Burden Story Looking Back, by Florence (Burden) Harmon 1919-2013

Grandma, Grandpa, Gary (youngest son), Cindy and Christy (grand-daughters)

Grandma, Grandpa, Gary (youngest son), Cindy and Christy (grand-daughters)

In loving memory of my dear sweet grandmother Florence L. (Burden) Harmon who passed away from us yesterday (14 Nov 2013) to go away to meet the Lord Jesus; who she spent her whole life serving, and preparing for this day. A true Christian “Peace Maker” if I have ever known one. She lived her whole life preparing for the day she would be called away by the Lord Jesus. God bless her, and keep her, as she now joins grandpa, her parents, siblings, and extended family with the Lord she so loved, somewhere beyond the sunset.

Founding Father and Educator Benjamin Rush in a letter written to John Adams concerning a visit to his family homestead. This is an excerpt containing what Rush said about his visit to the family cemetery, while there. I know the feeling behind his sentiment from doing genealogy, our family history thinking of the things my ancestors faced and overcame, and visiting the graves of my ancestors. It gives you a feeling of inferiority and awe for their stamina, strength, vision and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father.

(Excerpt)

In walking over the grave-yard, I met with a head-stone, with the following inscription:

“In memory of James Rush, who departed this life March 16th, 1727, aged forty-eight years.

“I’ve tried the strength of death, at length.

And here lie under ground,
But I shall rise, above the skies,
When the last trump shall sound.”

This James Rush was my grandfather. My son, the physician, was named after him. I have often heard him spoken of as a strong-minded man, and uncommonly ingenious in his business, which was that of gunsmith. The farm still bears marks of his boring machine. My father inherited both his trade and his farm. While standing near his grave, and recollecting how much of my kindred dust surrounded it, my thoughts became confused, and it was some time before I could arrange them. Had any or all of my ancestors appeared before me, in their homespun or working dresses, (for they were all farmers or mechanics), they would probably have looked at one another, and said, ‘What means that gentleman by thus intruding upon us?’

“Dear and venerable friends! be not offended at me. I inherit your blood, and I bear the name of most of you. I come here to claim affinity with you, and to do homage to your Christian and moral virtues. It is true, my dress indicates that I move in a different sphere from that in which you have passed through life; but I have acquired and received nothing from the world which I prize so highly as the religious principles which I inherited from you, and I possess nothing that I value so much as the Innocence and purity of your characters.” Benjamin Rush; Philadelphia, July 13th 1812

(End Excerpt)

Burden Story Looking Back, by Florence (Burden) Harmon, assisted by Shirley Harmon. Contributors of information, Andrew William “Butch” Burden, my [Florence] father: His cousin, Agnes Deemer Neiss, His Nephew, Otis Burden.

My grandparents, Daniel Webster Burden and Susan Christine (Deemer) Burden, homesteaded a one-hundred sixty acre farm in the Land Run of 1891, one mile north and one-quarter east from Avery, Okla., of which the SW 40 is still in the family, owned by my sister, Mrs. Paul (Naomi Ruth) Bell of Cushing. The remaining one hundred twenty acres is owned by Herman Kluck. (edit, now back in the family) In the same land run, my great grandparents, Andrew William Deemer and his wife, Elizabeth (Metz) Deemer, homesteaded a farm at the ages of 61 and 59 respectively, in the Soonerville area, which now belongs to John and JoAnn Cargill. Andrew W. Deemer was Holland “Dutch” from Rochester, Pennsylvania, where his family was in their glass making business. Elizabeth (Metz) Deemer came from Germany as a child of (9) years. In 1864, the Deemer family moved to Johnson County Missouri, where they resided until participating in the Land Run. They had three sons; Henry, Wesley, and Jacob: six daughters, Susan Christine. Sarah, Mary, Caroline, Elizabeth and Margaret. Great-grandfather Deemer was a farmer and a professional carpenter. In 1902, they moved to Kansas, where Mrs. Deemer died shortly after, and Mr Deemer returned to Oklahoma, to live in Yale with a granddaughter, Nora Burden, until his death in 1918. Nora Burden was a dressmaker, milliner, nurse and restauranteur in Yale for many years. Great-grandfather Deemer was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic on the North side during the Civil War. Agnes Deemer Neiss, who contributed to the article, now resides in the Colonial Plaza Nursing Center of Cushing, Okla. She was the daughter of Jacob Metz Deemer, who married Dorsa Wheeler of the Cushing area, the daughter of Phillip and Sarah Emma Wheeler. Mrs. Neiss has a brother, Dennis Deemer, who now resides with a son in Phoenix, Ariz. [Burden’s originated in Scotland, Harmon’s England]

