Sue & Jennie’s 20th Birthday Bash

Birthday Celebration for Susan Stanbrough Hine and Edessa Jane Havenar on Oct. 3, 1926 in Raymond, Louisiana.

I have written a few posts that mention the 20th Annual Birthday Celebration of Mrs. Susan G. Hine and Mrs. W. E. Havenar.  My cousin Joseph shared some old photos from that event, so I shied away from writing about it before.  But I need to write about it.  There are some things I want to say.  First of all, the Sue mentioned in the title would be my great great grandmother Susan G. Stanbrough Hine.  I usually like to refer to her as Grandma Sue.   She was the mother of six children, and the oldest was her only daughter Addie May Hine Bucklin.  Addie was the mother of my grandfather Fred Bucklin.  He was the father of Betty Lou Bucklin, who was my mother.  The Jennie mentioned in the title was Edessa Jane “Jennie” Welton Havenar.  The two of them were friends who happened to share the same birthday:  October 3.

Newspaper article from 1926.

The newspaper article about the two women celebrating their birthday talk about how it was the 20th annual celebration.  Does that mean it was the 20th time they had the party?  I don’t really need to be that picky, but I also have an article from 1906 that describes that first celebration.  If they had it every year after that, the celebration in 1926 would be the 21st time they had it.  But it would also be the 20th anniversary of their first big bash.  Either way, Sue was celebrating her 75th birthday and Jennie was celebrating her 60th.  Grandma Sue is the older woman on the right side of the photo in the black dress.

Many of their family members and friends were also celebrating these two girls’ birthday.  And many of their family members and friends were relatives of mine.  There were family members from all of my mom’s side of the family.  There were many Keys, Hine, and Phenice family members mentioned in the newspaper article.  Both of my mom’s parents are in the photo, but it was before they were married.  My grandparents Fred Bucklin and Myrtle Phenice were married in 1930. 

I was going to say that even though they weren’t married yet, their families were already connected through the marriage of Fred’s sister Mary and Myrtle’s brother Sylvan earlier in 1926.  But the newspaper doesn’t list them together.  They list them separately as Mary Bucklin and Sylvan Phenice.  And newspapers were very particular about how they listed married people back then.  You see that Jennie is listed as Mrs. W. E. Havenar.  That’s because she was married to William Edward Havenar AND he was still alive.  Sue, on the other hand, was a widow.  So they use her given name of Susan and call her Mrs. Susan G. Hine.  If her husband had still been alive, they would have referred to her as Mrs. G. H. Hine – my great great grandfather was George Henry Hine.  I like my posts to be more personal, so I refer to them as Sue and Jennie.

But the newspaper article lists Mary and Sylvan separately, so it makes me question the information I have about their marriage date.  But I didn’t want to focus on them so much, I wanted to point out all of the family members that are in the photo.  Fred is the guy on the second row with the bow tie.  It might be his identical twin brother Clarence, but I think it is Fred.  You can find Myrtle by following the large branch that comes in from the right of the large tree trunk.  When it runs into the hat, the person in front of the hat is my grandmother. You can only see her head because she is directly behind two other women.  If you look to the left of Myrtle, there is a man in a straw hat.  That’s Myrtle’s brother Sylvan.  Between Myrtle and Sylvan is Mary Bucklin.  She is standing next to Daisy Keys Phenice, the mother of Myrtle.  Myrtle’s father Harry C. Phenice is standing next to Daisy and is wearing a white shirt.

I’m not going to list everyone.  I don’t even know them all.  I just wanted to show you the ones I descend from.  Even though Addie was at the event and is in several photos, I do not see her in this one.  Her husband Louis Bucklin was also alive at the time, but he avoided having his photo taken.  Part of that could be due to the fact that he lost an eye earlier on.  He had a glass eye that I believe is in a cousin’s possession.  I have never seen it – with either of my eyes.  Louis died the following year.  If you are interested in seeing more identified people, you can check out the post that Joseph wrote a few years ago.  There is a photo with the people numbered so they can be identified.  It is an ongoing project to identify as many of the people as possible. 

Or you can just enjoy looking at all of the faces of the people who helped Sue and Jennie celebrate their birthdays all those years ago.  It’s a great old photo.

Keys Reunion 2022

I was asked/encouraged by a cousin to make sure that I reminded all of our Keys cousins about the Keys Family Reunion this year.  Since I was planning on doing that already, I had no problem at all with agreeing to the request.  I do enjoy getting ideas from cousins, but sometimes it doesn’t necessarily become a post for this blog.  I’m never exactly sure what I’m going to end up writing about from week to week.

