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Lawson, Irene, The Creager History 73-80

Irene Creager Lawson

pp. 73-80


son of William Henry Creager

Born - February 4, 1876
Farmersville, Montgomery County, Ohio
Died -April 10,1958
Eaton, Preble County, Ohio
Buried - Sugar Grove Cemetery
Lexington, Ohio
(Turn left at main gate, so two drives and turn right,about three quarters of way down on the left.)
Married - August 24, 1901
Brookville, Ohio
by Rev. N. H. Royer
Wife - Nora Baker
Born - May 18, 1878
near West Alexandria, Preble County, Ohio
Died - January 22, 1935
West Alexandria, Preble County, Ohio
Buried - Sugar Grove Cemetery
Lexington, Ohio
Parents - Susan Hamel and Ephraim Baker
Paternal Grandparents - Mary "Polly" Warner and John Baker

1. Don Baker Creager    Born: March 8, 1903
2. Earl William Creager    Born: June 3, 1904
3. Norma Creager    Born: February 4, 1907
4. Joe Ephraim Creager    Born: May 25, 1908
5. Ray Arthur Creager    Born: February 13, 1910
6. Ralph Hamel Creager    Born: September 21, 1918
7. Irene Creager    Born: August 23, 1920

Page 73

See: Old Creager Farm House on next page.

Page 74


[by Irene (Creager) Lawson]

As the youngest daughter of Edward Clifton Creager, I share some of my memories of him in this biography. The clippings from newspaper, elsewhere in this book, will recount for you some or his earlier years.

Dad was a farmer all of his life, but for a few younger years spent in the grocery business. He was forty-four year sold when I was born. My memories will be from the first fourteen years of my life when we lived on the farm about a half-mile north of West Alexandria, on the Creek Road. I�m sure I didn�t behave differently than any other child, but I can never remember my dad ever giving me a spanking or even a scolding. Dad, along with Mom, always attended our holiday programs at school, as well as the �ciphering and spelling matches,� where on occasion he would serve as a judge.

Originally found on page 74.

In this days, all of the farming was done with horses and the milking each morning and evening was done by hand. Ten or twelve assorted sizes and colors of cats would always be waiting for their pans to be filled with the warm milk, their payment for keeping the barn rid of mice. The milk would be taken to the �summer kitchen� and run through the cream separator, doing just that, separating the cream from the milk.

Perhaps Dad�s favorite crop was tobacco...from raising it to chewing it! The familiar sack of "Bagpipe," "Red Horse" or "Beechnut" could always be seen in his hip pocket. He was a �clean tobacco chewer"... clean about his person as well as always going outside to spit.

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Raising tobacco was practically a year round job. The steam engine would come in the spring to steam the long tobacco beds. This would kill the weed seeds before the planting of the tobacco seeds. Dad would always put eggs under the steamer so us kid could have boiled eggs. Then in June, the plants would be big enough to pull and ready to set in the field. The tobacco planter had a large wooden barrel on top, filled with water, and two seats in the back. Dad always sat in the seat on top of the barrel and drove the horses. He put a wooden arm on the side of the barrel so I could sit beside him. As we would go up and down the rows, my mother and one of my brothers would sit on the back seats and take turns �setting� the tobacco plant when a clicking sound was made releasing water into each hole.

Then it would be �suckering� and �topping� it --- and always those big green worms! Dad delighted in throwing a big fat one on or near our bare feet. Then came September and time to cut the tobacco. It was work for everyone but me. Dad allowed me to ride on the back of the big sled that hauled it to the barn. There it would be speared on to tobacco laths so it could be hung in the shed to dry. When the tobacco turned brown and was cured just right, which took many weeks, it would be taken down and brought to the strip house. There the leaves were stripped from the stalk and tied into �hands� and packed into big wooden tobacco boxes. The whole family spent many pleasant winter days in the �strip shed� with a warm fire crackling in the �ole pot bellied stove.

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Other memorable occasions were going out with Dad in the �spring wagon� on the first crisp fall evening before the frost to gather in the pumpkins. Butchering day was another one, usually a cold day in January. Stuffing the sausage was always fun as dad would let my brother, Ralph, and me sit on one end of the board to help hold the �sausage stuffer� steady. The last job was always �rendering� the lard. All the fattier portions were cut into small chunks and cooked in a huge black iron pot, which was kept in the strip shed. A fire would be built underneath and dad would stir the pieces with a long iron poker until they were cooked. They would then be put into the lard press and the melted fat would be caught in 50 lb. lard cans. The pieces left after all the fat was rendered out were called �cracklins.� These pieces were sprinkled with salt and these made a delicious snack. We used everything but the pigs squeal ---even the bladder was cleaned and blown up. My brother and I had a nice �balloon� to play with!

Christmas was a joyous occasion --- the anticipation started weeks before, in fact, when the mail order catalog came. Dad would go into the woods and choose a cedar tree, just the right size, to place between the two front windows in the dining room. Then it was ready to decorate. (I still have a few of the ornaments packed away that graced those Christmas trees back then.) The colored wax candles attached to cardboard holders were placed on the tree, but were only lit once, usually on Christmas Eve. We would turn the lamp down low and dad would light the candles. We would enjoy them for a few minutes and then they were put out. However, those few minutes are �burnt� into my memory! Santa Claus had always been there on Christmas morning. Along with our toys, we always had a plate with candy, nuts and an orange for each one of us at our place at the table.

My brother, Ralph, and I were raised through the deep depression days, but we didn�t realize how difficult it must have been for Dad and Mom. Because of living on a farm, we were always provided with a warm place to live and always plenty to eat. There were few luxuries, unless the first radio Dad bought could be considered one. It was near the time of the Chicago World�s Fair, and it was shaped like one of the buildings.

