Events of importance are at Living in Black Mountain NC
My own life and my opinions are shared at When I was 69.

REMEMBER: In North America, the month of September 1752 was exceptionally short, skipping 11 days, when the Gregorian Calendar was adapted from the old Julian one, which didn't have leap year days.

Saturday, July 9, 2022

What did my great grandmother do in 1879 as a new widow?

One interesting family on my family tree is the Bass family, or Basse, or a few other spellings of it. I'm choosing it because 1) John Basse came to Virginia about the time Jamestown was being settled and 2) he had a lot of males in the line going back a few more generations and 3) he married a Native American woman who I've talked about before.  The descendant of all these people was my father's grandmother Elizabeth "Bette" Bass Rogers.

I've written about great grandmother, Elizabeth "Bettie" Bass Rogers before, but  I'll cut and paste about her just to remind us of her life lived mostly as a widow.  I can only imagine how hard it was for her, with two babies that had guardians from her husband's family. She moved from the countryside of Texas to the city life of Galveston...which was much like New Orleans as a port city for immigrants coming into Texas because Houston hadn't yet become a big port.

From my post on Saturday, December 14, 2013

My grandfather's mother was Elizabeth "Bettie" Bass Rogers.  She was born in Old Waverly, San Jacinto County, Texas around Feb or March 1860 based upon her parents listing her as 5 months old on the 1860 census in Walker County, Texas.  The original document shows her father Richard Bass as 40, and his wife 35, but the transcriptionist mis-read his age as 20.  It does have a correction through it by pen on the original, so that's understandable.  The date of that census was July 31, 1860, so this youngest member of the family was probably born around Feb 28 in order to be 5 months old.  She was to have 10 siblings both older and younger.

Her father Col. Richard Bass lived through the Civil War, as a Home Guard Confederate soldier.
Richard Bass
Col. Richard Bass headstone

Her early years in Walker County Texas on a farm (according to the 1860 census her father was a farmer) also had cousins as well as older siblings nearby.  Her household also had a teenage cousin living with them, Emily W. Traylor, 16. Sister Julia A. was 18, brother James M. was 16, and sister Nancy C. was 7.  All her older siblings were born in Louisana, but Bettie was born in Texas.  Her mother, Mary A. Powell Bass, also had family nearby; the next family listed on the census are the Powells, with 69 year old James M. as head of the family. Nancy J. Powell was 36, John T. Powell was 27, and James E. Powell was 4 months old, and there was also cousin Nancy E. Traylor, age 11 living with them.

I spent hours one night looking at the Traylor, Powell, Bass connection.  How did it happen that the Traylor girls were living with a Bass family and a Powell family?  Well, as most of you probably have already figured out, their mother had died, and they were raised by her was Mary Powell Bass, and one was Nancy J. Powell.  Mary Powell Bass's mother was Nancy Jones Traylor Powell, so they had a grandmother in common..

Mary Ann E. (Powell) Bass' headstone
Mary Ann Elizabeth Powell Bass headstone

But back to Bettie Bass.  In the 1870 census for Walker County, Texas, the county had grown from early settlement and the Civil War was over.  Much probably looked very different from the time of 1860, but all we have in a Census record are names and ages, and where people were born, and sometimes where their parents were born.  Thus the migrations of families can be traced.

Downtown Huntsville 1870s

By 1870 Richard Bass was a merchant rather than a farmer, now in the town of Huntsville, Texas.  Bettie now had 3 younger sisters, Ella, (9) Minnie (7) and Mary (5).   Her sister Sarah is 16.  Wait a minute, she had an older sister named Nancy C. who had been 7 in the previous census.  How could her name have changed that much?  There's no answer offered.  The oldest siblings are no longer at home, Julia A. and brother James M. Bass. Emily Traylor is now 26 and still living with them. I wonder if she had some kind of disability...a thought which just struck me, but since she hasn't married by then, maybe.

Downtown Huntsville in the 1870s

Bettie's marriage was in Willis, Montgomery County, Texas, on Dec. 14, 1876, when she was 16, a Thursday evening with the marriage performed by Rev. D. S. Snodgrass, according to  She married William Sanford Rogers, age 26, but he only lived another 3 years after their marriage.  William Sanford was known as W. Sam, according to his son, my grandfather. W. Sam Rogers had been born in Walker County, Texas, but in 1870 was living with his mother Lucy Gibbs Rogers, in Louisiana.

Women's Clothing 1870s, not Bettie Bass Rogers

And then he married Bettie in Willis Texas. Perhaps the railroad coming into Willis gave some incentive for the family to move to Willis, and their 2 children were born there.  My grandfather George Rogers was born Aug 28, 1877, and his sister Annie Lou Gibbs Rogers was born March 10, 1879.  Their father died May 29, 1879 and is buried in Huntsville, Texas.
Willis became a community when the Great Northern Railroad decided to run a track from Houston to Chicago, and the Willis brothers donated their land in 1870 to the railroad. Willis grew in population after the trains began to travel through the town. There were hotels, dry good stores, and many other successful businesses in the 1870s and 1880s. The tobacco industry played a vital role in Willis' growth and development during that time. Other cash crops of cotton, watermelons, and tomatoes were an important part of the economy through the years. The timber industry, which still plays a role in Willis' economic growth, has been its most stable economic engine for over one hundred years.  (Wikipedia)
The next census record of 1880 included the 19 year old widow, Bettie Rogers and her two children, living still in Willis, Texas, without any reported means of support.  She is listed as head of the household. (There's no 1890 census available.)

