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Family History Interview
Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb, Austin Cobb, Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough, Gladys (Rose) Wood, Bob Wood, Karen (Healen) Hammel, Alice (Norton) Ferrin Wilson and Janet (Ferrin) Elmore
Jerry D. Ferrin

A Reunion of Former Residents of
Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas

held 10 March 1991 in Tucson, Pima County, Arizona.

Jerry Ferrin: This is the 10th of March, 1991, Jerry Ferrin interviewing Gladys Wood. Do you still live in Comanche County?

Gladys (Rose) Wood: I live at 406 North Adams, Medicine Lodge, Kansas. That's in Barber County.

Jerry Ferrin: What's the zip code there?

Gladys (Rose) Wood: 67104.

Jerry Ferrin: I want to ask you some questions because you were a friend of my paternal grandmother, Nellie May (Barnett) Ferrin. I'd like to hear any memories you have of her. A moment ago you started to talk about her good memory...

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Yes, that's true. Nellie and I, we would work together many times. We were club members together. We were at church activities many times. And this adventure (the reunion of former Wilmore residents) today brings back memories of long ago when she and I used to prepare things just like the younger folk have done today for picnics and we would go to church and then have a covered dish dinner after our church. We'd get the tables all ready and Nellie was always there... but Nellie, most always there was some sort of accident she had on the way. She either spilled her beans or something upset and we had to help Nellie clean up before we could get started with our dinner. (Laughs.) We'd always have a good time together like that and we'd get the tables ready and then the children were to be served first. So Nellie was always out of the way so we could get around and the rest of us have the things that wanted. Then, at our club meetings, I'll always remember Nellie very well: she had such an unusual memory. If anything came up and we needed a poem or anything of that sort, Nellie could just tell it right off like she had just got through learning it. She was very good at repeating any kind of poem that would fit into our programs. We looked forward to Nellie a lot for helping us with our readings and different activities. We belonged to the Wilmore Study Club and Nellie was always good at Bible study.

Jerry Ferrin: What other clubs were you both members of... The Eastern Star?

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Yes. We belonged to Eastern Star and Nellie was very active in Eastern Star. I think she was in "Star" before I was initiated. We worked together in that capacity, I remember. I don't recall right off other activities but I do recall one thing and I always remember this about Nellie: One time were were at a farm sale and I had just started thinking I would sell Avon products to help support my family. So I asked her if she'd be interested and she said, "Oh, Yes, I would. I would like to have some lipstick. I think every woman should wear lipstick; your lips don't look quite so purple if you have just a little bit of lipstick on." (Laughs) I always remembered that comment from Nellie.

Janet (Ferrin) Elmore: I remember getting into Grandma Nellie's lipstick when I was a little girl... playing with it. And, you know what, in her drawers she had sample-sized tubes -- real tiny ones.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Uh huh - little Avon tubes. Yeah, that's right.

Jerry Ferrin: I ought to note that Janet (Ferrin) Elmore and Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough have just joined us. Mary Lee, do you have any memories of my grandmother, Nellie Ferrin?

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: Oh, I have so many 'cause my parents went to Nellie and Ernie Ferrin's a lot for dinner on Sundays... we'd really get together a lot. We'd go out to the farm and then they'd come in (to the Cobb's house in Wilmore) and we'd trade back and forth -- and (we'd also trade visits) with the Yorks and the Bakers, Gwen and Nick Baker. We'd all get together and they (the adults) would all play cards; it was just a big whoopin', hollerin' night when they'd get together to play cards.They'd have so much fun and they'd play Pitch mostly. That was their usual game. And we kids -- the older kids would -- I don't know where they'd go. They didn't stick around too much. Merle and I and Terri Ann and Joe, we were little, and then Delmer and Wendel and the York boys were older and I know they always put up with us but I don't know what they did when they went off to play by themselves.

Jerry Ferrin: If you'll mention the full names of people, that'd be helpful.

