Tuesday, April 12, 2016

One of the Best Boys I have Ever Known

Sadly just two years following the death of her beautiful daughter, Lucille, Ella (Jones) Rainwater said goodbye to yet one more of her children, her 32 year old son, Clarence. 

Clarence Olin Rainwater was the fourth child of Alexander Forrest and Ella (Jones) Rainwater. Born the 11th of November 1895, he was reared in the small postal community Ondee, just southeast of Olin and eight miles from Hamilton, Texas. His father farmed and his mother took care of their large family. Religion was important to his family and played a big role in Clarence's upbringing. 

He was just a young man of seventeen when his father died, leaving a big hole in their family and the community. From then until the time he registered for WWI, Clarence remained at home working and helping to support his mother and his younger sisters. (1) But when the call came to serve his county, he was among the first in Hamilton County to register. (2)

Patriotism was running high in America and men were anxious to do their part in preserving freedom for their country and their families. Much to Clarence's disappointment, he was selected to remain in the US and serve as a training officer rather than being shipped overseas.  It was while serving in that capacity that he contracted the dreaded tuberculosis.

tuberculosis, Rainwater, Clarence Olin Rainwater, Lois C. Gray, World War I, Texas law, Alamogordo
T.B. patients at hospital
In an effort to fight the disease, he first went to the well known tuberculosis sanitorium in Denver, Colorado to receive medical treatment. His treatment there included an abundance of fresh air and sunshine, however he did not improve as he had hoped and soon went to El Paso, Texas to receive treatment there.

For four years Clarence fought the awful disease. While in the hospital, tall, gray eyed, brown haired Clarence fell in love with Lois C. Gray, who was a nurse. With optimism for the future, he proposed to her and despite the grim prognosis for most tuberculosis patients, she accepted.

Clarence and Lois didn't let Texas' law prohibiting individuals with communicable diseases from marrying dissuade them, but hopped across the border into New Mexico where the laws were more lax. There in Alamogordo, Clarence and Lois became man and wife on the 27th of May 1927. A brief mention of the marriage appeared in the Alamogordo News, dated Thursday, June 2, 1927. It read simply:
Miss Lois C. Gray, Denver Colo. and Mr. Clarence O. Rainwater of Witchita Falls, Texas were united in marriage at Alamogordo, May 27th of Judge Stalcup. 
But Clarence would never recover and on the 15th of March, 1928, less than a year after he and Lois married, he succumbed to the disease. He was buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in El Paso.Ted Couch, husband to Clarence's first cousin, Louisa Olive Lloyd expressed what many felt that day when he said: 

"He was one of the best boys I have ever known, and in his death his loved ones and friends in his country have suffered a great loss." (3)     

1. WWI Draft Registration, Ancestry
2.  Obituary from The Hamilton Herald-Record, April 13, 1928
3. Ibid 

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Birthplace Pedigree Chart #MyColorfulAncestry

When J. Paul Hawthorne shared his colorful five generation pedigree recently on Facebook, it quickly went viral. It was a fun idea and I couldn't help but jump in and participate.

Simple in nature, it nonetheless has generated some interesting realizations as well as new questions for me.

We know that for every major move in an ancestor's life, there was generally a push and a pull. Something pushed them into moving from a location and something pulled them to the new location.
While I know the reason for some of the moves my ancestors made, I realized that for other moves, I have no idea what motivated them and so more research is needed.

I also realized that I don't know where some of the couples from different locations met, so I would like to learn more about them.

The graph also underscores why my DNA test at Ancestry estimates my ethnicity as 37% Scandinavian.

As I looked at the chart, I thought about the traditions that have been handed down in my family.  I thought of my aebleskiver pan that has been passed down through several generations, and the tradition of biscuits and gravy for breakfast, cornbread with meals and many of the other things my family eats have likely been passed down. I can see that the predominance of Danish and Southern US heritage is apparent not only on the chart but in my life. This chart helped remind me of why my family does some of the things we do.

So while this initially began as a simple, fun activity, it underscores the benefits of finding new ways to look at our family history and how doing so can lead to new questions and consequently greater understanding.

Paul shared details about his idea on his blog, GeneaSpy which you can find HERE  If you would like to make your own colorful five generation chart, he shared the template at this link.

Thank you Paul for sharing this fun idea!
J. Paul Hawthorne, GeneaSpy, genealogy, ancestry, #MyColorfulAncestry

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved

Friday, April 1, 2016

Picture This!

It's been interesting to note which posts on my blog have the most visitors. Heads and tails above the rest, my three part series about the arrest and trial of Marion Gurganus, a moonshiner, which I shared in February 2013, continues to be the most popular. I too was intrigued by the details of the story and equally interested in what I learned about moonshining in the south. You can find part 1 of that series here , but be sure and read all three posts to get the complete story. 

Recently I received an email from a new found cousin, Betty Wedgeworth. She shared the picture below of the Gurganus family which includes several of the individuals mentioned in the moonshining story and graciously consented to allow me to share the photo on my blog. Thank you Betty for not only sharing the picture with me, but also for identifying each family member! 

The picture was taken about three years before the events that occurred in the story.

Gurganus family, Walker County Alabama, moonshiners, ancestry, family history, ancestry,
Back: Bertie Gurganus, W.P. Gurganus, Marion Gurganus, Isaac Wilson Gurganus, William Zachary Gurganus, John Gurganus, James Samuel Gurganus, Joseph Jasper Gurganus
Front: Melissa Johnston Gurganus, Cary, Ludie Thompson Gurganus, Belle Waller Gurganus, Sarah Gurganus Dunn, Amanda Evans Gurganus (my great grandmother), Rene Odum Gurganus, Susan Odum Gurganus (1907, Oakman, AL)

****James Gurganus b. 1798 and my third great grandfather was a brother to John Wesley Gurganus  b. 1806. John Wesley Gurganus was Marion Gurganus's (shown above) grandfather. 

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved