Don, Steve and Kelly Hemperley, pictured in May 1969, on the day Kelly graduated from kindergarten. Little did we know she had the mumps!!! After her snuggling with Don, he too came down with them. We always taught our children that sharing was a good thing; this time it wasn’t! Kelly made a quick recovery however Don was very sick and we thought he was going to have to go into the hospital!
On this Monday, Memorial Day, May 26, 2014, I have chosen to honor Chief Master Sergeant Thomas Bryant Brown, born July 8, 1935 in Texarkana, Arkansas to Barron Scott Brown and Grace May Bryant Brown. Tom’s mother, who had already had a daughter, Barbra Ann and a son, John, died at his birth. His father passed away three years later. Tom was raised by his grandparents, Scott Preston Brown and Leah Templeton Brown in Doddridge, Arkansas who were already getting on years, him seventy and her fifty-nine years.
Tom attended school in Bright Star, Arkansas graduating in 1953. He played basketball and was vice president of the senior class. In a booklet for the fifty year reunion he said his fondest memory of Bright Star High School was “When Cecil Morris (the superintendent) gave me my diploma. I had doubts about getting one.”
Tom enlisted in the Air Force in 1954 and served twenty-four years before retiring. The bases he was stationed at were Schilling AFB in Salina, Kansas; Little Rock AFB in Little Rock, Arkansas; Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota; Altus AFB in Oklahoma; Anderson AFB on Guam and Blythville AFB in Blythville, Arkansas.
While stationed at Schilling he met Wanda June McDaneld at the First Free United Methodist Church. They were married on May 26, 1957.
Tom began his career as an aircraft technician, more commonly known as a mechanic. He worked on B47s until the B52 made its debut and later the KC 135. He became a crew chief having as many as many as twenty planes to insure were mechanically sound for flight. His crew followed the planes wherever their missions went. While a crew chief he spent three tours in Thailand and more than a couple on Guam. On another occasion when a plane had problems in Viet Nam he and his crew had to fly in, repair the plane and fly out of the area. He later said that was the scariest day he spent in service.
I am not sure if this photo depicts receiving a medal as it is not marked, however as you can see in the photo below of his uniform jacket, he received the Bronze Star; the USAF Outstanding Unit Award; the AF Good Conduct Medal; the Commendation Ribbon; the Army Good Conduct Medal/Ribbon; the National Defense Service Medal; the Viet Nam Service Ribbon; the USAF Longevity Service Ribbon; the USAF NCO Professional Military Educate Graduate; and the Republic of Viet Nam Campaign Ribbon.
Here’s another photo of Tom (second from the right on bottom row) with other unidentified service members:
Tom and Wanda had three girls, namely Tammy Jo, Sandra June, Barbra Leigh and one son, Scott Preston (who also happens to be my son-in-law) named for Tom’s grandfather. A lot of the time while Tom was in service, Wanda was left in the states to raise the children and have as much as possible a normal family life without the children’s dad. Many times I would tell Tom what a fine family he had raised to which his standard answer was, “Well you better praise Wanda; I was always gone”.
Following his retirement the family moved to Jefferson, Texas to be near his uncle and aunt, Rabb and Ione Bryant, where he worked for the Marion County Tax Assessor’s office. He was a member of the Retired Enlisted Association and annually made a trip to Branson, Missouri to attend the reunion of the 44th Bombardment Wing. Tom loved to fish and quite often would take enough fish to fry for all those in attendance, not to mention epic sized fish fries for Bright Star reunions and family get togethers.
He was a loving husband and father whose biggest smiles came while being with and doing for those he loved. Most of the time he wore an Air Force cap covering his red hair; all the time he had a kind word and a warm hug for you!
Thomas Bryant Brown passed away in Shreveport, Louisiana on August 17, 2011 in Shreveport, Louisiana. He was buried with military honors at Old Foundry Cemetery, Lodi, Texas beside his wife of forty-two years, Wanda June McDaneld.
The 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.
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.
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 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 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 Sample Dodd, the son of Edward Neddie Dodd and Jane Langston, was born August 3, 1809 in Union, South Carolina. Jan Langston Dodd died and John’s father re- married Jane Word. John Sample Dodd married his step mother’s sister, Elizabeth Harriet Word.
John Sample and Elizabeth Harriet moved to Fayette County, Georgia in 1831 and traded a horse for a small farm. They cleared the land and built their home from logs. They farmed and raised eleven children, namely; James T., Elizabeth Harriet, Thomas E., Francis Marion, George McDuffy, Nancy Jane, Loudusky, Letitia (Lettie), John D., Sarah, and Asa Langston. Letitia married Edward Thomas Hemperley and her sister, Elizabeth Harriet, married Edward Thomas’ brother, Michael Cassell Hemperley.
