|Birth: ||Feb. 9, 1847|
|Death: ||Apr. 3, 1927|
This is the excerpt I wrote about Stephen and Mary Jane in the book I am writing about their descendants...
Stephen's tombstone says he was born in 1845, but his death certificate, 1847. As a young boy, Stephen brought food and supplies to his older brother who was fighting in the Civil War. When he married Mary Jane, they built a log cabin that was held together only by pegs. Their first stove was made of rocks and had an oven. This was unusual for the time and people came from all around to see how she could cook on it. While living in Jasper, five surviving children were born: Bettie Ann, Sarah Louise, Emma Parlee, Samuel LeRoy, and Lucy Adelina.
They moved from Jasper to Randolph County, Arkansas, in about 1878 or 1880. They lived in a tiny community known both as Water Valley and DeMun. Here, they built a bigger log cabin. Stephen farmed in Randolph County. Five surviving children were born at Water Valley: Mary Etta, William David, George Andrew, Nancy Caroline, and Rhoda Bellzora.
Stephen was called to preach the Gospel at a young age. He could not read or write, but his wife could. Mary Jane would read him passages from the Bible and he learned to read it. The Bible was the only thing he ever learned to read.
In January, 1901, their son-in-law Charles Grindstaff rented a train and moved his family, his wife's family, and his first wife's family to Center, Oklahoma. The train had many boxcars full of cattle, farm implements, and people. The families of their children, Bettie, Mary Etta, Voss (William), and Andrew, did not go to Oklahoma with them. They all eventually made it there, though.
Julius Lester Medlock wrote about the coming of the Dame family to Center, in his 1962 book When Swallows Fly Home: "About the last wave of migrations was the coming of the Dame family. It was late in coming––about 1907 if I remember rightly. They came from Emboden, Arkansas and they hit Center broadside. There was the family of Grandpa Dame who was a Freewill Baptist preacher. He was a good man and most of those of us old timers still living have heard him preach many sermons. Grandpa had a brother, Sam Dame and family who came, and then there were the J. W. Henry and the McElroy families, and I was about to forget the Charley Grindstaff family. We could hardly call the coming of the Dames a migration—it was more like an inundation, but they were good people."
Stephen bought a home and ten acres, upon coming to Center, where he lived the rest of his life. As each of his children married, he bought them a home so they all could live close-by. In Center, they farmed some, but Stephen was also a Free Will Baptist preacher at the local Center Church.
A man of great stature, Stephen stood 6'4" and was very slim. Mary Jane was a short woman, 5'2", and usually weighed around 100lbs. Stephen loved to whittle and would whittle anything his wife needed. But above all, he loved his family, especially his grandchildren. He would get on his porch, call out one of their names, and give them gum or a small trinket when they came running. Mary Jane loved to cook and was good at it! Some of her specialties included her bread, teacakes, and fried turnips. She always kept a big garden, where she grew onions, turnips, etc.
Her granddaughter Hazel wrote of one incident where she hatched five turkey eggs and raised the turkeys in her garden. Every night she'd turn a washtub over them to keep animals from eating them. When Mary Jane would work in her garden, the turkeys would follow her around. She had them all named and would often feed them a fresh onion from her garden. Stephen wanted to eat them, but Mary Jane told him she wouldn't let him eat her "pets."
In about 1922, their granddaughter Hazel moved in with them to help with the daily chores. She wrote about that time: (edited) "We lived close to Grandma and Grandpa - only a garden patch between our houses. I moved in with them when I was 11 years old and did the cooking, washing, cleaning, and went to school too. Their daughter, Aunt Lucy Dame, was blind since she was a small child so I had four of us to cook for. At that time, we had chickens, a cow to milk, and a wagon team of horses. Aunt Lucy could draw water out of the well for the cow and horses, and could get around the house okay."
Their grandson, John, told his daughter of them just before his death in January, 1982: "Grampa [Stephen] Dame use to stand out in his yard and yell out ‘Oh - John.' I can remember hearing him from my house, about an acre away. Mama would let me go to Grampa Dame's house and then he would give me a stick of ‘Oh - Boy' gum that he'd pull out of his pocket. Sometimes we would all sit together on the east side of his house in the shade. I remember him as being very tall, always wearing a black suit, and having a long white beard which was always tobacco stained. He was a Free Will Baptist preacher and a very popular man. When he died of old age, folks for miles around came to his funeral. Grama [Mary Jane] Dame broke down mentally when he died and was never the same again. She just lost touch with reality and never recovered. I remember her as looking like Aunt Rhody [Henry], only she had snow white hair."
Stephen caught pneumonia in late March, 1927, at age 80. He died of it on April 3, 1927 and was buried the next day. Their son Sam moved in awhile, but Mary Jane was never the same. Senility hit her and she went to live with her granddaughter Estell McIlroy Cox, who cared for her until she died on July 27, 1933. Her death certificate states that Mary Jane's cause of death was "emperhitis."
The obituary of Stephen Dame appeared in the Ada Evening News (Ada, OK), the day after his death. It read:
"Rev. S. A. Dame, aged 82, died Sunday at 1 o'clock at his home at Center. Funeral services were set for this afternoon. Internment in Center cemtery.
"Mr. Dame was a pioneer Freewill Baptist minister who had spent many years of his life in this country, doing his part in reclaiming it and making it a better place for later comers. He was highly respected by all who knew him."
He was preceeded in death by his parents William & Caroline Dame; siblings; three infant children; grandchildren Ivan Martin, George Martin, Robert Martin, William Martin, Marvin Martin, Birdie Grindstaff, Everett Dame, Warren Dame, & Velma Henry; and great-grandson Milton Grindstaff.
At his death, he was survived by his wife Mary Jane; brother Sam; daughters Bettie McIlroy, Sally Grindstaff, Emma Revell, Lucy Dame, Etta Huddleston, Fannie Henry, & Rhoda Henry; sons Sam, Voss, & Andy; forty-five grandchildren; and numerous great-grandchildren, nephews, nieces, & friends.
Mary Jane Dame Dame (1850 - 1933)*
Bettie Ann Dame Amos Martin McIlroy (1867 - 1942)*
Sarah Jane Dame Blansett Grindstaff (1869 - 1949)*
Emma Parlee Dame Revell (1870 - 1938)*
Samuel LeRoy Dame (1874 - 1932)*
Lucy Adelina Dame (1877 - 1948)*
Mary Etta "Etter" Dame Huddleston (1878 - 1962)*
William David "Voss" Dame (1881 - 1957)*
George Andrew Dame (1885 - 1965)*
Nancy Caroline "Fannie" Dame Henry McCloud (1888 - 1951)*
Rhoda Bellzora Dame Henry (1892 - 1981)*
Note: Gravestone says birth year is 1845, but his death certificate and other records prove 1847 as the true year.
Plot: Dame Family (near entrance)
Created by: Brandon
Record added: Jan 03, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial# 8237229