MONDAY’S MAN: JAMES RICHARD STANLEY

Henry Stanleys FamilyBack Row Harold JamesLilie H

The Henry Noil Stanley Family

Back row: Harold, James, Lillie, Henry, Rudolph, Jimmy and Travis

Front Row: Maxine, Jerry and Oneal

My first recollection of James Richard Stanley was when I met him at a Stanley family reunion in 2000 in White Oak, Texas.  James’ father and my grandfather were half brothers, and while I do remember his father, Henry Noil, visiting my grandfather, I do not remember having met him, nor his siblings, until much later in life. My brother Tommy Stanley, had known most of Uncle Henry’s children, and invited them to our reunion.  How glad I am that he introduced me to them!

Henry Noil was born to Thomas Jefferson Stanley and Mary Frances Whittington, Thomas’ second wife.  James was one of eight children born to Henry Noil Stanley and wife, Lillie B. Law.  He was born on July 8, 1935 in Kilgore, Texas.  Most of life, he and his siblings, namely Ennis Harold, Rudolph Eugene, Jimmy Wayne, Travis Edward, Thelma Maxine, Jerry Lee and Noil Oneal, lived in East Texas where Henry worked in the oil fields.

James Richard was born July 8, 1935 in Kilgore, Texas.  He entered the United States Air Force on July 1, 1954 where he worked in the operations work center.  After twenty-one years, he retired with the rank of Master Sargent.

James Richard Stanley, U S Air Force

When he married Erma Maxine Sproles in Gregg County, Texas on December 24, 1977 he also gained a family of three children Maxine had from a former marriage.  They are Tommy, Ruby and Barbara.

James and Maxine Stanley's wedding

Following his retirement in the Air Force and returning to East Texas he was involved in the oil field business but always had time for memberships in charitable organizations such as being a 33rd degree Mason.  He was a member in the Danville Lodge 101 AF & AM, the Valley-Hi Lodge 1407, was a Shriner, the East Texas Governor of Demolay, a member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign War.

James in Shriner's Fez with MaxineJames R Stanley-1

Through our getting acquainted at that reunion in 2000 he and his brothers shared that they didn’t know who their father’s mother was.  Luckily I had gathered information on the Whittingtons, had located her tombstone in Ida and as only too happy to share it with them.  My problem was that while I had located Mary Frances’ tombstone, I had been unable to locate Thomas Jefferson’s.  James Richard had been to Munnerlyn Chapel Cemetery (as a child) and knew where it was!  The tombstone search was on!!

I met James Richard and wife Maxine, his brothers Harold and Travis and his wife, Tricia in Gilliam in April 2012 where we had lunch before setting off to Ida to revisit the Munnerlyn Chapel Cemetery and Bethsaida Baptist Church Cemetery.  Richard remembered there had been a cedar tree by our ancestory, Thomas Jefferson’s marker at Munnerlyn Chapel.  Needless to say, we were all disappointed in not finding a single cedar tree in the cemetery!  Nor a tombstone.

A few miles north on Highway 71 we stopped off at Bethsaida and located Mary Francis’ tombstone, made a few photos and then stopped in Ida at the gazebo for refreshments and me to read excerpts from the book Ida 2000 by James Allison that spoke about the Whittington history in that community.  They bought a copy of that book for their family history while visiting at the Ida Library.

James and Maxine Stanley

James Richard Stanley and wife Erma Maxine Sproles Stanley

James, Tricia, Harold,Travis and Maxine Stanley

James Richard, Tricia (wife of Travis), Harold, Maxine and Travis Stanley

 

James Richard passed away November 28, 2013 but not before he knew about his grandmother.  He is buried at Lakeview Memorial Gardens in Longview, Texas.

Category: Genealogy, Monday's Man | Tags: ,

PIONEERING A NEW FRONTIER: AMANDA LEIGH ROBERTS MATHER

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Amanda and Thomas

Genealogy is researching, documentation of your ancestors, and hopefully finding some interesting stories of their life experiences to record in your family tree. Most of the time, we cannot fathom the hardships they faced or the reasoning as to why they would set off for uncharted territories knowing not what the next day would bring. Often their destinations carried them far from home, with little mail or contact with relatives left behind as they searched for a new and better life.

