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MONDAY’S MAN: JOHN SAMPLE DODD

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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:

Biographical Sketches of Prominent Baptists-John S. Dodd

 

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:

The Preaching Dodds of Old Campbell County, pg. 1

The Preaching Dodds of Old Campbell County, page 2

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.

 

 

 

 

MONDAY’S MAN: REV. JAMES H. HANSON

My how the twigs of a tree do tangle and such is the case of James H. Hanson’s family which winds itself through my Hemperley, Stanley and Martin trees.    James H. Hanson was born in Georgia on October 22, 1853 to Jesse and Matilda Wade Hanson.  On October 10, 1867 he married Mary Jane Leonard in Cherokee County, Georgia.

James H Hanson and Mary Jane Leonard Marriage
In the 1880 Census he lived in Little River, Cherokee, Georgia and listed his profession as a furniture maker. By 1900 he and his family had moved to Cass County, Texas where he was listed as a manufacturer. During the next ten years, he had become a Baptist preacher and in the 1920 Census he was listed as an evangelist.

During an interview in the late 1960s with Beatrice Hemperley Tollison Crane Eason (granddaughter of James H. Hanson), she recanted the following story. “By 1901 James H. Hanson and wanted to be a preacher and so he went into the woods near his home and lived six months by himself. His family would bring food to him and during this time he learned to read, write and studied the Bible. Soon thereafter he became a circuit preacher and would ride his horse from church to church on the weekends where he would preach. He preached at Mt. Gilead Baptist near Vivian, Louisiana, Bethsaida in Ida, Louisiana and was also at Salem Baptist in Bloomburg, Texas.”

She also told me Rev. Hanson attended a Baptist convention with a Rev. Oliver in Washington, D. C. While he was strictly self-taught and had no formal education, he was chosen to be a speaker. He came home with a blue ribbon for the sermon he delivered.

Rev. James Hanson

James and Mary Jane raised twelve children in Cass County, Texas namely: Victoria, Dora, John R., Jim, Laura, Alice, Alfred, Robert Benjamin, Minnie Belle, Henry, Willie and Beulah.

Laura married John Daniel Luther Hemperley, the grandfather of my late husband.

Dora first married Basil Tollison; Beatrice Hemperley, daughter of Laura and John D. L. Hemperley, married Basil Tollison, her mother’s sister’s ex- husband!

Robert Benjamin married Roxie Lee Stanley, my grandfather Wesley Birdwell Stanley’s sister.

Jim Hanson, grandson of James and Mary Jane, married my mother’s sister, Gladys Martin.

Whew! I’m beginning to feel like there’s a monkey’s uncle in the tangled twigs of these trees. James and Mary Jane both lived to eighty-seven years of age and are buried in the Salem Baptist Church Cemetery, Bloomburg, Texas.

WEDNESDAY’S WOMAN: MAMIE LOUISE MARTIN STANLEY

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My mother, Mamie Louise Martin, was born October 21, 1914 in Ida, Louisiana to
Walter Houston and Emma Pearl Bain Martin.

Mamie Martin Stanley

Mamie Louise Martin

She lived in Ida all of her childhood years; attended school there; played basketball on the school team; and along with other siblings, hoed cotton during the depression.

At the age of nineteen she and Clyde Henry Stanley married and remained so for forty-seven years until he passed away.  Of this union there were six children, namely Jimmy Clyde (also known as Coot), Thomas Neil (better known as Winkie), Charles Edwin (referred to as Ed), me (and you know I go by Kookie), Judy Faye (JuJu) and lastly Linda Kaye (who we affectionately call Kitty).  We all knew her as loving and kind but also a strict disciplinarian.  Let one of us act up and we promptly felt a keen peach tree switch across our behinds.  She lived by “spare the rod and spoil the child” so it is safe to say none of us were spoiled!

Mother was a fun loving, quick to laugh person.  She was a great cook and at one time owned the Belcher Café in Belcher, Louisiana.  She loved her family, to fish, and to play games.  Rook was one of her favorites and she took it seriously!  This photo has Jim Stanley, Mamie Martin Stanley, Johnny Hemperley and Steve Hemperley playing Rook with Sybol Hemperley watching.

