and ironings. I remember how she boiled her clothes in a copper boiler on the range. She
stirred them with a stick, then after scrubbing them on a washboard and rinsing them, she ran them through a hand-wringer. Later she acquired a modern washing machine, hand-propelled. She would heat her irons on the cookstove before we had electricity. She would have several on the stove heating at a time, replacing the one for a hot one. Chester and I used to deliver the laundry with our little wagon. Speaking of wagons, I now remember another use for it. We used to have many wildflowers growing on the north side of our yard. Chester seemed to have been born with a special desire to be a
funeral director, so he would have me lie in the wagon playing dead, and he would load me with flowers and pull me on the
sidewalk as a funeral procession. Oh, we kids used to have fun even if we didn't know about television. We used to play Red Light, Hide and Seek, Pennsylvania, Statue, etc. If you don't know how to play these games, come and visit us sometime and I will tell you more about it.
I had one good pal amongst others whom I thought I could never live without. Jimmy Greenwald was his name. But he did move away and I did live without him, although my heart was almost breaking. I never heard from him again. One time he and I built a fire in their toolshed and the shed caught afire and we almost didn't get out alive. But we did! Speaking of fires, I must have been a regular arsonist. Once just after Christmas I found some matches that my brother Joe used to light his new kerosene lamp that he had received for a Christmas present. I lighted one match and when it burned short and I didn't know what to do with it, I gave it a throw. Mama had a shelf in her bedroom with a curtain around it which she used for a clothes closet. Of course, the match lighted on the curtain and in seconds the whole curtain was ablaze. Now we had been having some real cold weather and the neighbors' water pipes had frozen. Mrs. Wilson had come to our house to get some water. She had just filled her pail and was still standing at the door talking to my mother - I'm glad sometimes that women talk. I came out of the bedroom and told my mother, 'Yoah cuhtain is afiah.' She very calmly went to Mrs. Wilson, grabbed the pail of water and doused it on the fire. What better time could you ask to have a fire? When the fire was out and the extent of the damage was found, Papa's clothes were scorched and burned but Mama's were not even scorched. This was another mystery. Well, my Grandmother Sanders was at our house then and I really scared her. She said she was going home. She couldn't stay where the kids tried to burn the house down. I hadn't really intended to!
Lest you think too badly about my grandma, I want to set you straight. She was a kind woman who always had those luscious big sugar cookies and molasses cookies and honey in the comb, and best of all, she always gave us some. I will never forget the few times that I had the pleasure of going to grandma's house. Grandpa was a good man, but he was the kind of grandpa that expected little kids to sit down and behave and he always was watching me to see if I was out of line (at least I thought he always was). So, you see, my grandma was my favorite. Grandpa was a hard worker and did good work, too. He took pride in his work. He was an expert stone and brick mason. Many buildings and foundations are still standing as a memorial to his work. One of the buildings he laid bricks for was the Mason County Courthouse in Ludington. He also built many brick homes.
One of the outstanding memories I have of people were my Sunday school teachers. Sylvia Gordon, I think, topped them all. I would just as soon see her coming to our house as I would have enjoyed seeing an angel. In fact, she wasn't too far behind. These girls loved children and children loved them. I will never forget the happy times these girls made for us kids in
their large beautiful home on Gaylord Avenue in Ludington. They would hide peanuts and candy and let us kids keep all we
could find. Their large house always fascinated me. I would imagine that I was in a large castle in Europe or somewhere. I
want to meet those dear teachers someday. I think most children like pets. I had some, too, when I was a kid. Right now I'm thinking of my pet rooster - he was a banty rooster. He was a beauty and smart, too. I used to bring him into the house. We had one of those parlor organs with the foot pump pedals. I would place my rooster on the keyboard and I would pump the organ as he walked proudly back and forth. He seemed to enjoy the music. I could tell more but guess that's
enough for now.
I had another chum named Arthur Peterson. We had many good times together. We used to try to make words rhyme. Arthur and Frankie Brown (who later drowned in Lake Michigan) and I were watching Frankie's father hang wallpaper. Frankie came up with this one: 'Archie Brown went to town with his breeches hanging down.' Mr. Brown very quickly said, 'There, there, now. That's enough of that.' And that's just what I think now, so let's go on to something else.