But I did want to write about the Keys Family Reunion and invite all of the Keys relatives to attend.  It will be on Saturday, June 18th at the Raymond Methodist Church.  It will begin at 10:00.  And according to my reputable source, it is requested that you “bring a covered dish, cold drinks, and if possible, something to put in the door prize giveaway.”  In addition, per my personal request, bring any old family photo to share. 

June 10, 1973, in Iowa, Louisiana. This was the first Keys Family Reunion that I attended.

This is a photo that one of our Keys cousins shared with me.  One of the famed family historian Edith Keys Segraves’ daughters shared it with me a while back.  It is a photo from the first Keys family reunion that I ever went to.  It took place on June 10, 1973, in Iowa, Louisiana.  I was only twelve years old at the time.  That was long before I developed an interest in family history.  I’ve shared a few other photos from that day, but this one is a little different.  There were a lot of people taking pictures on that day.

The reunion was a gathering of all of the descendants of Martha Cook Keys, who brought her five children to America in 1887.  Her children were Henry Alfred “The Judge,” Leonard, Daisy, Ruth, and Mabel.  This group photo is of the descendants of Daisy Keys Phenice, which includes me and my siblings, my parents, my maternal grandmother, and many cousins.

My grandmother Myrtle Phenice Bucklin is sitting on a chair in a light green dress.  She is surrounded by a few people wearing pinkish/magenta clothing.  Sitting to the left of her is her sister Grace Phenice Sowder.  In front of her is her grandson John Bucklin.  Behind her are my older sisters Karen and Jodie in their dark blue tops.  Jodie is wearing the pinkish pants.  To the left of Karen is our 2nd cousin Patricia Sowder.  Next to her is our first cousin Keith Woolley.  To the left of him is my sister and I am standing on the other side of her in my striped brown shirt.

Keys Family Reunion from 1997 in Jennings, Louisiana.

Here is a more recent photo from a Keys Family Reunion.  I’m in this one, too.  And, no, that young boy is not me.  That’s my nephew James Fontenot.  This was taken in 1997 in Jennings, Louisiana.  I am sitting at the table eating on the far left of this photo.  My back is toward the camera, but that’s me.  I’m sitting at the table with my dad – Bob Landry, uncle Ernie Waldorf, George, and my mom’s sister Alma Bucklin Waldorf.  My sister Karen (mother of James) is all in pink and she is talking to our sister-in-law Tammy Tarsi Landry.  My brother Al is standing next to them, though you can’t see his face either.  I’m sure they were all discussing little Alex Landry who is not in the stroller.  I don’t see her, but she was just a year old at this time and we all gushed over her cute curls.

I hope these photos encourage you to attend.  I’m sure we’ll be taking photos and making new memories with all of our cousins.  So come join us on the 18th of June in Raymond.  We’ll treat you like family!


Calling All Keys – Unite!

It’s time again.  That’s right.  We are overdue for a Keys Reunion.  The last one was in 2019. With the pandemic happening the past two years, we were unable to meet.  But now things have settled down and we can meet again, just like we have for many years.  It will be held on June 18th (a Saturday) at the Raymond Methodist Church at 10:00am until…bring your favorite dish and drink!  A fun time will be had by all.

Keys family reunion in June of 1973.

Can you believe it has been almost fifty years since that First Keys Reunion in 1973?  So much has changed since then.  The biggest change recently is that my Uncle Austin passed away earlier this month.  He died a week before his 80th birthday.  He will be missed.

I do love this old photo, though I do notice that a lot of people are no longer with us.  But that is the way with families.  The older generation passes on and the younger generation carries on.  Sometimes we lose touch with relatives.  So that’s what the reunion is for – we can get together and reconnect.  We do share a great family heritage from our Keys family.  I do hope that I’ve shared enough photos and stories of the family for you to see that.

But if you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll listen to my great grandmother Daisy Keys Phenice.  After all, she was born a Keys.  She and her four siblings – Leonard, Henry Alfred “The Judge,” Ruth, and Mabel – gave rise to all of the hundreds of family members in that Keys family spreading out from southern Louisiana.  Maybe she will entice you to attend the event.  Just touch or click on the photo below and it will come to life.

Daisy Keys circa 1894

Phenice Family Circa 1917

H.C., Warren, Orville, Henry, and Daisy Phenice circa 1917.

