A Bucklin Dinosaur?

A few years ago, I was watching a Youtube video on dinosaurs and was really surprised when they mentioned William Buckland!  I immediately emailed Uncle Ray Bucklin since he always seemed to know something about most everything. As an educator, he would often guide us to find our own answers, but this time he went into research mode.

Ray replied, “William Bucklin is probably the most famous Buckland. … He is one of those early guys who didn’t get a lot of stuff quite right, but helped lay the foundation for modern science.”  Later that night, he had already figured out our common ancestor and showed how we were related.

William Buckland, a renowned geologist and paleontologist, lived from 1784 to 1856.  He was a professor of geology at Oxford University. Buckland was a pioneer in the study of dinosaurs and is credited with scientifically describing and naming the first dinosaur, Megalosaurus, in 1824. A few years later, the species was given the name Megalosaurus bucklandi. The term dinosaur didn’t come into existence for over a decade.  He also helped to develop the theory of catastrophism, which said that the Earth’s features were formed by sudden, violent events, such as floods and earthquakes. While the original concept of catastrophism has evolved, elements of it still exist within modern geology.

Megalosaurus, meaning “great lizard,” was a large carnivorous dinosaur that lived during the Middle Jurassic period, approximately 166 to 168 million years ago. Its discovery and Buckland’s subsequent research on this dinosaur were groundbreaking for the time. Megalosaurus served as one of the key pieces of evidence supporting the existence of ancient reptiles that once roamed the Earth.

The next time we met with Ray, we celebrated Mom’s birthday together and the gift Ray brought was a little Megalosaurus toy and he made it a name tag.  While cleaning out his house, I found he had the same dino toy on the shelf next to his computer.  It always surprised me that he managed to find a dinosaur toy based on a species I had never heard of. I guess being the “first dinosaur” makes the species toy worthy.

Given the similar body shape, you may wonder how related Megalosaurus is to T-Rex? They are both theropod dinosaurs, but they are not closely related and were separated by around 90 million years. Megalosaurus was around half the size, 23 to 33 feet long and 10 feet high at the hip.

Ray wrote, “So, the next time you are hanging out with a bunch of paleontologists or geologists, you can verify that yes, you are indeed related to William Buckland (1784-1856) of dinosaur fame.  The common ancestors were John Buckland (1540-?) and Dorothy Father.  It is possible that William Bucklin would have known his grandfather John Bucklin (1540-?) who would have been 66 when William was born.”

He calculated William Buckland (1784-1856) was Ray and Louise’s 8th cousin 3 times removed.  For Van Landry and I’s generation, that would be 8th cousin 4 times removed.

John Buckland (abt. 1540) & Dorothy Father  — Common Ancestors

  • Hughe Buckland (abt. 1570)
  • Thomas Buckland (1605) 
    • William Bucklin (1606-1683) 🦖
  • John Buckland (1634)
  • Lee Buckland (1655)
  • Nicholas Buckland (abt. 1678 – 1731)
  • Lee Buckland (1702 – abt. 1785)
  • William Buckland (abt. 1725)
  • Thomas Buckland (abt. 1757 – 1822)
  • William Buckland (abt. 1784 – 1861)
    • James Bucklin* (1821-1890) 👨‍🌾 (our ancestor, homesteaded in Louisiana)

I hope this glimpse into our family’s connection to William Buckland and his contributions to science has been interesting.  I wish I had gotten around to writing it while Ray was still with us.

Read more about Megalosaurus.

You can read Buckland’s original description of Megalosaurus.

Robert Joseph Landry, Jr. – 87 years, 11 months, 24 days

My parents Betty and Bob Landry were the longest-lived couples in my ancestry. This is a photo of them in 2011 in Galveston, Texas, at a family gathering.

If you read my post last week, you’ll know that this is a continuation of that one.  Again I will be discussing the longevity of my ancestors.  I looked through six generations (up to 4X great grandparents) and figured out as closely as I could the exact age they were at their death.  The most interesting thing I noticed was that both of my parents were in the top 10 for longevity.  I definitely got to benefit from that.

Last week the focus was on my mom’s side, so this week the focus is on my dad.  The amazing thing is that my dad outlived most of my other ancestors.  Only three ancestors outlived him.  When I was younger, I would have never agreed with anyone if they would have suggested that that would happen.  Both of his parents died from heart issues, and he had heart issues for a while.  

