John L. and Nancy Jane Ruby Leyburn

John L. Leyburn was born about 1831 in Pittsburg, Allegheny, Pennsylvania. His father was also named John. I have not discovered the surname of his mother, but her given name may have been Ann. John L. Leyburn’s wife was Nancy Jane Ruby, born about 1834 in Indiana. They married in 1852 in Edwardsport, Knox, Indiana and may have had eight children, but only six have been identified –  Lucy Ann “Annie”, Franklin “Frank” I., Mary E., Fannie, Willie and Jennie.

John and Nancy’s youngest daughter, Jennie Leyburn Harris, wrote a lovely memoir – The History of my family and events in my own life. Here is an excerpt telling about her parents.

My father, John Leyburn, (an only child), was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He was only two years old when my grandfather Leyburn was stricken with yellow fever, so prevalent in those days, and died. Grandmother would often tell us children how they carried his body out after midnight and buried it, the disease being so contagious. Two years later my grandmother married Benjamin Irving, a native of Scotland, possessing all the characteristics of a true Scotsman. So my father was brought up in a much disciplined household. My grandmother, also very strict, and a perfect housekeeper. – As far as order was concerned – ‘A place for everything, and everything in its place.’ So my father grew up in that cold, stern atmosphere which his mother and stepfather possessed. He grew up a very quiet boy. Grandfather Leyburn was a cabinet maker, making beautiful furniture by hand. This furniture has been handed down through the generations. (His name was John also.)

 When my father was about 12 years old, his stepfather and mother moved to Indiana when the state was new. They settled on a small tract of land called a homestead, near the town of Edwardsport. Here my father grew to manhood. He attended school in Vincennes. As he grew older, coming from a long line of architects, contractors, designers, and builders, he soon found it too was running in his veins to do likewise. So at an early age, he took up designing and contracting. Many of the old homes in Edwardsport he designed and built.

 About the age of 25, he met my mother, Miss Nancy Jane Ruby, given up to be the belle of Edwardsport. He fell in love with her and they were married in a quaint little church, which a few years ago was still standing. This was in the fifties.

 To them were born 8 children – 3 were born in Edwardsport, and 4 in Vincennes – and I, the youngest, was born in Flora, Illinois. My father’s work caused them to go to different places, but before going to Flora, he built a home there, expecting to stay as the town was new and had lots of work. (pp. 1-2)

Using information from the memoir, it looks like John, Nancy and their children lived in Edwardsport until the late 1850s. I have found only one census record for John, the 1860 United States Federal Census. The family was living in Vigo, Knox, Indiana. Those recorded on the census are John L., 29, Nancy J., 26, Lucy A., 5, Franken I., 3, and Mary E., 1. Evidently, four other children were born in the 1860s while in Knox County, Indiana. Two of those children were Fannie and Willie. Jennie Leyburn Harris mentions the town Vincennes.

John moved his family to Flora, Clay, Illinois before 1872. I have not found John on the 1870 census, so it is difficult to know exactly when they made the move. Their youngest daughter, Jennie, was born there about 1872.

In the mid 1870s, Nancy’s health began to fail and her physician advised John to take her south to a warmer climate. He decided Tennessee would be the best place for them to move. The Leyburn family, including John’s stepfather and mother, moved to Loudon, Loudon, Tennessee. Their oldest daughter, Annie, married before the move so did not move with them.

In her memoir, Jennie Leyburn Harris describes events following the move to Tennessee.

 The change, however, was not to her what my father had hoped for, and in a few months, she passed away leaving him in a strange land with his little children. He could not rise above the sorrow and loss of one he loved so dearly. She had meant so much to him, smoothing out the rough places in life. The first years of their married life had been very prosperous and happy, but when the years of adversity came, she met them with her same sweet and gentle manner.

Our coming south so soon after the close of the war between the north and south was looked on as a very foolish move by our northern friends and relatives -The south being so hostile toward the north. We were very fortunate to settle in a community where they were very generous to us. And the short time my mother lived, she made many friends with her charming personality. As I have already said, my father could not rise from this great disappointment and sorrow. Life meant nothing to him. He loved us children, and as I remember, he was very affectionate. I can remember sitting on his lap, and how he would run his thin white hands through my curls. And at night, he would have brother Willie and me to come to his bed and say our prayers. He would whisper something to us about our mother. I never remember seeing him smile-just a sad face. He was taken to different health resorts, but to no avail. Grief robbed his body of the health it could have had. We children were soon separated. (pp. 2,3)

Nancy Jane died about 1873 and John in about 1875 or 1876 in Loudon, Tennessee. After his death, his daughter, Fannie, married William Churchill Waller on March 14, 1877. Frank Leyburn left for Knoxville to study architecture. Willie and Jennie were left to live with their grandparents, Benjamin and Ann Irving. The 1880 United States Federal Census shows a J.R. Irving (not Benjamin ?), N.A. Irving, F.I. Leyburn, W.H. Leyburn, and J.M Leyburn in Loudon, Loudon, Tennessee. I think this is definitely the grandparents along with John and Nancy’s children, Frank, Willie, and Jennie. Jennie Leyburn Harris does not mention her sister, Mary, in her memoir or the other two unnamed siblings. It is possible they died in childhood.

Sources

Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.

Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. 1880 U.S. Census Index provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints © Copyright 1999 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. All use is subject to the limited use license and other terms and conditions applicable to this site.

Harris, Jennie Leyburn, History of my family and events in my own life.

 

 

Seraphin and Marieanna “Anne” Hubschwerlen LeBus

Both Seraphin and Marieanna “Anne” Hubschwerlen LeBus were born in Larigitzen, Haut-Rhin, Alsace, France. He was the son of Ludwig and Sophia Martin LeBus and her parents were Sigismund and Anna Marie Mieschberger Hubschwerlen. The year of Seraphin’s birth was 1799 and Anna’s was 1803.

Before immigrating to America, Seraphin and Anne lived with their children in Alsace, France which is located on the eastern border of France on the west bank of the Rhine. It is adjacent to Germany and Switzerland, so it abounds in both French and German influences. Our LeBus ancestors resided in Alsace during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and those were years when its citizens were subjected to a number of conflicts greatly affecting their lives and wellbeing. In the mid-1820’s, the country was recovering from foreign occupation. A dramatic surge in population growth caused an economic depression resulting in hunger, housing shortages and lack of work. This may have been the reason for the LeBus family immigrating to America.(Letter regarding LeBus family – click link)

We have some documentation of this LeBus family in a transcription of Seraphin’s will dated 14th day of April A.D. 1868. Their four sons, Morandus, Lewis, Francis Joseph and Anthony along with two daughters, Anne Swaney and Mary Ewing are mentioned. They may have had two other daughters (Marieanna and Teresa) who died as infants but we have no information documenting that. (Last-Will-and-Testament-of-Seraphin-LeBus.pdf – click link)

Even though I have not located Seraphin LeBus and his family on a passenger list or found a naturalization record for him, I am led to believe they immigrated to America between 1826 and 1831, just before or after their second son, Anthony, was born April 11, 1828. The census records for him give his birth place as France and Pennsylvania, so that muddies the water a bit. Daughter Anne LeBus was born January 9, 1831 in Columbiana County, Ohio.

Between 1832 and 1838, Seraphin and Anne had four more children – Mary Elizabeth, Lewis, Teresa and Joseph. Less than a year after Joseph was born, Anne died on April 1, 1939 in Dungannon, Columbiana County, Ohio. She was buried in St. Paul’s Cemetery.

Seraphim Labes can be found in the 1840 United States Federal Census living in Hanover, Columbiana, Ohio with a household consisting of nine people. (Note misspelled name.) The 1840 census gives only the name of the head of household with age ranges for other members of the household. Listed are one male and one female under five years old; one male and two females between the ages of five and nine; two males between the ages of ten and fourteen; one male between the ages of thirty and thirty-nine; and one female between the ages of seventy and seventy-nine. Seraphin’s wife, Anne, died in April 1, 1839, so perhaps the older female was her mother.

When the 1850 United States Federal Census was taken, Seraphin was living in Hanover, Columbiana, Ohio, with six of his children – Anthony, Ann, Mary, Lewis, Theresa and Joseph. The name is misspelled as “Seraphim Lepus,” a common occurrence on census records. Seraphin was farming with the help of his two older sons, Anthony and Lewis.

I have not yet found Seraphin on the 1860 United States Federal Census, but he probably continued to live in Columbiana County. We have a transcription of his last will and testament signed on April 14, 1868. He died a short time later on June 12, 1868 in Dungannon and was buried with his wife, Anne, in St. Paul’s Cemetery.

Seraphin and Anne Lebus Grave Marker

Sources

Ancestry.com. 1840 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004.

Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.

Ancestry.com. Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998 [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.

Ancestry.com. Web: Ohio, Find A Grave Index, 1803-2011 [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.

Hubschwerlen, Eugene, Correspondence with Frank LeBus, February 8, 1937, Largitzen, France.

LeBus, Seraphin, Last Will and Testament of Seraphin LeBus, Transcription, April 14, 1868, Columbiana, Ohio.

Seraphin LeBus Pedigree Chart (click link)

Seraphin LeBus FGS (click link)

 

 

Andrew Morandus and Margaret Simington LeBus

Andrew Morandus LeBus

Andrew Morandus LeBus came to America with his family from Alsace, France which is located on the eastern border of France on the west bank of the Rhine. It is adjacent to Germany and Switzerland, so it abounds in both French and German influences. Our LeBus ancestors resided in Alsace during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, years when its citizens were subjected to a number of conflicts greatly affecting their lives and wellbeing. When Andrew was born July 14, 1826 in Largitzen, Alsace, France, the country was recovering from foreign occupation. A dramatic surge in population growth caused an economic depression resulting in hunger, housing shortages and lack of work. This may have been the reason for the LeBus family immigrating to America. (Click link – Letter to Frank LeBus)

Andrew was either the first or second child of Seraphin and Marieanna “Anne” Hubschwerlen LeBus. We have some documentation of this family in a transcription of Seraphin’s will dated 14th day of April A.D. 1868. Their four sons, Morandus, Lewis, Francis Joseph and Anthony along with two daughters, Anne Swaney and Mary Ewing are mentioned. They may have had two other daughters (Marieanna and Teresa) who died as infants but we have no information documenting that. (Click link – Last Will and Testament of Seraphin LeBus)

Even though I have not located this LeBus family on a passenger list or found a naturalization record for Seraphin, I am led to believe they immigrated to America between 1826 and 1831, after Andrew’s birth. Their son Anthony LeBus was born April 11, 1828, and census records for him give his birth place as France and Pennsylvania, so that muddies the water a bit. Daughter Anne LeBus was born January 9, 1831, in Columbiana County, Ohio.

