Willie and Minnie Lee
Deep in the heart of Texas in 1939, between the small towns of Burnet and Lampasas, a fourteen
year old Minnie Lee McGehee was carrying a bucket of water from a windmill at the Midway store
when she first saw Willie Gumbert. What a handsome man!
Minnie is the daughter of William Azoria McGehee and Lena Alvoria West. William was born in
Missouri and Lena was born in Oklahoma on an Indian reservation. Minnie's sisters are Rosa Mae
(Macie) McGehee Moore, Ima Gene McGehee Coleman, and Lillian Odeta McGehee Grumbles.
Her brothers are Claud Azoria McGehee, Loyd Hezekiah McGehee, and J.R. McGehee.
Alice Stanger is her half sister.
The McGehees lived in a tent that was part of a larger camp down behind the store at Midway.
One would probably call it a tent city. William McGehee and his sons were cutting cedar at this
time. William, Lena and the girls slept in one tent.
Lena had a tent behind this tent where the boys slept.
The young people from all the families in the camp gathered around the campfire at night. This
nightly event included the playing of games and other social interaction. Occasionally, the young
folks would go into Burnet for a movie. Willie would drive his father's truck. Most of the young
people rode in the back of the truck to take advantage of this opportunity to have a night out.
On one such trip, a girl named Hazel rode up front with Willie. Minnie was very upset.
As time went by, the young people continued to gather at night.
On one of the nights the group were together, Willie and Minnie were sitting on the back of the
truck. He asked her to marry him. She didn't answer him at that time.
There came another time on the back of that truck when Willie said you didn't answer me.
This time Minnie said yes.
Now, Leo Moore told Willie, if you want her, you'll have to steal her because Bill
(William McGehee) and Lena won't let her marry you.
On April 5, 1941, Willie and Minnie Lee slipped off to Burnet and were married by the
Justice of the Peace. Willie was 19 and Minnie was 16. Because Minnie Lee was underage,
Willie's dad, Herman Henry Gumbert signed for her.
Back at the camp Bill and Lena were mad but they didn't try to undo the marriage. In fact, they let
Willie and Minnie spend their wedding night in the boy's tent(behind Bill and Lena's tent).
According to Minnie Lee they have been happy ever since.
Willie and Minnie Lee celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary this year(2008)!
J. R. and Ethel McGehee
Ethel Bell Gumbert married J. R. McGehee on December 12, 1942. The wedding vows were
exchanged in the home of William and Lena McGehee (J.R.'s parents). William and
Lena McGehee resided in a tent at Marble Falls, Texas at this time.
The young married couple set up housekeeping in a small tent home. Their home had a wooden
floor and would sleep seven. The couple was blessed with five sons and one daughter. The son's
names are Billy, Jimmie, Willie Gene, Cecil Ray and Richard. The youngest child is their only
daughter, Kathy. The tent was home for several years. During this time they moved from Marble
Falls to Mountain Homeand then to the Ingram area.Cecil was born in a tent in Ingram. Ethel
states she didn't even have a doctor with him(Cecil).
All meals were cooked on an outside wood stove. This meant that wood had to be gathered,
fires had to be started and tended to for each meal to be prepared. The meals were prepared
from scratch, simply put, there were no shortcuts to a good meal.
When it rained the stove and other properties outside of the tent were covered with tarps.
Sometimes when the wind would blow during a rain storm everything outside would get wet.
There was no electricity, therefore night time lighting was provided by camping lanterns or by
firelight. No television and few radios limited entertainment from outside sources.
Cards and dominos provided most of their nightly social interaction. Spades and Forty-two are
two pastimes of this couple and their children. Their skills at these games are still evident today.
Running water was not available. Water had to be brought to the tent home for drinking, washing,
cooking and all other uses. This indicates outside toilets were just the normal way of life.
Once, in moving the tent, a rattlesnake was found under the wooden boards.
"All those years was good years, bad years- and happy years. I wouldn't trade the memories for