He’s like Nadal in the tennis world.  Everyone said that his aggressive style of tennis would take an early toll on his body and he wouldn’t last long.  He ended up having one of the longest careers of elite tennis players and has set many records.  My dad may not have set any world records, but I have been told that he is a legend!

The two longest-lived ancestors were on my mom’s side of the family.  The longest-lived ancestor from his side of the family made it the age of 90.  So she lived a year longer than he did.  That was accomplished by Marie Magdelena Babin, who lived two hundred years earlier.  She lived from 1725 to 1814, and Daddy lived from 1929 to 2017.  She was born in Acadie, married Augustin Landry around 1752 (my parents married in 1952), and ended up in Louisiana after being exiled by the English during the Grand Derangement.   What tales she could have told.

I find it interesting that the three ancestors who outlived all the rest did it against the odds.  All three of them survived events that took the lives of many of their contemporaries.  And they weren’t just any old event.  They each had an Event with a Capital Letter.  Like I mentioned last week, Samuel Charles Phenice (the oldest) survived being injured during the Civil War.  That was a war with many casualties.  The next oldest was Edward McGrath who was from Ireland.  And he wasn’t just an immigrant from Ireland, he survived the Irish Potato Famine.  That happened during the 1840s and about a million people perished from the Great Hunger.  Edward and his wife Ettadosia brought their children to the United States and settled in Massachusetts.  And now we see that one of those long-lived ancestors was a survivor of the Great Expulsion of the Acadians.  We are all descendants of survivors, and these were the long-lived ones.

On the other end of the spectrum were a few ancestors who lived only long enough to produce one offspring.  Most of my ancestors had large families.  That was true for both sides of my family.  And likewise each side of the family had a short-lived ancestor that only produced one offspring.  I’ll start with the runner up.  Can an ancestor who lived the shortest amount of time be considered the winner?  Hey, at least we are talking about him all these years later.  The winner and the runner up both lived about 200 years ago.  They were alive at the same time as Marie Magdelena Babin Landry.  The runner up was on my mom’s side of the family.  Peter Hine was her great great great grandfather.  He died on July 22, 1819, at the age of 24 years, 8 months, 12 days.  He died from consumption less than two months before the birth of his son.  He never knew his only child.

The winner of the Shortest Lived Ancestor goes to Simon Hebert.  He died on April 17, 1802, at the age of 24 years, 6 months.  It was a close contest – only two months separated the two.  The main difference between the two is that Simon was able to meet his only child.  Marie Carmelite Hebert was born two months before her father died.  Simon’s wife Marie Martha Hernandez would go on to marry a second time and have more children.  But she did not live very long herself.  In fact, she had the third-shortest lifespan of my ancestors.  She died on Dec. 22, 1814, at the age of 33 years, 11 months, 9 days.  So they are definitely the couple with the fewest years when looking at their combined ages.

In fact, I’ve outlived their combined age of 58 years and some months.  I’ve outlived almost forty of my ancestors.  I mentioned Augustin Landry earlier.  He lived 62 years and some days.  I’m a few months older than that.  His great granddaughter Emma Landry Patureau (my great great grandmother) died in 1892 at the age of 62 years, 2 months, 14 days.  She is the most recent of my ancestors that I have outlived.  My sister Karen outlived our ancestor Pierre Bruneteau who lived to the age of 63.  She did not outlive his daughter Celeste Bruneteau Landry who lived to 63 years, 5 months, 29 days.  Karen lived to 63 years, 5 months, 6 days.  My brother Al has outlived Karen and Celeste.  He will soon outlive Henry Keys (63 years, 10 months, 24 days).  My brother Rob has gone on to further outlive nine more of our ancestors, including our Pee Paw – Robert Joseph Landry, Sr. (64 years, 7 months, 19 days)

I plan to touch on this topic again in the future.  Possibly in 10 months, 25 days.  But who’s really counting?

Betty Lou Bucklin Landry – 83 Years, 8 Months

Karen, Mama, and Kelcie making my dad’s birthday cake in 2016.

This post isn’t just about my mom.  It’s about her and her ancestors.  I had to have a post about my mom this week – Sunday was Mother’s Day and her birthday is in two days.  This photo is from her last year.  It’s a photo of her (Betty Lou Bucklin Landry), my sister Karen, and Karen’s granddaughter Kelcie.  They were working together to make my dad’s (Robert Joseph Landry, Jr.) last birthday cake.  

