|For more pictures ....see
Legacy of Reuben & Marie
|A Sketch of My Life - Part Three
by Lucy James Mills Ricketts
(1877 - 1954)
|We received from our cousin Doris Brown Alexander of Ohio a wonderful treasure we never knew existed. Our
grandmother Lucy James (Mills) Ricketts who was born on April 16, 1877, kept a daily record in a ledger book. She said
she started writing the diary when she was 39 years old - 1916. Beginning on page 271 of the diary, she writes a sketch of
her life through 1921. She tells about the birth of all eight of her children. Lucy's youngest daughter Thelma took the diary to
Florida in the 1940s when she moved there. Although Lucy left school during the third grade, she writes remarkably well.
Some of the spelling has been left as she wrote it and some has been corrected to facilitate reading Part One, Part Two
|Charlie "Ed" Ricketts, his wife Lucy (Mills) Ricketts, her father "Cub" Mills
|Well it was the last of September. My daughter Lena ran away and got married to Roy Holley. It was a shock to us
come bit she was afraid. We would not like her getting married, but we did not say any thing to her. She met us in
tears. She looked sad, poor child, just 15 years old but she seamed to be happy, but we all missed her so much.
She was all ways so thoughtful and kind to all. She never retired at knight until she asked her farther and my self if
there was any thing she could do for us and saying good knight to us. Oh, how we all missed her. I often found Viola
in tears over her after she left, but the best of friends has to part.
Well, after the crop was saves, we moved on Mr. Davises farm. My husband bought him a team and to work for the 4
[one-fourth - sharecropping] of the crop. We had good neighbors and we all liked fine. All went well for a while, then
my baby Thelma was taken sick with Pneumonia. She lay for many weeks that she did not notice any body but the
good Lord restored her back to health again. I had good neighbors. They helped me out a lot. Mr. and Mrs.
Coleman was so nice to me always ready to do all they could to help me out. We spent many happy ours together.
My health was not so well and I did not get to go out often to see my neighbors, but had lots of visitors and my
house work and little ones kept me busy.
Well, my husband made a very sorry crop. It did not pay expenses of making it and he decided to move to Mr. Blair’s
on a better farm and in December my oldest daughter Viola got married to Lacy Davis. Well, I just felt like I was
ruined. Just felt like I could not make out without her, but had to give her up as they wanted to go to house keeping
by their selves.
Well, we moved and it was near my daughter Lena that married Mr. Holley. I was proud of that as she could visit me
often. Viola came home to see me every week, but it was lonely without her. I started Ruben and Percy and Lucy
to school and I would get very lonely at times. Only one but me and my too little ones Sam and Thelma my baby. I
did not have very much company only on Sunday except Miss Myrtle Blair. She came to see me often but for a short
while. Well all went well until in the late spring. I was taken down sick and was sick all the summer. I was obliged to
keep one of the boys at the house to do my work so I kept Percy and he did my work well. Ed had Leonard and
Ruben to help him in the field, but we made out fine. Lena came and did what she could to help out, but my
husband and boys were all good to do all they could for my comfort. I could get no one to stay with me, but I made
out fine by their help.
Well, fall came and I had improved a lot in health. They had made a good crop, but Ed did not like the place and he
rented a farm from Mr. John Farthling and after the crop was saved we moved. I did not like the place very much, but
I never said anything about it for I liked the people. They were nice neighbors, but out for a good time. They would
visit us often and very friendly people, but my oldest boy Leonard left home and went to town to live, which was a
great shock to me, but he was 22 years old [1905, so Ruben was only four years old] a free man, but oh how I
missed him. I shed many tears over him.
Well, our house was a little three room house sitting on the foot of the White Oak Mountain and no neighbors,
except Mr. and Mrs. Farthling. Gee I got tired of that place before the year was out, but Ed and the boys made a
good crop. I made one visit to see Mrs. Smith and one to see Mrs. Brown during the year, but believe me when ever
I could get away to go to see my children, I would go, but had no close neighbors to visit, but Ed and Mr. Farthling
got along all right and we all got along fine, but Ed went and made a bargain with Mr. Bailey to work with him again.