By 1900 Census the small family is living in Galveston, Texas, with Bettie now age: 46; a widowed head of household, address 1828 Church St; June 6, 1900 living with son, George Elmore Rogers (23) and daughter, Annie Lou Gibbs Rogers (21).  (George would become my grandfather.)

A short aside to refer back to the huge hurricane of 1900, as described a bit in my blog here.  The family survived it, and I don't know any details about their lives during and right after it.  Then in 1905 my grandfather got married.  His sister Annie Lou married in 1906.

So the next report about Bettie Rogers is a reference on my grandfather's WW I draft card in 1918, where he gives her as his nearest relative, (and not his wife of 13 years.)  Bettie is living at 22nd and L in Galveston, Texas.

Then the census of 1920 lists Bettie Rogers "Age: 58; Marital Status: Widowed;  Relation to Head of House: Mother-in-law," living with daughter, Annie Lou Wilson and her husband Patrick and Bettie's three grandchildren, still in Galveston.

On July 17, 1924, at age 64, Bettie Bass Rogers died, as was printed in the Galveston city directory of that year. She was buried in Huntsville TX, according to her death certificate.

My grandfather (born 1877) wrote in 1954, of having a guardian (an aunt and uncle) that had charge of himself and his sister.  I always assumed Bettie died close to the same time as her husband, after her daughter was born in 1879.  But the guardian doesn't seem to have had the 2 Rogers children in his household in any available census.
Bettie Bass' date of marriage was Dec. 14, 1876  to William Sanford Rogers in Willis, TX, with Rev. D. S. Snodgrass officiating.  Rev. Snodgrass had also married the J.E. Ross couple earlier in the year, on Jan 18, 1876, (who became the guardians of the Rogers children.)

Bettie's birthdate is garbled through various years on census reports, which might have been her own doing.  She could have been a bit bohemian, or had some kind of confusion about her own age, and I am sure it was difficult to raise 2 children on her own.  She didn't follow the tradition of going to live with relations, rather she moved with her young family to a new city, Galveston. There were limited ways a widow could support her family, (for instance, my widowed grandmother on my mother's side was a seamstress.) Another means was to take in boarders, but the census records don't give any indication of that. (A later census does show a male boarder in the household.)

Let me just check what the Bass family situation was when Bette became widowed in 1879. Her mother had died in1871. Her father who had probably been in the Confederate Home Guard, lived until 1880. Apparently 5 of her sisters and one brother lived longer than that. I'm going to check and see where they were living in 1879.

Oldest sis, Julia A. Bass Barton moved to Cameron, Milan County Texas when she married in 1869. That's where she raised her family and died in 1899 in Hale Center, Texas, which is a long ways from Cameron. 

Bette's oldest brother, James M. didn't marry until he was 28 in 1870. The family lived with his parents, and then her parents by 1880. He moved from being a retail clerk to being a merchant by then. By 1895 the family had moved to Houston where his wife operated a boarding house. By 1900 James has established himself as a bookkeeper. When he died in 1907 in Houston, his widow received Veterans benefits for his service during the Civil War. (I don't have any other records that he served.)

Here's a post (edited) about Elizabeth Bettie Bass' siblings 
from February 1, 2019:

I started looking at my great grandmother Elizabeth "Bettie"Bass Rogers' sisters and brothers. Since I  discovered the youngest sister had been mistaken for a sister of other folks named Mary Mason (married to a Bass), I wanted to know about these pioneers of Texas, who were really my relatives.

1) The first one, Julia A. Bass Barton (1841–1899) was born in (probably Perry) Alabama. But before she was a year old, her family (Col. Richard and Mary Ann (Mae) Powell Bass) moved to Union Parish in northern Louisiana.   She moved with her family again to Walker County Texas between 1854 and 1860.  She didn't marry until she was 28, to John Matilda Barton, in 1869. 
John Matilda Barton
Perhaps the Civil War interfered with her romantic life.  He had a son from his first marriage (wife died when son was about 6 mos old.) Julia and John Barton had a son and two daughters. They had moved upon marrying to Milam County, Texas, which is where Julia died at age 57-8.

2) The next sibling to be born was James M. Bass Sr , who (on Ancestry) had no date or place of death...though many census reports included him with his family.  But after doing a search to no avail, I looked a bit at the census reports of his wife, who (as often is the case) outlived him.  This was the excitement of my day!

By the time I was done, I had his approximate death date from a pension request from his widow, for his service in the Confederacy.

James M. Bass Sr. - Birth 05 DEC 1842Union Parish, Louisiana, Death sometime in 1907, Harris County, Texas.  He married when he was 28, on Dec 5, 1870 in Walker County, TX to Laura A. Cunningham Bass, 1844–1924.  They had 5 children, of whom at least 3 lived to adulthood, one of whom, Richard Clarence Bass, became a dentist. But the first child was born on Dec. 25, 1870, so I'd say this was a marriage just in time.
The 1880 census of Walker County lists Laura A. and probably J.M her husband, living with his father-in-law.

By the size of the monument for Laura Cunningham Bass I imagine her children were well off.  She died 11 Mar 1924 (aged 79) in Tulsa, Tulsa County, Oklahoma, and is buried in Fairlawn Cemetery. Oklahoma City, OK.  The monument also holds her son James' remains, as well as his wife, and children.  (I don't know if her husband James is buried there or not.)

James and Laura lived in Houston TX for a while after he was in his 50s, (by 1895) and that's where he died about 1907.

The next 4 Bass siblings of Great-grandmom Bettie Bass have places of birth and general dates, but I don't have much information about their lives.

3) Ellen Bass, born in 1845 in Louisiana, was part of the family in the 1850 census. But by the 1860 census in Walker County Texas, where the Bass parents (Col. Richard and Mae) are farmers next to her Powell parents, there is no Ellen in the family. 

