Tag Archives: Martin

Rev. Francis Hereford Williams – Part II

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I’m back with Part II of my discovery of the Rev. Francis Hereford Williams.  If you missed Part I, that’s ok.  You can find it here.

At this point in my research, what I know about Rev. Williams is that he was born in St. Louis in 1843, and that he is indeed the father of my Dona Williams Higginbotham.

What I don’t know is his date of death, Mildred’s (his wife) date of death or where they are buried.

I knew from information gathered that Dona and her husband Rufus were buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.  After a little research I discovered that Minnie and her husband Charles Hooks were buried in Hillcrest Cemetery  and so I headed out to get pictures of both of their headstones, and I was hoping that around one of their graves, I would come across Rev. Williams and Mildred’s headstone.

Rufus F. and Dona A. Higginbotham Headstone

Here is Dona and Rufus’ headstone, which looks to be in a plot of about six graves, but theirs is the only headstone in the plot and I didn’t find Rev. Williams’ or Mildred’s headstone anywhere else in Woodlawn.  If it was once there, it is gone now.

So I headed over to Hillcrest and I found Minnie’s headstone beside her husbands, Charles A. Hooks.

Minnie W Hooks Headstone  Charles A Hooks Headstone

The office had no record of Rev. Williams or his wife Sarah Mildred Martin Williams as being buried in this cemetery and of course, there was no other headstone around Minnie and Charles’.

But wait, what is that on Minnie’s headstone?

A Daughters of the American Revolution symbol!

Booyah!!

When I got home I got on the computer straight away.  started looking up DAR applications for Minnie, and Booyah!!  Found it! Paid for it, downloaded it, and prayed the whole time it was loading up on my computer for death dates for Rev. Williams and Sarah Mildred Martin Williams.

In her application which was dated the 9th of January, 1914, this is how her parents were listed:
Minnie Williams Hooks DAR app parents FHW SMMW

She states:  “I am the daughter of Francis H. Williams born 1843, died ____ and his 2nd wife Sarah M. Martin born 1856, died ______ married 1877.”

Wait.

What?

His 2nd wife??

Who’s the first?

And where are the death dates dad burn it?!?!?!

At this point I can only surmise that when Minnie filled out the application in 1914 they were both still alive.   I couldn’t find Rev. Williams on the 1920 census, but I did find his wife Mildred, widowed and living with the Yarbrough family as a roomer.

1920 Census Mildred Wiliams

I’m still trying to wrap my head around this one.  I know that there are some Yarbrough’s in the family on the Higginbotham side so I can see that this could happen.  I’m just not sure why she wasn’t living with either Dona or Minnie.  They were all alive at this time.  I’ll probably never know the answer to this one.

During this time, I made a visit to my Aunt Jane who was in declining health and we chatted and visited and I showed her what all I had discovered and she was very interested but her memory was failing her and she couldn’t help much with information.  She did tell me she had some boxes with some stuff in them that I could have, and so Uncle Charlie (Starks) dug them out and gave them to me and I hit the mother lode!

What I thought at first to be a lot of Higginbotham photos and such, ended up being a lot of stuff from the Williams.    It was in this stuff that I discovered that Rev. Williams, was a minister, that he had probably been in the war between the states and that he had been in the Austin Confederate Home following the war between the states.

See this box?

Williams box of lettersIt was full of letters to the Williams family.   There were quite a few letters in here from Charles to Minnie when he was away at school and working in a pharmacy.  There were letters from some of Mildred’s Dial cousins in Louisiana.

Here are some pictures of the Williams’ that I found in the boxes as well:

Dona, Mildred, and Minnie Williams

Dona is on the left, Mildred in the middle and Minnie on the right.

FH and Mildred WilliamsRev. Williams, I believe this is either Earl or Milton Higginbotham in the middle but not sure which one, and Mildred Williams on the right.