When I was eight years old, I was playing (with one finger) on the organ. There was one hymn I especially liked. It was
'Nearer My God To Thee'. The tears began to run down my cheeks and I was all choked up and went to my mother. She knew right away why I was crying and asked me, 'Charlie, do you want Jesus to come into your heart?' I said, 'Yes.' So we knelt down together and almost immediately that peace came into my heart. I wish I had always lived close to Jesus and had let Him have complete control of my life. I failed Him so many times. I never willfully tried to hurt Him or His cause. He has never let me drift too far away. God has been so good to me all through my life. He has protected me and given me many
blessings. I will try to mention a few.
One of my playmates, George Adams, died when he was about twelve years old, I was chosen as a pallbearer. Of the six
boys that were pallbearers, two more died soon after. They were Hilliard Hagerman and Joe Lannon. The Lord has spared my life so far for some reason. I can never repay Him for His goodness to me. Later, several other boys with whom I had
chummed died, Stanley Paulson drowned also in Lake Michigan.
I joined the Free Methodist church when I was eight years old. Brother Lou Fletcher was our pastor, and a real man of God. He, too, is in heaven. I will be anxious to see him, too.
My father, as I said before, was not young when I was born; and by the time I became a young teenager, he was not able to work any more. My mother was working in a factory, and I could not bear to see her working so hard to support us. I resolved to go to work as soon as I could to help take the financial load off my mother. So, when I was sixteen years old I started to work at the Star Watch Case factory. It was necessary to give up the rest of high school. I've wished so many times that I could have graduated from high school. Did I make the right decision? I probably will never know for sure. I worked on what we called "the soldering bench." This called for soldering parts with silver or gold solder. This was done on a gas torch. Of fourteen men that worked on that bench, only three are still living, This must be another proof of God's goodness to me. Why? I don't know.
My father died when I was seventeen years old. This was February 2, 1925. Some time before his death he had called
Chester and me to his bedside and told us that he couldn't leave us very much but wanted to give us something. He gave
Chester his watch and me his jackknife. I still have it.
I was young and did not realize then all he had done for us and how hard he had worked for us. I didn't always show him the kindness that I should have, I am very sorry now, but it is too late to change it now. When we meet in heaven, I'm sure it
will be right then. I'll tell him then that I love him. He loved us boys and my mother. I heard him say once that he loved the ground she walked on. Just a few months after his death Grandpa Lyman Lawton saw my father in heaven just before he crossed the river. He said he saw others, too, and named my Uncle John as one that he saw. This vision was a wonderful
experience. Grandpa Lawton was a good Christian man. It later happened that his granddaughter, Leah Helen Lawton, became my wife. I saw Leah's little sister Lois at his funeral. But just a few days later she was in heaven with him, too. Little did anyone think this could happen so soon, but God wanted beautiful flowers in heaven, too.
My mother was always doing nice things for others, such as visiting the sick and helping to deliver babies. The neighbors
had great esteem and love for her. She always knew how to make people laugh. Many said that a visit from her did them more good than the doctor could. She made my father laugh just a few hours before he passed away.
She was no coward either. When we bought our first car (1923 Model "T" Ford), it was delivered to our house and parked in the driveway. No one knew how to drive it. She and I climbed into the front seat, with me at the wheel. I started the motor up but that's all I knew how to do. Mother said, "Let her go." So off we went down Rowe Street. We managed to keep it in the street and turned to go around the block. We saw a friend and mother waved and said, "Hello" to him. The car stopped and she said " Isn't a car just like a horse? When you want to visit, it just stops."
My dad wouldn't ride with me for about two weeks. He wanted to make sure that I could drive okay.
My father passed away soon after we purchased our car and so only had a few rides in it. It was cold and the snow was deep and it was almost impossible to go to the Custer Cemetery for his funeral. So we had his body placed in the city vault at the Ludington Cemetery until spring. We viewed his body about six weeks after his death and he looked fine. Mother was so anxious to see him again. Won't the reunion in heaven be wonderful? "Lord, please help us all to be faithful so that we will all be there as an unbroken family."
