Burton Lee Roberts’ military records say he was born in 1917. His amended birth record says 1919. The 1920 census supports his birth record of 1919 as the correct date. Here is part of the census record from Brownwood, Texas and what we learn about my father and his family in 1920.
The household record actually begins on the previous page. It is probably difficult for you to see this page (and you certainly can’t see the previous page because I haven’t included it), so I’ll try to accurately relate the information. This information is available at Ancestry.com and the National Archives.
Gus and Emma L. Roberts are living at 1009 Booker St. in Brownwood City (Today called simply Brownwood), Texas. They are living in the household of Edward and Grace Mohn. Gus is Edward’s brother-in-law. We know from other sources that Grace is Emma’s sister. The Mohn’s have two sons, Edward age 4 and John age 2 1/2. Edward Sr. is working as a machinist in an auto shop.
Gus Roberts is a 21-year-old married white male. He is able to read and write. He was born in Texas. He, or whoever spoke to the census taker that day, gives his father and mother’s birth place as the United States. (I don’t believe Gus, my grandfather, knew the birthplace of his father or mother. Therefore he could not have told his wife or a census taker. He’s able to speak English, works as a machinist helper in an auto shop as a wage earner and is enumerated on the farm schedule at #620.
Emma L. Roberts is a 21-year-old married white female. She is able to read and write. She was born in Texas. She, or whoever spoke to the census taker that day, gives her father’s birthplace as California and her mother’s as Tennessee. (I tend to believe she was the source of this information. What’s interesting is she was wrong about her father and right about her mother. Most “tree builders” online are usually right about her father and wrong about her mother.) Her work is listed as “none” and that makes me laugh.
Burton L. Roberts is enumerated as the only child of Gus and Emma living in the household. He is the nephew of Edward Mohn, the head of the household. He is a ten month old white male who was born in Texas, as were his parents. He could not read, write or speak English. Awww, those were the days. And while he did not work according to the census, I bet he kept his mother busy!
This census record supports Burton Lee Roberts’ birth year as 1919. His amended birth certificate supports this. His Social Security records support this. He told me this was his correct birth year and that he had lied about his birth date to enlist in the Army.
After you interview all of your living relatives, begin your next research with the U.S. Census. Happy backtracking!
Here is a remarkable photo of an early group of students attending school at the Masonic Home for Children in Fort Worth, Texas. The photo was a gift from my cousin Suzy Cook. It’s remarkable to us because it contains an early glimpse of no less than four of our ancestors.
Seated on the first row and moving left to right: the 3rd little girl is my grandmother Emma Lee Ingram, my dad’s mother. The 4th little girl is my great-aunt B.G. Ingram. The 5th little girl is my great-aunt Grace Ingram (Suzy’s grandmother). And the first little boy is my grandfather Gus Roberts. Remarkable and Wonderful. That’s right, my dad’s parents met at the Masonic Home for Children in Fort Worth, Texas in about 1904. They were only seven or eight years old at the time. They went on to graduate High School at the Home, were married in 1918 and were together for fifty-five years!
Emma Lee and Gus Roberts celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary. Gus and then Emma the way they would have looked about the time of their marriage in 1918. Any additional photos you have of this family would be appreciated.
What: A partial record of payments paid out by the Cherokee Indian Agency.
When: May 26, 1818. This was a Tuesday. Other historical records (Cherokee Council Records) inform us there is a council meeting of the Cherokee chiefs and warriors at the Agency on this day. This Council began on the 20th of May and would conclude on the 28th. Governor McMinn revealed to the Cherokee leaders the U.S. government’s’ intent to move all Cherokees west.
Who: Jeremiah Horn receives a payment from the Agency.
Where: Agency Creek on the Hiwassee River, Cherokee Nation. This is the second location of the agency and was located here from 1816 – 1821. This would be in present day Meigs County, Tennessee named after the agent Return Jonathan Meigs.
” ” 26 The United States ___ To Cash pd Jeremiah Horn for attending on a man who was hurt in the public service. 5.00″
Confirms Jeremiah Horn’s presence in Cherokee Nation no later than the 26th of May 1818.
Informs how early he may have been aware of the U.S. government’s intent concerning the Cherokee people.
May reveal something about the person Jeremiah Horn.
Can you fill in the blank in the transcription?