Earl Higginbotham 1901

This is my grandfather Earl Higginbotham in 1901, this photo was in the box and what I love so much about this picture is that Rev. Williams wrote on the back of the photo: “Twinkle to his old Granddad”.  I found that to be so sweet and it really just touched me.

FH WilliamsRev. Williams again.  I wish I could tell more about this picture and where he was.  It’s really blurry though.

F H WilliamsEarl had written on the back of this photo, Grandfather Williams.  It was so faded that you can barely make out his facial features.  I wish I could see his eyes.

Mildred Martin Williams

Mildred Martin Williams.  What a very regal picture.  I have such beautiful ancestors!!

Minnie Williams Hooks

Minnie Williams Hooks.  What a beautiful picture.

Dona HigginbothamDona Higginbotham.  This picture did not come from this box, Gary Higginbotham gave me this picture, but I didn’t want to leave her out because there wasn’t one of her in the box.  I love this picture though.

Booyah!!  What a great discovery of pictures and letters!  How lucky am I that Aunt Jane remembered them, and that Uncle Charlie got them out and gave them to me.  I will be forever grateful, from the bottom of my heart and I can’t say it enough.

So, at this point of my journey, I still had no death for Rev. Williams, but I have it down to being between 1914, the date of Minnie’s DAR application and 1920 when Mildred appears on the census as a widow.  A very thorough search of all Texarkana cemeteries has left me dry as well.

I’m already working on Part III of this series and I hope you’ll stick around for the rest of this story because I still have the good parts to get to.

Booyah!

Ok, sorry.  I just always have to do it one more time.

Don’t forget to come back on the 16th specifically, I have good things in store for you my special friends and family!

Susie

Rev. Francis Hereford Williams – Part I

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For some time now, like two years to be exact, I have been working on one dead-end after another with my 2nd great-grandfather, the Rev. Francis Hereford Williams.

I’m going to take you on a little journey of discovery as to how I found out about him, and his story as it unfolded to me.  Well, sort of.  He’s still a mystery to some extent.

Rev. Francis Hereford Williams

This is him.  I would not even know who he was if cousin Nedra Harris Turney hadn’t saved a letter that my grandfather, Earl Higginbotham was going to burn because she wanted the stamp.  This was the contents of that letter.

Ben MartinI know you are wondering what that letter had to do with him right?  I mean she is asking about Ben Martin in it, not Francis Hereford Williams.  Now, that is a find in itself, but that’s a different story for another time.  It was the piece of paper that was enclosed with this letter that was really the most important.  I would like to point out first though, that I find it really comforting that my great-grandmother, Dona Higginbotham was trying to find out about her ancestors with this letter.  FROM 1913!!  How lucky am I that Nedra saved this letter??  Because this little jewel that was inside was a great find.  I’d like to hug Dona’s neck for this one! Oh, and Nedra’s too.

Ben Martin Descendants

There he is, Francis Hereford Williams listed as the father of Dona’s sister, Minnie Elizabeth Williams Hooks!  Ancestors listed all the way back to 1787!

Booyah!!!

Of course, I haven’t proved all that, but thank you Dona for saving it with the letter.   Thank you Bepaw (Earl) for not burning it and giving it to Nedra, and thank you Nedra for saving stamps and getting the letter from Bepaw (Earl), and thank you ….. just kidding.  I could go on and on but that is all.  Amen.

Now, I know you want to ask me how that list proves Minnie is Dona’s sister, and that Francis Hereford Williams is actually Dona’s father.  Well, it doesn’t.   Right.  I know.  Just when you think you have a lead, you still can’t prove the relation.

The problem was on the 1880 census, Francis and Mildred were listed along with Minnie.  Dona wasn’t born yet.  She would have been listed on the 1890 census, but we don’t have a 1890 census and by the time the 1900 census rolled around, Dona was already married to Rufus Higginbotham.

