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Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday's News: WWI and Family Letters

This poster and the two at the bottom of this post are recruiting posters found at the North Carolina Digital Collections and provided courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

A few months ago, I researched the Baylor County Banner, a newspaper in Baylor County Texas, for news of WWI casualties for their local museum. I learned much about The Great War, known today as World War I. 

The United States entered the war on April 6, 1917; joining the Allies (Britain, France, Russia, Italy, and Japan) who were at war with the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey).   United States troops in the war were only in actual combat for just over seven months and there were over 50,000 causalities. Half of the U.S. soldiers who died in Europe, died as a result of the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919. 

The information that I found about the WWI casualties is being posted for Memorial Day on the Facebook Group, Baylor County Museum. You may need to join the group to see it. 

Oscar Edward Noah and Mamie Lou Allen Noah Family
Joseph "Joe" Noah is standing on the far left. 
Below are two family letters that were written in Europe during WWI and found in the Baylor County Banner. The letters were sent to Millard Ray Latta from Joseph O. Noah. Both Millard Ray and Joseph were born in Erath County and just prior to the war, they were living in Baylor County where both were teachers.  Millard Ray was my grandfather's niece; the daughter of Hollen Bryan and Alzono "Lon" Latta.  Joseph "Joe" Noah was the son of Oscar Edward Noah, first cousin to my grandmother, Myrtie Hairston Bryan. 

Dear Millard Ray,
          Though I have had no word from you as yet I will write again.  We are now in France and I must say the place is worth seeing.  All is different from the United States. In parts of the country it is very rough and hilly.  Here we see little stone houses surrounded by patches of garden sticking in all positions about the hills.  All the patches are set off by stone walls and are so well kept that the country resembles a big lawn or garden as one might see in a park or home. 
          In other parts of the country was level and great vineyards and orchards are found – though here the patches are small, but close together.
          At present we are billeted in a barn loft above a flock of sheep.  We can look down the stairs and see the sheep gazing up at us.  Our quarters are reached by means of a ladder leading to a window.  Just across a narrow street is a big stone church, and all about us are the homes and shops of the people living in the villages.  All the buildings look alike – shops and residences are under the same roof.  All are of stone or tile and all are covered with some hundred years growth of moss.  In fact moss seems to be part of the French house just as much as paint is in Texas.  One can easily see that the houses are built to last for many generations and become permanent features of the land scape just like the hills.
          French forests are very beautiful the trees being very straight and tall and of types new to me.  Many large bodies of trees are planted in rows as regular as an orchard and the trees are hundred of years old.  Everywhere we see narrow, but finely built gravel roads running through the trees.
          Yesterday was Sunday and I visited an old French Chateau which was built in the 13th century.  There were pictures of nearly all the kings of Europe all hand painted.  There was a wood carving of the beheading of John the Baptist so old that it was worm eaten.  There was an old chapel built in the 13th century but torn down now. 
Inclosed {sic}some leaves from trees in the park about the chateau.  The place is now the home of a French nobleman. 
          We hear now that the war is over about and I hope it is.  I now hope to get back by spring, but can’t be sure.
          I am feeling fine and in good spirits and am getting all I need to eat, but I would be glad to come home at anytime.
          I must close for this time.
                   As ever yours,
                      Joe Noah
P. S. I am at last assigned to a company so you ought to try to get a letter to me. 
                                             Baylor County Banner - November 21, 1918

