Category Archives: Genealogy


JoAnn Hemperley, 4 yrs. old

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we should give thanks for all that we have, all those we have lost and the cherished memories we have of them.  Today’s memory is of Jo Ann Hemperley, the third child of Jesse Raymond and Earnestine Jane Parker Hemperley.

Today would have been the fifty-fourth birthday of Jo Ann who was born on November 23, 1961 in Vivian, Louisiana and was welcomed home by older sister, Janet, brother, Johnny Ray and a large family that included grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Jo  Ann Hemperley

Jesse and Earnestine lived just down the street from my family for years and so their children, while cousins of my kids, grew up more like brothers and sisters.  They learned to ride bikes, water ski, camp and crawfish, and fish.  They got into trouble together, shared all holidays, and seldom, if ever, fussed.  They were just normal children; mischievous; healthy and happy until the summer of 1972 when Jo Ann became ill.

Jesse and Earnestine were excited about a trip they had won to Las Vegas and Don and I were to be their children’s babysitter while they were gone.  They had barely left when Jo Ann became ill and was seen by Dr. Mack in Shreveport.  Prior to Jesse and Earnestine’s return, Dr. Mack told Don and me she had cancer and needed to be admitted to St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

Upon arriving home Jesse and Earnestine repacked their bags and headed north as there was no time for hesitation in getting to St. Jude’s;  Janet and Johnny would remain with my family.  The next few months were a test of family, love, hope and separation.  Along the way we would learn lessons about family and what bravery one small beautiful little girl would teach us.

During the next six months Jo Ann was poked, prodded, tested, given cancer killing treatments, and lost her hair but I never heard her complain.  On occasions she was able to return home for short visits and while she was not able to enjoy her siblings and family members as before, you could see happiness in her eyes to be home and surrounded by loved ones.

She was always hopeful the next treatment would be her last.   Losing her long blonde hair wasn’t a big deal since she had gotten a wig at St. Jude’s to cover her baldness.  She loved the staff at St. Jude’s and told of their sweet comforting manner.  She was a brave little trouper with a lot of courage which each of us admired.

On February 11, 1973 Jo Ann passed away at St. Jude’s.  She is buried at Mt. Zion Cemetery in Carthage, Texas.

Jo Ann's tombstone


This Thanksgiving we should give thanks for our families and the importances of each individual for each is dear and sometimes teach us the true meaning of life, love and family.  This Thanksgiving we should give thanks for those we have loved and lost for without them there would be no warm memories.  May your Thanksgiving be filled with family, food and warm memories!




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Alex Thompson.

Born November 28, 1855 in Georgia Died December 22, 1948 in Texas

I don’t recall much about my great-grandfather, Alex Thompson, as he died when I was seven years old. What I do remember is that he was a tall man, dark-complexioned, quiet and often referred to by family as “Uncle Crete” or “that old Indian.” Some say he was cantankerous old soul. Members of the family tell of him playing a fiddle at family gatherings and socials. But there had too much more to be researched and so for the past ten or more years, I have been on a quest to learn as much as possible about him.

According to his Marriage Certificate he married Martha A. Abel on August 5, 1878 in Cleburne, Alabama.

Alexander and Martha Abel Marriage

Martha was an Able but I would discover much later that Josephine was also Alex’s sister. That would tell me Alex and his sister married Abels who were also brother and sister.

Of his marriage to Martha, three girls were born; my grandmother Beulah Thompson Stanley, Essie Lee Thompson Wall, and Alma Thompson Adams. All three daughters were born in Alabama.

By 1900 Alex is located by census in Winn Parish with his daughters, a new wife, (Carrie Lard) and another daughter, Ingra, born in 1889 in Louisiana. From this I would assume Martha died shortly after giving birth to my grandmother, Beulah, in 1888 and the family had moved to Louisiana. In 1910 Alex and Carrie are living in Bowie County, Texas with Ingra and their son, Marvin.

Beulah (Granny to me) married my grandfather, Wesley Birdwell Stanley (PopPaw) in 1903. Wes had a brother, Joe Fred, who connected with Carrie and eventually married her in 1913. Boy! Does it get complicated from here on out. Wes was so upset with Fred that he disowned him from the family. There had been just too much “fiddling around”!

Alex lived with his children or grandchildren following Carrie’s marriage to Fred. My older brother and a cousin tell me the music continued within the family for many years afterwards. At those gatherings Granny and PopPaw could play almost any instrument. Their sons, Audrion and Adrian played guitars; my dad, Clyde, played the mandolin; daughter, Cortess, played piano; and then there was Grandpa Alex playing his fiddle.

Alex Thompsons Fiddle 4

There had always been talk about Alex’s fiddle, said to be a Stradivarius. Alex passed away December 22, 1948 and is buried at Old Union Cemetery in Simms, Texas. Who would know about the fiddle? Who could I turn to that would give me a clue?

This was just too unbelievable to me, so I set out to learn what I could about it. My brother said it was true. My cousin, Neva Stanley Thomas, said her dad, Audrion, had inherited it but she had passed it down to her son, John Thomas. My next step was to contact him to see what he knew. So many questions were running through my mind……. How could Alex have afforded it, after all he was a mere farmer? Was he musically trained? What type of music did he play? Could I actually touch it?

John was nice enough to allow me to make photos of the fiddle, which incidentally did have a label which stated Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis Faciebat Anno 17 inside. I still couldn’t believe it! After talking a bit and making a few photos, I could hardly wait to get home to do some research on the fiddle.

