Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gray Family Connections

There is a wonderful feeling when close and distant family members connect with each other through today's technology. Using Anderson County, Texas Message Board, I have been able to connect with two second cousins who I did not know before. I am a Hollingsworth Gray descendant on my mother's side. One of them is a Brinson Gray descendant on his mother's side and the other is a Simpson Gray descendant on his father's side. We are near each others' ages even though they are first cousins to each other and I am a second cousin to both of them.

They have surnames of Brinson and Simpson, but because their mother and their father were sister and brother, I have a connection with them through my maternal grandfather. The sister's and brother's mother was the oldest sister to my maternal grandfather.

We share a common great-grandfather and great-grandmother who were Richard Lusky "Dick" and Mary Ellisor Gray who I wrote about in an earlier January 2008 post. Their oldest daughter lived from 1878-1924. She married a Simpson who lived from 1861-1942. These two first cousins were born after the death of their grandmother and near to the time of death of their grandfather. The two second cousins did not get to know their grandfather and grandmother.

In my family of fourteen first cousins, including my brother, and two sisters, we were fortunate in the timing of the lives of our grandparents because they lived until most of us were out of high school, going to more school, working, and/or married. Even though my maternal grandfather was a younger brother of my two second cousins' grandmother, he was born 15 years later and lived from 1893-1978. My maternal grandmother lived from 1893-1980.

The miraculous part is that, without today's technology and the Internet, these two second cousins and I would not have made contact with each other. The days of holding family history papers and photographs by one family member are over. The sharing of documents, letters, diaries, photographs, and stories is the only way to go. To do less is to hoard and prevent future generations from knowing about their family history.

Publishing family histories with paper is still important. Locating printed documents or copies of original documents that support and cite genealogy research about our ancestors is critical to telling the facts as they were, without leaving anything out or embellishing the truth, more than it was.

I am grateful for hearing the stories that my relatives recall about growing up, or that their parents told them about their parents. These are the stories that are worth writing down for future generations to read.

One of the second cousins' stories is a memory of attending the father's funeral at Pilgrim Cemetery of their first cousin. Another is about one cousin shooting a bow and arrow into the air and both cousins running for cover when they were young. A third story concerns one cousin loaning his cousin his knife to whittle with while visiting each other.

These are private stories, and to protect the living, no names are given. The stories are told about each other in general terms, and we will leave the details of who told what in the stories to the tellers themselves when they choose to reveal themselves and their stories.

I hope my relatives will read this story. I have sent them email notices about looking at this story and others I have posted here about all sides of my family.

I hope one or more of them will post their own story, short or long, humorous or serious, on this blog about our common ancestors. This is the way we will continue connecting with each other and our future generations.

Other genealogy lovers are also welcome to comment or share their feelings about any of the posts here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Great Grandfather Richard L. "Dick", from Alabama and Texas

My maternal great-grandfather Richard L., nicknamed "Dick", was born on August 23, 1853 in Alabama to James Malachi (1830-1922) and Henrietta E. Williams (1828-1897). Dick's family came to Antrim Community in Anderson County, Texas about 1848-1849. His father served in the Confederate States of America Army for four years as a Private in Company K, 22nd Texas Infantry, from 1861-1865.

Dick's life began in Alabama, but he lived about the last 60 years of his life in Houston and Anderson Counties in east Texas as a farmer, mostly in the rural area southwest of Palestine and Elkhart, in a community called Antrim where he and his wife Mary raised their nine children.

By 1870, Dick moved with his family to Houston County, Precinct 5, near Grapeland, Texas. The nearest post office was at Crockett, Texas. Dick, 17, was a farmer, along with his father, James Malachi, 45,  his older brother, John Williams, 19, and younger brother, Benjamin "Bennie" S., 15. His youngest brother, James Frank, was 10. The father's real estate was valued at $500.00 and personal estate was valued at $200.00.

Nancy Smith Williams (1810-1870), 59, born in Alabama, also lived with the family in 1870. She was Richard L. father's mother-in-law. Her daughter was Henrietta E. Williams. The Williams family arrived in the Antrim Community about 1850. 

