My mother wrote out her story. It’s a long read, but well worth the time. Please, get folks to share their stories for their families. Enjoy…
I was born in a farm house southwest of Morris, Oklahoma. I was the third child born to Arvey Olen (Pete) Stafford, born March 20, 1905, deceased March 17, 1986, and Ollie Mae (Hurt) Stafford, born October 11, 1912, deceased March 25, 2002. Olen Junior Stafford was the first born, born September 22, 1930. He passed away October 2, 1998. Raybon Dale Stafford was the second, born October 4, 1938 and died September 3, 1939. Raybon Dale was hydrocephalic. Raybon Dale is buried in the Cussetah Cemetery southwest of Morris. Aunt Lilly (my mother’s sister) and some of my cousins, who died while very young, are also buried in the same area of the cemetery. Also my parents had Joan Elaine and then Sheron Kay and Stanley Ray who were twins. Stanley Ray died April 29, 2010.
When we were born we had no running water and no electricity. We burned coal or propane for heat and had propane for cooking. We had an “ice box” to keep things cool. There was an ice house in Morris where they sold blocks of ice. We would buy however many pounds of ice we wanted. It was put in the ice box and that would keep our food cool. We used a cistern for water. Rain water would run off the roof of the house and go in a concrete underground cistern. They would use a bucket to draw the water from the cistern. The water would then be moved into the kitchen still in the water bucket. Then we would use a dipper to drink water out of. We heated water on the stove for hot water. For light at night we used kerosene lamps. In the living room we used an Aladdin lamp which gave more light than the regular kerosene lamps. Momma ironed our clothes with a flat iron. She heated the iron on the stove and ironed until it got too cool. Usually you would have two irons; one heating while you ironed with the other one. We took our baths in a No. 3 wash tub. We had an outside toilet. When it needed to be moved they would just dig a new hole, move the wooden privy, and put it over the new hole. Then they would cover up with dirt where the old toilet had been. At night we used a chamber pot. My mother for many years either did her laundry at home on a wash board or went to a Laundromat in Morris to do the family wash. She hung the wash out to dry on a clothesline stretched in the back yard. Sometime during my early years we moved to a house one half mile East of the Cussetah Cemetery. My dad farmed land in connection with the house.
I was born at home in a farm house Southwest of Morris, Oklahoma. All of my brothers and sisters were born at home. Dr. Carlos was my mother’s doctor and delivered me and Joan. Dr. W. W. Burnett delivered Sheron Kay and Stanley Ray. I must have been a spoiled child since my parents had lost a child, and I was the first girl. I was very shy and attached to my mother. Sometime during my early years we moved to a house east of the Cussetah cemetery. When it was time to go to school I cried every day for weeks. My mom even thought about holding me back another year before sending me. After I got used to going to school I really liked it. When I was in the second grade Mrs. Loague, my teacher, told the class that the next one caught talking was going to get a spanking. I was the next one, and she gave me my first (and only) paddling I got in school. I always got good grades in school. My easiest subjects were reading and spelling. I went to school through the Morris public school system from the first grade to the 6th. We always rode the school bus to and from school while we attended the Morris school system. For several years during my early years we lived in the Prairie Bell School District in a house east of the Cussetah cemetery. The Prairie Bell School District always gave us a transfer to go to the Morris School. To keep the Prairie Bell School open and have enough students when I was in the sixth grade they refused to give us a transfer and Joan and I had to go to Prairie Bell. The neighbors would take turns taking their children and other children to school. My dad participated in this car pool. We lived about 2 miles from the Prairie Bell School. I didn’t like the change at all. Prairie Bell was a one room school house with one teacher. Our teacher’s name was Mrs. Bryant. She was really a neat lady and I learned to like her. In our grade there were four or five students. We took our lunch. I soon adjusted to this school. I cried when we had to go to Prairie Bell, and I cried when we left.
