The Keys of Trekking

Watercolor painting by Arlene Keys Ware

Interesting title, right?  I would have had the perfect photo for it if I hadn’t made a bad choice a few years ago.  How could I have been so shortsighted? 

The topic came about as a result of the family reunion I went to last weekend.  It was for the Keys family in southern Louisiana.  My great grandmother was Daisy Keys, and she came to the United States from England in 1887 when she was just eleven years old.  The reunion was for the descendants of her and her four siblings.  It was a nice event.  I was able to see some family members that I was hoping to see.  I received some positive (and negative) feedback from the writing and photo editing that I do for these blog posts.  But I also heard some sad news.  Two of my mom’s first cousins had passed away earlier this year.

I try to keep up with the goings on of my closest relatives, but I do not always succeed.  I’m kind of surprised that I hadn’t heard about not just one, but two of her cousins.  Especially since they lived in Lake Charles and I have lots of family in Lake Charles.  But then again, most of those relatives are on my dad’s side of the family.  The two family members who passed away were Arlene Keys Ware and her brother Melvin Keys.

Some of you might be wondering how my mom could have a first cousin with the last name of Keys, when her grandmother was a Keys.  Wouldn’t her first cousins more likely have the Bucklin or Phenice last name like her parents?  That would usually be correct.  But Arlene and Mel were not first cousins to my mom through the Keys side of the family.  Their mother was Edna Bucklin, who was the sister of her father Fred.  We saw a picture of them just last week on my blog post!  I didn’t realize the connection until just now.  So Fred married Myrtle Phenice and Edna married Myrtle’s first cousin Frank Keys.  Arlene and Mel were not just first cousins, they were second cousins as well.

Arlene was the younger of the two.  She’s one of the few of my mom’s first cousins that I remember from far back.  That’s probably because when she was in high school, she went to LaGrange High School when my dad was the band director.  She was in band, so she knew him pretty well.  Plus, she was the drum major for the band.  I have some old photos from back then that I had intended on going through to see if she might want any.  I never got around to doing it.

I always enjoyed talking with Arlene at family get togethers and such.  I was also a fan of her artwork over the past few years.  She was a wonderful water colorist.  I wish I had some of her work.  I have some digital copies of several of them, so that’s sufficient.  I had been hoping to see her at the reunion.  I didn’t realize she had passed away.

I was also hoping to see her brother Mel there.  I was wanting to possibly remedy the mistake I had made a few years ago.  It was at the 2017 Keys Family Reunion.  That was the first time that I was aware of Mel Keys being at a family reunion.  He probably had been to some in the past and I didn’t really pay attention to him.  I didn’t know anything about him.  But a short while before this reunion I had been given some interesting information about him.  Let me give you the back story first.

I am a huge Star Trek fan.  I’ve been a fan since that first Starship Enterprise was flying across our tiny black and white screen in Jennings, Louisiana.  I don’t remember watching entire episodes of the show when it first aired.  I seem to remember catching glimpses of it when I was acting as the channel changer.  My dad would tell me to change the channel, and I would follow through.  But when I saw that spaceship or Mr. Spock on the screen, I would linger as long as I could.  The first episode I remember watching was the one with the Gorn in it.  Remember, the big alligator guy that was fighting with Captain Kirk on a deserted planet?!  It is epic.  Like I said, I’m a Trekkie.

I really started watching the show when it went into syndication shortly after it was cancelled in the early 1970s.  I would look forward to watching it after I got home from school.  When I got a paper route around 1972, it messed up my Trek viewing.  I remember seeing the opening credits about “to boldly go where no man has gone before” and I had to boldly jump on my bicycle and bring the news to my neighbors.  No matter how quickly I delivered those papers, I at most caught a few minutes of the ending of the show.  

That didn’t stop me from being a fan.  I seem to remember dressing up as Mr. Spock for Halloween or something.  I carefully wrapped tape around my ears to make them look pointed.  I seem to recall my mom saying that I even shaved the ends of my eyebrows to make me look like I had pointed eyebrows.  Again, I have no photo to document that as well.  Just vague memories here and there.  I also remember when we got our first color TV.  The first show we saw on it?  You got it, it was Star Trek.  It was the episode where the space hippies were looking for love and paradise.  It was so groovy and colorful.

