At a time when most Oklahomans were fleeing the state to find work and escape the Dust Bowl, Marie Haddock left Missouri to make her home in Tahlequah.
Haddock celebrates her 100th birthday today – Sept. 11, 2013. She arrived in the Tahlequah area when she was 15 or 16; she can’t remember exactly.
Throughout those early years, she held fast to her faith in God to get her through the trying times.
“We had no indoor toilets or running water in my home,” said Haddock. “We worked hard and prayed hard.”
Haddock is no stranger to, nor is she afraid of, hard work, as evidenced by her immaculate home, her gnarled hands and the lines etched into her face.
She married Elijah, a local farmer, on March 2, 1946. They were married for 39 years before his death in 1985. She has eight children, three of whom are deceased, as well as 17 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren, 18 great-great grandchildren, and two great-great-great grandchildren.
Screens of photographs line the walls of her living room, providing a glimpse of her long commitment to raising a family.
Of all the technological innovations she’s witnessed in her century on this earth, she believes the radio is her favorite.
“I always loved listening to the radio,” she said. “And I love gospel singing and gospel music.”
After marrying Elijah, she moved to a 120-acre farm, which she and her husband worked diligently until moving to town in the 1960s.
“We had cows, horses, pigs, goats and chickens, you name it,” said Haddock. “I used to milk the cows and gather the eggs.”
Haddock was the only licensed driver in her family when the children were young.
“We couldn’t afford for both of us to have licenses, so I got mine,” said Haddock. “I remember we had an old Ford truck. I’d drive the children to school and Elijah where he needed to go.”
Faith is as important as family to Haddock. She helped build the church she still attends - Faith Chapel, and helped with the church any way she could.
“My walk with God, and raising my family, are the two most important things in my life,” said Haddock.
After moving to town, Haddock worked a variety of jobs, including positions at Midwestern and Ozark nurseries. But her children kept her busy, too.
“I’d work a while, then I’d come back home to straighten them out,” she said.
I’ve lived an exciting life. I never knew what those kids were going to do next.”
Haddock, with assistance from her children, lives a quiet life in her home near the center of town. She also hopes she’s nearing the end of her journey.
“I don’t want any more birthdays,” she said. “I would really like to see my husband again.”