Life in the Pineywoods – Chapter 2

Ona Wood writes about life in Wood County in the early 1850′s reflecting the life of Peter Gunstream and especially the Holly Springs community of eastern Wood County in Chapter 2 of the story of her ancestor’s coming to the county. This chapter is available on the members only site by going to the link at the top right of this page. Here’s an excerpt from the chapter:

It was not until the year 1857 that the first school house was built in the settlement of the deep eastern part of Wood County. The little log school house was located about one half mile southwest of the Gunstream home. The principal patrons were P. M. Gunstream, Mr. Isham Burnett, and Mr. B. L. Robbins.
The first school that was taught in the log structure was under the tutelage of Miss Emily Smith, a very young girl. She had an enrollment of fifteen pupils.
The school term was very short. That was the case of all the school terms throughout the entire county, and in many other places of the state for the next half century. The school usually ran for a term of three or four months; and in some instances two months in the summer time after crops were “laid by.”
The children had to walk long distances to reach the school house, even as much as four miles or more. By the time a youngster reached the school building, ate his lunch, and returned home, most of the day was gone.
The only school books were those that parents might have brought from the old states or , perchance, some father had been lucky enough to find during a trip to Jefferson or Marshall when going for supplies for the family.

June Newsletter on Its Way

The June 2010 newsletter has been mailed and should reach all currently paid-up members soon. It is also posted on the member-only site which can be accessed from the link at the top right column of this page.

An updated member contact list (as of July 1, 2010) has been uploaded to the member-only site.

Life In The Piney Woods – Chapter One

We have begun the serial publication of Life In The Piney Woods by Ona WOOD. It is available to members on the members-only page which you can access at the top right column of this page. It will also appear in the second quarter (June, 2010) newsletter.

The foreword (by Mrs. Ona Wood) was previously published here. If you would like to read it again before going to Chapter one, click here.

Thanks to member Mark Reid who digitized the first chapters of Mrs. Wood’s book.

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Life In The Piney Woods – Chapter One

A YOUNG SWEDE COMES TO AMERICA

The day dawned beautiful. The sun projected its rays across the waters of the northern seas in an effort, it seemed, to hold in check the restless beating of the waves.

On the deck of a ship lying at anchor in Baltic waters in the harbor of Copenhagen, Denmark stood a young man, well groomed and handsome.
The long locks of his light wavy hair sweeping loosely around his neck were tousled by the wind; the tangy sea breeze upon his face, caused his eyes to turn occasionally from their far-distant gaze; within their depths, like a mirror to his soul; shone a spirit of courage and strength, supported by an abiding peace.

Inside the iron-bound chest, bearing the name of P. M. Gunstream, that had just been placed on board were many tools that were to be used to ply his trade in a new world. To read the remainder of Chapter One, go to the member-only page.

New address for Wood County book

Thanks to member Lou Mallory who brought us up to date on the site for address for buying “Wood County 1850-1890″. It has been corrected on the Publications Page of this website. FYI: Lou Mallory, P. O. Box 255, Mineola, Texas 75773. Lou’s email is gmallory@suddenlink.net. The book costs $15.00 plus $4.00 postage. Lou is Wood County Historical Commission chairman.

Life in the Pineywoods

First installment

Mrs. Ona Wood, a Wood County family history researcher and historian, wrote a history of the county in the 1950’s through the story of some early pioneer families here. She is a descendant of Wood County pioneer Peter Gunstream among others.

We are beginning the serial printing of the book in installments for the Wood County Genealogical Society Bulletin starting in the March 2010 newsletter. Part one is the foreword to the book.

LIFE IN THE PINEY WOODS: A History through the story of some early settlers Of Wood County Texas
by Ona Wood
Quitman, Texas

FOREWORD

“A people which takes no pride in the noble achievements of remote ancestors will never achieve anything worthy to be remembered with pride by remote descendants.” – Lord McCauley

This book has been written in reverence and in profound respect to those people whose names appear upon its pages.
I have written of my own people , not because of selfish reasons, but because I know their joys and sorrows; their hardships and achievements.

My people, I think, are typical of most of the pioneers of any part of East Texas; they were not wealthy as wealth is valued in money; they had their good years and bad ones; they worked hard to keep – as they said – “body and soul together.”

I love and respect my people and give honor where honor lies; for what they were, I am.

The blood of our ancestry courses through the veins of their progenitors, and the ancestry was of many nationalities, English, French, Swede, Irish, Scotch, and probably pure American.

The same thst is true of my family holds true for their neighbors.
I like to walk along their paths, if not in reality, then in dreaming, and look for their tracks wherever they may wend, and stand along beside them into the dawn of a new era. Their tracks will never be obliterated, not by time or elements.

Their names have never been written into history books, and many of their names were never found in newspapers beyond the confines of their own county. They are not listed in the scrolls with the great, but they made history.

The pioneers seemed stern and severe, and so they were; but, beneath the veneer which the wilderness provoked, was to be found a compassionate spirit.

