Mrs. Earl Brown (Ola Bowers Brown)
Leola Hill Pitre
Pete E. Jester
Grace Boles Jester
Marie Koll Compton
Addie Hine Bucklin
Sarah Marsh Patridge
Cecile T. Jester
Myrtle Phenice Bucklin
Mrs. Earl Brown (Ola Bowers Brown)
Have you ever heard of Fairview Methodist Episcopal Church? Not many people have. I’m not even sure the church was ever called that except in its planning stage. It was to be the name of the church located in Jefferson Davis Parish just south of the Hathaway/China area in 1894. At about the same time a post office was to be located in the same area with the name of Fairview. But since that name was already taken in another location in Louisiana, the name for the new post office was changed to Raymond. So now we know that area as Raymond and the church that was built there was the Raymond Methodist church.
I found this out recently from a history of the church that my grandmother Myrtle Phenice Bucklin left to my cousin Mary. Another very interesting fact that the publication contained was a bit of information about my great great grandfather George Henry Hine (my mother was Betty Lou Bucklin Landry, her parents were Myrtle and Fred Bucklin, Fred’s mother was Addie Hine Bucklin, and Addie’s father was George.) There is a section in the history that states, “In 1908, Rev. Dan Hayes was appointed pastor. He and Rev. Gillman, a local preacher, held services regularly for some time. On November 29th, Rev. George Hines, residing Elder, preached in the church.”
I had never heard anything about him preaching in church, much less being referred to as a reverend. Of course, that was a long time ago and bits of information like that get lost along the way. Until you find a photo or a church history that fills in a few gaps.
3/9/2018 – Some old Jennings newspapers have become available online through the local library. In the process of searching for family names, I noticed a name that came up from time to time. There was a Methodist preacher located in Lake Charles who would go to different cities to preach. Now here’s the important part – his name was Rev. George B. Hines. Hines, not Hine. It was not my great great grandfather who was the preacher. In that church history, I noticed that the name Hines was spelled differently than any other time they named members of the Hine family. I thought it might have been an oversight, but I think they were indeed speaking of a different family.
*****CONTINUE WITH ORIGINAL POST*****
Speaking of gaps, I’m leaving a big one here as I jump forward to the time of this photo I’m sharing today. This photo was taken around 1945 in front of the Raymond Methodist Fellowship Hall. A photo from the same day was posted just over a year ago by Joseph. It was a group photo also, but not as large of a group. This photo itself was quite small, yet the details are really good.
My mom and her sisters are in it as young girls. Their grandmother Addie is standing behind them. Her brother Ollie Hine is sitting in a chair to the left in the photo as his wife Lenora stands behind him. I can name a few others with the help of other old photos and postings on here. Let’s see how many we can name! Won’t that be fun?
This is Part 2 of a post that I wrote two years ago. I wrote that one because I had acquired a photo of my great grandfather’s (Louis Charles Bucklin’s) burial at Raymond Methodist Cemetery in Raymond, Louisiana. It also showed the original look of his father James A. Bucklin’s grave. In the selfie I took with that grave this past weekend, there is no obelisk sitting on top of the base.
But that’s not why I was there this weekend. I was attending the funeral of my mom’s first cousin Ray Bucklin. Besides being family, he and I shared an interest in genealogy and family history. I suppose that’s why he was buried at this cemetery. Even though he had lived in Florida for many years, he was buried at the old family grave site. He is probably the last of four generations of Bucklins to be buried at that graveyard.
There may be other relatives buried in that graveyard in the future, but it’s likely that he will be the last family member with the Bucklin last name buried there. His father Herbert Bucklin is buried there, as is his grandfather Louis Charles Bucklin (our common ancestor). Louis’s father James A. Bucklin was the first Bucklin family member buried there. He brought his family down to Louisiana in 1884 from Massachusetts.
James Bucklin actually had three sons, but only his son Louis has descendants at this point. Louis had nine sons, but only three of them had a son. Herbert was the father of Ray and Ray did not have any children. Robert, Sr. had a son named Robert, Jr. He had a daughter, so the Bucklin name did not carry on. My grandfather Fred had a son. Austin is still with us and he has grandsons with the Bucklin name, but they are not connected to the Raymond area.
So the family that came to pay respects to Ray are like me. We’re part of the Bucklin family, but we don’t have the last name Bucklin. We took a photo at the grave site and that is the picture I’m sharing today. I warned them beforehand, so I guess that means that I have their permission to do so.
I’ll name people by how they connect to the children of our common ancestor Louis C. Bucklin. In the front row is the surviving family of Herbert Bucklin. From the left is his son-in-law Joseph Connors III, the husband of Louise Bucklin Connors. She is sitting next to him. Next to her are their sons Joseph and John Connors.
