Viola (Ward) Garrett

Nancy Viola Elizabeth (Ward) Garrett (1901 - 1978)

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Nancy Viola Elizabeth (Viola) "Ola" Garrett formerly Ward
Born in Benton, Saline County, Arkansasmap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married in Brazil, Saline, Arkansas, United Statesmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Fort Dodge, Iowamap
Profile last modified | Created 7 Jan 2012
This page has been accessed 1,117 times.

Categories: Saline County, Arkansas | Pontotoc County, Oklahoma | Fort Dodge, Iowa | Meadow, Texas.


Viola "Ola" Ward was born in 1900 or 1901 in Saline County, Arkansas. She was never certain which was her birth year. She was one of nine siblings, including an infant who died as a baby. Her younger brother, Kenith, died young, possibly from an overdose of medication, then her father died. Her remaining family consisting of her mother and seven children struggled during a time when it was hard for a woman to find employment that paid enough to support herself, let alone seven hungry children.

Ola eloped with William Henry Harrison Garrett, a man much older than herself, when she was fourteen, and soon had a little boy of her own. She learned that life with a husband and a baby was harder than being one of the younger children in her birth family.

She and her husband, Henry, tried various avenues for supporting their growing family. They owned a grocery store for a while, but extended credit to neighbors and friends who were equally poor, or simply too irresponsible to pay the money they owed, so the store failed.

They also worked as field hands, picking cotton or other agricultural products, even gathering pecans.

Henry's health declined. At one point he had a carbuncle that rendered him incapable of making a living he was so sick with it. For a while he tried selling moonshine and eventually wound up in prison.

Ola and their children moved to Oklahoma to live with her sister, Della, or Dellar as the family called her back then. Della was married to Henry's brother, John Garrett. They had a small house and several children, but both families managed to get along.

Ola raised five of her own children and one of her husband's nephews, Elson Garrett, during the Great Depression. They lived on potatoes and beans, biscuits and cornbread and in the summer had their garden. Viola kept chickens so made a little money selling eggs. Once in a while they'd kill a chicken or butcher a hog, but seldom had meat to eat. They had a milk cow, but she disappeared. They searched for her and discovered some other hungry people had butchered her and taken only the best cuts, wasting the rest. Viola's children had to do without milk after that, not to mention their sadness because the cow was like a family pet.

Henry died after their children were grown so Ola went to Fort Dodge, Iowa to live with Morris, one of her sons. He had corresponded with a girl, Violet Ray, from Iowa while he was in the service and after getting out, went there and married her.

Soon, two more of Ola's sons--Melvin and Bill--and her only daughter, Ruby, moved to Iowa. Only one son, Cecil, remained in Oklahoma so the rest of her life she was surrounded by children and grandchildren who loved her dearly.

She complained of a severe headache one night while riding home from church services with fellow church members. They asked if she wanted to stop at a drug store to buy something for her headache, but she said no so they took her home.

She died in her sleep that night. Many years have passed, but she's still greatly missed by those who loved her. She was kind and supportive and ready to greet members of her family with a warm hug and sweet smile.


1910 Saline County, Arkansas Census, Jefferson Twp.

April 28th


Will.......Head m w 28? AR AR AR


Jane.......Boarder f w 36 Widow AR AR AR

Pearl......Boarder f w 17 AR AR AR

Tom........Son m w 14 AR AR AR

Roxie......Daughter f w 13 AR AR AR

Viola......Daughter f w 11 AR AR AR

Rome.......Son m w ? AR AR AR

Kenith.......Son m w 3 AR AR AR

[Viola's age in this census is incorrect. She wasn't enumerated in the 1900 census because she hadn't been born. If this census age were correct, Viola would have been listed as 1 year old in the 1900 census. Viola's sister, Pearl, eventually married their landlord, Will Curtis. Mattie, another sister, had married Will Lynch and was living in Union township in Garland County, Arkansas.]


1920 Saline County, Arkansas Census

Henry Garrett M 32 Arkansas
Ola Garrett F 15 Arkansas
Melvin Garrett M 0 Arkansas


"United States Census, 1910," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 19 Oct 2013), Viola Ward in household of Will Curtis, Jefferson, Saline, Arkansas, United States; citing sheet , family 172, NARA microfilm publication T624, FHL microfilm 1374077.

"United States Census, 1920," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 07 Oct 2013), Henry Garrett, 1920.


Debby (Barton) Black created this profile January 7, 2012.

Information from Viola (Ward) Garrett

Information from Ruby Jane (Garrett) Day, daughter of Viola.

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Memories: 1

On 17 Oct 2012 Melba (Garrett) Vance wrote:

She was my grandma first. I don't remember her spanking me, not that I didn't deserve it, but she made me feel so bad when I did something wrong. I owe most of my values and morals to her. I miss her very much.

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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Viola by comparing test results with other carriers of her mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known mtDNA test-takers in her direct maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Viola:

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Images: 7
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Viola Garrett
Viola Garrett

Henry and Viola's Marriage Certificate
Henry and Viola's Marriage Certificate

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On 9 Jun 2016 at 02:52 GMT Allan Thomas wrote:

Lovely profile of your Grandmother, she'f be proud!

Viola is 23 degrees from Robin Helstrom, 24 degrees from Katy Jurado and 20 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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