Written by Mrs. Ferne Tindall
My Lifetime Information, as of Feb. 1994
I was born May 4, 1906, in rural LeMars area in Johnson township of Plymouth County, Iowa. My parents were: Warren J. and Birdie (Poyzer) King.
In 1910 we moved to a farm a mile west of Ruble, and in 1914 we moved to the King homestead south and west of Adaville, where my grandparents homesteaded in 1870. And I lived there until I was married in 1927. I attended country schools, and graduated from 8th grade in Adaville country school in 1919.
I went to high school in Merrill, Iowa, and graduated from there in 1923. Then I attended Morningside College in Sioux City one summer and took the State Teacher’s examination, so as to secure a Teacher’s Certificate. I received the First Grade Certificate. I started teaching country school in the No. 1 in Johnson Township in January of 1925. I later taught at No. 5 in Johnson Township. During the intervening time from high school to my teaching time, I was keeping house at home.
There were two very sad experiences in our home when I was 15 years old. The first was our Mother, Birdie King’s, death. She died July 5, 1921, of cancer and she was only 40 years old. She was always a hard working person. Never drank coffee, or tea, or alcohol, - or smoked, etc. Yet she became ill in March of 1921 and had surgery in Akron, Iowa, where they found cancer of the female organs. From there she was sent to Chicago for radium treatments. Aunt Jennie King (Mother’s sister) came and went to Chicago with her for six weeks. After getting home from Chicago Aunt Jennie stayed with us and soon Mother became bedfast. We then had a nurse come to our home to help care for her. Ione had just graduated from high school (May 1921) and Elva was planning her marriage (March 1, 1922.) Mother went into a coma on July 4th and passed away the next day. A big, big funeral at Adaville took place on July 7th. I remember the pastor saying that if God was needing a representative from Adaville in Heaven, He could not have called a better person.
The other experience that was horrible was on Sunday night, Nov. 13, 1921, our house was on fire when we got home from Sunday evening church service. We were heating our house with a coal or wood burning stove at that time, and for some reason it got too hot while we were gone.
The house was full of smoke when we got home and it burst into flames when we opened the door and let in the fresh air. It soon spread, but it so happened all bedroom doors were shut. Ione broke out windows and got a few things from Grandma King’s room and from our girl’s bedroom. Then we tried to get the piano out of the front door but we couldn’t handle it. We didn’t think of getting pictures or violins or smaller pieces of furniture except one small bird’s eye Maple rocker that was a special gift to my parents when they moved to Kansas in 1903. All keep sakes of our mother had been put in a trunk upstairs but none were saved. There was no fire department to call and no insurance on the house.
As the house was ablaze many neighbors and people going home from church saw the light in the sky and came to help. But the house could not be saved. We had to carry water from a well and pour by bucket full onto the fire. When the fire burst through the roof we all gave up trying to save more. I told Papa that I would quit school and stay home to help pick corn, but he wouldn’t hear to that. Freda and I went to spend the night with Uncle Fred and Aunt Edith King near the Adaville Church and they took us to Merrill early the next morning for school.
By the time we got home again on Friday evening, the corn was all picked and cribbed. The church had a corn picking bee and did the whole thing. And the basement was dug for the new house over the same location as the old house. The Kanago’s from Akron had been hired as the new house contractors.
It so happened that there was a house across our section that was furnished but no one was living in it. Our family made arrangements to move in and live there until the new house would become livable. So that meant a long walk every morning and night to do chores on the home place. But we were thankful for the good place to live for the winter months. We girls took turns (as school times permitted) to do the house work and many farm tasks for our father.
On January 24th, we moved into the upstairs of the new house to “camp” there while the downstairs was finished….and then we moved downstairs while the upstairs was finished. All went well, and Elva and Harry Hawkins were married in that new front room on March 1st, 1922.
