Saturday, February 15, 2014

52 Ancestors #6 Beulah Mae Houston Russell Quinteros Russell Hancock Johnson Kaufman

Beulah Mae Houston Kaufman, 1966
Wow, what a mouth-
ful! My paternal grandmother married at least five & poss-
ibly six times in her sixty-seven years on this earth. I wrote a little bit about her & her sister Faye a few weeks ago:

Beulah Mae Houston was born on 26 Sept 1918 in Buckholtz, Milam Co., TX, USA to Luther Henderson
"Duke" Houston & Della Green. She was the fifth of nine children & their first daughter. She eloped at the age of 17 with a neighbor boy Lambeath/Lambeth "Lamb" Russell on 25 Jan 1936 in Bell Co., Texas. The story I heard from my great aunt Asalee "Baby" Houston Thompson about this event in my grandmother's life was that no one in the family knew anything about it until later that evening when they saw a big truck full of furniture pass by. When Duke & Della inquired of neighbors what all the commotion was about, they learned their eldest daughter Beulah had gone out & gotten herself hitched without a word to anyone. I'm not sure what kind of relationship Lamb & Beulah had other than somewhat turbulent. I theorize a lot of it may have been due to
her inability to conceive a child based on what I know of her medical history &
Beulah Mae Houston Kaufman
with grandchildren
  Juli & Eddie Quinteros
in Sept 1973
a story my father used to tell about how Lamb had taken him to a bar as an infant complain-
ing to anyone who would listen that Dad should have been his child. How Lamb came to have Dad with him is unknown, but in our present day & time, Lamb would have probably been picked up on kidnapping charges. Lamb & Beulah Mae were together for eight years before their divorce was finalized on or about 25 Oct 1944. Just two weeks later, Beulah would be remarried to another man.

My father is the product of the union between Rafael "Ralph" Quinteros & Beulah Mae Houston. He was their only child & his birth was a very hard one. He was delivered by emergency C-section after hours of intense labor. She was very ill with meningitis afterwards & was told by her doctor not to ever become pregnant again because if she did, she would do just as well to dig her own grave. Beulah had originally intended for Dad's middle name to be Kenneth after her baby brother, but my paternal grandfather named their first son after himself & a close friend named Ray. I don't know where or when they met, but my father used to say his dad told him that "for some reason, she (Beulah) just liked him" (his father also used to claim that "all them Houston girls was crazy"). Since both were from neighboring Milam & Bell Counties & San Angelo is located in West Texas, perhaps they met at some point during my grandfather's time with the Santa Fe railroad. I knew where they were supposed to have been married because it was listed on the back of my father's birth certificate, but I only recently found a copy of their marriage record in the Tom Green Co., Texas marriage records. Coincidentally, they were married in San Angelo on my grandfather's 22nd birthday
(18 Nov 1944). 

Marriage record of Ralph Quinteros & Beulah Mae Houston Russell
Their marriage was not any more peaceful than Lamb's & Beulah Mae's had been & they divorced after only a few years together when my father was between 1-3 years old. I feel that their main problem was that they came from two very different cultures: she was white & of Scotch Irish descent & he was the first of a Mexican immigrant family to be born in "los Estados Unidos". My grandmother made a valiant effort, once even consider-
ing converting to Catholocism & moving to Detroit, MI so that my dad would have a relationship with his father. I don't know where or when they divorced, but they cont-
inued to have a somewhat ongoing relationship until my grandmother obviously decided once & for all that they just couldn't live together. Both would later remarry other people.

Beulah Mae moved back to Texas from Detroit, MI in the fall of 1952. Ralph remarried in June 1953 to Pauline Silva & had two more sons (Arthur & Larry) & a daughter (Lydia). Beulah is supposed to have married Robert Russell, brother of her first husband Lamb, at some point briefly, but I have never found record of it. She did marry B. Hancock at her mother Della Green Houston Schostag's place in Glidden, Colorado Co., Texas on 19 Sept 1954, but had the marriage annulled only a week later. Dad remembers this event in his mother's life & recalls that Mr Hancock had been one way when they were "dating", but changed once they were married, expecting her to behave a certain way & wait on him hand & foot (although she usually preferred younger men, he was considerably older than she was). It was a case of "been there & done that" & she was not going to put up with that kind of mentality again. Beulah moved around alot during this time period, but was a hard worker. Over the years, she waited tables, cleaned, made beds, ran a bar (The Silver Dollar in Temple which she later renamed The Retreat) & worked in an ice cream factory. She was thrifty & saved up enough money to be able to buy a brand new home of her own in 1962 in Academy, Texas when her son was almost sixteen (she had owned two homes prior to this, but neither one was new). 

