Monday, June 27, 2011

Thomas Jesse Crosby and Lizzie Ann Odom

The History of Thomas Jesse Crosby and Lizzie Anne Odom
By Juanita Crosby and Alice Odom (This is my guess, Ruth Hansen)

     The Crosbys and Odoms were from around Cusseta, Georgia.  The migrated from place to place together.   Pleasant Odom seemed to be the leader in the group.  In fact, Pleasant married Elizabeth McKenzie, a sister of Lucinda who married Jesse Swent Crosby.
     On May 6, 1864, Jesse Swent joined the 20th Regiment of the Georgia Volunteers.  At the Battle of Wilderness in the state of Virginia, he was wounded in the right leg which led to the amputation of the leg below the knee.  In 1879 he applied for money to get him an artificial leg and soon received $75 dollars to acquire one.
     All the Jesse Swent children were born in Cusetta, Georgia.  Thomas Jesse was the fifth child.  He was born in Stewart County, Georgia on 4 July 1866.
     When the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints came to Cuba, Alabama, some of the Odoms and Crosbys joined the church.  When the missionaries encouraged the saints to move where they were gathering, which was to the Rocky Mountains, some did.  About 1888, Pleasant Odom and some of his family went to Mennesah, Colorado.  Lizzie Anne, daughter of David George Washington and Sarah Frances Powell, joined Pleasant Odom, who was Lizzie’s grandfather.  Lizzie would tell how the clouds would roll over Mt. Blanco.  It was too cold for them to live there and they couldn’t find work so they went back to Cuba, Alabama.  Pleasant went down in South East Texas and found warmer weather and good land.  He sent for the rest of his family to come.
     After Lizzie and family got back to Cuba, Alabama, Thomas Jesse came courting Lizzie and they were soon married.  The marriage took place at her parents’ home on 20 August 1892.
     When Pleasant sent word for the families to come to Texas, David George Washington Odom went to check it out, he liked what he saw and sent for his family.
     They arrived in Tyler county in about 1893.  There the Odom Settlement was mad about 14 miles east of Woodville and 7 miles northwest of Spurger.