One of the things that people made fun of was the way that when an unknown crewmember (usually wearing a red shirt) beamed down to the planet with someone like Captain Kirk or Mr. Spock, you always knew that that person was going to die!  It seemed to happen frequently.  I remember thinking that they should let one of the main characters die.  They could bring them back the following week!  It’s fiction!  That way we wouldn’t know who was going to die when that red-shirted guy beamed down to the planet.  So you can’t imagine how happy I was ***  SPOILER ALERT*** when they killed off Spock in the second Star Trek movie.  Then they brought him back in the third movie.  It was just what I always wanted.  Those were the best movies ever!!!

July 1965- the day of completion of the Star Trek model in Burbank, California. From the left Vern Sion, Mel Keys, and Volmer Jensen.

Now I’m telling you all of this because of what I found out years later.  You have to see it in relation to my history with Star Trek and how that had started when I was a small child.  When I was watching the show all through the years, I wasn’t aware of the family connection I had with the show.  It wasn’t until around 2015 or so that I found out the amazing information.  Cousin Joseph was sharing old family photos with me, and he sent me a photo of some people on the street standing next to what looked like the Starship Enterprise.  I asked him what it was.  He told me that our moms’ first cousin Mel Keys had built the model of the Starship Enterprise.  The Starship Enterprise that had zoomed across my old black and white TV all those years ago had been built by my mom’s first cousin!!!

My mind was blown.  I don’t say that very often.  Actually, I don’t recall saying that about anything else in my life.  My mom must not have known this fact.  I would have remembered if she had said something like, “Oh, yeah, my cousin built that cool spaceship.”  Definitely I would have remembered that little juicy morsel of information.  But now that I know this information, I tell it to people all the time.  Especially if they are somewhat interested in science fiction.  Sometimes even if they’re not!  It’s just too amazing.

So when I went to that 2017 Keys Reunion, I saw Mel Keys.  I talked to him and let him know I was a fan of the show.  It was a pleasant little chat.  Later, though, people were taking photos of groups for the reunion.  My sister Karen and some cousins decided to get a picture taken with Mel Keys.  Not a group photo, they were each taking a photo with him.  I declined.  Can you believe it?  What was I thinking?  I didn’t want to bother him by getting a picture with him because of a model he made fifty years earlier.  What was I thinking?  Of course I did!  It was the Starship Enterprise that was used in the filming of that show!  I didn’t take the chance.

But I was hoping to remedy that this year and go where I had not gone before.  Alas, it was not to be.  I was sorry that my mom’s first cousin had died.  I would have liked to have (boldly) gone to the funeral to be with the family.  In good Star Trek fashion, he lived long and prospered. 

Peace and long life.

Bucklin Twins in 1925

Bucklin siblings with friends in 1925 in Hathaway, Louisiana.

I know, I know. There are more than two people in this photo, but my focus is on my grandfather and his identical twin.  I always thought it was fascinating that my grandfather had an identical twin.  Wouldn’t that be fun?  I always thought it would be.  I suppose I had the next best thing with having several siblings and we weren’t really that far apart in age.  My younger sister and I would tell people that we were twins, and they believed it.  We were just playing around though.

My grandfather, though, had the real thing.  His name was Fred D Bucklin – the D did not stand for anything.  His identical twin’s name was Clarence Johnathan Bucklin.  Clarence had a middle name and a nickname – “CJ.”  They were born on October 2, 1907, in Roanoke, Louisiana.  The photo was taken around 1925, so they would be teenagers at the time it was taken.  

It looks like they were dressed alike, too.  That makes it even harder to tell them apart.  But I don’t think they wanted to help people tell them apart at the time.  They liked playing tricks on people about their identity.  At least that’s what my mom told me when I’d ask her about it.  She said that the teachers had a hard time telling them apart at school, so they’d give each twin a different color ribbon or arm band to wear.  That wasn’t very successful, because the twins would switch colors on the teachers and do what they wanted.  I think they were a bit of jokesters.  You can see that in this photo, where one of them is sliding his hat onto his sister Edna’s head.  She was two years younger than the twins.

My mom also said that they would pull a switch with her when she was younger, but she said it didn’t take her long to realize that it was her uncle rather than her father.  He probably had an impish smile on his face since he had pulled a fast one on her. Twins look very much alike, but there are details that you notice when you know them that helps you to tell them apart.   I would think that growing up in a household with one of them would make it easy to distinguish between the two of them.  I wasn’t there back then, so I can’t tell who is who in these old photos.  I’m not sure if there is a way to tell at this point.  I just know that the one with Grandma in the photos is my grandfather!

The interesting thing about identical twins is that their DNA is exactly the same.  If they did a DNA test, the results would show as ‘self.’  But they didn’t live long enough to participate in DNA testing.  But their daughters did.  My mom and her first cousin Carla both did a test.  When a person tests, 50% of their DNA comes from each parent.  Half comes from their dad and half from their mom.  Regular siblings have 50% from both parents, but it’s not the same pieces. Full siblings usually share around 50% with each other.  About 25% of what they have in common is from their mother, the other 25% is from their father.  If you only shared a father, half siblings would only have about 25% in common.  

First cousins share about 12.5% of their DNA.  Unless, of course, their parents are identical.  If they are truly identical, it would show up as though they were half siblings, which would be around 25%.  Well, the results of my mom and her cousin prove that Fred and Clarence were indeed identical.  Mama and Carla share 30%, which is on the high end of the scale for half siblings.  The only way that could have happened was because of the identical DNA in the brothers. 

Of course, if you just look at the photos of the two brothers you would know.  But it’s fun to see that a test can show that they were.  

SPEBSQSA Singers in Jennings Circa 1949

1949 Newspaper article about my dad singing in Jennings in 1949.

I found this article online last year and it surprised me a bit.  It is from 1949 and it is about a music group from Lake Charles visiting Jennings and performing for them.  I don’t know how the event came about, but it must have been sufficiently interesting enough to make it into the newspaper.  And I’m glad it did.

When I was growing up in Jennings, Louisiana, we did a lot of singing.  My parents sang, my brothers sang, and my sisters sang.  We all sang together.  We sang at home.  We sang at church.  We sang at school.  We even went to school during the summers so we could sing some more!

The main reason was because my dad was a band and choral director and my mom had majored in music at college as well.  When I saw this article, I was brought back to summer vacations when we’d all pile in the old Country Squire station wagon and head to Texas or the Gulf Coast.  That old car had a sticker on the back window, and it was for this group – SPEBSQSA.  We were so proud that we could quote and say it really fast.

My dad’s belt buckle for many years.

I always figured that my dad brought his singing and barbershopping to Jennings for the first time in 1963 when we moved there.  But this article shows me how I wrong I was to assume that.  My dad had been to Jennings in 1949 with the barbershop group from Lake Charles!  From what I know, he started with that group in 1948 when he was just 19 years old.  He wouldn’t meet my mom – Betty Lou Bucklin from Hathaway – for another year.  She was still in high school at the Hathaway school.

It looks like my dad was part of a barbershop quartet as well as the choral group.  I know he would do that a few years later when he was in the Air Force.  Then when we lived in Jennings for those many years, he would always have a quartet.  He stayed involved with SPEBSQSA for the rest of his life, even after they changed their name.  He was a fixture at those barbershop conventions through the years.  They’d sing and sing and sing til all hours of the night in to the morning.

After many hours singing and woodshedding, he’d climb into bed to sleep.  As his head hit the pillow, he probably could still hear the sounds of “When it’s darkness on the Delta” or “When it’s sleepy time down South” in his mind.  The harmonies would quickly lull him to sleep.

Jennings barbershop chorus in 1968.

Grandma Daisy and Her Sisters

Ruth, Daisy (sitting), and Mabel Keys in 1894 in Louisiana.

I was determined to write a post about the Keys this week.  I looked to see if there were any photos that I haven’t posted yet, and I couldn’t find any.  I can’t let that stop me from writing about my Keys ancestors, especially since there will be a Keys Reunion in a couple of weeks.  It will be on June 15th at the Hathaway/Raymond Catholic Church Hall.  Ask me for more details if you want to attend.

So this week I will share a photo that I’ve shared before.  But I have improved the photo from the last time you saw it.  I got the original image from my Aunt Loris a few years ago.  It was just a snapshot of an old photo in a round frame.  The photo was cropped in a circle, so some of the details were missing.  

I worked on it to fill it in for a square photo.  I like the way it came out, except for the plant on the right side of the photo.  In my first edit, I cloned the bottom leaves of the plant and it went all the way to the top of the photo.  It looked like a small version of Jack and the Beanstalk.  I used it anyway, because I didn’t know what the original setup was.

Then I was looking through Edith Keys Segraves book about our Keys ancestors and I came across this same old photo.  But the version in the book has the curtains like you see in the right side of the photo I’m posting today.  So I did some blending and copying from photo to photo and came out with this better version.  I did this a few months ago and liked the results.  The original photo in that book also shows them all full length.  In other words, their feet are showing and so is the floor.  Maybe I’ll find a good copy of that photo and you’ll see this photo in yet another version!  Lucky you.

Maybe you don’t like this photo as much as I do, but I’m partial because the Keys sister in the middle is my great grandmother Daisy Keys Phenice.  She and her mother and siblings came to America from England in 1887.  They left during Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.  One of the things about this move is that it separated Daisy’s mom Martha Ann Cook Keys and her sister Henrietta Cook Keys.  It seems like they were very close.  They lost their father when they were young children and they later married two of the Keys brothers in England.  But this move to America put a big distance between the sisters.

Daisy and her sisters did not do the same thing.  They all settled in southern Louisiana.  Daisy was the oldest of the sister, having been born in 1876.  She was the third child, though.  There were two older brothers – Henry Alfred and Leonard.  They stayed in southern Louisiana as well.  Daisy lived in Hathaway, Louisiana, where she raised a family with Harry Clifton Phenice.  Ruth, who was born in 1879, married to Herbert Bryan and they raised a family in Jennings and surrounding areas.  Mabel, born in 1881, married to Abraham Miller and they lived in Kinder, Louisiana.  All five of the Keys siblings lived within 30 minutes or so from each other.  A much easier visit to make than crossing the ocean! 

Even though the subsequent generations have spread out to many states, I’m hoping to see a nice group of cousins at the upcoming Reunion.

Mee Maw and Pee Paw Together

Erie Patureau Landry and Rob Landry circa 1954. I’m pretty sure the photo was taken at their home in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

I like this photo.   It’s one of those photos that is calming to me.  There’s something relaxed about it.  You can tell that it’s not a posed photo – neither of the subjects are looking at the camera.  Maybe they were aware of it and were trying to get ready for a posed photo.  Or maybe they were surprised by the photo.  They would have known right away that the photo was taken.  It’s a flash photo.  I don’t have a posed photo from the same day, so maybe a candid photo was the goal.  I have always liked candid photos.

I particularly like this one because it is a photo of my paternal grandparents.  We called our grandmother Mee Maw, but she was born Germaine Erie Patureau on August 6, 1895, in Crescent, Louisiana.  Pee Paw was born on the other side of the state in Westlake, Louisiana, on January 9, 1893.  He was named Robert Joseph Landry, but most people knew him as Rob, Bob, or Pappy.  They were married in 1921 in Lafayette, Louisiana, and then made their home in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

They had their first child in 1923 and their eighth (and last) in 1936.  My dad was born in 1929, and he was named after his father.  So he was Robert Joseph Landry, Jr.  He went by Bobbie, Bob, and Pluto.  His parents became grandparents in 1947 with the birth of The First.  Plenty more followed.  By the time that my sister Jodie was born in October of 1953, there were already seven other grandchildren. 

I’m thinking this photo was taken from around that time.  My grandparents look about the same age as they did when my parents brought Jodie home to Lake Charles for the first time to meet the family.  That was around the beginning of 1954.  By that time, grandchild number nine had already arrived.  And those grandchildren probably recognize a lot more from this photo than I do.  I wasn’t born until after Pee Paw’s death in 1957.  I also don’t remember this house, which I assume was their home in 1954.

