Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Violet Howell Pierce

Violet Pierce was my dad’s first wife.  They married when they were very young.  It was almost like an arranged marriage.  Uncle Crigley thought the Howell’s had a lot of money because they had quite a bit of farm land around Tennyson, Texas.  He told daddy that he wanted him to meet Violet.  He said, if daddy could marry into the Howell family, he would have it made.  Daddy said he found out that the Howells were not near as well off as Crigley thought they were.  So, daddy met Violet and after a short courtship, they were married.  Daddy said they never even kissed before they got married.  Daddy said they really didn’t know each other very well until after they had been married for awhile.  Violet was a very good wife.  She was a hard worker.  She was a good cook and a good seamstress.  So, she made most of their clothes.  They had five children together, four boys and one girl.  The girl died when she was three weeks old after taking the measles.  Daddy never got over her death.  She was the only daughter he would ever have.  Bobbie Joe was the oldest and he was born in nineteen twenty eight, Chesley Dale was born in nineteen thirty, Leonard was born in nineteen thirty two, Mary Ruth was born in nineteen thirty four, and the Norman was born in nineteen thirty six.  Although daddy had a difficult time talking about this time in his life, there were times when he would open up about this difficult time in his life.  I was aware from a very young age that daddy’s first wife committed suicide.  But, this was something we didn’t discuss very often.  But, later on as daddy got older and I got older, I began to ask more questions about Violet’s death.  Apparently, Violet’s father thought daddy and Violet had enough children.  It was during the Great Depression, and times were tough.  Violet got pregnant again and her father talked them into having an abortion.  As I said, times were tough and they had to depend a lot on Violet’s father for financial help.  So, they gave in to his request.  I can’t say for sure because daddy never told me but I am inclined to believe the babies they aborted were twin girl’s.  I  came to this conclusion because of something my mother said one time.  Anyway daddy said Violet could never forgive herself for having a abortion.  This literally drove her crazy.  She became suicidal.  She had threatened to shoot herself.  Daddy said he owned a twelve gauge shotgun, and Violet had made threats about using this gun to kill her self.  Daddy dismantled the gun and hid the parts all over the house.  He was working down in the field and he heard the sound of a shotgun being fired.  He said he knew immediately that Violet had shot herself.  He ran to the house where he found her dying with the shotgun by her side.  She was still alive when he gathered her in his arms.  She told him, “I wish I hadn’t of done it.”  She died in his arms.  She had found all of the parts to the shotgun, put it back together and shot her self.  What a sad story.  I can only imagine how daddy felt.  Daddy said he did not realize that the Howell family had some mental problems running in their family.  He found out after he married Violet that she had a sister in the insane asylum in Abilene when they got married.  Daddy said they went to visit her one time.  This sister later committed suicide by stuffing rags in her mouth and nose.  I don’t think daddy ever got over Violet’s death.  I believe he grieved for her until the day he died.  When he would talk about these difficult times, he would say “Son, you don’t know what you can stand until you have to stand it.”  I have thought about what he said many times in the past sixty years.  What a good man he was. 


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