Tuesday, April 1, 2014

52 Ancestor Weeks. Week 11 Mildred's First Sight of Ed

The Hero and I asked Mom E how she met Dad Ellsworth.
This was a tale, which I hope I get correct… Don’t want finger shaking to happen from the other side.
If anyone has a different version or corrections, let me know, I don’t pretend to be all knowing, just sharing as I remember being told.
Mom E had her secret little smile as she began her tale. 
Mom and Dad Ellsworth were very close

“I didn’t know Ed, my girlfriend did at her work and I was over at her house one night when she dared me to call him.     
We have a picture of Mom E on the phone.
It was a trick calling thing we did, guess we were up to no good.  (a sheepish grin here)   He answered the phone with a quiet voice. ‘ I said, you don’t know me, but my friend knows you.  What are you doing?’   He said,’ I am watching my grandfather die. ‘  I didn’t know if he was serious or kidding me.  He went on to tell me that his grandfather Sackley was very ill and he was watching him. He thought his grandfather probably would not live much longer, that he loved him very much. It was very sad.  I felt bad then, but he wanted to talk, so we spent an hour or so, on the phone.  At the end of the conversation, he asked if we could meet.  I said yes; I would come by when he got off work at J C Penny’s.  It was agreed upon, and we hung up.  The next day, I knew where he worked because my friend gave me the information.  I went upstairs where  I could see him, before he could see me [she had a sneaky side. J  ] He was good looking.  I came down the stairs and our romance began. “
My minds eye version of the first sight. 

Dad E never added or chimed in. He just smiled and puffed on his pipe with a twinkle in his eyes.
The memory of being told the story is as precious as the memory told.

Now you know how they met.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

52 Ancestor Weeks, Week 10 How Did Grandma and Grandpa Meet?

When the Hero and I first began asking questions of Mom E about her family, a basic question was asked, "How did your grandparents meet?"  We knew he lived in the northern part of Alabama and she lived in the Southeast corner of Alabama.
Her answer began with the giggle. " Well", she said, "grandma said she was hiding behind the fence when grandpa came up to apply for the job as a hired hand on her grandpa's farm." Grandma said, "He was as pretty as a picture."  Saying these words triggered another giggle from Mom. She thought that statement was the greatest expression ever.
I do not have any pictures of Henry Crawford Reynolds or Martha Ann Maloura Wells when they are young.  I hope one day some may appear. In order to compensate for this, I used Mom's picture which was of her squatting on the porch, since she looked a lot like Martha. Then I found a cowboy picture and created my own mental scene of Martha hiding behind the fence and watching the farmhand ride up to apply for a job.  At the bottom is a picture of Henry and Martha late in life. Guess he held his magic for her all those years. Wonder if she still thought he was as pretty as a picture. ;-)
(hope you enjoy my visual)

Monday, March 3, 2014

52 Ancestor Weeks, Week 9 : Mildred Vance Ellsworth - The Teen Years.

When Mildred Vance left her grandparents, she had a different way of life. Initially her mother sent her to live with her father where they would work out in the garden and the fields helping.  Mom said she remembered picking crops.
At 13, she moved to live with her mother and step-father Clarence LaBerge, because her father was suffering trying to support 7 children during the depression, and his second marriage was breaking up. Houston was not hit as hard economically, but work was slowed. She said they didn’t have a house.  Mr La Berge was a carpenter. He worked for several home builders.  As he was framing and finishing, he and the family would live in the garage or house, sometimes with sheets up to separate rooms.
I found some interesting facts out about her during her teen years.
She wanted to be an actress.  In 1934, while in the 8th grade, she played Frances in the play “Sally Ann Finds Herself” at George Washington Junior High School.
"Sally Ann Finds Herself" is on Internet Archives. 
This school opened in 1928, and was among the first Junior High Schools in Houston Texas.


