28 April 2018

Heirs of Reuben Reed Kynion, Husband of Diantha Lincecum

Diantha Lincecum (b. 1842) was a daughter of Harmon Lincecum/Linsicum (b. abt 1808) and Lucinda "Lucy" Thompson.  Diantha married Reuben Reed Kynion 12 October 1856 at Cape Girardeau County, Missouri.  According to an old family book, Diantha died 12 July 1886.  A couple of years later, Reuben married Mary A. McNeely.

Reuben Kynion died 21 January 1896 at his residence in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri.  This information was found on an Administrator's Bond created after his death – due to Reuben dying intestate (without a will).

An Administrator's Bond is a form of insurance that assures a person who is responsible for the paying of debts and dispersing of property – the administrator – acts legally and ethically and protects those who have an interest in the deceased's estate against fraud.

In the case of Reuben Kynion, the administrators (principally a Mr. Jacob Waddle) put up $500.

rrkynionadminbondThis document also listed the heirs of Mr. Kynion:

County of Cape Girardeau

Administrator of the Estate of Reuben R. Kynion deceased, being duly sworn, says that the said Reuben R. Kynion died intestate, and without leaving any will at residence in said Co. Jany 21st A. D. 1896, leaving as his heirs 1 Chas Kynion, 2 Eliza McNeil, 3 Monroe Kynion, all adults, 4 heirs of Lucinda Littrell, nie [sic] Kynion, dec'd, 5 and Henry Kynion, born August 1890, 6 Jacob Kynion, born July 2, 1895, minor heirs of Reuben R. Kynion, dec'd.

And that he will make perfect inventory and faithfully administer all the Estate of the said Reuben R. Kynion, dec'd, and pay the debts as far as the assets will extend and the law direct, and account for and pay all assets which shall come to his possession or knowledge.

[Signed by mark of X] Jacob Waddle

Sworn and subscribed before me this 31st day of January A. D. 1896.
[Signed] Henry Peels [Puls?], clerk of Probate.

One thing not detailed in the transcription, is this:  dec'd appears to be written above the name Jacob Kynion.  He and Henry were sons of Reuben and his second wife.

Compiling from all sources, including the heirs noted above, here is my list of children born to Reuben Reed Kynion and Diantha Lincecum:

  • Charles R. "Charlie" Kynion (1865-1922)
  • Mary Lucinda Kynion Littrell (b. abt 1859)
  • Louisa Eliza Kynion Tidwell McNeil
  • Julia Kenyon/Kynion (b. abt 1867)
  • Monroe Kynion (1874-1930)
  • Benjamin F. Kynion (b. abt 1875)

Take all mistakes as good wishes.

27 April 2018

Children of Cassandra Lincecum Durham

ChildrenofCassandraLincecumCassandra Lincecum (d. 1877) was a daughter of Gideon Lincecum (1793-1874) and Sarah "Sallie" Bryan/t (d. 1867).  George John Durham (1820-1869) was a son of William Durham (d. 1859) and Ester/Easter Bloomfield (d. 1868).  Cassandra and George were married just before Christmas 1852 in Washington County, Texas.  Afterwards, the couple resided at Austin, Travis County.

It is believed Cass and George had seven children, of which only three lived to see adulthood.  I have information on the births and deaths of all seven, save one.  If you have any information to share, I would love to compare notes.

- Mary Leonora "Lee" Durham was born about 1854 in Texas.  She could be found with her parents in Austin for the 1860 Federal census, but died just a couple of years later on 10 April 1862.  Little Leonora was buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Austin the next day.

- Walter Winn Durham was born 20 December 1855 in Texas.  Months before his 14th birthday, Walter's father died.  He immediately became the de-facto "man of the house." Even before the age of 18, Walter was working as a clerk for local bookseller, Jos. A. Nagle.  And we know from a letter his grandfather Gideon wrote in the summer of 1873, that Walter performed many tasks around the home before even heading to his paying day job:

…Walter rises early, feeds and waters the dogs and chickens, goes to market, and then, until breakfast, fixes up anything that is out of order.  That over, he goes off to the house that pays him for his services and is seen no more until dark…

Four years after Gideon wrote that letter, Walter's mother was dead.  So before he turned 22, Walter became a guardian for two of his siblings.  Following notice from the 29 August 1878 Weekly Democratic Statesman (Austin, TX):

Weekly_Democratic_Statesman_1878-08-29_4GUARDIAN'S SALE.
The State of Texas to all persons interested in the guardianship of SIDNEY and MARY L. DURHAM, minors:

Walter W. Durham, guardian of said minors, has filed his application in the County Court of Travis county praying for a sale of certain real estate belonging to them for their education and maintenance, which will be heard at the next term of said court, to be held at the court house thereof, in Austin, on the Third Monday in September, 1878, when and where all persons interested may appear and make objections thereto...

Some time after 1880, Walter got involved with cotton – and it became his career.  He remained in the business of cotton for 30 – 40 years.  Companies he was known to have worked with include E. J. Byrne & Co., Crawford & Byrne, E. H. Perry & Co., and W. T. Caswell.  Walter was known as a "pioneer cotton man."

Walter, probably too busy otherwise, did not marry until about age 34.  He wed German-born Marie Augusta Packenius on 12 October 1889 at Travis County.  It appears the couple had seven children:  Jennie, George J. (1890-1974), M. Louise, Mary Lee (1894-1961), Walter Arthur (b. 1898), Charles West (1900-1907), and Marie Cassandra (1908-1981).

wwdurhamdcWalter Winn Durham died 7 March 1929 at Austin.  He was buried at Oakwood Cemetery.

- Sarah Lincecum "Sally" Durham was born about 1858 in Texas.  Like her sister Lee, Sally died in April 1862.  In fact, it was just the day before Lee breathed her last.  Lois Burkhalter wrote in her 1965 biography of Gideon, grandfather of the little girls:

Among the Lincecum Papers are invitations from the Durham Austin residence on Pecan, now Sixth, and Guadalupe, to funerals of their daughters, Sarah Lincecum, at 4:00 P.M., Thursday, April 10, 1862, and Mary Leonora, at 4:00 P.M., Friday, April 11, 1862.  An explanation of this long-ago tragedy is found in the diary of Amelia E. Barr, an Englishwoman who lived for a while in Texas and was well acquainted with the Durhams:

April 9, 1862:  In the evening to Mrs. Durham's.  Poor little Sally, whom I suckled for two months when her mother had fever, just dead of diptheria.

April 10, 1862:  Went to see Sally for the last time...The cemetery was crowded.  When we got back from Sally's funeral her sister, Leonora, was dying.  She breathed her last at five o'clock.

- Royal Wheeler Durham was born after 1860, died 21 April 1866, and was buried at Oakwood Cemetery.  Unlike the other children, I cannot corroborate the existence of young Royal with other records. My only source is Ms. Burkhalter's book.

glass4- Sidney Johnson "Sid" Durham was born about July 1860 in Austin.  He was baptized at St. David's Episcopal Church when about a year old.

In June 1883, Sidney married a Scotland-born widow named Mary Jean "Jennie" (Mackey) Gray at Austin.  The couple had at least two daughters:  Lela/Leonore (1884-1940) and Ione Finin (1886-1956).

During his mid to late twenties, Sidney was occupied as a clerk in Austin.  In 1887 specifically, he was associated with H. H. Hazzard & Co.  A newspaper item dated that same year, however, showed Sid also had a talent for singing (and must have been a big dude).

West Texas Free Press (San Marcos, TX)
10 March 1887 - pg. 4 [via GenealogyBank]

The entertainment on Saturday night at Harper's Hall was one of real merit...Mr. Sid Durham, who might be styled the musical giant of Texas, his power of voice fully corresponding with his large proportions...

4810940Two years later, according to an Austin, TX city directory, Sidney appeared to then be pursuing a career in musical entertainment full time.  And a newspaper item from the summer of that same year – 1889 – showed Sidney had begun making trips to New York.

Weekly Democratic Statesman (Austin, Texas)
Thursday, 15 August 1889 - pg. 4

Sailing the Ocean Blue.
Our special this morning from Galveston announcing that...Mr. Sidney Durham..., of Austin, [was] among the passengers of the steamship Comal that sailed Wednesday morning from Galveston for New York.  THE STATESMAN wafts them a kindly adieu and wishes them a pleasant voyage and a safe arrival at their destination.

Even though Sidney was again listed in an 1895 Austin city directory (occupied as a musician), I also found his trips to New York continued in the interim.  And the aforementioned Lois Burkhalter added this:

Another son [of George and Cassandra], Sidney J. Durham, wrote (August 6, 1895) his Aunt Sallie Doran that he was in New York with the Lillian Russell Comique Opera Company, studying voice with Madame Skinner, and had become a Christian Scientist.

