James B. Arnold was born in South Carolina about 1810. By 1836 he had married Thursy. She was born in Alabama about 1814. James purchased land in Jackson County, Alabama. He moved to Texas soon after that. We know he was in Texas by 1837, but, it is not clear where he first settled in Texas. He is named on the 1846 Lavaca Co, Texas Tax Rolls. He is also listed on the 1850 Lavaca County, Texas Census.
James and Thursy had the following known children: Joel Green Berry Arnold, George P. Arnold, Catherine Ann Arnold, Julia S. Arnold, Thursa Adeline Arnold, James C. Arnold, William Thomas Arnold, Nancy Victoria Arnold, and Sarah Isabelle Arnold.
Thursy Arnold died about 1858 in Lavaca Co. The Court sent appraisers out to James’ ranch. According to their records he owned quite a lot of property. That included 200 acres on Rocky Creek. James and Thursy had purchased land in other counties, but, the locations are unknown at this time.
Now, after his wife, Thursy, passed away James B. Arnold traveled to Gonzales County. There on September 1, 1858 he placed five of his children in apprenticeship. Thursy Adeline, William Thomas and Sarah Isabelle were apprenticed to S. W. McMillan. Nancy Victoria and James C. were apprenticed to James Mahan. The children were supposed to stay until they were eighteen years old. The agreements did not workout. By the time the 1860 Census was recorded all of the children were living with different families in Gonzales County. I did not find Sarah Isabelle on the 1860 Census. She is found in 1870 at her brother’s ranch in Coryell County, Texas.
I have two other records concerning James B. Arnold. He enlisted in Captain Robert M. White’s Company, Company H. 6th Texas Cavalry, in August 1861. He was a Private on the line. The Confederate Indigent Families Lists of Texas transcribed by Linda Mearse names James Arnold on February 24, 1864 in Bell County, Texas. There are three dependents living with him.
The last record I have of James Arnold is from Lavaca County, Texas. It is stated that James Arnold died in the spring of 1866.
Known Children of James B. and Thursy Arnold
James B.1 Arnold1,2,3 was born about 1810 in South Carolina4,5,6, and died 1866 in Texas. He married Thursy7. She was born about 1814 in Alabama8,9, and died before 1860 in Lavaca Co., Texas10.
Children of James Arnold and Thursy are:
1. Joel Green Berry2 Arnold11, born about 1837 in Texas12; died after 1884 in Texas13. He married Sophronia Ann Cooper14 15 May 1859 in Brazos County, Texas15; born about 1838 in Tennessee16,17,18; died in Texas. Sophronia’s parents were Thomas and Eliza Cooper.
2. George P. Arnold19,20, born about. 1839 in Texas21,22; died after 06 Jul 1865. He married Narcissa L. Cooper23,24,25 06 May 1861 in Brazos County, Texas26; born May 1844 in Tennessee27,28,29,30; died 01 Mar 1915 in Hale County, Texas. Narcissa was Sophronia Cooper’s younger sister. After George died Narcissa married his brother, James C. Arnold. George P. Arnold enlisted in the Confederate army. He was with the 21 Texas Cavalry, 1 Texas Lancers, 1 Reg’t, Carter’s Brigade. He signed his Parole of Honor to the United States on 6 July 1865 at Millican, Brazos County, Texas. George and Narcissa had one child; George E. Arnold. He was born in Texas in 1865. It is said that George E. Arnold never married.
3. Catherine Ann Arnold31, born about 1842 in Texas31. In September 1858 Catherine petitioned the Court in Lavaca County, Texas for a different guardian. I do not know the outcome of the petition, but, on the 1860 census, Catherine is living in Jackson County, Alabama in the Isam Moore household. Catherine’s first cousin, J. P. Tate was her attorney.
4. Julia S. Arnold31, born about 1844 in Texas31.
5. Thursa "Adeline" Arnold32,33,34,35, born 05 Aug 1846 in Texas36,37,38. She married (1) James Adair 10 Dec. 1865 in Brazos County, Texas, born in Arkansas. James Adair and Adeline had one known child; Malinda E. Adair born about 1867 in Texas. She married W. L. Nelson on 2 Jan. 1881 in Lavaca County, Texas. Thursa Adeline married (2) Burrell T. Alewine39,40 04 Jul 1869 in Bell County, Texas41; born Sep 1831 in Newberry County, South Carolina42. He was the son of Elisha Alywine. Burrell and Adeline had the following children: Fannie, Jasper, Burrell, Henrietta, Josh, Hezekiah, and Ardenia. Burrell T. Alewine had a daughter from a previous marriage. Her name was Mary A. E. Alewine. She married James Miller Arnold. He was the son of Joel Green Berry Arnold, Adeline’s brother.