     Jesse worked at the Pedigo farm.  There, their first child was born  Fannie Fredonia on  4 May 1894.  She was named after the woman that helped deliver her.  Dona (Fannie Fredonia) had sores on her head and this lady helped cure them.
     The second child, George Thomas, was born on 13 February 1896.  The family moved to Spurger and Jesse worked for Mr. Cook for one year.  Then went to work for Kick Mayo at his Grist Mill making corn meal.  He made $12 dollars a month.
     Another son was born, Noah Lee, on 22 March 1898.
     In 1900 the missionaries came to Spurger.  They found Jesse and Lizzie and began to teach them.  They were baptized 10 April 1900.  Mr. Mayo was an anti-Mormon and told Jesse that if he let the missionaries come back that he would have to leave.   Jesse left and went to Titus County in East Texas.  While the family was there another son was born,  Clarence Timothy on 19 June 1901.
     Lizzie had always wanted to learn to read so she could read the Bible.  Jesse could read print.  While they were in Titus County a lady helped Lizzie to read print.  After the children went to school they helped their mother read better and she was able to read her Bible.
     They moved back to the Odom Settlement and Dick Mayo came to beg Jesse to come back to work.  He said that the corn meal was so bad that people would not bring their corn to be milled.  Jesse said he would if the missionaries could come visit with no trouble.  Mr. Mayo agreed.
     Jesse bought a home in Spurger, but soon he sold it and moved back to the Odom Settlement, on the Charlie Beddingfield place.   He built a log house on the 50 acres he bought from Lizzie’s grandfather Pleasant.
     Another son was born, Roy Emory, on 23 March 1904.
     A daughter, Mary Gladys, was born 24 June 1907.
    Dona, George, Noah Lee, Clarence went to school at Midway School, about a mile from home.
     Jesse got a job at Silsbee in the logging woods rolling logs on the skidway. They moved the family to Silsbee.  While Jesse was working in the woods, Lizzie ran a Boarding House.  They needed money to pay for the land that they bought.
     Noah Lee and Clarence went to school in Silsbee.  A daughter was born on 20 November 1910.  They went to school for a year and then went home to farm.
     The missionaries would come to the Odom Settlement. Sometimes they would stay a few weeks to visit and teach.  They would hold meetings at the homes.  On one of their trips a mob was formed to run the missionaries out of Tyler County.  They first came by Jesse’s.  The mob demanded to know where the missionaries  were.  The six men that were at the head of mob were known .  Jesse wouldn’t tell but ask them to go home and leave the missionaries alone. 
The mob went over to Pleasant Odom’s home and asked if the missionaries were there.  He said, “Just wait a minute and I’ll see.”  He turned around and got his gun from around the door.  He told the mob that they were there but the first one to come in the gate would be shot.  The men knew that Pleasant was a man of his word so they left.  The missionaries were sent to other places for five years.
     One day Lizzie found lice in Noah Lee, Clarence, and Roy’s head.  The washing and doctoring was started.  First, Lizzie cut their hair real short.  The boys didn’t like that.  The worst thing then happened, a picture was taken.
     To help make money, Jesse made baskets out of white oak trees.  He also made axe and hoe handles.  He also made bottoms for chairs.  Anything they needed he could make it.
     Lizzie was a midwife for 21 years.  We don’t know how many babies she delivered but lots of them.  Fred Sheffield told her fortune one time.  He told her that she would get real sick.  During this sickness she would get a call to go deliver a baby for Allie Odom.  He said she would get up and go to Allie’s aid.  He said Allie would have tow convulsions while delivering the baby.  This did happen.
     Lizzie taught all of her children to work saying that someday they would need to know.  All the family worked in the fields.  After Lizzie cleaned the house in the morning she would fill a syrup bucket full of bread and meat and other goodies and take it to the children who were working in the field.  It was just like a picnic and oh---so good!