A report from the New York Sun, dated 12 April 1896, puts Sidney at the Big Apple again.  This time he was performing at the famed Salmagundi Club:


Music, Variety, and Farce in a Crowded Art Gallery.
Friday night's entertainment at the Salmagundi Club, 14 West Twelfth street, was an event of more than common interest, and was quite the most ambitious that the artists have ever undertaken...

Among the musical numbers [were]...some baritone songs by Mr. Sidney Durham, who has a fine cultivated voice which he uses with admirable skill and effect...

Records suggest Sidney had officially moved to New York by 1910.  According to that year's federal census, he was residing at 881 7th Avenue [Carnegie Hall?], and occupied as a Concert Singer – alone.  No wife nor kids were there.

About this time, Jennie started being listed in Austin, TX city directories as the widow of Sidney J.  I don't know if this was simply an incorrect supposition, or if Jennie described herself as such.  Regardless, it seems to indicate Sidney was no longer spending much (if any) time at his Austin home.

Per 1911, 1912, and 1913 city directories for New York, New York, Sidney was occupied as a secretary at 883 7th Avenue.  Home was "Hotel Grenoble" in 1911 and 1912.  (It is my understanding this hotel was across from Carnegie Hall.) In 1915, Sidney's home was the same, but his occupation was more specifically noted as "Secretary, Christian Science Church." It's possible his (then) new-found faith supplanted his career in music.

The last record I found of Sidney in New York was 1918, when he was residing at 871 7th Avenue.  I believe this to likely be the Wellington Hotel.  Per their website:

New York's historic Wellington Hotel has been welcoming guests from around the world for 116 years. We invite you to explore everything there is to see and do in this great City from our superb location near Broadway, Carnegie Hall, Central Park, MoMA and Rockefeller Center.

Image from Google Map street view, dated December 2017:

Then Sidney moved again.  To another hotel.  In California.  I found him in the 1920 Oakland, Alameda County Federal census.  He was listed in a hotel at 300 Thirteenth Street, managed by William C. Jargens.  Could this have been the historic Hotel Oakland?

What is somewhat bizarre about the census entry is a female named Jean Durham is right under Sidney.  Both boarders were aged 55 and married.  Sidney was occupied as a Christian Science Practitioner.


Sidney seems to have sojourned to San Francisco for a couple of years (1923-1924) per voter records and a city directory.  Address was 798 Post Street (Google map image below).  This is currently part of the Lower Nob Hill district and on the National Register of Historic Places.  Majority of the buildings were constructed as apartment hotels, dated 1906 – 1925.

According to the California Death Index at Ancestry, Sidney J. Durham died 24 January 1926 at Alameda County, California.  (I'm clueless as to a burial site.) Sid's death came one year after the death of his wife.  Per her tombstone at Oakwood Cemetery in Austin, Texas, Mary Jean Mackey Gray Durham died 29 January 1925.  She was buried beside her first husband.

- Prior/Price Durham was born about 1866 in Texas.  He was listed with his mother for the taking of the 1870 Federal census at Austin, Travis County.  Based on Gideon Lincecum's letter quoted from above, this young son died before 1873.

- Mary Lela Durham was born about 1868 in Texas.  She was listed with her mother in census records for Austin dated 1870 and 1875.  After Cassandra's death in 1877, Lela's oldest brother Walter became her guardian.

For the 1880 Austin, Travis County, Texas Federal census, it appears Walter and brother Sid were living in the family home on Pecan Street.  Their sister "Lela" was boarding a few doors down in the Ben J. Smith household.  Both Ben and wife Eliza were school teachers.  Twelve-year-old Lela's occupation was "at school."

I lose Lela after that census taking.  Since she is counted as one of the children of George and Cassandra that made it to adulthood, it's possible she married.  To whom is the question.

Take all mistakes as good wishes.

26 April 2018

Lincecums in U.S. Army Transport Service Passenger Lists

No long ago, I received an email from Ancestry about a recently updated database – U.S. Army Transport Service Passenger Lists, 1910-1939.  From the database search page:

5The U.S. Army Transport Service (ATS) was established in 1899 as part of the Army Quartermaster Department. It was originally created to manage the transport of troops and cargo on Army ships that travelled between U.S. and overseas ports during the Spanish-American War. During World War I, the Quartermaster Corps managed the Army's deepwater fleet.

The records in this collection consist of passenger lists created between 1910 and 1939. These lists recorded details on all persons arriving at U.S. ports on ATS ships…It may also include soldiers that lost their lives and were transported for burial…Details recorded in these passenger lists typically include the following information.