6. James C. Arnold43,44, born Aug 1849 in Lavaca County, Texas45,46,47,48. He married Narcissa L. Cooper49,50,51 14 Mar 1871 in Bell County, Texas52; born May 1844 in Tennessee53,54,55,56; died 01 Mar 1915 in Hale County, Texas. Narcissa’s parents were Thomas and Eliza Cooper. On the 1900 Hale County, Texas Census, Narcissa (also called Bettie) is named as being the mother of 13 children. At that time only five of her children were still living. The known children of James C. and Narcissa Arnold are; Eliza C. who married Samuel Blackshear, Hattie H. who married William Morgan Atchison, Henry L., James, and Travis . Narcissa and her son, Travis, are buried at the Plainview Cemetery, Hale County, Texas. Narcissa’s grave is unmarked. Travis does have a headstone.
7. William Thomas Arnold57, born 04 Aug 1850 in Lavaca County, Texas58,59,60; died 05 May 1927 in Eddy Co., New Mexico. He married Lorinda Branson Hogg 09 Dec 1911 in Eddy County, New Mexico. Lorinda was the daughter of Leonard Branson, Jr. and Elizabeth Brashear. Lorinda was the widow of James Hogg.
8. Nancy "Victoria" Arnold61,62,63, born 22 Jul 1852 in Lavaca Co., Texas64,65,66,67,68; died 12 Jan 1923 in Texas69. She married Thomas D. Nelson70,71,72,73 about 187174; born 09 Aug 1851 in Mississippi75,76,77,78,79; died 24 Aug 1934 in Texas79. Tom and Victoria had one son; George F. Nelson. He was born September 1871 in Lavaca Co., Texas. George Nelson was married to Holly Wharton. Thomas D. Nelson and Nancy Victoria Arnold Nelson are buried at the Hallettsville City Cemetery, Hallettsville, Texas.
9. Sarah Isabelle Arnold80, born 12 Sep 1854 in Lavaca Co., Texas80.
Joel Green Berry Arnold
Joel Green Berry Arnold was born in the Republic of Texas in 1837. His family and friends called him Green. I am sure he participated in the early cattle drives that Texas is so famous for. He was a cattle herder, or as we would call him today - a cowboy.
On May 15, 1859 Joel Arnold married Sophronia Ann Cooper, the daughter of Thomas and Eliza Cooper. She was born about 1838 in Tennessee. She was probably a widow. Sophronia's first marriage was to William A. Ellington on January 15, 1857. Both of these weddings took place at Boonville, Brazos County, Texas. G. B. Reed, Chief Justice of Brazos County, preformed both marriages.
The Civil War began soon after they were married. Joel enlisted in the Confederate Army May 14, 1862. He enrolled at Camp Terry, Gatesville, Texas. Joel was a Private in Co. D. 17th Texas Infantry. Joel stayed in the army for the duration of the war. He was wounded at the Battle of Milliken's Bend, Louisiana, June 7, 1863. Joel Green Berry Arnold’s military papers are included in his documents. Joel signed his Parole of Honor to the United States on July 1, 1865 at Millican, Brazos County, Texas.
After the war Joel and Sophronia homesteaded land near the Sugar Loaf Mountain on the Cow House Creek in Coryell County, Texas. Their neighbors were the Grahams, the Blackwells, and the Clements.
The Arnolds had the following known children: William Thomas, Horace A. (Hugh), Seaborne, died young; James Miller; Mary Elizabeth, never married; Joel Cooper; Blackwell, Nathan A., Ruth Virginia, Robert Lee, and Babe born in 1880.
The story is told that Joel and Sophronia moved to Athens, Henderson County. In fact, their property was said to be on Catfish Creek with the property being located in both Henderson and Anderson Counties. They died there within a few days of each other in 1891. Someday, we hope to find their final resting-place.
