Charles & Caldonia Box
I love this picture of them and keep it next to my computer. Charles has a kind face and a twinkle in his eye.
Grandma Baldwin called her father -- Papa. She told me that "Her Papa" was the kindest, sweetest, most gentle man she had ever known. She felt that he would do anything to make her and the rest of his children happy. Grandma (Mabel Leffel Baldwin) was the youngest of nine children born to Charles & Caldona Leffel.
Charles experienced a lot of sorrow and grief in his younger life. Charles was born in Ohio and moved with his family to the Texas frontier as a young boy of seven. In 1862, when Charles was only eleven years old, his father was murdered by a Confederate mob in what is called the Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas. The confederate vigilantes kept attacking and harassing the Leffel family for many years after the Civil War. In 1869, Charles' mother, Susan Leffel, wrote a letter to the Governor of Texas, describing their sad experiences.
In May 1869, Charles married his first wife, a young widow named Sarah Ann Burkham Chapman. Sarah died just a year later in 1870 after giving birth to their first child; a son, they named David after Charles' deceased father. Charles was left a widower with a small son to raise alone for the next five years until he married again. In 1875, Charles married Caldona Jane Box, who is our great-grandmother. They had nine children.
The Charles Leffel lived in Texas until moving to Oklahoma in 1901. Charles was a deeply religious man and would often preach at their church meetings. He told his children to call him "Papa" because he felt the name "Father" was reserved for only one person -- Our "Father" in Heaven.
Caldona, Susan and Charles.
I love the way Charles is looking at his wife, Caldona, and daughter, Susan. You can tell he loves his family by the tender look on his face.