John Sample’s wife, Elizabeth Harriet became a church member in 1830 and John Sample in 1932. She waited to be baptized at the same as he at the Bethsaida Baptist Church. John Sample’s biography is written in the Biographical Sketches of Prominent Baptist of Georgia as shown below:
Another article describing John Sample Dodd and some of his family’s contributions to his church and community is described in The Preaching Dodds of Old Campbell County below:
From these articles you will see that John Sample Dodd was a Baptist pastor licensed in 1841 who preached at Raman, near Palmetto for twenty-six years; Antioch in Fayette for twenty-one years, Bethlehem in Campbell for thirteen years and Fairburn for fifteen years. At times he served four churches at once having services on Saturdays and Sundays.
His son, Thomas Edward Dodd was not a preacher but was considered a spiritual leader that reared four sons that became pastors of Baptist churches.
Children of John Sample who served during the Civil War were, Asa L., a Sergeant, was killed at Cold Harbor, Virginia on June 1, 1864 serving with Lee’s Army. George M. was a 4th Sergeant who surrendered at Greensboro, North Carolina on April 26, 1865. Thomas Edward served three years in Virginia. John D. joined as a private, was sent to the hospital at Richmond, Virginia; sent home on sick leave and rejoined his unit at Charlotte, North Carolina. He was wounded at Bentonville, North Carolina and was in the hospital until the end of the war.
Following the Civil war, relatives of John Sample Dodd relocated from Georgia to the southwest corner of Arkansas and edge of Texas. In fact, the story goes that Doddridge, Arkansas was named for the Dodd family and because it sat on a ridge near the Sulphur River. Willis Henderson Dodd, John Sample’s half brother, and his wife Rachel Hemperley, moved to Bright Star, Arkansas where he was a successful farmer and physician. Jesse and his wife, Martha, moved a community they were instrumental in settling and named it Atlanta (Texas) for Atlanta, Georgia where she was raised. Loduska married David Evans and they cleared the first farm land and built the second house in Ida, Louisiana. Letitia married Edward Thomas Hemperley, a physician who practiced in both Louisiana and Arkansas. Their farm and home place was at Era, Arkansas. Letitia and Edward Thomas Hemperley are the great grandparents of my husband, Donald Ray Hemperley; John Sample Dodd is his great-great grandfather.
John Sample Dodd died February 2, 1892 and is buried at Bethsaida Cemetery in Forest Park, Georgia.
Daisy Luella Bain was the fifth child of John Henry and Mamie Almedia Wynn Bain. She grew up in Ida, Louisiana where she attended school and met her husband, another Ida resident, John Wesley Armstrong. My mother, Mamie Martin Stanley and she were first cousins. My father, Clyde Henry Stanley and Daisy’s husband, John Wesley Armstrong were also first cousins; therefore our families are double cousins! Even though Daisy and John were actually cousins of my parents, my siblings and I always referred to them as our aunt and uncle (you know, it’s a Southern thing! You cannot address someone your senior by their first name!).
Daisy and John had three children, Martha Ann, Jimmy and Johnny, who were raised in North Caddo Parish. John worked at a gas plant in Myrtis; for a short time had a grocery store in Rodessa, but by the time my family moved back to North Louisiana he was working as a farm manager and was flying planes to dust cotton. Daisy owned a beauty shop in Gilliam with Mozelle Doles. The ad below appeared in the 1955 Eagle, the yearbook for the Belcher, Louisiana’s school.
Daisy was a beautiful woman both physically and spiritually. In the photo below with her mother, Mamie Almedia Wynn Bain you can see she was always well groomed and dressed nicely.
She was eager to help others. I remember when times were difficult for my family; she took my younger sisters shopping for school clothes. When I was in high school she allowed me to work summers and sometimes after school at the beauty shop, shampooing or cleaning. She kept me, my sisters and Mother’s hair cut and gave us permanents. I don’t know about the others but once my hair came out so tightly curled that I vowed to never have another permanent as long as I lived! Ha! But Mother probably told her to do it that way so the curl would last longer.
When Daisy went for a visit to Spain to see Martha Ann’s family, she brought Mother a beautiful fan and Italian Mosaic Cross and me a pair of lace gloves. But she was thoughtful that way; always doing for others expecting nothing in return.
My relationship grew with her grew stronger when she moved to Vivian where I lived. My husband, Don, loved being with Daisy and many times he would tell me to call her to join us as he was frying fish. She loved his fried fish and he loved her Peter Paul Mounds cake. On occasions when she knew he was having a difficult day with his illness, she would deliver one made especially for him. If you haven’t made or eaten one, they are delicious. Here’s Daisy’s recipe:
She lived in the Central Park Apartments close enough to walk to Wal-Mart where she shopped for groceries and craft supplies. I had moved to South Louisiana and when I came back to Vivian to visit Mother, I discovered Daisy had begun making beautiful Christmas ornaments embellished with sequins and pearls. They were just perfect for my Victorian Christmas tree and she made me more than a dozen along with two “kissing balls” that I still use today.