Known Children of Joel Green Berry and Sophronia Arnold
Joel Green Berry2 Arnold (James B.1)1 was born about 1837 in Texas2, and died after 1884 in Texas3. He married Sophronia Ann Cooper4 15 May 1859 in Brazos County, Texas5, daughter of Thomas Cooper and Eliza E. She was born about 1838 in Tennessee6,7,8, and died in Texas.
Children of Joel Arnold and Sophronia Cooper are:
1. William Thomas3 Arnold9, born 1859 in Brazos County, Texas9,10. This man was also called Tom. On the 1900 Census he is named in his sister Ruth’s home in Victoria, Texas. I have not found him anywhere else.
2. Horace A. Arnold11,12,12,13, born 12 Nov 1861 in Brazos County, Texas14,15,16,16,17,18; died 01 Nov 192719. He married Rhoda Edith Boling20,21,22 5 July 18942; in Hamilton County, Texas, born 03 Oct 1875 in Coryell Co., Texas24,25; died 13 Mar 195625. Rhoda was the daughter of Clayton T. and Delilah Boling. Horace was also called "Hugh". He and Rhoda are buried at the Pidcoke Cemetery in Mound, Coryell County, Texas. Their known children were Cyrus Monroe, Joel Green Berry, Luther Nelson, Clayton T. and Mary Etta.
3. James Miller Arnold26,27, born Jul 1864 in Brazos County, Texas28,29; died Aug 191930. He married Mary A. E. Alewine31,32,33 about 1888 in Texas34; born Mar 1865 in Texas34,35,36. He was also called Miller Arnold. Mary was the daughter of Burrell Alewine. She had been married previously to W. C. Singer. James and Mary, also called Molly, did not have any children of their own, but, they did adopt two children, Dorothy Lee and William.
4. Seaborne Arnold37, born about 1866 in Coryell County, Texas37; died after 1880 in Texas. Nothing else is known about him.
5. Mary Elizabeth Arnold37, born 04 Oct 1867 in Coryell County, Texas38,38; died 21 May 1906 in Victoria, Victoria County, Texas38. She worked as a cook at the McFadden Ranch. Mary Elizabeth is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Victoria County, Texas.
6. Joel Cooper Arnold39,40,41, born 22 Jul 1869 in Coryell County, Texas42; died 20 Dec 1932 in Wharton, Wharton County, Texas43. He married Josephine Elizabeth Brashears44,45,46,47 23 Apr 1889 in Comanche, Comanche County, Texas48; born 27 Sep 1865 in Parker County, Texas49,50,51; died about. 1916 in Goliad, Goliad County, Texas52. Their known children were Laura Ethel and Willie Irie. Josephine had two daughters from a previous, Elsa Ada Dawson and Viola M. Dawson.
7. Blackwell Arnold53,54, born Apr 1871 in Coryell County, Texas55; died about 1911 in Victoria, Victoria County, Texas. He married Harriet Ellen Sherman56,57,58 02 Jun 1892 in Coryell County, Texas59,60; born May 1872 in Texas61. Harriet was the daughter of Thomas Jefferson Sherman and Mary Martha Clementine Hicks. Blackwell and Harriet had the following known children: Mattie Edna, Wiley Campbell, Violet, Josie A., Floyd Thomas, Clifford James, Richard, Franklin, Harriet Ellen and Arby. After Blackwell passed away Harriet moved to Houston.
8. Nathan A. Arnold62,63, born 28 Dec 1872 in Coryell County, Texas64; died 01 Sep 1957 in Baytown, Harris County, Texas65. He married Amelia Annie Shoemaker66 about 1907; born Dec 1870 in Texas67 and died 7 Jan 1960 in Jackson County, Texas. She was the daughter of John and Louisa Shoemaker. Amelia had five children from a previous marriage to a Mr. Pryor. Nathan A., also known as, Nath, worked for Humble Oil Company as a security guard for years. He and Amelia had three known children, Chessie Viola, LaVicie Leona, and Thomas A. Nathan A. Arnold is buried in the Cedarcrest Cemetery, Cedar Bayou, Harris County, Texas.