What do you believe this document says “about” Jeremiah Horn?
“Never let the truth get in the way of a good story”, we’re told. And, that’s fun. But, is it what we want our history books and monuments to reflect? Should we “change” or can we “correct” history? Is the correction of “facts” changing history or simply aligning our stories with history?
One of my great grandfathers was named John Charles Wesley Ingram. Most of what is written about his arrival in Texas is wrong. Three quick examples repeated with small variances in many different sources illustrate what I mean.
The photo is one of the historical markers in old downtown Ingram, Texas. The site is visited by thousands of tourists every year. It says my great grandfather J.C.W. Ingram bought land on this sight in 1879. Wrong. It says he was a Church of Christ Minister. Wrong. (My mother was sure he was a Methodist. I can’t say for certain he wasn’t ever a Methodist. I know his second wife, my great grandmother Sarah Alice, certainly was a Methodist. J.C.W. however was a Presbyterian minister…merchant, constable, sheriff, Mason, postmaster, pharmacist, and much, much more.)
Two more examples describe his arrival in Texas.
“In 1879 J. C. W. Ingram bought six acres, in what is now known as Ingram, opened a store and applied for a post office under his name” (taken from Kerr County, Texas annual budget report 2011-2012 p. 30)
“INGRAM, TEXAS. Ingram is on Highway 27 and the Guadalupe River at the confluence of Johnson and Indian creeks, seven miles west of Kerrville in central Kerr County. The surrounding land was granted by the state to John Twohig in 1847. J. C. W. Ingram bought six acres in 1879, opened a store and post office, and gave the town its name.” (From Texas History Online as of August 13, 2015, https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hli06 )
Once an event is incorrectly reported, that incorrect report may travel around the world. Never has this been truer than in the age of the internet. And we should also remind ourselves that not everything written in books and published is true.
Sometime, somewhere in the last century it was reported that J.C.W. Ingram arrived and bought land in Texas in 1879. This “fact” is now part of multiple online articles, family trees, newspaper articles, county histories, Texas guidebooks and several expensive historical markers in Kerr County, Texas. The problem, this “fact” is wrong and to record it as such is inaccurate.
So, can we change or correct history?
History may be seen in 3 ways:
Events which have taken place in the past.
The stories (oral history) or recordings (written history) of those past events, accurate or inaccurate.
His/Her-story. How an individual chooses to research, hear and interpret available “facts” concerning an event in the past and report those “facts” to others.
I visited Kerr County in the spring of 2013 with by wife, brother and sister-in-law. We were looking for land and marriage records…and of course, antiquing. We were fortunate to meet Irene Van Winkle of the West Kerr Current newspaper. She was surprised and concerned, as any conscientious reporter would be, of a possible error in the dates for the Ingram’s arrival in Texas. She had reported this erroneous “fact” more than once herself. I shared with her my concerns and she expressed her intent to look into the matter.
Here are some facts I’ve found related to J.C.W.’s arrival in Texas.
According to the Pacific Rural Press of California dated May 17, 1879, J.C.W. Ingram is elected as an officer of the Lakeport Grange Hall #76.
J.C.W. Ingram was a well-known, well respected and well-to-do man living in Lake County, California during the middle part of the 1800s. There are many records to illustrate these facts. For now, I’ll refer you to a biographical sketch of Ingram found in the “History of Napa and Lake Counties, California: Comprising Their Geography, Geology, Topography, Climatography, Springs and Timber” written by Lyman L. Palmer, A.M., Historian and published by Slocum, Bowen and Co. of San Francisco, California in 1881. The digital copy in my possession is a photocopy of a first edition donated to Harvard College Library. Palmer signs the preface to his book in November of 1881. The Ingram sketch beginning on page 250 closes with the mention or six surviving children; Luella C., John L., Mary R., Sarah A., Ruth and Maud. The article ends with the Ingram’s loss of two sons; William R. and Preston.
According to cemetery records William Riley Ingram died in Lake County on November 30, 1878. He’s buried in the Hartley Cemetery which began in 1860 as a Masonic Cemetery. J.C.W. once served as Worshipful Master of this Lodge #199. I include this because it is a sequence of events happening prior to the Ingram’s leaving for Texas.
