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2008 Matagorda County Genealogical Family History Essay Winner

Through the Years:

The Life of Roxie McBride O'Neal

Written by She'Quelon "Keke" Scott



She'Quelon "Keke" Scott

Roxie Mae McBride O'Neal


Through the Years

On November 6, 1922 at Pledger, Matagorda County, Texas the population grew.  A little girl was born to Henry McBride Jr. and Annie Wiley McBride, by a mid-wife named Eliza Simmons, and was given the name Roxie Mae.   Roxie was the second born out of five children.  While living on Caney Creek during her growing up years the family raised pigs, ducks, chickens, rabbits, and also turkeys. They also grew a vegetable garden.  She went to the field to pick potatoes for fifty cents a bushel. The family also chopped and picked cotton and was paid fifty cents per hundred pounds.  Her dad would go to the field and pull the dry corn, then she and her siblings had to shuck and shell it to get it ready for the mill.  At the mill corn would be ground into corn meal and grits.  During the pecan season the siblings picked up pecans and sold them to get money for material to make their school clothes.

Granny Roxie and her family attended church at Wesley Chapel A.M.E. Church.  On off Sundays they attended church at Grove Hill or Rock West (now named Union Baptist). The family was active at all three churches.

My great grandma Roxie spent her younger days in Pledger, Texas with her parents, grandmother and siblings. Her mother passed away in January, 1927 when she was four years old. My great-grandmother and her living siblings (three) were raised by her father and his mother Sarah A. Baugh McBride.  For recreation she loved to fish, jump rope, hunt, and shoot marbles. Granny also made her own baby dolls and doll clothes for them. At school basketball and debating were her sports. She was a member of the 4-H club and also served as president from 1935-1940. 4-H was where she learned how to cook better, sew, can vegetables, and fruits, make jellies and jams as well as quilt. ”Back in the day there was a use for everything, even the chicken feet. We didn’t have to eat them except on Sunday when the preacher came for Sunday dinner. We went crabbing with them.” 

During her 4-H years she would walk from Pledger, Texas to Ash Wood, Texas to Union Baptist Church to make mattresses. After the mattress was made it had to be stuffed with cotton from the cotton gin.  Once the mattress was stuffed it was ready to be beat so that it would fluff up. To fluff the mattress broom handles or sticks were used. To make one mattress, it took three days. She graduated from Pledger High School in 1940.

My great-grandmother was eighteen when she and her family moved to Bay City on December 28, 1940, to better their living conditions.  In 1943 she joined Olive Leaf Chapter number 219 Order of the Eastern Star, and served as assistant secretary for ten years.  In Bay City she continued to do 4-H volunteer work. Her paying jobs were domestic work and babysitting, which paid her two dollars and twenty-five cents a week.  The family’s church home became Tyree Chapel A.M.E. Church. Some of her duties were singing in the choir and ushering.

In 1946 she married Andrew Jackson. Into this union one daughter was born. Also in 1946 Granny attended Franklin Beauty School in Houston, Texas. Upon finishing beauty school she returned to Bay City to open her own beauty salon which was in business for forty years.  Granny also received certificates in adult leadership training, youth council, 4-H leader business training and bookkeeping.

On January 15, 1951, Granny was united in holy matrimony to Ezekiel O’Neal and to this union three children were born.  In 1952 she served as bookkeeper at the church. In 1955 she was elected official secretary of Olive Leaf Chapter #219 Order of the Eastern Star.

Her community services consisted of: P.T.A. president 1956-1960, N.A.A.C.P official officer of the executive board, chair person to the Matagorda County Adult Homemaking Council Leader. She was honored as Outstanding Woman of the year, Black Movement of Matagorda County. In 1985 she was elected Worthy Matron Olive Chapter #219 Order of the Eastern Star (still serving). In 1986 she became Grand District Deputy of District 16 and 18. In 1990 she was employed by Wal-Mart where she worked as a door greeter and also worked in crafts and materials and is currently working there. In 1999 she was honored as area Women Missionary Society Leader of America. She was honored again in 2001, when she was selected by the Black Women’s Committee of the Local and Conference Missionary Society to receive honors for outstanding Women Missionary Society Leadership and Teaching.

To this day my granny is still going strong doing her Women Missionary Society work and other work in the church. She is presently the president of our local Lula Duncan Missionary Society, as well as president of the Roland Hilliard Memorial Apartments.

She has been involved for years as an active member in the East View Cemetery Association. Her duty at one time was financial bookkeeper. Her present position is advisor to the board of trustees.

Granny faithfully travels to the Grand Lodge for the Order of the Eastern Star in Fort Worth, Texas every year. She also travels to neighboring towns and communities to help them get their Eastern Star Chapters up and running.

Through the years my Great-Grandmother Roxie Mae McBride O’Neal is still trying to help, and letting that Star in the East shine all over this land.