Another milestone for her was the Cinderella Pageant at George Washington Junior High in spring of 1935 in the 9th grade. She was a Lady in Waiting for Cinderella.  Her picture is cute.
Cinderella Pageant 1935
Mildred at 16. A favorite picture of the family.
She was to experience tragedy in 1937. Her brother Thurman was killed in an auto accident. He was only 25 and had a little girl. Mom kept in touch with her.  She told me that he lived at the edge of Houston, on a farm the family owned. He would pick her and her brothers up from town and take them out to work on the farm to care for the garden.

In 1938, she must have gone visiting at Cass County, because we have pictures of her having fun with friends, a fellow and cousins.  The following has written on the back: “Arnold Mackey and Mildred Vance”. There isn’t a clue who Arnold is, and I can’t find him on a census.



She had a best friend, Ila Mae West. She wrote this on the back of the picture.  I have not found Ila in any records either.
Ila is in the center and Mildred on the right
.  You can tell who had brothers.  J
Mildred on the left and Ila on the right. The caption on the back was "best friends" ?  
This brings us up to where she met Ed, that is new chapter in her book to be done at a later date.
Thank you for stopping by.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

52 Ancestor Weeks Week 8 Martha Ann Maloura Wells Reynolds Being Frugal

The Hero's mom shared about her grandmother when I was talking with her about mine. I told her my grandmother, who had 13 children, would even save the squeal of the pig (my grandmother's joke).
Not to be out done about being frugal, Mom Ellsworth shared the following.
"When I was living with my grandparents, we were on a small farm.  My grandmother always had a cow, chickens, and a garden. My grandfather's work as a Doctor did not always bring in money.
Grandmother to save against the time when the cow was dried up, came up with a method of preserving her butter.  She was sought after by the neighbors to teach them too.
After churning the cream into butter, she would mold it into 1 lb. blocks.  She would then stack the block into crockery pots, cover them with brine water, and then put a cover over it to keep the butter from floating up."
This would have been the type of crock she used. It is called a Red wing Fermenting Crock

During Mildred's childhood, Martha would can from her garden for winter, and she sewed.
Henry Crawford Reynolds, Mildred Vance, Martha Ann Maloura Wells Reynolds


Martha Ann Maloura Wells was born 16 Jul 1859 in Abbeville, Henry County, Alabama to Jasper Newton Wells, and Nancy Ann Holland.
found on Ancestry.com Year: 1860; Census Place: Rowville, Henry, Alabama; Roll: M653_11; Page: 207; Image: 211; Family History Library Film: 803011.
I have some Civil War stories she told. Will share at a later time. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

52 Ancestors Weeks Challenge: Week 7; Who was the Owner?

Genealogy as discovered for this family. Thomas Thorn was born 1687 in Virginia, and died October 31, 1717 in Richmond Co., Virginia.  He had son, Merryman Joseph Thorn, born 1712 in Richmond Co., Virginia; died Bet. 1787 - 1790 in Granville Co., North Carolina.  Who had a son, Presley Thorn, born Bet. 1755 - 1760 in North Carolina; died 1849 in Madison Co., Alabama. Whose son was Thomas Thorn, born 12 Apr 1803 in Chester, South Carolina, USA; died 18 Sep 1879 in Franklin County, Alabama, USA.

Thomas had a daughter, Sarah H Thorn who had a daughter Mary B. Hughes, who had a daughter Emma Self, who had a daughter Lenorah Gildon.


To make a long story short, Lenorah gave the Mason's apron to my cousin. The framed apron had a typed note taped to the back of the frame which said, "Royal Arch Mason's apron brought by Thomas Thorn to the United States to America. Passed down to Emma Self Gildon; last worn by Tilman Self at the Grand Prarie Lodge in Texas."  The apron was made of silk not lambskin.