4)  John H. Bass was born about 1851, no place given. Not on any census reports of the family. But he's listed in Ancestry sites without any primary source.

5) Nancy E. Bass was born in 1853 in Louisiana. She is on the 1860 census as being 7 years old, in Texas. She is not on the 1870 census. 

The 1870 Census. This is where it gets a bit weird. Confusing? There's now a 16 year old Sarah Bass living in the Richard Bass household! Older son James is still living with them, but is listed below the 2 servants...he's now 27 and employed as a dry goods clerk (and this is taken in August 1870, the same year he married). But his wife Laura Cunningham Bass isn't listed. (She is on the Cunningham household for this census.)

6) Susan (or Sarah or Nancy?) is listed in the 1870 census, being born in 1854 by that age given on the census.  Born in LA. No other information about this person.  Of course you're thinking Nancy E. changed her name to Susan (Sarah.) But neither of them continued to have any records.

An old plantation house, not one owned by my family as far as I know

7) My great grandmother, Elizabeth "Bettie" BASS ROGERS Birth 12 FEB 1860, Old Waverly, San Jacinto, TX  Death 17 JULY 1924, Galveston, Galveston, TX.  I celebrated her birth HERE.

8) Ella Bass, born around 1861 in Texas, appears on Census of Walker County TX in 1870 as a 9 year old.  No other information on her.  And of course not to be confused with Ellen born 1845 who also disappeared.  I'm afraid these children all died.

9) Martha E. "Mattie Bass Cunningham. BIRTH MAY 1863  Walker County, Tx, DEATH 08 JAN 1929  San Antonio, TX. The following information is on Ancestry sites, and in a minute you'll see how sometimes they just fall apart.

Again the 1870 census record of the family has names of children that don't compute with other records.  (No Mattie, no Martha E.) Children are listed in age order...Sarah, 16; Elizabeth 10; Ella 9; Minni 7; Mary 5.

Martha E. "Mattie" Bass married James Durrah Cunningham Sr, (1852-1925) the younger brother of Laura Cunningham Bass who married our James Bass (see above number 2.)    Mattie was listed in many census and city directory records (finally an Auntie who was documented! - well, second great Aunt.)

The 1880 Census of Walker County has her listed as a 16 year old boarder, but the household name is missing as it is on the previous sheet, but she is "at school."  And her name is given as M. E. Bass. But not for long, because she married J.D. Cunningham in 1881, according to the later 1910 census data which gives information of "married 28 years." They had 3 children, all of whom lived to adulthood, and one lived until 1974.

But there are confusing statements about Mattie and J. D. Cunningham of Houston, namely that she had another family of origin. The last time we heard about our Mattie Bass was in Huntsville when she was a student boarder in the census of 1880, age 16.  So between being called M. E, and Mattie Bass, we know that is the girl who was sister to Bettie Bass Rogers.  We don't know that she was the wife of James Cunningham Sr. in Houston. 

Oh, there was still at least one more younger sister!

10) Minnie Bass Zellner,  - Birth 29 Feb1864  Texas,  Death 
MAR 13, 1939  Port Neches, Jefferson, TX  She was 7 when her mother died. And yes, she was listed on the (infamous) 1870 census of Walker County Texas, as a 7 year old, with 5 year old Mary also listed (who doesn't appear elsewhere.)  

Minnie was not of age when her mother died, (7 years old)  nor probably when her father died (16). So someone in the family took on her care until she married (in Milam County TX). 

Minnie married when she was 20 (1885) to Frances Edward Alexander Zellner (known as Frank). They had 3 sons and a daughter, and lived on several farms through their lives.  She lived until 1939, dying at 75. But it is notable that they also lived in  Milam County TX where her older sister Julia Bass Barton lived.

11). As mentioned before, there was a Mary Bass listed in the 1870 census of Walker County TX.  She was listed as 5 years old.  So I've added her as a child of Richard and Mae Bass.

 It's possible she was the Molly Louise Bass Bell which I just found at the bottom of the list of siblings. Molly had been born Aug 8 1866, and lived in Milam County until she married David K. Bell and moved to San Antonio for the rest of her life, until 1929. I don't have any census records for her at this time...

Now back to my pursuit today - to see if any of these relatives might have helped Bette Bass Rogers with her two little children. The guardians who must have been close to her husband, were her late husband's sister, Alice Luella Rogers Ross and her husband (John) Elmore Ross.

They were close enough that my grandfather's name was George Elmore Rogers...the same name that Mr. Ross chose to go by. They had married the same year as the Rogers, as I mentioned before, by the same pastor, in Walker County TX. But by Nov 1876 when their first child was born, they had moved to Mexia Texas...including another sister of W. Sam Rogers and Alice Luella Rogers Ross, a spinster named Laura Terrissa Rogers. 

So when W. Sam died in 1879, the Ross' had had their second son, J. Elmore was a clerk in a store, and lived quite a way distant from Walker County, where Bette and her two babes lived. But she somehow ended up going the distance to Galveston. Perhaps that was the direction that traffic was going at that time. Did she reach out to the Ross family for help? Did she ask her parents for help? 

Where she was living in 1880 was a neighborhood of blacks. Many of the dwellings had one or two residents. I am sure this was not what she had expected when marrying W. Sam Rogers.

By June 6, 1900 she was listed in the census for Galveston. Her dwelling was located at 1828 Church St, and she was renting. But she had a servant girl as well as a roomer who was in real estate. My grandfather was 22, living at home, and working as an accountant.

Family members have said my grandfather started working as a teenager to help with the household expenses...and I would think that very likely.

