|Jarrett Nathaniel Baars||07.09.1851||Sarah Ellen Cude (Baars)||17.08.1853|
|Maud Tucker (Baars)||12/1883||Mary Jane Baars |
Myrtle Byron Baars (Phillips)
Sarah Eve Baars
|Geboorte||16.10.1882||Texas, United States of America|
|Huwelijk||06.09.1899||Perry County, Tennessee, United States of America|
|Overlijden||12.07.1916||Perry County, Tennessee, United States of America||Verdronken in Buffalo River|
|Oscar Jessie was born 16.10.1882 in Texas. Some time after that, Jarrett, Sarah Ellen and their family moved back to Tennessee. In September 1899 Martha and George Albert had each married and moved out of Jarrett’s home. Only Jarrett and Oscar were living there when a neighbor’s teenage daughter did a very brave thing for that time. William Tucker’s daughter Maud had packed some of her clothes into a bag and hid them outside the end of the family’s garden. Maud and others were working in the garden. Maud had it all planned. When she had finished her share of the work and had reached the end of the row she laid down her hoe, retrieved her hidden clothes and ran off to meet her fiancé – Oscar Jessie Baars. They eloped and were married 6.9.1899. They moved in with Oscar’s father Jarrett and were living there when the 1900 census was recorded. Oscar and Maud’s first child Mary Jane was born 1.11.1901. Mary Jane was soon followed by two more daughters Myrtle Byron born 19.5.1904 and Sarah Eve born 16.6.1907. |
Oscar and Maud lived in Texas for a short time but by 1910 Oscar and Maud had moved back to Tennessee and were living near her parents in the Beardstown community.
It rained so much during the spring and summer of 1916 that the creeks and rivers overflowed. The Buffalo River near where Oscar and his family lived rose above its banks and flooded croplands. This interfered heavily with crops Oscar had already planted and kept him from planting other crops he needed to and from working the land. Oscar was well known for his hard working, honesty and integrity and was a Mason. He often declined buying insurance by saying that if anything ever happened to him the Masons would take care of his family. This statement would become more prophetic than expected. The above letter was never mailed and would be discovered many years later by a descendant in the family’s collection of items from Oscar’s family.
A small community known as “Frog Pond” was located across the Buffalo River from where Oscar and his family lived. The school teacher at Frog Pond, Mr. Henry DePriest, was boarding with Oscar and Maud in 1916. Each school day Oscar would ferry his three daughters and Mr. DePriest across the Buffalo River in his canoe – taking two at a time and then picking them up at the end of the day in like fashion. On the day Oscar wrote the above letter he went back to Frog Pond after school was finished to bring them all back home. It was Tuesday July 11th around 5 p.m. The river was swollen, muddy, and running very fast due to the recent rains when tragedy struck. Oscar was bringing his daughter Mary and Mr. DePriest back across the river. When they got about half-way across, the canoe overturned. Mr. DePriest began swimming back to the west bank from where they had just left and noted that Oscar, who was a strong swimmer, was helping Mary and swimming toward the east bank. After Mr. DePriest climbed out of the water he turned and looked for Oscar and Mary but could not find them. Maud and the other two girls could do nothing but scream for help as they watched Oscar and Mary disappear from the surface of the water. Friends and neighbors from all around came running to the river and began searching downstream hoping to find Oscar and Mary clinging to a tree or something and waiting to be rescued but it was not to be. The search extended late into the night with people in boats carrying lanterns but no sign of Oscar or Mary was found. The search continued beginning early the next morning on Wednesday July 12th with the same results as before until about mid-morning when little Mary’s body was found lodged up against some trees. The search continued throughout the day and once again late into the night for Oscar’s body but with the same results as before. The river had begun to recede to some degree by the next day – Thursday July 13th. Hopes were higher this day for finding Oscar’s body but after searching all day and into the night nothing was found. Little Mary’s body was laid to rest on July 13th in the Vaughan and Tucker Cemetery. (Note: the Vaughan and Tucker Cemetery is known today as the Godwin Cemetery.) The search for Oscar’s body began again early Friday morning July 14th. More and more numbers of searchers were added each day. They were hampered in their efforts because the river was so spread out in the flooded bottom lands along the river and the water was still so deep that practically all efforts had to be made by boat. Then, late in the morning of Friday July 15th while looking considerably further down the river some searchers found Oscar’s body below the J. W. Vaughan ford. His body was taken to his father-in-law’s home where it laid in state until noon the next day, Saturday July 15th. Oscar was laid to rest with full Masonic rights that Saturday afternoon near his daughter Mary Jane. Their death certificates were apparently filled out at the same time and days later because they both show the same burial date of July 13 even though Oscar’s body was not recovered until Friday July 14. They also show the date of death July 12 because that is the first time anyone could actually say with proof that at least one of them was dead when they had both been seen to disappear in the river on July 11. Their tombstones reflect the date of death as July 11, 1916.
Maud and daughters Myrtle and Sarah moved in with her family after the tragic drowning of Oscar and Mary. Maud soon discovered that the grief and trauma associated with her having lost both her husband and daughter and the familiar surroundings that kept that grief alive were more than she could bear. She then turned to the Masons for help. She was offered a place to live and a job in the Masonic Widows And Orphans Home in Nashville, Tennessee. She moved there with her two daughters.
Soon Maud’s youngest daughter Sarah, who had been ill for some time, became much sicker. Her illness continued to worsen until during a visit to Nashville, Maud’s father, who was a doctor, felt that there was not much hope for her recovery and that she was slowly dying. While it pained Maud deeply she agreed with her father that the best thing to do was to take Sarah back to his home at Beardstown where he could take care of her and make her life as comfortable as possible for however long she might live. On June 6, 1918 little Sarah Eve Baars, who was also known as “Sadie”, died at her grand father’s home less than two years since both her father and her sister had lost their lives in the nearby Buffalo River. She was buried near Oscar and Mary Jane. While living for the short time she did at the Masonic Home, little Sarah made a huge and lasting impression on the people who had the honor of knowing her. This is born out in the obituary written for her and published in the newspaper. After Sarah’s death, Maud continued living at the Masonic Home in Nashville. She committed at that time she would do whatever it took to insure a good life and future for her remaining daughter Myrtle. She often took on two jobs and baked bread for people while saving everything she could so Myrtle could attend good schools and enjoy her life. In the 1920 census Maud and Myrtle were shown living in the Masonic Home in Nashville, Tennessee.
On the grave marker is written:
Baars, Oscar J., Oct. 16, 1882-July 11, 1916 [Masonic symbol]