  • Ship Name
  • Arrival Date and Place
  • Departure Date and Place
  • Service member's name, rank, service number, age, residence, next of kin with relationship, and the regiment, company, detachment, or other organization that the service member was attached to
  • For non-service members, relation to service member

Source information:

Ancestry.com. U.S., Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.  National Archives at College Park, Maryland cited.


44509_3421606189_0299-00846 (1)

Following are some names I collected from the entries.  Visit the database for the military information.  What I've included here are the soldiers' names and ranks, along with their relatives' names and locations (noted as emergency contacts).

  1. Lincecum, Ed C., Pvt., son of Mr. Lisandurs Lincecum of Burton, Texas
  2. Lincecum, Monteith T., Pvt., son of Mr. Lon L. Lincecum of Vernon, Texas
  3. Lincecum, Walter E., Pvt., son of Mrs. Mamie Francen of Los Angeles, California
  4. Lincecum, Addison L., Capt., husband of Mrs. Letha G. Lincecum of El Campo, Texas
  5. Lincecum, Ollie L., Pvt., husband of Mrs. Bessie Lincecum of Clovis, New Mexico
  6. Lincicum, Charles D., Cook, son of Mrs. Emma Fredrick of Williamstown, Ohio
  7. Lincicum, Franklin, Corp., son of Mr. Virgil Lincicum of Homer, Illinois
  8. Linsacum, Kenneth, Pvt., brother-in-law of Mr. Roy A. Helfrich of Pence, Kansas
  9. Lincicome, Dillas A., Pvt., son of Mrs. Elizabeth Lincicome of Zanesville, Ohio
  10. Lincicome, Ira P., Pvt., son of James S. Lincicome of Sherman, West Virginia
  11. Lincicome, John L., Pvt., brother of Mrs. Nell/ie Steele/Stell of Windy City, West Virginia
  12. Lincicome, John W., Pvt., son of Mr. Henry Lincicome of Sandyville, West Virginia
  13. Lincicome, Ode G., Mech., son of Mr. Silas L. Lincicome of Salina, Oklahoma
  14. Lincicome, Raymond, Pvt., brother of Miss Laura Lincicome of Gary, Indiana
  15. Lincicome, William, Pvt., son of Mrs. Mary Lincicome of Dexter City, Ohio
  16. Linscomb, Andrew J., Sgt., brother of John Linscomb of Orange, Texas
  17. Linscomb, Jackson, PFC, son of Mr. John W. Linscomb of Mauriceville, Texas
  18. Linscomb, Leonard R., Pvt., son of Robert Linscomb of Oilla, Texas
  19. Linscomb, Walter, Pvt., son of Mr. John Linscomb of China, Texas
  20. Linscomb, Ray, Pvt., husband of Mrs. Hattie Linscomb of Echo, Louisiana

Take all mistakes as good wishes.


18 April 2018

George J. Durham (1820-1869), Husband of Cassandra Lincecum

George John Durham was born 12 May 1820 in Norwich, England.  He was one of about six or seven children, and possibly only two sons, born to William Durham (d. 1859) and Ester/Easter Bloomfield (d. 1868).  Ester and the children (namely Ann, William, Mary, George, Ester, and Elizabeth) left from London and arrived at the port of New York as steerage passengers on the ship Sovereign in September 1833.  The father William, possibly after tying up loose ends in England, arrived on the ship York about a month later. [New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957]

Lincecum Lineage Blog

The Durham family likely settled in either New York or New Jersey, but moved to Texas by 1837.  According to a biographical sketch by Charles Durham Gouldie at Handbook of Texas Online, George John Durham became chief clerk in the comptroller's office at Houston, Harris County the next year.  He next moved to Austin, Travis County with the government in 1839.  Mr. Gouldie adds, "Durham was in Austin when surveyors laid out the site for the new capital in 1839 and purchased twenty-eight of the original lots." In Austin is where George would spend the rest of his days.

Two or three days before Christmas 1852, at Washington County, George married Cassandra Lincecum (d. 1877).  The couple might have met through Cassandra's father.  Following from Lois Burkhalter's 1965 biography of Gideon Lincecum (1793-1874):

Cassandra, the third daughter, was married to George J. Durham, an Englishman of Austin, Texas…This marriage pleased Gideon.  He and Durham had been drawn together through mutual interest in ornithology and grape culture and were friends before Durham met Cassandra.

