Mary was the youngest of nine children (8 girls, 1 boy) born to George Washington and Beulah May Wooten. She was born and raised in Poplar Bluff, MO. She liked to play with dolls that her mother made for her. She also helped with the housework and bringing in firewood Being the youngest, Mary had to fight for what she wanted and earned the nickname “Fussing Feathers”. She attended a rural country school before going to Eugene Fields School. She attended there through ninth grade which was the highest grade offered.
Mary started singing in church at the age of six. She went on to be part of a quartet with two of her sisters and a bass singer named Floyd Garrett that traveled through Southeast Missouri. She did this for about eight years.
Mary started working at the local store at the age of five restocking shelves and bringing supplies from the grocery warehouse. It was while working there that she met John A Logan Temple. He would ride this horse, Rex, up the river and hang out at the store. They were about eight or nine years old. Somewhere along the line he asked her, “How would you like to make tracks around my flour barrel?” They married on June 2, 1947. They married in Piggott, AR, because they were only seventeen and could not legally marry in Missouri.
The couple moved to St. Louis to look for work. They moved in a four family flat. He went to work Westvaco
factories until the kids were out of college. Mary was an avid reader and loved learning. She read all the books her children had for school. When John III went to college, she studied and got her GED. making corrugated boxes and Mary went to work in a shoe factory. They welcomed their daughter, Gloria Jean, into their family on April 7, 1949. One year to the day later, John A Logan Temple III was born. The family regularly attended Water Tower Baptist Church.
Mary stayed home with the children until they were in high school. She then went back to work in various
In 1969, the couple bought a farm just outside of St. Louis that had a gas station as well as a farmhouse on it. John retired in 1970 and opened a tool and die company. In 1972, they moved to the farm and ran the gas station for about a year and a half.
They moved back to Poplar Bluff in 1974 and ran the Keener Springs Resort on the Black River. In 1981, Mary went to work for the Gates Rubber Co in Poplar Bluff so they could have health insurance. John worked for the Missouri Department of Conservation from 1981 – 1983. Mary continued to work and they bought a 69 acre farm in Neeleyville, MO, about eighteen miles from Poplar Bluff. John passed away from a heart attack in 1994.
Mary sold the farm and moved into an apartment in Poplar Bluff until her house was built in 1996. Mary loved quilting and crocheting (especially doilies). She retired from Gates Rubber Co after a work accident in 2007. She was 78 years old and had been there 26 years.
Mary has always been involved in church. She is still a member of First Baptist Church in Poplar Bluff. Her favorite song is “Through It All” and her favorite verse in Psalm 46:11. She knows her family history. Both of her grandfathers fought in the Civil War, one of which was the last living Civil War veteran in Butler County. He passed away in 1947 at the age of 94. He had fought in the Battle of Vicksburg. One of her ancestors, Thomas Wotton, came to America on the Susan Constant in 1607. He was one of the settlers that came across with John Smith and settled in Jamestown. He was one of 104 immigrants (only 44 survived) and the first doctor to arrive in America.
On March 4, 2017, Mary fell and broke her pelvis and collar bone. Her son moved her to Westbrook in Kearney to be near him. She moved here on March 27th. She loves that her son in close by. She says the food is good and likes all the ice cream. She has met some really nice people and loves the ladies that she eats her meals with. Mary’s philosophy is be considerate of other people. They have feelings too.
Besides her two children, Mary also has 4 grandchildren, 9 great grandchildren and 2 great great grandchildren.