Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Letter To Mitch In Heaven: Promise Kept

Dear AL

The journey is complete as promised. 

I swore I would not stop until I found the family you had been looking for.

I was all in for the task because we shared a beautiful girl and two grandchildren. 

The need to know who you were grew stronger later in life for both of us. 

You with the wanting to know your naturals and me wanting our children to know who they were and where they came from.

As you know we talked many times about finding your natural parents, brothers and or sisters if they were still alive.

Did they look like you and you like them. What would you say to them, and vice versa? 

By now I believe that you have seen your mother and father in Heaven and that there were plenty of hugs. 

No reasons for questions and answers in Heaven just good old fashion joy and praise.

Just in case in their excitement to embrace you, they may have forgotten to mention that you have two brothers, two sisters, and two aunts down here.

Two of your siblings and one aunt live in California, one sibling lives in Nevada and then one aunt lives in Oklahoma City.

All praises go to God Almighty because He was instrumental in you listening to me and took the DNA Autosomal test offered by 23&Me.

Thank you so much for letting me manage your kit. 

I especially want to thank you for downloading to Gedmatch. 

That's the service where you were able to pick up other testers who used Ancestry and from those who used FamilyTree DNA.

Wow, was I surprised when a match came up that revealed you had two matches. One was a 1st cousin male and the other one was just as close and also a male. They had to be a father and son or durn near close to it. Right under them was your daughter and both grandchildren.  I almost fell out of my chair! 

I could not wait to send an email to the gentleman who tested through Ancestry.

After a few questions, we realized that his mother and your mother are SISTERS!

I could just hug the 1st cousin tester because he was the soul who was sent to start the happiness to rolling. 
His name is Richard Ivey, son of Mary Smith Ivey.

He then set it up for my daughter and me to chat with his mom.  We were all overwhelmed and happy and talked for a good twenty minutes. 

It was especially crushing to know that they lived in the same city for years as you.

We were also in Oklahoma City for the home-going service.  So close yet so far

My thoughts were of you as your aunt and I talked.

She gave me some new names that are leafs to your family tree.
Names like Benson, lawrence, Figures and a few others.

I also need to give a shout out to a dear friend by the name of Jeannine who guided me with the Benson clue over two years ago but I could not make that connection.  

Also another shout out goes to Willie A Heard for taking me visually through many youthful trips he and Al had during their childhood and beyond. For that I am eternally grateful.

I am over the moon with excitement.

I started this journey with you in late 1991 or early 1992.

A friend that I worked with named Carrie Moos asked if I wanted to go to the LDS Research Center with her in hopes we could gain some headway in both of our searches.

Remember when I sent you that 1930 census with your parent Lee Edward Holmes in Bristow Oklahoma with his parents William and Lilliebelle mentioned. Also listed were sons William and Dorris and a daughter Novella. 

I found nothing for Laura Mae Smith and mumbled to myself that I would come back to the Center again.

That was the day I was forever hooked.

In my heart I knew that this was not going to be a piece of cake but I also knew that I could unselfishly help others along the way when I got to a brick wall with my research.

So now after all these years we are here at this junction

I wish you could have still been here to express your joy but other plans had already been made.

I know you had questions and sometimes life sends us in other directions.

I feel that the direction you were sent to hear those answers, were passed on to me through that fork in the road we came to in life’s journey.  

I talked to your sister and I have a feeling we will get along great. She lives in Henderson right outside of Vegas and that may be an indication that I may be up for a drive every now and then.

My prayer is that my daughter, her kids and her other siblings will be able to meet all their family.

I know you loved the game of golf, and from what my Uncle Prof aka WC Daviss in Altus Oklahoma told me is that he was your teacher and you were a good student on the green.

In this case I would say that you got a Bogey on this one. 

Your family has been found!

Or should I have said that it is par for the course because we got it like that.


It’s been a long time coming as I count the years of search
Always wondering what it may be worth
The countless looking through records
Talking on the phone
Hearing faceless people with promises
Kept Secrets that could have been shared
Instead a cry of not knowing was carried to a grave

Let the truth be known for it was silence
That hurt the most
Pain you did not bear
Messing up more than one person’s thought and perception

And it did not have to be that way
Healing could have come early
Like the shutters on a window
When open
The light comes shining through
Fewer tears
Wasted years

I have said it before and then again
It’s in the blood baby, as simple as that
Made from the foundation
An XX and a XY found

I see you in faces now three boys and one girl
Paternal and maternal you should have known
Not your fault, not too late

Maybe now up there on the other side of heaven’s door
Down here those that are left hug
With all their might, try and make up
What should have been

Rest In Perfect Peace Alford for you are surrounded by many who love you. The parents who raised you, the ones now found: And, as an added bonus, those of us who are left here on earth loved you immensely then and we love you still

 P. S. Ok Now I can stop the crying.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

I Know Why The Caged Ants Sting!

