Blog Archives

Who Do You Think You Are? – Kookie’s Review

Posted on by 3 comments

For months I have anticipated the return of one of my favorite shows, “Who Do You Think You Are”.  Even if I don’t know much about the featured celebrity, I hopefully will discover a new source for searching or find a hint that will lead me in a new direction.  Last night “Who Do You Think You Are?” made its 2013 season debut and left me with mixed reviews. 

For starters, searching for ancestors just doesn’t fall into place as it is portrayed on the show.  As someone who has done research in libraries, cemeteries and personal interviews over a period of more than thirty years, I can tell you that you may search months, years or decades to locate one document much less the entire life story of your ancestor. Sometimes you come up totally empty handed.

Personally I love Ancestry, the sponsor of the show.  In fact I have three family trees on their site and praise it as my “go to sight” for research.  However, I believe the illusion of how easy it is to discover your past, who you are, and your family’s place in history on “Who Do You Think You Are?” is just that…… an illusion.  The average beginning genealogist, I’m afraid, will get a false sense of tracing one’s tree.  And when disappointment sets in, some will lose interest and their tree will never branch with limbs and twigs.

Sure, if you are a celebrity and have money to travel, it would make the process easier.  If you are one of the fortunate ones that can hire a professional genealogist to do the research for you, oh well, you have just missed the personal satisfaction of a history lesson in places, events and your heritage.  To me, documents from a professional would merely become a piece of paper with names on it.  I wouldn’t have the pleasure of that “ah ha” moment!  There is no greater reward in genealogy than to discover a document or photo and have the feeling of accomplishment in your pursuit.

Kelly and Rachel  Brown, Kookie Stanley Hemperley and Mamie Stanley-4 generations

        Kelly and Rachel Brown, Kookie Stanley Hemperley and Mamie Stanley                     4 generations

Through the generations: Mother, Mamie Martin Stanley and I located cemeteries, interviewed family members, gathered photos and old documents.  My daughter Kelly Hemperley Brown and her husband Scott and I enjoy locating cemeteries off the beaten path documenting headstones as we go.  Rachel, who is about a year old in this photo, is all grown up now and currently is a Deputy Clerk in Caddo Parish Clerk’s Office. She has researched local court records for me and often accompanies me to different libraries searching old newspapers, microfilms and military histories.  In short, my research has included four generations sharing our family’s history and having that “ah ha” moment together.

While I find the celebrities heritage enjoyable at times, if I had my druthers, every once in a while I would prefer Ancestry send in a John Doe…… you know; ordinary researchers like you and me; the people who have brick walls and do not have the luxury of hiring the pros to do the work for us or to travel extensively.  Every person who has walked the face of this earth is deserving of having their story told regardless of their social status.

Another suggestion I would make to the producers of the show is that they allow the person with the most gathered information on the ancestor be allowed to travel on the discovery journey regardless of whether the featured person is a celebrity or a descendant of John Doe. Had it not been for the encouragement of and the companionship of my mother pointing me in the right direction when I began we would have not had the benefit of sharing what we discovered.  She didn’t have to wait until I arrived home with new information; she experienced it right along with me.

In conclusion when the celebrity located the grave-site of her relative of generations past and greeted it with “what’s up”, I thought how irreverent!  The first words from her mouth should have been that she would have loved to have known him and thank him for his contribution to the war, politics and her family.

Kookie

Military Monday- Saving Lives Rather Than Take Them

Posted on by 0 comment

Judson M Hemperley, Sr

Judson Manuel Hemperley was born on October 14, 1919 in Ida, Louisiana to Luther London and Sybil Cain Hemperley. Luther went to work for Cities Service and his wife and children moved to Haynesville, Louisiana where she owned a dress shop. Judson had one sister, Iris Bliss, who was killed in her senior year of high school from an accidental gun discharge.

Judson, in the 1940 census for Haynesville, Louisiana, was residing with his parents and wife, Helen Burge Hemperley, whom he had married on October 18, 1939 in Magnolia, Arkansas. It also says he had completed one year of college and had been out of work for 58 weeks even though his occupation was listed as an oilfield laborer.

On November 30, 1942 he enlisted in the U. S. Army and served until January 4, 1946 as a medic attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant. His first child, Judson Manuel, Jr., was born November 1, 1943 while he was in service in Germany.