     Lizzie was the one who dealt the discipline.  The one who did wrong was told to go find a switch.  They knew to get a good one.  Lizzie would tell them why they were getting a whipping while she would smooth the switch.  By this time she would be calm, and get on with the show (whipping).
     Clarence can remember two whippings that he received, one for scaring Paul Odom’s horse, and another for lying about carrying matches.
     All the women would go down to a spring to wash their clothes.  It was so cool down there; no sun rays could filter down.  The spring was down in a deep gully.  After the clothes were washed they would carry them up to the top of the gully and hang them in the sun to dry.  The children would play while the mothers washed.
     When Fat Grandma (Sarah Frances, Lizzie’s mother) would come to visit, she would have to have help to bathe.  She was short and fat.  The children could hear her laughing as she bathed.  She would say that when Lizzie would lift the fat to wash her that it would shake and tickle.
     Lizzie would always clean the kitchen after dinner and wash her feet and then lay down to rest.   She enjoyed reading for an hour before going to bed.  As farmers all got up early and days were long, hot, and tiring.
     A daughter, Nena Faye was born on 2 March 1913.  Four hours later Eula died.  She was always a sickly  child.  Dona was making biscuits and let Eula help her.  Eula patted her stomach and said, “I sick.” Dona carried her in to see Lizzie and Fat Grandma.  Grandma took Eula in her arms and then she died.
     George found good black land in Emilee about 20 miles north of the Odom Settlement and Jesse found the land was so rich you didn’t have to fertilize.  Jesse went to work for Sanford Smith.  He sold his home and moved to Emilee.
     The last child, a daughter, Rosie Mae was born on 5 May, 1915. 
     Thomas Jesse went to work for Mr. Smith for a year and then bought and 101 acre farm and house from Jim Reynolds in Emilee, Texas.  He farmed for himself.  He raised corn, peanuts, cotton, sorghum, and potatoes.  Also, he had a garden.  He always had plenty to eat for his family and for anyone who came.
     George, Jesse’s son, was old enough to go to the war in 1918.  He got to France the day that the Armistice was signed.  So it wasn’t long until he was home.  Noah Lee was in the army and was to be shipped out when word came that the war was over.  The third brother, Clarence was in the service also.
     Jesse owned a syrup mill.  He made his syrup and then the people in the community would bring their cane and Jesse would make the syrup. 
     Someone would feed each stalk into the mill that would squeeze the juice into a barrel.  A horse would go around making the mill work.  Then the juice was taken into the cooking room and there, Jesse would cook it into syrup.
     Jesse was getting older and couldn’t do the farming so he built a little log store across the road from his house.  He stayed in business for about 2 years before he went broke.  People just wouldn’t pay their bills.
     Jesse was all for progression.  He was the first to get a telephone and he had carbide lights put in the house.
    With all the children around, the house was always full.  He would have parties, dances and gatherings of all kinds.  People would bring a basket lunch and they would eat and visit.  Clarence and his family came to live with Jesse and Lizzie in 1935.  They lived in the house with them.
     The missionaries would come and conduct meetings.  It wasn’t long until a small church was built.  It didn’t last long because they didn’t have enough leaders to carry on the responsibilities.
     Jesse got sick and decided to retire.  When he reached 65 years old he received his old age pension.  After he retired Jesse and Lizzie would go visit their children.  They would stay a few weeks at each place.
     Jesse came from a family of 7 boys and 1 girl:  Isaac, William Wert, James Jackson, Mary Jane, Thomas Jesse, Charles Franklin, David, and Willis Andrew.
     Lizzie came from a family of 5 boys and 4 girls: Mary Ann Elizabeth, James David George Washington, Elizabeth Amanda Jane (Lizzie Annie), Lugenia, William Henry, Laura Ann Lucinda, John Emery A. P., Charles Thomas, Perry Daniel.
     A reunion was organized in 1938.  They had one every year except during World War II.  This was the best way to keep in touch with everyone.
     On a visit to Noah Lee’s, Jesse helped to build a back porch.  Agnes had a bad spell of asthma and Noah Lee had taken her to her sister’s house in Dallas.  The higher climate helped her to breathe better.  After completing the porch, Noah Lee went fishing on the river with friends.  That night Doris got real nervous and Lizzie got up to quiet her.  While she was in the room with Doris, Jesse started coughing.  Lizzie went back to help Jesse get to the back porch thinking he needed more air.  Lizzie called Alice and Doris to run get Emory Odom.  He lived up the road about a quarter mile away.  The girls ran every step of the way, in the dark, and told Emory to come.  The girls beat Emory back to the house even though he came in a car.  Emory lifted Jesse and put him on the bed.  He was already dead.  Someone went to get Noah Lee.  Two days later Noah Lee hauled the casket in the back of his truck to the Fairview Cemetery where there was a graveside service.  He died 27 April 1938 at the Williamson Settlement.
     The next winter the old home burned.  Lizzie was at Glady’s just a short ways down the road.  Lizzie just sat and cried and watched it burn.  Everything was lost.  Clarence then built a house on the same spot for his family.
     Now her husband was gone and her home burned she just lived with her children.  She would to to those who needed her,  On her visits she enjoyed doing the patching.  I’m sure some just waited their turn to get the patching done.  She loved to piece quilts and wait on the sick.  She enjoyed going to the store and buying groceries and coming back and cook it.  She was a good cook.  She loved to go fishing on the creek.
     While she was at Rosie Mae’s, Rosie Mae’s son, Willard, was studying about pioneer times.  Lizzie went to Willard’s class and showed them how to card cotton.  The children sat around her on the floor and watched.
     Lizzie’s birthdays were always celebrated.  On her 80th birthday she was at her daughter’s Nena Fay’s.
     Lizzie would go see Gladys and cook the meals while Gladys and Lee tended the 9,000 chickens.s
     While she was at Rosie Mae’s she got sick.  Noah Lee came to get her to take her to the hospital.  They were going to operate to remove the gall bladder but she went into shock.  The doctor said she would die on the operating table; so the children decided to let her go home.  Gladys took her home with her.  About 2 weeks later she died on 16 March 1959 at Tyler County Hospital in Woodville, Texas.
     Her funeral was held at the Fairview Baptist Church.  Elder Rex Kennerly, Branch President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints conducted the service.
    Jesse and Lizzie had good times with the hard times, but left a legacy of good memories never to be forgotten,
We hope by writing this story, that their posterity will have the desire to get better acquainted with their roots.  The family unit is very important to us all.