This is a picture that was shared with me a few years ago at the Keys Family Reunion.  It was an easy enough way to share it – they brought the photo to the reunion and I took a photo of it.  I should keep track of who shares photos with me, that way I can thank them properly.  I do appreciated whoever it was that brought the photo.  It makes me wonder how many other photos are out there that I would find interesting enough to share on my blog.

The reason it was shared at the Keys Family Reunion is because of the woman in the photo.  She would be my great grandmother Daisy Keys Phenice.  She was born in England in 1876 and moved to America with her mother and siblings when she was 11.  The family settled in the Hathaway, Louisiana, area.  She grew up, and at the age of 24 she got married to Harry Clifton Phenice.  A year later they had their first child Sylvan.  In 1903 Grace was born.  My grandmother Myrtle was born in 1906.  She was followed by Henry in 1909, Orville in 1911, and Warren in 1916.  That brings us to the year the photo was taken.

So actually this is H.C. and Daisy with half of their children in 1917.  I wish that my grandmother was in the photo, too.  Maybe she was taking the photo.  She was about 11 years old when this photo was taken and would have been in elementary school with her friend Emily Brown.  In old letters they talked about going to school together and riding the buggy.  Sometimes Orville and Henry would go along or rode horseback.  For some reason I always pictured older brothers riding along for protection, but this is the age that they would have been!  At least they had company!

Mom’s Memories Page 15 AKA Keepsakes Lost

For some reason I’ve been thinking of this topic this week.  (I know the reason, I’m just keeping it secret.)  The loss of one of my mom’s family keepsakes did not sit well with her.  I think she mentioned it to us when we were kids, but she definitely talked about it toward the end of her life.  It’s a shame that some of those negative memories aren’t the first ones to go when a person starts losing their memory.  Yet we are a result of our experiences good and bad.  And both kinds make for good stories for a blog like this.  

Mom’s memories p. 15 plus a bit more

I say that the loss of her keepsake didn’t sit well with her, but it doesn’t sit well with me either.  It’s something that I would love to see.  She mentioned it in her little book she kept when she was documenting the memories she wanted to remember.  Now that I think about it, she didn’t mention that my dad sold her baritone without her permission.  It’s something else she talked about with a bit of sass to her voice.  It was another thing that did not sit well with her.  She wasn’t bitter about it, she just didn’t appreciate how it played out.

From mother to daughter – four generations: Martha, Daisy, Myrtle, and Betty

But the loss we’ll look at more closely is the loss of the trunk that was left to her by her maternal grandmother.  Let me introduce all of the players.  My mom was Betty Lou Bucklin Landry.  She was born in Elton, Louisiana, on May 20, 1933, and died at the age of 83 on January 19, 2017.  Her mother was Myrtle Sylvia Phenice Bucklin.  She was born in Hathaway, Louisiana, on December 19, 1906, and died at the age of 79 on May 7, 1986.  Grandma’s mother was Daisy Henrietta Martha Keys Phenice.  She was born April 20, 1876, in London, England, and died at the age of 76 on July 29, 1952, in Elton, Louisiana.  My great great grandmother was Martha Ann Cook Keys.  She was born November 8, 1836, in Great Wigsborough, England, and died at the age of 59 on July 17, 1896, in Elton, Louisiana.

So let’s see what she wrote.  I’ll quote it and then discuss it.  “Mama somehow got the idea that Uncle Roy had a museum in his warehouse.”  The Mama mentioned here is my maternal grandmother Myrtle.  She was married to Fred Bucklin and Uncle Roy was his younger brother.  They lived down at the other end of Bucklin Road (where Ronnie C. now lives).  I don’t know anything about his warehouse.  Was it behind the house?  Connected to the house?  or at another location?   Uncle Roy died in 1999.

“At his funeral I asked Aunt Effie – she said he had a ‘collection’ – Mama had given him the gun collection from the Bucklins.  I had Martha Cooks antique trunk.  Grandma (Daisy) gave it to me when I was in high school.  It had some of her needlework in it.  It was no longer there + had been emptied on a shelf on the wall – So I guess MY trunk went to the ‘museum.'”  I’m not sure what the 1999 funeral and the gun collection had to do with the trunk, other than that was probably another time she had tried to track down its location. 

