52 ancestors A Fresh Start

Viola Belle Richmond was born in 1919 in the rural area of Geneva near DeQueen, in Sevier Co. Arkansas to Davis Cornwell Richmond and Mary Etta Wood. She was the baby with older siblings being Preston, Floy, Euta, Gladys, Boyce, Francis and Talmadge. Her father worked for the railroad and was transferred from DeQueen to Shreveport Louisiana when Viola was about 8 years old. Her father went by initials of D.C. Richmond. He was working as an oiler for a steam railroad. They rented a house at 1806 West Jordan Street in Shreveport for $20 per month. D.C’s older brother, James Robert and wife Selma Lee and son J.R. lived next door in a rented room of a house owned by James & Ada Hiser. Brother James worked as a machinist for the same railroad.
Viola graduated high school in Shreveport and married Clyde McLaughlin in 1937. Clyde and Viola lived at 1137 Dalzell and he worked at Frank’s body works, repairing and painting cars. His mother and older sister moved in with Clyde and Viola for a while. Clyde and Viola divorced about 1944 and she married James Daniel Boswell the next year.
James and Viola had 3 boys and a girl. By 1953 they had moved to Ft Smith Arkansas where James worked as a salesman and deliveryman for Beckman’s Dairy. They also owned and managed a small grocery store. In 1964 Viola left James and filed for divorce the next day due to abuse. She was granted a divorce and custody of all the children.
In 1965 Viola married Tom Bowlin. He was a nailer for a lumber company in Van Buren Arkansas. In May 1972 her youngest child graduated from Northside high school in Ft Smith.
Apparently that is when Viola decided it was time for a fresh start. She left Tom Bowlin, and apparently none of her family heard from her again. According to her children they had tried unsuccessfully to locate her and family members also tried all methods available. Finally with all the new technology available, she was finally discovered but it was too late for contact. In 1974 Viola had married Lehon Oakley. They lived in Bentonville Arkansas where he was involved in the grocery and produce business. In 1983 at the age of 63 Viola died at the hospital in Bentonville from lung cancer. It was many years until her family discovered what happened to her. She is buried at Cave Springs Cemetery in Benton Co. AR. with her husband being buried next to her in 2001.

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52 Ancestors Oscar Hodges # 6

A.H. “Oscar” Hodges
Oscar Hodges was born about 1858 in Alabama. In 1880 he is working as a hired laborer for Anderson Pearce in Lamar Co. TX. He reports his father was born in Alabama and his mother in Florida. However, his parents have not been identified. He married Mary “Mollie” Orr. She lived nearby in Red River Co. TX. with parents Alfred M Orr and Amanda C Lowden Orr. Her siblings include twins John and Abigail as well as Emily, Betsy, Joseph, Willie, R.A. and Denny.
By 1887, Oscar and Mollie had moved to Sevier Co. AR. and purchased 147 acres for $450 in the Lone Oak community. That is where their twins, Robert and Maggie, were born on July 4, 1888. In Oct. 1889 Oscar sold 120 acres to W.M. Pendergrass for $350 payable over the next 3 years. Oscar and family moved to Red River Co. in Choctaw Nation Indian Territory. Another son, James Matthew, “Jim” Hodges, was born to them on Sept. 4, 1892. This was near what later became Goodwater Oklahoma. They had a girl named Onie E. born in March 1895.
Oscar was farming and raising cattle. He was driving cattle about 50 or 60 miles west to Ft Towson. The cattle were sold to the Army to supply beef for the troops stationed there. In the evening of June 28, 1895, Oscar had returned from a cattle drive and was knelt in the yard whittling and his six year old daughter Maggie was playing on the porch nearby. It was near sundown as Mr Buchanan and Mr Addington rode up on their horses. Mr Buchanan was supposed to meet Mr Darden there to talk with Oscar about buying some cattle. Mr Buchanan rode to the horse and cattle lot, but Mr Addington stopped his horse beside Oscar. A few words were exchanged and Mr Addington shot Oscar with a double action Smith and Wesson 38 caliber pistol, hitting him under the left arm and killing him. Oscar was buried in the Pauley Cemetery near Cerro Gordo in Little River Co. AR. close to the Okla. Border.
Calvin Leroy Addington was arrested about 6 weeks later. His trial was in the federal courthouse at Paris TX. and lasted about a week. On May 31, 1897 Addington was sentenced to die by hanging. It was scheduled for Sept. 24, 1897. Three days prior to the hanging President McKinley commuted his sentence to life in prison. He was sent to Detroit Michigan to serve the sentence. He served 12 years in prison and received a pardon from President Taft on July 19, 1909. He died in 1916 at Idabel, McCurtain Co. OK.
In 1916 the Paris Texas courthouse burned and destroyed all federal records including the trial transcript of Addington’s trial for the murder of Oscar Hodges. The only information on the trial is in the appeal and request for commutation filed in the National Archives in Washington D.C.

