Tuesday, August 16, 2011

John Pinckney Willis

John Pinckney Willis was born on February 1, 1866 in Calhoun County, Florida to Joseph Buck Willis and Lucinda Richards Willis.

His mother was the great granddaughter of George Richards (1726-1818), who served with the 23 year-old George Washington in 1755 in what became known as Braddock’s Defeat during the French and Indian War. George Richards also served with his sons during the American Revolution.

John is shown to be four years old on the 1870 Calhoun County, Florida census. He is listed with a brother, James (12) and a sister, Nannie (3). His father is listed as a farmer and his mother keeps house.

During this time Calhoun County extended down to the Gulf of Mexico and was separated from Alabama by Jackson County. According to the 1870 census Marianna (which is in Jackson County) was the post office for area where the Willis family lived. Also, at the time of the 1870 census the population of Calhoun County was only 998.

Calhoun County was created in 1838 and as you can see in the map above is situated in the Florida Panhandle. Today the only incorporated towns are Altha and the county seat, Blountstown. There are many unincorporated communities, and two that appear on census records for the Willis, Streetman and Cook families are Chipola and Willis. However, I have not seen any modern references to Pippins Mill.

I have been unable to find John P. Willis on the 1880 census, but will continue to look. As for the 1890 those records were destroyed in a fire.

John married Lucy Jane Lamb, daughter of John Lamb and Elmira Peacock Lamb. They were married in the home of the bride on December 22, 1887 by Charles S. Fuss. Below is a copy of the marriage certificate.

By the time the 1900 census was taken there were 5, 132 people living in Calhoun County. The population increased by over 4,000 in just thirty years.

The 1900 census tells us that John was a farmer; he lived on his own land and owned his own house. He was 34 years old and Lucy was 31.

The children listed are as follows:

John J. (John Joseph Willis 1888-1927)
Mary A. (Mary Almira Willis Streetman 1891-1970)

William J. (William Jefferson Willis 1892-1939)
Alice L. (Alice Lucinda Willis Gray 1893-1980)
Jesse L. (Jesse Loyd Willis 1895-1936)
Callie V. (Ceclia Viola Willis Smith 1897-1965)
Charles D. (Charles Dewey Willis 1898-1919)

Sometime after the census was taken the second child of John and Lucy was born. George Washington Willis was born in 1890 but later died in 1893. I believe he was buried in Bailey’s Cemetery in Calhoun County.

Here is a photo of the house where John and Lucy lived in Pippins Mill. This photo is believed to have been taken around 1905.

Below is the 1900 census for Pippins Mill, Calhoun County; the Willis family begins at the bottom of page one and continues on page two.

You’ll notice that on page two Charlie Mack Streetman and family are next door neighbors. My great-grandfather, Ancil (incorrectly identified as “Ansen”), is 12 years old and living next door to 9 year old Mary. Both families eventually relocated to Texas and Ancil and Mary are later married to each other.

Also living in the Charlie Mack home is his 14 year old daughter, Lela (seen as “Lilla” on the census). Lela and Mary corresponded regularly with one another after the Streetmans moved to Houston County, Texas. Below is a copy I made of the original post card sent by Mary Willis that is postmarked in Graceville, Jackson County, Florida, dated December 7, 1908 and received in Grapeland, Houston County, Texas December 10, 1908.

The card reads:

Dear Leila: -- Your nice card came some time ago, and of course I was glad to hear from you again. Papa came home last night (Sat.). We was glad to see him. You know, he says he likes Texas fine and is going when he sells out,

Dec. 6. 1908
We are all very anxious to go. Think we would like it fine. Write again.
Your friend Mary

The Willis family wasted no time in moving to Texas! The January 19, 1909 edition of the Grapeland Messenger posted a notice that read “C.M. Streetman and Mrs. (sic) Artie Streetman returned Saturday from Florida where they had been visiting relatives. They were accompanied home by a Mr. Willis and family who will make this their future home, Mr. Willis hoving (sic) purchased property in the Antrim community.”

The following year shows the Willis clan living in Pct. #5, Houston County. Included are several more children:

Ludie (Ludie Valonia Willis Journeay 1900-1968)
Marvin (Marvin Rivey Willis 1902-1977)
Purley (Purley Gratan Willis 1904-1943)
Guy (Guy Clifford Willis 1906-1971)
Alton (Alton Jackson Willis 1908-1963)

(*note- after the census was taken the last child was born, Lois Inez Willis Payne 1910-1981)

I believe this picture was taken around 1907 while the family was still living in Florida. I have digitally edited the photo to remove the numbers that were written near each person.

Here is the copy with the numbers; I have tried to identify each person as best that I could.

