Saturday, April 5, 2014

52 Ancestors #13: Roxie Jane Lindsey Houston

Roxie Jane Lindsey Houston,
date unknown
Continuing on from last week's post, this week I am blogging about an incident in my great great grandmother Roxie's life. Roxie Jane Lindsey was  born on 27 Aug 1854 (incidentally, a day before my own birthday in August) in Rockford, Coosa Co., AL to James Monroe Lindsey & Mary Sarah Ann Little. She was the second of nine children & their first daughter. When her father went off to fight in the War between the States, it was her job as a youngster to ring a bell & warn others in the area that "the Yankees are coming".

Her father returned from the war & life continued on. She met & married a neighbor boy named John Young Houston (Jr.) on 15 Mar 1877 in AL. They had nine children themselves: Will, Della, James, Walton, Minnie, Luther (aka "Duke"), Viola (aka "Ola"), Sam & Charles (or "Charley"). John & Roxie moved their family from AL to Milam County, Texas in the early 1880's. They spent the remainder of their lives there. Her first comment on seeing the blackland prairies of Texas was to exclaim over a grove of nearby trees "Oh look at that orchard!"

Roxie was a very sensitive & emotionally high strung personality, but she was just like every other woman of her time. She cooked, she cleaned, she fed & raised her children & did laundry, but an incident in the fall of 1918 most likely tested her resolve. The fall of 1918 brought the Great Influenza Epidemic & many people lost loved ones during that time. Roxie lost four of hers in a matter of a couple of weeks. The first to succumb was her husband John. He had underlying health issues & had been complaining that he was not feeling well. It was believed that he was coming down with the flu. He went out to cut some fire wood near the house, but did not return as soon as Roxie expected him to. She went out to look for him & found him lying dead on the ground. She screamed & her son Will, who lived nearby with his family, heard her & came running. She fainted & her grandson Elmer dipped his hat into a puddle to revive her. Roxie was so distraught that she was unable to attend his funeral & burial at North Elm Cemetery.

It was raining as the family came home from John's funeral. The only children still living at home were Charley & Ola. Charley was sick with flu like symptoms, so Ola sent him on into the house & out of the rain to go to bed. Roxie recorded the last hours of Charley's life. The neighbors came in & a mockingbird sang outside in a mournful call that stayed with her for the rest of her life. Charley died on 9 Nov 1918 & was laid to rest in the Houston family plot at North Elm Cemetery.

Della Houston Crook was the next of Roxie's family to die. Her daughter Della lived in Little River & was married to Halcomb Bascom Crook. They also had nine children & the entire family came down with the flu when the epidemic hit. Della died on 11 Nov 1918 of the flu & attendant pneumonia caused by it, devastating her husband & children who were all still very ill themselves. She was laid to rest at Little River Cemetery in Milam County, Texas. Her death & leaving behind several small children was very hard for Roxie to bear.

Her grandson Elmer was the last to succumb. Elmer was the son of Will & Ida McKinney Houston. Will & Ida had four children of their own (Bertha, Ola, Beatrice & Elmer), plus they adopted two boys (Thomas Franklin & James Allen Reynolds) whose parents (James William Reynolds & Anna Pearl Turnbow) had died. (Jim & Anna had six children who were split up & taken in by Will & Ida McKinney Houston & Sam & Mary Price Houston when Jim & Anna died. Their children were Beatrice, Thomas, James, Mary Fay, Edna Mae & Douglas). He died on 15 Nov 1918 & was buried at North Elm.

Anyone can only imagine how all these events, one on top of another, affected Roxie. Roxie lived twelve more years in Milam County, Texas before being diagnosed with colon cancer. She died on 24 Sept 1930 in Buckholtz & was laid to rest beside John at North Elm. I close this week with a photo of Roxie & her grand-
children at a Houston family reunion. The date & place of the photo is unknown but, from the hairstyles & fashions & the fact that she died in 1930, would have to have been taken sometime during the 1920's. My great aunt Asalee Houston Ulicnik Thompson said she was twelve years old when her grandmother died. Since her maternal grandmother Caroline Valentine Bourland Green died in 1948 when she would have been close to 25 years old, I am assuming that she meant Roxie, her paternal grandmother; however, in comparing the dates, she would have been only seven years old at the time Roxie died. Asalee is the little girl seated in the front row looking off to her left in the photo & she looks to be about seven or so, so maybe this photo was taken just before Roxie's death. Although I cannot prove it, I believe the girl seated next to her with her hands in her lap is my paternal grandmother Beulah Mae Houston Kaufman. She was five years older than Asalee & would have been twelve when Roxie died. I can't ask her now since Asalee is no longer living, but perhaps she meant that my grandmother was twelve when their grandmother died. I don't know the identities of the rest of the people are in the photo, but assume they are the rest of Roxie's grandchildren. Roxie is shown holding the hand of one of her young grandsons. All in all, a great photo! I only wish I had identifying markers & knew who everyone was in the photo.

Houston Family Reunion, date & place unknown
Roxie with her grandchildren.

"Alabama, Marriages, 1816-1957," index, FamilySearch( : accessed 29 Mar 2014), John Y. Houston and R. G. Lindsey, 15 Mar 1877; citing reference ; FHL microfilm 1571845.
"Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976," index and images, FamilySearch( : accessed 29 Mar 2014), J L Houston, 28 Oct 1918; citing certificate number 43862, State Registrar Office, Austin; FHL microfilm 2073349.
"Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 06 Apr 2014), Della Crook, 11 Nov 1918; citing certificate number 51861, State Registrar Office, Austin; FHL microfilm 2073413.
"Texas, Deaths and Burials, 1903-1973," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 06 Apr 2014), Chas H Houston, 10 Nov 1918; citing Buckholts, reference 2939; FHL microfilm 1481545.
"Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 06 Apr 2014), Elmer Powel Houstain, 15 Nov 1918; citing certificate number 51868, State Registrar Office, Austin; FHL microfilm 2073413.

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