My Birthday is the Perfect Day to Honor my Ancestors

September 19th is not only my birthday, but a day I dedicate to all the ancestors in my family tree. Why this particular day? Without their blood, endurance, strength, and tears there would be no “me,” or a birthday on this day to celebrate.

I often wonder what my ancestors would think if they could see, hear, and be near me in this time and place on September 19, 2020. Well . . . I’d like to believe that the t-shirt I wore today below captures their thoughts and then some . . .Don’t you agree?

I Am My Ancestors' Wildest Dreams

Wordless Wednesday: Willie Taylor and His Great-Grandchildren

Well, almost wordless  . . .

This is one of my favorite photos of my grandfather with his beloved great-grandchildren!

Great-grandchildren featured (l. to r.) are Nichelle Taylor, Nia Taylor, Marcus Bowie, and Nicole Taylor. Photo taken by John W. Taylor, 1981


The two great-grandsons who were not at his home the day this picture was taken were — Victor Taylor and Michael Baker.

Willie Taylor definitely enjoyed visits with his great-grandchildren! He especially liked teasing those great-granddaughters by calling them little boys. Of course whenever they would strongly object to being called boys, he would start a playful argument with them about why they were most definitely little boys. Being his only grand-daughter, I know how they felt. When I was their age, he called me a little boy too! I tell you those playful arguments with him about your gender could last for hours, which was exactly why he started this argument with you in the first place — LOL!

Mystery Monday: Searching for Lewis Chappel (Part 2)

Taking a Closer Look

Even though I did not find my great-grandparents enumerated as a family the first time I looked for them in the 1920 Census, I just could not dismiss this gut feeling I had that I really needed to visit that record AGAIN! When I think about everything they experienced in 1910 — the loss of a child and moving two or three different times — another look for them in the 1920 census just seemed so necessary. Well, I’m glad I did! I found them, not as I expected to find them, but . . . I found them!

In the city of Houston I found my great-grandmother Carrie and my grandfather Joseph together . . .

Carrie and Joseph Chappell in the 1920 US Census
Carrie and Joseph Chappell, 1920 US Census

[Abstraction]

Enumerated on the 20th day of February 1920, this  U. S. Federal Census reports living in the Pinehurst Addition of Houston, Harris County, Texas dwelling #454 was: [1]

Line 22:  Carrie Chappel, head of household, owner of the mortgaged home she lived in, age 35, a widow, born in Texas as were her parents, works as a Laundress for a Private Family

Line 23: Joseph Chappel, son, age 17, single, born in Texas as were his parents, works as a Laborer for a Railroad Company

In another Texas city, I found my great-grandfather  Lewis . . .

Lewis Chappell in 1920 Census
Lewis Chappel, 1920 US Census

[Abstraction]

Enumerated on the 3rd day of January 1920, this  U. S. Federal Census reports living as a boarder at 2426 Avenue J, Galveston, Galveston County, Texas was: [2]

Line 38:  Lewis Chappel, black male age 36, married, born in Texas as were his parents, works as a Laborer in the Compress Industry

Reviewing Ancestor Data
Review Data for Clues and New Information

WOW . . . this is interesting stuff!

As I take a closer look at both of these 1920 census records, I cannot help but think there may be “trouble” in the marriage of my great-grandparents!

  • Widow?!
    My great-grandmother obviously told the enumerator that she was a widow! But that wasn’t true at all because my great-grandfather was very much alive and well living just 50 miles away (by car) in the city of Galveston, Texas. Not to mention that I have not been able to find, to date, any record of my great-grandfather’s death in Texas between 1910 – 1920!
  • Married boarder?!
    My great-grandfather either told the enumerator he was married, or the owner of the boarding house where he lived did. Either way, my great-grandmother and grandfather are not living there with him and it seems my great-grandmother may see this separation as a, “death,” where my great-grandfather is concerned – YIKES!
  • Something else I’ve noticed is that my great-grandfather has gone from working as a Pipe-fitter/Gas Plummer for a Gas Company in Houston in 1910, to a Laborer in the Cotton-Compress Industry in Galveston, Texas by 1920! According to The Handbook of Texas Online, [3]

The cotton-compress industry developed in antebellum Texas because of the need to lower the cost of transporting cotton on sailing vessels. . . Compressors, which reduced bales received from cotton gins to roughly half their former size, were first acquired in port. By 1860 more than $500,000 had been invested in the industry at Galveston. As cotton culture spread into the Texas hinterland after the Civil War, compresses were built in many Texas towns in addition to the port cities. The development of communications and the extension of railroads into the state’s cotton-producing regions revolutionized the Texas cotton trade.”

