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Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday's Photo: Feather Girl Revisited

Left - Laura Isabel Wylie (before 1910)
Right - Laura Isabel Wylie (about 1926)

Any little doubts about last Friday's identification of Feather Girl as Laura Isabel Wylie were dispelled when Jane sent me this 1926 photo of Laura.  
Thank you, Jane!


© 2014


Photograph of Laura Isabel Wylie (Feather Girl) from collection of Diana Bryan Quinn.

Photographs of Laura Isabel Wylie used with permission. From the collection of Jane F. Aebersold.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #8 William Hairston

In 1850, William Hairston, age 4, was listed on the Hinds County, Mississippi U.S. Census with his parents, John L. and Eliza Hairston. He would have been the older brother of my great-grandfather, Phillip A. Hairston, who was born in 1852. 
No Story Too Small

William was not with the family in 1860. Could he have been living with another family or just left off the census? Exhaustive searches of records, online and in print, gave no clues as to what may have happened to William. 

William must have died before 1860 was a notation in the margin of a 1992 letter from a Hairston researcher to my cousin, Jackie. A very plausible assumption as about 216 out of every 1000 white children died between the ages of 0 to 5 during that time. That the Hairston family was relatively poor and that Eliza was uneducated probably increased the risk of early death.  

I am going to assume that William Hairston died at an early age. However, that won't stop me from checking new online sources, courthouses, and libraries for any information about William. 

#8 William Hairston


© 2014


1850 U.S. census, population schedule, Hinds County, Mississippi, , family 714, J. Harston household; National Archives microfilm publication roll M432; digital image,, (accessed 16 Feb. 2014).

Alcorn, Maxine (Houston, Texas) to "Dear Jackie" [Jacquelyn Skinner]. Letter. 4 April 1992. Jacquelyn Skinner Genealogy Papers, 1965-2002 [Manuscript]. Denver Public Library, Denver, Colorado. 

Infant mortality. (2014, February 21). Wikipedia. Retrieved February 22, 2014, from

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday's Photo: Feather Girl

I've have had this picture, affectionately called Feather Girl, for about 15 years. Copies of her picture have been posted on several websites, my blog, and sent to countless Hairston, Criswell, and Bryan relatives with the hope of learning her identity. 

I took a copy of Feather Girl to the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree, in 2011, to show to Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective. Could this possibly be my grandmother? Maureen didn't think so, but did include Feather Girl in a webinar she produced for the members of the Southern California Genealogy Society. 

Despite being seen by hundreds of people, Feather Girl remained unnamed.  

Well, last month, I received a picture from my not so distant cousin, Jane, who asked, This is a pic of Laura Isabel Wylie . . . . . any chance Laura could be your "feather girl? Possibly, but it was hard to tell. HOWEVER, last week, Jane sent another picture of Laura Isabel Wylie wearing Feather Girl's dress and necklace. 

Laura Isabel Wylie was my father's first cousin. She was the daughter of Dorothy Elizabeth Harriett Bryan and Thomas Sumter Wylie. 

Laura was born in 1894. If she is a young teen, as the picture suggests, the Feather Girl photo was taken before 1910. 

These photos of Laura Isabel Wylie all point to her as my Feather Girl. 

Another photo identified! 


© 2014


Photograph of Laura Isabel Wylie (Feather Girl) from collection of Diana Bryan Quinn.

Photographs of Laura Isabel Wylie used with permission. From the collection of Jane F. Aebersold.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #7 Phillip A. Hairston

Phillip A. Hairston was born in Hinds County, Mississippi on May 17, 1852. 
He was the son of John L. Hairston. His mother has been named as Liza or Eliza. 

No Story Too Small

Phillip A. Hairston, my great-grandfather, was first found as an eight year old child on the 1860 census of Hinds County, Mississippi.  At the end of the Civil War, Phillip and his family moved to Falls County, Texas. It has been said that they stopped in Arkansas prior to coming to Texas. 

Phillip's obituary stated that he was in Falls County by age 14 - about 1866. In 1868, his father married Cynthia H. Moffitt on Sept. 21, 1868 in Falls County. His mother's fate is unknown. 

Phillip Hairston and most other members of the family cannot be found on the 1870 census; however, it was reported that the home of John L. Hairston was consumed by fire on April 2, 1870.

