(Mary Pearl Hulse – about 1895. She would have been about 15 years old.)
Mary was born on October 12th of 1879 in Fort Collins, Colorado to Abijah M. and Mary Elizabeth (Harris) Hulse. She was the sixth of seven children and the only girl of the bunch. By the time Mary was born, her two oldest brothers were already grown and gone.
When Mary Pearl was only eight months old, the 1880 United States Federal Census was taken. Even though she was born in Colorado, the family was living on a farm near Monroe, Nebraska in Saline county. Her uncles, Joseph Hulse and Perry Hulse, both had farms nearby. I imagine a big family with lots of cousins running around, the women cooking meals in their houses, probably soddy’s, or sometimes on open fires in the yard while the men helped each other in the fields. Corn was a thriving crop in Nebraska in the 1880’s. I wonder if that was one of the Hulse men’s crops?
Whatever the case, by 1884 Mary’s family was in northeastern Oregon. Family stories relate that Mary was just a baby when her family traveled from Colorado to the Wallowa country in Oregon by covered wagon.
Mary was four when her youngest brother, Edgar Herbert Hulse, was born on the 30th of August. He was born in Enterprise, Oregon in Wallowa county.
Mary’s father died when she was sixteen years old. He had been taken to the asylum in Salem, Oregon where he died just two weeks later. I hope to find more information on what happened and why he was there. I believe by then Mary and her little brother, Edgar, were the only two children left at home. It must have been a hard time for the family. I have not been able to find a census record for them during this time.
On May 8th, 1899, when Mary Pearl was nineteen, she married Elijah “Lige” Daniel Weaver and went from being a farmer’s daughter to being a farmer’s wife. Lige was thirty three years old. Quite the age difference! The couple immediately went to live on Lige’s homestead in the Lower Valley outside of Wallowa where they lived until after Lige passed away. They raised dairy cows and a very large family, thirteen kids all told, including two sets of twins.
Just a little over a year after the couple married, they welcomed their first son, Ellis Leslie Weaver to the family. More children quickly followed, 10 boys and 3 girls.
- Ellis Leslie – born on June 3rd, 1900
- Edna Winifred – born on November 25th, 1902 (my own great-grandmother!)
- Ronald Jay – born on December 7th, 1904
- Blanche Violet – born on February 1st, 1907
- Wayne Robert – born on February 19th, 1909
- Lloyd Wallace “Chuck” – born on February 20th, 1911
- Wilbur Gregory – born on April 21st, 1913
- Kenneth Weldon – born on April 11th, 1915
- Selby Granville and Shelby – twins born on September 20th, 1917 (Shelby died as an infant)
- Leona “Myrtle” Marie – born on July 14th, 1919
- Martin Tucker “Doc” – twin of Marshall, born on October 20th, 1922
- Marshall Thomas – twin of Martin, born on October 20th, 1922
Several family members remember being told that Grandma Weaver actually carried three sets of twins but one set died at childbirth of shortly thereafter. I’m sure that is probably true, but because I can’t find anything solid about them, I haven’t put them on the list of children. If that story is correct, then there would have been 15 kids.
Mary Pearl always remained a small person with a tiny waist, even after all of those babies!
Lige and Mary’s oldest son, Ellis, had epilepsy. In that era, there was not any consistent treatment for this and many times, especially if a family was poor, it was recommended that the patient be placed in an institution. The family thought that this would be the best thing, that Ellis would get the help that he needed. Unfortunately this is not what happened, and this part may be hard to read but it is a part of our family’s history.
Ellis was taken to the asylum in Salem. In the institution the treatment for epilepsy was electric shock treatment. Without going into detail, suffice it to say that poor Ellis, at age 20, was admitted to an insane asylum for a seizure disorder and the treatment made him insane. It’s an incredibly sad and hard story. I cannot imagine what the family went through emotionally because of this. Ellis was never able to return home, living out the rest of his years, until the age of 37, in the institution. He passed away on December 25th, 1937 and is buried in the Wallowa Cemetery.
