Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fanny Waiting for Spring

 Doc and Edna Gailey
with Doc's Fox Hounds
Fanny is the star of this photo!

My mother's daddy and my grandpa loved to go fox hunting. He would take his fox hounds out along the country roads, pick out a spot down by the Brazos River and meet his friends for a night of conversation, a plug of tobacco and listening to the dogs baying at the foxes as they chased them across the fields. They did not carry any guns and did not catch the foxes. They were usually quick enough and wily enough to escape the dogs.

A lot of Saturday mornings the dogs had not come back to camp and Doc would have to go back to the area where they were let out of the truck and "call" them. He used an old fashioned horn made from a cow's horn. I can hear it now if I'm quiet enough! I think my cousin now has Doc's horn - I hope so. I hate to think it has been lost or went to someone who didn't know and love my Grandpa.

My husband, Bob, went with Doc and his son-in-law, Raymond, once for a night of fox hunting. He came back shaking his head and told me he just didn't understand it. All they did was sit around by the campfire and talk. He never was much of an outdoorsman!

I put Raymond's bio here on Genealogy Traces and he describes how he came to name one of his fox hounds. He and some friends had driven down from Oklahoma to the Dallas Centennial and enjoyed all the shows. They were all pretty taken with a dancer called “Flaming Fanny”. When they left Dallas Raymond said they named their car “Flaming Fanny” and years later he had a fox hound (and a good one) whose name was “Flaming Fanny”. Click here and read his very interesting bio written in his own hand.

The picture above was taken during one of those rare snows in north central Texas. This one was in 1965. That snowfall record was broken just this year at Christmas. Grandma and Doc don't look like they were dressed for it, do they?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Polly Elam Brock Comes to Life

Polly was born into the antebellum south during a time when those who were known as the aristocratic plantation owners and King Cotton ruled the region. She was taught the manners and etiquette that was expected of the daughter and granddaughter of prominent families in Alabama. Her granddaughter, Juanita, tells of listening to Polly tell them stories of her childhood in Alabama, the large cotton plantations, slaves and her beloved Mammy.

The year 1850 brought the Slave Schedule census and Polly’s father, Joel Elam, was listed as owner of four slaves. Their names were not given, but there was one 56 year-old black female whom I imagine was the one Polly was talking about. Joel also owned a 15 year-old black female, a 9 year-old black female, and one 15 year-old mulatto male who had fled and not returned was listed as a fugitive from the state.

Polly was the oldest child born to Joel Elam and Sarah Elanor Stamps. Her granddaughter remembers her being born in Tuscaloosa, but the census records show her in Talladega at age six in 1850, so she may have been born there. She remembers Polly as being an “attractive, petite woman in her early days with very fair complexion, blue eyes, blonde hair, small feet, weighed 110 pounds, 5’2” tall. She was immaculate in her dress, her house and everything about her. She was quite proper always in everything she did and said. She was well informed on the Bible and history. In fact, people would say, ‘Ask Aunt Polly.’ She was a former school teacher and loved to read.”

Polly told her grandchildren many stories about her childhood. Her granddaughter, Juanita, whom I visited along with my grandfather, her first cousin, shared many interesting things about Polly. In fact, Juanita was a member of the DAR and filed our Brock ancestry with them. I have written before of Polly and John Henry getting married and the moves they made in the early years of their marriage. I have included John and his brothers and father’s Civil War experiences in my post, My Brock Ancestors.

