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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:/ 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.

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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










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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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Sybol O'Pry HemperleyThe biblical verse from Matthew 5:5 says the meek shall inherit the earth and when I read this verse, I feel it perfectly applies my late mother-in-law, Sybol Lillian O’Pry Hemperley.  She was meek in nature, small in stature, unassuming, and not one to enjoy the lime light.  She was also a devoted wife, mother and Christian; today she is remembered as Wednesday’s Woman.

Sybol was born January 16, 1909 in Provencal, Louisiana to William Henry O’Pry and Amanda Salena Jones.  The O’Pry family consisted of Sybol and brothers, William Carl, Marshall Henry, Joseph Dowden (J. D.) and Leo Curtis.  In the 1910 census the family is located in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana where William Henry worked as a lumber grader at a planer mill, however, by 1920 they were located in Lafayette County, Arkansas where he was listed as a farmer. The family later moved to Caddo Parish, Louisiana in an area known as Pine Island, where William Henry sold Watkins products.

Sybol married John Raymond Hemperley on August 9, 1930.  Raymond had bought the marriage license in Arkansas however, at the time, they were living in Louisiana and Sybol wanted to be married in Louisiana.  How to resolve this problem?  They were married in the middle of the road where the two states join with one foot in each state!

While living in Gilliam, Louisiana they first lived on the “Ward Place” and later bought sixty acres just below there known as the “Cody Place” outside of Gilliam, Louisiana. Raymond’s parents, John Daniel Luther Hemperley and Laura Sara Jane Josephine Matilda Ann Hanson (thank goodness she went by Laura!) lived with them.  They had a shotgun house with Raymond and Sybol’s family on one side and John and Laura on the other. The family grew to include Sybol and Raymond’s three children, Jesse Raymond, Donald Ray and Mona Rose.

When the children were small, Laura kept the children while Sybol, Raymond and John worked the farm.  They raised cotton, hay for the cattle and a large garden.  They had chickens and hogs and when it was “hog killing weather”, the neighbors would come to help so the smoke house could be filled. The pantry was always filled with beautiful canned foods that line the walls and extra sugar, flour, etc. in the kitchen cabinets.  Since she had lived through the Great Depression, I believe she wanted to rest assured she could feed the family. Sybol wasn’t a fancy cook but liked cook books and was always clipping recipes from the newspaper or magazines.  I inherited one of her cookbooks, The Watkins Cook Book, pictured below.  You will note the copy write was in 1938 and that it cost $1.50.  I have no doubt she got it when her father was selling Watkins products. It is filled with some of her clippings which often have her hand written notes.

MeMaw's Cookbook


Typically Sybol wore fresh starched and ironed cotton dresses unless she was working in the garden where she wore long sleeves (no matter how hot the weather), a bonnet she had made, and gloves.

Sybol O'Pry Hemperley (MeMaw)

She loved flowers and her yard was full beautiful ones, particularly her favorites, daliahs and cleomes, also known as pens and needles.  She is pictured below with great grandsons, Brian, David and Greg Stanley by an iris bed.

Sybol Hemperley with great grandsons Brian, David and Greg Stanley

Sybol never gossiped, talk ill-will of anyone nor did I ever hear a profane word come from her mouth all the years I knew and loved her.

Sybol O'Pry Hemperley

Sybol Lillian O’Pry Hemperley at wedding of Kelly Hemperley Brown

Sybol never learned to drive and after Raymond’s death in 1970 the farm was sold and she moved to Gilliam.  She continued her gardening, attended church regularly at Linda Lay Baptist, and enjoyed her children and grandchildren.  She never had much, nor needed much.  She never asked for much; never wanted much other than visits with her family.  She was a simple, loving, giving, meek Christian woman. I have no doubt she “inherited the earth” but also a place in Heaven.

Sybol (who was lovingly called “Babe” by Raymond) passed away on January 10, 1986 in Vivian, Louisiana.  She is buried beside Raymond at Bathsaida Baptist Cemetery in Ida, Louisiana.

