Tag Archives: William Riley Atwood

Uncle Dink’s Rocking Chair

Joseph Ashford Atwood was born 26 August 1856 in LaClede County, Missouri.  He was the youngest son of Thomas Jefferson Atwood and Matilda Hough – fondly referred to as “Dink”  – and later as “Uncle Dink.”

One day, in 1862, when Dink was about six years old, his father, Thomas Atwood, took him (and his two older brothers, William Payton and Russell Columbus), on a fishing trip.  While out fishing on the river bank a fierce thunderstorm blew up – there was much thunder and lightening all around them.  Young Dink ran for cover under a large tree to get out of the rain.  Suddenly, lightening struck the tree and poor little Dink was struck.  He survived, but was never the same.  While no details are known about the injuries he suffered, apparently the lightening strike affected his brain – as his mind remained that of a six year old boy for the rest of his life. 

Dink spent a lot of his time after that accident in a rocking chair that his father bought for him.  With the mind of a child, he rocked away on the porch, always content. 

Uncle Dink died 30 November 1921 in Oplin, Callahan County, Texas.  Upon his death, his special rocking chair was given to his brother William Payton Atwood – who in turn passed it on to his son William Riley Atwood – who then passed it to his daughter Clementine Elizabeth (Aunt Clemmie).  When Aunt Clemmie moved to Houston to live with her son, she gave it to her niece Beverly. 

It is a very beautiful old rocker and has a special place in Beverly’s heart.  Now it sits in her house, tenderly cared for – a special reminder of the past.

Beverly on front porch with Uncle Dink's Rocking Chair

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Posted by on January 11, 2011 in Atwood


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William Riley Atwood

William Riley Atwood is the great great grandfather of my son and the much loved and missed PaPa of my cousin Beverly.  William was born to William Payton Atwood and  Ellen Elizabeth West on 25 November 1879 in Williamson County, Texas.  

William Riley Atwood with baby Beverly

By June of 1900 the Atwood family had moved from Williamson County to Cross Plains, Callahan County, Texas where William met and married Hattie Frances Havins on 30 July 1905.  The couple had five children:  Maurice Havins in 1906; Glen L. in 1907; Clementine Elizabeth (“Clemmie”) in 1909; Thomas Orvil in 1910; and Neil Vernon (“Skeezix”) in 1916.  Sadly, William’s wife Hattie died in 1918 while still a young woman leaving him with five small children to raise on his own.  William never remarried.

Beverly fondly remembers that PaPa spoiled her terribly:    “As a child, I sucked my thumb.  Mother and Daddy tried everything they could think of to get me to stop.  They put hot sauce on my thumb, and as soon as we went to bed, Papa would wash it off!  Next they put a thumb guard on my thumb.  When we went to bed Papa would take it off for me.  They really thought they had a smart child!”  Beverly recalls going into town (Winters) with the family as a child:  “I saw a little horse in the window that I wanted.  Of course, Daddy told me no.  So I went to Papa….and when Mother and Daddy got back to the car…there I sat holding my new little horse.  Yes…I was spoiled!”

William Riley Atwood died  24 Feb 1952 in Lawn, Taylor County, Texas.  He had been living with his youngest son, Vernon Neil Atwood and family at the time of his death.  He left us at the age of 72 of an apparent heart attack.   

Published 2/26/1952 in Abilene Reporter News
LAWN MAN FOUND DEAD – Lawn, February 25th – William R. Atwood, 72, was found dead Sunday night at the home of a son, N.V. Atwood, who lives 3 1/2 miles southwest of Lawn.  The son and his wife left home about 1 p.m. Sunday and the elder Mr. Atwood was apparently feeling fine at that time.  When they returned shortly after 7 p.m. they found Mr. Atwood slumped over on the floor in his bedroom.  He was apparently preparing to go to bed when stricken.  Justice of the Peace Buford McKinney of Lawn conducted an inquest and returned a verdict of death by natural causes.  Mr. Atwood was born on November 25, 1879 in Williamson County.  He moved to Cross Plains in 1900 and moved to Oplin in 1921.  He moved to Lawn in 1944 to make his home with his son.  Mrs. Atwood died in 1918.  Funeral will be held Tuesday at 2 p.m. in the Oplin Baptist Church.  Burial will be at Cross Plains with Fry Funeral Home of Tuscola in charge of arrangements.  Survivors include a daughter, Mrs. Edgar Taylor of Fort Stockton; four sons, M.H. Atwood of Oplin; Glen Atwood of Kermit, T. O. Atwood of Alice; and N. V. Atwood of Lawn; four sisters, Mrs. Rose Ridgeway of Abilene; Mrs. Lee Staley (Straley) of Oplin; Mrs. Ches Barr of Cross Plains; and Mrs. W. E. Jones of Lubbock; three brothers, J. V. Atwood of Lubbock; C. E. Atwood of Cross Plains and E. C. Atwood of Eulia; and eight grandchildren.

 Grandpa Atwood is laid to rest in Cross Plains Memorial Park with his wife Hattie Frances Havins.

William Riley Atwood – Headstone at Cross Plains Memorial
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Posted by on January 1, 2011 in Atwood


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