52 Ancestors # 5 Flournoy, Ola Mae Taylor

Ola Mae
When Ola Mae Taylor was born on June 1, 1898 near Horatio in Sevier Co. Arkansas, her father, James, was 28 and her mother, Adeline, was 18. Her father was a teamster in lumber, and she had an older brother, Clarence. Also in the home was her maternal grandfather, Judson or Jordan Pierce and her uncle George Pierce.
The next year, both her grandfather and uncle died.
By 1910 they lived on the Horatio to DeQueen road and she had 3 younger sister and a younger brother. Her dad and older brother both work at the fruit farm near Horatio.
On July 28, 1916, at the age of 18, she married James Henry “Jim” Flournoy and they had three children together. Minnie Belle was born in July 1917. On June 5, 1918, with the second baby on the way, Jim was required to register with the draft board for WWI. This must have been a stressful time for them. Edgar W was born Sept. 17, 1918 and Loree was born Dec. 17, 1919.
Jim died Dec. 28, 1922 at age 26. This left Ola Mae with three children, all 5 years and younger.
She then married Marion J Flournoy on April 3, 1924. Marion J was an uncle to Jim Flournoy. Marion and Ola Mae had three children together between 1926 and 1928. They were Edlene Marion, Marion Jutson, and Pauline Louvan.
They lived between the Mt Ida and Lone Oak communities.
In 1933 Roosevelt (FDR) was inaugurated as President. Americans were still trying to recover from The Great Depression. The country was suffering with 25 % unemployment and the agriculture workers were suffering from droughts. These severe droughts led to the dust bowl.
To help with these problems the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) and the Words Progress Administration (WPA) were formed to give work to eligible unemployed individuals. In 1935, students between the ages of 16 and 24 could apply for work with the National Youth Administration (NYA) as a part of the WPA.

Minnie Bell and Loree both worked for National Youth Association as a school nurse. They were paid $10 for a full week. During 1939 Minnie Bell worked 20 weeks and received $200 and Loree worked 40 weeks and received $400. ..
In 1942 Edgar married Imogene Burke.
In Jan 1943 Edlene married Wiley Lovell, and in September 1943 Loree married Doyce Manasco.
In 1945 Minnie Bell married Bennie Bowens. He was 32 and she was 28.
In Nov. 1950 Pauline married Andy McDonnell in Little River County.
In Feb. 1958 Jutson married Jean Wilson.
Marion died on Nov. 10, 1958 at age 79, and Ola Mae died on August 11, 1962, in Little Rock Arkansas at the age of 64. They lived most of their life in the Mt Ida community and are buried at Mt Ida Cemetery in Sevier Co. AR.

Flournoy, Marion & Ola Mae

52 Ancestors # 4 Richardson

Elijah “Eli” Richardson was my maternal great grandfather. He was born in New Canton, Hawkins Co. TN on Jan 8, 1852 to Levi and Matilda Richardson. He had 2 older brothers, John Wesley and Samuel. His mother died shortly after his birth. He was 3 years old when his father moved him and his brothers by horseback to Strickler, Washington Co. Arkansas. Levi’s brother, David, had moved there in 1837.
Strickler is located about 10 miles south of Prairie Grove. It was a stage coach stop on the Butterfield Stage Route transporting passengers and mail from St Louis Mo to San Francisco CA in 1857. It was also a stage coach stop on the Old Wire Road. The old Wire Road was a stretch of road from St Louis Mo to Ft Smith AR along which was strung telegraph wires for communication purposes during the Civil War period. Eli witnessed many troop movements during the Civil War. The Battle of Prairie Grove was fought on Dec. 7, 1862. The Union suffered 1251 casualties and the Confederates 1317 casualties. The battle was declared a tactical stalemate but yet it essentially secured northwest Arkansas for the Union. Eli and his brothers were too young to enroll in the War and his father was too old.
About 1858, Eli’s father had remarried. He married Elmira Davis. They had 9 children, 6 girls and 3 boys.
In April 1871 Eli married Mary Elizabeth Pierson. She was the daughter of Barton Warren Stone Pierson and Elizabeth Parker Pierson. They had a son born in 1872, and named him Stonewall Jackson Richardson. They were then separated for 13 years. They were reunited and their daughter, Cynthia was born in 1886. They moved to Texas by 1889, and were only there about a year when Eli’s brother John died.
John Wesley, Samuel, Eli, and their half sister Fannie all eventually moved to Pilot Point Texas. Samuel married Catherine Foster on Jan. 2, 1876 in Denton Co. TX. They had 1 son before Samuel died in 1883. Catherine then married his brother John Wesley. They had 1 son before John Wesley died in 1890.
Eli and Mary had 3 other children Isaac Newton, Viola Francis, and James Henry. They were all born in Pilot Point. Eli and Mary were known in Pilot Point as “Arkie” and “Aunt Arkie.” Eli worked as a farmer and was active at this until about 75 years old. He died in 1933 at age 81. She lived to be 100 and died in 1954. They are both buried there at Tyson Cemetery.
Eli & Mary Richardson
“Arkie and Aunt Arkie”

