Contributed by Bertha Watson
Son Nathan T. & Martha M. (Rice) Hart

John Allen and Josephine (Austin) Hart and family
Children, Orpha (Lee), Oscar Hart, William Hart, and Martha (Maxfield)

Day to Day Living at the Oscar Hart Home
As told by his youngest daughter

The Memories of Bertha L. (Hart) Watson
The only serviving member of the family

Oacar was John Allen and Josephine (Austin) Hart's 1st child. He was born Dec.12, 1876,in Carmi,Il. He soon had a brother William,and 2 sisters, Orpha and Martha..Oscar being the oldest was expected to be a 'roll model' for his brothernand sisters.

Have no direct proof that he was the leader, but they grew up depending on him for guidence,answers and backup.Oscar according to all information married on Mar. 25,1900, Isadora Johnson,daughter of Richard and Anna (Boster) Johnson, 'Dora' was born July27,1885.They made their way as best they could,Oscar working as a farm hand or what ever he could find. His Uncle Joel Hart 'A People Doctor' convinced him to futher his education,making it able for him to make a better living for his family. Oscar only had 2 years of schooling,,so it was a serious decision to make. Joel,had purchased a small 10 acre farm at the edge of town,to move to when he retired from practice,but he put it at Oscar's disposal,to use as home base for his family. After getting his family moved in,he left for Terra Haute and 8 years of school. The family was on their own,with Joel watching over them, Oscar had to pay for his schooling and housing,so it was nessesay to find worrk. Dora and the children were on their own,Delcie, the oldest child (9 years old) was hired our as a Mothers Helper for 75 cents a week. Not much money but they made it do. Oscar would make it home (for Spring Break) each year and would plant garden, makr repairs and adjustments before leaving for school again.While he was away at school.2 of his children contracted Diptheria(Nathan and Ella Mae),Dora was pregnant with another child,when the 2 children died,the shock and strain sent her into premature labor and the new member Lawrence,was born dead, Oscar graduated in 1919,with 4 children more, he came home and started looking for a place to practice. He learned a small town in central Illinois was looking for a Veterian,applied and was accepted for the job in St. Joseph,Il.

Another time of adjustment had to be worked out,so Ocaor left for St.Joseph, to make arrangement for his family. His family had encressed,not only in children,but his father( John Allen ) had died in 1915 and Josehine(his mother) was added as a member oh the permanent family, His brother,William, had given permission for his son,Dallas, to come north with the family and attend High School in St.Joseph. While in school Walter, Wilma, Ernest and Ruby had joined the family,while their father was getting his Education.

Oscar lived in a Bording House while getting his Practice set up and finding housing for his family. Finaly he sent word for the family to join him. The Town,expecting a wife and a FEW children were stuned at the group that got off the train. Dora was so busy getting things straightened out the Townfolk didn't have a chance to get to know her. She didn't even go to the store for groceries or to school,to get the children enrolled. Oscar's mother was not well and couldn't be left alone, so Dora was confined to the house caring for all her family. By sping and in early May the final child was born into the family,the only one not born in White County. Bertha joined the family on May 18,1920,and the house became too small.

It was decided to move a house onto some prperty that Oscar bought,and to add some rooms onto the 'starter' house. by 1925 we were living in a 4 bedroom,2 story house, and soon other members of our extended family started coming in. Oscar's brother let 2 of his sons join our family as permanent members, His sister Martha allowd 2 of her daughter to spend summers with our family, Oscar's oldest daughter had gotten married soon after moving and the first grand daughter lived with us after we we were old enough to start school. She'Betty Lou,was 3 months younger than Oscar and Dora's last child Bertha Lucille,

Betty and Bertha, the same size,the same age,from the same household attended school togerher. It was assumed they were twins, and no matter how hard we tried we were always refered to as the Hart Twins! Even though one had the surname of Dunn. We learned to adjust and guess you could say( Go with the flow) .

In 1937 ,Oscar's mother died and was buried in White County, on the way home from the family,Oscar stopped and picked up Dora's mother Anna Boster,Johnson) Welch. She took over Grandma Hart's bedroom and lived with Oscar and Dora until she died in 1943 and was taken to White County for burial.

Dallas and Guy, the 2 sons of William,left the Hart home,got married and stated their families, Alice and Lucille,daiughters of Oscar's sister Martha,stopped coming for summers when they got out of sclool and started their separate lives, Zepry,son of Orpha.came after reaching adulthood,,stayed with Oscar and Dora until he found work and married,

The sons and daughters of Oscar and Dora,finished school,started careers and got married or formed establishments of their own.,. The last leaving home in 1940 Oscar and Dora was left with an empty nest, Oscar's health started failing and Wilma,a nurse,quit her job,came home and lived there and cared for them until thet both were gone Dora joining Oscar in 1968

It was hard growing up in a household wioth so many people,coming and going, but it became a way of life and all of the children automaticaly opened their homes to extended family. It became a way of life for all of us.

