Friday, September 29, 2006

Violett Workman our Oldest Citizen

Violett Workman, the oldest resident of Haigler, Nebraska is known to everyone who has lived in and around this community for over 90 years. On her next birthday, January 30, 2007, she will be 95 years old.

She still lives in her own home and drives herself to the post office every day to pick up her mail. She is in good health, but does use a cane to steady herself when she walks around her home to cook and clean as she has always done. She enjoys having visitors who like to talk about people and things that happen around town.

Violett has always been known as an excellent cook and a meticulous housekeeper. Her crocheting is expert, she enjoys the lost art of tatting and her paintings are colorful and interesting. She also enjoys reading.

Violett was born in Lenora, Kansas on January 30, 1912, to William Alva and Dora Bell (Arnold) Samson. She was the second oldest of seven children with 4 sisters and 2 brothers: Gladys, Violett, Leona, Alice, Bernice, Guy and Willie.

After moving from Lenora, Kansas to a homestead south of Yuma, Colorado, where her sister, Alice, was born, the family lived for a while just north of Haigler when Violett was in the 5th and 6th grade. She walked to Haigler to school. They moved back to Lenora for awhile. When Violett was 12 years old, they moved by covered wagon to Beecher Island, where Bernice started school. Then they moved west of Haigler to a place close to 3 corners and the 4 youngest children went to Sanborn School. Violett began doing housework for people at a very young age. The last place she worked before getting married was the Ashton Wilson Ranch. It belonged to Ashton’s Grandfather.

Violett and Cecil Workman were married in 1932 and worked for Marvin and Gladys Mills, who owned a large cattle ranch between Haigler and St. Francis, Kansas. Cecil helped with the farming and cattle and Violett helped with the cooking and housework. Marvin moved the bunk house off the basement to a location near the creek and that was their home as long as they worked there. A roof was built over the basement and became the bunk house where the hired men slept.

Orval Carr was working for the ranch at that time and Sylvia Freemyer was his girl friend. Orval cared for a garden down by the creek that furnished vegetables for the meals prepared for the family and hired men. Lee Mills was a baby when they worked there. They were working there when the flood of 1935 came through and scattered the cattle far and wide. It took them weeks to gather them all up again, but the water didn’t come near the house. They needed extra hands to gather up the cattle and this is how Richard Gregory came to be working for Marvin Mills. Richard was Violett’s cousin and Cecil got him the job which was supposed to last a couple of weeks. Richard worked for Marvin for about 5 years and it was with Marvin’s help that he was able to get his own farm.

When Pearline, Cecil & Violett’s daughter, was born, they lived on the George Brown place about 3 miles south of Haigler, where Dale and Dode Faylor live now. Later, they bought a farm about 5 miles west of Haigler, where they lived until 1980 when Cecil’s health became such that he couldn’t continue to work on the farm. They moved into the house where Violett still lives today. Cecil passed away in April 1982.

Pearline, is married to Hollis Gillett from Wray, Colorado. They live in Page, Arizona. They have two daughters, Teresa and Cindy and one grandson, Kevin. At the present time, Hollis is very ill and Pearline spends all her time at his bedside.

Cecil Workman was the son of Charley and Rose Workman. He had 3 brothers and a sister; Raymond Workman, who married Violett’s sister Gladys, Ervin who married Jennie Faylor (Harry Faylor’s sister), Roy who married Permilla Holt and Mildred (Millie) who married Lloyd (Whitey) Bragg.

Violett’s grandfather, William Martin (Bill) Samson, was born in Brown County, Kansas the year after Kansas became a state in 1861. He married Mary Frances Goodin on October 5, 1882 in Cass County, Nebraska where they began raising their family: George Emmet, William Alva, Leonard Eli, Mary Frances and Thomas L Samson. After her death in 1894, he married Margaret (Maggie) Archer, who had 2 sons. The family moved to Long Island, Kansas, then to Haigler in 1906 where they owned and operated a hotel and cafĂ© that stood on the corner of Porter Avenue and Highway 34 where Trembly’s Grocery store was later built in the late 1940s. The light and flagpole and water trough that used to be in the intersection was just outside the front door of the hotel. Bill Samson was also a blacksmith.