By the 1920 census (the next one I can find) she was 58 and living with her married daughter Annie Lou Rogers Wilson and her family.  She died in 1924.

Friday, July 8, 2022

Sabra Ann Wilbourn Gibbs

 A repost from 2018.

Marker in Huntsville, TX for Sabra Wilbourn Gibbs

Sabra Wilbourn Gibbs was my great great great grandmother.  Her children were Dr. Jasper Gibbs, Thomas, Mary Ann, William, Lucinda B. Gibbs Rogers, Sandford St. John, Angelina, and Hiram Gibbs.  Lucinda (Luci) Gibbs married George W. Rogers, and they were mentioned before, my great great grandparents. (A post about their home Here.)

The connection from the Gibbs and the Rogers family is entwined through several siblings marrying to the other family...a brother of Lucinda's married her husband's sister.

I've shared about many of these people in the last week...but don't want to leave off the Matriarch who was first a daughter, then wife and mother.

Daughter of Elijah Lige Wilbourne, (1763-1819) who served in the Revolutionary War. She was daughter also of Molly Rountree Wilbourne (1772-1851). Sabra Ann was the second of 11 Wilbourne children in the household, living in Union District South Carolina.  As the children grew and married, most of them moved to other territories.

When Sabra Ann was 17 she married Hiram Gibbs, who was 24 at the time.  Their first son was born within the next year, and he went on to become a medical doctor of great success.  He was Dr. Jasper Gibbs, who moved off to northern Louisiana and had property and a medical practice and had a town named after him, Gibsland, LA.  I've spoken of him before.

Luci Gibbs Rogers and George Washington Rogers built this mansion in Huntsville, Walker County, TX.

Quite a few of the neighbors and family of Hiram and Sabra Gibbs moved to Louisiana.  But Sabra went further, with several of her children, to Texas.  She may have lived with, or near to the Rogers in their large home (above).  Her daughter Luci apparently spent much of her time in Gibsland LA.  Sabra Ann lived a long life and died in 1864 at age 72 in Walker County Texas.

The Gibbs family plot in Oakwood Cemetery, Huntsville, Walker County TX, Sabra is on far right front.

Historic marker Oakwood Cemetery, Huntsville TX

 All but 2 of her children outlived her, and one died later the same year that she did, in another Texas county.  Her children's children were -

Jasper had 11 children, Thomas had 5 who lived past childhood; Mary Ann had 1; Luci had 4; Sanford St John had 8; William had none; Angelina had none; Hiram Jr. had 3 children.  So Sabra was grandmother to 32 grandchildren (and a dozen more who didn't live very long.)


Thursday, July 7, 2022

The gaps in mother's care

I'm thinking of the mothers who weren't nurtured, or weren't supported in a two-parent family in raising my ancestors. The first to come to mind are the widows. And then I think of those who moved away from their own parents when they married, then raised their families with only strangers around them.

Then there are the women who as children had only one parent who raised them...thus they missed the love and support of two parents. And I'm not saying having two parents was representative of a nurturing childhood. Those who lived through wars, who had necessity making them change their home location, those who depended upon the earth and then there were droughts or floods. And of course a calamity of an economic depression also would have impacted how much loving care was devoted to children.

Well, I don't mean just about everybody in a generation, though that might have been the case.

Many of my ancestors spent their whole lives just dedicated to survival. That meant shelter, food, clothing, maybe heat from the cold, and maybe having some rest from their daily grind.

When my ancestors moved from East Tennessee to Texas, they were fleeing a situation where crops were failing and then debts came due for purchases of land. My great times three grandfather, Micajah Rogers had owned several businesses and then relocated with some of his older children to east Texas in the mid 1840s. That was after the fall of the Alamo, and the battle at San Jacinto which eventually created the nation of Texas in 1836. 

Micajah must have known Sam Houston, who lived at times and is buried in Huntsville TX. Houston led the independence forces at San Jacinto, became the first president of Texas, and was in and out of politics of the new country of Texas and then finally the new state of Texas in 1845. 

But what of Micajah's wife Cyntha Cannon Rogers? She stayed behind in Sevier County Tennessee when Micajah first went west. I have read a letter to her from him stating that the younger children should return to Tennessee where there were schools for them.

She lost her last three babies within their first years, born in 1838, 1839 and 1841. Others of their children also died in 1829 and 1832. Based on later events in their lives, I can estimate that George, Nancy Terressa, and E. Lafayette went to Texas with their father. I'm not sure that William L. went to Texas at all, for he is now confused with another William L. Rogers who lived in Chatanooga TN most of his life and apparently had different parents.

So Cyntha Rogers was in Texas with her family by the 1850 census. By then her son George W. had married Luci Gibbs in 1848 in Bienville Parish, Louisiana. Cyntha's oldest surviving daughter Nancy Terrissa had married Tom Gibbs (yes brother of Luci) in 1847 in Huntsville, Walker County Texas. The first son of George W. and Luci was my great grandfather, William Sandford, born in Walker County, Texas in Feb 1850.

Cyntha's son E. Lafayette died in the fall of 1850. He had been named postmaster of Huntsville in July of that year, and died in Nov, so his father Micajah took over the job at his death.

That 1850 census of Micajah's household (taken Sept. 15) had had Lafayette (age 21) on it also, as well as younger sisters, Mary (16) and Minerva (14). They may have been the younger children that Micajah wanted to send back to Tennessee for some educating. It is unlikely that young girls would traipse out to Texas without their mother (though she might have been sick)...who at least got there with them by 1850. But both the young girls wouldn't survive until the next census, or the Civil War.

