Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Transcription of Ray Whitson's Letter Describing His Father

Page 1: This is a few things that I remember about our dad. He was born in Terre Houte Ind. Had five brothers, (to my knowledge he never mentioned any sisters) [this was added to the side in his handwriting... but one] They scattered going to Missouri, Luisianna, Texas, and so on. Uncle Lute and his sister settled in Custer Okla., just south of Fay about 40 miles by the Frisco RR.
Page 2: Most of the boys served in the Spanish American War. Dad was a "Sooner" He cowboyed a lot. For a while he ran a 'quail route'. He would furnish the shells and pay them about 75 cents a dozen. One time while going over the route he had a large wagon load of quail, the tarp that covered them had come loose and the quail could be seen. Dad did not know it until a game...
Page 3: warden passed by and looking back saw it and almost fainted. "I would think". Dad shipped them back fast and to Guthrie, Okla. One time at Fay, he shipped two truck loads and the deputy tried to arrest him; Dad told him to come and take his guns, he wore pistols at that time. By the was the deputy was a man by the name of Boyd. Later became Lester Morse's father in law, your cousin dad's , married a Morse. Boyd never liked Dad after that.
Page 4: Historical thought. Jessie James married a Whitson, "his only wife" in Missouri. So by shirttail relation we are related to him. After he met mother he settled down and became foreman of the Davidson ranch, just out of Arnett Okla. There were over 350,000 acres in the ranch. Part of it was government land. Today over half of it is a game reserve. The day Dad married...
Page 5: Mother they had to cross over the south Canadian River. They attempted to cross just below the Fresco RR Bridge. The bridge had been washed out earlier. In crossing one of the horses drowned the other horse in a deep pot hole. Dad cut the horses loose, lost nearly everything. Mother had to strip down to her red flannels, "it was in the winter". If the men working on the bridge had not come...
Page 6: to their rescue, mother might have drowned. The river was near flood stage. My memories of him. Cotton Cake I was the fourth child. At my first recollections as I look back dad was a kind family man, and was until his ordeal with cancer. On the ranch he took me (only 4 or 5 years of age) with him. Sometimes on the saddle with him, sometimes in a wagon loaded with cotton seed cake. They would pour the cake out the back of the wagon onto the ground.....
Page 7: ...for the cattle to eat. One time we were at the watering place (windmill and tank). Mr Davidson and dad had pure alcohol from Canada hidden near by. They would delute the alcohol with water and sugar. They were very secretive about it. One time just as the moon was coming up, dad let us kids fire his pistol. I thought I had hit it because of the fire from the gun. Another time he came racing up on a beautiful ...
Page 8: ....blaze faced horse, grabbed and kissed mother and told her about the *Champion Jack Johnson being whipped by Jefferies. He always brought us kids something. One time he brought me little red cowboy boots, they were too small. Shortly before that I had gotten caught in a cyote (coyote) trap, a large bump had formed and I couldn't get the boots on. Dad was quite a bronc buster.. He had many fine horses. We left off as Ray was telling Mary that their dad was quite a horse buster and always and fine horses.
Page 9: Dad decided to move to Arnett so the kids could be close to school. There were only one seven miles from home. There were about 6 kids by then. Mr Davidson offerd dad a junior partnership if he would stay, but dad wanted us kids to get an education. Ive always thought he could have hired someone to take us. He went into the freight business. It never turned out like he thought it would. He tried farming...

Page 10: He had a model T FORD rigged up with tractor wheels in the back, also had a barrel of water connected up to the radiator o keep it from heating up. He would take one of us kids to be with him while he plowed. On time I got sick on eating too much of the lunch. In the winter time, he would come in from the cold and warm himself at the kitchen wood stove. Often he would let me sit on his lap during these times. This shows the kind of father he was.
newspaper article from that time period. Must have been what the tractor looked like.

Page 11: We moved to Fay in three covered wagons, took several days, onto grandmother's homestead. It was close to the Frisco River Bridge. World War one broke out and dad went to Fort Sill to help as a taxi driver, his own cab, The car did not have a door on the drivers side. He would climb out over his side of the car hitting his knee on the mechanical horn, bruising it. Which caused the cancer to start in the knee area.
 Page 12: Doctors didn't know much about cancer at that time. They thought at first it was only pain cause by the continued knocking. He had a nervous breakdown and had to be rushed to Oklahoma City where they cut the leg off at the knee. They tried to get him to cut the leg off at the hip. He wanted to have an artificial leg, being an outdoors man all his life. I think he would have lived many years longer if had. It was at the time...
Page 13: that he became irritable and short tempered. No one will ever know what he went through in the suffering, later he would hold his stump in his hands to keep it from jerking. He didn't have the pain pills we have today. His body finally rejected aspirins. He got to where he would take a dozen at one time and it did not help much. I think this would adversely affect anyone, don't you?

