Category Archives: Treasure Chest Thursday

Treasure Chest Thursday – Meeting Ross Perot

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Remember a while back when I told you I had some great things coming up in April?  Well, I did and I just now have time to tell you all about it.

Back when Ross Perot ran for president, I was laying on the floor in my grandmother’s (Mary Ball Parks) room and we were watching coverage on the elections.  My grandmother pointed to him on the television and said “That is my cousin.”  Well, lets just say I didn’t believe her at first.  She had never mentioned him before. At any rate, it turned out to be true.

Sort of.

Let me explain.

When my grandmother died and I got interested in all this genealogy, I always had this information in the back of my mind but I never really acted on it.  Then one day, Nedra told me about this news article that ran in the Texarkana Gazette about a barn that burnt down in Texarkana out on hwy 82, and this article mentioned Ross Perot.

Newsarticle about old Parks Barn

Just so happens this barn was built by my-great grandfather, Granddad Parks (John Triggs Parks).  This barn was magnificent .  Here is a picture of it back in the day, when Granddad Parks would show his trotting horses.

JT Parks Barn at his Farm on Hwy 82 Texarkana

Here is Granddad Parks, showing one of his horses.

JT Parks

When Granddad Parks sold the farm, he sold it AC Smith, a very good friend of his and now AC’s son, Lynn Smith owns the farm.  Anyway, the Perot’s came here to this farm and rode horses, and I’m not sure if it was the connection to my grandmother that brought them there, or if it was just the place to be.  My grandmother, Mary Ball Parks was married to J.T. Parks’ son, William Parks.

Anyway, this got me to thinking about my connection with Ross Perot, so Nedra got me the contact information for his secretary.  Rather than call, I printed up quite a selection of charts and genealogy and wrote a nice letter and sent it off to the attention of his secretary.

Three days later, (yes, only three days) my phone rings as I’m walking through Wal-mart of all places and I didn’t recognize the number but decided to answer anyway, and I hear, “Is this Susie Reynolds?” to which I reply, “Yes, it is.” and then I hear “Ross Perot, here.”

What, What???

You could have knocked me over with a feather, and I was very glad to have the cart to lean on.

I’m not sure what I really expected, but it wasn’t for him to call me up directly.  I figured that package of paper would go straight to the trash bin or junk pile, or I would get some kind of a form letter back.  That was not the case.  He called me personally three times that day and we finally figured out that our connection was through his grandmother, Maggie Anderson Perot Ball, aka Mama Ball.  Here she is.

Maggie Anderson Perot Ball aka Mama Ball

Turns out Maggie was married to Gabriel Elias Perot, with whom she had Ross Perot’s father, Gabriel Ross Perot, Sr.  After her husband died, she remarried my great-great uncle Wade Ball.  I do not have a picture of him.  Maggie and Wade did not have any children together, but my grandmother grew up playing with Ross’ father as cousins, even though there was no blood relation.

At any rate, Ross Perot had a wonderful lady in his office, Libby Craft call me.  She had been working on Ross’ genealogy for quite some time and she and I have traded information and she sent me the photo of Maggie above.  She graciously extended me an invitation to meet Ross Perot and I jumped at the offer.

So, Nedra Harris Turney and I, along with my cousins, Sam Ball III, and Karen Ball Cowan headed to Dallas and we met Mr. Perot, and Libby on April 15th.

Sam Ball III, Susie Reynolds, Ross Perot and  Karen Ball Cowan

Sam Ball III, Susie Reynolds, Ross Perot and Karen Ball Cowan

I don’t know why I didn’t get a good picture of Nedra with us, that was really goofy of me.  I guess I was just caught up in the moment but I did snap this picture of Nedra chatting with him while they were giving us a grand tour of his offices.

Nedra Harris Turney with Ross Perot

Here I am with Libby Craft.  I’m so glad that I got to meet her!

