Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Frederick Massmann and Cardinal Mundelein, May 30, 1932

The man on the far left of this photograph of the dedication ceremony for Holy Name Technical School (now Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois) is my paternal great-grandfather, Frederick Henry Massmann (1975-1948), at his investiture in the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great for his works and generosity in the Roman Catholic Church.

In this photograph, taken on May 30, 1932, he is wearing the order's uniform and walking behind Cardinal Mundelein and some priests.  Massmann contributed $5,000 towards the building of the school.  Michael Fitzpatrick (not pictured, but referred to in the caption) donated the land for the school.

This photo is on page 15 of Lewis University by Kurt Schackmuth and Carol Wassberg, published 2002.

© Amanda Pape - 2014 - click here to e-mail me.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Sara, Lizzie, and Gerrie, 1970s

My maternal grandmother Sara Melzina Wolfe Guokas Archibald, my maternal great aunt Elizabeth "Lizzie" Wanda Guokas Johnson Sayers, and my mother, Geraldine Margaret Guokas Pape, probably taken at Aunt Lizzie's home in north Houston in the 1970s.

© Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: Lizzie Guokas Sayers and Family in Rosewood Cemetery, Humble, Texas

From the upper left corner, counter-clockwise:  my great aunt Elizabeth "Lizzie" Wanda Guokas Johnson Sayers, her first husband Jesse Wayne Johnson, their son Kenneth Marvin Johnson, and Lizzie's second husband Philip Edgar Sayers Sr., all buried in Section 10 of the Rosewood Cemetery in Humble, Harris County, Texas.  All photos are by Bill Plies via and used with his permission.

© Amanda Pape - 2014 - click here to e-mail me.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sentimental Sunday: Elizabeth "Lizzie" Wanda Guokas Johnson Sayers, 1901-1980

This is a picture of my maternal grandfather, Charles Peter Guokas Jr. (1903-1967), with his big sister, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Wanda Guokas Johnson Sayers (1901-1980).   Lizzie looks to be a young teenager here, and my grandfather looks like he's about age 12, so I think this photo was taken about 1915, probably at the family home at 1717 Shearn.

Lizzie was born February 1, 1901, in Texas, probably in Houston, and probably at the family's home at that time, 1314 Railroad.  She was the first of six children of Lithuanian immigrants Charles Peter Guokas Sr. (1863-1939) and his second wife, Elizabeth (Elžbieta) Banevich (Benevičiūtė, 1875-1929).  She was baptized on February 17, 1901 (along with her first cousin Adam Guokas, born the same day) at Annunciation Catholic Church in Houston.  She had her First Communion and Confirmation at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Houston.

Lizzie shows up on page 487 of the 1917 Morrison & Fourmy Houston City Directory as a "student Massey B[usiness] College."  The following year, she is on page 499 of the directory as "typist Harris County Abstract Co."  Both years, she is living in the family home at 1717 Shearn.

On August 23, 1919, Lizzie married Jesse Wayne Johnson (1900-1929).  According to his September 12, 1918, World War I draft registration card, Jesse lived just a few blocks away at 1613 Crockett, and was a clerk with the Sunset Central Railroad office in Houston.  This might have had something to do with how they met, as Lizzie's father was a fireman with the Houston & Texas Central Railroad.

According to Houston: Where Seventeen Railroads Meet the Sea (1913) by Jerome H. Farbar, pages 8-9:
Houston is the railroad center of the Southwest, seventeen railroads entering the city and making their terminus. Over one hundred passenger trains operate in and out of Houston daily. Houston is the largest railroad center and deep-water port combined in the South. Houston is general headquarters for the Sunset-Central Lines (Southern Pacific lines in Louisiana and Texas)... 
The only general office building of Southern Pacific Lines is at Houston—the nine-story, half-million dollar general offices of the Sunset-Central Lines. A modern half-million dollar hospital is maintained in Houston by the Southern Pacific. 
The shops of the Sunset-Central Lines and of the Houston & Texas Central Railroad are in Houston. Nearly 2,500 men are employed in the great shops of the Texas & New Orleans Railroad, and over 500 men in the shops of the Houston & Texas Central.

Lizzie and Jesse had three sons: Jesse Wayne Johnson Jr. (1920–2005), Ralph Sanford Johnson (1922–1997), and Kenneth Marvin Johnson (1926–1930). Kenneth died at age 3 and a half from encephalitis, likely following a childhood disease like measles or mumps, for which there was no vaccination in those days.

