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dee_burris: (Default)
Monday, February 4th, 2013 06:13 pm
I never heard of the American Protective League, a group of private citizens who worked with federal law enforcement during World War I.

Only according to this article in Slate's The Vault, sometimes they got a tad over zealous.

Busting citizens they considered to be food hoarders.

And other stuff.

Geez...
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Sunday, February 3rd, 2013 10:10 am
Logo
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I loved reading this in The Atkins Chronicle, 23 Jan 2013 issue, at page 3.

75 Years Ago
From the files of Feb. 4, 1938
People of Hector will celebrate the installation of electric power Tuesday, Feb. 22. The celebration will begin at 4 o'clock. J M Danley of Scottsville is in charge of the program. H M Cheek of Hector will deliver the welcome address. Other speakers on the program will be W P Strait of Morrilton, Lieutenant Governor Bob Bailey, Judge A B Priddy, Reece Caudle and E W Hogan of Russellville.


Rural Arkansans have always been last to get most of the modern conveniences.

As early as 1913, Arkansas had, in addition to city and town electrical utilities, an electric utility that connected cities on the power grid.

So I imagine that a quarter of a century later, it was a really big deal for the little Pope County town of Hector to get electricity.

In my mind's eye, I see someone ceremoniously flipping a switch, and I hear the "oohs and aahs."
Got this photo in my email the other day.

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That's my dad, and one of his favorite hunting dogs - a pointer named Rex. The year was 1972.

Dad always loved to bird hunt - back in the day when Arkansas had an abundant quail population.

Before humans destroyed their habitat.

When I was very young, he had English setters. The pointers came later. Dad and his dogs competed in field trials.

And Rex was a very cool dog.
As I read other blogs, I've noted that most bloggers try very hard to credit information they use in their blogs to appropriate sources, if it's not original content.

It does kind of bug me to see a blogger's copyright symbol displayed on so many old photographs. While I understand that the blogger is probably trying to prevent indiscriminate copying and re-use of photos, just possessing a photo doesn't grant you copyright.

From the FAQ page of the United States Copyright Office:
Copyright is the right of the author of the work or the author's heirs or assignees, not of the one who only owns or possesses the physical work itself. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Who Can Claim Copyright.”



I am taking the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge, albeit starting a few months late.
dee_burris: (Default)
Monday, November 12th, 2012 06:30 pm
I think this is a hoot.

There's also a link to a transcript in the post.

Click here to read it.
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Saturday, October 27th, 2012 09:23 pm
Ken Burns' The War.

Six DVDs, nearly fifteen hours of material.

Four American towns, and how their citizens were affected by the war.

I learned about World War II in high school history, but not like this.
dee_burris: (Default)
Sunday, July 29th, 2012 04:04 pm
Amazing how easily thinking about one thing can immediately cause me to think about my family history.

Like, I killed my subscription last month to our only daily, statewide newspaper. (If you are curious, here's the link to my open letter to the paper in my "everything else" blog.)

Until 1991, it had competition by the newspaper I read, the Arkansas Gazette.

Which led me to looking up the history of my paper.

Which led me to the name of the editor of the Gazette during the 1957 desegregation crisis in Little Rock.

Harry Scott Ashmore.

Who, as it turns out, is my 4th cousin, twice removed.

I didn't know him personally.

But still.

That's neat.
dee_burris: (Default)
Saturday, September 24th, 2011 08:13 pm
Went day tripping today.

And actually, it wasn't even a full day. But I was in high cotton...

My brother-in-law called me early in the week to see if I wanted to go to Pine Bluff with him and his parents to go find some family graves at a cemetery.

Pfffttt...I have never willingly passed up an opportunity to go graving. Especially when it's a cemetery that's new to me.

While we were at it, we also stopped at the Jefferson County Historical Society's museum in the old train depot, and ran over to the Jefferson County Library to check out some old news clippings in their genealogy section.

And stopped at one of my favorite cemeteries on the way back, where he also has relatives buried.
While we were at the museum, where they let you take photos as long as you don't use your flash, I saw this...