 

Rook party (2)

On her 75th birthday all six of her children and many of her grandchildren and a great grandchild spent the entire weekend celebrating at Kitty’s house in Lafayette, Louisiana. One of the highlights was playing Pictionary with her. She also liked playing Trivial Pursuit with her grandchildren and often would surprise them with her knowledge of events.

Mamie's 75th Birthday Party

Today, I don’t want to tell you about what records I have located on Mom, but rather another side of that we, the children, knew and loved. You see, Mother had a different way of expressing herself while getting her point across. She could tell you how the cow at the cabbage or to kiss my grits and you would like it. I’m not sure what language it was but I’m sure it was not the Queen’s English. It wasn’t Redneck or Southern style filled with “dawlins’, sugar, or sweetie pies.

At one time, I thought she had made it up but came to the realization that it was the jargon she grew up with and most probably had been handed down from one generation to another and so I dub it Martin-ese. An example would be if any one of us children was wasting time she might tell us we were burning daylight by lolligagin’ around and that we better get it done before quick got ready.

The weather could be hotter than a fox in a forest fire or a depot stove, or colder than a well diggers’ grave. When it rained she would say it was coming down like a cow peeing on a flat rock. And if the roads were icy, they were slicker than goose hockey or snot!

If someone was putting on airs or living beyond their means she would say they were living high on the hog, or that you couldn’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. To her, some were just plain highfalutin’ or howling at the moon. Many looked like they had been rode hard and put up wet. Sometimes she would say a person was older than dirt, crazier than a road lizard or Betsy bug, not worth a hill of beans or they might be a whippersnapper.
When times were hard her remarks would be that something needed was scarcer than hen’s teeth, harder than pulling teeth, higher than a cat’s back or that she felt like a pup sucking hind tit. And of course in a household of two adults and six kids, she never had room to cuss a cat.

She always taught us that anything worth doing was worth doing right or not at all. How many times have I heard can’t never could or that can’t killed himself chasing couldn’t?

That old adage about if Momma ain’t happy nobody’s happy applied in our household because if she got her bowels in an uproar, you had better hide and watch! Of course there were many times she had reason to be unhappy because one of us kids was always having a hissy or conniption fit. We never really knew if one was worse than the other but we always knew the cure was a peach tree switch!

As to her health some days she felt bright eyed and bushy tailed, hush mouthed, nervous as a cat in a room full of rockers or had just run out of gas because she was all stove up. Some nights she would have the big eye and not sleep much. Most days she was happy as a dead pig in the sunshine.

Visitors were always as welcome as the flowers in May and it didn’t make no never mind who dropped in, you were always invited to sit a spell and have supper (you know, the meal that’s served at night). One of her favorite sayings was whatever melts your butter, meaning whatever makes you happy.

Mamie  Martin Stanley 1980

It will be twenty years this October since Mamie Louise Martin Stanley passed away. There is only my brother, two sisters and I left of the six children. Sometimes when talking, one of us will unconsciously use one of her phrases. Realizing what just happened laughter breaks out. She would be proud that we have managed to keep Martin-ese alive. She would be happy to know that we were melting butter.

Military Monday: Donald Ray Hemperley, USAF 18574020

Don, as he preferred, was the second child of Raymond and Sybol O’Pry Hemperley.  He arrived a jaundiced baby born on August 18, 1941 in Vivian, Louisiana.  Growing up on a 60 acre farm near Gilliam, he was a precocious child who often ran away from home to play with his imaginary family that lived just across the levee.  Many were the times his mother, with switch in hand, would cross that levee to retrieve him. When asked where he had been he would speak of visiting his fantasy wife and children who lived across the levee.

Don Hemperley 1st grade

First Grade

Don attended grammar school in Belcher, Louisiana. By high school, a new consolidate school had been built in Vivian and he was among the graduation class of the first four full years of the school. Don could have been an honors student for he was a very intelligent person. Often work on the farm, work after school at a gas station in Gilliam, or his antics got in the way. During his senior year he was suspended for three days for smoking on campus. He was also reprimanded for singing and dancing in the hallways while classes were going on.
Don Hemperley soph

Sophomore Year

Following his graduation he knew he did not want the farm life anymore and enlisted the United States Air Force on July 22, 1959 in Shreveport, Louisiana. His basic training was at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. As basic training does for so many young enlistees, he went in a scrawny teen and came out a well chiseled mature adult male!
Don at Boot Camp, San Antonio, Tx Sept. 1959
Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base

From San Antonio he was sent to Indiana University at Bloomington to become a Russian Linguist. His studies included not only the language but also the history and culture of Russia. From the first day of class his professors spoke only in Russian; wrote only in Russian; and expected the soldiers in the class to learn and excel in all things Russian. Not all students graduated (one even committed suicide) as it was an intense degree of studies.