For a time after he got out of the Army, Judson worked in the oilfield business in the boom of East Texas. In 1960 Judson relocated his family to Grants, New Mexico to the Uranium boom. His hobbies included gardening, fishing and cooking. He resided in Grants until his death at age 90 on February 10, 2010.

For many years, Judson would not speak of the war or his efforts to save lives rather than take them. It was only at the urging of one of his grandchildren and working with Doug Bocaz-Larson and his wife, Kim, a documentary film was made of his war experiences. Mr. Bocaz-Larson is the Program Manager for computer science and creative media instructor for New Mexico State University in Grants, New Mexico. In the fall of 2009 that documentary, “Saving Lives in World War II”, won an Emmy for the Southwest Rocky Mountain region.

Saving Lives in World War II, Judson M Hemperley

This video of Saving Lives in World War II can be seen here.

Judson, along with another WW II vet, was interviewed by CNN regarding their service in the war. The video for this is located here, if you want to be a member of the site, you can sign up and search for Judson Manuel Hemperley.

Another Video about his saving lives can be seen here:

In these videos he recalls treating soldiers, saving lives at the Nazi Prison Camp, the stench of cremation’s, treating a little girl with a severed arm and walking through land mines to rescue fallen soldiers. Such atrocities you and I can’t even begin to imagine! He ate on the run, slept little and went from a 42” waist to a 35” waist during the same time period.

Look deeply into his compassionate blue eyes and listen as his gentle voice recants his life during service as a medic and you will see why it took him so many years to tell his war stories. Be thankful for your wounded relatives in World War II who returned home due to the dedication, training and American pride of medics like Judson Manuel Hemperley. A man committed to saving lives rather than take them.

Judson M Hemperley

Military Monday-All Gave Some, Some Gave All in World War II

Posted on by 0 comment

World War II began in Europe in September 1, 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. The United States was not involved until December 7, 1941 when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. That day, our president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt made the statement that this was “a date that will live in infamy”. The following day, December 8, 1941, the United States declared war on Japan and Germany.

In order to give you a better understanding of the impact this war had on my families, I will tell you that my great-grandfather, Benjamin Noel Bain, and his sister Sara Bain Stout, my great grand-aunt, both moved to Ida, Louisiana in the early 1880s. They were pillars of the community and raised their families there. During the 1940’s times were difficult. Jobs were scarce and many young men went into the Civilian Conservation Corp that operated from 1933-1942. The CCC was for unemployed single men, ages 18-25, to relieve families who had difficulties finding jobs during the Great Depression. They were provided shelter, clothing, food and wages of $30.00 per month of which $25.00 had to be sent home to their families. There was gas rationing and no tires. Many products that could be used in the war were difficult to find much less afford. Families took care of each other. Women worked as never before and became Rosie the Riveters. My aunt, Anna Martin Dodd worked at the Army Ammunition Depot. Some men were either drafted or enlisted, not only to support The United States, but their families as well. All Gave Some. All were forced to give or give up something.

I do not know the population of Ida during the 1940s; however I do know that there were 150 young men and women that served in World War II. Of those 150, at least 18, (or 12%), were direct descendants of these two individuals. Some parents had four or five family members involved in the conflict. I can’t even begin to imagine the worry, love and concern these parents felt. I would like to share some of my Martin and Bain heroes that were involved in that conflict, which was supposedly “the war to end all wars”. The one where Some Gave All.

Children of JOHN HENRY AND MAMIE ALMEDIA WYNN BAIN:

Chris BainMina Chrystal Bain Bond served as a Pvt. in the WAC as a photographer and worked at the Navy Hospital in Hot Springs, AR.

 

 

 

 

Rex BainRex was a 1C Petty Officer in the Navy Stationed in the Hawaiian Islands where Admiral Chester Nimitz was the Commander of the Pacific Ocean Areas. He was stationed on the northern side of Oahu at Makalapa when he received a call from his brother, Max (see below). Rex went to see him at Pearl Harbor, however Max was in Honolulu. Through some sweet talking, pulling strings and knowing higher officers, he was able to get Max transferred from the boat to shore duty; therefore Max was not in Pearl Harbor when it was bombed. Max was able to finish his enlistment in the Navy on shore on Oahu. A brother takes care of a brother!!

Max BainMax was a Seaman 2 C in the Navy and served in the Pacific and was at Pearl Harbor.

