Monday, February 27, 2017

It Was Hot So We Cooled Em Off

We Cooled the Ladies Off!

The population of Poplar, CA in the 1950s and 1960s was about 800-1,000 people at the most and I think that included the population of  Cotton-Center and outlying areas.

My family lived in a two room house, (my Dad later added another room).  We lived between the Short family and the Glory family on Imperial Rd.

It was a warm, uh, lets make that a hot as hell summer day in the Central Valley of California.  My sister, Tudy and I were home with our Mom and we were playing outside.  I was about six and Tudy was about four years old.

We were playing on the side of the yard next to the Glory's because they had a couple of big old shade trees.  It was at least a little cooler under those trees.

Mrs. Glory and some of her women friends were sitting under the shade trees visiting and talking about how hot it was.  They kept carrying on about the heat and fanning themselves with paper fans and homemade fans made from pieces of paper.  Some of them were fanning themselves with their dress-tails.  Now Mrs. Glory and her lady friends were not a petite bunch.  These ladies loved their fried chicken and starches! 

Tudy and I had been playing in the water earlier so I knew that running through the sprinkler helped to cool one off in the heat.  As I listened to the ladies complain about the heat nonstop, I came up with a brilliant idea!

I enlisted the aid of my little sister and told Tudy to go into the kitchen and get Mama's bottle of dish-washing liquid.  Tudy went and fetched the bottle and I proceeded to fill it up with water.

I told Tudy that we were going to cool the ladies off.  We hid behind the tree and I started squirting them with the water.  The ladies started jumping all around hoopin' and hollerin!  They were causing quite a commotion!  They made so much noise that Mama came out of the house and caught Tudy and me red handed cooling the ladies off.


Mama said, "Helen Jane, what are you doing"?  I was trying to explain to Mama that we were just trying to cool the ladies off.  She took the bottle away from me, and made us go into the house.  Of course she threatened us with "Wait until your Daddy gets home"!

Mama apologized to Mrs. Glory and her friends for our bad behavior.  She kept threatening us with Daddy for the rest of the day.  We got our little butts beat when Daddy got home.

I later caught our parents laughing about us cooling Mrs. Glory and her friends off.  I don't recall Mrs. Glory ever getting out in the yard like that again and complaining about the heat. 

I was just trying to help the ladies, and Tudy thought it was a good idea too.  I was in total agreement with them that it was really, really, hot.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Hit Brick Wall with Hartwell Johnson

Who Were Hartwell's Parents

I know that Hartwell was born in 1782 in the state of Virginia from the census records.  It was assumed until a couple of years ago that he was the son of a Hartwell Johnson Sr. who lived in Surrey County, Virginia.  Hartwell Sr. married Susan/Susanna Emery about the same time Hartwell Jr was born.  There was really no evidence to show that Hartwell Johnson Jr. was Hartwell Johnson Sr.'s son.  It was only assumed because of the names.

A couple of years ago, it was discovered that there was a Hartwell Johnson listed with a Coleman Johnson and a William Johnson starting in April 1805 - March, April, or May 1820 on the Halifax, VA personal tax records.  He was not listed on those tax records for 1807 and 1808.  His military records support the fact that he was in North Carolina during this time.

Hartwell married Lydia Shaw in 1807 in North Carolina and his son Williamson was born in 1808 in North Carolina.  In 1809, he was back on the Halifax, VA personal tax records.  In 1809, Hartwell and Lydia's daughter was born.

He enlisted in the military approximately July 1813 to serve in the war of 1812 and was discharged approximately Jan 1814.  He was stationed in Norfolk, VA during this time.  The Halifax, VA personal tax record dates support that he was there in March 1813 and there in April 1814.

Hartwell and Lydia had over 10 children.  The census is confusing sometimes since they can sometimes show two children born in the same year.  It is possible, I suppose.  I know back in those days people tended to have huge families.

Hartwell and his family left Virginia sometime after 1828.  His son Jasper was born in 1828 in Virginia according to the 1850 census records. 

Hartwell's grandson, Bethel was born in 1830 in Tennessee according to the 1870 census records.  I am assuming that Hartwell, Lydia and family had joined their oldest son, Williamson in Tennessee by then.  Hartwell and Lydia's son, Leonard was born in 1832 in Tennessee.  Their daughter Nancy was born in Tennessee in 1834.

