The Seven Sons of Frank and Eda Ireton

by Mark William Ireton (ireton5@iretonfamily.com)

September, 2003

Introduction

LaRoux has covered “Joab” extensively in recent newsletters.  For a quick recap, James Scott Ireton married Eunice Pitman Radcliff (B. 1832 Cincinnati, D. 1906) and they had at least six children, Albert (B. ~1857 in IL), Charles "Charlie" (B. July 04, 1861), Winfield (Win) Scott (B. June 25, 1865 Chicago), Frank Austin (my Great-Grandfather, born Jan. 21, 1867 Chicago), Jennie, and Mattie (or Mattey or Martha).

 LaRoux invited me to submit information for this newsletter, so I chose to write about the family of Joab’s son Frank Austin Ireton.  Most of this information is also available on my website at www.iretonfamily.com, along with many old photos.  Many years ago, I saw a picture of Frank’s family in front of a small log cabin in Oklahoma.  The log ends show the rough cut of hard labor with an ax, and the roof is covered with sod.  Sand has drifted around the side of the cabin, where six young boys stand with their parents, grim faces all around.  Frank has just one suspender, and some of the boys are barefoot.  A year or two later, another son would be born.  Can you imagine Eda feeding seven hungry boys in that dusty little cabin?  That picture sparked my interest in family history.  It has also been a source of inspiration, to think that Frank and Eda raised seven boys under those conditions; nothing today can be too rough.

Frank Austin Ireton

According to my late uncle, Frank and Eda operated at a coalmine near Coffeyville, Kansas until 1896 or 1897 when they decided to homestead in Oklahoma. I’m not sure what “operated” means, but I do know that there was a great deal of coal produced in that area of Kansas in those days.  They left Kansas in February with Austin and Rolla, ages eight and five in one wagon and Frank and Eda in another wagon with Jim, age two and Elmer about six months. They homesteaded 160 acres southwest of Putnam in Dewey County, Oklahoma. In 1913 or 1914 they loaded a threshing machine, a sawmill, livestock, and belongings in an immigrant railroad car to Cedarvale, New Mexico. Rolla and a friend followed three months later by team and wagon. The trip from Oklahoma to Cedarvale took 21 days. Frank, Austin. Rolla, and Jim homesteaded 160 acres and Frank set up a sawmill. The boys all delivered trees to the mill while Austin and Rolla hauled in cedar logs with Oxen and horses, threshed, and drilled wells. Frank built a house, but Rolla and Lilly lived in a tent the first winter. Feed for livestock was scarce and they burned the spikes off cactus for feed. The next spring Rolla built his house and planted pinto beans to prove up his claim. Due to limited rainfall beans rows were five feet apart to qualify for more acreage. Houses were built with lumber vertical and smaller dimension planks over the cracks without insulation the houses were drafty and cold. Frank always said the tent was warmer than the house and he liked to come over and sit in the tent in the winter. Of course it was smaller and the old wood range kept it warm.

About 1915 or 1916 Frank and family and Rolla and family moved to Roswell, New Mexico where they had a farm and dairy. January 9, 1921 Frank had an auction and sold 22 head of cattle, 8 head of horses and mules together with other livestock and farm machinery. They moved to Roaring Springs, Texas where Frank operated a general store and Rolla operated a blacksmith shop, a garage and sold Ford cars. Since Roaring Springs did not have electricity the blacksmith shop had an electric generator powered by a Model T engine, which Rolla used to furnish power to the store, barbershop, hotel and other commercial buildings in town. Jim was a section foreman on the railroad at that time. Jim was in the Army and Elmer was in the Navy during WWI. Frank moved to Ropesville, Texas where they operated a gas station and grocery until his death June 2, 1931. Eda Died at Custer City. Oklahoma December 16, 1948.