Millard Ray Latta
My Dear Friend
          I have not been in the same place long enough to get a letter from anyone since I left the States but I will keep up my end of the line anyway.
          You will note where we are by the character of the paper, etc, about though we are not allowed to state the city where we are stationed.  We traveled all night last night in the smallest R.R. carriage I ever expect to ride in.  We are now in a rest camp, but may move anytime and we will be at our destination, France next.
          Our last month has surely seen some movement. We were at College Station a month ago.  It hardly seems possible that we are so far from home.
          I was very glad to leave the boat.  There is too much of  that ocean to suit me.  The hard soil is a fine substance to walk on and it is where I belong.  I can afford to scratch some of it out of my eyes, as in Baylor, so long as it don’t roll around like the ocean waves.  Also I am now acquainted with  a new scent, a “boaty scent,” I can’t describe it for you, but it is somewhat like spoiled tar.  It makes one happy by it’s absence.
          In spite of a bit of seasickness the last day in the water, I feel fine now, and have no complaint to offer.  We are as well treated as anyone could ask.  However, I find nothing to compare with the U. S.  One food is good and substantial and I like it, but when I get back to old Texas, I will soon forget it, you can bet. 
          War talk here is almost too favorable to take at face value, but I am sure it won’t be long until the thing will clear up.  Maybe I will see you again before you are 23 years old and maybe a lot sooner.  I think it will be no longer at least, - if I am fortunate to get back at all, and I feel sure I will be.
          The country here is very pretty though we can’t see much of it. The houses are all red brick peaks and are all square corners and peaks.   Stores and houses of the best class are right over the sidewalk.  Curious carts, one horse wagons, and bycicles {sic} roll by.  Nothing looks like America. Even the trees seem to be heavy with age and a different kind to ours. 
          We have some time off and I must stir around and wash a lot, also see what I can find. 
          Let me hear from you at earliest possible time, with all news. 
                             As ever yours,
                          Pr’vt. Joseph O. Noah
                             63 Radio Causals
          American Expeditionary Forces
P. S. Find inclosed {sic} sample of English Candy. I paid for two small pieces with two copper coins that were bigger than the candy.  You will understand when you taste as to why I gave it nearly all to an English sailor.  The cigarette wrapper will perhaps help the flavor.       
                                               Baylor County Banner -November 28, 1918 

           Courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources

               Courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources


© 2012, copyright Diana Quinn

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Photo: George Amunds

George Amunds - about 1918

On Friday, I posted pictures of my Great-Uncle Charlie who was in the army during WWI and the Navy during WWII.  My brother sent me a link to the Roster of the Rainbow Division and Charlie was listed as being in the 149th Machine Gun Battalion (4th Pa. Infantry) in Company L. Charles W. Giddens was listed on page 62. Many of the men in Uncle Charlie's company were from his hometown of Phillipsburg, New Jersey or nearby Easton, Pennsylvania. 

Well, while looking at the names of men in his company, I noticed a George Amunds on page 61 listed as private from Brooklyn, New York. There is a photo of George Amunds in my grandmother's photo album. It was with the army pictures of Uncle Charlie, but George was not in uniform so I did not make the connection. George was not family, but must have been Uncle Charlie's friend. 

Now that George is posted on my blog, maybe one of his descendants will happily find his picture.  


© 2012, copyright Diana Quinn

Sunday's Obituary: Honoring Those Who Served

 Whit C. Bryan

     Whit Criswell Bryan of the 4800 block of Frostburg Lane died August 22, 2001 in a Norfolk hospital.  Mr. Bryan was the husband of Elizabeth “Betty” M. Bryan and the son of the late Redic Bryan and Myrtie Hairston Bryan.  Born in Seymour, TX on December 21, 1920, he lived in Borger, TX before joining the U.S. Navy in 1940.  A Chief Petty Officer (HMC), he was a veteran of three wars and a Pearl Harbor survivor. In 1967 he served with the 3rd Marine Division in Vietnam.  He retired from the Navy in 1969 and worked twelve years as a Unit Coordinator for Norfolk General Hospital. After retiring from the hospital he delivered flowers for Farm Fresh stores.
     Mr. Bryan was a member of the Fleet Reserve Association Branch #99.  He faithfully attended Haygood United Methodist Church and was a member of the JOY Sunday School Class and the United Methodist Men. 
     Besides his wife, he is survived by his son, Richard T. Bryan of Norfolk; his three daughters, Diana B. Quinn and her husband William J. Quinn of Virginia Beach, Carol Trujillo of Santa Clara, CA, and Martha Campbell and her husband Fred Campbell of Santa Rosa, CA; eight grandchildren, Paul L. Rigg of Winter Park, FL, Jason A. Bryan of Norfolk, Emily M. Quinn and William J. Quinn of Virginia Beach, Donna Medeiros of San Jose, CA, Steven Medeiros of Sunnyvale, CA, Jason Trujillo of Spring Hill, FL, and Nicholas Trujillo of Ft. Leonardwood, MO; five great-grandchildren and a niece Jacqueline Skinner of Denver, CO.  He was preceded in death by his three sisters, Marie Bryan, DeRay Bryan, and Willa Mae Dudley, and his brother, Hairston A. Bryan.
     A funeral service will be held Monday at 1 p.m. at Haygood United Methodist Church, 4713 Haygood Road, Virginia Beach by Dr. Donald H. Traylor.  Burial will follow at Woodlawn Memorial Gardens.  Family will receive friends from 7 to 9 p.m. on Sunday at Holloman-Brown Funeral Home, Bayside Chapel. Memorials may be made to Haygood United Methodist Church.

