Walking the Blind Dog and Finding Some Answers

Yesterday, I decided to take my little dog, Archie, for a walk.  

Archie, the blind dog I adopted

Archie, the blind dog I adopted

He rarely gets any exercise….and I have decided we both need it. So we have started walking. He is blind. He has no eyes. He had only one eye when I adopted him. He was an abused dog, someone had poked something in his eye and dumped him at a pound. Then he ran into a porch post, detached the retina in his good eye, and had to have it removed. It is a very sad story, because you just could hardly ask for a more loving, well mannered dog. Being blind hardly seems to bother him. He is happy and loves to be with me. He is always willing to go wherever I go. I am his seeing eye person. He wears a harness, so I can control him better. He seems to weave back and forth smelling the ground . His legs are about 4 inches long and he must take at least 20 steps to my every one. You have to be careful not to trip over him. He has learned the “stop” command and he stops in his tracks because he knows he is about to fall off of or run into something.

 

Ruby Williams as a baby, taken by Charles Bee, Photographer, Winslow, Indiana

Ruby Williams as a baby, taken by Charles Bee, Photographer, Winslow, Indiana

 

I have been trying to put my old photos into scrapbooks and organize my stories and family tree notes into notebooks. Several years ago I had purchased on Ebay an envelope full of old Winslow photos. They were actually a family, one old grade school photo and one old photo of the depot. Some of the photos were taken by Charles W. Bee, a photographer in Winslow. I thought they were such a great find. But I didn’t know who the people were. My former neighbor told me who some of them were and who I should talk to, but I just never seemed to do anything with it. So I decided last week I was giving them to this lady. She at least knew who these people were. My kids would look at them someday and say “why did mom keep these pictures of people she didn’t even know?” I just think photos and heirlooms belong with their loved ones anyway. So I scanned them and packed them up. Now Archie and I were on a mission.

Ruby Williams taken by Charles Bee, photographer in Winslow, Indiana

Ruby Williams taken by Charles Bee, photographer in Winslow, Indiana

The lady we were to see was home and she told me who the people were and a little about them. The three baby pictures were of Ruby Williams. Others were her sisters, Titania (I love this name) and Norena. Some were of Ruby’s mother’s folks, The Hamiltons. Ruby had no children.

Photo taken by Bee Photography, Winslow, Indiana

Photo taken by Bee Photography, Winslow, Indiana

All three sisters were schoolteachers. Their family made and sold buggy whips. They used to take their buggy all the way to Louisville to sell their whips. Their  grandfather was a Civil War veteran. Ruby had given this lady his discharge certificate for her to give to her son, along with other family heirlooms because Ruby just had no one to pass them on to.

A Winslow Grade School class.  Ruby Williams Kemp is the teacher on the left.

A Winslow Grade School class. Ruby Williams Kemp is the teacher on the left.

I really enjoyed that visit. I now knew something about the people in the photos and had returned them to a lovely lady who cared. Some of the photos she did not keep and I still have them. I wanted to see if I could find more information about them. What better place than the cemetery? Usually families are buried together and you can very easily piece together who belongs to who.  This family’s graves were found very close to Union Street, practically right across the road from the Baptist Church.

Grave of Ruby Williams and her husband, Virgil Kemp

Grave of Ruby Williams and her husband, Virgil Kemp

Today I left Archie at home when I walked up the hill on East Street to Oak Hill Cemetery. The last time I took him, he really had a hard time with the tall grass, the heat and the bugs. I am going to have to find a solution to that. I like to take him along. It is good for him and he seems to enjoy it. As funny as it might look, I was thinking of a yard sale baby buggy and putting a mosquito net over it. Since the process of the grave cleanup and restoration planning has moved right along, I am ready to start working on that cemetery when my son goes back to Iraq from his leave next week. So if you see some funny looking cart of equipment and an eccentric woman up there with a little buff blind dog in a baby buggy, well, that would be me!

The grave of Ruby's sister, Titania

The grave of Ruby's sister, Titania

 

The grave of Ruby's baby brother, Gerald

The grave of Ruby's baby brother, Gerald

I found their graves, the Hamilton’s and the William’s buried together. When I took the photos, it made them seem more real, knowing a little bit about their lives.

 

The grave of Ruby's parents, Lon and Tina Williams

The grave of Ruby's parents, Lon and Tina Williams

This is the grave of Lon and Tina Hamilton Williams.  Lon was listed as Alonzo in the earlier census sheets.  Tina’s mother, Emma lived with them after her father, John died.  Tina was born in Martin County, Indiana. 

Tina’s brother, Louis, had two sons, Ollie and Orval. 

Ruby's uncle, Louis Hamilton and his wife

Ruby's uncle, Louis Hamilton and his wife

 

Ruby's uncle, James S. Hamilton

Ruby's uncle, James S. Hamilton

Louis’s son, Orval, apparently was a top newspaper boy at the Old Southern Railroad (Air Line) Depot.   I found this article on Ancestry.com on the family that I am contacting to see if they would want the rest of the photos.  Ruby had a photo of the depot and a newspaper boy was in the photo.  I thought it was just random, but after reading this article and seeing his photos, I think it may be him selling his papers and that is why Ruby had the photo. 

Copied from Ancestry.com

Copied from Ancestry.com

Newspaper boy at Winslow Depot, possibly Ruby's nephew, Orval

Newspaper boy at Winslow Depot, possibly Ruby's nephew, Orval

 

I also post my photos online at:

www.findagrave.com . I am still on the hunt for the Hamilton family to return the photos I have left. I am contacting the Hamilton ancestors on Ancestry.com and will make contact through that website. Isn’t the internet the most wonderful invention?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 comments on “Walking the Blind Dog and Finding Some Answers

  1. militarysister says:

    I love that Archie has made an appearance now 🙂

  2. indiana storyteller says:

    After posting this story, I found out through facebook that my grandma lived next door to Mrs. Kemp when my dad and his brother were small boys. Mrs. Kemp was their teacher. She would wash their clothes, let them spend the night, and helped them out when times were rough. Isn’t it a small world?

  3. Poor Archie. He looks alot like my own dog.

    • rose says:

      He has a good life now but I don’t think that was always the case. He gets around remarkable well for being blind and I think he is a happy feller 🙂

  4. Debi says:

    I have a blind Red Heeler who needs physical cues when we walk as our country streets are uneven and without sidewalks. I am looking for a harness like a seeing-eye dog would wear so I can provide the direction Freckles needs. What kind of harness do you use for Archie? This is all brand-new to us. Thanks

    • rose says:

      Archie was used to walking before he became blind so I used his regular harness still. I did keep the leash much shorter without a lot of slack. He learned very quickly what stop meant, that he was going to bump or step off of something. I did read that some people used pvc pipe on their leash to provide the same effect as the seeing eye dog harness for stability. Archie had a kind of side to side walk. I tightened the leash when I said stop so he learned that when I tightened the leash, he just stopped. Hope that helps a little and good luck. Before you know it you will never know he is blind.

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