Mary Ada Sling (1889-1969)


Father: John Henry Sling
Mother: Margaret Yarborough Dillworth


Daughter: Margaret Melissa Stischer (1911-)
Daughter: Mary Elizabeth Stischer (1913-)
Daughter: Ruth Stischer (1918-)
Son: John Moses Stischer (1919-1919)
Daughter: Edna Mabel Stischer
Daughter: Jane Rose Ferry Stischer (1922-)
Daughter: Rae (Ray?) Stischer (1923-)
Daughter: Nell (Nellie?) Stischer (1925-)
Son: Walter Morris Stischer


Husband: Walter Stischer


Names: Mary Ada Sling, Mary Ada Stischer (?)
Born: 1889-06-14
Birth Place: Tilden, Texas
Died: 1969-12-04
Death Place: Nix Hospital, San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas


David Wallace Croft (great-grandson)


Rumor has it that the town Seven Sisters, Texas was named after her daughters.

Hear is an e-mail that my Uncle Don Holland sent to me on the subject of Mary Ada Sling Stischer on 1997-05-18.

When Grandma Mary Ada (Sling) Stischer was in her late 70's, she asked her Granddaughter, (my wife, Lita Kay Stischer Holland), to take her to the family ranch in McMullen County, Texas for "a last visit". It had been several years since Grandma had been to the ranch she grew up on and she seemed to suddenly be driven with a desire to go back to her roots one more time. Lita would have done anything for her Grandmother and she wasn't about to refuse this request. So we made plans for a weekend trip to the ranch with her. Making the car back seat as comfortable as possible for Grandma with pillows and quilts, we left one Friday evening after work for the 75-100 mile drive from San Antonio, Texas to the ranch. We got there late in the evening right at dark. This would have probably been in the late 1960's as I think it wasn't more than a year before her death.

When we got to the ranch fence gate Grandma got out of the car to unlock the gate for me to drive through. At the gate, she was standing in front of the car headlights when she suddenly froze still in her tracks. I got out of the car to see what was wrong and when I got close to her, she whispered "Rattler!" and, at about the same time, I heard the distinct sound of a South Texas Rattle Snake although I still could not see it.

As soon as I heard the word "Rattler", I slowly back stepped to the trunk of my car, opened it, took out my .22 rifle, loaded it and slowly walked back near to where Grandma was standing. Grandma motioned toward the ground in front of her with her eyes for me, hardly moving her body. There in between the cattle guard bars not more than a couple of feet from her was a rattle snake curled up, rattling away and making very menacing passes in her direction as he swayed his head back and forth. Fortunately the headlights of the car made him easy to see once I spotted where he was, so I took aim and when he drew back his head just right I blew his head off.

Up to this point Grandma had always been nice to me, but it was always plain that I was not a "real" family member just because I had married her Granddaughter. With Grandma (Sling) Stischer there was always a difference between "blood" and "plain old kinfolks" and one always k new which side of the family they were on with her. When I shot the rattler's head off with one shot, Grandma was very impressed and did not hold back on her praise for me. It was at this point that she seemed to finally accept me as "blood" family even though I was "only married into it". From this time forward Garandma (Sling) Stischer treated me as if I were one of her own blood grandkids whenever I was around her and I always felt the same for her.

We bunked up at the old family frame ranch house for the night, which at this time was still standing and usable. The next morning I was target shooting with my son, Philip, who was probably only about two years old at the time, using an old tin can for a practice target. Grandma sit on the porch watching for some time and then walked out to where we were and said, "Let me have a shot."

I figured I would humor the "old lady" and let her "play" with my gun. Well, as soon as she grasped the rifle I could tell that it was certainly not the first time she had ever held a rifle. She knew exactly how to hold it, treating it with the respect that any loaded gun should be treated with, but at the same time showing no fear. Obeying all the rules of gun safety, she checked to make sure the safety was on even though she had obviously seen me put it on before handing the gun to her, checked the chamber to verify a live round was in it and held the gun very professionally. Grandma raised the rifle to her shoulder, released the safety, took careful aim and with the first shot sent the can flying through the air.

There was no mistaking the pride of accomplishment in her face when she handed the gun back to me. (And probably no mistaking the look of amazement in my face.) I asked her if she didn't want to shoot again and she replied "No, that's all I wanted. I just wanted to make sure I could still do it." With that she walked back to the house and continued to watch from the porch while I tried to show her young Great Grandson that his Dad could shot as good as Grandma did.

