Janice Williams

Mills County Officers

In George Washington Cunningham, Mills County, Original 12 Cunninghams, Sheriffs on August 25, 2018 at 6:05 pm

I’ve neglected this blog for way too long. Today is a day to catch up after the fabulous Cunningham family reunion two weeks ago and I’m digging into some history again. Stumbled across this and instead of filing it and forgetting I had it, I will share it here first.

Rootsweb was once a site that provided lots of genealogy information. It was purchased by ancestry.com and unavailable for a long time. Now they are bringing some of the sub-sites within it back to use. I’m glad because I always found it very helpful and especially liked their search function for finding others’ family trees. A lot more functionality than ancestry or familysearch.

But I was looking at the Mills County site on Rootsweb (oddly there is not one for Comanche County) and found this newspaper photo.  Shirley Runnels contributed it to the site and it had once been published in the Goldthwaite Eagle.

MILLS COUNTY

Of interest to our family is George Washington Cunningham (one of the original 12 children of Capt. James and Susannah) in the upper right. He was the first sheriff of Mills County when it formed in 1887.

The picture was “furnished to The Eagle by R.E. Clements.” That would be Roger Earl Clements, a Goldthwaite druggist. He married into our family on Christmas Day in 1899 when he married George’s oldest daughter Gertrude Elizabeth Cunningham. His own father is pictured as well. He is standing next to George Cunningham and was the first County Clerk of Mills County, Phil H. Clements.

Betty Foster was back with us at the reunion with her husband Bill Foster. It was great to have them back and looking so well. Betty is the great-granddaughter of these two original Mills County officers, Phil H. Clements and George Washington Cunningham.

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Tombstone Tuesday: Edrie Cunningham

In Oakwood Cemetery, Obituary, The OTHER Cunninghams, William Henry on January 24, 2017 at 11:20 am

Edrei from family portrait

I mentioned last week that the photo of Jim Holmsley came to me from Edrie Cunningham’s scrapbook. I realized I should honor her with her own post to thank her for her scrapbook of local news clippings. A great number of the Comanche Chief newspapers do not exist. The librarian Margaret Waring told me that sad news years ago and I wonder what pieces of information about our Comanche ancestors lives we might know if we had those newspapers.

But Edrie cut out many local citizens’ obituaries and most of her relatives. I haven’t made an inventory of them all, but it will be interesting to see the time span of her scrapbook. Even after she died, her daughter Mabel continued to put loose clippings into the book. And that is why we have Edrie’s obituary.

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There is one fact about Edrie that no one else in the family can claim. She is our only family member whose name was Cunningham at her birth and still Cunningham after her marriage. Edrie married William Albert Cunningham, a member of the “other” Cunningham family that we’ve referred to before. His ancestors are buried in the Newburg Cemetery just like hers.

This was their wedding photo. They married December 4, 1902.

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Edrie Susannah was born January 6, 1881. She was baby number 6 our of 8 born to William Henry Cunningham of the original 12 Cunningham children. Her middle name is the same as her grandmother Susannah.

Edrie lived her whole life in Comanche County, much of it in the Newburg Community before they moved into town.

Edrie and Albert had three daughters: Willie Mildred “Miller,” Mattie Lucille “Sade,” and Mabel Edrie “Bud.” They died at 87, 92, and 88 and they were all faithful to the reunion until their dying day.

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Here are the “girls” in 2001 (Miller, Bud, Sade).

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Of course, Edrie was faithful to the reunion as well. Here is a picture of Edrie (third from left) with her brothers and sisters at the reunion.

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When Edrie died on May 11, 1965, she lived in a nursing home in Dublin. In the obituary I see that my grandfather, Arla Hallford, was a pallbearer. He was her nephew.

Edrie and Albert were buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Comanche.

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Thanks to findagrave contributory GenLady for this photo.

Tombstone Tuesday: Jim Holmsley

In Elizabeth Holmsley, Gravestones, Newspaper articles, Oakwood Cemetery, Obituary, Second generation, Second Generation Stories, T.J. Holmsley, Tombstone Tuesday on January 17, 2017 at 12:01 pm

HOLMSLEY_Jim-onright

This is a great photo that comes to me from Ruth Adele Moore and from my great-grand-aunt Edrie Cunningham.

It is a souvenir photograph from Mineral Wells, Texas, taken around 1905. There are several photos similar to this one on The Portal to Texas History, a great source for research or entertainment.

MIneralWellssouvenir

Apparently photos like this were taken as people enjoyed the recreation available on East Mountain in Mineral Wells. According to The Portal, J.C. McClure, an early photographer, first owned the donkeys for the trail. He was killed while riding a wild stallion in town and J.L. Young and his wife took over the photography stand. The back of this picture advertises the Texas and Pacific Railway and also the Jericho Photo Co. with “Fine Photographic Productions and Mountain and Donkey Groups / View Souvenirs & Scenery of Minwells.” Little truly identifies this picture for us except in small handwriting it does have “Jim Holmsley” written above the man on the right side. No identification on the other man and I think he would be identified if he had been a family member.

The picture is of our cousin James Jefferson Holmsley, who went by the name of Jim. He was the youngest son of the Holmsley children, second youngest overall. By the time he was born, two of his older sisters were married and had children–Jim’s nieces and nephews–who were older than their uncle. 

Jim probably had the most advantages of the Holmsley children because he was born after the native Americans were no longer a threat and the Holmsleys were settled and prosperous in Comanche.

Jim was only 21 when his father T.J. Holmsley died. Jim continued to live with his mother, Betty Holmsley, in Comanche until her death when he was 40 years old. He had continued to farm and raise livestock, according to the censuses of 1910 and 1920.

After her death, at some point Jim moved to the Hotel Carter in Comanche and lived there for several years. He was working for the highway department in some capacity, too. Sadly, in the summer of 1932, the hotel burned to the ground. Fifteen other residents and guests were able to escape with their lives, but losing their belongings, but Jim was asleep on the second floor and did not make it out of the burning building.

He was buried at Oakwood Cemetery. He never married and had no children.

An article in the Abilene paper about his relatives living there notes that nephew T.J. Holmsley had immediately left for Comanche. T.J. (Tom) had lived with his grandmother Betty and Jim perhaps all of his life. He is listed at 6 and 16 years old with them in the census. He was Jim’s oldest brother Billy’s son, but Tom’s mother had died when he was born, so perhaps he came to live with Betty at that time.

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Jim was only 49 years old when he died.

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Thank you to findagrave.com contributor Russ Davies for this photo.