Daniel W. Burden had three brothers; John Burden of Yale, who married Susan’s sister, Margaret. Their children were Nora, Alice, Bill and a daughter who died in childbirth. The other brothers were; Charlie Burden and Freeman ‘Burden, of which not too much is known by us, and one sister, called Lude. William Burden had a brother, Eldredge, who moved to Indiana, he became a judge. Daniel’s father, William Burden, married a German woman named, Jane Utz. William Burden raised hogs in Missouri and while feeding and watching them eat, was shot by snipers during the Civil War. John, his son, then took his Dad’s Uniform and went to fight in his place.

Daniel and Susan Burden had six sons. Alfred, father of Otis Burden, Benjamin, Andrew William (Butch), Ralph, an unnamed infant who died at birth, and Raymond, one daughter, Florence. Alfred Burden as a young man, hauled lumber with a team of oxen, from Davenport, Okla. to Cushing for resale. The family resided , on the Burden Homestead until 1904, when Uncle Alfred and Grandfather Burden bought a 640 acre ranch, approximately three miles from Depew, Okla. They rented out the homestead and moved to the ranch with all the family, except Alfred who had married Mary Rice of the Avery Community and as newlyweds, moved to Colorado and lived for awhile.

Grandfather Burden bought and raised cattle on the ranch,  My father, A.W.Burden, recalls seeing a zebra graze near the cattle for two days. He never knew where it came from or where it went. He also saw a bald eagle eating a rabbit among the timber on the ranch. He walked near the eagle, scaring it, and it flew very high and disappeared. They resided at the ranch until statehood in 1907, then sold out, and moved back to the Homestead near Avery.

Grandfather, Daniel Burden, hauled freight, to and from Guthrie, for early Cushing stores, namely Carpenters and Carvers. When buying groceries and supplies for their family, they took a two day trip to Guthrie, once each month. They bought their staples in large containers, parched and ground their own coffee. My father said, “That was real coffee.” Grandfather Burden later worked for Jacob Puckett. He also served as one of the early day Sheriffs. Their first dwelling on the Homestead, was a tent, then they built a sod house, using the tent to cover it. Later, they built a log house. While living in the log house, young Benjamin kept having the stomach ache, and told his Mother, “Ma, wes go back home, dis ole log house gives me de belwy ache.” Billy Hockemyer built the first frame house. The present house was Grandpa’s and Grandma’s last home. Grandpa Burden died in 1924, at the age of 66 years. Grandma died in 1940, at the age of 81 years. She was blind with cataracts for twelve years before her death. She was a very independent person. After going blind, she used a cane to go through the house by herself. They also had a rope from the back door to the outdoor toilet, that enabled her to go and come without help. Some of the things I remember most about Grandma, before she went totally blind, she used to make delicious biscuits (double dough type), when we grandchildren would stay the night with her; also she would tell us stories at night, often time, old ghost tales, some of which she said were supposed to be true. She used to sit in her rocker and rock slowly and sing old hymns, “What a Friend”, “Only Trust Him” and others. Uncle Alfred was a very enterprising young man, always on the lookout for opportunity, when the railroad came through and Mound city was founded, later called Avery, he ran the Livery barn and operated the first taxi service. His father-in-law, Frank Rice, was the first postmaster of Mound city. Mr. Rice and G. A. Robertson were two of the earliest businessmen to settle in Mound City, moving from Baker Village because of the railroad. After living in Avery for a time, Mr. Rice moved to a farm, one half mile north of Avery, in 1910, adding a two story portion to the existing house. (Edit: This is the house I grew up in, first story was built in 1896), Uncle Alfred’s son Otis and wife, Olive, live just north of the Summit Ridge Shopping center in Cushing. Alfred and Mary Burden had four sons, Olan, deceased; Otis of Cushing; George, of California; and Francis, who died in infancy; also one daughter, Rose Mary, who died at birth. Alfred Burden died in 1967 at the age of 85 years. Mary (Rice) Burden, died in 1972, at the age of 90 years. They were residing in Cushing at the time of their death,