After lunch, although it was somewhat difficult for her to get around at this time of her life, Grandma insisted on walking us down to the tank on the ranch. Back then the tank was still full of water instead of being a dry hole like it is now. The tank was a real oasis on the ranch. It was full of fish, frogs and turtles. Birds, deer, coyotes, small animals and even snakes came to it regularly. We went fishing in it and the Largemouth Bass were unbelievable! I don't know how may years they had been growing in that tank, but they were huge and they were hungry! I even caught one Bass when my lure wasn't even in the water! My pole was leaning over a tree branch with the lure swinging in the air about a foot from the water and a big Bass jumped out of the water and grabbed it. Grandma sat on the bank, supervising every catch and wouldn't let us keep any fish that was "too small". Her definition of "small" was pretty big in my book. She made us throw back all but the 8-10 pounders and only let us keep two of them for dinner. She said it was wasteful to keep any fish you didn't plan on eating that day and the rest should be saved for future meals. It was obvious that she had been taught to fish for food only and not for sport and to use only the natural resources that were needed to be used to sustain your own life. She was probably one of the earliest conservationist although she had probably never heard the word.

Later that evening at dinner, Grandma told us about growing up on the ranch as a kid and how she had to learn how to shoot not only for protection from rattle snakes but also for protection from Indians. There were several instances that she could remember when renegade bands of Indians made raids on the ranches around them and at least once they vandalized the Sling Ranch home (now Stischer Ranch) when she was a small child. Due to this, she said they always carried a rifle with them whenever any family member left the house and her Father had made certain she knew how to use it and use it well.

The next day we drove Grandma through the little town of Tilden, Texas near the ranch so she could see all the places she used to go to when she was young. Grandma pointed out houses where she knew the families who had lived or still lived there and told us their names and various remembrances she had of them. On one street, she named the families living in every home but one. I asked her why she didn't mention the one. She replied, "Oh, they are newcomers. They didn't move here until about 50 years ago."

This was the last time that Gandma (Sling) Stischer was ever to visit her ranch and Tilden. It was one of the best weekends of my life and I will always cherish the memories of this trip and thank her for allowing me to take her.

Grandma (Sling) Stischer was one of the last pioneers of South Texas and was very much like my own Grandmothers on both sides of my family who were pioneers in Central Texas and Oklahoma. The first time I ever meet Grandma Stischer I took an instant liking to her because she reminded me so much of my own Grandmothers. I called her Grandma from the day I met her and I meant it the same as if she had been my "blood" Grandmother. The people of this generation were very hardy people who didn't let hard work, poverty, Indians, outlaws, severe weather or any other adversity get in their way and I had all the respect and love in the world for her.

One incident I remember vividly that probably describes Grandma (Sling) Stischer's character more than anything I can say about her happened in the mid-1960's shortly after I married her Granddaughter, Lita. Due to her health and due to her son, Walter Stischer, first being away at war and then becoming a Vietnam POW, Lita checked on her almost daily either by phone or visit. On one of these visits, we drove up in the driveway only to see Grandma on the roof of the house. This scared the daylights out of me as I was certain she was going to fall and wasn't sure but what maybe she had gone off her rocker or something like that. I ran up to the house and shouted to her asking what she was doing. Her reply was that the wind had blown some roof shingles loose and she was up there nailing them back down! I told her that I would be glad to do that for her and for her to come down right now before she hurt herself, but she would hear nothing of that kind of talk. She was determined to take care of things herself and she didn't need any help. No matter what I said, she stayed on the roof until she finished nailing the last loose shingle and then walked over the top of the roof to the back side and climbed down the ladder she had used to get up there. I don't know how long she had been up there or how many shingles she had nailed before we got there but it was plain that no matter what her age or health, she wasn't one to sit around and wait for someone to come do her work for her!

When Grandma Mary Ada (Sling) Stischer passed away, I was honored to be one be one of her pall bearers even though I wasn't "blood family". This was probably the nicest honor she and her family could have given me and I will always remember her the same as if she were my "real blood" Grandmother.

At Grandma's graveside services, her Grandson, Carl Milum, who was also a pall bearer said he didn't think we should push Grandma's casket on the roller cart that it was placed on. Instead, he thought we would show her more respect and honor if we carried it by hand. All of us, both the "blood" and the "just plain kinfolks" Grandkids who were all pall bearers together, agreed totally with Carl. We just didn't think that Grandma was the kind of woman who would want to be "rolled out on a cart" to her grave. Instead, it seemed to us that somehow she would feel better if she were actually carried by her family. It was about 50 yards from the road side to the grave site and the funeral director did his best to talk us out of it. But all of us Grandkids were determined to give our Grandma this one last honor. Looking back, I'm not sure if we would have made the same decision if we had really known what a job that it was going to be. But, once we started, we weren't about to back down. Walking over the grass, unseen potholes, grave stones and other obstacles for 50 yards carrying a very heavy casket was a lot more than we had bargained for. But, we pulled it off with near military precision and dignity, which is what we wanted her to have as a final farewell.

Donald R. Holland, LUTCF, CLU, ChFC
Don Holland Insurance Agency
10918 Vance Jackson #100, San Antonio, TX 78230-2556
Office: (210) 641-7711 Fax: (210) 641-7361

Last updated 1997-05-18 by Web Genealogist David Wallace Croft.