Lineage: (Era Cleffie, Isaac Jackson, Isaac James, John, John, Robert Pollock) (Era Cleffie, Isaac Jackson, Martha Emily, Edward, Jacob, Mercer Norton) *The brackets indicate the generation from the first known ancestor
The following is an excerpt about Era Cleffie Pollock from a story published in The Duncan Banner Newspaper on Sunday, March 4, 1984, written by Bill Orndorff:
If you ask Cleffie Landers about her secret for long life, she'll tell you "Working, eating right and never drinking anything wrong. I don't even drink pop. Drinking gets you into trouble."
Mrs. Landers, 85, continues to care for herself in her two-bedroom home, drives her own car and attend church at the First United Methodist Church. At the request of her children and grandchildren, she recently wrote about herself for posterity. An excerpt from her history has been published in a Chickasha newspaper in the "Adventures in the Four-Mile Strip" column.
Born Era Cleffie Pollock ("I was named after a schoolteacher") on Dec. 25, 1898, in Sharp County, Ark., Mrs. Landers has lived most of her life in Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. Her family moved to Texas when she was 5 or 6 years old, where her father farmed near Clarksville in Red River County.
Mrs. Landers was one of eight children - a fact that kept her busy as a child. "We always had something to do," she said. "I had to stay home and help with the farm and laundry. I only completed the eighth grade. I was going to go back to school with my husband, but I felt that raising my children was more important. I should have gone back, but I didn't."
Of the eight children - Cleffie, Elvia, Clara, Vera, Jessie, Lorena, Edgar and Curtis - only the five girls are alive today [in 1984]. Clara lives in Sacramento, Calif., while Vera is in Smyers, Texas, and Elvia lives in Hobart. Lorena Mitchell and Cleffie Landers both live in Duncan, [OK].
One of the most vivid memories Mrs. Landers has of her childhood is crossing the Red River on a flat boat in 1916. "Papa made a good crop that year, so he decided to come back to Oklahoma. When we got to the Red River we had to cross over on a big, flat boat," she said. "The river wasn't Rough, but there was a lot of water. We crossed near Ringling - there weren't any bridges for us to cross. The boat took one wagon at a time - I don't think the man charged us to cross. Some more folks was ahead of us, and when they got off the boat, their mules went down in quicksand. The man got one of them out by cutting him loose from the wagon. We just knew we were going to go down too, and we kids were scared. Papa drove a little north of where this man did, so we made it fine with our wagon and two mules. We were still scared, though."
The family [first settled in] the Duncan area, staying in a wagon yard on east Main Street, then later rented a log house in the Liberty Community, 1 mile west and 1/2 mile south of Liberty School.
"The house had 3 or 4 rooms - it took a big one to hold all of us. Its been torn down since we lived in it," she said.
As a girl of 18, Mrs. Landers met the man she would soon marry while visiting with a neighbor family, the Pembertons. "Mr Landers had come to visit the Pemberton boys who were his friends. They were having an Easter egg hunt," she said. "I was trying to leave, but they wouldn't let me. They wanted me to meet him. I guess they got me in trouble or out of trouble. I don't know which."
The couple started dating each other, in the good old fashioned way, taking the buggy into Duncan to see the silent movies at the Palace and the Ritz Theaters. On July 7, 1917, the couple got married in front of Liberty School.
"They were having church services there that night," she said. "We were going to get married at home the next day, and we went by the school. Everyone kept saying we should get married then, so after the service was over, we told Rev. Boswell that we wanted him to marry us. He told us to wait until after everyone had gone home, then he married us in our buggy. We went inside and signed the license. My brother Edgar, his niece Ella Landers and the preachers wife were our witnesses."
Cleffie was 19 and Jesse was 21. Soon after, the couple lived all over the Stephens County area, as he taught at Summerdale, Fairview, Hope, Liberty, Oak Cliff, Willow Point, Beaver and other schools in the area.
"He taught all subjects, and usually had students in grades 5 to 8. He taught elementary school at Medicine Park in his last year of teaching."
The couple had three boys, one of which died as a baby, and three girls - J.C., Margie, Evelyn, Geneva and Dale. Landers taught for 21 years, then quit to work for another 21 years for the Soil Conservation Service. He also built houses in Duncan, among them the one Mrs. Landers still lives in at 607 S. 9th.
"I'd pick him up from work, then we'd go and build one of the houses," she said. "I drove as many nails as he did, and helped him shingle the roof. I did most of the nailing on the exterior, then cleaned up afterward."
The couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary before Jesse died in 1976. Mrs. Landers continues to stay active, and goes out weekdays to eat meals at the nutrition site. She also maintains her hobbies of reading, crocheting and hook-and-latch work. She is frequently visited by her children, her 17 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and one-great-great-grandchild. "So many people tell me they get tired of staring at the four walls," she said. "I tell them to get busy and quit letting themselves get lonesome."