Mamie Florence Burden, married Tom Cunningham of Yale, where he was a Barber. He was killed very early in their marriage and there were no children. Aunt Florence lived in Yale for several years before moving to Sapulpa, where she died in 1964, at the age of 78 years. A special treat in the summertime was when my Cousin Thelma and I got to visit her and Aunt Nora in Yale.

Benjamin Burden, married Vivian Larkins; a niece of Maude Rider, an early resident of Avery. Uncle Ben passed away in 1967, at the age of 73 years, while living in Sapulpa. They had one son, by adoption, Thomas. He and family live in Sapulpa. Aunt Vivian still lives in Sapulpa.

Ralph Burden, married Lena Smith, daughter of Henry Smith, a farmer of the Cushing area. Uncle Ralph served in WWI. Their children; Thelma, deceased; Raymond, of Jenks, Okla.; Dorothy, of Sapulpa; Henry, deceased; and Donna Sue, also of Sapulpa. Aunt Lena passed away in 1951, at the age of 52 years. Uncle Ralph died in 1967, at the age of 73 years. They lived in Sapulpa at the time of their deaths.

Raymond Burden married Jewel Gentry. Uncle Ray died in 1974, at the age of 76 years. Jewel is also deceased, they lived in Sapulpa at time of death. They had two children; Raymond, of Lindsey, and Idora Sue, of Sapulpa. Of all Daniel’s and Susan’s children, only my father, A. W. Burden is living.

Grandpa Andrew "Butch" Burden

Grandpa Andrew “Butch” Burden

When my father and some of his brothers were still single, they were at a dance in Avery. They were preparing to leave and my father (Andrew “Butch” Burden) went back inside for one brother, and a man (edit: mans name has been xx’ed out I cannot read it) being drunk, jumped him and cut his left side open, piercing his lower left lung. After recovering, while still single he worked on several ranches; the Butcher Ranch near Bartlesville, and the Fowler Brothers Ranch near Ralston, Okla. to name a couple. My Dad was quite a cowboy; riding broncs, breaking horses and riding in rodeos. He was working for his brother, Alfred near Shamrock, Okla. when he met my mother, Nellie Leona Ricks, daughter of John Henry and Lula Lamar (Crawford) Ricks, whom he later married at the Creek County Courthouse, in Sapulpa, Okla. on February 12, 1919. [Ricks originated in England, Crawford Scotland] My father was born May 3, 1891 in Holden, Mo. and my Mother [Nellie Leona (Ricks) Burden] was born March 26, 1903 in Powhatan County, Arkansas. She died October 24, 1976, at the age 73 years. After their marriage, they moved one mile west of Shamrock, where my brother and I were born. In 1922, they moved into a tent on my Grandparent’s Homestead. I was born in December, 1919 and my brother, Elvin Andrew was born in October, 1921. He married a Cushing girl Georgia Lou Campbell. They have three children; Ronald, of Davenport, Okla., where he works for an Uncle, Mr. Forbes, in the bank; Richard and Marilyn, both of the Tulsa area. Elvin and Georgia Lou live in Tulsa, where he has worked at W. C. Norris Co., for almost 30 years. Later, my parents moved to the SW 40, where they lived when my brother Merle Edward was born, February, 1924. He was killed on the Railroad track, which ran through the property, In November, 1925, while trying to follow my father, who was in the wagon, taking a load of cotton to Avery. Later, my sister Irma Elva, was born, August, 1927, and she later died of diphtheria, January, 1929. Later, my parents moved several while farming for others. While living on the McMurray farm, north of Stroud, my sister, Naomi Ruth, was born in January, 1936. She married Paul D. Bell, son of Roland R. and Mamie Bell, who operated the New Method Cleaners in Cushing for several years. Earl Edward Bell, who worked for Roland Bell, at the cleaners, was residing in Tulsa, as a manager of the Picadilly Cafeteria a few years ago. He was kidnapped and murdered, following a robbery, by a former employee. Paul D. Bell now works at the VoTech School in Drumright as an instructor of Key Punch and Data Processing. Naomi Ruth and Paul have ‘ one son, Paul Eugene, who lives on his Mother’s part of the Burden farm, with his wife, Terri (Johnson) Bell and two children, Brena, a girl, and their five month old baby boy, Paul Edward Bell. Paul Eugene works at the Cushing Fire Dept. John Henry Ricks parents were Samuel W. Ricks and Priscilla Payne.