In 1877, Dick, 24, married Mary Ellisor, 18, whose parents were Joshua Malachia (1833-1876) and Lucy Ann Chaffin Ellisor (1837-1908). By 1880, Dick, still a farmer, 26, moved with his wife Mary, 21, and two daughters, Linnie, 1, and Mary Etta, 6 months, to Anderson County near Elkhart, Texas to Antrim Community.

By 1900, Dick, farmer, 47, lived at Elkhart, Texas in District 8 Enumeration District, Justice Precinct 2, Voting Precinct 5, with his wife Mary and children, Linnie, 19, James, farm laborer 16, John Edward, farm laborer, 13, Luna Lenora, 10, Ethelinda, 8, Richard Lusky, 6, Bennie C., 3, and Nora Azalee, 1. Dick stated he was unemployed for 4 months. Daughter Mary Etta was not listed in the US 1900 Census.

By 1910, Dick, farmer, 56, lived with his wife Mary, and daughters Luna Lenora, public school teacher, 20, Ethelinda, 19, Richard Lusky., farm laborer, 17, and Nora Azalee, 16.

I am indebted to second cousin Ivey Maurice Brinson, whose grandmother was Linnie Simpson and whose great-grandfather was Richard L. "Dick".

Ivey Maurice's grandmother and my grandfather, Richard "Lusky", were older sister and younger brother. Maurice shared the photographs of Dick, Mary, and their descendants and information about the Antrim Community and School in Anderson County, and Antrim Cemetery in Houston County, Texas that he, his sister, and father helped to maintain for many years.

The story here is not documented with citations. However, correct and proper citations are located in my Ancestry Family Tree as well as in Legacy Family Tree. I photographed many Antrim Cemetery headstones in July, 2008.

The home of Richard L. "Dick" and Mary Ellisor, no known date, Antrim Community, Anderson County, Texas. From left to right: Richard L. "Dick", John Edward (known as John Ed), unidentified, and Robert "Rob" Little

Headstones of R. L. (August 23, 1853-February 7, 1917 or 1920) and Mary (December 30, 1858 or 1859-1943) at Antrim Cemetery  Houston County, Texas. 

Left photograph: Richard "Lusky", (1893-1978), my grandfather; John Edward "Ed" (1886- ), Gramma Mary Ellisor (1858 or 1859-1943), Mary "Etta" (1880-1950), "Luna" Lenora (1889-1971), Ethelinda "Ethel" (1891-1965, and "Nora" Azalee (1898-1964).

Center photograph: Jasper Simpson (1861-1942) and his wife Linnie Simpson (1878-1924), Ivey Maurice Brinson's grandmother, on their wedding day in 1900.

Right photograph: "Luna" Lenora, Richard "Lusky", my grandfather, and Ethelinda "Ethel", no known date.

Antrim Community School Children in 1920, Anderson County, Texas. Fourteen of the children were mine and Ivey Maurice Brinson's ancestors.

Note: I recall my mother, Opal "Murriel" Hollingsworth and her sister, my aunt Nora "Azalee" Snow talking about their relatives and calling them by these names: Aunt (pronounced "Aint") Etta, Aunt "Aint" Ethel, and Uncle Ed. I recall when I was a child that I visited most of these relatives, but did not realize the significance of asking questions about their lives. The only one I know to ask now is my second cousin Ivey Maurice Brinson, whose mother told him many stories about his ancestors.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What I Have Learned About Pauline Wheeler Robbins

Pauline Wheeler was born January 1, 1864 to James and Sarah Larose Wheeler, in New York. Pauline Wheeler’s father, James Wheeler, was born in Montgomery, Orange County, New York to Elisha Pearl and Phebe Wheeler. Pauline's mother, Sarah Larose Wheeler was born August 12, 1839 at Riverhead, Suffolk, NY to Joseph and Charity W. Hudson Larose. Pauline's maternal grandfather Joseph Larose was born in Venice, Italy (no date given) and Pauline's maternal grandmother Charity W. Hudson Larose was born July 1, 1814 at Riverhead, Suffolk, NY.

