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Sunday, October 7, 2012

On This Day – Tom Johnston Jr (1912-1973)



My grandfather, Tom J. Johnston Jr was born one hundred years ago on 7 October 1912 in Gustine, a town in Comanche County, Texas.[1]  His parents were Thomas Newton Johnston and Nell L. Hutson.  He was the third child of five, having two older sisters, Beryl and Mildred, and two younger brothers, Hal and Luther.  His mother, Nell died 14 Jul 1919 at the young age of 31.  Tom was only six and half years old and his youngest brother, Luther, was only eighteen months old.  It must have been very hard on his father to raise five children without a mother.

He married my grandmother, Pansy Louise Lancaster, on 15 December 1933 by the Justice of the Peace in Gustine, Comanche County, Texas.[2]  They had one child, Lela Nell Johnston.

He served a short time in the United States Navy, leaving after four months with a medical discharge due to an ulcer.[3]  The family was living in Idaho at the US Naval Training Center, Farragut, Idaho.  They spent the rest of the war in construction work on other military bases.
Tom with daughter, Lela Nell

After the war, they moved to California, living in Walnut Creek out in “the country” at Mr. Ford’s property.  I don’t know who this Mr. Ford is (time to do some research).  Tom had a business in town with his brother, Hal.  They owned a pool hall and taxi service.[4]
Tom manning the Billiards Hall

Tom loved working with his hands and with wood.  He worked as a carpenter for many businesses, his last job as carpenter for the Contra Costa Community College District at Diablo Valley College.  He liked to build furniture and some of his pieces are now cared for by his grandchildren.
Tables & lamp made by Tom

Tom died 11 July 1973 in Pleasant Hill, Contra Costa County and was buried at the Oakmont Park Cemetery in Lafayette.[5]  I was only 18 years old when he died and his was the first funeral I had been to.  Tom was a quiet man, never one of those fun grandpas.  When we were small, we called him Tom-Tom, instead of Grandpa.  When we got older, it was much easier talking to him, I think, because we were not so rambunctious and loud.  Tom gave me my first tennis racket, a wooden one with a wooden press.  I used it all though college.

Happy 100th Birthday, Tom-Tom!



[1] Bureau of Vital Statistics, Comanche County, Birth Record of Tom J Johnston Jr, Vol 8 (or 80--the eight is dark, the zero is very light), pg 553, 1941, affidavit signed by J.P. Brown, MD.
[2] State of Texas, County of Hood, Marriage Record of Tom Johnston and Pansy Louise Lancaster (certificate copy), recorded in Vol I, p 161 Marriage License Records.
[3] Naval Record for Tom Johnston Jr, 938 69 00, United States Navy, National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, Missouri.
[4] Business Card for Johnston Bros Taxi, Photo with caption on back stating “Johnston Brothers Billiards,” author’s personal collection.
[5] State of California, Dept of Health Services, Death Certificate of Tom J. Johnston Jr (73-087531).


Copyright © 2012 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - What is Your Matrilineal Line?

Randy Seaver's "Saturday Night Genealogy Fun" is always a blast to read and do.  Today's post is about listing your Matrilineal Lines.  This is my mother, my mother's mother, her mother's mother, etc.  When one has their mtDNA tested, this is the line that is tested and whose genes are passed down to me.

Me: Lisa Suzanne Hork
My mother: Lea Nell Johnston (1934-1992)
My grandmother: Pansy Louise Lancaster - Living
My great-grandmother: Lela Ann Loveless (1896-1951)
My gg-grandmother: Eliza A. Ro(d)gers (1854-1907)

I had my grandmother tested and her halpogroup is U5.

My mother's father's matrilineal line is:
My grandfather: Tom Johnston Jr (1912-1973)
His mother: Nell Hutson (1888-1919)
His grandmother: Sarah Helena Selman (1858-1916)
His great-grandmother: Amanda Deborah Oldham (1822-1880)

I have not had this line tested.  My mother had no brothers, so I need to have one of her male cousins do the y-DNA test.

My father's mother's matrilineal line is:
My father:  William J. Hork (1930-2007)
His mother: Anna Marie Sullivan (1892-1979)
His grandmother: Anna Marie Gleeson (1860-1912)
His great-grandmother: Margaret Tierney (1835-1920)
His gg-grandmother: Ann Murray (1813-1899)
His ggg-grandmother: Jane ?? (??-1874)

This line has not been tested.  I do have two brothers who could be tested for the y-DNA.

