Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Pull up a chair and Sit a Spell

Hazel Mickelsen Ganus, Stella Mae Montgomery, Heber Monroe Ganus, Okmulgee, Oklahoma, genealogy, ancestry, family history
Grandma Hazel (Mickelsen) Ganus, Stella May (Montgomery) Ganus
and Grandpa Heber Monroe Ganus
Long before we could drive down the street at night and see the glow of the TV screen in the windows of many if not most homes, and long before people turned to Facebook for updates on people's lives, people dropped by to visit each other.

In pleasant weather, people sat on the porch and talked, catching up on the events of the day. Often sipping on a cold drink, they tried to cool off while they talked about the weather, about family and about the ongoings in town. My how times have changed. 

These photos taken in September of 1955 show my grandparents, Heber and Hazel (Mickelsen) Ganus and Sally (Ganus) Mortensen, along with a couple of Sally's children, sitting on the porch with Heber's aunt, Stella May (Montgomery) Ganus in Oklahoma. Most likely Grandpa and Grandma had moved to Oklahoma by that time and Sally and her kids had made the 700 miles trip to visit them. 

Sally (Ganus) Mortensen, Stella May (Montgomery) Ganus
and Grandpa Heber Monroe Ganus

Other than the few years when Grandpa worked in Utah and California, Grandma and Grandpa Ganus lived most of their lives in Colorado, but as grandpa aged, his health declined and they eventually moved to Oklahoma for the lower altitude. During those years Grandpa was able to live among other Ganus relatives. In particular, Grandpa loved his Aunt Stella and I love knowing that she was important to him and that he was able to spend time with her.  

Grandma Hazel (Mickelsen) Ganus, Stella May (Montgomey) Ganus
and Heber Monroe Ganus 

That September of 1955, temperatures soared around 100 degrees and the humidity hovered around 70% (1) In the sticky Oklahoma heat, the porch was the best place to sit and visit. Lightweight, short sleeve dresses were the order of the day for the ladies and a short sleeved t-shirt helped keep Grandpa Ganus cool. 

With the heat extending into the evening hours, families often moved out onto the porch where it was a little cooler. For them, there was nothing much better than spending a little time on the porch, sitting and talking. 

1. Wolfram Alpha app provided the temperature for Oklmulgee, Oklahoma for September 1955

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2018, All rights reserved

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The House That Gandy Built

The knock at the door came early, but at the agreed upon time. I opened the door to see half a dozen men standing on my front porch. Bundled up in coats, the men stood with arms crossed, their gloved hands rubbing their arms in an effort to generate some warmth as the light snow swirled around them. Their boss just had one question for me, "Are you ready for us to start?" Yes, I definitely was.

We were doing a major remodel of our home which required opening up one of the exterior walls and extending our living space. Not only was it cold, but for weeks, the hammering, pounding and sawing continued and my nerves became a little more frayed each day. I tried to remain focused on what I knew would be the end result, but some days it was really hard. Finally, the job was completed and I was pleased with the results and so glad to have an end to the temporary chaos. Thankfully, we only had a few months of living in an unfinished space, but what if it had stretched into 113 years? Well, that was the case with the house that Gandy built. 

Of course, multiple generations occupied the Gandy home during the 113 years in an unfinished state, with each generation choosing to procrastinate finishing the home and therefore leaving the task to the next generation. Such was the state of the home at Gandy's Bend when Addison L. Lincencum moved in with his son Barnabus and wife Mary (Malder) following his retirement and the death of his wife, Letha. (Addison's story was told in a previous post found HERE.)

Situated on 177 acres on the Navidad River at Gandy's Bend, the house was tucked into a deeply wooded area. Removed from the hustle and bustle of town life, there was a peace about the place. Built by Addison's wife's grandfather, Daniel Gandy, several generations of Gandys had lived and died there. A family cemetery was nestled in a grove of large cedars about three-fourths of a mile from the house and was the final resting place for many members of the Gandy family, including Addison's wife Letha Grandy Lincecum. When interviewed for a newspaper article in October of 1963, Addison indicated that he was just waiting for the time that he too would be buried there. 

Texas, Lincecum, Gandy, remodeling, genealogy, ancestry, research, Rainwater
Gandy House
Yoakum Herald-Yoakum, TX
October 11, 1963 

Letha's grandmother, Mary (Turney) Gandy, died while her grandfather, Daniel Gandy was building the house and her death was so difficult for him, he never completed the house. Built with wooden pegs and square nails, the house had impressive custom features such as a hand-carved mantel. 

After Barney married Mary Macek Mader on 3 April 1962, they moved into the house and decided it was time to finish it. They put up sheetrock covering the raw studs, installed ceilings so they no longer had a view of the underside of the roof and finished the second floor which had previously looked like an unfinished attic. Barney added bathroom fixtures which they had managed without all those years. In addition, Barney built on a screened porch, covered the shingles with a tin roof and added a patterned asbestos to the outside of the house, which was a trend at the time. Then because none of the house had ever been painted, inside or out, he painted everything either pink or blue. After a mere 113 years, the house finally was finished. 

Every time we take on a remodeling project, knowing my impatience with the mess, my husband looks me in the eye and kindly reminds me that it will be a process and that for a time, it will mean living in a mess. Every time, I acknowledge him with a nod of the head and a vow to be patient this time, but we both know I don't do the patience-with-remodeling thing well. Thankfully, it's never takes 113 years, it just feels like it. 

The information about the home was obtained from a newspaper article accessed at Portal of Texas History. Yoakum Herald-Times Herald, Yoakum, Texas, Friday October 11th, 1963, "Landmarks, The House at Gandy Bend," by Charlotte Phelan of the Houston Post. 

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2018, All rights reserved

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Center of the Party at Eighty-Six

Addison L. Lincecum, Luculus and Fanny Lincecum, genealogy, ancestry, family history, Texas
In July of this year I will celebrate a birthday that I consider to be among the biggies and, as I have looked toward that day, I have thought a lot about my life and the things that have happened. I think we all tend to do that when we hit certain landmarks in our life. Often those times are birthdays or anniversaries, but for some like Addison Lysander Lincecum, who influenced and helped so many, it seems only fitting to hold a special party devoted just to him. 

At eighty-sixed years old, Addison was the center of the party. They came to honor him, to celebrate his life, and to pay tribute to a man who had given so much to their community and to his country. They fittingly called it "Dr. Lincecum Day." He had lived a life full of adventure, never taking a back seat and always eager to fight for the things he believed in. The "Dr. Lincecum Day" celebration was a special night for Addison to reflect on his life and to spend time with those he loved. Unfortunately, although there were many good friends there that night, there was one very significant person missing. His wife Letha of 61 years had passed away just a little over a year earlier. 

What things in his life had meant the most to him? What had been the most fun and the most challenging and what, if anything, would he change? 

Addison Lysander Lincecum was born 8th of April 1874 in Long Point, Texas to Luculus Garland Lincecum and Frances Louisa Rainwater. He likely was named after his maternal grandfather, Addison Franklin Rainwater. His maternal grandfather, Gideon Lincecum, a well-respected doctor who died the year that he was born so he never had the privilege of knowing that grandfather who was a legend in himself.

By the mid-1870's Luculus and Fanny Lincecum moved their family to Lampasas, Texas. There, Addison was reared in a home where education was deeply valued and with a father known for his compassion.

Raising a family in the early days of Lampasas could not have been easy nor worry-free. At that time, Lampasas, was plagued by lawlessness, saloon fights and feuds, such as the feud in 1877 between the Harrell and Higgins brothers (see Horrell-Higgins Feud for more information). Lampasas was the only place in the west where a gunfight in a saloon resulted in the death of four policemen.

While there were many good things in Addison's life, he also experienced heartache at a young age. There are few events more traumatic for a young child than losing a parent, but witnessing their death is unimaginable. One warm evening in June of 1878, while sitting at the supper table, Addison's 35-year-old mother, Fanny suffered a heart attack and died. In minutes, the four-year old's whole world was upside down. His father, Luculus was faced with the heartbreak of burying yet a second wife. 

