I want to tell a story of real love.
The year was 1910 in a small West Virginia town named Webster Springs. Rosa Jane Howell
and her cousins had went into town shopping. There was a man with Black wavey hair and sky
blue eyes. He wore a thin black mustache and was he dashing!
Rosa was just 15. She had been orphaned at the age of three, her cousin which was a
minister raised her. This was cousin Gillis.
Rosa couldn't help but notice this dashing man watching her. He eventually came over to
meet Rosa. The sky blue eyes looked at the handsome young woman that was at least 6' tall.
Her dark auburn hair and dark blue gray eyes complemented her full young figure.
The handsome stranger introduced himself as Russell Sage Williams from the Williams clan
of Braxton County, West Virginia. Russell asked permission to court this lovely young
lady. Even though Rosa was 3 to 4 inches taller than Russell, her beauty was exquisite.
Russell went and asked Cousin Gillis for permission to court Rosa. The year's courtship
ended in marriage on 25th Dec 1911.
Russell was 9 years her senior but that didn't matter. The couple had a baby girl but died
when 2 weeks old.
1913 Kenneth was born to the Williams. Then in 1915, Virginia Lee was born. Rosa's dear
cousins the Fishers had moved to Ft. Supply Oklahoma. The were writing Rosa telling her of
the plains. The farming is wonderful here and one can become very successful out here.
Russell and Rosa talked about this. Russell said,"Rose your family has been here
since the plantation order of King James, nearly 300 years, mine has been here since the
uprising of 1715, almost 200 years. Let's go explore the wild frontier!
In 1916, Russell, Rosa, Kenneth and Virginia hopped on a covered wagon and headed west.
They made it to Fort Supply in 1917 to visit the Fisher cousins. Russell wanted to go to
Colorado where Arthur was born. By 1918, The Williams had settled in the Panhandle of
The trip was told to me by the memories of Ken and Virg. Ken was 3 years old and could
remember the buffalo and the golden grasses of the high plains.
The area that they had settled in was later labeled The Dust Bowl. The century before had
some terrible tornadoes that uprooted every tree. The land was more a desert than
Russell built an old two story farm house for his growing family. Russell had also
discovered he had a talent for growing wheat and milo. Next born was Burton, Rondal and
They weren't rich with monetary items but with love. For this was the time of the Great
depression. Every family in the vicinity would meet at the Combs barn every Saturday night
for a barn dance and some home made brew. Russell and Rosa would dance to the old reels
that were handed down from their scottish grandparents.
Rosa loved her flower gardens. Her favorite flower was the purple Iris. Roses came in
second. Russell always made sure that Rosa had her garden and her many books.
Rosa was the local writer for the newspaper. She loved to read and write. She never did
drive. Saturday mornings, Russell would take Rosa into the larger town of Liberal, KS to
do her weekly shopping.
During the great depression, Rosa operated a small country store. There was a pack of
gypsies that came through. They were camping outside of the store. Russell was afraid that
the gypsies would try to harm Rosa and the two smaller children who were Jean and Opal. He
gave her a very large hog leg pistol. All Rosa had to do was put it up on the counter. She
never had any confrontations.
A few years later Robert was born in 31. Then the baby of the family was born in 37. This
was my mother Lurose.
Things had gotten much easier going into WWII therefore Bobby and Lu had an easier up
bringing than the elder siblings.
Russell was a very hard working man. He was also a typical conservative that saved all
those years. One would have thought him to be just a poor farmer.
1943, Russell moved Rosa and the two children into Liberal so he could tear down the Old
Two story and build Rosa a single story house. Rose was going blind and Russell wanted to
make things as easy for her as he could.
The new house was built in 1945. They all moved back to the farm in Beaver County
Things took a turn for the worst, in 1953, Russell became ill. Rosa was completely blind.
They still had young Lurose at home. She was 15.
Russell had his live time savings so her purchased 6 houses almost an entire block of
homes. These homes were given to his children that remained in the area.
1955, my mother Lurose got married to my father Robert Holley. Granddaddy Russell gave
them a 2 bedroom cottage to start their life off.
Granddaddy was getting sicker yet he kept the house clean, did all the cooking and made
sure Rosa had her flower gardens.
I was born in 62. I was very fortunate for I was his pride and joy. Granddaddy and Granny
baby-sit me every day while my parents worked.
I remember three very important occasions. The first was when two boys were in the flower
garden stealing Granny's flowers. Granddaddy caught them and actually threw bricks at
them. He got one right in the middle of the back of the head. He tole them, "You
leave my Rosa's flowers alone!"
was his pancakes and homemade sugar syrup. The third was the most important one, he was
very ill by this time and had to rest often.
I crawled up on the bed, took his head in my lap, playing
with his hair he told me, "Kelly you have the Ochiltree spirit, always remember that
you are scottish and you are a royal scot."
Granddaddy was diagnosed with leukemia and refused to spend the remainder of his life
savings to treat it. He told my mother and father to take care of Rosa. His love!!!
Russell passed away in Dec. 1965. Granny passed away in 1967. Their love was a real love
that lasted beyond this life time.....
a southern belled....Kelly d.