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Della Jane Hubbard ("Mama") Hearn

Mama Hearn

Mama Hearn


Lerma Hearn

I thought a "scholastic" excerpt from Mama Hearn's memoirs might be appreciated. "Mama Hearn," for those who don't recognize the name, was Della Jane Hubbard Hearn, mother of C. Aubrey Hearn. Her son Joe Ed wrote a biographical sketch of her in 1946, with several direct quotations. Here is a description of school life in Clay County, Alabama, just over a hundred years ago:

At the time Della was born, her father owned a blacksmith shop on the farm, but in 1889, when she was five, the family moved to Delta, Alabama, where he became postmaster. It was here that she first started to school. She said of this early schooling: "I started to school at the age of seven and had to walk over three miles every day, going to and from the schoolhouse. We carried our lunches in tin buckets. The lunch usually consisted of some biscuits, a piece of meat, a baked potato, and, above all, a jar of syrup. We spent eight hours a day on hard, old-fashioned benches with no desks and with a blueback speller as our only textbook. This lasted for only about five months out of each year because in those days the roads were bad during the winter months, and so many of the children were needed during the spring and fall to help their parents on the farm. It sounds rather harsh and monotonous, but I think the children got a lot of enjoyment out of it all because we had so few opportunities to meet and play with large groups of children in the country."

Here are a few other interesting notations from Joe Ed's biography of his mother:

In 1892, when Della was eight,.....the family moved to Heflin, a town of several hundred people in Cleburne County, considered a fairly large community in those days. Her father ran a livery stable.....where he kept mules for sale and hire and in the meantime continued with his blacksmith shop. The popular mode of travel being by buggy in these early years of the 'gay nineties,' and with wagons in wide use on the farm, her father's business began to prosper. Within a few years he had bought a hotel and added the management of it to his varied and sundry duties.....

It was in 1902 that her father bought the hotel, a large wooden building consisting of ten bedrooms with washstands but no indoor bathrooms, a large porch with plenty of chairs, and a place nearby where horses could be hitched. It was located by the railroad where trains passed by every day going to and from Atlanta.

Editors' note: During a 1994 vacation trip, we drove through Albertville to check on Daddy's [C. Aubrey Hearn's] grave. While we were there, we talked with an old Hearn family friend, Dorset Davis, who told us that a building where Della's father, Ike Hubbard. operated a dry goods store in Albertville in the 1920's still stands. It is now called Hammers, and it is part of the renovated mall area in Albertville. Back in the '20s the Hubbard store was called the Trading Company, Mr. Davis told us. Because times were hard and money was scarce, many customers bought their supplies on credit. If they shopped at one store, he said, they felt obligated to continue shopping there. Next time you're in Albertville, go by Hammers and look around. The back side of the store probably looks much as it did in the early part of this century.