Hattie was married to David A.Tanksley, and she was the mother of my great grandfather Vernon Tanksley. She passed away in May 1950, just a month short of her 78th birthday.
If Joseph's children had any chance at all to know Lucinda Garner (Joseph's mother), it was probably brief since she had passed away in 1919. They did have plenty of time, I assume, to become acquainted with their maternal grandmother, Allie Delphia Harned., who made it to the grand old age of 91 as she lived up until 1952.
In the year 1911 or 1912, Allie had moved to the Corpus Christi area, and then to Seadrift, Texas where she opened and operated the first of her boarding houses along with her second husband John Oliver Bridges. I believe the place was called Bridges Hotel.
Some of the records I have found seem to indicate that my grandfather Clarence Otho White was born in Seadrift. This would suggest that Joseph and the family moved to the coast around this time. Perhaps to help with work around the hotel? I can't say at this point. In the 1912 photograph above, you can see the structure of the building in its first stages of development. The notes that I have received from the Williams family research say that Eulah is standing on the porch on the right of the group. She was holding her first son Herbert. He would have been about two years old at the time, and perhaps Clarence was in the womb then.
Whatever the duration of their stay, by 1920 the family was evidently back in Live Oak County, about a two-hour drive east of Seadrift. There is no clear reference to Joseph's occupation at the time of the census.
Come 1930, the family had two additional members, Joseph Bushrod, Jr. (1921) and Ollie Dell (1923). Herbert was out of the house, and the rest were living in San Patricio County (Aransas Pass) on Arch Street.
The census this time shows his occupation as constable of one of the local precincts. I hope to find out a bit more about his duties and how he came into this position at some point in the future.
Christmas 1979: Mimi trying on her new Christmas gift
with her sister Marguerite and my grandfather Clarence
For just about anyone who is exploring their genealogical roots, census data is a staple source for gathering the basics. If one wants to know certain details like family member names, age at a certain time, number of years married, occupation, place of residence and birth, etc., you can find this data on the census records every ten years. Piecing these bits of information together allows the researcher to get a working outline of an individual's comings and goings. A good example of this would be the following census record from 1880, which shows relevant information for my third great grandfather David Tanksley and his children, including my second great grandfather David Tanskley, Jr.
Over the past several months of researching my family history, I started to notice a pattern with the census for 1890. It simply wasn't there. For any of my family members. But the census did take place in that year. In fact, it was unique in that this was the first time for the census to be tabulated by a machine. So what happened?
Eventually - a couple days ago, that is - I decided to look into this mystery. It didn't take long for me to find an explanation. There was a fire!
Now, this is surely old news to most of those folks who have been tracing their ancestry for a while. But I figure it isn't something that the average American would be familiar with, at least not at this point in time.
Prior to this disaster, many people within and without the government had been pushing for a proper archives building to keep safe these and similar records of historical significance. In other words, there was a genuine call for a National Archives. What if something similar were to happen to the Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Constitution? There needed to be better means of preserving such valuable sources of the country's history.
There is more to this story, in particular how the water-logged records sat around for another twelve years or so before they were officially ordered to be destroyed. And there are some conspiracy tales that surround the whole thing. For now, I have an answer as to why I can't obtain much information on the first decade of Joseph Bushrod White's life. If you want to read more about the story of the fire and the 1890 census records, you can get the detailed article by clicking here.
In a previous post, we settled on August 4, 1889 as the most reasonable date of birth for Joseph Bushrod White, Sr. Not only do the official documents existing during his lifetime indicate this date, but also almost every available census record shows his age as being in line with this information. The only exception would be the 1930 census taken on April 17th, which shows him being 41 years old. For now, I will just assume that this was an error. The 1940 census has him marked down at 50 in the month of April of that year. By August 4th, he would be 51.
Joseph was born to Benjamin Bushrod White and Lucinda Elizabeth Garner. While we have a sufficient amount of information about his mother, there is a good deal of uncertainty surrounding Benjamin. At one time, I had read a story on another family history website that he had died at a young age in 1898. While riding a bicycle in the rain, he supposedly contracted pneumonia and couldn't recover. But that entire website mysteriously disappeared. At any rate, I am fairly certain that he passed away before 1900 because other records show that Lucinda was remarried to a man with the surname Keel by this time. Hopefully when I return to the States, I can make a trip to Comanche - Joseph's birthplace - and get to the bottom of this mystery.
Another issue that shrouds Joseph's early years is the fact that the 1890 census is missing. This is frustrating for just about all genealogists in the U.S., and I'll explain why it happened in an upcoming post. At any rate, there are still a few things we can be fairly certain of. Joseph was the firstborn, not only in his immediate family, but also in bearing our particular surname White in Texas, his father having moved from Alabama to Comanche before his birth. Secondly, he had at least four younger siblings:
And lastly, Joseph was no older that 11 years of age when his father passed away. This must have left Lucinda in a difficult position having to find a way to take care of five young children on her own. By 1900, however, the census taken in June shows the whole family included in the household of Lucinda's second husband G. R. Keel. I still get the sense that this made for a rough childhood for Joseph.
By 1910, we find Joseph (also known simply as "Joe") in Cisco, Texas in Eastland County, just under 50 miles north of Comanche. He was also three years into his marriage with Eulah Peyton Williams.
Here's a photograph of the four boys together. I would guess that the fifth son
J. B., Jr. (born in 1921, and not in the photograph) was just a baby at this time.
Just briefly before closing this post, I'll mention that the 1910 census indicates that Joseph and Eulah had three boarders living with them as well as Joseph's uncle Wilbur Garner (age 31). My great grandfather had a number of seemingly unrelated occupations throughout his life. At this time, the census shows that he ran a business as a tailor. I'm not sure if the term "haberdasher" would apply, but he clearly did some sort of work with clothing while living in Cisco. And at least one of the boarders was working for or with him in this venture.
Coming up in the next post...
Allie Delphia Williams opens a hotel near the coast, and the family is on the move!
Remember Grandma Tanksley (or Frances Anna Byrd)? Well, these are her parents celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary.
John Franklin Byrd and Dora Gaines were married on April 23, 1891, according to the Indiana marriage records (1887-1892 Vol. 1, page 37). I've pieced together these snippets from the records:
The month and year (April 1891) are repeated from another marriage higher up on the document. 1891 to 1942 doesn't add up to 50 years, but it's close enough.
"Happily ever after isn't a fairy tale. It's a choice."
- Fawn Weaver