Susie Reynolds and Libby Craft

One of the things that struck me so about Mr. Perot is his obvious love for family which is why I’m so sure he was so gracious to us.  When I asked him about his father he smiled really big and he said, “He was my best friend!”

His father bought and sold cotton, and a long time ago he gave Ross a list of his thoughts on what it takes to be successful.  Ross had these printed up and gives each of his employees a copy of this.  Yes, he gave me one too!  Maybe now I can make something of myself! Ha!

All kidding aside, Mr. Perot has so many accomplishments that I couldn’t even begin to list them all here which is why Wikipedia is out there if you really want to know.  Also, he’s written some books, one of which he gave to me with his autograph, and it’s a great story of his life! Check amazon for that.

I have to say though, I have never met a more gracious, generous, or kind man.  As I walked the hallways of his office and looked at all the milestones and achievements of his life on the walls I was so amazed.  I’m a big supporter of our Veteran’s, but Mr. Perot is a man of action!  He gives freely his time, his money and his service to our Veteran’s and is instrumental in helping so many of them receive the care they need.

I’m so proud to have met him and that is why he is my Treasure Chest Thursday.

Here are a few pictures from around his office.  There were many hallways and we were there for two hours and only managed to see a few of them.

Hallway of Perot's Office

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Oh, yeah!  He has his own Starbucks!

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Maybe on another post I’ll share with you some of the military things that were hanging about, but for today these pertain to family.

His love of his wife Margo is obvious every where you go and this is just one of the many spots he has portraits of them hanging.

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Here are some pictures about his sister Bette.

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One of several family portraits he has hanging about of his family.

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And my favorite wall pertaining to family:

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Mr. Perot is a huge supporter of Texarkana College.  My cousin Karen Ball Cowan works there and years ago my father was a student there on a basketball scholarship.   Thanks to Mr. Perot and his generous heart, the college is still open.

I could go on and on about Mr. Perot and perhaps I will do another post in a day or two, but I thank Mr. Perot and Libby for so graciously welcoming us and sharing with us all things Perot.  It was such a great day and I am so glad to have been given the opportunity to meet a “sort of” cousin!

Susie

Treasure Chest Thursday – Notes from the Past

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Since I started this journey in 2007, I have wished and wished that I would have asked my grandmother Mary Ball Parks about her family.

Many times, I have said to myself or whoever is listening to the fool things I say, “Just send me a clue, a sign, anything!”

But, haven’t we all??  It is the biggest regret of almost every family historian and genealogist I know.  Everyone wishes they could ask just one more question. We all know that its impossible to ask anymore questions so I ask for signs or clues.

Well, I got a sign! Well, not a sign, but a note and that’s even better!

Jealous?

Ok, not yet, but you will be.

I went to visit my cousin Karen Ball Cowan and she was kind enough to drag out all of the family memorabilia that her mother and father had saved and let me bring it home to scan. Well among all the stuff, was todays Treasure Chest Thursday topic.

Karen had a note that my 2nd great-grandmother, Venetia Smith Ball had written.  Full of her family history! She mentions the Balls, the Hooks, the Roberts and talks about her husband. So many people she mentions!

Woot! Woot!

So, check this out and be jealous!

Venetia Smith Ball's Notes Side 1

Venetia Smith Ball’s Notes Side 1. Digital Image 2013, by Susie Reynolds. Original held by Karen Ball Cowan of Texarkana, Texas.

Venetia Smith Ball's Notes Side 2

Venetia Smith Ball’s notes Side 2. Digital Image, 2013 by Susie Reynolds. Original Image held by Karen Ball Cowan of Texarkana, Texas.

I kid, I kid (as Knucklehead would say), don’t be jealous.  Just search out your cousins and see what they have.  If they aren’t interested in genealogy, they may not even know what they have and you might just find a treasure like I did!

Who wouldn’t like to get a note from the past?  Now I got clues for more digging!

Happy treasure hunting!

Susie

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