Query: Long

I am looking for information. I am not sure where and who to ask. I am fairly new to genealogy. My ancestor, Robert Long married Ada Adams, 1884 in Wood County. I found them in 1900 Census in Corsicana, Texas. I found city directory 1901, listing them there. In 1910 Census, Ada Long is listed living in Wood county with her mother. Ada is listed as widow. Recently I made a trip to Corsicana and researched city directories and found nothing, cemetery records and death records( 1904-) and found nothing. So I thought maybe they had traveled to Wood county. Are there city directories from 1901 – on and cemetery records in the Quitman library? Could I find death records in the county clerk’s office that far back? Ada died in 1911 and is buried in Kay Cemetery, Hawkins, Wood, Texas. There are 36 interments and they are all listed. Robert is not there. Can you give me any ideas where to look now? I appreciate any information or help.
Cathy Constant cathy@cathyconstant.com

WCGS to Host FREE Genealogy Help County-wide Workshops

The Wood County Texas Genealogical Society will be hosting free workshops at the libraries throughout Wood County this spring. The workshops will provide an opportunity to use available computers to aid in genealogical research. Researchers will be able to access Heritage Quest and Ancestry.com. Included in the workshop will be a short session on getting started with one’s research.

The first workshop will be on Thursday, February 21 at the Mineola Library from 10 a.m. until noon. The second workshop will be on Tuesday, March 5 at the Winnsboro Library from 2 until 4 p.m. The next workshop will be on March 26 at the Hawkins Library beginning at 2 p.m. and ending at 4 p.m. The fourth workshop will be on March 28 at the Alba Library from 10 a.m. until noon. The final session will be a night meeting at the Quitman Library on April 2. This workshop will be in the Shamburger Room beginning at 6 p.m. There is no pre-registration. Just show up and be ready to work.

If you have any pictures of old Wood County families, buildings, or events, the Society would love to be able to scan these into our collection.

 The society meets every third Monday in the Quitman Library and help is always available at 6 p.m. and the meeting begins at 7 p.m.

Query: Warn

I’m trying to find the name of the cemetery that Mathilda (Martllie) Warn and/ or Charles Lee Warn is buried. All the family knows is that  Mathilda Rebecca Pankey born March 26, 1894 in Pritchett to Leroy and Mary Pankey, married Albert Warn in 1913.

They owned A. Warn Meat Market Produce and Grocery in Hawkins in August 1918. A fire broke out and destroyed the building owned by Mrs. Minnie Cobb and having no insurance, they apparently never reopened (newspaper said “the A.Warn restaurant)

They had three children: Helen Louise, Fawn Jeanette and Charles Lee Warn. Charles died in November 1919 and Martillie died Dec 10, 1918 in Hawkins. The kids were taken from Albert and were raised by relatives.

I have tried to find graves/obits for them. Family believes they were buried in Quitman for some reason, (Helen was born there in 1914.)

Can you help me with the name of the cemetery in Quitman where they are buried (or any other info)?

Melinda  (cssi_adm@swbell.net)

Wood County 1878

WOOD COUNTY.  This county is west of Upshur county and north of Smith county between the 18th and 19th degrees of longitude west from Washington its northern boundary being the 33d parallel of latitude. Its area is 418 square miles and population about 8,000. It is splendidly watered by numerous streams creeks and springs, and the soil products and climate are similar to those of Smith county. The Sabine river divides it from the last named county. The surface of the county is generally level and well timbered. The products consist of wheat and the smaller grains, cotton, vegetables, and fruits. The prices of unimproved lands range from $2 to $5 per acre while good farms are commanding as high as $12 and $15 per acre. Mineola is now an important town with a population of 1,200 and is the terminus of the northern branch of the International & Gt Northern Railway and the junction formed with the Texas & Pacific road. The last named road extends from east to west through the northern section of the county and its transportation facilities can hardly be excelled. Hawkins is a small town on the line of the Texas & Pacific Railway and has a trade of considerable importance. Fourteen miles north of Mineola is the county town of Quitman with a population of about 900. It has all of the industrious thrift of a busy town. Good schools and churches are scattered throughout Wood county and are well sustained. The people are good people and they are kind and generous one to another. It is a fine county for immigrants to settle in. The mean temperature is about 60 degrees, the rain fall plentiful, the climate genial and the general health good. Mr T. J. Worthy is the county clerk.

Source: James L. Rock and W.I. Smith, Southern and Western Texas Guide For 1878, A.H. Granger Publisher, St. Louis, Mo, 1878, page 133. (Digitized version accessed from Google Book Search May 7, 2012)

Wood County Late 19th Century

WOOD COUNTY TEXAS.  This is the most westerly of the counties along the line of the Texas & Pacific Railway having extensive forests of pine timber. All of the county is heavily wooded but the eastern half contains the great pineries from which the supplies for the large number of saw mills are drawn. In the western half the forests partake more of the characteristics of the timber of the black land counties, further west. The general surface is more level than in the other woodland counties, though there is little material variation as to soils, climate, temperature, rainfall, or yield of crops per acre. A larger part of the area, which comprises 702 square miles, can, however, be profitably cultivated. There are about 50,000 acres, in 1,400 farms, under cultivation, producing annually a value about $600,000. The harvest generally consists of 10,000 to 11,000 bales of cotton, 400,000 bushels of corn, 50,000 bushels of oats, 30,000 bushels of sweet potatoes, 35,000 to 40,000 gallons of molasses, 6,000 tons of cotton seed, and orchard and garden products to the value of $35,000 $40,000. As in all of the woodland counties, the raising of live stock is part ordinary farming operations. The live stock in the county, in 1897, was valued at $220,301 and consisted of 5,744 horses and mules, 9,607 head of cattle, 1,211 head of sheep and goats, and 12,465 head of hogs.

The county was organized in 1850 and has 14,000 inhabitants, 3,000 of whom are residents of Mineola, the junction the Texas & Pacific Railway, the International & Great Northern Railway and the Missouri Kansas & Texas Railway; 500 of Quitman, the county seat; 400 of Winnsboro, and 250 of Hawkins, smaller trading points in the county. The assessed values of taxable property, in 1897, amounted to $2,695,113, of which $1,619,538 was assessed against real estate, $499,465 against railways, which have 49 23/100 miles of tracks in the county. The school census reports 3,870 children of school age, for whose education 61 houses are maintained and teachers are employed.

The industrial pursuits run mainly in the manufacture of lumber, railroad ties, shingles, etc., there being about 17 sawmills at work . The other enterprises, principally located at Mineola, consist of 81 mercantile establishments, 1 bank, 1 flour mill, 2 fire brick and tile factories, 1 cannery, 1 furniture factory, and the repair shops of the railways.  Improved lands range in price from $5 to $25 per acre; unimproved $2 to $10 per acre.

Source: Along the line of the Texas & Pacific Ry.,  published by the Passenger Department of the Texas & Pacific Railway, Dallas Texas, corrected to and reissued November 1909, pages 35-36. (Digitized version accessed from Google Book Search May 7, 2012)

Query: Private Cemetery in Wood County

I am looking for information on old private cemeteries in Wood County.

Growing up I visited my grandfathers nephew, Oneal Vance, in Hawkins often. My grandfather was Stephen Grady Myers. Oneal often took us to cemeteries and showed us where familly members were buried. One day he took us to one close to his home in Hawkins that was on someones private land. He referred to it as the “Redlands”?

It was a very small cemetery and my grandfather, Johnny A. Meyers, was buried there. I do have a picture of the tombstone and his last name is mispelled.

I would like to know if there is any listings of such cemeteries available to help us locate it again. Any information you could give me or any clues would be a great help.

Thank you for your help.

Stella Lack Green
1811 Thompson Street
Bridgeport, TX 76426
940-683-4929
smithoilfield@hotmail.com

Black Gold in Wood County

This is the oil essay Kristen Witt of Mineola, Texas, wrote that helped her win the T.C. Chadick $2,000 scholarship available to seniors in Wood and Franklin Counties. The essay had to be written on some historical event that occurred in Wood or Franklin Counties prior to 1945.

Black Gold
Suppose you are a farmer in Hawkins, Texas in 1940. Your land sits on rolling hills and valleys, forested in spots by piney woods atop sandy soil. You have no air conditioning or telephone, and your mode of transportation is a horse and wagon driven over dirt roads. There is no internet service or cell phone. Your only livelihood is the crops you slave over every day and night. But one day, all this changes with a simple knock on the door. Bobby Manziel stands on your doorstep with a proposal, “Let us drill for oil on your land.” With a charming smile, he convinces you to sign the required papers; and in an instant, your life is destined to change.

A few weeks later, you find time to relax in the evening by listening to “You are My Sunshine” on your battery-powered radio, the life-line for news, music and entertainment for your family. You have a hard day’s work ahead of you, slaving over the plow in the deadly sun. Times are hard, but you must provide for your family. You turn off the radio, walk a few yards from your house to the outhouse, and return home to turn off kerosene lamps and settle under your handmade quilts. You lie awake for a few moments listening to the “chirp-chirp” of crickets and the occasional “hoot” of an owl. Your curtains blow gracefully as the cool night air pours through open windows into your humble home.

Just as your eyes close and your breathing slows, you are jarred awake by a terrifying sound. The earth begins to shake tremendously; and, fearfully, you leap out of bed. Running outside, you have no idea what to expect. The sight you witness is one you will never forget. Spewing wildly from a 40-foot wooden oil derrick is black, rich oil. As the oil pours onto the ground and drillers rush to contain it, you suddenly realize a shocking fact. Overnight, you have become very rich.

This was a common scene experienced by many families in the 1940’s, in Hawkins, TX. Beginning in October, 1940, Wood County experienced its first oil boom. Bobby Manziel drilled the first oil well 3.5 miles north of town; and, overnight, Hawkins became the talk of East Texas. People poured in from miles away hoping to take part in the wealth pouring from the city. The sudden fame also brought in con-men, prostitutes, criminals, and many other troublesome people. Police officers and Texas Rangers struggled to keep up with the nonsense that occurred. The boom brought in drillers and oil producers placing bids on land in hopes of also striking oil. Within the same year, Steve Rotundi and F. R. Jackson struck oil. However, this time it was within the Hawkins city limits. Residents sold their land to multiple producers who eventually sold out to large corporations such as the Humble Oil and Refining Company.
Drilling oil was not an easy job. More often than not it was a gamble. Technology had not advanced enough to determine where to drill for oil nor was the machinery equipped to easily drill into the ground.

Drillers had to be strong and in good condition. Some put their lives on the line for the sake of oil production. The crew needed the strength, skill, and discipline of a football team and the precision of a woman threading a needle. These men would spend weeks, even months, drilling the same well. Long periods of time would pass before they knew whether or not oil was even present under their derrick. As each day passed, every crew member had the same question on his mind, “Will we strike oil?”

On the occasion that oil was found, quite a celebration was thrown. After months of hoping, wishing, and almost giving up, it all became worth it. Each time black gold poured from the ground, the residents of Hawkins, TX, men, women, and children, shouted for joy! The town was booming, business was thriving, the population was growing; and Hawkins had found its claim to fame.

The discovery of oil not only benefited Hawkins and Wood County but the entire country as well. The Humble Oil and Refining Company, now Exxon, provided oil for the Allies during World War II and helped contribute to the building of the pipeline that extended to Pennsylvania.

Over time, the oil pools did begin to dry up. Oil production is no longer as prosperous as it once was; however, it still plays a huge part in Hawkins’ economy. Every year, Hawkins holds an Oil Festival to honor those who so bravely risked their lives for the gamble of finding the precious black gold.

The discovery of oil changed Hawkins and the residents of Wood County forever. I am one of those residents. In the 1940’s, my great-grandfather, Orville Goolsby, lived in Wood County and worked as a driller for many oil companies. Because of his labor and investment in the oil industry of Wood County, my family continues to reside in this county and benefit from it. I am grateful for the oil boom because it positioned my great-grandfather to participate in mapping out my destiny and has provided the opportunity for me to be raised in a tranquil community rich in family history.

Sources:
Discovery of Oil in Hawkins – The first oil well in Wood Co., Tx
The Handbook of Texas online by Texas State Historical Association.

Vertical Files: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Adele W. Vickery, “A Transcript of Centennial Edition, 1850-1950 Wood County Democrat” (Mineola, Texas, 1974)

“Wood County, 1850-1900” (Quitman, Texas: Wood County Historical Society, 1976).

Internet source: “All Things Historical” Dec. 19, 2005

Personal interviews with:
Larry Lewis (a family friend), son of Irvin C.”Shorty” Lewis, who worked for Roger Lacy Oil Company in the 1940’s in Hawkins, Tx.

Lucy Carr (my grandmother), daughter of Orville Otis Goolsby, who worked for various oil companies throughout Wood County during the 1940’s.

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