January 7, 2013

The Steele Sisters

Four daughters were born to the marriage of Isham Alfonso "Al" Steele and Mary Virginia "Mollie" Blackman Steele

One daughter, Edna was born on February 27, 1899 and died in August of the same year.  She is buried in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery in Sicily Island.  

The second daughter born to Al and Mollie Steele was Mary Allye.  She was born on March 4, 1900.  

On March 29, 1926, she married Bruce Edmonds who was born on January 23, 1904 in Whelen Springs, Clark County, Arkansas.

Allye and Bruce originally lived in a little house on the street that runs behind the current location of the Post Office.  After the deaths of Al and Mollie, they moved into the old Steele house located behind the bank.

In the 1950s Allye and Bruce swapped houses with their only child, Bruce and his wife, Mildred who were living with four of their children in a smaller house next door. 

Allye had a great love for animals which was always evident by the number of cats and dogs she took in and tended.  Some of the most beautiful roses could be found growing along the fence row beside their house.  Her other hobbies included playing bridge with friends and playing the piano.  She once attempted to teach her youngest granddaughter how to play the song, "There is no place like home" and  while this granddaughter never became a concert pianist, she did take the song to heart.

Bruce began work as a section foreman for the railroad.  In the early 1940s he worked for Ford, Bacon and Davis before going to work at the Sicily Island State Bank as a cashier.  He was elected to serve Ward One, Sicily Island as member of the School Board in 1948 and continued to hold that office until his death in 1974. 

Mary Allye Steele Edmonds died on August 12, 1969 and Bruce Edmonds died on January 21, 1974.  Both are buried in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery in Sicily Island.

Clara Lucille "Dick" was the third daughter born to Al and Mollie Steele.  She was born on September 23, 1902.

On June 17, 1921, she married John Wesley "Wes" Ogden who was born on April 10, 1894 in Clarion, Pennsylvania.  Wes was the proprietor of a grocery store on Newman Avenue in Sicily Island that was previously owned by his father-in-law, Al Steele.

After the death of Allye's husband, Bruce, Lucille replaced him as a member of the School Board, representing Ward One, Sicily Island. She held that office until 1978.

Addie Mae Seal and Dick
Nicknamed "Dick" by her father when she was just a young girl, she was one of the most lady-like women to have ever lived on Sicily Island. 
Dick and cousin, Mary Smith Rushing


She had an overwhelming love for her family and friends and could often be found in her front yard with friends gathered around for afternoon visits.

Lucille and Wes had two daughters, Sarah Virginia (Caston) and Evelyn Steele (Rife).  Virginia made her home in Lake Charles and Evelyn lived near Clayton. 

Clara Lucille "Dick" Steele Ogden died on February 1, 1993 and John Wesley "Wes" Ogden died February 9, 1952.  Both are buried in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery in Sicily Island.

The fourth daughter born to Al and Mollie Steele was Lena Juanita "Nita".  Nita was born on November 4, 1919.

On April 29, 1938, she married William Smith Peck, III.

Nita and William made their home on Ferry Plantation overlooking Lake Louie.

They had two children, Betty Florence (Shaffer) and William "Will" Smith Peck, IV.

Upon Nita's passing in 1982, Sam Hanna wrote the following:

Nita Peck's funeral was held Sunday on a crisp, spring afternoon at her home overlooking Lake Louie at Sicily Island.  It was a sad funeral, because she died unexpectedly and was obviously loved by her friends and family, but it was also meaningful.
It reflected a glance at Louisiana's past.  For those of you who didn't know her, Nita was the wife of William Peck, Jr., a member of a family that has been prominent in the affairs of this state longer than most of us have been living.
Nita's funeral reflected a touch of history worthy of recording here without being disrespectful to her life and death and the family that survived her.  The Peck family is one of the oldest that settled in this part of Louisiana generations ago and evidently the Peck plantation at Lake Louie, called Ferry Plantation, has been in the family for about 200 years.
That's where Nita was buried -- on the lawn of her home looking out over the stillness of the lake and into the woods on the other side of the water.
It was the first funeral at a family residence that I've attended since my grandfather died about 45 years ago.  The custom, I thought, was gone forever.  Nita, I'm told, wanted it that way.
William and Nita were married almost a lifetime.  They were childhood sweethearts and married young, raised a family and lived a good life in the grace of their surroundings.

 Lena Juanita "Nita" Steele Peck died on March 26, 1982 and William S. Peck, Jr. died in February of 1987.

The Steele Sisters

Mary Allye, Lena Juanita, Clara Lucille
Allye and Dick


Allye and Dick

Nita with nephew, Bruce

Dick and Allye

Mary Allye Steele

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