Seven Sons

Austin Arthur Ireton

Nicknamed “Man” by his father, Austin was born on Christmas day 1888 in Burlington, Coffey County, Kansas.  He was Frank and Eda’s first child.  According to my father, many of the pictures on my website were taken by Austin during the early 1900’s.  In some of the pictures you can see Austin holding a string to trip the shutter.  Like my grandfather Rolla, Austin was in the well drilling business.  His business card reads

A.A. Ireton

Well Drilling & Pump Supplies

Agent, Wind Mills and Casing

Custer City, Oklahoma

 Austin married Elphia Hanks and they had five children; Ralph, Viola, Lawrence, Rose, and Guy.  Austin died in 1971 and is buried in Clinton, Oklahoma.

Rolla Chester Ireton

Rolla Chester "R.C." or “Kid Ireton was the second son of Frank Austin, born March 10, 1891 in Burlington, Kansas. R.C. married Lillie Foust May 10, 1911 in Putnam, Oklahoma. They had five children; Elva, Alma, Merion Frank, Charles, and Betty Jo. They lived in Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas before moving to Redwood City, California where R.C. worked in the shipyards during WWII building Liberty ships. After the war, they moved to Idaho where they bought a farm near Meridian. Lillie died in February 17, 1981 and R.C. died March 19, 1984 in Jerome, Idaho.

 R.C. was a well driller in west Texas (water, not oil…) and like to tell a story about witching for water.  One day while in a barbershop, he heard a man complaining that he had been unsuccessful in finding water on his property.  The man said he would pay $500 to anyone that could find water on his place.  R.C. took him up on that offer and located a spot by “witching” with a willow stick.  He then hired a man to dig a well by hand and found water, making a handsome profit. 

 For more history on R.C., see http://iretonfamily.com/mfi_hist.htm for an account by my late uncle M. Frank Ireton.

Jim Frank Ireton

Jim Frank Ireton was the third of seven sons born to Frank Austin and Eda Ireton. He was born born August 4,1893 at Burlington, Kansas. He served during WWI and received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army in 1919 (Company "C" 168th Infantry).  In 1969 Jim's address was Route 1, Box 197, Corona, California. Jim died in La Habra, CA in 1971.

Jim had three sons, Jim Jr., Norman Wiley, and Vernon, all of which have passed away. Jim Jr. had two sons, Jim Frank Ireton III and Jerry.  Jim Frank Ireton III lives in Solvang, CA.  I don't know much about Vernon yet, but he was married to Melba Ireton of Conway, MO.  Norman Wiley and his wife Marilyn JoAnn (Williams) Ireton, died in the plane accident in San Francisco, February 13, 1965.  The couple had three sons; Norman Wayne, Phillip Layne, and Michael Payne.  Norman Wayne Ireton is married, and lives in Sheridan CA, he has no children.  Phillip Layne Ireton has one son, Phillip Shayne Ireton, and they both live in the San Jose, CA area.  Michael Payne Ireton has 3 children, Janelle Marie, James Wiley, and Jeffrey William.  They live in Wisconsin.  Mike was born February 1964, and his parents died 2 weeks before his first birthday. Mike and his brothers were raised by their maternal grandparents, Orrin & Evelyn Williams, San Jose California (both grandparents are now deceased).  Norman Wiley also had a son, Norman Earl, from a previous marriage.  Norman Earl Ireton lives in Stockton, California.

Elmer Scott Ireton

Elmer Scott Ireton or “Nick” was born October 3. 1895 in Burlington, Kansas.  Elmer served in the Navy during WWI and was aboard the U.S.S. San Diego July 19, 1918 when the ship was stuck by either a mine or torpedo from a German U-boat (U-156).  Known as the “last armored cruiser”, the San Diego was the only major ship lost by the United States during WWI.  According to his son Gene (Donald Gene Ireton), Elmer was in the water for a long time.  He later contracted tuberculosis, apparently as a result of that experience. 

 Elmer married Maggie Mae Taylor July 25, 1920.  They had five children; Elmer Taylor (b. 1922), Ray Lewis (b. 1924), Jack Bailey (b. 1926), Donald Gene (b. 1931), and Mildred Marlene (b. 1933).  Gene said that before his father passed away in February of 1942, he was very worried about his brother Carl who was under attack by the Japanese in the Philippines at the time. 