If Mee Maw had lived in this house when I was a kid, I think I would have remembered that door with the two arched panels of glass.  It looks like it is an exterior door, and even the wall in the room back there looks like an exterior wall.  But it has furniture in it!  It looks like an old porch that was closed in at a later date.  We have that in the house that we are living in now.  The furniture doesn’t look familiar either – neither the rocking chair nor the chair or sofa.  I’m not familiar with the cake plate that Mee Maw is holding, but it is evident that Pee Paw was.  He’s looking a little expectantly at that covered dish.  He was probably looking forward to a tasty dessert!

But I do remember my dear sweet Mee Maw.  She was such a gently, kind woman.  I missed out on knowing Pee Paw personally, but I did get to be around my grandmother for the first thirteen years of my life.  I have good memories of her from family get togethers through the years.  She would also come to visit with us and teach us card games and watch TV with us.  She told me a funny little lie once and she cured a sick spell I had at her sister’s funeral.  I know I shouldn’t say this, but I think I might have been her favorite!

That’s not really true.  It’s a running joke among the cousins.  I never thought I was her favorite.  I always felt loved by her.  If she had favorites, so be it.  That would not prevent her from having enough love to spread around.  As Lottie from the movie Enchanted April would say, “She had a tub of love.”

 

Betty Lou Graduated in 1951

My mom’s birthday is coming up soon, so I’ve been thinking about her a bit more than usual.  It’s also that time of year when high school graduations occur.  In fact, tomorrow will be the 45th anniversary of my high school graduation.  Wow!  That’s a big number!  And I was calling myself an old fart when I wrote about my 40th year anniversary.  The years just keep flying by.  

Betty Lou Bucklin graduated from Hathaway High School in 1951. Go Hornets!

When I thought about what I’d write tonight, I decided it would be about my mom.  I don’t have any birthday photos of her when she was younger, but I do have her high school graduation photo.  So that’s what I decided to post today.  My mom was Betty Lou Bucklin and she was born in Hathaway, Louisiana, in 1933 to Fred and Myrtle Phenice Bucklin.  She was the second of five children.  When growing up in Hathaway, she had several cousins living nearby from both sides of her family.  

It was a small community, so when they went to school, it was the same school for twelve years.  Hathaway High School was a large brick building back then and the school mascot was the Hornet.  It wasn’t always like that.  My grandmother Myrtle Phenice Bucklin lived in Hathaway and went to several schools.  Her first two years of high school were at Hathaway School.  Then she spent a year going to Kinder and her final year at Jennings High School finished in 1925.  That must have been before they built Hathaway High School.

Hathaway High School graduating class of 1951.

And my mom did go to school for twelve years.  It changed a year or so before she graduated.  Previous years only went for eleven grades.  I’ve seen photos of previous grades and the class started out with more students.  I guess that’s the way it always is.  By the time her class made it to graduation, there were only fifteen of them left.  Like I said, it was a small community.  My mom was not the valedictorian, but she was the salutatorian.  The only reason I know that is because Grandma would tell people from time to time that Betty Lou had been the valedictorian.  And Mama would be quick to correct her by saying that she had been the salutatorian.  She didn’t want people believing something incorrect about her. 

So my mom graduated from high school 73 years ago.  And she shows up right in the middle of their high school graduation photo.  That’s because she was the most important, even if she wasn’t the valedictorian!  Of course, that’s my humble opinion.  Let me tell you who everyone is.  On the top row from left to right are James LeJeune, Lela Mae Jester, Edmond Gary, T. J. Tramel, and Lenus LeBlanc.  The middle row includes Clement Miller, LaVelle Krumnow, Betty Lou Bucklin, Lee James Clement, and Claribel Brown.  The front row consists of Doris Gotreaux, Arvis Gary, Carol Bryan, Dot Gary, and Julia Gary.

My would have been turning 91 this coming Monday.  Her classmates were of the same general age.  I think a few of them are still around.  I really don’t know.  I’ll be thinking of my mom on Monday…and most every day.

Landry + Bouquet = 100

Bibb and Manette Bouquet with their children at their 50th wedding anniversary celebration in 1974.  Standing in the back from left to right Beth, Plukey, Pinkie, Ida Mae, George, Tessie, twins Roberta and Robert, and Mervyn.