The Preble County Fair and the Baker-Creager reunions were always highlights of the summer for the family. Perhaps what kept Dad in good health for many years was his nap after the noon meal. He would sit in the big �Morris chair,� read the paper, and then cover his face with his hat, to keep out the light, and take a short snooze before going back to his work

Regardless of how busy the season was, I never remember Dad working on Sunday. Sunday was reserved was for visiting relatives, having company, or just relaxing.

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My mother�s biography will be sharing my fourteen years of memories on the farm. They are the only ones I have of my mother. For, on that cold January night, my brother, Ralph, and I stayed up with Mom to listen to the Ed Wynn Texaco Hour on the radio. Shortly after we went to bed she complained of a severe pain in her head. She had had a stroke of apoplexy, and our mom was suddenly gone.

Mom was forty-two years old when I was born, the last of seven children. She always made me feel wanted, by telling me she had to have seven children before she had one with brown eyes - - - like hers. I was a �Mamma's girl,� and she was never far out of my sight. The two songs I remember her singing to me were �Three O�clock in the Morning� and �Bicycle Built for Two�. (I still love those two old songs.) Like Dad, I never remember Mom spanking me - - - but once - - and I don�t know what that was for. But, Ralph and I both got it that time.

Mom always prepared food at the kitchen table and I loved to sit on the end of that long table (her favorite saying to me was �Sit on the table, you�ll be married before you�re able�) and watch as she mixed and cut out big sugar cookies with the scalloped edges, the big long pan of golden cornbread, making noodles, after they were laid out to dry. She would roll them up and slice them in narrow strips. (They were delicious even before they were cooked.)

Every Saturday morning was pie making time (all different kinds), but we would always have those in season when each was plentiful, such as, rhubarb from the garden, raspberries from the woods, pumpkins from the field, and apples from the orchard.

But best of all was the warm cream pie we had every Saturday for the noon meal. I have never tasted one so good. But my

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sister-in-law, Freddie, once explained why our food never tasted like Mom�s - - - �there is one ingredient missing - - - HOME.�

On Saturday afternoon, Mom would pick out a nice plump chicken for Sunday dinner. She had a big tree stump in the chicken yard with two stiff wires attached with just space to place a chicken�s head between. She would then take a long �corn cutter� and chop its head off. It would �flop� around for what seemed ages before it was ready to be stuck in a bucket of boiling water to loosen the feathers so they could be plucked from the chicken.

The �threshers� dinner� was a huge meal served in the dining room at the table pulled out as far as it would go. All the neighbor men would help each other on threshing day. It was always a thrill to us kids to hear the threshing machine whistle, coming down the road to our farm on a hot morning in July. (I�m sure it sounded like work to Mom and Dad.) The threshing machine would blow the kernels of wheat into the wagon and the straw into a big stack back of the barn. Sliding down the straw stack gave us kids something to do for days.

I seldom ever remember my mother being idle. Whenever she sat down, she would always be doing something, either mending, piecing a quilt or knotting a comfort. After Christmas was over and the tree taken down, the quilting frames would be put up in front of the two dining room windows. They stayed up for weeks, while any spare time would find Mom sitting at the frames quilting. In the evening, she would put a table board across the frames and place a lamp on it so she could see to make the tiny stitches.

Monday was always wash day, and with no electricity it was an all day job. It was done the hard way, with a curved type wash board which was rocked back and forth by hand across the clothes. Then to get the water out, they were run through the �ringer� (two long rollers) by turning the handle. On Tuesday, the ironing was done with the irons heated on top of the stove. Each morning the lamp chimneys had to be washed and shined on the inside and out with newspaper.

Spring house cleaning time was a lot of hard work for Mom. The mattresses would be carried downstairs and placed outdoors on top of chairs for the day, while the carpet was taken up and hung across the clothesline to have the dust beat out with the �carpet beater.� Ralph and I spent more time running and playing through the carpet than we did beating it! The stoves were taken down in the dining and living rooms in the spring and put back in the fall. They would be polished with �Black Silk Stove Polish,� and I can still remember that good smell when the first cold day in the fall came and we had to build a fire.

Perhaps I have made my Mom�s and Dad�s life seem like drudgery, but I never once heard them complain. Living on the farm was not all work. They found much pleasure themselves by providing enjoyment for their family.

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Friends from West Alexandria would come down to go swimming in the creek in the summer and ice skating on the creek in the winter. We also had a boat which was rowed with oars. There was also fishing or just hiking through the woods. A tennis court was marked off and the big net put up in the barnyard.

In later years, when miniature golf became popular, Don, my oldest brother, spent a summer vacation from college building a nine hole course by the creek. That provided pleasure for all the family.

The player piano provided enjoyment winter and summer. Card playing, Rook, Flinch, Euchre, etc., were also popular pastimes. We always had the horseshoe stakes near the backyard which provided many Sunday afternoons of entertainment.

Perhaps Mom�s greatest enjoyment was to have her older children and grandchildren come for a visit on the farm.

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Irene Creager Lawson


Pages i. to vi.

Title Page
1 to 10

10 to 23

24 to 34

35 to 43

44 to 47

48 to 53

54 to 64

65 to 72

73 to 80

81 to 88

89 to 107

as given in Irene (Creager) Lawson's Manuscript/Book
will not be presented in the online text,
but they will be incorporated and accessible within the
An attempt will be made to list those living as "LIVING" without vital information being presented.

Webpage by:   Audrey (Shields) Hancock of Portage, Michigan

Created: 01 July 2006

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