My Grandfather Gus

The death of my great-grandfather John Anderson Roberts in 1901 would deprive my grandfather Gus of ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­the guidance of a father, the nurture of a mother and the knowledge of a heritage.  The seeds of disaster were in the ground.  Our family needed a crop failure!

Gus Roberts as a child in about 1905 or 1906The sudden and violent death of three-year-old Gus Roberts’ father would prevent him from working beside his father in the field, riding with him in the wagon, hunting with him in the woods and sitting with him at the table.  He would miss the stories of his father’s youth in Williamson County, Tennessee and his family’s migration to Calloway County, Kentucky.  He would never know of the Roberts of Virginia or be able to claim their heritage his heritage.  The later decision of a jury to convict his mother of murder for her part in his father’s death would deprive Gus of the comfort and encouragement of a mother, the steady hand of someone who believes in you.  What would happen to this little boy “orphaned” by the death of his father and the conviction of his mother?

Gus Roberts was born on a hot summer’s day in August 1898.  It was the 24th to be precise.[i]  His place of birth is described as rural Brookston in Lamar County, Texas.  If you left Brookston going north on the Garrett’s Bluff Road, as soon as you crossed the Tigertown Road you would see the Roberts’ house on your left.  This is where my grandfather came into the world.  I wonder who assisted with his birth?  Was it his sixty-eight-year-old grandmother Mary Laningham?  She’s described by neighbors as “feeble” and “weak-minded” three years after his birth.[ii]  Was she able to aid in the birth?  Did his forty-five-year-old half-sister Cornelia Lassiter help in his birth? She would have been more than ten years older than her step-mother Mary Roberts.  This entire situation couldn’t have been easy for the Lassiter family.  Nor would it be easy for Gus.  His arrival was not going to make it easy for anyone.  I suspect Gus’s birth was attended by an old-fashioned country doctor.  Perhaps one day we’ll have a good guess at his identity.

I knew none of this information while my grandfather was alive.  He never spoke of it with me.  I’m not sure how much he even knew about the events surrounding his birth or his father’s death.  Whatever he knew, according to my father, he never passed it on to his oldest son.  My dad was also deprived of the knowledge of his heritage.  His “sense of place” was never settled.  According to him, his relationship with my granddad was not good.  He eventually “ran away” at sixteen, lied about his age and joined the Army.

Burton Lee Roberts
Burton Lee Roberts

I can hear the plea of a “little boy” in Dad’s letter home from Europe dated March 3, 1944.  Sgt. Burton L. Roberts served before in North Africa and remains attached to the 26th General Hospital in the European theater during World War II.  He writes home after being gone for most of nine years.  He’s seen the results of war up close and personal and would rarely speak of it in the years to come with his curious and probing son.  In March 1944 the allied forces are gearing up for the invasion of Normandy.  D-Day is coming.  Dad’s hospital unit is serving as a clearing station moving wounded Air Force personnel through and on to medical care stateside.  He writes his family in early March.

“Dear Mother & All.  Hope this will find you all well & happy.  I am getting along fine so I don’t want you worrying about me.  I have not received a letter from Gus yet but hope to soon…”[iii]

He left home of bad terms, but that was nine years earlier.  How long has he waited for his dad Gus Roberts to write?  When did he last receive a letter from my grandfather?  Is there any significance in his use of grandfather’s given name instead of father, dad or daddy?

When I was boy my dad received a partial disability payment from the Veterans’ Administration each month.  Dad chose to have that check sent to his parents’ address in Fort Worth, Texas.  This was probably due to his transient nature prior to and soon after my birth.  We had six addresses by my fifth year in school.  Having his Veterans’ check sent to Gus and Emma’s address ensured its uninterrupted arrival.  He made a trip each month to his father’s house to retrieve the check.  I wonder if there was always a little boy looking for his father in those visits.  Longing for what every child wants, the love and approval of a father.

