Thursday, February 26, 2015

A word from our sponsor

Sponsoring everything in my life is mother nature...which has done a great job providing beauty and inspiration today.

So I'm veering away from the family to let you see the beautiful white coating of today's snow, while we have it. (You have to ignore the derelict garage with port-a-potty in green across the street, like I do every day.)

I'm quite delighted by how the spirit house (on top of birdbath) has changed just like the rest of the world, giving different dimensions suddenly that are unexpected.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fanny Witty, next oldest sister of Eugenia Witty Booth

She was a Valentine baby, Fanny (Frances Malone) Witty Gee born on Feb. 14, 1850 in Limestone, Alabama.

Her first census listing was when she was 4 months old, and the penmanship is so illegible the transcriber calls her Thomas, though a female child.  At least by 1860, when her family had moved to Texas, she was listed as Fanny. 

She married at 17, to Richard A. Gee who had been born in 1833 in Tennessee (17 years older than she was). Some of his records say he was born in Virginia, where his parents were born.  They raised 7 children, who all lived to be adults, and had 19 grandchildren.  Some of her children and grandchidlren lived into their 90s, and one, Ethel M. Stingily, lived to 100, dying in 2013.

Many of the death certificates in the early 1900s show how hypertension was a killer in my family.  I've seen this on many Booth records.  I'm so glad there is medication now (which I can take.)

Fanny herself was 73 when she died in 1923.

One of these men is Richard Albert Gee...I don't know the other, nor which one he is.

Her husband, Richard Albert Gee (Rag, which are his initials) was a Sargent in the Confederacy, and thus received a veterans grave marker when he died in 1930 at age 96.

Next I'll look at some of Eugenia Witty's younger siblings!  Oh yes, it was a big family!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Happy Birthday Eugenia Almeda Witty Booth

Last year I posted a pretty thorough bio of my great great grandmother's life...HERE.

Yesterday was my grandmother's birthday, (on my father's side) but most of the people I've been sharing about this week have been Eugenia Almeda Witty Booth's siblings.  I had never looked into their lives before now.

But what can I add to Great Great Gran's information now?  That she died in childbirth at 25 is a piece of information that I mentioned last year.  But it sadly happened often in 1875.  She had married at 17 to a man who's first wife had also died in childbirth.

And she lived in a time when Texas was changing rapidly as well.  Her husband and father moved their families to Hemstead, Texas from at least 1875 - 1880, then back to Hillsboro, Hill County Texas by 1896, when my great grandmother, Eugenia Booth, was married there.

Her husband and father were attorneys, and probably involved in the new county courts in Hempstead Texas.  Unfortunately I can't find any 1890 census reports for either city, so I don't know where they lived at that time.  I know that after her husband died in 1879, their children went back to be raised in the grandparents home, that of William and Hannah Booth.

Her step son William (Willie) Lewis Booth, had childdren, and at least one of them had children, so I've got some more Booth cousins, though I'm not sure how step-son cousins get counted!  But they have the same great great great grandparents, so we are blood relatives of some kind!

Out of Eugenia Witty Booth's three births, only her daughter, my great grandmother, Eugenia Booth Miller, lived to be an adult, and she had 4 daughters.

Not my Booth family, but another one from Missouri, then Oklahoma and Texas, taken around 1900

Built in 1855 in Hillsboro, Hill County, Texas...the Booth Home of William Lewis Booth, father-in-law to Eugenia.  She was born in 1852 before they arrived here, as well as her next younger sister, Laura Dove Booth, born in 1854 in Marshall, TX.  I'll give you more information on her soon!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Happy Birthday Gummy

My grandmother, Ada Phillips Swasey Rogers, was born on this day in 1886, 129 years ago.  She lived until 1964.  She was quite a lady...and all her grandchildren remember her fondly.  She spent some time with her great grand children who also lived in Houston where she lived the last 24 years of her life.

She gave birth to 6 children, all except the youngest born in Galveston, TX, where she grew up herself.  But she was born in San Marcos, TX. Her youngest son was born in Fort Worth, Texas.