We had lived with him bee fore and I was overjoyed to get back. Oh, I liked the place fine. Mr. Farthling tried to get
us to stay on. He had made a good crop, but he left after the crop was saved and I was glad to move. Lena came
the day we moved and brought a colored woman to help me get things straight and we all felt like we had gotten
back home. Mr. Bailey and his sister in law came down to see us - said they felt more at home than they had since
we moved away from there. I liked the place and I also liked Mr. Baileys family.
Well, as I had said before my health was bad, but I kept able to do the most of my work. My boys and husband did all
they could to help me out, but they had so much to do on the farm it kept them very busy. We all seamed happy to
get back to our old home. Mr. Bailey’s children were all ways coming to see us. The boys had lots of fun together
and we all visited each other often.
Well, Ed and the boys went to work cutting wood and clearing land for their crop. I kept busy cooking and sewing for
my family. At spring I had lots of chickens and we had a nice garden. All went well and they made a fine crop and
was doing well, but my husbands health was not so good and we decided to move in town. The day came to move,
cold December, but my daughter and her husband and too little children had moved in the house we had rented.
She had good fire for us. Well, it was fun for my children to be in town, but not any fun for me.
All housed up, we moved on Patten St paying 25 dollars a month for the house, but Ed and the boys got them a job
at the Express office working at night and Viola and Lacy her husband went to work. I taken care of their too little
children for them while they worked. I had a time doing all my house work and caring for my little ones and hers too
and I did not like the place at all. No where for the little ones to play. Well I went and rented a house out in the edge
of town. I liked much better - had a large lot for the little ones to get out and play and we had a nice garden and I
bought me a cow and raised hogs and chickens, felt like I was in the good old country again. All went well. Ed and
Ruben and Percy all had good jobs and we were doing well.
Viola and her husband moved out in a house to their selves, but she came home every day to see me in the fall.
We decided to buy us a home on Fuller St. It cost us two thousand two hundred and 50 dollars and I was over joyed
to have us a home of our own. All went well for a while, but in May we lost our home and all we had by fire. It was a
great shock to us. We did not even have clothes to ware. All we had laying in ashes. It was a great shock to us all.
But every one was very nice to us, gave us lots of clothes and made up a nice sum of money for us. We went up to
my sisters and stayed a week until we could build us a room and we moved in it. The boys slept at my sisters at
night, but came home for lunch. It was a bad go, but we was glad to have one room. It was home.
We made out until we could get our home built back. Went to house keeping own a very little, but we were happy to
bee back together. Had plenty to eat and our friends gave us lots of things that helped us out and dad and the boys
had good jobs so we made out very well, but the loss of our home made me worry a lot, but we had lots of friends
and good neighbors.
Mrs. Richardson was my nearest neighbors and I never could forget her. She came often to see me and was so nice
and cheerful always ready to do all she could to help any one out. My sister Ida Owen came often too see me and I
always was glad to see her coming. She was my oldest sister and always seamed like a mother to me as my mother
died when I was seven years old and I always taken advice from her, She always had something good to tell and
always some comforting to cheer you along. You like to have some one come in when you are lonely to comfort you.
Leonard my oldest boys wife would come in the afternoon with her too little ones Annie and Eleanor and sit with
me. My health was failing and I just stayed on the drag hardly able to do my house duties and my sister Ida was
thinking of moving back to their farm in the country. I could not hardly stand the thoughts of her moving away from
me, but they did not like town, so in the fall they moved and just to look up there and not see her walking around
and to no I could not see her coming every day singing some good old religious song, I just had to weep. She never
stayed, long but she all ways brought sunshine to my soul.
Well, I had my three little ones to stay with me Lucy was 14, Sam 11, Thelma 8,  but they were a lot of help to
me. Ed and Ruben and Percy worked every day. They were all so nice to me. It was great comfort to have a good
husband and good children. My health was bad and I could not go out to church often and it made me feel badly to
see others going to church, getting so many blessings and I had to sit at home.
This ends Lucy Mills Ricketts "The Sketch Of My Life," which is only a part of the large
In the larger diary, there is one interesting entry on February 5, 1941: "Late in the
afternoon, too of my daughter inlaws came for a short visit. Marie brought her little baby
boy for me to see. It was real cute. Just four weeks old. My 30 grand child. Oh, you may
know I was growing old."
That cute little baby boy was me, Danny Ricketts. I was born on January 13, 1941 and
was a little less than four weeks old.