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: Let's see, there'd be "Red" (Lawrence) York, Don York, Delmer Ferrin, Wendel Ferrin... oh, and Richard York. Richard would be kind of in between, he never really belonged any place; he wasn't old enough to be with the older kids and he wasn't young enough to be with us (the younger kids). He was always kind of stuck in the middle. Then (there were) Terri Ann and Joe Baker, my brother Merle and myself. (When our parents were playing cards) they'd just bed us (the children) down where ever, and then, when they got ready to go home at one or two o'clock in the morning, they'd get us up and pile us into the cars and we'd go home. I remember eating a lot at your grandmother's house. Your grandmother always made fried chicken...

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: I never will forget one time we went out there and Nellie and I went out to the corn field and picked the corn -- it was so hot we just stripped off and went into the creek to cool off. (Laughter from everyone at the table.)

Jerry Ferrin: We've just been joined by Gertrude Cobb.

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: ...and apple butter. Do you remember those cider presses? They (Ernie & Nellie Ferrin) always had this huge orchard and they'd press their own cider.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Nellie and I canned a hundred quart (sic) of corn that day. Now, you know we got up and started early. A hundred quart of corn we canned!

Jerry Ferrin: Did you can anything else with Grandma Nellie, Gertrude?

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Apples, beans, corn and tomatoes.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: They (Ernie & Nellie Ferrin) always had a great, big garden -- a huge garden.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Yeah, and can't your remember when they'd have those great big "Corn Feeds"? My God, they'd have these great big, round kettles - those old iron kettles...

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: Yeah, and they'd also make apple butter in them. Ernie would always make a big fire outside and they'd cook their apple butter outside.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: And they cooked that corn outside in those kettles and the whole neighborhood would come in to eat corn -- that was all, it was just a corn feed.

Jerry Ferrin: You say the whole neighborhood would be there... can you give me some of their names?

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: The (Valtos) Richardsons...

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: And the Trummels...

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: And the Chances... and the Bakers. (To Gladys:) Did you ever go to one of those corn feeds?

Gladys (Rose) Wood: No.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: You didn't? Well, I missed out on one or two of 'em and finally I said to Nellie: "How come I'm not invited to that corn feed?" "Well", she said, "You are! The whole neighborhood is invited. So, boy, from then on we just went. (Laughs.)

Gladys (Rose) Wood: I can remember when she got her new house (the addition to the house Ernest Ferrin had built in 1927; the "new house" was made by moving in the old Cobb schoolhouse next to the 1927 house). Do you remember when they moved the old Cobb School down?

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Lord, yes. And do you know when they built that thing -- Ernie built the foundations around it (for the addition, which included a basement) and he told Nellie: "Now you stay off of that". She just couldn't wait for him to leave so that she could get up and walk around it. (Everyone laughs). And then she told it!

Janet (Ferrin) Elmore: She walked around on top of it?

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: And she told it! She didn't fall off. "I just wasn't a bit afraid", she said, "and Ernie told me I couldn't do that".

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: Nellie always had a little thing (a slight speech impediment) and she was Nellie "Therrin", not "Nellie Ferrin". She always had that little sound in her voice.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Oh, yes.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Here's another thing: she taught my husband when he was in the first grade. She taught at the Cobb school and she stayed at the Wodd's - at my in-law's place. They always talked about how Nellie could never pronounce her 'v's -- she always said "lither" and ...

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: I never could talk like her but Lee could.

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: And then she'd always say, "I'm Nellie Therrin".

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Yeah, "Therrin". Nellie "Therrin".

Jerry Ferrin: What was she trying to say when she'd say "lither"?

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: Liver. She couldn't pronounce her 'F's or her 'V's so she'd say lither instead of liver. It was so endearing, I mean...

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: She was just Nellie. We never thought a thing about it.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: No, we never thought a thing about it.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: She'd come in (to Wilmore from the farm) and go up to her mother's -- up to Grandma (Annie) Barnett's - and stay all night with her because Geneva (Barnett) would call her - now, she didn't say "Geneva" -- what did she call her?

Gladys (Rose) Wood: "Genetha".

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Genetha. And Geneva would call her to come in and stay and she'd go up there and then before she'd go home she'd always stop at my place. And many a time she stopped and she'd just cry and cry because she and Geneva didn't agree on what should be done with their mother. And I'd say: "Now, Nellie, that's just Geneva. Don't think anything about it. You just go on home and forget about it."

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: (To Jerry:) Do you have any memories of Geneva?

Jerry Ferrin: I have some. I remember her as a pretty severe and not a very happy woman.

