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Family Stories Retold
by Cookie / by Claudia / by Frankie

Memories of Frances Louise Milligan Chandler (8/6/1913 - 6/17/1986)
Retold by her daughter Carol
June 11, 2002

I'm Gone!

Mother was around 5 years old at this time. Her mother was sick, and I think they knew she was dying. ( I was told she had influenza.) Mother was the youngest and only girl. The day she was telling me about, she was allowed to be in the room with her sick mother. Other people were around also. I think Mother was sitting on the floor playing with something (I expect it was a doll because she loved dolls even when Coy and I were little - she wanted us to love dolls more than we did). She said her mother sat up and said "I'm gone" and fell back in bed. She was dead.

Remembering Grandmother

A memory Mother had about her grandmother happened when she was very small, helping her grandmother walk to the table to eat a meal. Mother thought most likely she was too little to really help but she, at the time, thought she was helping. That was the only thing she remembered about her grandmother. (Note: It must have been her paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Ann Dowdle Milligan, who died in June 1920 at age 89 when Frances would have been almost seven years old. The maternal grandmother died before Frances was born.)

The Sewing Room

Mother's mother, Fannie Lou Hawkins Milligan, was a dress maker. Mother did not know if she sewed for the public but she did make her own clothes and Mother thought clothes for Mother, herself. She said there was a special sewing room that also had a bed in it. She remembered all the sewing stuff around and clothes in progress laying on the bed and hanging up on hooks in the wall. Mother remembered it being a pretty room. She thought her mother was very organized with her sewing and was very good at it. She mentioned doll clothes she thought her mother made and that she was not allowed in that room without her mother.

Memories of Frances Louise Milligan Chandler (8/6/1913 - 6/17/1986)
Retold by her daughter Claudia
June 11, 2002

The Last Gift

I have a blanket chest in my house that was given to me by my mother, Frances Louise Milligan Chandler. The chest was made by my grandfather, Claude Walton Milligan, and his son Sam in 1918. Mother told me her father and Sam were working on the chest during what turned out to be the fatal illness of Fannie Lou Hawkins Milligan, Claude's wife and the mother of Sam, Frances and also Andrew, the oldest son, completely paralyzed due to a birth injury. Fannie Lou (2/4/1875 - 10/9/1918) died at the age of 38 in the flu epidemic of 1918. Claude and Sam, age 17, completed the blanket chest before Fannie Lou died, and they rolled it into her sickroom so she could see it.

Historical Note: The flu epidemic of 1918 was "the worst epidemic the United States has ever known". The flu first broke out in March 1918 at Fort Riley, Kansas, and swept through the U.S. by the end of the year. Before it was over, the flu would kill more than 600,000 Americans--more than all the combat deaths of this century combined. October 1918 was the deadliest month in the nation's history as 195,000 Americans fell victim to influenza.

Stepmother #1

My mother's first stepmother was Ida Lou Eikner Ray, a widow and niece of Uncle Jeff Cooper, who was only married to Big Daddy about 18 months. I guess this has to be the stepmother about whom she told the following spooky story.

Mother, age about 13, came home from school for lunch one day and asked permission to wear her new hat back to school after lunch. Ida Lou refused her permission to wear the good hat to school, so Mother went to her father and asked him, without telling him that Ida Lou has already said no. Her father agreed she could wear the hat. When Ida Lou found out, she was furious, of course. She said to Mother something like, "That's all right, Miss! You and your daddy will have things all your own way very soon." Ida Lou died of a stroke that very afternoon.

That's the way I remember the story. There's no one left to correct me if I have it wrong.

Memories of Daddy Tom and Daddy Bob (Thomas Jefferson Chandler and Robert Lafayette Malpass)
Original story by Frank Chandler, son of Daddy Tom and grandson of Daddy Bob
Retold by his son, Frank L. Chandler
March 26, 2003

The Fishing Camp

I was rereading the family stories on your website and I remembered a story that Dad told me abour RLM as told by my Dad.

Apparently Daddy Tom and Daddy Bob had a fishing camp of sorts and they would take the boys there for overnights and fishing. Once when they arrived RLM was checking the provisions at the camp when he found a jar of molasses with a drowned rat in it. Daddy Bob reached into the jar and pulled the dead rat out by it's tail. He told my Dad, "those molasses will be fine, they are so thick he couldn't have swum around much". Dad says they never ate the molasses but he worried all night that that they would be served for breakfast the next morning.

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June 18, 2003