Letter of Consent signed by Mary Roberts in Septmeber of 1901
Letter of Consent signed by Mary Roberts in Septmeber of 1901

What could Gus Roberts know about being a father?  A month after his 3rd birthday, the day his father died and his mother was arrested, he was handed off to neighbor J.E. Bunch’s aunt.[iv]  Within days he became a ward of

Letter signed by Mary Roberts revoking her consent to J.W. Killman's guardianship of Gus Roberts
Letter signed by Mary Roberts revoking her consent to J.W. Killman’s guardianship of Gus Roberts

the Court in Lamar County, Texas. (Probably September 23rd, the same day J.B. Lassiter became the temporary administrator of his father’s estate.[v]J.A. Roberts died without a will in force.  Three-year-old Gus Roberts now had an estate.  Within six days of his father’s death, on September 27, 1901, a man named J.W. Killman filed for legal guardianship of Gus.   In his filing he presented a letter signed by Mary Roberts consenting to this guardianship.[vi]  Killman remains a mystery man to me.  I don’t know where he came from or where he went.  For just over two months in the fall of 1901 he fought a legal battle against the Lassiters and Wallis W. Roberts to become the court appointed guardian of my grandfather Gus Roberts.  Mary Roberts, awaiting trial for the murder of her husband, sells two tracts of land for $250 to W.W. Roberts and J.B. Lassiter on October 16, 1901.[vii]  Wallis Roberts provided the court a letter signed by Mary withdrawing her consent to have Killman serve as Gus’s guardian on the 3rd of December.[viii]  As administrator of John Anderson Roberts’ estate J.B. Lassiter was required to sell certain shared assets and settle all outstanding debts owed by my great-grandfather.[ix]  Two days after he provided the report of this sale to the court, J.W. Killman “removed from the field of battle” and withdrew his application for guardianship.[x]  It was December 3, 1901.  Wallis William Roberts, my grandfather’s half-brother, became his court appointed guardianGus would soon leave Lamar County and never live there again.  He’s sent to the Masonic Home for Children 160 miles away in Fort Worth, Texas where he’ll spend the rest of his childhood.

John Anderson Roberts’ lodge membership provided the opportunity for the Lassiters and Wallis Roberts to move my grandfather Gus out of the county.  It also provided Gus an opportunity.  I can’t say rather or not he was well-treated at the Masonic Home.  He never spoke of it with me.   I do believe he had a warm bed, plenty of clothes and was well fed.  He received a quality education for his day.  What he did not have was a father and mother.  He never would again.

What was it like for a 3 1/2-year-old child to travel by train to a faraway and very different place?  What would it be like to leave his small world, the one farmhouse and farmyard he knew, for a place full of strange faces?  Was his first night long?  Was his first day fun?  I don’t know.  He never spoke of it.  I doubt he remembered much – but, I won’t say it didn’t affect him.

1905 or 1906 Ft. Worth Masonic Home Children (2)

Emma, BG, Grace and Gus
Emma, BG, Grace and Gus

Gus met Emma at the Masonic Home for Children ca. 1905.  They were both seven that year.  They spent the next seventy-two years together.  They seldom separated.  Only births, wars and Emma’s death in 1977 kept them apart – Oh yeah, and once a week when Emma went to the hairdresser.  It was a triumph over tragedy.  Great grace was abounding!

Emma Lee Ingram was born 506 miles southwest of Lamar County in Carrizo Springs, Texas.  It was twenty-six days after Gus’ birth in Lamar County.  Her father J.C.W. Ingram, to be honest, was not a very common man.  He’s one of the more interesting characters in our family’s wonderful tapestry.  (That’s a series of stories for another day.)  J.C.W., like Gus’ father John, married a second much younger wife after the death of his first.  Her name was Sarah Alice Nichols Chandler.  People called her “Sallie”.  She was a widow and thirty-two years J.C.W.’s junior when they married in Kerr County, Texas in 1890.  I don’t know too many people living who can rightfully claim two great-grandfathers born respectively in 1829 (Ingram) and 1830 (Roberts)!  On my mother’s side, my great-grandfather Byrd wasn’t born until 1847.  What a “Johnny-come-lately” he was!

John Charles Wesley Ingram rode the Oregon Trail and entered the gold fields of northern California.  He was a miner, constable, sheriff, rancher, merchant, minister, postmaster and druggist among other things.[xi]  But it was his Masonic Lodge membership and his death that brought his daughter Emma and my grandfather Gus together for the rest of their lives.  Ingram would die in October of 1902.  Emma had turned four a few days earlier.  She was deprived of a father for the rest of her life.  Sallie Ingram saw this as an opportunity to give her girls something she never enjoyed, a proper education.  In about 1905 she put her daughters Grace, BG, and Emma on a train bound for Fort Worth, Texas and the “boarding school” of the Masonic Home for Children.  Emma would complete her education there while coming home to Kerr County for summer breaks and Christmas.  I wonder what Gus did on Christmases past?