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1907 2 horse wagon license plate


I had no idea there was any such thing...
dee_burris: (Default)
Thursday, August 11th, 2011 06:01 pm
About 20 years ago, I fell in love with the work of local artist, Richard DeSpain, and bought several of his prints of Little Rock and other areas of Arkansas.

This one was my grandmother's favorite.

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After I had it framed and showed it to her, I told her the store where I bought it said it was DeSpain's interpretation of a photo of Main Street taken in the 1920's.

Oh no, she decisively corrected me. That was in the teens. I remember going with Mama on the streetcar to pay the light bill, and that's exactly the way they had the turn marked.

In the 20's they moved the power company office, and you had to go farther down the street.


Missing you, Grandma.
dee_burris: (Default)
Monday, August 8th, 2011 08:39 pm
Apparently my post about what I believe to be the very old Freeman homeplace has caused a bit of a stir with some folks.

One being my cousin-in-law, who is almost sure it isn't, and said as much to the two Freeman descendants who came to look at it up close and in person this past weekend.

He has his reasons - which he and I discussed by phone earlier this evening.

One of them being that it is not a dogtrot house, since they were usually two cabins, each with its own fireplace, with a breezeway in the middle.

And he's right about that - it isn't a dogtrot.

And I didn't say it was.

I said it is a shotgun house which was very popular with poor people, and very easily added on to, as we see in the homestead I *still* believe is the Freeman place.

My reasons are more mundane. There's that matter of the nearby creek, which isn't where it needs to be in the southwest part of Section 11 cousin-in-law says the house is in, but is there in Section 14, where I say it is.

So we'll be looking at some more plat books...
dee_burris: (Default)
Sunday, June 19th, 2011 10:52 am
I have several Dads in my life, even though only one of them is my own.

For all the Dads out there, I hope this day is one you enjoy.
My Dad is nearly 75. He was 22 years old, when I, his firstborn, arrived.

I like to think we've done some growing up together. I know the last 20 years is probably where we've made the most progress.

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Although Dad's story is uniquely his own, the older I get, the more I marvel at watching the cycles play out in my family, largely due to Dad.

He was the only son in his family of four kids, and third in birth order. His parents instilled in him a solid work ethic, and he was also gifted with something that's become quite rare these days - common sense.

He knew you had to work hard to get what you wanted and needed in life.

This was one of the first things he worked hard for, and he probably considered it a need at the time.

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My Dad made his living with his hands. He was a mason, who created things with his hands out of block and brick. He had his own business. He worked long hours when I was a child, but I remember the times we spent together when he wasn't working.

Quite a bit of it was very close to the place where he lives now - the land of the Burris homeplace in Pope County, Arkansas...the place where his great grandfather carved out both home and business, and where his father was born. It was there that he showed me how to dig earthworms beside his Aunt Emma's chicken coop to use for bait when we fished. He was the one who showed me the low stacked stone walls our ancestors built when clearing the fields for planting.

Dad was nearly 43 years old when he married the love of his life. Together, they have made homes in three places - starting on that land, then moving to Michigan for several years, and coming full circle back to the land.

My folks and I compare notes on our family history. Dad has very matter-of-factly accepted some of the revelations I've made about our family history in the last few years.

He and I both enjoy finding the truth of our history, and recording it so it never has to be secret again.

On this Father's Day, I want Dad to know how much I appreciate the gifts of the love of family and pride of hard work he has given me.

I hope I am honoring him by passing those down.
One of the other Dads in my life is my son.

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In the last few years, my son has added two daughters to his family. He is the custodial parent of his oldest daughter.

That blows me away.

My boy has become a man.

I am in awe of how he does it...

And am struck by the similarities in the two Dads - both hard-working fathers, and acutely aware of the importance of family.

My son's own dad died in 2005. They were very close, and my son was devastated. He figured out that it truly does take a village to raise a child, and has embraced his village, which includes his own cousins and their children. All the kids will grow up with rich family connections - a new generation of Burrises with strong family ties.