Elic Ray Ireton

Elic Ray Ireton or “Shug” was born July 18, 1898 near Putnam, Dewey County, Oklahoma.  He and his wife Pearl had one adopted son, Larry, who committed suicide at an early age.  My father says that Elic owned a grocery store building, and possibly an oil distribution business.  Elic died in July of 1964 in Roswell, NM.  Pearl died October 27, 1993, also in Roswell.

Henry Forbes Ireton

Henry or “Migs” was born February 11, 1901, also near Putnam.  He and his first wife had two sons that may have lived in the Denver area.  According to my father, Henry had no contact with his sons after he remarried.  Henry’s and his second wife, Laurene, lived in Houston, Texas.  Henry was a security officer and retired from Shell Oil Co.  Henry died July 1987 in Houston.

 I have a photo dated 1945 that shows Henry’s wife “Lorina” with other relatives in Houston.  I have also scanned a newspaper clipping from the Houston Post (dated October 25, 1974) showing H.F. Ireton proudly displaying a 15-inch circumference lemon at his 7305 Ilex residence.  In typical Ireton humor, Henry wrote, “which one is the lemon”?

Carl Vernon Ireton

Carl Vernon Ireton or “Winks” was the seventh son of Frank Austin Ireton, born April 23, 1905 near Putnam, Dewey County, Oklahoma.  At the time of his father's death in 1931, Carl was living in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

 Carl was a member of the New Mexico National Guard, 200th Coast Artillery, that was called to serve in the Philippines in 1941. For a good account of the role that the 200th served, see the book Beyond Courage by Dorothy Cave. He was a PFC in the Headquarters 2nd Battalion. The 200th made a last stand at the Cabcaben Airstrip on the tip of the Bataan peninsula in April of 1942. Along with virtually all the troops on the Philippines, Carl was eventually taken prisoner and subjected to what is now known as the "Death March". He was probably aboard the Tottori Maru, the first of the "Hell Ships" that departed on Oct. 8, 1942. Some men volunteered as "specialist" to escape the high death rate at the camps in the Philippines. They were taken to Mukden (Camp Hoten), Manchuria to serve as slave labor. The cold weather there (20 below) slowed the spread of disease and the food was a little better. A commander or factory boss there complained that he had asked for workers and got skeletons. Carl worked in the Manchurian Machine Tool Co. He is listed as having been evacuated by rail from Mukden on 11 September 1945.  Less than 900 of the original 1800 members of the NM National Guard returned. After the war, Carl became a recruiting officer. He died in January of 1969 in Custer City, OK.

 

A final note about the two Mark Iretons

An amazing set on coincidences may have caused some confusion, so I thought I should let you all know that there are (at least) two Mark Iretons doing genealogy research.  I exchanged emails with Mark A. Ireton several years ago while he was living in Texas, and then we lost touch.  Last year, Mark A. contacted me to let me know he was also living in the Portland area.  He had just registered the www.ireton.com internet domain, and had found my information from my website (www.iretonfamily.com).  So, we got together for a cup of coffee and some good conversation.  We found that we are both educated in electrical engineering and share many common interests.  As we are both operating websites and doing research, I have tried to use my middle name “William” or middle initial in all my correspondence to keep things straight.

Acknowledgements

Delores Ireton (Iretondel@aol.com) – Delores contributed much of my information on Joab, as well as a great family tree which I have posted on my website.  Delores is married to Leroy Ireton, descendant of Win Ireton.

 M. Frank Ireton – My Uncle Frank did a lot of research during the sixties and seventies.  He wrote a great account of family history that I have posted, as well as the information on Frank Austin in the preceding.  Frank passed away April 3, 2002 in Twin Falls, Idaho.

 Maria Ireton – Maria was formerly married to Michael Payne Ireton, the 3rd son of Norman Wiley Ireton.  Maria provided information on Norman’s sons.

 Charles E. Ireton (ireton2@yahoo.com) – My father has of course provided a great deal of information from personal knowledge.  He also shared the great photos on my website passed on by my grandfather, R.C.

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