John Swanson Yarbrough Archives HISTORY
Last Updated on Monday, 18-Jul-2005 18:55:21 MDTWilliam Clinton "Bill" Edwards and Cora Lea Filleman
Daddy Bill and Mama Coralea
By Beverly Hudson
Copyright © September 6, 2001
Before forgetting everything I know, I want to tell a little about these two!
Daddy Bill and Mama Coralea first set up housekeeping on the "Old Chitty Place" on the lower Blue River. This was off the Old Coronado Trail, near Freddy FRITZ's Triple XXX ranch, in Greenlee County, Arizona. To make their home prettier, Mama made paste from flour and water, and covered the walls with her flour sacks. She took me there and some of the walls were still covered, even after a lot of time had gone by. She told me about Daddy bringing her furniture, by wagon from Clifton, and that it took days of traveling to get it there. I believe it was the piano, and possibly her Singer, treadle sewing machine.
In 1936, the year I was born, they bought the N O Bar Ranch from Will LANEY. The difference in the two homes was like night and day. The N O Bar had a huge, house, built with foot thick stones, a formal dining room, separated from the living room by a beautiful French door, several large bedrooms, a great porch across the actual front of the house, a root cellar, with a large kitchen. Complete with a huge, wood burning cook stove. Daddy took care of the outside; cattle, fences, corrals, etc., while Mama had her garden, flowers, fruit trees, chickens, a mean red milk cow, and so on and so on. As of three years ago, 1999, the corrals were still standing! Daddy Bill built them. His horse shoeing equipment, forge, bellows and anvil were still in his shed, not as neatly as he had kept them, but there nonetheless. The trees had been cut down, the fence around the yard was gone, the only flower left was a Trumpet vine, and cattle were foraging right up to the house. It made my heart break to see this wonderful place brought to its knees by neglect. While Daddy and Mama had it, it was a joy to behold.
Daddy Bill was 6' 2" and a very good looking man. Mama Coralea was 5' 2", and as a young girl, she was beautiful. That was something I never realized until I found a picture of her taken when she was 17 years old. No wonder Daddy Bill fell in love with her. He called her "Wifey", which made her almost fighting mad, but didn't because she knew he was teasing. She talked about him to others, and called him Mr. EDWARDS. Rarely did I ever hear her call him Bill. Daddy was a gentleman, his hat was his badge of honor, his handshake was a commitment. When the cattle buyers came, that was the only contract they ever needed, and his cattle were always the best in the whole country.
He, his brother's -in-law, Howard and Joe FILLEMAN, along with Glenn, his son, both Harold's and anyone else that was there, helped with the Spring round-up. The branding was a hot, bloody, dirty, dusty time, yet filled with an excitement not found in our day and age. The cowboys and cowgirls, waited for the mountain oysters to be tossed in the branding fire, to cook and be eaten. The mounted roper, catching each calf, dragging it to the fire, where the boys would tie it, and whoever was the steady hand, would brand, dehorn, castrate, give shots, for black leg, all the things a rancher had to do to get his herd ready for the next round-up. This was in the Fall, this time to gather, cull, and sell the cows and steers. This was also the time Daddy picked out a steer to butcher, for the family's larder. That was a sight; cattle milling around, Daddy picking the one he wanted, he, up on horseback, aiming his rifle, dropping the beef, and never even disturbing the rest of the cattle. It never ceased to amaze me. My Uncle Glenn did the same when it was his turn. Back then, there was no electricity, so the quarters of beef were hung from hooks on the front porch. During the day, they were wrapped in heavy canvas tarps, and at night left open, to air.
Mama canned beef and salted beef in crocks, in order to keep it for her family to eat year round. She was the perfect helpmate for Daddy Bill. She made jellies, preserves, apple butter, mince meat for pies, canned vegetables from her garden, kept apples, carrots, and potatoes in the cellar in bins, tomatoes too, and pears. Besides butchering the beef, Daddy kept a couple of hogs to kill in the Fall also! Mama rendered the fat for lard, chitlings, had the rest cured, smoked, and we had ham and bacon. She made her own lye soap, using the fat from the hogs. They were pretty much self contained, needing only sugar, salt, flour, coffee, and a few other things from town.
"Casuse", owned the grocery store where they traded, and when the cattle sold, Daddy and Mama would go in and pay up the year's bill. Generally, they were given a bottle of wine to celebrate. This was drunk only on very, very special occasions. Like the day, running water was put in the house, or the generator was bought, and we had electricity, or maybe a special anniversary. Never just to have a glass of wine.