SERAPHIN LEBUS FAMILY SETTLE IN OHIO

Andrew’s father, Seraphim Labes, can be found in the 1840 United States Federal Census living in Hanover, Columbiana, Ohio with a household consisting of nine people. (Note misspelling of name.) The 1840 census gives only the name of the head of household with age ranges for other members of the household. Listed are one male and one female under five years old; one male and two females between the ages of five and nine; two males between the ages of ten and fourteen; one male between the ages of thirty and thirty-nine; and one female between the ages of seventy and seventy-nine. Seraphin’s wife Anne died in April 1, 1839, so perhaps the older female was her mother.

Andrew Morandus LeBus married Margaret Simington in 1845 and they are recorded on the 1850 United States Federal Census living in Smith, Mahoning, Ohio, with their two children, Mary A. (Ann) age four and Thomas C. age one. The name is incorrectly spelled as Labus. Andrew’s given birthplace is France. Margaret and children were born in Ohio.

ANDREW, MARGARET AND FAMILY MOVE TO ILLINOIS

By 1860 the LeBus family had moved to Wayne County, Illinois, and five more children were added to the household – John, George, Jackson, Ida and Nancy. Andrew’s given occupation was blacksmith. Unfortunately, I have no data or family lore that explains when they moved to Illinois or the reason for their move. Several of his siblings moved to Kentucky but none to Illinois. The years leading up to the Civil War were a turbulent time in America, so perhaps it played a part in the family’s move.

I have not found a record showing Andrew was enlisted in the military, but like all people at that time, he and his family must have been impacted by it. Here is an excerpt from an article from USGenWeb Archives entitled, “Life in Wayne County during the Civil War, Wayne County, Illinois.”

 When the call reached Wayne County there was great excitement. All the loyal men hurriedly met to make plans to go to Mt. Vernon to enlist. But first, they must decide how their families should be cared for and protected during their absence.

They agreed that those with some physical disability and the few physicians should remain to protect and defend the homes and families if it should be necessary. Also, the crops must be put in for food and it would require some who were able bodied to organize the young boys and girls and plant and care for each farm.

At this time, many of the community sympathized with the Southerners and they called a meeting and organized a society called ‘The Knights of the Golden Circle’ to act as spies against the Northern men, and hinder them in every way possible and to give assistance to the Southern Army…

To combat this marauding society, the Union League was organized. A meeting was called at the home of Syria J. Branson and by unanimous vote he was elected to be captain of the League.

This gives us a glimpse of the chaotic atmosphere. The Civil War was being waged between states and within communities. We have heard about families and family members turning against each other, and that must have been the case in Wayne County, Illinois. It makes me wonder how Andrew reacted to this situation. Was he a supporter of the Union or the Confederacy?

When the 1870 United States Federal Census was conducted, Andrew and his family had moved to Flora, Illinois, and they had three more children – Lydia (7), Lincoln (5) and Joseph (1). Their son Jackson was not listed so I think he died before 1870. Andrew and his three sons, John, Thomas and George, all give “blacksmith” as occupations. One interesting note is that Andrew gave his place of birth as Pennsylvania. I have no idea why this occurred since in other census records he gave France.

Andrew and Margaret remained in Flora, Illinois for the remainder of their lives. They had one more daughter, Margaret “Maggie” Jane, born in 1871. One the 1900 United States Federal Census we find information that they had eleven children, three of which died before 1900. Andrew was continuing his work as a blacksmith along with his son Joseph. This son, along with his wife and three daughters, lived with Andrew and Margaret.

Andrew died August 1, 1900, and is buried in the Elmwood Cemetery in Clay County, Illinois.

Other than census records and death information, I have little data about Margaret Simington LeBus. She was born May 3, 1826, in Columbiana County, Ohio. Census records give Ireland as the birth place of her father and Ohio for her mother. Of course there are no names of parents.

Margaret died February 28, 1913 in Flora, Illinois. Like her husband she is buried in the Elmwood Cemetery, Clay County, Illinois. The following is an excerpt from her obituary appearing in The Southern Illinois Record, March 6, 1913. The obituary and burial information can also be located on the Find A Grave website, Memorial number 32539952.

Mrs. Lebus was converted and became a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Dungano, O., at the age of fourteen years and remained a faithful member till called to the church on high.

Mrs. Lebus and her husband were charter members of the Flora M. E. Church and bore a full share in the erection of the present church edifice. They were interested and helpful factors in all the work of the church.

The present generation is greatly indebted to the fathers and mothers gone before who by their toils and sacrifices laid the foundation, stimulated the growth and made possible the religious privileges of the present.

Today we honor the name and pay a tribute of affection to one of these pioneers, now called to her eternal reward. It is ours to carry on the unfinished task, while she rests from her labors…

The death of Mrs. Lebus removes from Flora another one of its oldest and most highly respected pioneer citizens. She was a woman of strong character, loyal and true to her church, her friends and all good work.

Sources

Ancestry.com. 1840 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.

Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009.

Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009.

Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009.

Ancestry.com. and The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA.: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.

Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2004.

Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2006.

Hbschweriaen, Eugene, Correspondence with Frank LeBus, February 8, 1937, Largitzen, France.

LeBus, Seraphin, Last Will and Testament of Seraphin LeBus, Transcription, April 14, 1868, Columbiana, Ohio.

Web: Illinois, Find A Grave Index, 1809-2012 http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=Web

Written by Lucy Ann Nance Croft, 2014

Andrew M. LeBus Pedigree Chart (click link) Andrew M. LeBus Pedigree Chart

Andrew M. LeBus Family Group Sheet (click link) Andrew M. LeBus FGS – Document

 

Lucy Ann Leyburn LeBus

I begin this narrative on a personal note. I was named for my paternal grandmother, Lucy Ann Woodward Nance. Much to my surprise, it was not until about 1988 that I found I had another ancestor by the name of Lucy Ann. I was perusing some of my mother’s mementos, scrapbooks, and photo albums and came across a list of her family including the names of her grandparents. There was the name of my great grandmother, Lucy Ann Leyburn LeBus. I could not believe my mother had never told me, but perhaps she did not know much about her to share.

With that being said, I make this disclaimer: Most of the information I have about Lucy Ann “Annie” Leyburn has been gleaned from the United States Federal Census records. Therefore, it was necessary for me to make some assumptions since census information does not always give us all that we want to know about a person. Another Leyburn ancestor sent me a copy of a memoir written by Lucy Ann”s sister Jennie which gave me a bit of information about their parents.

The first place I found Lucy Ann Leyburn was on the 1860 census, living with her parents and two siblings in Vigo Township, Knox County, Indiana. The census enumerator spells the name “Leyborn”. Lucy Ann was the first child of John L. and Nancy Jane Ruby Leyburn. Her age is recorded as 5 years old and birthplace was Indiana. Her two siblings were Franken I. (3) and Mary E. (1) and both were also born in Indiana. John Leyborn (29) was a carpenter and was born in Pennsylvania. Nancy Leyborn (26) was born in Indiana.

Not long after Lucy Ann’s birth the United States became engaged in the Civil War. Indiana was a part of the Union despite the fact that a large part of the population was sympathetic to the Confederate cause. I found no military record for John Leyburn but it is likely he was called upon to lend his support in some way. As all families, the Leyburns must have felt the upheaval, danger, and distress of a country at war. It is likely they had friends and family who served in the military and died in the war.

Even though I have not found the John Leyburn family on the 1870 United States Federal Census, I have this information from the memoir by Jennie Leyburn Harris (Lucy’s youngest sister).

When I was about 2 years old, my mother’s health began to fail. After the doctors had done all they could for her, they advised my father to take her south to a warmer climate. So sunny Tennessee (as it was called in the north) was thought the best place for her. My grandfather Irving, still living near Edwardsport, on hearing the doctor’s decision, would not permit my father to move until he (my grandfather) came and looked the country over. He liked Tennessee so much he came back and sold his place, and we all came together in ’73. On the eve of our departure, my older sister Anne, ran away and married so she might stay in the north – a great sorrow to my mother and father. The change, however, was not to her what my father had hoped for, and in a few months, she passed away leaving him in a strange land with his little children. He could not rise above the sorrow and loss of one he loved so dearly. She had meant so much to him, smoothing out the rough places in life.

The first years of their marriage had been very prosperous and happy, but when the years of adversity came, she met them with her same sweet and gentle manner. (Harris, pp. 2-3)

Another Leyburn family researcher, Susan Keeling, shared information that John and Nancy Leyburn had eight children, the last born in 1872. Her information shows three children were born in Edwardsport, Knox, Indiana; four born in Vincennes, Knox, Indiana, and one in Flora, Clay, Illinois. To date (2013) six names have been found – Lucy Ann, Fanny, Franklin, Mary, Willie and Jennie.

LUCY ANN MARRIES JOHN B. LEBUS

I feel safe in saying that Annie met her future husband, John Blackburn LeBus, sometime before 1872 in Flora, Clay County, Illinois. They married October 6, 1872 in Flora, Illinois. By 1874 they had started their family with the birth of a daughter, Maggie. During the next six years their family grew even more with the births of George Franklin, December 14, 1876; Archie, 1877; and Laura, 1878.

Marriage record for John B. LeBus and Lucy Ann Leyburn.

By 1880 John, Annie, and their family were living in Loudon, Tennessee. Perhaps they moved there to be near her siblings. From information on the 1880 United States Federal Census, John (listed as J.A. Lebus) is continuing his trade as a blacksmith. Along with Annie (24) the children are listed as Marie (should be Maggie), Archie, George and Leif (should be Link).This fourth child, Lincoln, was given the nickname “Link.” For some reason, their daughter Laura is not shown on the census record.

I was able to find that three of Lucy’s siblings were also living in Loudon, Tennessee at the time of the 1880 United States Federal Census. They were residing with their paternal step grandfather and grandmother listed as J.R. Irving and N.A. Irving. J.R (probably J.B.) was 72 years old, born in Scotland and was a wool manufacturer. N.A. was 72 years old and was born in Pennsylvania.

Note: After the death of John L. Leyburn’s father, his mother remarried J.B. or Benjamin Irving.

The 1890 United States Federal Census is no longer in existence. Only a few fragments survived a fire at the Commerce Department in Washington, D.C. on January 10, 1921. Neither Indiana nor Illinois have records serving as a census substitute. Therefore, there is a large span of time where I have no recorded information for John and Annie LeBus.

