As I have grown older, the stories of my ancestors have grown increasingly of interest to me. And most especially of the women that have gone before me, living their lives, caring for their children, making their piece of the world softer and more beautiful in small or large ways.
I am blessed to have people on both sides of my family tree that have compiled many countless hours worth of information from which I can glimpse traces of who they were, these people from whom I am made. I hope to continue their work, carrying the torch forward so that generations that follow me can also know a little about the people from which they are made.
Therefore, I have endeavored to create a series of birth samplers honoring my Great-Grandmothers. The birth samplers will be released one at a time over the next four months, starting tomorrow. But before the unveiling of the first sampler design, I wanted to share a little with you about the woman for whom I have made it.
Eunice Pearl French was born in 1887 in Kansas. Her mother died when she was just five years old. One year later, her father left home to take part in the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1893. Pearl’s first residence there was a sod hut, where she was tended by her older brothers while she in turn cared for her younger brother who was three.
Raised on neighboring farms & having attended the one room school together, Pearl and August Ray Wooley knew each other well. They were married on Valentines Day in 1906. They built a home and began farming, just as their parents had before them. They had 9 children, the first born in 1906, the last born in 1931.
They were hard-working farm people and did all they could to maintain a good life, but, as many others during that time, they saw the railroad cut across their land from corner to corner, then watched, during the Dust Bowl as their top soil literally dried up and blew away. By 1937 they had had enough, and they packed up the three children they had remaining at home (including my Grandma), as many belongings as they could fit into their car, and headed West to Oregon. Caravanning with them on their journey were 22 other family members, including most of their children with spouses and grandchildren.
Pearl loved to have family around her. She had a loving spirit and good sense of humor and was very fond of her grandchildren, of which she had some in her home nearly every day. She died in 1965 at 77 years of age.