As the historians of our families, we often overlook those among the living, who also are blazing new trails such as my ginger haired grand niece, Amanda Leigh Roberts and her husband Thomas Tyson Mather V. While Amanda is sharing their story on her blog, Train of Thought, (located at http:/allaboardthetrain.blogspot.com) I would like to give you a little more information about Amanda and Thomas.

Amanda is the first born of James Arthur Roberts and Martha Joan Stanley Maxwell. She grew up in Tyler, Texas and attended Texas A & M University. She and Thomas were married on May 22, 1999 at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Tyler. Both Amanda and Thomas are employed by Texas A & M University; she as Senior Academic Advisor and Thomas as IT.

These two love to travel and have visited a number of countries abroad including Russia, Denmark, Germany, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Poland and the Dominican Republic. They have also traveled extensively in the United States. Just mention “Road Trip!” and their bags are packed.

Late last February or March, job opportunities with Texas A & M opened in to Doha, Qatar where Texas A & M has a campus. As they had dreamed of living abroad, they applied for the positions and in June made a quick trip to explore the campus in Doha and look further into the relocation.

Needless to say, our families were fearful of their leaving the United States and moving to a country most of us knew nothing about. I am sure it was a heavy decision for Thomas and Amanda to make but as Amanda would say, it would allow them to “step outside their bubble”.

On January 15, 2015 they boarded a plane in College Station, flew to Houston then to Frankfurt, Germany for the final leg of the flight to Doha. There were no dry eyes as they left College Station! And as Amanda enlightens us in her blog, the tears flowed most of the journey. Leaving behind family, friends that are family, along with her two fur babies, Pudge and Casey was not easy! (Due to the long flight, the dogs’ ages, quarantine and not knowing how they would be accepted in a foreign country, Pudge and Casey remain at home with a friend who lives in Amanda and Thomas’ home and showers them with love allowing them to sleep any where they please!)

In the few days they have been in Doha they have been exploring the area and were delighted to find a Starbucks and Chili’s. The grocery store has comfort foods such as Old El Paso Mexican food and Blue Bell Ice Cream!!!! Yes!!! Texas food! Their two bedroom apartment has a great view of the city’s skyline. However, traffic is a nightmare in this city of over 1,300,000 people. Thomas has the wi-fi up and running where they can Skype, chat on Face Book and receive email. And, they have already met some ex-patriot Aggies and others from the United States.

While the challenges they face is different from their ancestors’ pioneering travels and life, it is breaking ground in a new frontier for them; brave souls if you ask me. Today is their first day on the job and I, for one, can’t wait for Amanda’s next blog.

Category: Stories, Uncategorized | Tags: ,

PICTURE THIS: BROOKLYN, NEW YORK CHRISTMAS DAY 1925, WITH ALBERT WALDEN EASON, U. S. Navy

Eason, Albert

In the words of Sofia Petrillo (Estelle Getty) as she was about to tell a story on the Golden Girls, “Picture this: Sicily 1925”.   I am re-phrasing it to say: “Picture this: Brooklyn, New York, Christmas Day 1925 with Albert Walden Eason.”

Albert was dedicated to writing a journal daily giving a full accounting of almost every moment of his duties in the U. S. Naval, any mail he received or sent, and other activities of the day.  The diaries, loaned to me by Lane and Winston Eason, his nephews, covered the years from 1924 through 1926.  Prior to Christmas Day 1925 Pharmacy Mate First Class Albert Walden, who worked in the cantina, had already been aboard the U. S. S. Bridgeport in Kingston, Jamaica, San Juan, Porto Rico, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, Guantanamo Bay, Portsmouth, Hampton Roads, and Portsmouth, Virginia.  The account of his activities on Christmas Day 1925 is as follows:

Albert, Christmas Day, page 1 rev

Albert Christmas , pg. 2

As you can see Albert had a wonderful dinner, saw a Vaudeville show, visited a lady friend and went to New York City before returning to base.

I have been told by family members that he continued journaling until his death. Unfortunately I do not know what those books revealed about his later life. On the bright side there are other stories from the diaries loaned to me and more to share regarding his civilian life, marriages and children. They will be forth coming.

At this point I feel grateful for his service as well as those men and women who serve today. Picture this: wouldn’t it be wonderful if all of our military personnel could return home safely to be with family and friends and enjoy a good meal on this Christmas Day?