I think I mentioned several years ago in a blog I wrote as well as telling others about my trip to Marshall Texas; My cousins Lorraine, Bernadine and Carol drove me up from Houston to go to St John’s Baptist Church Cemetery and for that I am eternally grateful. We had a fun ride, and the weather was really nice. 

I had identified the area where my great grandfather’s grave was supposed to be.  Right in back of the church near the fence I was told.  I went through the fence and walked to the other side of the cemetery until I spotted a headstone. Aha, as I bent over, this had to be it!  Faintly I saw Joseph Taylor etched in the stone.

I took out my camera and took a picture.

I looked over to the next headstone and wondered if that was my great grandmother Francis. The headstones were so faded and I had nothing to clean them with. They looked like old moldy grass and other elements over time.
I looked over to my left and saw two broken stones. 

Gosh, have I stumbled upon Mariah’s grave?????

I was swelling with emotion and stood there for a bit until I felt a tingling. Hmmm maybe in my excitement I was tingling from head to toe.
Then it hit me. I looked down and saw a dirt mound. Then another mound and what looked like a million ants. 

Now on to my ant drama!

They were everywhere………………Everywhere on both feet, all through my toes and traveling up my calves.

My feet were covered! I started to jump, stomp, slap and run……

Did I cuss? Oh yeah I did. You should have seen me, heard me and prayed for me. 

Those ants tore me up!!!

I guess I ran out of there so fast that the stings did not have time to turn into a hospital visit. My cousins I know felt sorry for me underneath their giggles.

Time to head out but I promised myself I would be back one day armed with boots, ant spray and something to clean the headstones with. 

When I left Texas I looked at the picture I had taken of the headstone. It was fuzzy and I could not make out the writing on it. I expanded the picture to see if I could get a glimpse but still nada.  I was rather sad and promised myself again that I would come back to Texas and take another picture.

Speed up the years:  The Ladies

A couple friends and I have a unique bond even though we are miles and miles apart. I was thinking about how the three of us are looking for our ancestors and jokingly we figure they are hiding out together and don’t want to be found. 

I have only found my elusive Mariah in the 1900 and 1910 census; Cecelia is looking for her Mozelle and Shelley, her Nellie.

I was thinking how we have been searching and searching and jotted down a few words that turned into a full blown half Ode, half poem and half plea.

Here is a short excerpt:

ODE A’LA Mariah, Mozelle and Nellie:

 Forget about setting music to this ode
The songs that are sung are pages we unfold
Gently taking care looking line by line
The rhymes we are settling for
Are taking its time
Mariah and Mozelle are Texan born we think
But are they?

No singing about the Yellow Rose
Nellie is on the run
Having fun
Catching up with Mariah and Mozelle
Down by the old Mill Stream

Or so it seems

The next day, I got an email from Lynda, my long time Mentor. I latched on to her years and years ago whether she approved or not. Her help and advice to me has been immeasurable.

Her email started, “I was just browsing some records in Harrison County and found a tombstone”   Whoa now wait a minute, a tombstone! Then a follow up email with Oops, I forgot the link!

When I clicked on that link I almost spilled every tear in the universe and made my own private ocean.

There plain as day was my elusive Mariah's tombstone. 

Mariah Taylor, wife of Lawrence Taylor
Born Dec 18, 1854
Died Jan 29, 1916

and also the tombstone of her husband Lawrence.

Lawrence Taylor
Illegible birth date and day of death
Year 1923 

Ok now I have Joseph my great grandfather’s tombstone. All I need is my great grandmothers.

So the first thing I did after composing myself is to look for Frances Dickerson Taylor and I would be complete.

I found it with a write up that I had written somewhere else but had not put it on this site. I had never ever seen this tombstone!

But my Jesus that was alright with me.

Looking on the page was another picture. Now wait a minute, there was another tombstone right next to hers. Who in the world could it be?

I tried several other Taylor’s until I clicked on Joseph’s name and there plain as day was the same tombstone as the other picture, along with a single one.

My great grandfather’s tombstone!

Holy Smokes, wait a second. Whose tombstone was that I have for Joseph? I swear when I took that picture years ago and clicked that camera it said Joseph Taylor.
That’s when I got attacked by the ants. I was in the wrong freaking spot.

You told me Mariah, you told me in your own unique way.  I forgive you for sic’ing the ants on me, and thanks for the nudge you gave Lynda to browse around.
Now, whose tombstone was that I was taking pictures of?

I do have a request though and I hope Mariah hears me.

Be gentle when I find you in the 1870 and 1880 Federal Census please. No more ant tricks and I promise I will only cry a small river.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Scenic View: Williams And Whitfield

I remember vividly when we were younger how excited we all were to go out of town. 

Our parent’s  Frank and Zepher Williams packed a few things and headed west out Buckeye Road. 

The road was lined with huge Pecan trees and acres and acres of crops or cotton depending on the season.

After travelling so far we would come upon a large house located on the left side of the street and turn into the yard. 

The Whitfield Cousins yard!!!

 What seemed like hours back then would only take about 15 or 20 minutes now. The route in later years changed from Tollison to Glendale when they decided to hang up their hats to a more peaceful and less stressfull life. 

I personally think a stretch of Lower Buckeye Road should be named "Whitfield Road" because of the impact the Whitfield’s had on the area with their Dairy Farm.

Every time we went I always liked to go out back where they kept the cows and watched the milking process.

Don’t ask me why because I am only a little bit country. You know, like fishing and maybe throwing one or two handfuls of chicken feed to some chickens at my aunt Carmena’s in Texas.

When the season came to harvest watermelons it seemed like there were millions and millions in this young girls eyes.

We also got to taste the fresh fruit of a couple straight out of the ground.

Years later my brother Theodore, Cousin Billy, Prudy, Fulbright and others from Phoenix would go and help pick the ripe ones. I imagine this was many of the young guy’s first jobs to get pocket change.

Inside the house were two people that held the glue together; Otto and Thelma Williams Whitfield.

Aunt Thelma was the cousin to Frank. Her father Palmer and Frank’s mother Mary were sister and brother. 

As a kid we grew up calling the elder’s Aunt and Uncle but the kinship line here was cousin.

As I look back at the good times we had as kids I am reminded that we all came from somewhere and how the roads traveled all had a scenic route.

How these two met, I have no idea. I know that Aunt Thelma was the child of Palmer Williams from Cold spring Texas and Mary Erma Harrison Williams from Huntsville Texas.

Scenic Texas: The Williams Home View 

According to this census Easter was the mother of ten children with only six living at the time. Here is the exerpt for a better view.

I later learned that Otto was the child of Frank and Roxie Settles Whitfield who lived in Oklahoma but married in St. Francis County Arkansas.

They just happened to be the parents of another favorite of mine Uncle George Whitfield.  

Scenic Oklahoma: The Whitfield Home View

In the 1920 census Otto is listed as ten years old

This is the excerpt of the 2nd page showing the rest of the Whitfield family for a better view. 

Thelma Williams: The Very First View

Born to parent’s Palmer and Mary Harrison Williams.  Thelma entered the world in Galveston Texas on March 25th 1914 where she joined her other sisters Gertrude, and Bernice and her brother Garcia.

Thelma’s dad worked for the Railroad as a section chief.

By 1920 the Williams family lived in Beaumont Texas where the job still had Palmer working for the railroad and supervising others while Mary 
while Mary worked in the home.   

Further research states that Mary was the mother 13 and here are a few more certificates.

The 1923 City directory in Beaumont has them living probably on Railroad property for those that worked for them as evidenced by the address on Plum at the SW corner of the GC& SF Railway. (click to enlarge)

Scenic View: Fast Forward To The Maricopa Forty

We see here that according to the 1940 census the Whitfield’s are already living and farming in Tollison on Lower Buckeye Road.

                                 Ancestry 1940 census Maricopa County Arizona 

The Blessed Scenic Route: It’s Amazing!!!

Both the Whitfield’s Otto and Thelma are gone on to Glory. I don’t have to imagine or wonder if they are living together in the rooms of many mansions.
As long as they were together on earth,  I know they are resting in perfect peace in Heaven.