LaRose is sometimes spelled as Larose. This family's name appears more often in Suffolk County, Long Island Genealogy Records as LaRose. Suffolk County is the largest county on Long Island, New York.

Pauline Wheeler’s birth date given as January 1, 1864 is the date given in the 1900 U.S. Census when Pauline Wheeler was committed to the Napa Insane Asylum in Napa, Napa County, California. My opinion is that the date might have been manufactured since Pauline’s mind may have been such that she may not have known her exact birth date, or whoever entered the record into the 1900 U.S. Census made up the date to satisfy the records. Note in November, 2011. After visiting with several other genealogists, it may be that Pauline Wheeler Robbins was destitute after her father's death and did not have a source of income. She may have also suffered from depression which can be common after the birth of a new child. Pauline had a second child name Ida Pauline Lockwood. The father's name Lockwood has not been sourced, but there was a Lockwood who lived on the same block as the Wheeler family lived in San Francisco.

The 1870 U.S. Census lists Pauline (Paulene) Wheeler as being born about 1864 and age 6 by August 16, 1870 to James and Sarah Wheeler with brother Bradford and living in Astoria, Queens, New York. The post office was Astoria, Long Island. It lists all family members as being born in New York, James as a lawyer, with $6,000.00 real estate value, and $500.00 personal estate value. It lists the mother Sarah’s father as foreign born. I have discovered that Sarah's maiden name was LaRose or Larose in the Long Island Genealogical Society online database and her father was

The 1880 U.S. Census lists Pauline Wheeler as being 16 and living in San Francisco, San Francisco, California in what I suppose to be a rooming house with apartments owned by Mr. Alfred Rix, listed as the head. There were 38 people living at the rooming house besides the 5 Rix family members, but including the 4 James Wheeler members, James (Jas.), wife Sarah, daughter Pauline, and son Bradford. Pauline’s birth date is still listed as about 1864. She was listed as at school. The 1880 U. S. Census was taken on June 2, 1880. Another question arises? Alfred Rix was also listed as an attorney. Did James Wheeler possibly work at the same address as Alfred Rix? Not a top priority question, but one to think about since they were both attorneys. The street address is 745 Pine Street.

I was shocked to look for more addresses on the previous page 3 in this 1880 U.S. Census San Francisco, District 6, and I found a boarder at a lower number Pine Street address by the name of Arthur D. Lockwood. Could this man, age 23, bookkeeper, have known Pauline Wheeler, age 16, and later become the father of Pauline’s second child, named Ida Pauline Lockwood in 1895-1898? He and his parents were born in Connecticut.

William Walter Robbins went to San Francisco, California in 1887 to marry Pauline Wheeler, daughter of James and Sarah Wheeler, and sister of Charles Bradford Wheeler. William Walter Robbins was from Babylon, Suffolk County, Long Island, New York. Pauline Wheeler married William Walter Robbins in San Francisco, California on February 22, 1887. They were married by Reverend A. L. Brewer according to the San Francisco Morning Call of February 23, 1887, page 6, column 8, a local newspaper that is reposited at the California State Library Microfilm Newspaper Collection, Sacramento, CA, no reel numbers. As it turns out, Reverend A. L. Brewer's name is significant because he was also the Episcopalian minister in charge of the San Mateo Orphanage where Pauline Wheeler Robbins' first child, William "Willie" "Robbie" Augustus Robbins will live after his mother Pauline was sent to Napa State Hospital by 1900.

In 1893 Pauline's father died in San Francisco, California. His body was sent to Middletown, Orange County, New York where his sister Emeline Wheeler Mosher received him. There was a small service with family in attendance, and burial was at the Hillside Cemetery where his father, Elisha Pearl Wheeler, was buried. These facts come from The San Francisco Morning Call and the Middletown, NY newspapers.

Pauline's son, William Augustus Robbins, said he was born in 1888 in Babylon, New York, but he also said he was an orphan and was found to live in California at a fairly young age at the Bishop Armitage Orphanage at San Mateo, California. This information comes from the California State Library archives. William Augustus Robbins received a delayed New York birth certificate from his birth at Southside Hospital, Bay Shore, Suffolk County, New York in 1929 when he married Fannie Harriet Love.