Regarding George's political career in Texas, Ms. Burkhalter writes:

Durham holds something of a record in Texas history, having held a political job during the administration of every president and governor until after the Civil War.  He was mayor of Austin in 1852…Document of expenditures of the Eighth Legislative session are signed by Durham as chief clerk and acting comptroller…He was one of the signers of the petition for a people's secession convention.

Mr. Gouldie picks up for this time period:

George served for a short time as an orderly sergeant in the Confederate Army, but was recalled to act as state war-tax collector.  In 1865, after the break-up of the Confederacy, he successfully resisted armed men who tried to remove funds from the comptroller's office.  George ran for state treasurer in 1866, but was defeated.

George attested to the following, per his application for Presidential pardon dated 24 August 1865 (via Fold3):

...He [George] would further respectfully state, that he is 45 years of age, is a man of family, of limited means of support and has been a resident of this city and state, for 26 and 27 years respectively, and has always endeavored to discharge his duty as a good and law abiding citizen of the governments under which he has lived, and has never been guilty of a crime or misdemeanor...

Search Military Records - Fold3

Typhoid fever caused George John Durham's death on 10 April 1869.  He was buried the next day in Oakwood Cemetery at Austin, the city he served for so many years.

Several obituaries and expressions of sorrow were published in newspapers after George's death.  Here's one:

Tri-Weekly State Gazette (Austin, Texas)
Monday, 12 April 1869 - pg. 2 [via GenealogyBank]

Death of George J. Durham.

We constituted one of a large concourse of mourners, who on yesterday accompanied the mortal remains of George J. Durham to their last resting place in our city cemetery.  His disease was typhoid fever, and after a painful illness of four weeks, he departed this life on the 10th instant, at one o'clock, p.m., at is family residence in this city.  As Mr. Durham was among the oldest and most prominent of our citizens, and was also held in high estimation by Texans in every quarter of the State, we deem it not inappropriate, in announcing his death, to give a short sketch of his life.  At our request, a friend of the deceased has furnished us with the brief outline that follows.  We need hardly add, that not only we, but every person in this community whose opinion is valuable will heartily endorse its praise of our deceased friend.

He was born in Norwich, Norfolk, England, on the 12th of May, 1820, and was at the time of his death in his forty-ninth year.  His family removed from England to the United States in the year 1835, and after living  a short time in the State of New Jersey, removed to the State of Texas, when he was in his seventeenth year; and hence, having lived here from his youth, he knew no other country.  He was devoted to Texas, and always served her with a willing heart.  In 1838, he became connected, as clerk, with the government department of the republic at Houston; and from that date, for more than twenty-five years -- the best years, the flower of his life -- he was uninterruptedly in the service of the government.  In October, 1839, when the archives were removed from Houston to Austin, the new seat of government, he accompanied them to this city.  In 1842, he was one of the participants in the "Archive War," so famous in the history of our growing city.  From 1839 up to annexation, he shared, in common with the other frontier settlers, (many of whom, like him, we mourn, have been gathered to their fathers,) the excitement and dangers attending a frontier life, and was frequently out on the border, engaged in Indian scouts.

After annexation, owing to his well known probity, his good business habits and his familiarity with the internal affairs of the government, he was appointed by James B. Shaw, Comptroller, chief clerk in that office; and during his term of service, as well as during the term of his successor, our worthy fellow-citizen, the Hon. Clement R. Johns, he held the same position, and for many years had the almost entire control of the Tax Bureau of the State.  In his office, he was prompt, courteous, and obliging; and, during his whole course of public service, invariably secured and enjoyed the fullest confidence of those with whom his official duties brought him in contact.

