Monday, May 25, 2009

Family Events - May 26 - June 1, 2009

On this day in history my ancestors were living their lives just as you and I are today. Some of the things happening to them were recorded and we share them with you here.

May 26 ~ in 1853 Joel Elam purchased land in Rusk County, Texas in the Laneville area. He had recently brought his family to Texas from Talledega County, Alabama. He continued his trade as a tinsmith as well as farming in Rusk County.

May 27 ~ in 1864 on a Friday morning Stratford Wade Hampton Richards, along with the other members of Darnell's 18th Regiment, Texas Cavalry, fought in The Battle of Pickett's Mill. "Almost 25,000 men fought the terrain, the heat, the fear and each other in an area that became known as 'the hell hole' to surviving veterans." See Battle of Pickett's Mill

May 28 ~ in 1718, Adam Hitch was listed as creditor to estate of Joseph Austin (Taylor). Adam and his wife, Ann, were living in Somerset County, Maryland.

May 30 ~ in 1908 Nina Belle was married to John Turner. Their double grave marker with the name WEAVER stands in Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Butler County, Alabama.

May 31 ~ in 1679 Mary was born to Abraham Hitch/Heath and Ursula in Pocomoke, Maryland. Mary Hitch was one of five children born to Abraham and Ursula. Both Abraham and Adam, whom we believe to be brothers, appear in the Somerset County, Maryland Land Records in the 1600s (Liber JKL, Folio 14).

Henry Mitchell Shubert headshotJune 1 ~ in 1915, Henry Mitchell "Mitt" Shubert died from causes which may leave some to question just what took place during a gathering at Laurel Bluff, Tennessee, a day or two before his death. Mr. Bill Howerton interviewed Annie Shubert, widow of Terry Shubert, grandson of Henry Mitchell "Mitt" Shubert. She stated that " 'Mitt' was taken violently ill at the 'Decoration Day' at Laurel Bluff and died that day or the next." The death certificate lists the cause of death as "acute indigestion" and the date of death as 1 June 1915.
Henry Mitchell Shubert in photo at right.

Mary Ella Richards of Plainview, Texas

June 1 ~ in 1933 Mary Ella Richards was born to John Robert and Willie Homsley Richards in Parker County, Texas. The Richards were former residents of Lockney, Texas. In 1954, Mary Ella had one of the first open heart surgeries in the county of Dallas. She died in 2004. She was married to Verdell Burton Haws for 49 years and they had three children.

Mary Ella Richards Haws in photo at left.

Information on Mary, Abraham, and Adam Hitch from RESEARCH OF MIKE HITCH, 12310 Backus Drive, Bowie, MD 20720, (301) 805-9855,

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Honoring One of our Own Memorial Day - William Spence Davis, Sr.

Sgt. William Spence Davis
October 16, 1917 - June 20, 1919
United States Army

Pvt Lcl June 2 1918, Corp July 18 1918, Sgt Sep 7 1918. Overseas service from July 3, 1918 to June 14, 1919. Discharged on Jun 20 1919 with no disability. Address at enlistment RFD 2, Greenback Tennessee. Inducted at Loudon, Loudon County, Tennessee on Oct 16 1917.
Place of birth Sevier County, Tennessee.

Born March 24, 1895 in Sevier County, Tennessee
Died December 17, 1976 Maryville, Blount County, Tennessee

A young Spence appears with his family in my banner on this blog; in the 3rd picture from the left, he is standing behind his mother, Elizabeth Ann. In the photo from the left are: Elizabeth Ann Burns Davis, William Spence, Alvin, Nora, father James Pinkney "Pink" Davis, Louis, Ethel, and Baby Lessie.

Approximately a year and a half after being discharged from the Army, Spence married Leola Hitch of Ducktown, Tennessee, in September of 1920. He was married a second time to Mary Sue Delozier of Blount County in June of 1936. His children are William Spence Davis, Jr., Marilee Davis Shubert, and Suzanne Hampton Davis Kerr.

I have previously written about Spence in the article Spence with His Oliver 66 found here and on my blog, Tennessee Memories. He is my husband's grandfather. There are many veterans found in our family, as there are in most readers' ancestry, but I have chosen to honor Spence this Memorial Day 2009 because he was a very special man. He served his country well and came home with an honorable discharge. Until he met and married his second wife, Mary Sue Delozier, Spence cared for his two oldest children with only the help of a nanny while working fulltime. He and Mary Sue worked very hard and were prosperous dairy farmers in Maryville. They were both teachers, as well.

