January 30, 2014

Friday's Faces From the Past ~ T. J. and Jessie Peniston

Thomas Jefferson Peniston and Jessie Smith Peniston

T. J. was the son of Horace Marshall Peniston and Anna Doniphan.
Jessie was the daughter of Francis "Frank" Marion Smith and Nettie Watson.

Their children were
Horace, Inez, T.J., Jr. and Frank Wallace Peniston

Family Recipe Friday ~ Banana Layer Cake

From the kitchen of Harrisonburg resident, Mrs. C. F. Aplin, Jr.:

January 28, 2014

Wednesday's Child ~ Sammie Bertiel Cooper

Sammie Bertiel Cooper

Born in 1918

Daughter of
Samuel Calvin Cooper and Beulah Williamson

Sister of
Vondell, John T., and Valorie Cooper

Died in 1927
Buried in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery
Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana

At Rest

January 26, 2014

Amanuensis Monday ~ The Stories That Should Be Told, Part 33

The following transcription is from a series of recordings my father made in the early 1990s:
The Goose Snatching...
Ellen and Newt Barlin had a son named Sam.  Sam was a year or two older than me.  He was called Goose Sam because he had stolen a goose from an old colored woman.
Grandma Steele
One morning, my mother and I walked over to Grandma Steele’s house.  She was out in the backyard by her chicken coop.  She told us she had bought a goose the day before from Sam Barlin.  The goose was missing.  Grandma said she believed that Sam had stolen the goose.  
The investigation began. 
On up in the day, Grandma Steele found out that Mrs. Birdie Krause, Oscar’s wife, had bought a goose from Sam the day before Grandma had bought a goose from him.  Mrs. Birdie discovered her goose was gone the next morning. 
The story finally unfolded that Sam had stolen the goose from Aunt Elvira Smith.  He sold it to Mrs. Birdie Krause then went back and stole it that night and sold it to Grandma Steele the next day.   Grandma turned him over to Uncle Tom Enright who was the Justice of the Peace. 
Dr. Russell Fairbanks
Uncle Tom had a little coffee shop up town and out in front of the shop is where he held court.  I remember all us kids, black and white, going to see Sam in court.  Uncle Tom sentenced Sam to a whipping by his father right there on the street.  Newt took his belt off and doubled it up.  They were standing there in front of the coffee shop and the barber shop when Newt whipped him. 
Car Owners in the Village in the 1930s...
Mr. Coney (school principal), Augusta KrauseMaurice SaltzmanCharlie SmithWillie Benge (rural mail carrier), Aunt Nita SteeleUncle Wes OgdenRufus and Willie KnightAlvin SealDr. Russell FairbanksDr. Charles GordonMrs. Anna Peniston, Reggie CruseAunt Lena and Uncle Jim McLellandHenry and Georgia Peniston, and Oscar and Birdie Krause.

