Monday, January 27, 2014

52 Ancestors Weeks Challenge: Week 4 Walter P Lane Vance: The Man.

When Walter P. Lane Vance was born on May 20, 1890, in Pine Mills, Texas, his father, George, was 37 and his mother, Susan Harper Vance, was 34.
The first picture we have of Walter is a family portrait when his father’s mother, Elizabeth Porter Vance, came to visit from Mississippi in about 1905. Walter looks like a clean cut kid.

Given to the Hero by Mildred
In 1910, Walter L. Vance was 19 years old and lived in Wood, Texas with his father, mother, 2 brothers, and sister.
1910 United States Federal Census:
Year: 1910; Census Place: Justice Precinct 6, Wood, Texas; Roll: T624_1601; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0133; FHL microfilm: 1375614.

The Texas Criminal Reports: Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Court of Criminal Appeals of the State of Texas ...1893-1963, Volume 63 By John Preston White
Page 431 Give us an indication of what the laws about liquor in Wood County was like.
...Pendergast, Judge, -- The appellant was indicted, tried and convicted of unlawfully selling intoxicating liquors in Wood County after prohibition had been properly carried, declared  in force, etc. on March 12, 1910.
Two things we know about Walter from this time period. One a picture tells all,
Walter and Oscar Vance creating Moonshine
Picture owned by Michael Vance Woods Texas

Also, he liked to party and go to clubs to dance. According to Mildred, his oldest daughter and the Hero’s mother, it was at a club that he met Mary Annie Reynolds.   They both liked the night life.
This apparently was the time period that Walter began to indulge in alcohol which destroyed his personal relationships and his health.
Walter and Mary Annie married on 8th of January 1911 in Wood, County, Texas
Record found on Texas Marriages.
 I found his residence and birthplace on the U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 5 Jun 1917. Walter P. Lane Vance was living at a rural route in Hawkins, Wood County, Texas, when he registered for the World War I draft. He listed 3 children, a wife,  and that he was a farmer.  His description was that he was of medium height, medium build, with brown hair and light brown eyes. Mildred said his hair was dark auburn, and he had greenish brown eyes. The Hero had brown hair and greenish brown eyes.
Registration State: Texas; Registration County: Wood; Roll: 1983876.
In 1920, Walter Vance was 28 years old and lived in Camp, Texas with his wife, Annie, 3 sons, Thurman,Archie,Arnold, and daughter, Mildred, age 6mos. The indexer had enumerated him as Walter G. 
Year: 1920; Census Place: Justice Precinct 1, Camp, Texas; Roll: T625_1785; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 24; Image: 62

When Mildred was 2, Walter and Annie were divorced.  Mildred was sent to her mother's parents to raise. Walter apparently left the area, because 2 years later in 1923 Water met Vivian Welch in the panhandle of Texas. He married her in Greer County, Oklahoma.
found in Oklahoma marriages on

 Vivian had a child by a previous marriage. This son was Kenneth Dial, but was enumerated in the 1930 census as Kenneth Vance. How I found this is another story.
Year: 1930; Census Place: Precinct 5, Wilbarger, Texas; Roll: 2410; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0010; Image: 1017.0; FHL microfilm: 2342144.
In 1930, W.L. Vance was 39 years old and lived in Wilbarger, Texas with his wife, Vivan, son, and 3 daughters. Mildred’s grandparents went to live with a son, and gave Mildred back to her mother, who sent her to Walter to live for a while.  It was during this time Mildred developed respect and love for her father.  He was still farming, but drank heavily.  Mildred said he was hard on Kenneth. To her the worse part was when he would start drinking, although, I could tell she felt the drinking was because there was so much weight on his shoulders. On the other hand, she was frank that he was not a pleasant drunk.  She said when he was not drinking; he was a loving, caring man, who was not afraid of hard work.  He worried about supporting his large family, would come in from the fields looking tired and beat.
The April 1, 1940 US Federal Texas state census showed W.L. Vance was 49 years old was a WPA  worker and lived in Wichita, Texas with his wife, Vivian, and 3 daughters. Kenneth had left to join the Army. We also find that he only had a 7th grade education, and was renting.
Year: 1940; Census Place:  , Wichita, Texas; Roll: T627_4164; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 243-51.
 It was not long after this that Vivian and Walter were divorced and Walter went to the oil fields in Kern County, California to work. It was while in Fresno, California that Walter died in his hotel room of complications of a compromised liver.  
His son Dutch was in the service in California, and made the arrangements for the funeral  and burial in Bakersfield. [The search for the grave was written here... (click on here.)] Here I learned the degree that Walter had a penchant for nicknames.  I knew Archibald had been called Button, Arnold had been called Dutch, and here I found Walter called himself Bob for no purpose other than he liked it. Mildred laughed when I said "Mom, I would never have found him if it wasn't for his death certificate! Why did you put Bob on his tombstone?"  She smiled and replied, "Because that was what he liked to be called." Go figure.