On the back row are the cousins. First up on the left is me, Van Landry. I am the son of Betty Lou Bucklin Landry and the grandson of Fred Bucklin. Next is Kristi Jackson Davidson. She is the daughter of Jeannette Bucklin Jackson and the granddaughter of Roy Bucklin. To the right of her is Charles Bruchhaus, son of Harley Bruchhaus and grandson of Ruth Bucklin Bruchhaus. Directly behind Louise is Carol Taylor Fraser. She is the daugther of Helen Bucklin Taylor and the granddaughter of Ralph Bucklin.
The next four people are first cousins of Ray and Louise. First we have a female cousin on the Koll side of the family. Sorry, I can’t remember her name even though she nicely introduced herself. Second is Doris Bucklin Lawson. She is the younger daughter of Roy Bucklin. That would make her Kristi’s aunt. Third is a male cousin on the Koll side of the family. Again, I can’t remember his name. And fourth is Arlene Keys Ware. She is the daughter of Edna Bucklin Keys. She is related to my mom on both sides of the family through the Bucklin and Keys families. The person on the far right in the back is Lauren Bruchhaus Fruge (not Foley! I said it incorrectly a few times. Sorry!) She is the daughter of Laurence Bruchhaus and the granddaughter of Ruth Bucklin Bruchhaus. That would make her Charles’s first cousin.
It was good getting together with cousins to remember Ray. Some of my mom’s Phenice first cousins were at the Methodist Church Annex after the grave site visit because they were helping to prepare the food for lunch afterward. It was good to see them, also. With this group of cousins, the common family background and DNA was noticeable. Certain phrases, smiles, and mannerisms among them reminded me of my mom. She was a part of all of our lives.
Since today is Veteran’s day, I would like to thank all of those who have served our country in the military. Ray Bucklin was one of those. He served in the Air Force. Hat’s off to him.
Here is another great old photo of my grandfather Fred D. Bucklin. I sometimes wonder whether a photo is actually a photo of him. He had a twin brother, so it’s difficult to tell them apart. I’m sure if you knew them well at the time you could tell them apart, but this photo was taken over 90 years ago.
But this photo of him was in my mom’s possession ever since I can remember, so I’m pretty sure it is my grandfather. It was taken around 1929, which is around the time that he began his plant-selling profession. He and his twin brother Clarence actually were working together at the time. I’ve shown a picture of their price list previously, as has cousin Joseph. They were from the early 1930s.
This newspaper ad from the February 13, 1929, edition of the Crowley Daily Signal shows that they had started at least by that point. The Bucklin Bros. were advertising the sale of evergreens to the surrounding communities. This seems to coordinate well with the photo of Grandpa in the truck. If you look at the bed of the truck, you can see several balled and burlapped trees back there.
Like I said, it’s a great old photo. I just wish I knew where the photo was taken. The price lists that were printed back then show an address of Elton, Louisiana, but they didn’t live in Elton proper. They lived in Hathaway. It’s always a bit confusing to me. They have so many names for that little area in Jefferson Davis Parish. We always said that we went out to Hathaway to visit our grandparents, but I think they may actually have lived in China. Or maybe it was Raymond! We passed by the Hathaway High School and the Raymond Methodist Church on the way to their house. If we went a little further down the road we’d be at the China Cemetery.
Whatever you want to call the place, I don’t recall seeing a body of water like you see in this main photo. Maybe some of my cousins or some residents can help me out with this. China? Hathaway? Raymond? Pine Island?
Tell me what you think.
I’ve always liked this photo. Mainly because it is a photo that includes my Grandma Bucklin in it. The photo source was not a very high quality. I think it was a scan of a Xerox of a photo. There were lots of stripes and graininess in the photo, so I doctored it the best I could. I like the way it looks, though I wonder what a scan of a good photo would look like. Maybe one will come my way now that I’m putting this one out there.
Myrtle Sylvia Phenice was born Dec. 19, 1906, somewhere around Hathaway, Louisiana. She was married to Fred Bucklin on March 12, 1930, at the Raymond Methodist Church in Raymond, Louisiana. They had five children together, including my mom Betty Lou who was born in 1933. You can tell from the title that my grandmother is the one giving the haircut. But you don’t know whose hair she is cutting. That would be Irma Hetzel Phenice.
At least I think she was a Phenice at the time. I estimated that date on the photo. Irma married Myrtle’s younger brother Henry in 1934. Yes, I think the date is close enough to be sure that Irma is her sister-in-law at the time of the photo. It seems like homemade haircuts are very common with my family. I have photos of my other grandmother cutting a grandchild’s hair. I also have a photo of my dad cutting his brother’s hair. When we were young, my mom cut our hair most of the time. I cut my own hair. It’s a family thing.