Kenneth's death occurred just a little over a year after the death of his father from tuberculosis.  According to his death certificate, Jesse Sr.'s tuberculosis had been of several years duration, and he was living at the home of his parents at the time of his death.  He is listed as married on the death certificate, but Lizzie is not listed as his wife, and Jesse's father was the informant. 

Lizzie then married Philip Edgar Sayers (1901-1972), on June 7, 1929.  Philip's father was the half-brother of Joseph Draper Sayers, who was governor of Texas from 1899 to 1903.   Philip was a Harris County Commissioner from at least 1951 to at least 1966, for Precinct 3.  Before that, he was manager of the Hardy Street Feed Store (1937-1940) and a poultryman (1930), the owner of a chicken farm.

Lizzie and Philip had two sons:  Thomas Green Sayers (1930–1991) and Philip Edgar Sayers Jr. (1932–2013). Lizzie's five sons made up almost half of my Guokas great-grandparents' grandchildren.

Although Lizzie and Philip were living on rural Westfield Road in the 1930 and 1940 Censuses (between Hardy Road and what became I-45), the family appeared to have another home as well.  Their residence is listed as 118 Fairview in Houston at Kenneth Johnson's death in May 1930 and in the 1937 city directory.  In 1942, they lived at 810 Avenue of Oaks.  In the 1951 city directory, they are residing at 911 Melbourne, and Philip is listed as the Precinct 3 County Commissioner.

By the time of Philip's death from lung cancer in May 1972, they lived at 16710 Waycreek Road in Houston, and this is also where Lizzie was living when she died on April 10, 1980, from respiratory and renal failure and colon cancer.  She outlived all her full siblings.  Lizzie had 11 grandchildren, at least 8 great-grandchildren, and at least 18 great-great-grandchildren.

I remember seeing Aunt Lizzie a few times while growing up, sometimes with Uncle Phil (such as at my grandfather's funeral), at various family events, such as my maternal aunt's silver jubilee as a nun in June 1974.

Lizzie, her husbands Philip Sayers and Jesse Johnson, and her son Kenneth Johnson are all buried in section 10 at the Rosewood Cemetery in Humble, Harris County, Texas.

© Amanda Pape - 2014 - click here to e-mail me.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: Jacob Shelton, 1822 -1874 (not 1870)

photo by Bob Taylor via; used with permission
The tombstone of Jacob Shelton, one of my great-great-great-grandfathers on my mother's side, indicates that he died in 1870.  I'm pretty sure that's wrong.  The tombstone is not the original; it was added in later years.  I'm going to use this post to share some of the stories about how Jacob died, why I think he died in 1874, and what happened to some of the folks involved afterwards.

Here are some of the stories on the Shelton side about Jacob's death. One day, one of Jacob's sons (one version says it was Bennett, born ABT 1852-3) and Jacob's stepson James Chitwood (born 1855, the son of Jacob's third wife Catherine Dove Chitwood from her first marriage) were struggling over a gun.  One version said the scuffle was to see who would kill a hawk that was bothering the chickens. The gun went off, and James was killed. John Dove, Catherine's brother and James’ uncle, blamed Jacob and his son Ben for the tragedy. 

One version of the story says that one night John Dove was drunk and laid in wait for Jacob as he was coming home from town. During the confrontation, John stabbed Jacob with a knife. It’s not clear whether Jacob was killed instantly or took longer to succumb to his wounds. 

Despite what the tombstone says, Jacob's death probably occurred sometime in 1874.  For one thing, Jacob is mentioned for the last time in the records of the Sardis Baptist Church in Winn Parish on February 28, 1874

Supposedly the minutes of the Eastern Star Masonic Lodge #151 record Jacob Shelton, who was a member and had (supposedly) served as chaplain, as having been killed by John Dove in 1873. 

There seems to be a conflict between the Lodge records and the Church minutes, and even within Masonic records.  I have not been able to check the first two, but I did find the following online: 

The records pictured above and at left are from the Louisiana Masonic Library/Museum website.  They are pages from the annual Proceedings of M[ost] W[orshipful] Grand Lodge of F[ree] and A[ccepted] Masons of the State of Louisiana.

The page above is from the 1870 returns, and indicates Jacob served as Marshall of the Eastern Star Lodge.  I also found him listed as first affiliated with this lodge in 1862.

