Sunday, May 27, 2012


Henry Byrd
Born 29 Aug 1849, Smithville, Platte County, Missouri
Died 18 March 1923, Millegan, Cascade County, Montana

A friend was telling me about some of the language and expressions used in her family as she grew up.  While my family was far from perfect, I felt grateful that crude language and expressions would not have been tolerated in my family.  My Dad, uncles, and grandfather were particular about what they said when women were present.  As I reflect on it, I believe both my Mom and Dad came from people with class. Below is family history recorded by Nellie Byrd who knew Henry and Robin Byrd (my father's great uncles).  Punctuation is as recorded in the document.

Uncle Henry, who was 56 when I first remember him, was even then gray-headed.  In Southern families the oldest son was always the head of the family when the father was gone.  All our lives Uncle Robin and Dad always consulted Uncle Henry about everything.

Uncle Henry was slender, probably about 5'8" or 5'9", tall and walked with a slight limp, as he had a broken leg when young and it healed shorter than the other leg.  He was a kind and loving man and very proper.  He had been raised very properly and expected us to uphold the Byrd name.  He always felt responsible for the rest of his family.  I asked Daddy why he never married and he told me that once Henry was very much in love with a young woman and had given her a ring.  He was gone during the summer, herding his cattle in the mountains, and when he returned, he found she had been unfaithful to him.  He went to see her and confronted her with it and she admitted it was true and returned his ring.  Dad (John Byrd Jr.) remembered seeing him come home and he threw the ring in a manure pile.  Anyway, he was never close to any other women.

He had large blue eyes that twinkled and smile wrinkles around them, lots of soft gray hair and mustache and chin whiskers, kept trimmed.  He rode like cavalry man.

His word was his bond and he expected everyone else to be the same.  He lent people money, which some did not repay.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

An Important Lesson I Learned from My Mom

I was probably about thirteen years old when our phone rang one day.  Our main phone was a black dial telephone with a curly cord mounted to the wall in the kitchen.  Mom was in the kitchen when the call came in.  The call was for me.

 My recollection is hazy at best, but I seem to remember that it was a call from one of my Young Women Leaders.  The leader wanted me to to do something for mutual.  I can't even remember what she wanted, but I remember clearly that I  did NOT want to do it.  To avoid excuses or conflict, I agreed to do what was asked and hung up, fully intending not to follow through.

Mom turned around from her work at the counter and asked, "Are you going to do that?"

"No."  I replied.

Then, came the lesson.  Mom explained to me, "If you have no intention of doing what she asked you to do, call her right away and tell her.  Then, she can find someone else to do it.  It is very poor character to agree to do something when you have no intention of doing it.  "

This probably seems like a no-brainer, or an insignificant episode, but it was an important lesson to me about keeping my word and honesty.  The fact that I remember it so many years later highlights it's importance.

(Mom is the third nurse in from the right in the picture.)

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


Good gardening gloves are important