Aunt Ella, Sweet Swine County's well-loved citizen, is dead. She was born in 1911, and by the age of five was already a great horse woman. She is noted for winning the Sweet Swine Horse Show-Off Award in 1946. Aunt Ella proudly dusted and displayed that award until a week before her death. President Harry Truman himself presented this award to her. At the time he said, “Women like Aunt Ella are what make this county famous for apple pies and horseflies. She's a national treasure!”
Aunt Ella was loved by everyone, mostly. An active member of 4-H in her youth, she later grew up to be a leader in the cult-like movement. She was an expert in all forms of animal care, including sheep-shearing and castrating, cattle-branding and chicken-plucking! Aunt Ella was also known for being a great cook and canner. She was famous for winning purple and blue ribbons at the Sweet Swine County Fair for her hotdishes and pickled crab apples!
Aunt Ella was a careful farm-wife. Only one injury was recorded to have happened on her farm in the last 75 years. That was when a camel spit in her nephew Elmer Plow's eye. After the incident, Aunt Ella started the first Farm Safety Program in the state, and served as president of her local chapter for over 50 years! Her nephew grew up to become a farm safety specialist because of her.
During the 1920s, Aunt Ella gained a certain fame for her country-western version of flapper dancing! It was said that if it had not been for a weak ankle, she would have taken her country-western flapper-styled dance method state-wide! During the Depression, Aunt Ella volunteered to cook for all the hobo musicians who traveled through the area. Because of this, Aunt Ella made many friends in the music business! In the late 1930s, Aunt Ella turned down an offer to go to Hollywood. A hobo talent scout had seen her dancing, and arranged for her to dance in a new MGeeM Studios movie. Instead, Aunt Ella turned it down for a role in the production of the Sweet Swine County Follies. Throughout the 1940s, Aunt Ella campaigned for FDR and became good friends with Eleanor. Eleanor often visited Aunt Ella on her farm. People thought they looked alike.
By the '50s, Aunt Ella started the county's first Elvis Presley fan club. Eventually, the club disbanded when Aunt Ella became disenchanted with Elvis's song "Hound Dog," which she felt disrespected her favorite breed.
Throughout the '70s, Aunt Ella devoted her time to her farm and to her nieces and nephews until she discovered Disco Dancing. She started teaching Disco lessons the first Monday of every week in the barn on her farm. In the 1980s, the ever-fit Aunt Ella contacted Jane Fonda about shooting a dancing-workout tape for old farm wives. It sold like hotcakes because of Aunt Ella's leotard-wearing appearance in it.
There is much more to Aunt Ella's story. Contact the Sweet Swine County Historical Society for more information. A new 3-D Tour of Aunt Ella's farm is being developed by them.
Yes, Aunt Ella is dead as of August 8, 2008.