It’s a good thing that I’ve thought about and planned on what I’m writing tonight, because I haven’t done much to prepare.  Plus I got distracted tonight with the four little kittens that we got this week, and I ended up cleaning our front brick steps with a pressure washer.  It has to look good for the garden tour on Saturday!!  And now it’s 9:00 pm and I’m just getting started.  I can’t pay attention to anything else at the present, so hold your calls!  

This is slightly different than usual, because instead of talking about my ancestors, I’m talking about relatives.  But these relatives on my dad’s side of the family are special.  In many ways.  I’ve mentioned them a few times on previous blogs.  Mainly because they are part of the big entanglement in my dad’s family tree.

The central person to this post is Marie Manette Landry.  She was my dad’s (Robert Joseph Landry, Jr.) first cousin and she was a bit older than he was.  She was born in 1904, while my dad was born in 1929.  That was mainly because her father Sebastien Landry was almost 20 years older than my grandfather Robert Joseph Landry, Sr.  They were known as Seb (rhymes with dweeb) and Rob.  Uncle Seb married his first cousin Marie Manette Landry (yes, the same name as her daughter.)  When Manette-1904 was born, Manette-1876 died just 9 days later.  I’m pretty sure it was from complications from childbirth.

Manette and Bibb circa 1924

Uncle Seb never did remarry.  He lived with his parents for a while, so Manette was like a little sister to Rob.  When Rob was older, he married a cousin as well.  Manette-1876 had an older sister named Marie Therese.  Marie Therese married Ferdinand Patureau and they had many children, including Germaine Erie.  Rob and Erie got married in 1921.    They had the first of their eight children in 1923.  On May 9, 1924, (100 years ago today) Manette-1904 married Adnes “Bibb” Bouquet.  They had the first of their nine children in 1925.  So even though Manette was his first cousin, it was her children who were more like first cousins to my dad and his siblings.  The families have always been close.

I remember cousin Manette from when I was a young teenager.  I’m sure I saw her on several occasions through the years, but I distinctly remember going to their 50-year wedding anniversary in 1974.  It must have been in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  I remember eating snacks from the different tables and coming across an old photo of the couple when they were newly married.  It was so fascinating to me to see the photos of those young people and see how they had turned into these old relatives of my dad!  I seem to remember her having her hair in a bun and I wondered how long her hair was.  If she had let it grow all those years, it was probably REALLY long!  LOL  

I also remember when they took the photo from 1974.  I didn’t think anything of the wild patterns of their clothes.  That was the norm at the time.  I remember they looked like a big happy family, similar to my own family.  When I correspond with these family members now, sometimes they’ll ask exactly how we’re related.  Well, since Manette’s father and Rob’s father were brothers, they were first cousins.  Since Manette’s mother was the aunt to Rob’s mother, they were first cousins once removed.  There are more relationships that make it even more confusing.  It was always talked about like it was no big deal.  Most people nowadays don’t see it that way.

I remember hearing someone at a family gathering say, “Oh, yeah.  I remember when Uncle Rob married cousin Erie.”  I’m thinking that it was Manette that must have been the one speaking.  She definitely wasn’t insinuating anything bad about it, her own parents were first cousins.  She was a sweet lady and I’m glad to honor her on the 100th anniversary of her wedding.

Susan G. Stanbrough Was Known as Sue

Susan G. Stanbrough in Jennings, Louisiana, circa 1900.

I’m talking about my great great grandmother Susan G. Stanbrough.  In this photo she looks like a rather serious woman.  I have a few other photos of her, and she looks equally serious in those as well.  Of course, when you look at old photos from that time period, that was usually the case.  But in her correspondence with family that I have found, she would sign off with a casual Sue.  So most of the times I refer to her as Grandma Sue.  In this post I’ll just call her Sue.

Sue was the mother of Addie May Hine, my great grandmother.  Sue had five sons as well.  Addie had more sons and more daughters, with a total of twelve children.  I descend from her son Fred D. Bucklin.  Fred, like Sue, had a middle initial in his name that didn’t stand for anything.  Fred was the father of Betty Lou Bucklin, my dear sweet mother.