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: Yeah, I had her for a teacher in the fifth grade.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: My children had her, too, for a teacher.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: You know, I've finally figured out what made her that way, Gladys. When she walked into that schoolroom, she was boss.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Yes.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: And the minute she walked out of that schoolroom, her mother was boss. Grandma Barnett bossed Geneva as long as she lived. Why, I've been up there when Geneva would maybe go to Pratt and bring home a dozen pair of shoes with the promise that she could take 'em all back and, if Mamma didn't like 'em, she took 'em all back . If Momma liked one pair, then she'd keep it. She didn't buy a dress, she didn't buy a shoe, she didn't buy anything without bringing it home and letting Mama see it first.

Jerry Ferrin: Did that apply to Grand-Aunt Geneva's own clothes too, Gertrude?

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: That's what I mean: those were Geneva's clothes!

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Everything!

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Everything! Her mother was boss, believe me. And, see she (Annie Barnett) couldn't boss Nellie like that. No way could she boss Nellie like that. And Geneva thought that was terrible because Nellie wouldn't buckle under to her mother like Geneva did. Nellie just refused to do it and I always told her: "Don't you do it. You go get what you want and you be happy with it." And she was. She'd be tickled to death over what she bought.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Nellie was quite a happy-go-lucky girl.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Oh, yes, she was! And, see, Geneva wasn't.

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: And Ernie let her (Nellie) do that too. Ernie was very, very supportive of her.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Yes, he was.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: (To Jerry) You're going to get quite a bit on your tape; you're getting some good ones.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: I didn't know you were taping that.

Jerry Ferrin: Yes, I am, Gertrude.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Oh, honey, I'm sorry I said that because you're putting out such good information. (Laughter)

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: Ernie (Ferrin) was such a wonderful man too.

Jerry Ferrin: Why do you say that, Mary Lee? Can you think of some stories to illustrate what you mean?

(May Lee doesn't answer because she is distracted by the arrival of Karen (Healon) Hammel at the table. The tape recording is stopped momentarily.)

Jerry Ferrin: What's your address, Gertrude?

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Ten oh six Market, Emporia, Kansas. The zip is 66801.

Jerry Ferrin: What's your phone number?

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: 316-342-5263.

Jerry Ferrin: And what's your phone number, Gladys?

Gladys (Rose) Wood: 316-886-5437.

(Tape recording is stopped, then started again when Gertrude starts telling a story about Nellie May Ferrin. Alice Wilson has joined the group at the table.)

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: ... she'd had a fender bender or something and her daughter (Helen) told her she couldn't drive anymore and she said she just told Helen: "You get over, I'm driving". And she did: she drove home and got along fine. She said, "Why, if I hadn't gotten in that car and drove again, I never would have driven again."

Alice (Norton) Wilson: That sounds exactly like her!

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: And she said, "I just told Helen to get over..." Helen Aurie, she always called her "Helen Aurie", she said, "you just get over, I'm driving home."

Jerry Ferrin: When was that, Gertrude?

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Oh, it must have been when Helen was a senior in high school.

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: Oh, yeah, and she drove a lot of years after that.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: You bet she did 'cause don't you remember the time she was over in Coldwater and she hit Mobe's car? (F.H. Moberly) Mobe was parked out there in the middle (of the street) and he says: "Well, I'll be God danged! Nellie Ferrin is gonna hit my car!" And she did. She just kept right on a-backin' until she hit it. (Everyone laughs.)

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: Yeah, I remember hearing that story.

Alice (Norton) Wilson: Yeah, I remember, we'd go down the road and she'd be on the wrong side.

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: Oh, my God, that reminds me of the time we were on the school bus coming back from Pratt, or going to Pratt - I don't remember which, and we were between Belvidere and the road that went into Wilmore. And we came around one of those curves and here was Nellie. I happened to be up in the front of the bus and that's the reason I remember it so well. We came around the curve and here was Nellie on the wrong side of the road and we're all just comin' right at each and and Nellie was just driving like crazy like this (illustrates someone steering back and forth with both hands on the wheel) - and the bus driver was just cussin', he couldn't decide whether to to go this way or to go this way to get out of her way.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Nellie always drove with both hands on the wheel, going just like this (illustrates the grip on the wheel).