Neither would their mother, Cyntha Cannon Rogers, who died 24 Nov. 1855. Her daughter Nancy Terrissa Gibbs died in 1856. Only son George lived until 1864, and Micajah who survived through the Civil War died in 1873. It's possible William L. Rogers lived till 1887, but we're not sure which one was Micajah and Cyntha's son. 

But I once again got bogged down in seeing how events transpired within a family. Many children born who didn't live. Many young people who died, perhaps from diseases. A very sad family which Micajah had raised.

Then his grandson also died very young, William Sandford Rogers, my great grandfather. W. Sam had married Bette Bass when he was 26, had two children, then died at age 29, 2 months after his daughter was born. So Bette Bass is the subject I should have been talking about as far as a mother who had little support. Next time...

Monday, June 20, 2022

Happy birthday to Great Grandmother Annie Elizabeth Williams Webb

 Annie Elizabeth Williams great grandmother, who I never knew. She died in July of the year I was born in August, and because her son (my mother's father) had died many years before, I doubt that she'd kept in touch with my mother's life. My mother never mentioned her, nor her father.

Annie had been born 20 June 1862, in Columbus Missouri though her parents lived mostly in Montgomery County, MO where her father was a farmer. However, he had gone off to fight for the Union in 1861 and she was born in 1862, so perhaps her mother, Dorcas White Williams, had been living in Columbus, where this birth was recorded.

Annie was the 7th child of 8 born to the William T. Williams family. Only O. R. was born later in 1866. The Williams family moved from Missouri to Texas around 1870, give or take a few years. Her mother had a strange census listing in 1870 of living alone in a boarding house, under her maiden name, and performing as a domestic servant. I noticed that one of Dorcas' brothers, Caleb White, lived in that same town (Upper Loutre in Montgomery County MO) with the post office in Danville. He was the miller in the town, and by the 1870 census record lived with his wife and 5 children in his household. His census was taken 22 Sept. 1870, while hers was taken 29 Sept, 1870. There was also the Loutre River nearby...were they starting their journey to Texas perhaps by river?

There is no information about the rest of the family on the 1870 census record for Dorcas White...nor  her 4 year old son and Annie at 8 years old.  I wonder (yet another conjecture) if the family had packed up for moving to Texas, and was in this small town just waiting for some other immigrant families, and Dorcas just helped out in that boarding house. Or perhaps they all left for Texas earlier, and she had been too sick to travel. Or maybe she was against the move. For whatever reason she was living in that boarding house, I'm still left wondering why she used her maiden name. Who would know that, except her family of origin and herself?

Another noted event in or before 1870, was the death of Henry White, the father of Caleb and Dorcas. At least 6 of his children were still alive at that time. He had farmed somewhere in Montgomery County MO since the early pioneers arrived before 1833.  His wife outlived him, dying in 1885.

Before the next census where Annie appears, in 1880, she has also moved to Texas, and married at 15 years of age in 1877. She doesn't appear in any 1870 census records that I can find. Her husband was Leroy (L.F.) Webb, who had been born in Texas. See here for more about him, and the family, but I'll catch up with his life while married to Annie.

I'm including a "story" I just submitted to L. F. Webb's Ancestry page...about the details of the photo above.

The original photo has been transferred into a printable newspaper version, with the usually digital spots. But if it's enlarged enough, you can read the details across the porch roof facade.

"Dealer of General Merchandise" and below that...

"Country Produce Bought and Sold"

And now to look at the people...about 32 men, and 5 children. One of the men is wearing a white apron...either a butcher or someone just working in the store.

My guess is the man in center, somewhat taller, and somewhat separate from the others around him, would be L. F. 

Slightly to his right (our left) is a shorter man at his shoulder. In front of him stand two children...wearing dresses, perhaps girls. The other children include 2 boys on the roof of the porch by the window, and one in a white shirt, second to far right with the man having his hand on his shoulder.

Note the windows are all open. Summer in Texas gets very hot. But the custom was for men to have on shirts, a vest, and perhaps a coat and even tie for a special occasion.

In Texas all the men wear their hat almost all the time, just like cowboy boots, so they can ride horses to get places.

And remember, nobody used deodorant in those days, nor even bathed often. So the layers of clothing might have been uncomfortable, but they might have soaked up some of the sweat that inevitably would have occurred.

I also would try to guess if the children are those of Leroy Webb's. If the taller one in front of him were indeed a girl, he had 6 year old Clara Bell Webb, and the smaller might have been my grandfather, Albert J. Webb at 3 years old.  Of course his older sons would have wanted to be in the photo too. James Eugene would have been 16 in 1894, and John Leroy would have been 14. Maybe they are the two boys on the roof of the porch, one of whom is the only male not wearing a hat!

Going back further into L. F.'s history, he received a store as his inheritance from his father, Samuel J. Webb, who died with a will on Aug. 15, 1877.

Interestingly enough L.F. also became the executor of the will, and the guardian of his 4 younger brothers and sisters.

Perhaps his father had been sick before dying, and thus had written this will. I imagine he was quite happy to see (maybe attended also) the wedding between his son L. F. and Annie Elizabeth Williams on Aug. 7, 1877, just a week before Samuel died. L. F.'s mother had died just a year before, 6 months after giving birth to the last son. Thus L. F. at 20 suddenly had new wife and guardianship of 4 siblings, the youngest being just 1 year old.  Seems like Annie fit right into a new wife and family guardianship role at once. Of course since L. F. also inherited the family business, it's likely they lived in the family home.

In the midst of all these historic markers in DeWitt County, Clinton can be seen in the midst of a lot of others. It is now the location of the county seat, Cuero.

