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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Pretty Ribbons of Blue

Two years ago today . . . on the 16th day of December in 2013 . . . an article was published on Willie Nelson's website entitled The Mystery of “Pretty Paper” Is Unwrapped . . . this article tells the story of Frankie Brierton who was apparently the inspiration for Willie's song, Pretty Paper . . . this song has always tugged at my heartstrings, but after reading the story behind the words, I will never "hear" this song the same way again . . . 

One of my "new" favorite Christmas movies is Angels Sing . . . one of the "moments" of this movie is when the family gathers in the living room of the grandparents . . . and Grandpa (aka Kris Kristofferson) picks up his guitar and begins to sing Pretty Paper, accompanied by Marcia Ball, et al . . . one of the "characters" in this movie is played by Willie . . . 

Pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue
Wrap your presents to your darling from you
Pretty pencils to write "I love you"
Pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue

Crowded street, busy feet hustle by him
Downtown shoppers, Christmas is nigh
There he sits all alone on the sidewalk
Hoping that you won't pass him by

Should you stop?, better not, much too busy
You're in a hurry, my how time does fly
In the distance the ringing of laughter
And in the midst of the laughter he cries

Pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue
Wrap your presents to your darling from you
Pretty pencils to write "I love you"
Pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue

Sunday, December 06, 2015

1955 :: Death of Berta Mary Henry

On this date in our family history . . . it was a winter's Tuesday in the year 1955 . . . the 6th day of December . . . when Berta Mary Henry nee Sharp died at her home on Scarbrough Street in Rockdale, Milam County, Texas . . . her funeral was held on the 7th . . . and her obituary was published in the local newspaper on the 8th . . . this Berta Mary is a maternal great-grandma to the Keeper of this family history blog . . . 

The Rockdale Reporter
December 8, 1955 

Mrs. Edgar Henry dies Tuesday at home here

Mrs. Edgar Henry, 82, died at her home here Tuesday morning after an extended illness.

In September she had an accident that left her with a broken hip for which she underwent surgery. Later due to shock and other complications of her system she became bedridden and the long illness followed.

Mrs. Henry, as Berta Mary Sharp, was born in Houston county, Texas on November 10, 1873, the daughter of Sam and Nellie Lamar [sic] Sharp. She married Edgar Henry and had lived in and near Rockdale for approximately sixty-one years [sic], having in that time formed many close friendships. Her husband preceded her in death June 26, 1950.

Mrs. Henry was a member of the Baptist church.

Funeral services were conducted Wednesday at 2 p.m. from the Chapel of Phillips and Luckey Funeral Home. The officiating ministers were the Rev. M.M. Fulmer of First Baptist church and Rev. Graham Pugh of First Christian church.

Burial was made at Oak Lawn cemetery with six of the grandsons serving as pallbearers.

The survivors are the following six children: George Henry, Mrs. Ruby Christian, Oscar Henry of Rockdale, Milton and Robert Henry of Sinton, Mrs. Nellie Peebles of Lexington; 18 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and a sister, Mrs. Ida Halyard of Crockett, Texas. A son, Frank Henry, died here on July 8, 1952.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

1889 :: Photo of Jerusha

On this date in our family history . . . the 2nd day of December . . . in the year 1889 . . . Mrs. A.F. Smith poses for a photo in the studio of Gardner & Philbrick in Biddeford, Maine . . . aka Jerusha Marilla Barker, Mrs. Smith was born in 1841 in Bridgton, Cumberland County, Maine . . . married Atwood Frank Smith in 1857 in Biddeford, York County, Maine . . . and died in 1899 at fifty-eight years of age . . . this Jerusha is a 2nd great-grandma to the Keeper of this family history blog . . . 

Mrs. A.F. Smith
Dec. 2nd 1889.