I wrote about her life in a lot of detail last year for her birthday HERE.

I've been showing some still photos taken from some home movies including my grandmother.

Considering these photos were taken about 1943-46, she didn't look much different to me the last 20 years of her life (but then again, I was much shorter than she was when these were taken!)

The summer of 1949 my parents, my grandparents, my Uncle Chauncey, and my cousins Claudette and Sandra and my sister and myself drove all the way from Houston to Stevens Point, Wisconsin, in two Studebakers. One had a board built across the back seat for us children to play on, or lie down for naps. That's 5 adults and 4 children.

Poppy wanted to see some of the places the Rogers family came from, including some Civil War the trip was a bit convoluted.  We also went through the Smokey Mountains to see some of the Tennessee sites where the Rogers had originally settled.  The cars over-heated several times in the mountains.  We stayed in small little motels, sometimes each room a tiny little cottage.  There are still some of the little stone buildings standing, but not in business any more.

We also wanted to visit Principia, the school in St. Louis for Christian Scientist children.  It must have impressed my parents, because we moved there to attend that school the next summer.  I met my cousins, Pat and Chris for the first time in Wisconsin, but don't remember many details.  I was only 7 that summer.

Strength and humor are the words that best describe my grandmother, as I remember her.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Another Sister of Eugenia Witty Booth

Mary Elizabeth Witty Hughes was 6 years older than my great great grandmother, Eugenia Witty Booth.

Great Aunt Mary Beth (I'm guessing that that was her name because my own sister went by that nickname as a young girl) was born in 1848, also in Alabama, the 4th child of Susan Hoke Witty and Carroll Witty.  

 In Limestone County, Alabama in 1850, the Wittys were farmers, and grandfather Joseph Hoke, age 57 was living with them as well.  At that time the next family listed in the census were Jackson Witty, a brother of Carroll Witty's, actually named Andrew Jackson Witty.  When Carroll went to Texas around 1850-52, Andrew Jackson Witty stayed in Alabama.

 But let's look at Great Aunt Mary Beth a bit more.  By 1860 she was 12 and living in Hill County, Texas.  Then when she was 19 she married Isaac Butler Hughes, who apparently went by his middle name on most records.

They had 2 children: James M. Hughes who lived just from 1867-1876, and Alice Dovie Hughes Felts, 1869-1893.

But the same year that their son died, so did Aunt Mary Beth, on July 2, 1876.  She is buried with her husband, who had died just the year before, on 10 August 1875.

 His headstone is broken, but her's has been somewhat repaired. It's interesting to note that her initial is wrong "M".  They are in the same cemetery as her parents and other family members, The Old Woodbury Cemetery, Hill County, Texas.

Issac Butler Hughes gravestone Mary Witty Hughes headstone

I was trying to find out if Alice had any children, who would be my cousins of course...but there wasn't much information on her, besides a name J. B. Felts for her husband, but no information on him.  

I did discover an interesting autobiography written by another woman named Alice Hughes, which I downloaded and read.  Since she also was born at the same time, and travelled all over the south, I may post a little of it sometime.  Her story conveys how often children would live with relatives when their parents died.  

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Eugenia Witty's oldest sister

I am happily delving into various aunts and uncles, several times great, while it's pretty cold in North Carolina for the last few days.  This won't last, and eventually spring will return, and I'll have more activities than reading various census reports and cutting/pasting photos of my ancestors (or their siblings).

It does paint a picture of the times, which is always an education for me.
So here's Eugenia Witty Booth's oldest sister to learn a bit about, Martha E. Witty Barnes.
She also was born in Limestone, Alabama, as were her 2 older brothers.  Her birthday was Sept 25, 1846.  She appears in the Limestone Alabama Census of 1850, then next in 1860 she and her family have moved all the way to Hill County, Texas, where her father was a founder of a "subdivision" which was another name for land speculation which became Woodbury Texas.

