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I have just heard the very sad news that we lost a cousin while I was gone to my son’s boot camp graduation. Please join me in remembering Gene Davis and if you have any special stories or photos you would like to share, I will be happy to pass them on to his nephew, Tony Davis. You can leave a comment below, or send me one through the contact me form on the side of the page. Our prayers and thoughts are with his family.
Mr. Clarence Gene Davis, 84, of Newport, departed this life on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at his home. He was born April 21, 1929 in Texarkana, Arkansas, the son of Clarence T. and Estelle (Ginnings) Davis.
Mr. Davis was a 1947 graduate of Texarkana High School, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Southern State College. He was former city manager of Newport 1970-1973, and on the Newport Housing Authority. He was also retired Director of the Texarkana Housing Authority. Mr. Davis was a United States Army veteran, serving 1953-1957, and was a Mason. He enjoyed duck hunting and collecting antiques.
Mr. Davis was preceded in death by his parents; one brother, Lynn A. Davis; a brother-in-law, Marvin Langston; and one sister-in-law, Rebecca Richey.
He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Agnes (Langston) Davis of the home; sisters-in-law, Sue Davis of Little Rock, Faye Benson of Harrisburg, Dorothy Smith of Truman, Betty Garner of Walnut Ridge, and JoAnn Richmond of Jonesboro; brothers-in-law, Earvin Langston of Jonesboro, David Langston of Walnut Ridge, Harold Langston of Walnut Ridge, Bill Langston, Jimmy Langston, Douglas Langston, Johnny Langston, Phillip Langston, and Terry Langston, all of Jonesboro; and several nieces and nephews.
Friends may visit at the funeral home Friday, 5:00-7:00 p.m. Funeral services are 10:00 a.m. Saturday at Jackson’s Newport Funeral Home Chapel with interment in Sulphur Rock Cemetery.
Those honored to serve as pallbearers are Shannon Richmond, Johnny Henderson, Tony Davis, Barry Pippenger, Johnny Langston, Terry Langston, and Bill Langston. Honorary pallbearers Earvin Langston, David Langston, Harold Langston, Jimmy Langston, Douglas Langston, Phillip Langston, and Marvin Poe.
Hey there! Yep, it’s me. Still here. I just had to take a break for a bit. I had too much on my plate and other things had to come first.
Like 6th grade homework…. Uggghh!
Uggghh, is about all I can say about that on here, but the amount of homework sent home daily is redonk! Poor Knucklehead has no life outside of school. So much for being a kid.
Anyway, between the chores, chickens, and homework, you can see priorities had to change a bit. But, I think I have a good system down now and can spend some quality time with my Ancestors for a few hours each week while Knucklehead is at school.
Knock on wood, because I have said that before.
I have spent the last week or so, entering in information from a road trip I took back in October of 2008. Yes, I realize that was five years ago. I was such a newbie then that I didn’t even put information in a family tree. I just collected it. Now, I’m adding things to my tree and since I spent the last week or so going over the Roleke information, I thought I would share here with you all, my first genealogy road trip. I have had several since then, but this was a really special trip because I got to share it with my Momma before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She, myself and my sister-in-law Addie loaded up in the car and drove to Bethany, Missouri. What a treat this was.
Also, it was special because we just enjoyed the moment. We took our time and whatever information I got was glorious and it didn’t matter if I didn’t find the one thing I was looking for because I wasn’t looking for anything specific. We just wanted to see where our Ancestor’s live, and my Momma hoped to learn about her grandmother.
I thank God every time I think about this trip because if I had taken any other trip at that time, I would not be as hooked into my family history as I am now. We found out so much stuff on that trip that it almost addicted me. I just wanted to see what else I could find out, and when and how could I?
Ok, I know you are saying almost addicted? Ok, I admit, I am addicted to it. My children and grandchildren will thank me one day.
The reason we picked Bethany was because of one little news article clipped into my Momma’s baby book. Here it is:
I guess Mother hadn’t spent much time looking in her baby book (I have told you before, but her baby book was in the pile of stuff my grandmother was going to throw away and I saved) because when I asked her about her great-grandfather William Roleke, being a Mayor, she had no clue. Her grandfather J.T. Parks, never talked about her grandmother’s family, the Roleke’s. It was too painful for him I guess, and he had remarried and put his life back together. You see my mother’s grandmother, Helen Roleke Parks died after giving birth to her father, Bill (William John) Parks. It was a very sad time for her Granddad Parks. In fact, he never once mentioned it to my mother, but his wife Missie, who my mother called Nanny, and loved so much was the one who finally told her. My Momma was stunned. She had always thought Nanny was her grandmother. It didn’t change a thing for her and Nanny though. Nanny was always so good to her.
