Here is an essay by my Aunt Grace that I picked up at last Sunday's reunion.
Memories of Joel and Almina Gatewood
By Grace Gatewood Smith written 4/15/2007
Since I am one of the oldest of the grandchildren of the Joel Gatewoods and was close to my Grandmother Almina Gatewood, I’ll try to write a few things that I can remember about her.
Grandma Gatewood was real short in stature and was a twin. She was raised by someone other than her parents I never knew nor heard much about her background. She had a sister Jane and a couple of brothers, I believe. She was a staunch Republican and was opposed to drinking, she would go around the community working for people and helping others, especially the sick. She made her headquarters and spent a lot of time at our home (Thornton “TW” and Agnes Gatewood) after Grandpa Joel died September 21, 1919 at the age of 77 years and 9 months. She was a faithful member of the Eastern Star and my dad took her to their meetings. Almina and my mother Agnes got along great. Agnes always called her “Mother Gatewood.” Grandma was helpful, always peeled the potatoes, and oh! Ever so thin so there was no waste. She always washed the dishes, too.
Grandma Gatewood and I used to pick up the corn cobs from the pig pen to burn in the cook stove. We prided ourselves on how many gunny sacks we could store ahead for a rainy day. Our mode of operation was to place a long cob rolled up in one side of the sack, dragging it along as we walked filling the sack one or two at a time. I also was Grandma’s bed partner and she snored a little. She was an avid reader and would read half the night by the light of a kerosene lamp. I loved her very much.
Grandma was always ready to go when the car went somewhere. One of her friends was Mrs. Myles Rogers, mother of Neal Rogers who lived near Divide Center between Decatur and Lyons. I often rode along when my dad took her to the Rogers to visit. The Donohues of Decatur, who ran a bakery, were also good friends. Mrs. Donahue suffered from lung trouble. She accompanied Grandma to Wyoming to see my Aunt Bess Harris in Binford, Wyoming. (Bess was Almina’s daughter). It was summer time and it was hoped the lighter air would benefit her lung problems. While there, Mrs. Donohue suffered a hemorrhage and passed away. Aunt Bess lived in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains so a doctor could not be summoned quickly enough to save her.
The Telliferos, whose daughter was Mrs. Mary Neary, was a place she visited. Jim and Mary Lambert were also her great friends. They ran a grocery store and on Saturday nights, about closing time, our family enjoyed crackers and cheese in the back of the store with them.
Grandma always talked about wanting to go to the Old Soldiers Home in Grand Island. When she finally went there she only lived a short time and died March 3, 1929 at the age of 77 years and 7 months. I was 14 and I remember going to the funeral in Decatur. One of her friends, Ina Lambert, sang at the funeral.
Since I was only five when Grandpa Joel Gatewood died I have few memories of him. His body was brought to our home to lie in state before burial. He was visiting his daughter Mary Dillon in Scottsbluff when he passed away.
Joel was a tall man with dark hair, later he had a long white beard as his picture with the Civil War Veterans shows. He was a Mason, Woodman and a Civil Was Veteran serving with the 51st Regiment Indiana Volunteers Infantry. Our family had his sword but lost it when our house burned down Oh, how I wish it could have been saved! I know he ran the ferry boat between Decatur and Onawa, Iowa. My dad told of swimming a team of horses to shore on the night the ferry sank, November 16, 1908. That must have been something as the old Missouri was a treacherous river.