I'm so proud of him I could bust.
For these very special Dads, I wish for you peace and contentment today.

You've both earned it.

Love y'all...
dee_burris: (Default)
Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 09:38 pm
It wasn't until I ran across the old images from the U.S. Farm Security Administration/Office of War at the Library of Congress website that I had ever heard of such a thing.


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Women preparing corn outside a community canning kitchen in Atkins, AR in 1935



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Arkansas community canning kitchen, August 1935


According to Rethinking home economics: women and the history of a profession (Stage and Vincenti, publ. Cornell University Press, 1997), community canning kitchens sprang up in many areas across the United States during the Depression and continued in operation into the World War II era. "Community gardens and canning kitchens were excellent ways to assist unemployed families without the shame that usually accompanied accepting relief." (See page 161.)

When my son was very young and I was a stay-at-home mom, I grew a garden and canned for several years, sharing the chore with my next door neighbor. (We'd take turns heating and messing up each other's kitchens. The results were wonderful and very satisfying.)

But my canner was not nearly the size of the one in this Johnson Co., AR community canning kitchen:

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Interior of community canning kitchen in Johnson Co., AR - August 1935


As I was preparing to write this entry, Google searches revealed that there may be a resurgence in the concept of community canning kitchens today.

Oh, those cycles...they just keep coming around, don't they?
dee_burris: (Default)
Wednesday, March 9th, 2011 06:17 pm
Just amazing the things you find when you are scouring old newspapers...

Apparently John W R Williams, my first cousin three times removed, from Franklin, KY was a ~ gasp ~ salesman. (This bunch of Williamses should not be confused with the Georgia Williamses who moved to Clark County and had no parents...I know, sometimes it's confusing to me, too...)


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Frankfort Roundabout, 15 Jun 1895


Who knew that [c]onstipation causes more than half the ills of women?

I thought it was men...

Live and learn.
dee_burris: (Default)
Saturday, March 5th, 2011 03:15 pm
It started off in spectacular fashion about 3 a.m.

Complete with lightning and thunder, and the tell-tale clacking noise of the tops of very tall pine trees crashing together in the wind. Think mega-supersized bamboo wind chimes.

I got up, looked out at the storm, filled cats' food bowl, and went back to bed. I noticed as I walked down the hall that my next door neighbor was up, with several lights on. She gets nervous when it storms.

If it's my time, then it will be my time whether I am conscious or not.

But I did have on decent underwear.


Got up again about 6:30 a.m. I was meeting my cousin at the Arkansas History Commission to look for obituaries for several of her family members on her dad's side.

I always do a little research before those trips in their online catalog. I hate wasting time trying to figure out which reels of microfilm I need while I am there.

And I hate wanting "this" newspaper for "that" time period and finding out that those are the issues that were missing when the newspaper was filmed decades ago.

I *really* wish Arkansas would come into the digital historic document preservation age.


The Arkansas History Commission has scads of microfilm. And back-up copies. On more microfilm, of course.

Some of it is really, really bad. I told one of the staff that as I returned four reels of completely unreadable film.

Yes... he sighed. I know.

Not only do we not digitize our own shit our own selves, we don't want anyone else doing it either.

There are explanations at just about every historic newspaper website, including the subscription and free ones, about why selected states have so few newspapers online.

The states won't grant access to the folks making the digital copies.

So far, it looks to me like Arkansas will grant limited access to its newspapers, if the newspaper was a flash-in-the-pan, and just a few issues were published.

Or if it stopped publishing a century ago.


So I do what I can to help out.

As I do find old newspaper articles about my family history, I also copy interesting stuff from the same issue.

And little by little, I am digitizing all that stuff in this blog in entries I call bits and pieces.

I know - it's a mere pittance.

But more than we had before.


The journey is good.

