Violena Elliott

March 31, 1894 - April 1, 1990
Role: Cowhand Family
Nicknames: Lena
Maiden name: Green

Violena Elliot was born and raised on a small farm outside Cuero, Texas in Dewitt County. She remembers a plentiful life with her parents, Beelie and Salina Green. Her maternal grandmother, Mariah Johnson, was a slave as a young girl in Mississippi. Her maternal grandfather, Albert Johnson, came from Louisiana. Violena was able to attend school, finishing college in Conroe, Texas. In college she was glad she took missionary training because it was there that she met an African, brought in by missionaries, who told her of the very different lives in Africa. Violena's second marriage was to Will Elliot, a renowned cowhand on the O'Connor Ranches. Will was much older than Violena and their courtship was carried on through letters. When Will found a few days off from the ranch, he came up to Cuero for the marriage and took Violena back to Refugio where she lived for fifty years, as the patient and understanding wife of an often absent cowhand.

Introduction to Violena Elliot

Louise S. O'Connor
Voice of Violena Elliot
Louise O'Connor - When were you born?

Violena Elliot - In 18 and 94. My grandmother came from Mississippi, my grandfather from Louisiana. I think my father's parents came from Mississippi too. Yes, Grandma Johnson was a slave, she was very young in slavery time, she was about 15 years old. Now Green, I don't know whether my grandmother Green was a slave or not, my grandfather was, Green. My father was a good farmer. We had nice horses, we had a surrey. And along toward the last we had a car. We were pretty good livers when I was a child. Now the second marriage I married Will Elliot, yeah, he was 50 years old I married him. We married in 30, 19 and 30. Well I met him when I was very young and forgot about him. We mostly corresponded through the mail. And when we got ready to marry they were working cattle. He didn't have many days off. And I had a cousin living in Refugio, and I come to Refugio and married him.

Louise O'Connor - What was he doing when you married him?

Violena Elliot - Working at the O'Connor Ranch.

Louise O'Connor - What kind of job did he do out there?

Violena Elliot - Do out at the O'Connor Ranch? Pasture rider. That's what he's doin' now, I reckon that's what he was doin' then. He look like he liked that work. In fact he enjoyed it. He'd tell a lot of stories on what went on out there, working those cattle. My husband got hurt two or three times out there. Yeah he got real hurt. At first, you know, he wasn't used to being in the hospital. He didn't want to cooperate but I went up there, I bought things, robes and everything, carried it up there. Yeah, he got hurt real bad twice. One time it was… well both times, he said a horse stepped in a hole and just kind of flipped with him one time. Kilt the horse. I had his body brought back home and put right here in this corner. O'Connor and them come to see him. They were very nice to Will, I'll tell you.