Don Hemperley AF photo at Indiana U
Student I D for Bloomington University

Don Hemperley at Indiana U 1960
On Campus at Indiana University

August 6, 1960 Don returned home and we were married that night at the Belcher Baptist Church. After a short leave we headed to Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas where he was to attend crypto-logic and intelligence training school. Did I ask what all that meant? Heavens no! We were too busy celebrating our recent marriage and starting our married lives. Besides, it didn’t matter to me just as long as we were together.

Don at San Angelo 1960
 Airman 2nd Class, San Angelo, Texas

By New Year’s Day of 1960 I was expecting our first child and Don was boarding a plane for a fifteen month tour of duty at the 6986th Wakkanai Air Station located on the northern most point of Hokkaido, Japan. Being the linguist he was he soon picked up the Japanese language and was able to communicate with the locals. He loved the food as well as the people in Wakkanai. Off time was spent writing letters home, visiting orphanages and at the Club Walk’N I NCO club where he was on the Board of Governors.

Don, Waikini 1961
Wakkanai Japan 1961

In April 1962 Don returned stateside and met our eleven month son Steve for the first time. We packed our little black 1950 Ford and headed to his next assignment at the National Security Agency located at Fort George G. Meade near Laurel, Maryland. I knew Don had a high level security clearance, but NSA?

The Cuban Missile Crisis took place during the time we were in Maryland and I can remember Don working long hours and being very concerned. Of course, I had no idea of what his job entailed, but the reality of the crisis set in when I drove to work and there were few cars on the road. The shopping center, which was usually bustling, was desolate. The air was tense as most everyone was waiting for President Kennedy’s next news conference.

On July 19, 1963 Don’s enlistment was up and we returned to Louisiana. Our daughter Kelly was born in September and we settled into a life far from the fast paced Air Force one Don loved. He soon became a partner in an insurance agency and was a Junior Warden as well as Master of the Belcher Masonic Lodge. He was instrumental in incorporating Gilliam as a Village and served as its first Village Clerk. He was a jokester, a loving father and husband, generous and a good friend to everyone.

Many many years later in life he mentioned his time in the Air Force and I asked, “Now just what was it that you did while wearing those Air Force blues?” He replied with that precocious smile, “I spoke to Russians flying their planes over water near Hokkaido and they didn’t know I was an American. I also decoded and transcribed top secrets while at NSA.” I rolled my eyes and thought, there he goes again; pulling those same tricks much like he did on his mother about his fantasy family. So was he was telling the truth or not? I suppose I will never know for sure.

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Genealogy: Edward Thomas Hemperley and Letitia Ann Maranda Dodd

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Edward Thomas Hemperley

Dr. Edward Thomas Hemperley

Edward Thomas Hemperley was born into the family of nine children of Edward Martin Hemperley and Rachel Powell on March 20, 1841 in Campbell County, Georgia. His childhood was spent in Georgia where he attended school and upon graduation began his life as a farmer. Edward didn’t particularly like this occupation and in 1860-1861 he attended lectures at Macon, Georgia to become a physician.

On March 3, 1861 in Fayette, Georgia he married Miss Letitia (Lettie) Ann Maranda Dodd, daughter of John Sample Dodd and Elizabeth Harriet Word.

Letitia Dodd Hemperley

Letitia Ann Maranda “Lettie” Dodd

John Sample Dodd was a prominent Baptist Minister in Georgia and has been written about in The Biographical Sketches of Prominent Baptists, The Preaching Dodds of Old Campbell County as well as The Sun newspaper published on April 2, 1881.

On September 9, 1861 Edward Thomas enlisted in the 27th Regiment of the Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Company E as a private. In November 1861 he was serving in Manassas, Virginia and listed as having chronic rheumatism. December 7, 1861 in Richmond, Virginia he was discharged for the disability.

