Monday, March 30, 2015

Matrilineal Monday: Fearless Female Jewel Moore Gresham, 1914-1994

Mark's mother, Jewel Moore Gresham, was born October 4, 1914, in a log cabin that had been slave quarters on a large, former cotton plantation at White Settlement west of Fort Worth.  The log cabin was located near Little Silver Creek, which ran through the property and fed into [Big] Silver Creek.  At the time, this area was in Tarrant County, which is where Jewel's birth certificate is from, but it now falls in adjacent Parker County after a boundary dispute was settled in 1965.

Jewel was the youngest of seven children (one boy and six girls) of Tandy Clayton Moore (1878-1964) and Nancy "Nannie" Flora Jones (1882-1969).  Clayton was born in Lee County, Alabama, but moved with his family to Denton County in 1900.  Nannie was a native of Denton County.

The Moore family continued to live in the Little Silver Creek area until the boll weevils wiped out the cotton crop in 1918.  Late that year or early in 1919, they moved to a farm in Bray, Oklahoma.  Jewel went to first grade and second grade in Bray.  About 1922, Clayton bought 20 acres just outside the city limits of Marlow, which was about nine miles west of Bray.  In the late 1920s, they moved to 120 acres north of Marlow.

The rest of Jewel's schooling happened in Marlow schools (although the family had to pay $149 per semester tuition, at least when Jewel was in fifth grade, because there was another school closer to their home).  She graduated from Marlow High School in 1932 as the salutatorian (her fourth-grade sweetheart, Glenn Rubendall, was valedictorian).

Jewel remained at home with her parents until the summer of 1938, when she was twenty-four.  She then accompanied her two nephews, Tom and Wesley Moore (sons of her older brother Gurth, who died in January 1935) to Corpus Christi, where they were to start school.  All three were to live with Jewel's older sister Ivis Moore Mew (1904-2004), who was a nurse at Spohn Hospital.  After successfully completing a business school course, Jewel found work with a wealthy family, the Edwin Flatos, doing bookkeeping for their Nueces Hardware Store.

A 1940 city directory, page 357, shows Jewel living with Benjamin and Ivis Moore Mew at 408 Sam Rankin, and working as a stenographer at Nueces Hardware Company at 323 Chaparral at Lawrence. (This was directly across the street from Lichtenstein's, which opened in 1941.)  However, I believe that directory had information from the previous year, because the 1940 Census of April 12 has 25-year-old Jewel sharing an apartment at 716 Chaparral (Horne Apartments, #31) with another stenographer, 21-year-old Margaret L. Blackburn from Agua Dulce, Texas.

Jewel is listed on the census as working at a printing company.  Most likely it was the Beacon Printing Company, where Francis Edward Gresham (1911-1990) was working as a lithographer, according to the 1940 city directory.  This is probably where the two of them met.  They married on October 26, 1940, at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Corpus Christi.

Their first child, son Mark Edward, was born the following August in San Antonio, at Santa Rosa Hospital.  At the time Jewel and Francis were living at 405 San Pedro Street and Francis was working as a multilith operator for Struder Photographic Studios (headquartered at 402 San Pedro).  On October 23, 1941, they moved back to Corpus Christi, to 3038 Mintan Street, then to 2024 Peabody on November 6, 2814 Nueces Street on January 4, 1942, and 3765 Brandywine on March 23.

The 1944 city directory shows the family back at 2814 Nueces, although that might have been based on earlier information.  Francis enlisted in the Navy on April 13, 1944, and was sent to work as a negative engraver and cameraman at the Navy's Hydrographic Office in Washington, D.C.  Jewel gave birth to a daughter, Frances Ann, in that city in December 1944.  While in that city, the family lived at 4613 Lewis Avenue SE, Apartment D.

Francis was released from military service in January 1946, and the family moved back to Corpus Christi.  According to 1948 city directories, Frances was a lithographer at the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station, and his family lived at 3829 Blanco Courts, in the La Armada housing project, built to accommodate Navy enlisted men and civilian military employees as the Naval Air Station expanded.

In January 1949, Jewel and her family moved to the Myrtle Grove area of Pensacola, Florida, where Francis worked at the Naval Air Station.  They first lived on a rural delivery route, then at 1505 N. 50th (November 1949), 904 M 57th Avenue (November 1950), and 1312 N. 52nd Avenue (February 1951 and 1952).  Daughter June Marie was born here in January 1952.

Francis was sent to Guam by the Administrative Department of the Navy in July 1954.  Jewel and the children followed that autumn.  They lived at #15 Estrellita in Tumon Heights during their years in Guam, until August 1960.  At that point, Francis became Director of the Navy Publications and Printing Service Office in Bremerton, Washington, and the family (except for Mark, who was in college) moved to 4107 Gillette Avenue.

They stayed here even after Francis retired in January 1972.  Francis really liked the hunting and fishing available in the Pacific Northwest, and Jewel really enjoyed how easy it was to garden in the mild and moist climate.

After Francis passed away in December 1990, Jewel developed cancer and moved to her daughter Ann's home in Olympia, Washington. She died there on November 15, 1994.  Both Jewel and Francis were cremated after their deaths.  Their cremains are buried in the garden at Ann's home near Husum, Washington, with a view of Mount Hood.

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

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