Saturday, October 11, 2008

Millikin Street

This is me standing next to the sign for Millikin St. I was pretty excited to find it. This picture was taken in Lake Providence, Louisiana in East Carroll Parish in August 2008.

As with the last post, Chris Hansen sent me a tidbit of information about life back when, that relates to the Millikin and Cawthon families.

The following family lore was in a letter from a Griffin descendant of Baton Rouge, LA dated 3 Aug 1998:

Rachel Osbon married Mack Cleary when she was 15 years old. The marriage lasted approximately one year. She married William "Bill Griffin II in 1908 and they had 10 children. Rachel was Jeanette Griffin Hansen's grandmother.

She lived with the following families in the period between her two marriages: She first lived with her brother Clay Osbon for one year; then second, with the Chambliss family of Oak Grove for about one year; then third, in about 1906, with the Milliken family of Darnell for about one year, there were six boys and one girl in this family; and fourth with the Cawthon family on Unity Road for about two years. Her job was to take care of Mrs. Cawthon, who had suffered from serious memory loss. Mr. Cawthon was a farmer with no children.

Her responsibilities with each of the families was to keep house (cook, clean, wash, etc.). Her compensation or terms of the agreement with each family per year: two work dresses and two Sunday dresses, two pair of work shoes and one pair of Sunday shoes, plus room and board. No monetary compensation, although each family would on occasion give her small amounts of money, especially when they would occasionally taker her to town. The most generous were the Cawthons. There were no given names for the Milliken or Cawthon families stated in the letter.

Civilian Conservation Corp - Leo Williamson in the CCC

Chris Hansen sent me the following about CCC camps during the depression, and I'm finally getting around to putting it on my blog. Sorry it took so long Chris!

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Roosevelt Administration established the Civilian Conservation Corp aka CCC. The purpose was to aid poverty stricken depression families by employing their sons in reclamation and construction programs across the nation. The CCC was run by Reserved Army Officers and Non-commissioned Officers and was a Para-military organization and did give the US Army a supply of cadre for WWII. Over 3 million men participated in the CCC program from 1933-1942. Peak numbers came in August 1935 with 505,000 enrollees in 2,650 camps. There were similar programs for young daughters called the NYA, the National Youth Administration and another for adults called the WPA or Works Projects Administration. The NYA and the WPA kept members close to their homes. Unlike government programs of today, people worked very hard for their money in these programs.

Leo Williamson joined the CCCs in 1933 at 18 years old. He was sent to Camp Beauregard near Alexandria, Louisiana for training and there he was outfitted with two suits of denim uniforms, underwear, socks, and army boots. Then he was sent to a forest cleanup project north of Bastrop, Morehouse Parish, Louisiana. When they arrived at the cleanup site they had to pitch tents, build wooden floors for the tents, dig latrines and water wells. Drinking and bathing water were in short supply. Water was brought to the camp in Rail tank cars from Crossett, Arkansas until the wells were completed. The hard work did not bother Leo because he had worked hard since he was a small boy on the farm, but being covered with red-bugs and ticks did. He stayed there for one year and after a brief stay at home, re-enlisted for another year and was sent to Chatham, Jackson Parish, Louisiana. Everyone was paid $5 per month and $25 per month was sent home to their parents. Leo's mother, Lela McElrath Williamson and his five siblings were living on a subsistence farm in West Carroll Parish and $25 per month was adequate for staples like: flour, sugar, coffee, etc.

Leo Williamson worked as a heavy equipment operator mostly in South Texas where he lives today in 2008 at the age of 92. He lives in his own house on a ranch owned by his daughter and son-in-law. The above is from a taped interview in 1996.

One of Leo's younger brothers, Bert Williamson, also served in the CCCs in Truckee, California. After a short time he left Truckee and rode on freight trains back to Louisiana. He died in August of 1987 at the age of 66.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Louisiana Trip

I recently visited West Carroll Parish for the first time. It was wonderful visiting Bayou Macon Cemetery where many of my ancestors were buried. It was evening when I arrived, and it was a little eerie to hear all the bug noises and see bugs flying everywhere. I'm used to bugs, but not that many.
I visited Old Floyd and had a hard time imagining what it must have been like when it was the county seat. Only a few homes remain. I also visited both East Carroll and West Carroll courthouses. I could have stayed for days just looking through old records. But I didn't have time for that. Maybe next time, and there will be a next time, although I think I'll go at another time of the year when it's not so hot and humid.
I did find a record that said my great grandmother, Mary Cummins, was the 'issue' of James Cummins and his wife Mary rather than John Cummins and Joanna Robbins (Roberts), so I was happy about that. I still don't know the real story, but will believe this one until I find out differently. I've written about this before, so if anyone is interested, just read my previous blogs. I think it was Thanksgiving 2007 that I wrote about them.
I received a blog comment today about a cemetery in Millikin, Louisiana. I was just there, but didn't know there was a cemetery there! I hope I make contact with this person again. I would love to know if any of my ancestors are buried there.
Next time I write, I'll post some pictures from my trip.

Who are these people?

Sally Jo Gibson sent me this picture of the "Old Floyd" Courthouse, but didn't know who the people were. If anyone knows who they are, please let the rest of us know. Just post a reply.

Old Floyd Courthouse

Old Floyd Courthouse

Buildings in Old Floyd

Buildings in Old Floyd