From what I remember, my mom had left the trunk at her mom’s home when she got married and moved to California in 1952.  They spent time there and in New Mexico before returning to Louisiana in 1956.  I think it was around this time that she noticed that her trunk was missing.  She probably was ready to retrieve it and it was nowhere to be found.

It wasn’t just any old trunk, and it wasn’t just the trunk.  “We liked to look at the needlework Martha had done.  It was in bad condition but I had cleaned it up.  It came from England when they moved here in 1887.”  So it was the trunk that my Keys ancestors used when they immigrated to the United States in 1887!  It probably even spent a little time in the chicken coop that the family lived in when they were waiting for their house to be built!

I first thought that the needlework that was in the trunk was by my great grandmother Daisy, but my mom specifically says later that the needlework was by Daisy’s mom Martha.  Wouldn’t that be something to see?!  My mom and her siblings enjoyed looking at it when they were youngsters.  But sadly, I will never get to see that or the trunk.

Yet I do have a piece of cross stitch that Daisy’s brother Leonard stitched in 1883.  I’ve shared a photo of that before.  I have another photo to share, too.  This one is a small photo that I have of one of Martha’s cross stitches that has survived all of these years.  I think I can make out that it was done in Feb. 1868.  It is in the care of one of Leonard’s descendants.   I love it!

Cross stitch done by my great great grandmother Martha Cook Keys in Feb. 1868.

Mitochondrial Sisters

Fred and Myrtle Phenice Bucklin family circa 1950 in Hathaway, Louisiana.  The children from left to right are Sylvia, Loris, Austin, Alma, and my mom Betty Lou.

This post is coming together from several things that I’ve been working on lately.  I’ve been editing a lot of old photos from different eras.  It’s also time to look at my mom’s side of the family.  I think I’ve neglected them a bit lately.  I did post this really nice edited photo of my mom’s childhood family recently just to give that side of my family a little bit of family history crumbs.  But it wasn’t a bona fide post.  I’m including it in this post to make it official!

The other thing that helped me to focus the theme for this week was a new DNA match at 23andMe.   He is a grandson of Aunt Marguerite, my grandmother Myrtle Phenice Bucklin’s younger sister.  Since he matches through his mother as I do, our mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is the same.  The mtDNA is passed on from mothers to their children without any changes most of the time.  From time to time there are mutations.  Since 23andMe only gives an estimate of the mtDNA and those estimates are slightly different,  I’ll just say that our designation is H1.  Some of the close relatives get an -n or an -h at the end, but we’re all basically in the very common group H1.

Grace Phenice Sowder, Myrtle Phenice Bucklin, and Marguerite Phenice Hill in their young adulthood.

I also had edited photos of both Marguerite and their other sister Grace.  I recently got a blog comment from Grace’s nephew by her husband Ray Sowder.  He commented about how Grace seemed to be out of his uncle’s league as far as looks are concerned.  I have to admit, those Phenice sisters were attractive young women.  I was thinking of sharing those photo edits, as well as a photo of my own sisters that I had completed recently.  It made me realize that there are several generations along this maternal line with three or more sisters.  So I decided to make this post about all of those mitochondrial sisters.

Alma Bucklin Waldorf, Marguerite Phenice Hill, Betty Lou Bucklin Landry (my mom), Myrtle Phenice Bucklin (my grandmother), Loris Bucklin Woolley, and Sylvia Bucklin Pilcher at Grandma’s house on Alice Street in Jennings, Louisiana, on January 22, 1984.

I found several photos of my mom with one or two of her sisters, but none of just the four sisters by themselves.  I also wanted one of them as adults.  The one I decided on was this photo of Grandma with her sister Marguerite and her four daughters after the funeral of Grandpa in 1984.  It’s a good photo of all of these H1 carriers.  It includes two of the generations that are the focus of this post.  Too bad they didn’t think to include some of the granddaughters in this photo, but that wasn’t the focus on that day.  This was one of the most difficult times in my Grandma’s life and it’s nice to see her surrounded by those she cared about the most.

There are two generations before and after these two and I keep changing my mind about which two I will talk about next.  I suppose I will go with the previous generation since I’ve shared those photos before.  I’ll save the new photos (in all living color!) for the end.

Rosetta Ruth Keys Bryan, Daisy Keys Phenice, Mabel Keys Miller in 1894.

So that brings us to the Keys sisters Daisy, Ruth, and Mabel.  I’ve posted about them previously.  They all immigrated to Louisiana from England with their mother and brothers in July 1887.  Ruth lived in Jennings, Daisy lived in Hathaway, and Mabel lived in Kinder.  They stayed pretty close to where they originally settled after arriving in the United States.

