Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Our Grandmother, Eva Lanora Sutton....

Eva holding Doyle Martz with brother Charlie to the right and brother Freddy Martz to the left.
Livingston, Montana 1909

Spotlight on Eva... and where her name probably came from:

The Jerico Springs City, Benton Township, Cedar County Missouri, 1900 census shows the farm families of Stottlemyer, Sutton, Cross, and Rice.

William Stottlemyer and Sara Catherine Rice, named their first daughter, Rose May Stottlemyer .
In June of 1900, the census record shows Rose at age 18, attending school with Eva Cross, age 17.  The Cross family, Richard F. and Martha, were neighbors to the Stottlemyer’s and they had 11 children. At the time, only the last three Cross children were living with them on their farm. Rose and Eva were probably best friends.  Eva had an older sister, Virena, who was married to Charley Sutton, who were also neighbors. The Sutton’s first son was Henry, age 19.  Eva Cross was Henry’s aunt although she was younger than him. Eva probably introduced Henry to her friend, Rose Stottlemyre. Rose married Henry and their first child was named Eva Lanora Sutton, born March 30, 1901, probably named after Eva Cross.

In the earliest picture we have of her, (above), she is sitting on a chair in front of their home in Livingston and holding Doyle Martz (1908-Montana) on her lap with her brother Charles (Charlie) Monroe Sutton (1906- Oklahoma) next to her on the right and Fred Paul Martz (1909- Wyoming) on the left. Thanks to Aunt Carol Chaussee for finding this photo in her attic.

Using birth, death and census records we can follow the family movement as follows:  Henry Francis Sutton and Rose May (sometimes called Rosa) married in 1900.  They moved to Oklahoma sometime before 1905 where Charlie was born and where Henry died a young man of 24 (1906) at Ellis County, Oklahoma.  (Henry's parents and siblings also moved to the Ellis area, lived and died there. The family tree of the Sutton family follows this blog post about Eva)

After Henry's death, Rose moved with Eva and Charlie to Gillette, Wyoming to live with her sister, Emma.  She met and married Fredrick Andrew Martz there and had her third child, Pearl, who did not survive. Her next child, Fred Paul (1908), was the first of the seven Martz brothers for Eva.  The family moved to Livingston, Montana around 1908 where Doyle (1909)  and  Lester (1911) were born. Charlie, however, died on March 23, 1913 from tubercular meningitis.  Kenneth  (1915), was the youngest when Eva was old enough to work at the "The Grill" as a waitress while still attending school.   "The Grill" is located inside the Livingston Train Depot.  Many railroad men ate there everyday.  She had many friends at that time...someone must have had a camera because this is the time of her life when many fun photos were taken.

Livingston Train Depot


Eva and friends in aprons outside "The Grill"




Thanks to Eva's album for these photos.

Eva with Martz brother (probably Kenny -1915)


 She met Sid Billington, a fireman on the Northern Pacific Railroad, at "The Grill," and he would often take her rollerskating at the nearby rink. They were married June 28, 1919 in a little Methodist Church in Livingston.

Their Honeymoon was in Yellowstone Park and they settle in Livingston on
North D Street where Sid worked as a mechanic.  After their first child, Billy,
(1920) was born, they moved out of town about nine miles where Sid worked 
as a ranch hand.  Eva became the cook for all the ranch hands.  She was a great 
cook, but it frustrated her when they would put ketchup on everything she
cooked,  "Including my pineapple upside down cake!" she tells us. 
During their breaks from ranching, they would often returned to 
Yellowstone which was their favorite vacation spot.

Eva's brother Robert (1920) was born the same year as her son, Wilbur (Billy). Their first girl, Estella Rose (Stella) was born in 1921. Elvira (Blondie) was born in 1922, and Eva's brother Lloyd (Enie) was born in 1923, the same year as her son Elfred Dee (ElDee).  So this photo shows Eva expecting at the same time as her mother:  Rose's last boy, Frankie was born in 1925.