In 1898 Pauline had a second child, Ida Pauline Lockwood, as evidenced by the child growing up in California in two girls' orphanages and later marrying as shown in each US Census except for 1890.

By 1900 Pauline Robbins was committed to Napa State Hospital, Napa, California and her two children were raised in two different orphanages, William Augustus Robbins in San Mateo County at the Bishop Armitage Orphanage, California and Ida Pauline Lockwood in Sacramento County, California.

Pauline Robbins remained at Napa State Hospital until her death in 1940.

The 1900 U.S. Census (California: Napa: Napa: District 93) lists Pauline Robbins at Napa State Hospital for the Insane (Patients), Napa, Napa, California, age 36, birth date 1864, taken on July, 13, 1900 (June marked out) birth place New York, Relationship to Head is Patient, listed as married, Residence is Napa Township, Soscol and Coombsville Precincts (Excludes Napa City), Napa, California. Pauline Robbins is #45 on page 22 of 54 in's original US Census copy. Her birth place is listed as New York, but her parents’ birth places are not listed at all. She is listed as a housewife, Months Not Employed: 12, Can Read: Yes, Can Write: No, Can Speak English: No. I wonder what caused this her inability to not be able to write or speak English? Was it her physical or psychological condition? Was it medication? Why did she shut down?

The U.S. 1920 Census lists Pauline Robbins (Row 33) at Napa, Napa, California (Juarez Precinct, Napa State Hospital, Enumeration District 56, taken on January 19, 1920), aged 55, born about 1865, birthplace New York, listed as Inmate, listed as Widow, Able to Read: No, Able to Write: No. Pauline’s place of birth: New York, Father’s place of birth: New York, Mother’s place of birth: New York; Able to speak English: No. By 1920, Pauline Robbins was not able to read, not able to write, and not able to speak English. Again, why did this occur? Was it her physical or psychological condition? Was it medication? Why did she shut down?

The 1930 U.S. Census lists Pauline Robbins (Row 29) at Napa, Napa, California (Jaurez Precinct, Napa Township, Inola: Unincorporated Place, Napa State Hospital (Insane), Enumeration District No. 28-12, Supervisor’s District No. 5, April 10, 1930), age 66, birth year about 1864; birth place: New York; listed as patient; Single; Attended school during the last year: No; Whether Able to Read and Write: Yes. Pauline’s Birthplace: New York; Father’s Birthplace: New York; Mother’s Birthplace: New York; Whether or Not Can Speak English: Yes. Why is Pauline able to speak English after 30 years of not being able to speak English at Napa State Hospital? Is this true or did the enumerator copy information that may be incorrect that the hospital staff gave him to copy?

The California Death Index, 1940-1997 lists Pauline Robbins, Female, Birth Date: January 1, 1864; Birthplace: New York; Death Date: June 5, 1940; Death Place: Napa; states No Social Security in Citation.

Her son William Augustus Robbins, who lived in Islip, Suffolk County, New York, paid for her headstone in Vacaville Cemetery, Vacaville, California. Pauline's friends Ralph and Laura Schaefer of Vacaville provided a burial place for her in their family plot.

Her daughter Ida Pauline Lockwood Cerf did not attend her mother's graveside service. She was preparing a dinner for her doctor husband and his business associates. They lived in San Mateo County, California. Some genealogists have offered an opinion that Ida Pauline Lockwood Cerf may have been to embarassed to attend her mother's funeral, even though her burial place was within driving distance of Ida Pauline Lockwood Cerf's home.

William Augustus Robbins' son Kenneth Charles Robbins never knew about his grandparents, William Walter and Pauline Robbins during his parents' lifetime and only found out through the efforts of his wife in genealogy.

Through good fortune, time, the Internet, writing letters, paying for vital records copies, and the assistance of professional genealogists, all, or almost all of the brick walls will come down to provide the true and complete story of Pauline Wheeler Robbins, my husband's paternal grandmother.

If any readers have had experiences similar to this story in your family history, I would appreciate your comments about how you approached the mental institutions for help to find out about your loved one who spent so much of their lives in a mental institution.