Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sepia Saturday: Willie and Clara


featured a love story
about a young woman and her high school sweetie
who eloped during college,
much to the ire of her parents.

Let me introduce her parents:
Clara Davidson Biggs
and William A. "Willie" Biggs.

If you remember, Willie and Clara
wanted Leota's marriage annulled.
Even tried to get the sheriff to arrest
their new son-in-law.

Welcome to the family!

Willie and Clara were both born
in McDonald County, Missouri in the 1880s.
Clara was the daughter of Thomas Davidson
 and Mary Anne Harrell.
Willie was the youngest son of John Biggs and Dicy Reed.
John and Dicy were my great-great grandparents
on my dad's side and Willie was the brother
of my great-grandmother, Mary (Biggs) Arnett.

Willie and Clara got married about 1905
when Willie was 22 and Clara was 17.
Leota was born in December 1906.

Employment prospects in McDonald County
were not auspicious and by 1910,
this little family was living in Enid, Oklahoma.

Clara's sister Arizona "Zona" Davidson
had married Willie's brother John Quincy Biggs
and the two sisters remained close.
One or the other of them saw an advertisement 
in a ladies' monthly magazine for a new college
of chiropractic medicine in Portland, Oregon.
Hmm..... they thought. Maybe this is a way
to develop a career and solve our financial worries.
(Quincy was an ordained minister, so he
already had a career).

So, not only clever but persuasive,
the sisters and their husbands moved to the Pacific Northwest.
Willie, Clara, and Zona all matriculated
and became chiropractors.

Zona went on to follow her husband from
place to place as his ministerial career blossomed.
(More about them later in another post).

Willie and Clara stayed in Oregon,
developing a joint practice in Baker City, Oregon.
(I guess there's an accidental pun there. . .)
They lived there for many years,
and from the looks of things,


they must have been fairly prosperous.

Were they afraid their son-in-law Hal
was an opportunist
or
that he wasn't good enough for Leota?

Though at the time of the elopement
Leota was older than Clara was when she married,
did Clara and Willie think their little girl was too young
to be a bride?
Or was it simply a matter of wanting her to finish
her education before taking the plunge?

So many unanswered questions!

For more Sepia Saturday posts,
click HERE.

11 comments:

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

Very funny post - sounds like the "Welcome" I got!
I remember that one of the first things my mother-in-law said on learning that we were determined to get married (in spite of their disapproval)was:
"Are you aware that the Catholic church does not grant divorces? Once you're married, you have to stay married!".
We're still happily married after more than 30 years - so I guess - Father doesn't always know best!
Evelyn in Montreal

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

Another great sepia post, Meri, and you're really making me wonder if we're distantly related! My great grandfather was also John Biggs, but not the same one. The attempts to get the wedding annulled sound something that could happen in my line of the Biggs familyu. In case you're interested, my cousin in Riverside put together this family website, and I wonder if any of the names sound familiar to you:

http://biggsfamily.net/

Barbara said...

Can you imagine the courage it must have taken to just pick up and move to a place they've never been to and completely learn something as complicated as being a chiropractor?
It's wonderful that the two couples were able to make the big move together.
As, usual, I really enjoyed your story.

Delwyn said...

Hi Meri

I enjoyed another piece of your family history...and the name Leota...I have never heard before..is it unusual to you?

Happy days

Betsy said...

Love the nickname Zona...how cute!
You always have the best sepia posts!...I so enjoy them!

The Silver Fox said...

Arizona Davidson is a great name, but your "joint practice" pun? For shame! (Just kidding.) Nice post. It's frustrating and inspiring at the same time when we have to make up details to fill in various gaps, innit?

Christine H. said...

What adventurers! It's hard to imagine picking up an moving based on an ad in a magazine, but it looks like it all worked out.

kylie said...

chiropractic is something i wish more people would take seriously....
it's kind of exciting to think of a couple of women taking up such a new style of therapy all that time ago

amazing post!

Barry said...

Wonderful story of some amazingly adventurous people. It was a lot of fun to read but I kind of like the fact that some of the story still remains a puzzle.

Alan Burnett said...

The thing I love about the Sepia posts from the New World is the scale of the canvas they are set against. People would move great distances in search of self-improvement, they would take such risks and they would have such an epic story to tell. Over here in the old world things were much more focussed on home towns and villages, although that is now starting to change. Love the post, love the story. Thanks

Relyn said...

You have the BEST collection of photos. And stories. Oh my, you are a wonderful storyteller.