Monday, January 9, 2012

Hattie Mai Shumate, 1881-1956

Harriette Mary (Hattie Mai) Shumate
abt 1881 - 1956
I came across a lovely letter written by Charles B. Kingry to Virginia Shumate Moran regarding the death and funeral of Hattie Mai Shumate.  Virginia was Hattie's cousin and Charles Kingry was Hattie's second husband. It's the kind of letter that genealogist love to find.  It's chatty, informative and a treasure trove of information about Hattie and her family. For instance, until I found the letter we didn't know her full name was Harriette Mary Shumate.  Census records only list her as Hattie.  We didn't know she had married once, let alone twice and we didn't know she had children.  We didn't know what she looked like and now we have several pictures of her and even one of her husband Charles.  So without further ado, here is the transcription of the letter and a few pictures.

Postmarked January 15, 1957
Denver Colorado

333 Ivanhoe St., Jan. 15
Dear Virginia and Family:
Thank you for you kind letter of sympthy (sic).  We were under the impression that Sittie (We haven't identified which person is Sittie but her name appears in several letters.)  would notify promptly all concerned in the Memphis are.
Page 1, Ltr from Charles Kingry
We bought and moved into a one-story English cottage type of house at he(sic) above address last Sept. 4th, to give Hattie Mai a change, after nearly four years of confinement to up-stairs, except when I took her down and up.  Here she could have the range of the house in her walker chair, as well as enjoying the screened back porch on warm days.  And she was refreshed and improved until about Nov. 1st, when the rheumatoid process began to involve her heart.  She suffered no great distress or discomfort, except some degree of nausea when we had to give her Digitalis.  Everything we thought possible was done to help her, but to no avail.  The morning of Nov. 20th her pulse was rapid, but regular, and I went to the office as late as I could, about 10:30, with no inkling that the situation was more critical.  I phoned about noon and Earlene, an excellent negro nurse and maid, said she had taken a little breakfast after I left and thought she was better.
Not long after that Hattie Mai called her, with her little bedside bell, and said "earlene let's change my gown and freshen up the bed".  As soon as that was finished, she patted Earlene on the cheek and said "you have been so good to me" and slumped over.  Earlene called me "Come quickly", and Harriette and Allison (These are Hattie Mai's two children from her first marriage to a man with the last name of Tyler.  Allison is a boy.) and Martha Belle (Martha Belle Shumate Baum is her sister and has a story of her own.  We are still trying to find out when she passed away and where.), and I called her Doctor (Buchanan).  We all got here at about the same time (15 minutes or so), but it was too late.
Hattie Mai Shumate and
Charles Bowdon Kingry
I feel she was ready to go, and that God saw fit to terminate the course of her disability and take her to Heaven where she could be healed.
She was beautiful in her favorite dress, a powder blue lace, with pearl beads necklace and ear rings and a white orchid, and her hair-do was just perfect.  We invited about fifty close friends and twelve honorary pall bearers (mostly Doctors).  An eloquently beautiful and most comforting Service.  "Life is eternal. There is no death of the Divine Spirit. No beginning. No end, insofar as real values are concerned."  We asked that no flowers be sent, but in lieu thereof, that donations could be sent to the Arthritis and Rheumatism Foundation, Colo. National Bank Bldg., as a memorial to her.  But, many beautiful flowers were sent.  We placed and arrangement of many red roses (her favorite Happiness rose, something like American Beauty) at either end of the casket, and a blanket of 120 such rosebuds and Lilies of the Valley.
After a brief service at the Chapel in beautiful Fairmount Cemetery, with just the family, her mortal remains were cremated, and the following Saturday afternoon we had a sweet, but brief interment of her remains in a beautiful bronze Grecian urn, placed in a family niche, with glass front and bronze frame and fittings, the floor of the niche draped in her favorite bright red velvet.  She did not want her date of birth or age stated in any of the records, bless her proud soul, -- so the old English style of engraving on the urn
Died Nov. 20, 1956
Wife of Dr. Chas. B. Kingry
Mother of Harriette and Allison Tyler