Birdie Talbert Krause

Oscar Krause
Mr. Oscar's car was a little one seat car with a rumble seat in the back.  I got to ride in it one time when Mrs. Birdie took a bunch of us kids to Norris Springs.   
Norris Springs - 2011
Gone to Get a Baby...
One day I was over at Ouida and Juanita Seal’s house.  They lived next to the Krauses.  They told me that Mrs. Birdie and Mr. Oscar Krause had gone to get a baby.  Mrs. Birdie’s sister married a fellow named Westerburg from up around Winnsboro.  Her sister died shortly after having a baby boy.  Mrs. Birdie and Mr. Oscar were going to get the baby and raise it.
I waited there with Ouida and Juanita.  We wanted to see them come back with that baby.  After a while, we saw their car coming.  We ran over there as they parked their car under a little sycamore tree in front of their house.  I was eight years old at the time but I remember the scene like it was just last year.  They got out of the car and Mrs. Birdie had that baby wrapped up in a blanket.  The baby was about six weeks old and his name was Ben.
People around here knew him as Ben Krause when he was growing up.  To most folks, Mr. Oscar and Mrs. Birdie were his daddy and mama.  After he got older, everybody called him Ben Westerburg. 
Oh, Mr. Oscar was a crazy about that boy as if he was his own!  In later years, Ben’s father, Mr. Westerburg, retired from out in California and came back to this area.  He’s still alive today, living in a nursing home.  Ben lives out on the Cane Road on part of the old Krause place. 
The Preacher's Family...
Sicily Island Methodist Church
Brother E. W. Day was one of our Methodist preachers.  He and his family came to Sicily Island in 1933 and lived here until 1936.  They lived in the old parsonage that sat between the Kempe house and the Usher house.  He and his wife had five children.  Ernest, Henry, Marion, Cecil and Fern.  Cecil was about my age but my buddy was Henry who was about 3 or 4 years older than me. 
All the kids here in town would go up to the preacher’s house to play.  It was a big thing to go up there.  People say that preachers’ sons are mean.  Those boys weren’t mean but they were a tough bunch of boys.  Mrs. Bernice Day was the disciplinarian.  The boys would just run over Brother Day. 
I remember one time Mrs. Day took all of us boys to swim down at the point in the bay of Lake Lovelace.  It was like going to the beach.  The sandy point jutted out into the bay. 
Her four boys and several other of us boys were wrestling around in the back seat of their big ole car.  I don’t know what caused him to do it but the youngest boy, Cecil, said, 'shit'.  Mrs. Day heard him and she said, “Cecil, you better not say that ugly word or I’m gonna whip you!”  He said, 'shit'.  She said, “I told you I’m gonna whip you!”  He said, 'shit'. 
Lake Lovelace
We went on down the road to the point.  We went swimming and stayed down there a couple of hours.  After we got back to the parsonage, we went out to shoot marbles.  From inside the house we heard Mrs. Day say, “Oh, Cecil.  Cecil come here.”  He left the marble game and ran up in the house.  In a minute we heard a Whack, Whack, Whack.  She tore his backend up!  He was just a screaming.  I doubt he ever said that word again.
Effie Coan’s little girl, Tootsie, lived near the Methodist parsonage.  She was always going over to play with Fern Day.  The Days had several ole cats in the yard and two or three of them had kittens.  Tootsie and Fern each claimed a kitten as their own. 
One morning, Mrs. Day decided she was going to gather up some of the cats and haul them off.  She told her sons to gather them up.  Each one of her sons and two or three more of us boys who were up there playing grabbed a cat or two.  Fern was over at Tootsie’s house.  
We got them in the car and Mrs. Day said, “Don’t let little Fern or Tootsie see us hauling off their kittens, they’ll cry.”  About the time we pulled out on the road, Henry must have squeezed one of the cats because it let out a howl.  Fern and Tootsie spotted us and heard the cat howl.  They both started crying but we went on down the road.  
We headed toward Wisner and got up there near a place we called “the dip”.  The dip was a place in the highway about three miles up the road toward Wisner.  We put all those cats out.  It must have been twelve to fifteen cats.  We left them there around 9 o’clock that morning.
That evening about three or four o’clock, we were shooting marbles under an old shade tree beside the parsonage.  Somebody said, “Look!”  One of those ole cats that we had dropped off was just standing there.  It wasn’t a different cat.  We were all just amazed.  In a minute, another one showed up.  Within the next hour, I reckon eight or nine or ten cats showed up. 
I had heard that cats would find their way back home.  The amazing thing was that we had dropped them off about three miles away early that morning.
My buddy Henry was a tough ole boy.  Some of the older boys had found a motorcycle frame with handlebars.  They took some old tire rims off of a car or truck and put them on the front and back of the frame for wheels.  They had it down there at the side of that first bridge going out of Sicily Island toward Clayton. 
Bridge coming into Sicily Island
The slope going down to the bayou was steep.  The bayou was about two or three feet across and was about dried up.  There was a big truck tire that had been throw down there and it was buried up in that mud. 
Somebody was going to get to ride that motorcycle down that steep slope.  Henry volunteered to ride it down and I got on the back of it behind Henry.  The boys pushed us to the edge and let us go.
For about less than half a minute, we had a pretty good, fast ride!  
When we got to the bottom, the motorcycle hit that old tire buried up in that mud and we flew up into the air.  We must have flown ten or fifteen feet before landing on that hard, dry mud on the bank of the bayou.  It skinned us all up.  It was just a wonder it didn’t kill us.
I guess you’d say I was a follower.  I’d follow somebody else.  I never did have any nerve.  I wasn’t brave or anything.  If somebody I looked up to like Henry was going to ride that motorcycle down that slope, I was too.  That’s where my nerve came from.  I followed Henry.
I remember that ride.  I remember that wreck we had on that darn thing, too.
What a sad day it was for me when the Day family left Sicily Island!  There was an old cattle trailer hooked to a truck with all their furniture loaded in the trailer.  Henry and Marion were riding on the back of the truck.  I remember as they pulled out, Marion was singing some kind of old song.  
That was the last time I ever saw any of them.  