Category: Christmas, Genealogy | Tags:

ROAD TRIP: HENRY FINCHER EASON, SR: THE REST OF THE STORY

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Henry Fincher Eason

I will never cease to be amazed by the research information, documents, and contacts to be found through internet!  It is truly mindboggling that after extensive research in libraries and courthouses, traipsing through graveyards, genealogy websites, searching high and low, sometimes the “rest of the story” is just a click away.  Such was the case when on October 1st I posted “Road Trip: Henry Fincher Eason”, which is also shared on Facebook.  A long time friend shared that blog with a friend of hers, Lyndal Lane Eason.

Through email, Lane contacted me on Our Families Untold Stories, and told me his grandfather was the brother of Fincher!  He also told me his family held the diary of another uncle, Albert Eason, which would enlighten me as to what lead up to Fincher taking his life.   After several emails and phone calls it was time for another road trip!

It wasn’t long before my genealogy side-kick, Cheri Payton Atkins, and I were in the road to Three States, near Atlanta, Texas, to visit with Lane and his brother, William Winston Eason.  My mind was racing as I drove along wondering of the secrets about to be unveiled; how I would be greeted by the Eason brothers; and would it be possible to copy parts of the diary. All I can say is how incredibly warm and sharing these two men are!

As we sat getting to know each other and chatting about my husband’s connection to the Easons, three diaries written by Uncle Albert were lying before me on Lane’s desk.

Alberts diaries stacked

I could hardly wait until I had them in my hands. The diaries, all written in books issued by the U. S. Navy, contained daily entries about Albert’s naval career, letters from home, and relationships he had with family members. Scattered among the diaries were faded newspaper articles as well as memories recorded by Albert. I couldn’t possibly read it all within the timeframe I had that day. Graciously, Lane and Albert generously loaned them to me to take home to read and copy.

Almost as soon as I arrived home it began raining and so I settled in for the weekend as it would take a while to read all the books. Two contained close to 200 pages and the larger one 400. It was fascinating and like a good novel, I could not put them down!

The newspaper clippings below do not tell which newspapers they appeared nor some of the dates published. Some were entered into Albert’s diary with the dates of when he received them.

Fincher Eason Tax Collector Ends His Life 11-20-1924

Fincher Eason Tax Collector Ends His Life 11-20-1924 continued

In this article you learn that he took his life by ingesting carbolic acid in his Court House office. It also states that he wrote letters grammatically correct, in his perfect penmanship and punctuation precisely accentuated, on the backs of prints of himself that he had planned on using to run for a state office. (Lane and Winston tell me he aspired to become Governor of Arkansas.) Letters addressed to his children and former wife were sealed. He left his wishes for the distribution of his property and speaks of his failing health, as well as accusations against certain individuals.

Fincher Eason Thousands Attend Funeral 12-8-1924

In this article it addresses those in attendance at his funeral, namely the Knights of Templar who conducted the grave services and about seventy-five (75) robed and masked Ku Klux Klansmen! It further states his was said to have been one of the high officials of the Klan. It seems as if he was so highly esteemed that despite his short comings, was regarded as a man with charitable heart and mind who was betrayed by some within his circles.

Before long Sheriff Barber filed claims against Fincher’s estate:

Sheriff files Claims Agains Eason Estate 6-13-1925

Walter S. Harris, administrator of the Estate brings suit to collect tax:

Administrator of Eason Estate Sue to Collect Tax 2-9-1925

And finally, the Bondsmen pay taxes to Arkansas:

 

Bondsmen for Fincher to Pay Arkansas 10-10-1925

Bondsmen for Fincher Pay State 43,000 1-10-1925

While there is much family speculation as to whom Fincher’s wife had an affair with, there is no name mentioned in Albert’s diary, therefore, I cannot document it. What I do know is that his children were taken from his wife at the time of divorce, remained in his custody until his suicide and then were awarded to his sister to rear.

Fincher wrote of his health in the letters he wrote during his last moments, however those letters are sealed and I have been unable to locate a death certificate. I suppose I will never know of his physical condition.