Sue started her life in Westfield, Indiana, on October the 3rd of 1851.  Her parents were John Stanbrough and Lydia Jane Mills.  Sue was the seventh of thirteen Stanbrough children, though some of those siblings shortened their last names to Stanbro or Stambro.   Sue spent her childhood in Hamilton County, Indiana.  Her mother died early in 1873, and later that year Sue married George Henry Hine.  They were 4th cousins through their common ancestors William Vestal and Elizabeth Mercer.  Sue and George might not have been aware of that, because their common ancestors died almost a hundred years before the younger couple were born.

Sue and George had all six of their children in Indiana – some in Hamilton County and others in Boone County.  There was family in both counties.  They then decided to move south to Louisiana.  I’m not sure what the motivation was, but it was a time when the railroads came through southern Louisiana and made it more accessible.  There were different people who promoted the area as a great place for farming with mild winters. 

1900 U. S. Census of Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana.

The family moved to Jefferson Davis Parish in Louisiana in 1894.  They acquired a homestead in China, Louisiana.  In the 1900 Census, the family included George, Susan, John U. (must be Bert James by year of birth), Romanzo (“Rowe”), James, and Oliver.  But also included in the household is James Stanbrough.  That would be Sue’s brother Jim who was a year older than her.  He had moved down to Louisiana and was living with them.  Addie was not in the household, because she had gotten married and had started a family of her own.  I don’t know where 18-year-old Lonnie Hine was at the time.  Perhaps in the military?  He didn’t get married until 1903.

If I’m correct about the date of this photo, it was taken around the same time as the Census.  The family had been in the South for about six years and Sue had recently become a grandmother.  They probably took the photo in Jennings, Louisiana, because that was the nearest town that was likely to have a photo studio.  This is actually cropped from a photo of the whole family.  It’s a great family photo, but I just wanted to focus on Sue today.  

If you look at this photo long enough, you’ll start to catch a glimpse of a smile on her lips.  Go ahead.  Try it!

Grampa Max in Beaumont

Vincent Maximilian Patureau and Gertrude Brammer Patureau in Beaumont, Texas, circa 1925.

This is the second photo of Grampa Max that I’ve shared from this particular visit to Beaumont.  I shared that photo in a blog post from over eight years ago.  Eight years!  It’s hard to believe that I’ve been writing these weekly posts for that long.  Do you remember that first photo that I shared from that visit?  The name of the blog post was “Patureau Brothers” and it was a photo of Grampa Max with his older brother Leobon.  The woman that you see was also in that first photo.  When I first shared that photo, I thought it might have been taken in Lafayette.  I’m pretty sure now that the photo was taken in Beaumont, Texas.

My great grandfather’s given name was Vincent Maximilian Patureau, but everyone knew him as Max.  He was born in 1865 in Matamoras, Mexico.  His parents were Ferdinand Pierre Patureau and Marie Emma Landry.  Ferdinand was born in France and he came to Louisiana with his parents and siblings in 1840.  Emma was a Cajun from Brusly, Louisiana.  The Landry family had settled in Louisiana in 1767 after being Exiled from Acadie in 1755. 

Max grew up in Plaquemine, Louisiana, and when he was of marrying age, he got married to a Landry of his own.  His wife – my great grandmother – was Marie Therese Landry.  Her father Trasimond Landry was the first cousin of Max’s mom Emma.  Max and Marie Therese had fifteen children together, including my grandmother Germaine Erie Patureau.  She, too, married another Landry.  My grandfather was Robert Joseph Landry.  He was the son of Alcide Landry, the brother of Trasimond.  Erie and Rob had eight children, and one of them was my dad who was known as Bob Landry.  As I often like to say, he married outside of the family.  There’s not a single Cajun to be found in Betty Lou Bucklin’s family tree!

Like I said before, this is a photo of my Grampa Max.  He’s actually my great grandfather and he died long before I was born.  The woman in the photo is Gertrude Brammer Patureau.   She was married to Max’s nephew Arthur Mitchell Patureau.  Arthur was the son of Max’s brother Louis Leobon Patureau and he lived in Beaumont.  When I posted the first photo all those years ago, I didn’t realize the strong connection that the Patureau family had with Beaumont.  Arthur and Gertrude were both from Plaquemine, but they were living in Beaumont by the time of the birth of their first child Albert Leobon in 1912.  They lived there for the rest of their lives.

