Hebbe Leola Maude Hebbe

The Children of William and Mattie Hebbe:



Leola Maude was born 30 November 1888 in Jefferson County, Kansas, and died 26 February 1966 near Chouteau, Oklahoma.  She married 4 September 1905 Austin Blackwell (died before December 1956). They had six children:  Roy (1906), Willie (1908), Lucille (1910), Myrtle Irene (1912 d. very young), Jessie, Jack and Helen (bef May 1917). 

In 1908 she and Austin were living near Orlando, Oklahoma when Leola wrote her mother:  “we went to the Christmas tree last night. … I know you were dissapointed Christmas but Austin had to be here with the cattle and I hated to leave him at home …”  They were still there February 28, 1910: “guess you will be surprised when you hear we have a big girl born Sunday at our house has black hair and large eyes Cant tell what color they will be I getting along all right.”   May 24, 1910“Dear Delma … wish you could see the baby she is awful good never cries and will go to sleep by her self. … tell papa that Austin sold two cows for $95.00. I am making me a linen coat made me a pink dress the other day.”

An undated postcard reported Austin was buying 37 head of cattle “on own hook this time”  and she was caring for 17 little chicks. She also had 6 setting hens, two of which were setting on duck eggs.  Her comment “done all but painting and papering” suggests they had recently moved.

They were living near Claremore, Oklahoma when she sent a postcard (bottom card on this page on December 30, 1912: “… we have the sweetest little Black headed girl born sat eve have named it Myrtle Irene Will call it Irene I think. … will send you a lock of her hair when I write again has lots of it.”  Sadly this daughter didn’t live to adulthood.
L and Mrs P       Leola 1916

A May 6, 1917 letter touched on the difficult financial situation of her divorced sister Georgia and expressed hope that her sister could obtain a widow's pension from the state. "Georgia could get $20.00 a month and that would keep her and her babies together and it is not any disgrace either."

Leola’s letters dated 1918 and 1920 were filled with the routine happenings on this northeastern Oklahoma farm.  January 9, 1918:  “Dear Sister … We sold all the mules we had before New Years and have 20 head again will have a buyer tomorrow. Think the boys will be promoted to 4 and 5 grades don’t know about Lucile … You wanted to know what I got for Christmas. Austin give me a lovely set of Silver knifes, forks and spoons. I gave Austin a pair of gloves and tie and the boys gloves and a tie apiece and the girls a doll apiece and we made every bit of our candy ... I am going to get an incubator and brooder already have them ordered.” 

From Verdigris, Oklahoma, December 28, 1920“Dear Mama and Dad … thank you for the lovely things you sent. We were all so pleased with them. Helen says tell you that was the prettiest ribbon she ever had. Her hair is real dark. Luciles is darker than it was. … We are going to butcher today. The boys and I washed yesterday one of them has helped all winter. … I am not getting very many eggs now they were as high as 85c over here but wasn’t but 50 last week. Papa wanted to know how the mules business was …. We only have 4 mules and sure glad we havnt got any more they cost $1000 and maybe they would bring $600. Austin was busy getting his ground ready for wheat during the time they begin buying … we only milk one cow not much sale for butter and they don’t buy cream, so just what we can use is all we need.”

In July, 1935 Walter Hebbe died unexpectedly. A letter sent two weeks later expresses grief and worry about the fate of her brother's widow and two teenage daughters: "How is Fern and the girls and what are they going to do? I just cant see why Walter was taken away when he was needed so bad - and wanted . when there is so many that are not and ar no good to any one. One of Austins friends ... has been sick for a year and he said he had rather be dead than alive - he would be glad to go, but Walter Oh Why?

Leola had a compassionate and generous heart, but could do what needed to be done: "...when we lived at Jay we hard a hen squall & I took the lantern & the dog & went to the hen house & there was the biggest [possum] I ever saw & the dog killed it & the hen was already dead--they always go back to finish one if they Can. I have left a chicken that they killed & set a trap & caught several that way. I dont think a rat will kill one that big & when they do kill the small ones ... That is one thing I liike about my dog he sure kills them. ... I heard [the dog barking] ... So I went to see & looked under som tin & there was a Rabbit I said Tim you stay here & watch until I go get the gun. ... I had to get down on the ground to shoot, but I got it then I pryed the tin up so he could get it ... so he had a Rabbit for supper. I have helped him get a lot of Rabbits ..."

Much of the large batch of correspondence we have shows how Leola’s life centered around the husband she clearly adored, her children and her home. November 15, 1948:  “we have 6 cows to be fresh right away – and unless they get sold, we will milk them. My heiffer will be fresh next week (I hope) …. My chickens are not laying much yet we have to keep them up untill the oats gets started good. We will sell the turkeys next week. I am keeping 3 hens, as I want to raise a big bunch next year.  This is a good turkey & chicken place. So no selling out. We will fix up and stay here. May be a while doing it but it wont be always that things are so high. We can see as far as we want to and I like to see things grow besides just trees.” February 7, 1950:  “Bobbie is going to Come & stay with Austin as soon as school is out so I can go over to see you. I hate to go and leave him alone (Willie said one time that daddy was just lost when I am not there).” 

kids H Mano

L and ALeola was careful in how she worded things, sometimes going into detailed explanations of what she meant. She was almost obsessed with not hurting anyone’s feelings and was careful not to judge the actions of others. Her mother could be petty, demanding and harshly critical.  On July 21, 1955 she wrote to Mattie: “Dear Mama … I don’t understand why you don’t like Austin we will soon be married 50 years the 4th of Sept. he has allway been good & we have always got along. … I don’t know what he done so bad – you let me go with him to Aunt Lidas. Of course you didn’t know our plans. [Leola and Austin eloped. She was seventeen--older than her mother or her sister Georgia when they married--but it appears Mattie, if not William as well, never to the union.]

Now I am not mad. I don’t alow my self to get mad at the ones I love … we had $155.82 of wheat money after all bills were paid. The freeze hurt it like it did every one else’s & oats was a total loss, but if you want & need your money I can sell the hens & I have a little milk money I can send it. … I am working hard to pay the Social Security, another year then it will be easier. You don’t have to give up any thing to draw that & we have 2 quarters each & we need 4 more each, but Austin will not be here long, unless he gets better soon.”  He died within the next 18 months.

five genDecember 1, 1956:  “Dear Irene & H.T. … Helen & Burrell comes every week … I went home with them last Sunday & stayed all night then went to the hospital to apply for a job, but havn’t heard yet, as there was not any openings and may not be untill after Christmas. Quite a few goes from here so I could have a ride. hope I can get on. $30.00 a mo is  nice to get but it just isn’t enough. So if I could work a while & build my Social Security up to where I could get $50.00 a Mo. I could make it fine. Then too I had rather be working.”

Leola died February 26, 1966.