In Memory of "Grandmother" Carr
Away back yonder in bonny Scotland, there came into being a family of people to be known to the world as "the Kirkpatricks" of Scotland. After many generations had made the family into a dignified and very religious tribe, a part of it decided to come to America, and become a part of the liberty loving, free and easy citizenry of this land. And so as the years passed into history. Among the younger members of this family who had settled to make a home and fortune in Georgia was the father of Harriett Emeline Kirkpatrick Carr, in whose memory this tribute is written. This little blue-eyed girl came into the home, a welcome guest, and while she was yet a small child, the father and mother moved on to find for themselves a home, into which they might plan and find expression of their ideals of life. They were a very religious family, the father being a preacher of the Methodist faith, and a presiding elder in that church. So we see where the little Harriett received her strict training in church life.
She grew into young lady-hood under these environments--religion, romance and chivalry. In the year 1854, her father moved again to Minnesota, and 'twas there that the real romance of her life began, when she met Theron F. Carr. Theirs was a real friendship from the very beginning and has lasted through the years till last Thursday when the "tomorrow" of her life was changed into the "today" of her eternity.
"Grandmother Carr" was born in July, 1842, and lived to be more than 85 years old. She, with her husband, lived through many story [stormy] days, but there were also the days that fragrant with the "roses that bloomed beside life's door."
In her young lady-hood, she attended Hamlin University of Minnesota and 'twas there that she and Mr. Carr studied music together, as it were, getting the harmony of life tuned just together. 'Twas there that the rough places, and the discords, were worked over to make the melody of their paths smooth and easy. Later, they studied in what was known as "the select school" of Minnesota, studying organ music, and in July of 1861 they were married in Pine Island, Minn. Of those who attended their wedding, Mr. Carr is the only one left among the living.
After they were married, they followed the example of their parents, and moved into a new part of the world to start their lives together. They selected for their homestead that lovely lake country, and picturesque. Soon their wedded bliss was disturbed by the rumors of Indian wars, and just as they were about to gather their first crops, she was left in the little home nest to care for it, while her gallant young husband went out to trail Indians. Their little log cabin became the refuge of many who came to them for shelter, while the men of the families joined in the Indian war. During these days of hardships, Mrs. Carr would spend her time molding bullets for the Indian chasers. They lost their all in the war by the burning torch of Indians, and after it was over, they moved to Missouri, and still later to Louisiana. The last years of their lives have been spent in Texas and California, back and forth they have been, to be with their children. All of their six sons and one daughter are left to testify to the nobleness of the character of the mother who has just left them. All of her life was Grandmother Carr a devout Christian character. She lived during the days when sometimes it was hard to see that the hand [of] God was guiding her destiny, but through it all, she never wavered, but held fast to the truth of her Bible., which was the strength of her being. The last few years have been hard for her, physically, but she smiled through the tears of suffering, looking forward to the "land that is fairer than day."
Mrs. Carr has been a long and faithful member of the Methodist Church, and was a member also of the Order of the Eastern Star. The few weeks just past had left her in a very weakened condition, and her suffering made them around her unhappy, but her only words would be that she was tired and wanted to be at rest. The "rest" came to her quietly, and she just went to sleep in her home here, to awaken in the "home prepared for her, eternal in the heavens." She left the one who had travelled through this life with her, very sad and desolate, comfortless. But his mind is so fixed on the other "home," that the pain of parting is not very real. He is near the homeland himself, and at best, the separation is not for long, and in his child-like faith, he seems almost to hold communion with "Harriett" as of old. They had spent sixty-six years in married life, and their thoughts had become almost one.
The home is sad, is all but broken up, but the sons and daughter realize that their mother was ready and anxious to "go" and their sadness is not a grief, but just a hurting in the heart, and a longing to be with "Mother." We would offer our sympathy to them, understanding the emptiness of it, for only they who have "passed under the rod" can know what the vacant chair by the fireside can mean. They long for the touch of the old withered hand, all in vain. We, too, loved "Grandmother Carr," and can only say to the ones left lonely, "We shall meet on that beautiful shore."
Just one of God's children gone home!
- November 4, 1927 and reprinted in Oak Leaves
(Cora B. Moore)
Sometimes we want to say something which we feel very keenly, and the words just will not come. In thinking of “Grandpa” Carr this morning, he comes so vividly before us as the man he was, we are able only to see him in the very varied life which he lived so long and so well here, and in the many climes and stations where he made himself into the characteristic figure that he was.
The background of his life was one of very interesting history, his grandparents having been close personal friends of General George Washington, who was a frequent visitor in their home in New York. His grandfather was a member of that historic regiment under Gen. Washington, called “The Buck Skin Cap Brigade,” in which he fought for this land of ours.
Thus we can see that tradition may have had a deal to do in the shaping the life of Theron F. Carr from his very babyhood. He came into this world 87 years ago, in the old home in Albany, New York, where he lived as a child. The pioneering spirit was at fever heat in those days, and when he was yet a child, his family began the “westward ho” journey, which eventually carried Mr. Carr to the extreme west coast of America, even to Seattle, Washington.