OSCAR TRUMAN HART,75, of Urbana.Il. died Nov. 1,1951 at his home in Urbana,Il. He was born Dec. 12,1876,in Carmi,Il. the son og John Allen and Josephine (Austin) Hart.He married Isadora Johnson,daughter of Richard Johnson and Anna (Boster( Johnson. He was proceeded in death by his parents and 3 children and 2 grrandchildren. Surviving were his wife Dora, and daughters,Delcie Leona (Hart)(Dunn) Worley. Walter T. Hart, Wilma Pearl Ernest O. Hart, Ruby Helen (Hart) Hacker and Bertha L. (Hart) Watson and 14 grandchildren., 2 sisters,Orpha and Matha snd 1 brother William He was buried in Patterson Cemetery in St. Joseph,Il.

Oscar Truman Hart age 17 -- Isadora "Dora" (Johnson) Hart at age 15

ISADORA (JOHNSON) HART, 87, born July 27, 1879. She died Feb 1, 1967 at her home in Urbana,Il. Her husband and 3 childrenand 2 grandchildren and 1 son-in-law preceeded her in death She was servived by 6 children,Delcie Leona (Hart Dunn, Worley Walter T. Hart Wilma P. Hart Ernest O. Hart, Ruby H. (Hart) Hacker and Bertha L. (Hart) Watson. 14 grandchildren. When she couldn't live alone she was cared for by a daughter Wilma,who had taken final care of both parents when they became terminal. She was buried in Patterson Cemetery in St. Joseph,Il beside her mother, Anna Boster Johnson Welch.

Home of Oscar Truman
Dora (Johnson) Hart

St. Joseph IL

Moved into only 2 rooms that comprised the house in 1919. This photo was in 1940. It was torn down in 2002

When the depression started, I was 9 years old, it was a very hard lesson that each family had to come to grips with, according to their own situation. Oscar (my father) had a bank account in the local Bank of St. Joseph. When word came of the financial crash, we knew what the term 'Black Friday' meant. Reports started coming over the radio that New York City was in a panic. Stock Brokers and people that 'played' the Stock Market were shooting themselves and jumping out of windows to kill them selves. It was impossible to believe, one almost imagined the world was coming to an end.

We learned early that our 'trusted Banker' was not as honest as was thought. He quietly closed his bank put a 'closed' sign on the door, and quietly left town with all the money under his care, never to be heard from again. Most of the Town People were left with nothing!

Since money was almost nonexistant, no one could depend on recieving a pay check. Gradually things started coming together, and emergency measures were taken. The Government started a National Program, by taking young men and sending them out to help, some were put to working on roads and some started cleaning up the National Park System. My brother Walter, was one of the local group. They were paid a minimum salary, but every little bit helped their family. The name they gave this was W.P.A Gradually things got better, it was a time of neighbor helping neighbor. Every one learned to save, save, save. Nothing went to waste, if you couldn't use it or you had 2, you supplyied your neighbor.

Of couse some areas had been hit harder than others and farmers were hit very hard. The 'man of the house' was forced to leave home to try to find worrk. They had hope they could find work in towns or commercial centers, so they started 'Riding the Rails". Which meant they would get in an open railroad car and go where ever the train was going. When the train stopped, they got off and canvased the area for work, or if none was available, a nourishing meal.

Our home was facing the Railroad Line, it was only 1/2 a block in front of our house, and the train stopped just in front of our house every day at noon! Prime target!! Hardly a day passed that at least one of the 'transients' didn't stop at our house.

They had a system of communication that only they knew. They knew how long the train would stay 'parked' and what houses to stop at for food. Every body in town knew that a private home just across the tracks had illegal liquor for sale, and the train was parked there for an hour every day! It gave the 'Bums' as they were called for want of a better name, had time to look.

We found out our house was marked as one of the good ones! My father had his office in the end of our garage and was just a few steps from the back door. When a 'Bum' would come to the door, my dad would come out of his office if he was there and speak to the man. He wold let him know there were no jobs available, but a good meal was offered. He would tell my mother to set another plate, then take the man into the laundry room, have him take a bath, and change all his clothes. Mom always had a shelf on the wall with patched overalls, shirts, underware and darned socks. The man was to leave his dirty clothes to be washed ironed and mended for the next one to come. When he was clean and in fresh clothes we would be waiting in the dinning room for him to join us. Dad would seat him on the bench behind the table, which was where all males sat, Dad would intoduce him and we were all ready to start asking questions. After dinner Dad would take him back to the porch and talk, along with all of us, about his home, and family. Before he left Mom would appear with a sack with a Hearty sandwich, a peice of fruit or pie and a fruit jar with ice tea, so he wouldn't have to beg for supper. It was heart breaking to see the gratitud they expressed. They always wanted to do something to repay, but Dad always told them that the only pay he wanted, was when they got back on their feet and someone asked for help to remember the help they recieved and help someone else.