 

 

 

 

Roy BainRoy enlisted in the Navy. From the book Ida 2000 by James Allison of Ida: “Roy in 1944 was a pipefitter at the plant in Oak Ridge, TN., that built the first nuclear reactor later used to build the first atomic bomb. After Roy left Oak Ridge, he joined the Navy and had basic training at San Diego. He was on a ship headed for the war zone in the Pacific when word came that the Japanese had surrendered.

Charles (Jackie) WestbrookCharles Jackie Westbrook was also in the Navy and was married to Ludie, daughter of John Henry and Mamie.

 

 

 

William Hinkle Stroud, JrT Sgt. William Hinkle Stroud, Jr. was in the Army and was married to Ludie.

 

 

 

 

 

Children of ED BAIN AND BUENA MARTIN BAIN:

Laurice BainLaurice was with the Ordinance Ammunition Company in Okinawa and served as a Sgt. in the Army.

 

 

 

 

J. T. BainJ. T. was a Master Sgt. in the Air Force serving in India as a mechanic with a P38 fighter squadron.

 

 

 

 

Marvin BainMarvin was a Staff Sgt. who served in England as a shipping and receiving clerk with the 8th Air Force.

 

 

 

 

 

Justine BainJustine became a 2nd Lt. in the Army Nurse Corp and was stationed at Camp Robinson, AR.

 

 

 

 

Houston BainJames Houston was stationed in Germany with a tank destroyer unit. He was a Tec 5 in the Army.

 

 

 

 

 

CHILDREN OF WALTER HOUSTON MARTIN AND EMMA PEARL BAIN MARTIN:

Ray MartinRay Houston served in the Army’s 60th Infantry whose commander was Gen. George Patton. He was a Pvt. and served in Tunisia. He had also been in the CCC prior to his enlistment. Ray was killed in Tunisia on March 29, 1943 however his body was not returned and buried until July 7, 1948. As a child I remember the family gathering at my grandmother’s home place where Ray’s flag draped casket was placed in the dining room until the day of the burial. Family members sat up all night with it until burial the next day. Children were allowed in the room but must be quiet at all times. At the time of his death, he was engaged to Mary Craft of Leesville, LA. In my genealogy research I have written for his service records only to find out the repository had burned and the only record I was able to attain was his last pay record from Tunisia.

Roy MartinRoy Ernest served in the CCC prior to his enlistment in the Army.

 

 

 

Claude Norris (Buster) GinglesClaude Gingles, married to Gladys Martin, daughter of Walter and Pearl, served in both the Army in the infantry and the Air Force as a fireman. He retired as a Staff Sgt. and had served in Germany, Panama, and the Philippines.

 

 

 

James HansonJames Hanson, son of Gladys, enlisted under aged in the Navy and was returned home.

 

 

 

GRANDSON OF SARA BAIN STOUT:

Fletcher's CablegramFletcher Adams served as an AF Captain. He was an Ace P51 Mustang Fighter Pilot of the airplane “The Southern Belle.” In Europe in the 357th Fighter Group, also known as “The Yoxford Boys”. He had married Mary Yancey and when he left for Europe, she was expecting their first child. The Southern Belle was shot down over Germany on May 30, 1944. Fletcher was able to bail out safely however he was found and killed by Nazis. Fletcher never saw his son Jerry but did receive a cablegram announcing his birth as shown in this photo.

 

 

 

 

 

Another announcement regarding Fletcher’s son’s birth is listed below.

Fletcher's son's birth

On July 24, 2010 the former one room post office that serviced Ida for many years was renamed and dedicated as the Fletcher E. Adams, USAF 357th Fighter Group Museum. The dedication included the following dignitaries: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jendal, Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover, as well as some pilots of the 357th Fighter Group. Those in attendance included pilots Gen. Frank Gailer, Jesse Frey, Joe Shea and General Chuck Yeager, crew chief Pasquale Buzzes and widows of pilots Lt. Arval “Robie” Roberson and John Sublet. Joey Maddox, son of Ida’s Mayor “Smokie” Maddox has written a book entitled Bleeding Sky, the Story of Capt. Fletcher E. Adams and the 357th Fighter Group. Much of the content of the book is based on Fletcher’s personal diary.

