Thursday, April 21, 2011

Poetess in the Family, Part Four.....Ruth Harvey Douglass

This is the last part of Ruth's story and poetry. I hope everyone has enjoyed reading of her family and walking with her as she wrote the poetry of her memories!
Leila Ruth Harvey Douglass

‘The Prize’

While walking in the hills one day along a hogback rise,
In glancing down, to my surprise,
lay a treasure to be prized.

With glinting side, serrated edge and needlepoint so fine,
I picked you up and held you tight.
For now you were mine!

Who made and fashioned you so fine?
And did you fall from beaded pouch
or shot from bow to kill a bird
With feathers prine?

Though many years have passed
since you were dropped that day
I’m still wondering who he was
that passed along that way.

Was he a chieftain of his tribe?
Or was he a renegade,
with buckskin clothes,
feathers in his hair and
painted for a paleface raid?

The wild wind blowing o’er the plains,
he rode his pinto where?
Fifty years have passed and gone
since I found you there.

With winter snows and summer rains
how long had you lay there?
To me, you are my treasure yet
and still no answer why or where.

And as I add you to my treasure store,
I guess your age…
Two hundred years or more.

Ruth Harvey Douglas


As I am dreaming and communing with my god
I think of friends I knew and those beneath the sod.
There are no tears, there are no regrets,
For I hold a bouquet of violets.

I dream of the hills of home and the house my father built,
I see my mother’s out stretched arms
Which beckon me tonight.
There are no tears, there are no regrets,
For I hold a bouquet of violets.

I dream of sisters with hair of brown and fair like driven snow.
They hold the hands of her who had the hair of gold.
There are no tears, there are no regrets,
For I hold a bouquet of violets.

I dream of brothers, straight and tall, who stand beside the throne
With radiance all around.
There are no tears, there are no regrets,
For I hold a bouquet of violets.

I hold the golden family chain; just two links are left,
For year by year each link has fallen away in death.
There are no tears, there are no regrets,
For I hold close to my heart the bouquet of violets.

Ruth Harvey Douglass, 1969

                                                 THE END 

Authors note: A niece of Ruth Douglass typed up “As I Remember” for her Aunt Ruth and later gave a copy to my mother-in-law, Kathleen Hopkins.  After reading the memoirs, Kathleen could see that there was genealogical value to the work, along with the sentimentality of it.  Kathleen contacted Ruth’s daughters Beth Dearinger and Polly DeGrazia to ask if she could make a few minor revisions and print the book using a computer. She then gave a copy of it to the Genealogy Department in the Laramie County Library in Cheyenne, Wyoming with the consent of Ruth’s daughters.  Mom retyped this work in the year 2011 to help me with this presentation of Ruth’s story and poetry.

 The steam tractor and engine that was mentioned in Ruth’s story, and owned by the Harvey family, threshed grain for many local farmers in the area and we have many pictures of the threshing machine with  all the Harvey family members standing on and near it. My husband’s grandfather, Earl Harvey, bought the steam machine from his brother Elmer and took it to the Slater Flats area where Earl had homesteaded.  Earl drilled many water wells for neighbors on the Slater Flats, Wyoming with that old steam engine. The old boiler from that original engine ended life in Wheatland, Wyoming and was used by the laundry department of the old Wheatland General Hospital. The rest of the original engine was sold as scrap metal when WW II started.
Harvey steam engine, Wyoming

Drilling a well with the steam rig, Wyoming

 Obituary of Leila Ruth Harvey Douglass, The Poetess

Ruth Harvey Douglass was born in Albia, Monroe County, Iowa on 29 September, 1894, and came as a child to Wyoming with her parents who homesteaded near Albin, Laramie County, Wyoming.  It was there she met and married Mark Miles Douglass.  During their lifetime they lived in several communities of Wyoming; Wheatland, Slater, Horse Creek and Chugwater  before  they moved  to Washington state  in the early 1940’s.

As a Wheatland resident, Mrs. Douglass served for years as Assistant Platte County Superintendent of Schools under Mrs. Cora A. Douglass, and also assisted in the Platte County Treasurer’s Office when needed.

While in the Slater area, Mrs. Douglass, her husband and daughter, Polly, lived on the property now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Jack McQuisten.  She was instrumental in the organization of the Slater Women’s Club in 1936 and served several years as President.

An avid collector or Indian artifacts she lost a valuable collection when the service station her husband was managing at Horse Creek burned to the ground.  It was then that they moved to Chugwater, Wyoming where they lived for several years before moving to Washington.

She was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star and belonged to the Wheatland and also to the Chugwater Chapters.

Ruth Harvey Douglass passed away on 26 Jun, 1973 in Seattle, Washington after an extended illness.

Our family feels so blessed to have these wonderful poems and writings of Ruth, which give us the insight into the lives of our ancestors which we would not have had without her prose and poetry. Her poetry brings so many beautiful memories to those who knew Ruth and for those of us in the family who never had the pleasure of knowing her-  she drew a beautiful picture for us to see in our minds and gave us a path to follow in the discovery of our beloved ancestors.

Thank you to Mom for the hours of work to help to bring this story to the page and again to her and Aunt Hazel for their genealogical work over many years which has helped us all to learn about our family gone before us.

A Poetess in the Family, Ruth Harvey Douglass- Part One: here
A Poetess in the Family, Ruth Harvey Douglass- Part Two: here
A Poetess in the Family, Ruth Harvey Douglass- Part Three: here

All stories, poetry and photographs in this series are owned and copyrighted © by the Harvey and Hopkins families and may not be reprinted without the permission of the family. Contact clchopkins[at]gmail[dot]com

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Trails of My Imagination

Welcome to Richard Ellis as a new Blogger!
"Trails of My Imagination" is the title of a new genealogy blog by my friend Richard Ellis. I invite you to check out his new blog and join in as a follower!

Dick has been doing genealogy for about ten years and since his retirement he has had more time over the last five years to devote to his passion. He is a Nebraska native who was a physical therapist for 51 years while he looked forward to more free time to follow the trails of his ancestors. At the present he is mostly working on his ELLIS and ADKINS  direct lineage. Dick is a regular attendee at our local Heritage Seekers Genealogy and History society and is always eager to learn more about genealogy and history and now he has joined the world of genealogy blogging to share his family history and hopefully to meet new family members who would like to welcome another "cousin" to their ranks.

Please stop by his new blog "Trails of My Imagination"  and welcome Richard Ellis to our world of genealogy and historical story telling! Here is the link to his blog.