Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you
Paul Simon
Thanks to Gary Cliser for creating this video for me.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

My dad's Army Air Corp buddies, Dave Waterman and Harley Smith, Sheppard Field Texas, 1944

With hundreds of pictures to scan, there are some gems. In the pictures of my dad with Dave Waterman and Harley Smith, he looks happy and carefree. Most of the pictures of his early years are posed and serious so these are just fun.

I don't know anything about Dave Waterman or Harley Smith. I only have memories of him talking about the fun they had. So, if you know Dave Waterman or Harley Smith, please feel free to copy the pictures.

 Dave Waterman on left, my dad, Ernest Oliver Rhea on the right

Ernest Rhea, Dave Waterman, and Harley Smith

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Immanuel Baptist Church, La Puente, California, Church history from 1953 to 1958

Immanuel Southern Baptist Church was my church home from 1953 to 1965. My memories of the church and all those who attended with me seems to take on a magical feel. We lived in the same neighborhood, attended the same schools, and went to the same church. We were a close group that lasted until we went to high school. My mother documented much of the early history in pictures.

Reverend Drake started the church in his home in 1953. That was the same year we moved to La Puente, California. Photo taken in 1954 with my brother and I with Faye Drake, wife of our first pastor. 

In the Spring of 1955, ground was broken for the first building of the new church location at 15847 Francisquito Ave, La Puente, California. My brother and I are in the second picture. I am the one in front of the sign, shading my eyes and my brother is in front of me. 

At the time of the groundbreaking, the church was meeting at the Women's Clubhouse in La Puente, California. The 1954 Mother Daughter banquet was held there. I am in the center picture. 

In 1955, the Mother Daughter Banquet was still at the Women's Clubhouse. Ruth Linda Wadley, my best friend, was sitting between her mother, Lida and big sister, Dorothy 

I am in the center of the picture below. 

September 4, 1955, the first building was dedicated.  Rev. Benny Bates, P Boyd Smith, Rev. Glen Smith, Pastor, Mrs. George Myers holding the Pastor's daughter, and George Myers are gathered at the front door. 

The church was a long rectangular building. In the front, there were church offices, then the sanctuary. In the back was a crying room where parents could still here the message and take care of the baby at the same time. There was no nursery to drop the little ones off and everyone went to church together. This is a picture of the crying room.

September 1956, my family at church. The two young ladies are Patsy and  Sandra Peach.

My mother directing the Primary Choir in April 1957. This was the day of the ground breaking for the 2nd building. 

Most of the work was done by the church family. This is Oscar Moser doing the cement work for the foundation. 

2nd building going up but the church it didn't get in the way of Vacation Bible School. 

The only one I recognize in these pictures is me, scowling in the top photo and Birdie Baker, corralling the kids. She is on the left next to the building. 
The Reverend Clyde Rich was the pastor at the time of the groundbreaking. There would later be a third building, a sanctuary on the corner of the property. I don't have pictures for that but do have lots and lots of memories of the church and the kids I grew up with. I am posting these pictures in hopes that someone will know some of these people. 

I believe that this Southern Baptist Church is no longer active but that does not take away from the time we spent as a church family and the work that God did through this church. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Helen and Gerald Rawson

Not relatives but very much family. Helen and Gerry were newlyweds the same time as my parents. They shared a house in Los Angeles for a short time but both families ended up in La Puente, California.

Helen and Gerry lived in a big two story home, set back from the street. I remember big trees. I think Helen watched us for a time when we were smaller when my parents were at work.

Gerald Rawson was born in Los Angeles on March 11, 1925 and passed away on December 14, 2008 in South Paris, Maine. Helen was born in Auburn, Maine on March 14, 1927 and passed away on December 29, 2001, in Augusta, Maine. They had four children.

David was born a couple of weeks after me. Rachel was born the same year as my brother. I was five when Johnny was born and eight when Claudia was born. Her birthday is easy to remember because it's also my birthday. All us kids grew up together and I have so many memories of the times we spent together.