A lot has changed through the years since Benjamin Noel Bain and his sister moved to Ida. The drug store has long been gone as well as the dance hall, saloons, train depot, sawmill, grocery stores, plantations, hotel and the iceman. Much remains the same like the community that is dedicated to each other, the preservation of the history of its first settlers and the American Spirit.

In conclusion I would say should your travels take you through Ida, be sure to turn at the red light and visit the Fletcher E. Adams USAF 357th Fighter Group Museum. Cross the street and see the beautiful marker that lists the thirteen (13) service men out of the 150 from Ida who died in World War II. The Ida Community Center also serves as a repository for documents and miscellany of all Ida soldiers who have fought in various wars.

RayMartin's name on Monument in Ida

All Gave Some

Some Gave All

Kookie

The Five R’s of Tommy Stanley

Posted on by 4 comments

Guest post by my 3rd cousin 1 x removed, Kookie Hemperley.

In this age of “going green” I would like to share how my brother, Tommy Stanley, has given new meaning to the words, recycle, repurpose, re-gift, redesign and rewards. I’m sure as you see his creations you will agree he has given these words new meanings. But before we get into that, let me introduce you to Tommy.

Tommy was the second child of six born to Mamie Martin and Clyde Stanley. In a family that large, we all wore hand-me-downs and didn’t have too many toys. Sometimes if you wanted a new toy you had to use your imagination and “recycle” a worn out bicycle wheel into a rim that you rolled around with a stick. Or a bottle became the forerunner of “Hot Wheels”. Or empty cans became airborne toys when you played “kick the can”. It was creativity to the max and we were happy with what we had. Thus, the birth of “recycling” for Tommy.

Tommy worked most of his adult life as a body shop man in several Ford dealerships throughout East Texas. One day, when work was slow, he was talking to one of his co-workers who had lost everything in a house fire. Everything but one lone spur. Tommy took the spur back to the body shop, polished it out and had the reward of seeing his co-worker’s surprise of the beauty of the only object salvaged from his loss.

That day set Tommy thinking. As a child he had seen a pair of brass spurs our Uncle Ray Martin had bought on a trip to Mexico before he entered World War II. (Ray was killed in Tunisia, North Africa on March 29, 1943.) That day he decided he would replicate them even though he had never attempted to make a pair of spurs.

He took a pair of ordinary horse shoes, straightened them into bars and then bent the horse shoes the opposite direction. That became the portion of the spur that would fit around a boot heel. He shaped, curved, filed, polished and refined it even more. When finished, he sent them out to be chromed. Once chromed, he took them to a leather shop owned and operated by a Mexican gentleman. As soon as the man saw them he said, “Chee-Wa-Wa”, which he went on to explain was style of spurs made in Chihuahua, Mexico. Could Uncle Ray have visited “Chee-Wa-Wa” when he bought his? Tommy then added a gold-plated rowel and the finished product is shown below.

Since that first pair was created, Tommy now makes spurs for bull riders, ropers, and pleasure riders. He says the most rewarding pair he made was for an insurance agent near Tyler. The man was a competing Western pleasure rider who’d had an auto accident, leaving his right arm and leg incapable of giving the horse the proper cues. He was in need of spurs that could be modified and realigned and contacted Tommy. Tommy went to his ranch, put the man on the horse, took measurements and went home to build the new spurs. Once finished, the man was able to once again ride competitively.

Pictured below are some of the spurs and branding irons Tommy custom builds.

This pair has brass inlays.

Work spurs made from horseshoes with branding iron.

Dressy in black leather and chrome.

Most recently Tommy has begun to “recycle” and “repurpose” silverware into jewelry. Spoons are used for rings, bracelets, and pendants. He also “recycles” estate costume from estate sales, garage sales, friends, and family into jewelry. My niece had a friend with some silver flatware from her grandmother that she wanted to use but didn’t know exactly what she wanted. Tommy designed a ring, earrings, and a bracelet. Now, it is worn daily and keeps fond memories of her grandmother near.

Recently he restrung pearls into a necklace, bracelet and earring that will be worn by a soon to be bride.

Here are some of his latest creations:

Arrowhead earrings.

Cross made from spoons but he also makes bookmarks and key chains.

Redesigned turquoise.

Spoon acorn and oak leaf.

Hair barrette from a belt with spoon holder.

Shell pendant made from slotted serving spoon that has hammered ribs and filed outer edges.