But I think it might be a bit more popular now that the coronavirus is keeping people in their houses, and salons & barbershops aren’t open. I’m here to tell you that you will survive a homemade cutting. But I’m not trying to “educate” you or convince you to participate. I just wanted to share an old photo that I like.
I hope you enjoyed it. (If you can see it through that mop of overgrown hair that you have by now!)
July 6, 2020 – Here is the photo enhanced.
Sept. 20, 2020 Addendum – Van Giving Haircut
I finally participated in the Caronavirus Pandemic Home Haircutting Extravaganza! Cousin Mary came over with her mom Maggie and her children Aiden and Violet. If you had seen Aiden’s hair, you would think I was talking about him when I wrote the last line of the blog post. With a lot of coaxing from Mary, he finally decided to trust me and my scissors. Like I said before, I’m sure he will survive the homemade haircut!
I’m not sure when I first saw this first photo. I must have gotten it from my cousin Joseph a few years ago. He and his mom Louise (my mom’s first cousin) had been collecting Bucklin family photos for a few years and were sharing them with me. They were all new to me, so it was exciting to see all of these old family treasures.
This one was not identified, but we assumed it was at the gravesite of my mom’s paternal grandfather Louis Charles Bucklin in 1927. My mom was born in 1933, so she never knew her paternal grandfather. (My father’s paternal grandfather died before he was born, too.) Lou was born April 11, 1873, in Masonville, Iowa. He died in Elton, Louisiana, on Nov. 19, 1927. He was buried in nearby Raymond, Louisiana, which was where his father James A. Bucklin was buried in 1890.
You can see Lou’s wife Addie in the front and middle of this photo all dressed in black. Her husband had died at the age of 54, and she was only 51. The youngest two children of her eleven living children were only 12 years old. Though you can’t see her face, her sadness is unmistakable. That is what made it likely that this photo was from Lou’s burial.
She was surrounded by her children at the gravesite. The young man on the left who is looking down is either her son Fred or his identical twin Clarence. I think the young boy behind him is her youngest son Roy. Next to him is older son Ralph. It’s likely that the oldest son Leo is the man standing between Ralph and Addie. Ruth is the youngest daughter to the right of Addie. Behind her (and looking down) is son Herbert, then Robert (I think), Fred/Clarence, and possibly Carl.
I went to visit that graveyard in 2015. It was my last outing I had with my mom and my dad. The graveyard is called Raymond Cemetery and it is just down the road from the Raymond Methodist Church where the family were members. It originally was called Fairview Cemetery.
One of the first graves I noticed was this one that has BUCKLIN written in white that is so easy to ready. This is the burial place of my great great grandfather James A. Bucklin. The monument is very nice looking, but it looked like something was missing. I was informed that there is a pillar that used to sit atop this pedestal. The pillar would fall over and cause problems for the caretakers when they mowed the property. So family members placed it in the old garage of a family member.
Fast-forward to this summer. As I’ve told you in previous posts, I was able to scan several old Bucklin family photos from my mom’s cousin Carla. And even though one of the photos was a photo of a gravesite, I was excited to see it. I knew immediately that I needed to compare it to the first photo that I posted. The word “League” looked familiar.
When I only had that first photo, I examined it to see if there were any clues to the location of the grave. If you look closely on the left of that first photo, you can see the word “League” on that photo as well. So the photos were taken at the same event. And this new photo identified the event as the burial of Louis Charles Bucklin.
The other interesting thing about this second photo is what you can see on the left of the photo. You can see that easy-to-read BUCKLIN name on James Bucklin’s grave. But more importantly, the pillar is sitting atop the pedestal as it was placed 37 years earlier! I had wondered what it looked like, and now I know.
This is the best photo of my mom and her family from when she was growing up. I posted a family photo of them from 1948, but that one didn’t include her parents. There were several photos taken on the day of this photo, with some of them looking like they were trying to be serious. But inevitably, one of them was laughing or smiling.
This is the Fred and Myrtle Phenice Bucklin family in 1950. Fred Bucklin married Myrtle Phenice on March 12, 1930, at the Raymond Methodist Church in Raymond, Louisiana. The day before their first anniversary, they had their first daughter Sylvia Daisy Bucklin. She is the dark haired beauty standing on the far left of the photo. Their next daughter was my mom Betty Lou Bucklin, who was born on May 20, 1933. She is standing on the far right of the photo. Their next daughter was Alma Marie, who was born on November 10, 1935. She is the blond standing next to my mom. Their fourth and final daughter was Loris Janet, who was born August 31, 1937. She is the brunette with the inquisitive look standing next to Sylvia. Then, the day after their 12th wedding anniversary, a little boy finally showed up. Austin Harry can be seen front and center in the photo.