She married John L. Barnes, who was born Aug 2, 1846 also in Alabama, but I know nothing about his family.  They appeared as a household in Houston, TX in the census of 1880.

They never had any children apparently.
By the time Martha was in her 60s, she and her husband were listed twice (1907 & 1909) in a city directory for Cleburne, Johnson County, TX which is near Dallas. The 1910 Census has them living there as well.  His occupation was advertised as gardener. 

Main St, Cleburne TX 1910s
She died on April 18, 1914, and he died on May 5 of the same year.  They are buried together in Woodbury Cemetery, Hill County, Texas.  Woodbury was the town which her father had helped found.
Old Woodbury Cemetery
Old Woodbury Cemetery
 Old Woodbury Cemetery
Martha E. Witty Barnes headstone
Martha E. Witty Barnes 1846-1914

J L Barnes
John L. Barnes 1836-1914

Friday, February 20, 2015

More of Eugenia Witty's brothers

James J. Witty was just a year younger than the oldest of his siblings (which numbers 10 in all, including one set of twins).  Born in 1845 he was barely old enough to go to the war between the states for the Confederacy with his older brother, John, in 1862.

He didn't serve in the same way however, and was in the calvary while John was in the infantry.
And he had a surviving widow who eventually applied for his war pension many years after he died.

12th Texas Calvary, W. H. Parsons Regiment , Company "A" of Hill County, TX,

His family had settled in Texas from Alabama, and his father (Carrol Witty) was one of the founders of a community called originally "Subdivision, Hill County, Texas" and later known as Woodbury. The Hill County Historical Commission tells us: " Woodbury is on Farm Road 309 twelve miles northwest of Hillsboro in north central Hill County. Anglo-American settlers began moving into the area about 1850, and the community was established in 1857, when Carrol Witty, William R. Nunn, and Rev. Thomas Newton McKee purchased property and offered it for sale."

In the 1870 Census for Hill County, TX, James was 25 and living with his parents and listing his occupation as "stock raiser,"  just as he had 10 years previously in the 1860 Census.

James married a woman who was a widow with three children, when he was 39 himself.  Mary Lou Cobb Books and James were married Nov 23, 1884.  Her children were William Terrell Brooks (Born: 1859) Mary Elizabeth Brooks Dennis (Born: 1862) and Bert Brooks (Born: 1875).  The date of the marriage was listed on her application for widow's pension, and the location was Shackleford, Texas, where she lived the rest of her life.

Unknown old house, Moran, Shackleford County, Texas
Moran Texas, 1924 looking west.

Shackleford County, Texas is where James spent his later adult life, and where he and his wife are buried, but in different cemeteries.   She's in the Moran Cemetery, also in Shackleford County, and her youngest son Bert Brooks was also buried there. 

Witty Fish and Chip truck, probably a belonging to a later descendent of the Witty family

His death is noted in the Texas Find A Grave site as "J.J. Whitty found dead in his wagon Sept of 1904 on his way home from town. found by Brooksey King (Possible burial place 7 or 8. Thought to ahave died of a heart attack. (Jo Ann Farmers Notes)"

The cemetery where his remains are located is unique in that it's a ranch cemetery with many unknown cowboys buried there.  It is listed as the Lynch Cemetery.  "The Lynch Cemetery is located 8 miles southeast of Albany near the Ibex Community on FMR 601. The cemetery began in the summer of 1875 as the final resting place of J. A. Leflet, a young cowboy who worked for the Lynch family on what was then called Fairview Ranch. Founders of the ranch, John C. Lynch and his wife Fannie, arrived in this part of Shackelford County in the 1860's after coming to nearby Stephens County with Fannie's family, the Peter Gunsolus family. After Mr. Leflet was buried in 1875, on a rise a quarter of a mile from the Lynch home, other cowboys on the ranch who died were also buried there, most now are unmarked or unknown."

 James J. Witty is listed as a known grave, and has a legible marker there.

Post office, Moran, Shakleford County, Texas