And, as most of them – your forefathers and mine – sleep in the age-old burying grounds, near and far, may we in humbleness, bless the day when they set foot on East Texas soil.

Comments…We Get Comments

1. Responses (2) to “Mae Etta Johnson:”
First, Charles L.Bookman, on February 2nd, 2010 said: “Thanks for sharing this important part of history.”

Second, Melba Gordon Jones, on February 6th, 2010 said: “I really appreciate you publishing my mothers presentation as part of your newsletter. Thank you so much for sharing our story of our hero who knew that God does have the whole wide world in His hands.”

2. Response to “Member Contact List:”
Sharon Gallatin Phillips, on February 1st, 2010 Said: Dear Members,
I am not as yet a paid member. I have not found family in your area,however, I appreciate your website as I have learned much and the links are helping me also. I am what one might call a newbie. My husband’s family is mostly in Rusk Co., and mine is in Brazos, Madison, and Limestone. To my knowledge they do not have websites near as nice as yours. I do read ETGS also. I am on an extremely set budget, and I appreciate the access to your website.”

3. Comment on “Vertical Files A-B:”
June Powers on November 1, 2009 said: ” Interested in vertical files on Benton and Banks. If significant and not too much, could send $ for copies, or can you send copies via email? Let me know what is appropriate, please. Thanks.

4. Comment on “Help a distant researcher:”
June Powers 0n October 31, 2009 said: “Re the vertical file: Is it possible to receive copies of articles of certain files? I do not expect to be in Quitman again in the near future.”

5. Comment on “WCGS Bulletin Goes Live Sept.15:”
Dorothy Harbin on October 7, 2009 said: “You have done an outstanding job on this project. I can’t wait each day to see what new articles will be listed next. I’ve lost a lot of sleep exploring all that you have done, Keep Up The Great Job.

6. Email received from Linda Winterhoff: “Got the newsletter, glanced at it. It looks great as usual. Saw on the website there are Quitman Family Histories. What is the procedure to get my family info in there, or is there one?? My line is Grogan, basically….

7. Email received from Ron Schell: “That’s a great looking Newsletter! I like the layout and generous use of links for further research. I’m looking forward to reading it carefully. Thanks for your work in putting it together.

8. Comment received from Terri O’Connell on Genealogywise: “I love the set up. You have all the information there and it is easy to find. Which I find is the biggest problem with some of the local societies.
The only thing I would look into changing, is nothing related to the site. If it is possible for the society to set up the ability to join the society on line. Sometimes, it is just easier for those of us at home to do it that way. For instance, NEHGS had an add on Facebook and I was able to click through it and join. Keep in mind it was something I had wanted to do, it was just easier for me to do it this way.
Otherwise, I love the crisp feel to it. Great job!

9. Email received from Kathy Gunter Sullivan, CG: “Certainly you may re-post the item if you think it will be useful to your readers. I visited your site, and your bulletin is extremely well-done and informative.

10. Email received from Geneabloggers webmaster at http://www.geneabloggers.com: You’ve got a great genealogy blog, and I’ve added it to the blog list at GeneaBloggers.”

Search The Wood County Democrat Online

Some years of the Wood County Democrat of Quitman (1950 to 1987 plus 1993 and 2005) are searchable online. The most complete decade is 1951-60. Only a few years/issues of the other decades are made available. Some searches require you to be a paid subscriber of a web service, and some are free.

FREE SEARCH

Google News Archives (http://news.google.com/archivesearch) has a free search of the 1951 to 1960 Democrat as well as the year of 2005. The easiest way to search Google’s News Archive contents is to go to the Small Town Papers site (http://www.smalltownpapers.com/newspapers/newspaper_pages.php?id=413). In the search box near the top of the page, type a surname, city name or other word which might have appeared in the newspapers. For example: typing the word funeral, turned up 603 results most of which were obituaries/funeral notices. While on that page, by clicking and dragging you can read other news items and on additional pages of that issue of the newspaper. Typing funeral and a year ( funeral 1956) yielded funeral notices of papers of that year.

PAY SEARCH

Footnote.com (http://footnote.com) has the Democrat for searching and the digital images for the years 1951-60, 1979, 1984, 1986, 1993, and 2005. A one-year membership is $79.95 paid in full at the time you subscribe, or you can pay $11.95 monthly. The yearly option is better if you will be keeping the service for a whole year. There is also a 7-day free trial. You have to give a credit card number, and if you don’t cancel before the seven days is up, your credit card will automatically be charged for a one-year membership. There is a convenient link on your account page to notify them to cancel before your card is charged.

While both Google and Footnote say they get their search data from smalltownpapers.com, if you subscribe to the latter site ($25.00 a year) you only get to access the 2005 Democrat newspapers.

Offline searching is available on the microfilm reader at the Quitman Public Library. Ask for the microfilm at the library desk. Although the microfilm collection at the library has some skipped issues, it starts in 1917.

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