Gus did not lack for anything material.  His father’s Masonic membership provided the things previously mentioned and his father’s estate provided him an allowance.  His half-brother and court appointed guardian Wallis William Roberts died in April 1906.[xii]  In July Gus’ brother-in-law J. B. Lassiter becomes the guardian of his estate.[xiii]   J.B. Lassiter dies January 3, 1910.[xiv]   His son J.T. Lassiter, Gus’ nephew, applies for and becomes the guardian of my grandfather’s estate.[xv] In 1913, when Gus is fifteen, his half-sister Cornelia Lassiter sued him in order to have the court establish his and her percent of ownership in six tracts of land located in Lamar County.  Wallis Roberts had previously signed over his interest to his sister before his death in ’06.  Gus is represented at trial by attorneys hired out of his estate under the guardianship of Cornelia’s son J.T. Lassiter.   On September 1, 1913 the court determines Cornelia owns four of the six tracts of land outright and Gus only owns 1/3 of two tracts of land.[xvi]   Having read the papers, I see no problem with the decision of the court.

Gus appears in the 1910 Federal Census as a resident of the Masonic Home in Forest Hill, Precinct 13, Tarrant County, Texas.[xvii]  To my knowledge the two other Roberts enumerated on this page are not related to Gus.  The form says Gus Roberts is an eleven-year-old white male born in Texas.  We know in two months he’ll have his 12th birthday.  Was it celebrated?

Gus Lee Roberts 1916
Gus Lee Roberts 1916

On the 5th of February 1918 a district court judge appointed attorney E.A. Eubank as a special guardian representing Gus Roberts in a petition for removal of disabilities of minority.[xviii]  On the 6th of February J.T. Lassiter files his annual guardian report to the County Court of Lamar.[xix]  Apparently Gus wanted the right to act on his own behalf and conduct his own business as an adult.  He wanted the funds remaining in his guardian estate account to be turned over to him.  Based on the District Court papers filed with the County Court on February 8, 1918 Gus was previously denied this by County Court Judge Tom L. Beauchamp.  Gus appeals to the District Court.  The District Judge gives County Judge Beauchamp ten days to file his reasoning for denying Gus’ petition.  The District Court never hears from the Judge and rules on the petition.  Gus Roberts becomes a legal adult on February 8, 1918.  He is nineteen years old.  J.T. Lassiter provides the Court a final accounting of Gus Roberts, a minor’s estate, on May 31, 1918 and is released from his obligations as a guardian.[xx]  Gus sells interests in Lamar County lands to Cornelia Lassiter for $1200.



Emma Lee Ingram ca 1917
Emma Lee Ingram ca 1917

Gus Roberts and Emma Lee Ingram married on May 7, 1918 in Kerr County, Texas.  They were issued license # 1214 on that date and it was filed the same day.[xxi] Two children raised without a father would become parents in just over nine months.  Twelve days before Gus’ 20th birthday he registers for the WWI draft.  He and Emma lived at 2118 Nebraska St. in San Antonio.  Gus worked for Otis Elevator located at 612 Market St.  He is described on his registration card as a male of medium height and build with blue eyes and light hair.  He’s not missing any of his body parts.  All seems to be in working order.[xxii]

Gus Roberts ca 1918
Gus Roberts ca 1918

The photo we have of our grandfather in a World War I uniform indicates he enlisted or was drafted at some point.  We’ve yet to locate the documentation.  One of the emblems may indicate he joined and served as an electrician in the Army.  If he did, it would have been during this period.  The “war to end all wars” will end in November 1918.

My dad becomes the first addition in Gus and Emma’s family life.  He arrives in Ingram, Texas at 4:00 pm on February 24, 1919.[xxiii]  That’s 86 miles northwest of San Antonio but no doubt the very center of Emma’s mother Sallie Ingram’s world.  The little hamlet of Ingram was named after her husband and Emma’s father J.C.W. Ingram.  Many thousands of tourists go to and through this part of the Hill Country every year.  It was a very quiet place in 1919.  Dad’s original birth certificate doesn’t record his given name.  It just says, “———- Roberts”.  What would Gus and Emma name their firstborn?  Nothing?  I suspect the delay in naming my dad had to do with Gus’ absence.  Was he working in San Antonio?  Was he involved in the war effort?  I don’t know for certain but I believe he was in the Army.  My dad was eventually named Burton Lee Roberts after B.G. Ingram’s husband Burton Chessman plus Grandmother’s middle name Lee.   He did not officially have this name on his birth certificate until it was amended it in 1977.  Dad was fifty-eight.[xxiv]

