Mary Melindie Ann (Adams) Ballenger

Mary was born 14 October 1858, in Tippah County Mississippi, to Joshua Adams and Nancy Patterson - one of nine children. Her parents were actively involved in the Fellowship Baptist Church; here father was the choir leader, and both parents volunteered in the community. When Yellow Fever swept through Mississippi in the summer of 1862, Joshua and Rebecca felt the call to serve, and volunteered at the Baptist Hospital in Tupelo, Mississippi. They both caught the fever, and died at home on August 27, 1862.

The children were taken in by Joshua Adams' brother Lorenzo, in Ripley Mississppi. Older brother William James Adams joined the Confederate Army (Cavalry) in 1863, and upon the disbanding of his unit in 1865 he returned home. He married Martha Hiett in December of 1865, and he set up his home in Ripley. His brothers and sisters were placed in his care. By 1870 Mary (now 12 years old) was still living with her older brother William.

In 1872 the Adams clan moved west to the Sandflat area of Johnson County, Texas. On 1 May 1877 Mary married Thomas Wood Ballenger in Johnson County. Three children followed; Archie Grey in 1878, William Thomas in 1879, and Minnie Lou in 1881. Thomas and Mary lived for many years on their homestead in New Mexico. In 1918 they joined their son Archie in Hemet, California, to alleviate a medical condition (possibly asthma) that doctors felt the climate of California might assuage. Thomas passed away on 6 November 1921, and his widow Mary continued to live with the family for several more years, alternating between Hemet and the Fresno area (where her daughter Minnie Lue (Ballenger) Harbin was living).

Granddaughter Mary Ethel enjoyed spending time with her widowed namesake, Mary, during the days the elderly woman spent living at the Ballenger ranch. The two were companions by default, it seemed, since younger brother was away with friends often, and older sister did little to conceal her impatience with this elderly person. One story has five-ish Ethel and Mary Melinda sitting on the side of an irrigation canal at the end of the ranch property, near some mostly-harvested grape vines. Each would pick handfuls of the leftover fruit and sit there, each putting one grape at a time in her mouth (without swallowing), each watching her companion to see who would laugh and have to spit out the bulging contents.

Mary Melindie Ann Adams died on 7 April 1932. She is buried next to her husband Thomas in San Jacinto Valley Cemetery in Hemet, California.

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Mary Melindie c.1875