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Friday, August 29, 2014

Our Heritage, Homestead, Reunions, You and Your Kids.

In 1670, James Lotterell arrived at the ports of Virginia, establishing our family’s presence in America over 330 years ago, a hundred years before the official birth of our nation. Like many other families, our history is this country's history.

From the arrival of our immigrant ancestor as an indentured servant, to Colonial Virginia, to the frontiersman and settlers of Tennessee and Kentucky, to the depression era migration of many "Tennesseans" to Missouri and Texas as sharecroppers, to WWII, Korea, and Afghanistan. For over three hundred years, our history and America's history have made up what is known as "Americana". Littrell Road

The make-up of our families is just as representative as the "melting pot" quality of this country. We are descendants of Irish, Prussian, French-Norman, English, and German intermarriages from our earliest ancestors, and from our modern day marriages, our descendants are also going to posses Filipino, Hispanic, Scottish, African and Native American ancestries.

We are Methodist, Pentecost, Baptist, Catholic, non-denominational, agnostic, plenty of undecided and who knows what else? Republican, Libertarian, Democrat, conservative, liberal, and indifferent. "Salt of the Earth," and "High Faluten". "Good OLE Boys", "Country Bumpkins", and "City Boys". We have our "skeletons in the closet" and our "forthcoming and upright".

No matter which point of view you use, this family is as American as apple pie, and just like understanding what it is to be American is understanding its history, understanding who we are is knowing our heritage.

When considering the importance of knowing where our homestead is, it's not about being able to say it was here or it was over there. It is more about standing somewhere and knowing that where you are at now was not an easy place to be back then. That just to live and survive it took a spirit and toughness that you cannot always relate in words. 2002 Timmons Literal Reunion

When I was a kid and dad would start to tell us how, "HE used to walk 5 miles to school everyday in six feet of snow….uphill both ways" It was hard for us to listen without wondering 'so what'. But a few years ago when cousins Wynell, Dean, Jo, Gary, Cathy, and myself jumped in the back of Doc Urban's pick-up [because our cars couldn't handle the terrain] and started driving cross country to visit the Old Selena Cemetery where Timmons and Mary Catherine are buried, all of a sudden the idea of walking even half a mile through this terrain seemed significant. When you stop and look at an old slate wood shack and realize that your garage provides more protection for your car than this house did for a whole family, the modern use of the term "roughing it" looses it's meaning. When you stand in the field where Rhodom started, raised and buried his family and realize that even today the nearest neighbor or road is out of site and over rough terrain you have to wonder at the everyday will of these people. No shopping mall, no store for miles, no phone, TV or electricity, no emergency service, no place to "hang out", just a field, a cabin, a dirt path, and a beautifully clear freezing cold creek that was your bathtub, washtub, swimming hole, fishing hole, and drinking fountain. Without actually standing there and witnessing the beauty and toughness of this country, I do not think that any spoken or written words could convey to today's youth what it must have taken to just survive.

For these reason I believe that attending family reunions are the most special thing you can do with your children and grand children.

At every Littrell family reunion someone says, "That's a Littrell for you." Would your kids and grand kids know what that means? If they had attended some reunions, met your aunts, uncles, and cousins, they would, and they would know more about you, themselves, their heritage, and their country.

Everyday we hear more and more about the disintegration of the American family, decaying values, and kids who have an identity crisis. Well there was none of that at last year’s reunion!

Where you at last years reunion? Are you going to be at this year's reunion? I ask this question every year. Is your answer every year, No? Well, we miss you. Somebody asked about you and we did not know what to tell them. They wanted to know how your kids, grand-kids, brothers and sisters where doing. We did not know what to tell them and we did not want to worry them, so we just nodded our head and said everything was probably all right. Some of your cousins had a brand new baby or two and a couple of them got married; the family grows every year, we are not disintegrating. Some of your cousins were missing, some because they have gone on to a better place and some like you had better things to do.Glenn @ age 3

Glenn D. Littrell

PS. if you're worried that you won't know anyone at the reunion, relax they'll know you, I still can't remember everyone and no one has bit me yet.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Donie Ezell: born August 10, 1886

reposted from 2013

The daughter of John Ezell and Mary Belew. She was born August 10, 1886 in TN., Loretto. Donie was Kizzie’s first cousin, she was also the wife of James Carroll Littrell, the brother of Kizzie’s husband, John Daniel Littrell, making her also Kizzie’s sister-in-law, and Aunt to all of John & Kizzie’s children.

The following article is contributed by Ollie Onene Littrell Curtis, we believe it is from the "Sikeston" [Missouri] Daily
Standard and the date is circa 1981. Donie passed away October 30, 1981


95 year-old was a woman's libber even before it was fashionable

By Jill Bock, Daily Standard staff writer.

ASS- (6)Donie Littrell, who will turn 95 August 10, knows all about woman working at what is considered a man's job. She was a "liberated woman" long before Gloria Stienem was even out of diapers.

Donie, now a resident of the Sikeston Convalescent Center, grew up doing "men's work".  "I've done everything men done, I've done anything done in the field-- plowed, shucked corn, laid fences, everything," she recalled.

Those early days of hard work  began in Tennessee. In 1929, perhaps not the best time to pick to make a new start, she loaded up her eight children and with her husband came to Southeast Missouri.  "Times were so bad out there we couldn't make a living," Mrs. Littrell said. Her husband, James, who came to the Boothill earlier thought the land looked better for farming than in the hills of Tennessee.

By 1930, the family, working together, had made their first crop in New Madrid County north of LaForge. They continued farming there as tenants for 6 years. "We could have bought that farm $35 an acre," she remembered. "But we were afraid to stick our necks out."

Buford W LittrellLife in the 1930's rural Missouri was filled with many good times and some bad.  James was one of the first farmers in the area to switch from mules to a tractor. One day while using the new steel wheeled tractor, the youngest child, a boy, who was riding on it with his father, fell off and was killed.

The family enjoyed good times with the neighbors who would bring fiddles and banjos to the home and they would play and dance. Mrs Littrell acknowledged she used these times for a little matchmaking and her daughter later married one of the young men who came calling at their dances. Days were filled with quilt making, spinning, canning produce. Each of the children were appointed chores and when they were through, they had a pony to ride and school to attend.

Looking back, Mrs. Littrell commented, "Everything has changed. Especially the prices, They've gone out of site."  The first year me and my husband were married, he drove a team for $1.25 a day. I could go out and buy three cans of Salmon with twenty-five cents then."ASS- (5)

Also she recalled gathering berries on the farm and walking to the store where the proprietor would pay her ten cents a gallon. She would use the money to buy cloth at ten cents a yard.

The family later moved to New Madrid and the to Sikeston in 1947.

Four of her daughters are still in the area. Lorene, Clera, Auvine, and Rachel, live in Sikeston, and her oldest daughter, Vela now lives in Pensacola, Florida, and her son Arthur, lives in Austin, Texas.

"I think I raised a pretty good family. I appreciate everyone of them," she said about her six surviving children.

With 95 years of living behind her, Mrs. Littrell said, "It seemed to me like hard work and all, but I enjoyed it."


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