Tag Archives: Eason

MONDAY’S MAN: ALBERT WALDEN EASON, THE FINAL CHAPTER

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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 genealogybank.com 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 genealogybank.com. 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.

Category: Genealogy, Monday's Man | 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: ,

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!

 

 

 

 

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