Those lovely girls were the daughters of Martha Cook Keys, the brave woman that brought her five children to America after her husband had passed away.  She was a dressmaker and shop owner in London at a time when a revolution in clothing manufacturing was taking place.  I always took it for granted that she made her clothes with a sewing machine – a machine that seems so common.  But it was a newfangled thing back then.  Before that, people went through the painstankling process of sewing everything by hand.  She was part of a revolution.  I found this out from a TV program I saw when I took a break from writing this post to take a lunch break.  I have a bit more respect for old Martha now.

Martha Cook Keys and Henrietta Cook Keys were from Great Wigsborough, Essex, England. They were married to Keys brothers.

I only have one photo for both of Martha and her sister.  I think the one of Martha is a photo of a painting.  At least we have something!  She was born in 1836 in Great Wigsborough, Essex.  She was the first child of Job Cook and Ruth Horsnell. Henrietta was born in 1839 and she was the last child of Job and Ruth.  That’s because Job died the following year at the age of 38 from “phrenitis.”  Otherwise I’m sure there would have been at least one more daughter.  All the other generations that we know of had three or more daughters.  Henrietta passed that H1 down to the present also.  I have a DNA match that came directly down from her through a line of daughters.

Ruth (1816-1880) was the daughter of William Horsnell and his wife Ann (1774-1859).  We don’t know Ann’s last name.  Since I don’t know her last name, and she is the originator of the H1 DNA for all of these women, I think I may put her last name as H1.  Somehow that seems appropriate.  Ruth had two sisters, so Ann started the trend of having three or more daughters along this line.  It could have been started earlier, but we don’t know that history.

Jamie, Jodie, and Karen in 1978

Jamie Landry Perry, Jodie Landry Rhodes, and Karen Landry Fontenot on Christmas Eve 1978 in Jennings, Louisiana.

Let’s get back to the more modern era.  I had three sisters.  My two older sisters have died.  My sister Karen died this year, so that was another reason I wanted to write this post about sisters.  This photo was a photo that my parents had on a small table in their living room for many years.  It’s from 1978 and it’s a good photo of all three of my sisters.  I can see why Mama wanted it where she could see it frequently.

Jodie did not continue the tradition of three daughters.  She had two children and they were both boys.  Karen did a little better.  She started out with a son, but then did better by having two daughters.  (Just kidding, James!)  Then Jamie decided that she had to keep the tradition alive.  She had three daughters.  She really did have three daughters, but you surely know I’m joking about her trying to keep up a tradition.  It’s just a trend that happened through the years.  Mostly it was the result of large families and the law of averages.  If you have lots of children, about half of them will be female.

Sarah, Beth, and Jill Perry

Sarah, Beth, and Jill Perry in November 2020 in League City, Texas.

Here is a very recent photo of Jamie’s three Perry girls.  This was taken last month at the wedding of her youngest daughter Beth.  Weddings and funerals are usually such big family events for us, but this was the year of Covid.  Karen’s funeral had very limited attendance due to precautions for the virus.  The high point was that the cousins in Lake Charles gathered around in the distance at the graveyard to show their love and support.

Beth and Glen’s wedding was postponed from the spring because of the pandemic.  I was looking forward to the family getting together for their wedding in early November.  But Covid struck again and Allen (the father of the bride) came down with a positive test.  So we had to have a virtual attendance to the event.  It’s not as good as being there in person, but it’s much better than missing the whole thing!

Now that she’s married, she can start thinking about carrying on that tradition!  I know, I know.  It’s not really a tradition, but we can’t let that stop her.  Jill already has one daughter.  They could make it fun – like it’s a contest or game.  Our family likes games.

Let the H1 continue!

Grandma Phenice and Her Chickens

I’ve been thinking of writing about this for a while.  I’ve thought about the subject when I wrote other posts about my great grandmother Daisy Keys Phenice (mother of my maternal grandmother Myrtle Phenice Bucklin), but inevitably the posts ran longer than I wanted and there was no room for this topic.  I try to make these posts short and sweet, despite what you may think when you see all the words I sometimes write.

My great grandmother Daisy Keys Phenice with her granddaughter Marilyn Phenice in 1938 in Elton, Louisiana.