1. John P. Willis
2. Lucy Jane Lamb Willis
3. John Joseph Willis
4. Mary Almira Willis Streetman
5. William Jefferson Willis
6. Alice Lucinda Willis Gray
7. Jesse Loyd Willis
8. Cecilia Viola Willis Smith
9. Charles Dewey Willis
10. Ludie Valonia Willis Journeay
11. Marvin R. Willis
12. Purley Gratan Willis
13. Guy Clifford Willis

Almost two years after arriving in Texas sadness would fall upon the Willis family. John Pinckney Willis died from pneumonia, or as the paper put it, “the sickness”. He would leave Lucy Jane behind to take care of a large family, nearly all under the age of 20.

John was buried in the Antrim Cemetery, not too far from his home. His son Charles Dewey would be buried near him in 1919 and Lucy would follow in 1945. Many others that migrated from Florida during that time period would also be buried there, including Mary Elizabeth Cook, who would eventually be connected to the Willis family when Ancil Streetman and Mary Willis were married (Ancil’s mother was her daughter, and was Charlie Mack’s first wife; see previous story).

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Family Reunions

Here are several photos I've collected from various sources taken at family reunions over the years. I've been to the 1990 Streetman reunion held at Waco, Texas and one held at Salmon Lake Park in Grapeland, Texas sometime around 1995 (not too sure about the year, though). I don't have any from those events to post but would like to have a few.

The earliest photo I have a copy of is from the 1910 reunion represented mostly by the families that moved from Florida to the Antrim community outside of Grapeland, Texas. These families included Willis, Streetman, Collins, Cook, and Hudnell.

Next is a photo taken May 24, 1914, according to the date written in the background. This is a scan of another scan, so the resolution is not the best. Margaret E. Cook is sitting at the end of the middle row; this is only the second photo I've seen of her, so a better copy would be greatly appreciated.

I have tried to identify each person in the above photo by comparing with other photos and some are based on age.

Starting on the back row with the woman of the far left: Virgie Herod Streetman, Newton Streetman, Lela Streetman Little, Rob Little, Ora May Little, Mary Willis Streetman, R.C. Streetman, Ancil Streetman, Luna Gray Streetman, Marvin Henry Streetman, Ramus Streetman, Martha Chaffin Streetman, Artis Ugene Streetman, Jack Bell Streetman

Middle Row: Charlie Mack Streetman, Clara Cook Streetman, Martha E. Dupree Cook; Verna Winona Streetman is held by Charlie Mac and Edwin Wilson Streetman is held by Clara

Front row: Richard Edward Streetman, Lizzie Belle Streetman, Elbert Tapley Streetman, Limuel Jackson Streetman, Idas Jackson Nichols. This photo was taken a couple months prior to WWI, so Charles Revier Streetman could possibly have been in the military. I'm still searching for an induction date at this time.

It seems that the Streetmans got together for a reunion every decade, but I have not seen any photos from the 1920s. The next photos I have are from 1933.

The above photo shows Charlie Mack and Clara with all their kids, including those from Charlie's first marriage, lined up by age from oldest to youngest. Starting at the far left we have Charlie Mac, Clara, Artis, Marvin, Leila, Ancil, Newton, Charles, Graton, Richard, Belle, Elbert, Limuel, Winona, Velna, and Roy.

This photo shows the same people, but a different pose:

Here's one with just the children of Charlie Mac and Clara:

The sons of Charlie Mac, again lined up by age:

Two photos of Clara and her girls (including step-daughter Lela):

This last photo of the 1933 gathering shows the entire group, including other family and friends:

Next we have a group photo from 1944. You'll notice that not everyone from the previous reunion are present. Several of the men were overseas fighting during WWII. I'm sure they would have enjoyed being back home in East Texas, though.

At the far right corner I see my grandfather, Gilbert, standing next to his grandfather, Charlie Mac; next to C.M. is Gilbert's mother, Mary Willis Streetman, and I can barely make out his father, Ancil, near the back center.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Charles J. Mack Streetman

Charles J. McDonald Streetman, known also as Charley Mc, C.M. Streetman, M.C. Streetman, Charles J. Mc Streetman, and perhaps one or two other variations, was born April 2, 1856 in Butler, Taylor County, Georgia.

His mother was Mary Jane Streetman (born March 16, 1827 and died ??); her parents are William Streetman (born 1792, died November 24, 1832) and Elizabeth Streetman (born ?? and died May 30, 1828). Mary is shown living with Green Joiner (possibly a common-law husband or an invalid that was taken care of by Mary) in Marion County, Georgia when the census was taken in 1850. She has two children: Sarah, (born 1845), and Dorothy/Dolly, (born 1849). Dolly's real name is Dorothy.

By the next census Mary was listed as the head of the house; perhaps Green had passed away by then. Sarah is now listed as Sarah A. E. and Dorothy is listed again. In addition, we see Archellus(, (born 1851), and young Charles J. Mc.

Mary and all the children, with the exception of Charles, disappeared during the Civil War. Sinclair Streetman, an uncle, takes Charles into his home and raises him. Sinclair had three sons: Lemuel Martin, Elbert Franklin and William Tapley.