According to the 1880 Federal Census, John C.W. Ingram is a 51 year old farmer living in Scotts Valley Precinct and Big Valley Township. In his household is Mandana A., 46; John L., 17; Mary R., 14; Sarah A., 11; Ruth, 8; Maud, 6; Laura A., 24 (We know this to be the widow of William Riley); Arthur O. Lillie, 4 (a son widow Laura brought into her marriage with William) and Ethel Ingram, 11 months (Laura and William’s daughter). Enumerated 21st day of June1880.
This same John C.W. Ingram has his farm enumerated with the following facts recorded on 21st day of June 1880 reporting his production for the year of 1879 in Scotts Valley, Big Valley Township of Lake County, California. Acres of land: 140 tilled, fallow or in rotation. 6 acres meadows, pastures, orchards or vineyards. 105 acres woodland or forest. Farm values: $8,000.00 for farm including buildings, land and fences. $150.00 for farm implements and machinery. Value of livestock, $300.00. Cost of building or repairing fences in 1879, $350.00. Amount paid for wages in 1879, $500.00. Weeks hired laborers in 1879, 52 weeks. Estimated value of all farm production for 1879, $1,200.00. Acreage mown in 1879, 10 acres. Acres not mown, 230 ac. Products harvest in 1879, 20 tons of hay. Horses on hand as of June 1, 1880, 7 horses. Mules on hand as of June 1, 1880, 1 mule.
In the precinct of Lakeport, in the county of Lake, CA, several miles to the southeast of the Ingram farm, John F. Burger is enumerated in the 1880 census 18th of June. Included in his household is his 25 year old son, George F. Burger. According to the Ag schedule for this farm (1880 Federal) it is larger but valued just over half of the Ingram’s place.
In the 1900 census Mary R. Burger, age 34, is living with her husband George F. Burger, her children (6) and George’s Brother James C. Burger in Township 4, Lake County, CA. Mary and George are reported to have married in 1881 and have thus been married 19 years. Mary was born in California. Her father was born in Illinois and her mother in Missouri. (Mary Rebecca Ingram married George F. Burger in Lake County, CA on 7 December 1881.)
Mary Rebecca Ingram Burger was the great grandmother of Kathy Fuqua Rivas. According to an Ancestry.com message I received from Kathy on March 15, 2015, her relative Gene Burger was still running the original Ingram place until his death in 1978. His son Fred took over upon his death and the farm was only recently sold within the past 10 years, thus leaving Burger ownership for the first time since the 1880s. This was the former ranch of J.C.W. Ingram which he sold before leaving for Texas. (p. 11 of Scottslandia: A Romantic History of Scotts Valley by Alice W. Deacon)
In 1881 J.C.W.
“…sold all of the rest of his land to John F. Burger, and left right away for Texas. The night before the Ingram family left the Valley, his daughter Mary was married to Fred Burger, son of John F. Burger, and the young couple built themselves a home nearby.”
(Scottslandia: A Romantic History of Scotts Valley by Alice W. Deacon, p. 30)
In the May 11, 1882 edition of the San Antonio Evening Light there is an announcement of a business dissolution. J.C.W. Ingram of Kerrville, Kerr County, Texas dissolves all business ties with E.C. Tatum as of May 8, 1882. Mr. Tatum assumes all liabilities of the firm, and alone has authority to collect claims due the co-partnership.
Deed records copied from the courthouse records in Kerrville, Texas in May of 2013 tell us J.C.W. Ingram bought lots from C.E. Mitzschke in Kerrville in February of 1882 (Vol G p. 71). This is not the land he will later purchase west of town. The land he purchased from the Morriss family on which he built his store and ran his post office on the Guadalupe River was purchased in January 1883 (Vol H pp 8, 9).
The August 27, 1883 edition of the San Antonio Light newspaper has this item in the Hotels report: “J.C.W. Ingram and Frank Coleman, prominent citizens of Kerrville, are at the Central”. (Notice the phrase “of Kerrville”.) He had stayed previously at the same hotel in June of the same year.
How we interpret and report these facts will determine how close our story is to history. What may we learn from these facts about J.C.W. Ingram’s arrival in Texas?
The facts not only give evidence the Ingrams were NOT in Texas in 1879, they also imply he was not even thinking of coming to Texas until as late as 1881.
J.C.W. accepted a new office and responsibility in Lakeport, CA in May of 1879.
J.C.W. is the head of a household in Scotts Valley, CA in June of 1880. He can’t be in two places.
