Monday, October 5, 2015

Gerald Dawson Robison " Shorty" Growing Up In Doniphan

I've always wondered what it was like for my Grandpa Shorty growing up in Doniphan, Missouri? So it was beyond wonderful to talk to my father in-law, Dan Hanners, about his years growing up there. He too walked those same hills, road horseback over the same trails, fished in the same rivers, and worked his relatives farms, the same as my grandpa. It really brought me closer to my family roots.

Here is grandpa, with what looks to be his first gun. I can't tell by the look of it, if it is even a real gun, but chances are it was. I'll bet if it was, he hunted squirrels with it. This looks like the countryside not far from Poplar Bluff, in Butler Co., Missouri. It is pretty flat there, and today it is where they grow rice.

This looks much closer to town. Doniphan has a lot of brush and small oaks, or at least it did when we visited it in 1994. Looks like grandpa enjoyed the woods too.

Here are two pictures of grandpa Shorty with his Percheron Stallion named Dick. The lower picture shows grandpa holding the horse and his younger half brother, Edwin Russell Knickerbocker, Jr standing beside him. Grandpa really loved that horse, and wanted to breed up Percheron's, but life in Doniphan was not easy, and his relationship with his stepfather was tenuous at best. The man drank, and had a tendency to gamble. From what little I gathered, from conversations with grandma Lillie, is that Edwin was mean, and Nellie too demanding. Tho it might have just been a case of grandma disliking her mother in-law. Grandpa left home not long after this picture was taken, and went to work in the Oklahoma Oil Fields. He was about 20, in this picture, so it must be around the time he served in the National Guard too.

Sadly my father in-law had no better relations with his father, and his father also drank. Dan left home at age fourteen, and went to live with relatives in Poplar Bluff, before joining the Civilian Conservation Corp in 1938. (More on that later.) I would love to share pictures of  Dad Hanners growing up in Doniphan, but I do not have any. Later I will share some of his younger brother Tom, and Uncle Franklin Hanners, that were taken in Doniphan.

2nd Husband, Edwin Russell Knickerbocker, Sr and my Gr. Grandma, Nellie Mae Ponder.
Gr. Grandma Nellie is in the dingle-ball hat, then probably one of her sisters, and 2nd husband Edwin, in the background. These are pictures of the house Grandpa Shorty grew up in, in Doniphan. Gregg and I drove by this house on our visit in 1994. It was still standing and being lived in at that time, tho I don't recall the huge fireplace and chimney. However we weren't able to get out and go up close to it, so it may have been on that part of the house that faced away from the road.

In 1928 Grandpa Shorty was in the Missouri State National Guard. Here he is with his Company at Camp Clark. He is kneeling down in the front row, and is the fifth in from the right. (This picture was too long to get all in one scan, so I had to scan it in parts.)

Here is a closer scan of the same picture.

Closeup of same picture showing Grandpa Shorty.

This is the left end of the picture. I have no doubt there were other relatives, and men from Doniphan in this picture, but none of them have been identified.

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