Monday, June 27, 2016

On this day, June 27, 1959

It’s pretty difficult for just about anyone to answer the question, “Where you on June 27?” for any given year, especially if that year was more than half a century ago, when we were mere toddlers.

But thanks to government record-keeping, specifically by the US Immigration and Naturalization Service, I stumbled across a record of exactly where my brother Mark and I were on June 27, 1959.

[click on any image to enlarge]

Friday, May 27, 2016

Remembering 2nd Lieutenant Brents M. Lowry, Jr.

Brents Mynatt Lowry, Jr.
Memorial Day is the US holiday for remembering the people who died while serving in our armed forces.

Although some of my ancestors have served in the military, as far as I know, only one -- 2nd Lieutenant Brents Mynatt Lowry Jr., US Army Air Force -- died in wartime service to our country.

During recent genealogical research, I’ve learned a few things about who he was. Brents was my great-grandmother Mary Frazier Lowry Molloy’s nephew and my 1st cousin, twice removed.

Please honor 2Lt Brents M. Lowry, USAAF this Memorial Day 2016 by reading about his short life.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Historical Family Art

For as far back in my childhood as I can recall, this painting hung in our various homes. I always liked it. It just struck me as a serene place. A place I wanted to go.

When I was a kid, I didn't have the frame of reference, but now it reminds me of Yosemite. A place I've been.

This was painted by Jimmie Lee West Beard, the wife of C.W. "Claud" Beard, my mother's father's sister -- Mom's aunt and my great aunt.

Untitled, by Jimmie Lee West Beard (1902-1994)

I know this dates back to at least the early 1960s or possibly the mid-1950s. Even after I left home, the painting was always part of my parent's home decor, wherever they lived. I always noticed it, and appreciated its beauty and simplicity. It just spoke to me.

Jimmie Lee West Beard
As recently as this year, 2016, it hung in my late mother's living room at Laurel Parc, the assisted living facility in Portland, Oregon where she spent her final years.

I always knew the painting had been done by a family member, but as so often happens, I didn't pay much attention to who it was or what the story behind it was.

But after my mom passed away, I was very happy to be able to bring this painting with its attractive wood frame home and hang it proudly in my own home.

When I took the picture off the wall, I saw that it was framed by C.W. Beard, who owned "Frames by C.W. Beard" on South Adams St in a residential neighborhood south of Fort Worth, Texas where my mom and Grannie Beard lived in North Richland Hills. I never knew he framed it, but that made it even better.

I'm so pleased to now enjoy this piece of family artwork in our home. It is so much more than just a piece of art to me. Aside from the nostalgic value of this "artifact" that's probably older than I am, it's completely unique, and two creative people from my family thoughtfully made it with their own hands. It's part of who I am, and who my family is.

Thanks Aunt Jimmie Lee. I think of you every time I look at your painting.

A.G. Beard, Texas Ranger

If I'd found this photo 9 days ago I'd have posted it then.

May 11th was the 100th anniversary of my Grandfather Alexander Glenn Beard's enlistment in the Texas Rangers. This is him with Company A. Exact date unknown, but he served from May 11, 1916 to Mar 15, 1919. Some of his service was not without controversy. 

This photo was probably taken in the Marfa, Texas area. Susan and I visited this area in 2012.

Updated: My cousin Monty Waters adds:
I can supply some additional information about the photo. It was made in September 1918, probably on the Brite Ranch, a large ranch that is still owned by the Brite family, southwest of Marfa. Though within a year this would become Co. A, and is frequently mislabeled, it was Co. B at the time of the time it was made. To confuse things even further it was Co. D for a brief period June-August 1918. All of this makes unraveling the service history of the rangers in the photo a challenge. It is interesting that he seems to be looking with a bemused smile at his captain, Jerry Grey (second from left), who managed to alienate just about everyone in the Rangers (except his superior officers). About 5 months after this photo was taken Grey would have Beard discharged, honorably, but very much against his wishes.  
You can view his enlistment records online at:
Thanks, Monty!

Same photo as above cropped to show detail. 

Alexander Glenn Beard (1884-1941)
He passed away in 1941 when my mom was only 11 years old. Too bad I never got to meet him.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

1911 Postcard to a new Grandmother

Postcard from 1911
I've been scanning a lot of old family photos recently, and simultaneously investigating my family tree. 

I just came across this postcard, which depicts a river scene titled "Mt. Hayes over Androscoggin River, Gorham, N.H."

On the back, there’s more info about the Gorham, New Hampshire area. And there's a 1 cent stamp, canceled with a mark that reads 7pm on a unreadable day and month, dated in 1911, probably in the late fall. 

The card was sent to my great-great-grandfather’s home in Hollis, Oklahoma to ”Mrs DM Molloy" or Mrs Daniel Marion Molloy. That would be 64 year old Martha Russell Molloy (1847-1932), the mother of Edmond Lee Molloy (1840-1917). A new, first-time grandmother to Emmett Lowry Molloy, born Aug 18, 1911. 

This is my 24 year old great-grandmother introducing her new son to her mother-in-law. 

The handwriting is most likely that of Mary Frazier Lowry Molloy (1887-1980) but it's Lowry's voice, telling his new grandma about himself:

"Dear Grandma, I am just the finest baby. I weigh 12# now. And don't cry much and never do get sick. I am sure fat. I'm coming to see you soon. "
- signed E.L. Molloy Jr.
Emmett Lowry Molloy, born 1911

Such a sweet, thoughtful and creative communication from a busy new mom and daughter-in-law for only a year.

Just 22 years later, this mom would be a grandmother herself to Ken Molloy, my father. 

I’m the oldest of the Molloy generations, and I'm only just now discovering small artifacts like this which tell the story of our family.

And now there's a new Emmett Molloy born to the Molloy family in 2014 -- 113 years later. He would be the great-great-great-great grandson of the recipient of this postcard. 

Emmett James Molloy with mom Kiersten