Blanche Hale Goodson

Story by Sue Ellen Parker in December 1999


When Blanche Hale was born in Oatsville on October 2, 1898, her parents - Sylvester and Pearl Young Hale - probably couldn't imagine the changes the 20th century would bring. Who would have looked at that baby who was born at the end of the 19th century and thought about her living in the year 2000? The third of seven children, Blanche is the last living member of that family. She lived in the Oatsville area of Pike County during her early years, attending school at the Miller School house east of Oatsville. The girl learned to cook from her mother and grandmother, or "Big Ma" as she called her. Big Ma lived with the family for several years. Blanche's grandfather Richard Hale was Squire of Rumbletown - a Pike county community that no longer exists. Her best friend while growing up was Mary Frances Headlin, a member of a family in the small Amish community in the area.


Blanche remembered walking to church and to school; however the family traveled in a horse and buggy to Oakland City and Petersburg. She remembers visiting her relatives the Phillips family and hearing the family play music. Hector Phillips continued to play most of his life, she recalled, and became famous as a fiddle player.


Sylvester studied to be a vet by correspondence and was later licensed by the state. He traveled to farms to treat large animals; horses, cows and hogs. Cats and dogs weren't generally treated by vets at that time. Later, the family moved to Fort Branch where they lived in the Snake Run area. Blanche met Bennie Goodson, who worked on John and Laura Johnson's farm from an early age. When Blanche and Bennie married, she became a farmer's wife and enjoyed the hard work of cooking for "hired hand's", gardening and canning fruits and vegetables. She took her young sons in their Model T Ford to buy supplies and deliver cream and eggs to Fort Branch and Haubstadt. Her sons say she had a love for driving fast, but your younger children never saw her drive. When

cars with gearshifts came on the market, Blanche drove on through the back of the garage. That ended her driving.


The Depression brought drastic changes in the family's life. The livestock and farm machinery were sold at auction. She lived in Fort Branch for a short time. Later Bennie worked for Herbert Johnson on his farm north of that town. After Chrysler and Briggs moved to Evansville, Blanche became a factory worker's wife. World War II brought more change. She moved to Princeton, where she stayed until 1947, to care for her father. When Bennie helped to start McCullough Grove Baptist church of Oakland City in the mid 1940s, she became a preacher's wife. While at McCullough Grove church, Blanche says her greatest pleasure was playing the piano, teaching the children and entertaining visiting missionaries and church visitors in her home.


The couple moved to Oakland City in 1949 serving the church until Chrysler moved to the St. Louis area in 1959. They moved to St. Louis where they stayed until retirement came for Bennie in 1963. Blanche said retirement "was boring," so they bought a station wagon stocked it with Raleigh products- such as vanilla extract, pie filling, cooking spices and salves - and Black Diamond Liniment and began some of her happiest years traveling the roads of Gibson county and selling the products door to door. Part of this time they also served at McCullough Grove church. The couple continued in the Raleigh business until Bennie's death in 1987. After having lived in Francisco for several years, she moved to Princeton.


She and her husband had six children; Howard of California; Arthur who is deceased; Paul; Mary of Princeton; Roger of Burke VA and John of Pendleton. She also has seven grandchildren; 11 great- grandchildren and six great- great- grandchildren.


A member of the first Baptist Church of Princeton, Blanche loves to read children's Bible storybooks since she can't see to read her Bible any longer. She reads the newspaper, listens to music tapes and watches Gospel music videos. She also watches animal shows, ice skating and basketball games on television. Blanche loves to eat sweets, especially pie. She loves bright colors such as pinks and reds. She is able to stay in her own home with caregivers in attendance each day.


Editor's note- Blanche Goodson passed away on 13 November 2001 at the age of 103.