Much was accomplished by working “bees” from volunteer church people. They helped to lath and plaster the rooms, to shingle the roof, to work in the basement, and such like. Is it any wonder we all love the Adaville community even to this day? Much of the furniture, bedding, kitchenware, etc, was donated piece by piece. I was given three dresses that belonged to Mary Brown, who was Amy Brown Tindall’s sister who had passed away about the same time as my Mother. I wore them to high school. Grandma King had some housekeeping things packed away and we used them. Grandma King lived with Father until she passed away in April 1933.
After Lona’s death, the Lucas church began procedure to get Alva back to Lucas to continue as their pastor. He wondered how he could do it? At that time his widowed mother, Annie Jones, was living with his brother near Abilene. He decided that he would go back to South Dakota if his mother would go with him to help with caring for Irene, and to do the housework in the parsonage. The Lucas church had a big “household shower” to make the parsonage livable again. Many of the items sold at his sale were returned. So all went well for the time being.
In the summer of 1926, I went to Lucas, South Dakota, to visit my sister and her family, Ione and Willie Roggow and their new baby. They were members of the Baptist church in Lucas. One Sunday morning while I was visiting, I was asked to sing a solo. After I returned home to Iowa, Alva went to visit my sister, Ione, and he asked her if she thought I could be interested in helping him. He needed help! He wanted my mailing address. Ione was agreeable and gave him my address. Then she added all the roadway instructions to get to my home in Iowa. We were soon started with our romance.
But with Alva being occupied on the weekends as a pastor and with me teaching country school five days a week, we couldn’t spend much time together. Our romance became mostly a time of correspondence. We were married June 1, 1927.
That was a happy time for me as I made the transition from a 21-year-old country school teacher to an active pastor’s wife, taking care of a baby who was not quite three years old…and also getting acquainted with a mother-in-law, who was a stranger to me. All went well. Later in the fall, Alva’s mother wanted to go back to Texas where winters are not as cold as in South Dakota. So we took her back to Alva’s brother’s home near Abilene, Texas. From then on our life was devoted to our church work and to raising Irene. We held several pastorates and were never without a church to serve.
In 1928 we were called to go to Trent, South Dakota, 30 miles north of Sioux Falls. This was a big church in a small town, with a big debt on their new building. They were very discouraged with this $30,000 debt, and were about to close the church work there. Alva took over the big job and in three year’s time $10,000 of the debt had been paid, and plans were made for the future payments. The people were encouraged to go on with the work there. They were the only church in Trent. It became a very active church and free from debt.
We were called to the pastorate of the Baptist Church in David City, Nebraska, in 1931. This was during Depression Years. This church was planning for a new church building in the near future and had a large building fund growing in the bank. But all four banks in David City closed and there went the building fund. The deacons came in tears to talk about keeping the church open. How could they pay a pastor? An agreement was made to pay $12.50 a week salary. And to do whatever they could to help. All did their best. Farmers would bring us meat when they butchered a calf or pig. Sometimes it was a chicken. Dairy farmers brought us fresh milk every day. Others brought fruit and vegetables from their gardens. And then we all went to the woods and cut wood to burn in the furnace at the church and parsonage. What more could we ask for?
We were called to the pastorate of the First Baptist Church, LeMars, Iowa, in 1936. We arrived in September 1936. Irene was ready to begin Junior High School. She was not used to a big school like LeMars. She needed help to get established in the new environment. It was Richard Albert who helped her find her way at school. He and several others from our church were in her grade as they progressed through high school and graduated together with the Class of 1942.
The church work went well in LeMars for over seven years. Depression years were still with us, but getting better. Salary went from $900 on up to $1100 per year, as church work progressed. We were then called to the pastorate of the Baptist Church in Independence, Iowa, and we went there January 1, 1944. As we were getting ready to leave one of the leaders of our LeMars church said to us, “If you would only stay with us longer, I think we could pay you $1200.00 salary next year.” But salary was not the deciding factor in the move to Independence. Independence, too, was another active church that was needing a pastor.
