From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Grandparents, Harry Sees and Winnie Violet Eaton Sees

A 1920s wedding, some memories of my grandfather


My maternal grandparents, Harry Sees and Winnie Violet Eaton, were married in Gordon. Nebraska, in the spring of 1921. Here is a newspaper account of their wedding.

On Sunday, April 17th, at the home of the bride's parents occurred the marriage of Miss Winnie Violet Eaton and Mr. Harry Sees.

At five o'clock in the evening, this happy pair took their places opposite a west window in the living room, and there in the glow of the setting sun and in the presence of about twenty-seven friends, they joyfully took the vows that bound them into a life partnership. The beautiful double ring ceremony was impressively exercised by the Revernd J. M. Wingett of the M. E. Church.

The bride was charming in an exquisite gown of sky-blue silk taffeta and silk georgette, while the groom was appropriately dressed in a suit of blue serge. A delicious two course supper was served buffet style immediately following the ceremony.

The young couple departed for their new home in the country that night.

These young folks are well and favorably known in and around Gordon and need no introduction to the public. Mrs. Sees is the second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Marcus Eaton and has for the past three years been a successful and efficient teacher of the rural schools of the community. Mr. Sees is the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Sees and is a prosperous young farmer.

Mr. and Mrs. Harry Sees will be at home to their many friends on a farm northwest of Gordon where they will begin housekeeping at once.

Source: A photocopy my mother gave me of an undated newspaper clipping


Harry and Violet Sees, about 1921
Grandma Violet died when she was only 32. She fell ill with influenza, and when pneumonia set in, she died within a few days. In those days, there were no antibiotics or sulfur drugs to treat pneumonia -- just quinine. The date of Violet's death was May 6, 1931. My mother was only eight years old at the time. Later, Harry married Barbara Weber -- my Grandma Barb.

I have several clear memories of "Gramp Sees", as we called him. One time, he brought my brother and I each a little cap pistol when he came to visit. It could be loaded with a roll of cap paper so that when the trigger was pulled, it made a bang and a smoky smell. For some reason, I buried my little pistol beside a tree stump. That night, Gramp asked me where it was. When I told him, he got a flashlight, and we went outside and found it. It never did work well after that.

One time, I got in trouble with Gramp for playing in his granary.  I remember opening the door of the bin and climbing inside. The grain was cool and slippery, so I piled it on my legs. About that time, Gramp showed up. He got me right out of that bin. I suppose that he was afraid the pile of grain might slide and bury me. I think the grain was oats.

I remember Gramp loading a big gunny sack (burlap bag) of potatoes into the trunk of our car when we were heading home from a visit. He raised seed potatoes on his farm, and his potato cellar was big enough that a truck or tractor and wagon could back down into it.

Gramp passed away on May 1, 1956.  He lived only a few months after he was diagnosed with leukemia. He was 63 at the time of his death, and I was just five. At that time, hospitals were very strict about letting children visit. At the Gordon hospital, my brother and I were not allowed to go to his room. We went to his window and waved to him from the outside.

I visited Gordon, Nebraska and drove out to the Harry Sees farm, about ten years ago. Two doctors had bought the property, and one of them was living in the house. The house was still strong and solid, the doctor told me. The carpenters who remodeled it had said that my grandpa built it very well. The doctor said he wanted me to know that about my grandfather.

Harry Sees was born on November 22, 1893 at Wolbach, Nebraska. Winnie Violet Eaton was born  at Marshalltown, Iowa on April 17, 1899.

If you are my relative and you would like a copy of my grandparent's wedding photo, please let me know. I am planning to make some prints, and I would be glad to make a copy for you, too.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

That was very interesting, Gennie. You look like your grandma Sees. Sammie

Genevieve said...

It looks like Grandma Violet's eyes were light in color. I don't know if she had blue eyes, or if she had the hazel/green eyes that my mother had.

alta said...

I did not know your grandmothers first name was Winnie.

Genevieve said...

I think she was always called Violet.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.