Chester Jackson Family

Myra & Beulah After 1949

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[Myra and Beulah's lives together with Lizzie in Ovid]

Lizzie Jackson died in 1949.  (As an aside, although I was nearly four at the time and must have seen her several times since birth, I do not recall her at all.)  She was age 95, well within or even beyond the norm for longevity for recent generations of Keys, Jacksons and Bates (two of her three daughters bested her, as did her oldest grandchild, Emily).

Richard Bates's recollections:

After Eliza died, having been a widow for nineteen years, at age 96, faithfully attended by her two maiden daughters,  Bion decided to buy their two-thirds of the farm from them.  The farm had been run by a hired-man under Myra's direction, but the orchards were heavily infested with black spot, trees untrimmed and largely unproductive.  Father wanted to revert to his childhood experiences and kept the horses which he enjoyed harnessing and using to pull logs from the orchard which he had bulldozed.  (Until the horses started up as he was leaning over a log with the result that he was partially scalped.)

I was not a party to the discussions, but the aunts agreed to having the hired man's "tenement house" fixed up so they could move there, about half a block west of their home.  Father and Mother then sold the house where we four were raised on William Street and moved into the home that Mother had previously occupied for but a few months just before her marriage, while her sisters had lived there most of their adult lives.  This house, too, was refurbished with the addition of a bedroom and bath on the first floor. 

So the two old maids lived together in a small home, Beulah driving to church and shopping, Myra with a few chickens and her poetry books.  She was over 80 when we saw her with a black eye occasioned by a piece of wood flying up when she was splitting it.  She had two heart attacks causing her to walk the floor in pain all night but not reported to me until later when EKG's in the office confirmed the scars.  I furnished her with nitroglycerine for her angina attacks. 

Beulah remained in good health until the fatal day when Jack called from the office to say that there was a problem.  Signe and I went to Ovid that afternoon to find Beulah confused from a stroke, Myra helpless and agitated and moved them both into the main house with Mother and her housekeeper. 

Bion and Wilma moved into the large Jackson home, and Myra and Beulah moved into a smaller house across farmland to the west, according to my uncle, Jackson Bates, a much smaller house where the hired man and family had lived (the Malony family with three children - Gorden, Russell and Edna).  There Myra and Beulah lived most of their remaining lives, with a wood-burning stove in the kitchen (I can remember Aunt My chopping wood), and mementos at every hand.  No doubt included among those mementos were the Jackson archives and Keys photographs that have been the foundation of much of this account, although none of us knew it at the time.  As a cousin said to me recently, too bad we didn't know and might have captured some oral histories.

Other than occasional letters from Myra or Beulah, photographs, and Beulah's diary of her 1960 trip to Mexico, we have little record of their lives in that period.  We cousins have memories, the older ones being better, more comprehensive and more vivid.  For that reason I very much appreciate my Uncle Dick providing his own, contemporaneous recollections.

Here are some of the more notable photographs (some including Wilma):