My father's father's matrilineal line is:
My grandfather:  William Cyril Hork (1899-1967)
His mother: Julia Ann Sievert (1854-1928)
His grandmother: Susana Raduntz (1832-1911)

My grandfather had sisters who had daughters so I might be able to find candidates for mtDNA tests for the Sievert/Raduntz lines.


Copyright © 2012 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

On This Day – Sarah Helena (Selman) Hutson (27 Sep 1858 – 26 Sep 1916)


     I could title this post, “On These Days,” and try to post it halfway between the 26th of September for the anniversary of her death and the 27th of September for the anniversary of her birth. 

     Sarah Helena Selman was born on 27 Sep 1858 in Cherokee County, Texas[1], probably somewhere near Rusk[2].  Cherokee County is in eastern Texas, two counties away from the Louisiana border.  Her parents were Greenlee Bean Selman and Amanda Deborah Oldham.  She was the youngest of the three children of Greenlee and Amanda.  Both Amanda and Greenlee had previous marriages, resulting in Sarah having four half-siblings.

     She married Peter Hayden Hutson in Hood County, Texas on 11 Sep 1879.[3]  They had 8 children, seven girls and one boy.  My great-grandmother, Nell Hutson, was number 4.  Three of her daughters, Lillie Violet, Myrtle, and Winnie Oda, died before reaching adulthood.  They are buried in Union Cemetery in Comanche County, where the family was now living.[4] 

Union Cemetery, Gustine, Texas;
photo courtesy of  Ken Jones, used with permission
     Sarah was called Sallie.  I don’t know very much about her.  She died 26 September 1916[5] and is buried in Union Cemetery with her three daughters and husband.[6]  She was only 60 years old.  It is difficult to read the cause of death.  It was interesting that she died in Throckmorten County, and her nephew, Noah Edwin Palmer, was the informant, not her husband, Pete.  Now there might be a story there….

     Happy 154th Birthday, Sarah Helena Selman Hutson!




---------------------------------------------
[1] Texas Department of Health Bureau of Vital Statistics, Digital Images of Death Certificates, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org :n.d.), no. 17663, Mrs Sallie H. Hutson, 1916.
[2] Texas, Cherokee, 1860 U.S. census, Ancestry.com, Digital images (http://www.ancestry.com: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), M653, roll 1290, Beat No. 1 (Rusk), p. 417b, dwelling 106, family 106, Green Selman, accessed 27 Nov 2011.
[3] Hood County Texas Genealogical Society, Marriage Index, viewed 6 May 2009, http://www.granburydepot.org/home/HCGShomePage.htm,  "HUDSON, P. H. Selman, S. H."
[4] Find-A-Grave, www.findagrave.com, memorials 64910654 (Lillie V. Hutson), 64910655 (Myrtle Hutson), and 64910658 (Tennie O Hutson).
[5] Texas Department of Health Bureau of Vital Statistics, Death Certificates, FamilySearch, no. 17663, Mrs Sallie H. Hutson, 1916.
[6] Find-A-Grave, www.findagrave.com, memorial 64910657 (Sarah Hellena Hutson)

Copyright © 2012 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Wordless Wednesday

Mam-ma's Mercury


Copyright © 2012 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Tom J Johnston

Tom J Johnston at Johnston Bros Billiards in Walnut Creek, California mid 1940s


Copyright © 2012 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Tom J Johnston

I have been scanning like crazy this past week and found the photograph I took of my maternal grandfather's grave marker.  Since it is flat I find it hard to call it a "tombstone" but it still works for this blogging meme.

Oakmont Memorial Park, Lafayette, California
After finding the photo, I created a memorial at Find-a-Grave which you can see here.  Seeing the marker back when I took the photo gave me information that I did not know.  Tom-Tom (what us grandkids called him) was in the Navy during World War II.  I have since sent for his Naval Service Record.

I also took a photo of my daughters next to the marker.  When I added that photo to their scrapbooks, I would draw a little tree showing the relationship from them to the ancestor.