After the first year going to Prairie Bell we moved to another house Southeast of Morris and went to school at Morris the rest of the time. We called this house and farm land the “Arthur Jones” house. We had electricity, but still no running water or indoor bathroom. We really enjoyed this house. Daddy farmed the land connected with this house and he farmed some of Uncle Charlie Schultz’s land.
We helped with the chores connected with living on the farm. We had milk cows, hogs, chickens, and we had pet chickens, ducks and rabbits that people would bring us. When we lived in the house east of the Cussetah cemetery Daddy had at least one work horse named Maud. Later he had Farmall tractors he used in farming. When we got older we helped with milking the cows, shelling corn for the chickens, and putting the separator together, (Momma sold cream and eggs to a creamery in Okmulgee and she used a cream separator. It was a machine with disks that were numbered and had to be washed and dried and put back together every day. She used the egg and cream money to buy the weekly groceries (around $6 or $7 a week.) We always had a garden and Momma would can many jars of vegetables and fruit every year. We helped shell beans and peas and gather corn and shuck and silk it. We didn’t have sweet corn. We used field corn. When it got cold enough they would kill hogs and cure the hams and bacon, which would last for many months, and hang them in the “smoke house.” In the summer we chopped cotton, peanuts and corn. Chopping means we thinned and weeded the cotton, and weeded the peanuts and corn. Daddy plowed all of the crops with the tractor, but there were always grass and weeds in with the plants that had to be chopped out. Then when harvest came we gathered the corn and picked cotton. When we were small Momma made us cotton sacks out of gunny sacks and we used those to pick cotton. When we got older they made bigger sacks out of ducking (cotton duck). Daddy always paid us something for doing the field work. He paid us as much as everyone else for picking cotton. Sometimes he would hire help to pick cotton. I remember one year on Thanksgiving we still lacked some corn to be gathered. We had Thanksgiving dinner and then that afternoon we gathered corn. Momma and Daddy were very hard workers. There was always work to be done around the farm. For several years Daddy farmed and worked for Okmulgee County. He drove a road grader and maintained county roads. Before I was born, during the depression they went to Arizona and California and worked in citrus groves. Momma also worked in a peach cannery and grafted roses. Then after a few years they came back to Oklahoma and lived there the rest of their lives.
After the Jones place we moved to a house at “Coal Corner.” Daddy farmed the land that went with the house. We had electricity there and propane for heat. We were living at that house when I graduated high school and were still living there when I went to work at Boatman, Pugsley and Boatman law firm.
The first time I remember going to church (probably Sunday school) I was about 5 years old. My Dad got in the church about that time I guess. He was a smoker and gave up his smoking and drinking. I always loved church. Brother Voar Shoemake was the pastor about the time I remember first going to church. The first time I remember singing a special was at a Fellowship meeting in Section three of the Oklahoma District. The Morris church was in Section three. Joan and I sang a special. I was probably around 9 or 10 years old and she would have been about 5 or 6. I don’t remember for sure what we sang, but it may have been “God can do anything, anything. God can do anything but fail. He can save; He can heal; He can fill, and He will. God can do anything but fail.” Whatever it was, it was just a short song. I sang the lead part and Joan harmonized. Joan had perfect harmony as soon as she could sing. From then on we sang specials in church. Then when Sheron Kay was old enough she wanted to sing with us. Daddy persuaded us to let her. Then we were the “Stafford trio” and sang regularly in church and when we were older, at funerals.
I received the baptism of the Holy Ghost when I was eleven years old. I was baptized soon thereafter. Hubert and Dorothy Parks were the pastor when I got the Holy Ghost. I remember the day after I got the Holy Ghost. It made a difference the next day when I went to school. I was appointed song leader sometime in my teens and remained the song leader until I married.