Mama made her own quilts, and they were, are, beautiful. Several of my daughters were blessed with one each. I tried talking Mama out of a red and white quilt she had made, and she told me that no one would get it. She spent a whole winter on it, each square was no larger than a square inch, and she told me she spent as much time crying over it as making it. Apparently, after so long a time, with only the little red and white squares to look at, she would get dizzy, and in turn, become frightened, so she would just sit and cry. She wouldn't let me have it, and I guess my Uncle Glenn got it at her death.
Daddy Bill was killed, as he and Harold Griffith were leaving the corrals, to check cattle and fences. His horse slipped and fell, taking Daddy with him. Daddy's head hit a rock, giving him a severe concussion. Harold came running to the house for Mama, and they got him to Morenci to the hospital. They made me stay at the house, and I never got to see him again. The 3rd day, the doctor told Mama Coralea that they thought he was doing better, so she, my Mom, Glenn and Irene, I think, came home and we were all so happy. The doctor lied, for Daddy died that night. For many years, I hated doctors, and over the years, have found very few worthy of my trust. When the time came for the funeral, once again, I was not allowed to go. They said I was too young. Gwen Simms kept me and some of the other kids at my Great Aunt Effie FILLEMAN MARTIN's house, on the high hill above the high school in Clifton. I stood on the porch and watched as the hearse drove out of town, with what seemed like thousands of cars, lights on, following slowly down the street. Quite a bit later, the hearse came back, and still cars were going to the cemetery. The Clifton Cemetery is between 5 and 12 miles out of town. My most vivid memory is that so many people had known and respected my Daddy Bill, and that this was the only way left to pay their respects and to honor him.
After Daddy Bill was killed, the family contacted the American Red Cross, who notified the US Navy. My Uncle Glenn was discharged, and came home. He was young, but tried very hard to fill Daddy's boots. He left for a time, and Mama hired a Mr. Smelley who worked for a while; then a Mr. Claude Tippets. Both were neat old gentlemen, but I think they tried courting Mama, and she wanted nothing to do with them. Glenn eventually made it back to the ranch, and things were almost like they had been before. Then Glenn married Virginia"Ginger" Willis, and Mama decided to let the young couple manage on their own. She had her son-in-law, Stan Wood of Tempe, build her a duplex near ASU, and she moved to the big city.
Mama was of the old school, as far as dress was concerned. She wore a corset, nylons, "stockings," bloomers, a slip and a dress, plus ugly granny shoes. This was every day, and, as at the ranch, she had her yard and flowers to care for. She rented one side of the duplex to four college students, and when she worked in her yard, bent over, it was a sight to behold!! I was with her that first summer, and was able to finally convince her that, because of the unbearable desert heat, and the fact that her modesty was being compromised, she ought to wear slacks or shorts. She took my advice, went to J.C.Penney's and bought a couple pairs of the most horrible, big, legged shorts and some slacks, which she always called britches. I think, that after that, she never bought another dress. When she was buried, she was wearing a pretty green pants suit.
Mama Coralea was a most wonderful, special lady, I am proud to have her blood running through me. Daddy Bill was a cowboy above all other cowboys. He was my hero, and every child, boy or girl, that ever dreamed of being a cowboy could have done no better than to have patterned themselves after him. My little brother, Clint Ford, my cousins, Harold Griffith, Jimmy and Spence Filleman, and myself were the lucky ones, for we knew him. Others did too, Mary Elizabeth, Harold Filleman, the Rutherford kids, but the first mentioned were the ones that spent weeks and months with them. We all spent as much time at their ranch, as we did at our parents homes. Being loved and watched over by Bill and Coralea Edwards was the greatest gift I ever was given, and I believe the others would probably agree. My grandparents saw trains, automobiles, airplanes, electricity, indoor plumbing, all the things we take for granted, come into being. Mama Coralea saw the space age happen; got to be charmed by James Garner as Brett Maverick on television; suffered the loss of an infant son, her husband, and her oldest daughter, my mom, Elsie Edwards Ford; hold my first grand son, Sharaf Nasser Al-Ghalibi, a fifth generation Arizonian in her arms; touch and make a difference in so very many lives.
I hope that any that take the time to read this know how truly honored I have always been to have been a part of this marvelous, glorious couple. Thank God for ancestors like Bill and Coralea Edwards.
Received from Beverley Hudson
Notes: William Clinton "Bill" Edwards is the son of Betty Ann Yarbrough and Thomas Clinton "Clint" Edwards
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