But her granddaughter, Juanita, brings my great-great-grandmother, Polly, to life. She tells us how she always kept a fresh vase of flowers on a side table in the parlor and how there was always a beautiful white linen table cloth and napkins on her table with silver and china to compliment it. She was a small woman, who spoke very correctly at all times, rather frankly, but was kind. She was always well groomed and spoke with a definite Alabama accent that Juanita said she dearly loved to hear. Polly’s daughter, Maggie Maude, never married and lived with her mother all of her life and the two were wonderful housekeepers. Everything had its place and was always in its place. They were also wonderful gardeners, caring for their yards with great love and care. “I can close my eyes now and see that well kept beautiful old land mark. The yard was beautiful the year around with all kinds of evergreen shrubs. Crepe myrtile, lillacs, honeysuckles, Japonicas, bridal wreath, wisteria and many others blooming through the spring and summer. There were always beautiful old fashioned flower beds throughout the yard blooming throughout the spring, summer and fall – phlox, zinnias, batchelor buttons, carnations, pinks, marigolds, petunias, four o'clocks, roses, daisies and many others I can not think of. The long porch was always shaded by the beautiful big trees. There were lots of chairs of all kinds on the porch sitting against the wall for people to sit in, visit and rest, when they came to the post office. There were always many hanging baskets of fern, wandering Jew, moss and others. There were also on the porch many beautiful pot plants such as geraniums, ferns, oleanders. There was always a topic of conversation about the lemon tree which stood in a large pot on one corner of the porch. It was ladened with lemons each year, which was very beautiful. It was always interesting to the people of the community as it was the only one in town.”

You noticed Juanita mentioned people visiting and resting when they came to the post office. That is because Polly was the post mistress at Brock and remained in that position until two years before her death. The post office was at first across the street from where they lived. Later, my great-great-grandfather built it on the end of their home, being built onto the west end of the house. Juanita said “It was a thrill to me when I was a child to sit and watch people come for their mail and watch my grandmother standing there greeting them and performing her duties. My sister, Margaret, and I would then go home and play grandmother. It was our ambition then to be postmistress.”

Polly and John Henry Brock were leaders in the Brock community. They worked together in helping it grow. Polly often told stories of Indians in the area and how frightened they were many times, but were never harmed. John built the gin and established a grist mill. He built many of the houses in the area, including the churches and other buildings. It was during this period that the name of Olive Branch, where they had settled, was changed to Brock in honor of my great-great-grandparents. They were charter members of the Baptist Church there. They were loyal church members, working as a deacon and teachers. They were responsible for the first school.

“She had so many expressions and an adage always that would leave a lesson in your mind. One has always stuck with me. ‘Always keep your hair brushed, clean and in place; your shoes looking well and polished. Then, no matter what kind of dress you have on, as long as it is clean, you will look well dressed.’ I often wonder what she would think of the styles of today.”

Previously: Polly Brock's Texas Timeline

Monday, March 15, 2010

Polly Brock's Texas Timeline

Polly Sanders Elam Brock was born Christmas Day, 1843 to Sarah Stamps and Joel Elam in Talladega Co., Alabama and later moved with her family to Rusk Co., Texas.
25 March 1843 – Seventeen Texans were executed in what became known as the Black Bean Episode, which resulted from the Mier Expedition, one of several raids by the Texans into Mexico.
27 May 1843 – The Texan’s Snively Expedition reached the Santa Fe Trail, expecting to capture Mexican wagons crossing territory claimed by Texas. The campaign stalled, however, when American troops intervened.

Polly marries John Henry Brock on October 21, 1866 in Rusk Co., Texas.
1866 -  The abundance of longhorn cattle in south Texas and the return of Confederate soldiers to a poor reconstruction economy marked the beginning of the era of Texas trail drives to northern markets.
20 August 1866 – President Andrew Johnson issues a proclamation of peace between the United States and Texas.

Her first child was born in 1868. They named him Joel Walter Brock.
1868 – Large-scale irrigation begins in Texas when canals are built in the vicinity of Del Rio.

Eleanor Elizabeth Brock, my great-grandmother, was born 1871.
May 1871 – Seven men in a wagon train are massacred at Salt Creek, about 20 miles west of Jacksboro, by Kiowas and Comanches led by chiefs Satanta, Big Tree, Satank and Eagle Heart.

Lucy Brock was born 1874.
28 September 1874 – Col. Ranald Mackenzie leads the 4th U.S. Cavalry in the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon, south of present-day Amarillo, an encounter that ends with the confinement of southern Plains Indians in reservations in Indian Territory. This makes possible the wholesale settlement of the western part of the state.
17 January 1874 - Coke-Davis Dispute ended peacefully in Austin as E. J. Davis relinquished the governor's office. Richard Coke began a democratic party dynasty in Texas that continued unbroken for over 100 years.