During the late civil war, he ardently espoused the cause of the Confederate States, and was appointed, without solicitation, by the government, collector of war tax for the State of Texas.  The duties of this office, he discharged ably and honestly, up to the time of the downfall of the Confederacy.  Upon the surrender he stubbornly and manfully refused to deliver the gold and silver in his hands, at the demand of robbers and murderers, who were then here to plunder the State Treasury.  Neither threats or the display of deadly weapons could deter him from treading what he believed the path of duty and of honor.  He held, that on the surrender, the funds in his possession, lawfully passed to the victor, and were subject to his control, and he accordingly, with the assistance of his friends, guarded the funds faithfully, until the arrival of the United States authorities, when he turned them over to persons authorized to receive, and took an honorable acquittance in full.  On more than one occasion during the absence of Mr. Shaw and Maj. Johns, the duties under the law of Comptroller devolved on him, as Chief Clerk.  These duties he always discharged in the most satisfactory manner, and showed himself fully equal to the discharge of all the duties of that honorable office, and responsible position.  Since the close of the civil war, he held in 1866 and part of 1867, the post of Secretary to the Auditorial Board, created by the Act of 1866, for the adjustment of the public debt of Texas.  Without intending in the slightest degree to detract from the acknowledged merits of the able members of that Board, it is but due to the deceased to say, that such was his aptitude for business -- his industry -- his thorough acquaintance with the fiscal affairs, both of the late Republic and State, and above all such was the conspicuous integrity of the man, that he very greatly lightened, if he did not entirely relieve the gentlemen, composing the Board, of the most difficult portion of their labors.  In fact, during his whole life, he brought to the discharge of all his public duties, such punctuality, order and industry, sustained and aided by an unblemished reputation, as a thoroughly honest man in the broadest acception of the term, that his name was almost proverbial throughout the State for honesty.  He served his country well, for more than a quarter of a century.  He never enriched himself at the public expense.  Texas may be well and greatly proud of such a citizen, and she should write upon his tomb the inscription "Well done, thou good and faithful public servant." The crown of ivy, the laurel wreath, the golden medal, the marble column, pointing heavenward, have been bestowed by gratful [sic] States on men possessing less public and private virtue, than the deceased.

It is not alone however on account of his long and interesting connexion with the early and late history of the Republic and State, that Mr. Durham deserves to be held in honorable remembrance.  He was eminantly a useful citizen.  He had not only a fine practical but also a scientific acquaintance with that branch of farming, known as Horticulture, and was exceedingly fond of the garden, an occupation to the honor and praise of which Lord Bacon has devoted one of the most immortal of his essays.  His love of flowers was as natural and sincere as that of a child or poet.  He also devoted considerable attention to the culture of fruits, and his articles "on the grape in Texas" in Richardson's Texas Almanac for 1867, and on the Golden Chasselay and its culture, in the same work for 1869, though necessarily too brief to exhaust the subject, contain many valuable observations on that interesting topic, and show thoroughly he had studied it, in connection with the peculiarities of the soil and climate in Texas.

Mr. Durham is also entitled to honorable mention in the history of our State, on account of his studies of its natural history, more especially in the department of Ornithology, he was very familiar with this science, and of that special branch of it, which treats of the interesting winged fauna of our own State, he was a master.  As to these latter, by close observation, extending through a series of years, he was enabled to correct a number of errors into which his brother naturalists had fallen, and to make more than one original contribution to the stock of scientific knowledge on this subject.  Through the medium of correspondence, he had made the acquaintance of a number of celebrated naturalists.  In August 1867, as a well deserved compliment to his scientific researches in this field, he was unanimously elected a corresponding member of the Academy of Natural Science in Philadelphia.  Of this body Dr. Hays, whose name with that of the lamented Dr. Kane, is imperishably connected with the subject of the Artic explorations, is the President.  This recognition of the value of his labors was as gratifying as unlooked for and unexpected.  The intelligence of this high honor conferred was conveyed to him in the most complimentary terms in an autographic letter from the celebrated naturalist, Mr. Cassin, whose recent death, the cause of natural science has much to deplore.  He was also an occasional correspondent of the Smithsonian Institute at Washington, and, shortly before his death, had commenced, through the kindness of our highly esteemed fellow-citizen Mr. Swante Palm, an interesting correspondence with the famous Sweedish [sic] Savant Gillegeburg, the most emminent Ornithologist of the present day.  The deceased was esteemed by such men as Cassin, Professor Baird and others, whose names are highly honored, and was looked upon by them as a genuine devotee of science.

During his whole life he was at all times devotedly fond of field sports.  It amounted to a passion with him.  Good naturedly, skillfully and sensibly, would he defend his favorite pastime, from the attacks of the Benthamites and the Utilitarians when one of them would, with the air of a man who is stating an unanswerable proposition, propound to him their stereotyped conundrum "Cui bono."

In that special branch of the "noble Art of Venerie" known technically as "shooting," embracing all game, shot habitually on the wing, and in the pursuit of which your companion is the pointer, the setter, and the retriever, in contradistinction to the fox hound, grey hound, terrier, &c., he was an expert, and had few, if any, superiors in the United States.  His articles on "Game in Texas," contributed to the Texas Almanac for 1868 and 1869, are full of information.  Under the nom de plume of "De Los Llanos," he, during last fall, contributed a series of sprightly and agreeable sketches to the London Field, on "Shooting in Western Texas." These articles show him to be a through master of the subject -- but they show more; they are written with great animation and spirit, and are very creditable as mere literary performances.  The London Field is under the editorial control of the famous sporting authority, "Stonepenge," (Dr. Walsh.) It is the recognized portion of the great British sporting public, and its standard of excellence is so elevated and its audience so select and intelligent, that it was no mean compliment to Mr. Durham that his contributions were always welcome to its columns.

