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Showing posts from 2015

Walnut Shell Candles

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That First Post War Christmas 1865A Twist of Tobacco

The snow continued to fall thickly as the buckboard carried them home. Ed and Sam unhitched the horses and took them to the barn. Eli and Watt carried Maggie and Henry into the house. Lizzie went straight to the kitchen to warm the spiced apple cider she had made earlier, and Jack carefully lit the tiny walnut candles on the tree. This was the first Christmas Maggie and Henry could remember a tree being lit with shiny ornaments and their eyes were wide with wonder.



Walnut shells have many uses. As tiny beeswax candles or as settings for the Nativity.
The lovely Christmas ornament below was purchased in 1972 on our honeymoon. It is the first tree ornament we bought together. Through the years there have been many other decorations. Some stayed and some went the way of old socks.  Silently into the night--(trash can.)
But this beauty is wrapped and carefully stored every year. Although the star is tattered and the gold trim is flat and w…

A Christmas Treat for Mack

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A Christmas Treat for Mack
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house Not a creature was stirring, Not even a mouse, The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there, The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.



Written in 1823, the Clement Moore classic was firmly established by the Civil War.
The holiday was more secular in the South than the North but was still basically of a spiritual nature.
Celebrated on Christmas Day, not for two months prior, the day would start with Church services. While the women cooked the main meal, the young people would decorate the tree.  Small evergreen trees for a table top were the norm in most homes, adorned with edible gingerbread cookies, bright paper ornaments and perhaps gilded nuts. 
The true highlight of the day was the same thing that dominated every other day; FOOD!  As today, each families celebration was determined by e…

A Twist of Tobacco

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Watch the trailer for this new historical novel by Rita Ownby Holcomb
A Twist of Tobacco

William Morton Savage 1891-1919 USS New Mexico

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William Morton Savage Died aboard the USS New Mexico Sept, 7 1919
Not a lot is known about Uncle Bill.  His sister, Alma Blanche Savage was my grandmother. Their father left when they were very small and their mother married a man neither of them got along with. 
Bill joined the Navy quite young and served through World War 1 and was assigned to the USS New Mexico.  The New Mexico was the first to have a turbo electrical transmission. A high speed steam turbine powered a set of generators. The generators powered  a set of generators. The generators provided electricity for electric motors which turned the propeller shafts.




Wonderful site with many photos of the building and tours of the U.S.S. New Mexico



Bill was an Engineman 2nd class and worked in the engine rooms.
On September 7, 1919, while docked at San Francisco, with 1000 visitors on board for a tour of the newly appointed Flagship of the Pacific Fleet, a fire started in the rheostat room just above the engine room where Bill …

Willie Holcomb Wagon Accident Age 9

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Truman Alvin Holcomb and Cora Belle Martin Holcomb and sons: Travis, Willie, Ocie, R.V. and Marvin Dogs un-named


"This is a very sad part of our Holcomb history. Here is what my dad told me.
By the way, I only saw my father cry twice and the first time was while he was telling me this story. I was about 12 at the time. Then I saw him dabbing his eyes, 15 years later when he took Anna and I to FairviewCemetery to see Willie's grave. That day he pointed to where it was, but couldn't go in himself. He stood outside the little fence and dabbed his eyes with a handkerchief.
Grandpa Holcomb was going to town (I believe to Savoy). He wanted my dad to go with him so he could help him load the supplies he was going to buy. He was going in a wagon that was pulled by his mule. Dad was 13. Willie wanted to go and I guess it was all right with Grandpa, but Dad did not want him to go because he knew Willie would be his responsibility, and he was going to be busy helping his dad.
So Da…

Guy M Ownby Modern Millwright

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Guy Malcolm Ownby March 2, 1925- April 25, 1980 Find a Grave Memorial
The Carpenter by John Conlee

Born the 7th of 8 children and raised in rural North Texas, Guy rode his horse, Lady 10 miles each way to see the young girl he would marry as soon as she finished High School.  He joined the Merchant Marine right out of High School and served for a year after they married.  He served aboard the SS Garnet, SS Gold Creek, SS Cape Nunn, SS Tule Canyon, SS Boulder Victory and SS Lindenwood.
When he left the Merchant Marine (when they discovered that I was on the way) he tried his had at farming.  Realizing that the rural life wasn't for him, he moved his young family to the city and went to work for Mrs Tuckers Shortening. 
His first love was always carpentry and after 12 years in the shortening plant, he decided to be his own boss and opened Ownby's Cabinet Shop which he worked until his health wouldn't allow.
When the following indenture for Guy's g-g-g-great grandfather, …

