By Jodi Ruonavar
Ruth Elizabeth Wileman, better known as “Grandma Elizabeth” to friends and family, celebrated her 101 birthday right here in New Caney, TX. Elizabeth was born to JW and Lillian Leigh Vickers in Port Arthur Texas. She comes from a family of nine children. Elizabeth was a model early in her adulthood. She was a real estate sales agent, she sold the property we now know as Roman Forest, Woodbranch, Briar Tree subdivision and Autumn Trails.
Elizabeth loved to garden, up until her last stroke, she had a garden every year. She attended the Holy Trinity Methodist Church, where she could be heard singing her favorite hymns. Elizabeth gave birth to four children, three boys; Don Wileman, Richard Wileman, Gary Wileman and one beautiful daughter; Carliss Wilemam Cline. She has eight grandchildren, four great grandchildren, one great great grandchild.
Elizabeth’s favorite things in life were always simple. Her favorite music is Gospel and Country. Her favorite thing to eat is chicken and dumplings. She also likes Thanksgiving dinner, but dressing and gravy are mandatory! She sold tickets at the Highway 59 Ballroom, then she would dance. She liked to dance, and her feet glided across the floor with ease and finesse. She has lived most of her life right here in East Montgomery County, New Caney on Spear Circle.
She was born in the midst of “The Great War”, WWI, which ended the following year. The average price for a home in the United States was $5,000, and average pay was 22 cents per hour. Only 8% of homes had telephones.
It was 10 years before the invention of the television, 23 years before the first vehicle hit the market offering air conditioning (the 1940 Packard), 29 years before the invention of the microwave oven, four years before the opening of the very first fast food restaurant,
Notable events of 1917 (in addition to “Grandma Elizabeth’s” birthday)
- Feb 26: First jazz records recorded – “Dixie Jazz Band One Step” and “Livery Stable Blues” by Original Dixieland Jass Band for the Victor Talking Machine Company
- Mar 2 Jones Act: Puerto Rico territory created, US citizenship granted
- Mar 15 Nicholas II, the last Russian Tsar abdicated the throne, and he and his family were imprisoned, and then executed the following year.
- Mar 17 1st exclusively women’s bowling tournament begins in St Louis
- Mar 31 US purchases Danish West Indies for $25M & renames them Virgin Islands
- Apr 6 US declares war on Germany, enters World War I
- Apr 11 Babe Ruth beats NY Yanks, pitching 3-hit 10-3 win for Red Sox
- Jun 8 Walt Disney graduates from Benton High School
- Jun 26 1st US troops arrive in France during World War I
- Jul 21 Russian Revolution: Socialist Alexander Kerensky becomes Russian Prime Minister
- Jul 26 J. Edgar Hoover gets job in US Department of Justice
- Sep 3 1st night bombing of London by German aircraft
- Oct 19 Love Field in Dallas, Texas, is opened
- Nov 3 1st class US mail now costs 3 cents per ounce
- Nov 6 New York State adopts a constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote in state elections
- Nov 7 Revolution in Russia- Lenin and the Bolsheviks seize power, capture the Winter Palace and overthrow the Provisional Government.
- Nov 20 First successful tank use in battle (Britain breaks through German lines) at Battle of Cambrai WWI
- Dec 7 US becomes 13th country to declare war on Austria during World War I
The family would like to thank everyone who came to celebrate with Grandma Elizabeth Wileman on this special day. Attendees were : Starlett and Bubba Fontenot, Gary and Regina Wileman. Amy Wileman, Les Cline, Betty Lou Baecker, Oma Lee Goodwin, Frank and Emma Rhoden, Linda Beth Allen Ruonavar, Jodi Ruonavar, Angel Hayden, Carliss Wilemam Cline. There was cake and ice cream to bring this special day for Elizabeth to a point where she was happy beyond words. She lives with her amazing beautiful daughter, Carliss, who sees after her daily needs. Yes, folks still on Spear Circle right here in New Caney Texas.
Happy Birthday, Ruth Elizabeth Wileman!