Mother’s Mother

Amanda Elizabeth (Hale) Donald

Before her second child was old enough to go to college, Amanda Elizabeth (Hale) Donald passed from this life to the next.  She had three little ones younger than my mother.  I used to wonder just how old she was and what finally caused her early death, but Mother only remembered that she got a terrible cold (possibly the influenza) when they moved into a house that had a telephone.  Mother thought the phone might have had germs on it from the former occupant.  Only recently, I was able to obtain a death certificate, which detailed the cause of death as tuberculosis.  Apparently Mother never knew that.

Early death explains the dark brown hair you see in this photo.  It was not a dye-job.  So what was her life story?  Was tuberculosis the only factor in her early departure?

I know my grandmother grew up, married and died in a small Texas town called Colorado City.  I tried to research what that place might have been like in her day, but could only find a modern-day update similar to a Chamber of Commerce report.  The photo you see below was taken after the last census, but there was no history of the small Texas town that I could find.  About all I know came from succinct accounts Mother gave as I was growing up.  She did not talk about her home life very often.


I also know my grandmother and her children were incredibly poor—especially after the father left the family for the last time.   Back in those days there were neither forced alimony payments nor monthly child support payments, so trying to take care of herself and her children must have been difficult.

I know grandmother tried to earn money by sewing—mostly hand sewing or embroidery because she had no machine. Mother described the dust caps women used to wear and how ordinary women made their own plain ones because they could not afford to have them made. By watching her Mother’s work, my mother also learned to do the beautiful handwork and embroidery too.

From discussions I had with Mother over the years, I know some details about her mother’s marriage and what happened to the five children.

Several years after my mother passed away, I was able to locate and contact her two younger sisters, both of whom were well over ninety–one 92 and the other 96.  Mother’s younger sister had many horror stories to tell about her life with her adopted family.  She related how her “father” had tried to sexually abuse her when she was a teen, and how she was able to run away for help.  She complained that nobody believed ‘children’s tales” and so there was never a prosecution.  The trauma and fear of abuse haunted her memories and kept her from ever marrying.  Poor little girl—poor woman.  Poor mother who had to give her child away!

Being Storng

4 thoughts on “Mother’s Mother

    1. What is truly amazing to me is that my mother never talked much about her real poverty. She never told me they had to live in a tent one whole year and nearly froze to death. She did tell me she was an “innovative” little girl and when her mother asked her to wash dishes one day while she took a buggy to town, she not only washed the dishes, but also washed her hair in the rinse water. I suppose she had to pump and carry water is what made her think the double use of the rinse water was an economic thing and so never considered the sanitation aspect. She said she was not able to understand why her mother was not pleased. LOL


    2. Martha, it is sad, but the part that cheers me is knowing how she lived before her Father in Heaven. She made one mistake in marrying a man who wandered, but she did not make two by remarrying. I believe she may have had a right to remarry, but she did not think so. Therefore to keep her conscience clean, she lived as a single mother until her tragic death.


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