Alice (Norton) Wilson: Movin' the wheel.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Yeah, movin' the wheel all the time.

Alice (Norton) Wilson: Yeah, if anyone was in her way, she'd just go on the other side and keep right on a-goin'.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: And I'll tell you something else, Alice, I don't think she ever missed one of your boy's birthdays...

Alice (Norton) Wilson: Oh, no.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: ...but what she didn't bake a cake and take it to the school. (To Jerry:) Do you remember that?

Jerry Ferrin: Yes, I do.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: She always celebrated their birthdays.

Alice (Norton) Wilson: My kids always had two birthday cakes 'cause I'd bake one and she'd bake one.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: And away she'd go to the school. That was her time to visit the school. And lots of times she'd go to Pratt for Helen's kids when their birthdays come. She'd go up there and go to their school with a birthday cake.

Alice (Norton) Wilson: Do you remember in the fall when she'd always have a weinie roast (for whichever grandchildren were in the Wilmore school third grade class) and we'd go get all the third grade kids and carry them out to the farm for a wienie roast at the picnic grounds (which Ernie and Nellie had at a bend in Spring Creek beside a bluff south of their house).

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: It was kind of just out there on the hill...

Alice (Norton) Wilson: South of the house.

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: South of the house, that's where the wiener roasts always were.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: She was SO proud of that house after she got it all fixed.

(Darrell Ferrin joins the group at the table.)

Alice (Norton) Wilson: Darrell, did you meet Mary Lee?

Darrell Ferrin: Yeah.

Alice (Norton) Wilson: I'm trying to think where my kids (Darrell, Jerry, Brent & Janet) fit in with (Gertrude's children) Merle David and Mary Lee.

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: I'm the oldest, and then Merle, and then would be Darrell.

Alice (Norton) Wilson: I knew there wasn't too much difference (in the ages) between them.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: You know, when Mary Lee was little - and Nellie knew it because Mary Lee said it one time in front of Nellie and Nellie just laughed and laughed because she thought it was funny - but Mary Lee always referred to the two Ferrin boys, Wendel and Delmer, as the pretty one and the ugly one. (Laughs) She always did. (Everyone laughs.)

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: I did. That's how I told them apart. I never called them by their names.

Jerry Ferrin: Well, which one was the pretty one?

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: Your dad.

Alice (Norton) Wilson: Naturally, huh?

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: Yeah.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: He was a good looking kid.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Yes, he was.

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: You know, it was kind of ironic because the York boys were the same way: the oldest wasn't as good looking as the youngest.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: What was that big long poem that Helen Aurie said when she was just a little tiny girl at our Christmas church program? She said every word of that just like her mother could quote poetry.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: (To Jerry) Your Grandma (Nellie) Ferrin could quote poetry like nobody's business.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: That's the thing about her I remember the most: she could just tell you anything right off the top of her head.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Yeah, she always had a poem to go with whatever happened.

Alice (Norton) Wilson: And she always tried to see the good in everybody.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Right.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: There's a good point too; she was always looking for the good.

(At this point, several people start talking at once about the arrival of someone at the reunion and there's about 30 seconds of conversation too garbled to be transcribed.)

Alice (Norton) Wilson: I was so surprised last Thursday night up at the (Masonic) lodge meeting (in Oracle, Arizona)... I kept lookin' and lookin'... I told the ladies: "I know that guy. I've either worked with him or I know him from way, way back." And Forrest (Wood) was looking at me and he told me later that he kept thinking: "I know her" so I finally said, "Excuse me, but what's your name" and he said "Forrest Wood" and I said, "Well, I'll be darned!". He said, "You're Alice, aren't you? From back on Mule Creek?" and I said "Yes". And then when his wife came in, he introduced me to her. She's real sweet.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Yes, Phyllis is quite a gal.

Jerry Ferrin: You were starting to talk about Grandma Nellie's new house, Gertrude...

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Oh, gosh, she got some nice new funiture...