This photo is actually a composite of two of the photos taken that day. Most of the photo is from one original photo, but I swapped the part of my mom with another photo that I thought was better of her. These photos are really difficult to work with. They are textured and matte finish, which makes them look scaly when they are scanned. I remember my mom liking the quality of the paper with that particular finish. She said that it worked really well for tinting photos. And that’s exactly what she did with one of them.
This is the family photo that she tinted. It was this photo that was on my mind this week when I was considering my blog post. I recently joined a group on Facebook that provides free colorizing of old photos. I submitted one of my dad’s father and it came out nicely.
When I first started doing any type of photo editing, one of the things that I did was tinting black and white photos. I later decided to focus on making the photos as clear as possible by removing blemishes and improving the contrast and lighting.
But I’ve seen some really good colorizing that has made me reconsider my view. Maybe I’ll follow in my mom’s tinted footsteps and you’ll see a future post titled “Color by Van.”
Update Dec. 20, 2020 – replace photos with enhanced versions for more detail in the faces
I thought I would send out a reminder/invitation to this year’s Keys Family Reunion. We had a reunion two years ago, and it was such a success that we decided to have another one. The first Keys Reunion happened in 1973 and our family went to that one. (I’m still hoping to see a video from the people I remember recording the event. I didn’t know who it was with the recorders, but remember seeing them being lugged around.) I have photos from that reunion and from subsequent ones throughout the years.
I don’t know if the reunions went on consistently through the years, but I remember some happening in the 90s and 2000s. We started them up again two years ago and there was a good turnout. But it would be nice to have all of the children of Martha Ann Cook Keys represented. She was that brave woman who brought her five children from England to southern Louisiana in June of 1887. She also happens to be my great great grandmother. Her five children were Henry Alfred “The Judge” Keys, Leonard James Keys, Daisy Henrietta Martha Keys Phenice, Rosetta “Ruth” Keys Bryan, and Mabel Olive Keys Miller.
I got this photo recently that shows three of those five siblings. Since I’m wanting all five of them to be represented, I should use a photo that has all five of them in it. But I don’t have one! This one has Mabel, Daisy with her husband H. C., and Leonard with his wife Edessa in 1938. It was taken at Leonard’s home in Elton. I posted a larger group photo from the same day about nine months ago.
When I first saw this photo I was really excited because I was thinking it might be the five siblings in the same photo. Then I realized that two of them were spouses. I can’t be too disappointed since it is such a great photo and my great grandparents are in it. If anyone has a photo that includes all five siblings, I would love to see it and scan it. Bring any interesting photo to the reunion. I’ll take photos of them or borrow them to scan if possible. I tried to take a photo of Daisy and H. C. with some kids on a horse, but it didn’t come out very well. I’d like to try again, but can’t remember who had that photo.
I thought I’d post this photo of The Judge’s family, since he didn’t show up in the first photo. I got this from a cousin on Facebook, but can’t remember who that was. I need to take better notes! I’d also like to have a few names for people in the photo and the approximate year.
I know that many of them lived in Kinder. Henry Alfred and his wife Eugenia LaFosse had twelve children together, so there should be lots of descendants from that line. I’d like to see some of them at the reunion.
I can’t ignore the Ruth Keys Bryan line of the family! This photo is from the 1973 Keys Family Reunion and it shows the descendants of Ruth at that time – at least the ones that showed up and were willing to pose for a picture.
I know the names of some of these, but would like to know more. And if I were to guess who it was that had a video recorder back at that reunion, I would say it was this guy in the red jumpsuit. Who is that man in red?
We can discuss who these people are online, or you can wait until the family reunion. Like I said, I’d like to see you there. “Where?” you ask. It is going to be at the Raymond Methodist Church annex, which is located at 5532 Pine Island Hwy. The festivities are on Saturday June 15th and they start at 10:00 a.m.
This is a nice old photo of my maternal grandfather Fred Bucklin. I’m thinking he was around 21 years old in this photo, so the estimated date in 1928. I’m not sure of why this photo was taken. It was with a group of other photos from the same time. Some of them were of him and his identical twin brother Clarence and others were of the land where their family lived. I posted one of them a few weeks ago that looked like the beginnings of his nursery.
The other thing that I noticed about the photos is that both Fred and Clarence had a boutonniere or something with a ribbon streaming down from it. They were both dressed up as well. Their father Louis Bucklin died in November of 1927, but I’ve seen a photo of that and nobody was wearing anything like what is seen in this photo.
