Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Singing Was Enjoyed By All

It appears that my great-great-grandfather, William Carleton Lancaster, was a singer. In the newspaper, The Dublin Progress, there were many articles about singing at W.C. Lancaster’s home.[1]

Singing at WC Lancaster Saturday night was enjoyed by all present.[2]
It seemed there were singing events at least once a month. At least, that was how often they were reported or maybe the singing was at the Lancaster house only once a month.
What kind of singing was it? Church singing? Singing where someone played the guitar, banjo, violin, or harmonica? It was not clearly stated in the newspaper.

Singing at W.C. Lancaster’s Sunday was well attended and enjoyed by all. The singing class has bought new books, and we now have one of the best singing classes in the county. We sing every first and third Sunday evenings. Everybody invited to come and sing with us.[3]
So this article said the singing was twice a month but did not state where, though it could have been at W.C. Lancaster’s. Because of the singing being on Sunday, it could be church music that they sing. Of course with Sunday being the “off” day of work, they could have been singing other types of songs as well.

In August of 1913, there was a singing convention and W.C. Lancaster was the president.

The central singing convention of Erath county will meet at Hickey school house Aug 31st, the fifth Sunday. Dinner will be served on the grounds. W.C. Lancaster is president of the convention.[4]
Sometimes W.C. Lancaster went to other locations to sing.

WC Lancaster and Omer Bost attended singing at Alarm Creek Sunday afternoon.[5]

Now, if the singing had to do with church or religion, I haven’t figured out yet which church the family attended.  A hint though could be found in researching the minister who married Lancaster family members. R.L. Smallwood married W.C.’s son, George Warren in 1912.[6] Census records for 1900-1920 listed his occupation as farmer. He lived in Stephenville in 1930 and his occupation was listed as preacher. On his death certificate, he was listed as a preacher for the Baptist Church.[7] So perhaps the church they attended was the Baptist church. The next step is to find out if there are any records of the Baptist church.

As for the singing, I have not heard any stories about this. My grandparents never sang. None of my siblings got the musical talent either, although we all love to sing-along to records, radio, and musicals. Maybe it’s enough that we love music.

Group of men, women and children singing to piano accompaniment
New York Public Library Digital Collections[8]

[1] All of these newspapers were accessed 26 Nov 2016 on The Portal to Texas History (
[2] “Hickey,” The Dublin Progress, 13 November 1914, digital image, The Portal to Texas History.
[3] “Hickey,” The Dublin Progress, 16 May 1913, digital image, The Portal to Texas History.
[4] “Personal Mention,” The Dublin Progress, 13 Aug 1913, digital image, The Portal to Texas History.
[5] “Hickey,” The Dublin Progress, 17 September 1915, digital image, The Portal to Texas History.
[6] Texas, Erath County, Marriages, Book M, p 278, GW Lancaster-Lela Loveless; FHL Film #1428410.
[7] "Texas Deaths, 1890-1976," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 5 December 2014), Robert Lee Smallwood, 17 Jun 1938; citing certificate number 27568, State Registrar Office, Austin; FHL microfilm 2,117,696.
[8] "Group of men, women and children singing to piano accompaniment," Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library, New York Public Library Digital Collections ( : Accessed December 7, 2016).

Copyright © 2016 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family


  1. Lisa, what a wonderful glimpse into your gg-grandfather's life. I love using newspapers in my research also but so far I've only learned who's visiting who! I hope you learn more about his singing.

    1. Thanks for your comment. I know what you. Normally I find the visitors or what parties they were invited to.


All comments on this blog will be previewed by the author to prevent spammers and unkind visitors to the site. The blog is open to other-than-just family members particularly those interested in family history and genealogy.