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Oh, yes.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: And, do you know, that they joined on to that old house and she and Ernie always went over in that old bedroom and slept -- and I never will forget, one time (laughs) we'd been to a pitch party and - gosh, our pitch parties didn't break up 'til one or one thirty o'clock in the morning -- and she and Ernie got in their car and went home and (laughs) went to bed and the (bed) slats fell out and the mattress was down like this. (illustrates shape of mattress with her hands) and I said: " Well, what did you do?" and she said: "We just stayed in bed and slept the night through". (Everyone laughs.)

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Oh, well.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: They didn't even get up and fix the bed back! (Laughs) Gosh, can you imagine? (Laughs.)

Janet (Ferrin) Elmore: Mom, will you tell some of those stories where you get tears from giggling while you tell them?

Alice (Norton) Wilson: I've been writing a little book of stories about when my kids were little and about each kid as the years go along. I'm going to have to write four or five pages about Grandma Nellie.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: You should, she was a card, there's no other word for it. After she got in the rest home there in Pratt, I would go out and get her and take her out the dinner and, oh, she'd just have a ball, she'd go in and she'd say: "Can I have anything I want?" and I'd say; "You can have anything you want". I took her to Emporia once and kept her.

Alice (Norton) Wilson: Oh, she loved you dearly, Gertrude.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: I got her and took her to Emporia and she stayed almost a week with me. I called Buck to be sure it was all right, you know, 'cause I thought "What if I took her up there and something happened?" so I called him and got his permission to do that and took her up there -- and she just cried, she didn't want to go back (to the rest home) and it was awful hard to take her back.

Alice (Norton) Wilson: Oh, yes, I'm sure.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: It was awful hard to take her back. She'd say, "I like to go and and eat, too. Why don't they come and get me and take me out?". Well, I didn't have any answer for that.

Alice (Norton) Wilson: You can't have answers for something like that.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: I didn't have any answers for her. I told Gladys: "I got awful bitter towards Buck, awful bitter.

Alice (Norton) Wilson: We all did, Gertrude, we all had the same feeling.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: I just couldn't believe what he was doing to her.

Janet (Ferrin) Elmore: And he's still just as cold. Excuse me for saying so, but he's the coldest man I've ever met.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: I never will forget because she was so capable of doing things when he put her in that rest home. She had no business being in that rest home.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: She could have just been in a retirement home. She could take care of herself.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Right! And so she got up that first Sunday morning (when she was in the Sierra Rest Home) and went to church. She didn't tell anybody. She just got up and left the nursing home and went to church. And, when she came back, she slipped back in and nobody had even known she'd been gone. but somebody else came in who'd gone out and gone to church and they tied 'em in their chair and so, boy, she never did it again.

Alice (Norton) Wilson: I visited her not long after that and she...

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: (Interrupts) She never did go (to church) again. but, see, she was afraid they'd tie her in the chair (at the nursing home) and she said, "I couldn't take that. If they were to tie me in a chair, I couldn't take it".

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Oh, no!

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: So she never did slip off and go to church again. But, see, she loved it so much -- and if he (Buck) had just got her a little apartment in Coldwater so she wouldn't had to have driven back and forth. And it would have been cheaper than that darned "home". I just don't know why he'd do that to her.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Oh, yes, that's right. She could have lived in the Pioneer Village (in Coldwater or something.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Yeah! Yeah! He could have put her in there.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: And she would have been so much happier there (than in the Siesta Rest Home).

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Oh, Lord, YES!

Jerry Ferrin: What's the Pioneer Village?

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Apartments across from the rest home. What is it? Two bedroom, one bedroom?

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: You can get either.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: And a kitchen and a living room.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: And she would have been happy in something like that! In fact, see, Buck never would let her go back to Wilmore to the home place (Nellie & Ernie's farm) after he took her up there.

Jerry Ferrin: That's because he moved his boys (Dan and Mead Ferrin) into her place right after he put her in the rest home.

Janet (Ferrin) Elmore: And the boys took over her car.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: They took everything! And I went down there, when I had her one time, I said: "Would you like to go back to Wilmore?" amd she said, "Oh, I would love to! Will you take me?" and I said: "Sure, I'll take you!". So we drove out to Wilmore and she wanted to know if I could take her out to the place (the farm she still owned) and I said "Yes, I will." and I took 'er out there. And she got out (of the car) and I mean we traveled that whole farm. We just went everywhere. I never did tell Buck I done that. He didn't need to know that. But I sure took her down there. And she went in (to her house), you know, and she wondered where this had gone to and where that had gone to and I didn't have any answer, I didn't know. I wouldn't have told her if I'd known... because my feelings for Buck -- I never did tell her what I thought of him.

