The East Family of Orange
My name is Margaret East Ware and my grandfather was Thomas East. My grandfather lived in Gordonsville. I do not know very much about him or what he did for a living. I do know that he married a lady whose name was Lucy. I can not remember her maiden name. They had five children.
After my grandmother died, my father, Willie East, left home. He was approximately 12 years old at that time. While walking away he was picked up by a Mr. Tucker from Rapidan. He stayed and worked on Mr. Tucker’s farm until be became a young man. He later married my mother, Susie Shepherd. They had fourteen children; seven boys and seven girls.
Willie was a farmer. He moved his family from the Tucker farm in Rapidan to the Grymes farm which is located on Route 15 North of Orange. This farm is now occupied by the Holiday Express.
Before I started school, we moved to a farm located on Route 20 South of Orange which is now called “Oakley.” Walter Ware was the owner.
Mr. Ware also owned a hardware store in Orange.
My mother, Susie Shephard East, was a home maker. She and the family raised the vegetables, chickens, pigs, etc. She canned and cooked whatever was raised. The only food that was bought from the store was coffee, tea, seasonings, and sugar. She was an excellent cook as well. She was also a seamstress. She made her children’s clothes.
My sister, Susie, and I inherited this talent from our mother. My sister, Susie, was also a midwife. She was the last practicing midwife in Orange County before she retired in 1978.
The East family attended the Emanuel Baptist Church in Orange.
Our church was founded in 1910 and my parents were among the founding members.
The fifth generation of the East family is still worshipping there today.
This is the cemetery, “Westview” where my father and mother are buried along with some of my other family members.
I am not sure where my grandfather, Thomas East, is buried. The family feels that he might have been buried somewhere in the Gordonsville area.
The name of the school that we attended was “Orange Graded School.” It was a Julius Rosenwald school and my father petitioned to have the school built. The school was located on Bowler Lane before it was torn down. Prospect Heights Middle School now sits near this site. It had four rooms with each having a room to hang our coats. It also had a very small kitchen. We had no indoor plumbing and the school was heated by coal stoves. The boys had to help keep the fire burning during school hours. They would haul the coal into the classroom using a bucket. There was no cafeteria or gymnasium. We ate at our desk and played in the yard. As primitive as it was we enjoyed being with our friends and with our teachers.
I have many fond memories of growing up as a child. We walked to school, which was approximately two miles from Oakley Farm. All the children who lived along Route 20 would meet and walk together. One funny story that I like to tell my children is how my older sisters would yell to their friends as they came near each driveway. This was done so their friends would know they were on their way to walk with them to school. No one wanted to be left behind. We would stand along Route 20 and yell “Whooo, Whooo” to let our friends know that we were walking by their driveway. Then our friends would yell back to us “Whooo, Whooo.” It was so funny to hear and watch my sisters go through this ritual every morning.