Mr. Ed’s great grandmother, Susan Sherman who was a right prim and proper lady was fond of telling him the reason for her longevity was that she smoked a clay pipe and had a shot of whiskey every day. So was there truth to her statement or was she just having fun at his expense? We don’t really know, but we do know Susan lived to the age of 102 years!
Born in Arbela Township, Tuscola County Michigan on December 12, 1859 to Susan (Higley) and Solomon Leach, she grew up with brothers Alison and Grant, and sisters Vera and Mary. On March 28, 1880 she married a handsome young man named Moses Benjamin Sherman who had come “west” from Pennsylvania a few years earlier. Susan and Moses became parents to Martha, William and Murry.
William (Will) Sherman worked in the woods in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where he met and married Johannah (Josie) Hartwell, daughter of William Hartwell and Mary Jane Edgeworth. Josie and Will’s daughter Ruth was my husband’s Mother.
Like many other families the Shermans gradually moved westward. Moses worked for the railroad and the 1910 and 1920 Federal Census schedules show them settled in Drummond, Montana where he was a “Stationary Engineer” for the Northern Pacific Railroad. He retired in 1938. They lived in a log house next to the RR tracks and Susan said the local indians would come by regularly and she’d provide them with food; in return she was well liked and respected by them.
Moses, Susan and Martha Sherman near RR Water Tower
Moses & Susie by the Train
Their final move west brought the Shermans to Tacoma, Washington and it was there Susie lost her dear Moses on December 5, 1942.
Susie lived on and was active in the Violet Prairie Garden Club, Tacoma African Violet Society and Order of Eastern Star. She enjoyed quilt making and made many lovely quilts over the years.
The last time my husband visited her, Susie greeted him and told him to sit down a minute, that Moses was down at the barn, harnessing up the horses and would be back up to the house shortly. That was about two weeks before her death on July 3, 1962 at the age of 102.
But back to the clay pipe and shot of whiskey….. my husband did see the pipe but never actually witnessed her smoking it. As to the shot of whiskey… well, I guess some mysteries are never quite resolved.
Susan Viola Leach Sherman
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