9. Ruth Virginia Arnold68,69,70, born 01 Jul 1873 in Coryell County, Texas71; died 13 Nov 1934 in Gonzales, Gonzales Co., Texas72. She married (1) J. A. Vought 11 Feb 1892 in DeWitt County, Texas73. She married (2) George Miller, Jr. 29 Jul 1893 in DeWitt County, Texas74,75; born 17 Dec 1857 in Texas76; died 09 Jan 1925 in Gonzales County, Texas. George Miller, Jr. was the son of George and Lucinda Miller. George and Ruth Virginia had the following known children, George, John, Elizabeth, Andrew, Henry, James, Ruth, Daniel, and Mary. Ruth and George are buried at the Gonzales City Cemetery, Gonzales, Texas.
10. Robert Lee Arnold77,78,79, born 31 Oct 1876 in Coryell County, Texas80,81,82,83; died 3 Nov 1923 in Victoria, Victoria County, Texas84,85. He married Ida Hermania Ernst86,87,88,89 21 May 1903 in Victoria County, Texas90; born 26 Jun 1873 in Victoria, Victoria County, Texas91,92,93,93; died 23 Aug 1943 in Victoria, Victoria County, Texas94 She was the daughter of Frank Anton Ernst and Rosalie Gantz. Robert and Ida had two known children, James Midd, known as Mid, and Minnie Mae. Robert and Ida are buried at the Evergreen Cemetery, in Victoria, Texas.
11. Babe born in 1881. Several family members remember him. I have found him named in the Colorado Co, Texas Census records. Nothing else is known about him. Perhaps he was known as Babe and had another name he used on documents.
Joel Cooper Arnold
Joel Cooper Arnold was born in Coryell County, Texas on July 22, 1869. He was the son of Joel Green Berry Arnold and Sophronia Ann Cooper Arnold. Joel was called Joe C. for short.
On April 23, 1889 Joe married Josephine Elizabeth Brashears in Comanche County, Texas. Josie was born 27 September 1865 in Parker County, Texas. She was the daughter of John Wesley "Jack" Brashears and Amanda Jane Burch. Josephine was at one time called Elizabeth Josephine. She must have decided to reverse her given names.
Josephine had two small daughters from a previous marriage, Elsa Ada and Viola M. Dawson. Joe and Josie soon had two children of their own, Laura Ethel, who was born November 12, 1891 and Willie Irie who was born March 1, 1894. Laura and Willie were born in Coryell County, Texas. Josie had two children we just don’t know a lot about.
According to the 1910 census records Joel and Josephine were parents to a child born between 1900 and 1910. There is another child who was born and died before the 1900 census.
Joe joined the Texas Volunteer Guard, which was a forerunner to the present day Texas National Guard. He told many stories of his adventures with the Guard. In Doyle Finn’s book, Foot Prints and Wagon Tracks – 2nd Edition Oran Brashear, son of Columbus T. Brashear (Josie’s brother) gives the following account. Oran said his "Aunt Josephine and Uncle Joe Arnold spent several months with them at Bronte before she died. That was the only time he saw them. She had tuberculosis, and they thought the dry air of Bronte in Tom Greene County might help her. She didn’t seem to improve.
Oran said that Joe C. Arnold was a huge man with most of one hand missing. He had served in the Texas Rangers and never said how he lost his hand. He could do farm work as well as anyone, even with the crippled hand." Jesse Blackstone Billings related the following: "When Joe was a boy the family had gone to town and bought a new hatchet. The kids were playing with it. His hand was accidentally severed, leaving only the thumb."
In 1900 Joel and his family were living in Victoria County, Texas. He was working at the McFaddin Ranch. Three of his brothers were working there, too. They were Blackwell, James M. and Robert L. From Victoria County, Joe and his family moved to Wharton, County. He was farming and working on the railroad.
Josephine Elizabeth Brashears Arnold died around 1916. She is buried in Goliad, Texas, the exact date of her death and the cemetery she is buried in is unknown.
Joel Cooper Arnold died in Wharton, Texas on December 20, 1932. He is buried at the Wharton County Cemetery.
From all accounts Ada and Viola Dawson considered their step-father, Joe C. Arnold, their father. They are included here as his children. Their biological father’s name is unknown as this time.
Elsa Ada married William Hugh Ashford, November 20, 1897 in Eastland County, Texas. He was the son of George E. Ashford and Mary Jane Able. Ada and William had the following known children: George Ernest, William Jesse, Veda LouElla, and an unnamed infant. Elsa Ada died before 1928. She had passed away by the time her son, Ernest died in Houston on Jan 11, 1928. The date of her death and the place she is buried are both unknown. William Hugh (Willie) Ashford remarried. He lived in Houston, Texas. William H. Ashford died July 14, 1961 in Houston, Harris County, Texas. He is buried at the Forest Park Cemetery, in Houston, Texas.