Grandma Nellie (Ricks) Burden and Grandpa Butch Burden

Grandma Nellie (Ricks) Burden and Grandpa Butch Burden

My parents, A. W. and Nellie Burden, later moved into Stroud and lived there during the Depression Years. My father worked for Bob Terry, in the Blacksmith Shop. We later returned to the SW40 portion of the Burden Homestead, which later became my Father’s inheritance. During this time, they improved and added onto the house. My Mother loved to do carpenter work, in fact, she once told a neighbor, that she would rather do that, than eat when she was hungry, She was always finding more ways to improve their homes. They lived in Tulsa for several years, where they completely remodeled the home they bought . They also helped several of their grandchildren, with improvements on their homes. While living in Tulsa, they celebrated their golden Wedding Anniversary with an open house, for their old friends and neighbors, in their previous home on the Burden Homestead. This carpentry trait has passed on down the family to me and also my daughters.
At the age of 19 years, I married Vernon E. Harmon, on June 3, 1939, son of Alonzo L. (Peanuts) Harmon and Anna Eliza (Flessa) Harmon. We lived in the Cushing area for a few years, during which our first two children, Bobby Dale. and Shirley Ann were born. We later moved to Avery, to the Tom Coleman property, which we bought, and where our third child, Elberta Kay was born. We then moved to Grand Junction, Colo, and my parents also moved there. We lived there for two years, then returned to Avery, where our two older children attended Avery School for their first year. During this year of 1945, on the day Franklin D. Roosevelt died, a tornado struck Avery, blowing out all the west windows and ruining the roof of my parents home. We later moved to the Tulsa area and then into Tulsa where we lived for several years. When Vernon retired, we returned to Avery to make our home. Vernon did carpentry work for several years before becoming Maintenance Man of Tulsa’s Northland Shopping Center for thirteen years. Anna Eliza Flessa, daughter of Henry Edward Flessa and Christine Anna Ellis. Alonzo (Peanuts) parents were John Thomas Harmon and Lucetta Jane Yost. John Thomas was the son of Absalom Harmon who married the daughter of Captain George Donner, Elizabeth, who according to family history became pregnant just before the ill fated trip west, when the family took the turn at Hastings Cutoff, Absalom and Elizabeth stayed behind due to the complications of her pregnancy. It is not clear whether they returned immediately to Illinois or whether they stayed somewhere around the Fort Bridger area until after the birth of the baby, John Thomas Harmon.

Our son, Bob, married Judy Spires of Tulsa. They have one daughter, Robin, and live in Avery. Bob is employed with Wright’s Electric in Cushing, and Judy works at Dell Telephone. Our daughter, Kay married James Rogers, of Oologah, Okla. They have three children, Cindy, Christy, and Michael. They are making their home in Jennings, Okla. They operate a concrete finishing business in the Tulsa area. Our daughter Shirley married Robert J. R. Davis, they have two sons, Richard and Robert, they have a Heating and Air Conditioning business in the Tulsa area.

My Father A. W. “Butch” Burden (1891-1979) wrote a song about Avery’s early years and declining years.

We’ll sing a song of Avery,
She used to be a town.
But old Depression hit her,
And Avery’s falling down.

East side, West side,
All around the town,
It’s plain to see,
Old Avery’s falling down.

There’s Billy in the restaurant,
Allen in the store,
Business has been sagging much,
Since 1924.

Mary was the postmiss,
While Shorty tends the store,
And Emmett’s on the corner now,
No profits anymore.

Johnny was the banker,
But found it would not pay,
Bought a barn and filled it,
Full of barley, oats, and hay.