Green lawn Cemetery, Slumberland area, Bakersfield, Kern County,California

Picture taken by myself in 2011

He was remembered by his daughter with tenderness and love.  

Monday, January 20, 2014

52 Ancestors Weeks Challenge: Week 3; Lillie Langley Thole an Example for Everyone.

Lillie Lillian Langley Thole

Birth 22 Feb 1924 in Pawnee, Oklahoma, USA
Death 01 May 1963 in Wichita, Sedgwick, Kansas, USA

I have written about my Aunt Lillie before,  about how she is my role model of what type of person I want to be like.  I had included some aspects of her life from her second daughter’s perspective. (This is the daughter that did the DNA with me, we match so close.) The reason for choosing her for this post is that I am blessed to have been reunited with her oldest daughter , Barbara, who agreed to share her perspective. 
Anyway I approach it, Lillie Lillian Langley Thole, was a remarkable woman of worth.  Proverbs 31: 10 – 31

Lillie had thick dark brown hair, laughing eyes, and had the hint of smile always at the edges of her mouth.  She was happy and had a wonderful sense of humor. We all hoped to be like her, she never held grudges or hurt others feelings.
Digitized picture of a sketch which was of
of the photo Elmer carried through WWII in his pocket.
Grandma Langley told me and Barbara, her daughter, affirmed that she had Bright's disease as a child. Bright’s disease is an archaic term. It would now be some level of acute or chronic kidney disease.   Barbara’s Aunt Thelma told her the doctors said she should never have children.  She had 5; 3 girls and 2 boys. 

I wonder if she may have had anemia because she told Barbara, she had to eat lots of liver as a child.
Lillie and Barbara's Aunt Thelma were best friends growing up.  Thelma and Elmer saw(dated) each other before Lillie and Elmer got together. Thelma married Elmer’s brother Timothy Thole.
Barbara remembered Lillie saying her mother made her wear long skirts and high stockings to school.  Grandma wouldn't let her wear modern clothes;  that all the girls had gym shorts but she had to wear knee length bloomers.  I am fairly sure this is from Grandma Langley’s upbringing in the Church of Christ in the 1800s.  
Lillie adored her dad; his death was life changing for her.  Barbara never remembered visiting grandma after that, until Grandma Langley  was taking care of her mother, our Great Grandma Gildon. Barbara adored her. 
Lillie and all her family were close.  This I actually found third party evidence of in old newspapers. 
Social notation in the Pawnee Chief, that Lillie's sister and parents went to visit
her and Elmer when he was home on furlough.
The sisters had a bond that was to be envied, until...Grandma Langley upset Aunt Lynn (something none of us little ones were never told about).  Aunt Lynn stormed in and slapped Aunt Dora at a family gathering.  I have written this story here. Barbara said her mother was beside herself. She gathered her children, up and left.  They did work it out but not until they were 60.   Lillie would let her children go visit her sisters in the summertime.  They loved their nieces and nephews, who had wonderful time learning about small town and farm life. 
Lillie was a great seamstress, who never used a pattern.  She would put a newspaper up to us, pencil it, cut it out and sew it up.  
Matching Dresses happened for holidays
Everyone was always in awe of what she could design and sew.  Barbara said during that time, every woman did needle work.  Barbara went on to say, “She crocheted and embroidered and her work was all over the house, doilies, runners, pillow cases, dish towels, all the good stuff those moms did.  She was a great cook, nothing gourmet, just good old country cooking.  She played games with us, Jacks, pick-up sticks; she would use spaghetti for the pickup sticks. She played hopscotch, and would participate for a minute in about anything we were doing.  

