I have been interested in family history for quite a few years. Unfortunately my interest did not develop until many of those who could have provided first hand information were already on the other side. But one does what one can. Since the easiest information to gather was on my dad's side of the family, I gravitated there and learned a good bit about the Creech family. My dad's mother was a Culpepper. She died in 1931 when my dad was only twelve, so obviously, I never knew her. My grandfather remarried ten years later and Lillie, his wife, was the grandmother I knew. Oddly, I did not grow up knowing any Culpeppers. So that family, too, is one I have worked to learn about.
My mother's parents, Alonzo and Kate Cryer, died within three weeks of each other back in July 1950, two and a half years before I was born, so I didn't know them either. One of my goals for my trip to Floresville this week was to learn a few more details about this side of my family.
I had some information on Alonzo and Kate. They married in 1906. I actually have the letter Alonzo wrote to Kate proposing marriage. At the time he was working and living in Childress. They later moved back to Floresville and he ran a barbershop.
I have a copy of Alonzo's obit from the Floresville Chronicle-Journal,
but I didn't have Kate's. So I visited the office of the Wilson County News
, which purchased the Floresville paper a few years ago. The folks there were really helpful. I scanned two years of microfilm and found not only Kate's obituary, but that of her father (my great-grandfather), Benjamin Franklin Rosser, as well. B. F. Rosser came to Texas in 1859, fought in the Civil War, lost an arm, returned to Texas, married Texana Martin of Tennessee, and started buying land and raising cattle. According to his obituary from 1925, he was a pioneer in the area and one of the "leading cowmen" in this part of Texas. His son, Lee, Kate's brother, was a Special Texas Ranger in the late 1800s. B. F., Texana, Lee, and Kate are all buried here in Floresville.
|Kate Rosser Cryer|
Then I went around the corner and across the street to the Wilson County Courthouse
to do a bit more research. I have never done research in a courthouse before, but there was in that place, I would say, a plethora of information. Giant books held information on wills that had been probated here, births, deaths, marriage, cattle brands, and land that had been bought and sold. I traced the land purchases of B. F. Rosser in the 1870s and 1880s. He bought nearly ten thousand acres of land. By the 1890s he had sold it all. I was also able to read the will of my great-grandfather, Richard Robert Creech, who died in 1909 leaving an estate that included four acres of land in Floresville ($1000), undivided half interest in one acre of land in Lodi ($5), one horse ($10), two cows and a heifer yearling ($27.50), household furnishings ($15), and a set of Encyclopedia Britannica
($5). Reading this in the beautiful cursive script of a county clerk a hundred years later, priceless.
The purpose of learning the family history is not to find cattle barons, Texas Rangers, or one-armed Confederate soldiers. I'm interested in how these people lived, what they endured, how they managed their lives through challenging times. Margaret Mead once said that the span of human memory is five generations -- it is found in what I can tell my grandchildren about what my grandfather's life was like. I really wish I'd known I was going to want to know these things. I would have asked my grandfather many more questions. I'm not going to wait for my grandchildren to ask. I'm just going to tell them.