If dad wasn't home when one of the wanderers stopped she would sit them on the back porch, in the shade, in a rocking chair with a glass of ice water and some of us kids to talk to them while mom fixed them a hot meal and served it on a platter.

One was so grateful he showed us where the place was that told them that here was a good place to stop. He even erased the mark, and gave us a few days of peace, but within a short time they had us spotted again. But we were only one of a number of people in towm to help the 'Rail Riders'. Most of the men that stopted at our door were good family men, just doing what they could to preserve their home. We learned a lot talking to them and giving them a taste of home. They all thanked us for giving them hope for the future.

We had more than enough food to share. Most of the farmers couldn't pay Dad in cash, so they gave what they could in (produce). Farmers depended on their farm animals to help them and the animals depended on Dad to keep them going. But Dad needed money to buy his medical supplies, all the money coming into the house was used for that. The farmers paid what they could, and used fruits and vegetables for the rest. We also had a 1/2 acre in garden and by fall our cellar was bulging with canned fruits and vegetables. It wasn't unusual to find 3 or 4 bushel of cabbage or corn and even once in awhile fresh meat. Our table overflowed with good food, but our wardrobe was sad to see. But we looked as good as any one else thanks to nimble figers and a good imagenation.

Dad was a very strict man and had a set of rules that were to be followed. He loved all his grandchildren and spoiled every one of them. We'd ask him why he was so lavish with them but so strict with all of us. His reply was standard, "If your children are brought up to follow rules the granchildren don't need disciplined".

There will never be another woman that will ever come up to our mothers standards. She was pracitically left on her own when her father died when she was 13 and her mother remarried and had a new family to raise. She was exactly what my father needed in a wife. Her mother-in-law approved of her quiet ways and resourcefulness. She axcepted all the added family members that came to Dad for help and was a mother to all her neices and nephews along with a few grand children. I never saw her in bed or sick until the remaining 6 months of her life.

As the family grew and started leaving home Mom didn't like being alone and even talked some of her grandchildren to move in and keep her company. As time improved and money became a little freer Dad wanted his children to take advantage of a better education and encouraged each one to take advantage of it. We still couldn't afford a College education, we could go to different Training schools. Walter went to a Training school for Postal Workers, Wilma became a nurse, Ernest went to a Business school, Ruby started a Nurse course but soon found it was not for her, so she got married and stared a family. I was in a better position to take advatage of College, Dad asked me if I wanted to go, and I said a quick and loud Yes. But it was a matter of wills that took over. Dad said 'Home Ec,' I said 'NO'. He said 'no Home Ec, No School'. I said 'Fine'. So I too got married, had my family and learned Home Ec on my own.

When I got older I realized that I was alone with all the family memories, and decided to make a record of them as I remember them. Hope the future generations will get some enjoyment out of finding how we lived our lives during hard times and love of family.

They don't have to be yours, to be loved. I have little to complain about in my life and my children have learned some things from me that will make their future a better happier place

Written with Love Bertha Hart Watson

Children of

Oscar & Dora Hart

Back Row: Ernest O. & Walter T. Hart

Front Row: Ruby Helen, Wilma Pearl, Delcie Lenoa and Bertha Hart

Walter T. Hart - T Sargent Army, enlisted and spent 3 years in India during World Wall ll was in the Postal Service. Was 42 when called to duty.

Wilma Hart - 1st. Lt. Army Nurse, enlisted and spent 4 years in an Evacuation Hospital on the English Coast, just across the English Channel from the Battle Field

Hart Reunion 1996

Front row sitting on ground
Amanda Watson(Barnett), Imka Vogel (German visiter), Melanie Watson,
Kimberly Watson, Stephanie Hart, Kate Hart

2nd row seated on chairs
Charles Watson,Sr.,Bertha Watson, Thelma Gebbenk, Bradley Hart,
Polly Hart, Wilma Hart, Maxine Hart, Evelyn Hart, Rena Lee

3rd row standing, Sanda Watson, Lynne Watson, Barbara Hill, Tracy Hicks,
Tina Gebbenk, Nada Lou Dunn, Jill Hacker, Barbara Hacker,Debbie Hart,
Darrell Hart, Karl Hart, Linda Smith, Lottie Hart, Bill Hart, Michelle Hart, Ronda Hart,

4th row Standing Charles Watson,Jr. ,Richard Watson, Scott Watson, Bob Gebbenk.
Arley Gayle Dunn,Paul Hacker, Pete Hacker, Judy Watson, Karl Smith,
Tom Hart, Jonathan Hart, Mike Hart

5th row standing on chairs -Bob Gebbenk, Chris Hicks, Dustan Hacker, Bob Hart