Alex Thompsons Fiddle 3
Seth Thomas holding his great-great grandfather Alex Thompson’s fiddle

After spending hours on the internet reading and looking at photos of Stradivari’s instruments, it is my belief this is fiddle is not an original Stradivari. Antonio Stradivari died in 1737 in Italy. Following his death, there were many companies in France, Germany, and Czechoslovakia that reproduced the violin with the Stradivarius label which were actually “original copies”. While it is difficult to validate a true Stradivari, Wikipedia states there are only 650 that survived and are all accounted for today. Thousands have been copied bearing the Stradivarius label. It is my belief Grandpa Alex’s is one of those. Oh, well, I just hoped someone didn’t “fiddle” with him and he knew exactly what he was buying! My biggest disappointment in this fiddle is that I cannot ever remember hearing Alex Thompson play it.


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Albert W Eason, Shreveport

In December my blog shared information I had retrieved from the diary of Albert Walden Eason.  Since that time I have been able to gather more records and stories about him.  Sadly I say, some years are still missing, but as a genealogy hound, there is sure to be another trail to sniff out.

Being the writer he was, he made note of his day to day activities as well as his financial affairs in his diary.  He bought stock regularly, banked at the Bloomburg State Bank and was generous in giving to his mother and brothers.  He studied Commercial Partnership Calculations though correspondence courses and scored a 98% on his test. On one trip to New York City, he stopped at the Treasury Building on Wall Street where a statue of George Washington took the oath of the first President of the United States.  His written comment was, “The view of the site was interesting and it was not without a feeling of awe that I realized I was standing upon historical ground directly connected with the history of our great United States.” I make mention of this as it will come into play in his investments in the coming years.

Although the diaries I was able to read,  covered only the years from 1924-1926, I have been able to learn from the 1930 census he was stationed at the Navy Shipyard in Charleston, South Carolina.  He was a pharmacist mate and had been married for one year.

Albert married Anna Tate of New York; the daughter of Samuel Tate and Lena Éclair. Samuel emigrated from Ireland   to New York in 1879; became a naturalized citizen in 1883; married Lena, a native of New York; and was a carpenter/home builder.

Of Albert and Anna’s union there were two children born, namely Albert Jr. and Janet. In this article located on published in the San Diego, California Evening Tribune on April 23, 1933 the announcement is made of the birth of his son.

Albert Eason, Jr.'s birth

After retiring from the Navy Albert moved to Dallas Texas where he worked as a civil employee of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. The following article was located on The publication was June 16, 1956 in the Dallas Morning News.

Albert Eason service, corps of engineers

Anna passed away February 8, 1971 in Dallas Texas. Her obit was published the following day in the Dallas Morning News.

Anna Tate Eason Obit

Prior to meeting and marrying Anna, Albert wrote in his diaries of his second cousin, Lettie Beatrice Hemperley and his fondness for her.

Beatrice Hemperley Tolleson Crain Eason downtown Shreveport

These are some excerpts:

Albert speaks of Bea 1

Albert speaks of Bea 2

During Anna’s lifetime and particularly after Beatrice’s husband, Ernest Crain, died, Albert and Anna visited Beatrice. Following Anna’s death, Albert and Beatrice grew closer and married on July 10, 1972 in Shreveport, Louisiana where Beatrice lived. I remember being at my father-in-law’s (John Raymond Hemperley) home shortly after their marriage when they came for a visit. I found him to be warm, personable, and outgoing.

Beatrice was a gregarious, outgoing, fun lady and, to me, was an independently strong woman. She worked in Shreveport many years and rode the trolley to work. Some of the places where she worked were: Millers’s Drug, Barquette Restaurant, Theo’s Restaurant, and her favorite place, Strawn’s. She had also worked at the shell plant during the war. Beatrice had an adopted daughter from her first marriage, Ruby Tolleson and she and her 2nd husband, Ernest Crain were parents to Dorothy and Ernest Jr.

Beatrice and Albert’s marriage was unusual in that they never lived in the same house. Beatrice would not allow him to move in and so when the house next door came up for sale, Albert bought it and established his household where he continued his diary writings until the day he died.

Bea and Albert dressed up

Beatrice passed away on July 27, 1988 and is buried by husband, Ernest Crain, Sr., in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Albert continued his residence in Shreveport until his death on November 22, 1988. He was returning from a month long to trip to Connecticut to visit friends and died in flight over Georgia.Special gifts to loved ones are listed in his will filed in Caddo Parish.

Albert Eason Will

Remember earlier how I told you about his investments? This inventory of stocks is from Albert’s succession.

Albert's stocks

A total of 4,250 shares! And he also had an annuity and real estate. I would say through his business acumen, good planning and frugal ways he was financially comfortable at the time of his death.

Albert was laid to rest along his wife Anna at Restland Memorial Park in Dallas, Texas.

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Maude Gladys Hemperley, daughter of Jefferson Beauregard Hemperley and Louvenia Virginia Sheppard, was born in Miller County, Arkansas on January 5, 1896.  There were thirteen children in the family.  As you can see by this Ripley’s Believe It Or Not article, which appeared in the Shreveport Times on October 3, 1953, she was a little different than her siblings! It makes me wonder what color her parents’ eyes were.

Maude Hemperly


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: ,


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?

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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.


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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



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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



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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: ,
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