They didn’t know it would be the birthday cake for his last birthday, but he turned 87 on January 31, 2016, and it was family tradition to make his favorite banana cake to celebrate.  (My favorite as well.)  This was at my sister’s house in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  

But technically, it wasn’t his last birthday cake.  My sisters made him a cake a bit early, but he was failing at that point.  He didn’t eat any of the cake and he died a week before his 88th birthday – 87 years, 11 months, 24 days.

The reason for the specific ages is that I’ve been curious about the ages of my ancestors at their death.  So I went through six generations of my ancestors to see how long they all lived.  I have two parents, four grandparents, and eight great-grandparents.  As you can see, it doubles every generation.  So the next two generations added forty-eight more.  I was tempted to stop with sixty-two ancestors.  That took a lot of ciphering to get the years, months, and days for the format I was using.  The format was used in a lot of death notices and on some tombstones.  If you’ve done any genealogy, you would have seen it. 

I decided to go ahead and take it back another generation.  With my dad’s side of the family, there were cousin marriages.  That means some of the ancestors showed up more than once.  It saved me a bit of time.  See, it comes in handy at times.  I didn’t have the information for some of them.  Hopefully I can remedy that in the future.  But I have a pretty good amount of information for what I wanted.  For the confirmed ages I have, only nine of them lived longer than my mom.  One of those was my dad.  Of the other eight who outlived her, five of them were her ancestors.  That included the One Who Outlived Them All – Samuel Charles Phenice.  Besides being famous for having been a witness to the Lincoln Assassination, he was my longest-lived ancestor.  Considering that he fought in the Civil War and was injured in the Battle of the Wilderness, that was quite a feat.  His count is 95 years, 4 months, 26 days.  You go, Grandpa Samuel!

Since both of my parents were in the Top Ten of the ancestors with the longest lives, they are the ancestral couple with the most years when adding both of their ages.  Or are they?  My mom’s maternal grandmother was Daisy Keys.  Her paternal grandparents were George Keys and Elizabeth Crouchman.  George Keys was born October 5, 1780, and he lived 86 years, 1 month, 22 days.  Elizabeth Crouchman died on Nov. 23, 1865, at the age of 84 years.  I don’t know her exact day of birth, just her age at death.  So when I add their ages together, I get 170 years, 52 days.  When I add my parents’ ages together, I get 171 years, 264 days.  (Roughly, I didn’t feel like figuring it out exactly and rechecking.  Too much like work!)  Even if Elizabeth was a day away from her 85th birthday, the grand total wouldn’t be enough to overthrow my parents’ total.  

So I was the fortunate one in my family history to have the longest-lived couple as my parents.  That was mainly due to my mom’s determination.  She made sure my dad got his heart issues checked.  He was able to have heart surgery, which prolonged his life.  My mom also cooked the healthiest meals that my dad would eat (he was very particular about what he would and wouldn’t eat) and they danced together all the time.  It seems to have been a good recipe for a long healthy life.

One more thing before I go.  Besides having the longest-lived ancestor on the Phenice side of her family, my mom also had the runner-up.  The runner-up was on the Bucklin side of her family.  My mom’s paternal grandfather was Louis Charles Bucklin.  Louis’s maternal grandfather was Edward McGrath, who lived to the ripe old age of 89 years, 11 months, 21 days.  He died just short of his 90th birthday.

Speaking of 90th birthdays.  This post is in honor of the 90th anniversary of my mom’s birth.  She was born May 20, 1933.

My Landry Grandparents in 1946

Members of the Landry family in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in 1946.

This is the second week in a row that I’m posting a blurry photo.  Have I run out of clear, sharp images?  No, of course not.  Though after posting over 400 photos, my choices have gotten smaller and smaller.  I have many photos that are sharper, but this is the one that called out to me this week.  Or maybe I should say that it resonated with something inside me.  The content of the photo is much more important than the quality of the photo.  But it’s nice when I can have both. 

I tried to sharpen it up a bit with some software, but the results weren’t accurate.  There isn’t enough information in the photo to guide the software to show what the people really looked like.  Some small feature may have been accurate – like droopy eyes – but the overall results didn’t look like the people I remember.  I wasn’t around back then, but I have other photos of them and know that the software images didn’t have enough to work with.  In the future, the software will be able to look at all of the other photos of the people, gather the information about their facial structure, and make an image clear enough to represent their faces from back then.  But in the meantime, we’ll just have to make do with the image we have.

