Chasing Our Tales, December 2007

 Steam Shovel Crew
 Steam shovel yard

I do love this job!  I really do!  I get to hear from all sort of folks about their family histories, their ancestors, and I get to make new friends and renew old friendships!  How can you beat that!

I recently heard from a new friend, Susan Reedy, , of Sherwood, Arkansas, who said:

“Hello, I thought the attached photo might be of interest to Thurber researchers.  My great grandfather, George Lamar Faggard (1872 – 1940) was an engineer of a steam shovel crew at the brickyard.  The family lived in company housing for many years.  The photo went through a flood in 1921 so there is some damage but the images are still clear.  My great grandfather is standing on the left.  I believe Rudolph Hanks a fireman is standing on the right and Cleto is sitting – a ground man.  I would love to know more about these fellows and maybe they will be someone’s relative and be able to give a little more information.  George is buried at DeLeon Cemetery in Comanche County.  He married Amazona Broughton in 1893 in Comanche County.  They had 3 children, two surviving to adulthood.  Alpha Fern Faggard Gibson and Joseph Ward Faggard.  The infant son is buried at DeLeon.”

“I have another Thurber photo to send you.  It’s great.  Has the smokestack in the background and the company homes sort of to the side I believe.  I also have a 1924 photo of the USS Shenandoah (dirigible) that flew over Thurber in October of that year. It unfortunately crashed in 1925, killing 13 of the 29 officers and men aboard. My great aunt made a notation on the photo if that would be of any interest. And finally a photo of Coal Camp #52 in the1920’s.”

In looking up BMD (birth, marriage, death) indexes on the Faggard family, I discovered that George Lamar (Bud) Faggard married Amazona  (Zona) Broughton 21 June 1893 in De Leon, Comanche County.  They had both been born in Old Hico, Hamilton County on 7 December 1872 and died in Hamilton County on 13 January 1940.

His parents were John McLain Faggard and Malissa Jane Fox.  George’s occupation was a boiler fireman in Thurber, and later an engineer of a steam shovel.  He registered for the draft in World War I in 1918 and was a clerk at a mercantile.  In 1920 he was a Justice of the Peace in Precinct 7 in Erath County.

Amazona was born to Joseph N. Broughton and Alpha Joann McAdams on 28 February 1875 in Kaufman County and died on 2 March 1960 in Hico, Hamilton County.

Do you know more about George and Amazona?  If so, let us hear from you.

Now, harkening back to a previous column dealing with Billy the Kid, I received this from John Watson, , The Texas Traveler, in Cleburne, Texas:

“Several years ago my wife and I visited the Billy the Kid Museum in Ft Sumner. While there I saw an old news clipping about Billy’s tombstone being stolen and later found in the front yard of a house in Granbury, Texas. When I told the curator that I lived 30 miles from Granbury, he paused, took a deep breath, looked me straight in the eye and said: ‘Tell me something. With everything you have to brag about in Texas, why do you come out here and steal the only thing we have to brag about?’ Hmmm…. What could I say to that?”

John had written a similar story to mine, regarding Billy the Kid, for his local paper.

Finally, an old friend, actually my grandson John’s best friend, recently went to a garage sale at the home of the Pilgrim family.  He purchased a set of very old encyclopedias.  He and John both enjoy history.  Anyway, in looking through the books when he got home he found that Mrs. Jim H. Lyles had purchased the books on 1 July 1924.  In one of the books was some school writing by Addie B. Lyles, dated 7 October 1909, who, on the internet, he had found had died as a child and was buried in a local cemetery.

In yet another volume was the name Mary Elizabeth McBrayer dated 4 July 1924.

Here is what I discovered about the Lyles family.

Jim H. Lyles was born in Georgia about 1875.  His father and mother were both born in Georgia.  He married Ada Bell Daniel.  In the 1920 census in Mineral Wells he was a white man who owned his own home, and had living with him Ada Bell Lyles age 46, Clara Bell Lyles age 6, and L. R. Daniel, age 77.  L. R. Daniel died in Palo Pinto County on September 2, 1926.

I found a 4-year-old Ada Bell Daniel in Freestone County TX in 1880.  This "could" be she, but then I found Ada Bell Lyles and husband James H. Lyles in Parker County in 1900.  They were both 26, and the census says she was born in Georgia, so...that rules out the Ada Bell Daniel in Freestone County, I think.  On this census, probably living next door, were James (or John) Daniel, wife Oaksie, with children Fredie and Edith.  This was probably Ada Bell's brother and his wife, as he was 25 and she was 18.

I found a Mary Elizabeth McBrayer Kelley, married to James A. Kelley who had a child, Tressa Elizabeth Kelley, born April 9, 1937, in Palo Pinto County.

Do you know about the Lyles or McBrayer/Kelley family?  If you have any information on any of the folks mentioned in this column or if you would like to tell us a tale of your family, as Susan Reedy did, please contact me at P O Box 62, Mineral Wells TX 76068-0061 or online at

And, have a Happy New Year!!


Popular Posts