As I have stated in the previous post Fincher was a leader in his community having been a teacher, principal and superintendent. He was Chairmen of the Registration Board in Miller County during WWI; enlisted as a private and became a Captain. He served as Tax Collector and Clerk of Court of Miller County; held memberships in the Mystic Shrine, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Woodmen of the World and was a Baptist. Fincher was a high profile man in Miller County.

Perhaps he was overly ambitious; perhaps politics were his downfall. Perhaps there are things better off unknown. However what is known is that he was admired and forgiven for any wrong doings by the citizens of Miller County, Arkansas as demonstrated by the thousands in attendance at his funeral.

 

Category: Genealogy, Road Trips | Tags: ,

WEDNESDAY’S WOMAN: VIRGINIA “SISSY” HANSON BURGE

Sissy

Almost a year ago I posted a story regarding a visit with first cousin Myrtle Virginia, better known as “Sissy”, Hanson Burge at her home in Doyline, Louisiana on the banks of Lake Bistineau.  You will find that story, Road Trips: After the Estate Sale with Sissy Hanson Burge archived under the month of November 2013 on this website.

Yesterday I paid my final visit and respects to her at her funeral at the West Lake Baptist Church located in Doyline.

It was a chilly windy day however everyone in attendance was warmed by the memories of having known her, been related to her, having her in their lives or special places she held in their hearts.

Her obituary, which appeared in the Minden Press Herald on November 11, was written by her daughter, Barbara Burge and a friend, and pretty well sums up Sissy’s life story.  It is listed below.

Sissy's Obit from Minden Press Herald 11-10-2014

Her casket piece was one that incorporated things she used daily and reflected things she enjoyed; like tea bags; an ice cream container with scoop; a fishing rod complete with cork and a dangling fish; and her rolling pin that had made so many pies.  Intermingled among the cattails and sunflowers were a jelly jar filled with kitchen utensils; plates; and a spatula.  They represented the things she loved and told a lot about her life’s story.

 

Sissy's casket piece 2

 

After the funeral family and friends gathered in the fellowship hall of the church for lunch prepared by members of the congregation.  There was a lot of catching up to do with the cousins and remembering when our families visited almost every weekend. No one called ahead to say they were stopping by; you just dropped in. We once had large dinners and annual reunions with families coming from near and far. And it was a time that we were together often enough that you recognized every one there without some parent having to re-introduce you to a cousin you had not seen in ages.  It was a time of laugher, good food, funny stories, remembering those who have passed on and wonderful fellowship.  This year we have gathered twice; yesterday for Sissy’s funeral; and in April when her brother, Claude Gingles, passed away.

I think Sissy would have loved seeing us all there yesterday.  I think she would have had a warm sweet smile and invited us in for lunch.  I also think she would say that we should take time to stay in touch, to send a card, to call, to share photos and anecdotes of our loved ones, after all the name of this website is Our Families and Their Untold Stories.

Rest in Peace Myrtle Virginia “Sissy” Hanson Burge.

Born June 9, 1930 in Ida, Caddo Parish, Louisiana

Died November 8, 2014 in Minden, Webster Parish, Louisiana

 

THROW BACK THURSDAY: EMMA PEARL BAIN MARTIN AND JOHN DALE MARTIN

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Emma Pearl Bain Martin

Emma Pearl Bain Martin with son John Dale “Johnny” Martin

Emma Pearl Bain Martin born September 10, 1887; died October 10, 1942

John Dale Martin born April 29, 1918; died November 5, 1978

 

THROW BACK THURSDAY: CHILDREN OF WESLEY AND BEULAH THOMPSON STANLEY

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Clyde Audrion Cortess and Adrain Stanley

Clyde, Audrion, Cortess Stanley Whatley and Adrian Stanley children of Wesley Birdwell Stanley and Beulah Thompson Stanley

Category: Throw Back Thursday | Tags: ,

REMEMBERING MOM, HER BIRTHDAY AND THE CHANGES SINCE HER BIRTH

Mamie L MartinOne hundred years ago on this date the world was quite different. It is amazing how things have changed; what has been invented; what changed our lives; and one particular person that molded me and made me and my siblings who and what we are.  You see, on October 21, 1914, my mother, Mamie Louise Martin Stanley was born.  She was the third child born to Walter Houston Martin and Emma Pearl Bain in Ida, Louisiana.