By the time we went to Independence, Irene was teaching country school. She resigned her school work in Plymouth County and went with us to Independence, where she soon was teaching school again. This was at the time of World War II. Irene’s boy friend, Vernon Ewin, was sent overseas for war time service. He got home from overseas in the fall of 1945. That made things happy for Irene. She and Vernon were married in Independence, Iowa, in June 1946. They soon moved to Minden, Nebraska, where Vernon had found work. Minden, Nebraska, was a long road from Independence, Iowa, and we missed Irene so much.
We went to visit them in early summer of 1947 and Alva was asked to preach at the Baptist Church in nearby Holdrege, Nebraska, while we were there. That church was without a pastor. Alva was called to become the pastor of the Holdrege Baptist Church and we moved there in August of 1947. We were happy there with another active church.
It was February 8, 1948, when Irene and Vernon presented us with our first grandchild, Linda Lee Ewin. It was a delight for us to have them so near by. It was an important trip on ice to go to Minden, Nebraska, from Holdrege to see this first grandchild. The weather was winter cold and slick, but she warmed our hearts.
In the pre-Easter season of 1949 Alva was asked to hold a revival time in McCook, Nebraska. Then he got home to Holdrege in time for his Sunday services. On Monday the Ministerial Council met in our parsonage to make plans for the combined Good Friday services which would be coming soon. Alva passed away at an early hour the next morning, March 22, 1949, of a heart attack. What a shock! He was buried in LeMars City Cemetery on March 25, 1949.
Now what was I to do? I would have to move out of the parsonage before the new pastor came on the Holdrege field. And I didn’t have any work in Holdrege for my living upkeep. As I was pondering my position at that time, I thought about coming back to LeMars if I could get a teaching position again in a nearby country school. I called the Superintendent of Country Schools, Christine Petersen, and she said there were several openings near by. So I decided to take the chance and move back to LeMars. I went to summer school in Kearney, Nebraska, to renew my teaching certificate and moved to LeMars in August of 1949. I began my teaching in Washington Township, west of LeMars, and later taught in Grant Township.
On July 12, 1953, I married J. D. (Jack) Tindall. He was living in LeMars at that time, having moved in from his farm. His first wife, Amy, passed away in January 1951. I gave up my school teaching work, and Jack was in semi-retirement from his farm work. That was a wonderful time of retirement for us. He passed away November 12, 1975, at the age of 93. Then I was left alone again, and this time it was living in a great big house. After nearly four years I was convinced to sell that big house, and get into smaller living quarters. In June 1979, I moved into an apartment in Hillcrest Apartments on 12th St. SE, in LeMars, where I am to this day.
Jack had seven married children when we married: Clark and Cleo were living on a farm near Ruble, Iowa; Richard and wife, Mildred, were in California; Florence and her husband, Dr. W. B. Johnson in Springfield, Missouri; Dr. Robert Tindall was practicing otolaryngology in St. Louis, Missouri; Mildred & her husband, Ralph Hunter, were in LeMars, Iowa; Stanley & Lois Tindall were on the home farm west of LeMars; and Mary and her husband, Lindsley B. White, in Santa Clara, California. They have all been so good to me.
Irene and Vernon Ewin have also left the LeMars area. They returned to LeMars from Nebraska in 1950. Vernon and Irene blessed me with two additional grandchildren; David born in April 1950 in Minden, and Diana born in December of 1952, LeMars, Iowa. In 1971 Vernon and Irene moved to Arkansas. They are now in retirement at Hope, Arkansas.
I am now 87 years old and looking forward to continuing activities in our church where there are many friends and some relatives.
[Transcribed and submitted by Linda, theeldest granddaughter/child to Ferne Jones Tindall…..Grandma did live out her life serving her Lord and remained very active in her church until a pedestrian-car accident put her in the hospital Feb. 28, 1997. Grandma recovered from her broken bone injuries quite nicely, but never did go back to her apt. living. She lived at Plymouth Manor Nursing Home in LeMars from March 1997 until her death in February 2003. In the first few years at the nursing home, Grandma still attended Sunday morning services at the First Baptist Church in LeMars. Family members in LeMars would stop at the Home and give her a ride to and from services.]
E. Ferne King Jones Tindall
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