All was not lost though.  After months and months of trying to prove this relation and coming up dry, my Dad’s first cousin, Gary Higginbotham came through for me.  He found his father Milton Higginbotham’s baby book.  Milton was my grandfather Earl’s brother.

Milton Higginbotham's Baby Book
Milton Higginbotham's Baby Book

Booyah, Baby!!  I do have a census report for Rufus, Dona, Earl and Milton all living together as a big happy family, so I finally tied them all together.

On my next post I will give you a run down of how I then started putting pieces together of Frances Hereford Williams in the war between the states, and as a minister.  Then, I’ll move on to the really juicy stuff.  Family scandals and such.  Yeah, I know a minister involved in a family scandal?  Not really, but I do believe he changed his name to Francis Hereford Williams, from possibly Watkins.

Why do I think so you ask?  Well, you will just have to stick around and find out.

Booyah!

I just wanted to say that one more time.

Oh, and be sure you do keep coming back, I have my one year blogging anniversary coming up on the 16th and I’m going to have a big surprise for you!

Booyah!

Ok, I’ll stop now.

Really.

Susie

The Five R’s of Tommy Stanley

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Guest post by my 3rd cousin 1 x removed, Kookie Hemperley.

In this age of “going green” I would like to share how my brother, Tommy Stanley, has given new meaning to the words, recycle, repurpose, re-gift, redesign and rewards. I’m sure as you see his creations you will agree he has given these words new meanings. But before we get into that, let me introduce you to Tommy.

Tommy was the second child of six born to Mamie Martin and Clyde Stanley. In a family that large, we all wore hand-me-downs and didn’t have too many toys. Sometimes if you wanted a new toy you had to use your imagination and “recycle” a worn out bicycle wheel into a rim that you rolled around with a stick. Or a bottle became the forerunner of “Hot Wheels”. Or empty cans became airborne toys when you played “kick the can”. It was creativity to the max and we were happy with what we had. Thus, the birth of “recycling” for Tommy.

Tommy worked most of his adult life as a body shop man in several Ford dealerships throughout East Texas. One day, when work was slow, he was talking to one of his co-workers who had lost everything in a house fire. Everything but one lone spur. Tommy took the spur back to the body shop, polished it out and had the reward of seeing his co-worker’s surprise of the beauty of the only object salvaged from his loss.

That day set Tommy thinking. As a child he had seen a pair of brass spurs our Uncle Ray Martin had bought on a trip to Mexico before he entered World War II. (Ray was killed in Tunisia, North Africa on March 29, 1943.) That day he decided he would replicate them even though he had never attempted to make a pair of spurs.

He took a pair of ordinary horse shoes, straightened them into bars and then bent the horse shoes the opposite direction. That became the portion of the spur that would fit around a boot heel. He shaped, curved, filed, polished and refined it even more. When finished, he sent them out to be chromed. Once chromed, he took them to a leather shop owned and operated by a Mexican gentleman. As soon as the man saw them he said, “Chee-Wa-Wa”, which he went on to explain was style of spurs made in Chihuahua, Mexico. Could Uncle Ray have visited “Chee-Wa-Wa” when he bought his? Tommy then added a gold-plated rowel and the finished product is shown below.

Since that first pair was created, Tommy now makes spurs for bull riders, ropers, and pleasure riders. He says the most rewarding pair he made was for an insurance agent near Tyler. The man was a competing Western pleasure rider who’d had an auto accident, leaving his right arm and leg incapable of giving the horse the proper cues. He was in need of spurs that could be modified and realigned and contacted Tommy. Tommy went to his ranch, put the man on the horse, took measurements and went home to build the new spurs. Once finished, the man was able to once again ride competitively.

Pictured below are some of the spurs and branding irons Tommy custom builds.

This pair has brass inlays.

Work spurs made from horseshoes with branding iron.

Dressy in black leather and chrome.