So I decided to write about Great Grandma Phenice and her expertise with chickens.  Then I went looking for a photo to go along with it.  This is the photo I first thought of and I think it works, even though it’s not a photo of her with a chicken.  That’s actually her young granddaughter Marilyn Phenice, my mom’s first cousin.  The photo was taken at a Keys family get together.  I posted a photo of the whole group two years ago.

According to Aunt Marguerite in some of her writings (Marge’s Memories), Daisy knew and loved her chickens.  Living out in the country in southern Louisiana in the early 1900s, raising chickens was a necessity.  I doubt that Daisy learned that as a young girl growing up in the city around London, England.  She was busy learning sewing and making things associated with her mother’s dress shop.  But when her mom (Martha Cook Keys) brought the family to Louisiana when Daisy was 11 years old, Daisy and the other children had to learn some new skills.

So as an adult, Daisy had become an expert with her chickens.  She knew when they were ready to set or lay eggs that could be hatched for a new group of chickens.  They wouldn’t set unless they were ready, and Daisy could tell when that was.  Maybe that had to do with the fact that when the family first moved to Louisiana, they had to live in a chicken coop until their house was built!  She was a chicken whisperer.  When she would see a storm coming, she immediately thought about her chickens.  She would run out into the storm to help the chickens into safety at her own risk.

The chickens produced lots of eggs, of course.  They were able to barter the surplus for other staples at the local Piggly Wiggly.  The family ate the eggs and the meat as well.  Like I said, Daisy loved her chickens!  When she was ready to fry some chicken, she gathered up some feed in her apron and went out in the yard.  I remember my mom telling me when I was a kid that her grandmother was the best at wringing a chicken’s neck.  Just a quick turn of the wrist was all it took.  She was quick about it, too.  From the idea of cooking some fried chicken to the point of serving it to the family only took a couple of hours.  Not exactly fast food, but that wasn’t available back then.

Mom’s Memories page 12

According to my mom, her Grandma Phenice’s fried chicken was especially tasty.  It was worth a mention in her memory book that she kept when she was getting older.  So it made it into Marge’s Memories and Mom’s Memories.  That must have been some fried chicken.

As my mom wrote, “It kept us a little warmer on the way home on cold nites.”  I think little Betty Lou loved Daisy’s chickens, too!


Keys Sisters Revisited

Crops taken from the enhanced copy of an old 1894 photo of Ruth, Daisy, and Mabel Keys

My first Keys Sisters post was in December of 2015.  That was a photo of the sisters Daisy, Ruth, and Mabel Keys in around 1894 when they were but young girls.  This was only seven years after the family had immigrated from England.  The Keys Sisters- Part 2 was posted a year and a half later.  That photo was taken around 1951 when the sisters were much more mature.  Fifty-seven years can do that to a person!

Enhanced photo from 1951 of the Keys sisters. From left to right are Ruth Keys Bryan, Daisy Keys Phenice, and Mabel Keys Miller

The connection to me is that Daisy is my great grandmother – my mother’s mother’s mother.  She is the source of my mitochondrial DNA.  Most of my maternal cousins have the same mtDNA since my mom has more sisters than brothers.  Actually it was only one brother, so his children have their mother’s mitochondrial DNA.  She’s from England, so we all have mtDNA straight from across the pond.

Three years have now passed since Part 2, so it’s time for another look at the sisters.  I hope they realize how fortunate they were to have each other for so long.  After recently losing the second of my three sisters, it makes me a little jealous of what they had.  But I won’t dwell on that, I’ll continue to celebrate with them for what they had.  Too bad I don’t have a new photo to share with you.  Like I said in the title, I’m just revisiting.

Enhanced photo from 1894 with Ruth, Daisy, and Mabel Keys

“Here he goes with those enhanced photos again,” you may be saying with frustration.  I agree.  I like to see new photos.  I haven’t found any new photos of the sisters together, but I have improved the ones I have.

The 1894 photo was a really good photo, considering it was just a photo of the original photo sent to me from Aunt Loris.  All three of the faces have enough details that the enhanced photo looks like the person it’s supposed to.  It helps that none of them are smiling with their teeth showing.  The enhancer always seems to give everyone perfect teeth! 

The 1951 photo was very blurry, so I wasn’t sure that it would work well for that photo.  It worked much better than I thought it would, even though there are some blurry parts near the edges of the photo.  It also doesn’t seem to figure out that if one side of a person’s face looks like they’re wearing glasses, the other side should have glasses, too.  Daisy’s teeth were a little too perfect at first.  So I looked at several photos of her and edited the photo to make it look more realistic.  I think it is a good improvement over the original.