Janet (Ferrin) Elmore: Oh, hi, Adrian! (To the people at the table) This is Adrian, Angie's grandson.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Who?

Janet (Ferrin) Elmore: Angie, Dad's second wife.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Oh, well how are you, Adrian?

(Tape recording is stopped momentarily.)

Jerry Ferrin: Do you remember any special stories about my grand-dad, Ernie Ferrin?

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Nellie was too... she took up all the time.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Nellie just dominated things.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: We never thought about Ernie.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: And Ernie didn't speak up. Nellie done all the talkin'.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: He was always just along.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Always along. Nellie just didn't go places without Ernie. They were always together. He was just the silent partner, you know what I mean?

Gladys (Rose) Wood: He never spoke up.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: No. And he never did contradict her.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: He didn't converse with his men friends very much either.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Not very much. If she was standing in the group, he sure didn't.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Yeah, it was Nellie that done all the talkin'.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: But they always went to church together.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Always!

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: And then they'd go down to Grandma (Alcana) Ferrin's for dinner, down to his mother's. Always on Sunday they went to her house for dinner.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: And Maude stayed with her. That was Ernie's sister. Maud lived with her mother.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: In that great big house.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: I used to go over and visit with them. I was neighbors with them there across the alley.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: I did too.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: It was a nice place to go.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Uh, huh.

Loren & Alcana Ferrin's house in Wilmore, Kansas. Photographed by John Edward Schrock in the 1960's.
Loren & Alcana Ferrin's house in Wilmore, Kansas. Photographed by John Edward Schrock in the 1960's.

Jerry Ferrin: So you remember Grandma Alcana Ferrin.

Gertrude & Gladys: : Yeah.

Jerry Ferrin: What was she like?

Gladys (Rose) Wood: A very sedate woman.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Oh, yeah. And always, always dressed up. You never did see her when she was untidy.

Janet (Ferrin) Elmore: That was Poppy's mom?

Jerry Ferrin: Yeah: Alcana.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: She was a very nice lady. I always liked her.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: And Maude was too. Maude was always dressed up too. You never did see them but what they were always dressed up. You never heard them criticize other people.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: They were kind of like Aunt Christine Griffin. Christina Griffin always, when she got up in the morning, the first thing she done was put on her makeup.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Right. And her beads and her earrings.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Everyday. And she lived out on the farm. Now, Grandma (Alcana) Ferrin, she lived there in town.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: But I don't remember Mrs. Ferrin having makeup or anything like that.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: No, I don't remember her wearing makeup but her hair was always combed -- and she had long hair.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: I never heard them criticize anybody.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: No. Neither she or Maude, either one.

Janet (Ferrin) Elmore: Are you two ladies related?

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: No, we've just been friends for years.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Alley neighbors, I guess that's what you'd call it.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: I had just moved to town and moved into the house that the telephone office was in when we moved to Wilmore. When we moved in there that night it was in January, and oh, it was stormin' - we moved in there in a blizzard. We got there in the middle of the night and I said to Austin - we drove around that little block there in Wilmore - and I said, "Austin, nobody's seen us. Let's just go back".

Janet (Ferrin) Elmore: (Laughs) Where were you comin' from?

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: We were coming from Hopeton, Oklahoma. And he said: "No, we're here. We'll go on over to Willard's and see what he says". So we went on over to his brother's; they were running the telephone office there. Well, the next morning they got up and they were all packed and ready to leave. They did. They left that day and went to western Kansas and I'd never seen a telephone office in my life.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: A switchboard and everything.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Yeah, that was the first time I'd ever seen one. And there I was...

Gladys (Rose) Wood: ...having to learn to use it.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: I never will forget... it was a-ringin' and I didn't know what to do and I was just sittin' there and Edna come in from the kitchen and she said: "Are you going to answer that or are you just gonna let it ring?". And the tears just started rollin' down my face. I thought: "Oh, I can't take this". They left and come evening Austin said: "I gotta go get another load of our stuff" and I said: "And leave me here?" and he said: "Yes, I can't stay here with you." and he left and there I was all by myself and a big blizzard came in. Do you remember that great big old desk in our telephone office?