About three or four years later I sorta began looking around for a girlfriend. There were several girls at the factory
where I worked but I was not interested in any of them. We were among the fortunate ones who were privileged to attend
camp meeting. While there on the Manton Campground one time, I saw a pretty girl but lacked the courage to speak to her then. I wrote a letter later but somehow I had made a mistake and had the name of her sister instead. So naturally, her sister received the letter but gave it to her. I received an answer very soon--it was not the kind that I had expected. Some of
the words she used were not the kind to make a good impression on me. So I didn't answer the letter or go to see her. Thank the good Lord for this. This was not the type of girl I wanted. She afterwards became huge--about 400 pounds, I hear.
We had a good friend, Grandma Larr, who told me of a nice girl that she knew up near Manton. She said her name was Leah Lawton. She was also telling Leah that she knew of a nice boy--Charley Shue was his name. It's too late now to thank
you, Grandma Larr. You sure did me a big favor. Sometime I will thank you.
When I first saw Leah I knew she was the one for me. She looked the good girl that she was. We've almost completed
fifty happy years together and she is still the good girl that I married. Our courtship was short. It could have ended in a
breakup due to her father's feelings toward me. He almost succeeded in it, but didn't. Her mother was always very nice
to me and we always enjoyed our visits together. We were married November 30, 1929 -- at their home in Caldwell,
Michigan. Leah's father had requested that we be married there. My Uncle Joe Sanders performed the marriage ceremony.
We were married about 4:00 pm. We had a wonderful dinner after and drove home to Ludngton that night. It was a real cold night. My brother Chester and Leah's sister Evelyn were our attendants. Both are still living at this time. If we hadn't
got married then, we might not have at all. It was the year 1929--the year of the great stock market crash and the
beginning of the great depression. I was working at the time and continued to work for over a year but was afraid to make an adventure to secure a home of our own. Money was scarce and hard to get your hands on, especially to build with. Banks were not loaning money. So we continued to live with my mother and Chester until we could save enough to start building a new home.
After our marriage we continued to save a little money and purchased two lots on North Delia Street in Ludington. There
was a small barn on the lots. This purchase afterwards proved to have been a wise one. Leah owned a cow. We made a small trailer and went to her parents' farm and brought the cow home with us. Mother bought a cow from Brother Beebee in
Scottville. So we had two cows for our barn. These were a blessing for us as our family started to arrive. All through
the great depression we had milk, butter, and cottage cheese. We sold some butter to buy other groceries. We raised chickens so had meat to eat and all the eggs we needed. We planted potatoes, cabbage, carrots, sweet corn, plus other vegetables. We made sauerkraut. We raised some of the biggest carrots that we had ever seen--they were so large we couldn't pull them out and had to dig them. Some were over eighteen inches long. Some we fed to our cows so had nice yellow cream and butter. We never once went hungry during the whole depression. We later built a small new home on these lots.
On December 9, 1930, a little (not so little) girl arrived at our house, that is, at my mother's home. We had not as yet
built our house. We had been looking for her for awhile. She arrived hungry and also curious about her new surroundings.
About an hour after she had arrived, she raised her head up and, resting on her elbows looked all around at everything. I
don't know if she was impressed with her parents or not. Oh, I almost forgot to tell you her name. It was Marilyn Grace--she assumed our last name, so she had three names like most all other babies. Of course, she had a new buggie to ride in. Dr. Gray made the delivery C.O.D. ($30.00). I hear the cost is slightly higher these days.
History has a way of repeating itself and it wasn't too long before we were expecting another baby (not necessarily a girl).
By the time it arrived, I was out of work and the depression was really on. This little baby seemed to sense the money
situation, so she hurried and arrived ahead of the doctor. So the doctor cut his bill in half. So her cost was only $15.00.
She was just as cute and as welcome as the first little girl, although a pound or two smaller. So now we had two little
girls and no work. We would much rather have two girls and no work than to have work and no girls. This little girl had a
name, too -- Margaret Eleanor. She, too, assumed our last name. She chose to be born on May 2, 1932. Being born during
the depression made her, I think, especially economy minded. She seemed to always worry whether we would have enough money to pay our bills. I hope she doesn't care if I relate an example of this. Anyway, I think I will.
One time when Marilyn had dislocated her elbow at play at school and it was going to be necessary to have her arm x-rayed before setting the bone Margaret said, "Oh dear, that will cost daddy another $5.00." We were still living with my mother and Chester. Mother and Chester both loved our children and the children loved them. Leah and I had always hoped for the day when we could have a little home of our own and made plans for one. This was really fun planning and drawing plans for one.