J.C.W. reported in June of 1880 he spent $350.00 in 1879 on his fences. He spent $500.00 on labor. He reports only having 7 horses, 1 mule and no other livestock requiring fencing. That’s a very large financial outlay. It’s over 10% or the total value of his property, buildings, crops and farm implements! That kind of investment does not indicate to me he’s planning to sell his place. It’s already prime real-estate. If you’re planning on leaving the state, let the new owner invest in his own fences and oversee the labor.
The biographical sketch of J.C.W. mentioned earlier was published in 1881. To write this piece it would have been necessary to interview J.C.W. or someone very close to him. The preface was signed in November 1881. Harvard College Library obviously received an advanced copy because their copy is stamped with an October 1881 receipt date. The interview would have been between the death of William in late 1878 and sometime in early 1881.
John F. Burger purchases this farm and ranch in the fall of 1881. J.C.W. would need to be in California to oversee this sale.
J.C.W. and Mandana’s daughter Mary Rebecca married John F. Burger’s son George Frederick (Fred) on December 7, 1881 and the Ingram family left for Texas the next day. The facts all support this account.
J.C.W. is in Texas beforeMay of 1882. We know this because he’s already dissolving a partnership with E.C. Tatum. This implies he arrived in Texas, agreed to enter a business partnership and arranged an agreed upon dissolution of that partnership all in a few months’ time. I wonder what happened? The 1879 San Antonio City Directory lets us know Elisha C. Tatum was a young clerk working for L. Moke & Co. while living in the home of his father. In the 1880 census he’s 23 and living with his sisters Viana Gillis (widowed or divorced with two children) and Sally Tatum who is 15 and still in school. His occupation is “clerk”. In the 1881 San Antonio Directory he’s listed as “E.C. Tatum and Co. (Elisha C. Tatum, Mrs. Viana Gillis), groceries, provisions and proprs Buffalo Camp Yard, 25 and 26 n Flores. See advr’t.” Buffalo Camp Yard was a well-known place to gather and move supplies from San Antonio to points west. There was a regular freight run from the Buffalo Camp Yard through Kerrville and on to Comfort, Texas. It would have passed near or through the land J.C.W. would eventually purchase on the Guadalupe River. It may have passed by his property in Kerrville purchased in February 1882. So, let me speculate. By early 1882 a young, aspiring business man and his sister need a cash infusion into their grocery and supply business. Perhaps it was Frank Coleman, the brother-in-law of Elisha Tatum, who introduced Tatum to J.C.W. Coleman and his wife lived in Precinct 1 of Kerr County (primarily the city of Kerrville) near where J.C.W. bought those lots in February 1882. He and Coleman are described in the San Antonio newspaper in 1883 as “prominent citizens of Kerrville”. J.C.W. had plenty of capital to invest and may have been looking to get into business before arriving in Texas. The young salesman “sold him” and they entered a business agreement. Something happened. Perhaps J.C.W. got a clearer picture of the person or the condition of the business. He appears to have pulled out of the arrangement without recovering his cost or any future income from the business.
If one needs a building or a piece of land to have a post office and be the postmaster of the new berg of Ingram, we can say J.C.W. did not own the land now known as Old Ingram until January1883. He may have owned or invested with his friend Frank Coleman in Kerrville prior to and/or in 1883. It may have been business or ministry, or I suspect both, but J.C.W and his family began their time on the Guadalupe River in 1883. So, if you need a property or a building or a post office to have a town and or have it named after you, Ingram was not birthed until 1883.
“Ingram, Texas is on the north bank of Guadalupe River. Ingram, Texas was founded 1883 by J.C.W. Ingram who built a store and conducted church services…”
The facts say the Ingrams left California in December 1881. They were in Texas by February of 1882 and purchased land in Kerrville. They then purchased the land where old Ingram sits from the Morriss family in January 1883.
J.C.W Ingram arrived in Texas in early 1882.
The seed for the town of Ingram was planted in 1883.
The On-going Mystery: WHY did J.C.W Ingram; successful, well respected, settled, choose to pull up stakes in California and move to the Hill Country of Texas? Was it…
Grief over the loss of his sons?
The need for a new adventure or challenge?
A business opportunity?
Does anyone have a letter from J.C.W. explaining it? Please feel free to share it here.