Sylvia Moore Submitted by: Della Demand, granddaughter
Sylvia Lewis was born to Frances Emma and Jesse L. Moore on October 6,
- She is a descendant of Joseph G. and Mary E. Moore who were on the Dawes Choctaw Roll on file in the Federal Courthouse in Ardmore, Oklahoma. She was enrolled on the Choctaw Roll on May 18, 1903. She proved to be a proud descendant of the Choctaw nation all of her life. She was a second-generation enrollee.
She married William Alvie Lewis and together they had ten children. They were married on November 22, 1914 and began farming in Linn, Oklahoma. In Linn, three of their children were born: Vernon Eugene Lewis, Dorothy May Lewis and Disney Carl Lewis. They migrated to Fletcher, Oklahoma where their next daughter, Flora Marie Lewis was born and soon thereafter moved to Rush Springs, Oklahoma. There five more children were born: Thelma Odeen Lewis, William Alton Lewis, Marlin Jessie Lewis, Noel Elmo Lewis and Raymond Leon Lewis. Their final child was born in Sterling, Oklahoma, Billy Joe Lewis.
There are lots of stories that would take up several books to tell about my Grandmother Sylvia and her brood. She and my grandfather did remain in Sterling to live out the remainder of their lives. I was blessed to have known her and to have experienced her laughter and optimism during troubled times.
She came from the real Western frontier. She washed her clothes on a rub board, helped my grandfather slaughter hogs in the winter for not only meat, but to make lye soap, lard and pickled pigs feet. There were no medical doctors, no supermarkets around the corner, no electric toasters and no indoor plumbing. She and her motley crew made their own butter, clothes, quilts, sorghum syrup candy and bread. If only I could have marketed her bread! I would have said, “Move over Mrs. Baird!”
Sylvia Lewis was the strongest mother, most gentle, woman that I have ever met. She instilled virtues, manners and honesty into all of her children. America benefited from her existence. These ten children had children, who had children. Without the nurturing that began within her womb, these children would not have been the patriarchs that they are. The primary source of survival on the farm for Sylvia and Bud Lewis, (my grandfather was called “Bud”) was cotton, peanuts and popcorn. As I said, they had no luxuries, only hard work from sun up to sun down.
Occasionally, a peddler would knock upon their door. On any occasion, the peddler would be welcome to sit down and enjoy some home cooking and a place to rest. On one such occasion, my grandmother offered some homegrown peppers to the peddler to compliment this meal. The peddler was unaware that being of Choctaw descent, my grandmother served him the hottest pod. He took one large bite and almost choked to death. She could hardly keep from laughing, but didn’t. Her tough, yet gentle spirit always made her a pleasure to be around.
As I grew into adulthood, I admired and cherished my grandmother. Any occasion to see her was greatly welcomed. She told me once that I looked like her mother who had died when she was just a little girl. She was a strong Christian and appreciated life and family. Her friends loved her and often teased her because they knew she had a sense of humor that was not and could never be crushed by troubled times. My grandmother, Sylvia Lewis, died on December 30, 1981. Her memory lives on and her spirit is very much alive in her descendants. Heaven’s doors opened wide when she arrived, because without a doubt she was a Chosen One.