My husband's father, Ray Allen Shubert, tells of Spence and Mary Sue in an interview during the 1990s:
Spence Davis, went to the Bill Jones School in Sevier County - a "Normal School" as it was called - took a state exam to become a school teacher. He was a good ball player and we have a couple of pictures of him with his team. He taught grade school in Monroe. While teaching he took a job in the Sweetwater post office during the Summer. Then he went to the Knoxville post office. Spence got full custody of Marilee and Junior when he divorced from their mother, Leola. After Leola left, he hired a nanny to look after the children. They called her "Aunt Tilly" - she was as broad as she was tall. Soon she told Spence that the kids were so big she couldn't handle them any longer and he needed to find a wife!" Marilee was a student of McCampbill School where Mary Sue Delozier taught. Spence and the kids lived on Valley View Road in Knoxville.

Suzanne Hampton Davis was born to Spence and Mary Sue in 1942. The Delozier's were prominent farmers in Blount County. Mary Sue taught at Wildwood High School where Marilee, Junior and Suzanne all attended. Suzanne and Marilee were cheerleaders, at different times, of course. Marilee and Mary Sue were pregnant with their first child at the same time. When Suzanne was a few months old, Marilee and Ray went into the post office where Spence worked. She remembered one of the clerks looked over her glasses at her and then called out, "Mr. Davis, your OLDER daughter is here!"

William Spence Davis
World War I Draft Registration Card
(accessed 2009)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Power House below Buchanan Dam - Postcard Friendship Friday

Power House below Buchanan Dam across Colorado River
Burnet, Texas

Postcard is 5 1/2" x 3 1/2" ivory cardstock with lavender blue printing on back.
11,031F Pub. by Longhorn News Agency, Georgetown, Texas
Words "Post Card" printed in cursive style with "Place Stamp Here" stamp box
Postcard belonging to Judith Richards Shubert

Buchanan Dam began producing hydroelectric power in January 1938. Buchanan Dam, owned by Lower Colorado River Authority, creates Lake Buchanan.

Stretching for more than two miles, Buchanan is considered the longest multiple-arch dam in the nation.

Buchanan lake and dam were built primarily to store water and supply hydroelectricity. Construction on Buchanan Dam began in 1931, but shut down in 1932 when the original builder named Insull went bankrupt. Buchanan Dam was renamed in 1937 for U.S. Rep. J.P. Buchanan, who helped secure federal funds to complete the project. It was originally named Hamilton Dam.

The Lower Colorado River Authority began completing construction of the dam in 1935 and completed construction in 1937. Buchanan Dam was officially dedicated on October 16, 1937, and began producing hydroelectric power in January 1938.

View Larger Map

View Larger Map

Participate in Postcard Friendship Friday
hosted by
Marie Reed
Cpaphil Vintage Postcards


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Festival of Postcards: Wheels of Change on the Rade de Brest

94 BREST Los Rampes d acces et la Rade

Brest, a port city in western France sits on two hills divided by the Penfeld River. A magnificent road, the Rade de Brest, spans 14 miles (23 km) and is protected from the sea by the Quélern Peninsula, and the Goulet Passage (about 1–2 miles wide [1.5–3 km]) leads to open water.

Cardinal de Richelieu decided in 1631 to make it a major naval base. It was improved by Jean-Baptiste Colbert and fortified by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban. The former instituted the Inscription Maritime, still functioning, which inducted Breton fishermen (18–48 years old) into the Naval Reserve. In exchange for this obligation, the Inscription offers them family security for life. Brest has been the seat of the French Naval Academy since 1830.

Brest was the debarkation point for U.S. troops during World War I. Afterward its importance as a naval and transatlantic passenger port increased. The Germans, who occupied it in June 1940, built concrete submarine pens and used the port as a base against Allied shipping. The city, almost completely destroyed during World War II, has been rebuilt, its port restored and re-equipped. The naval port, behind the Lanion breakwater, is in part excavated from the rock, and some of the installations are in deep caves in the cliffs. The commercial port, which has large shipfitting installations, is separated from the city by the Cours Dajot, an excellent promenade constructed on the old ramparts in 1769 by convicts from the notorious prison hulks of Brest (closed in the 19th century when Devil’s Island and the penal colony of French Guiana were established). It is, with Toulon, one of the two major bases of the French navy.