Sina Agnes Thompson Crosby

Sina Agnes Thompson Crosby
       (a brief sketch of her life by Juanita Crosby Bobo)

On the 23 of  May 1905, Sina Agnes was born to Jack Hansford Thompson and Sina Cole.  She was the third child.  She was born in the Williamson Settlement, named for her great grandfather, William Williamson who migrated and settled that section of Orange County, Texas.  Everybody called her Agnes. When Agnes was old enough to go to school she had to walk 2 1/2 miles to school.  It was a hard walk, but it got easier when her brother Cole started school and could mind the Brahma cows off them.   

She loved to read and shared this love with her father.  Sometimes his love of reading was a real trial to his wife as he was prone to let work slide just to read.  After his death in April of 1915, Agnes was forbidden to read so much.  Sometimes her mother would find her reading and burn her books.  Life was hard for the family after the death of her father because her mother had to make a living for a large family of 8 children.  But Agnes managed to finish the 10th grade of school.

Noah Lee Crosby
Agnes met her future husband at the Pine Forest School and they were married on December 17, 1922.  They were married standing on the front porch of her mother's house.  Noah Lee Crosby was his name.  He came from a farming family that lived in Tyler County, Texas.   

For the first years of their married life they moved around while Noah Lee farmed on shares.  Juanita was born to them on  October 7, 1923 at Agnes' mother's home.  Ouida Audrey was born there too on  January 16, 1925.  Agnes wanted to name the little girl Alice,  but other people won her over  to agree to Ouida Audrey.  Evidently it was against her will as the child was and is still called Alice.  When Ouida was born Agnes was at her mother's in Orange County.  When she knew it was time, her mother Sina Thompson went to get the woman to act as midwife.  But the old Model-T Ford had a flat.  In a great hurry, Sina fixed the flat and finally got off.  When she returned with the midwife the baby had been born. On  May 7, 1926 Doris Elizabeth was born.  At this time they were living in Tyler County and her mother-in-law Lizzie Annie Odom Crosby acted as midwife.  Agnes had her children rather fast when she started so she knew that it wouldn't be long, but her mother-in-law knew that those things took a lot of time. 
Noah Lee and Sina Agnes with their three oldest children, Juanita, Alice, and Doris (right to left).

She made a pot of coffee and got out her Bible to read to pass the time away until time to deliver the baby.  Agnes tried to tell her different, but she wouldn't listen so the baby was born almost unattended.  Doris was a big fat baby.   About two weeks after  the birth of Doris her brother Milton died.  He was epileptic and was in a home for the sick when he died.

During all her life, Agnes had asthma.  It was becoming much worse and quite a drain seeing so many doctors and trying everything for relief.  So in 1929, the family decided that they would try a different climate. They packed up and started for Utah with a double purpose, a different climate for Agnes and to go to the Temple in Salt Lake City.  Agnes's mother was a member of the church but when she married, Jack Hansford was very prejudiced and refused to have to do anything with the Mormon Elders.  After his death in 1915, Sina wanted her children to be baptized.  As she was a widow her bachelor brother, Isma came to live with her.  He also had been baptized but had turned away from the church.  When Agnes was considering being baptized her uncle came to her privately and told her that if she was baptized then the Mormon Elder would take her back to Utah to be one of his many wives.