Gus and Emma move their small family to Brownwood, Texas.   By January 1920 they’re living with Emma’s sister Grace and brother-in-law Edward Mohn on Booker Street.  Edward works as a machinist (mechanic) in an auto shop and Gus is a machinist helper in probably the same auto shop.[xxv]  The Roberts’ second child Emma Elizabeth is born later in the year on August 21.[xxvi]   According to her birth certificate her parents reside in San Antonio.  Her mother once again travels to Ingram, Texas to deliver her baby.  She’s born at 8:30 pm attended by Dr. W. B. Mackey of Hunt, Texas.

By 1924 Gus uses what he’s learned working for Otis Elevator in San Antonio and is working for the Burrus Mill & Elevator Company in Fort Worth.  They operate one of the largest grain elevators in the nation.  They’re the home of Light Crust Dough and by 1931 the Light Crust Doughboys.  Bob Wills of later Texas Playboys’ fame is part of the band.  He was hired by the mill manager and future Governor of Texas “Pappy” O’Daniel.  The manager requires band members to work regular jobs at the mill and provides a studio on site for them to rehearse, record and broadcast.  The mill was located on the far north end of Main Street.   The Roberts lived on Ave J.  You could to speak to them on the telephone if you rang 3962.[xxvii]

Bob Wills 2nd from left. "Pappy" O'Daniel far right. Photo shared on Facebook by Pat Kelly
Bob Wills 2nd from left. “Pappy” O’Daniel far right. Photo shared on Facebook by Pat Kelly

Howard Gus Roberts, Emma and Gus’ third child, becomes their first child born in a hospital.  He arrives at the City County Hospital in downtown Fort Worth at 3:30 pm on January 30, 1926.[xxviii] (I’ll be born in a newer version of this hospital, John Peter Smith Hospital, twenty-nine years later.) In 1926 Gus and family live and work at the White Lake Dairy east of town.  One of my dad’s fondest childhood memories took place living on the dairy at White Lake.  The owners of the dairy had one of the first radios in the State.  Radio was really early when my dad was six or seven.  He used to rush after dinner up to the “big house” and sit outside the open window on warm nights and listen to big band music, the Grand Old Opry, Amos ‘n’ Andy, Mystery House, and other programs that fired a child’s imagination.  He learned to appreciate a variety of music for the remainder of his life and had a great baritone voice which I will envy the remainder of my life.

Howard Gus Roberts would later become a “Junior”.  I point this out for other Roberts researchers.  Unlike his father Gus who never had a middle name, Howard Gus Roberts was not named Gus Roberts Jr. by his parents.  The given name on his birth certificate is “Howard” with “Gus” as a middle name.  I’m not sure when his named changed but it appears as Gus H. in the 1940 census and Gus Howard Roberts Jr in his Navy records during World War II.  His use of the name stuck and it appears on his death certificate and the marker ordered for him by his wife.  He dies as Gus Howard Roberts Jr. in 1962.[xxix]  He will be the only child Gus and Emma have to bury.

According to Fort Worth city directories, Granddad and his family are living at the Trinity Portland Cement Plant in 1927 and ’28.  Gus works as an “oiler” at the plant.[xxx]   You may reach him by phone by calling the plant.  He’s scrambling year-after-year to provide for his little family.  The Great Depression descends on the nation by 1930.  The Roberts are living at 3115 Houston Street near the Stockyards in Fort Worth.  Gus has gone to work at the Meat Packing plant and is grateful to have the work.  My dad spoke of this time as very difficult for most families.  It certainly was for his.  One bit of good news, Gus knows his father and mother’s birthplace by the 1930 census.[xxxi]  I wonder if this was after a trip my dad once took with his father.  He told Mom that he and Granddad went to see Gus’ mother.  He didn’t remember where she lived but he can remember riding in an old Model A Ford and traveling over terrible roads to get there.  If this is that trip, great-grandmother Mary would have been nearly sixty-five.  It would be the only time my dad ever saw his grandmother.  It may have been the only time Gus saw his mother after she was sent to prison.