In Rome, early 1960s. 

Camp Lejeune, NC 1966

Vietnam 1967

At Retirement 1969
A Pearl Harbor Survivor

For more information


© 2012, copyright Diana Quinn

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday's Photo: Honoring Those Who Served

Charles William Giddens 1911

Charlies William Giddens was born on December 2, 1892 in Crew, Virginia. He was my great-uncle, brother to my grandmother, Edith, and the son of Charles Allen Giddens and Mary Lucy Glynn. I met him shortly before he died. We called him Uncle Charlie. During WWI, he served in the Army and was wounded in France. During WWII, he wanted to rejoin the Army, but was to old. The Navy accepted him as a gunnery instructor. My mother remembers Charlie coming to visit her family in New York to tell her mother that he was selling his home and that he and his wife would move from New Jersey to Florida where he was stationed. He remained in Florida until his death on May 20, 1972. 

Charles Giddens at age 18 (left)

American Casualties in Fighting on the French Front
The Washington Post: Wednesday, December 4, 1918
Charles W. Giddens (left) during the 1940s
Charles W. Giddens 1940s


© 2012, copyright Diana Quinn

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Monday’s News: Redic E. Bryan in the Erath Appeal

Redic Eli Bryan, my grandfather, died 26 years before my birth. Dad remembered some facts, but most of what he knew had been relayed to him by his older sisters. Almost all that I know about my grandfather came from local newspapers.  

Redic E. Bryan was born in Louisiana, but moved to Erath County, Texas with his family at the age of eight.  He attended school in Stephenville and upon completion, acquired a first grade certificate and taught for five years in that county. 

Redic moved to Baylor County in 1905. He left Baylor County in 1907 for Big Spring, but returned in 1909.  Redic served as tax assessor in Baylor County for two terms. He attended the Baptist Church and was a member of both the I.O.O.F. and the W.O.W.  He didn’t appear to like farming and sold produce after selling his farm equipment.  In 1914, Redic purchased his first automobile. He was a frequent buyer and seller of real estate and he and his family seemed to move often.

All of the above information and much more came from reading old newspapers. Last summer, during my visit to the Briscoe Center for American History in Austin, Texas, I learned a few additional facts about my grandfather. The following items, from The Erath Appeal, tell more of Redic Bryan's story. 

July 14, 1898
Redic Bryan had the misfortune Monday night to have a wagon run over his leg below the knee, fracturing the larger bone.

July 28, 1898
Reddick Bryan is still detained at his fathers on account of his injured leg.

August 25, 1898
Reddick Bryan is at his old post behind Lon Latta’s bar again after five weeks absence, caused by the fracture of his leg, his many friends are happy to meet him. His is popular, genial, and affable, and the right man in the right place.

December 1, 1898
Temp Creswell is now dispensing drinks over Lon Latta’s bar, and knows how to treat customers of this popular house. He is the right man in the right place.
Redic Bryan, who has been at work for Lon Latta for some time is now out recuperating. His many friends will miss his smiling face behind the bar.