Tom J Johnston's great-granddaughters

Copyright © 2012 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Saturday, July 21, 2012

William Carl Lancaster - July 21, 1873

   One hundred and thirty-nine years ago, William Carl Lancaster was born on July 21, 1873 to parents George Wilson Lancaster and Martha Jane Polly.  He was the oldest child of six and was born in Rockwall, Rockwall county, Texas.  The first census he appears in is the 1880 Rockwall county, Texas.

Texas, Rockwall, 1880 U.S. census, Ancestry.com, Digital images (http://www.ancestry.com: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), T9, Rockwall Village, enumeration district (ED) 30, George W. Lancaster, accessed 13 Jul 1995.
   He was just seven years old.  He is living also with two of his siblings, Lonnie and Maggie, and his paternal grandmother, Elizabeth S. Lancaster.  His father is a farmer.  His mother is listed as housekeeper, but this is the term used back then for the census to denote that she took care of their home.  The census also listed that William Carl could not read or write, so it is likely he had not yet attended school.

  He married Martha Jane Coor on Mar 19, 1892 in Erath county, Texas. Martha was born May 10, 1873 in Copiah county, Mississippi to James Madison Coor and Melissa Ann Welch.


Texas, Erath County, Marriage Records, Family History Library, film 1026025, Bk F, p 65, W.C. Lancaster & Miss Mattie Coor, 1892.
  William Carl was known as "Carl" and he called Martha Jane "Doll." Together, they had six children:

  • George Warren
  • Willie Friend
  • Josephine Hazel
  • Margaret
  • Earl Carrell
  • Pearl Carl
The last two were faternal twins.  George Warren Lancaster was "Mam-ma's" father.

   Carl spent most of his life as a farmer.  Farming in Erath county was primarily growing cotton until soil erosion and boll weevil problems drove farmers away.  Then there was a shift to ranching in the 1920's.  By then Carl moved into the town of Stephenville.  He did farm for a while in Lubbock county (1) 

   Doll died September 15, 1942 in Stephenville.  Carl then married Mary E. Spivey.  He died December 17, 1946 and Carl and Doll are buried at Upper Green's Creek Cemetery in Erath county.

Upper Green's Creek Cemetery, Erath county, Texas
   I have one photo of Carl and Doll and have published the photo previously in this blog. Here it is again:

Carl & Doll are seated with my mother, Lela Nell between them.
   Happy 139th Birthday to my great-great grandfather!


(1) Texas, Lubbock, 1930 U.S. census, Digital images, Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), T626, Precinct 1, enumeration district (ED) 11, sheet 8b, dwelling 162, family 182, William C. Lancaster.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Lela Nell Johnston

Lela Nell with cousin and grandfather


Copyright © 2012 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fearless Females - Day 20

This is a blogging theme for the month of March which is Women's History Month. I'm a bit behind but do want to participate in the daily blogging posts. These 31 posts will be posted between my two blogs "My Trails Into the Past" and "Mam-ma's Southern Family."


March 20 — Is there a female ancestor who is your brick wall? Why? List possible sources for finding more information.

One of my brick wall female ancestor is Eliza A. Rogers.  She is my 2nd great grandmother.  Eliza was born in 1854 in South Carolina.  I do not know who her parents are.  She married Ebenezer Loveless on 18 Mar 1871 in Chattooga Co, Georgia.  They had ten children.  She died in Faulkner Co, Arkansas on 27 Aug 1907 and is buried at Spring Hill Cemetery.

I have not worked on this line in ages.  Just reviewing this now I see some things I should do:
  1. Find out when death certificates became mandatory in Arkansas and try to obtain one for her.
  2. Find a tombstone on www.find-a-grave.com in Faulkner Co, Arkansas
  3. Find the obituary for Eliza
  4. Research the children of Eliza and Ebenezer who did not move to Texas and remained in Arkansas.  Maybe one of their children have information.
  5. Search all the Rogers/Rodgers in Chattooga Co, GA 1870 census.  I have not looked since census records have been online.
Wow, that is a good start.  I actually just found the tombstone for Eliza:

Springhill Cemetery, Faulkner Co, Arkansas




Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Fearless Females - Day 16

This is a blogging theme for the month of March which is Women's History Month. I'm a bit behind but do want to participate in the daily blogging posts. These 31 posts will be posted between my two blogs "My Trails Into the Past" and "Mam-ma's Southern Family."