One of our pastors in the Morris church was Bro. Joe and Sis. Ila Ashcraft. Ila was a Vaughan before she married – a daughter of Y.Z. and Viola Vaughan – and was a minister in her own right. They affiliated the Morris church with the United Pentecostal Church. There were several in the church who did not want the church affiliated with the UPC, so they left the church and formed their own church at Bald Hill, a country church. All of our relatives left except our immediate family. Many of our relatives came back to the Morris church later on and never left again. The pastors I remember were the Voar Shoemakes, the Joseph Ashcrafts, the Hubert Parks, The J. B. Hamiltons, the Orville Bransons, the elder Shirels, (B.E.?) the Jimmy Shoemakes, the B. A. Kings, and the Donald Berrys.
When I was about 11 years old my oldest brother, Junior, was drafted into the army to serve in the Korean War. He was wounded in action two times; the first time his wounds weren’t severe enough to keep him from going back to the front lines. The second time he and his platoon stepped on a land mind and he was severely wounded. He had a broken arm, and damage to the toes on one foot. A muscle in the top part of one of his legs was blown off. He had shrapnel that remained in his body. But he survived, and when he was able he came home he was released from the army.
I graduated from Morris High School in May of 1959. I was Salutatorian of my class. I always loved typing and shorthand in school and knew that I wanted to be a secretary when I graduated. The editor of the Morris News newspaper, Julian Jeffress, had a daughter in my graduating class. Somehow Julian found out I wanted to be a secretary. She knew lawyers in Okmulgee and helped me get a job at Boatman, Pugsley & Boatman, Attorneys-at-Law in Okmulgee. I went to the Employment Agency in Okmulgee and took their secretarial test, (spelling, typing, etc.) in June of 1959, and the law firm hired me. I worked for A.N. Boatman, the senior partner for several years until his death. After his death the Pugsley & Boatman partnership split and I worked for Ed Boatman until I married in January of 1969.
When I graduated high school and started to work I didn’t have a driver’s license and car. I moved to Morris and lived with Junior and his wife Carol. I rode to work with several of the ladies who worked in Okmulgee. Sometimes when that didn’t work out I would ride a Greyhound bus. After a few months I moved in with Gayle Vaughan in the living quarters of the washateria owned by Bea Gerleman. Then I bought the little house across from the Morris church. It was a shotgun house. That means it had a living room, and straight through a bedroom, a kitchen and then a bathroom. Gayle Vaughan and I lived together for some time. Then she moved a little trailer in next door and lived there. My sisters, Joan and Sheron Kay lived with me in the little house. Sheron Kay graduated from Okmulgee Tech and got a job at a bank in Okmulgee and Joan went to work at Capital Abstract Company in Okmulgee. Joan and I bought a new Mercury Comet automobile. Then we all rode together to work.
In 1967 we sold the little shotgun house and built a nice three bedroom brick house in its stead. I lived there about 9 months before I married and seven months after I married, Sheron Kay married Freddie Waldrep. That left Joan to live there. Later we sold the house.
While Brother and Sister Barry King were pastoring in Morris I was the circulation manager for the Oklahoma District paper, “The Beacon.” Brother King was editor and they lived across the street in the parsonage. When Bro. Jack Garrison was appointed editor I remained as circulation manager for some time.
One day while I was working for Ed Boatman Sister King called. She wanted me to meet a young man who had assisted them in their pastorate in Oklahoma City. I said, “What is wrong with him?” She said “There is nothing wrong with him. He is friendly to all the girls, but he doesn’t have a girl friend.” She wanted us to meet at the General Conference in Tulsa in the Fall of 1967. I went to the General Conference and we met. He proposed to me a mile west of the Oklahoma campground on July 20, 1968. We married on January 10, 1969. He had been living in the back of the church at 1038 South Hickory in Bartlesville, and the house next door at 1036 South Hickory was for rent for $50.00 a month, so we moved there. Clarence Ledbetter moved us in one of his trucks. There was one family attending the church there. Brother and Sister Townsley had been transferred there from Borger, Texas, with Phillips Petroleum Company. They had 4 children. We had church growth there, but the church was in bad condition, so in the early eighties we built a church at 4100 Northeast Nebraska in the Northeast part of Bartlesville. We built as much of the church as we could, and it took about 6 years to finish it. We saw many miracles of finance in the building project and when we finished we had a building worth $250,000 and a debt of only $46,000.