Namaste.
dee_burris: (Default)
Saturday, March 5th, 2011 01:57 pm
From the Gurdon Times, dated 24 Feb 1906:

Valentine Party
Mrs. Tom Callaway, in her charming manner, on last Saturday afternoon, from 3 to 5 o'clock, entertained the Kadohadacho Club with a Valentine party.

The weather was propitious and a large number of ladies were present.

The Valentine idea was carried out in the decorations, the house being artistically decorated in red and white hearts in the spirited contest in which all were so interested; also in the score cards, and last but not least in the delicious and dainty refreshments, after which we were served with most refreshing punch.

In the contest Mrs. Fitzgerald won first prize and Mrs. Kress won the booby prize.

The guests lingered and departed reluctantly, enthusiastic over the afternoon's pleasure and hoping Mrs. Callaway would entertain again at an early date.


Comment: The Kadohadacho Club was apparently the fledgling effort in Gurdon by women of the community to establish a library in their town. The Club was named for a local Indian tribe.

I do not know the identity of Mrs. Tom Callaway for sure - I suspect she may have been the former Mattie Estelle Moore, wife of Thomas F Callaway, who was the son of William "Little Bill" Callaway and Emily L Bevil.

But there are a bunch of Tom Callaways in the Clark County family tree around the same age. I eliminated the widowers...
dee_burris: (Default)
Monday, February 28th, 2011 07:28 pm
I have images of the divine feminine scattered all around my home.

This one is my favorite. For me, she is Every Woman.




March is Women's History Month. I'll be in my element.

Many historians now acknowledge that the role women played in history has been largely unsung for far too many years.

In March, my blog will be top heavy with information about the women in my family tree, as well as some of those from the other trees I manage.

I'm also going to spend some time "graduating" some of my MNUs to women with complete identities - after all, her history didn't start with her marriage.

And I'm going to try and stop acting surprised when I find women who didn't marry at all - I usually run back over my source information to make sure I didn't miss the husband.

Or the kids. A few of the women in my tree married, but did not have children. I expect some of those chose not to.


The theme for the 2011 Women's History Month from The Women's National History Project is Our History is Our Strength.

Now, how cool is that?
dee_burris: (Default)
Saturday, February 26th, 2011 05:26 pm
You never know until you ask...

I was informed that Essie Chapin and Elbert Carr married in Umatilla Co., OR on 13 May 1893.

So one day I called the Umatilla County Clerk to see if there was a copy of the marriage license.

She said yes, but they weren't married on 13 May, it was 1 May instead. She also said if I'd give her my address, she would mail the license and affidavit.

So I did.

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The ceremony was performed at the cleryman's home, and it looks as if two of his relatives were the witnesses.

The affidavit says Essie was a resident of Umatilla Co., OR, and Elbert W Carr was a resident of Whitman County, WA.

So now I have another area of the country to search to find out more about Elbert W Carr.


One of the keepers of the (Essie Chapin) family Bible has been active with comments today. She is quite pissed that I use ~ gasp ~ historic records in my searches of the family history.

You know - stuff like census records, marriage, birth and death records, military records, obituaries, gravestone information, etc.

Apparently this stuff is not agreeing with her family Bible - and let me add, her oral family history as well - according to her most recent comment, which I deleted.

Her Bible and oral history gave forth the date of the marriage above as 13 May 1893. So this entry will probably make her blow a gasket.

I am getting very weary of someone who won't put up, and can't seem to shut up.

She needs her own blog.
dee_burris: (Default)
Sunday, January 30th, 2011 09:15 am
Because of my southern roots, nearly all of my male ancestors in the 19th century fought for the Confederate States of America in the Civil War.

James Alexander Meek was one of them. He dutifully signed up in his daddy's unit, the 42 Mississippi Infantry, Co. I, on 28 Apr 1862 in his hometown of Sardis, Panola County, MS. His father, Jefferson J Meek, was the Captain of the 42 Miss. Infantry until his resignation on 5 Aug 1863.

According to the letter of resignation, Jefferson J Meek considered the Civil War "our holy cause."

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Nonetheless, he resigned.