Maybe we’ll have another part to this Keys Sisters series.  If so, it will have to be a different photo of the sisters that I don’t know about yet.  Wouldn’t that be grand!

Musical Keys and Phenice Family News

I’ve had some exciting news about the Keys and Phenice family lately.  Sometimes I look for things and can’t find them, which can be frustrating.  Other times I find hints about them and have to track them down for a while.  Sometimes I give up altogether and go searching for something else.  Occasionally something that I’ve given up on will fall right into my lap.  That’s what happened in the first part of this blog.

Clockwise from top left: Irma Hetzel Phenice, Daisy Keys Phenice, Marguerite Phenice, and Sylvia Bucklin. This photo was taken around 1932 in Hathaway, Louisiana.

Before I tell you that story, I thought I’d share a related photo.  I’ve been thinking of sharing this one for a while.  There is an old timey charm about it.  I took a photo of a photo at the Keys Family Reunion in 2017.  I can’t remember who shared it with me, but I do appreciate it.   The older woman on the right is my great grandmother Daisy Keys Phenice.  She was my mom’s maternal grandmother. 

The younger woman on the left is her future daughter-in-law Irma Hetzel.  She would marry Daisy’s son Henry in 1934.  The dark-haired girl in the photo (her face can’t be seen) is Daisy’s youngest child Marguerite.  Marguerite would marry Thomas Hill in 1943.  The youngest person in the photo is my aunt Sylvia Bucklin.  She was oldest daughter of Myrtle Phenice Bucklin, who was the middle daughter of Daisy.

I’m not sure what they are doing in the photo, but it looks like they could be listening to music.  This brings us back to the story I was wanting to tell.  Many years ago, about 1972, my mom somehow got a collection of old records from her Uncle Sylvan.  He was a son of Daisy and he was big into sound systems and recordings.   He had a company for many years called Sylvan’s Sound Service and one of the things he did was put intercom systems in the schools of Calcasieu and surrounding Parishes back in the day.

So if you are from that area and are old enough, you probably heard your morning news at school through the sound system of old Uncle Sylvan.  But the recordings that my mom got were even more special than that.  He had some old recordings of family conversations and singalongs from back in the 1940s or so.  I’ve shared some of those before.  I shared my grandmother Myrtle singing a few songs and my mom’s paternal grandmother Addie telling a story.  It’s nice to hear those old voices from the past.

I had some of the recordings, but not all of them.  I heard somewhere along the way that there was a recording of my great grandparents Daisy and Harry singing “Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built For Two)” together.  There was also a recording of Harry playing a song on the fiddle.  Supposedly, a recording was given to my dad and he was going to digitize it for them.  So when we were clearing out my parents’ home, I was on the lookout for it.  That’s when I found the recordings of Myrtle singing and Addie telling her story.   I couldn’t find the recordings of Harry and Daisy.  I even went through the archives at my sister and brother-in-law’s house, but it was nowhere to be found.  I gave them up for lost.  I didn’t tell you all about that, because I don’t like to tell sad stories.  (Ha!)

I’m telling you now, because it’s a happy story!  One of my mom’s cousins sent me a note that said that she has the recording of Daisy and Harry singing, as well as the recording of Harry playing the fiddle!  Whoo hoo!  She said the recordings were in bad shape and needed some help.  I offered to help.  Even if I didn’t know how to do any editing, I would have offered.  I would have learned just so I could hear those old wonderful recordings that I had thought were lost forever.  Don’t get too excited, because I don’t have them yet.  I think they are near and I hope to get them soon.  Then I will share them with everyone.  Remember, patience is a virtue.

The other news I have is a bit more rewarding.  While the other is a preview of something in the future, this is a realized view of something from the past.  A couple of years ago when I was looking at the Phenice side of the family, I came across some information about Grandma Myrtle’s first cousin.  Her name was Doris Enola Phenice and she lived in Colorado.  Like my grandmother she was a schoolteacher for many years.  When she was an elderly single woman, she befriended a couple who ended up caring for her at the end of her life.  They also put together a book about her life and her family that included photos and such.  There was some contact information, so I wrote them a note and said that I’d be interested in seeing that book.

So I waited patiently.  I didn’t hear anything back from that first message I sent.  I mentioned it to a distant Phenice cousin and she tried contacting them the same way and got a response.  She shared the phone number of the couple who put together the book.  I tried writing an email again…  And waited again.   Sometimes I think I confuse forgetfulness with patience. 

