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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

From the Files of Marguerite Cook Clark: Belle Hanley Cameron (AKA Belle Latta)

I thought this was going to be a quick and easy post but as I was enlarging the photo, I realized Belle was also the unidentified girl in the Biggs family photo I posted in October.  It has been said Belle was the adopted or foster daughter of Hollon Span Bryan and her husband, James "Lon" Alonzo Latta (See Terrell Bryan's obituary at this link).  She was pictured with the family of Hollon's sister, Terrell "Bunch" Biggs, in the photo below. 

I searched through my notes and the more I found, the more I wanted to know. I now needed the whole story before I could finish this post. 

I suspect the larger photo was taken at the time she married in 1897. She looks a little younger in the smaller photo. The smaller photo was taken about 1891. 

The photo of Belle, found in Marguerite Cook Clark's collection, was sent to Bryan family in Bienville Parish, Louisiana from Erath County, Texas. Who sent the photo? Hollon Latta? Or, maybe Hollen's parents, Terrell or Harriet Albritton Bryan?

"Belle Latta" was written on
the back of the photo found
in Marguerite's collection. 
Elizabeth Belle Hanely, child of William Jenkins Hanely and Mary Ann Hughs, was born on March 31, 1877, in Erath County, Texas. Belle had five known siblings; John F. Hanley, Martha Alice Hanley Stevens, William R. Hanley, James H. Hanley, and Mary "May" Azlee Hanley Arendell.  

After the death of Belle's parents in the early 1880s, she lived with the Latta family while her younger sister, May, lived with a Toliver family. Both remained in Erath County. I am not sure about the rest of the family. John F. and Martha were old enough to be on their own. William and James were young enough to need guardians. A search of the Erath County probate records might tell more. 

November 2, 1899 -The Stephenville Empire
James H. Hanley was about 11-years-old when
his father died in 1884.  

I do know that James H. Hanley was a farmer living in Shackelford County, Texas in 1930. He is buried in the Albany Cemetery in Shackelford.  

William R. Hanley was a coal miner and lived in Bokoshe, Le Flore County, Oklahoma. He kept in touch with Belle as I found a newspaper article indicating that he had stayed at the home of the Cameron family. Click here to see the article.  

John F. Hanley, a stockman, was said to have been killed in a fight and died on May 19, 1902. Belle's older sister, Martha Alice Hanley was said to have married Bruce Stevens and moved first to Arkansas and later to Boulder, Colorado. 

Belle's youngest sister, Mary "May" Azlee Hanley Arendell died on February 15, 1922.

The Stephenville Empire - Sept. 3, 1897
On August 31, 1897, Belle used the name Belle Hanley Latta when she married John Cameron.  John was a grocer at the time; however, local newspapers show that he had a number of businesses. He was a farmer, sometimes a truck farmer, he was an agent for an oil company, owned his own delivery company, and became an agent with Wells Fargo express delivery. 

There were three children in the Cameron family; Robert S., Marie, and John D.

John and Belle spent much time giving back to their community. John was an officer with the volunteer fire department. Both were very involved in the 
Independent Order of Odd Fellows and in their church. The photos of the Rebekah Lodge Drill teams below can be found in the Stephenville Historical House Museum. Thank you to Cindy Shipman for sending the photos. 

John died in 1928 and Belle died in 1949. They are buried in the West End Cemetery, Stephenville, Erath County, Texas. To see a copy of Belle's very detailed obituary click on this link

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© 2020


Biggs family photograph from the collection of  Sue Pierce and Pat Waas. Accessed January 2006.

Family photographs and documents from the collection of Marguerite Cook Clark. Accessed April 28, 2014, September 14, 2014, and November 9 to 11, 2016. Used with permission.

Harris, Rachael. Harris Family Tree. Accessed 31 Mar. 2020.

"Moments in Time, A Genealogy Blog: Friday's Photo: The Biggs Family + One in Erath County, Texas." Momentsintimeagenealogyblog Accessed 30 Mar. 2020.

Moore, Eugene. The Stephenville Empire. (Stephenville, Tex.), Vol. 26, No. 4, Ed. 1 Friday, September 3, 1897, newspaper, September 3, 1897; Stephenville, Texas. ( accessed March 31, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Stephenville Public Library.

Moore, Eugene. The Stephenville Empire. (Stephenville, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 14, Ed. 1 Thursday, November 2, 1899, newspaper, November 2, 1899; Stephenville, Texas. ( accessed March 31, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Stephenville Public Library.

Obituary for May Hanley Arendell  from the collection of Rachael Harris. Accessed March 2020. Used with permission. 

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