Benjamin Reginald Groom, born to Joseph Sanford Groom and Anna Cotton in 1897, joined the US Navy at some point during WWI. He was stationed on the U.S.S. Vermont and traveled to France where he purchased this postcard. Shown in the 1920 U.S. Census on line 84 he was only 22 years old when enumerated with the population of the U.S.S. Vermont.

Although he didn't address the postcard to anyone, it was found in his sister, Annie Mae Groom Stone's, belongings along with several other postcards he had purchased while serving overseas.

The back of the Brest postcard has his boyish handwriting in a brown ink. The words Imprimeries Reunies de Nancy is printed vertically on the far left side. I assume this means it was printed in the city of Nancy, France. The card is 5 1/4" x 3 1/4" and is a CARTE POSTALE. Webster's definition: a card on which a message may be sent by post, often with a picture on one side (a picture postcard).

"Here are some cards that I bought in France that may interest you. this is the Harbor where we anchored. I've been to this store twice."

The Festival of Postcards: Wheels has encouraged me to look for a second meaning to some of the images I have in my photo album. At first glance this card may not seem to belong to this May's challenge, but I see that a trolley or streetcar is waiting there on the ramp to access the Rade de Brest. I can imagine my ancestor, Reginald, catching the car along with some buddies from the U.S.S. Vermont and heading into the little town to shop. It must have been then when he purchased the postcard. At this, the close of WWI, the wheels of change were moving all around the busy Naval port and the whole of France, indeed the entire world.

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault is hosting this Festival of Postcards. She shares her Canadian Family’s Vintage Postcard Collection and encourages the use of postcards in the field of family history.

Source Information on Brest taken from: Brest. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved May 19, 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online:

Monday, May 18, 2009

Peoples in New Spain in the 1700 and 1800s

Mexico or New Spain
(with) inset map of Southern Mexico and Central America

In researching my family in Texas, I have come across those who, in the census of their home county, have been enumerated as Mexican; but the head of the household of the same family has identified himself as Spanish on his World War I Draft Registration Card.

Not being too familiar with the Spanish occupation of Mexico and the efforts at converting the Indians found in the northern frontier, or Texas, and the make-up of the different cultures in that area during the 1700 and 1800s, I decided to do a little more reading.

Campbell says in his book Gone to Texas that “Spanish Texas in the early 1760s remained a sparsely settled province regarded primarily by the mother country as a buffer zone against France and as a field for missionary work, not as a colony of value in its own right.”1

The first census taken of the Spanish settlements in 1777 listed a total population of 3,103. This number included the residents of the missions, both priests and Indian converts. About one half of the 3,103 were considered Spaniards (most of them born in America); Indians (Coahuiltecans) made up one fourth of the total; and people of mixed race such as mestizos (of Spanish and Indian parentage) and mulattoes (of Spanish and African parentage) made up one fourth of the total. There were only 20 slaves, mostly of African descent. And more than one half (55 percent) were males.1

No one can say with certainty how many Indians lived in Texas in the late 1770s. But approximately 20,000 Indians still lived in the province at the end of 1770s, which far outnumbered residents of the Spanish settlements. These were members of the groups known as Karankawas, Caddos, Wichitas, and Comanches.

“When we speak of society in Texas, at the beginning of the 1800's, allusion is made to the Spaniards, many of whom had come from the polite cities of the mother-country, or from the viceregal palace in Mexico. The priests generally were men of good classical reading, as were many of the officers in the regular service. These set a good example of taste and elegance, which, of course, produced its imitative effect on the creoles and civilized Indians. Thus was the fierce temper of a frontier life guided and moderated; and the people, having no care of politics, passed their leisure time in playing at games, in dancing, and in conversing, mostly upon one of the subjects of money, women, or horses.”3

“The population of Texas was, in 1806, about seven thousand, of which some two thousand lived in San Antonio. This population was made up of Spaniards, creoles, and a few French, Americans, civilized Indians, and half-breeds.”3

In the early part of 1800, citizens of New Spain began to exhibit mixed reactions to events in the mother country of Spain involved around Napolean and Ferdinand VII. French occupation of Spain and the very bloody war of resistance by the Spanish led many in New Spain to desire independence.

