Friday, April 24, 2015

#52Ancestors: WK 16: ADAMS, Benjamin Franklin

** cross posted to Lass Chronicles **
Jen from Jenealogy likes to tease me that I have a lot of "presidents" in the family. I have three.

Zachary Taylor ADAMS.
John Quincy Adams WARREN.
Andrew Jackson GUTHRIE

That's it. That is all the presidential names I have in my tree. Then I have four Benjamin Franklins (actually, I have five -- that 5th married into the family). Today, I'm talking about my great-grandfather: Benjamin Franklin ADAMS, Sr.

Benjamin Franklin, Sr (or Grandpa Adams, as I knew him) was born 11 Nov 1897 -- what would eventually be known as Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, and Veterans Day.1 He died 27 Nov 1989.1 His funeral was held on a miserably cold day. I'll come back to that.

Benjamin was the oldest of six children born to Welcome Adams and Mary Francis CORNSTUBLE.2 I can find him in the 1900 and 1910 censuses living with his family in Arkansas.3, 4 On 1 Jan 1917, at 19 years old, Benjamin enlists in the Army.5 I cannot imagine the horror of World War I. I do know that Benjamin was injured -- family lore says mustard gas.

On 11 November 1918, the armistice [was] signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compi├Ęgne, France.6

On 30 Nov 1918, Benjamin was released from the Army.5 At this point, I lose him in the public record. I have searched every permutation of his name, age, race, and gender in an effort to find him in the 1920 United States Census. If he is there, I don't know how he is enumerated.

On 22 Feb 1921, Benjamin married Sally Lou GREEN in Paris, Texas.7

Ben and Sally settled in Kerr County Texas where they had four children: Eulaliah Louise (1922 - 2009), Zona May (1924 - 1995), Jack Charles (1929 -2000), and Benjamin Franklin, Jr. (1934 - 1998).

Adams Family, 1936: Benjamin, Sally, Eulaliah, Zona, Jack, and Ben, Jr.

From 1925 until 1954, Benjamin worked for the Veterans Administration.8 Sally died (cod: Tuberculosis) in 1944.9 Benjamin remarried in 1945 and again in 1980. In 1958, he moved with his second wife (Bessie) to Austin, Texas.

31 July 1958, The Kerrville Times

I have a vague memory of the last house Benjamin lived in. It was on Avenue H. When I remember it, I think it's on a corner or not far from the corner. In searching the Ancestry City Directories Collection, I've found my memory to be not too shabby.10 The streetview only confuses me. I don't recognize the house or the lot at all.

House on Avenue H
As I mention above, Benjamin Franklin Adams, Sr died 27 Nov 1989. His funeral might be my clearest memory of attending a funeral. I was 14. I'd already been to my father's parents' funerals in Aug 1981 and Aug 1989. There are possibly 13 other funerals between 1975 and 1989 I might have attended.

Grandpa Adams' funeral was miserably cold. I wore a bright red wool coat with a hood. My hair was in a French Braid; and I didn't want to use my hood because it might pull my hair loose. I can remember being worried that fussing with my hood would be disrespectful; but at the same time, my ears were going numb.

I never spent much time with my great-grandfather. My family lived nearly four hours away from Austin. Looking at his obituary, I feel like I've lost some history.11Benjamin was awarded a Purple Heart, he worked as a civil servant for the VA, he was active in the American Legion and his church.

Obit: Austin American-Statesman, Nov 1989

A couple weeks ago, I asked my family for memories or stories about Grandpa Adams. Over the weekend, my Aunt mentioned she remembered Grandpa Adams as meticulous. She has a clear memory of him rolling his cigarettes. I should have recorded the story; but I was distracted. Here is a paraphrasing of her story:

Grandpa Adams rolled his own cigarettes. I can remember he would get his papers out. Lay one paper down. Then he would get his tobacco and make a neat line on the paper. Then he'd roll the tobacco into the paper. He'd lick it and inevitably get a piece of tobacco stuck to his tongue. Then he'd pick off the little bit of tobacco [Here she demonstrates carefully picking the tobacco off her tongue] before checking the cigarette and smoking it. --Patricia GARRETT Fielder, 20 Apr 2015

1. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

2. Benjamin's siblings were: Robert Edward (1900 - 1967), Daisy Bell (1903 - 1990), John Porter (1908 - 1939), David Welcome (1910 - 2003), and Opal Dora (1918 - 1992).

3. Year: 1900; Census Place: Benedict, Faulkner, Arkansas; Roll: 58; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0017; FHL microfilm: 1240058

4. Year: 1910; Census Place: Monroe, Sevier, Arkansas; Roll: T624_66; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0173; FHL microfilm: 1374079

5. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

6. Wikipedia,. 2015. 'World War I'.

7. Lamar County Genealogical Society (Lamar County, Tex.). 2008. Lamar County, Texas, marriage records, 1841-1937. Paris, Tex: Lamar County Genealogical Society.

8. 31 July 1958. The Kerrville Times (Kerrville, Texas) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.

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

10. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

11. Austin American-Statesman, 28 Nov 1989.

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