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.
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.