The Easterwoods at Russett
By Wayne Easterwood
The Leslie Ward “Boss” Easterwood family moved to Russett in 1933. At that time the family consisted of Boss, Carrie (Harvey) Easterwood, Lowell, and Dale. Carrie’s Brother, Leonard “Doc” Harvey was instrumental in getting Boss to come to Russett. He was working for Fred Chapman and Mr. Chapman asked him if he knew of a person who could blacksmith, and work with metal, and was mechanically minded. Doc told Mr. Chapman that he knew a person but he would not come to Russett. Mr. Chapmen said let me visit with him and we’ll see. The result of that meeting was Boss & family moved to Russett.
Lowell was school age right after they moved, but he had a hard time wanting to go to school. Most houses in that day and time were set up on blocks and had a crawl space under them. Well, Lowell didn’t want to go to school so he would crawl under the house so his mom could not reach him. She would have to go over to her Brother Doc’s House and have him come to get Lowell out and take him to school.
A 3rd child was added to the family; Wayne was born in July 1935. The house they lived in was one block East of the Baptist church. Some time later they moved down to the house just north of the school grounds, where Mr. Chapman’s headquarters was located. There was a blacksmith shop right at the house and other buildings that were used to keep the equipment going. A railroad boxcar was used to keep the oil for the tractors and store other items. There were several boxcars that Mr. Chapman had moved in to use as storage buildings. On the other side of these buildings was a shed where the mechanics worked on equipment.
Boss spent a lot of his time there at the blacksmith shop. At that time most of the farming was done with mules. He would get the men started in the morning and see that the farming was done. Wayne’s memory is weak on how and when the farming changed from mules to tractors. There was always something going on around the headquarters.
During the middle to late ‘30s the Easterwood’s house furnished shelter for several people other than the immediate family. Ginger Jones Gordon related to Wayne that Cleo and Charlie lived with the Easterwoods right after Mr. Richards died before she married Warren Jones. Carrie’s sisters Lorene & Marie lived with the family and went to school at Russett for a short time. But the one Wayne remembers most was his mother’s brother Rowe Harvey. He lived there for 4 years, and went to school at Russett and graduated in 1940. After Carrie’s Mother died her Father (Lester “Pop” Harvey) lived with them. He was very supportive of the school and came to a lot of ball games.
As you can imagine, living right next to the schoolyard and Dale & Wayne not in school yet, they spent a lot of their time on the school grounds playing with the school kids. There was not much going on that they were not in the mix.
Between the blacksmith shop and the other buildings and behind the boxcar was a junk pile. Well Wayne played in there a lot and jumping around stepped on a rusty nail. The foot got infected and was being treated. During that time Mother, Dale, Wayne, and some others went to California. Boss and Lowell stayed at home to keep things going. Wayne’s foot was getting bad and he was using crutches to walk, and while they were in California his foot had to be operated on. But if you knew Wayne in those years you know that didn’t slow him down. He was always getting to the car first to save a seat for Dale, next to their Mom. He would pat the seat and say this is Dale’s seat.
A little while after Wayne started to school, the family moved down under the hill east of the Jones place (The Headquarters House as Ginger called it). She didn’t mention the Round House that some of the bachelor cowboys stayed in. There were no cooking facilities in the quarters and Mrs. Dake cooked for them and then Cleo Jones cooked for them. After Warren, Cleo and Ginger had moved to Ardmore, Mr. Adams and Mr. Autry then living in the Round House, would come down to the Easterwood’s house for their meals, Carrie cooked for them.
By this time the Easterwood family increased with another boy, Richard, in 1942.
Most of you knew that Mr. Chapman walked with a limp and used a cane. Well that was the result of an accident that he and Boss had in a pickup west of Wapanucka on Hwy 7. They ran off the road and struck a culvert. Boss was driving and Mr. Chapman’s knee hit the dashboard. That was all that was told for many years, but recent knowledge tells “THE REST OF THE STORY”. The trip that they were on was to a farm sale, and at the sale Mr. Chapman bought a mule. The problem was the pickup they were in did not have sideboards to haul the mule. So being Fred A. Chapman and Boss Easterwood they attempted to tie the mule in the truck with ropes and strap him so he couldn’t get out. WELL on the way down the road the mule decided he wanted out so he started climbing over the cab and caused the pickup to run off the road. A man from Madill was the first one to come by after it happened and Mr. Chapman swore him and Boss to secrecy. Because he knew that Mrs. Chapman would be on his case if the truth were known.
Boss and Carrie both served on the School Board. If your parent is on the school board, (as most will testify) you had better be a model student because if you get into trouble you would get a double whammy. Carrie was very active in the Home Demonstration Club. The women would do a lot of projects for the community. (Look elsewhere on website for more on the HDC.)
All four of the Easterwood’s spent all 12 years of their schooling at Russett and all were valedictorians of their graduating class. All were active in sports and community activities, like 4-H Club. Elsewhere in the website are pictures of the stock shows at Russett. Lowell had two years at Murray College and spent one year at Oklahoma A&M before getting married and going to work in the oil field. Dale, Wayne, and Richard spent all four years at Oklahoma A&M/Oklahoma State University and each received a BS in Mechanical Engineering. All three were registered Professional Engineers in the state of Oklahoma or Texas.
All the members of the family were active in the Baptist Church. Boss became a member in 1951 and was elected Deacon. Serving until his health failed. Now Wayne is a Deacon at Russett Baptist Church. All four boys have served their respective churches as Deacons.
Boss & Carrie are both deceased. Boss in 1993, and Carrie in 1994.
Lowell: Married Annabel Burris of Tishomingo, They had 2 children (1 girl & 1 boy).
Lowell has a Delivery service in Houston, Texas and doing well. His son is helping him run the business.
Dale: Married Elizabeth Presley of Rolla, Kansas. They had 3 children (2 girls & 1 boy). Dale is now deceased. His obit is elsewhere on the website.
Wayne: Married Aline Codeen Looney (Russett grad). They had 2 children (1girl & 1 boy). They are retired and moved back to Russett. They are running a Quilting Shop from their home at Russett. Keeping busy and meeting a lot of people.
Richard: Married Jane Emrie of Liberal, Kansas. They had 2 children (1 boy & 1 girl) they live in Houston, Texas. Richard works for an energy company and is expected to retire in a year or two.
Dale and Wayne were only two years apart in age and when they were kids there were some awful scuffles between the two brothers. Lowell was enough older that they neither challenged him much, and Richard – well I was just “tail end Charlie” who was easy to put up to mischief. I can remember their fights, which would start in the living room and escalate as they were “encouraged” (with a broom) by Mom through the house and out the back door still going at each other and told in no uncertain terms to stay out until they knew how to behave. I looked up to them (they were all so big from my perspective. They started letting me drive a tractor when I was 6. Mom never knew the half of it.