Uncle Charley Dingess

Submitted by Bobbie Henthorn Spiers

This is the story of Charley & Nora Farmer Dingess. Charley was my great uncle and they resided in Shively.

This is a story written by the niece of Charley Dingess. Charley married Nora Farmer in January of 1910. This is a sad story about the end of Nora’s life. The little girl Nora that is mentioned grew up and married Jessie St. Clair of Shively. She died in 2014.

Uncle Charlie

My father’s brother, Charlie, bought the joining farm. He was newly married to Nora Farmer. The farm had a house already built on it. He and my father were very close, so they worked together in their undertakings.

Charley Dingess and wife, Nora Farmer

Charley Dingess and wife, Nora Farmer

One morning on Uncle Charlie’s usual trip to the big barn to feed and attend the horses and mules. I heard him tell my Mother. Aunt Nora wasn’t feeling well and would she go by to see her. Aunt Nora worsened. The doctor came from Logan to see her. He explained about her failing kidneys. A baby girl was born too soon. She was so small no one expected her to live. She was wrapped in cotton and wool blankets, carried over two hills to Uncle Will and Aunt Elsie’s house on Buck Fork. Aunt Elsie had a new baby, so she took the tiny baby (named Nora) to nurse and care for with her new baby girl. Uncle Charlie had told us such a story when their first child a boy, was born. How he had to wrestle with the stork to get the baby, and even showed us feathers in front of the house the stork had left.

I wondered why he had no big tale to tell again. He looked sad, hardly spoke or smiled. Mama spent most of the time with them, helping and praying. The day gone, long evening shadows and night time. The snow was falling slowly and intermittently while we children slept a long night, never to be forgotten by the loved ones who cared.

Dawn came again. Children played. Cows came as usual to the gap. The dogs barked. The chickens left their roost in search of food. People passed by. The mail carrier made his trip as usual. The steam in front of the house hurried along. With easy rhythm it moved from curve to curve, back to the place from whence it came.

God’s time doesn’t stop. His timetable is set.

Aunt Nora was laid to rest and sleeps in the same mound with Dell.

After Aunt Nora’s death, Uncle Charlie closed his house. Brought his two older children, Nancy and Harve, to live with us. With so many children in one house, many problems had to be solved. There was hardly room around the large table. Some had to eat standing. Standing was never too bad. After all, the big table was always well supplied by our good cook Mae. The care we gave the children was amply returned by hard work and a place filled when my father was ill. Uncle Charlie was a tower of strength to all who knew him.

After perhaps a year had passed since Aunt Nora’s death, from time to time I would hear the old folks talk of Uncle Charlie’s plan to visit old man Jack Robinson’s home. He had an older daughter who had not been taken, and she just might please Uncle Charlie.

Time went on. Nothing else said, but this one Sunday morning I thought might be a special day as Uncle Charlie put on his best clothes and carefully combed his new haircut. He said not a word to anyone, but late Sunday evening (like Mama said), down the narrow mountain road with slow steps came Uncle Charlie, his new wife behind him.

Harriet was to us some very needed sunshine. She took Uncle Charlie’s little ones to his long closed and neglected farmhouse.

Life and respect began. The stork visited again. The vegetable garden grew. The chicken house was noisy again and the corn grew taller. His wife cared for his two children as her own. However, they died in early youth. The tiny one stayed with Uncle Will and his family. She grew up a nice lady, married and is living yet. Her name is Nora St. Clair.

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One Response to Uncle Charley Dingess

  1. Vee says:

    Sad indeed! Life was tough…and sometimes, now, can be just as tough when we lose loved ones.