I just discovered an older census, taken in 1870, which included L. F. and his parents, residing in Clinton, DeWitt County TX. And another census in 1860 shows his father Samuel had been born in Maryland, and Ellen, his mother, had been born in NY on the Clinton, DeWitt County 1860 Texas census, when L. F. had been 3.

The next census for 1880 shows the Webb family living in Goliad TX. This was the site of earlier conflicts when Texas was trying to become free from Mexico. It also was one of the beginning places of the Chisolm Trail, to take cattle all the way to Kansas, on the hoof so to speak. There they could be loaded on cattle cars and sent to cities further east. This lasted as long as railroads hadn't made it to Texas yet.

Where's Goliad County?

This is from a 1940 map, so has many towns, but no interstate highways yet!  If you look up to the upper left side of Goliad, there's the town of Weesatche. The name changed on many maps to Huisache (the Spanish version of the name.) Weesatche was where L. F. had his nice big feed store's photo taken in 1894. And DeWitt County is just above Goliad County.

IN 1900 the family is back living in Goliad TX, in Justice Precinct 3 of Goliad County. So he may have been in Weesatche, or maybe in the town. I can't find the map of Goliad County for 1900.
Some of this map is in English, some in Spanish. But it has a copywrite date of 18?9. I'm not sure when.  See what fun delving into history can be?

OK let's look at Annie's family. She married L. F. in 1877. At that time they were guardians of his brothers and sisters as listed in the 1880 census: namely Phiny (female, age in 1880- 12) Joe (9 in 1880) D. E. (female, 6) and Sam (4). In the 1880 census we find that Annie had her first 2 children already...J. E. (James, 2) and John (3 months old, born in March of 1880).

By 1881 L. F. has been appointed postmaster for Weeshatche, and it's probable that he's running a general store already, much as he had from his father's homestead in Dewitt County. Or it's possible the county line changed where his store was located! He lists his occupation as retail grocery in the 1880 census.

After the first two boys, Annie had a daughter, Laura Mae in 1882, who died in 1887. Her second daughter was born in 1882, "Maggie" was the nickname for Marguerite Ellen Webb, who lived till 1961. She could have told me all about the sites, towns and counties, if I'd known to do this research then.

Tomas Ketch Webb was born in 1886 and lived till 1959. Next came Clara Bell Webb. born 1888. married to Fred Clyde Bruce, and lived till 1971. 

My grandfather "Bud" was born as Albert James (or Joe) Webb in 1891, and lived till 1919. He married my grandmother in 1915, and my mother was born in 1917.

Annie's last child was Leary Frances Webb, Jr. 1905-1937.

I discovered the 1900 census which had been listed for Annie Webb belonged to someone named Etta Webb...and had nothing to do with her. Fortunately L. F. was well documented as Larry F. Webb as a merchandising business, still in Precinct 3 of Goliad County, probably Weesatchee. His household consisted of Annie, his own children Maggie, Thomas, Clara and Albert J. (Bud.). They also had a 25 year old lodger/housekeeper. By then apparently the siblings had grown and gone to their own homes.

By 1910 they had moved to San Antonio, and L. F. was running a Confectionary, where perhaps one or another of his children worked. And Annie had had her "late life" child (at 42) L. F. Jr. in 1895.  Bud was living with them, age 18, was working in a real estate office. 

Great grandfather  L. F.  lived with his family in San Antonio at 130 Lewis St. for several census reports. When my grandfather, Albert Bud Webb, signed his draft card in 1917, his address was 96 Lewis St, (at least a few blocks away), which is still a small cottage.  At that time he had married my grandmother, and my mother had just been born.

2016 street view of 125 Lewis St, San Antonio, TX  Google image, with some strange coloration through my printer!  There was no 130 Lewis St left, but the curved 2 story porch on this house situated on a corner, says that it was thoughtfully created. This house now holds offices of a psychological practice.

One of the interesting things to have found, was that Annie didn't remember much information about her parents. When filling out census reports, she didn't realize they had come from Kentucky, but said her father was from Iowa, and her mother from Ohio. That was done consistently.

Annie's death certificate states she had coronary thrombosis and cirrhosis of the liver, when she died on July 8, 1942. She was 80 years old. Her husband L. F. had predeceased her in 1921, and it's impossible for me to decipher the physician's causes on his death certificate. But it was apparently fast. He was retired from his work and had reached 64 years. 

They both were interred under a nice headstone, in Mission Cemetery in San Antonio. My grandfather "Bud" is buried near them. That's the same cemetery where my mother's Miller family are also buried. 


Thursday, June 9, 2022

GG Grandmother Dorcus White Williams' family

 Continuing to look at GG Grandmother Dorcas White Williams' family...we briefly looked at Luvicy "Jane" White Williams (1828-1918).

The other children of Henry and Elizabeth White  included Virginia M. White, born about 1826, in Kentucky. No other information is available about her  at this point.

After Dorcas was born in Dec. 1825 came a daughter Mary born around 1827...also unknown. Then Luvicy was born in Jan. of 1828 (see elsewhere about her marriage to Liberty "Buck" Williams).

Next born to Henry and Elizabeth White was a son, Caleb White, born 29 April 1829.

The first census which lists his name (Caleb) was in Pike County, MO in 1850. It lists him as being 21 years old. And he's living with an older man, J. M. White 35 who is a merchant, with a wife Margaret J. age 24. Their children are Sarah A. (7) and William M. (5) and James M. (1)

Caleb's father (and Dorcas') was Henry White, born in Virginia in abt. 1804. He had a brother James Madison White, about whom we know very little. It's possible he moved to Missouri before marrying his wife who had been born in MO. Actually I found that his grave marker is in the same part of Pike County MO, and now have a birth and death date for him.