We Stand at the Head

Our Photographs of all kinds are made bet-
ter if possible than before the rush. Certainly
as durable as any in the State. We make
Cabinets for the extremely low price of


Biddeford Daily Journal, March 24, 1888

Sunday, November 15, 2015

1653 :: Marriage of Clemens and Osgood

On this date in our family history . . . in 17th century Andover, Massachusetts . . . 

It is the 15th day of November in the year 1653 . . . and a long-ago scribe by the name of Robert Clemens (father of the bride) will record this date as being the day he presided at the marriage of his young daughter (about sixteen years of age) to John Osgood, aged about twenty-two . . . the new bride is Mary, and she has only recently become a resident of Andover, having lived in "the city of Coventry in Warwickshire, Old England" after her father left England about 1642 . . . 

More than two hundred years later, one of Mary's great-grand-nephews would pen the following words regarding the love one would hope this Mary and John had for one another . . . 

Love came at dawn,
when all the world was fair,
When crimson glories’ bloom
and sun were rife;
Love came at dawn,
when hope’s wings fanned the air,
And murmured,
“I am life.”

It is said that both Mary and John were born in "old" England, as were many of their neighbors and fellow settlers in the "New" England . . . 250 years later these early settlers of the Andover in New England were remembered in a poem (which also paid homage to the Andover of "old" England), when the following verse was composed by Annie Sawyer Downs in honor of the 250th anniversary of the settling of the "new" Andover . . . 

And of the proud and noble fame
which through the years comes down
To flush the cheek, and thrill the hearts
throughout our ancient town,

For our own Andover so old,
and yet so young to-day,
Who ever to the mother land
will loving homage pay,

To an old borough on the Ande
is namesake, mental heir,
Which Saxon men called Andover
in English Hampshire fair. . . . 

O, mother land, O, mother town,
when dark days on you fell,
And those you set in places high,
for gold and gauds dared sell,

The freeman's right to name his faith,
the freeman's right to pray,
To seek his God with hymn or psalm
as seemed to him God's way,

The freeman's right to judge the Word,
to teach his simple child
That secret true of holy life
is Gospel undefiled;

And that to follow leaders blind
is weak and wicked thing,
For of the soul no prince, nor priest,
but God alone is king.

Then through thy quiet rural ways, 
O, lovely mother land,
And in thine ancient city streets,
and on the north sea strand

Was heard a sound like wind at night
among the leafy trees,
Or ceaseless break on sandy shores
of never silent seas;

And which in great waves rolled along
to break at last in song.

"We go, we go, across the wave
As Israel went of old,
To seek a home and find a grave,
In strange and distant fold. . . . 

Across the sea, across the sea,
Are valleys fair and lone,
And forests rich, and wild, and free,
Which yet may be our own,

And where, unvexed by bishop's rule,
Or envious tyrant's hate,
We with God's help, in wisdom's school,
May rear a noble state. . . . 

Farewell, farewell, we may not wait,
Our ships are in the bay,
And though to-night the tide is late,
Before the dawn of day,

We shall fare off on shifting wave,
Watch line of fading shore,
The fairest shore God ever gave,
But home for us no more. . . ."

Mary and John survived that journey across the sea . . . and the early days of life in "New" England . . . they had at least twelve children . . . and had been married for almost four decades when, in the year 1692, Mary found herself to be one of the unfortunate residents of Andover who was accused of being a witch . . . and wound up spending almost four winter months in a Salem jail . . . 

Upon her release, Mary would return to Andover, and would live on until October of 1710 . . . sadly, John died shortly following her release from jail in 1693 . . . and it is written that "His death is said to have been hastened by his grief at these sad occurrences." 

Love came at eve,
and when the day was done,
When heart and brain were tired,
and slumber pressed;
Love came at eve,
shut out the sinking sun,
And whispered,
“I am rest.”

This Mary and John are 9th great-grandparents to the Keeper of this family history blog  . . . and still today . . . 

We faintly trace their farm lands' bound,
Their cellars' green and sunken round;
Their meeting house upon the hill,
The stones of their first water mill.

