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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Letters From the Past: Juanita Thompson Gleghorn October 18, 2000 - Part I

Juanita Gleghorn
April 2005

The following letter was written by Juanita Pearl Thompson Gleghorn as a response to a letter that I sent her regarding our mutual Hairston family history.

Juanita’s father, Floyd Thompson, was my grandmother’s first cousin.  My grandmother, Johnnie Myrtlene “Myrtie” Hairston Bryan, was the daughter of Phillip A. Hairston. Floyd was the son of Phillip’s sister, Martha Elizabeth “Mattie” Hairston Chisum Thompson.

Juanita writes about her father coming to work for Myrtie’s father, “Uncle Phil,” and tells stories about her parents. Others mentioned in the letter were Juanita's family, Myrtie’s husband, Redic, and their children; Whit (my father), DeRay, Marie, Willa Mae, and Hairston (Buster).  I omitted the names of living family members to protect their privacy.

Juanita passed away on August 13, 2011 at the age of 93.

                                                                                  October 18, 00
Dear Diana:

          It was a great joy to receive the history of our Dad’s family and to know more of your family. Thanks.

          Your Grandmother (Myrtie) was Dad’s cousin and he and our family knew they loved one another.  We visited them once in a while and thought I was more than 2 yrs. older than Whit; by your records I was only two years older than him.  We never knew where Buster went, but DeRay let us know where they were moving and when my son first married they moved to Borger, Texas. About 27 years ago we went to Borger to see my son, ______’s second child, so ____ had gone to see Marie, DeRay, and Willie Mae, and he took me to see them. Willa Mae ran out to meet us and it was a joy to see them. Marie and DeRay seem to be distant, but they might have been feeling bad. They had aged so much, and they told me Willa Mae had a stroke some time before; she was walking with a limp.  I didn’t remember them telling me where Whit was; I had always wondered where he was. Tell me more about him and if you were his only child. 
          When I was visiting the girls at Borger they told me that Dad, Floyd, use to stay with them a lot when he was a little boy in Erath. That’s the reason he loved your mother and uncle Phil so much.

I must tell you why Uncle Phil as Dad called him, moved to Baylor County, Seymour, Texas.  Uncle had bought or rented a farm two and a quarter miles east of my Grand Father’s place in the Levelview Community.  The school house set in a north east corner of his farm. 

Uncle Phil must have needed a young man to help him on the farm and sent word for Dad to help him. It was very interesting for Dad to tell we kids about his trip to Seymour, Texas by horse back. He must have lost his way for he got up in to Oklahoma, and had to bed down in an old abandon dug-outs and once spent the night with a family. He told us he was 16 yrs. old at the time, but by your records, he must have been older.  Any way the house Uncle Phil lived in was still standing when we were living close to our Grand Father Cox. My sister Lucille, and I spent the night with a school chum in the same house that Uncle Phil lived in. My mother had a photo of the house like the one you sent and that was our Dad, Floyd, in the photo. Our oldest brother, Clarence favored Dad, especially, the way he held his head. 

After Dad was living in the Levelview Community a while he rode his horse by the school house at noon, to get acquainted with some young people. At this school they had taught high school grades as well as lower grades. The kids gathered around anxious to learn who the stranger was so he dismounted his horse and talked to the young people.  My mother was maybe 12 years old and as he looked around he patted the little girl on the head and said this is a pretty little girl.  The little girl was my mother, Ora Ellen Cox.  She loved to tell us that story, and many more such as that one, about Dad saying in front of a group of friends, he had a little Indian in him, so we knew he was of Indian decent, but he would never tell us where the Indian fit in.

Our grandmother was a very kind sweet quiet woman, all her Thompson boys favored her, and she had features of an Indian.  My son, _____, sure shows his Indian ways as well as looks, especially thru the eyes.

I will send you a photo of Grandma Mattie when I get them back from my youngest brother ___.  I let him have some photos for his wife was copying my family story on her computer. ___ and ____are on vacation in Florida, so it will be a while getting the photos copied for you. They live at Bridgeport, Tex.

A double wedding. Terrell Bryan Hammett,
Bertie Cox, Floyd Thompson, Ora Cox
The photo of Mother & Dad’s wedding day was nice, and Bertie, was my mother’s oldest sister. They were married at Seymour, Texas.  Dad and Terrell had a two seater horse drawn buggies so as they rode to the Church of Christ in Seymour to be married some of their friends met them at the crossroads in their buggies and followed them about five miles to the church. Mother said the preacher stood between the buggies to perform the ceremony.

I’m sorry to be so long answering your letter, but I‘ve had a cold and company.  This is the deer season so some of the men in our family come to go deer hunting this time of year. We have lived on this farm over 50 years. We live about 6 miles east of Duncan, Okla. My husband no longer farms. Only leases the pasture land out.

Please excuse the paper and pencil for at 82 yrs. of age I make lots of mistakes when writing so have to erase a lot.  

My husband Donald Victor and I have been married for 63 yrs. on Dec. 29 of 2000.  We have raised four children, two boys and two girls, they turned out to be fine people, and we have many grandchildren as well as Great grands. I will send you family records later as well as let you know more about the visits at Myrtlene’s Home in Seymour, Tex.

Let me know more about your Dad.
                   With Love & Respect
                   Juanita Pearl Thompson Gleghorn
P.S. Isn’t Myrtlene a beautiful name. Daddy loved Myrtie.

This was not the end of the letter. Juanita wrote more prior to mailing it. 
Part II will be my next post. 


© 2011, copyright Diana Quinn

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