Amble Edwin Smith

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Born 26 Sep 1888, in Elmer Township, Sanilac County, Michigan. Died May 1980, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. SSN 441-09-4972, issued in Oklahoma. The youngest in his family. See the Smith family notes for details on his siblings.

The family lived in the town of Juhl, which is now gone. Today, there is only a Juhl road in Elmer township to suggest where it once was. Amble was named after Ole Amble, an itinerant preacher who sometimes preached at the church in Juhl.

The 1900 Census shows Amble (age 12) living with his parents and four siblings. The 1910 Census shows him gone. We know that he left home and followed the harvest for a while. He went to Wisconsin and Minnesota, and was there (in one of those states) for ``the coldest winter ever''. He had left the family farm because he didn't like farm work, and wound up working his way across country doing farm work.

He then worked his way Southeast, toward the coast, getting as far South as Memphis, Tennesee. He worked his way North along the coast to Pennsylvania and New York.

Amble was too old, too married, and had an enlarged heart and a swollen ankle, so he couldn't enlist for WWI.

Amble married Bessie Ella Davis. His daughter Marion was born in 1916 in Akron, Ohio. Amble was working in a tire factory there. The family moved to Cleveland sometime before 1924. His daughter Virginia was born in Cleveland in 1924. Sometime between 1916 and 1924, they had a son, Niels, who died quite young, though after 1924.

In Cleveland, Amble was an insurance salesman, and prospered through the 20s. He was a clever, entertaining man, and very personable, so it's not surprising he did well as a salesman. As the depression deepened, he found work in a gas station. He must have had some contact with the mechanics, if he wasn't a mechanic himself: I remember him talking quite a bit about the internal workings of the old cars.

The family didn't have much money (or not much income?), but Amble had contacts among those who did have money, probably from his insurance days. One of these was a Mr. Grumney(1), an inventor who was working on a perpetual motion machine. He must have had some inventions which worked, since he had money. Grandma worked for a doctor, and often stayed in invalid's houses. She often took the girls along for these stays, so they got to see how the prosperous folks lived.

Around 1930 Amble moved his family to Oklahoma. Bessie Ella's sister, Blanche Davis (see the Waite family data page for details)and her husband Robert Fulton were living at Carter Nine(2), and Amble and Bessie joined them there. The Smiths stayed with the Fultons for about a year, while Amble found whatever work he could. Though he was often working, he couldn't find anything steady.

Finally Amble found steady work managing a combination gas station, restaurant and tourist court near (about six miles from) Ramona, Ok. Grandma ran the restaurant (and probably did some of the work associated with the eight tourist cabins), and grandpa handled the rest of the business. The Ramona area drew tourists at that time, for fishing and hunting, and business must have been fairly good.

There were a number of famous bandits in that area at that time, including John Dillinger and Pretty Boy Floyd. Floyd bought gas there at least once. John Dillinger stopped there at least once, with several men, and ordered a meal. Mom says that he stood in the door where he could see both ways down the road until the meal was ready, while his men sat and talked in the dining room. After they ate, they paid and left. Dillinger went into the kitchen and asked grandma if he could use their phone, but she told him it wasn't working. Afterwards, she told my mother that she had been afraid that the phone would ring (it really was out of order!) and anger Dillinger. These bandits had family in the area, and didn't want to kick up a big ruckus so close to home, so they never did cause any trouble near Ramona.

The Smith family made money there, and saved it.

The family wound up living in Tulsa for many years.

Grandpa was in excellent health till the day he died. He died in his sleep, quite suddenly, after being told he had cancer.



One of Mr. Grumney's descendents tells me that:

"Edward was alleged to have been quite a "tinkerer" and held some credit for development of the automatic transmission in early automobiles."
That tells us that he did indeed have some practical inventions, and perhaps that perpetual motion machine idea was Grandpa's joke on his little girl. On the other hand, many very sensible people had no doubt that perpetual motion was possible, and Grandpa, and perhaps Mr. Grumney, may have fallen into that category.
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Carter Nine was an oil company town in Osage county, 22 miles Northwest of Pawhuska, the county seat. It was established on 14 August 1928. The name was a combination of the name of the Carter Oil company which owned the oil and the land description, Section 9-Township 26N-Range 6E. The town was closed early in 1969.
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