Charlie Mack married Mary Margaret Elizabeth Cook on May 25, 1878; Mary is the daughter of William T. Cook and Margaret DuPree Cook. W.D. Grace, a local JP, married them.

Their first child, Artis Eugene, or A.U., was born in August of 1880. Artis is seen with his father in the first photo above, taken around 1882 or '83. The following year a daughter was born (Ida), though she died at birth.

On December 28, 1882 Henry Marvin was born (H.M.), followed by Lela Rebecca on April 25, 1886.

The next year saw the family visiting Elbert Franklin Streetman, a cousin, in Florida. They purchased land in Calhoun County before heading back to Georgia late that same year. Returning home, they soon packed all their belongings and moved back to the new home.

Not long after arriving back in Florida a son was born. My great grandfather, Ancil Hewitt, was born on February 14, 1888 in Clarksville. Less than two years later, November 2, 1889, Mary would pass away. The following is her obituary which appeared in the Butler Herald (a newspaper in Taylor County, GA) on December 17, 1889:

In Memoriam
Mrs. Mary E. Streetman, wife of Mr. M. C. Streetman, and daughter of M. E. Cook, was born in Taylor County, Ga., January 1st 1859, and departed this life in Calhoun County, Fla., November 2nd 1889, after about two weeks illness. Her health had been declining for several months. In a short time the spirit took its flight into the glory world to await the coming of her husband and children. She was a member of the Free Will Baptist Church. She was a Christian lady and much loved by all who knew her. She called her little children to her bedside, kissed them all and repeated, "I am going home and want all to go with me." She was sensible of her death, but suffered great pains. Oh! how sad for the mother, husband, four little children and other relatives to have to mourn her loss. Her form was laid to rest near her home; prayer by Mittie Duke at the grave.

Why lament the Christian dying?
Why indulge in tears or gloom?
Calmly on the Lord relying,
He can greet the opening tomb.

After the death of Mary, Charlie Mack married her niece, Clara Parasata Cook, on May 31, 1890. Below is a photo taken of Clara, possibly in the early 1930s.

Over the course of almost 15 years the family saw more children being born, including:

Newton Vinson (December 1892)
Charles Reveir (September 12, 1895)
Gratan Lee (October 2, 1897)
Colie (May 1900; died soon after birth)
Richard Edward (May 16, 1902)
Lizzie Belle (July 23, 1904)

The 1900 Federal Census for Calhoun County, Florida shows the Streetman family living just one house from the John P. Willis family and just a few from the Richard Cook family (the previous page showed the rest of the Willis family, which I will post later). These families and a few others would all migrate to the Grapeland area during the next several years.

Also on this page from the census there is a child that is less than a month old. I have seen his name listed as Colie and Coley, as shown above. However, on this census it appears that his name is Baley. This could be Baby, but after comparing the handwriting of the census taker I'm not too sure. Perhaps this child was named after a friend of the family, after all there appear to be some Baileys in the area.

(Streetman home in Florida; photo taken in 1922 by Charles Reveir Streetman)

Soon after Lizzie Belle was born the family moved yet again, this time to Texas. Clara's brother, Tommie Cook, had visited there in 1904 and returned to Calhoun County telling everyone how great Texas was.

After settling in the Rock Hill/Antrim area outside of Grapeland, Houston County, Texas six more children were born.

Elbert Tapley (June 4, 1907)
Limuel Jackson (April 12, 1909)
Verna Winona(September 26, 1911)
Edwin Wilson (October 31, 1913)
Velna Vivian (September 21, 1915)
Roy Jamison (March 12, 1918)

Here is a photo taken in 1914. Margaret Elizabeth DuPree Cook is sitting on the end, to Clara's right. Aunt Matt, as she was called, was Clara's aunt, and as mentioned already, Mary Margaret's mother. Edwin, who was born approximately six months earlier, is in his mother's arms.

The 1930 Federal Census for Houston County, Texas Precinct 5 shows Charley, age 74, and Clara, age 54, living with Edwin, Velma and Roy. Next door lives Ancil and his family and near them are Marvin and his family.

Charley Mack passed away October 28, 1945. He was buried in Davis Cemetery, which is located outside of Grapeland, Texas. Clara passed away July 15, 1954 and was buried beside him.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Welcome to my genealogy blog!

I have been interested in tracing my family heritage for many years. The Internet has provided many resources that previously were not available to me; in addition, with so many more message boards now available than there were ten years ago searching for information is so much easier. Not only have I been able to find out names of my ancestors, but I've been able to track down photographs, marriage certificates, death certificates and other items without having to travel to another state. Much of my family migrated to Texas from North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

This blog will focus on my main area of research, particularly the following families: Streetman, Willis, Price, Walling, Hendon, Luce, Williams, Dean, Bodddie, Tunstall, Hilliard, and Rogers.