My maternal grandparents, Stanley and Addie Carmon, were early day pioneers of Ardmore, Oklahoma. Stanley was born in Gainesville, Texas in 1889. His parents, Howard and and Ada (Jacobs) Carmon, had moved to Gainesville from Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania. Stanley’s parents died when he was around 12 years old. There is an interesting obituary in the Hesperian Newspaper, Gainesville, Texas, dated February 7, 1897 that reads:
DEATH OF MRS. CARMON
Mrs. Ada L. Carmon breathed her last Friday night, February 6th, after a lingering illness of two weeks, aged 45 years, 11 months and 24 days. Deceased was a lady of rare attainment, gifted with all the qualities that create the noble, and her actions in life were a criterion to be patterned after. Her friends were legion and were numbered by the score. To know her was to love her, and the vacuum caused by the demise, will never be filled. Mrs. Carmon was a true Christian woman, firmly believing in the future life, to which she had ardently aspired, and she died as she lived, clinging to that faith. Deceased leaves a husband and five children to mourn her loss. The HESPERIAN extends heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved ones in this their hour of affliction. Funeral services will take place Monday, February 8th at 3 p.m. from the Christian Church on North Dixon Street. Friends and acquaintances kindly invited. Ada Carmon died February 5, 1897 at Gainesville, Texas. She is buried with her husband, Howard Carmon, in Gainesville.
I think the above description of my great-great-grandmother, Ada Carmon, stands as an example for me. This example not only holds true of her, but of my great grandmother, Ida Miller, and my grandmother, Addie Carmon, and my mother Louise. These three women, Ida, Addie, and Louise were all three remarkable women and each played an unforgettable part in my life. Stanley Carmon was moved around from place to place after the death of his parents, living with one relative and then another. He was even in an orphanage for a while in Kansas. In his teens he became an apprentice brick mason. It was while laying brick at the old Washington School house in Ardmore that he meet his wife to be. It was right after the turn of the century and his wife to be, Addie Wilson, was a student inside the school house. Noticing each other, they would pass notes back and forth through the window. It was June 29, 1907 (the year of Oklahoma’s statehood), that Stanley and Addie would become man and wife. Over the years I have tried to research the Carmon surname. With the help of many friends around the country and even in England and Australia, I have come up with some interesting facts about the Carmons.
The Carmons originally spelled their name Carman when in England. Being Puritans they were under heavy persecution by the Church of England. Three Carmans were martyred when burned at the stake for their opposition to the Church of England in 1558 near Norwich, England.
After taking enough persecution for practicing their Puritan beliefs, my ancestors, John Carman (1606-1654) (b. Surrey England) and his wife Florence (Fordham) left England and landed in 1633 in Roxbury, Massachusetts. John and Florence brought with them no children. Around 1640 they settled in Hempstead, Long Island, New York on 120,000 acres. Later, around 1710, some of them moved to Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania. My Great-Great-Grandfather, Alexander Carman, born in 1801, was one of those living in Huntingdon, PA. It was Alexander Carman, who for some reason, changed the spelling of his name from Carman to Carmon. All his descendants would spell their name Carmon.
The Carmons in Pennsylvania were well known and educated. Livingston Carmon was instrumental in the building of Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA. He was a Founder on the Board of Trustees and was first treasurer at Westminster College.
My Grandparents Stanley and Addie Carmon opened the Carmon Lumber Company here in Ardmore, Oklahoma in 1930. The lumber yard was located at 803 3rd Northeast. Their home was next door at 805 3rd Northeast. I grew up and lived the first 21 years of my life on that lumber yard property. Soon after their marriage in 1907, Stanley and Addie lived at what they called “the old home place at 1001 3rd Northeast. It barely remember it as a child being a red brick home. After tearing the old home place down, I remember my grandfather selling the cleaned, used red bricks for five cents each.
Stanley and Addie had three children. They were: Stanley Pratt Carmon, Marie Carmon Pruitt, and my mother Louise . Stanley and Addie operated the lumber company until he retired in 1968. Stanley passed away after heart failure in 1969 and his wife, Addie, died in 1977. My grandfather, Stanley Carmon, was a bricklayer and building contractor. During the Great Depression he was able to work, even building 29 schools in Oklahoma for the State. He told me that the State of Oklahoma was broke, and would issue him what was basically an IOU for the schools he built. He built schools in Hobart, Ada, Hennessey, the old Gene Autry, Oklahoma school, and the Douglas School Gym on “M” Street Northeast here in Ardmore, to name a few places.
Stanley help build several downtown businesses
The three story Mason building at Main and Washington
The Santa Fe freight building at Main and the railroad tracks
He also built several homes in Ardmore including a corner house at 1224 Bixby. He built that house with the intention of he and Addie moving into it. But Addie had different ideas. She told him he “could move over on Bixby by himself”, that she was staying where she was on 3rd Northeast. Needless to say, they didn’t move.
As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, the State of Oklahoma would issue Stanley IOUs for his building of the schools. He told me he nearly went bankrupt during this period of the depression. But eventually the economy would turn around, the State coffers would again fill up, and soon he was paid for all the schools he built. He told me, “I had money then.”
I remember one friend of mine who lived in the northeast, Elmer Elliott (now deceased), told me in the late sixties, that he would have starved to death as a child, had it not been for my grandfather and grandmother Carmon. You see, Elmer was a child during the Great Depression. He said his father, like many others, could not find work. There was nothing to eat at home. But Stanley Carmon had a good paying job as a contractor paying $50 a day, and it was not unusual for Elmer and a dozen or more other neighborhood children to go over to the Carmon’s for an evening meal. Stanley and Addie would always set another plate. I also remember my grandfather telling me about his part in the building of the Carter County Courthouse. He was one of the General Contractors. He said it was hard work, they didn’t have any hydraulic equipment like today, and the marble slabs on the courthouse walls were extremely heavy and difficult to put in place, and required a lot of people to install. After Stanley’s death, his son Pratt operated the lumber company for several years. The lumber company and home place still stands today. Pratt and his wife Helen still live in the home place. The lumber yard has deteriorated into a state of disrepair the past few years.
More to come……….
|– 21 FEB 2001
|28 SEP 1933 – AUG 1985
|21 OCT 1909 – 31 JUL 1990
|17 JUN 1933 – 25 NOV 2012
|1 OCT 1943 – 25 SEP 2015
|22 DEC 1932 – 24 JAN 2012
|7 JUN 1947 – 11 MAR 1979