Gus and Emma live with their three children at 3115 Ellis Ave. west of downtown Fort Worth in 1931.[xxxii]

The Roberts are at 918 South Adams in Fort Worth by 1935.  Their son Burton runs off to join the Army.  But unlike the story Dad told me, he’s back home by the 1940 census and has his feet under his dad’s table once again.  He’s working as a gas station attendant.  Sometime between then and 1940 Gus begins the work he’ll do the rest of his life.  Gus Roberts “becomes” a carpenter.   Dad on the other hand will soon be back at Fort Sill, Oklahoma “abusing” new recruits on their way through basic training, followed by six weeks of his own medical training as part of the 26th General Hospital.[xxxiii]

Gus and Emma Roberts ca 1942
Gus and Emma Roberts ca 1942

While Dad was awaiting orders in Oklahoma for his unit to begin their journey to England, his father Gus did the craziest thing.  He enlisted in the Navy!  He was forty-four years old and required to register for what became known as the “old man’s draft”.  It appears he just went ahead and signed up for the Navy August 9, 1942.  My brother David believes he may have gone in as a reserve and worked as a Seabee in construction at the Dallas Naval Air Station.  This sounds right to me and matches with all of the dates we have.  He would serve until the 4th of May 1943.[xxxiv]

The month after he finished his service, his son Howard Gus Roberts (or Gus Howard if you’re looking for the most records) joins the war effort as a seventeen-year-old in June of 1943.  Like his father he enlists in the Navy where he’ll serve until December 1945.  On the day he enlists, he has no idea his older brother Burton is in Algeria, North Africa.[xxxv]

Ralph Grady Roberts almost arrived in time to be put under the Christmas tree in 1943.  Born on the 26th, Uncle Grady was a “surprise”.  It had been seventeen years since the birth of their last child.  Granddad and Emma were both forty-five years old.  They would be in their sixties by the time Grady was eighteen.  It would not be easy on any of them.  Mom told me she felt sorry for Grady because he always had too many “bosses” telling him what to do.  His life would be a struggle.

Nanny and Papoo

4033 Littlejohn Ave. Fort Worth, Texas
4033 Littlejohn Ave. Fort Worth, Texas

We called Emma and Gus “Nanny” and “Papoo”.  By 1949 they made their home at 4033 Littlejohn Ave.  It was in east Fort Worth south of Rosedale St. off Miller Ave.[xxxvi] This will be their last “port of call” until their health forces them to their final temporary dwellings.  The housing boom is on in post-war Texas.  Papoo is a more experienced carpenter and will never lack for work again until his retirement.  The home on Littlejohn is the only home my brother, sister and I knew for Nanny and Papoo.  My older brother David would make many of the monthly trips.  I went there several times but can only remember staying over a couple of times.  I slept on a foldout couch in the living room.  Nanny made a “mean” breakfast with fresh eggs.  I enjoyed their place.  It was a narrow but deep lot with a small house.  It only had two bedrooms but it had a cool attic with killer stairs.  I loved the old pickup Papoo drove and the wooden framed stand-alone garage with big wooden doors in which he put it. Granddad had his shop behind the house and Nanny had chickens and a garden.   Most of the yard was very shaded and in some ways mysterious to a little boy.  I wish I had spent more time there.


 Our memories may help us or haunt us.  We have the capacity to unknowingly manipulate them to protect ourselves.  Our memories may manipulate us.  We may choose to forget.  Two people having the same experience can remember it in very different ways.  Why?  There is a myriad of reasons.  If we’re attentive, we may be able to better interpret our memories as we age.  I hope I’m attentive.

When I learned about the death of my great-grandfather, the conviction of my great-grandmother and the subsequent years Papoo spent in an orphanage, it helped me interpret the stories Dad remembered and repeated about his parents AND the memories I had of him.  This knowledge softens the harsh memories and sweetens the bitter.  I can assure you the affection and fondness I have for them all grows with the years.