Phillip A. Hairston married Lodema Walker Criswell on January 3 in the early 1870s. Dates on several records conflict. The names and dates are so faded that they cannot be seen on the marriage certificate. A look at the marriage index might reveal the actual year

A baby boy was born to Phillip and Lodema on January 9, 1878 and
died later that month. He remained unnamed. This paper was found in the Bryan family Bible. 

In 1880, Phillip, Lodema, and extended family can be found in Falls County. Family living with or near Phillip included his father, his sisters - Mattie Chisum and Permelia Noah and their families,  a James or Jane Hairston, and Phillip's niece and nephew, John and Adeline Gilbert. 

Johnie Myrtlene "Myrtie" Hairston, daughter of Phillip and Lodema, was born on July 9, 1880. 

In September 1883, Phillip and Lodema sold 46 acres on Brushy Creek in Falls County. On December 1, 1883, Phillip and Lodema purchased 160 acres from Robert Thompson in Erath County, Texas. Robert was the brother of Phillip's soon to be brother-in-law, John Thompson. It is not known how Phillip and Lodema obtained the land sold in Falls County.  Many assume that Phillip's father, John L. Hairston, died and his land was sold by Phillip. There is no proof. Land records need to be looked at more closely in Falls County. Lodema's mother, Mary Ann Evans Criswell, died in 1883 and her father, William M. Criswell, in 1881; both in Falls County. I think that it is very likely that they received land and money from Lodema's mother. 

About 1890 - Phillip Hairston, Myrtie Hairston, and Lodema Hairston

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.  The Erath Appeal, Vol. 2, No.29, Stephenville, Texas, Feb. 8, 1900

Myrtie Hairston married Redic Eli Bryan on February 7, 1900 at the home of her parents in the Bethel Community.  She and Redic moved to Comanche County where Redic tended a bar belonging to his brother-in-law. Phillip and Lodema remained in their Bethel home and were found living there with Phillip's sister, Sarah Jane Hairston on the 1900 U.S. Census. 

On all census records found, P.A., or Phillip, is listed as a farmer. I was told that he raised sheep and sold horses. It has been said that Redic first met Myrtie when he purchased her favorite horse from her father. 

On November 11, 1905, it was reported in the Stephenville Tribune that Reddick {Redic} Bryan and P.A. Hairston, who recently disposed of their property in Erath County, are nicely located on a fine piece of property they paid $20 per acre. They bought all the corn on the farm at 25 cents. They have already taken possession of their new homes. The Tribune neglected to say that this fine property was in Baylor County, Texas. 

Baylor County Banner, November 29, 1912

In November 1916, Phillip's farm, in the Levelview community, was for sale at $45.00 per acre. 

In 1917, Phillip and Lodema moved into a new home in Seymour. The first night in their home, the doctor had to be called due to a severe pain in Phillip Hairston's side. 

Phillip's sisters, Permelia Noah and Martha "Mattie" Thompson both visited Baylor County in September 1917. I am sure that they knew it would be the last time that they would spend with their brother. Phillip is pictured above with his sister, Permelia. 

Phillip and Lodema went to Mineral Wells where it was determined that Phillip had cancer of the kidney.

Phillip Hairston died on November 9, 1917.  He is buried in an unmarked
grave in the Woodsman of the World Cemetery in Baylor County, Texas/
Click here to see his obituary. 

To help those of you  following my Hairston family in the posts 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, I will include this family tree each week, adding each new ancestor as I post. 


© 2014


Baylor County Banner [Seymour] 29 Nov. 1912: Microfilm.

Baylor County Banner [Seymour] 6 Sept. 1916: Microfilm.

Baylor County Banner [Seymour] 27 Sept. 1917: Microfilm.

Baylor County Banner [Seymour] 20 Sept. 1917: Microfilm.

Baylor County Banner [Seymour] 4 Oct. 1917: Microfilm.

Baylor County Banner [Seymour] 15 Nov. 1917: Microfilm.

Deed of Sale from P. A. Hairston and L. W. Hairston to Robert L. Jeeks, 5 Sept. 1883. (filed 11 Jan. 1889), Falls County, Texas, Deed Book Z, page 506. County Clerks's Office, Marlin, Texas.

Deed of Sale from R. W. Thompson and S. E. Thompson to P. A. Hairston and L. W. Hairston, 1 Dec. 1883. (filed 17 Dec. 1883), Erath County, Texas, Deed Book P, page 605. County Clerks's Office, Stephenville, Texas.

Family photographs and documents from the collection of Diana Bryan Quinn.

