FRANCES CHELLIE NOAH MOFFETT
By Jerry Gilbert Moffett, Jr.
February 10, 1992, revised March 8, 2002
BIRTH AND EARLY CHILDHOOD
Frances Chellie Noah was born in Eros, Louisiana on December 15, 1905 and died on September 23, 1986 at Sulphur, Louisiana at the age of 80.
Mother was the daughter of Mary Ann Reeves Noah and William Robert Noah. William Robert Noah (b 1850) died October 19, 1925 at Selma, La (near Winnfield). Following the family’s return from Texas circa 1914 and the death of William Robert, I know that my grandmother faced severe economic problems. In her final years she lived with several of her children including my mother in Shreveport and with her daughter, Betty, in Houston. Grandma Noah passed away in Houston on September 23, 1943. I remember Grandma living with us in Shreveport in the early forties and I also remember visiting with her in Eros before she had to leave her home and live with her children. Grandma was the daughter of Dr. James Edward Reeves, who served four years in the Civil War. Mother liked to talk about the fact that her grandfather had been a medical doctor.
Mother liked to talk about the time that she lived in Millett, Texas (about 65 miles southwest of San Antonio). Mother said that at age 7 (which would have been circa 1912-1913) her family traveled by covered wagon from Eros, LA to Millett, TX - a distance of roughly 470 miles. William Robert Noah’s brother Thomas Pickens Noah was living in Millett and enjoying good livelihood farming. So William Robert moved his family to Texas where he thought educational opportunities were better for his children and hopefully to enjoy a better livelihood farming. This did not turn out to be the case due to two crop failures in a row. The William Robert Noah family returned to Eros about two years later - again by two covered wagons pulled by mules. While in Millett, Mother studied Spanish and later liked to practice her limited Spanish on her children. I still have her Spanish book. She maintained correspondence with some of her Texas cousins some 60 years later, e.g. Mrs. Villantha Noah Hamilton. In about 1977, I had the opportunity to take Mother to Gonzales, TX where she visited with Mrs. Hamilton. At that time, Mother was 72 years old but she and Mrs. Hamilton were seen to discuss events, which had occurred at Millett, as if they were yesterday.
Mother graduated from Eros High School in 1925 at age 19 and shortly thereafter moved to Shreveport. We know that Eros was a very small sawmill town, which once had a population of as many as 2500. Eros was hit by a tornado in 1920, which almost destroyed the town. In 1926 the principal industry, i.e. The Tremont Lumber Company mill, was hit by fire and closed. I believe this led to a major depopulation of Eros even until this day.
THE SHREVEPORT PERIOD 1925 TO 1943
On moving to Shreveport, Mother enrolled in Draughon’s Practical Business College September 7, 1926 where she took a stenographic course. At this time, Mother was 19 years of age.
She met and later married Jerry Gilbert Moffett on May 27, 1928 and had two sons: Jerry Gilbert Moffett Jr. on December 30, 1930 and John Oliver Moffett on March 12, 1932. As I remember, Mother stayed in the home and did not take an outside job until World War II came along at which time she was employed at a munitions plant in Minden, Louisiana - “The Shell Plant“. She worked at the Shell Plant from probably 1942 until late 1943 when Daddy was transferred to Sulphur, La. as part of the war effort. According to Aunt Thelma Moffett who also worked at the Shell Plant, Mother was an inspector working in a different section from her. Aunt Thelma also told me that some 16,000 people were employed at the Shell Plant.
Our family moved to Sulphur, La in late 1943 as part of the war effort so this meant that Mother had to leave her job in the munitions plant. In the thirties and late forties, I remember that we enjoyed close relations with our relatives in Shreveport and we also visited relatives throughout north and central Louisiana. We frequently had various out-of-town Noah and Moffett relatives visiting with us in Shreveport. We raised chickens, had a cow, a horse, and always had a big garden. At that time many people still depended on the land to get by.
Another thing that I remember is that my grandfather, Thomas Oliver Moffett, lived with us for a few years probably around the mid-thirties. Daddy built a one-room house for him to live in behind our house at 3145 West Laurel Street. Grandma Noah (Mary Ann Reeves Noah) also lived with us for a few years well after the time that Grandpa has stayed with us. She stayed in our home and not in the little house in the back. I don’t know why.
THE SOUTH LOUISIANA PERIOD 1943 - 1986
In late 1943, we moved to Maplewood, LA on the outskirts of Sulphur, which was advertised as “Louisiana's Newest Modern Town”. Daddy had been transferred to work in the nearby Cities Service refinery, which had been newly built as part of the World War II effort. I am sure that the relocation to the Sulphur area was a strain on my parents since there was a radically different culture in South Louisiana at that time; predominately French speaking and strongly Catholic. Maplewood inhabitants were totally refinery workers who had been transferred in from all over the United States - from places like Bossier City LA, Ponca City OK, and Pennsylvania. So there were some wonderful relationships developed with these newcomers and also with the natives. While Mother spent the last 43 years of her life in this South Louisiana location, her real preference was to some day move back to Shreveport (as if things would still be like they had been prior to leaving). She insisted until the late seventies to keep the old house in Shreveport in case things turned bad at which time she could always fall back to Shreveport. I encouraged her to sell the house and she went along with it but very reluctantly.
Shortly after moving to Maplewood, Mother got a job in the Maplewood post office and stayed at that for 26 years until retirement. During this period, Mother was always very active in the Baptist church and in the Eastern Star.
My brother and I were in college 1947 - 1952 so this was a period when Mother supported us financially and otherwise while we were away at college. Mother (and Daddy as well) were always very strong on the need to get a college education so for me there was never an option to fail in my college work. Mother was always very proud of her brother, Dennis Noah, who had earned a Ph.D. in Education and later taught at Louisiana Tech and at LSU. Mother felt that education was vital to success so she gave strong encouragement to our getting a college education.
Another significant event was the construction of my parent’s new home in 1953 - new home construction had not been possible during the war years and immediately thereafter. My parents were very proud of this home until their death.
Mother enjoyed a period of retirement from about 1970 to 1980. In the fall of 1980 she was forced to enter the Holly Hill Nursing Home, an event which she had always told me that she did not want.
NURSING HOME PERIOD 1980 - 1986
Mother’s health continued to deteriorate and by the time my father died in June 1981, she really was pretty much unaware that he had passed. Continuing to suffer from Alzheimer's disease, Mother passed away in September 1986.
In summing up my Mother’s life, I believe that she was a caring mother and a hard worker. She loved to work rather than to stay at home. She had strong expectations of my brother and me and expected that we would get a college education and utilize all of the teachings that our parents had given us including our Christian education.
She had many friends through the church, post office, and Eastern Star. She had an abiding faith in Jesus Christ and lived a model Christian life. She loved her husband, children, and grandchildren - all of which she tried to help in every way possible. She never forgot her family and corresponded with her brothers and sisters as long as she was able.