There is no record of when the LeBus family returned to Illinois or where they resided, but from information on the 1900 United States Federal Census, we know that three more of their children were born in Illinois. John Ervin was born December 24, 1881; Ruby was born 1886; and Goldie was born 1888.

JOHN AND ANNIE MOVE TO PERRY, OKLAHOMA

By 1900 the LeBus family is living in Perry, Noble County, Oklahoma. The family name is shown on the 1900 United States Federal Census as Labus. Listed are John B. Labus (50), Anna Labus (45), Ruby Labus (13), Golle (misspelling of Goldie, (11), Beatrice Labus (7), Irene Labus (4), and John Labus (19). Both Beatrice and Irene were born in Oklahoma.

There is an interesting bit of information found on the 1900 census. Two of the questions asked are: “Mother of how many children?” and “Number of those children living?” Annie’s answers give us information that she and John had thirteen children but only eleven living children. We have no record of the names of the other two children or the dates of birth and death.

Lucy Ann “Annie” Leyburn LeBus died July 16, 1905 in Perry, Oklahoma, and was buried beside her husband, John, in Grace Hill Cemetery (Perry, Oklahoma).

Grace Hill Cemetery
Grave marker for Lucy Ann LeBus.

Getting a glimpse into the life of my ancestor, Lucy Ann Leyburn LeBus, has been quite a challenge. It seems quite likely that her family experienced a harsh existence. When Annie was a young teen her mother was quite ill, so it is likely she had to assume added household and childcare responsibilities. Annie married when she was 17 years old. By our standards this seems quite young, even though it was more common at that time. Her sister, Jennie, says in her memoir that this marriage greatly upset their parents. Annie gave birth to 13 children within twenty-six years, losing two of those children to death. During those years John and Annie moved several times and we know how difficult travel was at that time – long and arduous.

Note: When naming a first born son, it was often the custom to use the paternal grandmother’s maiden surname. George and Ethel “Pa and Ma” LeBus named their first son, Frank Leyburn.

When I consider what life would have been like for women like Annie, I am astounded at their strength and bravery. Most women were as courageous and hard-working as the men. Their daily tasks were basic but necessary – rearing children, cooking meals, fetching water, sewing clothes, growing gardens, and washing laundry. Even though I know so little about Annie’s life, much less her personality or temperament, I would like to think that she was like the wife described in Proverbs.

A capable wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. Proverbs 31: 10-12

Sources

Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009.

Ancestry.com. 1880 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.

Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2004.

Clay County, marriage certificate, Clay County Clerk’s Office, Louisville, Illinois.

Harris, Jennie Leyburn, “History of my family and events in my own life.”

Keeling, Susan, “Notes on the Leyburn Family.”

Web: Oklahoma, Find A Grave Index, 1800-2012.

Wikipedia, the free enclyclopedia, “Indiana in the American Civil War,”http://en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Indiana_in_the_American_Civil_War

Written by Lucy Ann Nance Croft 2010, Updated November 2013.

 

John Blackburn LeBus

John Blackburn LeBus

John Blackburn LeBus was born December 7, 1850, in Columbiana County, Ohio, the third child of Andrew and Margaret Simmington LeBus. Even though information on the LeBus family is limited, we know from census records that his father was born in Largitzen, Alsace, France, and his mother was born in Ohio. Nevertheless, I think we can rightfully say that John and his siblings were among the first generation Americans.

Agriculture was a principal industry in Columbiana County in the years John’s family lived there, but there were other small varieties of business and manufacturing developing such as grist and flour mills, sawmills, and paper mills. We know from the 1860 U.S. Federal Census information that Andrew LeBus was a blacksmith by trade. (John would later follow in his footsteps.)

By 1860 the LeBus family is living in Wayne County, Illinois, and they have added to their fold. Listed on the 1860 United States Federal Census are Andrew and Margaret Labus (note misspelled name) and their seven children: Mary A. (14), Thomas (12), John (10), George (8), Jackson (6), Ida L. (4), and Nancy E. (1).

I have found no military record of John’s father, Andrew, enlisting in the Civil War, but like all people at that time, they must have been impacted by it. Here is an excerpt from an article in the USGenWeb Archives entitled, “Life in Wayne County during the Civil War, Wayne County, Illinois.”

 When the call reached Wayne County there was great excitement. All the loyal men hurriedly met to make plans to go to Mt. Vernon to enlist. But first, they must decide how their families should be cared for and protected during their absence.

They agreed that those with some physical disability and the few physicians should remain to protect and defend the homes and families if it should be necessary. Also, the crops must be put in for food and it would require some who were able bodied to organize the young boys and girls and plant and care for each farm.

At this time, many of the community sympathized with the Southerners and they called a meeting and organized a society called ‘The Knights of the Golden Circle’ to act as spies against the Northern men, and hinder them in every way possible and to give assistance to the Southern Army…

To combat this marauding society, the Union League was organized. A meeting was called at the home of Syria J. Branson and by unanimous vote he was elected to be captain of the League.

This gives us a small glimpse of the chaotic atmosphere. The Civil War was being waged between states and within communities. We have heard about families and family members turning against each other, and that must have been the case in Wayne County, Illinois. It makes me wonder how John’s father reacted to this situation. Was he a supporter of the Union or the Confederacy?

Sometime before 1870 the LeBus family moved to Flora, Clay County, Illinois. According to the 1870 United States Federal Census, John was listed as 19 years old and his occupation was given as “Blacksmith.” Along with his parents, seven other siblings are listed. Three more LeBus children were born since the 1860 census – Lydia (7), Lincoln (5), and Joseph (1).

JOHN BLACKBURN MARRIES LUCY ANN LEYBURN

John met his bride-to-be in Flora, and her name was Lucy Ann “Annie” Leyburn. They married October 6, 1872. By 1874 they had started their family with the birth of a daughter, Maggie. During the next six years their family grew even more with the births of George Franklin, December 14, 1876; Archie, 1877; and Laura, 1878.

By 1880 John, Annie, and their family were living in Loudon, Tennessee. Perhaps they moved there to be near her siblings. From information on the 1880 United States Federal Census, John (listed as J.A. Lebus) is continuing his trade as a blacksmith. Along with Annie (24) the children are listed as Marie (should be Maggie), Archie,

George and Leif (should be Link).This fourth child, Lincoln, was given the nickname “Link.” For some reason, their daughter Laura is not shown on the census record.

The 1890 United States Federal Census is no longer in existence. Only a few fragments survived a fire at the Commerce Department in Washington, D.C. on January 10, 1921. Neither Indiana nor Illinois have records serving as a census substitute. Therefore, there is a large span of time where I have no recorded information for John and Annie LeBus.

There is no record of why the LeBus family returned to Illinois or where they resided, but from information on the 1900 United States Federal Census, we know that three more of their children were born in Illinois. John Ervin was born December 24, 1881 in Illinois; Ruby was born 1886 in Illinois; and Goldie was born 1888 in Illinois.

JOHN, ANNIE AND FAMILY MOVE TO PERRY, OKLAHOMA

By 1900 the LeBus family is living in Perry, Noble County, Oklahoma. The family name is shown on the 1900 United States Federal Census as Labus. Listed are John B. Labus (50), Anna Labus (45), Ruby Labus (13), Golle (11), Beatrice Labus (7), Irene Labus (4), and John Labus (19). Both Beatrice and Irene were born in Oklahoma.

I am sure John’s life was drastically altered when his wife, Annie, died July 16, 1905. However, John can be found on the 1910 United States Federal Census and he had remarried. Though the name is spelled “Leber,” there is a John Leber, age 59. He was born in Ohio, and his father was born in France. His wife is listed as Clarence Leber, age 52. It shows that they have been married two years. John Leber’s occupation is shown as “Blacksmith.” Census information shows his two youngest daughters, Beatrice and Irene, were living with their sister Laura and her husband, Edward Bullock, in Coal Creek, Pawnee, Oklahoma.

John Blackburn LeBus died December 29, 1915, in Perry, Noble, Oklahoma, and was buried in the Grace Hill Cemetery.

Grave marker for John Blackburn LeBus

Note: George and Ethel “Pa and Ma” LeBus named their second son Jack Blackburn after his paternal grandfather. I have not seen his birth certificate, but it is possible his name was actually John since the name “Jack” is commonly used as a nickname.

I have no record of when John and Annie LeBus arrived in Oklahoma or what attracted them to that area. However, in reading about Noble County in the late 1800’s, I see they may have arrived at a very interesting time in that state’s history. Noble County is located in north-central Oklahoma and was the home of Native Americans for hundreds of years. In 1835 the region became part of the Cherokee Outlet, created by treaty with the Cherokee Nation. During the period of Cherokee ownership, white cattle ranchers of the Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association lease much of the Indian land for grazing.

It was on September 16, 1893, that the famous Oklahoma land run occurred. If the LeBus family was there at the time or participated in the event, it would have been amazing to witness. Here is how a Rev. Fred Belk describes the scene.

 At one minute of 12 o’clock noon on September 16, 1893, a tense silence broken only by the occasional nervous whinny of a horse or braying of a mule fell along the line of the entry of the Cherokee Outlet (Strip). Then, a single shot rang out and one of the most exciting runs’ in the history of the United States began. The silence of the treeless plains were suddenly filled with screaming men, thundering wagons, cracking ships, plunging animals and yapping dogs, and the tidal wave of humanity, surrounded by a cloud of dust, swept towards Perry and its adjoining countryside. They were honest men and thieves, bankers and paupers, adventurers and homesteaders, all wanting some of the virgin land that made the “outlet” famous.

By nightfall, a city of canvas with well over 40,000 population had risen. Estimates are that over 100,000 men, women, and children took part all along the run. The “Strip” as it was later called was 57 miles wide, stretching from the Kansas border to Orlando, and 200 miles long extending to the Texas line and compromising 1/5 of the present state of Oklahoma. Osage, Pawnee, Kay, Noble, Grant, Alfalfa, Major, Woods, Woodward, Harper, and Ellis counties were involved in the “run” and “bread basket” Oklahoma was born.

Sources

Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004.

Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2003.

Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: 2005.

Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004.

Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006.

Belk, Rev. Fred R., “Early History of Perry, Oklahoma,”  http://www.cityofperryok.com/History.htm

Branson, Mrs. H.L., “The Union League Flag,” Life in Wayne County during the Civil War, Wayne County, Illinois.  http://files.usgwarchives.net/wayne/military/civilwar/civilwar.txt

Clay County, marriage record, Clay County Clerk’s Office, Louisville, Illinois.