*Special thanks to Clay Fairbanks for allowing me to use the photograph of his grandfather, Dr. Russell Fairbanks.

Note:  Parts 1-32 of 'The Stories That Should Be Told' can be found in the Tags List on the right-hand side of the blog.

Military Monday ~ Bruce Edmonds

Ft. Bragg, NC ca. 1922

Bruce Edmonds

Born on January 23, 1904
Whelen Springs, Clark County, Arkansas

Son of
William Newell Edmonds and Laura Smith

Brother of 
Mary T., William Adonis, Willis Powell, Samuel Jackson, 
Fannie Pearl, Paul, Silas, Alphonso Hilliard "Punch",
 James Thomas, Charles Douglas and Martha Rebecca Edmonds

Husband of Mary Allye Steele

Father of Bruce Alfonso Edmonds

Died on January 21, 1974
Buried in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery
Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana

Private, SP3
United States Army
Service Battery, 5th Field Artillery

Enlisted on July 8, 1920 - Camp Pike, Arkansas
Honorably Discharged on July 19, 1924 - Fort Bragg, North Carolina

January 23, 2014

Friday's Faces From the Past - Edmonds Family

(LtoR) Bruce, Allye Steele, Mildred, David, Mary and Bruce A.

Family Recipe Friday ~ Quick French Onion Soup

From the kitchen of Sicily Island resident, Annie G. Bowen Knotts:

Annie Bowen Knotts

Special thanks to Walter and Sharon Knight Knotts for allowing me to use the photograph of Annie Bowen Knotts.

January 21, 2014

Wednesday's Child ~ Mary Florence Owen

Mary Florence Owen

Born on May 11, 1898

Daughter of
Stephen Eugene Owen and Frances "Fannie" Harris

Sister of
Martha Irma, Margurete Frances and Ethel Eugenia Owen

Died on May 28, 1900
Buried in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery
Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana

At Rest

January 19, 2014

Amanuensis Monday ~ The Stories That Should Be Told, Part 32

The following transcription is from a series of recordings my father made in the early 1990s:
Every once in a while a picture will come to my mind.  Almost vivid scenes of how things looked back in the 1930s.  I can just see how they used to hitch the horses around an old hackberry tree over behind the Woodman Hall, near the Steele property.   
That old tree has been gone for years.  Right here on my property there are hackberry trees growing along the fence row.  I’m sure these same trees are offspring of that big old hackberry tree that stood just behind the Woodman Hall.
Most everyone got up early in the morning; a lot earlier compared to what they do now.  There were some early risers back in the 1930s that got up way before everyone else.  They got up around 4 or 4:30 in the morning.   
Bruce and Allye Steele Edmonds
My mother always got up around 4 o’clock in the morning.  I got in the habit of getting up with her.  Mother would point out the other early risers to me.  She’d say, “I believe Gus and Boozie Krause are up.”  Boozie is what she called Mrs. Wardie Krause.  They lived right down the street from us and Mother could see when their light would come on in the early mornings.  
Mr. Rufus Knight got up early in the morning to open his filling station.  We could see his station from our house. Mr. Rufus Knight’s filling station was right there across from the bank.  The station was up against his daddy’s big old store.  The station was angled out toward the street and toward the barber shop.
Mr. Gene and Mrs. Fannie Owens once had a store where the Sicily Island Bank stands today.  Fannie was a sister to Mr. Richard Harris, Jr.
The Coan family had a store here.  I don’t remember Mr. Coan.  Seems like he was a postmaster.  I do remember Mrs. Coan and her daughter, Effie.  Effie had a little girl who was two or three years younger than me.  They called her Tootsie.  
Mrs. Coan recorded all the birth records back during the 1930s and sent them down to New Orleans to be registered.  The Coan family later moved out to California.
I-Bo and Cora Harris bought Mrs. Coan’s little house.  The Coans also owned the big house near the bluff but sold it to John Hall.  Mrs. Coan’s father, Dr. Usher, built the house. 
Saturday evenings and Saturday nights were big times on the Island.  All the activities started about 2 or 2:30 in the afternoon after people got paid.   
Old juke boxes were playing.  People were laughing and carrying on.  I didn’t miss much.  I was raised right here behind the little stores and I stayed on the streets in evenings and days on the weekends and during the summer time.
Jim Smith was the local deputy sheriff.  He had a son named Buddy [James Henry Smith] who was about my age.  Buddy would come to town with his father on Saturdays.  They lived out of town in an area called the Chisum Deadening.   
Buddy and I would spend all of Saturday evening and Saturday night up town.  My mother would let me stay up there because she knew Jim; he was Grandma Steele’s first cousin.  She knew he would look out for me and Buddy.
During the summer I would go over to the pressing shop and stay with Johnny Saulsberry and sit around there during the day.
Old Pressing Shop
In the early 1930s before I started to school, I didn’t have to cross the street to go to Uncle Wes’ store or Emmett Chisum’s store.  I just walked through Grandma Steele’s yard.  My mother would let me go up there as long as I didn’t cross the street.  
I'd spend hours sitting in the store with Big Emmett Chisum.  He would talk to me just like I was an older person, an adult.  A grown person doesn't realize how much that means to a child.  I always felt close to Big Emmett.  He was my double 3rd cousin.
Thomas Jefferson Chisum
I saw Big Emmett’s daddy, Uncle Tom Chisum in that store.  I remember the first time I saw him, Big Emmett and I were sitting in the back of the store by a potbellied heater.  Uncle Tom came in and sat down with us.  He got his little snapper purse out, gave me a nickel and told me to go get us some penders.   
I didn’t know what a pender was.  Big Emmett told me they were parched peanuts. I don’t remember which store sold the penders but it must have been a store on the same side of the street as Big Emmett’s store because I wouldn’t cross the road.  
I came back with a little brown bag of peanuts.  Uncle Tom had me hold out my hands and showed me how to cup my hands.  He shook some peanuts out of that sack into my hands and the three of us sat there and ate roasted peanuts.
Uncle Tom Chisum was my Grandpa Steele’s uncle.  They died the same day in December of 1934.  Uncle Tom moved to Sicily Island from Texas sometime around 1880.  About 8 years later, Grandpa Steele followed him here to work for him.   
Isham Alfonso "Al" Steele
Grandpa Steele left Texas when he was only 18 years old and rode a horse all the way to Sicily Island.  The trip took him 6 weeks.  He spent the rest of his life on the Island.
Some years later, two of Uncle Tom’s children died a day apart.  His oldest son, Big Walling died in May of 1955.  All the family was up at Big Walling’s house.  Uncle Tom’s daughter, Cousin Eva was up there, too.  
I remember hearing my mother and daddy saying that Cousin Eva shouldn’t have been out because she didn’t look well.  She died the next morning.
Mary Polly Walling Chisum
Walling was a family name.  Uncle Tom Chisum’s mother was Mary Polly Walling.  She married Isham Chisum.  Uncle Tom named his oldest son Walling.  Walling named his oldest son Walling.  Everybody called them Big Walling and Little Walling.
I’ve heard the old folks talk about all the people who once lived in on the Island.  Some died here and others died after moving away from here.  I’ve heard some of the names called but I can’t remember them.   
There were many people who lived here and are now gone and forgotten.  There’s nobody left to remember them.  So at least, in making these tapes the names will be called and anybody listening to them will know who lived here in the village in the 1930s.
Note:  Parts 1-31 of 'The Stories That Should Be Told' can be found in the Tags List on the right-hand side of the blog.

Military Monday ~ William Oscar Bedford

William Oscar Bedford

Born on September 16, 1886

Died on January 8, 1945
Buried in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery
Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana

Co. G, 156th Infantry, 39th Division
United States Army
World War 1

Enlisted on May 28, 1918
Honorably Discharged on May 26, 1919

Stephen Eugene Owen Family

Stephen Eugene "Gene" Owen was born in Harrisonburg, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana on December 8, 1869 to the marriage of Thomas Ford Owen and Tabitha Maragret Smith Kendrick.

The 1870 U.S. Census shows him living with his family in Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana.

On October 24, 1897, Gene married Frances "Fannie" Bartow Harris who was born on August 26, 1871 to the marriage of Richard Hines Harris, Sr. and Mary Ann Hughes.

The 1900 U.S. Census shows Gene and Fannie living in Ward 2, Sicily Island.  Gene's occupation is listed as farm manager.

The 1910 U.S. Census shows Gene, Fannie and two children living in the same location.  Gene's occupation is listed as grocery store merchant.

