Hiram A. McAdams

Jennie Robbins - Alice Rebecca Williamson

Alete Thompson - Recollections

Written by Alete Thompson Wafer in 1976

Alice Cornelia McAdams, daughter of Hiram Augustus McAdams and Jennie Robbins McAdams, was born on November 22, 1876. Alice attended a millinery school in St. Louis, Missouri, around 1900, and later owned a millinery shop in Bedias. It was here that she met the young druggist (now called a pharmacist) who was partner to Burtis Bros. & Thompson. Cuyler Thompson and Alice courted, married and reared their family in Bedias. The drug store was in operation for 50 years under Cuyler Thompson's direction after he bought the Burtis Bros.' share in the store. To this marriage of Alice and Cuyler, three children were born: Alete, MayDell, and Cuyler, Jr. They also reared a nephew of Cuyler Thompson, Freeman Heath, as their own son. Grandmother Thompson also lived with them. Alete married Ira Donaldson Wafer. They had four children: Ira Jean, Mary Sue, Don Bryce and Alyce Judene. MayDell married Ivan Cooper. Cuyler, Jr. married Pearl Olive Sadler. They had three children: Bobbie, C. G., and Lee David.

Alete Wafer age 18Being a "close knit" family, when Grandpa McAdams (Hiram) moved to Bedias, his children settled near him. Uncle Edgar's, Aunt Clara's, and Alice's families lived within "hollering" distance of each other in Bedias. Naturally, with Grandpa's younger group of children and the children of the older group, we made a "passel of kids."

Such fun as we had making our own entertainment, such as preaching. Floyd Roberts usually delivered the sermon and performed baptisms in the creek back of our houses. Funerals of all cats, birds, chickens, etc. that died, "song fests", crawfishing (including cooking them on the banks of the creek over a fire we made) were a few of the things we did. MayDell was usually the one sent running to the house for frying pan, grease, and corn meal. We had an extra large cast iron stove to use also.

When we divided up teams, "You be the papa today - I'll be the mama", MayDell again was selected to run fetch items needed for house keeping. But by the time she was back, we had usually decided to play something else, such as "follow the leader" or jump the creek (branch) at the widest point. That was fun till one day one of the followers fell and hit her head after falling short of the distance across the creek. That halted that fun. Sometimes we would form a family circus. We used tubs for drums, wash boards, cow bells, and anything else that made noise. When we put all this together and started our concert, all the dogs, horses, and cattle headed for the "back forty acres." Perhaps our neighbors did also. The circus act was a result of seeing a Barnum & Bailey circus show every fall when it came through and performed for one or two nights in Bedias.

There would be a traveling troupe of actors who also came to town to put on plays. Days after they had gone, our "own troupe" would re-enact what we had seen. "Lena Rivers" was the heroine in one such play, so we took turns being that person. G. B. McAdams seemed to always win out in being the leading male character. He was handsome and winsome as well.

We took a cue from the circus performing animals and tried to do the same with our cats and dog. MayDell always dressed her kitty in doll clothes and strolled her in the doll buggy. One such day while MayDell and Ruby Pyle were pushing their cats and Alete was pulling little Cuyler in his red wagon, out of the blue came a bunch of fast moving horses. MayDell and Ruby ran, leaving their cats to fend for themselves. Of course the "babies" tore out and they later had a time catching them, much less strolling them again in the doll buggy. Alete was petrified by the horse herd and would have run also but had to stay with her brother. The horses ran around us and no one was injured.

Cuyler Jr. just loved horses, like most of the McAdams kids did. When he was 4 or 5 years old and all dressed in his white "goat skin" coat and cap, he decided to drive "old Dollie", Aunt Clara's horse, by holding on to her tail. "Old Dollie" decided she didn't want him at her heels, so she kicked back, knocking Cuyler out cold! The result was a cut above his right eye the shape of a horse shoe. The white coat became blood red immediately. Aunt Clara heard him cry out, picked him up and ran to Alice's house. Dr. L. A. Barnes came quickly and tended to him. Needless to say that scar is still visible, horse shoe shaped, though fainter with the years.

Cuyler would run off many times when he was little to Grandma's. When he'd get to the gate he'd yell out loud and clear, "Dad gum it, Grandma, open the gate quick, here comes mama." He called his mother Alice "you old tobacco mama." He thought tobacco was a nasty word.

The McAdams children were so fond of each other that when any one was in trouble, they all were quick to defend him/her. One time Grandpa McAdams couldn't find out who the culprit was so he lined all of them up and whipped each and all of them, saying, "now I'll get the right one, the one who did it," and he did!

One of Grandpa's favorite songs was "Lily of the Valley."

I recall so many nights when mama had me to run get Grandma McAdams when Cuyler was sick. He was ill so much, especially at night. I would go almost in a sleepy daze over to Grandma's house (she always seemed to be awake) and get her to come over to our house and help with Cuyler. She would beat me back to the house.

Once when Aunt Mary McAdams Payne was still a student at college, but home for the weekend, she was heard by Grandma McAdams singing a "risque" song: "Sally in her shimmy tail, Sally in her gown, Sally in her shimmy tail, running through the town." Grandma McAdams almost came unglued, and told Mary, "the idea of you singing such as that before Ruth and Alete."

One day Floyd Roberts made Jeanette mad about something so Jeanette threw a fork at him. The fork stuck in his forehead and upon seeing this and all the blood, she became so frightened she ran. If memory serves me correctly, she ran all the way to the drug store for Uncle Cuyler to protect her.

Jack Langley had an imagination that wouldn't quit. He was always burying or digging up fire engines, trains, horses and etc. His costume was overalls, belt, tie, and his cowboy hat. When he was called in for supper, he'd say, "Still light enough for just a little more playing time, E.-mama." "Yistriddy" was a big word to him them.

The first night after Aunt Clara and Uncle Buck Roberts married, they came back home to Grandpa McAdams' house. Grandpa told Frank, the youngest of the older group, to go unhitch Buck's horse from the buggy, feed him and put him in the lot for the night. Uncle Frank replied, "Oh no, Papa, he won't stay all night - he never does!"

Larue, Uncle Frank's daughter, was a little tiny girl when she called Floyd Roberts "Fed". She would ask him, "Fed, your mama got a passall?" My momma has a passall (parasol)." Her pet name about this time was "Toot".

Upon coming home from school the first day, Aunt Clara asked "Who's the smartest in your class, Ruth? She said, "Me and Alete, but I believe I'm a little bit the smartest."

Returning from his first day at school, Thomas McAdams stopped by the bank in Bedias to give his dad, Joe Horn McAdams, a report. Thomas said, "Daddy, there's no use in your sending me to school, I can't even read a word."

Thomas and Don Wafer started a "hot time in Bedias" one day just before lunch time. They piled leaves in big heaps and set fire to them. Between the Thompson house and what was at the time the Baptist parsonage, there was a vacant area that needed cleaning so they set fire to it. The fire got out of hand and all the men downtown had to come running with wet sacks and every available item to beat the fire out. Don and Thomas were white as sheets they were so scared. There was no major damage, just a few leaves and grass and many anxious moments.