At the time of his death he was holding the post of confidential book keeper to the banking house of Raymond & Whitis, of this city.  The highly respected head of that house and Mr. Durham grew up together in Texas, and the death of the latter alone (nothing else could) has terminated a friendship which has lasted through sunshine and through storm for thirty years.  The old Texans are passing away, and we, who are to fill their places, do not seem to be better men.  May we so live that when we come to die we may do so in honor, and as peacefully as they.

Mr. Durham leaves a wife and four children to mourn the loss of their chief support, removed from them by the stern hand of death, while he was yet in the meridian of his days.  His sorrow stricken wife and bereaved children have the heartfelt sympathies of our entire community.  He, however, leaves a name honored and respected among men, and his children may well be proud to bear it.

In his untimely death our immediate community loses one of the most respected and public spirited of its citizens.

Take all mistakes as good wishes.

15 April 2018

Individual Report for Cassandra Lincecum Durham (d. 1877)

Individual Report - CLDurhamCassandra Lincecum, likely born in 1832 in Mississippi, was one of 13 children born to Gideon Lincecum (1793-1874) and Sarah Bryan/t (d. 1867).  I have her as the 10th child, and 4th daughter.

The few times I've seen Cassandra's name spelled out, it's been fairly consistent.  Her marriage record did add an i to get Cassandria, though.  And a possible error by a grieving informant for one of her children's death certificate resulted in her maiden name being displayed as C. Alinska.  We know from her father's papers, that Gideon called her Cass.

When Cassandra was just a few years old, her father went "on an exploring expedition to the province of Texas." Gideon returned home about seven months later.  He "rode up to the yard fence" and observed the homeplace:

The family were at dinner under the long shed that reached from the house to the well.  They were so much engaged they did not see me for some minutes.  I had time to count the children and see they were all there.  Two of them, Leonora and Cassandra, whose heads were a yellowish brown when I went away, were black now, and that was about all the change I could discover…The family then quit the table and did not finish their dinners.  [Source:  Adventures of a Frontier Naturalist: the Life and Times of Dr. Gideon Lincecum, pub. 1994]

By the time Cassandra reached the age of 18, this Lincecum clan had been moved to Washington County, Texas.  And this is where, just before Christmas 1852, Cassandra married George John Durham (1820-1869).  They had seven children:  Mary Leonora (aka "Lee"), Walter Winn, Sarah Lincecum (aka "Sally"), Royal Wheeler, Sidney Johnson (aka "Sid"), Prior/Price [?], and Leila/Lila/Lelia/Lela (possible first name "Mary").  It is claimed that only three made it to adulthood.

After marriage, Cassandra and George settled at Austin, Travis County, Texas.  City directories available at Ancestry show the precise address in the 1870s to be the southwest corner of Pecan (now 6th) and Guadalupe streets.  I do believe that had been the family home since the couple was first married, though.  As early as 1849, George described his property in a notice published in the local newspaper:

Texas State Gazette (Austin, TX)
24 November 1849 – pg. 6 [via GenealogyBank]

LL PERSONS are hereby forewarned against cutting or destroying any of the timber on the tract of land belonging to me, lying on the West bank of the Colorado River, in the County of Travis, about 1/3 of a mile below Stone's Ferry, as I will prosecute any and all persons so offending to the utmost rigor of the law, GEORGE J. DURHAM.

Here's a map of the area today.  If explored, you can see where Guadalupe and 6th (formerly Pecan) cross is approximately five blocks from the Colorado River.

[Additional Map Links:  You might also want to click here for an 1873 map of Austin.  If enlarged, you can see the same thing – though much less crowded.  Lastly, click here for an 1844 map of the city.  This shows the much more wooded terrain possibly described by George in his 1849 "Notice to Trespassers."]