Luculus, a grieving widower, no doubt struggled to care for Addison and his little brother Pachal while keeping up with his busy medical practice. Six months after his mother's death, Luculus married Emma Oliphant and Addison gained a step-mother and eventually, several more siblings joined their family. 

Letha Gandy, Addison L. Lincecum, Texas, El Campo, Rainwater,
Letha Grandy
Public Domain
As a young man, Addison won the attention of the much sought after Letha Gandy, a school teacher and writer. In December of 1897, they married.

Lampasas Leader, Lampass, TX
Vol 10 No 3 ED 1, Friday Dec. 3, 1897 p. 8
"LINCECUM-GANDY-Lampasas has captured another prize. Dr. Ad. L. Lincecum and Miss Letha Gandy of Hallettsville, Lavaca County were happily married and arrived in this city last Saturday. And thus it is that Lampasas has added another bright star in her constellation of fair daughters. 
The bride is of one of the oldest and most highly respected families, and a young lady of culture and refinement.
The groom is the son of Dr. L. G. Lincecum and is well known to everybody, having lived in Lampasas since his early childhood. He is a promising young physician and all Lampasas has a warm welcome for the young couple--the groom to his old and the bride to her new home.
For the present, they are domiciled at the groom's father's residence on West Third Street." 
August of 1900 held a full range of emotions for Addison as he said goodbye to his father who passed away on August 17th and then welcomed his and Letha's first child, Barnabas Gandy Lincecum into the world on August 29th. They would eventually bring three more children into their home. 

In the footsteps of both his father and his grandfather, Addison studied to become a physician and entered Baylor College of Medicine. His education was temporarily interrupted however when he joined the Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War.

In 1917, angry over the death of a doctor and friend of his, he requested a commission with the Texas Rangers in the hunt for the Mexican Revolutionary General, Pancho Villa.

After the fighting was over, he returned to his studies at Baylor. To pay his way through medical school, he worked as an engineer on trains which moved granite blocks to the Galveston jetties. He lived to be the last survivor of the first graduating Baylor graduating class. 

Addison accomplished many things over the course of his life, including a service overseas as an army surgeon in France during WWI, he served as president of the city and county medical society and was a member of a Lodge and was a Mason. He served on the Texas State Board of Health investigating the bubonic plague. He was an administrator of the Nightingale Hospital at El Campo and had even served as a postmaster and mayor in El Campo. As busy as he was, Addison found spent time to pursue his interests and became a champion fiddle player.

Not to be dissuaded by his age, at 80 Addison became a reporter and commentator for the El Campo radio station, KULP. 

And so it was no surprise that in March of 1964, Addison's friends gathered and paid tribute to him not only for all that he had accomplished during his life, but also for who he was and the difference he had made in their lives. Known for being happy, he made others feel welcomed and comfortable. He had done much to make other's lives more comfortable and to improve their community all while being a good neighbor and friend. 

Suffering from the effects of a stroke, Addison would spend the last few years of his life in a wheelchair while living with his son and his wife at Gandy's Bend. There as he put it, he waited for the time when he would be buried beside his wife in the family cemetery a short distance from the house. That time came on December 6th, 1965. 

Cemetery at Gandy's Bend

Note: Addison's mother, Frances, or Fanny as she was called, was my second cousin, three times removed.  She descended through my third great grandfather Joshua Rainwater's brother, John Rainwater. 

Details of Addison L. Lincecum's life were derived from a variety of newspaper articles accessed on The Portal to Texas History.

El Campo Pays Tribute to Dr. A. L. Lincecum: The Edna Herald (Edna Texas) Vol 54, No 21 Thursday, March 24, 1960.

Dr. Addison L. Lincecum Pioneer Texas, is Dead: Yoakum Herald Times (Yoakum, Tex) Vol 67, No 81 Ed 1 Friday, October 11, 1963.

Landmarks: The House at Gandy Bend: Yoakum Herald Times (Yoakum, Tex) Vo;67, No 81 Ed 1, Friday October 11, 1963 

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2018, All rights reserved