I think it may have been because he realized just how much that "holy cause" was costing him...


Capt. Meek thought James was dead.

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My son in law and my two sons have perished in our holy cause and my now aged and infirm wife has been left with no male members of the family to provide and care for her...

He was right about his son-in-law, William Waldron, who died on 3 Jul 1863. Capt. Meek's son, Robert, died of smallpox a month earlier in a POW camp in Alton, IL.

And when he heard of James' wounding and capture during the Battle of Gettysburg on 8 Jul 1863, he probably had every reason to believe that he was dead, too.

James may have wished he was dead.


James was sent to the POW camp at Fort Delaware, on Pea Patch Island. Most Confederate soldiers captured during the Battle of Gettysburg were imprisoned there. By August 1863, there were 11,000 prisoners there. By the end of the war, that number had swelled to 33,000. About 2,400 prisoners died at Fort Delaware.

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Photo from Library of Congress


Family lore has always contained rumors that James was required to catch and eat rats to survive during his imprisonment. I wondered about that until I read excerpts of Capt. John S Swann's imprisonment at Fort Delaware. (See excerpts of the document, here.)

...On the raised plank walkway seperating (sic) the two prisons the sargeant (sic) or some other would often appear and call out, "Money or boxes." He would then, when the prisoners came around, give out the names listed and either give them a memorandum of what he had for them, or take them through the gateway etc. These calls were termed "Money calls or box calls" as the case might be. In the banks of the ditches and under the plank walkway were rat holes and numbers of rats. The sargeant (sic) or some one would come around often with a squad of men with force pumps and hose and rat tarriers, sticks etc. The hose would be put in the rat holes, the force pump applied and the rats would run out and be killed. Numbers were sometimes caught in this way. When money or boxes were to be delivered you could hear all over the prison yard "Money call or box call" (I will say comparatively few ever heard this call for themselves.) Not long after my arrival I heard a cry "Rat call! Rat call!" I went out to see what this meant. A number of prisoners were moving and some running up near the partition, over which a sargeant (sic) was standing and presently he began throwing rats down. The prisoners scrambled for the rats like school boys for apples, none but some of the most needy prisoners, and the needy were the large majority, would scramble for these rats. Of course but few were lucky enough to get a rat. The rats were cleaned, put in salt water a while and fried. Their flesh was tender and not unpleasant to the taste.

When you are hungry, you think about food all the time, as illustrated by Capt. Swann's memory:

...On the next morning I found myself very hungry. I was up early and walked around the prison grounds observing and hearing what I could. Presently a bell or something I forget what, gave the breakfast signal. We formed in line and marched to the mess hall, in which were several long rows of plank tables with pieces of bread and meat arranged along the sides at intervales (sic) of some two feet. When we were in place each prisoner took one ration. The bread was made of rye and wheat flour, well cooked, but the piece very small, about half enough for a well man. The meat a small chunk of beef. Occasionally all sinew or mostly bone. It was cut up very carelessly and very small, not half a ration. Some days the bread was substituted with crackers, and these were hard days on us. We were permitted to take these rations to our bunks. I ate mine but remained very hungry. When dinner came the same thing was repeated, except there was occasionally a tin cup of what was called corn soup very tasteless and insipid, with little or no grease.

By next day I was ravenously hungry and so continued as did all who had no money or tobacco, untill (sic) I got the means to buy from the sutler. No one can immagine (sic) the effect of continuous hunger who has not experienced it, judging of others by its effects on me, and when it continues with no hopes of relief its effects are very demoralizing and the man is ready for almost anything. He thinks about eating all day and all sorts of devices to get food come into his mind. All night his dreams are most singular and sometimes fascinating about food and feasting. Every thing he has ever eaten, dinner parties, suppers, girls bearing flowers and fruit, his boyhood scenes at hog killings such as frying liver etc. and whatever food he has ever seen or eaten comes vividly before his disturbed senses, and he sometimes awakens dazed and half conscious that it was but a dream.



