Estell O. TOOLEY

Person Chart


Father Date of Birth Mother Date of Birth
Richard J. TOOLEY 18 Jan 1864 Vandason SWAIN 25 Oct 1869

Person Events

Event Type Date Place Description
Birth 10 Oct 1889 Grandview, Johnson County, Texas
Death 07 Aug 1974


The following was written by Estelle Tooley about the lives of her
parents, Richard and Vannie (Swain) Tooley
Grandview - I was born here. Dad decided to be a minister after he was
married and while Mama never objected I sensed that she desperately
wished for a permanent home like her sisters had and which she
expected to have.
Georgetown - Papa went to school here. He served a church on the
outskirts of town which was composed mostly of women. I read a book
about this section once and it stated that the men were mostly cattle
rustlers or cattlemen "shooting" to keep the rustlers away. I went to
this church and I found a dime and a kite in our backyard. I also
climbed the porch lattice to get away from a spanking and a few more
memories. Bill was born there.
Lometa - Dad's first circuit was here. We had a two-room country
house. I saw a snake hypnotize a bird and I jumped over a rattler on
the cellar steps. I lost my little pen knife between the hearthstones.
Mama was afraid when Papa was gone and we would watch out the windows
at night when we heard odd noises. We spent a night with a parishner
and I stepped on a stinging lizard. At a playmate's house the children
told me that their big sister's beau would cut our ears off if he saw
us. We were playing in a wagon when he came out and I went screaming
to the house saying, "Don't let him cut my ears off."
Copperas Cove - Due to success at Lometa Papa was given a better
place. Two of his members, a Dr. and a merchant, had split the church
membership. Papa reconciled them and named his second son "Clements
Baird" after these men. I had scarlatina here. None of the rest got
it. The merchant gave me "chocolate niger babies", candies, which I
loved. About 10 years ago I found I was allergic to chocolate and so I
think at least half of my migraine headaches were caused by this best
tasting food. I remember one man there who had five crazy children and
he would cry and say the Lord was punishing him! The great big boys
wore dresses of the heaviest kind of material to keep them from
tearing them to shreds. Also a mad dog died at our back step and Mama
shut a corn thief in our granary when Papa was gone and the man pried
off shingles and was gone before she could get help.
Coryell City - We lived here three years. Almost a life time!! There
were two big swings in the yard. Also there were yellow rose bushes
and fleas under the house! Mae cut up a caller's "kid gloves" and no
one ever knew she did it. Plenty of wondering and searching for gloves
took place. My canary escaped but was finally caught several hours
later. I found a cat under the woodpile and was crazy over it but it
was gone in the morning. I remember Papa's evasive answers to my
questions. He said it might come back but it never did. You were born
here and Mama was very sick for a long time and a woman took care of
us who had a boy my age. She said he called me his sweetheart. I got
madder and madder when Mama gave her a charcoal drawing she had made
of me. I plotted how I could get it back but I didn't succeed. Papa
got me to join the church and just before or after I told a fib on
Bill and he got the spanking I should have had. All my adult life I
have regretted this fib but at the time I can't remember regretting
it. Also I had a boil in my ear that finally burst and I haven't
forgotten the pain yet. It was here during a revival I saw a girl go
into a trance. She was as stiff as a board. Mama finally took us home
but Papa stayed and it was two in the morning or after before she came
out of it. I remember it was likened to St. Paul's conversion.
Carbon - The other part of this charge was Gorman and Papa was so
unwise as to take Mae and me with him and once we quarreled over a
ball while playing on our hostess' back porch. This was a disgraceful
performance. I remember the sand and grass burrs and I begged to be
allowed to get Saturday Evening Post Subscriptions so I could get a
watch for Mama. But the suckers didn't bite well enough. I had the
measles and was delirious. The rest of you couldn't be kept in bed.
You would run to the window to watch Dad make a vegetable garden. When
the crook of the beans showed above the earth he pushed them back and
of course they broke. How Mama laughed for he knew absolutely nothing
about gardening. Grandmother came for me so I could get well in the
country and I wasn't allowed to read for my eyes were weak. Papa had
preached against circuses and grandmother took me to one and I thought
the devil would surely get me. She had to drag me in.
About five or six years ago Tim had asked me what seemed like a
million questions about the Tooleys so at Christmas time I wrote a
little book for him. Ade wants a copy of it and if Betty ever gets
around to typing it I will have an extra copy made for you and Bill.
Bardwell - We rented a house out in the country near one of his
churches. This is the one you moved in when we went to live at
Bardwell. I remember that Mae and I rode in the buggy with Papa while
the rest of you rode in the house. The school there wasn't very good
so Papa moved us to Ennis and we lived in a rented house. None of
those schools were any good. I often wished I could jump out a window
and run all the way home. Here we all had to be vacinated for smallpox
as Papa had been exposed. The vaccination didn't bother any of you but
me. My arm swelled several times its size and I had a high fever.
Years later I was vaccinated at Switzer's College and again I had a
high fever and was sent home for awhile. We lived in all three of
these places while he served the same circuit. It was here and later
