Wordless Wednesday: The Taylor Siblings

Well, almost wordless . . . Meet the Taylor Siblings!

Click to Enlarge!

 

The Taylor Siblings are Elgin, Jon, and Me! Yeah, I was being cantankerous as a little sister could be that day. All I know is that I didn’t want to sit down and be still for the camera and I didn’t mind letting the men in my life know it too- LOL! Dad took this photo of us during the month of May in 1961, as we sat on the front lawn of our first home at 4314 Stonewall Street in the Greater 5th Ward area of Houston, TX.

As I look closer at this photo, I begin to realize that though a lot has changed in my old neighborhood since 1961, some things did stay the same. One thing that did stay the same is the white house across the street from us in the photo above. That house, built in 1927, belonged to Mr. Phillip Flakes then and now! I don’t know if he still lives in the house today, or uses it as rental property; what I do know is that the house is still there — painted a bright shade of pink (see photo below)!

Stonewall Street, Houston, Texas

What has changed is where my brothers and I are sitting. We’re siting exactly where the  Fifth Ward Church of Christ is located today (see below)!

5th Ward Church of Christ

Sentimental Sunday: Carrie Blanton (1883-1944)

It’s Sentimental Sunday and this daily blogging prompt allows genealogy bloggers a chance to focus on a sentimental story or memory about an ancestor, or a wonderful family tradition.

Carrie [Blanton] Chappel

Carrie Blanton was born February 28, 1883 in Eagle Lake, Colorado County, Texas to Carey and Alice Bailey Blanton. Like her parents and eleven siblings, she grew up as a farm laborer. In addition to farming, Carrie was known as an excellent cook. I found her in the 1900 United States Federal Census working as a cook and servant for a lawyer and his wife, who ran a Boarding House, on Austin Street in Houston, Texas.

On June 2, 1902, Carrie gave birth to her first son, Joseph Chapple. On October 19, 1910, her second son, Lewis was born, but he died a month later from lung complications. I lost track of Carrie for a while, but by the mid-1920’s Carrie is listed as a widow living with her son, his wife Estella, and their children (Ella Louise, Joseph, Estella, and Carrie) in the greater 5th Ward community.

My mother, Carrie, wasn’t two years old when her mother died from Tuberculosis. On her death bed, Estella gave her four little children to her mother-in-law to raise as her own. So when Estella closed her eyes for the last time, she was able to do so knowing that her children were in the loving care of their grandmother. To better meet the needs of her grand babies, Carrie stopped working as a servant and cook and became a laundress which allowed her to work out of the home.

Carrie was a woman of high moral character who lived what she believed. She was a longtime member of Canaan Baptist Church and was the secretary that recorded the minutes when this church began at 2500 Altoona Street in Houston’s 5th Ward Community. She was highly respected by young and old, and was a true confidant and listener to those who needed someone to talk to. Folks loved talking to her because they didn’t have to worry that what they told her, would ever be repeated to anyone.

I never got a chance to know my Great-Grandmother Carrie, for she died on December 16, 1944 from heart failure, long before I was born. But, whenever I ask my mother about her, she smiles and proudly talks about what a great lady she was. But what I like hearing most from my mom was how she and her siblings thought Great-Grandmother Carrie needed a boyfriend — LOL! Whenever they would ask her why she didn’t have a boyfriend, she would take one look at them and say, “you stinky little heifers, go sit down and leave me alone!” The term “heifer” was about the extent of Carrie’s cursing. But, that didn’t deter them one bit because they took it upon themselves to find her a boyfriend anyway. The man they chose for her was — the traveling Charcoal Man — who traveled by wagon throughout the community selling charcoal. Visions of my great-grandmother dating the neighborhood “Charcoal Man” makes me chuckle! But what I respect most about her decision NOT to have a man around them while they were growing up was when she told them, “I don’t want your first experience with a man, to be a man that isn’t my husband or your grandfather.” Now those are the words of a great lady indeed!

If you have a — Carrie Blanton — falling out your family tree (especially if she’s a native Texan and lived in Houston) let me hear from you because –  I’m Claiming Kin!

Sentimental Sunday: Joseph Chapple (1902-1966)

It’s Sentimental Sunday, and this daily blogging prompt allows genealogy bloggers a chance to focus on a sentimental story or memory about an ancestor, or a wonderful family tradition.

I had the pleasure of visually introducing my maternal grandfather, Joseph Chapple, to the World Wide Web community on Wordless Wednesday, February 16, 2011. Joseph is the son of Louis and Carrie Blanton Chapple. He was born in Eagle Lake, Colorado County, Texas on June 2, 1902.

Even though he was born in the city of Eagle Lake, according to the April 1910 United Stated Federal Census, at age 7.5, he was living at 1609 Saulnier Street in Houston’s 4th Ward – Freedman’s Town community with his parents. Joseph’s baby brother, Lewis, was born October 19, 1910, but died a month later from lung complications. Baby Lewis’ death certificate indicates that his death took place at the family’s home at 815 Schwartz Street in Houston’s 5th Ward community. It is this death certificate that confirms the year, Grandpa Chapple came to live, work, and raise his family until his death in this area of Houston.

According to the Social Security application Joseph filed on March 12, 1937 below, he was employed by Texas & Northern Railway as a Blacksmith Helper at the Englewood Yard, one of the largest Hump yards in the United States.

He worked as a Blacksmith Helper for many years. When the older white gentleman he worked with retired, he applied for the position but was denied the job. The reason they gave for turning him down was — a Blacksmith was a white man’s job! So instead of the company recognizing him as a competent and skilled Blacksmith, they decided to hire a white college graduate for the job. Then expected Joseph to teach him everything and “show him the ropes.” When he refused to be a master teacher to someone with no experience who was to be his boss, the company closed the blacksmith shop. Little did they know closing the shop was not a problem. Because of his excellent work records, Joseph was able to transfer to the Creosote Yard where he spent his days applying creosote to train track cross-ties. He remained in the Creosote Yard until he fell off of a ladder and broke his back while painting the garage apartment he built behind his home. This fall forced him into retirement. According to the letter I received from the Railroad Retirement Board in 1994, he worked 111 service months before 1937, and continued working in the railroad industry until 1958. When he retired, he received full Railroad Retirement until his death.

Joseph met, fell in love, and married Estella Smith on 23 May 1921. I’m not sure when they met, but how they met was probably due to them both living in the 5th Ward community. It is also possible they met by association. Estella’s father, Richard Smith, worked at the same railroad yard Joseph did for years too. Regardless of how they met, they married and from that union came six births — 2 miscarriages and four children – Ella Louise, Joseph Lee, Estella, and my mom, Carrie. Unfortunately, at age 26, Estella died from Tuberculosis on July 30, 1930, and left Joseph with four young children to raise. With the help of his beloved mother, Carrie (Blanton) Chapple, all of his kids grew up happy and healthy despite the loss of their mother.

When I ask family members to recall their fondest memories of Joseph, they said:
“He had a great sense of humor!”
“He was known throughout the community for being a very reliable and honest man.”
“He sure did love his mother.”
“He was an excellent cook!”
“He was trustworthy – a man of his word.”

Grandpa Joseph Chapple was indeed a favorite of mine and his death on 23 August 1966, was very sudden! He died 28 days before my 7th birthday and the week before his death; we spent an afternoon together eating cotton candy. He introduced me to this sugary treat and then spent the whole time laughing at me as I complained and pouted about how the stuff melted in my mouth before I had a chance to really chew and enjoy it. Today when I see a bag of cotton candy, I’m reminded of my wonderful last day with Grandpa Joseph Chapple!

If you have  — Joseph Chapple — in your family tree (especially if he’s a native Texan and lived in Houston until his death in 1966) let me hear from you because —  I’m Claiming Kin!

FamilySearch.org

As you know, my genealogy road trip on January 1st was the result of my 2011 New Year’s resolution to return to genealogy and from some new information I uncovered about my grandfather (Joseph Chapple) and his parents (Louis and Carrie Blanton Chapple) in Ancestry.com. That road trip was very enlightening and provided me with more leads into the lives of the Chapples living in Houston, Texas during the early 1900’s.

Another online resource that I turned to after my road trip was FamilySearch.org. According to the website, FamilySearch.org is the largest genealogy organization in the world that has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for 100 years. This official website is the ministry of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are committed to helping people connect with their ancestors because they ” … believe that families are meant to be central to our lives, and that family relationships are intended to continue beyond this life.”

Well, I am very thankful for and to LDS for their commitment to preserving family history at FamilySearch.org. Because of their work, I learned that my grandfather wasn’t the only child born to my great grandparents as my mother and others believed all these years. A simple search of my great grandparents’ names resulted in me downloading, for free,  the death certificate of my grandfather’s little brother (my uncle) – Lewis Blanton Chapple. According to this certificate, baby Lewis was born October 19, 1910 and  he died at home (815 Schwartz Street in the Greater 5th Ward area of Houston) from congestion of the lungs on December 9, 1910.

This new information provided two important puzzle pieces with this family:
1) My grandfather wasn’t the only child of Louis and Carrie Chapple, but he was their only “living” child through the years;

2) When the 1910 US Census was taken in April of that year, this family was living in Freedman’s Town and Carrie was in the first trimester of her pregnancy with my uncle Lewis. But this death certificate verifies that this family had moved later that year to the 5th Ward area where their second child died from health complications. Knowing when this family moved is significant because it tells me exactly when they arrived in the 5th Ward area which is the community where my mother was born by mid-wife, lived, and thrived as a child, teenager, and young adult!

So consider making FamilySearch.org a part of your genealogy research this year and beyond too!

If you have the surname — Chapple–falling out your family tree (especially if they lived in the Houston area) let me hear from you because —  I’m Claiming Kin!

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Source Citation

“Texas Deaths, 1890-1976,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JF3Y-CJW : accessed 04 Jan 2011), Lewis Blanton Chappel (1910).