Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Most Important Day

July 24, 1936. They couldn't know it at the time, but this day marked the beginning of a very large and widely scattered family.

Alva George McLaughlin, better known as Red McLaughlin, married Rose May Mackey in Gillette, Wyoming.

Red was 27 years old, born in New Mexico territory, and grew up back and forth from central Texas to southern New Mexico. He came to Wyoming in the depths of the depression with the CCCs. The CCCs were being used to fight fires burning in coal seams in Campbell County. However, Red's job was as one of the cooks. When he came to Wyoming he was engaged to a divorcee who had a ranch in New Mexico.

Rose was 20 years old, born in North Carolina, but moved to Wyoming when her parents homesteaded in southern Campbell County when she was a year old. The family came to Wyoming by train, and stayed in a tent in Gillette for a time until a starter cabin was ready on the homestead. It was twelve years before Rose saw a town again. Rose took the "Normal Training" course in High School, which prepared students to teach in rural schools. After graduation that is what she did for the next two years. She was, however, spending the summer of 1936 in town. She was engaged to a guy named Clyde, who was serving in the CCCs in another state.

Rose's sister Elsie, who was with her in town, reported that, "Red was crazy about Rose from the first time he saw her." That meeting took place at a dance. Two months later they were married.

Rose and Red in their wedding clothes in the young city park.

Life was not always easy, there were plenty of rough patches along the way, but they always loved each other. Their marriage lasted almost 46 years, until Red's death in 1982. Through his final illness Rose was constantly with him.

Rose and Red became parents to six children. They have twelve grandchildren, nineteen great-grandchildren, and I have lost count on the great-great-grandchildren. (I hope I have the count right to this point. Can one of you other descendants count up the great-greats?)

There are a lot of people, scattered across this nation, who owe their very existence to the marriage that took place 77 years ago today!


  1. I am proud to be one of those descendants!

    Sorry I can't help you with the count as I don't even know all the great-greats.

  2. Love Grandma and Grandpa! Too bad for Clyde and the divorcee in New Mexico. Though they were quickly forgotten and maybe heartbroken, I just have a hard time feeling very sorry for them...

    1. I think I am in error about the divorcee being in NM; I think she was in Arizona.