Thursday, June 26, 2014

Florence Eugene Walters (52 Ancestors, #23)

Florence Eugene Walters > Cecil Lloyd Walters > Charles Lloyd Walters

Back: Maude and Will
Middle: Florence Eugene, C. Lloyd, Stella May and Amy
Front: twins Verneille and Verdette
Florence Eugene Walters was the son of Freeman and Jennie (Baisley) Walters. He was born on May 14, 1862 in Rochelle, Illinois. By 1870, his family had moved to DeWitt, Clinton Co., Iowa. On April 26, 1888 he married Amy Phares in Clinton, DeWitt, Illinois. At the time of their marriage, Florence Eugene, (aka Eugene or Gene) was working as a locomotive fireman, but soon after the couple was married, Eugene began farming near Maroa, Illinois. 

Around 1907, Eugene, Amy and their six children moved near Holstein, Iowa. Eugene recorded that he earned $900 in 1914 while working the farm near Holstein. It may not sound like much, but considering the average income was less than $700, the family was probably doing alright. While Eugene had always rented his farm land in the past, when the family moved near Winterset, Iowa, he now purchased his farm. After just a few years, Eugene purchased the home (valued at $12000 in 1925) that would be his last, a farm in Lincoln Township, between Clear Lake and Mason City, Iowa. 
Home near Maroa, Illinois

On the morning of September 27, 1926, Eugene milked his 10 cows and upon returning to the house to rest on the couch, he suffered a heart attack and died shortly after. He is buried in the Clear Lake Cemetery.

In 1947, Eugene’s brother-in-law, William Marshall Phares, wrote a book about his family. He included the following description of Eugene:

“During his active years – and they never were otherwise – Gene was a man of extraordinary constitution and stamina. He probably scaled a little under the average in height, yet was built like an iron man and often performed physical feats that astonished. All of his life he engaged in the hardest sort of manual labor with little visible effort. He was extremely ambitious, working at difficult tasks early and late, and always proud of the finished job. His chief, and unselfish, aim was to provide his flock with the comforts of life.

“Though possessed of a fiery temperament, reflected in piercing brown eyes – almost black - that shone brightly in anger or in merry-making, he was one of the kindest of men. He would go to extremes to relieve the distress of another, whether friend or foe. He was known as a good neighbor and held the esteem of everybody in the various communities where he had lived. He was a great ‘tease’ and loved to have fun in his idle moments and when feeling well.”

Sources: Census records from; Robert Phares, Patriarch by William Marshal Phares; family records and recollections of Lillian Ransom Walters.

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