Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ida Ruth Eaglebarger - My Grandmother

Ida Ruth Eaglebarger 1917
I never met my grandmother, Ida Ruth Eaglebarger, as she died 5 August 1927 at the age of twenty-nine from breast cancer. In one of the pictures I have of her she looks like Annie Oakley. She's kneeling on one knee wearing a split skirt, a wide brimmed straw hat and holding a large shotgun. I have no idea why this picture was taken.

Ida Ruth was called just Ruth. She was born in Petty, Lemar, Texas on 27 February 1896. Her father, P. R. Eaglebarger was editor of the Western Christian Advocate. He also served as a Methodist Episcopal minister. Ruth was found as a 14 year in the 1910 census living in Little Rock, Arkansas with her parents and her older sister, Ross . In September her mother died and within a year she had a new stepmother. Ruth married James H. McManus in 1916 at the age of 20. In 1920 she had a son and a daughter in 1922. When her son, my father, was 7 and her daughter 5, she died. Her husband, my grandfather, never remarried.

My father described his mother as strict, someone to be afraid of. His life from the time of her death was a series of boarding houses with his father and spare rooms (sometimes the bathroom) with his aunts. He never lived with his grandfather and step grandmother.

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