February 9, 1899
Redic Bryan, the popular caterer of Dublin, was in the city Monday shaking hands with his many friends. Redic is now feeding the boys and will be pleased to have his friends call on him when in Dublin.

March 23, 1899
R. E. Bryan was over from Dublin Friday and visited his father, Esq. Terrell Bryan, who has been quite ill. Mr. Bryan is improving.

June 15, 1899
R. E. Bryan was over from Dublin Tuesday.

February 8, 1900
Redic and Myrtie
Following is a list of marriage icenses since last issue:  D. B. Traweek and Miss Lucy W. Macumber, C. P. Scott and Miss M. C. Stone, D. L. Howard and Miss Amanda Walls, Ulmer Golightly and Miss Mary Lowry, Giuseppe Piacentino and Miss Crislina Viete, C. A. Jennings and Miss Mabel Ragland, R. E. Bryan and Miss Myrtie Hairston, J. H. Cox, Jr., and Miss Olivia Brassell.

R. E. Bryan and Miss Myrtie Hairston were united in the holy bonds of wedlock one day this week at the home of the bride’s parents. Miss Hairston is the only daughter of Mr. Phil Hairston of near Huckabay who is one of Erath’s best citizens and most prosperous and well to do farmers. Miss Hairston is bright, beautiful and attractive and commands the love and respect of all who know her. Mr. Bryan is the son of Esq. Terrell Bryan, is educated, robust and handsome and numbers his friends as legion. He has grown up in our mist and those who know him love him the most. The Appeal joins their host of friends in wishing them a long, happy and prosperous life.  

August 16, 1900
Redic Bryan was among his Stephenville friends Saturday, making merry and pleasant the hours spent with him. 


© 2012, copyright Diana Quinn

Sunday's Obituary: Frances Giddens Harper

Mission Memorial Park, San Antonio, Texas - Picture taken August 2011

Harper – Died Sunday, October 7, at the home, 410 Mary St., Mrs. Frankie Harper, aged 66 years beloved wife of Warren J. Harper; mother of Hugh E., W. V., and Chas.T. Harper, and Mrs. Lora E. Earney. Funeral services will be held at Riebe Undertaking Co. chapel this (Monday) afternoon, 4 o’clock, by Rev. Baxter D. Greer. Interment in Mission Burial Park.
                                           San Antonio Express – October 9, 1934

Frances "Frankie" Giddens Harper, born in Sampson County, NC, was the daughter of George L. Giddens and his first wife, Luellen Bradshaw. The Harper family left their home in Duplin County, NC between 1900 and 1910 to move to Christine, Texas.  After 1910, Frankie's father, George L. Giddens, left N.C. to live with his daughter's family in Texas. George died in 1914 and the family later settled in San Antonio. 


© 2012, copyright Diana Quinn

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday's Photo: Laura Isabel Wylie Boyers

Laura Isabel Wylie Boyer was the daughter of Thomas "Tom" Wylie and Dorothy "Dollie" Elizabeth Harriet Bryan. Her mother was the sister of my grandfather, Redic Bryan.

Although although the only information written on this picture is R. D. Boyers, I assume that this is her wedding picture. According to a tree at, she married Robert Dudley Boyers, in Brownwood, Texas, on October 26, 1926. 

The picture was printed at Mayo Studios in Brownwood, Texas. 

Laura died young. Her obituary is at this link at Find-a-Grave. 


© 2012, copyright Diana Quinn

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday's News: Tom Wylie in the Erath Appeal

Thomas Sumter Wylie was born in Mississippi and was married to Dorothy "Dollie" Elizabeth Harriet Bryan, daughter of Terrell Bryan and sister to my grandfather, Redic. According to his son, Milton Wylie, and, the following news items, the Wylie's left Erath County for Coke County in 1899. 

The clippings below were found last summer while reading old newspapers at the Center for American History in Austin Texas. 