Viola married first Amos T. Hogan, Aug. 2, 1905 in Victoria County, Texas. Viola and Amos had two daughters, Pearl and Nettie. Viola and Amos T. Hogan divorced. She then married George "Emmett" Ashford on December 2, 1912 in Wharton County, Texas. He was the son of George E. Ashford and Mary Jane Able. Viola and Emmett had two sons, Johnnie Clarence and Clyde Sylvester. On June 5, 1917 Emmett Ashford filled out his WWI Draft Registration card, on that date he stated that he had a wife and four children. Viola was still living on that date. Her date and place of death is unknown. Her burial place is also unknown. Emmett Ashford’s place and date of death is also unknown.
Laura married Benjamin Joseph Blackstone, May 14, 1906 in Freestone County, Texas. Laura and Benjamin had the following thirteen children: Jesse Dell, Albert Douglas, Joseph Franklin, Victor Carol, Lee Roy, Maggie May, David Howard, Ernest Edward, Alice Nellie, Josephine Elizabeth, Dorothy Louise, Robert E. and Jimmie Garner. Laura died April 17, 1970 in Grapeland, Texas. She and Ben are both buried at Woodlawn Garden of Memories Cemetery in Houston, Texas.
I have not found out a lot about Willie. He was in the Navy during WWI. Willie's military records show that he enlisted in the Navy on May 12, 1917 at Houston. He was discharged September 27, 1919 at Dallas, Texas. He was a Fireman 1st Class. Willie served aboard the Battleship USS Michigan and the Battleship USS Vermont. Willie was a confirmed bachelor and did not marry until late in life. He married Ollie Lee Ashford Caldwell. She was the daughter of George E. Ashford and Mary Jane Able.
Ollie was born Nov. 11, 1895 in Bastrop, Bastrop County, Texas. Willie and Ollie did not have any children. Willie died July 14, 1954 in Flour Bluff, Nueces County, Texas. He is buried in the old Flour Bluff Cemetery. It is located in Corpus Christi, now. Willie’s grave is unmarked. When I contacted the cemetery I was told there are about 20 unmarked graves there. The owners of the cemetery do not know which one of the unmarked graves is his. Ollie did not remarry. She passed away May 2, 1971 in Aransas Pass, San Patricio County, Texas. She is buried at the Prairie View Cemetery, Aransas Pass, Texas.
Known children of Joel Cooper Arnold and Josephine Brashears
1.Joel Cooper3 Arnold (Joel Green Berry2, James B.1)1,2,3 was born 22 Jul 1869 in Coryell County, Texas4, and died 20 Dec 1932 in Wharton, Wharton County, Texas5. He married Josephine Elizabeth Brashears6,7,8,9 23 Apr 1889 in Comanche, Comanche County, Texas10, daughter of John Brashears and Amanda Burch. She was born 27 Sep 1865 in Parker County, Texas11,12,13, and died about1916 in Goliad, Goliad County, Texas14.
Children of Joel Arnold and Josephine Brashears are:
1. Elsa Ada 11 Dawson15,16,17, born about 1883 in Texas18; died before Jan 1928 in Texas. She married William Hugh Ashford19,20 20 Nov 1897 in Eastland County, Texas21; born 15 Nov 1876 in Hunt County, Texas22,23; died 14 Jul 1961 in Houston, Harris County, Texas24. He was the son of George E. Ashford and Mary Jane Able. Ada and William Hugh Ashford had the following known children; George Ernest, William Jesse, Veda LouElla, and an unnamed infant. William Hugh Ashford is buried at Forest Park Cemetery in Houston, Harris County, Texas. It is not known where or when Ada died and her burial place is unknown.
2. Viola M. Dawson25, born Jan 1888 in Texas26; died after 05 Jun 1917 in Texas27,28. She married (1) Amos T. Hogan29,30 02 Aug 1905 in Victoria County, Texas31; born 18 Feb 1874 in Missouri32; died 22 May 194332. He was the son of Frank and Louisa Hogan. Amos T. Hogan is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Victoria, Victoria County, Texas. Viola and Amos had the following known children; Pearl and Nettie E. She married (2) George Emmett Ashford33,34 02 Dec 1912 in Wharton, Wharton Co., Texas; born 1891 in Hunt County, Texas34,35. He was the son of George E. Ashford and Mary Jane Able. Viola and Emmett had the following children; Johnnie Clarence and Clyde Sylvester. It is not known where or when Viola M. Dawson died and her burial place is unknown.