This is a photo of my paternal grandparents.  They are on the left side of this photo.  Robert Joseph “Rob” Landry and Germain Erie Patureau were married in 1921.  Rob and Erie began having children in 1923 and ended up with eight altogether – Marie, A. J., Hubert, Germaine, Bob (my dad), Wana, Framay, and Johnny.  Standing with Rob and Erie is their son Hubert with his new wife Mildred Sutherlin Landry.  I think this photo was taken on the day of their marriage, which was on July 20, 1946.  It is a sweet photo of a young married couple with the parents of the groom.

But when I look at this photo, I think of the things to come.  Though they were not the first of Rob and Erie’s children to marry – older sister Marie married Malloy Reeves on the first day of October in 1945 – they would be the first to provide them with a grandchild.  So they weren’t known as Mee Maw and Pee Paw at this point, but that would be changing soon when my godmother shows up.  She would make them grandparents.  When you think about it that way, it is an honor.  And my godmother doesn’t let anyone forget it.  No matter how many times we say it just makes her the oldest, she doesn’t care.  She was, is, and always will be The First.  She wears that designation like a tiara, and she wears it well.

Another thing that I think about is that I never knew Aunt Mildred when she was a cute, young, and ambulatory.  Of course I wouldn’t know her when she was young, because she was born almost forty years before I was.  But she also had polio, so she wasn’t able to walk on her own when I knew her.  My mom always spoke very highly of Hubert and Mildred.  She talked about their positive approach to dealing with her difficulties and his devotion to continually working with her to provide as much mobility as possible.  When our family was performing at Shakey’s in the late 1970s, they showed up more frequently than anyone else.  Uncle Hubert would play harmonica on many of the songs, so we got to visit with Aunt Mildred quite a bit.  She was a sweet lady.

But this photo mainly makes me regret that I never knew these grandparents as a couple.  They look very pleased to pose with their son and his wife.  I never saw that because my grandfather died before I was born.  I never got to call him Pee Paw.  I’ve heard many good things about him and from all accounts he and my grandmother were happily married.  So it must have been a profound change in my grandmother’s life when he died.  She was my age (62) when she became a widow.  I have friends who have lost their partners and it is a difficult transition.  

I didn’t mean for this post to be so tinted with sadness.  It’s a sweet photo from a very happy moment in their lives.  It gives me a bittersweet smile.

The Keys Family in England Circa 1878

The Keys at their home in the London area of England, in late1870s.

I’ve been planning on posting this photo for about six years.  I posted an inferior version of the photo in September of 2016.  That one came from a print in the Edith Keys Segraves’ book “Cook-Keys Family: Two Centuries in England and America.”  It looked like a Xerox copy of an old photo.  It was tolerable, but I wanted better.  Thankfully, Edith Keys Segraves took good care of the photo and passed it down to her children.  In 2017 I got in touch with one of her daughters, who graciously let me borrow several photos so I could scan them and photograph them.  (Thanks again, Carolyn!)

The Keys family that I’m talking about include my great great grandparents Henry Keys and Martha Cook Keys.  Before they were married, they each had their own professions.  Henry was a tinsmith for many years, while Martha had a successful dress shop in London.   Some people may have thought that Henry was a confirmed bachelor, because he was single until the age of 47.  But then at some point probably in the late 1860s, he met Martha Ann Cook.  Martha was no spring chicken herself – she was 32 or 33 at that time.  It must have been love.

They were married on November 8, 1869, at St. James Church in the Parish of Shoreditch.  I believe it was part of the Church of England.  After their wedding, they made their home at 6 Field View Terrace in Hackney.  Shoreditch is a district in the East End of London in England and forms the southern part of the London Borough of Hackney.  Both Henry and Martha continued their chosen professions, and while doing so they started a family.  How very modern of them!  Henry Alfred Keys (later known as “The Judge” by his family in Kinder, Louisiana) was born March 18, 1870.  (She had a very short pregnancy! 😉 ) Their next child was another son.  He was also their last son.  Leonard James Keys was born on April 16, 1873.  (He would later become the father of Edith Keys, the family historian.) 

Henry, Martha, Henry Alfred, and Leonard welcomed a new addition to the family on April 20, 1876.  Finally, they had a little girl.  They named her Daisy Henrietta Martha Keys.  Her middle names came from Martha and her younger sister Henrietta.  Henrietta had a Keys family of her own – she was married to Henry’s younger brother William.  So Daisy was born into a large family.  She had her parents, her brothers, several aunts and uncles, and many cousins including eight double first cousins.  Her double first cousins lived in the London area as well, though in the Islington area.  Of importance to me is that Daisy would later be the mother of my maternal grandmother Myrtle Phenice Bucklin – the source of my mitochondrial DNA.  But you can just refer to her as my great grandmother.