After reading that clipping in my mother’s baby book, I started digging a little more through my grandmother’s things and I found a newspaper from Bethany with Helen Parks’ obit on the front page. You can read about that here, on my Sympathy Saturday – Helen Roleke Parks post.
A search of Google before we left let me know there was a road in Bethany, named Roleke. There was a park in Bethany named Roleke, and I could see on Google maps, in street view that the house William lived in, was still there. I also knew that the Harrison County Genealogical Society was there in Bethany, and we planned our trip around when they would be open.
Loaded with where I needed to go and what I wanted to see, we took off. After a 7 hour road trip, we made it to Bethany.
We checked into our hotel room and headed straight to the cemetery. We were more than amazed at what we found at the Miriam Cemetery.
The family plot headstone was massive, and finally, here they were, my great-grandmother Helen Roleke Parks, and my 2nd great-grandfather, William Roleke and my 2nd great-grandmother, Anna Schultze Roleke. I would later find out that Edith Morgan Roleke, also in the plot, was William’s 2nd wife.
This was pretty emotional for Momma. Here she stood at the grave of her grandmother, her namesake, a woman she’d never met. And she wept. And then I wept. I think Addie did too, but she can usually hold it together pretty good. To show you the size of the headstone, here is me and Momma standing next to it.
This photo of Momma and Addie was from the next day, we had to go back and take one because I guess I was so emotional while there, I never thought of photos, Addie saved the day on that and I wanted a picture of Addie there too.
We placed flowers, and spent quite a bit of time there.
If you will notice on the right side of the next photo, down the hill we found another plot of Roleke’s. We put flowers beside the plot marker there as well.
Come to find out, that plot belonged to the family of Herman Roleke. Cousin to my William Roleke. He came from Germany before William did, and William settled here in Bethany and started working with Herman at his Tailor Shop.
Here is the Herman Roleke Plot. There are 16 people buried in his plot, with 13 headstones. At the time, I didn’t know who they were or how they connected, but I have since put the pieces together.
After this, since it was pretty emotional, we decided to just see some sites around town and get a lay of the land. We found Roleke road. I thought at the time, that since William was Mayor of Bethany for 36 years, that Roleke road was named after him. I’m not so sure as Herman was also a major pillar of the community and it could just as easily have been named for him. Either way, I don’t care. I’m happy and proud to say I’m related to either one of them and regardless of which one it was, the road is still named after my family.
Thank you Addie, for taking these priceless pictures. I actually have this photo in a frame. It marked such a special moment for me with my Mom, and Addie. This trip was where my love for digging up family history really began.
Next we found Roleke Park. I did not take good pictures. This was my first time, what can I say. Maybe I will get to go back one day and take more. I think at the time, I thought they were good. Ha Ha
Herman Roleke originally owned this land and built the park. This is the spot where most of the scenes I have found on old postcards and in books is located.
Here is the Pavilion where a plaque had been placed in honor of Herman Roleke. Did I take a picture of the whole Pavilion? No, no I did not. Dumb.
Then we drove to where William’s house was. I couldn’t believe the house was still there.
I shyly knocked on the door, and even though this car was parked out front no one came to the door. This being my first trip, not really sure of what I should or shouldn’t do. We left, and didn’t go back by.
Now a days, knowing more about research and learning all that I have learned about that house – I would keep going back until someone came to the door.
Then we went to the Harrison County Historical Society. If I filled this page with nothing but nice things about the Society, it wouldn’t be enough. They have really done the work there. I made a copy of anything that had the name Roleke in it.
One of the best things I found was this obituary there that actually had a picture of Anna Roleke, my 2nd great-grandmother. I had never seen her before, and still to this day have not found another picture of her, so this was worth the whole drive alone, and it was just one of many treasures we found that day.
Here is just one of the many things I found about Herman Roleke.
Then the kind ladies at the Historical Society directed me to the Bethany Clipper office, the local newspaper where I found some information in books about William Roleke. One thing about it, when you are Mayor of a town for 36 years, there is a lot of information out there about you.
I found out the Tailor shop used to be on the town square next to the Bethany Clipper.
I wish I had taken this picture from the same angle, but I did not. There again, I was a Newbie.
Right across from this is of course the courthouse. Did I go in the courthouse? NO! Like an idiot!!! I thought I had found so much at the Historical Society what else could I possibly need, right? Uggghh! I wish I could go back and kick my former self. We did find a lot though and the trip was worth it, and for a Newbie, I did pretty dang good. So good it just took me a week to add all the stuff I got on this trip to my family tree.