Seek records of their parish wide
Who first was groom, and who the bride;
Whose child first sat on Parson's knee,
Who first paid hated tithing fee.

Yet seek in vain; but one dim page
Is wafted to us from their age;
But one faint name on tombstone gray
Reveals their brief and bitter day. . . . 

But still our loving fancy turns,
To many an ancient road,
Where aged houses lowly bend,
Beneath the centuries' load. . . . 

Click on the following links for more info regarding Grandma Mary and Grandpa John, and their home of Andover . . . 

  • Mary Osgood in the BeNotForgot AMT . . . this is free to look at, but if you are not already an Ancestry member, you will need to set up a free account before you will be able to view her page . . 

  • Andover - In the Neighborhood . . . besides the above mentioned Grandma Mary and Grandpa John, this article mentions numerous kith 'n kin, including these ancestors of ours . . . Ralph Farnum (1601-1648) . . .  Mary Farnum (1628-1713) . . . Ralph Farnum (1633-1691) . . . Elizabeth Holt (1636-1710) . . . Nicholas Holt (1602-1685) . . . John Osgood (1595-1651) . . . Sarah Osgood (d. 1667) . . . Daniel Poore (b. 1624) . . . Elizabeth Short (1606-1656) . . . most of these are said to have been born in England . . . 

This blogpost was researched and prepared specifically for The Seventh Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge over at cousin Bill's family history blog which is known as . . . West in New England . . . 

Thursday, November 05, 2015

1666 :: Marriage of Hannah and Joseph

On this date in our family history . . . the 5th day of November . . . in the year 1666 . . . Hannah Green becomes the bride of Joseph Richardson . . . this Hannah and Joseph are 9th great-grandparents to the Keeper of this family history blog . . . 

This same Hannah and Joseph are grandparents to a woman by the name of Mary Simonds nee Fowle . . . who is great-grandma to a man by the name of John Chapman . . . who is better known as Johnny Appleseed . . . and is a 2nd cousin six times removed to the Keeper of this family history blog . . . 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

1899 :: Death from a broken neck

On this date in our family history . . . the 28th day of October . . . in the year 1899 . . . Josephine Wingfield Henry nee Davis dies of a broken neck in Milam County, Texas . . . this Josephine is a maternal 2nd great-grandma to the Keeper of this family history blog . . . 

The news of her tragic death was reported in multiple newspapers, including the following article from the November 2nd edition of the Rockdale Messenger, which makes mention of her "gray mare" which is currently believed to be the animal in the above photo* . . . 

Accident - Mrs. W. P. Henry who has lived on the Cameron road, 3-miles from Rockdale for over 20-years left her son’s home on the Dr. A.C. Isaacs farm, about 3-miles beyond her home, to come home and as was her habit, she pushed her buggy animal, a gray mare that she has driven for several years, into a lope.

She drove over the hill at the home of George Banzhaf and turning down the hill, Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Bradly were going from Rockdale to their home beyond Minerva in a light spring wagon, seeing the vehicle coming down the hill near them, pulled their team, a pair of young mules, to one side to give the road, but before the left wheel had cleared the track to the right fore wheel of Mrs. Henry’s buggy struck the hub of the wagon wheel and smashed it.

The woman had probably never seen the wagon or saw it too late to stop, and she was pitched foremost and fell with her head between the left fore wheel of the buggy and shafts and was so held that her hair was wound around the buggy hub and spindle and she was held there until some young man, met the buggy at the gate near the old Ferguson place, more than a half-mile this side of where the accident occurred.

She was dead when found as her neck was broken. She was buried at the Pleasant Grove cemetery Sunday evening. She leaves a husband and five grown children, three sons and two daughters, all married. Brother Henry does not blame the drivers of the wagon for the accident but thinks they should have ascertained the results before driving home.