At the war's end, many Confederate POWs at Fort Delaware refused to believe the CSA had lost the war and that all who were willing to sign an Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America would be restored to full citizenship. From Swann's text:

...Some did not believe we were conquered. They believed, or rather persuaded themselves to believe, that the bulk of the army had gone off in squads and was not captured, and would re-form somewhere. That Johnston would soon be in the field with an army. That our soldiers would come to it in thousands, and began to take courage. But most of us gave up the Cause as lost. I did not at any time talk to any one that came into the prison grounds. But some did. Each Division had a chief who occasionally went outside, as we termed it, for one or another purpose. They noted a very different bearing towards them. A different everything all around them: recognition of citizenship, as it were. This they reported to us. The sentinels were now familiar. Seemed as if they thought the war was over; talked to us a little, and kindly. Their very looks were kindly. We saw manifestations of kindness everywhere. Feelings of forgiveness were rapidly growing. The sutler was ready to take orders for anything we wanted and send for them, clothing, shoes etc. It was rumored that all willing to take the oath of allegiance would be released, provided with necessary things, and sent home, by the Government. That such was the purpose of Mr. Lincoln, and General Grant we did not doubt. We thought this was dictated by a generous kindness and designed to save us from humiliation and mortification, by making us citizens at once if we wished to become so; and that the Federal Government thought the war was over. We did not think such an offer would be made unless Grant and Lincoln thought the war over. It would have been an insult, and we knew these men were wholly incapable of insulting us in prison. These things had a powerful effect on us. We felt that the generosity of Grant and Lincoln had silenced Stanton, Johnson, Stevenson and such, and this was true, beyond doubt. There are some things better learned from general appearances than from words. Words may deceive, but there is something eloquent, and unmistakable in the language of the countenance. Perhaps the language of the angels; and this was all around us.


James Alexander Meek signed the Oath of Allegiance, and was released from Fort Delaware on 11 Jun 1865 as documented in his Civil War service record (accessed at Footnote on 17 Jan 2011).

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He returned home to Mississippi, and to his wife and son. He and Mary divorced in 1871, following the birth of two daughters, and death of one.

James died on 28 Nov 19181917*, and was buried beside his second wife, Mary Ann Linder, in Oxford Memorial Cemetery in Oxford, Lafayette Co., MS.

ETA: On 31 Oct 2012, I received a copy of James' death certificate in the mail from the State of Mississippi. It lists his date of death as 28 Nov 1917, date of burial as 29 Nov 1917, and says that he died of "debility from old age," secondary to a cold.
dee_burris: (Default)
Thursday, January 20th, 2011 09:18 pm
Was digging around in my Chapins (there are 635 of them to date), and ran across some information on the net about Mary Williams Chapin (1820-1889), daughter of Oliver Chapin, II and Anna Pierce.

According to what I found, she was a teacher and principal at Mount Holyoke Seminary for many years, prior to her marriage (her first) at age 45 to Claudius Buchanan Pease.

I wondered if that was in a book somewhere. So I checked Google Books.

It was.

One of her students wrote a memorial to her a year after her death, and combined it with a memorial about Mary's own teacher and mentor.

Memorial of Mary W Chapin Pease, by Helen Sarah Norton, (publ. Beacon Press, 1890) has been digitized by Google and is in the public domain.

I spent about an hour paging through it.

The part about her death was particularly poignant to me.


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In years past she had repeatedly suffered from pain in her head, yet few of her friends had apprehended danger. During the winter of 1889 her health was unusually good, while her bright and vivacious spirit gave a peculiar charm to her expressive face. In the spring she accompanied Mr. Pease on a trip to Georgia, and about half-past four on Wednesday, May 8, while they were in consultation with their business agent, she suddenly became speechless, and realizing her condition, her eyes filled with tears. A physician was summoned, everything possible done to relieve her suffering was done, but she soon became unconscious, and in the afternoon of Thursday, "peacefully entered into rest." The funeral services were held at the family residence in Somers, Tuesday afternoon, May 14...