Life was not a “bed of spring flowers” for the lad, for those were the days which tried men’s souls, and responsibilities were heaped upon his young shoulders. Through them all his love of beauty and harmony was ever alert and active. He found the silver lining in all his clouds, while his smiles chased the frowns away on the days otherwise gloomy.
His “sports” while a young boy were sort of drill masters for him as he grew older, and the play hours taught him the useful traits, which he brought into active service for his country. In Wisconsin, Minnesota, and in the Dakotas, he was a familiar figure as he led expedition after expedition in the war against the Indians. During these tempestuous times, Theron Carr and Harriet Kirkpatrick, from the old Scotch family of Georgia, were married. There was all of the romance of those days in their love, courtship and marriage. They were attending the same college, studying the same music, and at the same time, learning harmony of “soul” which was not a course given in the curriculum.
After their marriage in 1861 came the war with the Indians, and thrilling were the experiences that came to them. Mrs. Carr and her home served as kind of “fort” for the wives of the other soldier boys, and she taught them the art of bullet making, which their young husbands used in those queer looking guns.
We have see “Grandpa” Carr so far, as student, farmer and soldier. Next he decides to move toward the Southland, and we see him in Kansas and Missouri as a merchant, railroad man and leader in civic work as mayor of a Missouri town. The roving spirit was still upon them, and to Louisiana they came. There Mr. Carr was contractor for a long stretch of railroad construction, after which he operated the telegraph key very successfully. All during these years he was teaching music at odd times, principally at night. He served as pipe organist in one of the city churches where he lived. ( Mrs. Carr could play for him when he was otherwise engaged, you see.)
The next move brought the Carr family to Texas where their home has been for most of the time. Over in the Rosenberg country Mr. Carr owned and operated a large plantation, and the Methodist church in Rosenberg now stands on the plot of ground given by him to the church. A few of these latter years have been spent in California and Washington on the West coast, but Texas has been the real home of the couple in their advancing age.
Such has been the varied experiences of that great and good man, Mr. Theron F. Carr.
He was associated with many men of note. At one time, he lived in the “Main Street” made famous by Sinclair Lewis. He and Dr. John Sloan, of the yesterday of Bay City, attended the same university. He was a close personal friend of Robert Morris, founder of the Order of the Eastern Star, and he took his Masonic degrees under some high up personage whose name I cannot recall just this minute.
You wonder how I know all of these interesting things? I had the privilege of calling Mr. Carr my friend, and many, many days he has been to see me, and I proved myself a good conversationalist by listening most intently to his wonderful experiences, as he would sit and “reminisce” to me. He has shown me photographs of things in which he was interested, the Indian war, particularly. His experiences read like fiction, and we have talked many times of trying to arrange some of them into magazine shape, but “procrastination” has made it all too late.
Mr. And Mrs. Carr lived their last days among us, and it was always a pleasure to visit with them, because time never lagged when with them. All of their days were not happy ones, but all of these days served to make their lives full and colorful. Their sorrows made their joys sweeter, while their joys softened their sorrows and made life richer. The whole Carr family reflect the companionship which was enjoyed in that home, and that is on place where we appreciate the “clan” spirit, a spirit which was brought into play by the old Scotch home making mother, as was inculcated in the life of Grand Mother Carr by her ancestors of the long ago.
It was the sweet privilege of the daughter of the family, Miss Fay, to be the companion and solace of their last days, and how well she performed her duty can only be mentioned, never realized, for her whole life and thought, was “Mother and Dad.” I think I have never seen a more beautiful devotion than that shown by Miss Fay to her parents, and I am very sure that their lives were prolonged by her unselfish attention, day and night, to them. She seemed to hold them by the sheer strength of her will power over them.
And the life of this good man is over. A small marble stone will mark his resting place, close beside his “Hattie,” but his life will live on in those with whom he came in daily contact. All through his life Mr. Carr has been a student of music, and the last talk I had with him, he was planning to organize a “harp” club here in Bay City, never dreaming that the “first of the year” (as his plans were) he would be playing on his harp in the heavenly club. This talk was during his last day out, Christmas Eve, and the fever caught him, from which he had not strength to rally.
There is sorrow in the home since he is gone, but there is no grief, for “Grandpa” Carr had lived his life, his work was done, and he has only gone on “to the home prepared for him, eternal in the heavens.” During his life, he was never the robust man that we see other men being, but his frail body was no exponent of a frail mind, for the good that came from his righteous thinking will never be measured here, but results will tell of his influence while here.
Mr. Carr filled almost every sphere of life, except the pulpit, and I am not so sure that he was not a good preacher, for he has made many, many “experimental” speeches, some of which might very safely be called sermons, so we see him as he filled life’s sphere, as a “man,” doing his bit the best he could all of the way.
I am happy to have had the privilege of his friendship and confidence and am sure that my life has been made richer by the association, and so as friends together, we all are saddened by his going, but glad when we think of the happy reunions he is enjoying today, “over there.” Just another good man gone home. His face was ever toward the light, and his shadow lay behind him, as he placed his feet in the trail which leads toward the West,” January 1, 1929.
The Daily Tribune January 19, 1929
Submitted by Kenneth L. Thames
Courtesy of Jim Wright
Courtesy of Jim Wright
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