PRECIOUS MEMORIES

PIONEERS OF GARFIELD COUNTY, OKLAHOMA

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I-ps2.gif - 684 BytesNathan Cutter and Lettie LungerI-ps2.gif - 684 Bytes

By their daughter, Nina Cutter Messenger


NATHAN EVANS CUTTER

Nathan Evans Cutter was born Dec. 21, 1878, to Henry and Caroline Cutter, next to the youngest of their children: Orville, Dick, Ellen, Sarah, Molly, Henry, Sam and John. He was born in DeKalb County, Missouri, and the family lived there a few more years before moving to Kansas. They lived in the Newton/Halstead area in Harvey County. Nathan was only five years old when his father died. His mother later bought 160 acres southwest of Covington, OK.

Before John and Nathan married, their mother divided the farm into 80 acres each and she moved into Covington and married Reuben A. Holman. Nathan and Lettie Lorene Lunger were married May 5, 1903, and lived in a very small 3-room house on their 80 acres. Two more rooms were added as their family increased. They had 10 children: Eugene, Edith, Ellis, Ethel, Pauline, Nina, Alice Belle and Derald Dean. They lost two infant daughters.

When our mother told us to do something we didn't move very fast. When our father told us to do something, we didn't lose any time, because he would use a razor strap if we didn't follow orders. My father provided the needs of his family from the 80 acres grandmother gave him, he also bought another 80 acres nearby and rented another quarter section. He made a living by farming, milking cows, and doing odd jobs like unloading coal from a box car for a local elevator. You might say say he was an all around handyman. The land we lived on wasn't very suitable for a garden. Father was determined to put fresh vegetables on the table, so he planted his garden in the pasture, close to a pond. He then raised a good garden, and also provided his own meat. One year he thought he had planted cucumbers. It turned out that he had a wagon load of pumpkins.

My father was a quiet man. He had a way of reading and did not pay attention to the noise we children were making. He was a hard worker. My father and mother spent all of their married life on this one farm. Father died suddenly in 1935 and is buried in the Covington Cemetery.

LETTIE LUNGER CUTTER

Lettie Lorene Lunger was born August 31, 1886, in Marshall County, Kansas, daughter of Mary and Ferman Lunger, who came to Covington soon after the Strip was opened, bringing their 3 children: Lettie, Wesley and Earl. Lettie Lunger's mother had first married a brother of Ferman Lunger and they had 5 children: Alice, Anna, Phillip, Allen and Willie. He died and Mary then married his brother Ferman. Their daughter, Lettie, was my mother.

Grandmother, for some good reason, allowed Phillip to be adopted and he took the family name of Billing. He went to college and became a lawyer. It was several years before I met him, as his law practice was in the east. I never did see Aunt Anna and Uncle Willie. Aunt Alice lived at Pryor and we saw her occasionally. Uncle Allen was divorced and came to Covington to live the rest of his years, a friend to everyone.

My Grandfather Lunger provided for his family by farming and doing odd jobs wherever he could find them. Mother didn't finish high school, as she had to help at home, which helped in later years, too, because she was a good cook and seamstress.

My mother was a favorite cook of the community. One preacher would tell her that her food was "musty"; "I must have some more." She was noted for her angel food cakes. For a community affair, she sometimes baked as many as three in one day. Having only one pan, she would bake them one at a time in the wood stove. She knew exactly what size of wood to put in the stove to bake the cake.The way I learned to make an angel food cake was a case of emergency. My mother had promised to bake three cakes for someone. She got sick with a gall bladder attack after she had baked two of them. It was up to me to bake the last one. She directed me from her bed and when I was finished, mine was as high as hers. That boosted my morale, from then on I wasn't afraid to make an angel food cake. Pauline was afraid to make an angel food cake and didn't try until she had a cake mix to use.

