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Ella Mae Wilhelm Barton

By Marian Nelson

Ella Mae Wilhelm Barton was the fifth of ten children born to Joe Frank Wilhelm and Augusta Matjeka in Watterson, Texas, Bastrop County. She made her debut on April 23, 1913 and came to the end of her journey 93 years later on January 28, 2007.

Ella married William “Willie” Barton on January 10, 1934. Unfortunately, he died on April 6, 1952 leaving Ella a single mother with four children, two boys and twin girls. The girls were just two and a half years old and the boys were in their teens.

Taking care of her family alone was difficult because she had to continue farming and raising cattle on their farm in Watterson. As Ella talked about the work, there was a strength and resolve in her voice even now. She was proud of her family and her accomplishments.

I had a chance to visit my cousin frequently and I got to know this strong pioneer. I took Holy Communion to several shut-ins and always visited Ella last. After prayers, I could remain an hour or so longer. Ella enjoyed talking and reminiscing about her life and the good ole days. She was younger than her first cousin Vester was (my father) but remembered him and the good times they had growing up as neighbors. She talked about dances, playing dominoes and all the fun things that young people did in the 20’s and 30’s. Living on a farm is hard work but young people find a way to visit neighbors, play games, and take in the dances. All that stopped when Ella became the Father and Mother of her household. She said she never knew anything but work on the farm but always made the time to be a loving mother to her children.

Now she quilted and kept her home neat and clean. She took pride in showing the latest handiwork and I was so impressed that I ask her to make a quilt for me. Ella was also a smart businesswoman. She set the price for the quilt and told me when to expect it to be finished. I am glad that I have a memento of the time I spent with this extraordinary woman. She taught me how important visiting, sharing and praying together is as we journey down the final path in life.