Page 14: Dear Mary I will quit for now. I will tr to fill in gaps that I have overlooked. I have always loved the memory of my kids but like my dad I have accepted it as something I had to give up and live with. Your Brother Ray P.S. it the other kids would like to read the details of dad's life will you let them?

(My notes on the historical background: I researched the Davidson Ranch. On page 43 of Notes from Ellis and Cimarron Counties, it says part of the land was 12 miles southeast of Arnett. This Popular Science in 1894 explains about Cotton Cake and Cotton Seed. *This was "The "Fight of the Century" in 1910 and my grandfather apparently had not stayed to the end. Champion Jack Johnston was the first African American world heavyweight boxing champion (1908–1915) I researched and found that there was a kit sold that utilized the Model T and a tractor wheel. I have made a collage of newspaper articles and ads. Surgery would have been done at St Anthony Hospital. This was the hospital I worked as an Inhalation Therapy Tech during the Viet Nam War.)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: The Hero and His First Born

Haven't written a Hero post in a while. Have had some thoughts, but still mulling over several.
This is for the Hero's first born child.

When she was born, the Hero was the first to hold her because I had been drugged by the medical staff so that I slept 5 hours after the birth. Last time that happened.

Back to my story. The Hero frequently would relate to others that his whole life changed the day he held his first child. He said she was pink and perfect.  He was in love head over heels.
She could lead him around with just a smile.

He loved playing with her, reading to her, and she went everywhere with us.  

The first time he had to leave her when he was a US Army Medical Reservist, was excruciating for him. He called. He wrote. He didn't want her to forget him.

Over the years he became wise enough to know a separation did not mean she would forget him, but it was not something he liked either. When she became a woman and went off to college, he was the one who made business trips up to check on her. He would call and check on how things were going. When she came home, he hired her in the office because he believed in her and trusted her work. She never failed him.

It was hard for him to trust the man she chose to marry, not because he was bad or would do bad to her, but because he found it hard to trust that anyone could love and care for her more than he could. (the dad ego). He actually loved the young man very much.

Then came the day that they moved very far away, and his heart broke. He wouldn't be able to visit like he did at home. It was before cell phones like we have today, so calls would be limited. The desire to still be part of her life was very important to him. When her children had special events, he would fly up to be there. There was only enough money for him to go and there was a religious reason it be him. I was okay with it.  
The day came he felt it was time for him to move on from where we were. He spent many hours looking at places near to where she lived. Alas, the feeling he was ready to move on, did not mean moving closer to her, but time to leave this life. We never moved.
6 months before he died, he had just finished chemo therapy, and they said he had gone as far as they would treat him. He was afraid he would not see her or her children again, so he planned at trip for us with our other daughter to drive up to visit.
He loved every minute with them and seeing her. He was so afraid that they would think him a grouchy old man and not remember how much he loved them.
Unbeknownst to us, he had developed gangrene in the area of his treatment and was in tremendous pain the entire time of the trip.  I had to take him into the hospital when we got home. It was the beginning of the end.
Somewhere along the way he had told her that she didn't need him anymore.  I think she took it as a rejection.  I troubled over it for a while, but I have come to the conclusion that he meant that, she had accomplished being her own person. She didn't need him in his mind, like he needed her. He had to let her go.  
The last few days of his life were filled with happiness that she was coming to see him. We kept up with her movements by phone and watching the sky cams on the highways.  Sadly the weather slowed them down and they did not arrive until a day after he passed away;  It was the fulfillment of his feelings of not seeing her again, but his heart was glad that she tried.

Did he love her? Oh, yes!  With all his heart. 

