By the time I began to wonder about such things, they were no longer with me.
My Father was Sammie Evans Williams
My Fatherís parents were James Francis Marion Williams (born September 26, 1850, died April 23,1936) and Susan Woodruff Colter (sp ?)(born December 12, 1850, died September 19, 1925.) I donít know where either were born or when they were married. They lived in Llano County, Texas, near the city of Llano, when my Father was a young man. My grandfather at one time worked for the Llano Lumber Company. I donít know when they came to Llano or from where they or any other ancestors came. I do know they moved to Christine, TX, when my Father was a young man. They lived there and in nearby small towns at various times. They also spent time in Austin with my Aunt Minnie
My Williams grandparents are buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Austin, Texas. In 1992, when Glenn and I were on one of our motor home trips, we stopped in Austin and found the cemetery. We were lucky that a caretaker was there and looked through his records to find the location of their graves. It is a huge place and we could have spent all day hunting for a Williams marker. It happened to be listed under Rogers, as my Aunt Minnie and her husband are buried in the same plot. For years a large picture of my grandmotherís flower-covered grave has been in our family. Only because the cemeteryís name is on that picture did I know where my grandparents were buried. I was too small to remember much about my grandmotherís burial. From the obituary clippings I do know that the funeral was at the Ward Memorial Church. She was a member of Mary Rebekah Lodge, #117, in Austin, TX, having joined July 23, 1921. When she and my grandfather lived in Llano, TX, they had belonged to Lodge #162 for 30 years.
We lived in Kansas when my grandfather died in Pleasanton, TX, where he was living with my Uncle Calvin. I do remember his visiting us for a few months when I was in Junior High. Otherwise I didnít really have many experiences with him. My Dad looked a lot like his Father. In fact, my Father and his brothers, except for Uncle Calvin, all had a strong resemblance to their Father. I would have been 15 years old when Grandpa died and I have some memory of our getting news of his death. I believe my Father went to Texas for the funeral, but Iím not certain. We had very little money during those years and he might not have been able to afford the trip.
My grandparents had six children: Fannie, Ed, Ollie T, Minnie, Calvin and Sammie Evans, who was my Father.
This picture was taken in 1923 and Iím guessing it was my Grandparentsí 50th wedding anniversary. There was a big family gathering and I have several pictures of the family members made at that same time.
Grandpa and Grandma Williams seated - Ollie, Ed, Fannie, Minnie, Calvin, and Sammie standing
Aunt Fannie married J Feldon Collins. They had a large family and lived in various Texas townsóChristine, Bay City in 1928, and Hebronville in 1935. I have faint memories of some of the family when I was a child in Christine, but know nothing further about the children.
Uncle Edís wife was Leona and they had at least two sons. About the only memory I have of them is my Uncleís funeral in Eastland, Texas, during World War II, which I attended with my Father.
My Uncle Ollieís wife was named Frank. That always seemed strange to me as Ollie could be a girlís name and Frank a boyís name. Later in life I learned that Aunt Frankís real maiden name was Mary Frances Tow. However, I never heard anyone call her anything except Frank. They moved from Texas to Ponca City, Oklahoma, where my uncle worked for many years at the Continental Oil Company refinery there. I knew most of their five children, as we would go to visit them once or twice a year. Today I still hear from Esther at Christmas. She and the youngest, Betty Lee, are the only children still alive. My knowledge of my cousinsí families is very sparse.
Aunt Minnie married Joe Rogers. They had two daughters, Pauline and Lucille. The Rogers family ran a restaurant in Austin, Texas. I still have a couple little dishes from their restaurant. My most vivid memory of the family was when we went to Paulineís home to see my grandmother on her deathbed. She had been injured in an automobile accident. Since I was only 4 ½ years old, I donít remember much, but do have a picture in my mind of their new phonograph. It was the type with a big horn. Somehow it seems that they had a big ceramic dog sitting by it. That may be a false memory, but the listening dog was a trademark of Edisonís phonograph with the big horn and Iíve seen pictures of that through the years.