“Columbiana County, Ohio,”  http://www.columbianacounty.org/history.htm

Web: Oklahoma, Find A Grave Index, 1800-2012.

Written by Lucy Ann Nance Croft 2010, Updated July 2014.

John B. LeBus Pedigree Chart (click link) John B. LeBus Pedigree Chart

John B. LeBus Family Group Sheet (click link) John B. LeBus FGS – Document

Levi Nicholas Titsworth and Julia Clementine Daniels Titsworth

Levi Nicholas Titsworth was the first child of Christopher Greenup and Mary Louise Peyton Titsworth. He was born October 4, 1830 in sparsely settled Tipton County, Tennessee. I say this because at that time the population of this western county was only 5317 people. Both parents were born in Kentucky and must have been among those brave pioneers seeking new horizons.

When the 1840 United States Federal Census was taken Christopher and Mary had moved to Spring River, Lawrence, Arkansas. It records the head of the household, C.G. Titsworth, one free white male under five; one free white male five through nine; one free white male between twenty and twenty-nine; one free white female under five; and one free white female twenty through twenty-nine. This differs from my records of a family with three sons, Levi (1830), Thomas Peyton (1835), John Harrison (1837) and one daughter, Sarah (1839).

The Titsworth family remained in Arkansas at least five more years before making their way to northeast Texas. I do not know their reasons for the move but in 1850 they were living in Titus County, Texas. The census record lists C.J. Titsworth (39), Louisa Titsworth (37), Levi Titsworth (19), Peyton Titsworth (15), John Titsworth (13), Sarah (11), Lemuel Titsworth (9) and Minerva Titsworth (4). C.G. Titsworth’s occupation was recorded as “Christian Clergyman.”

LEVI MARRIES JULIA CLEMENTINE DANIELS

Levi met and courted a young woman named Julia Clementine Daniels, the daughter of Robert and Wincey Travis Daniels. They married February 6, 1852, in Cass County located in the piney woods of northeastern Texas. Very soon thereafter they moved and settled in Bonham, Fannin County, Texas, for the remainder of their lives.

Marriage record for Levi Titsworth and Julia C. Daniels.

Levi and Julia wasted no time starting what would become a very large family. Their first child, Tennessee Parilee Titsworth, was born in 1852; Wincy Louisa was born in 1855, and Joseph came along in 1857. When the 1860 United States Federal Census was taken, their family had grown by yet one more son – Clave Titsworth.

We know that as the Titsworth family settled into life in Bonham it was the eve of the Civil War and, like other citizens, Texans must have been deeply concerned about the sectional controversies dividing the northern and southern states. Secessionist leaders in Texas “issued an address to the people calling for the election of delegates to a state Secession Convention.” Against the wishes of Governor Sam Houston, the legislature approved the convention. It was held January 28, 1861 wherein the delegates adopted an ordinance of secession and that was then approved by voters of the state on February 23, 1861. The Convention reconvened and declared Texas out of the Union thus joining forces with the southern Confederacy.

Like other men in Fannin County, Levi Titsworth was enlisted as a private in the Texas army. It is recorded he was in the 11th Light Artillery Battery. By the end of 1861, 25,000 Texans were in the Confederate army. Needless to say, like other families, the lives of Levi, Julia and their children were greatly disrupted before, during and following the Civil War. The war affected everything from farming to manufacturing, deeply altering the lives of ordinary Texans. When men were away from home serving in the military, greater responsibilities and burdens were placed on women and children to assume care for the home and livelihood of the family. This certainly would have been the case for Julia and her young children.

As mentioned early in this narrative, Levi and Julia had a very large family. With each census more children have been added to the fold. By 1870 they had two more sons, Clement Rogers (1866) and Charles Carlton (1868). However, there is a sad note. Their son Levi died in 1864 at the age of two. On the 1870 census Levi’s occupation was no longer given as “farmer” but rather “chair maker.” It is certainly likely he may have performed both roles to provide for his large family.

Evidently Julia was pregnant when the 1870 census was taken because on November 20 of that year another son, Griffith, was born. It is amazing to me but Julia’s childbearing was not complete. Harvey Dane Titsworth was born August 28, 1872. I have not seen her death certificate but it is possible her health failed after that time. At only fifty years of age, Julia Clementine Daniels Titsworth died March 5, 1873. She was buried in the Whiterock Cemetery in Fannin County.

Grave marker for Julia C. Titsworth

Being widowed with a large family and several very young children, it is not surprising that Levi married again very soon after Julia’s death. His second wife’s name was Minerva Jane Bashem Austin. Like Levi, she was also widowed and had one young daughter, Lilly.

This family continued to grow! When the 1880 United States Federal Census was taken Levi and Minerva had two more daughters – Tiney or Tina (1874) and Julia Marion (1875). Sadly Minerva died several years later leaving Levi widowed again.

We have a record indicating that Levi married for a third time to Sallie Howard on September 19, 1886. I have no information about her.

Levi Nicholas Titsworth died June 8, 1893, and was buried in the Whiterock Cemetery along with his first wife, Julia.

Grave marker for Levi N. Titsworth.

It is primarily through census records that I have reviewed Levi and Julia’s lives. Unfortunately we have no diaries, family records or lore to add more “color” to their biographies. Perhaps someday I will have the good fortune to communicate with some other descendants and be able to add to the picture. It seems to me they had a hard life providing for their large family during times of war and duress. Lacking riches, it is my hope their children and friends brought them some joy and pleasure balancing the good and not-so-good times.

Sources

Ancestry.com. 1840 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.

Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009.

Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009.

Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009.

Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.

Ancestry.com. Web: Texas, Find A Grave Index, 1761-2010 [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.

Cass County, marriage certificate, vol. 1, p. 111. Cass County Clerk’s Office, Linden, Texas.

Historical Data Systems, comp. U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865 [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009.

Texas State Historical Association,  www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/art

Written by Lucy Ann Nance Croft, July 2014

Levi N. Titsworth Pedigree Chart (click link) Levi N. Titsworth Pedigree Chart Scan0001

Levi N. Titsworth Family Group Sheet (click link) Levi N. Titsworth FGS – Document

 

 

Mary Elizabeth Larrimore Calk

Mary Elizabeth Larrimore Calk with an unidentified child.

Information about Mary Elizabeth Larrimore is very difficult to find. In fact, it boils down to a marriage record, three census records and a bit of family lore. It is believed that she was born in October 1829 in Clarke County, Alabama, the fifth child of William M. and Hexey Ann Cobb Larrimore. The 1840 United States Federal Census lists one female between the ages of ten and fourteen living in the household of Wm. Laramore. Only the name of the head of household with age ranges for other members is given on this record.

In her short time on this earth, Mary married at the age of seventeen and gave birth to seven children, possibly eight if she died in childbirth as passed down in family lore. One of those children (Anna) died as an infant. Another Calk family researcher by the name of Wayne Calk shared this bit of family lore with me. “The story is passed down in my line was that Thomas C. family left for Texas in a wagon train and that Mary and the youngest child died on the trip to Texas.” Mary died sometime between 1863 and 1868.

Perhaps it goes without saying but her life must have been extremely difficult. The hard life that our women ancestors faced during those early days is beyond my imagination. Like other women of that time, Mary had seven children under very primitive circumstances and with little medical care. It is entirely possible she died while birthing an eighth child. Her young life was spent caring for her children and toiling to provide basic household needs. What we might consider necessities of life were non-existent. Here are a few excerpts from the book Women of the West by Cathy Luchetti in collaboration with Carol Olwell that give us a glimpse into the life Mary might have experienced.

 

Limited water supplies and scant privacy rendered even the necessities of life difficult…Unsanitary trail conditions contributed heavily to disease and death. Men, women, and children suffered from dysentery…If a woman survived dysentery there were typhus, cholera, malaria, and childbed fever to contend with, to say nothing of the extreme depression known as melancholia. Little wonder that many popular campfire ballads lamented the early death of young women…(Luchetti, 26-27)

 

Sources

Ancestry.com. 1840 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.

Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Ind., 2009.

Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Ind., 2009.

Calk, Wayne, Calk family stories, email correspondence, May 13, 2011.

Luchetti, Cathy and Carol Olwell, Women of the West, 1982.

Yates Publishing, U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.

Written by Lucy Ann Nance Croft, July 2014

 

 

 

Thomas Clayton Calk

Thomas Clayton, first son of Elijah and Mary “Polly” Calk, was born in Clarke County, Alabama, November 21, 1820. Polly was Elijah’s second wife. The name of his first wife is unknown but between the years 1789 and 1818 they had eight children. Six of these children were living in 1820, so Thomas was born into a large family of step brothers and sisters.

Clarke County, Alabama, is a fertile wooded part of the state. The country website describes the area as “diversified with hills and valleys” with rich soil along the banks of the Tombigbee and Alabama Rivers which form its boundaries. Since this was farming and timber country more than likely Elijah’s family depended on the land for their livelihood.

Early in the 1840’s, Thomas met and courted Mary Elizabeth Larrimore. They married February 4, 1847, in Clarke County. Thomas was twenty-six years old and Mary was seventeen. Just over one year later on December 6, 1848, their first son Early Jackson was born.

Marriage record for Thomas C. Calk and Mary Larrimore.

Thomas and his fast growing family remained in Clarke County for eight more years and during that time four more children were added to the fold – William Matthew (1850) Thomas (1852) Anna (1854) and Elijah Clayton (1856).

By the time of the 1860 United States Federal Census, Thomas and his family had moved to Red River, Sevier, Arkansas. The name on the record is incorrectly listed as “Cork.” Thomas and Mary’s family had grown by one – a one year old daughter, Sarah.

We do not know how long the Calk family stayed in Sevier County, Arkansas, but it is believed that in about 1862 Mary gave birth to another daughter named Molly before their departure.

THOMAS AND FAMILY HEAD TO TEXAS IN A WAGON TRAIN

Another Calk family researcher by the name of Wayne Calk shared this bit of family lore with me.

 

The story is passed down in my line was that Thomas C. family left for Texas in a wagon train and that Mary and the youngest child died on the trip to Texas. It was said that both died during childbirth. I accepted this as fact because I have never found Thomas or any of this children on the 1870 Texas (except William) census and I knew they were there in 1868 because of a marriage record I found. I finally found a newspaper [article] in an Oklahoma newspaper that mentions William Calk and sister Mollie who were meeting after not seeing each other for over 50 years. I finally found a husband for her by the name of George Danner (or Dammer). I’ve never found anymore info on them.