Friday, January 9, 2015 Family Tree Replaces New.FamilySearch

I keep seeing people putting up posts and notices of being shut down.  I am surprised anyone is still going there.  It was a church only website and we as consultants have been teaching and showing for over a year where the FamilySearch Family Tree is found and how to use it. (albeit that they are constantly "updating" it).  
When the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints decided that the family tree should be open to all member and non member alike... after all it isn't "my" tree it is "our" tree, they developed the software for what is now known as Family Tree on that is open to anyone who will register. [let me put a plug in here.  If you are using Family Tree or are planning to to, please put in contact information.  The tree is meant to be collaborative and to allow people to contact and work with each other. Now you know why they ask you to register.]
I have not been to the New.FamilySearch site for over a year.  No reason to... Family Tree is so much more and has so much more potential for working with others especially those that are not LDS.  
This is the announcement on
"On February 1, all public APIs (application programming interfaces) will be turned off, as will be the ability to access the program. This step is necessary as we enter the final phase, which is to transfer and synchronize all of the remaining data from to FamilySearch Family Tree. It is anticipated that this final phase of data testing, transfer, and retesting will require a year to complete. Once this phase is completed in early 2016, will be completely shut down."
You notice the phrase " transfer and synchronize all of the remaining data from to FamilySearch Family Tree"... that means nothing will be lost, nothing is forgotten, it is all moved to be allowed to use and correct if need be while working with each other. 
I am still working with FamilySearch and assist in teach about, promoting and working in the FamilyTree.  I have at times a love/hate relationship with my tree, but realize that the best I can do is better than a "do over", it is methodically going from front to "the end" applying the Genealogical Proof Standard to fix and beautify.

Hope to see you on there!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Proof Argument for Sarah Sackley Marrying a Flanagan 52 Ancestors Week one

Frances Ellsworth
May 2012

Proof Argument for Sarah Sackley Marrying a Flanagan
The Problem
There was a Sarah Flanagan tombstone in the Sackley Family plot at the Calvary Cemetery in Evanston, Cook County, Illinois.  The Family lived in Chicago from 1849 to present day.   No one of the present day family knew who she was.  

Sarah Flanagan was not on the Chicago Death index.  The assumption was she lived and died in Chicago, since she was buried there.

The 1870 and 1880 Federal Censuses of Illinois revealed John and Margret Dyer (from family records) Sackley had a daughter Sarah born in 1867 in Illinois. [1] [2]

A search of the 1900 – 1930 census records of Illinois did not reveal a Sarah Flanagan in Chicago. 
A death certificate of a Sarah Flanagan in Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio, who died on 20 Oct. 1911, was found.  [3]

A marriage of a Sarah Sackley to a Michael J Graham was listed in the Chicago Herald 12 Oct 1890.[4]

Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, 1871-1920, Sadie Sackley married Michael J Graham on 8 Oct 1890 in Chicago, Illinois. [5]

The 1900 Federal Census of Illinois showed Michael Graham enumerated with a Sarah in Chicago, Cook, Illinois along with 4 children[6]

 The Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, 1871-1920 revealed Michael J Flanagan married an Annie Dyer on 14 Sep 1892 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois.[7]

  The 1900 Federal Census in Cook County, Illinois showed a Michael J Flanagan enumerated with an Annie and 4 children. 
Michael J Graham’s death was found in the Cook County Deaths, 1878 – 1922.[8]

The marriage of Michael J Flanagan and Sarah Graham was 14 Aug 1907 in the St. Peter's Catholic Church, of Chicago, Illinois.[9]

The 1910 Federal Census of Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio, revealed a Michael J Flanagan was enumerated there along with a Sarah from Illinois and 10 children.  The ages of the children were close making it puzzling, but the census said she had 10 children and 10 were living, which is how many were enumerated with them.  The age of 18 was given for Michael at age of marriage.  Sarah did not have an age listed.[10]

The two marriage records proved Sarah Sackley married first Michael J Graham in 1890 and second Michael J Flanagan in 1907. 
The death record of Sarah Flanagan gave father as John Sackley and mother’s maiden name as Dyer and revealed the remains were removed to Chicago.  These were Sarah’s parents and the proof of being buried in the cemetery in Chicago.  
The death information and burial are consistent with the initial known facts.  The children found with Michael J Flanagan and Sarah on the 1910 Federal Census would have been a combination of his and her children.  
The Gravestone in the Sackley family burial plot for Sarah Flanagan was that of  Sarah Sackley daughter of John Sackley and wife of Michael J Flanagan
Attachments Marriage and Death Certificates.