World War I had broken out in the summer of 1914, which meant hard times, not only for Mother’s family, but the entire world. That was followed by World War II, the Korean War, Viet Nam and the Gulf War.  The Atomic Bomb was also developed.

During some of those war years, if you owned an automobile, gas was rationed and tires were extremely difficult to come by. Later designs of the cars changed as well as options.  Radio tuners, radios, cassette tapes, CDs, automatic transmissions, car phones and air conditioning became standard options and no longer a luxury. Roads were paved and interstate highways covered the entire United States.  You could even attend a drive-in movie with your sweetie, if you made it through the newly installed traffic light in time. Wonder what she would think about today’s GPS systems that tell you when/where to turn?

The medical front changed when penicillin was developed. The iron lung was invented, artificial hearts and heart transplants became the norm, TB hospitals closed, polio was cured, “the pill” was developed and so were contact lenses.  These are but a few of the miracle cures developed during Mom’s lifetime.

Mom was a great cook (once owning a café in Belcher, Louisiana) so you can imagine how Pyrex, pop-up toasters, slow cookers, microwave ovens, electric coffee pots and skillets, frozen food, and Tupper Ware, improved her life. And how exciting it must have been to dine at an Oriental restaurant and have your fortune told by a cookie!  Or eat your first McDonald’s burger!

Photos were amazing when the Polaroid camera came along! Now we have digital cameras, phone cameras, drones, and you can either, upload and share on the Cloud, or project directly to the TV screen.  Your family can even ride down the road and watch a movie! TVs transformed from little round screens in black and white with lots of static to color; from small to spanning the whole wall; from analog to HD.

Toys once made from bottles (or anything else you could salvage) that represented a car or truck evolved into the invention of the Slinky, Silly Putty, Mr. Potato Head, Hula Hoop, Barbie and the adorable Cabbage Patch Kids! Video games soon had her grandchildren hooked!

Telephones were few and far between in her younger years and I remember our first one actually had a telephone operator who would connect you to anyone who also had a phone. Sometimes you didn’t get the operator but instead could listen in to a neighbor’s call because you had a “party line.”

Mother’s generation were hard-working adaptable people. Her family was not of means therefore during the years of her youth she hoed and picked cotton. I suppose some would say that following her marriage to Clyde Stanley and the birth of the children, things didn’t get a whole lot better. Looking back I know we were poor but I never realized it at the time.  Wherever Daddy’s work took us we packed up and moved, sometimes more than once in a year.  Her duty was not only the move but putting all six of us in new schools (she often said she had children in school for thirty years straight).  She made sure we had three meals a day; clean clothes scrubbed on a washboard; were mannerly and polite; taught us how to work and take nothing for granted; and instilled a strong love of family. She was quick to laugh, generous with her hugs, and loved each of us individually.

During the twenty years since her death the world has changed even more. Even our family has changed a great deal.  Not only did she loose her husband but some of her children have passed on as well.  We have new additions which, if she were alive, would make her a great great-grandmother, a title she would eagerly embrace and cherish every moment.  Our strong family ties have endured because she was adaptable and did her job well!

Happy Birthday Mom!!!

 

Mamie Martin Stanley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category: Stories, Uncategorized | Tags: ,

ROAD TRIP: HENRY FINCHER EASON

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It was a beautiful late September day last Thursday when friend Cheri Atkins and I drove to Texarkana, Arkansas on a quick road trip to do some research at the Miller County Court House. Her goal was for Dial and Collins documents, and I would be searching for Martins and Hemperleys.

As we drove we talked about late blooming summer flowers and how it was difficult it was to recognize some parts of Highway 71 since I-49 construction had changed the scenery. We passed round bales of hay in fields, a pasture filled with a herd of buffalo, churches and graveyards. There was some construction and we even passed a group of prisoners picking up trash along the roadway.  Cheri, who has a vivid imagination, commented on how she thought it would be easy for one of those convicts to escape.  A short time later we passed a police vehicle heading South flying down the road with lights flashing soon to be followed by five more patrol cars.

Arriving at our destination of 400 Laurel Street, there it stood…… the Court House. My imagination ran rampant about the discoveries we were about to make. I could already smell the old books filled with Our Families Untold Stories.

