The Rone Family From Tennessee To Texas
American Woman of the Twentieth Century
The decade of the 1940’s was tough for the people of Missouri. The Great Depression had been around for a long time since the late 1920’s. World War II was on the horizon. Missouri farmers had a hard time. Modern farming methods had not been introduced and horses and mules were still being used for plowing the fields. Life was hard. Work was scarce and Grandpa Rone left Missouri with his brother looking for work in Texas. Other members of the Rone family had already transplanted to Texas during the early years of the twentieth century and were settled close to Dallas before my grandparents made the decision to leave Missouri.
Life was hard and food was so scarce. Welfare did not exist like today and getting food was a hard proposition. The family had endured many years of hardship before the forties and opportunity to get away from the farms appeared. Picking cotton was hard work and my grandmother spent many years in the cotton fields. When the time came to make the move it was hard to make the choice. After many years of lean pickings Grandma Rone and her oldest daughter’s family had planted a garden and peaches were abundant. They had spent the summer canning vegetables and fruit. For the first time they could look forward to a winter without worrying about what they would eat. Grandpa Rone was gone for a long time looking for work so the family was not really happy about leaving everything behind and heading to a new life in Texas.
Grandma Rone had given birth to five children who had been born five years apart. She was between 43 and 46 years old when she came to Texas. Grandma had four children under the age of sixteen.
Ancestral Family Movement
Lillie Fisher Rone was born here in 1900
Where the Fisher family lived in Missouri.
Rone family settled here between 1877 and 1900
Early Years In Texas
Unable to bring the canned food with them to Texas after years of hunger, they were forced to give most of it away before they left. In spite of the disadvantages the move was a good one for the Rone and Zolman (my aunt) family.
I am older today than my grandmother was when she left Missouri for Texas. I often think of how hard it must have been to leave behind a lifetime of memories and life to start life over in a place she had only heard about in stories. The family loaded up as many of their belongings as they could carry and made the hard trip to Texas where they settled in a small settlement on the Houston Ship Channel called Johnson’s Landing. Their small houses were located within a 100 yards of the ship channel and it was truly dangerous for the children. They lived at Johnson’s Landing for many years because the family still lived there when I was born in 1951 and for at least three years afterward.
Grandma Rone, Grandpa Rone, and my uncle by marriage J. Zolman found jobs at Ideal Cement Company making and bagging cement. This was a very good job and for the first time the family had a steady income and life improved. Grandpa could not know that working with the cement and breathing the dust and asbestos would take his life by the time he was 58 years old. That happened many years later than this story.
Missouri to Texas
The Rone family came to Johnson's Landing to live and work at Ideal Cement Company during the early 1940s.
After some years they lived on Avenue H and eventually to 10th street near Galena Park High School. The family always lived close together.
From Johnson's Landing to Avenue H
By the time I was five years old life had changed for the Rone family. Grandma and Grandpa had moved away from Johnson’s Landing to Avenue H in Galena Park not far away. Grandma Rone used her income to pay rent and buy furniture. She had a beautiful double table that held a place of honor in her living room for fifty years. I am looking at it next to my desk as I write this article. I loved that table as a child and knew that one day it would be mine. I remember the last time I saw my grandpa alive. I was five years old and he was leaving for California to visit his brother and family. He took the time to drop down beside me to tell me he was leaving. I was really sad. He did not come back for five years. Grandpa Rone had always been a wanderer. I found out all about that as an adult when I started researching the family history. Grandma Rone loved that man in spite of his wandering ways. She collapsed for days after his return when he died suddenly due to chest pain and the years of breathing cement dust that caused some type of fluid in his lungs to come up and strangle him. I am unable to give you the formal cause of death.
An American Woman
Grandma Rone was an American woman. She was born in Tennessee in 1900 where she lived until she married a handsome, wild, young man at the age of 21. He was seventeen years old at the time. He was a good looking young man who had been orphaned before he was 12 years old. His mother died, and then his father died four years later. Grandpa Rone inherited a pair of mules, and was passed around among the relatives who would have him until he was old enough to make it on his own. This was the inspiration for his wandering ways that would never change until his death in 1962.
Grandma Rone was a working woman before it was fashionable to do so. She picked cotton to feed her children in Missouri, and worked at the cement company when she came to Texas. She was not an educated woman but she taught her descendants about pride of self, independence, and taking care of your family when no one else was around to do it. She was a single mother for most of her life, but she loved her husband to the end. Her sister, Mary Fisher, was an old maid, who wanted Grandma to get a divorce at some point during their life in Missouri; and Grandma finally went to court to file for a divorce. The judge refused to give her a divorce because Grandpa Rone was not present. In spite of the fact that the judge's ruling is a sad commentary about the state of women during the first half of the twentieth century, it was a good thing because Grandma really did not want a divorce anyway. Grandma's greatest fear was that she would end up in an Old Folks Home. She saved her money so that she would have something to fall back on in her old age. Grandma lived in her own home until she died at the age of 82. My father, who was in bad health but close to his mother, died the next year within days of the date of her death. She always told me that he would die when she did. I do not know how she knew.
From Baptist to Pentecostal
Grandma Rone was a woman who was born into another world. Her life lasted well into the twentieth century but she never got used to a world that was moving at a much faster pace than she understood. She was a Godly woman who was converted at the age of sixty to Pentecostalism. She was ardent about her faith and often talked about God to anyone who would listen. Grandma Rone was born one hundred and nine years ago in 1900. Her life experiences included fear the first time she saw a train, and she lived to witness our country put a man on the moon and the space program. She was admired, loved, and still missed today by her surviving children and her other descendants.
This article was inspired by a fellow Hubber, Ginn Navarre, and her article Pioneer Women...In The Background. I am thinking tonight of another pioneer woman whose name is not known to me. Mrs. Rone is one of my earliest ancestors and I feel sure she was born here and not an immigrant. She is nameless although there is a lot of information about her husband and all of her children.
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