                        Sing for the Whitfield's Dotty Sing this amazing song!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Dream A Little Dream Of Me: Those Two Ronnie's

Stars shining bright above you
Night breezes seem to whisper, I love you
Birds singin' in the sycamore tree
Dream a little dream of me

I sat singing those words of the song over and over again. A song I had not heard in a very long time sung by The Mama’s and The Papa’s with Mama Cass Elliott. 

Dream a little dream of me.

Why am I singing these words over and over throwing in a hum or two?  (I can’t get that tune out of my head)

In all actuality, the question already had the answer

Ronnie: James and Jessie Daviss Boggess son

My cousin is named Ronnie. His mother and my father were brother and sister from Navasota in Grimes County Texas. 
While at work he passed out and was taken to the hospital. After initial testing he was air lifted to another hospital where they have an excellent Trauma Center.

The doctors did all they could do. They placed him in a semi coma state which included life support.  The determination was made that Ronnie would not get any better and the family needed to gather and make a decision.

Several days later my cousin called and told me that night a decision was made to disconnect the machine the next afternoon. 

That Night: The Dream

I was watering my front lawn when I looked up and saw my brother Ronnie walking up the sidewalk. He stopped to talk and in the process told me that he had just left seeing our sister June and was on his way to see our mama. He was looking young, tall and handsome like he did in his younger days. 

I told him that mama was over that way, and I pointed to the right in an upward position. I also told him that John, June's ex husband was up there too.

Ronnie, in a very loud voice said "WOW"

That's when I awakened and sat straight up. 

I swear, that dream tripped me out because my sister June, my mom and John were all deceased. I did not see them in the dream nor was there a mention of my other two brothers who also were deceased and gone on to Glory.

As I was thinking how weird this dream was, I came to the conclusion that it was all about cousin Ronnie and that the thought process was given to me just before I retired for bed and it just stuck.

I looked up at the clock and wondered if cousin Ronnie was having trouble and quietly thought about the doctors taking him off the life support machine.  Since I had not received a phone call I dismissed the troubling thought out of my head. 

Later that morning I told my daughter about my dream and what I thought the dream may have meant. She said since I had dreamed about her uncle mabe I should look for him as I had so often done.

Ronnie: Frank and Zepher Dones-Burks Williams son

My brother Ronnie was the one brother that was somewhere out there in the elements. A wandering soul who never stayed anywhere stable. All his wanderings came about later in life and we as his family never understood when or why his life took a turn. After all we were all raised the same and very much loved by our mother who doted over us.

Oh we expressed our concerns to each other but the truth of the matter lay only within the confines of him. 
We just knew that our love for him never wavered and wished that he would show up one day. 

Over the years I regularly looked for Ronnie on the Social Security Index and figured that as long as his name did not come up he was alive and hopefully taking care of himself. 

It was about eight years that we had not seen Ronnie. One day, he showed up. I called my brother Bruce who drove down that week-end to see him.  We were elated and knew for sure now that he was alive.

Ronnie stayed around for several months. He lived with me for awhile and then moved in a trailor in the back of a car wash that his nephew and some other guys operated. 

Ronnie was a very witty person. Full of funny comments and very intelligent. Then at times he could be troubling. This meant that the rules in place at the car wash had to be adheared to. In Ronnie's eyes he told his nephew Anthony that they had too many rules. 

He packed up his blanket and walked away. That was in the summer of 2010.

I took my daughters advice, turned on the computer then googled the Social Security Death Index. I entered his name and hit enter.

Screaming at me as if coming out of the page I saw his name, date of birth and date of death!!!

I could not describe how I felt. I was numb and in a state of total shock. 
December 24, 2011 leaped out at me. My brother has been deceased since 2011. How could I have not known this. I always check the index. Not only that, I put my phone number and address in various places in his wallet just in case.

I told my daughter what I had found and through her tears she called Anthony.

Perhaps we did have too many rules for his liking and he figured my dream would do to show his exit.

Perhaps, just perhaps Ronnie and cousin Ronnie are rooming together. (After all, Cousin Ronnie came into the world in December and brother Ronnie left this world in December.)

Perhaps the good Lord picked the same day for two families who are intwined to know how blessed they are to have had those Ronnie's in their lives.

Sweet dreams, till sunbeams find you
Gotta keep dreaming, leave all worries behind you
But in your dreams, whatever they be
You gotta make me a promise
You'll dream a little dream of me

Ronnie Evans Boggess and Ronald Louis Williams know that you were loved, that you are still loved, and will always be loved.

Rest in Perfect Peace you two.