This is the only picture anyone seems to have of Walter Caswell Brooks. He was born 15 February 1874 in Pope County, Arkansas. His father, William, was 50 years old at the time, and his mother, Rebecca,was 18 years younger. Remember that age difference as it will recur! They had 13 children together, in addition to the 7 children that William had with his first wife. As a farming family, I would assume there was plenty of work and not so plenty of food. And no money for pictures!
William died when Walter was only 9, leaving him in the care of his mother and many older siblings. He continued farming in Pope County and, as the years passed, it seemed likely that he would be a confirmed bachelor. But his sisters had other plans. Some of his sisters became teachers and had the opportunity to move away. They met another teacher named Ruth Autry and invited her home.
Ruth was 18 years younger than Walter- sound familiar? But they courted and contemplated marriage. However, she wasn't the first woman he had considered marrying. There was another woman and he went to see her. But when he approached her house, there was a car in the driveway. He assumed she must, therefore, already be married and never contacted her. So the wedding took place between Ruth and Walter on 2 December 1822. Ruth was 30 and Walter was 48! By the way, the other woman actually was not married, according to the story told by his sister Selma.
My father was born 6 and 1/2 years later when Walter was 55. I'm certainly grateful to whomever parked their car in his former girlfriend's driveway. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't be here.