13 Jessie Bennett
Jessie (Bennett) Crawford, a Photo Biography.
JESSIE CRAWFORD’S BIOGRAPHY
By her Son, Bennett Crawford
In preparing this biography of Jessie, I referred to several old picture albums of hers. These were traditional style for the era consisting of black pages with corner stickers to secure the pictures. The annotations were either written on the pictures or entered with white ink on the black pages.
The first page has the date 1918 on it. The first picture is of the house where she was born January 431, 19007. Her parents, Andrew and Flora Bennett, sister Dorothy, brother Curtis, and a dog, which I suspect is Bob are on the front porch. I have never seen this house, which no longer exists, but Mom showed me the location a few years ago when I took her back to NW Mo. For a visit. It is North of their later farm home that I visited on many occasions. Below that picture, the family, again with Bob, is pictured prior to departing for church with their first car, a Ford. Granddad Andrew went to Kansas City to purchase it at the Ford plant and drove it back. It was the first car in the country. The last picture shows Curtis astride Dexter, a dapple gray Arabian horse. On a later page, Dexter is in harness to a buggy in a small picture labeled "Starting for School". This picture is only 1 ½" X 1 ¾".
A few pages later, the family including Bob is in front of the second Bennett home where the family grew up. They moved there in 1918. This is the one that I remember; however, the trees that I knew were not yet planted. The photo was taken in 1920. This was a very fine two story house built with real 2X4 studs before they were scaled down to smaller dimensions. The windows were bordered with colored glass and the interior was trimmed inside with wide dark wood that I presumed to be walnut. Mother loved this house and all the family considered it a treasure. Regrettably, it burned completely in 1998. I did not tell Mother about this.
A few pages later, is the 1918 class picture of the Garfield School - all 15 of them including Mom and Curtis and Dorothy. This was a one-room school consisting of grades one through eight. The next page has small photos of Bob and Jessie’s pet lamb.
After Garfield she attended and graduated from King City High School.
To maintain chronology I must mention a picture from the second album. It contains a picture of the famous King City High School girls basket ball team of 1825. Mom is in the front row center. The girls wore long sleeve blouses, long black socks with bloomers and really geeky tennis shoes. Dorothy, who was two years younger, also played basketball. In 1927 Flora wrote to Dorothy in nursing school that the girls basketball teams were wearing shorts and her response was, "I liked to died"...I have Mom’s athletic letter for that sport. She graduated from King City High School in 1925.
Returning to the first album, the last few pages have several [pictures of sister Dorothy in her high school graduation dress and nurses uniform with friends and family. Jessie would have been out of high school for about 2-3 years when these pictures were taken.
The next to last page of this album contains the first picture of the second Star Chapel Methodist Church. The first church was designed like a one room school and later burned. The church was rebuilt in its present form by the community. This was the community church the Bennetts attended and several family members are buried in the church cemetery.
THE SECOND ALBUM
The second album covers a time span from 1925 through 1941. My chronology may not be exact but it appears that Mom went to college for the next two years. The album starts off with several pictures collectively titled "Our Gang". They show Mom and her close friends Lucile Gibson, Edna Crouch, Virgil Christie, Hazel Christie, Fern Guest. These are young adults clowning and mugging for the camera at various farm neighborhood locations. Pictures of Maryville, MO now appear, some which contain her Our Gang friends. Others include the public library, the post office, and the Northwest Missouri State Teachers College administration building. This particular picture could not be taken today because of the intervening buildings in the field of view. Mother started her college education here.
One page has a picture of mom and a girl friend in bathing suits perched outside on a wooden bar. Mom titled this Hanging Out to Dry. The girls have the same style suit with the traditional Red Cross logo on the front. This implies that they were both qualified lifeguards. Mom was an excellent swimmer and competed and lettered in college swimming.
There is a group photo of the YWCA on college campus in 1927. A page titled At Maryville 1927 shows four pictures of mom with her college friends to which she added the caption, "Those dignified School Teachers."
A photo of mom and 5 girl friends sitting on the west side of the base of the Maryville water tower brings back a vivid memory for me. She titled this picture "West of the Water Tower" presumably in reference to author Homer Croy’s book of the same name. Mr. Croy grew up on a farm west of Maryville and this was the water tower of that book.
When I was growing up in Maryville, we lived three blocks from this water tower. The water tower was in a small park where my friends and I would play. The base of the water tower was built into the side of a small hill that caused the base to drop off on the north side about 10 feet. When I was about 13 or 14 years old, my country cousin John Bennett was visiting me and we were playing on the base with some friends. While on the north side, John was distracted by someone’s antics and stepped backwards off the base. He fell to the ground landing flat on his back. The rest of us scampered off the base and sent to John to assist him. Having the wind knocked out of him, John was speechless, but the expression on his face gave us the impression that he was in some pain. I rushed home and got mom. John gradually came around and we managed to get him to our house where he could recuperate.