George Samson married Slyvesta Mahala Mitchell and they had 13 children: Lucille, Oscar, Erma, Ralph, Elmer, Wayne, Maxine, Georgia Rose, Don, June, Verna, Vula, and Emmet Ray. This family migrated to Wyoming but the families all kept in touch.

Leonard Eli (Lennie) Samson left home at an early age and the family didn't hear from him for many years. His father got letters from an Eli Walker, who we later found out, was Lennie, so he did try to keep in touch.

Violett’s father, William Alva Samson, was born in Rockbluff, Cass County, Nebraska and came to the Haigler area when his father moved here from Kansas. He married Dora Bell Arnold.

Mary Frances (Mollie) (Samson) was first married to Dave Gregory, then to Horace Roach, so Larimers, Stassers, Gregorys, Craft and Roachs are Violett’s cousins. Mollie’s children were Frances (Gregory) Larimer, Margaret (Gregory) Stasser, Richard Gregory, Marlin Roach, Quentin Roach, Ollie (Roach) Loop, Virginia (Roach) Craft, Betty (Roach) Winden and Lowell (Bud) Roach.

Thomas (Tom) Samson married Rose Marquardt and they had three children, Clarence, Roy and Albertta

Alva's and Mollie's families were together nearly all their lives. Their kids were almost as close as brothers and sisters. During the homestead years they were within shouting distance of each other. Marlin and Quentin Roach and Alice Samson were born there on the homesteads south of Yuma. Only for a few years after they all left their Colorado homesteads when the Samsons returned to near Haigler and the Roachs went to Oxford, Nebraska for a short time were they separated. The Roaches moved back to Haigler and the kids all grew up together.

Many other families in the area are also her family. Iva (Samson) who married Glen DeGarmo was a cousin to Alva Samson, making Wilma (DeGarmo) Ferguson a second cousin. Her sister, Leona (Samson) married Wesley Trembly, making Delmar, Delford, Don and Dorline nieces and nephews. Other family names are Stute, Tiff, Bowker, Brown. If anyone is interested in finding out more about the family genealogy, contact the editor of the Haigler Blog. Violett is related in some way to many families around the area.

~Written by Sherri Gregory, Richard Gregory's daughter.


  1. I enjoyed reading this; I was married to Bud (Lowel) Roach & have heard of Violett from her sister's (Alice) family.
    Having lost my brother while he was still fairly young, I felt I was so lucky to have married into a family with lots of relatives.
    Alas, most of those relatives are now gone & I am once again in a small family.
    Thanks for your blog - I enjoy it!

  2. I was very interested in this..I am Pam and Roys granddaughter Tina Workman from Yuma..My dad was Rodney Workman one of the 11 children from Pam and Roy. How cook it was to find this while browsing the internet looking for things about my family..I will print this and keep it for my children. Thank you to whomever posted this..

  3. Very interesting. I am Frances Gregory Larimer's daughter, and live in Garland, Texas, and corresponded with Pearlene thru Facebook.

    1. Hi Mae, I am Sherri Gregory, Richard's 3rd daughter. Good to hear from you.

    2. Hi Sherri. I'm Dorothy, but Mae does live here in Garland also. About 6 months ago, we were at a function sponsored by the Senior Center and shared a table with another couple. He asked where we were from, and we told him, originally, Wray, Colorado. Can you believe - he is also from Wray, has family there still, and I realize now, we are somewhat related. His name is Don Workman.


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Haiglerites 90+

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Haiglerites 1 - 69 (Some of these have moved past the 70 mark!)

  • Aaron Irwin - May 7th
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