So Dorcas' Uncle, James Madison White, b. 26 July 1816 d. 5 Feb 1858, had been the merchant who housed Caleb when he moved to Missouri. There were several other men also living in their home.

Let's get back to Dorcas' siblings...which are perhaps also going to begin to come into focus just like this uncle did...which helps see how the family immigrated from KY to MO.

Caleb and wife, Julia White. They remained in Pike County MO all their lives. Caleb died in 1909.

Caleb and Julia White with their children.

The next child born to Henry and Elizabeth White was Emily White. We don't have much information about her, birth around 1830 and death before 1850.

Next born was William White, b. 3 Dec 1831, d. 1879, who married Sophia (no maiden name). They had five children, all born in MO.

George Robinson White was the first child born in MO b. 9 Oct 1837. He lived all his life in Montgomery County, marrying when he was 33 to Serena V. Hockaday Alvord (a widow with 2 children). He lived until 19 July 1920. They had 5 children and he adopted his two step children also.

Their next brother of Dorcas was Benjamin Franklin White, (13 May 1842 - 5 Mar 1919). He married a woman named Mary and they had 4 children who lived out of 6 births. He was a farmer all his life, remaining in Missouri. One of the census records gives his name as Frank, but all the rest use Benjamin. There are 4 possibilities of service in the Civil War, and I am not going to try to figure out where he served.

The youngest child of Henry and Elizabeth White was Elizabeth E (Eliza) White, born in 1846 and died aft. 1860.

The reason I've looked at all these families of Dorcas' brothers and sisters, and especially their 1870 census records, was to try to understand how she ended up at the boarding house, listed as a servant.  She had been one of the oldest children...and had married into the Williams family which her younger sister, Luvicy did as well.  

My guess is that her husband and children left for Texas with a group of immigrating families, and perhaps at that time she was either sick, or against the move, or for some reason stayed behind in MO. 

She eventually did move to Texas though, because she lives with W. T. Williams in the 1880 census for Goliad TX.  This was a fairly big town at that time. Lots of farmers were coming to that area. I don't know when they actually arrived, but by this census, there were 3 Williams families next to each other on that census.

The first sheet has D. H. Williams, (29) (born in MO, with parents born in KY) married to R. C. (25) born in TX, with parents born in MO. The next sheet starts with their children, 2 sons and a daughter. 

The next household is W. T. Williams (55) with Dorcas Williams (54) and W. T.(21), W. C.(20) and O.R.(14) all sons. (Remember Annie Elizabeth Williams had already left the nuclear family when she married L. F. Webb in 1877 when she was 15 in Texas!) So her parents and these remaining 3 sons lived in Texas,  having immigrated including Annie, from Missouri!

But back to the other Williams family on this census record. Both of those men had been born in MO, with fathers born in KY. So who were J. G. (30) and D. H.(29)?  None of William T. Williams' brothers either 1) lived to 1880, or 2) moved to Texas, So there's a possibility these were cousins. At this time I am not looking at the children of brothers of W.T.'s father Richard Frederick Williams. There were about 15 children in that family, some of whom moved from KY to MO. I am not going to chase down the relations who then moved to Texas at this time, but there they are living close to older W.T.

In 1880, Annie Elizabeth Williams Webb was married and also living in Goliad County TX (per the census).  So it's likely that she was still communicating with her mother and father. I will continue looking at her life in a separate post.

The 1890 census records were not available because of the later fire in the Library of Congress.  Dorcas White Williams is listed as dying in 1906 in a listing of Texas deaths. It's likely that she died elsewhere (in Lavaca County) and a family member just added her name with her husband's on the same stone but they didn't know the correct date. It does have her birthday one day off. 

We know she was living in Oklahoma (Indian Territory) with her son Frank (or William Franklin Williams) when she applied for the veterans pension in 1898 when her husband died. There is a 1900 census for Chickashaw Nation, Township 10, where W.F. and Mollie are living with 4 children. No mother.

So I have searched through lots of Ancestry records today to see if anything new showed up for Dorcas White Williams. I had 3 successful records found that she was on a Goliad County Texas Census in the years 1878, 79 and 81. 

And strangely enough she was listed in a 1880 Census record, (which has disappeared from my files in Ancestry) for Columbus, Boon County, MO with: W. T. Williams,55; Dorcus Williams, 54; W. T. Williams, 21; W. C. Williams, 20; O. R. Williams, 14.

And the same family members are on the 1880 Census for Goliad, Texas  I wonder how that happened.

And another unsolved mystery is Dorcus Williams property purchase in 1874;

1874 • Tarrant County, Texas, USA

Dorcas Williams 

Patent Date: 14 May 1874 

Acres: 99.50

 District: Robertson County: 

Tarrant File: 664 Patent #: 615

So Dorcas White Williams had quite a life, full of the usual duties of wife and mother, as well as going from KY to MO as a child, then to Texas where her husband eventually died in 1898, and she died either in 1900 or 1906. And through all her long life, she was unable to read or write...according to the answers on one of her census records.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

My Great Great Grandmother Dorcas White Williams, Chapter 1

  I decided to see what was new on my mom's ancestors. I started with her father that died young, Bud Webb. His mom had been Annie Elizabeth Williams. And her mother was Dorcas White Williams.

I hadn't been able to find Dorcas' parents and hated that she was a dead-end so to speak. The description is usually called a "Brick Wall."

So I looked back on my Ancestry tree to Dorcas' husband, Great Great Grandfather William T. Williams, who was born in Missouri, and came to Texas with his wife, Dorcas and daughter Annie Elizabeth and the rest of the family.