Edward T Hemperley, Discharge 1861

The discharge states that he is 6 feet tall, dark complexioned, grey eyes, black hair and a twenty year old farmer. Physician M. Darnall, surgeon, further states that he has chronic rheumatism of the right knew preventing extension of the limb and that he believes that he will not get well as long as he remains in camp.

On August 1, 1863 Edward re-enlisted in the same Regiment at Fairburn, Georgia and served as a hospital nurse in Lake City, Florida in February 1864. March 11, 1864 he was suffering from neuralgia and was on inactive duty until October 25, 1864. His active duty included the battle at Lake City, and in the last battle fought at Bentonville, North Carolina.

Edward Hemperley parole of 1865

On May 1, 1865 he was paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina. He returned to Georgia where he and Lettie lived and he practiced medicine until 1869 when they moved to Miller County, Arkansas.

Moving from Georgia to Miller County was an arduous task. Four of their thirteen children had been born in Georgia and they, along with Edward and Lettie, road the train from Atlanta, Georgia to New Orleans. In New Orleans they boarded a steamboat going up the Mississippi River until they came to the Red River in Shreveport. Here they took another steamboat through Caddo Lake to Jefferson, Texas. In Jefferson they had to buy a wagon and an ox team for the final leg to Era, Arkansas. The final leg, which is about 50 miles, took two days.

They were greeted by family members who had already moved from Georgia. Edward’s brother, Andrew Simpson Hemperley and his wife Louise Catherine Dodd (aunt to Lettie) had come to Arkansas in 1856. Although Andrew Simpson had been killed at Baker’s Hill in the Battle of Vicksburg, his family was still there. Lettie’s uncle, Willis Henderson Dodd and his wife, Rachel Hemperley (sister of Edward) were in Miller County also.

In this area, Dr. Hemperley’s practice encompassed the states of Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. According to Myrtle Hemperley Lloyd, Dr. Hemperley’s granddaughter whom I interviewed in the late 1960s, they had 760 acres of land, a saw mill, a shingle mill, a grist mill, and two cotton gins.

Dr. Edward Thomas Hemperley passed away in 1913 in Miller County. Stories are that following his passing, Lettie was often called upon to administer to the sick because of her medical knowledge. She is described as having an outspoken personality, personal magnetism, and high energy. Lettie died in 1926. They attended Evergreen Baptist Church and are both buried there.

Dr. Edward Thomas Hemperley and wife Letitia Ann Maranda Dodd Hemperley

Dr. Edward Thomas and Lettie Hemperley

IM000583.JPG

Evergreen Baptist Church, April 2013

Evergreen Church

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Christmas Eve Gift!!

Christmas Eve Gift

Growing up Santa always came on Christmas Eve; I don’t really know why, he just did!   There was no waiting around for Christmas morning to open gifts in my family of six children.  Maybe it was because often the tree was not cut and decorated until that day with homemade ornaments. Maybe Mother and Daddy knew they could not restrain us until the next morning.  Maybe it was because the following day meant a trip over the rivers and through the woods to Grandma’s house we’d go.  Little did I know in 1960, the year I became a member of the Hemperley family, that they too opened their gifts on Christmas Eve, but the Christmas Eve gift had a twist and was a tradition in their family.

As Don and I entered his parent’s home that year, his dad greeted us with a boisterous, “Christmas Eve Gift!” to which Don replied, “Oh, you got me again!”  His mom entered the room and her greeting was the same.   I looked at Don quizzically and wondered what was going on.

Knowing full well we were to have our gift exchange after supper that night my reply was that it was not time to open gifts. Don’s dad questioned me; didn’t I know about the Christmas Eve Gift? No, apparently I did not.

He explained that in days of old when all the crops were laid by and the bills paid, the plantation owners would give a gift to the first farm hand that greeted him with that phrase on Christmas Eve.  And since “Pop” had grown up on a farm and was a farmer, the tradition continued. But I soon learned that the gift didn’t come with a bow but was more like a game of tag.  You try to catch someone off guard, unsuspecting, or naïve to lay the words on and reap pleasure of being the first to greet someone you love on Christmas Eve.  The result is usually “Oh darn, you got me” followed by the gift of a hug and a kiss. Through the years my family, the Stanleys, became players in the game and love it as much as those who taught me how to play.

