Old Timer weekly series written by HELEN HEDGEPATH of the Herald staff.
July 26, 1979
Shraders’ Healdton Pioneers
Our old timers this week will be celebrating their 60th anniversary August 13. He was born just north of his present home and has lived in this area his entire life. This week we honor WILLIAM E. “Bill” and EDNA EMBERLING / EMBERLIN SHRADER.
Bill was born Nov. 22, 1897 in a log house ¼ mile north of the Healdton Airport. He was one of ten children born to CHARLES and NANCY BLOUNT SHRADER, who were married in old Healdton in the early 1890’s and were pioneers in the area.
Bill has the following brothers and sisters: VERNON SHRADER, OMA (Mrs. BILL) NEWMAN, BLANCHE (Mrs. WOODIE) MCLAIN, ANDY SHRADER, all of Healdton; TENNIE (Mrs. GEORGE) DAVENPORT of Davis, MARY (Mrs. GEORGE) DAWSON and NORA DRURY, both of Ardmore. There were two children who died as infants. Bill remembers his parents moving into a new house that the neighbors helped them cut logs and build. He said it was a two room “double” log house that was built on Uncle WILL HEALD’S land, across from the present airport. This house had a big fireplace, a sheet iron roof, no ceilings, no water well, and not much furniture. He told of having three beds in the bedroom and one in the combination kitchen, bedroom and living room. Their kitchen furniture consisted of a wood cook stove, an 8 foot table with two benches at the side and two chairs, one at each end, where his parents sat. They had no cabinets or closets, they didn’t have many clothes for a closet, and they kept their extra linens in a big trunk. He said everyone had a trunk in those days.
All the neighbors carried water from an old stock well over on the HOWARD STEWART place. They hauled all their water in barrels and pulled the barrels with a team on a big sled his father had made. We laughed as he told that when that when they filled a tub for a bath, more than one in the family bathed in the same water. In summer the boys took their baths in a nearby tank. This well was a popular place in the early days. The men kept large piles of wood cut near the well and the women would come to the well to do their washings and spend the day working and visiting with neighbors. The first norther that blew in the fall would bring all the neighbors together at the well to butcher hogs. Sometimes they would butcher 10 to 15 hogs a day. They killed the hogs at home and carried them by wagon to the well. If the hogs were extra large, they used the water sled to pull it to the well.
The women kept boiling water on the fire and as soon as the first hog was cut up, they started rendering lard and cooking some of the ribs and liver. He thought AARON DUNN and FLETCHER HAIR hauled water from this well.
He told of his father having a sorghum mill in the early days. People would bring cane and his father would press it out on halves. It sold for 15 cents a bucket and 10 cents if you brought your own bucket. His father sold the mill to ED FINLEY, father of ETHEL FINLEY PEARSON.
He also remembers the big cotton gin which was located about where HOLDER’S Body Shop is now located. He recalled in the fall when the gin ran night and day, you would line up with your cotton and wait your turn. He told that while they waited, they would run over to JIM ORME’S grocery store and get something to eat. It wasn’t unusual to stay most of the night and sleep on the cotton.
Bill told of attending the old one school in old Healdton, ROSSIE MCKNIGHT was the teacher. There were no desks, just long benches and 15-20 pupils attending grades 1-8. About 1909 they built a new school where the East Side Church of Christ sets today. In 1912 his family lived just east of town where KENNETH ECK and MAE RATLIFFE live now.
When the oil boom hit this area, his family was farming and living west of town. His mother started taking in boarders and roomers. She charged $1 per day for room and board. I ask if they had a large house, he said his mother let 4 men stay in the extra bedroom.
In 1916 his father bought a place 4 miles north of town where JERRY DIXON now lives. They built a four room house on the place with lumber they had cut down at the sawmill. The sawmill was located in the bottom 3 miles north of town on the west side of the road. It was owned by Mr. HARMON of Pooleville.
During WWI, he received his notice to report for duty Nov. 18. On Nov. 11 the Armistice was signed and he missed serving in that war. About this time, Bill went to a dance at a friend’s house at Graham, in those days someone had a dance about once a week in their home. He told that many times he had danced most of the night and picked cotton the next day, youth and energy. At this dance at Graham, he met EDNA EMBERLING /EMBERLIN. She was the daughter of DARIUS MATHEW “SQUIRE” EMBERLING / EMBERLIN and MARY FRANCES “MOLLIE” BRYANT EMBERLING / EMBERLIN. Edna was born August 12, 1903 at Breckenridge, Texas, but the family moved to the Oil City area in 1904.
Edna was from a family of 8 children. Five are deceased: JAMESWESLEY “JIM” who married EMMA STEWART, GEORGE SOMERS (who died in Nevada), WILL (who was killed), ERNEST CLAUDE who married ETHEL ADA WRIGHT and died 1918, and BANKS BRYANT who married DAISY BARNHILL (parents of JAMES ‘SONNY” EMBERLING). She has two sisters still living, CALLIE HODGE of Hominy and LUCY HUTCHENS WAYMAN of Fort Worth.
Bill and Edna went together about a year and were married Aug. 13, 1919. They got their license at Wilson and were married in the Healdton Herald office in Healdton in the old HERB GORDON Appliances building, now where the Beauty Shop is now. JACK HYDE, justice of the peace, had an office in the Herald building. They had planned to run off and get married but her parents found out and her brother met BILL and told him her father said to come on up to the house and get her.
They lived with his parents about a year. He heard of a job opening with the Carter Oil Co. He got the job and they moved into a company house south of town on Sec 13. He made $90 per month. He worked there a year and quit when the company wanted him to move to Illinois. In 1921 he started driving a team for Magnolia Pipe Line. He continued to work for Magnolia Pipe Line until his retirement in 1959.
He told of several Magnolia men who retired the same time that he did, among them were DUDE TEAGUE, CHARLES CROW, HOMER PEARSON and WARNER LEWIS. He said he didn’t live on a lease all the years he worked for Magnolia. They lived across the street north of Ralph’s Grocery for a long time.
In 1943 he bought 140 acres from TOMMIE LEWIS and in 1957 built a house in which they now live. He remarked their present house is the only modern house in which he has ever lived. Two of Healdton’s water wells are on the Shrader land; he gave one to the city and Shrader #1 well is Healdton’s most productive water well.
Bill and Edna have two fine children. Their son TROY lives near his parents and their daughter MILDRED CARTER lives in Duncan. Troy married the former HAZEL WHITE and they have four children, RONNIE, who married GUYLENE OLIVER and live at Electra, Texas; LINDA, who married MIKE BARNES and live at Denison, Texas; PHYLLIS who married DAVID OLIVER and live at Chesterfield, Missouri; and JANICE who married LARRY YOUNG and lives at Healdton. Their daughter MILDRED, who married HENRY CARTER, lives in Duncan and has one son, DIXIE JACKSON who lives in Houston, Texas.
Bill and Edna enjoy fishing. In fact they fish about 8 months of the year. They have an old school bus that was redone into a camper. They fish Lake Texoma in the spring then spend July and August at home, fish at Lake Murray from September to November. Bill used to be a coon hunter and loves dogs. He and DUDE TEAGUE are old coon hunting buddies. Bill says his health is fairly good, never had any kind of surgery He still runs some cattle and runs a tractor, pulling a brush hog to keep the weeds down. Edna doesn’t have good health, trouble with arthritis.
They will soon celebrate their 60th anniversary and their grandchildren are all hoping to be here to help “Papa” and “Granny” celebrate the event.