The Court House is located in older section of town filled with homes of the same era and nearby beautiful churches. This was not the original Court House which initially served both Texas and Arkansas, but the one finished in the late 1930s to serve only Miller County, Arkansas.

Miller County Court House

Once inside we must have looked as if we were strangers to its halls as a man I recognized from the Court House’s website as County Judge Larry E. Burgess offered assistance by directing us to the Clerk of Court’s office. I can only sing the praises of those who work there as they were friendly, courteous and only too eager to answer our questions or offer assistance.

The search was on! Cheri and I both were able to obtain documents pertaining to marriage licenses, preacher certificates, deeds and other priceless pieces of our families’ history.  Then it dawned on me that I was standing not only among history of Miller County but the history of one Henry Fincher Eason, former Clerk of Court and Tax Collector of Miller County AND his mother was a Hemperley!

Henry Fletcher Eason-1

(Photo owned by Susie Higginbotham Reynolds)

Fincher Eason (son of Seaborn Sidney) was one of fifteen children born to his father and mother, Luella Hemperley (daughter of Dr. Edward Thomas Hemperley, great grandfather of my husband). His family lived in Sulphur Township on his father’s farm.

He attended college at Louisiana State Normal School and at the age of twenty-two began a career in education. He served as teacher, principal and superintendent. Below is a photo of College Hill Ward School in Texarkana where he was a principal.

Fincher Eason, College Hill School

On December 23, 1908 he married Miss Ollie Minnie Walton and from this union there were six children born, two of which died in infancy.

In 1916 he became Miller County Clerk of Court and served for two terms before becoming Tax Collector in 1920. The 1920 Census shows him living at 414 Hickory Street with his wife and four children: Fincher, Jr. age 9, Sidney S. age 6, William Boyd, age 5 and Evelyn who is 1 year of age. On November 20, 1923 Fincher and Ollie divorced and he retained sole custody of the children.

During WWI he served as Chairman of the registration board; enlisted as a private and reached the rank of Captain.

 

 

Recently while looking over notes I had made while interviewing a Hemperley relative thirty years ago, I had jotted down “committed suicide” by his name. It was time to revisit Fincher and locate any information I could find regarding how he died. Below are a couple of articles I found on www.genealogybank.com relating to his death.

Fincher Eason found deadFincher Eason FuneralFincher Eason , Tax office closed

Why, I thought? Why would a man who was a pillar in the community commit suicide?  He had to be well thought of as there were 2,000 people that attended his funeral and 4,000-5,000 at the gravesite!  This man was a 32nd degree Mason, a member of the Mystic Shrine, served as senior deacon of the lodge, Member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythia, Woodmen of the World and Baptist Church. I had to know more and so I enlisted the help of one of the clerks to locate the probate records from his estate. Surely his will, one of the letters he had written, or the “To The People of Miller County” mentioned in the newspaper article about him being found dead would give me some insight.

His will was not in the Probate Records. None of the letters were.  Nor was the “To the People of Miller County”.  Nothing to give me a hint or understanding of his taking his life.  However, what I did locate was a list of his debts, which amounted to $83,000.  In 1923 that had to be comparable to millions today!

Fincher Eason, Total Debts

As you can see from this document, the administrator of his estate asks the Court to allow 35% payment of his debts or $29,050.

Did he commit suicide because of his divorce; his being the sole parent raising four children; ill health; or the amount of debt he owed? I suppose I will never know!

What I did learn was that the two ounces of poison he took changed the lives of his children forever. Fincher’s sister, Ida Hughes, petitioned the Court for custody of the children as set out by Fincher in his will.

Fincher Eason's Children Guardianship

The children’s mother sued for custody of two of the four children and according to the article below, the judge in the case awarded them to Fincher’s sister, Mrs. Ida Hughes of Bright Star, per his handwritten wishes.

Custody of Henry Fincher Eason's Children

 

 

 

 

One week later Arkansas State Police and other law enforcement officers are still looking for the escapee.

One week later I am still looking for more information on another escaped man, namely  Henry Fincher Eason!

 

 

 

 

Throwback Thursday: A Day on the Cossatot

Don Hemperley and Tommy Burge

Don Hemperley and Tommy Burge after a morning of fly fishing on the Cossatot River near Gilham, Arkansas.

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