I also wondered if maybe it was some prize ribbon that they got at some fair or something. This is probably the time that they started gaining interest in plants and nursery work. They graduated from high school in 1926 and I know they had a business together at least by 1930.
This was also when Fred was still a single young man. He was married to Myrtle Phenice March 12, 1930, in Raymond, Louisiana. I would assume that the wedding took place at the Raymond Methodist Church. I’ve never seen a photo from their wedding, but I don’t doubt that it happened! In the 1930 Census, the record shows that Fred and Myrtle Bucklin were married at age 22 and they both were still 22. So they were newlyweds. He was listed as a laborer in the farm industry. He probably worked on the Bucklin farm for his mother Addie Hine Bucklin. Myrtle was not working at that time.
As I said, he was in business with his brother at least by 1930. I have this copy of the price list from the 1931 growing season and my cousin Joseph has posted the one from the previous year. As you can see from the photo, the name of the business was Bucklin Bros. Nursery. The sheet says Elton, LA, but it was really in Hathaway. Elton was just the closest “big town” around there. I wonder if the name of the business was an homage to their uncles? Their dad’s brothers Joe and Edd had a mercantile business in downtown Jennings in the early 1900s (approx. 1899-1914). It was called Bucklin Bros. and was a successful business for a time.
The Bucklin Bros. Nursery later changed names because there was a falling out between the two brothers. I don’t know the particulars of the why and when of this, I just know that they ended up both having nurseries down the road from each other. My grandfather stayed in the business for a long time. I remember him puttering around the greenhouse in front of their property when I was a kid.
And though he retired and later died, there are still plants and cuttings of plants that he rooted and sold all of those years ago.
I enjoy coming across them from time to time.
Surplus Sunday? What is that? It’s an additional sharing of information on family history, that’s what it is! I know I already posted two times this week, but I had so much information that came my way recently. Fair warning – this post is extremely long and covers 125 years of history with the Keys and Bucklin families and how they were connected with two other families of no relation – the Ausmans and the MacVeys. All because of a secret old letter that was recently uncovered. It also connects several other previous posts that I have written. Hopefully this will answer all of the questions that you may have had on the subject. So first off you will need to read the letter that Louis Charles Bucklin received on that long ago day in April of 1893. The envelope was addressed to L. C. Bucklin and the letter commenced with a quaint “Dear Friend.” Here is the letter in its entirety:
Leeds, Iowa April 20th (18)93
Mr. L. C. Bucklin
Will now try to answer your welcome letter, which I received some time ago.
I hope you are not having as dissagreeable weather as we are having at present. – It snowed quite hard for over an hour yesterday forenoon, it commenced by raining in the morning, and then turned into snow in the forenoon, and then rained again in the after noon.
This morning the wind was blowing hard and cold and it was cloudy, this after noon it commenced to snow and snowed nearly all after noon and was snowing yet at dark.
Yesterday It looked very nice to see the large snow flakes falling so thick and fast, I thought, when I could sit in the house and look at it through the window, but it was not so nice, today, when I was out in it and had to face it part of the way home, but even then It was better than going home in the rain would have been. We have had quite a good deal of cold, bad weather since we came
Here, but I don’t think we feel it a bit more than we did down south, it does not chill us so, but of course it is sharper and more kean hear than down there.
Willie and I commenced going to school a week ago monday. we both like it real well, our teachers are real nice. Mine is very kind to me. – We have a very large brick school building there are seven grades in the school. Willie is in the fourth grade, and I am in the fifth grade. I always told you I did not know any thing and I guess you will beleave it now if you did not before. – but I think I can learn more for a while, in the fifth grade than I could in the sixth, if it don’t sound quite so
“big.” –I have to study very hard, and quite a good deal at night, and as I am not used to it, I get very tired. In my room we have, mental and complete Arithmetic, vocal music, spelling and reading in the after forenoon, and Geography, Language and drawing in the after noon, school is let out at a quarter to twelve and takes up again at half past one, and we have no recess. I took my dinner today as it was so cold, and I studied all the noon hour after I ate my dinner and I have had the headache ever since. – I can keep up in all my classes execept music and Language, and they have been nearly a year at them and as I never studied eather of those before I am behind them in that.
My brother Phil lives ten or twelve miles north of here on a farm, and Sioux City is south of here.
Lambert is living in Merrill but perhaps I told you that before. Mother is visiting at Phils, and Lamberts this week. Pa and her went out to Phils Saturday night and Pa came home Sunday night. – It seems very lonely without mother here.
The Church and School house are quite close together, both are quite a distance, from here. It seems so nice to go to Sunday school in a church once snow, of corse the church is not so nice as the ones you go to but it is away ahead of a “school house”.