 

I have not located the marriage record mentioned by Wayne Calk nor have I found Thomas Calk on the 1870 United States Federal Census. So there is little we know about him during the years between 1860 and 1880. Of course, we have to remember that the American Civil War occurred from 1861-1865 and certainly affected the lives and livelihood of all people. I have not found a military record for Thomas and none of his sons would have been of an age to serve.

We do know from the 1880 census that Thomas was married Minerva Fitzgerald Collins Ray and they had four more children, Jerry W. (Jerry Walter), Iry Del (Ira Dell), Alonzo E. (Alonzo Evans), and Thurmenta (Lula Samantha). Also living with the family were children by Minerva’s previous two marriages – Columbus Anderson and Sarah E. Ray. The family was living in Frio County, Texas, and Thomas’ occupation was “farmer.”

Before his death Thomas and Minerva had one more son named John W., born in about 1884. Thomas died December 28, 1893 in Lytle, Atascosa, Texas. He and his second wife, Minerva, share a grave marker in the Benton City Cemetery in Atascosa County.

Grave marker for Thomas and Minerva Calk.

Sources

Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Ind., 2009.

Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Ind., 2009.

Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Ind., 2009.

Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Ind., 2009.

Ancestry.com. Web: Texas, Find A Grave Index, 1761-2012 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.

Calk, Wayne, Calk family stories, email correspondence, May 13, 2011.

Dodd, Jordan R., comp.. Alabama Marriages, 1809-1920 (Selected Counties) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1999.

Written by Lucy Ann Nance Croft, July 2014

Thomas C. Calk Pedigree Chart (click link) Thomas C. Calk Pedigree Chart

Thomas C. Calk Family Group Sheet (click link) Thomas C. Calk FGS – Document

Thomas C. & Minerva Calk Thomas C. & Minerva Family Group Sheet (click link)

 

 

Wincy Louisa Titsworth Calk

Wincy Titsworth Calk with her grandchildren.
Wincy Titsworth Calk with her grandchildren.

When Wincy Louisa was born on May 20, 1855, her family was living in Bonham, Fannin County, Texas. She was the second child of Levi Nicholas and Julia Clementine Daniels Titsworth. Bonham is located in northeastern Texas, and at that time was primarily a small farm community where the majority of its residents depended on agricultural products as a means of support, with livestock being the predominant product. Information on census records indicates that like many others in the area, Levi was a farmer.

In 1860 Wincy is listed with her family on the United States Federal Census and by this time the family had two more children. The four children recorded are Tennessee P., age 7; Weney I., age 5; Jo, age 2 and Clory Titsworth, age 5 months. Note that three of the children’s names are misspelled. Joseph was born October 19, 1857, and Clave was born January 5, 1860. The Titsworth’s were on their way to having a large family.

During the 1860’s the United States was engaged in the Civil War. Texas was aligned with the Confederacy and Fannin County was considered an important supply center. A Confederate commissary was located in Bonham and hosted the military headquarters of the Northern Sub-district of Texas, C.S.A. Confederate Civil War Records indicate that Wincy’s father Levi was enlisted in the Texas 11th Light Artillery Battery. Like many other families, the Titsworth’s were personally impacted by this terrible war.

The Titsworth’s had a son named Levi who was born September 27, 1862, but unfortunately, he died March 7, 1864. That must have been a sad time for Levi and Julie. Undoubtedly the situation was made more difficult in a time of war and social upheaval.

It is interesting to note that by the time the 1870 United States Federal Census was taken Wincy’s father, Levi, gave his occupation as “Chairmaker.” However, following the Civil War many people were hard pressed to support themselves and their families. It is quite likely that with the assistance of his wife and older children, Levi also continued farming. There were a lot of mouths to feed in his large family. With the addition of Clement Rogers, born March 23, 1866; and Charles Carlton, born September 14, 1868, Levi and Julie had six children.

Even though no records have been found, sometime in the early 1870’s, Wincy may have married a man by the name of Bell. We do know that she gave birth to a son January 29, 1875 in Bonham, Texas, and named him Levi Carlisle. If Wincy did, in fact, marry a Mr. Bell, either they divorced or he died. However, it is also possible she had the child out of wedlock.

At some point in time before 1880, Wincy met Early Jackson Calk. The date, place, and circumstances of their courtship remain a mystery. Nevertheless, both Wincy and her son Levi were found on the 1880 United States Federal Census and using Wincy’s maiden name, Titsworth. They were living in the household of John L. McCaleb and family in Atascosa County, Texas. The relation to the head of the household was given as “cousin” for both Wincy and Levi. It begs the questions – when did Wincy move to Atascosa County and why did she go there?

WINCY MARRIES EARLY JACKSON CALK

Early J. Calk is also recorded on the 1880 United States Federal Census in Atascosa County, Texas, and was living near the McCaleb family. The census was taken on June 12 and that same day a marriage license was issued in Medina County for him and Wincy Titsworth. The wedding ceremony was performed by William C. Newton on June 20 in Castroville.

Following their marriage Early Jackson adopted Wincy’s son, Levi, because in later records, he gives his surname as Calk.

After their marriage Early and Wincy moved to Bonham, Fannin County, Texas and it was there they had their first child. A daughter, Ethel Cleora, was born September 19, 1881. Over the next years their family continued to grow. I obtained the names of several of their children from information shared by other Calk family researchers. Clementine was born about 1882, followed by Maude in 1884, Helen in 1886, Granvill C. in 1889, and Early Jackson III on January 1, 1894. I have verified that Ethel and Early Jackson III were born in Bonham but have no information about the other children.

When the 1900 United States Federal Census was taken the Calks were in Bonham, Texas. They were recorded as follows. Note the misspelled names. Early J. Call, age 53; Nincy Call, age 45; and Early Call, age 4. Early’s occupation is “Farmer.” I do know that Levi, Ethel, and Clementine married before 1900, but since none of the younger children were listed, it makes me wonder if perhaps they were no longer living. If that was the case, Early and Wincy faced a lot of sadness in their married life.

I do have information on four of their children. Levi married Martha Dell Davis; Ethel married George Franklin LeBus (my maternal grandparents); Clementine married John Ervin LeBus, George’s brother; and Early “Earl” Jackson III married Zora Maurice Taylor. Listed below are the known children, spouses, and grandchildren of Early and Wincy Calk.

Levi Carlisle and Martha Dell Davis Calk – Parents of Cleora Parilee Calk, Elizabeth “Bessie” Louise Calk, Mildred Bernice Calk, Daisy Dell Calk, William Carlisle Calk and James Ralph Calk.

George Franklin and Ethel Cleora Calk LeBus – Parents of Frank Leyburn LeBus, Hazel Annabelle LeBus, Archie Carlisle LeBus, Jack Blackburn LeBus, Irene Clementine LeBus, Roy Henderson LeBus, Laura V. LeBus, George Franklin LeBus, Jr., Ethel Marie LeBus and Donavel Calk LeBus.

John Ervin and Clementine “Clemmie” Calk LeBus – Parents of John Ervin LeBus, Jr., Margaret LeBus, Annabel LeBus and Johnnie LeBus.

Early “Earl” Jackson III and Zora M. Taylor Calk – Parents of Earl Calk, Jr. and Jesse William Calk.

Sometime after 1900, the Calks moved to Nocona, Montague County in far north Texas. It was there that Wincy’s husband, Early Jackson, died at age 58, a young man by today’s standards. His tombstone gives his death date as May 15, 1906 and he is buried in the old Greenbriar Cemetery in Montague County.

Regrettably, I do not know how Wincy spent the last years of her life. Family information found on the internet gives her death date as January 28, 1908. If that was the case, she died when she was only 52 years old. Her husband was buried in Montague County. There is a partial tombstone next to his in the Greenbriar Cemetery, but it is too badly deteriorated to detect any inscription and there was no cemetery record of her burial there. Some undocumented family information says that she may have died in Madill, Marshall County, Oklahoma. Her brother-in-law, William Calk, lived in Oklahoma, so it is possible she lived with him and his family. However, when I applied for an Oklahoma death record, they were not able to find one. Verifying her place of death and burial will require more research.

We do have a wonderful photo of Wincy with eleven of her grandchildren. Two of the youngest in the picture were born in 1906, so perhaps the 1908 date of death is correct. Seeing this lovely portrait is a testament to the fact that she had much for which to be thankful in a life that may have been filled with hardship and sadness.

Sources

Ancestry.com.1860 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004.

Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2003.

Ancestry.com. 1880 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.

Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004.

Calk, Wayne, “Personal Family files of Wayne Calk,” WayneCalk@tds.net

County Court of Medina County, Texas, Marriage License for E.J. Calk and Wincy Titsworth, issued June 12, 1880, License no.13370.

Greenbrier Cemetery, Montague County, Texas, US Cemetery Project, http://www.uscemeteryproj2.com/texas/montague/greenbrier/greenbrier.htm

The Handbook of Texas Online, “Fannin County,” www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hcf02

“Texas in the Civil War,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas-in-the-Civil-War

Written by Lucy Ann Nance Croft

Wincy L. Titsworth Pedigree Chart (click link) wincy-l-titsworth-pedigree-chart

 

 

 

 

Early Jackson “Jack” Calk

Early Jackson was the first child of Thomas Clayton and Mary Larrimore Calk. Their home at the time was Clarke County, Alabama, which is located in the southwest part of the state with the Tombigbee and Alabama Rivers forming its borders. I am somewhat confused about Early Jackson’s exact birth date. His tombstone inscription gives December 8, 1845 as the date, but three census records record 1848 and one records 1846. I am inclined to think the census records may be more on target since information for tombstones was often given by a person who may have been misinformed.

Like many other pioneers the Calk’s were a farming family living a rugged and harsh existence in Clarke County, Alabama. The 1850 United States Federal census records J.J. Calk, age 30; Mary Calk, age 20; Early Calk, age 2; and William Calk, age 0.

CALK FAMILY HEAD TOWARD TEXAS

By the time of the 1860 census was taken the Calk family had left their long time home of Clarke County, Alabama, and was living in Sevier County, Arkansas. Four more children had been born. The family of eight consisted of Thomas, age 40; Mary, age 31; Early Q., age 12; William M., age 9; Thomas B, age 8; Anna E. age 6; Elijah age 4; and Sarah Q., age 1. The census taker or transcriber misspelled the name as “Cork” as well as recording inaccurate initials for Early Jackson and Sarah Jane. Sometime after this census one more daughter named Molly was born before the family left Arkansas.