*P.S. . . . this photo is from the private photo collection of Josephine's daughter-in-law and is not labeled . . . the lady on the left closely resembles other photos of our Josephine . . . enough so for us to think it is indeed grandma Josephine (1842-1899) . . . at this time we do not have any idea who the lady on the right might be . . . 

1915 :: Death of Charlie Muston

On this date in our family history . . . the 28th day of October . . . in the year 1915 (exactly 100 years ago today) . . . Charlie Muston dies in Wharton County, Texas . . . this Charlie is the paternal great-grandpa to the Keeper of this family history blog . . . 

The following announcement of his death was published in The Rockdale Reporter on the 4th of November . . . 

Tanglewood. Oct. 31. . . . Our community was saddened Friday by the news of the death of Chas. Mustin, a former resident of this community, and at the time of his death was living near Bay City. Frank Mustin, his brother, left Friday to be at the funeral. The sorrowing ones have the depest sympathy of this entire community.

Based on stories told by Charlie's seven daughters, the following has been recorded regarding the time leading up to his death . . . 

As Emma made a final check through the rural Lee County cabin, Charlie was busy hitching up the team (Jack the mule and Bill the horse) for the trip south. Emma had been born in Lee County in 1882, and was not quite eight years old when her Father died there in 1890. This attempt at a new life was probably the first time Emma had traveled this far from her widowed Mother. Charlie was hoping to find gainful employment in the road construction business to help support his ever-expanding family.

Family friends who had already made the trip, and were living and working in Wharton County, included Jim and Polly Hooper, Charlie and Carrie Jensen, and Delbert and Allie Rodgers and their daughter.

Emma and her girls set up housekeeping in a wood-frame house in the community of Taiton (on State Highway 71 eighteen miles northwest of Wharton in northwestern Wharton County). On the first day of September in 1915, Emma gave birth to her seventh baby girl.

Less than two months later, on the 28th day of October, Charlie died unexpectedly -- of "pernicious malaria, comatose form" (as per his death certificate). Charlie was buried in the Nada community (on State Highway 71 in southern Colorado County, just north of Taiton). Charlie's final resting place was an unmarked grave just outside the grounds of a local church cemetery. Because he was not a member of said church, his burial was not allowed inside the "consecrated" grounds, hence, he was buried (in a pauper's grave?) somewhere in the perimeter outside the official cemetery grounds. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

1870 :: Sinking of the Steamshp Varuna

On this date in our extended family history . . . the 20th day of October . . . in the year 1870 . . . Allen Lewis is one of several individuals who perish in the sinking of the steamship Varuna . . . this Allen Lewis* is the husband of a 3rd cousin five times removed to the Keeper of this family history blog . . . 

Galveston Daily News
November 14, 1874

Foundering of the Varuna

On Saturday night, October 15, 1870, the steamship Varuna, Captain Spencer, left New York for Galveston with thirty-six cabin passengers. Up to the morning of the 20th the vessel had fine weather and a smooth passage. A gale then began to blow, and increased in violence until night, when it became a hurricane. All went well, however, until 8 o'clock, when the wind suddenly veered to the southwest, and the steamer became unmanageable, being careened to the port side, when the water rushed aboard, staving in the bulwarks and cabin door. Attempts were made to get the steamer off before the wind, and all the steam possible was turned on, and the efforts to secure the cabin door alike proved fruitless. By this time the sea had staved in the engine house, and the water was rushing down into the fire and engine rooms at the rate of many tons a minute. The steamer beginning to sink, a number of the crew took to the small boat and succeeded in making the Florida coast. The captain, other officers, and every passenger, were drowned. Some forty five persons perished by this disaster, and among them were many of Galveston's oldest and most valued citizens. When the news of the steamer's destruction was received, the entire city was draped in mourning.

Among those passengers were Frank Hitchcock and his wife . . . this Mr. Hitchcock was a friend of James Madison Hall, and is mentioned frequently in Hall's 1860-1866 Journal . . . 

