Our grandfather Louis Edward Norman; often called L.E., was born in Cherokee Indian Territory on November 1, 1903 at the Norman farm southeast of Wagoner on the hill now called Taylor's Ferry South.
His grandparents were Cyrus and Martha [Clingan] Norman of Bradley county, Tennessee, who first arrived here around 1870 in part to escape the hatred still prevalent between the Union loyalists which they were and the Southern secessionists dominant in that county. They settled in this land; which was entitled to Martha through her Cherokee lineage. Their children would become well educated; some going through the Cherokee National Seminary at Tahlequah.
Louis was born to Cyrus's son Albert Clingan Norman and his wife Josephine [Hood]. He was born early enough in the 1900's to receive a division of Cherokee Indian land as did his brothers Howard and Albert Clingan Jr. (Burt) and his older sister Mary Jett.
It's said that Louis looked a lot like his father Albert Norman. Probably much to the chagrin of his stern father, Louis was more than ornery. He once cooked a possum for his unsuspecting father who hated possum, but being of poor vision ate it and asked for more before learning the origins of the tasty meat.
Louis probably also had something to do with the barn burning down with the loss of two horses among other numerous shenanigans attributed to his brothers.
Louis finished eighth grade, then quit to work the farm.
In 1925 the 22 year old Louis enlisted in the navy at Kansas City, Missouri.
He served on the USS Pennsylvania and the USS Relief ultimately reaching "fireman first class". While in the Navy, Louis took up wrestling; and from what others have said, he was good enough to wrestle the champs of other battleships. His diary spoke of how fast he developed cauliflower ear.
While in the navy, Louis finished his high school education by correspondence courses from the American School in Chicago.
Louis worked the boiler rooms of the old ships and the hot temperatures were quite probably a leading cause for Louis's contracting tuberculosis. He was sent to Mare Island, California for a time, then given an honorable medical discharge in June, 1928.
Louis was thirty when he married Ruby Fisher of Wagoner in 1934.
Ruby was born in Plainview, Nacodoches County, Texas; went to first grade in Texas City, but spent most of her childhood in Oklahoma. An intelligent woman with excellent marks from Wagoner's school, she received a teaching certificate.
Louis and Ruby were farming the old Norman farm when their first child Helen Ruby was born May 9, 1935.
Stephen Lewis Norman was born May 12, 1936 and started school at 5 years of age so his older sister Helen wouldn't have to walk alone on the 2 mile trek to Wassom Chapel school.
Daniel Thomas Norman was born December 21, 1937 while the family lived in a floorless cabin Louis was building on the farm.
Stanley Fisher Norman was born April 1, 1940.
In 1941 Louis moved his family to Kansas City, Missouri, where he worked at a variety of jobs.
Back in Oklahoma, the Norman's Cherokee allotment of land along the Grand River was condemned in 1943 for the construction of the Fort Gibson lake.
Another child-Ruth Charlotte Norman was born to the family in 1944 but died less than a month after birth. She is buried in Kansas City at the Greenlawn cemetery.
In 1945, Louis and Ruby decided to move back to Wagoner because of the ill health of Ruby's relatives. They settled to live in Wagoner at 602 South State street.
Louis turned to education to better himself. He found the time to train and receive a barbering license with which he went into a successful barbering trade with his brother Burt; cutting hair in downtown Wagoner until retirement.
Louis most often rode his bike to and from work for exercise and continued to ride well into his old age. Grandkids remember Grandpa and Grandma Norman going down the slides at the water park when they were both in their seventies; and his young great-grandkids could always induce him into doing headstands; at an age when most others were lucky to walk without a cane.
Although strict at times, Louis was still quick to laugh and cut-up. He had strong religious beliefs and impressed these daily upon his children and later onhis grandchildren.
Ruby tried her best to be stern with the young ones, but often couldn't control her laughter. This was a good thing to know at times, and could be put to good use in avoiding the "switch."
Louis was also musically inclined as were others in his family. He could play guitar and piano and with his brothers often sang in church.
A later-famous evangelist by the name of Oral Roberts tried to persuade Louis in his younger years to be his music director. Louis; unwilling to travel, declined.
He did serve as the choir director for his local church and for several years was President of the Oklahoma Singing Convention.
Always active in church, Louis's name is on the cornerstone of the Pentecostal Holiness Church on South State street in Wagoner. And after having raised three children who went into the ministry, Louis himself started pastoring at the age of 65. He and Ruby built and established a Full Gospel Church at Rocky Point with the help of parishioners who wanted a church in their lakeside community.
Always concerned about his relatives and friends, Louis spent much of his life praying for all their salvations and that they were in a good church.
Ruby Norman died August 3, 1988;
Louis Norman on December 16, 1996.
They are greatly missed.