Experts in Mason's aprons, said it was most likely from the Thomas who came from South Carolina as that was the first entrance of the Mason's into the United States.  I recently found a note about the Royal Arch Mason's which said. "Fredericksburg Lodge in Virginia lists a conferral of the Royal Arch degree on December 22, 1753"  If that is the case, maybe it was Merryman that earned the Royal Arch degree and passed it down to Thomas who brought it to Alabama from South Carolina. It does not appear that the apron came with our first recorded ancestor.  Someone knew he came from England. that is a plus.
This is a post,  I made previously regarding the apron.  http://branchingoutthroughtheyears.blogspot.com/2009/06/masons-apron.html 

Every once in a while I return to the apron to ponder on which one earned it, and where they were when they earned it.  I love genealogy mysteries.

Monday, February 10, 2014

52 Ancestors Weeks Challenge: Week 6; The Story of Bessie Langley As Told By Her Granddaughter

When Bessie Della Langley was born on December 4, 1895, in Rayville, Missouri, her father, Benedict Langley, was 43 and her mother, Sarah Jane Hankins, was 39.
This story was related to me by Debra West-Mouze granddaughter of Bessie Della Langley Lane Bowen in 2003. The second generation of descendants in Oklahoma had lost contact with Bessie when she moved to California.  It was a great blessing when she found me on Rootsweb and began to correspond with me. I have lost contact with her, but hope to find her again. She said they have some pictures but we lost contact before she shared. The following is as she told the story to me along with excerpts from my paper trail research. This is long and I hope not too hard for you to read, as I chose to go with the story inserting genealogical proofs along the way.
Debra: My grandmother told me many stories about her life in Oklahoma and in California, most of them were short and many had lessons in them about life. The stories gave me just a glimpse of what her life was like raising 6 children during the 1920s to the 1940s.  They followed the fruit, living in their car, in tents, and in rented homes never having quite enough to buy a home. There were times they went to bed hungry.  I knew her as a private independent woman, with a strong belief in God and doing the right thing.  I never knew her to lie; she would not even lie about Santa Claus (much to my parents dismay), telling me at the age of 5 that there was no such thing!
I don’t know how old my grandmother was when her family moved from Missouri to Oklahoma, but she told me that she remembered the covered wagon trip and walking alongside the covered wagon with her siblings. [Here we can insert what we do know…]
In 1900, her father, Benedict, and mother, Sarah, were in Cloud Chief Twp., Washita County, Oklahoma with 5 of their children enumerated. Bessie would have been 5; she is not on the census. ( yes, I looked on the next page) . The note that Sarah had 5 children and 5 were living was added later, this was not in original pen. This was, however, what prompted me to tell Debra, I had been wondering if Bessie was a niece or something as I could not find her. Maybe it was dad giving the information and he forgot to add the little one, maybe the enumerator forgot to put her on the form. Who knows?  We do know that she was born in 1895 in Missouri and they are in Oklahoma in 1900.  My thoughts are they came to Oklahoma for the Land Rush in April 1899 and apparently did not obtain land as in 1900 he is renting.






1900 census Year: 1900; Census Place: Cloud Chief, Washita, Oklahoma;
Roll: 1342; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0207; FHL microfilm: 1241342.
Walter's family said this picture was of the Family Homestead. Bessie looks to have been about 5 or 6 here. The tall man in front of the house is Jesse Brummett... That is another story.
Continuing with the narrative… In Oklahoma, Bessie married Julius Lane when she was 14 or 15 years old, it was an arranged marriage and had something to do with a land deal.
Again, we have a paper trail… Someone was telling a story on the license. The marriage happened at her Sister Annie Bright’s, the witnesses were her brother in laws and brother. She is listed as 18 on the license BUT her birth date puts her at 16, which would go with her story. 
"Oklahoma, County Marriages, 1890-1995," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XVL1-75X : accessed 10 Feb 2014), Julious Lane and Bessie Langley, 1911
I am not sure about the land deal; Benedict did own a farm in 1920 according to the census. Maybe that is how she felt or maybe it was a deal.  (After hearing this story, I did ask and someone told me this did happen in Missouri… wouldn't you know it… cannot find the reference.)
When she was 17, she gave birth to twin boys, Willie, and Charlie. January 19, 1912. Willie was born small but fine and Charlie was born with cerebral palsy, my grandmother had a very hard time with the births and was in and out of consciousness for several days. [This portion of the story came from Debra’s mother because her grandmother would not talk about her first marriage, so Debra said the information was a little confused at times…]   Julius was very upset about the birth defect and after my grandmother recovered, he was quite mean to her blaming her for the defect. Walter, her brother came over and had a talk with Julius.  Shortly after, Julius left her and she returned to her family.  