March 16 — If you could have lunch with any female family member (living or dead) or any famous female who would it be and why? Where would you go? What would you eat?

My 2nd great grandmother was Martha J Coor.  I would love to have lunch with her and eat some good southern food.  I'd want to eat right in her kitchen so I can watch her fix the meal.

At the meal I'd ask about the possible Native American ancestry we might have.  She seems like the most likely candidate but all records I find about her family do not point to any Native American ancestry.  So why does my grandmother think that her grandmother was half Indian?

A puzzle we may never solve......

Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Fearless Females - Day 12

This is a blogging theme for the month of March which is Women's History Month. I'm a bit behind but do want to participate in the daily blogging posts. These 31 posts will be posted between my two blogs "My Trails Into the Past" and "Mam-ma's Southern Family."

March 12 — Working girl: Did your mother or grandmother work outside the home? What did she do? Describe her occupation.

My grandmother worked outside the home most of her life. She was a great seamstress and could always get a job in alterations, working in both men's and women's stores. She told me her mother was good at sewing and made all of my grandmother's clothes.  My grandmother's favorite class at Stephenville High School was Home Ec.

She worked several stores in downtown Walnut Creek, California. Celeata's was a men's store where she did alterations. She also worked at the Clothes Horse, a women's store. She would take clothes home each night to do alterations, working until about midnight, and then bring them back in in the morning. At the same time, she worked on alterations with another women's store called Goldman's.


I remember her old black Singer electric sewing machine. My grandfather, a carpenter, built a cabinet for the machine.  Before that she had one of those treadle machines you worked with your feet.


She made a lot of clothes for herself, her husband, and for her daughter.

My grandparents


Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fearless Females - Day 8

This is a blogging theme for the month of March which is Women's History Month. I'm a bit behind but do want to participate in the daily blogging posts. These 31 posts will be posted between my two blogs "My Trails Into the Past" and "Mam-ma's Southern Family."

March 8 — Did one of your female ancestors leave a diary, journal, or collection of letters? Share an entry or excerpt.
Poems written by Lea N Hork, 1954

I do not have a collection of letters, a diary, or journal that any of my female ancestors left.  However, I have some typed stories and poems my mother, Lela Nell Johnston, wrote.  They were simple stories, told by a young author.  I imagine my mother wanted to write more but with six young children, I doubt she could find the time.

Her favorite time of the day to do things for herself was between 4 and 6 AM.  She would get up with my father who had to be at work by 4:30 and then would have all that quiet time alone until us kids got up for school around 6:30 or 7:00 AM.  Then she would then fix us a hot breakfast of oatmeal or cream of wheat.

What I have here today are three of her poems written in the same year I was born.  They are typewritten using a red ribbon!  I didn't know there was such a thing in 1954.  I remember the typewriter.  It was a small manual that sat in a case with a lid.  I remember typing on it until I got an electric typewriter for Christmas.  The keys would jamb if you typed too fast.

Of the three poems, I like "Everything, but this" best.  Poetry has never been my favorite, but my sisters like them and have written some themselves.



Happy reading!


Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fearless Females - Day 7

This is a blogging theme for the month of March which is Women's History Month. I'm a bit behind but do want to participate in the daily blogging posts. These 31 posts will be posted between my two blogs "My Trails Into the Past" and "Mam-ma's Southern Family." 

March 7 — Share a favorite recipe from your mother or grandmother’s kitchen. Why is this dish your favorite? If you don’t have one that’s been passed down, describe a favorite holiday or other meal you shared with your family.

When I was married, my mother, Lea Hork, made a recipe-photo album for me.  She typed up her favorite recipes, added personal comments about the recipe, and then clipped them.  She then made a scrapbook full of photos from my childhood and included the favorite recipes.  As each of us kids were married, she'd make another album for them.  My youngest sister was married after my mother passed away, so I carefully made an album for her, copying what my mother had done for me.

I still have the album, although I took it apart because it was one of those magnetic photo albums and I didn't want the photos to be ruined.  Luckily for me, the magnetic part of the album "released" and now of the photos were "stuck" between the back and plastic.