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Yeah.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: I slept on that thing for three months. I didn't go out of that room; I stayed right there in that room and slept on that desk. And old Frank Neilsen; he got stranded in town and he came over and knocked on the door and I never saw anybody as big as him in all my life and he came in and sat down on the floor and I was scared to death.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: I would have been too.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: And about that time another knock on the door and it was Emmett Graue of Southwestern Bell Telephone Company and he was following the long distance lines that run through there. He came in and he said: "My God, woman, what are you doing with him here?" and I said: "Well, he just come in and I don't know how to get him out" so Emmett didn't leave me. He stayed till morning.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: It must have been awful.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Oh, it was awful and after I learned him, you know... (laughs).

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Do you remember the time he went to the Post Office and ate up all of Slim and Auntie's plants, just picking off the leaves and eating them. (Slim and Auntie were Mr. & Mrs. C.O. Masterson.) And remember the time the guys wired his spark plugs? His car had caught a-fire once and when he come into town the guys wired his sparkplugs so that when he stepped on the starter it made a great big boom and he said: "Oh, my God, it's on fire again!" and he opened the door and just rolled out in the street. (Laughter) Then one time somebody fed him Ex-Lax chocolate. He was so fond of chocolate in anything. I don't know how they had it fixed up but they just had it laying there and he was always taking up everything he could find to eat and they just let him eat it.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Emmett Graue came through there with a brand new Southwestern Bell Telephone pickup (truck) and, remember back when they had running boards and you stepped on them to get in, and Frank went over and sat down on that running board and he was so big he just caved the whole door in and Emmett said: "Now just how in the hell am I gonna tell Southwestern Bell that a man bent that door in just by sitting on the running board?" (Laughter)

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Oh, Lord, we have so many stories about Frank.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: He was somethin' else. But I really don't remember anything about your grand-dad (Ernest Ferrin). Like I said, he was always just in favor of anything Nellie wanted. And he fixed that house up just exactly like she wanted it. She'd tell him where she wanted different things and, boy, he'd put it there.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: : I was in Wilmore before Gertrude was, I mean I was out on the farm, then we were neighbors when I moved into town.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: We moved there in 1938.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: : And we moved there in 1926.

(Tape recording is stopped while pot luck dinner is served.)

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: We went over to the church for a dinner and she (Nellie Ferrin) came up to me and she said: "Gertrude, I know just exactly what you brought to this dinner today". I said: "How do you know what I brought to this dinner?" and she said: "Well, just look at Mary Lee's and Merle's plates: they didn't take anything only just what you brought".

(Tape recording is stopped and then started again when Bob Wood started to tell a story about Wendel and Delmer Ferrin.)

Bob Wood: ...and they were going to town. They'd been working out on the farm all day and they'd both quit at the same time and then it was a big race to see who could get showered and get changed - it was Saturday night - and leap in the car - it was just nip and tuck with them and they were racing the cars all the way to Wilmore, each in his own car and the sun wasn't down yet, it was still daylight but toward evening and they come around that curve northeast of town and they're side by side when they come around that curve and here comes Eliza Kennedy up the road going the other way. One of 'em took the left hand ditch and the other took the right hand ditch and left Eliza in the middle and come back together on the other side and went right on up the road side by side. (Laughs) Neither of them ever let up an inch on their gas feeds. (Laughs)

Jerry Ferrin: They were teenagers then?

Bob Wood: Yeah.

(Tape recording is stopped, then started again when Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough has told an anecdote...)

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: ... it's just one of those things you never forget.

Jerry Ferrin: Will you tell that again?

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: I was in high school and I was probably about 16 so that would have made you 4 or 5 because we're about 12 years apart. It was close to being Easter Sunday and I was your Sunday School teacher and I was being dramatic and telling you this wonderful story about the crucifixion and how it went and what all happened and went through the whole big story and, when I finished, there was this real long silence and then pretty soon you looked up at me with those great, big brown eyes and you said: "Oh, those dirty sons-of-bitches". (Laughter) I went home and told my folks and my mother just died laughing. She said: "I'm going to tell Nellie" and I know she did. We just thought it was a wonderful story. I always remember you being around Wilmore when you were a little boy. I'm sure you don't. How old were you when you moved out here?