Uncle Calvin married Ima Barker. I knew their family best because we lived in Christine together until I moved to Kansas when I was eight. I have always felt close to the family. Through the years we visited in Texas a number of times. They had five children. Unfortunately, only two are still living. Ila Mae and Thelma live in Edna, Texas, and Ila Mae has always been the cousin to keep me informed about the family. I have fond memories of my Aunt Ima. She was a very religious person and she loved to sing gospel songs. She used every opportunity to teach us kids right from wrong, and she did it in a kindly way.
My Father, Sammie Evans, born May 6, 1891, was the youngest in his family. (In Texas, ďdaddyĒ was the proper term to use for oneís Father and it stuck with me all my life. In the rest of my story I will be using Daddy, because thatís what I always called my Father). He has told me that he had only a fourth or fifth grade education as they kept him out of school to work on the farm. For some reason I never did asked what kind of farm they had. I do know he was supposed to be left-handed, but that the teacher would hit him on his knuckles if he tried to write with his left hand. Therefore, he wrote right-handed and did everything else left-handed. Iím thankful my teachers let me use my left hand as it was the natural thing for me to do.
My Daddy was always good at numbers, but had trouble with his writing and spelling. I always wondered just how much latent talent might have been developed if he had been able to get more education and had been allowed to write with his left hand. He was a good left-handed pitcher. Both in Texas and later in Kansas, he always played ball whenever and wherever he got the chance. One of my memories as a little girl was hearing him moan and groan at night after he had pitched, and then hearing my Mother get up to get salve and give him a rubdown. Iím not really sure whether he played softball or baseball or both. I do know that after we moved to Kansas he coached a softball team.
Daddy is on the left in the front row.
By 1909 all the Williams children, except my Daddy and Uncle Calvin, were married and had left the family home. That was the year Uncle Calvin married Aunt Ima (Barker) and their honeymoon was spent moving to Christine, Texas. Some new land had opened there and the developer sold it cheap. He also claimed that the soil there was very good and one could raise cotton and various crops for feeding cattle. Grandma and Grandpa Williams went along with the newlyweds. According to my Daddy, they made the trip by wagon. I can assume they didnít have too many possessions to move. Iím sure they thought they were going to the Promised Land.
Daddy, who was 20 years old at the time, was working on a neighborís farm and the plan was for him to follow the family to Christine when harvest was over. I donít really know how my Daddy traveled that 150 or so miles south and east to Christine. Some maps today donít even show my hometown of Christine, which is about 50 miles south of San Antonio. It never became the paradise area the developer promised and remains to this day the proverbial ďwide spot in the road.Ē
It was in Christine that my Daddy met my Mother.
Note: Since this was written, an extensive Williams genealogy
has been posted on the Internet. http://barkerbob.com/williams/index.htm
My Motherís maiden name was Luetta Pearl Headings.
My Motherís parents were Levi Headings (born October 22, 1851 in New Castle, PA, died October 23, 1932, in South Hutchinson, KS) and Malinda Detweiler (born September 25, 1853 in PA, died February 21, 1934 in South Hutchinson). Malindaís last name is spelled with one two ďtísĒ in some records. They were married December 25, 1877. According to a genealogy record I found on the Internet they were married in Lawrence, PA, or perhaps that's where they got the license. Another interesting note: The Internet genealogy records gave my grandfatherís birth as 1850, but in our family Bible it says 1851. However, the Ē1851Ē was written with a different pencil from all the other dates on the page, as if it were added later on. Probably the Internet record is correct.
My grandfatherís father was John (some records say William) Headings (born Mar 26, 1825, died Sep 25, 1904 in Reno County, KS) and his mother was Catherine (Kate) Kauffman. They re-married in 1846 in Juniata County, PA. They had five children. She died after three sons, John, Jake and my Grandfather Levi; and three daughters, Lydia, Elizabeth and Susan were born. John married again, but I donít know his second wifeís name. She was probably Nancy Stutzman as in some records thatís the name given as Levií mother. She must have been his step-mother. I do know they had four more sons, Valentine (called Felt), Will, Sam and Dan; and two daughters, Katy and Emma. I remember visiting grandpa's half brother, Felt, in the Amish community where my grandparents lived after moving from Pennsylvania. There were so many Headings families in the Amish community around Darlow, south of Hutchinson, KS, that I never could get all the relationships straight. After my grandparents died, our visits to the Darlow community were very few.
