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.

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.