If you have any Roleke relatives from the Bethany area, contact me. I have put all the information on my ancestry.com and I will be glad to share it with you.
Also, I need to stress to you that if you are a newbie, like I was during this trip, always check the local historical society, I can’t even begin to tell you all the wonderful things I found there. Plan your trip around this, trust me.
Next, check the courthouse. Everyone is always talking about their AHA moments, I call that my DUH moment. CHECK THE COURTHOUSE!!!
Check the local paper. Would I have ever known William’s business was next door had I not??
Of course, check the cemeteries, all of them in the town if you have time.
Check the phone book, and call some local’s while you are there. I tried this, but they all thought I was crazy. Which is true.
Search out cousins!! Some of the articles mentioned that my grandfather had a cousin Bill Jones. I found him!! Alive and well and living in Portland, Oregon! And if you think alive and well isn’t a big deal, you haven’t been doing genealogy for very long. Everyone you find is dead and gone! Anyway, Bill and I talk often and he sent me some killer photos and get this, he sent me the actual certificates my great-grandmother received when she graduated from Osteopathy school. Most importantly, he’s a link to my family and my history and I enjoy so much talking with him. I hope to meet him one day.
And last, but not least, knock on doors, and wait for them to answer! You never know what history they might know!
I need your help in locating Mary George Herring Bickley’s tombstone. First, I would like to give you a little information on her.
Please meet Mary George Hooker Herring Bickley, my 3rd great-grandmother.
She is the daughter of Alfred Hooker (1806-1893) and Martha Clark Hooker (1811-1875).
She first married Joseph F. Herring (1839-1875) on 19 Jun 1865 in Lafayette Co., Arkansas. She had five children with Joseph F. Herring: Alfred Smith Herring (1866-1943), my 2nd great-grandmother Martha Alice Herring (1867-1945), Owen Corinth Herring (1870-1878), Joseph W. Herring (1872-1943), and Mary Alga Herring (1874-1882).
She next married Jacob J. Bickley (1826-1884). They did not have any children together. Jacob had previously been married to her sister, Sarah Catherine R. Hooker (1831-1881). Jacob and Sarah had five children: Mittie B. Bickley Little (1853-1912), Samuel C. Bickley (1856-1865), Jacob Guy Bickley (1858-1935), Joseph R Bickley (1861-1866) and Matthew A. Bickley (1875-1886).
Now, please forgive if I got the spelling wrong Bickley/Bickly. At some point, some of them dropped the “e” and some did not. I can’t keep it straight as I have seen all the names spelled both ways.
I have been unable to locate the final resting place for Mary George. I have my suspicions that she is buried in Harmony Grove Cemetery, in Texarkana, Arkansas. Possibly in this plot. I could be wrong.
I also suspect this is where Jacob J. Bickley is buried, but I have yet to find a headstone. The broken headstone could be either one of them, or someone else completely. It’s also been broken for a very long time. I found this picture of Bobbie and Trudie (East) Harris at Grandpa (Major) Harris’ funeral. He died on March 10, 1955 and as you can see in the top right of the photo, it was broken then.
It’s directly in front of the tall headstone for Remica Bickly, Jacob Guy Bickly’s wife, and right behind it is the headstone for Matthew A Bickley, the son of Sarah and Jacob J. Bickley.
I have tracked Mary George to the 1910 census, widowed and 75 years old, living with her son Alfred S. Herring in Cove, Arkansas. She is listed as a Herring even though I believe her name was Bickley unless she changed it back after Jacob died in 1884. I lost her after this, and she was a no-show on the 1920 census.
If anyone has knowledge of whose broken tombstone that is in the Harmony Grove Cemetery, or where Mary George is buried, I would really like to hear from you. I also have quite a bit of information on the Bickley/Bickly family that Florence Bickly Crank was kind enough to share with me.
This is a photo of Dr. Josiah McGee Bland’s headstone from way back in the day. Dr. Bland is the great-great-grandfather of Nedra Harris Turney, through her mother, Katherine D. McJunkins Harris. Nedra’s cousin, Helen Marie McAdams had the photo above.
In the photo below you can see the difference in the cemetery, and how much it has grown, around his grave.
What a difference time makes.
This is a close up of his headstone.
Dr. Bland served in CO E. 4th ARK INF for the CSA.
This is Dr. Josiah McGee Bland.
He was born 19 Jan 1842 and he died on 14 Feb 1891. He is buried in Saratoga Cemetery, in Saratoga, Arkansas.
This is how Dr. Bland is related to Nedra.
If you would like to know more, or connect with Nedra, feel free to contact me and I will put you in touch.