The book especially comes out at Thanksgiving so I can make Cornbread Stuffing for the turkey.  This is the Southern way of making stuffing.  I find typical sage dressing just too wet for my tastes.  Our Thanksgiving Dinners included: turkey, giblet gravy, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, peas with pearl onions, garlic French bread, and cranberry sauce.  Pumpkin and mince meat pies were for dessert.

My mouth's watering just thinking about it!

Lea's Southern Cornbread Stuffing: (suitable for 20 lb turkey)




Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Fearless Females - Day 3


This is a blogging theme for the month of March which is Women's History Month. I'm a bit behind but do want to participate in the daily blogging posts. These 31 posts will be posted between my two blogs "My Trails Into the Past" and "Mam-ma's Southern Family."

March 3 — Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.

I do not share a first name with any of my ancestors, but my mother, Lela Nell, was named after her grandmother, Lela Ann Loveless Lancaster. Later my mother went by Lea instead, I guess because it didn't sound so Texan. My mother's Texas accent was gone, too.

Above is a photo of my great grandmother, Lela Ann, great grandfather Warren, my mother Lela Nell, my grandmother, Pansy Louise, and her brother, Wayne.


Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Fearless Females - Day 1

This is a blogging theme for the month of March which is Women's History Month.  I'm a bit behind but do want to participate in the daily blogging posts.

Day 1: Do you have a favorite female ancestor? One you are drawn to or want to learn more about? Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check.

I would like to know more about my grandmother's mother, Lela Ann (Loveless) Lancaster.  She was born 2 April 1895 in Conway, Faulkner Co, Arkansas to Ebenezer Loveless & Eliza A Rogers.  She married George Warren Lancaster 15 Dec 1912 in Stephenville, Erath Co, Texas.  They had four children; my grandmother was the oldest.

My grandmother told me her mother was ill most of my grandmother's young life and that my grandmother had extra chores around the house and she took care of her brothers.  What was wrong with Lela Ann?  She did live until she was 57 years old, dying 17 May 1951 in Texas.

Researching Goals:

  • Find death certificate for Lela Ann Lancaster
  • Determine when the Loveless family moved to Texas from Arkansas
  • Learn more about what she died of once I see the cause of death on the death certificate


Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wordless Wednesday -- Pansy & Lela Nell Johnston

Pansy Louise Lancaster Johnston holding daughter, Lela Nell

Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Friday, February 17, 2012

Funeral Card Friday - Tom J Johnston Jr.

Funeral Card for Tom J Johnston Jr, Oakmont Memorial Park, Lafayette, Calfornia

Wednesday, I posted a photo of Tom J Johnston's grave site and today I have a photo of his funeral card.  I remember it was supposed to be a closed casket but when we got there, it was open.  It was my first funeral and the first time I saw someone who was dead.  He just looked asleep and very peaceful.

Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday -- Tom J. Johnston Jr.

Oakmont Memorial Park, Lafayette, Contra Costa Co, California
This is my grandfather, Tom J Johnston, born 7 Oct 1912 in Comanche County, Texas to Thomas Newton Johnston & Nell Hutson, and died at home on 11 Jul 1973.  I was 19 went he died and his was the first funeral I had attended.  He was a quiet man and us kids were a bit afraid of him.  We called him Tom-Tom instead of grandfather or grandpa.  He married Pansy Louise Lancaster 15 Dec 1933 and they had one daughter, Lela Nell, born 21 Aug 1934.  He served a short time in the Seebees during World War II until he was medically discharged.  He last worked as a carpenter at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill.

Tom J Johnston Jr.


Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday -- Lela Ann (Loveless) Lancaster

Lela Ann (Loveless) Lancaster - Mam-ma's mother


Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Sunday, January 15, 2012

First Year Anniversary

One year ago today, I attended a class on creating a blog at the California Genealogical Society.  It was taught by Craig Siulinski.  I was unsure at first.  What could I write about that anyone would want to read?  At the time, I thought I would write about my research as it pertained to my grandmother, Mam-ma's ancestors.  I have done that.  In the past year, I have created 22 posts.  Some are strictly photos for "Wordless Wednesday."  Most of the blogs have met a blogging meme.  


This next year, I hope to write more.  My grandmother is 98 years young and I hope to glean as much as I can from her life while I still can.  She's pretty sharp.  I find using photos as a good starting point for story-telling.  My goal is to get a good time-line of her life.  Wish me luck!

Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Thursday, January 5, 2012