Jerry Ferrin: I was nearly 14 when we moved here in 1966.

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: Oh, then you have a lot of mermories of Wilmore, don't you?

Jerry Ferrin: Yes, I do. Have you thought of any other stories about my grandmother?

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: Gosh, it's so hard to pick 'em out, Jerry. I remember one time I was a really little girl when your grand-dad and Buck and your dad and - what was your great uncle's name who lived acorss the road from you?

Jerry Ferrin: Earl. (Earl Ferrin was actually my grand-dad's first cousin.)

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: Earl and Ernie shipped a lot of cattle out and they drove the cattle to town (to load on the train). I was standing on the corner down by the back watching them drive the cattle through town to the railroad station and Ernie stopped and grabbed me and put me in the saddle with him and I rode all the rest of the day in the saddle with him. He was just that kind of man. He was a warm and loving man.

Jerry Ferrin: And he loved kids too.

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: Yeah, he stopped and picked me up. I'll never forget that. Then I'd go out to Ernie & Nellie's and stay. Nellie would take me out and I'd stay out there overnight and ride the bus back to town to the next morning to go to school. I particularly remember - I don't remember staying in the old house as much as I remember staying in the new house. Their bedroom was over on the right (in the old part of the house) and then there were the bedrooms on the hall on the left hand side(the new part of the house) and I'd always sleep over there and get up the next morning and she'd make this wonderful breakfast.

(Karen Hammel joins Jerry and Mary Lee at the table).

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: We're just talking about Ernie and Nellie Ferrin. You don't remember them very much, do you? Do you remember the wiener roasts out there? And the orchard? And the barn? That was a wonderful barn.

Karen (Healen) Hamill: I think I remember the barn. The barn was exciting.

Jerry Ferrin: I was in that barn one day, playing with a bunch of my cousins and my brothers, when Poppy came down and told us to go to the house just seconds before the barn was hit by a tornado.

Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough: Yeah, I remember when that happened because Mother wrote to me about it.

(End of side one of cassette tape recording.)

Ernest Leroy & Nellie May (Barnett) Ferrin's farm about 4 miles east of Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas.

Former Comanche County Residents and Their Family Members Who Attended the Reunion
With Their City & State of Residence On 10 March 1991.

  • Debra Bertes, (Forrest Wood's daughter) Tucson, Arizona.
  • Austin & Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb, Emporia, Kansas.
  • Tom & Janet (Ferrin) Elmore, Tucson, Arizona.
  • Darrell Ferrin, Tucson, Arizona.
  • Jerry Ferrin, Tucson, Arizona.
  • Wendel & Angie Ferrin, Tucson, Arizona.
  • Tamberlyn Hall, (daughter of Karen Healen Hamill) Tucson, Arizona.
  • Robert & Karen (Healen) Hamill, San Manuel, Arizona.
  • B.B. "Bud" Healen, Tucson, Arizona.
  • Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough, Lawrence, Kansas.
  • Jack & Evelyn Preston, Tucson, Arizona.
  • Randy & Alice (Norton) Wilson, Tucson, Arizona.
  • Dan Wiltfong, (son of Shirley Wood Kaiser), Tucson, Arizona.
  • Bob & Charlene Wood, Tucson, Arizona.
  • Doug Wood, Tucson, Arizona.
  • Forrest L. & Phyllis Wood, Tucson, Arizona.
  • Gladys (Rose) Wood, Medicine Lodge, Kansas.
  • Richard Douglas & Lupe Wood, Tucson, Arizona.
  • Vickie Wood, (Forrest Wood's daughter) Tucson, Arizona.
Another former Wilmore resident who lived in Tucson at the time of the reunion but who was unable to attend was Rita (Garten) Dome.


The Social Security Death Index lists...

Austin L. Cobb, born 29 May 1913, died 21 Jan 1994, last residence: Emporia, Lyons County, Kansas.

Gertrude Cobb, born 13 July 1915, died March 1995, last residence: Emporia, Lyons County, Kansas.

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This page was last updated 29 Feb 2004.