An assortment of crosses made from horse shoe nails and stainless.

Since Tommy’s retirement his workshop is located in his garage in Mineola, Texas. When asked where he gets his patterns, he replied, “In my head.” He is also quick to point out that he has no laser cutter, nor computer for designing. Each design is his own creation and each piece is handcrafted using adapted hand saws, files and hammers. I would add they are also crafted with a lot of patience, skill and pride. I’m sure our great-grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Stanley, who worked on horse farms and had a blacksmith shop, would certainly agree!

Kookie

What’s Between the Dashes?

Posted on by 0 comment

Guest post by Kookie Hemperley

Sometimes, when walking through a graveyard searching for an ancestor’s final resting place, I am reminded of words spoken by a preacher at a funeral I attended many years ago. He said that one’s life is not reflected in the stone that marks the grave but rather the way that person lived his/her life between the dashes. So, it matters not the size or shape of the stone, just the dashes.

Many of our ancestors passed long before we know if they were kind, loving, funny, rich, poor, Christian or savages, but oh I long to know more! While I may never know what color eyes they had, if they were short or tall, maybe I can learn more about them by studying their stones. And in so doing, gain a little insight to that person’s life between the dashes.

What I have learned about stones is:

A grave with shells represents the final journey to the other side.
This one with a Bible on top and the gates of Heaven opening tells me my great- great grandmother was greeted by the angel depicted on the stone and she was a Christian lady. The opening gates represent passing from this life into her Heavenly home. An open Bible most likely is on the headstone of a minister.

 

These two indicate membership in fraternal orders:

 

Hearts and rings are symbols of marriage and souls in bliss:

 

Children’s headstones often have cherubs, angels or lambs which signify innocence:

Clearly there are many more symbols etched in stone:

Flying birds represent the Flight of the Soul.

Ivy represents friendship and immortality and the Dove stands for innocence, gentleness, affection, purity or peace.

A cross is an emblem of faith and resurrection.

A linked chain designates existence while a broken chain is the end of earthly existence and a three link chain is an emblem of the Order of the Odd Fellows.

A crown exemplifies the soul’s achievement and the glory of life after death.

Hands pointing up are the pathway to Heaven.

Praying hands are asking God for eternal life and clasped hands are farewells.

Occasionally you might come across pennies left on a tombstone or stones on the grave. Pennies are much akin to coins in a fountain, or offered to the deceased for advice. It is said that in the Jewish religion they do not place flowers at the grave but leave a stone noting they were there.

While searching for an ancestor that died in the Civil war at Vicksburg, I was surprised to learn that the National Parks Cemetery does not have any Confederate soldiers buried within the boundaries of the Park. The Federal Government did not recognize the Confederate deaths until after 1898. Prior to that date it had been left up to the Southern states to bury and maintain cemeteries of the fallen soldiers. Those who died at Vicksburg are buried in a city owned cemetery, Cedar Hill, and it is currently maintained by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. All southern soldiers who were killed or died of disease during the siege on Vicksburg are buried behind Southern lines.

In some cemeteries which have soldiers from the Confederate and the Yankee regiments, the Confederate tombstones face west as a way to separate them from Northern soldiers. On another note, Southerners favored tombstones that were pointed at the top rather than round. That insured that no Yankee would be able to sit on their grave! They are rare, but do exist.

In honor of our families who lost loved ones, or had loved ones in any war, I submit the following as a memorial to them:

Recently I received an email regarding the veterans’ tombstones that are placed in all National Cemeteries. The video was shown on CBS Sunday Morning News and tells of the white Vermont marble used for each deceased veteran buried in a Nation Cemetery. The care and respect that goes into making each tombstone is explained at the website listed below:

CBS News Sunday Morning News (The marble of our heroes’ headstones) – IMDb http://www.imdb.com/video/cbs/vi826318105/

While I haven’t filled in many of the dashes I’ve located, I do feel a sense of getting to know some of my relatives better. Some were benevolent, some Christian, some champions of our daily freedom. Sadly to say, no how hard I try, some tombstones I’ve been searching for just aren’t there anymore and so there are no dashes…… no clues to help me understand my past heritage. But it does set one’s mind into fast forward when I wonder just what my dashes will say!

Kookie Hemperley

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Category: Headstones | Tags:
Bulk Email Sender