Anna Armina Stockton Phenice and Chauncey Phenice in Victor, Colorado, in 1900.

Then one day recently I was looking for some information about a DNA match.  This person was a descendant of Chauncey Phenice.  Chauncey was the oldest brother of my great grandfather Harry Phenice and he was the father of Doris Enola.  I found the phone number of that couple and decided to call.  The woman is still alive, but sadly she recently became a widow.  She was very friendly and said that she would be glad to send me a copy of the book that they put together.

She followed through and now I have the book!  I found out a few more interesting things about the Phenice family, but the thing I was most excited about was finding a photo of Chauncey.  I have several photos of Harry’s sisters and his brother Edd, but I didn’t have any of his brothers Chauncey or William Emory.  Now I just need to find one of William Emory!

The picture of him is when he and his wife were living in Victor, Colorado.  They went there with Will (William Emory) for a short time to try their hand at gold mining.  One of my favorite photos of my great grandfather Harry is one of him in a gold mine.  I didn’t realize that gold mining was a family tradition.  You can see from the photo that includes Harry and Edd that there is a family resemblance in the three brothers that are in the photos.

1906 in Nebraska. Top row: Daisy Keys Phenice (wife of Harry), Lola Myrtle Phenice, Emma Orra Phenice. Bottom row: Harry Clifton Phenice and James Edmund “Edd” Phenice.

Grandpa Phenice on the Porch

H. C. Phenice circa 1949

This is a photo of my great grandfather Harry Clifton Phenice.  It was taken some time around 1949 in Hathaway, Louisiana.  It doesn’t look like the house that my mom lived in when she was growing up, so I guess it was her Phenice grandparents’ home nearby.

Figuring out where they lived at the time can be tricky.  It seems that they moved often.  In the family history book by Edith Keys Segraves, my Grandma Myrtle wrote about H. C. and Daisy’s (her parents) life.  She listed eleven different places they lived.  Mostly they were in Jefferson Davis Parish in southern Louisiana.  

Before they were married, H. C. and Daisy started out far apart.  He was born in Pennsylvania, where his parents and  grandparents were born and lived.  His family moved to Tennessee at one point, but ended up homesteading in Nebraska for most of H. C.’s growing up years.  Daisy Keys, on the other hand, was born in England and lived there until she moved with her mom and her siblings to Southern Louisiana in 1887 at the age of 11.

H. C. did not make it to Louisiana until 1898.  It must not have taken long for them to meet and become enamored with each other.  They were married Dec. 27, 1900, in Lake Charles.  Their first home together was half a mile west of the J. Anderson place.  This is where Sylvan and Grace were born.  I have no idea where the J. Anderson place is.  That was another piece of information that Grandma wrote about.  She left out the next place they lived – Colorado.  I have photographic evidence that H. C. was in a gold mine in Cripple Creek.  And there is a story about the local women being a little too loose for the likes of the young couple trying to rear their children in an upright manner.  So they moved back to Louisiana in time for Grandma to be born at the McGuire place.  I have no clue where that is either!  I do know that it was in 1906. 

Another tidbit of information from Grandma includes the fact that the family bought their first car in 1920.  I suppose they took a train for their cross country moves, but for local travel they used a horse and wagon.  When the family lived close enough to a church, the children were encouraged to go.   They would either walk, ride a horse, or take the buggy.  I wonder if the whole family fit in that first car they got.  At that time all seven of their children we born and they were from 2 to 18 years old.  I don’t think they had station wagons like we had when I was a kid!  It didn’t have a radio, either.  They got their first radio in 1924 and it wasn’t in their car.

Let’s get back to the time of the featured photo.  After moving around for several years, H. C. and Daisy’s son Orville built a small house on his place for them in 1940.  “When they became ill” the house was moved to the property of my grandparents Fred and Myrtle Bucklin.  That was in 1950.  So the picture was probably taken on the porch of that small house before it was moved to my grandparents’ property.

But all of that information isn’t necessary to enjoy the photo.  It’s a charming photo on its own.  It pictures my mom’s grandfather in the way that she knew him.  He liked to walk around his yard barefoot and in his overalls (the only clothes that his wife didn’t make for him).  And sometimes he took time to pose for a photo for his teen-aged granddaughter Betty Lou.  She would then post it on her blog to share with the cousins.

Oh, wait!  No, that’s me that does that.  Enjoy.


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