As pastor’s wife I have worn many hats. When we were first married we didn’t have a piano player for the church. I learned a few songs by ear. We sang the songs I knew until I could learn more. I taught Sunday school classes. I went on hospital calls and taught Bible studies. We all worked building the church. We had a sweet shop for about 30 plus years at the Adams Building at Phillips Petroleum. We baked all kinds of cookies, breads and candies and took them and sold them every Thursday. God bless the devoted ladies at Truth Tabernacle who were so faithful. This endeavor helped in so many areas of the church. I was Ladies Auxiliary secretary for Section 2 of the Oklahoma District for many years. I also volunteered for the Birthright organization. This organization helped pregnant women keep their children instead of abortion. We gave pregnancy tests and furnished diapers, clothing and other supplies for small children. All of these activities were much more rewarding to me than to anyone else.
Roy Allan Moss was born to our family while we lived at 1036 South Hickory in Bartlesville. He started kindergarten at Jane Phillips School. 3 years later, Regina Carol Moss was born. In 1977, we bought our first house at 448 Northeast Elmhurst in Bartlesville. Both children went to school at Wilson Elementary. Both of our children graduated high school in Bartlesville. Regina was a National Merit Scholar and graduated Tulsa University with a BA B.S. in Nursing. Roy graduated West Point Military Academy and, after fulfilling his military obligation, earned his LLD from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. On September 16, 1995, Roy Allan married Jennifer Raffety. On August 3, 1996, Regina married Steven James Beardsley.
We lived at 1036 South Hickory in Bartlesville, for 8 years, then 448 Northeast Elmhurst for six years. We then moved to 3836 Northeast Nebraska in 1983, next door to the new church we were building. We lived there for four years, then moved to 215 Southeast Rockwood, where we lived for the next 26 years. We sold the house at 215 Southeast Rockwood in December, 2014.
We decided to buy rental property as an investment. In 1977 we bought our first house and accumulated a high of 17 rentals. We also bought houses, renovated them and sold them. We did much of the repair ourselves. Over the years we have bought, sold, lived in, rented out, and remodeled 54 properties in 4 states. Roy and Pearl Moss blessed us with an inheritance which helped us tremendously with our finances. I had the greatest mother-in-law and father-in-law any one could ever ask for. Our buying and selling of real estate helped us in many ways, financially as well as an education in the renting and selling of real estate. I had the greatest mother-in-law and father-in-law any one could ever ask for. I have used the things they did in our relationship many times as a guide in being a mother-in-law myself.
We pastored the church in Bartlesville for 46 years. In 2012 Roy felt that the time was coming to turn the church over to someone else. We decided to move to Newark, Delaware, to be with Regina and Steven and their family. In February of 2013 we bought a house in Newark at 7 Lilac Court. Steven helped with renovations so that we could move in July. The church voted in Rev. Brian Fuller as pastor. We left Bartlesville to move to Delaware on July 1, 2013. This was exactly 46 years from the day he had moved to Bartlesville. We rented the largest U-Haul truck, filled it up and, pulling our car on a dolly, drove to Delaware. About a month later we flew back out, rented a trailer and pulled it with our pick-up, bringing tools and personal possessions.
As of February, 2021, we are settled and enjoying life with our kids and grandchildren. We are enjoying working in the Newark United Pentecostal Church with the Pastor and his wife which just so happens to be our daughter and son-in-law, and with the elder Beardsleys. What a privilege! 2020 was an unusual year. We spent most of the year more or less quarantined, trying to avoid getting COVID 19. We have been blessed to be able to have church services online with other fellowship and activities. We lost many friends and acquaintances during this coronavirus plague.
We have seven grandchildren: Lindsay Cynthia Moss, Vincent James Beardsley, Caleb Stafford Beardsley, Marcus Levi Beardsley, Candace Nicole Beardsley, Cassandra Ruth Beardsley, and Mallory Moss.