I’ve been adding regularly to the Ancestor Sketches on the tabs just below the photo at the top of this blog. One thing I love about the sketches is that the missing live links tell me right away if I’ve missed sharing an ancestor’s story.
I’ve written about the Stufflebeans quite a few times and I know I have mentioned Earl, but I’ve never written a post centered around his life, so I decided that it is time.
Earl is my husband’s grandfather, but neither Dave nor his brother ever got the chance to know him because Earl died quite young and before they were born.
Earl Stufflebean, c1910
Earl Marcus Stufflebean was the fifth of nine children born to John Henry Stufflebean and his first wife, Mary Elizabeth Hollen, arriving on 23 January 1894 in Linn County, Missouri.
Linn County had been the home of the Stufflebeans since Earl’s great grandfather, Michael Stufflebean, had settled there before 1840. By the early 1900s, the family was getting ready for another big move. Within several short years, Earl’s mother died, his dad remarried to Addie Lucinda Belcher and the family left Baker Township, Linn County, Missouri for new opportunities in Oklahoma.
Earl attended high school in Noble, Oklahoma. He didn’t have the opportunity to finish high school, but completed 10th grade.
In Missouri, the Stufflebeans had been farmers, but Earl’s dad, John Henry, decided to try his hand as a store proprietor. With six healthy sons, he had plenty of help.
Earl went to work as a clerk in the Stufflebean General Store and worked there through all the years in which his father was in business. The store closed during the Depression and John Henry died in 1938.
However, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself in this story, so we will need to backtrack a bit.
Sometime between 1910 and 1915, Pearl Lillian Brasher caught the eye of young Earl.
Pearl Lillian Brasher
Pearl graduated from Noble High School in June 1916, but had been “seeing” Earl at least during her senior year and perhaps the year before. Earl didn’t waste any time asking the pretty Lillian to marry him and she accepted. On 10 August 1916, they married in the nearby “big city” of Norman.
Their first child, son Edward Earl, arrived in June 1917.
Pearl and Ed, c1918
Sister Wanda Lucille was born not quite three years later in April 1920.
Sometime between the 1920 and 1930 censuses, Earl, Pearl, Ed and Wanda moved from Noble about seven miles north to Norman, Oklahoma. The university was there and there were more job opportunities.
Stufflebean Home in Norman, Oklahoma
The country was in the throes of the Great Depression. John Henry was getting up in years and decided to close his store. For the first time since he was a young boy, Earl was out of work. Wanda had been an at-home wife and mother so, all of a sudden, this family of four had no income.
Earl found a job at the Central State Hospital as an attendant. It wasn’t an easy job, as the hospital served patients with mental health issues. Pearl found work as a cook in one of the university sorority houses. Ed and Wanda were entering their teen years.
Times were tough, particularly in Oklahoma, which endured the Dust Bowl in addition to the Depression.
Ed wasn’t able to find a job, so he joined the U.S. Army.
Wanda, Ed and Earl
By 1940, Ed and Wanda were both married and in their own households, so Earl and Pearl were empty nesters.
Wanda and her husband, Jess, were living in Norman, but Ed decided to try life in southern California. One month after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Ed, Ruby and daughter Pat moved away from Oklahoma.
Ed and the family made the trip back to Oklahoma about every other year, so they saw Earl and Pearl infrequently. Earl made one trip out to Compton, California, where the family was living in the 1940s and early 1950s.
I don’t know the last time Ed and family visited or saw Earl, but in January 1946, Pearl sent Ed a letter, dated 3 January 1946, telling Ed that his dad had had a slight stroke about 3:30 that morning. Earl’s health continued to deteriorate until he died on 11 January 1946, twelve days before his 52nd birthday.
Earl in the 1940s
He was buried at the IOOF Cemetery in Norman, Oklahoma.
Pearl survived Earl by many years, passing away on 18 December 1989. She was laid to rest beside him.