Next to join the family was Rosetta Ruth Keys.  Ruth was born on Jan. 13, 1879.  She was the last of the children to be born while the family lived at 6 Field View Terrace.  In about 1880 the family moved to 70 Tiverton Road in Tottenham.  I suppose they must have moved to a larger house to make room for their growing family.  It’s what families usually do.  Tottenham, like Islington, is in North London.  The family would be closer to Henrietta and William’s family.  It is also closer to Walthamstow, which is where Martha and Henriette’s Cook family were from.  There could be other family connections that I’m not aware of.

The last child of Martha and Henry was born December 8, 1881.  She was named Mabel.  I guess they decided five children would be enough.  Every family should have a fifth!  I just say this because I’m a fifth.  I’m not sure if Mabel had been born yet when this photo was taken.  The information I saw about it says that it was taken before 1884 in Hackney.  I’m thinking that if it was taken at the Keys home in Hackney, it would have been taken before 1880.  They moved to Tottenham after that.

Even though this photo is clearer than the first version I had, it’s still a bit blurry.  Henry looks rather dapper standing up in front just behind the iron fence.  He looks as though he may have been smoking a pipe.  This could just be a smudge on the photo.  I can’t tell for sure.  Martha is sitting down to the left of him.  There is nothing of her face to make out.  She does look like she was dressed nicely.  I can make out Henry Alfred standing in front of the window.  He is decidedly older than the boy to the right of him who must be Leonard.  The only other person I think I can make out is a little girl sitting to the right of the photo within the fenced area.  That would be little Daisy when she was a young girl!  

I’m thinking the photo was taken around 1878.  That’s before 1884, so I’m not contradicting the information I was given.  The next few years were probably an ideal time for little Daisy.  Her two little sisters were born, and she was probably learning to sew from her mother.  It was said that they learned at a very young age.  They had some good years before the tragic death of her father when she wasn’t quite 10 years old.  This photo was a view back to that sweet time in the family’s life.  That’s probably why it survived the years.  I’m glad it did.

Bobbie Landry in Second Grade

Robert Joseph Landry, Jr. in the second grade circa 1935 in Lake Charles, Louisiana

Not feeling too wordy tonight.  That’s alright, though, because this photo doesn’t really need many words.  It is a photo of my dad when he was about six years old.  I’m pretty sure it is a school photo.  I’m saying that he was in the second grade, but would that be right?  He was born on January 31, 1929, in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  He was named after his father obviously.  But he wasn’t the oldest son.  He was the third son, like I am.

I always think that the first-born son is the one who usually gets named after the father.  Is that the tradition?  My oldest brother is named after my dad.  I think my other brother was named after my dad’s grandfather and my mom’s father.  So Alcide and Fred come together to form Alfred.  I wasn’t named after anybody.  Not that I know of.  

My dad was named Robert Joseph, but back then he was known as Bobbie.  And it was always spelled B-O-B-B-I-E.  It’s how he was known by his family for the rest of his life, even though everyone else referred to him as Bob.  If I have the date correct, the family that called him that were his parents Rob and Erie Landry, and siblings Marie, A. J., Hubert, Germaine, and younger sisters Wana and Frances.  They would be joined in 1936 by the youngest of them all, little Johnny.  He grew up in the middle of a large Catholic family in the 30s and 40s in a growing Southern town.

He looks like a happy little boy, doesn’t he?

My Great Grandfather Louis Bucklin

Louis Charles Bucklin in 1905, likely in Hathaway or Jennings, Louisiana.

I thought I would write about Louis Bucklin today.  I didn’t realize that I had overlooked him so much through the years until I went to search for posts about him.  The photo I’m using is from an enhanced crop of a photo of he and his wife Addie Hine in 1905.  I posted that photo almost seven years ago.  I have lots of other posts about Addie. 

The main reason is that Addie lived so much longer than Lou did.  He only lived to the age of 54.  In fact, he died six years before my mom was born.  Neither of my parents knew their paternal grandfathers, and neither did I.  Addie lived to the ripe old age of 84, so she was around for the first 27 years of my mom’s life (and the first month of mine).  So there were lots more photos of her to pick from.  I wouldn’t say that she enjoyed having her photo taken, because at times she seems to be scowling in the photos.  But her husband Lou avoided being photographed once he was an adult.

