Steuben Dekalb  Wham

(December 23, 2002 - Information for this page was obtained from Charles M. Hoyt, of Medina, OH.  Steuben was the great grandfather of Charles.  Charles lived in Cartter, IL during WWII.  Edited by RAW.)


Story from Fred L. Wham, Jr. in December, 1998.:  Fred Jr. and his cousin, Paul Maulding spent a great deal of time together, and Fred remembers that he and Paul as boys of ten or twelve, around the time of the election (see below) rode their bicycles around Cartter making  fun of their cousin  Steuben's name and called him “ Stubborn Steuben.”

About 1920 he ran for office in Marion County. Political motto was,  Vote For Steuben Wham, A Real Dirt Farmer.”


According to his niece, Ruth Roberta Wham Secor, “Uncle Stube” was sent to live with his uncle, “Major” Thomas Jefferson Wham, after the death of his parents.  Ruth Roberta Wham Secor,  says her mother, Steuben’s sister, told her how he went to Carbondale University in rags, with his trousers held up with baling wire. She says he is to be commended for his initiative in getting an education despite the odds.

Steuben married Effie and lived for some time at Cartter, Illinois, but spent several years at Sterling, Oklahoma. Some of the children are still located in that vicinity.  Purchased land in Oklahoma and planted pears, (just as he did at Cartter. He had seventy acres of pears there. )

He later sold out his land in Oklahoma at a great profit. He also owned oil wells in Grady County. He kept the mineral rights on these. He was well off for the times, (1920’s ).  After the death of Effie, in 1924, he remarried in Idaho, (new wife - Anna), after 1927-28.  Other family members reported that his new wife and her family “cleaned him out financially.


Charles M. Hoyt, Great- Grandson, from my own recollections of stories I have heard as I was growing up---------­

I, myself , never really knew Anna Wham, though I had seen her a few times as a small kid. The thing that I was impressed with was that I thought she looked exactly like Albert Einstein. She was always addressed as “ Mrs. Wham”, never Anna or anything else. It was said that as soon as S.D. died, she loaded all the furniture and even their car on a boxcar on the siding and went back out west. I never heard where she went or came from.

Great Grandpa Wham had been a teacher, among other things but he had a blacksmith shop and tool shed about 100 yards from his house.  As a kid, I was really intrigued by his tool shed. There was a buggy setting in one corner. In another corner , at the back, was an old Ford Model-T flatbed truck, which I supposed he used in the orchard. I never saw it run. We used his 1938 GMC flatbed. In the front was an old horse drawn sprayer. It had a wooden tank, made with staves like a barrel. It was run by an old, hit and miss Cushman Engine with a plate on it which said it was made in Lincoln, Nebraska. This must have really intrigued me, because I still remember it. I remember we used sulfur and copper sulfate, or ‘Blue Vitrol’ as my dad called it in the sprayer. In the front corner were his blacksmith tools. There was a big, 130 1b. anvil fastened to one end of a big chunk of log standing on end. There was a big post drill with a crank on the side which was fastened to the wall. Near that, next to the wall, with a brick chimney going thru the roof, was his forge, with a hand cranked blower which we kids could make sound like a siren. He must have been quite an inventor.


He walked along the fence every day at noon up to his house for lunch. He would stop at the horse watering trough, dip his head in it and wash his hair. It was said that this was why he had a full, bushy head of hair even as an old man. I doubt it, but it could make you wonder. He was said to have dark red hair and a temper to go with it.


I can remember at the bottom of the stairs in his basement, there was a joist carrier that was cut more than half way thru with a huge notch.   Grandma said that one of the many times when he walked down the stairs and hit his head on the joist carrier, he was big, probably 6' 4" anyhow, he stormed out to his garage and came back with his axe. He went downstairs and proceeded to remove most of the offending joist carrier. I guess it didn't jump out and hit his head anymore.


It was told that Grandpa and Grandma [ S.D. & Effie ] had driven in every state in the union. I know they said he wouldn't park where he had to back up, for instance, in an angle parking space. He had garage doors on the front and back of his garage so he wouldn't have to back out. I remember Grandma Moore telling about hearing the milk cows bawling at milking time. Upon going over to their house to check on them, they'd find a note saying something to the effect of, "'We've gone to XXXX, see you when we get back." 


 Grandpa must have been partial to Model-T Fords. Now, if you put many miles on a car of that vintage, you would normally have to replace the rod and main bearings fairly often, I suppose because of the poor oil supply to the bearings and the poor quality of oil at that time. Now, most people would remove the engine from the car, turn it upside down on a bench or the floor, melt the lead and pour new bearings. Not Grandpa. He would go up to the store and get some of the loafers to come down and turn his car upside down on it's top right in front of his blacksmith shop. Then he would stand up beside the car, remove the oil pan and proceed to pour the bearings. Since he was tall, he could do this. Then he would put the pan back on , get the guys to help him put it back on it's feet, and he was ready to go. He had made the seats in his car so they would lay down like a bed. He also made screens for the windows so as to keep the bugs out at night. A rolling motel. He also cut the bottom of an oil can down to a vee and soldered it back together. He would put water and coffee in and put it behind the exhaust manifold. After so much time driving, he would have fresh coffee.


Another thing I remember hearing about Grandpa was about his mules. He had two mules, Jim and Jack, which he used for cultivating corn, among other things. One of the two, either Jim or Jack, was stubborn, like Grandpa. He would decide he didn't want to pull the cultivator any more and he would just stop, and he refused to move. Grandpa would jump up on his back, insert the mules ear into his mouth and bite down hard on it. The mule would forget that he was trying to balk and he would just take off as if nothing had happened and he would be alright for the rest of the day. Mind you, I never saw this, but I have heard the story many times.  (CMH)