that Uncle John came to see us every year. He and his wife were
divorced and he missed his children so. I met them once in his office
at the courthouse. This was in Dallas. The girls were beautiful and
the boy handsome but they all seemed unhappy and ill-at-ease. I liked
Uncle John. He brought us girls rings and beautiful dress materials
and he would write plays for us and our friends to produce and also he
was the one who went with me to the courthouse in Weatherford and get
them to give me an examination so I could teach. Papa was gone and
Mama was nervous for fear he wouldn't like it. I have nothing but
happy memories of Uncle John but Mae does not like him. From Enola we
moved to
Forreston - Now this is where the old Capt. Forrest of your memory
lived. Every one went to see him and he told the stories over and
over. You remember Mama liked to take long walks with us and we went
there and he was sitting in a chair that was tilted against the house
wall and such stories as he told us! Bill fell from a see-saw and
broke his arm. I had a fight with a Baptist girl who said my father
was a hypocrite and the teacher didn't even scold me (must have been a
Methodist). Also a boy with one blue eye and one gray one winked at me
in classtime and I said right out loud "You quit winking at me." Again
the startled teacher only stared. I learned the most Bible verses and
got a prize. Sorry but I can't remember them now.
Mountain Peak, Midlothian, Venus - Now again we lived at three places
while serving the same circuit. Mountain Peak was the first place and
do I remember that house! The queer noises the trees made when
scraping the roof (at night). I would even wake Mama and was only
partially satisfied with her explanations. Also I had become
self-conscious and resentful of leaving friends and being pitched into
a strange school. This was a two story one and full of great overgrown
boys and girls who stared and I also remember the blacksmith shop but
I think it was taboo for me, a girl, to even look in. I have no happy
memories of this place. The school was not a good one so Papa rented a
house in Midlothian. We stayed there while they were building the
parsonage at Venus. I liked this town and I had my first good teacher,
Mrs. Cogswell. Do you remember the cat falling in the well and Papa
tying a rope around Bill and sending him down for it. This was a
horrifying experience to me. Venus was the third place. We moved here
just before school was out and we went to High School graduation and I
looked forward to going to school. I remember the gin, etc. but the
presiding Elder talked papa into sending me to Poly. I didn't want to
go and Mama didn't want me to either but of course I had to.
Red Oak - I came home from college for my first vacation here. Again
at Easter time and Dad insisted that I recite a great long Easter
poem. I had long since simply dreaded the introductions of his family
to each new charge when beginning with mama we each had to stand and
be stared at as he said a few words about us. This poem was an ordeal
to make up for the lost introduction, I suppose. This is where Ade was
born and named for Mrs. Harrison. She was a beautiful, sweet woman but
when Mr. Harrison got angry or upset he would get sullen and not speak
for a long time. He had one of these spells Mama told me while all of
you were there and one Saturday night they left two bath tubs of water
in front of the door so that he had to fall in them and he did. He
came up talking and was in a bright good mood from then on during your
stay. My poor mother! She maybe had no more hardships than any other
minister's wife but they seemed legion to me when I look back. Dad was
doing a work that he wanted to do and that he thoroughly enjoyed but
she carried the burdens of the household -- especially during the
latter years when you boys were growing up. Sometime before the Red
Oak days I promised myself I would never marry a minister or a
traveling salesman. And I never would have done so. I feel very
thankful to George for having always given me our very own home where
roots could be put down and one could feel secure.
Salido - I have vacation memories only of this place. I am sorry to
hear the creek is all filled with willows. It was a pretty place. I
read Les Miserables every afternoon in the quiet church. Once I wore a
dark blue many pleated dress to church and when they said the
benediction I looked down and I had my skirt on wrong side out. I
almost ran from the church but I know now it could hardly have been
noticed due to the way it was made. Sis tells me that she and a girl
friend once went out the window after Papa and Mama were asleep and
went to a party. They got there in time for ice cream and cake. Too
young for boy friends so there was no scandle!!!
Hewitt - Again just there for vacation.
Abbott - Also vacation for part of summer. I remember that a negress
asked me to write a proclamation of Independence for her. I gave her a
copy but I doubt it she could read it.
Weatherford - To rest at last for my mother and a home to come to once
in a while for short intervals. It never seemed much like a real home
to me but I am sure it must have to the rest of you who lived there
all of each year after year. After I was married I was not too
surprised to find he had sold the house and bought another in
Weatherford. Mama told me he had wanted to move to West Texas but she
had refused to go. He had the true itching feet of a pioneer circuit
and if heaven is up or down or way out yonder I am sure he must be
still riding circuit. As for Mother I hope she is satisfied in a
permanent home of her own and her crown should be as bright if not
brighter than his.
Father: Richard J. TOOLEY b: 18 JAN 1864 in Georgia
Mother: Vandason (Vannie) SWAIN b: 25 OCT 1869
Marriage 1 George ?


Diann Tooley