Rachel passed away on January 1, 1983 at the young age of 31. My husband and I attended her service and spent the day with the family. Rachel was a sweetheart and is still missed. Helen and Gerry attended my parents 40th wedding anniversary party in 1987. Right now I can only find two of the pictures so those are the ones I'm sharing here.

 Helen is the woman on the right. This picture was taken at my parent's home in Nuevo, California. I don't know the people in the middle but the man on the left is my Uncle Johnny.

Uncle Johnny is now on the right and Gerald is sitting on the piano bench. My sister-in-law Julie is on the left. 

Although I can't seem to find any other pictures, I know they are here somewhere. Still, right now, it's good enough because they are not just names and dates on a chart, they were loving and wonderful people. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

David J Cantwell

David J. Cantwell was born in 1883 and died in 1973. He must be sort of a relative because his family ties in with the Burchett's who are also sort of family. Jewelle kept two pictures.

Dave Cantwell is in this picture and I think the one in the back is Victor Rhea. The house in the back is my great grandmother's house where my grandfather grew up. When we saw the foundation of this house, there was only a road without any of this cleared land. The forest has reclaimed all the land surrounding the foundation.
I guess at the location because I did find another picture on of Dave Cantwell and his brothers. 
The photo is identified as Jim, Charlie, and Dave Cantwell in Jim's front yard, bordering the Clinch River. 

The other photo is of Victor Rhea and his wife Cornie on the right and Jim Cantwell and unknown female (probably wife) on the left. Victor Rhea was my great uncle and the photo was taken in front of my great grandmother's home, also on the Clinch River in Hancock County, Tennessee. 
My great uncle, Victor, also had a home on the Clinch River. To drive the road now does not show what kind of life they had since many of the homes are gone and the forest has reclaimed its land.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Ernest Oliver Rhea - My dad

It's Father's Day so today I will share a little about my dad. 

Ernest Oliver Rhea was born on October 17, 1921 in Billings, Montana, to William Ogden Rhea and Mellie Farris. He was the youngest of three boys. 

My dad in the front on the left, his brother Howard to the right. Ralph in the back. The look like sweet little boys but looks can be deceiving.
He met my mom, Ruby Ellen Yeakley, during World War II at the USO Center in Wichita Falls, Texas, and they married on July 4, 1947 in Los Angeles, California.

Taken at the La Brea Tar Pits in 1947

It's hard to decide what to share about him. He loved to play tricks on people. He worked for the IRS and then opened his own accounting business. He never really retired and was doing the same work into his 80's. His first love was music and played all the instruments. Unfortunately, World War II interfered with his music education at Michigan State and when he returned home, went to USC to study accounting. 

He was a fun dad and very seldom angry. He was not one to swear so if he said "hell's bells" we scattered. 

We spent a lot of time with family. My grandparents lived in Montana but we made the trek there once a year. My grandmother would also spend time with us in Southern California and then head north to the San Francisco area to visit my uncle Howard and his family. Fellowship with family and friends was important to my dad. 

A 1982 family picture taken in Billings, Montana at Christmas. In the back, my uncle Ralph and his wife Bernice, Uncle Howard and his wife Anne, my dad and my mom. In the front, Gary and Patty, children of Howard, me, my grandpa, William, my brother Marlin, Stuart, son of Howard, my grandma, Mellie, and Billy, son of Howard. 

My dad passed away on February 10, 2006. I know that he is with my mom and that makes me happy. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Eb Rhea

This is one of those families that defies identification. Jewelle kept three of these family pictures. The first one is titled "Eb Rhea family"

I have spent days trying to figure how they're related to us. I am no closer today than I was when I started. However, it has allowed me to find some errors in my tree as I was looking for information. 

Most of the pictures that were found were of people in the Sneedville, Tennessee area between 1850 and 1950.  That doesn't mean that the Eb Rhea family lived there but the time frame is accurate. 

