I know it may be difficult to believe, but I often get so caught up in researching other families, I forget that my own family lived here! I do a little family research from time to time, but I guess I always think…”it can wait”. So last week when I was looking for an obituary for someone else, I was a little surprised to find the following account of my great-aunt’s death.
The Caddo Herald
February 26, 1942
Alexander Family Injured by Exploding Stove; House is Completely Destroyed
Fire Monday evening burned the home of Tom Alexander, south of the depot.
Mrs. Alexander and three of their children were severely burned, being taken to a hospital in Durant. Mrs. Alexander and a young son were the most severely hurt.
Fire is reported to have been stared when gasoline was put in the stove by mistake.
The fired department made a quick run, but were too late to save the home.
March 6, 1942
Mrs. Alexander Died from Burns in Oklahoma Hospital
Mrs. Tom Alexander died in University hospital Tuesday at 6pm of burns received when their house burned Monday the week before in Caddo.
Children burned at the time are recovering.
The fire was caused by gasoline being used to light a fire in a stove.
Mrs. Alexander is survived by her husband, three daughters- Elva, Myra, and Peggy, and one son- Billy Ray.
Funeral services were held in Pentecostal Church with Rev. Vernon Taylor officiating.
And this is from my grandmother’s family journal:
Thomas Frank Alexander
I’ll always remember Thomas, my oldest brother. Bad luck seemed to follow him all the time. He was a happy go lucky guy. Seemed to take it all in stride.
Clara, his first wife, got burned to death at age 31. Their house caught fire and her clothing caught fire and she couldn’t put them out. She died 8 days later.
Their third child Patricia Ann died at three weeks. It was during the depression. Thomas went to the bank to try to borrow $25 for a casket for the baby. Money was non-existent in those days, so he couldn’t borrow it. A Mr. McGraw, worked at Bass Grocery so Thomas was there telling him about how his child had died and he couldn’t borrow the money. Mr. McGraw asked him if he’d let him take a collection from people in town. Would he take the money? Thomas said, “I’d rather borrow it and pay it back, but if I can’t get it any other way, I’ll take it.” So the business men in town made up the money and gave him. He buried the baby in our mother’s burial lot so he didn’t have to buy a space.
Clara and Thomas had two children before Patricia (Elva Loucille, and Myra Ganelle) and two after (Peggy Sue and Billy Ray).
Billy Ray was the one hurt in the fire. His legs were burned really bad in the fire that killed his mother. He spent 3 months in the hospital for skin grafting and healing. And he had to go back for checkups for a year afterward. (Someone else in the family told me that the reason he lived was because his mother pushed him out of the house through a window.)
And as an added note, my great-grandmother Rhoda Alexander burned to death in a fire in 1931.