She worked as a waitress to help make ends meet.  She worked evenings, 2 pm -10 pm.  She rode the bus to work and dad brought her home.  One of them was with us almost all the time.  Mom was up, cooking breakfast, sent us to school, Dad was home by 5:30 with his lunch bucket to open and give us cookies out of it every day.  Then he was in charge of us.  He and I cooked the evening meal and Jerry and I took turns doing the dishes.  Mom wore a white uniform to work.  She was always spotless and smelled clean all the time.  I never knew her to wear perfume of any kind.  She would say "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" to all of us; hard to argue about taking a bath after hearing that.
Mom had week-ends off which left the family free to go to Fall River.  She loved to fish.  She loved the outdoors.  We had a one room cabin about the size of an over sized storage shed that had double bed bunk beds in it, that we all piled on.

 There was an apartment sized cook stove that mom cranked out her meals on and a little table and chairs.  She was always in good spirits and funny, teasing in nice ways, always positive ad uplifting.” This we have proof positive from both pictures and sibling stories.
 Barbara could never remember her mother hanging her head about anything.  “Dad was good to her.  He adored her. They were always hugging and kissing.  
We think this is was taken when they were married.
For the most part they agreed on how to raise kids.  Once in awhile, they would differ but nothing they couldn't work out.  If they ever argued, they never did it in front of us, nor did I ever hear them raise their voices against each other.  Anger was just not a part of our life.  If we did something wrong, we were disciplined and that was the end of it.  Mom had one thing she called her own.  That was her flower beds.  That was her quiet time.  The only time we were shut out of her life.  She would plant, preen, weed, and admire her off limits gardening.  As a result, none of us girls grow flowers or plants or anything of any kind.  Occasionally, I have tried it, but somewhere in me it's off limits and I can't enjoy it.  If she had known, she would have took us by the hand and taught us what she knew, but it was herself pretty preservation and I understand that.  Mom was pretty anti-social.  She was who she was and wasn't going to dress up, dress down, or do anything for other people's approval. She didn't visit with the neighbors.  She knew them all but was not interested in anything more than that.  Mom went barefoot all the time.  She was going in and out of the house hanging out clothes, and three of the neighbors were sitting in lawn chairs watching her.  One of them hollered and said "Hey Thole, we're going to take up a collection and buy you a pair of shoes"  Mom said "Don't bother, come on over and I'll give you all a pair of the damned things".”
Mom always said it like it was.  She never lied to us or anyone else.  She was sweet, the model wife; she never did anything without dad's approval, on the other hand, neither did dad.  She deeply believed in God and taught us right from wrong usually in moral ways.  Have absolutely no bad memories of my mother.  She was an angel not long for this earth.  We just didn't know.” ~ contributed by Barbara Thole Taylor

I am right there Barbara, I never had a negative moment in the presence of my Aunt Lillie, nor did I ever hear a negative word spoken of her from any of my Aunts, Uncles, or Grandmother. She was and is held in high esteem by those who remember her.

Monday, January 13, 2014

52 Ancestors Weeks Week 2 My Dad

Week 2 of Amy Johnson Crow;s challenge to write a story once a week about an ancestor. Her blog is No Story Too Small you can read about her challenge there.   
I have blogged about different aspects of my dad’s life. One was about his propensity for achieving and not giving up.  His pride in being a World War II veteran.
I have not however, blogged about his role as a father.  My dad, Lester Langley born 28 Aug 1915 in Hughes County, Oklahoma, was a remarkable dad.  He was not perfect, none of us are, but he was a good dad.  I was an only child, by his choice.  He was in attendance when I was born.  I was born breech, my arm came out first.  He liked to say it was because I was shielding my eyes from this world.  (One way to look at it.) My mom had a terrible time recovering. The labor had been long, and the doctor had to push my arm back up inside and turn me so I could come on out. I can imagine it would have been a traumatic thing to my dad who liked to be in control.
When I was little I went everywhere I could with him, and he let me. 
As he was recovering from having lost his leg, I was always there to help him. He would laugh and say I was his leg during that time. The picture below was taken were we lived in Iowa while he was working as an artificial limb technician. Which brings me to the fact, he never missed any of my birthdays, being poor there weren't parties, but it was always a special occasion.
A picture of my dad and me in Des Moines, Iowa when I turned 4
  Any activity I was in, piano recitals, plays, band performances on the football field, parades, and concerts, he was always there. When it was time for me to learn to drive, he was there.  He had an old pickup that had what he called a compound drive.  We go out to the pasture where he would get out and say, "drive".  It moved slower than I could walk. (giggling greatly here) I still took Driver's Ed at school because my dad felt it was best. Wonder why. 