John Raymond and Sybol O'Pry Hemperley


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Kitty Stanleys Wedding Kitty Kelly Hemperley Judy


Linda “Kitty” Stanley LeBlanc, Kelly Hemperley Brown, Judy Stanley and Kookie Stanley Hemperley at Kitty’s wedding, June 19, 1976 in Vivian, Louisiana.

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CHARLES EDWIN STANLEY, April 23, 1937-May 16, 2004

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Charles Stanley 2002-1

Born on April 23, 1937, at Grogan’s Mill near Bivins, Texas in Cass County, my brother, Charles Edwin Stanley was the third child of Clyde Henry and Mamie Louise Martin Stanley.  He had two older brothers, Jimmy Clyde and Thomas Neil and the three of them were mischief makers from the get go!  One local man, Mr. Jack Bird, referred to these boys as Big Tuffie, Middle Tuffie and Little Tuffie even though they were not mean perhaps they were little rascals. Charles and Tommy were so close that many people thought them to be twins. While there were three girls also born to Clyde and Mamie (Me, Judy and Kitty) later, Charles is the subject of this post.

As a child he was mostly called “Ed” but as he grew older he would answered to “Charlie” or “Indian” because he had a dark complexion, dark  hair and eyes and we were suppose to have Native American heritage.

Times were hard and WW II was going on.  The house he lived in had no running water nor indoor plumbing, nor electricity.  Bathing on Saturday nights was done by heating water on the stove and dumping it into a washtub.   Drinking water was in a water bucket that sat by the kitchen stove with a dipper nearby.

The boys had few toys to play with.  They shared one toy dump truck or if fortunate enough to find a flat liquor bottle, would use it for a car.  They scraped enough parts from an old bicycle to make one that they shared and rode everywhere.  Charles learned to ride it at five years old; after all he had to keep up with his older brothers.  The bike they shared had a “motor” which was made by attaching a piece of cardboard with a clothes pen to the spokes on the wheel and made a motor sound when pedaled.

They collected scrap metal, rubber and paper for the war effort and would use any other scraps they could find to make rubber guns, log wagons, sling shots, airplanes, baseball bats and also made their balls from string.  They had a big swing made from a burlap bag. The nearby barn was a great place to eradicate rats with their rubber guns. Sometimes they traded things they had found at the dump with other kids and created new toys such as the wagons in the photo below made in 1945.

Tommy, Kookie and Charles Stanley, Bivins, Texas

Tommy, Kookie and Charles Stanley  1945

If you notice, Charles and Tommy both have on “service” caps. One of their neighbors had a relative who was in the war and had sent home a trunk full of captured German Army souvenirs. Included was a German officer’s uniform complete with gas mask. They took great delight in hiding with the gas mask on, jumping out and scaring someone! Their imagination ran rampant and therefore they played Army a lot and killed off many enemy German and Japanese soldiers.
The house they lived in was elevated in the front which made for a cool area in which to play. Underneath they made toad frog houses and when locating a doodlebug hole would promptly produce a twig, stick it in the hole and chant “Doodlebug, doodlebug, come out of your house. Your house is on fire.” Sometimes the doodlebugs would run out but if not, they moved on to another hole and tried again.

Charles started to school in Bivins in 1943 where he was always on the honor roll. Annually the school would have a Hillbilly Band, a Halloween Carnival or a Donkey Basketball Game. It was good times while in Bivins.

When Charles was about eight years old he saw a man with a nice ring made of bone. Shortly thereafter Charles found a round bone with a hole in the middle and decided to make himself a ring. Yes, you see it coming, don’t you? The bone got stuck, swelled up and by the time Clyde discovered it, had to be sawed off Charles’ hand!

At the end of WW II the family moved to Atlanta, Texas where Clyde took a job. They lived in a house directly across the street from the Atlanta Rabbits Football Stadium. Charles and Tommy soon learned they could go beneath the bleachers on Saturdays following a Friday night game and find money! Charles didn’t play football but instead joined the high school band in Atlanta playing the bass horn. He loved music and he loved Atlanta.

The boys had a couple of scooters through most of their high school years. The last one, Clyde “souped up” to where it would run 60 mph on the highway; 50 mph on a nearby dirt road. Thus began Charles’s love for motorcycles! But more of that later…… Charles and Tommy often took the scooter on Saturday nights to the midnight show to see “Cowboy Shoot ‘Em Up” movies. The headlight was so dim you almost had to strike a match to see if the headlight was on.

