Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sepia Saturday: A Valentine Love Story

Leota Biggs was the beloved only child
of William A. Biggs and his wife Clara Davidson Biggs.
Leota and my paternal grandfather were first cousins
(her father and my grandfather's mother were siblings).

Leota Biggs and her dog Teddy

Leota was born December 17, 1906 in Missouri
(at least according to the 1910 Census) 
and spent her later childhood and high school years
in a small eastern Oregon town called Baker. 

As you might discern from her elegant coat,
her parents were fairly prosperous. 
Both Willie and Clara attended a college
of chiropractic medicine in Portland, Oregon
in the early 1900s.

Leota graduated from Baker High School
and obviously showed academic promise,
as she went on to college
 at Washburn University in the early 1920s
when not that many girls went to college. 

Washburn, as you might know,
is in Topeka, Kansas, quite a distance
 for a girl from a small town in eastern Oregon.
The problem was that a young man named
Harold Trebbe went to Oregon State University
in Corvallis, Oregon about 2000 km away
from Topeka, Kansas.
Hal was Leota's high school sweetheart.

Willie and Clara thought Hal and Leota's relationship
was only puppy love, but they were wrong.
Leota's puppy love was for her dog Teddy.

She was head over heels, crazy in love with Hal.

So after a year or two,
she transferred from Washburn to University of Oregon.
Apparently her parents thought the 47 miles
between Eugene (University of Oregon)
and Corvallis (Oregon State University)
was a wide enough moat to protect their princess
from that dark prince, Hal,
so they assented.

However, love prevailed.
Leota and Hal eloped.

Willie and Clara were furious.
They ranted and raged
and threatened to have the marriage annulled.
They even tried to get the Baker County Sheriff
to arrest poor Hal (to no avail).

You see, Willie and Clara were sure the marriage
would never last.

And they were right.
Sort of.

Leota and Hal had only been married
about 65 years
when Hal died at age 83.

(Story details provided by Hal and Leota's
son-in-law Perry Youngreen in a phone conversation
in 2003).

To see more of Sepia Saturday photos
and stories,
visit Alan Burnett's blog News from Nowhere.
Alan's the back-from-a-cruise,
big-hearted host of the Sepia Saturday project.

Thanks, Alan!


Alan Burnett said...

Wonderful story Meri. And it has finally persuaded me to buy myself a decent America atlas so I can see where Oregon is in relation to Kansas and also find out where all these other places my fellow bloggers keep talking about are. I know I could always look them up on Google earth but nothing beats the feel of a proper map.

LadrĂ³n de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

A great story and photo. My family name is Biggs as well, and I just posted a piece about my paternal grandfather who was from the neighboring state of Oklahoma. Those first names don't sound familiar so I don't think we're closely related, but seeing that you share my passion for Oaxaca (where I've been many times), maybe we are!

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

That is an inspiring love story for Valentine's Day weekend. True love prevailed.

Thanks Meri.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

when you introduced leota, i immediately thought gregg biggs!!! (aka junk thief) i wonder if????? so ecstatic that he has found your blog and left a comment, who knows maybe you are some sort of distant cousin!

what a fantastic story and a perfect love story for this weekend!

and the photo of leota with her dog teddy is absolute perfection!

ah, leota and hal's story warms one's heart and sure does help one believe that there is such a thing as true love!

hugs &xxxxxx

Poetikat said...

Sixty-five years! Wow! They sure proved them wrong!
What a great photo of the two of them on their elopement.


steven said...

meri that's a beautiful story for all days, all time. that two people knew so deeply that they loved each other!! thankyou so much for sharing this gorgeous story. steven

Betsy said...

What a very sweet love story! Wow...65 years! The pictures are really wonderful...what a nice edition to the group today! :)

Leah said...

I love this love story! How beautiful.

willow said...

I just adore vintage photos of children with their dogs. This one is just precious.

Relyn said...

What a perfect love story for Valentine's Day. Happy, happy heart day to you. A wish from me:

On this day, may you know, really know how much you are loved. May you recognize love in all it's forms. May you be grateful for the love of children and pets, old friendships and new. May your heart swell with all the beauty this life brings. Happy Valentine's Day, my friend.

Martin H. said...

Wonderful story of love and determination in the face of the odds. Thank you for sharing this story and excellent photograph.

Karen Cole said...

Great story Meri. I prefer to use photos pf people I know something about. Makes it much more interesting, don't you think?

Jennifer said...

I think it is so important to tell the story of those who lived before us. Sometimes to me it seems these (somtimes) strange looking figures in strange looking photos are hard to imagine as living, breathing, laughing and loving people. You breath life in to the photos.

I think the resemblance between you two is astonishing!

Stephanie said...

Wonderful story!

L. D. Burgus said...

What a great happy ending to a couple who put love first. Darn parents don't have a clue sometimes. Oregon is a beautiful state and I really enjoyed your post today.

Kaotic said...

That's a beautiful love story.

kt said...

my favorite valentines post