Ida and Willie both had the fever about two weeks ago and again this week. Willie has it this afternoon Ida had it Sunday afternoon and as Ma is away I have to help Ida all I can, and I do not have much time to write. I had to learn a lesson tough before I commenced this so it was after nine when I commenced to write, it is ten now so I must close for tonight will finish this the first opertunity I have. Good night..
Thursday night when I commenced this letter I thought I would finish it the next night, but there was a temperance lecture in the M. E. Church Friday and
saturday nights and we all attended them so I could not finish this as I would liked to have done.
They organized a good Templers loge last night. John, Anna, Mother, Ida, and myself joined. We will meet next Tuesday night. We have a prayer meeting every Wednesday night and they have a young peoples Epworth League every Sunday night before preaching, there is a small room seprate from the main part of the church that they use for that, and prayer meeting.
How I would like to go to some of those nice churches you attend they must be grand. I am afraid I would not know how to act in so large a congragation as you told about.
there was one hundred and one (101) members in our Sunday school today. I like living hear real well going to school, and so many other things to go to that I have not been very lonesome yet. We are getting aquainted with quite a good many too.
Now Lou, please don’t be angry at me for not answering sooner, for I could not help it. Mother says she don’t want me to write so often as I have been doing. – I some times, don’t know what to do, she does not know how we feel towards each other, and she is so afraid of looseing me. – She does not need to worry about that, for I consider it my duty to take care of her as long as she needs me. she has raised a large family, and, I, am her youngest girl.
3) and I think it is my duty to stay with her now since she is not strong any more.
It will be better for you to learn to care for some one else, if you can, Lou, for I am afraid we can never be anything more than Friends.
Oh if we only knew just things would be, but perhaps it is better that we should not know, for one might feel worse than we do as it is.
Remember Lou, that you can always find a friend in Jesus he is always redy and willing to help us, in time of trouble and sorrow, if we will only ask him, for I know by experience.
We received a letter from Aggie last week telling about the awful storm they had. How glad I am that none of them were hurt. I am so sorry
it ruined so many of your sisters things, but that is not so bad as if some of them were hurt. Oh how much we have to be thankful for.
You spoke of your Uncle and cousins thinking of going to La. Perhaps they will wait till you will be home for vacation. how nice for you, it would be if they would.
When does you have vacation and how long.
I wish I could see you marching with your uniforms and guns. I never saw any Soldiers eather. I will have to close now. I hope this will find you well,
I remain your true friend
I first saw this letter on May 14, 2017. It was texted to me from my mom’s first cousin Julie Phenice Campbell. She said that she found it in a pouch from her father that contained some old letters that had been sent to her (and my mom’s) grandmother Daisy Keys in the 1880s. In addition to those letters, there were two other letters that were sent to my mom’s grandfather Louis Charles Bucklin in 1893. Since Julie is not related to the Bucklins, it is a mystery how those letters ended up with her father.
I was kinda glancing through this letter when I first read it because I thought it was written by an old roommate. She starts it with “Dear Friend” after all. I was so surprised to see the signature of this letter that I had started to realize was a “Dear John” letter. May Ausman (who was about 17 years old when she wrote the letter) mentions some of her siblings in this letter – Phil, John, Lambert, Ida, Willie, and Aggie. Aggie Ausman was married to Lou’s older brother Joe Bucklin. They had gotten married in 1892 and were living in Jennings, Louisiana. But for Louis, this letter was the beginning of a rough few months. This sad news was received in April 1893. Next, Lou received a letter from Joe in May of 1893 that talks about their sister Jennie doing poorly. Then Jennie ended up dying in June of that year.
He was keeping a journal at this time. The entries started in January of 1893 when he was traveling from his home in China, Louisiana, to attend Ohio Normal University in Ada, Ohio. The entries for 1893 stopped when his sister died in June. When I found this letter and realized it was during the time of the journal, I checked the journal for the time he would have received this letter. He was talking about things in early April, then the next entry was in June. So where were the entries for May? I looked closely and noticed that there were pages missing. Each page had a number on it and the April entry was on page 30 and the next page in the journal was 33.
I was looking for reference to the letter in his journal to see if he had been upset by the news. Maybe little May didn’t mean much to him, or maybe she meant a lot. The other letter that I received from my mom’s cousin Julie was a letter to L. C. Bucklin in Mar. 1893 from his previous roommate. It is a very short letter, but it does mention that Lou might be sending letters “out to Iowa to that May you know.” So someone else knew that he was interested in the girl named May. But more telling are the missing pages from his journal. If she didn’t mean anything, he wouldn’t have said anything about it. It looks like he must have written something about it. Then either he didn’t want anyone ever to see what he wrote, or someone else didn’t want it to be known and the pages were made to disappear. Is that why Addie always had a scowl on her face? I should hope not!