Ownby Reunion 1927

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Dateline, Sherman Democrat, October 5, 1927............
On September 25, 1927, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. D. M. Taylor, four generations of Ownbys, numbering over 100, gathered for a family reunion, honoring Sam M. Ownby of Woodbury, Tennessee.  It had been 54 years since the brothers and sisters had been together.
The Ownby family of eleven were all born in Tennessee prior to the Civil War.  The three oldest boys served in the Confederate Army.  Most of the family came to Texas in the 1870's and early 1880's.
The reunion dinner was served on the lawn.  A 42 foot long table had been constructed for the occasion.  The honor guests were seated according to age: *(deceased siblings in italic) Mary Smith Ownby Brown Watterson Knox Polk Ownby - 85 - Whitewright, Texas Edward Dallas Ownby Samuel Mortimer Ownby - 81 - Woodbury, Tennessee Anderson J Ownby (Andrew Jackson) Ownby - 79 - Savoy, Texas Elizabeth Nancy Ownby Taylor - 77 - Pilot Grove, Texas Eli Craig Ownby, Jr - 74 - Chil…

March 1836 THE ALAMO

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'NUFF SAID
Click link for Marty Robbins Battle of the Alamo


The Bonnie Blue and the Bonnie White Flags

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A Band of Brothers
All Civil War buffs and most Movie fans are familiar with the rousing tune and lyrics of The Bonnie Blue Flag.  It chronicles the struggle of the south's determination to maintain states rights and the pride they had for their country. It doesn't matter if you agree with the political aspect or if you disagree.  The song is rousing in tune and the lyrics carry a major impact.
We are a band of brothers, Native to the soil Fighting for the property We gained by honest toil. And when our rights were threatened, The cry rose near and far; Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag That bears a single star!
chorus: Hurrah! Hurrah! For Southern rights, Hurrah! Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag That bears a single star!
As long as the Union Was faithful to her trust, Like friends and brethren, kind were we, and just; But now, when Northern treachery Attempts our rights to mar, We hoist on high the Bonnie Blue flag That bears a single star.
First gallant South Carolina …

Camp Chase Prisoner of War Camp Civil War

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"Two months after his arrival at CampChase, Watt had settled into a routine. He was housed in Prison 3 which contained 18 barracks, each 24 by 100 feet. Built two foot off the ground each building had open foundations to deter tunneling. The ground between the barracks was graded so water would run into a main ditch leading to a larger drain. Supplied with plenty of wood, soap and water, each barrack contained two large box stoves and 80 bunks and was designed was designed to hold from 200 to 300 men. Prison 1 contained commissioned officers and Prisons 2 and 3 contained field officers and enlisted men. Relatives were kept separated and not allowed to visit or communicate. Each prison was surrounded by an 18 foot tall parapet and patrolled by armed sentinels. As new barracks were built the prisoners would take wood scraps and use their knives to shave bits of wood for bedding. The prison authorities discovered this and forced the prisoners to burn their bedding. A reporter with …

Descendents of Edward B Neddy Ownby

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Watterson Knox Polk Ownby and Family circa 1910 Son of Eli Craig Ownby

James Thadeous Ownby Family circa 1910 Son of Jeremiah James Ownby

Marcus Franklin Ownby Family circa 1910 Son of Jeremiah James Ownby


Will of Edward B "Neddy" Ownby 1792-1865

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Image is an oil painting of the original log cabin built in the early 1800's in Marshall County, Tennessee, the black and white photo was taken in the early 1900's and the landscape is as the property appears today.  
The original was a large log room with stairs that led to a room above the same size.  The logs were cedar- the floors were ash.  The front door had panel forming a cross to keep out witches.  There was a crude cross carved on the side for the same reason.
In the early 1800's John A Murrel was a well known robber, pirate who followed the Natchez Trace and region about.  One of his gang is said to have lived in this house. Bands of men would appear.  The wife of the one who lived here would prepare food, then she would be banished up stairs and the door locked.  There was said to be blood on the wall from some one killed there.
A strange thing was a door in the back of the up stairs room which opened to a second set of steps.
Someone added two rooms separated …

Brothers in Arms and for Real

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Watterson Knox Polk Ownby was the oldest of 3 son's of Eli Craig Ownby and Nancy Carol Winstead who served in the Confederate Army. 
WKP (Watt) Born Jan 10, 1842 in Marshall Co Tennessee died Feb 10 1930 in Whitewright, Grayson Co., Texas.  Enlisted as a Private, Co F, 41 Regt., TN Inf, CSA His unit was surrendered at Ft Donelson and was probably sent to CampButler. Re-enlisted Sept 27, 1862 at Bardstown, KY Appointed Sgt, Mar 1 1863.  Captured near Hillsboro, TN Sept 17 1864 sent to CampChase Paroled at Camp Chase, Ohio, Feb 13 1865 being rec'd at Boulwares & Cox Warf, James River, VA, Feb 20 1865.  Surrendered, May 1, 1865 at Sand Mountain, AL and subscribed to oath of allegiance at Nashville, TN, May 16 1865. signed Robert C Davis, Adjutant General, May 15, 1923" 
Watt married Martha Jane Taylor Oct 16, 1873 in a double wedding between his sister Elizabeth Nancy Ownby and Martha's brother Jefferson Lafayette Taylor. 
He received a Civil War Veterans Pen…

John Oneby Memorial St Mary's Church Hinkley, Leicester, UK

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This very fine seventeenth century monument on the north side of the chancel, could easily be missed on a visit to St. Mary's. As you look Eastwards it is hidden from view by the organ case. It commemorates John Oneby (pronounced ‘owner – bee') who died in 1662, his wife Emmett and their five children, Elizabeth, Dorothy, Emmett, Mary and John. (The married girls are on the left, the unmarried on the right!)
They lived at the Priory House, just below the church. Below this monument is a brass dated MDCCLXXXVI (1786). The inscription is in Latin and records the names of those who contributed towards the cost of restoring the monument above, including the two daughters of Nichols the historian and Robert Oneby, a descendant.