My dad referred to his dad as “a mean, bitter S.O.B”.  It was not said with affection.  He described being beaten with a razor strap and disciplined in other harsh ways.  I believe Nanny, like my mother later, would try to step in to lessen the severity of the discipline.  But it became so severe in his mind that my Dad had to leave home.  Nanny would help facilitate his “escape” to the Army.  His sister Elizabeth (We called her Aunt Diddy.) once described her father to me as a “mean old S.O.B.”.  It was not repeated with affection.  “In the mouth of two or three witnesses let it be established”.[xxxvii]  She spoke of her mother as a harsh taskmaster.  She left home as soon as she could, went to California, married and divorced before meeting a remarkable man named Ralph Franklin Reed.  I think my aunt probably intended to have no children, perhaps out of fear, but they did have one, a wonderful daughter named Emma.

I never saw my Papoo in the way my father and aunt did.  His hugs are still some of the best I’ve ever received.  He used to amaze me by taking his false teeth out and laugh at my reaction.  I don’t remember seeing him outside without a cap or a hat.  They hung on a rack just inside the front door.  When we were leaving after a visit he would step out on the little porch to wave goodbye, but not before he reached up and put his cap on as he was going out the door.  Papoo was not much of a talker.  He didn’t play games.  I’m not sure he was really comfortable with children.

I once spent an excruciating amount of time in a beauty parlor.  It was Nanny’s regular weekly appointment.  Sunday was coming.  Mount Calvary Baptist would see her in her finest.  I hated it – the sights, the sounds, the smells.  It was awful to this little boy.  As I’ve aged, I’ve asked myself, what did Papoo have to do that a little boy couldn’t tag along?  My answer?  I don’t think either one of them were comfortable dealing with small children.  My guess is Papoo said, “I’ll drop you and the boy off at the shop and pick you up later.”  End of discussion.

Gus and Emma Roberts' 50thNanny was not a hugger.  She seemed distant and aloof to me.  Time is helping me interpret this memory.  I don’t think she was emotionally well. Whatever physical problems she had were compounded by the late arrival of a child and the subsequent later arrival of a teenager.   I think she was coping the best she knew how.  Some days were better than others.  As she weakened physically, she also began to lose her mental acuteness.  In 1968 Nanny and Papoo celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  It was a wonderful accomplishment.  She would die before they reached their 60th.  She slipped quietly into God’s eternity on October 31, 1977.  I doubt Papoo could remember a time when his Emma was not in his life.

Papoo eventually moved to an assisted living facility in Grand Prairie, Texas between Dallas and Fort Worth.  He would not live four full years after Nanny’s passing and moved to his final and eternal home on February 13, 1981.  I wish I had known him better.

Gus and Emma, two children who met in the Masonic Children’s Home and would spend most of their lives within twenty miles of that institution, are buried beside each other in Mount Olivet Cemetery in North Fort Worth, Texas.

They made sure my great-grandfather John Anderson Roberts’ family line would not end on the Emberson Prairie of Lamar County.  They would make it possible for me to tell their story.


Gus and Emma Roberts' grave in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Fort Worth, Texas in 2014
Gus and Emma Roberts’ grave in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Fort Worth, Texas in 2014

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[i] Gus filed for and received a court certified delayed birth certificate in 1943.  Certified copy is in my possession.

[ii] Backward Glances column from The Paris News dated Thursday, August 26, 1954

[iii] Original letter in my possession.

[iv] Based on an interview reported by A.W. Neville in the Paris News Column Backward Glances from 1933.  Copy of text provide the author by Lawrence and Juanita Uhl in 1985.

[v] Copy of Probate record from Lamar County records in my possession.  Originally obtained by Gary Roberts in February 2014

[vi] Copy of Probate record and copy of Mary’s letter from Lamar County records in my possession.  Originally obtained by Lawrence and Juanita Uhl in 1985.

[vii] Copy of deed from the Lamar County records and obtained in 2014 is in my possession.

[viii] Copy of Probate record and copy of Mary’s letter from Lamar County records in my possession.  Originally obtained by Lawrence and Juanita Uhl in 1985.

[ix] Copy of Probate record from Lamar County records in my possession.  Originally obtained by Gary Roberts in February 2014.

[x] Copy of Probate record from Lamar County records in my possession.  Originally obtained by Gary Roberts in February 2014

[xi] I plan to document this man’s life at a later date.

[xii] Find A Grave Memorial# 15130891; copy of letter to Cornelia Lassiter from her Aunt Lucy in my possession; copy of court documents from 1906 making J.B. Lassiter the new guardian.

[xiii] Copy of court documents from Lamar County Courthouse dated July 3 and 10 of 1906 obtained in February 2014 and in my possession.