It was interesting to read about all the Williams' families...lots of brothers and sisters. And then I decided to read about Liberty Williams...a brother of W. T. (yes many of these people went by their initials!)

And Liberty had married a woman named Luvicy "Jane" White. I wondered if she was related to Dorcas White. It seemed they were sisters!

What a great coincidence. So then I could go up Great Great Aunt Jane's tree and find Dorcas' parents, and many more generations!

I'm going to save the documentation about Great Great Grandma Dorcas White Williams. 

Dorcas was born on 19 Dec. 1825 in Lincoln County KY to Henry A. White and Elizabeth Hocker White. (I'll investigate their ancestors on another blog.)

Her brother William White was born in Lincoln County KY in Dec. 1830, and then the family moved to Missouri before her next sibling, George Robinson White was born on 9 Oct 1837. 

So her father Henry lived first in Lincoln County, KY, then in Montgomery County, MO...until he died at the age of 66 in 1870.

Her husband W. T. Williams had been born in a different county in KY, Pulaski County, which is pretty close to Lincoln county. Their family came from KY to Montgomery County MO between 1830 and 1833...based on where their children were born. W.T.'s father died in Montgomery, MO in 1850, and his mother, Nancy Williams died also in MO in 1860.

Dorcas married W. T. Williams probably when a preacher was available, around 1827. Their first son was born in 1828. In the 1850 census for Montgomery County MO, W. T. and Dorcus are living on their own farm right next door to his father Richard Williams. There's a 5 year old girl also in the household named Malinda Packston. I have no idea who she was.

Details of this census below...

The 1860 census says they live in Middletown, Montgomergy County, MO...with 5 children and W. T. is listed as a carpenter. There are merchants and other carpenters along the same street.

Because W. T. has a rather common name, even when using his full name rather than initials, there are several who were in the Union Army. Since Dorcas was able to apply for pension benefits as his widow, I will assume that was the only position he served during the Civil War. It says he served as G 1 Mo L Art - which I cannot transcribe accurately. When she filed following his death in 1898 she was living in the Indian Territory (probably what became Oklahoma.) 

Their son (William Franklin Williams) had married a Choctaw woman (Mollie E. Foster Williams) while they lived in Texas. There's an interesting document which allowed him to remain on the Chickasaw lands with his wife, who was 1/8 Choctaw and their 4 children who were 1/16 blood, even though he wasn't tribal. The date of application for this family was Oct. 1898.

The 1870 census is somewhat confusing so I'm going to jump to the 1880 one. It means they now live in Goliad Texas, as farmers. Next door are 2 other families of Williams. 

Close-up detail below...

In 1880 their household consists of W. T., age 55, Dorcus age 54, W. T. Williams Jr. age 21,W. C. Williams age 20,  and O. R. Williams age 14. (This is before W. T. Jr. married Mollie and moved to the Indian Territory.)

What I noticed is that Annie Elizabeth Williams isn't on that census with her parents. And since she was born in 1862, she wouldn't have been on the 1860 census. Her marriage had been in 1877 in Texas, when she was 15. And then there's the strange 1870 one...

Detail below shows Dorcas Williams...

Still in Montgomery County, but living with a Elizabeth Witcher (or Fitcher), as the Domestic Servant in the Witcher boarding house! It does also give 2 checks in columns on the right which indicate she couldn't read or write. The town of Upper Loutre is an unincorporated area as of 2020. There are still about 200 families living in the area. 

But how did Dorcas come to be a Domestic Servant in the boarding house? Post Civil War, or Reconstruction times were hard on many people. I will keep looking for where William T. and their children might have been. At least some of them came to Texas and were together by 1880.

I will give more information on my Great Grandmother Annie Elizabeth William in another post. 

Back to 1860. I found a sister of W. T. who also lived in Upper Loutre MO but in the 1860 census. For such a small community, I'm sure if Dorcas had still been there, she would have known about the Hattie Williams Mannen family (which had a lot of children.) But the Mannen (Manning) family moved to another county in MO for the 1870 census, and then by 1880 they also had moved to Texas.

Dorcas' own sister, Jane White Williams, wife of Liberty Williams, had lived consistently in Prarie, MO, and in 1870 had 11 children. In the 1880 census Liberty had died and Jane lived in same address with 6 of her children ages 6-21, with two sons carrying on as farmers. Jane lived until 1918. The last census I've found for her was 1910, when she was living with her youngest married daughter and her family. On that census she lists that 10 of her 13 children had lived. Jane White Williams died at age 90 in 1918.

Two other of Dorcus' siblings lived into the twentieth century, as well as Dorcus in all probability. Her headstone says she died in 1900, but other information says 1906. I'll have to look at those documents's late and I'm yawning now.
To be continued...

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

A big event in a young woman's life


First to acknowledge a great family event, when Caroline graduated from high school. Here she stands in the center next to my son Russ. His wife Michelle stands on the other side of Caroline, and their other two daughters, Kate and Audrey are the bookends.

I wasn't able to attend Caroline's graduation, but I know she had an inspiring speech to send her off to her beginning of college next year. 

I share another commencement least a small part.

"Refuse to play it safe, for it is from the wavering edge of risk that the sweetest honey of freedom drips and drips. Live dangerously, live lovingly. Believe in magic. Nourish your imagination. Use your head, even if it means going out of your mind. Learn, like the lemon and the tomato learned, the laws of the sun. Become aware, like the jungle became aware, of your own perfume. Remember that life is much too serious to take seriously – so never forget how to play."

Tom Robbins, author, giving the "lost commencement speech" 1974 to The Off Campus School in Oak Harbor, an alternative high school in Washington state. it was recently found by journalist Fred Obee.

Tom Robbins