Gene and Fannie's brother, Richard Hines Harris, Jr., built a store in Sicily Island called The Red Star.  The store was located where the Sicily Island Bank stands today.

Later, Gene and Fannie Owen moved their family to the Holly Grove area before finally moving to Galveston, Texas prior to 1936.

Stephen Eugene "Gene" Owen died on August 1, 1947 and Frances "Fannie" Bartow Harris Owen died on January 28, 1965.  Both are buried in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery in Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana.

The following children were born to Gene and Fannie Owens:
Mary Florence, 1898-1900
Martha Irma, 1901-1994 (m. Charles Miller Wood, 1882-1957)
Margurete Frances, 1905-1999 (m. William Brownlow Mitchell, 1901-1974)
Ethel Eugenia, 1910-1993 (m. Nicholas Edward LaBarbera, 1903-1981)

Sentimental Sunday ~ Pine Hill Methodist Episcopal Church, South

Children's Day - Pine Hill Methodist Episcopal Church, South

The church name was Pine Hill Methodist Episcopal Church, South but it was known as the Pine Hill Methodist Church.

The above photograph was taken in front of the old church building which no longer stands.  Below is a photograph of the site where the church building once stood.

Church records show that on November 26, 1858, John Henry Lovelace, son of Louisa Holstein and Richard Ludwick Lovelace, donated four acres of land for a church to be built in the Pine Hill area.

The four acres also included the cemetery across the street known as the Old Pine Hill Cemetery.

John Henry Lovelace is buried in this cemetery.

Old Pine Hill Cemetery

The church building was completed circa 1860 and continued to be used through at least 1934 per the newspaper obituary of Thomas Jefferson Chisum's funeral which states that his funeral services were held at Pine Hill Church on December 5, 1934.

One of the preachers who served the Pine Hill Methodist Episcopal, South circuit was Reverend Thomas H. McClendon.

Minutes from the LA Methodist Episcopal Church South - 1907
He officiated the wedding of my paternal great grandparents, Isham Alfonso "Al" Steele and Mary Virginia "Mollie" Blackman.

Reverend McClendon was married to Henrietta "Hettie" A. Green who was the daughter of Reverend Thomas Louis Green and Tabitha Randle Ledbetter. 

Reverend and Mrs. McClendon are buried in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery.

Rev. Thomas H. McClendon
Henrietta "Hettie" Green McClendon

January 18, 2014

Reverend Joseph H. Stone Family

Joseph H. Stone was born in Dickson County, Tennessee on July 4, 1830.  He was born to the marriage of Hardeman Stone and Susannah Russell.

In 1854, he was licensed to preach as a Methodist Episcopal in the Swan Circuit of Tennessee.  Reverend Stone was transferred to the Louisiana Conference in 1857 and served Methodist Episcopal churches throughout the state for many years.

From the minutes of the Louisiana Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, South - 1900:


On January 22, 1867, Reverend Joseph H. Stone married Jennie Marian Lovelace of Sicily Island.  Jennie was born on August 31, 1844 to the marriage of Gayoso Lemos Lovelace and Eleanor Ann Harding.  Gayoso Lovelace was the son of Thomas Lovelace and Barbara Smith.  Eleanor Harding was the daughter of Richard Harding and Charlotte Foster of Claiborne County, Mississippi.

The 1870 U. S. Census shows the couple with their two sons living in Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana.

Jennie Marian Lovelace Stone died on February 6, 1872.  The location of her burial is unknown at this time.

Four years after Jennie's death, Reverend Stone married Jennie's older sister, Sarah "Sallie" E. Lovelace on December 4, 1876. 

No children were born to this marriage.  However, Sallie raised her sister's children as her own.

The 1880 U.S. Census shows the family living in Ward 7 of Claiborne Parish, Louisiana.

Reverend Joseph H. Stone died on October 8, 1899 and Sarah "Sallie" E. Lovelace Stone died in 1894.  Both are buried in the Arlington Cemetery in Homer, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana.  Tombstone photograph is courtesy of FindAGrave member, Mary English Wynn.

The following children were born to the marriage of Reverend Joseph H. Stone and Jennie Marian Lovelace:

Hardeman Lovelace, 1868-1940 (m. 1. Daisy Reeve; 2. Mary Ida Gladney)
William Lemos, 1869-1933 (m. Ceclia Gilliland, 1872-1950)