The page at left is from the 1874 Returns of Constituent Lodges (in the February 1875 Proceedings), and indicates Jacob died in 1874. (He is listed as alive in 1873).

In the Shelton family stories, John Dove left immediately for Texas and was later tracked down and brought back by a Sheriff Tannehill, but this is not substantiated, due to several courthouse burnings that destroyed all civil and legal documents from this time.

However, the 1880 Census shows Catherine Dove Chitwood Shelton, her daughters Mary Elizabeth Chitwood (age 24) and Susan Shelton (age 10), and five-year-old "son" James W. Leggett (actually grandson, the illegitimate son of Mary Chitwood and a former preacher in Winn Parish, Wiley S. Leggett), living in Sabine County, Texas.  Next door are Catherine's other daughter and son-in-law, Thomas J. Barton and Louisa Jane Chitwood Barton, and their three children.  Nearby are Catherine's brother William A. Dove and his family, which includes brother James M. Dove, listed as a widower (actually he is divorced or separated), and suffering from paralysis.

Interestingly, also on the 1880 Census, Ben Shelton is listed as a paraplegic living with his younger brother James (and James' wife and son) and younger brother Levi (my great-great-grandfather) in Winn Parish.  I have to wonder if they and others were shot or knifed in the initial instigating incident, or at the time Jacob was killed, or possibly in a later feud.

In the February 1875 minutes of Sardis Baptist Church in Winn Parish, Mary E. Chitwood was excluded from the church for un-Christian conduct. At the April 7, 1875 meeting, Pastor Wiley S. Leggett arose and publicly contradicted a slanderous report against him. The issue did not rest. On Thursday, June 24, 1875, there was a hearing held to discuss the issue. The church resolved that the pastor had come with certificates of undoubted character fully fixed in the minds of all intelligent Christians and his character as a man and Christian. The church granted Pastor Wiley S. Leggett and his family letters of dismission. The 1880 census records him living in Grant Parish going by William S. Leggett.  Catherine Shelton, Mary Chitwood, William Dove, and his wife Sarah all requested and got letters of dismission from Sardis Baptist Church on Saturday, November 3, 1877. They probably moved to Sabine County, Texas, shortly afterward.

Not surprisingly, Dove descendants tell a different story about the death of Jacob.  According to them, Jacob Shelton had beaten Catherine, and her brother John Dove came to her house while Jacob was away after one of those beatings.  When Jacob returned, a fight ensued, and Jacob was stabbed with John's knife.  John Dove served prison time, and his wife Nancy and their five children moved to Calcaseiu Parish in Louisiana and lived with her sister, Elizabeth Caskey in Sugar Town (per the 1880 Census).

While John Dove was serving time, his oldest daughter Julia became very ill, and word reached him that she might die.  He was working on a road crew and he told the foreman he had to go home, but when permission was denied, he walked away, promising he would return after seeing his dying daughter.  Unfortunately he was shot and killed.  The family was told he lay in an unmarked grave.  It is believed his daughter Julia died soon afterward.  Julia and Nancy buried in Shiloh Cemetery in DeRidder, Beauregard Parish, Louisiana, but no dates are on the markers.

© Amanda Pape - 2014 - click here to e-mail me.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Black Sheep? Sunday: Jacob Shelton, 1822 - ABT 1874

Jacob Shelton, my great- great-great-grandfather on my mother's side, was born in Alabama in 1822, the ninth of ten children of Mark Shelton and Susannah Luttrell.  On September 18, 1842, he married an Elizabeth Stone in Lauderdale County, Alabama (per Alabama Marriages, 1809-1920, and Alabama, Marriage Collection, 1800-1969).  However, this Elizabeth apparently died, as there are also records in three Mississippi Marriages collections showing Jacob marrying Elizabeth A. Bridges on December 28, 1845, in Marshall County in that state.

Jacob and Elizabeth appear on the 1850 Census on September 12 in Southern Division, Marshall County, Mississippi, with sons Joseph L., age 3 (born in 1847), and John E., age 1 (born about 1849).  Four more children were born somewhere in Mississippi, probably in Marshall County:  Bennett A. (named for Elizabeth's father, Matthew Bennett Bridges) about 1852, Sarah J. about 1854, Jacob H. about 1856, and James William about 1859.