Hairston, P.A. and Criswell, L. W., Falls County Marriages, no 267, County Clerk's Office, Marlin, Texas.

Houston, John L. and Moffitt, Cynthia, Falls County Marriages, County Clerk's Office, Marlin, Texas.

Stephenville Tribune [Stephenville] 11 Nov. 1905: Microfilm

"Texas Items." Galveston Tri-Weekly News.  13 Apr. 1870, 97 ed.: 1.

The Erath Appeal [Stephenville] Vol. 2, No.29, Stephenville, Texas, Feb. 8, 1900: Print

Year: 1860; Census Place: Hinds, Mississippi; Roll: M653_582; Page: 674; Image: 206; Family History Library Film: 803582.

Year: 1880; Census Place: Falls, Texas; Roll: 1302; Family History Film: 1255302; 
Page: 190B; Enumeration District: 038.

Year: 1900; Census Place: Justice Precinct 1, Erath, Texas; Roll: 1631; Page: 36A; Enumeration District: 0064; FHL microfilm: 1241631.

Year: 1900; Census Place: De Leon, Comanche, Texas; Roll: 1623; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0034; FHL microfilm: 1241623.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Up until the age of nine or ten, my mother put all cards that my brother and I received into scrapbooks. We each had our own "cardbook" and when we were sick and confined to bed, Mom let us read our cardbooks. These are a few of the Valentines found in my book. 

Thank you, Mom!


© 2014

Sunday, February 9, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #6 Hairston Albritton Bryan

I have taken Amy Crow's challenge to write about  52 ancestors in 52 weeks. Each of these posts will be about my father's Hairston family. This is week #6 and I have learned new facts about each person while putting together these posts. I love this challenge as not only does this give me an outlet for my research, but helps it me organize as well. 

For those of you who saw my earlier post today (I mistakenly clicked on "Publish" when this was far from ready to be posted.), I hope that you find this a big improvement. And if anyone using Blogger knows how to repair that situation, I would be happy to have some instructions. 

Hairston Albritton "Buster" Bryan was my father's older brother. Hairston was his mother's maiden name and Albritton was the maiden name of his father's mother. This is Buster's story.

Hairston Albritton "Buster" Bryan was born to Redic and Myrtie Hairston Bryan on January 24, 1906 in Baylor County, Texas.  He was probably born in the Levelview community as both his parents and mother's parents lived in that community. Buster was the third child and the first son born to Redic and Myrtie. 

Buster is the child on the bike, between his grandfather, Phillip Hairston and sister, DeRay Bryan. This is a copy of a photo shared with me by a Thompson/Hairston cousin. I have the identical picture but it is torn on the right and Buster is not visible. Floyd Thompson, nephew of Phillip Hairston, is behind the plowing team. 

Buster lived in Baylor County for almost all of his childhood. In June of 1907, the Bryan family moved to Big Spring in Howard County, Texas. Redic sold a farm of 140 acres in the Levelview community, known as the Cap Carter Place, to J. C. Arden for $33.00 an acre. Before he left, he also sold farm tools, four mules, two milch cows, hogs, chickens, turkeys, and guineas. It can be assumed that he did not purchase a farm in Big Spring. 

By November of 1909, the Bryan family returned to Baylor County and it was reported in the Baylor County Banner that they were looking for a home in Levelview near Buster's grandparents, Phillip and Lodema Criswell Hairston. The home pictured above is the Hairston home in the Levelview community. 

By the time that Buster entered high school, the family lived in Seymour, Baylor County, Texas. These are Buster's school pictures. The first was taken in 1919 and the second in 1920. 

The following was written under this picture of Buster in the 1923 Jackrabbit, his school yearbook:  If someone quietly slips up behind you and pinches you with the expression as innocent as a babe's - that's Buster. Doesn't study enough to mar what is called a "joy forever," but manages to get by with margin. Has a monthly attack of good intentions wherein he seeks to be worthy of our "glorious" nation. We don't know how he got by the Math. Prof., but we're glad that he did.

Buster sang in the glee club and played football at Seymour High. The 1923 Jackrabbit Class Poem states this about Buster - There are many things about Buster that one might say. One is that he is growing taller every day; On different tasks he never gives in, For he has the determination to win. 

Buster's graduation announcement - Seymour High School. Thank you to Carla's family for keeping this for so many years!

In 1924 and 1925, Buster was attending Simmons College where he belonged to the Philosophy Club and the Seymour Club. 