Most recently Tommy has begun to “recycle” and “repurpose” silverware into jewelry. Spoons are used for rings, bracelets, and pendants. He also “recycles” estate costume from estate sales, garage sales, friends, and family into jewelry. My niece had a friend with some silver flatware from her grandmother that she wanted to use but didn’t know exactly what she wanted. Tommy designed a ring, earrings, and a bracelet. Now, it is worn daily and keeps fond memories of her grandmother near.

Recently he restrung pearls into a necklace, bracelet and earring that will be worn by a soon to be bride.

Here are some of his latest creations:

Arrowhead earrings.

Cross made from spoons but he also makes bookmarks and key chains.

Redesigned turquoise.

Spoon acorn and oak leaf.

Hair barrette from a belt with spoon holder.

Shell pendant made from slotted serving spoon that has hammered ribs and filed outer edges.

An assortment of crosses made from horse shoe nails and stainless.

Since Tommy’s retirement his workshop is located in his garage in Mineola, Texas. When asked where he gets his patterns, he replied, “In my head.” He is also quick to point out that he has no laser cutter, nor computer for designing. Each design is his own creation and each piece is handcrafted using adapted hand saws, files and hammers. I would add they are also crafted with a lot of patience, skill and pride. I’m sure our great-grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Stanley, who worked on horse farms and had a blacksmith shop, would certainly agree!

Kookie

Martin Family Reunion, 1982 – Ida, Louisiana

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Guest post by Kookie Stanley Hemperley

Martin Family Reunion 1982 - Ida, Louisiana

I wrote this back in ’96 about family reunions.  These days people wouldn’t be pulling out their wallets to show family photos; they’d just pop out their cell phones!

SAME TIME NEXT YEAR

We all gather around, kissing and hugging

While the aroma of fried chicken and apple pie fills the optic and smelling senses

As new babies are introduced to the clan

And older relatives are greeted and offered a helping hand.

Pictures pop from wallets like jacks in boxes

As mid-size kids make their way outside; bored with it all

Dodging Aunt Gracie and her ruby lipstick that leaves behind tell-tale smooch marks, impossible to remove.

Memories of when we were children

Of embarrassing situations,

Some humorous,

Some colorful,

Some we’d rather forget

Are related by a narrator who has them firmly embedded in his mind and on uncanny ability to embellish upon them.

Quite often they’re followed by laughter.

Frequently they are concluded by “not Me!”

Long tables are filled with family recipes, full of calories and cholesterol

Serving dishes vary from Grandma’s black crusted cast iron skillet to a Colonel Sanders’ bucket.

Hands joined, heads bent, someone invokes the blessing of nourishment of bodies and souls, with special thanks for our safe voyages.

Those who have departed on a voyage of another kind are somberly remembered.

A resound “Amen” breaks the silence and the binge begins.

Gray haired women and new brides clear away the dishes.

The older males, refreshed by a breeze under a spreading oak tree, whittle on fallen twigs while balancing on the back legs of straight chairs.

Their creations serve no purpose other than to wile away time or show off a new Buck knife

As younger dads teach the art of flying a kite or how to slide in safely at home plate.

A freckled face boy on a bag swing nearly rams one of the elderly gents as two little girls play Barbies

And two little boys scuffle in the dirt.

The shade grows longer and one by one they load their empty casserole dishes and Igloo coolers for the homeward pilgrimage

With invitations one to another to “come when you can”

Or the echoed refrain of “Same time next year.”

The little girls, shy only hours ago, separate their Barbies.

The little boys, neither of which has a shiner to display as a badge, glare at each other as if to say, “Same time next year.”

The reunion ends as it began with hugs and kisses

And a few teary eyes.

As the family car pulls away, the little girl, squirming in the back seat asks,

“Who was that girl I played with?”

“Your kissin’ cousin,” comes the reply.

Her brother brushes dust from his jeans and rolls his eyes.

“Will I see her again?” asks the little girl.

“Yes, dear.”

“When?”

“Same time next year.”

The little boys a large toothless grin.

“MA! He’s laughing at me.”

