Delia Elizabeth Myers Roper

Delia Elizabeth Myers was born January 14, 1900, and grew up in DeWitt County, Texas, where she lived with her mother, Ella Mardell Shanks, and father, Anslem Ragland Myers. Her mother's family was from a long line of Texas pioneers who moved to Green DeWitt's Colony in 1826. Her great-grandfather, Columbus Burns, was the first settler child born in the Colony. She was named after her grandmother, Ardelia Elizabeth Burns Shanks. Her father's family were typical of so many of the pioneers of the day--moving from state to state, looking for land and a place to set down roots. Samuel A. Myers, having moved from Mississippi around 1850, finally found those roots in DeWitt County.

She, like her mother, had an independent and confident spirit. It was a good thing since, at seventeen, she married Farland George Roper, a railroad man. While he traveled over the rails, she was left to take care of the family. Even though she followed the role of the traditional woman of her time--being a wife, mother, and manager of her household--she was very capable of doing things on her own. A favorite break from routine would be for her and a daughter or granddaughter to catch the early morning train from Kingsville to Houston to spend the day shopping, having lunch, going to the movies, and then taking a return train back to Kingsville that evening.

Not enough is written about the women who stayed at home while their husbands worked. During the Depression, Delia not only took care of her own four children, but she would often take in other children--Farland's nieces and nephews. The Depression caused such hardship for so many people. But Delia and Farland always seemed to have room in their house and their hearts for "just one more." Her son Leslie remembers the family house always overflowing with children. He remembers his "Mama" starting a wood fire in the backyard on Mondays and setting a washtub over it to wash the family clothes. He remembers the meals and so many people around the table and he remembers the love.

Delia and Farland first moved to Kingsville in 1919 when he went to work for the railroad. They lived on Alice Street and on West Richard and finally at 907 West Kleberg. There they bought a lot large enough to build their house and two additional small houses--one for her mother and one for her children whenever they might come home to live for periods of time. They were only two doors down from her brother and sister-in-law, Lewis and Mason Myers. Life on Kleberg Street was a family affair. The yard was cared for lovingly, Delia being sure that it was well watered and green. The mesquite trees and the carpet grass lawn provided a natural playground for her 15 grandchildren to play and the best of times were when the whole family could get together.

Delia continued to live on Kleberg until a few years after her husband died, when she moved to an apartment close to the train station. She attended the First Baptist Church where she was President of her Sunday School class; she was also their pianist. In 1990, at the age of 90, her son put her in a nursing home near Kerrville and she didn't come home to Kingsville again until her death in March 1994. She lies beside her husband in Rest Haven Cemetery.

Copyright Donna Allen, Jan. 2005.