52 Ancestors #3

Clarence Taylor was born October 11, 1895 in Arkansas. By 1900, his family had moved near Horatio, Sevier County Arkansas. He attended school through the 6th grade.
In 1910, Clarence is 14 years old, and works at the fruit farm with his Dad.
On November 2, 1916, he applied for a marriage license with Dave Beard as bondsman. On November 5, 1916, he married Lue Creacy Stubbs, daughter of Sam and Samantha Stubbs. He is 21 and she is 19. They were married by J. C. Tolbert in the Stubbs home.
On April 6, 1917, the United States declared war on Germany, and officially entered WW I. Six weeks later, the Selective Service Act was passed. As a result every male living within the US between the ages of 18 and 45 was required to register for the draft. The first registration was on June 5, 1917 and was for men 21 to 31, Clarence registered for this draft. He was married and 21 years old and lived in Bear Creek Township, DeQueen, AR. He was listed as medium height, slender build, blue eyes and dark brown hair. Their oldest son, Earl was born in June 1918. I am not sure if this family status was a factor, but Clarence was never drafted into the military. The armistice to end the War was signed to cease firing at 11 am on 11-11-1918. The second son, Burl was born in December 1919.
In 1920, they own their farm and live next door to Uncle Dave and Aunt Bettie Williamson (Lue’s uncle on her mother’s side) in Clear Creek Township.
Murl was born in 1925, Durl in 1928, and Rubert in 1930. In 1930, they are renting a farm near Geneva. Their only daughter, Ruby Virginia was born August 16, 1937. She was born with a head condition similar to hydrocephalus. She was taken to Little Rock hospital for surgery, but soon returned home and died on September 29, 1937. She is buried at Mt Ida Cemetery.
The social security act was signed by FDR on 8/14/1936. Taxes were collected first in Jan. 1937. Originally social security only provided for one-time lump sum payments, which also begin in Jan. 1937. The first recipient received 17 cents for a lump sum payment. Regular monthly benefits begin in January 1940. On Oct. 27, 1939 Clarence applied for a social security number. He printed and signed his name as Clarence Edgar Taylor, and his address as rural route 3, DeQueen, AR.
In 1940, they probably live in the same place. They report that they rent the farm for $5 a month. Jim and Addie now live in the home with them. Burl has married and lives away from home. Earl works on the farm. Murl, Durl and Rubert attend school in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. They attended Wallace Hill or Nettle Hill school.
On December 7, 1941 The U.S. entered World War II as the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. It ended in May 1945. Earl and Burl both served in the army during WWII, and Murl, Durl, and Rubert served afterwards. Clarence and Lue were fortunate in having five sons that served in the military and returned home unharmed. Earl did receive shrapnel injuries, but no serious or life threatening injuries.
In his later years, Clarence was sick and had several hospitalizations and was in the nursing home for a while. He had kidney disease and heart problems. He died August 26, 1979 in the DeQueen Hospital at age 83. Cause of death was listed as cerebral vascular accident (stroke), congestive heart failure, arteriosclerosis, and uremia. He was buried at Mt Ida Cemetery.
Lue lived alone as long as possible, but eventually had to go to the nursing home. She had dementia and often thought Clarence was there with her. She had congestive heart failure for years and eventually died of heart failure. She died June 30, 1992 at age 95, and is also buried at Mt Ida cemetery.