The Patureau Bed headboard has a mattress roller along the top. It can be removed. In olden times it was used to smooth out the mattresses. The bed was made around 1800 in France. That’s our little girl cat Bella on the pillows.

But they weren’t the only members of the Patureau family living there.  Max and Louis’s youngest sister Marie Victorine “Aunt Bebe” Patureau Cropper moved to Beaumont with her family in 1903 and stayed.  Aunt Bebe was the Patureau family historian of that generation.  She started an amazing collection of photos, letters, and other memorabilia relating to the family.  That collection is now in the Tyrrell Historical Library in Beaumont.  She also had the amazing bed that the Patureau family brought to the US from France.  I now have that bed.  I like to do my French lessons while I lie in that bed.  This often leads to me having a “Pat” nap. 

But back then it was in Beaumont.  I know that Grampa Max visited Beaumont from time to time.  It’s likely that he would have stayed at his sister’s house.  They probably shared meals there as well.  And in my family, there is a tradition after big family meals.  And that tradition is taking naps.  I’m sure Grampa Max knew the history of that old Patureau bed and would have wanted to use that for his own “Pat” naps.  Right?  And I’m sure that Aunt Bebe would have been willing to let that happen.  She got to keep the bed in her house after all.

It’s what I would do.  That’s right!  Any of you Patureau relatives out there that want to come visit are welcome.  Maybe we could share a meal.  And then maybe, just maybe, you too can have a “Pat” nap!

Samuel Charles Phenice Lost a Son

My great great grandfather Samuel Charles Phenice circa 1910. Probably in Nebraska.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about tonight.  I was busy at work this week, so I didn’t really think about it.  There were a few things that happened outside of work that made me consider a topic.  But I wasn’t sure.  Last week I talked about my dad’s side of the family, so this week it was time for a post on my mom’s side of the family.  Specifically, it was time for a Phenice post.

I looked through the folder of Phenice photos a little, but then thought it might be interesting to find something that happened 100 years ago.  I didn’t know what that might be, so I looked at photos in the 1920s.  Nothing stood out, so I looked at my family tree to see what was happening with the Phenice family 100 years ago.  There wasn’t anything specifically in 1924 that I saw, but I did see an event that happened in 1922.  On 2-22-22 (February 22, of 1922) my great great grandfather Samuel Charles Phenice suffered the loss of his first son Chauncey.

This was actually the theme I had thought of writing about this week, because my godmother lost her son this week.  It’s such a tragedy when a parent loses a child.  When my oldest sister died in 1989, it hit my parents really hard.  My goal for the rest of their lives was to take good care of myself so they wouldn’t have to go through that kind of loss again.  I succeeded.  But things happen sometimes outside of our control.

My great uncle Chauncey Phenice – 1868-1922. This photo was taken around 1900, possibly in Nebraska.

In the case of my great great grandfather Samuel, the death of his first child came just after a year of losing his wife of fifty years – Cathrine Jane “Kate” Foster Phenice.  Most of the time when I think about them, I focus on obvious things.  They had a long marriage of fifty years – a family tradition in this line – six generations with 50 years or more.  Of course, I tell about Samuel being in the Civil War out of Pennsylvania.  Yes, he was a Yankee!  He also was a witness to the Lincoln Assassination.  Kate had a tragic end to her life.  Her clothes caught on fire and she died as a result of her injuries.  As a result, Samuel dealt with the loss of his son without her.  Chauncey was their first – he was the one that made them parents.  

It’s kind of surprising that Samuel didn’t outlive more of his children.  When you live to the age of 95 like he did, it seems to happen.  My great great grandmother Belite Bujol outlived five of her seven children, and she only lived to be 80 years old.  There are sad stories in every family.  Yet it is the family who can help in these times.  Nothing you can say can repair the hole left behind when a loved one dies.  But the love and support from family and friends can make it a bit easier to endure.

This one is dedicated to my godmother and her son.

1 2 3 54