I also overlooked him because I ended up talking about his brother Joe more than him.  Joe had some very interesting tragedies that happened to him.  He had two wives that died young, and two daughters that died even younger.  He also had a men’s clothing store in Jennings in the early 20th century.  The main tragedies that happened to Lou was that he lost an eye in a farming accident and he died somewhat young.  He did sport a glass eye, so that may have led to his aversion of the camera.  I’m not sure.

But Lou Bucklin was how my mom ended up being Betty Lou Bucklin.  His nickname was passed down to his granddaughter and great granddaughter (my oldest sister Jodie Lou).  My mom’s dad Fred D. Bucklin did not share that name.  He didn’t even get a real middle name.  He just got the letter D.  So let’s take a look at Lou’s life.

Louis Charles Bucklin was born April 11, 1873, in Masonville, Iowa.  That was just over 150 years ago.  That’s a major milestone.  I should have written about him last week!  He was overlooked yet again!  It was the sesquicentennial of his birth.  His father James Bucklin was born in Massachusetts, which is where the Bucklin family had been for many generations.  His mother Mary Ann McGrath was born in Ireland, which is where the McGrath family had been for who know how many years.  Louis was born in transition – the family ended up in Louisiana where it has been for a few generations.  Some family members have moved away, and some have stayed.  

Louis was the youngest in his family.  The brother nearest to him – Edd – was nine years older than him.  His oldest brother – a half-brother named James – was 27 years older.  Most of the older siblings were born in Massachusetts, except for Edd who was also born in Iowa.  The family moved to Louisiana when Lou was eleven years old.  Since he was so young, he was not able to make a homestead claim like his father and older siblings.  Yet he was the one that stayed and maintained that land for the rest of his life.

After Louis finished high school, he went off to college at the Ohio Normal School in Ada, Ohio.  Louis started a journal at that time.  His trip up to Ohio is an interesting read.  He commented on the landscapes he saw and the people he met.  His sister Jennie ended up getting sick and dying while he was up there. He must have come back for the funeral and never returned for further education.  His life was about farming and that was mostly what he wrote about from then on.  Of course, he did write about that girl Addie Hine who came to help his mother around the house.  They were married in 1898 when Louis was 25 years old.  They settled in Hathaway and started their family together.

Lou and Addie ended up having twelve children together.  I remember always being amazed by that.  It was like the book I enjoyed reading when I was young – “Cheaper by the Dozen.”  My mom at one point had thought of emulating them.  That’s not something I ever wanted to do.  Even though Lou died at a somewhat young age, he did get to see the first dozen years of his youngest children’s lives.  He even got to meet one of his grandchildren.  Helen Bucklin was born just two years before he died.

Lou died on November 19, 1927, in Elton, Louisiana.  There were several people who mourned his death.

The gravesite of Louis Charles Bucklin in 1927. His wife Addie in the front in black surrounded by her children.


A Smile From Pee Paw Circa 1920

Robert Joseph Landry, Sr. circa 1920 in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Earlier today, I was wondering what I would end up writing about tonight.  I didn’t really have anything in mind.  I wasn’t too concerned, because I usually find something to write about.  But really, after sharing around 400 photos on this blog, you would think that I’d run out of photos!  Not that 400 photos are that many photos.  Right now, I’ve got 1, 874 photos on my phone.  Not that they are all worthy of something to write about, but it’s still a lot more than 400.  And I clean out my photos somewhat regularly.  I’m sure there are people reading this who have photos numbering in the thousands on their phones.  Am I right?

When I was walking home from work, I thought that maybe I’d title my post “Photos of Dead People.”  While not everyone in my photos have died (myself included), many of the subjects in the old photos I post have.  And I was not planning on posting photos of people who were dead in the photo.  There is a history of people photographing the dead to preserve their memory.  That was back in the day when photographs were relatively rare.  But the tradition has carried on in my dad’s side of the family.  

My paternal grandmother Germaine Erie Patureau Landry died in 1973 in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  I remember going to Mee Maw’s funeral.  I have a few memories of that day.  My brother-in-law at the time gave me a piece of polished smoky quartz that I cherished for many years.  Not because of who gave it to me, but I have always liked rocks and minerals.  I haven’t seen that piece of quartz for a while now.  I also remember going to the restroom and my belt buckle fell off and fell into the toilet!  I wasn’t about to fish that thing out, and I hoped that no one would notice it was missing.  Nobody noticed and I think I’ve only told one person that story.  Now everyone knows the secret.