I don't have a picture of Tom Wylie, but do have a web page devoted to old news items about Tom and his family.  Click here to see the page containing additional news items. 

July 28, 1898
After a very pleasant week's visit at the hospitable ranch of Mr. and Mrs. Tom Wylie, Mrs. A. C. L. Hindsman and two daughters, returned home Monday, much improved in health.
King & Vincent are offering the Tom Wylie stock farm on Barton's Creek at a bargain.

August 25, 1898
Capt. Tom Wylie, the father of Wylieville, came down after the big rain Wednesday.  He is still rejoicing over the good work Commissioner Hamilton has done on the Gordon road.

October 6, 1898
A Stock Farm at a Bargain - We have for sale, cheap and on reasonable terms, in a body of in tracts of 60 to 160 acres, the Tom Wylie 1624 acre stock farm on Barton's Creek, 16 miles northwest from Stephenville and 10 miles from Thurber.  It is divided and fenced into six farms and pastures - rich valley and upland, fine grass, and plenty of timber and water. It can be divided into ten farms. We will sell in a body or to 6 to 10 farmers on the most reasonable terms, but must sell all at the same time. The village of Wylieville, with school, store, and post office, is on it, and it will become a railway town when the Stephenville and Thurber railroad is built. There is simply no better landed property in central Texas. Titles perfect, and no incumbrance. The only reason for selling is that the owner is too feeble to manage it. If you want a bargain, here is your chance. Call on or address King & Vincent, Stephenville, Texas.

January 12, 1899
Mrs. Tom Wylie is lying very ill at her home at Xray and her case is reported critical.

August 3, 1899
Col. Tom Wylie was in from his ranch at Wylieville this week and paid the Appeal a visit.

June 15, 1899
Bud Wylie, of X-Ray and nephew of Col. Tom Wylie, was in the city on business on Monday and paid for the Appeal with the remark: "It is the best local paper in Erath and I want the news." Mr. Wylie is one of those big-hearted, goodnatured, hardworking, sturdy farmers and stockmen in whom the whole of Texas delight, and shows his good judgement by taking the Appeal instead of paying $1 or $1.50 for some other paper containing less local news.  Try the Appeal at 50 cents per year.

July 20, 1899
Tom Wyly, of X Ray, was in town Tuesday. (note the spelling of Wylie)

March 30, 1899
Col. Tom Wylie, of X-Ray, was in the city yesterday and handed the Appeal some coin. The Col. is one of Erath's best and most substantial citizens and believes in progress and the upbuilding of Erath County.  He says the Appeal is the warm number and gives all the local news and he would not do without it.

August 24, 1899
That good Texan, Tom Wylie tells the Appeal that he expects soon to go to Coke County and engage in the cattle business. 


© 2012, copyright Diana Quinn

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sunday's Obituary: Honoring Mothers

My beautiful mother-in-law, Doris Quinn, passed away earlier this year. Below is her obituary and some of her wonderful photographs.

Doris Mary Quinn - 1979

Doris M. Quinn

NEWPORT NEWS - Doris Mary Quinn, 82, died Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012, at her home. 

Doris was the wife of the late Lt. Col. U.S. Army (Ret.) William Joseph Quinn Sr., and the daughter of the late Charles Staubach and Helen Driscoll Staubach. Born in New York City July 21, 1929, she graduated from St. Catherine of Genoa School and The Assisium and attended Hunter College, all in New York City. She was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary Post 368.

She is survived by her children, Terry Quinn and her husband, Joseph Chomas, of Newport News, William J. Quinn and his wife, Diana, of Virginia Beach, Deborah Witt and her husband, Alan, of Newport News, Maureen Parker and her husband, Joseph, of Richmond, and Brian Quinn of Newport News; and eight grandchildren.