With “widow” and “married boarder” being the key words that jumped out at me in these two records, I’m starting to think that my great-grandparents may have separated by this time! When did this separation take place and is it permanent? I’m not sure. But what I do know is that I will need more evidence than what was reported in this record to validate a legal separation, or divorce between them.

So what’s my next resource?

I think it’s time I use city directories to track them more closely between the 1900, 1910, and 1920 census decades! Hopefully this resource will help me pinpoint the year they arrived in Houston and when my great-grandfather left for Galveston. I also hope this directory will shine a HUGE spotlight on other Chappels living in Houston at this time who just may be immediate family members of my great-grandfather!

Based on information from this 1920 census record, what new information have I added to Great-Grandfather Lewis’ profile as I continue my search for him?

o Names (given, middle, and nicknames) – Lewis Chappel, or possibly Louis Chappel (1910 Census)
o Occupations – Pipefitter for a Gas Company (1910 Census); Gass Plummer (son’s 1910 birth certificate); Laborer in Cotton-Compress Industry (1920 Census)
o Birth date and place – abt 1883, Texas, USA (1910 Census), abt 1884, Texas, USA (1920 Census)
o Age – 27 yrs old (1910 Census); 36 yrs old (1920 Census)
o Residence – 1607 Saulnier Streeet, Houston, Texas 77019 (1910 Census); 815 Schwartz Street, Houston, TX (son’s birth & death certificate); 2426 Avenue J, Galveston, Galveston County, Texas
o Family structure – married to Carrie Blanton and has 2 sons, Joseph Chappel (1910 Census); Lewis Blanton Chappel (1910-1910); separated from Carrie & Joseph (1920 Census)
o Marriage – Married Carrie Blanton abt 1903 (1910 Census)

Think we have a family connection?
Let me hear from you because  . . . I’m Claiming Kin!

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Source Citation:

1. “United States Census, 1920,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MCM8-GRQ : accessed 21 May 2013), Carrie Chappell, 1920.

2. “United States Census, 1920,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MHTY-KPB : accessed 21 May 2013), Lewis Chapel in entry for George Parish, 1920.

3. L. Tuffly Ellis, “COTTON-COMPRESS INDUSTRY,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/drc02), accessed June 09, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Claiming Kin Virtual Cemetery at FindAGrave.com

This Memorial Day I honor my maternal and paternal ancestors (veterans and non-veterans) virtually with the launch of the – Claiming Kin Virtual Cemetery– at FindAGrave.com! [1]

Click to visit virtual cemetery online now!

I actually established this “on-going” virtual cemetery New Year’s Day of this year, but did not want to release it online until –

1) I had 20 or more ancestors listed
2) I had a chance to verify each ancestors’ connection to me and my family

The purpose of this new virtual cemetery is to link the interments of all my maternal and paternal ancestors together despite the geographical location of their graves. Those of you who have been following me for a while know FindAGrave.com  is one of my favorite online resources to use with my family research. I started creating virtual cemeteries last year with the launch of my “on-going” Chapple Family Virtual Cemetery and when I see the number of visits that post has received via my blog’s Google Analytics dashboard widget and Feedjit live traffic feed, I hope that this post about this new virtual cemetery will do just as well too!

According to the Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, on May 5, 1865, Decoration Day was established for our nation to decorate the graves of veterans with flowers. The first observance of this federal holiday took place at the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. But by the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 across the United States. By 1971, the US Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday and it was at that time that it would be observed on the last Monday in May.

With so many Americans honoring the deaths of love ones who were not veterans on Memorial Day, in December 2000 Congress passed and the president signed in to law — “The National Moment of Remembrance Act” — so that veterans are particularly not forgotten on this national day!  [2]

The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation.”

To my family and friends, have a wonderful Memorial Day and if time allows, visit a local cemetery today! If you cannot make it to an actual cemetery, then I invite you to take a virtual stroll through the Claiming Kin Virtual Cemetery by clicking the link or the graphic above; feel free to leave virtual flowers if you like!

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Source Citation:

1.   Taylor-Harris, L. (2013, May 25). Claiming Kin Virtual Cemetery. Find A Grave – Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials. Retrieved May 25, 2013, from http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=vcsr

2.   U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. (2012, November 30). Memorial Day History. Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. Retrieved May 25, 2013, from http://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/history.asp