The reason the letter surprised me was because of the added connection to the Ausman family. I mention earlier that Louis Bucklin had it rough for a few months, but his brother Joe had it rough for a few years. (I wrote about this in The Sad Story post on Aug. 17, 2016.) He and his wife Aggie Ausman had a daughter named Leola in 1893 and then it shows that they had another daughter named Gladys in June of 1896. They had a son in July of 1899. Those were all of the good things. Then the bad things started the next month. In August 1899 Aggie died. I’m not sure what she died from, but it could be complications from childbirth. Following that, Leola died in December 1899.
Since Joe was having such a hard time, his mother Mary Ann McGrath Bucklin went and stayed in Jennings to help him care for the children. At least to care for Joe and his son Austin. For some reason, at least according to the 1900 census, Gladys was living in Iowa with her Ausman grandparents and Aggie’s younger sister Ida, who is listed as Ida McVey. Anyway, his mother ended up dying in April 1900. It was a really tough year for Joe.
But by the end of the year things were changing for Joe. He married Aggie’s younger sister Ida in November of 1900. I guess things were good for him for a while. He and his brother Ed ran a boot and mercantile store in Jennings and he was married with a young daughter and son in the household. I’m assuming that Gladys was staying with him due to information you will hear later. Joe and Ida had a daughter named Ida Bucklin sometime around July of 1903. Then on Sept. 5, 1903 Joe’s wife Ida died. I’m not sure of the cause of death for this sister, either. In addition to that, further tragedy occurred in December with the death of his daughter Ida. A very sad story indeed.
When I got the letter that was sent from May to Lou in 1893, I already knew about all of the tragedies of their sisters and nieces. But it made me start to look at the connection between these families again. One of the questions that stood out was the name Ida “McVey” in the 1900 census. How did she get that last name? I didn’t see any marriage or divorce for her. She was living at home in 1893 when May wrote that letter and was living at home in 1900 when her name was McVey. So I decided to look into it.
I did a search on Ida Ausman at Ancestry.com, but this time I added a husband with the name of McVey – no first name. I just wanted to see what would show up. And sure enough something did! I found a family tree that listed a William Lee MacVey who had married Ida Ausman in Iowa in September of 1895. All of that information fit with what I knew about Ida and her family. But that’s not all of the information that it showed. It had a divorce date from a month later and a reason for the divorce. That’s amazing. I hardly ever see a reason for a divorce in people’s family tree. I was excited about that because I was really curious to know why a marriage ended in divorce in less than a month!
The information in the family tree gave the reason for divorce as, “Marriage did not last long because she was pregnant but NOT William Lee’s child.” Oh, my goodness! Say it isn’t so. I was curious about how someone would know this, so I looked to see whose tree it was in relation to these people. The person who had the tree was the granddaughter of William Lee MacVey from his second wife! I got in touch with her (let’s call her Nancy MacVey) and Nancy said that she didn’t know about this juicy bit of history when her grandparents were alive, she only found out about it when she started researching. She found marriage records and divorce proceedings where he told the judge, “She can go back to her mamma!” This was very scandalous for a small Iowa community in the 1890s.
Hey wait a minute! She was supposedly pregnant in October of 1895. If that was the case, she would have had a child in the middle of 1896. There is no child attributed to her at that time. But her sister Aggie who was married to Joe Bucklin is supposed to have had a daughter named Gladys in June of 1896. Is Gladys Bucklin actually the daughter of Ida Ausman McVey? Why else would Gladys go live with her Ausman grandparents in 1900 when her brother stayed in Louisiana with his dad and his dad’s family? And then after the death of the two Idas, Gladys shows up again in Iowa with her Ausman grandparents in the 1910 census.
Too bad May didn’t write another letter with all of these details in it. Maybe she intended to, but sadly she had died by 1910 herself at the age of 33. The Ausman family lost five of their children before 1910. According to Bucklin family history Gladys had also died at the age of 21 in 1917, yet in the 1920 census and the 1930 census, she was still living in Iowa. Did they just write her off because she wasn’t exactly a Bucklin and tragedy seemed to follow her wherever she went? I guess we’ll never know. Gladys may have had a hard life. Born out of wedlock in the 19th century (barely) and then her mother and sister dying. Some people may have thought she were cursed or some such thing. She may have thought the same thing. Again, we’ll never know.
Of course, you know, just because someone in that MacVey family made a claim about Ida didn’t mean it was true. Just how trustworthy was this MacVey family anyway? Sure, there was family lore on the Keys side of my family about a McVey family in southern Louisiana. The Keys family had nothing but praise for these people. But not every MacVey family was as good as our McVey one. Right? So I saw that the names of William Lee’s parents were Thomas and Rebecca, and I started some more research.