3. Laura Ethel4 Arnold15, born 12 Nov 1891 in Gatesville, Coryell Co., Texas16,17; died 17 Apr 1970 in Grapeland, Houston Co., Texas18. She married Benjamin Joseph Blackstone 14 May 1906 in Donie, Freestone Co., Texas; born 01 Nov 1874 in Fairview, Taney Co., Missouri; died 01 Nov 1945 in Houston, Harris Co., Texas19.
4. Willie Irie Arnold20,21, born 01 Mar 1894 in Texas22,23,24; died 14 Jul 1954 in Flour Bluff, Nueces Co., Texas25,26,27,28. He married Ollie Lee Ashford29,30,31 before 1954; born 11 Nov 1895 in Bastrop, Bastrop County, Texas32,33,34; died 02 May 1971 in Aransas Pass, San Patricio County, Texas35,36,37. She was the daughter of George E. Ashford and Mary Jane Able. They did not have any children. Willie is buried at Flour Bluff Cemetery in Corpus Christi, Texas. Ollie is buried at the Prairie View Cemetery in Aransas Pass, San Patricio County, Texas.
5. Unnamed Infant Arnold, born between. 1900 - 1910 in Texas; died in Texas.
Laura Ethel Arnold
Laura Ethel Arnold was born November 12, 1891 in Gatesville, Coryell County, Texas. She was the daughter of Joe C. and Josie Brashears Arnold. During her years as a young wife and mother, Laura was usually called by her middle name, Ethel. Her father Joe, would sometimes call her "Dutchman" as a pet name.
Laura’s sister Ada married in Eastland County, Texas in 1897. Although I do not have any proof, I think the Arnold family may have lived there awhile before moving to Victoria County, Texas. If they lived there or stopped for a visit, Laura Arnold knew her maternal relatives from that part of Texas.
By 1900 Laura was living in Victoria County, Texas. She was eight years old and going to school. Her father was working at the McFaddin Ranch. Her father, Joel C. was working there in the farming operations. There were so many people working at the ranch that it became a town. McFaddin is near the San Antonio River, two miles east of U. S. Highway 77 and 18 miles southwest of Victoria. Several other family members were working at the ranch, too.
Her Uncle Blackwell Arnold and his family lived next door to Laura’s family. Her Uncle James Miller (Jim) Arnold and his wife lived two doors down from her.
Her Uncle Robert worked for the man next door and her Aunt Mary Arnold worked as a cook at the ranch. I am sure they had good times and bad times. The Arnolds were a large, close knit family that time and distance eventually separated.
On May 14, 1906 Miss Laura Ethel Arnold became the bride of Benjamin Joseph Blackstone. They were united in marriage by the Reverend Tom T. Chester, a Baptist Minister. They were married at Donie, Freestone County, Texas. The couple had eloped.
"Ben" Blackstone worked as a contractor building up roads and laying track for the railroad company. Laura’s father, Joe C. worked for Ben Blackstone.
By the time the 1910 Census was taken Laura and Ben Blackstone were living in San Saba County. He was still working for the railroad as a road contractor. The census also named two small children, Jesse Dell and Albert Douglas. Jesse and Bert were both born in Victoria, Texas. By October of that year the Blackstones were living in El Campo, Texas. Their son, Joe, was born there. Vick was born in Natalia, Medina County, Texas.
In early May 1910 Halley’s Comet was as brilliant as the brightest star. It came as close to the earth as 14 million miles on May 20th. On the next day, the earth is believed to have passed through the comet’s tail. Grandmother always told me what an amazing sight the Comet was and how everyone watched it for days. Some folks thought the world was coming to an end. She was a witness to one of Halley’s Comet’s more spectacular passages. I can imagine the young couple with their two young children watching the skies each night. Watching Halley’s Comet over head. It would not return for 76 years.
Since so many children were coming along it was decided it was time to settle down and stay in one place. The Blackstones leased a farm outside of East Bernard. They were farming for a living. The farm was called the Peach Ranch Farm. Laura was a born farmer. She loved farming and she was more than ready to settle down.
