Cora at the Palmer’s (May 1895 – September 1897) 2

Her Memoirs (written for her son, Charles) continue:

“The boys always had a new colt to ‘break’ each spring. Your grandfather (William Perry Palmer) kept some brood mares, so there was several new colts each spring. They picked the ones they wanted to ride. Ezra (about age 11, same age as Cora) had a mule he broke to ride, and he sure thought a lot of that mule. He rode her to church and wherever he went. When each boy was 19, he selected the horse he wanted for his own, as your grandfather gave them a horse or mare–whichever they chose — a new saddle and bridle. They started out for themselves. Their most famous brood mare was Old Doll. She raised 22 colts. Your dad (Charley) had one of her colts named Bird. She was such a rouge — would jump any fence she could get her head over. Old Doll’s tenth colt was the one I rode the most. ‘Ten’ was a real pretty bay color, always fat and slick, and a real stepper. Sunday mornings, your grandad would say, ‘boys, one of you saddle Ten for Cora to ride.’ Ezra would make some smart comment on our way to Sunday School about me getting Ten to ride while he rode a mule.

“While I made my home with them, I attended Conley School. My first teacher was a Mr. Ernest Brown, a very nice man and a good teacher. We had about 80 pupils enrolled, but not a very good daily attendance. There was a lot of McGee’s, Gaither’s, Irwin’s, Gates, and a lot of Palmer’s, as your grandparents were both Palmer’s, but no relation as your grandad’s folks came to Missouri from Kentucky and grandma’s from Virginia.

“The next year my teacher was Mr. Ben Goslin, a good and kind gentleman. I always liked to attend school but didn’t get to go as much as I wanted to — partly because I married so young and because my folks just didn’t send me as part of the time I lived too far away from school. I liked reading and spelling best of all, but liked history of all kinds, and I still like to read. I don’t have very much education, but I have read a great deal over the years . . . have tried to train my memory to get the most out of anything I have read.

“Your uncles never liked to attend school — would find all sort of excuses to stay home. Once, Rufus (about age 14) tried to burn the school house down by taking some matches from home and asking to be excused during ‘books.’ He crawled under the school house and tried to start a fire — used all his matches, but it didn’t ‘go.’ He didn’t try that again as someone told on him, and he had to take a spanking from the teacher and his father.” . . . Charley and Edney had more education than any of the boys. They liked school and tried to learn. Your dad always liked math and took writing lessons, too — ald also singing and music lessons.

Aunt Mary, as I was taught to call her (Mary Palmer Palmer), was a wonderful person. Though she could not read or write, she wanted their children to have an education and be good, honest, upright citizens.”