Walter Tooke
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76 years old
Photo courtesy of Rae Conner
Walter Tooke
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Walter Henry and Hellon Stevens lived on neighboring farms in Alabama when they were growing up. When he was 22 and she was 20 years old, they married in Marion, Alabama.

After they married, they moved to Mississippi and farmed there. They moved from Mississippi to Paris, Texas when their children were young. They moved because the Mississippi River kept over-flowing it's banks and destroying their crops. The crops were good while they were in Paris, but Hellen died while they were farming there on Nov. 3, 1912. He buried her in a cemetery not far from Paris; it was about 20 miles south of Sulpher Springs. They had been married 12 years and they had six children. Their oldest child was 12 years old and their youngest child was about 2 years old. Neighbors from near-by farms came and offered to take the younger children home with them to raise them. Walter decided he did not want to split his family up and the oldest daughter, Lillian who was 9 years old had to take on the job of taking care of the younger children and doing all the chores of the home for the family.

About 2 years after Hellon died, Walter married a lady with the last name of Trapp while he and his family were still living in Paris. They had a baby girl, they named her Mary Ruth. When Ruth was 2 years. old, Trapp died.

About 1928, Walter moved his family back to Texas again. He was introduced to a woman with the last name of Rosenbloom by mutual friends shortly after he and his family had moved there. She died just a few years later. He then met and married a lady with the last name of Griswold. She lived until 1941.

He married his last wife, Blanche Belle Burns/Allen on Oct. 3, 1942 in Matador, Texas in the home of her daughter, Jo Beth and her husband, Howard Truman Tooke, Walter's nephew. Blanche was known to all of Walter's family as Ma Allen. She was a very kind woman and took good care of him as he became almost blind in the last years of his life.

This man that had 5 wives is buried without a wife by his side in the McAdoo Cemetery. His last wife is buried by her first husband in Carbon, Texas. His son Eugene (Jockey) is buried beside him.

Walter had a hard life and was a very strong person. He was a strong believer in God and spent a lot of time talking about him and quoting the Bible; he was greatly respected and loved by his family.

Submitted by Rae Conner

Blanche Allen and her two children, Beth and Dean came to West Texas to pull boles in the fall of 1941. Walter Tooke's wife was very ill and Mr. Tooke hired Mrs. Allen to care for her. Mrs. Tooke passed away in a few months and on October 2, 1942 Blanche and Walter were married. They farmed for several years and they owned and operated McAdoo's only laundry. Mr. Walter Tooke passed away February 22, 1964 and is buried in the McAdoo Cemetery. Blanche who recently celebrated her eighty-sixty birthday makes her home with daughter Beth. Beth attended school in McAdoo and she married Odell Dobbins June 9, 1943. They had one son, James Truman. The marriage ended in divorce and she came back to McAdoo to live with her mother and Mr. Tooke. In 1946 she married Thurman Tooke, a nephew of Walter Tooke. They helped Walter farm until 1947 at which time they moved to Roaring Springs, Texas. Four children were born of this union. In 1962 they moved to Memphis, Texas. Thurman passed away in 1977. Beth is now married to Paul Whitten. she is the proud grandmother of eleven. Dean married wanda Fox of Amarillo on August 14, 1946. He spent twenty years in the United States Army. He retired in 1967 and is working for the Red Cross in Copperas Cove, Texas. They have two children and four grandchildren.
"Top of the Cap" by Mildred Jackson Cornelius © 1985; Catclaw Printing

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Funeral services were held at 3:00 p.m. Monday in the McAdoo First Baptist Church for Walter H. Tooke, 88, formerly of that community. Mr. Tooke had resided here the past two years until about three weeks ago. He died at 8:15 a.m. Saturday in Cousins (Rest) Home, Memphis.

Rev. James Pope, pastor and H. L. Dennis, minister of the Church of Christ, Matador, officiated. Burial was in the McAdoo Cemetery, directed by Seigler Funeral Home.

Pallbearers were L. S. Harvey, J. C. Formby, E. E. Phifer, J. B. Barton, Nathan Stephenson and Henry Harris.

Mr. Tooke was born in Mississippi, October 15, 1875 and died February 22, 1964 at the age of 88 years, four months, seven days. He had formerly operated a laundry but had retired several years ago. He had been in ill health for some time.

He was married in 1900 to Miss Helen Stephens and she died in 1912. On October 2, 1942 he was married at Matador to Mrs. Blanche Belle Allen.

Survivors include his wife, Blanche; four sons, W. T. of Lubbock; Dexter of Boring, OR; G.A. of Crane; and E. H. Tooke of McAdoo; three daughters, Mrs. Lillian Mistead, Hot Springs, AR; Mrs. Beulah Skelton, Pontotoc, MS; and Mrs. Ruth Phifer, McAdoo; two stepdaughters, Mr. H. T. (Beth) Tooke of Memphis; and Mrs. Neta Cate, Cisco; two step-sons, Dennis Allen, Eastland; and Sgt. William D. Allen, Germany; 24 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

Mrs. Tooke is presently living with her daughter, Mrs. H. T. Tooke, in Memphis.

©The Texas Spur; Thursday, 1964

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