*his home in Galveston

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Sentimental Saturday :: The 10th day of October

Sixty-five years ago today . . . on an autumn's Tuesday . . . which was the 10th* day of October in the year 1950 . . . Miss Roberta Mae Henry became the bride of Mr. Forrest Lee Pounders in a small ceremony held in Freeport, Brazoria County, Texas . . . exactly one year and one month later, I came along as the first of their four children . . . the following photos were taken near the beginning of their journey together . . . 

The Rockdale Reporter
Thursday, October 19, 1950

Roberta Mae Henry
Becomes Bride of
Forrest L. Pounders

A marriage of interest to a wide circle of friends here is that of Miss Roberta Mae Henry and Forrest Lee Pounders, both of Rockdale. The ceremony took place Tuesday, October 10, at 6:45 o'clock in the evening at the First Methodist church in Freeport, with the Rev. Houser reading the double ring service.

The bride chose for her wedding a suit of royal blue gabardine with which she wore gray accessories. In keeping with tradition she also wore something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.

Attending the couple were Miss Georgia Faye Henry and Robert Henry, cousin and brother of the bride.

Immediately following the ceremony the couple left for Galveston where they spent a brief honeymoon and later went to Houston to visit with relatives of the groom.

The bride is the daughter of Mr. Robert E. Henry of Sinton. She has made her home here with her grandparents, Mrs. Edgar Henry, and the late Mr. Henry. She graduated from Rockdale High School in 1949 and during her high school career she was popular and took part in all activities of the school. Since finishiing she has been employed in the local office of Southwestern Bell Telephone Company.

The bridegroom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Jake Pounders. After finishing from Rockdale High School in 1945 he entered the U.S. Army where he remained for some time, seeing service in Japan. He is employed at the Fred Pounders Service Station.

Mr. and Mrs. Pounders will continue to make their home in Rockdale.

*P.S. . . that 10th day of October in 1950 was also the 23rd anniversary of the birth day of my Dad . . . he would have been 88 today . . . 

Monday, October 05, 2015

1921 :: First Woman Tax Collector

On this date in our family history . . . the 5th day of October . . . in the year 1921 . . . the following news story was published in the Biddeford Daily Journal . . . the subject of this story is Mrs. Eva M. Smith . . . who is the great-grandma of the Keeper of this family history blog . . . and was "the first woman to hold the office of tax collector in this city" (Biddeford) . . . we were totally unaware of this chapter in Eva's life before I happened upon this news clipping . . . 

1912 :: Birth of Elizabeth Marilla

On this date in our family history . . . the 5th day of October . . . in the year 1912 . . . Elizabeth Marilla Smith is born in Biddeford, York County, Maine . . . this Elizabeth is the maternal grandma of the Keeper of this family history blog . . . 

Friday, October 02, 2015

1688 :: Marriage of Mary Richardson and Captain James Fowle

On this date in our family history . . . the 2nd day of October . . . in the year 1688 . . . Mary Richardson becomes the wife of Captain James Fowle . . . they would have at least a dozen children before the death of James in 1714, after which time she marries Deacon Samuel Walker . . . this Mary and James are 8th great-grandparents to the Keeper of this family history blog . . . and the following information about them can be found recorded in Volume III of Historic Homes and Places and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Middlesex County, Massachusetts . . . 

Captain James Fowle, son of Lieutenant James Fowle (2), born at Woburn, March 4, 1667, died there, March 19, 1714,  aged forty-seven years and fourteen days, gravestone; married, October 2, 1688, Mary Richardson, born March 22, 1668-69, daughter of Joseph and Hannah (Green) Richardson, of Woburn; she married (second), Deacon Samuel Walker, and died his widow at Charlestown, October 23, 1748, aged eighty years, gravestone.