It is my feeling the Calk’s were on the way to Texas and may have stayed in Arkansas for only a few years. I have not been able to find either Thomas or Early Jackson on an 1870 United States Federal Census, so I cannot back up my suppositions. Perhaps the name is spelled incorrectly, but for some reason they have fallen through the “genealogical cracks.” This will require more research.

Another Calk family researcher by the name of Wayne Calk shared the family lore that while traveling on a wagon train from Arkansas to Texas, Mary Larrimore Calk died. It is possible she died while giving birth. If true, this story gives us an indication of the difficult circumstances our ancestors faced as they traveled into unknown territories seeking a better life. I am amazed at the strength and determination of these men and women.

Wherever the Calks were living during the 1860’s their lives must have been affected by the United States Civil War. Both Arkansas and Texas seceded from the Union in 1861 to join forces with the Confederacy. It was a tumultuous time no matter where you lived. I imagine it would have been a very difficult time to move and settle into a community, not to mention establishing a means of livelihood. Most citizens were called on to assist in the war effort, especially in supplying the military with needed resources. If the Calks were farming, it is likely they had to do their part.

The next time I found any information about Early or his father, Thomas, they are in McLennan County, Texas. Marriage records for both father and son were furnished by family researcher Wayne Calk. Early Jackson married Louisa S. Champion on June 1, 1867, and his father Thomas married Minerva Randolph Fitzgerald on May 25, 1868. Both marriages were in McLennan County. Calk family lore says Early’s wife Louisa died in 1872.

EARLY JACKSON CALK AND WINCY TITSWORTH WED

Early J. Calk is recorded on the 1880 United States Federal Census in Atascosa County, Texas. The census was taken on June 12. It is interesting to note that same day a marriage license was issued in Medina County, Texas for E.J. Calk and Wincy Titsworth. The wedding ceremony was performed by William C. Newton on June 20 in Castroville.

Marriage record for Early Jackson Calk and Wincy Titsworth.
Marriage record for Early Jackson Calk and Wincy Titsworth.

Evidently Wincy had previously been married and had a 6 year old son named Levi Carlisle (Carlyle). One undocumented internet source gives the first husband’s name as Bell. However, it is also possible her child was born out of wedlock. I found Wincy and Levi Titsworth (not Bell) on the 1880 United States Federal Census in Atascosa County, Texas, living with the John L. McCaleb family. The record states the relationship as “cousins.” Of course, this could mean they are cousins of John McCaleb or his wife, Elizabeth. As mentioned above, the census was taken a very short time before Early and Wincy married. Evidently, Early adopted Levi because he later uses the name “Calk.”

After their marriage Early and Wincy moved to Bonham, Fannin County, Texas, and it was there they had their first child. A daughter, Ethel Cleora, was born September 19, 1881. Over the next years their family continued to grow. From internet information I retrieved the names of several of their children but not much else. Clementine was born about 1882, followed by Maude in 1884, Helen in 1886, Granvill C. in 1889, and Early Jackson III on January 1, 1894. I have verified that Ethel and Early Jackson III were born in Bonham but have no information about the other children.

When the 1900 United States Federal Census was taken the Calks were in Bonham, Texas. They were recorded as follows. Note the misspelled names. Early J. Call, age 53; Nincy Call, age 45; and Early Call, age 4. Early’s occupation is “Farmer.” I do know that Levi, Ethel, and Clementine married before 1900, but since none of the younger children were listed it makes me wonder if perhaps they were no longer living. If that was the case, they faced a lot of sadness in their married life.

I do have information about four of their children. Levi married Martha Dell Davis; Ethel married George Franklin LeBus (my maternal grandparents); Clementine married John Ervin LeBus, George’s brother; and Early “Earl” Jackson III married Zora Maurice Taylor. Listed below are the children and grandchildren of Early and Wincy Calk.

Levi Carlisle and Martha Dell Davis Calk: Cleora Parilee Calk, Elizabeth “Bessie” Louise Calk, Mildred Bernice Calk, Daisy Dell Calk, William Carlisle Calk and James Ralph Calk.

George Franklin and Ethel Cleora Calk LeBus: Frank Leyburn LeBus, Hazel Annabelle LeBus, Archie Carlisle LeBus, Jack Blackburn LeBus, Irene Clementine LeBus, Roy Henderson LeBus,Laura V. LeBus, George Franklin LeBus, Jr., Ethel Marie LeBus and Donavel Calk LeBus.

John Ervin and Clementine “Clemmie” Calk LeBus: John Ervin LeBus, Jr., Margaret LeBus, Annabel LeBus and Johnnie LeBus.

Early “Earl” Jackson III and Zora M. Taylor Calk: Earl Calk, Jr. and Jesse William Calk.

Sometime after 1900 the Calks moved to Nocona, Montague County, Texas, located in far north Texas. It was there that Early Jackson Calk died at age 58, a young man by today’s standards. His tombstone gives his death date as May 15, 1906 and he is buried in the old Greenbriar Cemetery in Montague County.

calk-early-j-tombstone-calk-e-j

If this narrative about Early Jackson Calk seems rather sketchy, it is because my primary sources of information were from the United States Federal census records. That made “reading between the lines” quite difficult. Nevertheless, I imagine that as a farmer he had a hard life trying to provide for his family, particularly during the years following the Civil War. If there is truth in family lore, he experienced the death of his first wife and several of his children. On a more positive note – he lived to see several of his children marry and have families. Early and Wincy were able to experience being grandparents and that must have been a source of great satisfaction.

Sources

Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.

Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004.

Ancestry.com. 1880 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.

Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004.

“Arkansas in the Civil War,” http://www.civilwarbuff.org

Calk, Wayne, “Personal family fils of Wayne Calk,”  WayneCalk@tds.net

Greenbrier Cemetery, Montague County, Texas, US Cemetery Project,http://www.uscemeteryproj2.com/texas/montague/greenbrier/greenbrier.htm

 Medina County, marriage license no. 13370, Mediina County Clerk’s Office, Medina, Texas.

“Texas in the Civil War,”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas-in-the-American-Civil-War

Written by Lucy Ann Nance Croft, 2011. Updated July 2014.

Early Jackson Calk Pedigree Chart (click link) early-jackson-calk-pedigree-chart-scan0001

Early Jackson Calk Family Group Sheet (click link) early-jackson-calk-fgs-document

 

 

 

Ethel Cleora Calk LeBus

ethel-calk-2

Ethel Cleora Calk

Ethel Cleora Calk would have been amazed had she known about the rich, full life awaiting her in the future. I say this because she was born into a very modest home on September 9, 1881, in the small town of Bonham in northeastern Texas. Her parents were Early Jackson “Jack” and Wincy Titsworth Calk. Both of them had previously been married and Wincy had a 6 year old son, Levi Carlisle. Jack later adopted him.

According to both the 1880 and 1900 U.S. Federal Census records, Jack was a farm laborer. Chances are the Calk family lived a very simple life. I imagine that along with her family, Ethel learned to live modestly and frugally. In the years following Ethel’s birth the Calks had five more children – Clementine “Clemmie” (about 1882); Maude (1884); Helen (1886); Granvill (1889); and Early “Earl” Jackson (1894). I have little information on these siblings. However, it seems possible that Ethel had a lot of experience playing the role of “big sister” and, undoubtedly, was given a great deal of responsibility helping her mother in this busy household.

Sometime before 1899, Ethel met her future husband, George Franklin LeBus. He had moved to Bonham between 1880 and 1899. Family lore tells us that he was an inventive man with an entrepreneurial spirit, so I imagine him being a persuasive suitor. By the time they married, November 5, 1899, George had opened a blacksmith and tool manufacturing shop. I am sure they had hopes of growing a successful business, but little did they know that the door was opening to a life beyond their wildest dreams.

George and Ethel Calk LeBus wedding photograph.
George and Ethel Calk LeBus wedding photograph.

Along with a growing business, George and Ethel started their family with the birth of their first child, Frank Leyburn, born September 9, 1900. During the next few years while continuing to live in Bonham, the family grew larger with the births of two daughters. First, Hazel Annabelle was born January 23, 1902, and then Archie Carlisle, born December 1, 1904.

GEORGE LEBUS MOVES HIS BUSINESS AND GROWING FAMILY

George’s tool manufacturing business continued to grow, and in about 1905 his services were required in Madill, Marshall County, Oklahoma. He felt living here was important enough to move his family. While living there, Ethel gave birth to another son, Jack Blackburn, born April 17, 1906; and a daughter, Irene Clementine, born February 17, 1908.

By 1910 George had opened yet another place of business in Henrietta, Clay County, Texas. On the LeBus International website there is a brief history of the company with a few old photographs. One picture is of workers at the old Henrietta plant. So, as you might expect, George moved his family to this little community in north central Texas.

While living in Henrietta, George and Ethel added two more children to their family. Roy Henderson was born April 10, 1910, and Laura V. was born January 28, 1913. Unfortunately, we have no photographs of the LeBus family at this time of their life together, but I imagine it would have been a grand picture of George, Ethel, and their seven children. However, they are not finished growing yet!

ELECTRA, TEXAS BECOMES HOME FOR MANY YEARS

By 1917 we find the LeBus family in Electra, Wichita County, Texas. It seems that this little town grew somewhat when oil was discovered in 1911 and the Electra Oilfield developed. I believe this to be one of the reasons George wanted to bring his business to the area.

Living in Electra must have agreed with George and Ethel because they lived there for about fifteen years. During that time they would have three more children. George Franklin, Jr. was born May 10, 1917, and Ethel Marie came along August 6, 1919. Their last son, Donavel Calk, was born March 13, 1925. Sadly he died on March 22, 1925. I do not have information about the death of this child, but I think it was a tragic event in the life of this large family.

George and Ethel LeBus with children, circa 1923.
George and Ethel LeBus with children, circa 1923.

By the time of the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, the LeBus family had grown much smaller. George and Ethel are listed with their youngest three children and one servant. As expected, the older children married and had begun families of their own. The LeBus family continued to grow, but this time it was with the addition of grandchildren. Because I am one of those grandchildren, I know that “Pa and Ma” loved their grand-parenting role. Nothing made them happier than being surrounded by their children and grandchildren and hearing of their accomplishments.

Ma LeBus with daughters, Hazel, Archie, Irene, Laura V. and Ethel Marie.
Ma LeBus with daughters, Hazel, Archie, Irene, Laura V. and Ethel Marie.

GEORGE AND ETHEL ON THE MOVE AGAIN

George LeBus knew he had to go where there were business opportunities, so when the East Texas oil boom occurred, the LeBus family moved to Longview to open a machine shop in 1934. This company developed into LeBus International.