52 Ancestors #2 Burl Taylor

Burl Taylor was born Dec. 2, 1919 in Sevier Co. Arkansas, and was the second son of Clarence and Lue Taylor. They lived in the Geneva community and he attended Nettle Hill School until the 7th grade. He quit then to help work on the farm. He had just turned 18, although he reported that he was 21, when he married Thelma Keith. He worked as a laborer for road construction in 1940. Then they moved to Texas with Rolo and Ora Mae Lewis to work the cotton fields. On December 7, 1942 the four of them had attended a movie and when they came out everyone in the street was shouting WAR! WAR! They learned that Pearl Harbor had been attacked. They immediately left to return home to DeQueen Arkansas. Burl joined the army on January 1, 1943. Thelma moved to Portland Oregon and worked at a ship building plant.
Burl was assigned with the 318th Army Air Force Fighter Control Squadron. Their initial mission was air protection of the Hawaiian Islands. They were equipped with P-47 Thunderbolts (big fighter planes) and during the Mairanas campaign worked closely with the Marine ground forces, pioneering close infantry support and employed the first use of napalm. On Saipan they had the dubious distinction of being the only Army Air Force units to engage in ground combat.
They were attacked by Japanese ground forces in June 1944 at Isley Field, Saipan, sustaining modest casualties. The 318th was the first unit to receive the new long range P-47Ns in early 1945, before moving next door to Okinawa on le Shima. These planes had a range of 2000 miles and were equipped with drop tanks. From Nov 1944 to Jan 1945 they helped counter the Japanese air attacks on the Mariana Islands. In May 1945 these new long range P47Ns were the rule rather than the exception. In terms of victories gained, the Thunderbolt’s best moment in the Central Pacific came in late May 1945. Kamikaze attacks were threatening Allied shipping around Okinawa, and so the 318th Fighter Group was allowed to fly fighter sweeps over southern Japan, with the aim of intercepting potential Kamikaze aircraft far from their targets. In two sweeps, on 25 and 28 May, the Thunderbolts claimed nearly forty victories. From le Shima they reached out to Japanese targets in Kyu-shu and China. On Aug 13 1945 the 318th flew from le Shima to Tokyo 1680 miles, 8 ½ hours of non-stop flight. They were officially credited with 164 air combat victories by the Aug. 15 cease fire with less than 6 pilots shot down by the enemy planes. They moved to the U.S. in Dec. 1945 and were officially deactivated on 12 Jan 1946. Burl discharged the army as a Corporal at Ft. Chaffee Arkansas.
In March 1946 they bought land in the Geneva community and built a home. Their daughter Barbara was born in September 1948. The following Christmas they traveled to Pilot Point Texas to visit Thelma’s family. On December 29, 1949 Burl was taking Thelma’s mother, Viola, and her sister, Peggy for a Doctor appointment. Burl and Thelma planned to return to Arkansas the next day. However, on the trip back from the doctor, the truck was hit by a train and all three were killed. What a shock that had to be to everyone, but especially to Thelma as she lost her husband, her mother, and her sister. These memories must have caused a sadness during the Christmas Holidays for many years.
120 Burl

52 Ancestors #1

John Pope Keith was born about 1834 in Harrison Co. Ky. to John Keith and Mary “Polly” Duncan. He was about 21 years old when he moved with his family to Christian Co. Ill. At age 26 he married Sarah E. Tabler. Sarah’s brother and sister, Alfred and Betty also married John Pope’s brother and sister, Henry and Margaret.

John Pope and Sarah Tabler Keith had a daughter Alice Morgan born in 1864. But during the birth of a son in 1866, the child and mother died. John Pope worked as a farm laborer and his mother helped care for Alice. As Alice reached her teenage years, her grandmother died in 1878.

On June 15, 1880 John Pope Keith married Mary Catherine Cochran Weiger. He was 45 years old and she was only 24, and had a 2 year old son, Bob.

In Sept of 1881 John Pope and Mary Catherine had a son that died as an infant. In November of 1881, John Pope’s father died. Shortly thereafter, John Pope moved his family to Texas. Their son, Jacob Duncan was born near Gainesville in 1884. Daughters, Phoebe and Icy were born at Pilot Point in 1887 and 1890.

John Pope died in 1893 at age 59 near Pilot Point, Texas. He is buried in an unmarked grave at Tyson Cemetery, near Pilot Point.

We are now in the process of erecting a monument at the site.