After Daisy moved to Atlanta, Georgia to live with Martha Ann we stayed in contact either by occasional telephone calls, emails or letters. Once I called to see if she had my mother’s bread pudding recipe. Before long I received a letter and a package from her that included a cookbook by local people in Ida.
Her letter is dated July 12, 2000:
In it she tells me about the cookbook telling me it doesn’t look good but has good things in there. The cookbook had no cover and was well worn but I appreciate and use it. It has notations of things she has cooked and what the relationship of the person who submitted the recipe was to her. She never found Mother’s recipe but the one below is from the cook book and is really close……. And very good!
Daisy spent the remaining years of her life with her children after she moved from Vivian. In her letter she makes mention of going places she never dreamed of visiting after she moved to Atlanta. Here she is pictured with daughter, Martha Ann Armstrong Hillman Cain McKinney, and son, Jimmy Armstrong:
In this one she is pictured with son Johnny Armstrong:
Despite having arthritis, Daisy said her prayers as she knelt by her bed. While visiting Jimmy and wife, Anna Beth Lankford Armstrong, in Addis, Louisiana she went to her room to prepare for the night and her say her prayers. When she didn’t rouse at the usual hour the next morning, they went into the room and found her kneeling by her bed. She had passed away during the night while praying. Daisy was born on June 15, 1915 and died November 18, 2003. She is buried at Bethsaida Cemetery in Ida, Louisiana.
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
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.
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.
In a span of 27 years my Martin hero, Ray Houston Martin, lived in a time of hardships most of us have never known. This is his story:
Ray Houston was born September 27, 1916 in Ida, Louisiana to Walter Houston Martin and Emma Pearl Bain. President Woodrow Wilson was elected to his second term of office in the fall of that year. The following year the United States declared war on Germany and became a participant in WW I. Ray’s father’s draft registration is dated September 1918 however, he never served. WW I lasted until the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919 when Ray was three years old.
By 1929 the stock market had crashed and Ray’s father, Walter, who had worked for Gulf Oil, now had diabetes and lost one of his legs. Unable to provide for his family, Walter became despondent and by the 1930 U. S. Census he was listed as a patient at the Central Louisiana State Hospital in Pineville, Louisiana. His wife, Pearl and their four unmarried children lived with her father. Walter remained at the mental hospital until his death in 1937.
Ray, being the eldest son in the family, worked, wherever he could trying to support his mother and siblings. He worked in the timber industry, the petroleum industry as well as for the CCC.
The United States declared war on Japan with the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Times were difficult for all American families and sacrifices had to be made. Gas was rationed, auto makers stopped making autos for private use, scrap metal and rubber were collected for the war effort and jobs were almost impossible to find. However Ray managed to find happiness with his fiancée Mary Craft of Leesville, Louisiana.
On June 4, 1942 Ray enlisted in the Army. His records show he was single with dependents, namely his mother and siblings. In a letter to his mother on July 19, 1942, he speaks of money for her and saving good tires.
In this letter he says that he’s “fit as a fiddle” but that it is hot there. Apparently he received a check from his mother that he says he returned to her by air mail. He encourages her to get out more and possibly go to Leesville for a visit. Then he tells her that she should start getting $22.00 about the first. He had applied for her as a dependent of his; however the government denied it, so he was having that amount withheld from his check and sent to her monthly. He states that he has had more money since he had been in service because he doesn’t go any place to spend it.
Then he goes into receiving a letter from the finance company regarding car past due car payments. He needs to make payments or they will repossess it. He says will tell them that he is but he isn’t. Then he suggests they take the tires off and put on some old “rags” if she doesn’t use it. He signs off by telling her to tell all hello; to take care of herself and that he will write more next time.
In a later letter he again wants the tires changed out (remember rubber/tires were difficult to come by during the war) and to sell them for $10.00 each and keep the money.
On March 29, 1943 Ray was killed while serving in North Africa.
I have tried to obtain his war records from the National Personnel Records only to be told the repository they were stored in had burned and that I should write again requesting a Final Pay Voucher. I did and the final payment voucher stated he was in Tunisia, North Africa.
In Ray’s short life he had lived through some historic events that occurred in our country that had had five Presidents: namely Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt. It was not until May 10, 1948, when Harry Truman was President, that his body was being shipped home by rail to Vivian, Louisiana for burial on July 9, 1948 at Bethsaida Cemetery in Ida, Louisiana. His body was accompanied by S/Sgt. William H. Nance.
Thanks for Ray and so many other young men who have served, who gave their lives or are presently serving in order that you and I may live in a free America.