Interspersed with these pictures are numerous photos of one room school houses where Mom taught. There is a picture of White lily with 17 students all lined up left to right, shortest to the tallest. One titled "Myrtle Tree" showing about 15 students....Another one room school is Clearmont, MO. Mom also taught at Garfield where she went to grade school, but there is no picture of this school.
There is a picture of sister Dorothy standing on the back of a horse named Midget.
About this time Wayne Bermond appears in a picture with sister Dorothy. They would eventually marry and have one son, Ronnie.
Summer pictures of 1928 show pictures of Dorothy and mom lounging on fresh cut hay on a wagon, Curtis and Dad Andrew harvesting hay, and mom and seven girl friends in a picture titled "Fishing at Culver’s Creek."
On the next page, a gentleman appears who would play a very prominent roll in my life, Wayne Crawford. From Wayne I would get the other half of my genealogical heritage of which I am equally proud. The met when they were attending college. Wayne was from Maysville, a nearby community but they had never met previously. Years later Wane told Dorothy that when he first met mother he decided then she was the girl he wanted to marry.
The following winter must have been unusually bad. Two pictures dated Jan 1929 are titled Snow Storm and Snow Bound. The first shows the deep snow on the west side of the Bennett farm house, and the second shows a horse in harness with someone shoveling snow in front of him. The spring run off from this weather apparently was excessive. On the next page is picture on Jessie and Curtis back on the farm. It is dated June 2, 1929 and titled, Home from Maryville After the flood.
Another series of one room school house pictures appear: One titled Trego school 1919. Another one is titled "Columbia School - Fall 1929. Jessie and Wayne appear for the first time in the same picture taken in Maryville in the spring of 1929.
Pictures of summer 1929 and 1930 show Jessie and Dorothy with their respective Waynes. One of these has mom at the Crawford’s home sitting on the famous Crawford X rock. The Crawford X rock was discovered on the farm of Wayne’s father, Hiram Wilson Crawford. It consisted of a granite rock that had split into two perpendicular lines. These cracks were apparently filled with a different rock material which built itself above the surface on the original rock creating a raised X.
In 1933 Mom and some college friends attended the Chicago’s World’s Fair, July 2,3,4. She entered nine pages of photos. Among them are "the City of New York", Admiral Byrd’s ship on his trip to the South Pole, a dinosaur exhibition by the Sinclair Oil Co., and the Goodyear blimp looking pretty much the same then as today. Mom and her friends, La Verne Patterson, Mattie Payne, are together in several of these photos.
A couple of pages over and we have a wedding day photo of Curtis and Aleen Smith. They are flanked by the Bennett and Smith clans. Right next to it is a picture of Jessie and Wayne titled "Just Married." They married April 19, 1934 in Rosendale, MO. They (Wayne and Jessie) were married 58 years before Wayne passed away on my birthday Nov 14, 1992. The next page has several photos of mom and dad canoeing on the Lake of the Ozarks during their honeymoon. Dad is rowing dressed in slacks, a long sleeve white shirt, tie, and hat. Mom is wearing a summer dress.
Time goes by and in 1936 we see pictures of Curtis and Aleen with their first son Wilton, mom’s first nephew on the Bennett side.
Another class photo from another small school: Mom at Mt. Hope School and 11 students.
In 1940, we have a picture of a 4 year old Wilton that includes a 9 month old baby brother, John, and Dorothy’s 5 month old son, Ronnie.
Another class photo with mom at Spring Grove School and 7 students.
On the last page we have a picture probably taken in the spring of 1941, of Jessie on the porch at home in Tabor, IA, holding a little baby Bennett Parks Crawford. I am on her shoulder with my back to the camera probably one of my better pictures. I was born the previous Nov 14, at home, on a cold dreary day. This ends the second album.
The third album was not filled up and contains pictures of Ron, Wilton, John, and myself with various family members in the early forties.
These albums are particularly treasured because they contain events before my time and many Bennett and Inglis family members I never knew.
Our homes following Tabor included Cherokee, IA and St. Joseph, MO. In 1946, we settled in Maryville MO. Mom’s first teaching job was a combined first and second grade in Skidmore, MO. I went to school with Mom and she was my first grade teacher. The following year she taught first grade at Eugene Field School in Maryville and continued to do so until I finished my schooling. In 1954 mom finished her bachelor degree in education at Northwest Missouri State Teachers College. In the summer of 1959 she moved with her family to Wichita, KS. An completed her career teaching 2nd grade in the primary public schools.
In August 1992 Mom and Dad moved to Sandy, UT to be near me, and their Granddaughters, Candace and Kimberly.
Jessie L. Crawford passed away in her sleep at the Crosslands Rehabilitation and Health Center in Sandy, UT., January 15, 2000.
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