[1] 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line].; Census Place: Chicago Ward 14CookIllinois; Roll: M593_207; Page: 592A; Image: 455; Family History Library Film: 545706.
[2] and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line] Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: 194; Family History Film: 1254194; Page: 479D; Enumeration District: 128; Image: 0702.
[3] and Ohio Department of Health. Ohio Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-1944, and 1958-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2010.Original data: Ohio. Division of Vital Statistics. Death Certificates and index, December 20, 1908-December 31, 1953. State Archives Series 3094. Ohio Historical Society, Ohio.
[4] 1890-10-12, Chicago Herald [database on line] “Loves Banner Week Scores of Interesting Weddings Cupid Sending a Procession of Charming Brides”
[5] Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, 1871-1920 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2010. Illinois Department of Public Health records. "Marriage Records, 1871–present." Division of Vital Records, Springfield, Illinois.
[6] 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004, Census Place: Chicago Ward 9, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T623_253; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 220.
[7] Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, 1871-1920 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2010. Illinois Department of Public Health records. "Marriage Records, 1871–present." Division of Vital Records, Springfield, Illinois.
[8] “Illinois, Cook County Deaths 1878-1922,” images, FamilySearch, 2010; from Illinois Department of Public Health. “Birth and Death Records, 1916 - present." Division of Vital Records, Springfield. FHL microfilm. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah., film roll 004004381, image 1629
[9] "Illinois, Chicago Catholic Church Records, 1833-1900," database, FamilySearch; (; from the Catholic Bishop of Chicago, Illinois. FHL microfilm, 203 rolls, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, Page 189, number 9.
[10] 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006.  Census Place: Toledo Ward 7, Lucas, Ohio; Roll: T624_1207; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 0088; Image: 878; FHL Number: 1375220


Excerpt from image above.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Response to GeniAus: Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2014

The purpose is to get geneabloggers to remember to accentuate the positive.  I think most genealogy researchers are perfectionists.  They rarely step back to take stock of the positive that has happened in their year of research.  There, of course, is more to do, however, little pieces of the puzzle begin to bring the picture into focus. 
These are questions Jill gave us to ponder and answer with positive thoughts.

1.  An elusive ancestor I found was... David F Burleson.  He was not my direct line, however, David Franklin was listed in many different trees as two men with different wives.  The War of 1812 Pension Files on Fold3 were the source of the break through.  The files showed David Franklin Burleson, who was the son of David and Ursula Burleson, had two wives and it gave the death, that everyone had estimated, of his first wife and the place.  It was a great finding.  One that will change many trees.

2.  A precious family photo I found was... a photo of some type of mill with my gr great grandfather and his son in Oklahoma about 1915...

3.  An ancestor's grave I found was... because of a wonderful person who was just collecting pictures and tombstone of anyone with the same surname, "just in case"... Proved date,and place of death of a civil war ancestor as his Civil War file was not complete.

4.  An important vital record I found was... was the death certificate for the above ancestor.

5.  A newly found family member shared... a picture and caused a second look at a different picture. Controversy still not resolved.

6.  A geneasurprise I received was... DNA matches that points to a confirmation to prior preponderance of evidence without paper trail. 

7.   My 2014 blog post that I was particularly proud of was one of the few 52 Ancestors weeks challenge posts... It was about my grandfather's sister Bessie Langley Bowen. I am so glad I started this and even happier that Amy Crow's 52 Ancestor's meme is continuing it this year. 

8.   My 2014 blog post that received a large number of hits or comments was Totally Floored and Appreciative   Not so much because of content, but because of  fellow blogger interaction.  Do you seek comments? 

9.  A new piece of software I mastered was Android apps for my tablet and phone for

10. A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy was Facebook.  I have a couple of family groups on FB and they have been active in sharing family information as well as pictures and stories.  Love the stories.

11. A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was FGS 2014 in San Antonio.  My heart is saddened that I will not be able to make it to FGS 2015 in Salt Lake City... Would have been too cool to have done FGS and Rootstech right together.

12. I am proud of the presentation I gave to The Sons of the Texas Republic in the Woodlands, Texas.  

13. A journal/magazine article I had published... this was not my privilege.  

14. I taught several friends how to use FamilySearch's Family Tree and use the Search side of the website.

15. A genealogy book that taught me something new was Guide to DNA Testing by Richard Hill.  

16. A great repository/archive/library I visited was Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research

17. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was "Grey Skies: A Civil War Legend of Family Courage" by David Self.  This historical fiction book was based on the family history of one of my collateral family members.

18. It was exciting to finally meet many of my genealogy heroes at FGS 2014.  I had been blogging and tweeting with them as well as being Facebook "friends" for several years with so many.  Then to meet them and exchange hugs and chat was just great.

19. A geneadventure I enjoyed was going to an old hidden cemetery with a distant cousin to see the grave sites of  my 4th great grand parents in Ray County, Missouri.  Totally off the grid.  We were taken in an old pickup, which we were holding our breath that it would keep running and crossed three fields to a spot that we needed a machete to clear our way... Outstanding adventure!  

Amy Phillips

20. Another positive I would like to share is that this year, so many have donated time and money to different genealogy projects. It has been awesome to see how the community rallies around each other to help in as many ways as possible for them. 