Jacob purchased 317.92 acres of land near Sardis in Winn Parish, Louisiana, for $158.96 on December 16, 1859, according to an Affadavit for Actual Settlement and Cultivation.  A land patent was issued on July 2, 1860:
A declaration dated November 28, 1860, states that Jacob had been residing on the land since Christmas Day, 1859, had a house with a kitchen, and had 25 acres under cultivation.

The 1860 Census, taken on June 21, shows the family in Winnfield in Winn Parish with one additional person - a Samantha K. (or R.), age 21, married within the year.  Her last name is not shown as being different, so either she was a Shelton (perhaps a niece of Jacob’s), or the enumerator assumed she was.  I have not figured out who she is.  However, there is a Samuel Newman, age 23 and married within the year, just above Jacob’s name on the 1860 Census.  On the 1870 Census for Winn Parish, I found an S. B. and S. K. Newman of the right ages.  Perhaps this Samantha was simply listed in the wrong household on the 1860 Census.

The 1860 Census Slave Schedule shows that Jacob owned one slave, an unnamed 14-year-old black female.

My great-great-grandfather, Levi Marion Shelton, the youngest child of Jacob and Elizabeth Bridges Shelton, was born on January 28, 1863, in Winn Parish. 

Jacob apparently served in the Confederate Army in the Civil War.  He was a private in Company B of the 6th Regiment, Louisiana Cavalry.  This unit was assembled in January, 1864,
and saw light action in Louisiana. Later it operated a courier-line between Camden, Arkansas and Alexandria, Louisiana.  According to Civil War Prisoner of War records, Jacob surrendered to the Union in New Orleans on May 26, 1865.  He was paroled in Natchitoches, Louisiana, on June 13, 1865.  This is the only record of his service; he is not on any muster roll, and an application for a pension was never made.

Now this is where the "black sheep" portion of Jacob's life begins.

Jacob's wife Elizabeth apparently died sometime in 1865.   Jacob fathered a black son out of wedlock, Van, born in February 1868.  Supposedly his mother was Jacob's housekeeper.  I would not be surprised if she was his former slave.  In fact, I found a record in the 1870 Census in Winn Parish of a Susan Jane Shelton, black, age 24, living with a black boy named Van McLain, age 4, and another mulatto boy, William Shelton, born in June 1870.  Supposedly Van had a brother named William Shelton and a sister named Anna Shelton, born about 1874 (She shows up on the 1880 Census in Winn Parish with a Susanna Shelton, age 33).  Whether or not they were also Jacob's children or just took that surname is unknown.

According to one Shelton family story, Elizabeth contracted tuberculosis.  Catherine Dove Chitwood, a Civil War widow with three children and four younger siblings living in Winn Parish
 (sister Elizabeth, and brothers John, James and William), came to live with the Shelton family to help take care of Elizabeth and the Shelton children. After Elizabeth died in 1865, Catherine continued to live in the Shelton home.  However, this story is unlikely, because Catherine and her three children (and her sister Elizabeth, also a widow at that time, and her three children) are listed in the August 4, 1866, issue of the Bienville Messenger - a parish northwest of Winn, indicating that Catherine and her offspring did not move to Winn Parish until after this time.

Jacob and Catherine had a daughter, Susan, out of wedlock, around June 1870. (She's two months old and "infant not named Chitwood" on the August 9, 1870, Census in Winn Parish, but is on the 1880 census in Catherine's home in Sabine, Texas, as a ten-year-old named Susan Shelton.) 

Apparently the census enumerator talked.  Just a few days later, on August 13, 1870, the minutes of the Sardis Baptist Church in Winn Parish indicate that Catherine was charged with adultery and excluded from the church. Catherine had joined the church in May 1867, and asked for and was granted a letter of dismission on October 9, 1869 (about the time she would have have realized she was pregnant). 
Eventually Jacob and Catherine apparently were married, since an August 1873 entry in the church minutes states that "Catherine Shelton" was received by restoration and Jacob Shelton "on confession of faith." 

Jacob Shelton was killed by Catherine's brother John Dove.  There are many variations in the stories on just when and why this occurred.  I think he died in 1874.  But that will be another post.

© Amanda Pape - 2014 - click here to e-mail me.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Happy 85th Birthday, Dad! (yesterday)

My dad, Frederick Henry Pape, about 1934, around age 5.  This is a black-and-white photograph that has been hand-colored - you can see some smudges from the coloring on the margins of the photo

© Amanda Pape - 2014 - click here to e-mail me.