In 1938 George and Ethel decided to make yet another move, this time to Wichita Falls, Texas. They found a very large and beautiful home there and the one which became a legend in the family. They called it “The Big House.” In her autobiography, Lucy Ann Nance Croft remembers it this way.

 As I try to recall memories of Ma and Pa LeBus’s home (Mr. and Mrs. George F. LeBus, maternal grandparents) in Wichita Falls, Texas, the word that comes to mind is “palatial.” The house I am referring to was the one I remember visiting as a small child; they called it the Big House. They purchased this thirteen-acre estate in the early 1930s and lived there for about twenty years. Amid my mother’s memorabilia, I found the newspaper clipping from the Wichita Falls Record News about my grandparent’s home.

‘George F. LeBus, who left Electra a few years ago to enter competition in the East Texas oil field at Longview, made his return to this area auspiciously significant when he purchased the baronial home name by which the estate is known to Wichitans, covers an expanse of 13 acres on Harrison Avenue in southwest Wichita Falls. The construction of the home is of brick and reinforced concrete, towering three stories and supplied with 19 rooms and six bathrooms . . . the architecture is English colonial. An ornamental iron fence surrounds the grounds, on which are, in addition to the luxurious home, tennis courts, tea house, greenhouse, rose arbor, rose garden, lily ponds, fountain and a four-car garage over which are comfortable quarters for two servants and laundry room.’ (Wichita Falls Record News)

I recall that even though my grandparents were quite wealthy, lived in a lovely mansion with a high-profile life, and had many children and grandchildren, they were both very loving and caring to each and every one of us. There was a lot of laughter, visiting, and hugging in the Big House. Large family holiday gatherings, lively dinners, reunions, birthdays, and dances in the ballroom in the basement were not unusual in such a large family. As Ma said, “it takes a lot of living in a house to make it home.” My grandparents certainly accomplished that. (Croft, 25-27)

“The Big House” in Wichita Falls, Texas.
George and Ethel with children and spouses at The Big House in Wichita Falls, Texas.
George and Ethel with children and spouses at The Big House in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Ma LeBus loved “The Big House” with all its lovely furnishings and grounds. However, it must have been the glorious good times there that meant the most. It was, indeed, a luxurious environment. Best of all, Pa and Ma loved having family and friends gathered there to enjoy it with them.

As much as Pa and Ma enjoyed their big old house, a time came when they began to consider selling it. Even with servants, it must have required a lot of Pa and Ma to maintain such a property. Perhaps this was one of many reasons to sell “The Big House” and make a move. In about 1946 they made quite a big change after they sold the lovely home. Evidently they vacationed in California and liked it so much, they decided to move there! Some other family members moved there at the same time, so Pa and Ma must have led the way. Some of us recall taking summer trips out to visit them and hearing all the Hollywood stories. They lived there for about one year and I imagine it was a year long holiday for them!

At this time in their life together, Pa and Ma made the decision to move back to Wichita Falls. I suppose they felt it was really “home” to them. Undoubtedly, they had many long time friends there and deep roots in the community. I recall that they were especially involved in the First Christian Church. They built a lovely home on Miramar Street which was both large and comfortable. As always, it was important that their home be a gathering place for family and friends, and this home filled the bill having a spacious living room, dining room, kitchen, guest rooms and lovely yard.

After moving back to Wichita Falls, a very memorable event in the life of the LeBus family was George and Ethel’s 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration on November 5, 1949. It was, indeed, an evening to remember. Here is an excerpt from an article in the Wichita Daily Times about the event.

Mr. and Mrs. G.F. LeBus, who observed their 50th wedding anniversary Saturday, were honored guests for an elaborate reception held at the Wichita Falls Country Club. More than 500 family, friends, and relatives called between the hours of 7 and 11 o’clock. Hosts and hostesses for the affair were the couple’s eight sons and daughters, each sharing duties with his wife or husband.

George and Ethel celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.
George and Ethel celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.

On the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary, George and Ethel were interviewed by Frances Hyland, a reporter for the Wichita Daily Times. Ma LeBus gives us an insight into her full, rich life being married to Pa for all those years.

It’s like a big party all the time,’ says smiling Mrs. G. E. LeBus in describing her family life. And, that’s easy to imagine because now, as Mr. and Mrs. LeBus are completing 50 years of married life, they are surrounded, quite frequently, by most of their eight children, 27 grandchildren, four great grandchildren, and the various and sundry ‘in-laws.’

Like all big families, the LeBuses enjoy being together and seldom let a day pass without seeing one another if it’s at all possible. And, all is quite congenial, the mother says, because they have made it an unwritten rule to laugh away any differences that might ariseAs they aged, both Pa and Ma began to have some health issues. Ma may have been frailer, but it was Pa who died first. On December 24, 1956, Ethel lost her beloved husband, George. Even with very good help and health care, along with family to keep her company, life after Pa’s death was difficult for her. After being plagued by Parkinson’s disease during her last years, Ethel LeBus died on October 1, 1960 in Wichita Falls, Texas. Here is an excerpt from her obituary.

Mrs. George F. (Ethel) LeBus,) 79, resident of Wichita Country almost 50 years, died Saturday afternoon at her residence, 2204 Miramar. Funeral services will be held at

2 p.m. Monday at the First Christian Church with Dr. George R. Davis officiating. Burial will be in Crestview Memorial Park under direction of Owens & Brumley Funeral Home.

Survivors include three sons, Roy LeBus, George F. LeBus, Jr., and Frank LeBus; five daughters, Mrs. Hazel Grizzle, Mrs. Paul Bilbrey, Mrs. C.D. Knight, Mrs. Denzel Morrow, and Mrs. Bennett Nance; and one brother, Earl Calk; 34 grandchildren, and 28 great-grandchildren.

Reared in Bonham, where she was born Sept. 9, 1881, Mrs. Ethel LeBus and her late husband were married at the home of her parents in that city Nov. 5, 1899…Always active in community affairs, Mrs. LeBus was one of Electra’s busiest P.T.A. workers, and taught a Sunday School class. In Wichita Falls, she was a conscientious member of the First Christian Church, the Woman’s Forum, and the Garden Club and for a time served as sponsor of the Senior-Junior Forum.

l41-copy

In her autobiography, Lucy Ann Nance Croft remembers her grandmother Ma LeBus.

Ma LeBus was a very affectionate, caring woman who would always reach out to me for a hug and a kiss. Having her family gathered around was extremely important to her. Even though she had servants who helped keep her home in beautiful condition, her house reflected her good taste and style in its design, art, and furnishings. If you were a guest, she was concerned about your comfort and gave you special attention. I think of her as a religious person but not overly pious. She and Pa were interested in their church (Christian Church) and were committed to its work and worship. (Croft, 41)

Sources

Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census. [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2004.

Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. [database online]. Provo, UT, USA Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2006.

Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census. [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.

Croft, Lucy Ann Nance, Looking Back: Reflections On My Life, 2007.

Ethel C. LeBus, death certificate no. 62986,Texas Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Austin, Texas.

Fannin County, marriage certificate no. 103410, vol. L, p. 508, Bonham, Texas.

Heritage Quest Online. 1930 United States Federal Census.

Hyland, Frances, “Mr. and Mrs. George F. LeBus Recall Events in Life Together During Fifty Years Since Marriage,” Wichita Daily Times, November 6, 1949.

LeBus International, Inc. (website), “The LeBus History,” http://www.lebus.us

Wichita Falls Times, obituary for Mrs. George F. (Ethel) LeBus, October 1960.

Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, “Bonham, Texas,” www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonham

Written by Lucy Ann Nance Croft, 2010

Ethel C. Calk Pedigree Chart (click link) ethel-c-calk-pedigree-chart-scan0001

 

 

George Franklin LeBus

George Franklin LeBus
George Franklin LeBus

George Franklin LeBus’ story begins December 14, 1876, in Flora, Clay County, Illinois. He was the second child of John and Lucy Ann “Annie” Leyburn LeBus. George’s father was a blacksmith in this small town in southeastern Illinois. By 1880, John, Annie, and their family were living in Loudon, Tennessee. Perhaps they moved there to be near her siblings. From information on the 1880 United States Federal Census, John (J.A. Lebus), is continuing his trade as a blacksmith.

Unfortunately, I know little about George’s childhood and youth, but sometime between 1880 and 1899, he made his way to Texas and settled in Bonham, Texas. There he met and married Ethel Cleora Calk, November 5, 1899. He was operating a blacksmith and machine shop. Eventually this business developed into the LeBus Rotary Tool Works. Family lore tells us that George was an inventive man with an entrepreneurial spirit. This must have been the case because in the early 1900’s he developed a thriving business manufacturing and selling “specialty tools for the booming west Texas oil fields. Tool pushers and/or owners would see a specific need for a new tool and LeBus would forge the new tools on demand.” (http://www.lebus.us)

George and Ethel Calk LeBus wedding photograph.
George and Ethel Calk LeBus wedding photograph.

On the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary, George and Ethel were interviewed by Frances Hyland, a reporter for the Wichita Daily Times. George’s comments add a little color to the story of his arrival in Bonham and his early life there.

A blacksmith by trade, he had chosen Bonham as the scene of his operations because of the horse racing activity there at that time. ‘Did you tell the reporter that I rode the rods into Bonham?’ Mr. LeBus asked his wife with a sly grin. Then, he hastened to explain that ‘Oh, I had money all right, but I didn’t want to waste it on the cushions.’

Thus it was that the thrifty 24 year old blacksmith was financially able to take a bride.

‘I had my trade,’ he says, ‘and as my responsibilities grew I was able to prove my theory that God doesn’t expect anything from us which He does not equip us…He has given us the tools with which to do the job if we are willing to do it.’

While living in Bonham, George and Ethel started their family with the birth of Frank Leyburn, September 9, 1900. Their first son was followed by two daughters, Hazel Annabelle, born January 23, 1902, and Archie Carlisle, born December 1, 1904.

Sometime before 1906, the LeBus family moved to Madill, Oklahoma. Undoubtedly, George’s business required that they move there. While living in Madill, two more babies were born. Jack Blackburn arrived on April 17, 1906, and Irene Clementine was born February 17, 1908. The LeBus clan was growing!

At the time of the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, George, Ethel and their family were living in Henrietta, located in north central Texas. While there, two more children were born. Roy Henderson arrived on April 10, 1910, and Laura V. was born January 18, 1913.

George went where his work was needed and after their move, he opened another tool company in Henrietta. On the LeBus International website there is a brief history of the company with a few old photographs. One picture is of workers at the old Henrietta plant.

