Tag Archives: hemperley

Travel Tuesday – Trip Down Home

Where is Down Home you say?  Well, down (south) in Texarkana, and while I have never actually lived in Texarkana, I consider it down home because your home is where your heart is, or family is right? Considering this is where all the family is for both my maternal and paternal side, I just call it down home.

As soon as Knucklehead got off the bus on Friday afternoon, a week or so ago, we headed down home.

Knucklehead's Bus

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And the Winners Are…

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Congratulations to 1st place winner of the Fold3.com one year membership:  Michelle Harris who said, “I’d probably like to be my 6th great grandfather, who was a cherokee chief and diplomat and negotiated with the British government in the 1700s.”

Congratulations to 2nd place winner of the Newspapers.com one year membership:  Kookie Hemperley who said, “After giving this much thought, I would like to spend the day with my grandmother, Emma Pearl Bain Martin and her son, my uncle, Ray Houston Martin. I would like to know how Granny Pearl survived the Depression with an out of work ill husband that died leaving her with children to raise and no income. Uncle Ray was killed in WW II in Tunisia at the age of 27. I have to tried to obtain his service records but have been unable to do so due to the fact that the repository that housed them burned. Since they both died before I was 2 years old, I have no memories of either of them , I would like to know them in person not through documents.”

Congratulations to 3rd place winner of the $30 gift certificate to Blurb.com:  Ken Wilder, who said, “If I could, I would pick to be my great, great grandfather, James Banks of Georgia. He was a civil war veteran who had to file for his pension as being indigent. He was reported to have to depend on his daughters to support. I can’t even begin to imagine how he might have felt about having to do that.
If I could travel back and be James, my hope would be that there would be a way to have made it easier on him and his family.

I will be contacting you soon with your prize information!

FYI – I use a plugin that chooses the winners for me, it’s totally random and I have no say in it.

Blogiversary Winners

Who Do You Think You Are? – Kookie’s 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

Wedding Wednesday – Don and Kookie Hemperley

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Don and Kookie met in Kookie’s sophomore year of high school (Don was a jr.) and they were the very best of friends.

They had their first date about a year later on Halloween (maybe that’s why they both loved that holiday so much).

Don graduated one year before Kookie and during the summer entered the A F, training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio. After basic and a leave he was sent to Indiana University to study the Russian arts, life, and became a linguist. Kookie did not see Don for 10 months while he was at Bloomington, Indiana. However, they always knew they were going to be married.

Don wrote many letters and when he saved up enough to call Kookie he would. Of course they weren’t very long conversations! So, through correspondence with his parents (they didn’t have a phone) he got them to give permission for a legal document which they signed in order for Kookie to go to the court house and get the license. Since Kookie was under aged, she and her mother went and got it. Don arrived home by bus from Indiana at 5:30 PM on August 6, 1960 and by 7:30 PM they were having a church wedding at the Belcher Baptist Church, Belcher, LA.

Kookie’s best friend was her maid of honor; Don’s brother, Jesse, was his best man and Kookie’s sisters, Judy and Kitty were the candle lighters. They were married 33 years at the time of Don’s death.

Sentimental Sunday – The Monkey in the Tree

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Guest post by Kookie Hemperley

 In memory of Don’s dad, John Raymond Hemperley

Raymond Hemperley 1961

Raymond Hemperley 1961

It was a typical Sunday afternoon on the farm at the home of Raymond and Sybol Hemperley. He was sitting in a straight chair beneath the large pecan trees in the back yard, which the family referred to his  ”office”, when I came out the screen door with a large glass of ice water in hand.  I guided Steve down the doorsteps and was met by Buck, the collie, who greeted and escorted us across the lawn to the “office”.

“Here you are, Pop,” I said as I handed him the glass and joined him in the other chair beneath the tree.

“Sure is hot today,” he said and drank the whole glass of water in one long gulp.

It seemed particularly hot to me too.  What breeze that was blowing was warm and dry that August day and we were trying to escape the hot house as it had no air conditioning and I was eight months pregnant with Kelly.

He took out his Bull Durham pouch and began rolling a cigarette.  It always mystified me how he could pour the tobacco; fill; roll and lick the tobacco stuffed paper; crimp the end; pull the pouch string with his teeth and drop the pouch back into his shirt pocket in one fluid motion.  As he lit up, he brushed the spilled tobacco off his khaki pants and it drifted in the breeze into his unlaced shoes.

His blue eyes smiled as he helped Steve crawl into his lap.  Steve dug into his pockets pulling out cigarette papers and ballpoint pins.  Pop (a name only Steve could call him as he required the other grandkids to refer to him as Pop Paw) looked high into the pecan trees and said, “Beauzook, what we need is a monkey for our tree.”

Steve smiled and I laughed.  Who could imagine a monkey running freely in a pecan tree on a farm in Caddo Parish, Louisiana?

“Pop, why on earth would you want a monkey?” I asked.

With a gleam in his eyes and bouncing Steve on his knee, he said, “I’ve always wanted a monkey.  Can’t you see one running from limb to limb, swinging in the tree for all the grandkids to enjoy?  “Sides that, red-butted monkeys are so funny.”

Through the next few years, the red-butted monkey became a joke between us.  Many times he told Steve and Kelly they needed a monkey and someday he’d get them one.

In August 1969 Don and I bought a house near Vivian which sat on a 3 ½ acre tree studded tract of land and we invited Pop and Me Maw over for the grand tour.  After they had viewed each room we finally made it out to the backyard where he pulled Kelly aside and said, “All you need is a monkey for your trees.”

Raymond died the following summer but not before he and I shared many special moments.  We had a closeness few fathers-in-law and daughters-in-law share.  He told me of his heritage, his growing up, living on a farm all his life, and about the earlier Hemperley’s that had moved from South Carolina to Georgia and then to the area in Arkansas known as Erie (near Doddridge). While it was interesting at the time, it would not be until a few years later, that I realized his grandchildren and the generations that followed them, should also know of the life and times of the Hemperley’s.  Suddenly I was bitten by the genealogy bug.  Suddenly I was running from place to place in search of documents, clues, photos, anyone who had known the family; anyone that was willing to share what they knew.  It was then I recognized that I had become the monkey, not in a living tree, but rather his family tree.  Hopefully some grandchild generations down will enjoy his story as much as he wanted a monkey for his grandchildren to enjoy!

Here are a few more pictures of Raymond Hemperley:

Raymond Hemperley with mules, Joe and Jeff

Raymond Hemperley with mules, Joe and Jeff

Raymond Hemperley 1929

Raymond Hemperley 1929

Raymond Hemperley (on right) picking cotton on his place 1961

Raymond Hemperley (on right) picking cotton on his place 1961

Kookie

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