[xiv] Find A Grave Memorial# 15130866; photo of headstone by Dale Donlon

[xv] Copy of court documents from Lamar County Courthouse dated September and November of 1910 obtained in February 2014 and in my possession.

[xvi] Copy of four pages of court documents found in Lamar County court records by Gary and Dee Roberts in February 2014.  Date of event is September 1, 1913.

[xvii] A copy of this census page Sheet 35 is in my possession.  It was given to me by the Uhls in 1985.  It is also available at

[xviii] Copy of court documents from the District Court of Lamar County filed with the County Court of Lamar and dated February 5 and 8, 1918, obtained in February 2014 and in my possession.

[xix] Copy of Court records dated 6 February 1918 from Lamar County records in my possession.  Originally obtained by Lawrence and Juanita Uhl in 1985.

[xx] Copy of Court records dated 31 May 1918 from Lamar County records in my possession.  Originally obtained by Lawrence and Juanita Uhl in 1985.

[xxi] According to Kerr County Texas marriage records available online and at the County Clerk’s office.

[xxii] Source Information: U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.

[xxiii] Texas, Birth Certificates, 1903-1932 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.

[xxiv] Texas, Birth Certificates, 1903-1932 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.

[xxv] Source Citation:  Year: 1920; Census Place: Brownwood Ward 1, Brown, Texas; Roll: T625_1782; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 3; Image: 171. Accessed through

[xxvi] Digital image of birth certificate in my possession.  Source Information: Texas, Birth Certificates, 1903-1932 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.

[xxvii] Source Information: U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

[xxviii] Source Information: Texas, Birth Certificates, 1903-1932 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013

[xxix] Source Information: Texas, Death Certificates, 1903–1982 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.

[xxx] Source Information: U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

[xxxi] Source Citation:  Year: 1930; Census Place: Fort Worth, Tarrant, Texas; Roll: 2398; Page: 26B; Enumeration District: 0088; Image: 53.0; FHL microfilm: 2342132

Source Information: 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2002.

[xxxii] Source Information: U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.  Original data: Original sources vary according to directory. The title of the specific directory being viewed is listed at the top of the image viewer page. Check the directory title page image for full title and publication information.

[xxxiii] Source Citation:  Year: 1940; Census Place: Fort Worth, Tarrant, Texas; Roll: T627_4185; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 257-48

Source Information: 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.

[xxxiv] Fold 3 records.

[xxxv] Source Information: U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.  Original data: Applications for Headstones for U.S. Military Veterans, 1925-1941. Microfilm publication M1916, 134 rolls. ARC ID: 596118. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, Record Group 92. National Archives at Washington, D.C.

[xxxvi] Source Information: U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

[xxxvii] “One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” Deuteronomy 19:15

8 Replies to “My Grandfather Gus”

  1. It’s true, Gary, Knowledge softens the harsh realities. Same thing with my great grandmother, Orah. Once I learned from her letters that she was in fact ill, my heart softened (a little). 😉


  2. This was very interesting. I have heard of Guss Roberts. My sister and I went to the Masonic Home and School in 1952 we were orphans. We had no family to live with.
    I know the area where Gus and his wife last lived.
    The Home and School graduated MANY good people.
    The MASONIC HOME and SCHOOL opened its doors to children in 1900 and closed down in 2005. As in the situation of Gus, his wife and kids who attended the Home and School of Texas, if it had not been for the Masons of Texas providing a place to live, food, clothing,medical needs and an awesome education there is no explanation of what our lives would have become.
    Jerry Carl Beck,Sr.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so right Jerry. I’ll be writing a post soon about the “aftermath” of Gus and Emma’s lives and it could not have happened without the Masonic Home. Thanks for reading the long post. I’m glad to tell their story.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi there. My granddad Lee Johnson entered the Masonic home in 1908 or 1909 with his brother Burton and sister Elizabeth. My granddad was 10 in 1908. I have a feeling my granddad and yours knew each other well. I have heard a few stories passed down from their time there. I will try to type those up tomorrow


      2. Thank you Sara! I’m sure our grandparents knew each other. I wish we had them still with us. We could get them together and just listen to them talk about those days in the Home. I would love that. Thanks for the comment.


  3. I enjoyed reading this. I went to the Masonic Home in 1963. I met my husband there. He went to the Masonic Home in 1955.


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