All in all, looking at it, it has been a very good year.  Thanks Jill for the prompt... it helped.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Blog Caroling with Footnote Maven

I am joining in with Footnote Maven's Blog Caroling meme. Click on the blog name to join. This is my fourth year of joining the fun.  I love Christmas Carols and have actually learned some as I have researched those I like.

This year I am choosing to do a new modern classic carol.  "Mary Did You Know?" lyrics and music written by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene.
I looked for the background of why he wrote the carol, and found a snipit on Wikipedia.... 'In 1984, Lowry wrote the lyrics to the song "Mary, Did You Know?", when asked to write a script for a church Christmas play. Lowry wrote a series of questions that he would like to ask Mary, the mother of Jesus. These questions were used in between the scenes of the play. Over the next decade, Lowry tried to find the music that would complete the song. Twelve years after writing the lyrics, musician and songwriter Buddy Greene wrote the music to the song. The Christmas play script then became the song.' no author given. 

There are many different presentations of this carol, but the sentiment, and words stay the same.  You can feel the dept and love in the words. It fills my heart with joy.  

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Hero Made a Difficult Decision: Sentimental Sunday

I am combining two memes today. One is Sentimental Sunday which I have done for years and the other is Blue Raspberry Sunday by Aine at Blue Raspberry Sky.

This is a sentimental look at a hard decision that the Hero made which affected our lives and fits both memes that have kept me blogging when it would have been easy to quit.

When the Hero and I first married, we lived in Houston. This was the Hero's birth city and where he fully expected to live out his days in.  I on the other hand was not a city girl and desired to go to the country.  My mom and dad lived in Oklahoma and we wanted them to move to Texas so we kept an eye out for them a small acreage of land.
Meanwhile, the Hero compromised with me and we moved to a rent house that belonged to his
dad's company in the outer suburbs (at that time) which qualified, for him, to be in the country.

The house was most people's dream. It had 5 bedrooms, 2 car garage, 2 1/2  baths,  fireplace, an office, and a swimming pool.
 I admit, it was not my dream. It was in the middle of a subdivision, although this is where I earned the title of snake killer.
About a year later, we discovered some property 6 acres with a house partially started for sale just 30 miles north of us in a small town.  They had their own school district, so it was perfect for my parents and would be close enough for us to visit frequently and the children to have a taste of country.  When my dad saw it he was excited, there was a shack on it that was called a cabin which he could live in while getting the house finished and then my mom could move on down.
He thought was a great idea.  It took us about 6 months to get all the paper work done and my dad moved down.  My baby was 18 mos old, and my oldest was just ready to finish 2nd grade. She adored our big home, her friends, and the status she had at school.
My dad of course began to populate the "farm" first before finishing the house. :D  I was not surprised.
The second weekend we went up to help him work on the house, the well had stopped, and he decided to pull the well casing and clean it with the help of some friends he had already made in the area.  The Hero was all excited about learning to fix things on his own and not having to pay a serviceman.  They worked hard, pulled the casing, and by the end of the day they were all exhausted.  That night, my dad got up in the middle of the night, and started belching and complaining of heart burn.  He was pale, but asked for coffee.  We got him some. He threw up, then commenced to collapse in the Hero's arms.  The Hero picked him up and put him in the car.  I got in the backseat and held my dad's head while the Hero drove 100 miles an hour down a two lane road to cover 20 miles in 15 minutes.  We never saw a policeman either. We got to the hospital and in the ER they said he had suffered a major heart attack (Myocardial Infarction).  My Hero gave him a blessing as there weren't any other Elders in the area to help. My dad made it through.
We knew we had a challenge on our hands.  My mother had already quit her job, and my dad was not going to be able to finish their house.  After much thought and prayer, the Hero decided (it had to be his decision)  we would move up to the "cabin" and live there to finish the house for my parents. That way I could help them during the week as my mom wouldn't be able to take care of my dad and the farm too.  This was a decision that changed our lives totally and affected all our children forever.  It was a shock to move from a 5 bedroom house with all amenities to a shack that sometimes would not have running water or a working bathroom.
 The Hero was a brave man to take on the responsibility.  He felt a sense of responsibility since he had paved the way for them to move from their home.  It took us another 2 years before we started a house of our own.  I know many times he wished maybe he had not done that and had decided to stay in the city.  He didn't though, and stuck it out to the very end.  There were blessings and I have to admit, some very hard times that shaped each life as a result. I was thankful for his strong character and devotion to family.
It all worked together for our good in some way. I hope the children feel the same way.