 This is titled "Eb Rhea's son, Ralph Rhea"

Lilly Rhea, Eb Rhea's daughter

If someone out there knows who Eb Rhea is, please let me know. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Missed opportunity - Johnnie Clyde Gibson Rhea

My mother often wrote to Johnnie Rhea because both of them were into genealogy. When Patty and I went to Tennessee last year, we missed the opportunity to meet and talk to Johnnie. She passed away on January 18, 2014.

A lot of the family history was shared between my mother and Johnnie. I didn't realize it until today that she was the daughter of Tip Gibson. Sheldon's photo box contained a picture of the Gibson family but I didn't know who they were until I started researching. 

There is a blog called Historical Melungeons where Johnnie shares the story of her early life. It is a snapshot of what it was like to grow up Melungeon and if you haven't heard of the Melungeons, their history is fascinating. 

The Gibson Family - not sure who is who but at least we have a family portrait. 

Johnnie Rhea married George Sled Rhea in 1950. George Sled Rhea was the son of Jesse Rhea and Mattie Greene. (There sure are a lot of Greene's in this family.) Jesse Rhea was brother to my great grandfather, John Carter Rhea. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Lee Seal - Time frame about 1914-1918 - Camp Meade

The Seal (Seals) family is all over Sneedville, Tennessee. Our family and the Seals are intertwined by marriage but I have not taken the time to sort them all out. However, in Jewelle's stash of photos, there are two of Lee Seal.

I don't know where he comes in. He could be related to my grandfather's sister who married into the Seals family. It doesn't matter, he belongs to someone so the pictures are here for them.

The pictures says, Lee Seal, Camp Mead. Today, it is Fort Meade and it's in Maryland but it was originally named Camp Mead after Major General George G Meade who won a decisive battle at Gettysburg.

In World War 1, it was a training camp for the soldiers. Both pictures appear to have been taken while he was in training.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Jim and Sarah Jaynes - EUREKA!

I was completely clueless for this one. The back reads "Jim and Sarah James" and is one of the pictures Jewelle Rhea kept so it must have been important to her. The surname "James" does not come up in our family tree.  The time frame would be about 1885 to 1985 in Tennessee. 

However, I am a researcher so I just couldn't leave it alone. I went out on Ancestry to see if I could find anything about a Jim or Sarah James in Tennessee. Nothing jumped out at me until I looked at the 1900 Census. There is a Jim and Sarah James listed in District 6, Hancock County, Tennessee. Someone has gone in and corrected the last name to "Jaynes". Now, that makes sense to me because although they are not related, my great grandmother talks about them in her letters to my grandparents. If you actually look at the Census, it really is Jaynes and the writing on the pictures is faded so it is hard to tell.

So here's what my great grandmother had to say about the Jaynes family.

January 2, 1919
John and George Jaynes have bought the strip of land between them and Baker, Paid $3000 for it.

October 10, 1919
"Bill Jaynes has been home for a weeks stay. He has 2 boys at his house in Texas."

While she doesn't mention Jim or Sarah, the 1900 Census has the other Jaynes families. Just to be sure I am on the right track, I wrote to the Ancestry member who corrected the census. If I hear back, I will update this post.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bill Baker and Wesley Baker

Time frame 1830 - 1930  Sneedville, Tennessee

I have letters my great grandmother, Martha Jane McCollum Rhea, wrote to my grandparents. The names of the people she writes about are familiar to me if they are family. The others made no sense until Sheldon found the box of photos. In two of her letters, she writes about the Bakers. Sneedville was a very small area with very few families. Most of them married each other so although I haven't tracked my family beyond 2nd cousins, I am probably related to everyone, at least by marriage.  

Bill Baker

On January 2, 1919 my great grandmother writes:

"Jack Baker and Emma and son Willie lives with the old folks. Jack is a worker." 

Here is a possible clue. The picture is Bill Baker and my great grandmother is talking about the son, Willie. 