Eva with Billy probably November  1920

Blondie, Billy,  ElDee, Stella in front
Dorothy Long and Eva in back

Stella and Billy

Stella, friend, Blondie at Brackett Creek School 
Georgia Florida (Jo) was born in 1926 followed by Donna Norine (1932), 
Carol Lee, (Kelly)(1934), and Sidney Albert, Jr. (Jack) (1942)

Eva described her kids: "All my kids were good kids ...ornery, but just regular kids." They all worked the fields in the summer, did the gardening, animal tending and whatever was needed. They also made their own mattresses and quilts. Eva said the hardest thing about raising 8 kids on a ranch was washing the clothes. Every summer day their clothes were solar-dried, but in the winter they were freeze-dried! 

For fun the family like to go to Bozeman Hot Springs. Sometimes, on Sunday they would go to a community potluck. Everyone shared food, talked and played all day with old friends. The family moved from the Clyde Park/ Brackett Creek area to Dixon in 1935 and on to the Jocko Valley in 1936 to the Doc Smith place. Later they bought a ranch near Arlee. As the kids grew and started school they went by horseback in the fall, but in the winter they would often take the sleigh, or use snowshoes and skis. They raised all sorts of animals from pigs to geese. They had an old gander once who would bite any little Billington that came out of the gate. Sometimes he would chase one of the little ones down to the creek, jump on his back and flap his big wings and frighten the little kid half to death. The kids were sure glad when they grew taller and stronger than that gander.

Jo  Blondie  Stella  Billy (or maybe ElDee)

Before Jack was born, the family picture below was taken in 1936 when Aunt Hazel and other relatives came to visit in Arlee. 
ElDee  Bill  Blondie Aunt Hazel and Sid in back
Eva  Donna  Jo  Stella  Carol in front 

Kelly, Donna Jo  with goats and dogs  Arlee Ranch

ElDee   Bill   friend  in back
 Eva   Lester Christopher  Wilma Matson  Stella  Ralph Newman  middle row
Blondie   Jo ( holding Carol)   Donna  winter 1940 or 41  in  Arlee

Sid and Eva   February 1942

Donna, Carol, and Jack were all little when their Dad died in a ranch accident in
August of 1945. Eva sold the ranch and bought a little white house close to the
school and her work in Arlee. Eva worked at "The Fountain," the local ice cream
parlor, and later at The Log Cabin Cafe as their main cook.  She also became a
4-H leader and taught sewing and other homemaking skills to her own girls and
about 10 others in the community.

Carol  Eva  Donna
Eva in front of her Arlee house and her car
Eva on the steps of the Arlee house
Jack and his dog on the steps of the Arlee house
Eva and Jack's house in Arlee

She worked as a cook for about 10 years. Some of her older children
were married and on their own by this time. She loved it when they
visited her and brought their children.

Jo, Eva, Stella, Blondie

Eva, Jo and Donna
Jack was more like a cousin than an uncle to Eva's grandchildren.

Eva with Jack and Goldie Christopher (1st granddaughter)

 Every time one of the grandchildren came to the Log Cabin, Eva would try to take a break and bring them a peanut butter cookie and visit for a few minutes. If she was too busy, she would wave through the little window from the kitchen. She was known for her excellent pies, cakes and cookies. She started collecting recipes there and shared them throughout her life.

 Later she moved to Missoula with Jack and became a cook at the 4-B' s Cafe. They lived at Jo's place at that time and enjoyed being close to some of her grandchildren. Her mother, Rosa, sometimes came to visit from Livingston.

Rosa Bittner,  Eva ,  Jo and Jody Spooner  at Jo's place  (1954?)

On April, 19,1955 Eva married Alfred Deschamps, Sr. whom she had known for sometime as he was the Brand Inspector at the Missoula Stockyard.

Fred's ranch, near Frenchtown, became her home. Jack spent the rest of his life on the ranch. Eva and Fred took many trips, including the Montana Bicentennial Trip to Washington D.C. and around the nation.                                                 

 They enjoyed their "Rock Hound" hobby,  by gathering gemstones and rocks of all kinds that they used to decorate their ranch home inside and out. They did vegetable and flower gardening, raised chickens, cattle, and they always had a couple of horses around.


Grandchildren loved to visit Eva on the ranch because there was so much love there, and so much to do! They were kept busy roaming the hills, horseback riding, catching frogs in the pond or playing on the old wagon wheels. Just spending time listening to the birds, jumping on the hay loft or watching the calves kick up their heels in the fields kept the grandchildren happy.