Lige passed away on the 3rd of March, 1928, leaving Mary Pearl a widow at the young age of 48 years. The boys stepped up and helped to keep the farm running.
When the depression hit, they could no longer hang on to the farm. Mary Pearl then moved to a small house in town where she lived for the rest of her life.
Some time later, her daughter, Myrtle and husband Francis Armon, were able to rent the old family homestead so the Weaver family was able to spend more time there. There is a pond on the property that is still known as Weaver Pond.
On the 1940 census, “Pearl” is sixty years old and working as a Practical Nurse for a private party.
My dad, Tom Sannar, remembers riding the train with his great-grandma several times. He says that during the war, when all the men were gone, Grandma Weaver liked to go places. Apparently she loved to shop in the dime stores and Dad remembers riding the train with her all the way from La Grande to Enterprise just to go shopping at the Five-and-Dime. He says that she was a “Gad-About”. 🙂
When the boys came back from the war, Martin, or “Doc” as we all knew him, was never the same. He was a very sweet and gentle soul and the war was too much for him. He was shell shocked, which is now called PTSD, but severe. He never came out of it. Even though his mind was no longer right, he was still a gentle soul. There was a time when he was taken to an institution, but that scared Mary to death because of what had happened to Ellis. She would not allow him to stay there and went and brought him home instead. I remember him at family reunions when I was a kid, sitting by himself, drinking his “near-beer”, and talking and giggling to himself.
My dad also told me about a time when his family had moved from the logging camp at Mount Emily into a house in La Grande. Grandma Weaver came to stay for a few days. They had a wood burning stove in the living room that, without thinking, his mom had thrown some old batteries into. Grandma Weaver was getting up in years and she walked fairly slow. She was coming along in front of the wood stove when those batteries exploded. She sure moved fast then!
Mary Pearl passed away on March 16th, 1955 in La Grande, Oregon. She was 75 years old.
Mary Pearl is buried in the cemetery in Wallowa, Oregon.
Now, I know that some of you remember her. Please share your memories of Grandma Weaver so that we can all know more about who she was. Thank you!
Memories of Mary Pearl
“My Sweet Grandmother..she was the only one I had since my Grandmother Boyd died before I was born..I spent many nights with her and in the same bed..she would be talking with me sharing life stories (how I wish I could hear them again)as I have forgotten most..and then..she was snoring..lol..she was a tiny little thing..short and spry..and didn’t sit still for long..one story I’ll always remember is the time she and I rode the bus to LaGrande..I had spent the night again..Mom had just bought me a new red coat..and as Grandma and I were walking out of her house to catch the bus a big dog came after me and grabbed the hem of my new coat and ripped it..she swung her purse and hit him hard..he never bothered us again..” ~ Janice Weaver McLaughlin
“I remembered her being left handed and how fast she could do things with her left hand. Being little I thought it really strange that she was using the wrong hand :)” ~ Lynda Weaver Mattson
“My mother shared some things about Grandma Weaver. She had a tiny waist.
Their house burned down and the family lived in a tent out Bear Creek for a time, if my memory is accurate. At some point during that time, my grandmother, Blanche, a widow & one of Mary Pearl’s daughters, had my mom, Wanda, live with Mary Pearl so Blanche could work in La Grande.” ~ Lorrie Goebel Wade
Memories of Elijah and Mary Pearls Children
“Kenneth was a fantastic carpenter. He was building a metal airplane at one point. Us kids would go out and sit in, pretending we were flying. He never finished that one but later he built a wooden plane. It was gorgeous when it was finished. He never flew it but sold it to someone who did.” ~ Tom Sannar
“Selby was my dad. He was a barber in LaGrande.” ~ Dawn Rogers
” I remember many family get togethers as a small child. All the music and so much fun. I think often of those times. I feel totally blessed to have been brought up around the complete Weaver Family. Those days are surely missed. I love it all and still have a deep feeling of closeness to all.” ~ Sherry Ireland