I had always been told that my great-grandmotherís maiden name was Plank. In searching on the Internet for information, I learned that my grandmother's parents were Barbara Plank and Stephen Detweiler. They were married about 1852 so Malinda must have been their first born. My Aunt Phoebe told me she remembered that, while on a trip back to Pennsylvania, she visited an elderly lady they called Grandmother Plank. She must have been Barbara's Mother, thus Aunt Phoebe's great-grandmother. She also remembered an Aunt Phoebe, after whom she thought she was named. One of my cousins once visited in Pennsylvania and according to the brief notes she gave me, Malinda (Plank) Detweiler had a sister named Phoebe who was married to John G Zook.
That's as far back as I can go on the Headings side of my family.
My grandparents lived first in New Castle, Pennsylvania, in an Amish settlement. Around 1886 a whole group of Amish families purchased farmland five miles south of the city of Hutchinson. The nearest town was Darlow. My grandparents were a part of that group that moved from Pennsylvania to the Kansas Amish settlement. For years I had always supposed that Headings was an Amish family name from many years back. Sometime in the late 1940ís Glenn and I were visiting in Reno County, Kansas. We had been to the Pleasant View Cemetery in what used to be known as the town of Darlow. It is where my parents and grandparents are buried. On our way back into the town of Hutchinson, we saw ďHeadingsĒ on a mailbox. Knowing this was the area where my Grandparents had lived, we stopped. We learned that the family was indeed related to me in a distant way. Was I ever surprised when I was told that the Headings name was not Amish at all! It seems that a couple Headings young men migrated from Ireland and went to work on an Amish farm in Pennsylvania. There they married Amish girls and took up the Amish style of life. Iím not positive whether it was my grandfatherís father or his grandfather who migrated to America. In searching the Headings name on the Internet, I found a record of a John Headings who came from England who would have been the right age to be my great-grandfather. It seems logical that any coming to the US from Ireland might have embarked from England.
Levi and Melinda Headings had four children: Rosa Anna, Phoebe May, John Stephen, and my Mother Luetta Pearl. They also raised a girl I knew only as Aunt Carrie Comstock. I know nothing about the circumstances. The family Bible says she was born in January the year my grandparents were married. It gives her name as Carrie Blanch Allen. I don't remember her husband, but I do remember their son Shelby and his wife Nellie. I suspect she needed a home and went to live with my grandparents on their farm in Kansas as a young girl.
The picture on the next page was taken on the Darlow farm some time before grandpa moved his family to Christine, probably 1909 or 1910.
Neither Aunt Carrie nor Aunt Phoebe is in the picture as they had already married. Aunt Carrie lived in Hutchinson and Aunt Phoebe lived on a farm in Oklahoma.
On the left are Uncle Lon and Aunt Rose with their two sons, Maynard and Arthur.
On the right are my Mother, Uncle John, and Grandpa and Grandma Headings
My Aunt Rosa Anna was born December 25, 1882, in New Castle, Pennsylvania and died January 12, 1973, at Hutchinson, Kansas. She married Alonza Goatley December 10, 1903.
Wedding picture of Aunt Rose and Uncle Lon
I remember when I first began to research dates that I noted that my Aunt Rose was born exactly five years after my grandparents were married. How happy they must have been to have a little baby as a Christmas present that year. In the Amish area where they lived large families were the norm. All were farmers and lots of children were needed to do the farm work. Also farms were handed down from one generation to the next.
Aunt Rose and Uncle Lon lived in South Hutchinson where I lived from age eight until a couple years before my marriage. After my Mother died, my Aunt Rose was like a second mother to me. Uncle Lon was the school janitor for as long as I went to grade school. One of his duties was to play a phonograph record by which we marched into school in the morning, after lunch and after each recess. He also organized window-washing parties a couple times a year. I believe they were just before school started in the fall and during Christmas vacation. My Mother always worked for him and I pretended that I was helping also. Iím not sure how much real help I was.
My Uncle Lon and Aunt Rose had three children, Maynard, Arthur and Louise. Maynard was married briefly and divorced. Later in life he married Elsie Weiss, but they had no children. He always lived in or near South Hutchinson. Arthur married Gladys Renninger and had three children. I used to baby sit for them when I was in high school. They later moved to several cities in central California. Louise married Ross Neugin later in life and had no children. They lived in Pampa, Texas. Arthurís children and grandchildren are the only Goatley family members still alive as I write this account.
