I came across an old grocery list today.
This is not just any grocery list, but my 2nd Great-Grandmother, Rosa Hays Scallorn Lewis’ grocery list dated 8-31-1906! Who saves their grocery lists? Not me. As I am sure that you do not either. For some reason, her husband, my 2nd Great-Grandfather, Simon Peter Lewis, kept this list with his personal belongings tucked neatly away in an old wallet like a treasured artifact. Did she know that he kept it? Why was it significant enough for him to keep in his important papers? The genealogist/historian in me goes crazy with questions racing through my mind.
What I do know is how wonderful it is that this 111 year old grocery list is remarkably well-preserved for its age. It is a simple list. Just five items. Sugar, Rice, Apricots, Beans, Mincemeat. All adding up to a grand total of $3.00. I wonder what she was making with the mincemeat and apricots. And how long those items lasted her growing family?
You see, Rosa Lewis was born 5 May 1872 in the Prairie Plains Precinct of Grimes County, Texas to Joab and Minerva Scallorn. She married Simon Peter Lewis on 24 July 1892 at the age of 20 in Laneport, Texas. And off they went to begin their lives together farming and raising a family.
During this time, the Lewis family were tenant farmers. Farming mostly cotton from the town of Laneport to Lake Victor to Santa Ana or Coleman to Talpa, Texas. Moving around quite a bit in a twenty year span of time. Raising cotton and children. It was a hard life but an honest one.
The best that I can deduce is that the above picture of them sitting on the front porch of their home was in or around the same time as the grocery list. Handsome couple. Don’t you think?
Lewis Family in Talpa, Texas
It wasn’t until 1930 that Simon and Rosa came to retire and settle in Austin, Texas where they bought a little bungalow type house at 2117 S. Lamar. They raised sheep right there in their backyard which stretched all of the way back to the railroad tracks. Simon passed away 2 July 1941 and Rosa continued to live there until the mid 1950’s.
Later, Rosa moved to Johnson City, Texas where she departed from this earth, 3 March 1961.
A lot sure has changed since 1906, in Austin, Texas and the world. Even down to the simplest things such as a grocery list. Our ancestors knew the secret to life, I think. Let’s get back to the simpler times.