It is believed that Hartwell, Lydia and family moved to the Looney Township area around 1835.  Hartwell was mentioned as an early settler in the book, "History of Hickory, Polk, Cedar, Dade and Barton Counties, Missouri", 1889 Published by Goodspeed.

Hartwell and Lydia's daughter, Lydia Melissa was born in Missouri in 1836.

There is steady documentation showing that Hartwell and Lydia lived in the Polk County, MO area until they died.  There are census records, tax documents, and slave census records that prove this.

I have two main areas of frustration at this time with Hartwell.  I have not found any documentation showing who his parents were. It was thought that William Johnson listed with him in Halifax County, VA might have been his father, but so far, there is no proof.  It was also thought that Coleman Johnson listed with him in Halifax County, Va might have been his brother, but so far there is no proof.  However, Hartwell did name one of his son's Coleman. 



Another area of frustration for me is that I never found out the names of the slaves that he had.  At one time, he owned eight slaves.  I believe all of them were female with the exception of one male child.  On the slave census records, there were no names listed.  I did find where he sold one negro girl, named Suse Johnson in Bolivar on December 11, 1837, but I don't know how old she was. 

I hope what I have written about Hartwell helps someone else.  If anyone has any information regarding this line, please contact me.















Wednesday, February 22, 2017

We Lost Uncle Lloyd

Gone But Not Forgotten Uncle Lloyd

Uncle Lloyd McKay was from my Mom's side of the family.  He was married to my Mother's oldest sister, Thelma Irene Smith.  I loved my Uncle Lloyd so much.  He passed away last week at the age of 93 1/2. 

When I was young, we lived in Poplar, CA until I was 11 years old.  I only had one sister who was younger than me by two years.  Aunt Thelma and Uncle Lloyd lived in Stockton, CA.  They had a large family of five girls and two boys.  I used to love it when they would come to visit my Grandma and Grandpa Smith.

My sister, Tudy and I were at our Grandparents house more than we were at home.  Grandma took care of us while our parents worked. 

Uncle Lloyd loved kids.  When he came to visit, he always gave me a lot of attention.  He didn't play ball, or run with the kids like my Dad did.  Uncle Lloyd was a talker.  He loved to talk and he loved to know about people and how they were doing.  Uncle Lloyd always made me feel so important!  He made me feel that way until the day he died.

My Uncle Lloyd always drove a station wagon when his kids were growing up.   I loved to pile into the station wagon with all of my McKay cousins and my sister.  We never had any money so we would mostly just go to Church or to the grocery store.

After my family moved from Poplar and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, my sister and I used to stay a week or two at a time with Aunt Thelma and Uncle Lloyd.  They had a small house so we would crowd into bed with our cousins.  I would sleep with Carol and Fay, and my sister Tudy would sleep with Pam and Kathy.  It was lots of fun because we had lots of kids to hang out with even if it was at their house.

Uncle Lloyd was a doer and a helper.  He was always helping someone out by mowing their lawn, taking them to the doctor, helping them work on their house, etc.  When my grandparents got older and needed more help, he would drive up and down the 99 several times a month.

After Grandma died, Uncle Lloyd and Aunt Thelma brought my Grandpa Smith home to take care of him.  Uncle Lloyd helped him to bathe and do that sort of thing after Grandpa reached that point.  They took really good care of Grandpa with Aunt Thelma doing the cooking and Uncle Lloyd doing the physical part of the caring until Grandpa passed away.

Their oldest child, Lloyd David got a brain tumor that was terminal.  They brought him home.  Uncle Lloyd took care of his oldest son until he passed away.

Aunt Thelma developed several health issues.  She was totally bedridden, couldn't talk and was fed through a tube in her stomach for a couple of years.  Uncle Lloyd was right there with her taking care of her.

After Aunt Thelma could no longer talk, Uncle Lloyd used to call me to keep me up to date on the family comings and goings and the latest gossip.  Uncle Lloyd would also plant okra just for me.  It is hard for me to grow it in my area so he would grow it for me.

Uncle Lloyd loved his family.  He was a wonderful family man, a good Christian, and a great human being!  Because he cared so much about others, he was a natural at being an outstanding Father, Husband, Grandfather, Great Grandfather, Son in Law, Father in Law, Uncle, and Friend.

I know that he is in Heaven with Aunt Thelma and they are having a wonderful time. 

His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant