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 Bertha Newell <I>Thompson</I> Roach

Bertha Newell Thompson Roach

Death 18 Dec 2004
Burial Panama City, Bay County, Florida, USA
Memorial ID 30995970 · View Source
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She is survived by her husband of 61 years, Ernest E. Roach of Southport, Fla.; two daughters, Mona Hura of Gulf Breeze, Fla., and Lora White and her husband, Dennis, of Southport; five granddaughters, Kelly Vaughan of Gulf Breeze, Tiffany D'Alemberte and Samantha Burmeister of Pensacola, Suzie White of Southport, and Diana Crawford of Huntsville; four grandsons, Kerry Vaughan of Arab, Jason White of Southport, Scott White and Bobby White of Huntsville; and several great-grandchildren.

Mom wrote the following in 2001:

I was born January 12, 1920 at a home on a farm 2 miles NE of Decatur, Newton County, MS. I was told that there was one foot of snow on the ground at the time. My father was a brick mason and carpenter.
I was the youngest of four children, 2 sisters and a brother. My mother's parents migrated from Elbert County, GA and homesteaded 60 acres. My fathers parent's migrated from SC. My grandfather Barrett, fought in the Civil War and lost an eye. Sherman's Army marched through that area on their march to Atlanta and the sea.
Our home was a two story farm house with three bedrooms and three fireplaces for heat in the winter. It was unpainted outside and inside. One bedroom had wallpaper. There were no closets or bathroom, no running water or electricity for lights. Cooking was done on a wood burning stove. People built a shelf in the window that stuck out the side of the house and covered it with a screen and put food out there. We didn't have ice. We drew water from the well in a tub and put the milk in the water. When they pumped the water in the tub it would be about 70 degrees. We used Kerosene lamps for light. It was an every afternoon ritual to clean the lamp chimneys and fill them with kerosene to have light for the night. Finally, when I was sixteen years old, REA (Rural Electric Association) brought electricity through the area. Each homeowner had to put up poles for electric lines to come across their property. The first electric appliance we got was an electric iron.
We were real poor, but so was everyone else. We had no radio. We did have a newspaper, but it was delivered by the mail carrier the next day .
We received lots of magazines. Salesmen accepted molasses, potatoes, chickens and other farm produce for subscriptions.
I learned to read at the early age of four and have always been an avid reader. When I first started to school, we had to walk the first two years and then the school bus started and picked up all the kids who lived two or more miles from school, which included us. In early school days, boys and girls did not play together, boys played on one side of the school and girls on the other. In the classroom, we sat where we wanted to. It was a meager curriculum. There was no library. I always made the honor roll and was first in line in a spelling bee. School books were handed down from older siblings. The first book I ever owned, "Black Beauty", was a gift from my third grade teacher. It was a cherished possession, read over and over.
A lot happened when I was in the third grade. On the last day of school before Christmas, we got there and the school was burning. We finished the year in the churches. A new school, much nicer was built back on the spot. It had indoor toilets rather than the outdoor outhouses of the old school. It also had a lunchroom but all that was served was a bowl of soup and a glass of milk and occasionally peanut butter and cracker and a piece of fruit.
At a picnic that year I drank my first soda pop, an orange crush, warm from the bottle, no ice chest then.
Mama made most of my clothes. My shoes were high top, lace up, one brown and one black pair each year. We didn't have blankets for the beds, only quilts.
During school holidays, we quilted. Lots of time the neighbor women came in to help.
I didn't have a doll. Paper dolls cut from Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward catalogues were my play things.
In the summers, water in washtubs was put in the sun to warm up for bathing. In the winter, water was heated on the kitchen stove and fireplace.
For washing clothes, they were boiled in a wash pot outside, and when dry were ironed with an iron heated on the cook stove before we got electricity.
We always had plenty to eat, beef and pork raised on the farm. We also had a large garden and canned lots of vegetables. We dried lots of apples and peaches. For breakfast, we had oatmeal, rice or corn meal mush. I was ten years old before I ate any dry cereal or saw a movie. We were visiting relatives and an uncle carried us to a movie. It was cowboy Tom Mix.
Lots has happened in my lifetime; Women got the right to vote in 1920. The first presidential election that I voted in was for FDR, Charles Lindberg made his solo flight. There was the great depression, when all the banks failed and the Stock Market bottomed out. There was World War II, Korean and Viet Nam Wars, Desert Storm and Bosnia. TV's, Calculators and computers came into being.
Thankfully we were pretty healthy. We all had the childhood diseases, measles, chicken pox, whooping cough and mumps. There were no vaccinations available then.
This is just a portion of what I have lived through these 81 years.

Daughter of John Everett Thompson and Ione Louise Barrett.

Maternal Grandparents: William Henry Barrett and Louanah E. Rowzee.

Paternal Grandparents: William Daniel Thompson and Susan Harriet Newell Chapman.

Sister of Albert, Mary Lou and Emma Mae Thompson.

Family Members

  • Created by: Mona Hura
  • Added: 
  • Find A Grave Memorial 30995970
  • Mona Hura
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Bertha Newell Thompson Roach (12 Jan 1920–18 Dec 2004), Find A Grave Memorial no. 30995970, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Cemetery, Panama City, Bay County, Florida, USA ; Maintained by Mona Hura (contributor 47044150) .