Harry runs the station,
Altho’ there’s few cars stop,
And when they do, Old Harry boy,
is Johnny-on-the-spot.

Happy Jack, the farmer,
A man of some renown,
Says, “When they all get moved,
He’s going to farm the town.”

Friends, now do you think it fair?
I do, altho’ not quite,
Except he leaves a little patch,
For our friend, Ernie Wright.

There won’t be any Avery,
There won’t be any lights,
And where will Cecil Ditto go,
To pass away the nights.

Goodbye, goodbye, old Avery,
You’re sinking, that is true,
We’ll get Hiram Long, to sing a song,
And we will bury you.

The people written about in this song were all deceased by 1979

My Father wishes to say, “He is now in a bigger business than ever before, that of trying to serve His Lord.” by Florence L. (Burden) Harmon

Update Nov 18th: One of the many Gospel songs my grandmother wrote.

I have so much, to thank you for, Dear Jesus.
I have so much to thank you for, Precious Lord.
You gave me eyes that I might see,
A chance to someday reign with Thee.
I have so much to thank you for, Precious Lord.

I have so much, to thank you for, Dear Jesus.
I have so much to thank you for, Precious Lord.
You gave me eyes that I might see,
A chance to someday be like Thee.
I have so much to thank you for, Precious Lord.
by Florence Lorene (Burden) Harmon

As a side note: One of the wonderful ways of the Lord. In all my years of growing up in Church, this was one of my very favorite songs. I never knew it was one of the songs written by my grandmother until her funeral today. She was always so humble and unassuming, always concerned with everyone’s welfare and hoping for the best. The one thing she wanted in life was for her children and grandchildren to serve and be saved by the grace of the Lord she loved and served so truly.

I remember when I started writing poetry a number of years ago, she was very pleased that her and her fathers gift for words was passed onto another generation in her grandchildren. She made a great many contributions to the church and God’s people. One of the many things in our lives where the Lord shows His workings. The minister (Rev. Ray Leniger) of the church I grew up in, my mother and her siblings grew up with Bro. Leniger and his siblings, as well as my brother and I growing up with Bro. Leniger’s children, all of us never knowing we were actually cousins until I did Bro. Leniger’s family tree a few years after he passed away. When I found out a few years ago that we were all cousins, Grandmother related to me how she had cared for Brother Leniger’s mother when she was sick with tuberculosis.  As evidenced by the words spoken and the speakers at her funeral today, she touched a great number of lives with her own. A great many other lives with the words and songs she contributed to the Body, never seeking credit or fame for herself.

Now that I look back, the Lord must have been in the last long talk we had a few weeks ago. It was about events taking place in my life, the Lord, thanking Him for His grace and goodness on our lives. How good He is, how much we love Him, and my personal desire to please Him. That’s the main thing she wished for her family was for them to have a love for the Lord and a wish to serve Him. I thank Him now for that talk we had, I will always remember it, I cannot think of anything better we could have talked about in our last long conversation. She and her prayers will be missed, may the Lord raise up another to continue on where she ended.

Thank you Lord, she will be missed. I think they wrote the Burden story in the 1970’s for the Perkins newspaper. Thank you Lord for the time we had together, looking for the day we’ll all be together again.

I asked my grandmother the last names of the people mentioned in the Song of Avery, their last names are as follows:

Hiram Long, Cecil Ditto, Ernie Wright,

the ones without last names are as follows,

Happy Jack,(I don’t know how it is spelled, it sounds like Mc-Que-in) the farmer.

Old Harry runs the station, (Crown)

Emmett’s on the corner now (Coleman),

Shorty tends the store, (Coleman, she wasn’t sure on this)

Mary was the postmiss, (Coleman, she wasn’t sure on this)

Allen in the store, (G. A. Robertson) (note: one of his brothers was Governor)

Billy in the restaurant, (Parker)

Johnny was the banker, (Murphy)

4 thoughts on “Burden Story Looking Back, by Florence (Burden) Harmon 1919-2013

  1. Hello! We are related through the Missouri Burden’s 🙂 I have a picture of the Burden/Deemer family @ their homestead in OK, not positive on all the Deemers in it & would love to see if you know. Thx, Lee Burden Arabian

    Like

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