His [Fowle's] homestead was on the site of the present Central House, Main street, Woburn, and he held the office of sergeant in the Woburn militia company from 1693 to 1701, and that of captain from 1712 to 1714. He was called captain in the epitaph on his gravestone now standing in the old yard back of the estate on which he lived. Like other Fowles of his time he had a large landed property. His estate evidently derived from his father, Lieutenant James Fowle, descended to his son, Major John Fowle, in greater part. He was a selectman of Woburn, in 1693-94- 1700-01 (1702 declined) 1703-05-07-14. He was town clerk 1701-14.

1727 :: Death of Moses Tyler

On this date in our family history . . . the 2nd day of October . . . in the year 1727 . . . Moses Tyler dies in Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts . . . and is memorialized with a tombstone in the Old North Parish Burying Ground in said county . . . this Moses Tyler is a 9th great-grandpa to the Keeper of this family history blog . . . 

The above image was created from page 17 in Volume I of The Tyler Genealogy by Willard Irving Tyler Brigham . . . the text about this Moses Tyler reads in part as follows (click on the above book link to read the entire story) . . . 

Quartermaster Moses Tyler, born in Andover or Roxbury, mass., 1641 or 1642; died in Andover, October 2, 1727; married (1), July 6, 1666, Prudence Blake, born April 15, 1647; died March 9, 1689; daughter of George and Dorothy Blake, of Gloucester, Mass. (who early moved to Boxford); married (2), about 169+, Sarah (Hasey) Sprague, born about 1647; died 1718; widow of Phineas Sprague, of Malden, he having died in 1690; she had several daughters by her first marriage; married (3), July or August 1718, Mrs. Martha Fisk, born about 1649; died February 13, 1735. . . . 

Thursday, October 01, 2015

1906 :: B. Pruett Shot to Death at Dayton Monday Night

On this date in our extended family history . . . the 1st day of October . . . in the year 1906 . . . Beasley Pruett* dies in Dayton, Liberty County, Texas . . . aka B. Pruett . . . aka Bee Pruett . . . he is a 1st cousin three times removed to the Keeper of this family history blog . . . the following story of his death was published in The Liberty Vindicator on the 6th of October 1906 . . .  

Tragedy At Dayton.

B. Pruett Shot To Death At Dayton 
Monday Night. 
Constable Ed. McKinney Surrenders.
Says He Killed In Self-Defense.

At about eight o'clock Monday night the citizens of Dayton were startled by the ringing out of five pistol shots in quick succession. Then the news that Bee Pruett had been shot to death by Constable Ed. McKinney, while discharging his duty as he saw it.

The trouble leading to the murder, as the Vindicator hears it, was caused by a disturbance aroused by Pruett in the saloon and McKinney being called to keep the peace attempted to arrest Pruett when he (Pruett) rushed at McKinney with an open knife and McKinney drew his gun and commenced firing. Three of the five shots taking effect in Pruett's breast.

Pruett was a married man and leaves a wife and four children. Constable McKinney appeared before Squire Wilson Tuesday and had his bond fixed at $150.00.

*Note that the date of death is wrong on his tombstone.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sentimental Sunday :: Ancestor Appreciation Day

In grateful appreciation
of those who came before.

Our ancestral surnames
as seen in this wordle are . . .


I hear the voices of my grandmas
Calling out from a distant past
"Please do not let us be forgot.
Record our stories that we may last."

Tell the children of our wanderings
Let the kinfolk hear the tales
How we braved the new horizons
How we blazed the olden trails.

How we buried too many babies
How we struggled to keep them fed
How we caressed the hands of our loved ones
As they lay dying on their beds.

How we endured many a hardship
With an eye to the future goal
To create a more promising future
And to keep our family whole.

They were as different from each other
As the scraps in a crazy quilt
Yet once the pieces were sewn together
Another generation they had built

I can sense them calling out to me
From the gloaming of my past
"Please do not let us be forgot.
Record our stories that we may last."
Original poem by BeNotForgot


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