Some Hemperleys will go to any length to tag you first.  Like the year Don, who was an early to bed and early to rise person, set his biological clock for 12:01 AM to wake me from a deep slumber with his obnoxious greeting.  Sometimes they will wait until you are deeply involved in making a Christmas dessert or some other chore that would distract you and you are caught again.  Or there will be a knock on the door and when you open it you are greeted by a chorus of the phrase by relatives bearing gifts and food who have arrived early hoping to catch you off guard.

In the days before caller ID the phone would ring and on the other end of the line you would hear the greeting before you could even say Ho Ho Ho.  In today’s world when we can’t all be together or you want to tag someone before you are tagged, you wait until 6:00 AM, as I did this morning, and text the phrase .  Some say I’m cheating; I say welcome to the world of electronics as I see that the same as a chat, one on one.  And who got caught tagged first today?  Not me!

Traditions are unique to each family and they often are changed from one generation to another.  Silly as this game is, it’s a Christmas tradition that has been passed down for years.  There is no last minute shopping, no fighting crowds nor it’s not monetary. It’s just a warm greeting filled with love.

And yes I do know ultimately the true Christmas Eve Gift was the Star of Bethlehem that led to a manger.  May you have a Merry Christmas and remember the reason for the season.

In closing I would like to say “CHRISTMAS EVE GIFT”! Consider yourself tagged!

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Road Trips: After the Estate Sale with Sissy Hanson Burge

Leaving the Estate Sale of Billy and Dixie Hanson, I was now headed to the home of his sister, Virginia “Sissy” Hanson Burge, which was a short distance down the road.  My friend Cheri was still with me as we followed Tommy and Kathy to his mother’s home.   My relationship with this family is so closely related that they appear in three of my family’s trees.  On my paternal Stanley side, my grandfather, Wes Stanley’s sister, Roxie Lee had married Robert Benjamin Hanson.  Roxie and Robert were parents these kids father, James Hanson, therefore their grandparents. On the maternal Martin side of the family, my mother Mamie Martin’s sister, Gladys, married Roxie and Robert’s son, James also known as Jim.  And on my husband’s side, Laura Hanson Hemperley, his grandmother was the sister of Robert Hanson!!!  Okay, this is getting very confusing and I’m afraid one of us is married to a monkey’s uncle!
But allow me to introduce you to Sissy:

Sissy Hanson Burge

Sissy was only two years old when her father, “Jim” Hanson died during a yellow fever epidemic in 1932; her brothers James and Billy were only four and one. Aunt Gladys had a hard life providing for these children and Sissy says they often wondered where their next meal would come from. She was in the second grade in Ida, Louisiana before she saw her first white cake. Brother James sold his dad’s saddle to buy a wooden bicycle to deliver ice to the residents of Ida. That cause quite a stir in the family, but it did help provide for them.

Children of Gladys Martin Hanson

By 1939 Gladys was remarried to Claude Norris Gingles, better known as “Buster” and was working as assistant post mistress in Ida. Buster was in the Army and in 1946 they moved to Doyline and lived in Green Tree Village which was the housing for those associated with the shell plant located there. Leaving Ida in her senior year of school was the hardest thing Sissy said she ever had to do but Aunt Gladys offered her encouragement and told her she was going to like it.
The neighboring family, the Greesons, had six girls and so Sissy made friends quickly. There was a handsome young man named Wilburn Thomas Burge on the basketball team and Sissy asked the Greeson girls about him. They approved and within a week Wilburn “Kink” had asked her for a date to a ballgame. In her last year of school Sissy played the cymbals and baritone tuba while her brother James played the bass tuba.

W T and Virginia (Sissy) Hanson Burge

Sissy and Kink were married on October 10, 1947 in the parsonage of the First Baptist Church in Doyline. Kink worked as a Pepsi delivery man covering a large part of North Louisiana before he became employed at the Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant where he worked for over thirty years. Sissy worked at a general store in Ida before moving to Doyline and afterwards at the Dixie Cream, the LAAP as an ordinance inspector, at the hospital in Minden as the central supply clerk and later in the thrift store at Hope Youth Ranch. Their family includes sons Wilburn Thomas, Jr. also known as Tommy, Kenneth Noel and two daughters, Barbara and Kathy. For many years they lived in downtown Doyline but for the past thirty years have resided at the dead-end of Point Road in the former home of Kink’s parents which was also a fishing camp and boat launch.