I knew very little about farming and had to learn a lot. Uncle Joe Sanders used to come to Ludington to hold Quarterly Meeting services at the Free Methodist church. He and Aunt Bertha would stay at our house at this time. Uncle Joe liked to tease Marilyn. He told her that she couldn't ride in his car. Leah and the girls were planning on riding with them back to Manton to visit her folks. Marilyn said to him, "Uncle Joe, I will too ride in your old car." I had tried to learn the farm
language and thought I had. I said to Uncle Joe, "Doesn't this cow have a good rudder?" Later I learned it was udder. Leah
had taught me to milk the cows. We had no pasture of our own, so it became necessary to tie the cows out on grass and move them several times a day to new grass. This job seemed to fall mostly on Leah, especially when I was working. We had to carry pails of water to them, too. This water we pumped from our well on our lots. I had driven this well myself. We put it down into the ground with a large hammer which wasn't easy work. This well we continued to use after we moved into our little new home. Later we had city Water.
Leah and I had $5.00 cash left-no more money in sight. Our church dues, we called then "conference claims" needed to be
paid. We pondered the question, "Should we pay them with our last $5.00 or save it for groceries?" We decided to pay them. We put God first in our lives and God did honor us in this decision. The very next week I was called back to work and worked steady from that time on.
The government had set the minimum wage scale at $.44 per hour. At this wage we saved enough money to pay the carpenter's wages, the electrician, the plumber, and the plasterer to build a little home for us on our lots. We had previously fenced them. We bought the poles for $.08 a piece, peeled the bark, and treated them with creosote. A friend of ours loaned us the money to pay for the lumber. This was $500.00. She wouldn't take a mortgage; she said she could trust us. We bought good lumber for $37.50 per thousand feet. It is about ten times that much now. So we had a little cozy home twenty feet by twenty-four feet on a corner lot. This was on the corner of Delia Street and Tinkham Avenue. Our dreams were coming true--a real home of our own. Oh, how proud we were and oh, so happy! Why shouldn't we be happy? I had a wonderful wife, two nice little girls, and a new home without a mortgage on either. We continued to save all we could. We didn't buy anything that we could get along without. We purchased second-hand furniture until we could replace it with new. Many times as we were leaving our home, we would look back and be so proud. Why not? We had come through the depression, saved enough to build a house and through it all had always paid our tithe to the church. God always honors those who put their trust in Him. As we could afford it, we added an addition, twelve feet by twenty feet. This enabled us to have a living room, dining room, kitchen, two bedrooms, and a bathroom, plus a nice clothes closet. We later put in a basement and built an entrance to the basement and kitchen, and city water was installed. The city laid the water main for us. We were in the city limits. Elmer Swanson did our plumbing for the water. It was 11:00 o'clock one night when the job was complete and we had running water in our house. Margaret was still sitting up and waiting until she saw the water, then went to bed happy. We did a lot of living in that house. No one could have been happier. Our first winter there we had only a cookstove for heat. We couldn't hold fire for long, so we had to set our alarm clock for every two hours. Leah and I took turns firing. The next winter we had managed to accumulate enough money to buy a parlor heater which we set up alongside the cookstove. After that we only set our alarm for one call--time to get up and get going.
Leah and I always enjoyed working together, whether it was gardening, painting, or planning.
On September 2, 1940, my mother passed away. I did miss seeing her sitting by the window and waving to me as I passed to and from work. I stopped in when I had time to say, "Hello." I lived quite a ways from my work and had to hurry to make it to work on time but I never did like to be late and I wasn't late more than three or four times in over forty years that I worked at the Watch Case factory. I always came home to eat; I never carried a lunch to work, as I enjoyed being with my family.
Mother's funeral was held at the The Ludington Free Methodist Church. The large display of flowers told us how much she was thought of. Brother L. D. Bodine preached her funeral sermon, and her body was laid to rest in the Riverside Cemetery in Custer, where she and my father are awaiting the resurrection day.
November 11, 1940, was the day of the big storm on the Great Lakes. Several large boats were shipwrecked between Ludington and Pentwater. One boat was beached at Ludington. I saw a roof of a building rise up and fly through the air while I was looking out the window at the factory. It turned real cold and we really had a blizzard. Several bodies of the crews on the boats were washed ashore at Ludington. The local funeral parlors were filled, and the Salvation Army Hall was used for the bodies until they were identified.