By 1917 George and Ethel had moved again, taking their family to Electra, Texas, located in Wichita County about 15 miles northwest of Wichita Falls. This little town grew somewhat after oil was discovered in 1911 and the Electra Oilfield developed. It is likely this was one reason George decided to bring his tool manufacturing business to the area. His machine shop and blacksmith shop later developed into the LeBus Rotary Tool Work and the LeBus Motor Company.

LeBus home in Electra, Texas.
LeBus home in Electra, Texas.

While living in Electra, the LeBus family continued to grow. George Franklin, Jr. was born May 10, 1917, and Ethel Marie arrived on August 6, 1919. They had one more child, Donavel Calk, born March 13, 1925 and died March 22, 1925. I do not have any information about the death this child, but I imagine it was a sad event in the life of George, Ethel and their entire family. Donavel was their last child.

A world event that must have impacted the LeBus family and their community was World War I. Even though George was not drafted into the military service, he was required to register. Like all United States citizens, he must have felt the effects of his country at war. It is possible that his business and the oil industry, too, may have played a part in providing supplies for the war effort. (This is speculation on my part. I have no documentation.) This conflict involved most of the world’s great powers and was centered on Europe. It has gone down in history as one of the largest and most deadly wars with more than 15 million people killed. It was also known as “The Great War” and “The War to End All Wars.” (George F. LeBus WW I Draft Registration (click link) george-f-lebus-ww-i-draft-registration-scan0001.

The LeBus family lived in Electra for about fifteen years which seemed like a long time for this family to be in one location. George had established a good business and provided very well for his family. Undoubtedly, this large family required a lot of care and attention. On the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, there are fourteen people in the LeBus household, including one daughter-in-law (Frank’s wife, Thelma) and two servants. That was one busy home!

By the time of the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, the LeBus household was much smaller. George and Ethel are listed with three children and one servant. The older children had married and started families of their own. The LeBus family continued to grow but now grandchildren were added into the “fold.” I imagine they enjoyed their new roles as grandparents. They were affectionately called “Pa and Ma” by the little ones.

George and Ethel with family at Electra, Texas home.
George and Ethel with family at Electra, Texas home.

George LeBus knew he had to go where there were business opportunities, so when the East Texas oil boom occurred, the LeBus family moved to Longview to open a machine shop in 1934. This company later developed into LeBus International.

When deep oil was discovered at Kamay in 1938, George decided to move back to Wichita Falls. After turning the LeBus Rotary Tool Works over to some of his children, he entered the oil business.

One interesting note – Frank, the oldest son, was a machinist and became involved in George’s tool manufacturing business at a young age. Eventually, it was Frank who was one of the founders of LeBus International in Longview, Texas.

Upon their return to Wichita Falls, George and Ethel bought a large home on Harrison Street. It was magnificent and became known in the family as the “Big House.” In her autobiography, Lucy Ann Nance Croft shares her memories of this house.

As I try to recall memories of Ma and Pa LeBus’s home (Mr. and Mrs. George F. LeBus, maternal grandparents) in Wichita Falls, Texas, the word that comes to mind is “palatial.” The house I am referring to was the one I remember visiting as a small child; they called it the Big House. They purchased this thirteen-acre estate in the early 1930s and lived there for about twenty years. Amid my mother’s memorabilia, I found the newspaper clipping from the Wichita Falls Record News about my grandparent’s home.

‘George F. LeBus, who left Electra a few years ago to enter competition in the East Texas oil field at Longview, made his return to this area auspiciously significant when he purchased the baronial home name by which the estate is known to Wichitans, covers an expanse of 13 acres on Harrison Avenue in southwest Wichita Falls. The construction of the home is of brick and reinforced concrete, towering three stories and supplied with 19 rooms and six bathrooms . . . the architecture is English colonial. An ornamental iron fence surrounds the grounds, on which are, in addition to the luxurious home, tennis courts, tea house, greenhouse, rose arbor, rose garden, lily ponds, fountain and a four-car garage over which are comfortable quarters for two servants and laundry room.’ (Wichita Falls Record News)

I recall that even though my grandparents were quite wealthy, lived in a lovely mansion with a high-profile life, and had many children and grandchildren, they were both very loving and caring to each and every one of us. There was a lot of laughter, visiting, and hugging in the Big House. Large family holiday gatherings, lively dinners, reunions, birthdays, and dances in the ballroom in the basement were not unusual in such a large family. As Ma said, “it takes a lot of living in a house to make it home.” My grandparents certainly accomplished that. (Croft, 25-27)

“The Big House” in Wichita Falls, Texas.
George and Ethel with children and spouses at The Big House in Wichita Falls, Texas.
George and Ethel with children and spouses at The Big House in Wichita Falls, Texas.

George and Ethel along with their children and grandchildren loved that big home with its beautiful well-tended grounds. Even thought larger groups gathered at holiday times or on special occasions, many enjoyed the times when a few family members or friends gathered around a dinner table or in the den to discuss a myriad of subjects and concerns. I imagine some of those discussions may have become heated as they tried to solve all the world’s problems! Many in the LeBus family were known to be opinionated and outspoken!

Both George and Ethel gave their time and resources to the communities in which they lived. His obituary in the Wichita Falls Times had this to say.

A firm believer in the theory, ‘God doesn’t expect anything from us for which He does not equip us,’ LeBus gave freely of his time and money in an effort to prepare youthful citizens of the area for productive careers. In 1953, LeBus and his wife established a perennial scholarship fund amounting to approximately $6000 annually at Midwestern University. The fund provided for eight scholarships annually – four for men and four for women. In addition to establishing the scholarship fund, LeBus has contributed heavily in the past to Midwestern University building programs.

In 1945 George LeBus wrote and published a small book entitled, Think It Over. I am amazed at his eloquence and depth of expression. His intent in sharing his thoughts is found in an excerpt from The Author’s Preface.

But time is valuable and life is short and one does not have the opportunity to say all he thinks and to explain all the implications. However, upon extended requests, I pick up my pen to add clarity to the bits of philosophy that have made my life happy and triumphant. I do so with humility but with definite conviction; I do so trusting that this little book may contribute something worthwhile to the world. (Page vii)

The book concludes with some LeBus Proverbs. They are quite revealing of the man.

He who expects little things in life will only find little things…He who gets dollars in his eye and six o’clock on his brain is an unhappy man…A man is nothing more or less than what he thinks…The best formula for failure is, ‘Don’t put your heart in your work’…If you are a Son of God then act like one…He who worships his ancestors is half dead already…A machineless machine is as intelligent as a loveless faith…Just as the beach is near the sea; so brotherhood is near God…If you don’t want to get well then don’t go to work; idleness will kill you…Give people the flowers while they are alive so they can enjoy them…You cannot solve life’s problems with hate just as you cannot put a square in a round hole.

The time came when Pa and Ma LeBus decided to sell the Big House. I do not know the reasons, but perhaps they reached a time and age when they wanted a change of lifestyle. That change came in about 1946 and it was a big one. After vacationing in California, they decided to move there. Other family members moved out west at the same time, so Pa and Ma either led the way or followed the family pack. Chances are they led the way! Some of us have memories of taking summer trips out to visit and join them in seeing the sights and basking on the beach. There were tales of them meeting some movie stars, but of course, it is possible the stories were embroidered a bit! Nevertheless, George and Ethel enjoyed their time in California for about one year and then decided to head back “home” to Texas.

Ethel and George LeBus
Ethel and George LeBus

Both Pa and Ma were beginning to have some health issues and that was probably a consideration in deciding to return to Texas. They built a lovely home on Miramar Street in Wichita Falls. It was a large house but not like the Big House. The architectural style was traditional with many features that made it very manageable and comfortable for an older couple. With its spacious living room, kitchen, and dining room, their home continued to be a gathering place for family and friends.

After a full, rich life, George Franklin “Pa” LeBus died on December 24, 1956, in Wichita Falls, Texas. He was buried in the Garden Section of Crestview Memorial Park. Here is an excerpt from his obituary in the Wichita Falls Times.

One of Wichita Falls leading oil men and civic leaders, George F. LeBus, Sr., 2204 Miramar, died Saturday night in a Wichita Falls hospital following a heart attack suffered early Saturday afternoon.

LeBus, 80, suffered a heart attack at 1:45 p.m. Saturday while in the Petroleum Club in the Kemp Hotel.

A resident of Wichita County for 45 years, LeBus was a retired oil man and machine shop operator, having begun his long and colorful career as a blacksmith in Bonham, Texas.

 George Franklin LeBus

George Franklin LeBus

In her autobiography, Lucy Ann Nance Croft remembers here grandfather, “Pa,” this way:

Pa LeBus was an outgoing, friendly man, but I was told that he was quite dogmatic at times. His favorite subjects of discussion or debate were politics and religion, and I understand he could be very opinionated. Even so, Pa was a loving person. He was small in stature but big in spirit. I think of him as being a “doer,” very energetic and involved. He took great pleasure in people and having his large family gathered to eat, visit, and enjoy each other.

I know very little about how Pa LeBus made his fortune except that it was in the oil equipment business. He was a self-made man, working early in his life as a blacksmith and then developing his company during the oil boom in East Texas. During that time he invented some drilling equipment that was patented and used on every oil-drilling rig. (Croft, 41)

Sources

Ancestry.com. 1880 United States Federal Census. [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.

Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census. [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2004.

Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2006.

Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census. [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.

Ancesty.com World War I Draft Registration Card, 1917-1918. [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry Operations, Inc., 2005.

Croft, Lucy Ann Nance, Looking Back: Reflections On My Life, 2007.

Fannin County, marriage certificate no. 103410, vol. L, p. 508, Fannin County Clerk’s Office, Bonham, Texas.

George F. LeBus, death certificate no. 68553, Texas Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Austin.

Heritage Quest Online. 1930 United States Federal Census.

Hyland, Frances, “Mr. and Mrs. George F. LeBus Recall Events in Life Together During Fifty Years Since Marriage,” Wichita Daily Times, November 6 1949.

LeBus, George, Think It Over, 1945.

LeBus International, Inc. (website), “The LeBus History,” http://www.lebus.us

Wichita Falls Times, obituary for George F. LeBus, December 30, 1956.

Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, “World War I,” www.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_WarI

Written by Lucy Ann Nance Croft, 2010

George F. LeBus Pedigree Chart (click link) george-f-lebus-pedigree-chart

George F. LeBus Family Group Sheet (clink link) george-franklin-lebus-fgs