On November 22, 1919, she writes: 

"John Jaynes paid 3000 for that strip between them and George Baker. Yes, Jack Baker, his wife, and boy of 7 or 8 years lives with his father and mother. They deeded the land to them at their death. Maggie Baker married Frank Seal." 

In this part of the letter, she doesn't identify the boy of 7 or 8, or the names of the parents. Still, again small town. If all the Rhea's are related, then all the Baker's are too. She goes on to say that Maggie Baker married Frank Seal. A lot of the Rhea's married Seal's. This is where I think we might be related by marriage. 

The picture of Wesley Baker is not very good but at least it is one of the photos with a name. Even though my great grandmother doesn't identify the rest of the family by name, Wesley Baker was probably related to Bill Baker. The fact that Jewelle had this photo tells me that he was important enough to save the picture, just like that of Bill Baker. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Frances Louise McAdams 1909-2000

Frances Louise McAdams was the daughter of Ollie Belle Tyler and Joshua McAdams. There were already two pictures of her that I found on but this one was not there. This is from the box of photos Sheldon found.

Ollie Belle Tyler was the daughter of Carolyn McCollum, the sister of my great grandmother, Martha Jane McCollum. This is a fun family because Ollie's sister Ida wrote letters to Victor Rhea and I am in the process of transcribing them. They are full of family history and little tidbits about my great grandmother and her family. The letters make the people with just dates come alive.

Frances married Roy Campbell when she was 18. They had four children and she passed away at age 91 in Texas.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Lela May Whitetree 1921-2006

Lela May Whitetree was 16 months old when this picture was taken in Pawluska, Oklahoma. She was born on March 14, 1921. Her grandmother, Laura Isabelle Rhea was sister to my grandfather. Laura married Hamilton Greene and they moved to Oklahoma. In the letters my great grandmother wrote, she talked about Laura who moved far away. Laura's daughter Victoria married Harry Whitetree and they were the parents of little Lela.

Lela married Lionel Golden when she was about 20 and they had several children. She died on October 30, 2006 and she and Lionel are buried at the Wyandotte Indian Cemetery in Ottawa, Oklahoma.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Bobbie Cleo Ross Cope 1889-1971

Bobbie Ross and her husband Jim Cope

Bobbie Harbaugh (remarried) 

Newly discovered photo, name on back is Bobbie Harbaugh

In a letter dated October 10, 1919, my great grandmother writes to my grandparents:

"Leona, Ross, Homer and Bobbie came over and Leona stayed 2 weeks."
"Essie says tell you to come here and help her ate molasses and pick up chestnuts and roast some. They are good. We will send you some photos. Bobbie Cope made some when she was over here."

Bobbie was the daughter of Mary Leona (Rhea) Ross, my grandfather's sister.

Friday, June 6, 2014

First photo

Many of the photos come from Sheldon Livesay. He is my 2nd cousin and I had the opportunity to meet him last years when my cousin Patty and I made a trip to Tennessee to find our roots. Sheldon runs "Of One Accord Ministry" where they provide food and outreach services for people in Hancock and Hawkins Counties. We were blessed to be able to see this program in action.

Sheldon found a treasure trove of photos in his basement which he posted on his website and copied for Patty and I. I will be adding a lot of his pictures but I am starting with my favorite of all the Rhea family photos.

William Rhea (my grandfather) in the back row, Washington Floyd Rhea, and Victor Edwin Rhea (Sheldon's grandfather). 
In the front, Lily Bower Rhea, Martha Jane (McCollum) Rhea, my great grandmother, Luvena Rhea and John Rhea (Washington Floyd's oldest son). 

I use all names in my research because some of them don't go by their given names. My grandfather was "Will". Washington Floyd was called "Floyd". Victor. Lillie, Luvena, and John were called by their first names. My great grandmother went by "Jane". The photo was taken about 1908 at the Martha Jane Rhea home in Sneedville, Tennessee.