Pages 20 - 28
On 27 April 1901, Lee Roy Harrell and his wife, Willie Alma
Massey, became proud parents of their first daughter. They named her
Mary Effie Harrell. This happened in Mitchell County, Georgia,
somewhere in the country between Vada and Pelham. Little Mary Effie
was delivered by a midwife. According to a custom, the new mother
was confined to her bed for nine days, and then she was to walk
around the house accompanied by someone carrying the baby. The
person that carried the baby was chosen with care, as supposedly,
the baby would take after that person. Mary Effie was carried around
by her grandmother, Mary Ann Harrell.
trade. Towns she remembers having lived in as a child are:
Hortense, Georgia, where she started school; Shellman, Georgia,
where she also attended school, Monticello, Florida, where she lived
with a Mrs. Malloy Fitzgerald, and Boston, Georgia, Boston being
where she finished school. Her best subjects in school were
geography (she loved dreaming of traveling), reading and spelling
(she remembers winning several spelling bees). Her least favorite
subjects were history and math.
be safe with him. Eventually love won out and Mary Effie said “Yes!”
Since Mary Effie was afraid that if L.C. asked her father for permission to marry her, he would say no and possibly even succeed in ending their relationship permanently, she tried to persuade him that they should run away and get married. At first, L.c. agreed, however, he soon realized that that was not that right thing to do and that the most respectable way for a young man to marry was with the permission of the girl’s father. L.C. was determined that he would ask for permission from Lee Roy Harrell, so the following Sunday, eh did. Furthermore, Lee Roy Harrell consented.
That house was where their first child was born. that was quite an event. Mary Effie was determined that a midwife would deliver her baby, as she was not about to let a MAN be in the same room with her at a time like that! When complications developed, L.C. saw that the midwife was not able to handle these complications, he got Dr. Van from town and insisted that he take over. Fortunately, he managed to save both young mother and the new baby girl. The baby was named Sarah Eileen, the Sara being after L.C.’s mother.
After their second child, Billy Woodrow, was born, Mary Effie took him to show her mother, Willie Alma Harrell. Willie had the flu as there was an epidemic at the time (she also died a few days later). She did get to see her beautiful red-headed grandson though (she also had red hair). Mary Effie had not realized that she, herself, was also ill, and right at her mother’s home, she collapsed and hardly regained consciousness for three days.
Ten years old
School in Shellman, Georgia. Mary Effie Harrell, around 10 years old, is in the center, curled locks and a ribbon in her hair, hands folded neatly in her lap. (c 1911)
School in Boston, Georgia. Mary Effie Harrell is
about 13 years old, sitting on the left, third girl from the
teacher, has a colored scarf tied around her neck, and hair pulled
back. (c 1914)
Marriage license of Mary Effie Harrell to Luther Cleveland Chastain, 4 July 1915, Thomas County, Georgia
The only picture ever taken of L. C. Chastain and his wife, Mary
Effie Harrell Chastain, together as a couple.
Mary Effie Harrell Chastain died on
She is buried in Thomasville, Georgia in Laurel Hill Cemetery next to her husband and their son, Teddy.