If not for the book, all I would have known was that Mary Williams Chapin died in Savannah, GA, and was buried in Somers CT.

And a lot of the humanity would have been lost.
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Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 06:50 pm
Because I am not sure if I will renew them, I've been giving my subscriptions to Footnote and Genealogy Bank a workout lately.

They are good resources for finding some of that historic information that helps to add that "third dimension" to my relatives that I discussed here - particularly old newspaper articles.


I found an article from a Dallas newspaper that discussed the uncle of some of my cousins, so I emailed it to them. When one of them replied to thank me, I asked him if he was also interested in seeing news articles about the fire that gutted Subiaco Abbey in 1927.

He said he was. Then he added a very interesting thing...

I remember old stories of the KKK going after Subiaco and the Catholics who moved in that area. I wonder if the fire was an accident or not?!?!? B can tell you a story of our grandmother's house getting shot at in the middle of the night by the Klan. A bullet was lodged in her headboard...while she was sleeping.

I had already wondered if the German Catholic families who settled Logan County in the 1880s had experienced any hostility from their neighbors during World War II, when anti-German sentiment was high.

But I hadn't considered the Klan.

Until now.

I sent my cousin the articles and started my research.

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St Albans Daily Messenger, 21 Dec 1927

PhotobucketDallas Morning News, 22 Dec 1927



The Ku Klux Klan had an extensive and high profile history in Arkansas. Still does, to this day.

That's why I was astounded as I was Googling and searching databases for reports of Klan hostilities in Logan County to run across this:

Another faction of the disorder arose in the secret sinister organization known as the Ku Klux Klan. The group was originally organized in Tennessee by a group of Confederate veterans and later spread to other states, including Arkansas, operating as a terrorist organization. Masked, robed, and armed, its members sought to kill or frighten into silence black leaders and their white Unionist allies. The Klan's life was short-lived because law-abiding southern whites turned their backs on the organization that dealt in murder, an action that many of the Klan's early leaders denounced. The Klan's presence had virtually disappeared from Arkansas by the early 1870s. (emphasis added.)
Excerpted from "Powell Clayton and Reconstruction," by Jeannie Whayne, as published in the Fort Smith Historical Society Inc. Journal, Vol. 33, No. 2, September 2009, at page 16. See full issue, here.

With all due respect to Ms. Whayne, I vehemently disagree that the Klan has "virtually disappeared" from Arkansas.

I suspect the writer of this 25 Apr 2009 article in Newsweek would, too.


I knew there had been a fire at Subiaco, but I didn't realize there had been two.

The first was in 1901 in the wooden monastery, which burned to the ground. Construction had already started in 1898 on the current Abbey, which is made of "Subiaco" sandstone, and was thought to be safer from fire.

As seen in the news articles, the fire was believed to have started in the basement. The Abbey's website does not mention a cause of the fire, nor does its blog, although the blog post explains that due to the fire, which completely destroyed the north wing of the Abbey (and two thirds of the monastery), St Benedict had to be repositioned to face south.

Nor does the "official" Encyclopedia of Arkansas article give a cause for the fire.

That's a real puzzle to me. Damage estimates placed monetary loss at the Abbey at $1 million.

That was in 1927.

As of 2009, that loss would be estimated at $12.4 million.

And everyone would want to know exactly what happened.


If my cousin heard talk in days gone by about harassment of the Catholic community in Logan County by the Klan, it's possible others did also.

I can imagine that locals may not have discussed such things with law enforcement, fearing retaliation if they did.

Or that if they did take their concerns to the police, those concerns were swept under the rug.

And I'd sure be interested in hearing about those incidents now...
dee_burris: (Default)
Saturday, January 8th, 2011 10:48 am
I love it when little details come together. They start to knit together that third dimension of my ancestors and other family members.

See, that third dimension is important to me.

Genealogy purists would say that I am not a genealogist. There's much more to my family tree than just who married and begat whom, and what year they did that, in what location, and which piece of paper I have to back that up.