After a while the family moved outside of town to a farm. They raised chickens, hogs and had a large garden. They also raised Black Diamond watermelons which Charles and Tommy peddled in the river bottoms of North Caddo Parish in a 1940 International truck they had overhauled by themselves.

Clyde changed jobs to run the ice plant in Jefferson. It seems the transfer from Atlanta to Jefferson meant some records Charles had didn’t transfer which would delay his graduation for another year. Charles dropped out of school but earn his GED.

He first worked at the ice house on the dock but by winter was able to get a job at the local Ford dealership washing new and customer’s cars. Before long he worked as a mechanic but when the dealership discovered he was good with parts, moved him to that department where he first worked in parts for race cars and later in truck parts.

The race car parts job lead to another adventure for Charles. After acquiring local sponsors he was soon drag racing in various tracks located in East Texas. One of his first and finest was an English Ford Angelia. However, his daily drive was his 1958 turquoise and white Ford equipped with every racing part or gadget you could imagine! It was hot and fast on the drag strip!

Charles eventually moved to Longview where he worked for Pegues Hurst Motor Company forty plus years as the head of the parts department.
Remember that motor scooter? Many years later Charles bought his first Honda Gold Wing motorcycle. Through the years his vacations on the Gold Wing took him to every state with the exception of Hawaii and possibly Alaska. He loved traveling the old West and learning the history at each of his stops. Once when caught in a rain storm in a small town and no motel in sight, he stopped at the local jail for information only to be informed there was no shelter for miles and miles. They did, however, offer refuge from the storm by allowing him to spend the night in an empty jail cell! On another trip he started at the mouth of the Mississippi River and followed it to the Gulf of Mexico. His travels were an education in itself and while along on the three week trips he made friends, explored cultures and loved the ride! Luckily over the thousands of miles traveled, Charles was involved but once in an accident when a dog ran out in front of him causing him to lay his “scooter” down.

Another passion Charles had was cameras. He collected cameras from yard sales, antique stores or wherever he might find one. And they did not just sit on a shelf; he used them. Once on a trip to my house in South Louisiana we went to the Lake Ponchatrain lakefront where he waited for just the right moment, when the sunset was perfect, to capture the beauty of the moment when the Causeway became a sillouette. One can only imagine how many photos he made on his many adventures.

Charles met and married Imogene Hill of Avinger, twice to be exact. They first married on February 23, 1957, divorced and remarried on May 12, 1972. Although the second marriage did not last either, they remained dear friends and wonderful parents to their two daughters, Terri and Tami. While he had another lady friend in his lifetime, he never remarried.

Charles Stanley Family
Daughters Terri and Tami, wife Imogene Hill Stanley and Charles Stanley

The six of us siblings were different in many ways. By far, Charles was the most adventurous.

Charles passed away on May 16, 2004 in Longview, Texas of connective tissue disease. He was buried at Lakeview Memorial Gardens on May 20, 2004.


Happy Birthday to a wonderful brother who swapped his Gold Wing for Wings of Gold.

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Harvey Samuel Gingles married Ella Mae Daniel in 1910.  Of this marriage there were twelve children. Seven of their sons served in the military along with one daughter; however one son, Claude Norris, is the subject of today’s Military Monday.  Claude Norris, or Buster as he was called, was born October 22, 1911 in Elberton, Georgia.


Claude Norris (Buster) Gingles


Buster served both in the U. S. Army and the U. S. Air Force. In the Army Infantry in World War II he served in Germany.  In the Air Force he was a fireman.  Between the two branches of the military  he spent twenty-one years in service retiring as a Staff Sergeant.  Other locations he was station at included Camp Stewart, Georgia, Panama, the Philippine Islands, Reese AFB Texas,  Columbus AFB in Mississippi, Roswell AFB in New Mexico Gary AFB in Texas and Barksdale AFB in Louisiana.