Juanita still had my
oak side-by-side when
I visited her in 2001.
Buster's mother passed away in 1927 and his father in 1929. Buster was the administrator of his father's estate. At that time of his father's death, he was living in Wichita Falls, Texas, working at  Kemp-Kort Drug Company. My 2nd cousin once removed, Juanita Thompson Gleghorn, wrote the following about Buster.

In 1929 our youngest sister was burned, and died in three weeks. It was a very sad time for us, so we were renting the farm at that time. Our landlord built a new house on the south side of her place and let us move there, the first new house we ever lived in. Buster would drive out once in a while to get some lye soap to wash his beautiful, black curly hair in. He said it kept the dandruff down.  He was a handsome young man . . . . .   As well as I remember, your grandmother and Redic had passed on. So Buster knew we were in a new house and he and Dad made some kind of trade I guess for Buster brought out some furniture to us, for we didn’t have anything pretty for our new house. 

Yesterday, I found Buster and Wanda's marriage record at
H. Buster Bryan and Wanda Land were married January 1, 1935 in Ector County, Texas.  Sometime that year, they moved to Lea, New Mexico along with Wanda's son Randall Dorman

In 1940, Buster was living with Wanda, his wife, and her 19 year old son, Randall Dorman in Seminole, Gaines County, Texas.  Buster had been working as a driller's helper in the oil fields in Seminole for two years, Wanda did not work, and Randall worked as an attendant at the "gasoline service station." 

Buster died on September 15, 1940 of Tetanus following multiple penetrating wounds suffered after an oil well blew on August 31, 1940. He was struct by gravel causing the wounds. 

Buster's grave is unmarked. Although both of his parents, grandparents, and baby brothers were said to be buried together, only his mother has a marked grave.  

Buster and his brother, Whit.
Many facts found in the obituary are incorrect. Buster was born on January 24, 1906 not December 21 - that was his brother's birthday.  Buster graduated from Seymour High school in 1923, not 1924. 

Buster did not have a step-daughter, but did have a step-son. His sister, Willie Mae (aka Willa Mae), was married to Jimmy Dudley, not Armstrong. 

As stated in the obituary, my father, Whit, was not told about the death right away. It's unknown as to when he learned of his brother's death. 


© 2014

Sources Texas, Select County Marriage Index, 1837-1977 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Texas, County Marriage Index, 1837-1977. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013. Texas, Death Certificates, 1903–1982 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.
Original data: Texas Department of State Health Services. Texas Death Certificates, 1903–1982. iArchives, Orem, Utah.

Family photographs and documents from the collection of Diana Bryan Quinn.

"Levelview." Baylor County Banner [Seymour] 13 Apr. 1907: Microfilm.

"Levelview." Baylor County Banner [Seymour] 19 Nov. 1909: Microfilm.

Seymour High School.  "1919 Yearbook". The Jackrabbit.

Seymour High School.  "1920 Yearbook". The Jackrabbit. 

Seymour High School.  "1921 Yearbook". The Jackrabbit.

Simmons College. The Bronco, Yearbook of Simmons College, 1924. Abilene, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed February 9, 2014.

Simmons College. The Bronco, Yearbook of Simmons College, 1925. Abilene, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed February 9, 2014.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday's Photo: Is this a Quinn?

I love her clothes, jewelry and hair. Can anyone date this picture? 

I received this scan of a photograph from a descendant of Mary Ann Quinn Meaney, daughter of William Quinn and Bridget Brannally of Kinvara, Galway, Ireland. It is suspected that this is a daughter or granddaughter of William and Bridget. 

The couple had four daughters 

  • Mary Anne Quinn (born 1888) married  Lawrence Dominic Meaney who lived in Louisville, KY. 
  • Margaret Mary "Peggy" Quinn (born 1892) married Edward Quinn Dawson and lived in New York. 
  • Celia Agnes Quinn (born 1898) married Richard J. Houlihan and lived in NYC. 
  • Bridget “Delia” Quinn (born 1901) married Joseph Stanton. Bridget remained in Ireland.  
And two sons 

  • Peter Quinn (born 1896) remained in Ireland and never married. 
  • William Joseph Quinn (born 1894) and married  Susanna Murray. They lived in NYC. 

Was this Delia Quinn who remained in Ireland or the daughter of Margaret Mary Quinn? Or, a cousin or family friend? We may never know; however, I have identified many photos by putting them on-line. Someone may have the same photograph. And, their's may have a name on the back. 