My Aunt Phoebe May was born November 2, 1887 on the farm south of Hutchinson, and died August 10, 1987, in Enid Oklahoma, lacking just three months being 100 years old. She married Will Shaw December 23, 1908. They lived on a farm near Hillsdale, Oklahoma. They had one son, Dwight, born July 27, 1914. Iíll tell more about them later on in my story as we often visited them after moving to Kansas. My Mother and her two sisters were very close and tried to get together as often as possible.
My Uncle John Stephen was born January 23, 1889 on the farm south of Hutchinson and died October 10, 1976 in Hutchinson. He served in Europe in WWI and apparently was injured in some way, perhaps with poison gas. I know he received a lifetime pension from the government after he left the service. As long as my grandparents were alive, he lived with them. I remember him as being very anti-social, almost a little strange. He would always be carving or working with wood in some way. I still have a doll cradle and a little carved toy he made for me.
Uncle John in his WWI uniform
After my grandparents died, Uncle John moved into a little house not far from us. He did some work, but Iím not sure just what kind. My Aunt Rose would see that he had clean clothes and bedding. Some where he got a pet duck which he kept in the house with him. When he became unable to live by himself, he went to live with a family who cared for him. Maynard, Aunt Roseís son, became his guardian. To my surprise, when Uncle John died and after Maynard had paid all necessary expenses, there was still some money to be divided among Uncle Johnís relatives. I assume it was divided three waysóone-third to his living sister, my Aunt Phoebe, one-third to me as my Motherís share, and one-third to Aunt Rosesís children. Iíve forgotten the exact amount I got, but it was around $800.
That money came at a very good time. Our son, Greg, was about to be married and I shared the money with my two daughters and my Daddy to help with the expense of going to New York City for the wedding. One daughter, Jean, was in California, my Daddy was in Kansas, and our other daughter, Glenda, and we were in Maryland. Of course, Iím getting things out of order here.
To continue, with the Headings familyómy Mother, Luetta Pearl, was born October 24, 1894. She and my Daddy, Sammie Evans Williams, were married on Christmas Day, 1915. My Mother died of pneumonia, January 31, 1937. More about that sad time in my life later on in this story.
I believe my Mother was seventeen when my grandparents moved to Christine, Texas. I guess my grandfather must have been somewhat of a rebel to leave his Amish community. Maybe that is further proof of his Irish ancestry. Iím not positive of the exact year the family left Kansas, but 1911 was when that land was being offered for sale. I know that because that is the year my Daddyís parents moved from Llano, Texas, to Christine. By that time Aunt Rose and Aunt Phoebe were married so only my Mother and Uncle John moved to Texas with my grandparents.
As I said earlier, it was in Christine that my Mother and Daddy met. Four years after their families arrived there, they were married on Christmas Day, 1915. I found this picture of the courthouse at Jourdanton, which is the county seat of Atascosa County, the county in which Christine is located. ďWhere Luetta was marriedĒ is written on the back of the picture. Iím surprised that they could get married on Christmas in a courthouse, but that is the information in the Headings family Bible. I just noticed that December was a popular month for marriages in the Headings family. My Grandparents and my two aunts were also married in December.
Jourdanton County Courthouse
I have no wedding picture for my Mother and Daddy. I doubt they had one. My Daddy once told me that they had very little money so were just married in a simple ceremony by the Justice of Peace. I believe Daddy said his only household possessions were a table and a bed. I feel that this picture was taken soon after their wedding. ďSome swell couple. This was taken in Cotton Palace Park.Ē Is written on the back of the picture in what I believe is my Motherís hand writing. The Cotton Palace is a park in Waco, the town to which my parents moved shortly after their marriage.
Mr. & Mrs. Sammie Williams
I might say, that the man who bought a very large tract of land some fifty miles south of San Antonio, parceled it off in lots, and advertised the place to be a paradise where one could grow many crops and raise cattle, also provided a meeting place for my parents. How else could a little Amish girl from Kansas and a farm hand from western Texas ever have gotten together if that man had not started a little town named Christine, Texas?
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