It was at Mee Maw’s funeral that I saw my dad crying for the first time that I recall.  For some reason that seemed like such a big thing to young pre-teen Van.  I don’t remember my grandmother or her coffin or that much of anything else.  But I do remember that afterwards, my dad was given or sent a photo of her in her coffin.  He kept it in the top dresser drawer in my parents’ bedroom.  I know that, because I remember looking through that drawer from time to time and looking at the photo.  I was just a little curious.  When my sister Jodie died in 1989, one of my cousins gave me a photo of her in the coffin.  I have the photo, but I never look at it.  After my parents died in 2017, similar photos were offered to me, but I politely declined.  

Because really, wouldn’t you prefer to have a picture like this one I’m sharing?  Of course, you would!  This is a photo of my paternal grandfather Rober Joseph Landry, Sr. from around 1920.  I always title posts about him using the name that his grandchildren called him – Pee Paw.  He went by Rob or Bob or Pappy.  But when I think of Rob Landry, I think of my brother.  And Bob Landry was my father, and all of his grandchildren called him Pappy.  So Pee Paw is the only name he went by that doesn’t confuse the issue for me.  He, of course, was married to my Mee Maw.  They actually got married around the time that this photo was taken.

I estimated that this photo was taken in 1920.  Rob Landry married Erie Patureau on November 21, 1921.  He was 28 years old at the time and she was 26.  That’s a little older than I would have thought, because they ended up having 8 children together.  That was over a period of 14 years, so Mee Maw was 40 years old when she had her last child.  My mom had her last child when she was 29.  It’s interesting how our idea of ‘normal’ is what we grew up with.  Though that is not always true.

And some of you are probably happy about that.  Because, like I said, I grew up in a family that takes pictures of dead people.  And while I do share photos of people who are no longer with us, they were very much alive when the photos were taken.  Just like this photo of Pee Paw with a big smile on his face.  You can’t do that with a dead person, and I wouldn’t want to see anyone try.

When H. C. Was a Miner

Harry Clifton Phenice in a Colorado goldmine in 1906.

This photo is a cropped version of one of my most favorite old photos.  The original version was one of the first few photos I posted when I started writing this weekly blog over seven years ago.  I think it was my mom’s favorite old photo too.  When she was older and forgetting things about her life, she never did forget about this photo.  She would ask me regularly if I knew where it was, and I would reassure her that I did.  I would hate for this photo to be lost.  It’s one of the main reasons I share these photos and stories of my ancestors.  I want them to be ‘out there’ in the digital landscape so they can be seen by many people and are less likely to disappear.

I only know of one original photo.  I think my mom had it glued into a photo album that she had when she was younger.  I remember seeing that album when I was a kid.  But at some point, she pulled those photos out of the album and had them in a box.  I don’t know if she threw any of them away or not.  The photo seems pretty fragile, yet she was able to get it out of that album mostly intact.  The back of the photo still has a thin layer of the black album page that it was glued to.  I’m curious if any other family member has an original copy of this photo.

The photo of course has been edited.  I cleaned up the original photo.  When I cropped this version, I also ran it through a program to sharpen it a bit.  With him being the only one in this photo, I don’t have to say which one is him.  The original photo has five other men around him.  It was taken at a Cripple Creek goldmine in Colorado.  When I got a book about H. C.’s niece Enola Phenice, it talked about her father Chauncey Phenice and another brother William Emory Phenice mining for gold in Colorado in the early 1900s.  I didn’t realize it was a family activity.  Chauncey and Will went to Victor, Colorado, to hopefully earn some cash in the gold mines.

When H.C. went to Cripple Creek in 1906, he brought his family with him.  He had married his English sweetheart Daisy Keys in 1900.  Their son Sylvan was born in 1901.  (Eleven months after they were married, thank you.) Grace was born in 1903.  They were both born in China.  No, not the country China, but the village of China in Jefferson Davis Parish in Louisiana.  They were only in Colorado for a short time, so I’m thinking they moved there in the spring of 1906.  I know that H.C. and Daisy were in Precept, Nebraska, in March of 1906 for the wedding of H.C.’s younger sister Lola Myrtle.  They were witnesses at the wedding.  They also took a photo with Lola Myrtle and other siblings Emma and Edd.

H.C.’s younger brother Edd circa 1900. (Photo edited and colorized by Van Landry)

So I’m thinking that they moved to Colorado after the wedding.  It would have been too cold before that I would think.  Like I said, they didn’t stay there long.  What I heard was that Daisy wasn’t too fond of the local woman.  Or maybe it was women who came to town to “keep company” with the men who came alone to try to make it rich.  Supposedly they were flirting with little Sylvan when he was walking to school or church or some such thing.  He was only 5 years old!  It’s more likely that they were flirting with the older Harry Phenice and Daisy didn’t care for that.  So back they moved to the small community of Hathaway where my grandmother Myrtle was born later that year.