Burge's Camp on Bistineau

It wasn’t long before we arrived at Sissy’s house located on beautiful Lake Bistineau. Cheri was anxious to wet a hook and see how many fish she could catch before our visit ended but we were not here to fish.  I was her to visit with Sissy……. period!  I had not seen her in a very long time and she was much frailer than in younger years. She now has the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and can no longer live alone therefore Kenny and Barbara live with her.

At first she didn’t recognize me but when told who I was, we hugged for a long time; her smile was welcoming and that bear hug felt good. She had Barbara bring out her photo albums to share with me and when prompted could tell me of things that happened long ago but had difficulty with her short-term memory. There were two photos that she dearly cherished, those being of her father, Jim Hanson. The one below is of him on the top right, brother Doris Hanson on the left, and sisters, Myrtle Hanson in the middle and bottom Retter and Woodie.

Jim Hanson and brothers and sisters

My visit was short as Sissy was tiring and needed rest. As she turned to retire to bed I told her I wanted a good-bye hug. As we stood face to face she looked at me quizzically and asked, “Did your Momma die?” to which I replied, “Yes a long time ago”. She and I both held back tears and held each other tight.

Kookie Hemperley and Virginia Hanson Burge

She never looked back nor did I. At least we had that precious moment together and hopefully it meant as much to her as it did to me.

As we drove away Cheri declared that we were coming back….. and next time she would bring her own fishing gear!

Back home I couldn’t wait to share the photo of Jim Hanson and his brothers and sisters with another Hanson cousin, Michelle Chamblee McBride and her family. Was she ever surprised! It was like a priceless treasure as none of her family had ever seen the picture before of their loved ones at such an early age.

So, so wherever you road trips lead you, be it down a dusty road, a visit to a library, a walk in a cemetery or an interview with one of the elders of your family, please share! And if you have a “road trip” planned anytime soon, please give me a call.
Kookie

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and it’s a time to drag out your favorite recipes, plan a menu, and go grocery shopping.  Sometimes it becomes stressful worrying if you will have enough food, who’s coming to dinner and will you get it on the table on time.  Holiday meals should never become a chore but rather a celebration of family, friends and the fellowship you can share with one another.

Our family’s celebration for Thanksgiving is pretty traditional in the menu.  However, it’s the contribution of each family member’s specialty that makes it more delightful and less complicated. Son—in-law, Scott Brown starts the night before by smoking a turkey that is falloff the bone tender and juicy.  Everyone has their favorite part of the turkey and when my daughter-in-law came into the family, she would only eat drumsticks therefore they were reserved for her alone. The simple way to resolve this problem for the younger family members, who also liked them, was to purchase a package of nothing but drumsticks.  Now everyone is happy!

Of course we have to have the traditional cornbread dressing which I make.  Recently I have taught granddaughter Rachel how to make it and we usually do that together.  When Don was alive I made two dressings; one regular and another with oysters which was his favorite.  Kelly makes mashed potatoes and green bean casserole and of course we have broccoli rice casserole, which my South Louisiana grandkids refer to as “green rice”. Other items on the menu include a fruit salad, green salad, cranberry sauce, rolls, etc. For deserts Scott often makes a sweet potato pie and he or I have to have pecan pie with Jack Daniels in it.  Now before you back away from that one, the alcohol cooks out and you are left with a delightful flavor.  Kelly’s favorite is banana pudding and my niece, Janet Stanley, who is the carrot cake princess, always makes one for me.  Sometimes I make 5 Minute Fudge however, my sister-in-law gave me a recipe for crock pot fudge that is so easy to make (as if the 5 Minute Fudge is difficult!).  Another “must” is bread pudding with either a coconut rum or Jack Daniels sauce.  Granddaughter Lauren is a wizard with cupcakes so she’s in charge of those and, sister, Judy Stanley introduced us to pecan pie muffins.  Can you tell by the time the football games are on TV we’re in a sugar coma?  Bring on the coffee with Kool Whip floating on top!

Now that your mouth is watering, thought I’d share a few of our favorite recipes with you.

