updated January 2019
William “Bill” Henry Hopper & Euvella Grace Hedrick are my grandparents, the parents of my father Harley Hopper.
Euvella was born on January 20, 1919 in Reeds Spring, Stone County, Missouri. Her parents were James Wesley Hedrick and Versa Grace Richardson. Read about them here. When Euvella was born, she joined an older brother and sister, and two sisters followed. On the 1920 & 1930 US Census, Euvella lived in Stone County, Missouri with her parents and siblings. In 1928, when Euvella was 9 years old, her mother died.
Bill was born December 22, 1910 in Webb City, Jasper County, Missouri. His parents were John Henry Hopper & Maybelle Parks. Read about them here. When Bill was born, he joined three older brothers, and four more brothers and five sisters followed. In 1927, when he was 16, his 2-year-old sister Mary died. On the 1930 US Census, Bill (age 19) lived in Stone County, Missouri with his aunt and uncle.
I visited with Granny (Euvella) shortly before her death, and she told me about the grandfather I never knew, the love of her life William “Bill” Henry Hopper.
She met Bill in Stone County, Missouri and he was from Arkansas. He asked “you girls” to go to the movies, meaning Euvella (age 18) and her sister Mary Elizabeth Hedrick (age 16). Bill had a touring car and Elizabeth sat between Bill and Euvella in the car and at the movies, so Granny thought Bill was courting Elizabeth. But after taking both girls out a couple of times, he came over and asked just Euvella to go someplace, so that made it clear who he was really courting.
It was the Great Depression, and both families moved around finding work. The Hoppers in north Arkansas and the Hedricks in south Missouri would go to California to harvest crops – adults and children worked. The families knew each other – Granny’s sister Rena Ledonna Hedrick had married Bill’s brother George Stephens Hopper a few years prior. Granny said her family followed the grapes, harvesting them for 5-6 months at a time. She was able to spend some time with Bill in California, but not the whole time because the families moved around as needed.
They “ran off” to get married, because her father James Wesley Hedrick didn’t like Bill and was against the relationship. There had been rumors that Bill had gotten a girl pregnant. Granny said the girl wasn’t really pregnant.
Granny remembered them getting married in Stone County, Missouri, but the Arkansas Marriage Index shows they obtained a marriage license on March 23, 1938 in Carroll County, Arkansas. Euvella was 19 and Bill was 27.
After they were married, Bill took Euvella home, picked her up the next day, and took her to Fresno, California. She didn’t see her dad for 3 years. “I couldn’t blame Dad, he was trying to raise us girls right,” said Granny.
In Fresno, Bill and Euvella worked in vineyards. My father, Harley Darrell Hopper (1939-1996), arrived before their first anniversary.
On the 1940 US Census, they lived in Sanger, Fresno County, California at an orchard on McCall Avenue. Bill had worked 40 weeks the previous year, and had worked 54 hours the previous week. In 1940, Bill’s father died. They had a son in 1940 and a daughter in 1942.
Granny said that before long people started “dying like flies,” and people said it was due to the chemicals sprayed on the crops, maybe DDT. Bill got sick so they moved back to Arkansas, bought a farm, and started building a house. They had no idea how sick he was – he had lung cancer. He died January 23, 1950, before the house was completed. He was 39. His Missouri Death Certificate (thanks to my cousin Ellen Carr for finding it listed with a last name of Hooper) says that they were living in Green Forest, Carroll County, Arkansas and that he died at Springfield Baptist Hospital. Cause of death is Hepatitis with hepatomegaly (enlarged liver), etiology unknown, cancer suspected but not proved, and jaundice.) His Find A Grave memorial is here.
“He was a real good person. I kinda leaned on him for everything,” Granny said. “I sure never found another one like him.” But she tried. A widow with 3 children at age 31, she would marry three more times.
I don’t have a guess at the dates, but Euvella married and divorced Roy Warren. Euvella’s father died in 1953 when she was 34 years old. Euvella married Raymond Wells in about 1953, had a daughter, and divorced. Her sister Mary died in 1968. In 1974 Euvella married Jake Newman, and they later divorced. Her son Harley died in 1996, her sister Rena died in 1997, her son Eugene died in 1998, and her sister Dorothy died in 2000. Her daughter Diane died in 2010 and her last living sibling, brother Deward, died in 2011.
Euvella died on February 2, 2013 in Wentzville, MO. She was 94. Her Find A Grave memorial is here. Euvella and Bill are buried in Yocum Pond Cemetery in Reeds Spring, Stone County, Missouri.
The children of William Henry Hopper & Euvella Grace Hedrick:
Harley Darrell Hopper – Harley was born January 12, 1939 in Sanger, Fresno County, California. He married three times and had four children. He died September 26, 1996 in Marceline, Linn County, Missouri. He was 57. His Find A Grave memorial is here.
Earl Eugene Hopper – Eugene was born November 28, 1940 in Sanger, Fresno County, California. He married and had a child. He died January 26, 1998 in Springfield, Greene County, Missouri. He was 57. His Find A Grave memorial is here.
The child of Euvella Grace Hedrick & Raymond Wells:
Glenda Diane Wells – Diane was born September 16, 1954. She married twice and had five children. She died February 14, 2010. She was 55. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.