Check.

But dead people don't have to be - and were not in life - two dimensional.

Flat, ya know.
A very neat thing happened this morning.

I slept until I woke up (I love those days), and then I got coffee, a cigarette, fed the cats, and fired up the laptop.

I had the coolest email from my cousin. (I know, I am dating myself by saying something was cool, but go with it, okay...)

She scanned a bunch of the things her mother had given her related to our family history, in particular, our grandfather, George W Burris, and sent them to me.

They are *way* cool, and help to flesh out our (respective) third dimension of our grandfather.

Both of us knew Granddaddy when he was still living, and each of us has detailed remembrances of him. And naturally, both of us are pumping our own parents for their remembrances of their father.

And so we are seeing the evidence of the stories that Granddaddy was a licensed school teacher, and a licensed attorney in Pope County.

He was.

He was licensed to teach for 1912-1913.
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He got his license to practice law in 1917.
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I don't think he ever used either one to make his living.

But still.

I had always heard that, but only that he was licensed to practice law. Not about the teaching.

Our grandfather evidently placed a high degree of emphasis in acquiring knowledge.

Maybe he viewed both of these licenses as opening the door to other possible careers if necessary.

Maybe not. Maybe he just liked learning and wanted to see if he could get the licenses. I know people like that.

Whatever the case, he valued education. According to one of his daughters, the reason he decided to live in Arkadelphia when he returned from Panama was education.

He hoped to marry and raise a family. If they lived in Arkadelphia, his children would have easy access to either of two colleges in the town, Henderson State College, and Ouachita Baptist.

So Granddaddy was also very much a big picture guy...
Part of my delight in receiving the email from my cousin was a two page letter to Granddaddy from Lee, written in 1950, and talking about their time they worked together at the Post Office in Russellville. In 1910.

Lee was writing the letter to help Granddaddy gather information to complete an application for retirement from the United States Postal Service.

Granddaddy was trying to get credit for the time he worked at the Post Office before it became a civil service job. Lee was supplying him with an affidavit, saying he worked with George also in 1910 at the Russellville Post Office.

Page 2 of the letter...
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So I am sitting here, at my grandma's table, thoughtfully sipping coffee, and thinking about Lee.

Who has to be Lee Jones.

Who appears in at least two of my family photographs, one at the Russellville Post Office, and one family photo of a bunch of Burris men at the G W Burris, Sr home in Russellville about 1915.

Lee's the guy to the far left, wearing the dark suit.
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So Lee must have been important to my family. He had a connection with Granddaddy that lasted at least 40 years.

Kinda like part of the family.
Yep.

Just like family.

Robert Lee Jones was Granddaddy's first cousin.

Lee's mother was Margaret Jane Burris, sister of George Washington Burris, Sr. Margaret married Cass Jones on 20 Dec 1874 in Pope County. Robert Lee Jones was born 29 Jan 1889 in Appleton, a little community in Pope County. (He must have preferred his middle name - I've never heard him referred to as anything other than Lee.)

Lee died in Sebastian County on 28 Jul 1957, seven years after he wrote his 1950 letter to Granddaddy. He is buried in Forest Park Cemetery in Fort Smith, AR.
Now I have to try and figure out if he married and had kids. If there are descendants, they may want some photos.

And they may have some, too...
The journey is good.
dee_burris: (Default)
Thursday, January 6th, 2011 05:25 pm
First is a page of a ship passenger list - the SS La Savoie, which sailed from Le Havre and docked in New York on 7 Jun 1914.

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The passenger I am interested in is Marko Vuletic, on line 3.

But I am most interested in the name of Marko's father, at the end of line 3...

I zoomed it up to eleventy million, and still am not sure what it says.



I think it says, My parents - Pater V _ _ _ko Vuletic _ _ Krstinja, Croatia

I figured Pater was Latin, father, and that his father's name follows.

Krstinja is the Croatian village where he was born.

Marko's brother, Vaso, spoke Serbian all his life.