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Deb Smyre's Southern Roots

Updated September 5, 2000

Deb Yvonne Smyre
286 Rice Creek Blvd. N.E.
"Always happy to exchange genealogy data"
Fridley, MN 55432
United States

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Clara LaDosky Gee was the daughter of Dr. James M. Gee and Harriet Emeline Childress Gee of Polk County, Tennessee. Clara became the wife of Steven Bradford "Brad" Rymer, Sr., married on July 22, 1902 in Polk County, Tennessee, and homesteaded near Thomas, Oklahoma for 18 months. She resided at 620 N. Ocoee St., Cleveland, TN from March 1919 until her death.
Clara and S. Bradford Rymer established the Dixie Foundry in 1916, which eventually became "Magic Chef". Magic Chef has now been sold to Maycor which took place a couple of years before Clara's death. Clara and S. Bradford Rymer had 8 children, including Zola Marine Rymer, the author of "A Family Chronicle of S. Bradford Rymer" (1960).

Clara was 106 years of age at the time of her death. In 1986 Magic Chef was merged into the Maytag Corporation. And the rest, as they say, is history....

[My mother, Lillian Inez Gee, and my aunts Wilma Gee Gordon and Betty Gee Young, each referred to Clara as 'Dosky', which made her difficult to find during my genealogical research.]
Clara's Heart

Clara recalled her father's tragic death in the book "A Family Chronicle of S. Bradford Rymer" by Zola Rymer Graf, (1960):

"It was a wild fall day. The wind was whistling and howling through the trees. Some of our folks had been ready to make molasses in the nearby field when the violent wind interfered. As they scurried about they spied Father. He had been visiting a sick child who lived beyond the ridge. He was tired, for he had been buffeted by the strong winds, and so he stopped momentarily to get his breath, then leaned against a tree. Exhausted, deafened by the wind roaring through the branches, he never heard the alarmed voice of warning, 'Look out! Look out!'. Before he could move, the falling limb from a giant oak tree struck him with great force. He fell, and never regained consciousness."

Clara Marries Brad

Clara became the wife of S. Bradford Rymer, born in Greasey Creek, Tennessee on October 22, 1879. They married on July 22, 1902 in Polk County, TN.

S. Bradford Rymer and his brother were in the lumber business. They bought the timber on Clara's mother's land and moved their sawmill just below the Gee homestead. During this time, Clara and Bradford grew closely acquainted and eventually Bradford proposed to Clara, saying he had saved money to go to Oklahoma and wanted Clara to accompany him there. Clara
accepted Bradford's proposal.

Clara stated: "We gathered for the ceremony in the parlor of my old home: Mother, John, Burley and Henry, my brothers; Boyd; Squire Bob Ramsey, who married us; and Bradford and I, the happy bride and groom."

[Clara's brother 'Burley' was James Burley Gee, my great-grandfather. This is another instance where an individual is consistently called by their middle name, and the actual
first name is all but forgotten. For example, my mother has always gone by the name 'Inez', although her given name is Lillian.]

Oklahoma Bound

Zola Marine Rymer Graf writes:

"The place in Oklahoma was one mile from a small settlement called Leota, a 'metropolis' boasting a post office and one general store. Leota was just 9-1/2 miles from the larger town of Thomas. The location seemed satisfactory; the arrangements for taking possession of the 160 acres or quarter section of land allowed a homesteader were completed."

"So it was that 3 weeks after the wedding day, Grandmother Rymer, Boyd and Mother were packed and ready to leave for Oklahoma. A cousin, Jessie Rymer, drove them all the way from Polk county to Cleveland in a two-horse wagon. They started at the crack of dawn since mountain folk are early risers. The four of them rumbled along over the rough, red-clay dirt of narrrow hair-pin turns in the mountains and down along the crooked Hiwassee River Road into Parksville. This was the short cut to Cleveland and it brought them there by late afternoon."

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