The family would like to thank Riverside Adult Daycare and Riverside Hospice for their compassion and care throughout her illness. A celebration of life will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, at Peninsula Funeral Home officiated by Father Kenneth Wood. A reception will be held following the service at the home of Deborah and Alan Witt. Burial will be performed in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Doris Quinn's honor to the Alzheimer's Association, 6350 Center Drive #102, Norfolk, VA 23502.
Peninsula Funeral Home in charge of arrangements. 

Early 1930s

April 10, 1947




About 1992


© 2012, copyright Diana Quinn

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday's Photo: Honoring Mothers

In honor of the mothers in my family tree . . . . 

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Edith Giddens Davis, my grandmother

Myrtie Hairston Bryan, my grandmother

Harriet Albritton Bryan, my great-grandmother

Lodema Criswell Hairston, my great-grandmother
Bertha Davis Hawkins, my great-grandmother
1879 - 1965

Mary Lucy Glynn Giddens, my great-grandmother

Julia Harvey Glynn, with daughter Carrie, my great-great-grandmother
Died in 1919

Elizabeth Regan Bryan, my great-great-grandmother

Caroline Olive Davis, my great-great-grandmother
1847- after 1901

Mary Ann "Polly" Evans Criswell, my great-great-grandmother


© 2012, copyright Diana Quinn

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday News: Fire!

While looking for a clipping for today’s post, I came upon one that I found recently in the Baylor County Banner.  It was about a fire that burned down the barn at the home where my grandparents were renting.  As I read this, I thought of how fires were so prevalent during earlier years in American history and the many fires that affected the lives of our ancestors and possibly changed our family history. Below are only a few of the known fires in my family history. 

This is my father’s family in Seymour, Baylor County, Texas

Midnight Fire

The town was waked up good and plenty shortly after midnight Tuesday night by the fire alarm.  The trouble was found to be the barn of Mrs. S. B. Lowry’s place, in the southwest part.  The place was not in reach of the fire plug and besides was too far gone when discovered to make possible putting it out. Had the wind been from the south, the house would have gone also.
The place is occupied by R. E. Bryan and family.  Mr. Bryan had been burning trash that day, but thought he had put all the fire out. Not the least unfortunate part of the affair was that Mr. Bryans cow was burned to death.
                         April 5, 1917 The Baylor County Banner

My Great-Grandfather, Charles A. Giddens, owned a dry goods and shoe store that was destroyed in this fire. He was just starting out, having been  a milkman in NYC prior to coming to Crewe.  I wonder if he participated in the “general street fight.”

At Crewe, VA.

Crewe, Va., Oct. 11, A fire which came near destroying this town occurred yesterday.  Several stores with their contents were consumed and the loss is estimated at $65,000; insurance $10,000.  It was four hours before the flames could be got under control owing to a lack of water. The fire was followed by a general street fight.
          October 12, 1892 Boston Journal

This fire at the Quinn home was deliberately set. Read my November 2011 posts to read more about this fire.

Galway Man’s Plight
Stripped and Clothes Burned

A number of disguised men on Friday night, a Gort report says, visited the house of Mrs. B. Quinn, Cahiraroneen, Kinvara, where 9 young men were card-playing. These were taken outside, put against a wall, and ordered to take off their clothes. Two made their escape, and as they did so shots were fired. The clothes of the remainder were put in a heap and burned, and they, meantime, were compelled to lie on the road face downward.
The dwelling house, some corn, and a barn containing oats, potatoes, machinery, etc., were also set on fire. The young men were after told to clear off, and as they did so, more shots were fired. Mrs. Quinn says the raiders stated they were looking for murderers of police, but no murder of Crown forces had taken place in that district. Mr. P. Glynn of the same district, it is also alleged, was taken from his bed on Friday night and ill treated.
                      Irish Independent  Monday February 21, 1921 

I couldn’t find my great-great grandfather, John L. Hairston, in the 1870 census. Maybe this is the reason.

We learn from the Falls County Pioneer that the residence of J. L. Hairston, of that county, was consumed by fire on Saturday night, the 2d inst.
                 April 17, 1870 Galveston Tri Weekly News


© 2012, copyright Diana Quinn