Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday's Faces From the Past: Fearless Female Minnie Ursula "Soulah" Gresham Stricklin and husband

The woman in the picture is my husband's great aunt, Minnie Ursula "Soulah" Gresham Stricklin (1881-1918).  Here's what I have been able to find out about her.  Most of this information, including the picture, comes from Descendants of John Anderson Stricklin (1854-1927) : Ala. - Ark. - Texas - Okla. by Opal Frances Vaughan, who was married to one of Soulah's grandsons.

According to that source (as well as her tombstone for the date), Soulah was born April 13, 1881, in Arkansas, probably in Ozark.  The month of birth is confirmed on the 1900 Census, and Arkansas as birthplace on both 1900 and 1910.

She was the oldest child (of four who survived to adulthood) and only daughter of John L. Gresham and Lucinda Vina "Lula" Self Gresham. Her parents had married in Ozark, Arkansas, on July 1, 1880, so it is possible Soulah was born there.  However, on a death certificate for one of her children where she was supposedly the informant, she says she was born in Mississippi.

Sometime before 1900, John L. Gresham died, as the 1900 Census as of June 1 has Lula remarried (for less than a year) to Robert Granville Young and living with him in Dallas County, Texas.
Marriage license for J. O. Stricklin and Soulah Gresham, May 12, 1900, Dallas County, Texas

Soulah married John Oscar (called J. O. or Oscar) Stricklin in Dallas County on May 12, 1900.  The 1900 Census finds them living with his parents and his five younger siblings.

When their first child, son Walter Cleo, was born in September 1901, Soulah and Oscar were living in Kiowa, Oklahoma, according to some sources.  Other sources say Cleo was born in Texas.  Family stories also say another son, Thaddie Jay, was born in Oklahoma sometime between 1902 and 1904.  He died in an accident and is supposedly buried in Oklahoma.  According to Vaughan, "while being rocked in a cradle near an open fireplace the cradle overturned and he was very badly burned."

By the time the next child, Bonnie May Stricklin, was born, on February 22, 1905, Soulah and Oscar were living in Denton County, Texas.  Bonnie was supposedly born in Krum and the next daughter, Lois Louise, on March 9, 1908, in Bolivar.  The 1910 Census shows the family (with Soulah having given birth to four children, three surviving) living in rural Denton County, where Oscar is a blacksmith.
Death certificate for John Oscar Stricklin Jr., Jan. 25, 1915.  Note this shows Soulah as born in Mississippi.

Oscar and Soulah had four more children, but only two of those lived to adulthood.  Son John Oscar Jr. was born September 23, 1912, in Sanger, but died January 25, 1915, in Sanger, of "membranous croup" or diphtheria.  Son Marvin Elton was born March 29, 1915, in Sanger.  Twins Howard Layne and Herman Edward were born August 12, 1917, in Valley View, Cooke County, Texas (which is just a bit north of Sanger).  Howard had a weak heart and died February 19, 1918.

Sadly, Soulah died just a few months later, on October 28, 1918, at age 37.  The Denton Record-Chronicle of October 30, 1918 (section 1, page 2, column 5, in "News from Sanger,") says the death was "sudden" but provides no other details, and I have not yet been able to locate a death certificate. However, Spanish influenza was rampant that year.  Soulah was buried the next day in the Sanger Cemetery.

With five children ranging from ages 1 to 17, it's understandable that Oscar remarried within a year, to a divorcee with three children.  Oscar and his second wife then had five more children.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

No comments:

Post a Comment