About two years later our home was blessed again with the arrival of a now baby, this time a boy. September 25 was the
date in the year of 1942. He chose rather to be born at the Paulina Stearns Hospital than at home as the girls were. He
was a pretty little fellow with dark hair. Our girls had light brown hair. Please don't blame me for feeling proud--I had
waited for about thirteen years for a boy. He was accepted and much loved by his parents and proud sisters. Charles was
always an active little chap, never wanting for something to do.
We always tried if we could to take our children on vacation trips, and we did get to see much of our beautiful country. We
will always keep those memories; we enjoyed every trip so much. We made several trips to the Rockies in Colorado, to the
Smokies, to Niagara Falls, Washington D. C., and several other places of interest.
Just like other families we took our turns with sickness. Some of the ones I remember were: hepatitis, scarlet fever, mumps
etc., but we always had good nursing care. Leah received some good practical experience and, like other good mothers, was always so kind and concerned.
One time we changed our address without moving. When we added some rooms on to our house we changed the front of the house from the east side to the north side. This, of course, made our house face Tinkham Avenue instead of Delia Street.
We felt it necessary to either build on to our house again or buy a larger one, as we had five in our family. We decided to
sell our little house and buy a larger one. This we did. We bought a house on Rath Avenue. This house had four bedrooms, a bath and a half, plus sidewalks and a paved street. It was also closer to work and downtown. Just like any house you buy
or build, there are always repairs or remodeling necessary. We made several improvements, such as modernizing the kitchen, installing new bathroom fixtures, building new porches, and putting in some new windows. We had just finished the kitchen when I had an accident while tobogganing. I mention this now to explain why we were broke at the time of my accident. We had used every dollar to pay for the new kitchen cupboards.
We were at Leah's brother Verne Lawton's and were enjoying (?) our first trip downhill. It was Saturday night and cold and
dark. The hill was very steep--just like dropping down an elevator shaft. We struck a real bump. Toboggans have very
poor springs and no shock absorbers. My back could not stand the shock so I think it just caved in snapped, or just plain
"busted." I was on the back and the others in front fared better. The doctor told me after x-rays that two vertebrae
were either crushed or cracked. It wasn't exactly a picnic on the way back to the car. They pulled me on the toboggan. I
entered the Mercy Hospital in Muskegon and ten days later was placed in a body cast and sent home in an ambulance to wait until my back was okay. About three months later I returned to the hospital and was x-rayed. The injured bones had healed good, so the cast was removed and braces fitted to my back. It was great to come back home again, and I soon went back to work. Previous to this accident I had had some heart problems. Two doctors had told me I would have to take it easy. I'm telling this so I can tell something else. After going through with this accident and having had three month's rest, my heart was rested and much improved. I afterwards was examined by a doctor and passed the physical for life insurance. God has a way of bringing good out of what we think at the time is bad. This had been a blessing in disguise. I have sometimes recommended a broken back as a cure for heart ailments, but no one seems to take me up on it. I was well and able to make more improvements on our house.
We did a lot of living in this house. Our children grew up there. Marilyn and Charles graduated from the Ludington High
School. Margaret graduated from the Spring Arbor High School. All three of our children were married while we lived in that home. Marilyn married Paul Smith, of Victory Township. Margaret married Charles Warner, of Kent, Ohio, and Charles married Lucille Bird, of Iowa.
Leah decided that she should get a job. She obtained a job as nurses aide in the Paulina Stearns Hospital, where she worked until we left Ludington.
After the children had married, we were left alone. And it is really lonely after the birds leave their nest. One time when
Leah was buying groceries for just the two of us she felt like crying. She didn't cry, though, as she thought about what
people would think if they saw her crying in a grocery store. Now it wouldn't matter, as most people cry when buying
After awhile grandchildren began to arrive. Donald Paul Smith was our first grandchild. Janice Marie was next then Beverly
Helen, Joanne Grace, and Larry Goodwin, in that order. These children were very dear to us and still are. We will never
forget how they enjoyed coming down to grandma and grandpas house. We always enjoyed it, too. I wish sometimes that we could roll back time and see the kids "little" again, but I know they wouldn't like that.