Peninsulares, natives of Spain in America who generally held the most powerful offices, insisted the colonial government remain the same out of loyalty to Ferdinand VII. But, the criollos, those of Spanish blood born in America wanted a junta, or small council of political leaders, to take over. Criollos outnumbered the peninsulares ten to one. Tensions and unrest continued for some time with the Republic resistance growing into an army of more than 2,000 men.

The bloodiest battle in the history of Texas, the Battle of the Medina, took place August 18, 1813, when the Royalist Army led by Joaquin de Arredondo defeated the rebellious Republican Army of the North, led by Jose Alvarez de Toledo.

Arredondo remained in the area and waged a cruel revenge on the resistance. His soldiers executed 327 soldiers from the Republican Army who had surrendered or were captured after the battle.

Two days after the battle of the Medina, General Arredondo marched in triumph into San Antonio with his wagons loaded with the wounded and dying. Seven hundred of the peaceable citizens of that city were seized and imprisoned. Three hundred of them were confined during the night of the 20th of August in one house, and during the night eighteen of them died of suffocation. From day to day the others were shot, without any form of trial!2

A detachment of the conquering army advanced toward Nacogdoches in East Texas, home of many of my ancestors, executing 71 more accused rebels along the way. “One of Arrendondo’s junior officers, a young man named Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, looked on and learned.”1


1. Campbell, Randolph B. Gone to Texas - a History of the Lone Star State. New York Oxford University Press, 2003. Accessed Haltom City Public Library.

2. Son of the South, "The Battle of Medina", (Onlne: Son of the South), accessed May 18, 2009.

3. Son of the South, “San Antonio Life in the History of Texas”, (Online: Son of the South), , accessed May 18, 2009.

4. David Rumsey Map Collection, "Mexico or New Spain of 1814", (Online: David Ramsey Map Collection),, accessed May 18, 2009.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Vickie Everhart's Creative Thank You

Isn't this the neatest badge you've ever seen? Vickie Everhart is a fellow Texan and in my eyes that makes her special. But her creativity in her blog, BeNotForgot, blows me away. The scrapbook pages that she creates are filled with photos and art and they add so much interest to her posts.

After receiving the One Lovely Blog Award from Janice Tracy, author of Mississippi Memories, Vickie fashioned her a beautiful thank you badge like the one above. I admit I was more than a little envious! I had also sent Vickie the same award only a few hours after that and look what she has made for me! I love it. And you'll love her and her beautiful blog. Be sure and check it out often.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Another Award from Tammy - "One Lovely Blog Award"

I've received another wonderful compliment on my blog! Tammy, author of Genealogy Simple and Fun, resident of Birmingham, Alabama, has honored me with another "One Lovely Blog Award". I'm thrilled to accept it. Tammy has a wonderful blog which focuses on making genealogy "simple and fun," as the blog's title indicates.

She has been in the Genealogy field for over 11 years. Her Articles will help you in your research as she posts news information plus she will have items to make your Genealogy Adventure Fun!

Thank you so much, Tammy, for giving me this award.

The recipient of this award is asked to forward the award to seven more deserving blogs and their authors. My blog Tennessee Memories received one this week and this is the second for Genealogy Traces. I've selected fourteen blogs that I love and would like for you to visit. So here goes, I'll select seven more.

Have a wonderful Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Missing Mildred

Mildred Lorraine Smith February 28, 1921 - May 4, 2001

I have written about my mother, my grandmother, and my aunts. They played a big part in my life story, of course. But there is another beloved mother that was just as important to me.

Mildred Lorraine Smith was born in Deluce, Arkansas, February 28, 1921, the daughter of Murray Cord Smith and Mary M. Childers. Her two older brothers, Paul and Cleo Smith continued to be a large part of Mildred’s life as they grew up together and eventually all moved from Arkansas and settled in Erath County, Texas.

