CAMBRONS – PERRY COUNTY TO CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY
Carolyn (Cambron) Clayton (Written in 1982)
William Cambron, Jr., his wife Emily (Roulette), and their children; Esther Mary, Catherine Anastasia, Emily Mary Florence (nicknamed Tootsie), William Roulette (nicknamed Bud), and Hildegarde Mary, moved from St, Mary's, Missouri to Cape Girardeau April 4, 1904 (Easter Sunday) on the riverboat SAVANNAH.
Their eldest daughter Rose Marie, had moved to Cape earlier and was working as a secretary. She sent them the money to pay their passage to Cape. Another daughter Caroline, died in 1894 at the age of five years and is buried in the Brown Cemetery (formerly known as the Cambron Cemetery) north of St. Mary's.
The first home was on Main Street. It was half stone and half frame, up on a hill side with two stories in the front and one in the back. Unfortunately, the house no longer exists.
Around the year 1906, they rented the second story of a building at the corner of Frederick and Good Hope streets in Capa (the building burned recently) and Emily operated a boarding house for men who worked on the railroad tracks, It was called the GREENTREE HOTEL. The Cambron family lived in a house behind this building on Frederick Street (this house was torn down two years ago to allow extension of the St. Mary's Church parking lot.)
William worked as an engineer for the utilities company North of Cape. He broke his kneecap at the bottom of the hill where they lived when he slipped on the ice. Tootsie recalled being sent out to pick mullein. Her mother boiled it ,and put it on William's leg to take down the swelling. He got well and went back to work.
One day, while at work, he slipped and fell from a ladder shattering his kneecap. Nothing could be done for him and the leg was amputated and he was fitted with a wooden leg. Since William could no longer work for the utilities company, Tootsie was in out of school to help run the hotel. Tootsie did a lot of the cooking and her cousin Nellie Wolf, who also lived with them, cleaned the rooms.
Tootsie told the story that they had someone working for them named Tillie, One day Tillie told Tootsie to get Emily's gun because she was going to scare a negro man. Tootsie got the gun for her and Tillie shot the man in the shoulder. The police came and confiscated the gun, but Emily wouldn't go down to the police station and claim it. It was a beautiful pearl hand gun that fit into the palm of the hand.
Another story about Emily's gun is one New Year's Eve Emily decided to celebrate by firing the gun into the air. No one noticed, until the next rainfall she had shot holes in the rain gutter.
William operated a restaurant on Broadway called the LAST CHANCE SALOON. A story is told of how he would always feed soup bones to the dogs and when he would leave the restaurant there would always be a bunch of dogs following him.
My father, William Roulette (called Bud or R.W.) was the only 'boy in the family. His father was so proud of him and always said he wanted him to be a "real boy." He was, the first rock Bud threw broke the window of Ruh's Market across the street from the hotel. He swam in the river, went to watch the circus, played with his friends on Good Hope, and dearly loved to spend long hours fishing. As a young man he played baseball for the Haarig Aces and Capahas.
On June 2, 1923, at the age of 21, he married Irene Elizabeth Cappius at St. Vincent 's Church. From this marriage were born four daughters Florence Estelle (called Patsy), Mary Louisa (died from pneumonia at the age of one month), Carolyn Rose, and Mary Nell. Irene and Bud are buried at St. Mary's Cemetery in Cape and the story of their family is a story for another day.