John Thomas Brock was born 1876.
15 February 1876 – The present state constitution is adopted.
4 October 1876 - The opening of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas marked the state's first venture into public higher education. Tuition totaled $10 per semester.

Margaret Maude “Maggie” Brock was born 1878.
14 April 1878 – On a Sunday, a band of about forty Mexicans and Kickapoo, Lipan Apache, and Seminole Indians crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico into Webb County, Texas, about forty-five miles north of Laredo and went on a raid and rampage of murder, mutilation, plundering, and stealing. This lasted for six days and was known as "The Mexican and Indian Raid of '78."

Alice Brock was born 1880.
1880 – By 1880 there were 1,865 farms and ranches, encompassing almost 271,000 acres, in Parker County, and its population had grown to 15,870.

Henry Newton Brock was born 1884.
1884 – Fence-cutting wars prompt the Texas Legislature to pass a law making fence-cutting a felony.

Polly Sanders Elam Brock

Before 1880 Polly and John Henry Brock move from Rusk Co., Texas to Parker Co., Texas to a small community which is later named Brock in his honor. This happens around 1888.
16 May 1888 - The dedication of the present state capitol in Austin ended seven years of planning and construction. The building was funded with 3,000,000 acres of land in north Texas.
1890 – The first post office was established in Brock in the year 1890.
11 November 1890 – The Pathfinder's Club, the oldest women's literary club in Austin, was organized by a group of women in the Driskill Hotel parlor. In 1897 the club was one of the twenty-one organizing members of the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs.

Polly Sanders Elam Brock was appointed Postmistress of Brock in 1892. She served in that position until two years before her death.
1892 – To care for the growing number of mentally ill, the Terrell State Hospital opened in 1885 and the San Antonio State Hospital opened in 1892.

Polly Sanders Elam Brock died on August 25, 1924 in Brock, Parker Co., Texas.
22 November 1924 – the last fault-line oil field was found in the northwestern corner of Freestone County when the Boyd Oil Company No. 1 Boyd came in for an initial yield of 1,000 barrels of oil per day in the Woodbine. Four days later the Boyd Oil Company No. 1 Simmons roared to life with an initial production of 8,000 barrels of oil per day. The Boyd wells opened the field to vigorous drilling. Within a week of the discoveries, forty drilling rigs were under construction.

Polly Comes to Life
As the deadline for the 91st Edition of the COG, A Tribute to Women, is today, I realized I had not finished my great-grandmother's biography. In the days ahead, I will diligently work on the story of her life in Texas during the 1800 and 1900s. Look for Polly to come to life in my next posting!
Thanks to fM for the Poster! 
Gailey and Brock Family Sources - Juanita Brock McIntire

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Edna and the Girls

Maedelle, Irene, and Vernelle Gailey
Mineral Wells High School
Circa 1938

I have always loved this old photograph of my mother and her sisters. I believe they were standing in the schoolyard of their old high school in Mineral Wells, Texas - the very one you'll find at the Mountaineer Heritage Park Blog.

All of their children except the very youngest, my sister who is ten years younger than me, went to Junior High in the same building. I think maybe my sister attended some of her grade school years there. My cousin and I were discussing this picture last night and were pleased to see that we recognized the old brick and mortar!

The Gailey girls are from left to right: Maedelle, Irene, and Vernelle. I have added their mother, Edna Puckett Gailey to the photo, as well. My cousin and I discussed the fact that Irene always loved fashionable shoes and she is wearing some in the picture. And what are Mother and Maedelle wearing? Are those high heels and bobbie socks? Mother and Maedelle's dresses look similar to the pattern I placed in the center of the scrapbooked page. Someone in the family probably made all three of the dresses, since Grandma and all three of her girls were seamstresses all their lives.

I enjoyed putting this digital scrapbook page together. Hope you enjoy looking!

Homsley Reunion, Seymour, Texas

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