Beulah married Charles Garland Johnson at Immanuel Lutheran Church on 18 Apr 1957 in Temple, Bell Co., Texas. He was stationed at the Ft Hood Army Base in Killeen & was often gone much of the time. They were married for seven years before they divorced in about 1964. A year later, she was married by proxy a final time to Fred Ralph Kaufman, son of Delward & Winifred Fabin/Fagan Kaufman, on 15 Jul 1965 in Temple, Bell Co., Texas. Fred was stationed at the time as part of a peace keeping unit in Korea. He returned home for good the following year after 17 years of service in the US Army (most of Grandma's spouses were military men). Fred worked for a foam company in Temple for many years while Beulah kept house. He retired about 1981. They then sold their home on Creasey Drive in Temple to the Charles Harrell family who lived across the street & bought a small farm in Soper, just outside of Hugo, Choctaw Co., OK. 

Charles & Beulah Houston Johnson
Fred & Beulah Houston Kaufman
Grandma & I were very close when I was growing up. We spent every major school holiday at Grandma & Grandpa's, plus my younger brother & I each got one month of our own out of the summer school break to spend with them. Grandma was a great cook & housekeeper & there was very little in the way of food that she did not do well (her worst dishes were liver, salmon croquets & meatloaf). Eating at her table, especially during holidays, was like eating at a log rolling because the table would be so full that there was barely room on the table for your plate, glass, napkin & silverware. Always, when we left, she sent a stuffed-to-the-gills igloo cooler of leftovers that would feed our family for a week (usually, she even slipped Dad some gas money too). She was the kind of housekeeper who would stay up all night just making sure everything was done up & put away properly. When I stayed with her, it was one of my chores to do the dusting, set the table for meals & help make sure the house was "presentable" for company as she called it.

Sadly, my grandmother was a heavy smoker (you never saw her without one until the last two years of her life). Twice a year, she would travel to McAlester, OK for her spring & fall check ups at the Veteran's Hospital there. It was quite a long trip & I can remember being wakened at the crack of dawn on days when I was staying with them & she had a doctor's appointment. Afterwards, we would stop at the Commissary & buy food to take home & cases & cases of cartons of cigarettes since she could get them the cheapest there. Her doing such a thing has been one of the memories that has always stuck out with me the most since I came from parents who were non-smokers. She was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in the fall of 1985 when I was sixteen & as I sat with her during the final months of her life, one of the things she told me was that if she had her life to live over, she never would have accepted that first cigarette from a friend who had encouraged her to try one (she had tried to quit & failed many times before). Fortunately, although I experimented with them when I was young & rebellious, I never picked up the habit & I am glad for it. Beulah Mae Houston Russell Quinteros Russell Hancock Johnson
Kaufman passed away at home in Soper, OK during the early morning hours of 15 Jan 1986. She was laid to rest at Mt Olivet Cemetery in Hugo, Choctaw Co., OK. In later years, her sister Asalee, brother-in-law Clyde Thompson & her husband Fred would join her there. Grandma has been gone 28 years now, but I miss her still.

Bell Co., Texas Marriages: Lamb Russell & Bula Mae Houston, Vol 31, pg 224
Divorce Proceedings found in Abilene Reporter in the 6 Sept 1944 & 25 Oct 1944 (pg 15) editions of the newspaper.
San Angelo, Tom Green Co., Marriages: Mr Ralph Quinteros & Miss Beulah Mae Russell, cert #231. Source:
Milam Co., Texas Marriages: B. Hancock & Beulah Mae Houston, cert #10518, v 25, p 44
Bell Co., Texas Marriages: Charles G Johnson & Beulah M Houston, Vol 42, pg 529
Bell Co., Texas Marriages: Fred Ralph Kaufman & Beulah M Johnson

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