Thursday, September 30, 2010

All in the Family: Violet Mae Warner Heffner

The oldest daughter of George Pierce and Mary Rose Fry Warner, Violet was less than two years old when the Warner family moved from West Foxburg, Pennsylvania, to Elwood, Indiana, traveling by Conestoga wagon to follow the gas boom that had hit in Madison County, Indiana. She and her older brother, Victor Walter, were joined by two more brothers, Herbert Wayne and Frank Earl, and two sisters, An Nora De Lange and Mary Rose, to complete the family.

(Vic lived in Elwood, where he passed away in 1963. Herbert lived and died in Tipton in 1966, and I actually grew up knowing some of Grandma’s nieces and nephews, Wanda Ball, Virginia Rogers, and George Herbert Warner among them)

Violet played the violin as a girl and graduated from Elwood High School where she and Lewis first met. They were married a few years later on her birthday, August 14th. They lived to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary at a special open house hosted by their two daughters, Leona and Helen.

Violet was a good German cook who could make everything from Weiner schnitzel (breaded tenderloin) to fried cow’s tongue. She would skin and cook freshly killed rabbit, make turtle soup, and fry a variety of fish. Her best cooking though was fresh baked apple pie with fruit picked from the trees that grew in the backyard of 218 W. Tyler.

She was confirmed a member of the St. Stephen's Episcopalian Church in Elwood on February 28, 1909 at by Robert B. Foote and was married by Matthew Palmer Bowie of the same church.

Violet had a couple of interesting jobs which likely took a toll on her health. She worked at the tin plate in Elwood and at a marshmallow factory in Indianapolis where the older girls were born. She miscarried several children and her last daughter, Ethel Louise, was stillborn. The baby is buried in Hancock’s Chapel where the family lived after Violet’s doctor suggested she move from the smog of the city.

Violet loved to do crossword puzzles. She read Shakespeare and poetry. She and Lewis would travel to Florida occasionally to visit relatives who lived in Lutz. She had a parakeet, “Pretty Bird,” and Whiskers, the dog who moved up from Helen’s house.

A minute before Violet passed away, she tipped her ear heavenward and said, “Oh, what a beautiful song.” She died at home at 3:24 p.m. on Friday September 26, 1969. She was buried at 1:30 p.m. in the  I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Alexandria.

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