When I married, he had been disabled because of an accident that caused his artificial limb to rip his hip bone apart.  It did not stop him from continuing to do things; he just could not hold up to the demands of working at the College.  That left him free.  If one of my children had an illness, or I had a problem, he was the one who came and helped me.  I am not knocking my mom who was still teaching.  He loved playing with my children, and eventually he moved down next to us.  He taught us about farming the small amount of land that we had, having a cow, how to milk her, goats (that’s a story), chickens, chickens and gardening.
Got help?
My love of people came from watching him interact with others. He never met a stranger, and watching him taught me to be able to strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere. He encouraged me to consider possibilities, and to make choices for myself and not be a follower.  
He was my dad. He behaved as a dad, and gave an enduring example for the future. 

 Thanks Dad, I miss you.
This picture was taken when I was 15. My dad was the being the poster boy for the Handicap can overcome series of newspaper articles

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sentimental Sunday and 52 Ancestors Week 1

Combining two posts into one.  On Facebook Amy Johnson Crow shared her resolution and a new blog challenge. Her blog is No Story Too Small you can read about her challenge there.  I have decided to give it the college try.

As I was driving from church today, my thoughts went, as they often do, to my research.  I was thinking of how we start where we know and branch out from there.  My thoughts then went to my own descendants.  How cool is it that I have 23 desendants and one on the way!  Helps to have 6 children, number 6 hasn't started yet. I digress.  When my first grandchildren were little I wore a "Mother's birthstone children necklace". They loved to sit in my lap and play with the necklace and ask who the individual "children" were and loved finding how their parent fit in the family.  My # 18 grandchild accidentally broke it, and I am just getting around to fixing it.  My point is the grands learned who their aunts and uncles were.  Which brings me to my wonderful mother-in-law. She had the same type of necklace, but rarely wore it and there wasn't a lot of lap sitting around her house as she was always in the kitchen. 
 When she died, we were all dealing with the pain losing her. I know 93 years is a long time, but I was ready for 100.  My youngest son declined to go to the funeral or viewing. Since his dad died, he stays away from family gatherings.  He declines to talk about it.  Back to my point.  When the youngest son was sent the will as part of being his father's heir, he sat down and read the whole thing. Now that is awesome, but the awesome fun thing was when he came running into my room and said ... "I didn't know dad had two sisters".  Well blow me away.  Maybe mom should have worn her necklace more and held her grandson on her lap more.  Just sayin'... 
I inherited the Hero's mom's necklace at the top.
Basically she was not raised in a warm loving environment.  Her parents, were divorced when she was little, and she was sent to live with her grandparents who were quite elderly compared to a 3 year old.  They were stern, and they loved her, but there just wasn't any cuddling.  
Henry Reynolds, Mildred Vance, Martha Wells Reynolds
Her mom wasn't demonstrative, and her dad had a problem with drinking.  When I met her, it was a struggle for both of us, because I am a hugger, and she was a polite cheek pecker.  As the years passed, we became good friends, and she accepted my hugs.  I am so glad I was able to spend many hours staying with her when she had illnesses or surgeries, because I was able to capture many stories about it to share with my children.  A funny one she told when we were talking about disciplining children, was that, once she had been rude and unruly and ran from her grandmother.  Being elderly and slow, her grandmother wasn't able to catch her and she thought she had a triumph.  Later, she took a nap, and when she woke up she discovered, grandmother had tied her to the bed.  She was advised she would not behave like that again.  She said, she never did.  I guess that is a case of "I know where you sleep".  
I could write about her for hours, but I will leave more stories for another time. 
Love you mom... Miss you.