© 2014

Sunday, February 2, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #5 Willa Mae Bryan Dudley

No Story Too Small

I don't have as many photographs of Dad's sister, Willa Mae Bryan Dudley, as I did of his other sisters. However, she did seem to make it in the newspaper more often than her other siblings.  Here is her story. 

Willa Mae was the fourth child of Myrtie Hairston and Redic E. Bryan. She was born on April 16, 1910 in the Levelview community of Baylor County, Texas.

Willa Mae Bryan wasn't always "Willa Mae." Her parents named her Willie May.
I have seen her name written as Willie May, Willie Mae, and Willa Mae. 

Willa Mae's family lived in Levelview and Seymour in Baylor County, Texas for most of her childhood. 

There is no date on this clipping as it was found in the Bryan family bible. This speaking contest could be be a church or school contest. Willa Mae earned first place. I have seen Willa Mae speaking or reading at various events in newspaper articles. She is the only young child in several of the events. In March of 1922, the Parents and Teachers Club of Seymour opened with the "singing of America which was followed by a prayer by Supt. J. F. Kemp and a reading by Willie May Bryan." From the Wichita Daily Times in 1923, at a Texas Day Program in Seymour (at the home of Mrs. J. T. Lively), "Little Miss Willie May Bryan dressed attractively in red, white, and blue bunting, gave a reading of "The Lone Star State."  In May of 1950, the Phillip's Garden Club sponsored a fashion show and Willa Mae Dudley gave the commentary for the show. This was found in the Amarillo Daily News, May 16, 1950. 

I assume that Willa Mae attended Seymour High School, but according to the class rolls, she did not graduate from that school. Her mother was very ill and died in the spring of 1927, the year that she turned 17. In the fall of 1927, Willa Mae was living in Borger with her sister, DeRay. Could she have gone to school in Borger?

Willa Mae was very talented. I was told that she wrote well and that she sang in
church  and school programs and at weddings. She was a talented seamstress and I am fairly certain that she made most of the beautifully crocheted Barbie clothes that I received as Christmas gifts. 

In 1930, Willa Mae was on a train wreck while on the way to visit her brother, Hairston "Buster" Bryan in Wichita Falls. She was 21 years old and still went by the name Willie May. It was written that she was a teacher in Borger; however, I think that at that time she actually worked at a drug store in BorgerTo see what Willa Mae said in a brief interview click on the link to my clipping at  I clipped the entire page so you will need to enlarge it to read it. 

Willa Mae married, and later divorced, James Hamilton Dudley, also of Borger. They had one daughter, Jacqueline "Jackie" DeRay Dudley. I do not know where Willa Mae was married, but Jackie was born in San Diego on July 22, 1932.  Photo of Jimmy Dudley with Jackie. 

Willa Mae with her daughter, Jackie, and my father,
Whit Bryan in Borger, Texas - 1943. 

Willa Mae worked in Borger department stores. Those that I know of were 
Dunlap's, Cartwright's, Anthony's, and KC store.

Willa Mae and Jackie - December 28, 1956. Jackie married John "Jack" Skinner and eventually moved to Denver, Colorado where she lived until her death in 2003.  

Willa Mae Bryan Dudley died on May 25, 1991 in Borger, Texas. She is buried with her sisters, DeRay and Marie in Westlawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Borger. 


© 2014


Family photographs and documents from the collection of Diana Bryan Quinn.

"Garden Club Has Spring Luncheon." Amarillo Daily News [Amarillo] 16 May 1950. Web. Accessed 10 Aug. 2013.

"Levelview." Baylor County Banner [Seymour] 22 Apr. 1910: Microfilm.

"Parent and Teachers Club" Wichita Daily Times [Wichita Falls] 5 Mar. 1922. Web. Accessed 1 Feb. 2014. 

Salt pork to sirloin: the history of Baylor County from 1878 to present. Wichita Falls, Tex.: Nortex Press, 1977. Print.

"Sidelights on Sunday's Disastrous Wreck Near Oklaunion Show Freaks of Fortune That Seem Impossible."The Vernon Daily Record [Vernon] 4 Aug. 1930. Web. Accessed 2 Feb. 2014.

Stanley, Edith Guynes . "Find A Grave - Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials." Find A Grave - Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials.  Web. 17 Jan. 2014.

"Texas Day Program." Wichita Daily News [Wichita Falls] 30 Apr. 1923. Web. Accessed 1 Feb. 2014.