“Am not!”

“Am so!”

“Am not,” he says peering out the rear window while making a grotesque face at the little boy he had tussled with earlier in the day.

Same time next year he thinks; and the grin grows broader.

~Kookie Stanley Hemperley~

Here are a few more photos from this reunion, a great time was had by all.

J. D. and Linda Martin race against Martin kids, Kookie with back to camera, Judy Stanley and David Frossard, Mamie Stanley, Scott and Kelly Hemperley Brown all standing by the tree.

Kookie Stanley Hemperley, Mamie Martin Stanley, Tommy, Stanley, Judy Stanley

Womanless Wedding: Wilburn “Kink” Burge as father of bride holding shotgun, J. D. Martin as Bride, LeRoy Carrell as groom, James Hanson as preacher

Mamie Martin Stanley tossing to Kookie Stanley Hemperley.

Dale LeBlanc and Don Hemperley arrive by boat after fishing before the reunion.

Dixie Carter Hanson with grandchildren and Martha Gingles at the piano present devotional music at the Sunday devotional.

Balloons released to announce the Martin Reunion with notes inside to invite others Martins to join us.

 

Sentimental Sunday – Emma Pearl Bain Martin

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This story was submitted to me by Kookie Hemperley, and it was written by her brother, Tommy Stanley. Thank you to Kookie for sending the story in.

Emma Pearl Bain Martin
by: Tommy Stanley

20120121-234017.jpg

I remember going to Granny Pearl’s house when I was three or four years old. We lived at Grogan’s Mill, two miles south of Bivins, Texas, in a company house. Daddy worked there. He had a two door black ’35 Ford sedan.

Daddy quit there and went to work for White and Walker Mill in Bivins. We moved from Grogan’s to Wayne Crossing, in a store building, until Mother could find us a house in Bivins.

We went to Ida every weekend; Saturday night-Sunday. Granny Pearl lived just east of Ida. When we got to her house she would pick us up and kiss us and love us. When she put us down we would take off to play with the other grandkids that lived with her and nearby. We always had fun playing with Aunt Gladys’ and Aunt Nan’s kids. Some of us could usually get in trouble!

Granny always had something good to eat, ‘specially on Sundays. I don’t know how she managed with so many to feed. She was a very good cook as were all her daughters.

As mean as we were, I never saw her loose her “cool”; get mad; or holler at anyone—kid or grown up. And there were times she had a reason to. I look back now and don’t know how she handled having so many every weekend, plus add us two weeks every summer (Coot aka Jim, Wink aka me, and Ed who was Charles).

If we happened to come in the daytime she most likely would be fishing on the creek between her house and town. She loved to fish. I suppose that helped her provide food for so many.
We loved to climb the huge pin oak trees in her front yard.

I remember being dangled over the well a few times by Johnny or Ray; they thought it was funny. Scared the hell out of me!

When we left for home on Sundays, we would get about halfway to Ida and Mother would discover she had left her purse. Almost always! You know how bad Clyde hated going back— like a black cat crossing the road! (He was very superstitious.)

I remember Granny Pearl as one of the sweetest, kindest and most gentle ladies I ever knew.
During the War when Daddy had to work seven days a week from before daylight ‘till nine or ten at night, Granny’s dad, Grandpa Bain, or Uncle Ray would bring her to see us at Bivins. She always brought us kids a present. That was about the time Uncle Ray was drafted or joined the Army. She always seemed worried after that. Uncle Roy went into the Army too. Johnny didn’t have to go as they didn’t take the last son in a family.

It wasn’t too long before Granny died. Soon after returning from her funeral and back to duty, Uncle Ray got killed. That was a sad time. It never seemed quite the same after that, though we always enjoyed visiting aunts, uncles and cousins.

Until just recently I thought I had seen Papa Walter once, but I discovered that I couldn’t have. I was only two when he died.

My Granny Pearl was a “very special lady!”

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