As a bonus, I’m posting this photo of H.C.’s younger brother James Edmund Phenice.  He never married and lived with his parents Charles and Kate most of his life.  This photo is from the Lincoln collection from my cousin Mona.  Her father Harry Lincoln Quillen had a fondness for his Uncle Edd.  It was a rough little photo that was part of a strip of photos like you get from a photo booth.  I cleaned it up, sharpened it, and colorized it, so I thought I’d share it, too.  Enjoy.

The Landry Family in 1975

The Landry family on July 24, 1975, in College Station, Texas

This photo has been calling to me for a while now.  I really like the photo, but it is just another photo of my family from the 1970s.  I almost used this photo as the theme of last week’s post, but I thought I was being lazy.  It doesn’t take much research to write about something from you own life.  Yet this photo is from almost fifty years ago and I’m not exactly sure of where it was taken.  But it still calls to me, so I’m not ignoring it.  

I got this photo from my brother Rob about five years ago.  I wasn’t familiar with it at the time.  Of course, I had to crop it, clean it up a little, and sharpen it some.  I didn’t really have to, but I thought it would look better with a freshening up.  I suppose Rob told me the date on the photo, because I wouldn’t put a specific date unless I remembered it or had it written down.  The date July 24 is my brother Al’s birthday.  That may be why the date is known.

I’ve pretty much convinced myself that this was taken in College Station, Texas.  The date and the place bring back a lot of memories for me.  My oldest sister Jodie was married to Dennis Franklin and it was around this time that they moved from Lake Charles, Louisiana, to College Station.  They had met at McNeese when they were in college.  When Dennis graduated from McNeese, he was accepted into the graduate program in botany at Texas A&M University.  So that was their impetus to move.  It also explains why Jodie did not perform with the family much when we started singing at Shakey’s the following year.  She was living in Texas.

And once they were living in Texas, the rest of the family had to go see what it was all about!  I remember riding around the campus and looking at the scenes.  We went into the School of Botany (or Plant Biology?) and saw some of the experiments taking place in the lab.  After that, we stopped to look at the golf course.  (My dad was driving.  He was a golf fan.)  While we were watching, a guy shot a hole in one!  That’s the only time I’ve ever seen that in person.  It was such a surprise.  I’d like to say that I remember the family celebrating Al’s birthday, but I don’t.  Maybe he can remind me of something that happened.  We’ll see.

One of the things we did was to take this photo.  My ex-brother-in-law (yes, her first marriage did not last.)  Dennis took the photo.  Not that I remember that.  It’s just that there is another photo that shows Jodie and Dennis together in it.  So he was there that day and he’s not in this photo.  If someone else had been there to take the photo, he would have been in it, too.  So let me identify those of us who are in the photo.  Starting on the left, you see my father Robert Joseph “Bob” Landry, Jr.  He was 46 years old at the time.  He was so young!  At the time I didn’t think that.  He seemed so old to me.  Now it’s me that’s so old!

Standing in the front are my sisters Jodie, Karen, and Jamie.  Jodie was 21 years old at the time.  Karen had just graduated from Jennings High Schol that May of ’75.  She would be starting college at McNeese in a few months.  Jamie was in junior high school and would be starting the 8th grade. The day before this, Jamie was 13, I was 14, and Al was 15.  Our ages are consecutive like that for only a few weeks a year.   Standing behind the girls and next to my dad is my mom.  Betty Lou Bucklin Landry was 42 years old in this photo.  Parents really do grow up with their children.  Particularly so when they get married and have children at a young age.  My mom had six children by the time she was 29.  

Standing in the back are the boys.  The birthday boy Al is the tallest one.  It was his 16th birthday that day.  All four of his children are older than that now.  Time is zooming by!  The next person is 14-year-old Van.  I think I look kinda cute in this photo.  That’s kinda funny because the absolute worst photo of me was taken earlier this same month.  I have no plans of ever posting that photo.  I’m pretty sure it will never call to me!  On the far right is my brother Rob.  He was getting ready for his third year of college at Louisiana Tech in Ruston.  One of his interests in college was photography.  Since the photo came from him, it was probably taken with his old Minolta camera.

So we can thank Rob for the photo.  I hope you all like it.


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