On December 8, 1939 Buster married Buena Gladys Martin Hanson, a young widow with three children; James Kenneth Hanson, Myrtle Virginia Hanson and Billy Noel Hanson.  Three Gingles children, Roy Claude, Ella Pearl and Robert Dale were born to Buster and Gladys.  As often happens while in the military, Buster was on away duty when Claude and Ella were born.  Robert Dale died at birth.

Gladys died in the Barksdale Hospital at the age of fifty-one.  Four years later Buster married Phonelle Lynch Hanson, the ex-wife of his step-son, James Kenneth Hanson.

Buster Gingles 1990

Claude Norris Gingles passed away on March 31, 2006 and was buried with full military rites by the Barksdale Air Force Base Honor Guard at Centuries Memorial Cemetery in Shreveport, Louisiana.





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Steve and Kelly Hemperley

May I take the liberty of introducing you to my children?  Steven Cue is four in this photo and Kelly Anne Hemperley Brown is two.  Fifty years later they look a lot like they did then except Steve has less hair and Kelly has more!

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Wednesday’s Woman: Beulah Thompson Stanley

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My paternal grandmother, Beulah Thompson Stanley, was born May 30, 1888 in Oxford, Calhoun County, Alabama to Alex Thompson and his wife Martha Able.  While living with her sister, Essie Thompson Wall, Beulah first met her husband, Wesley Birdwell Stanley.  He was in Huffines working in logging and came riding up on a big white horse named Eli.

Beulah and Wes were married November 13, 1908 from this marriage there were six children, two of which died young.  All of her grandchildren referred to her as Granny however Wes most often called her “Miss Hootie”.

Wesley and Buleah Thompson Stanley
Wesley Birdwell Stanley and Beulah Thompson Stanley

Granny was petite, always wore starched ironed dresses, liked her nails done, and always wore her hair short. She loved pretty jewelry and while she didn’t have, she particularly loved diamonds which she referred to as “di-monts”. She was a member of the Purity Chapter Order of the Eastern Star in Ida, Louisiana and enjoyed the social events of the order.

She was a talented musician and she and Wes could play most any instrument. They taught their children well and the group often played at family gatherings or when others came to visit.

Wes worked mainly as an over-seer for many plantations in Caddo Parish and I suppose you could explain Granny’s life as privileged. She had a maid as well as a man who came in daily to build a fire before she got up, put a pan of biscuits in the oven and milk the cow. I don’t recall her cooking too much, but she really knew how to make fried apple or apricot pies!

Wes pampered Granny all of her life, especially in her later years after she suffered a stroke. He did everything for her including adapting a chair with wheels so that she could move around in the house.

Wesley Stanley and Beulah Thompson Stanley
This photo was made when they lived on Annie Burney Means’ plantation.

When we went to visit the silverware would be in the center of the table covered by a table cloth. If you spent the night you could barely turn over for all the handmade quilts piled high on the bed. She dipped snuff and could spit into the fireplace from half way across the room. And of course she had that special snuff brush made from a black gum twig, carefully chewed until it became soft enough to be dipped into the snuff.

One of the favorite things we grandchildren loved most about being at Granny’s was playing with a big brass bowl someone had brought her from Mexico. It was large enough for one child to sit in it with legs crossed. Your brother, sister or cousin would wind you up and spin it around. I suppose maybe the Stanley grandkids invented the Sit and Spin we know today.

Recently while visiting with cousin Neva Stanley Thomas, she gave me a most prized possession of Granny’s….. a collection of shoes from Petty Pottery in Ida, Louisiana. I am told that at one time Granny owned almost every piece of pottery that Petty made.

shoes 1
Petty Pottery Shoes made in the 1930s

Also, a special thanks to Neva for giving me the doily crocheted by her mother, Oneta Tolleson Stanley, for the Petty Pottery shoes to sit on.

Beulah and Wes were married sixty years before her death in 1968. Both she and Wes are buried at Munnerlyn Cemetery in Ida, Louisiana.

Throw Back Thursday: Those Stanley Kids

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Charles, Jim, Tommy and Kookie Stanley

Charles, Jimmy Clyde, Tommy and Kookie about 1945 in Bivins, Texas.

No, Jim didn’t always wear funny hats like this; he was dressed for a school play.

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