Mildred’s father, Murray, was a Methodist minister. He also was licensed to teach in Dallas County, Arkansas in 1927. As a minister he served in the Arkadelphia District of the Methodist Episcopal Church. When he moved his family further west because of the health of his wife, Mary, they first went to New Mexico and then moved back into Texas. The small community of Lingleville in Erath County became their home. He built a home there which is still standing, and with minor modifications, is still the home of Mildred’s daughter. Murray also served as minister in the Lingleville Methodist Church. It is no longer standing.

Mildred Smith Hicks and her oldest son Don Earl Hicks

Mildred came into my life in 1958 when she married my father, Leon Fremont Richards. She and Daddy met while working in the Safeway Grocery Store in Stephenville, only ten miles from Mildred’s home (the one her father built) in Lingleville. They married January 25, 1958, in Desdemona, Eastland County, Texas. She stole our hearts from the very first.

David, Peggy, Sue, Judy, Leon
Mildred in the middle holding Ann's hand

I was the second from the oldest of six kids – Daddy’s three girls and Mildred’s two boys and one girl. Our step-sister told me and my sisters years later that she was so excited when she heard Daddy and Mildred were getting married. She said she will never forget it. Sitting at the dining room table (the one my middle sister now has in her home) Mildred and Daddy told her and her two brothers that they were marrying and that they would be getting three sisters. She said she was ecstatic, “Now I’ll have sisters!”

Although I always called Mildred by her first name instead of Mom or Mother, I never felt she was anything but a mother to me. She had the kindest spirit and was such a gentle person. She and Daddy matched one another perfectly. Mildred had a hearing problem that worsened with age, of course, but she had had it since childhood and she always had trouble with her balance. I can close my eyes now and visualize my reaching out to touch her arm when I sensed she needed help.

She worked hard for her family, and she and Daddy were able to keep her father’s homeplace going, raising vegetables and fruits and pecans, keeping Holstein cows and churning butter from their fresh milk while sitting in the kitchen of that little country home. I have peeled many a peach and helped with the canning and freezing of those fruits and vegetables. She made the sweetest ice cream with those peaches you have ever tasted. And, of course, we all took a turn at the handle of that old-fashioned ice cream freezer.

Mildred lived long past Daddy. She was a widow for sixteen years and seemed to always miss him. Those sixteen years were filled with work and friends. She loved to quilt and was known to have the best looking quilting stitches of any in the area. Everyone loved to look at her quilts. She continued to have a garden during the years after Daddy’s death and it was a pretty large undertaking for several years. Only during the last few years of her life did the garden spot shrink.

She developed Alzheimer’s disease. It was so hard to see her change and lose her memories of who we were and even where she was. But it was her childlike answers to our questions that I now remember during those months of decline. She broke my heart one day when a light suddenly went off in her mind and she looked at me and said, “You mean, you are MY Judy?”

Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren all loved her as well as her nieces and nephews. She was a devout woman and a member of the Methodist Church. I will always miss her.

Mildred Richards & Leon F. Richards
East End Cemetery, Lingleville, Erath Co., Texas

Carnival of Genealogy: 72nd Edition
The topic for the 72nd edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is: Mothers!
Mother’s Day is right around the corner and this is the perfect time to honor your mother, grandmother, godmother, step mother, den mother, aunt, neighbor, or friend who happens to be a mother. If you’ve written about your own mother for the COG before, consider writing about another mom on your family tree.
Let’s make all our moms famous! The deadline for submissions is May 15th and next edition will be hosted at Creative Gene.

Submit your blog article to the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy using the carnival submission form

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thank You Gini for the "One Lovely Blog Award"

I have such wonderful friends in my readers and one very special lady, Gini, the author of Ginisology has selected my blog to receive the "One Lovely Blog Award". Sometimes I feel as though I neglect Genealogy Traces, but I have loyal followers who encourage me daily.

After receiving this beautiful award, the recipients are asked to pass it on to seven other blogs that they feel are deserving. I've selected seven over at my Tennessee Memories. so this gives me another opportunity to pick seven more.

This time I choose you:

Vickie at Be Not Forgot
Olive's Granddaughter at Grandma's Stitches
Lisa at 100 Years in America
Delia at Delia's Genealogy Blog
Cheryl at Ancestor Hunting
Cheryl Schulte at Two Sides of the Ocean
Suzanne at Chickens in the Road

Homsley Reunion, Seymour, Texas

Homsley Reunion, Seymour, Texas
Copyright (c) 2015 by Judith Richards Shubert