The people in the monument are John Oneby Esquire (1585-1660) and his wife Emmet Byard (daughter of Humphrey Byard) and from left to right are his daughters;  Elizabeth, who married Benjamin King;  Dorothy who married Ezekiel Wrighte; Sir John Oneby, 1636-1676…

Will of James Taylor of Patrick County, Virginia 1732-1805

Born to Edmond Taylor and Sarah Booking in 1732 in NewKentCounty, Virginia, James married Elenor Smith in 1737.   He and Eleanor had 8 children including David Taylor who married Nancy Penn (daughter of Phillip Penn and Martha Crutcher) in 1800. 
James' family tree included, President James Madison and President Zachary Taylor.
James died in 1805 and his will was probated in 1807:
Patrick Co., VA-Jan Court 1807:  In name of God, Amen, I James Taylor of Patrick Co and State of Virginia being weak in body yet in my pergfect sences do make Ordain Consititute and appoint this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following to with, I Will my soul to God who gave it trusting through the meritorious mediation of Jesus Christ for the pardon of my sins and salvation of the same and my body to the ground from whence it was taken to be decently buried after and according to the direction of my executors herin after mentioned, fully depending for the resurection fo the same at the …

Annie Marie Moore Ownby 1928-2014

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Born in Ector, Texas, September 20, 1928 to Simon Luke Moore and Johnnie Hudson Moore. Marie graduated from EctorHigh School in 1946 and married Guy Ownby on June 24, 1946.
Marie attended NorthTexasBusinessCollege and worked for the City of Sherman Police Department, Hardwicke-Etter Co, K-Mart and Grayson County Juvenile Probation Department.
She was a past President of The National Secretaries Association, member of the Business and Professional Women, and a member of North ParkBaptistChurch. 
Long before she was incapacitated with Alzheimer's, she willed her body to science. 



Phillip Penn Revolutionary War Patriot

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Phillip Penn was born in 1739 to George Penn and Anne Fleming.  His grandparents were John Penn and Lucy Granville.  Phillip was a first cousin to John Penn (Signer of the Declaration of Independence.)

Phillip married married Martha Crutcher in 1762 in Caroline Co. Virginia.  He served in the Amherst Co. Virginia Militia under Captain William Tucker.

They had 11 children including Nancy Penn who married David Taylor.
In 1990 his will was found in a Clerk's Office in box of unrecorded & loose papers; Bassett Patrick Co. VA Library; Probate: Will dated 29 Nov 1802 proved July 1806; copy from Bassett Library.
The Will of Philip Penn says:
First my desire and wish is that all my just debts should be paid.
Secondly I bequeath and give to my Sons George, Wilson, & Gabriel, each one Schilling, also to my Daughters Fanny Flulcher, Lucy Hanna, Milly Ross, Scintha Sneed, & Nancy Taylor (wife of David Taylor), each one Schilling,
Thirdly I bequeath and give to my Daugther Sall…

John Penn Signer of the Declaration of Independence

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Many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence have been victims of neglect and distortion, their contributions either ignored or buried under the garble of political bias. Such has been the case of John Penn, a nephew of Edmund Pendleton, under whose tutelage he became one of those men who risked hanging to sign his name to a document which became the future hope of a nation and democracy. The success of such men has crept into the shadow of time but their courage and personal sacrifices remain an eternal beacon of hope for mankind everywhere. For many people the name John Penn falls on deaf ears. They don’t know who he was or what he accomplished. Some even confuse him with another John Penn, the grandson of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania. Lest people lose sight of North Carolina’s John Penn, it is necessary to keep in mind several of his accomplishments: (1) He served in the Continental Congress for six years (2) He signed the Declaration of Independence (3) He …

Finding Eli's Grave

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In the summer of 2000, during a heat wave of 110+ and one of the worst draughts in Texas history, (and for you non Texans,   THAT'S BAD).   I decided to find my great-great-grandfather's grave. 

Eli Craig Ownby was buried in 1892 at Pilot Grove Cemetery, which is only about 15 miles from my home.   My husband, Darrell, grew up even closer to the cemetery and "knew" all about it.   One hot August afternoon we took a ride over there and started walking the stones.   We found Eli's daughter Elizabeth Nancy Taylor's, grave but couldn't find his.   I had a picture of the grave stone which was about 5 foot tall taken around 1980 when another researcher was visiting from Tennessee   We walked the cemetery twice and couldn't find it.   Finally Darrell said, "Maybe it's really at Cannon" (about 3 miles down the road).   So we drove to CannonCemetery.   Walked it twice and couldn't find it.   I was determined.......I knew it existed, just where…