First up:

Janet Hemperley Stanley’s Carrot Cake:

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Mix together 2 cups sugar, 4 eggs, 1 ½ cup oil. Sift together 2 cups flour, 2 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1 tsp. salt. Fold in: 3 cups grated raw carrots and 1 cup chopped pecans. Bake 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Cream Cheese Frosting: 8 oz. cream cheese, ½ stick butter, 1 box powdered sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla. Mix until creamy and frost the cake.

Next:

Kookie Stanley Hemperley’s Easy Bread Pudding Kookie Hemperley 6-2-2012 Large pkg. Day old Danish with pecans and raisins, 1 qt. heavy cream and 8 eggs. Break up bread and cover with cream and eggs mixing well. Let soak for a few minutes and then pour into baking dish sprayed with Pam and bake at 350 degrees until toothpick comes out clean (about 30-40 minutes). Sauce: 1 cup sugar, water to dissolve sugar, *orange or lemon juice to taste, vanilla, small amount of heavy cream and pecans chopped finely. Add all ingredients and cook down until thick. *You can substitute Cocoanut Rum, Jack Daniels or Grand Marnier. (Of course, cooking takes all the alcohol out but leaves a good flavor)

Next:

Velma Stanley’s Crock Pot Clusters

Velma Irwin Stanley1-16 oz. jar salted dry roasted peanuts, 1-16 oz. jar unsalted dry roasted peanuts, 1-12 oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 bar German chocolate and 2-1 ½ lb. white almond bark.  Layer all ingredients in a crock pot and set temperature to low and cook 3 hours. Stir at the end of 3 hours. Drop onto foil by spoonsfull and let set until hardened.

And last but not least:

Judy Stanley’s Pecan Pie Muffins

JuJu May 2010

1 cup chopped pecans, 1 cup brown sugar firmly packed, ½ cup all purpose flour, 2 large eggs, ½ cup butter or margarine melted.

Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl; make a well in the center of the mixture. Beat eggs until foamy and stir in butter. Add to dry ingredients stirring until moistened. Place in muffin tins (spray or coat with butter). Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Remove from pans immediately. Makes 8-0 muffins. We like these because you can eat them with your hand and don’t have to wash a dish!

As you can tell, our meal is collaboration from the whole family, which makes it more fun. And of course, each person around the table has to say what they are thankful for before we all dig in. That can be funny, sentimental or sweet. So, in closing, I’ll start this Thanksgiving season by saying, thank you Lord for family who sustain me; for friends who bring joy, for health; and for genealogy which brought me to Susie Higginbotham Reynolds who allows me to share a part of her world!

Who Do You Think You Are? – My Review

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For months I have anticipated the return of one of my favorite shows, “Who Do You Think You Are”.  Even if I don’t know much about the featured celebrity, I hopefully will discover a new source for searching or find a hint that will lead me in a new direction.  Last night “Who Do You Think You Are?” made its 2013 season debut and left me with mixed reviews. 

For starters, searching for ancestors just doesn’t fall into place as it is portrayed on the show.  As someone who has done research in libraries, cemeteries and personal interviews over a period of more than thirty years, I can tell you that you may search months, years or decades to locate one document much less the entire life story of your ancestor. Sometimes you come up totally empty handed.

Personally I love Ancestry, the sponsor of the show.  In fact I have three family trees on their site and praise it as my “go to sight” for research.  However, I believe the illusion of how easy it is to discover your past, who you are, and your family’s place in history on “Who Do You Think You Are?” is just that…… an illusion.  The average beginning genealogist, I’m afraid, will get a false sense of tracing one’s tree.  And when disappointment sets in, some will lose interest and their tree will never branch with limbs and twigs.

Sure, if you are a celebrity and have money to travel, it would make the process easier.  If you are one of the fortunate ones that can hire a professional genealogist to do the research for you, oh well, you have just missed the personal satisfaction of a history lesson in places, events and your heritage.  To me, documents from a professional would merely become a piece of paper with names on it.  I wouldn’t have the pleasure of that “ah ha” moment!  There is no greater reward in genealogy than to discover a document or photo and have the feeling of accomplishment in your pursuit.