Margaret also had three children arrive in their home before we moved away. Timothy Mark was first, Miriam Beth next, and then Carolyn Joy. We really enjoyed these, too, but were not privileged to see them as often as Marilyn's children. They
lived in southern Michigan.
Life doesn't always go just as we would like it to; some things come our way that we don't enjoy. I was under strain and
pressure at the factory where I worked. I had become very nervous. It seemed to be the best thing for us to sell our
home and for me to quit my job and move to Florida. The winters were not easy to take anymore, either. So we sold our
house and made plans to move. Out of several houses that were for sale in our neighborhood, ours sold first. Then came what seemed to be a great leap in the dark. Moving day came. It was a cold day in November. We packed all of our furniture and belongings into a U-Haul truck and started for Florida. Floyd Lawton drove the truck. Leah and I followed--or went ahead--in our 1960 Olds. We had corresponded and talked on the phone to a Rev. Sheldon, the Free Methodist pastor at Dade City, Florida, in regards to finding us a place to move into until we could buy a home. He rented a house and paid the rent in advance without knowing us. We had a pleasant trip to Florida. We really did feel sad about leaving our children and grandchildren. We knew we wouldn't be able to see them often. We thought at the time that it was the best thing to do, and it has since proven to be true. Our life down here has been full. The weather, our friends, the church, and our health here have been enjoyable.
It seemed to us to be the will of God for us to move; everything went so well for us. When we arrived in Florida and
had been there only about five minutes, Glenn and Lena Wilke came over to see if we had arrived yet. They came just in time to help us unload the furniture. This was the day before Thanksgiving. Sheldons invited us to eat Thanksgiving dinner
with them. We were happy to accept the invitation and were glad we did. Sheldons came over every evening to visit us while we lived in Dade City; they know we would be lonesome for our family. They were very dear friends. We lived in Dade City only three weeks while we were looking to buy a home. We had seen the new homes being built near Tarpon
Springs the winter before while we were down there. We went over to see what we could find as there didn't seem to be any houses in Dade City that we were interested in. We found a house in Crest Ridge Gardens, which is now a part of Holiday. This house was only three months old. It was just what we wanted. We made a small deposit on it so they would hold it for us until we could get the money transferred from the Ludington bank. The price was $8,400. We were happy to buy such a Pretty house. Glenn Wilke and Brother Sheldon helped us move from Dade City. This moving day, too, was special. We made three trips to Crest Ridge with the truck and U-Haul that day. We missed a hard rain between trips. It didn't rain on the furniture at all, although it had rained at both places after we left.
We had only nicely got settled when Leah obtained employment at the Tarpon Springs General Hospital. About four days later I got a job at the Jester Kids Clothing Factory. We lived in Crest Ridge about three-and-a-half years.
During this time we felt that it would be best for us to transfer our church membership from the Tarpon Springs Free
Methodist to the Church of the Nazarene in Clearwater, where we were welcomed and put to work in the church. These four years in the church there we would not like to have missed. It was a wonderful help to us. Later, as a new Free Methodist Church was started in our area, we thought it best to transfer our membership back again. It had become just too much to travel so far to church up and down Highway 19.
In 1968 we purchased a lot in a new subdivision which was called Forest Hills. We had a new home built. This home we
now live in and have enjoyed it very much. We expect it to be our home until....
In the year of 1965 we were made happy when Margaret, Tim, Miriam, and Carolyn moved to Florida. Chuck had been appointed to pastor the church at Sanford. Now we could see some of our grandchildren oftener. While living in Florida, they were blessed with an addition to their family. Paula Jean is the only Florida "cracker", in the family. She was born April 7, 1968.
We now had nine grandchildren. Later in the year of 1971 another granddaughter arrived to make the number up to ten.
Charles and Lucy became the proud parents of little Leah Margaret Shue.
When the year 1974 came, we experienced some things that were not easy to accept with a smile. Our happiness had seemed to come to an end. But it was only temporary. We afterwards had to accept it as it was. We tried and did keep
our heads above water. This year Margaret and Chuck and family moved back to Michigan. Leah's father died. There were two divorces in our family, and we had three automobile accidents. If it hadn't been for a wife like Leah, I don't think I could have stayed afloat.