Here's even more color about Cassandra and her home in Austin (from Gideon Lincecum, 1793-1874 by Lois Wood Burkhalter, pub. 1965):

...The Durhams lived in a small log house on the road to the ferry.  Everyone coming into town and every one going out of town passed Mrs. Durham's.  Her sitting room was as entertaining as the local news in the weekly paper.  There was no restraint in Mrs. Durham's company; people could be themselves without fear of criticism.  She was not pretty, not stylish, not clever, not in the least fashionable, but she was the favorite of women who were all these things.  There were no carpets on the floors and there was a bed in the room wherein her friends congregated.  She did not go to entertainments and I never saw a cup of tea served in her house, yet she was the most popular woman in Austin…

Typhoid fever killed Cassandra's husband George in April 1869.  She was left with three children, aged 14, 9, and the youngest about 1 year old.  Cassandra supported her family by running a boarding house in Austin, presumably on the Durham family property.  Following culled from letters Gideon wrote a daughter and son-in-law in 1873 – around a time he paid Cassandra a visit.

...Cassandra and her family are all well.  Cass does all the cooking herself, with Sidney's help.  He supplies the wood and water, attends to setting the table, etc.  Walter rises early, feeds and waters the dogs and chickens, goes to market, and then, until breakfast, fixes up anything that is out of order.  That over, he goes off to the house that pays him for his services and is seen no more until dark.  The little girl is very healthy, looks handsome and…is beginning to help her Mamma a little…

...Leonora in Tuxpan [Mexico] and Cassandra in Austin...my two widowed daughters.  Both hold in the society to which they belong high positions.  I don't know which of the two is most sought after or most beliked...Cassandra, the stately, slow moving, young looking, rather handsome Cassandra.

Cassandra Lincecum Durham's death, caused by pneumonia, came 8 April 1877.  She was just 45 years old.  Cass was buried beside her husband in the family lot at Oakwood Cemetery in Austin.

Take all mistakes as good wishes.

01 April 2018

Orval Clay Starks: Lost at Sea with the Shinyo Maru Sinking

Orval Clay Starks was born about 1921 in Louisiana to Willie Clay Starks (1881-1934) and Leona Wheat/Wheet (1892-1969).  I have him as the 6th child and 1st son born to this couple.  Orval was a grandson of Bobbie Lincecum Starks (1860-1949) of Louisiana.

Orval C. Starks enlisted in the United States Army 6 October 1939.  Given his young age, I was somewhat surprised to see his marital status listed as divorced.

The 1940 Bossier Parish, Louisiana Federal census taker found Orval in the soldiers' barracks at Barksdale Field, a base that had only been established eight years earlier, with an occupation duly noted as "military soldier."


Orval served overseas during World War II. He attained the rank of Private First Class, and was attached to the combat organization 16th Bomber Squadron, 27th Bomber Group (Light) of the V Bomber Command.

In early May 1942, Orval was captured at the Philippines by Japanese forces and became a prisoner of war.  Thirteen months later, a "Roll of Honor" was published in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana Advocate, on which Orval was still noted as a POW "interned by Japan at unstated camp." It's common knowledge these prisoners suffered unspeakable horrors and were often used as laborers for the Japanese.

On 7 September 1944, POW Starks was a passenger on a "Hell Ship" – the Shinyo Maru – and had been so for weeks, at least.  Ships such as this were used to transport "American and Allied men…to Japan to be used as labor in mines and factories.  Thousands were crowded into the holds…without water, food, or sufficient ventilation.  The Japanese did not mark "POW" on the decks of these vessels…" [Wikipedia]

With an ironic twist of fate, this hell ship was sunk by the American submarine USS Paddle.  Following from World War II Database contributor C. Peter Chen, citing the United States National Archives:

Shinyo Maru was a transport pressed into military service by Japan during the war. On 14 Aug 1944, American intelligence intercepted a Japanese message noting that Shinyo Maru was to unload the rice and cement currently in her holds at Zamboanga, Mindanao and unload the remaining goods at Manila, Luzon, both in the Philippine Islands. As further messages were decoded, the Americans followed Shinyo Maru's footsteps as she sailed in Philippine waters. A message intercepted at 0200 hours on 7 Sep noted that she was to sail with convoy C-076 from Manila with "750 troops" on board.

Intelligence failure, as later revealed in Dec 1944, led to an [unfortunate] incident for the Americans: the "750 troops" were in fact 750 American troops, prisoners of war who had been used as forced laborers. They had been in the cargo holds of Shinyo Maru since 20 Aug...

Further analysis on the sinking of Shinyo Maru concluded that she was indeed carrying 750 American POWs at the time, and 688 of them perished.

According to the American Battle Monuments Commission, Pvt. Orval C. Starks of the U.S. Army Air Forces is considered Missing In Action.  He is memorialized on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery in Taguig City, Philippines.


The last couple years of Orval's life surely didn't seem merciful, but I pray his death was.

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