Year: 1920; Census Place: Stonewall, Pontotoc, Oklahoma;
 Roll: T625_1480;Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 190; Image: 322

We are fortunate to have pictures of them with their grandmother, mother and aunts.
Left to right: Susie, Annie, Bessie, Emma with Nettie
In front: Sarah Hankins Langley with Charlie and Willie

Back to Debra’s narrative… A few years later my grandfather Lowery Bowen entered the picture. He was a field hand working for her father.  


"Oklahoma, County Marriages, 1890-1995," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XVLP-T4L : accessed 10 Feb 2014), Lowery Bowen and Bessie Lane, 1920.
Bessie was 22, Lowery was 20 and had to have his mother's permission to marry. 
Lowery Bowen was kind and gentle, but somewhat lazy. Bessie could not get him up to go to work in the morning.  She complained to her family and , late one night a group of men in hoods on horseback came and drug him out of the house and threatened to ride him out of town on a rail if he did not get out to work like a man and care for his family.  After that night, Bessie never had to get him up; he was up and out before dawn. Bessie thought that one of the men was her brother Walter, but was never told for sure.
(Now that I know about the Anti Thief Association, and their documented membership, Bessie's story points to at least who one of the masked men was.)

Debra said Bessie also told her that the territory was very rough, that you never traveled on the road without a handgun for protection against highwaymen, and that she remembered several town hangings.  Her daughter, Debra’s mother, thought they lived with Bessie’s mother after Benedict died.  (Sarah was actually living with her daughter Emma, according to Sarah’s death certificate and Emily’s residence in 1930.) Bessie and Lowery did live in Pawnee County, Oklahoma,  just not in the same area.  They were in Liberty and she was in Burnhaw as was Emily.
Bessie and Lowery left Oklahoma in 1936; their destination was California.  My mother, Oma, says she remembers they were forced to leave because the land was barren, my grandfather and my grandmother’s brothers worked in the oil fields for a while, but Lowery decided to leave for California where they could find work.  (Oma was only 4 when they left. It would most likely be she was sharing parents conversation she had overheard.)
The paper trail puts Bessie and Lowery in Kern County, California in 1935. They  lived in Bakersfield, Kern County, California when they got there and worked in the cotton field. Charlie one of the twins caught pneumonia and died in 1938 and was buried in a potter’s field in an unmarked grave.
Apparently by 1940 Lowery had work as a WPA worker, as listed on the 1940 US Federal California Census.
Year: 1940; Census Place:  , Kern, California; Roll: T627_213; Page: 25B; Enumeration District: 15-47.

That is where Debra left off.
In 1943, Lowery and Bessie are found in Bakersfield, California in the city directory.  Lowery is a mill man.
In 1953, they are found in Modesto, California city directory.  Lowery is working for Max Foster.
On 18 Feb 1969 in Stanislaus, California, Lowery dies.  
Bessie lives until 24 October 1985 when she dies away at Turlock, Stanislaus, California.  

Bessie Della Langley Bowen
She is loved by her family. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

52 Ancestors Weeks Challenge: Week 5 Mildred Vance Ellsworth: The Child

When Mildred Christell Vance was born on July 5, 1919, in Pittsburg, Texas, her father, Walter VANCE, was 29 and her mother, Annie Mary REYNOLDS, was 24. She married Edward Nicholas ELLSWORTH Jr. in September 1939 in Houston, Texas. She had four children by the time she was 26. She died on November 22, 2012, in Katy, Texas, at the age of 93.
For this story we will just cover her childhood years.