Kelly and Rachel  Brown, Kookie Stanley Hemperley and Mamie Stanley-4 generations

Kelly and Rachel Brown, Kookie Stanley Hemperley and Mamie Stanley                     4 generations

Through the generations: Mother, Mamie Martin Stanley and I located cemeteries, interviewed family members, gathered photos and old documents.  My daughter Kelly Hemperley Brown and her husband Scott and I enjoy locating cemeteries off the beaten path documenting headstones as we go.  Rachel, who is about a year old in this photo, is all grown up now and currently is a Deputy Clerk in Caddo Parish Clerk’s Office. She has researched local court records for me and often accompanies me to different libraries searching old newspapers, microfilms and military histories.  In short, my research has included four generations sharing our family’s history and having that “ah ha” moment together.

While I find the celebrities heritage enjoyable at times, if I had my druthers, every once in a while I would prefer Ancestry send in a John Doe…… you know; ordinary researchers like you and me; the people who have brick walls and do not have the luxury of hiring the pros to do the work for us or to travel extensively.  Every person who has walked the face of this earth is deserving of having their story told regardless of their social status.

Another suggestion I would make to the producers of the show is that they allow the person with the most gathered information on the ancestor be allowed to travel on the discovery journey regardless of whether the featured person is a celebrity or a descendant of John Doe. Had it not been for the encouragement of and the companionship of my mother pointing me in the right direction when I began we would have not had the benefit of sharing what we discovered.  She didn’t have to wait until I arrived home with new information; she experienced it right along with me.

In conclusion when the celebrity located the grave-site of her relative of generations past and greeted it with “what’s up”, I thought how irreverent!  The first words from her mouth should have been that she would have loved to have known him and thank him for his contribution to the war, politics and her family.

Kookie

Military Monday- Saving Lives Rather Than Take Them

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Judson M Hemperley, Sr

Judson Manuel Hemperley was born on October 14, 1919 in Ida, Louisiana to Luther London and Sybil Cain Hemperley. Luther went to work for Cities Service and his wife and children moved to Haynesville, Louisiana where she owned a dress shop. Judson had one sister, Iris Bliss, who was killed in her senior year of high school from an accidental gun discharge.

Judson, in the 1940 census for Haynesville, Louisiana, was residing with his parents and wife, Helen Burge Hemperley, whom he had married on October 18, 1939 in Magnolia, Arkansas. It also says he had completed one year of college and had been out of work for 58 weeks even though his occupation was listed as an oilfield laborer.

On November 30, 1942 he enlisted in the U. S. Army and served until January 4, 1946 as a medic attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant. His first child, Judson Manuel, Jr., was born November 1, 1943 while he was in service in Germany.

For a time after he got out of the Army, Judson worked in the oilfield business in the boom of East Texas. In 1960 Judson relocated his family to Grants, New Mexico to the Uranium boom. His hobbies included gardening, fishing and cooking. He resided in Grants until his death at age 90 on February 10, 2010.

For many years, Judson would not speak of the war or his efforts to save lives rather than take them. It was only at the urging of one of his grandchildren and working with Doug Bocaz-Larson and his wife, Kim, a documentary film was made of his war experiences. Mr. Bocaz-Larson is the Program Manager for computer science and creative media instructor for New Mexico State University in Grants, New Mexico. In the fall of 2009 that documentary, “Saving Lives in World War II”, won an Emmy for the Southwest Rocky Mountain region.

Saving Lives in World War II, Judson M Hemperley

This video of Saving Lives in World War II can be seen here.

Judson, along with another WW II vet, was interviewed by CNN regarding their service in the war. The video for this is located here, if you want to be a member of the site, you can sign up and search for Judson Manuel Hemperley.

Another Video about his saving lives can be seen here:

In these videos he recalls treating soldiers, saving lives at the Nazi Prison Camp, the stench of cremation’s, treating a little girl with a severed arm and walking through land mines to rescue fallen soldiers. Such atrocities you and I can’t even begin to imagine! He ate on the run, slept little and went from a 42” waist to a 35” waist during the same time period.

Look deeply into his compassionate blue eyes and listen as his gentle voice recants his life during service as a medic and you will see why it took him so many years to tell his war stories. Be thankful for your wounded relatives in World War II who returned home due to the dedication, training and American pride of medics like Judson Manuel Hemperley. A man committed to saving lives rather than take them.

Judson M Hemperley

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