I go to the Mausoleum -- a large beautiful Greek Temple on a gently hill overlooking the Cemetery and toward the Rocky Mountains -- Beautiful White marble interior -- Sundays after Church, and replace the flowers, usually red carnations, and commune with her "Blithe Spirit" which has always been my conception of her, and especially sice she has been released from the cares, suffering and disability of this earthly existence.
We have sold the other house, just recently, and have this house up for sale.  Don't know just what living arrangements I shall make, apartment, at the Club or something -- It doesn't see so important now.
Page 2, Ltr from Charles Kingry
Allisin spends part of the time with me, lunch, dinner, and occasionally sleeps here.  Has his own little house.  He is in the Real Estate business and is managing the sale of the houses.
Harriette divorced Albert Crumbaugh after a long and unsuccessful effort to make a success of their marriage.  Had adopted Dorris, (9), and Charles Michael, (5), now, I mean.  Both wonderful children.  She married James Samuel Gutshall last June.  They are very happy.  He and his brother own a good Tent & Awning business here.
My work keeps me busy, and I try to seize whatever opportunities the Lord reveals to me to be of service to those who need it, over and above purely medical matters.
Macki (Macki is her sister Frances McLean Shumate MacPherson) was here with us for the Services.  She owns a nice little home in a very scenic location in Banning, Calif., and has enough from Gov't. Insurance and Pension to live on.
Martha Belle has a apartment and has one of her widow friends to share it with her.  Address 1225 E. 9th Ave., Apt. 10.
Hattie Mai loved you, in return, and great respect for you and Louise and Maybell.
She was the greatest person I ever knew -- the main works in this organization, Kingry & Co., and all I could possibly be and do were far less than she deserved.  My loss of her physical presence is difficult to bear, but I am resigned to God's will in terminating her illness and disability before it became too much for her to tolerate cheerfully and bravely.  She never gave up.  Her Bible marker, I find, was at the 3rd chapter of The Acts.
Hattie Mai Shumate
The organ music at the Mortuary Service was the instrumental for the Hymns "Just As I am Without One Plea" and "In the Cross of Christ I Glory"
I am enclosing some color prints which show how we looked in our home before she began to have the disabling effects of arthritis.  I would like you to keep whichever one of her you like best and return the others.  She means so much to me that I want all who lover her to know of her as she was, and to have some picture or memento of her.
I do hope to have the pleasure of seeing and getting to know you and all your fine family, and you certainly have my cordial invitation to visit us here if you ever come this way.

You probably remember Annie Laura (Pretty) Campbell of Dyersburg.  She has lived here for years.  Lost her husband, John, a year ago.  She and Hattie Mai were great friends and she was very kind and attentive during her illness, and has been a great help during these trying times.
Bertha Minning of Dyersburg (Mrs. Nat Green, 4350 Middlesex, San Diego, Calif.) kept in touch with Hattie Mai in recent years.  She lost her husband several months ago.
Harriette and Allison send their love.  She appreciated your letter greatly and will write you soon.  Her address is 2300 Poplar St.
Page 3, Ltr from Charles Kingry
Memorial pamphlet from Hattie Mai Shumate Kingry's funeral.
Hattie Mai, of course, told me much about her childhood and early life down there, and I had the great privilege of know Mr. and Mrs. Shumate (Quincy Shumate and Louise Elizabeth McLean were her parents).  They were great people.  One of my fondest memories is of a visit I had with them in Milltown, in their declining years.  On a trip to Alabama to see some of my family, in 1934, I believe, I stopped off in Lewisburg on the way back and went out to see them for a day.  We went up to Harvey's and had a visit with him and Sister Hattie, who was visiting him at the time, and we had an interesting time going over some of teh McLean family history and lore.  Hattie Mai had the Clan history and pictures of the old Castle of Duarte, on the Island of Mull, off the west coast of Scotland, together with pictures of the then Chief, Sir Fitzroy.  These were taken by one of her friends who visited the Castle and had tea with the old Chief, and she proudly displayed Coat of Arms in the entrance hall of our homes, and it is there now in this present house.  An aristocrat in spirit and manner and deeds, but never lacking in love and human kindness to the lowliest in birth and fortune, was she, oved and respected by all who knew her.
Chas. Kingry

No comments:

Post a Comment