Ellen Missouri Coleman and James Richard Palmer were married on August 9, 1891. Their first child, Frankie Merrill Palmer, was born July 5, 1892. He died 3 ½ years later. The next child, Gena Odessa Palmer arrived on January 18, 1894.
Their daughter Jimma was born on April 8, 1896, and James Russell Palmer was born on December 23, 1897. Wilsie Ellender Palmer, the third girl in the family, arrived on March 27, 1899. That’s five of the Palmer children born before 1900.
The next child, Roy Dyer Palmer was born on June 4, 1901, and Ina Ruth Palmer came into the world on July 29, 1903.
The last boy, Joseph Lillard Palmer, was born April 14, 1906, and the final daughter, Margie Burns Palmer, appeared on September 4, 1908.
James Russel Palmer and Ellen Missouri Coleman Palmer produced nine children in a span of seventeen years. In those days, farming families needed as many children as they could manage to help care for the farm. The loss of their first-born child at such a young age was not unusual in those days. Losing their precious little boy took a toll on both of them.
Fortunately, J.R. and Ellen didn’t outlive the rest of their children. They moved away from the farm and bought a small home on the western edge of Fort Worth, Texas around 1938 or 1939. Several of their children lived in or close to Fort Worth, and they were able to see their grown children, their grandchildren, and great-grandchildren often.
The story of Ruby Ellen Scott is laced with references to her grandparents and her aunts and uncles. Being a part of that large family gave her strength and hope.
Such large families are unusual in 21st Century America. Farms now don’t usually depend on the family’s children to manage the planting and harvesting. Today’s farmers usually have huge machinery to do that. But they might be missing the love, and closeness those bygone families provided.
At least that’s what Ruby Ellen Scott Smith believed.