Generally on Sunday morning, my mother would bake pies before she went to church because very often we brought the preacher home for dinner. We thought we had the preachers too often because when they appeared we had to put on the Sunday manners. My mother cooked a lot during the week so therefore it was a standing rule that everybody fix what he wanted for Sunday supper from the dinner leftovers.

My mother always baked her own bread twice a week. We thought it was a treat to eat bakery bread. The night before she baked bread we would have to bring the everlasting yeast up from the cellar. Then we would mix water and flour to it and let it sit overnight. We were never sure which one of us girls she would call on to do that job. Anyway, we were rewarded when we came home from school and could break off a piece of hot bread. We would then put good home made butter on it and have an after-school snack.

Mother had to go to the hospital for gall bladder surgery and it was a happy day when she came home. The ambulance was just ahead of the school bus. One boy made a smart remark about our mother riding in an ambulance. Pauline got so mad she started crying but I didn't care, I was glad to see my mother come home.

We were a large family and everyone had to do his share of the work which consisted of milking cows and churning butter. We kept several cows and it was a job to bring them home at night and take them back in the morning. My mother decided that she could make more money by churning the cream and selling the butter by the pound. Money from the eggs and butter was then used for groceries. That was one job that every one helped with. I remember a big barrel shaped churn that was almost too large for a small child, but we all had to help do this twice a week. We still have the trays mother put the molded butter on to take to the grocery store.

In our farm house we didn't have electricity. Our wood-burning stove had a reservoir and no warming oven. Later, we probably had a kerosene stove.

My mother believed in dreams. After Edith left home she would say, "I had a dream about Edith last night, we should hear from her today". The majority of the time we would get a letter.

The children all attended the little country school named "Cracker Box,"(later named Diamond). It was the center of that community's social life. After I completed my third year in school my father had our farm transferred to the Covington school district. From that time on we were a part of the Covington activities.

My older brother and sisters all attended Sunday School in Douglas. On special days (if I promised to be good) they would take me along. When the Covington Christian Church was started in 1925, my folks were charter members and were active in that church until their deaths.

My folks worked hard to provide for their family. Monday was always wash day. The first washing machine was operated by hand. It was a happy day when father bought a washing machine with a gasoline motor. Another job that had to be done was ironing. Mother ironed many a shirt with the old fashioned flat iron heated on a wood stove. Mother was a good seamstress, she used one basic pattern but could make a dress by looking at a picture of one in the store window or the catalog. I didn't have a "store bought" dress until my 8th grade graduation.

We were one big happy family. We didn't have to go away from home to have plenty of excitement. If we couldn't stir up enough just in our family we had plenty of relatives close by always willing to join in with us. After father died in 1935 my mother stayed on the farm for a few more years, then sold it to Uncle John's son, (Charlie Cutter), and that put our 80 acres back into the original 160 acre farm. Mother then bought a house in Covington and lived there until her death in 1956. My younger brother, Derald Dean (Billy), lived with mother until he went into the service for his country and was killed in the European Theater.

OBITUARY
(Newspaper unknown)

Funeral services for Henry Allen Lunger were held Sunday afternoon at the Christian Church with Rev. Floyd Diehm officiating and Rev. L.L. Scott assisting. Burial was in the Covington cemetery. Honorary pallbearers were Garfield Culbertson, B. R. Jenkins, Bernie Albright, Hugh Sossamon, Louis Kroeger, W. B. Snyder and Charley Ward. Mr. Lunger, who was 83, suffered a stroke at his home Sunday and died Friday morning in an Enid hospital. He was a native of Iowa and came to Oklahoma several years ago from Osawatomie, Kansas. He had lived in Covington the past 20 years and was a member of the Christian Church. Survivors include one daughter, Mrs. Ethel Storms, Kansas City and three sisters, Mrs. Lettie Cutter, Covington; Mrs. Alice Anderson, Pryor, and Mrs. Anna Warner, Seattle; three brothers, Wesley Lunger, Covington, Earl Lunger, Oklahoma City and Phillip Billing, Boone, Iowa.



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