On September 12, 1918 Benjamin Joseph Blackstone signed his WWI Draft Registration Card. The family’s address was Rt. #3, El Campo, Wharton County, Texas. The children born in Wharton County, including Joe, were; Lee Roy "Doc", Maggie May, David, Howard "Dude", Ernest, Alice N., and Josephine Elizabeth "Josie". Alice and Josie were born at home at the Peach Ranch Farm. All of Laura’s children were born at home. She had an attending physician at each one of their births.
On February 27, 1922 the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, providing for women’s suffrage, was declared constitutional by a unanimous decision of the Supreme Court. It was the custom for women who were voting for the first time to vote "In Memory" of a woman who would not be able to vote. Laura voted in memory of her mother, Josie Arnold. Laura always considered voting a duty that was not to be taken lightly. When I was a young child I would see my Grandmother, on election day, at Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary School. That was her poling place and she always voted.
While Laura and her family were living in Wharton County, her daughter, Jesse Dell, became the first one of her children to marry. Jesse married Willard Haynes Billings on August 20, 1924 in Columbus, Texas. In July of 1925 Laura became a grandmother with the birth of Jesse’s child, Ethel "Marie".
Times were very, very hard. In those days people who didn’t own their farms had a hard time making a living. Ben was talking to a man who was building roads out in West Texas. They needed help out there. He still had his equipment so he decided to go with the older boys. They would not have to hire anyone and they could make good money.
The family loaded up their belongings and moved to Andrews County, Texas. When they arrived they found out the job had been given to someone else.
Ben and Laura decided to stay in Andrews County. Their children Dorothy and Robert were born in the little town of Florey. Bob missed being on the 1930 census by a month.
Jesse was married and living in Houston. Vic was single and living in Andrews County, but, he had moved away from home. Jimmie was born in December of 1933. He was Laura’s last child. She had given birth to thirteen children. Each one extraordinary and gifted in their own special way. Maggie Blackstone Thomas has stated that what each of her brothers and sisters did was interesting enough to write a book about. I definitely agree with her. Sometimes the truth is better than fiction!
Even though times were hard Laura and Ben raised a fine family. There were a lot of changes in the years they lived in Andrews County. Bert married Bea Gray. Joe was killed in an accident at a rodeo in Florida. Vic and Doc were following the rodeo circuit.
Maggie married and moved out of state. Maggie had moved to Idaho. She kept writing and telling the family that they could do well in Idaho. So finally when they had enough money together the family loaded up and moved to Boise, Idaho. That is how the Blackstones wound up in Idaho. They lived there about three years.
When World War II started Benjamin and Laura wanted to go back to Texas. Once again they packed up their belongings. But, this time they were going home. The family moved to Houston. The war years were busy ones for Laura. She did what ever she could to help with the war effort. She got up every day and took the bus to the hospital to roll bandages for the wounded and injured troops. She had three sons and four son-in-laws in the military service.
On November 1, 1945 Benjamin Blackstone passed away at the Herman Hospital in Houston, Texas. He died from heart failure. Only a few years later Laura’s son, Lee Roy, also passed away. He was only 32. "Doc" had always had a weak heart and he had malaria while he was in the army. He just did not get any better, seeming to just get weaker and weaker.
Laura lived there at 5211 Inker with her sons, Bob and Jim. She was always very proud (with good reason) of all of her children. I was fortunate enough to live next door to her.
One night I was invited to go with her to attend a Boy Scout meeting. I was given strict instructions on how to behave when I got there. On that night she was awarded a Mother’s Rose. Her son, Bob, received the Order of the Arrow from the Boy Scouts. I have always remembered how proud she was of him. And how honored she felt to receive the rose.
In 1960 Laura moved to Crockett, Texas. She bought a little farm house. As long as her health would permit she lived there. She passed away April 17, 1970 at Grapeland, Texas. The world is a much better place because she was in it. Laura and Ben Blackstone are buried at Woodlawn Garden of Memories Cemetery, in Houston, Texas.
Laura Arnold Blackstone did not have a motto or a creed that I know of. But, when I saw the following I was deeply aware that this was the exact way she lived her life each and every day.
Do all the good you can By all the means you can In all the ways you can In all the places you can To all the people you can As long as ever you can John Wesley