We have had many good times, too. We have many friends here. When our children and grandchildren come to see us, it makes us happy; also when we can go and see them it is a big treat. They are all so dear to us. How fortunate we are to have them. Many of our friends do not have this blessing. The count as of this date is ten grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren. We hope the count doesn't stop here. We're depending on our grandchildren to "up" the count.
Our little chapel church was too small and it was necessary to build a church to house the people. Plans were made to build a new church. God made His will known to some in the church and things began to move. Money for it began to come in, so a building committee was appointed and plans were drawn up. Ted Anderson, Gaylord McCall, and I were appointed as the building committee. We worked together in harmony. On November 20, 1977, the church was dedicated by Bishop Cryderman. Brother Sharpe was our pastor at the time of dedication. We now worship in a small but beautiful church. The Lord really helped us to get this new church, and we enjoy worshipping in it.
I have just about brought everything up to date. We are happy and enjoying pretty good health for a pair of old shoes that
have been together for nearly fifty years. I hope some of this might be of interest to you but, if not, you know where your
Someone else can add the rest when the old shoes are worn out.
Leah Helen Lawton
Birth: 13 JUN 1909 Manton, Caldwell Twp, Missaukee Co, Michigan
1910 Census: 25 APR 1910
Place: Caldwell Twp, Missaukee Co, Michigan
Note: Living with parents, Stowell and Minnie.
1920 Census: Caldwell Twp, Missaukee County, MI
Note: Living with parents, Stowell and Minnie.
Occupation: BEF 1996
Note: Was a CNA at Ludington Memorial Hospital, Paulina Stearns
Hospital, and Tarpon Springs Hospital.
Death: 20 JUL 1996 Westchester Gardens Rehabilitation Center, Tarpon Springs, Florida, USA
Note: Had Alzheimer's Disease
Death Record: 22 JUL 1996
Place: Clearwater, Pinellas Co, Florida
Burial: AFT 20 JUL 1996 Riverside Cemetery, Custer, Mason, Michigan, USA
Obituary: 22 JUL 1996
Will: 17 JUN 1987
Click here to see parents: Stowell Ernest Lawton and Minnie Viola Garn
Note: I was taken to camp meeting when I was one month old. The camp was only about six miles from home, and it was always a source of enjoyment to me to be able to attend. My Lawton grandparents used to tent on the grounds, and I would stay with them and help my grandmother. Grandpa was often the delegate. I remember the tent meetings they used to have out in the woods a half mile from my home, across from Uncle Clarence and Aunt Cora Larr's home. My mother was a Christian, and my Aunt Cora had been saved. Brother G. W. Archer was the first minister who came to hold the tent meetings. He was pastor of the Manton Free Methodist Church at that time. About a year later they started cutting timber to build a church just across the corner from where we lived. Rev. O. A. Kester was the first pastor. I was about seven years old at that time, about 1916. I was saved in December of 1917 at the age of eight, just before Christmas time. Floyd went to town and bought me a New Testament with the 20 cents he had. He was only eleven at the time and thought, since I was saved, I should have a Testament of my own. All through my younger years, my mother encouraged me as a Christian, and my cousin Lola Larr would always say, "Look up, Leah. Keep encouraged." There were good revival services after that, and people were saved. I never missed a service unless I had to. My mother couldn't take us all every night, so she would send us to bed and check to see if we were okay during the altar service. I didn't want to miss any meetings because I told my aunt that God might bless the service and I wouldn't be there.
I was eight years old when I had my first car ride. Clyde Kinsey had a car and it was a rainy day on our last day of
school. He would fill the car with school children until he had given everyone a car ride. A few years later an airplane
flew over, and the teacher let all the children out of school to watch it.
One of my routine chores was to bring the cows home from pasture. There were no cars in the road, so the cows would
wander down the road and eat the grasses along the roadside. One day when I was about nine years old, I went to hunt the
cows and found them about two miles from home. Johnny Root, a boy a little older than I, was getting his cows which were
mixed in with ours, so rather than try to separate them, we thought it would be easier to drive them home together until
his cows would leave the rest and go to their own barnyard.
[Margaret, Leah's daughter remembers the rest of the story] When Leah got home with the cows and her father learned what happened, he teased her with a little rhyme he made up: As the sole is to the foot, So is Leah to Johnny Root. Leah got so tired of this and so embarrassed about being teased that she could hardly stand to look at Johnny Root after that,
although he was a nice farm boy.
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