We have Mildred’s birth certificate.
"Texas, Birth Certificates, 1903-1935," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X2K2-YRJ : accessed Jul 10, 2010), Mildred Vance, 1919
She did not have a middle name given to her. She said she picked her middle name herself. Her daughter said she had thought a friend of Annie’s had suggested it.  I just know she was impish as she talked about having given herself the middle name. She had a mischievous streak.
The 1920 census gives us a record of her with her mother and father.
Year: 1920; Census Place: Justice Precinct 1, Camp, Texas; Roll: T625_1785; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 24; Image: 62
She told us that at about 2 years of age her parents were divorced and her mother took her to stay with her grandparents while Annie got a job and worked.  This ended up being for 7 years.
These pictures of Mildred, Walter, and her brothers must have been taken close to this time period. I have never seen a picture of Mildred or her brothers with Annie in their youth.
Mildred, Walter P Lane Vance, Dutch

top Archibald 'Button' Walter, Thurman
bottom Arnold 'Dutch' and Mildred
The 1930 census gives us a record of her with her grandparents. This is just before she goes back with her mother.
Year: 1930; Census Place: Precinct 1, Cass, Texas; Roll: 2306; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 0006; Image: 130.0; FHL microfilm: 2342040.
Mildred, let me just call her mom, shared a few stories that gave insight into the time she was with her grandparents. Her cousins gave some insights when the Hero and I visited them to find out more information about her Reynolds side of the family.
Mom let me know that her grandmother Martha Wells Reynolds had a portrait of her mother Nancy Holland Wells, hanging on the wall of their house. She said she would never forget it because the eyes followed her everywhere.  When she asked her aunt who had broken up her grandmother’s housekeeping where it was, she was told they did not know anything about it, maybe it was in the attic of the old house that they sold.  A treasure lost.
Back to Mom’s narrative, when living with her grandmother life was very structured and orderly.  According to her cousins, when she came to visit, their grandmother made mom wear white gloves, and keep her dress clean, she wasn’t allowed to run outside and play with them.  Maybe not with them, but I happen to have a couple of stories that show she got outside to run and play.
Once when she was about 4 or 5, she decided she didn’t want to do what her grandmother told her to do.  When her grandmother reached for her, she ran outside and kept out of her grandmother’s reach.  Later when she laid down for a nap, she woke up to find herself tied to the bed with her grandmother standing next to the bed with a switch. The dialog was something like “you won’t run off like that again.”  Mom wasn’t upset by it, in fact she found it somewhat amusing that her grandmother had out bested her.
Another time her brother Dutch was visiting. He had been picking on her… brothers do that… so she decided to “get him”. She said she snuck into his room, grabbed his shoes and ran out laughing telling him he couldn’t catch her.  Of course she knew he could, but not before his bare feet hit the patch of sand burrs she had headed for.  Yes, she was giggling at the age of 92 when telling me about this, describing how he hopped around trying to get the burrs out. (I am so glad we sat and visited about her youth a little).
They did not stay in Cass County all that time. She said that her grandfather was a doctor for the Rail Road company in Wharton, Texas for a several years.  He got a small salary for doing physicals for them, and some of the local people would come by for colds, etc.  They were not wealthy and half the time people paid in food. I will share her stories of her grandmother as a person at a later time.
Leaving her grandparents was hard for her. Her cousins’ said that it was because her grandparents were older, in their 70s, and were breaking up housekeeping to stay with their son.  Mom saw it as her mom showing up and taking her off with her to go to her father’s for awhile. This was when she went to the Wichita, Texas area.  When the Hero worked up there for a year, she would tell us, that she remembered the area well.  Silly us, we didn’t grab the opportunity for more stories.
It wasn’t until her early teens that she moved back with her mom, and that is another story.
She is a precious lady to me. She was not perfect. She didn’t pretend to be. She was real. Hope you enjoy her stories as much as I did.