The Keys family has a lot of information about the family when it immigrated in 1887 from England. My grandmother’s first cousin did a lot of research and put together a book about the family in 1980. I knew the McVey name was in there somewhere. Everyone in my family knows the last name, we never bothered with the first names before. I found a poem my mom’s aunt wrote, but all she mentions is “the McVeys.” So I had to scour the old 1980 Keys family history book. And guess what I found? That’s right, I found some names.
In one part of the book, it talks about a family that helped my Keys family when they decided to stay in southern Louisiana: “The McVeys were one of the families which treated them well. Mr. McVey had a large chicken house with wood floors and a window which they cleaned. This was their first home though temporary.” That’s the legend. Our family lived in a chicken house that was provided by the McVeys! Those Keys definitely did not suffer from a feeling of entitlement back then. They were extremely grateful. So much so that when they mentioned the people who were nice to them, the short list included a Frank McVey and a T. L. McVey. Hey, could T. L. be Thomas? I went back to the family tree, and sure enough William Lee MacVey’s father was Thomas Lord MacVey, our very own T. L. MacVey. And William had a brother named Frank.
So the family that made the comment about Ida wasn’t just related to the legendary hero McVeys on the Keys side of my family, they were the very same family! So I guess Ida was a tramp after all! I looked into the MacVey family history and found out that the family of T. L. MacVey and his wife Rebecca Noble MacVey and their two sons had just started homesteading in China, Louisiana, in 1887 themselves. So it was at least a brand new chicken house that the Keys stayed in. That’s always good to know when looking for a chicken house to live in!
I corresponded a bit more with Nancy MacVey. I expressed my thanks from my family to hers for the help given to us in our time of need. I let her know that if she were ever in Baton Rouge and needed a place to stay, my house would always be open to her. She had actually been to Louisiana a few times in 2011 and 2012 looking for the graves of T. L. and Rebecca. (Uh oh!) She had found T. L. and had been unable to find Rebecca’s. According to her information, Rebecca had been buried in a place called Fairview in 1892. She didn’t know if that was a church name, cemetery name, or whether it was in Louisiana or Iowa. She couldn’t find it. I didn’t remember ever hearing the name Fairview before.
As I tried to keep track of all of these details, I thought I’d double check those missing pages from the L. C. Bucklin diary. I have a paper copy from Louise Bucklin Connors, but she gave me a digital copy as well. So I went to look for the digital copy and came across something else that she had sent me as well. It was a transcription of headstones at the Raymond Methodist cemetery. I thought I might as well check it for the grave that I just heard that Nancy was looking for. Sure enough, it was in there. I had been to that gravesite with Louise’s son Joseph and took photos of the Bucklins’ graves. I remembered Joseph telling me that he had taken photos of all of the graves at that site. So I sent him a note asking if he could find the photo of Rebecca Noble MacVey’s headstone. He was able to find it quickly and send it to me. I let Nancy know that I had located her great grandmother’s burial site and then created a memorial for her on Find a Grave.
As a finishing touch to this story, my cousin Mary sent me a note saying that she knew someone who was writing a history of Hathaway. Really? Who would write such a thing? And even more puzzling, who would read such a thing? Of course I would, but I’m unusual. Not many people know about that tiny hamlet in southern Louisiana. And even less care. Anyway, I told her about a blog online that had some Hathaway information and she sent me a booklet that she got from Grandma Bucklin about the history of the Methodist Church in Raymond. On the first page of this history it talks about the new church, “known as the Fairview Methodist Episcopal Church, represented by Gilbert N. Brown.” So Nancy had asked if I knew about a Fairview church or cemetery and I said I didn’t. But now I do. Her great grandmother had been buried in the Fairview Methodist Cemetery, which is now known as the Raymond Methodist Cemetery. Mystery solved.
And doesn’t that Brown name sound familiar too? Well, maybe not to you, but to me it did. Nancy had told me that one of the MacVeys had married a Brown. And, in another little twist, Grandma’s best childhood friend had been a Brown as well. I’m sure you know where this leads, so I’ll explain the details. Thomas Lord MacVey and Rebecca Noble’s other son Frank married Gilbert Brown’s daughter Libbie. Libbie’s brother Eugene Brown had a daughter named Emily, whose childhood friend was Myrtle Phenice.
I wonder if Grandma knew that her friend’s uncle and parents were the ones that owned the chicken coop that housed her mom’s family when they moved to the area? Or that her friend’s uncle’s brother was the first husband of her future father-in-law’s sister-in-law? Probably not, they were too busy fixing their hair with the latest styles or chatting as they were riding their buggy to that old Hathaway school.