Jody, Kenny, Kitty, and Sherrie on OLD NAVAJO
Lana leading
Lynn with a new colt on the ranch  about 1975

Lynn shares this story:  "In this photo, I was 16.  This is a picture of Zara's 
Friska, a filly out of Bluebird of O Bar X which was gramma's horse.  When 
Friska was 2, probably 18 months or so after this picture was taken, with
encouragement from Uncle Jack, gramma agreed to give Friska to me. 
Shortly after, Uncle Jack trailered my horse to Seattle for me. This beautiful
little filly taught me life long lessons and lived to be 32 years old. 
She holds a special place in my heart for sure." 

Grandma Eva always had a cookie and a hug ready for each grandchild
when they came in from playing around the ranch. When it was time for
her famous family style chicken dinner, the grandchildren watched as she
quickly caught a hen, wrung its neck, plucked its feathers, cut it up, and
fried it so quickly it amazed them all. Many family dinners at Grandma
Eva's place found the grandkids set at a small table in the utility room
and the adults at the round table in the kitchen. Everyone loved Eva's chicken
dinners with rhubarb pie for dessert.


Grandma and Grandpa Deschamps with Rankin grandchildren

In the winter she'd encourage Jack and Fred to hitch the horses up to 
the sleigh, sleigh bells and all. They'd pile on as many kids as they could 
for a refreshing ride over the snowdrifts 'til they were nearly frozen; 
then they'd scurry inside at Grandma's call. They'd come in with big red cheeks,
runny noses, and snowflakes on their eyelashes.

"Now take off your shoes, socks, and mittens and put them by the heater," 
she'd say, "and come get yourself something to eat."

 Anyone lucky enough to eat at Grandma's house had a feast because she was
one wonderful cook. Somewhere amid those rows of mittens and socks, and the
aroma of of hot chocolate and fresh baked cookies, fond memories were born.
Grandma Eva often had a house full of company; she was always cooking. 
Nobody minded though many people, in such a small place;
everyone enjoying themselves. 

When asked what she liked best about her grandkids, she said, "Having them around."
Eva picking raspberries with granddaughter Cindy and grandson JD

One night Grandma and some of her kids and grandkids were trying to catch chipmunks at Jo's place. It seems they were going up the hill single file, very quietly with no flashlights. Steve was at the tail end, right behind Gram. Something nudged Steve, he pushed Gram and she let out a holler and grabbed the person ahead of her. Like dominos, everyone pushed each other and screamed in fright. They turned on the flashlight to a see a horse following them on the trail! Gram could not stop laughing at the whole scene. 

Grandma Eva made many trips to visit her children and grandchildren which she always loved to do.

Eva was widowed again in 1983 and spent many of her last days days living with two of her daughters, Blondie and Jo.  During this time she loved to sit and visit with anyone who would come by. Her mind and memory remained bright for many years. She had a quick wit and great sense of humor. She often laughed and laughed about things she remembered from years ago. She loved looking at pictures of her children and grandchildren and telling stories about them. Her favorite subject of all time was her family. She was showered with many cards and gifts from them in her golden years. If she had any advice for them it would be:

Stella  Donna  Jo  Blondie  Jack
Eva  Carol   Eva's 80th birthday

Blondie   Donna  Stella   Jack
Carol  Eva  Jo     Eva's 85th birthday


5 generation photo   Eva, Blondie,   Goldie, Dean, Karen and Baby Kelsey Indreland 1991

Eva passed away on February 23, 1993 after a long stay in St. Pat's hospital in
Missoula. She was just short of her 92nd birthday.

Bondie, Donna, Stella, Jack, Jo, and Carol at Eva's Memorial  February 27, 1993



Eva's grandchildren at her memorial  February 27, 1993
Jon Chaussee, Steve Wortman, Ken Rasmussen, Tony Billington,  in back
Terry Billington, Goldie Indreland, Roger Vetter, JD Billington, Cindy Billington  in middle
Sid Billington, Sherrie Sampson, Denise Franz, Lynn Wortman, Jody Claar, Lana Rankin, front
Grandma Eva has had a profound effect on all of our lives.... We love you, Thank YOU Grandma!
Anyone wanting to add facts, photos or stories to this blogpost, contact me at and I will post them on an update on the next blogpost.
Watch for upcoming posts about the Martz, Sutton, and Stottlemyre family histories