On the way to Utah the family traveled and worked when they ran out of money.  All of the household goods were packed in the back of the car and a feather mattress was placed on top where the three little girls rode.  It was a hard life but the family always managed to get by.  Agnes's health did improve.  In their travels, they went back to Texas for a brief visit and returned to Utah. Noah Lee's sister, Gladys, and her family joined them for awhile but did not like that way of life so she returned to Texas.  Agnes's sister,  Camellia joined them for a short while in Provo, Utah while they picked fruit for Mr. Payne.  It was time to get the children in school so Noah Lee decided that he had better settle down.  Agnes's health was better so they went back to Texas.  There on June 13, 1931 in the home of her sister Mamie Christman, her fourth child and first boy was born.  He was named Gary Wayne.  After working a few years at public works.  Noah Lee decided that he was still a farmer and so with 5 cows he started a small dairy farm in Willimson Settlement in Orange County, Texas.  So, after about ten years of moving around, Agnes was back where she started from.  The dairy farm grew from small to large with all the family working to make it successful.  On April 11, 1940 a baby girl, Callie, was born to Agnes.  This was her last child and a very beautiful one.  It was necessary for Agnes to deliver milk house to house in a truck. So she had to take Callie, short for Caroline, with her on her rounds.  Most of the customers made a big fuss over the pretty baby but she remained unspoiled by it all.
Agnes with one of the dairy cows.

In 1943 Noah Lee was appointed to fill the unexpired term of the county commissioner.  Agnes was rather upset by all this as she was by nature very shy and hard to get to know.  Most people thought that she was rather unfriendly but it was nothing else but shyness and an inferiority complex.  When it came  election time Noah Lee decided to run for the job he had by appointment.  On election day Agnes literally took to the woods.  She went off by herself and remained all day so she would not even have to vote.  Noah Lee was elected and as long as he remained in public office Agnes very seldom accompanied him to any official function or gave any indication that she approved of what he was doing.  But secretly, she was proud of her husband, that he seemed to be well liked by everyone.  But life for Sina had not been easy, living with a man who began to expand  in the company of a crowd when for her, it actually hurt to meet strangers and when your husband had no sympathy with such feelings.  Noah often laughed or scolded her for having such a shy demeanor.
      In 1948 Agnes and her family moved to Vidor to be closer to Noah Lee's job, having sold the dairy the year before.  Here, she had a small but new home that she could putter around in and grow her flowers.  Her health was not so good having undergone a major operation the year before.

In the meantime Doris had married Lyle Tregaskis whom she met while going to Brigham Young University and Juanita and family had moved to Provo, Utah where her husband Boyd Bobo was attending school.  Then Wayne went to Utah to go to school and was called to fill a mission for the church.  So as Noah Lee was no longer in public office and as an answer to the prayers of Agnes, they moved to Provo, Utah.  This was in 1951,  the very first day they were in Provo Noah Lee went out to the local steel plant to apply for a job.  He never thought that he would be hired due to his age and having been in a serious car accident the year before,  but he was hired that very day and they bought a home.  At this time Agnes is living in Orem , Utah.  All her children  are married and she has 13 grandchildren--January 1957.

Sina Thompson

By Camellia T. Denys-1968

     Mama was an earthy person, very plain spoken, a pioneer woman in every sense of the word.  She lived a generation too late for her time, though she did not know it: at least the modern ways never cramped her style.  She was strong and dominant of character, and had the greatest physical stamina of any woman I ever knew.  She could easily have pushed a handcart across the plains, laughing and joking all the way, and danced by the campfire at night.

     It was a marvel the way she could organize her time, even a week in advance.  She knew how much work she could accomplish in so many hours; and if necessary, the oil lamp burned late at night.....sometimes all night.  Mama believed in working hard--with the emphasis on the HARD.  She taught us to finish any job we ever started and to take care of the tools we used, whether it was a fine needle, kitchen utensils or outdoor implements.  Nothing useful was ever thrown away.  "Willful waste makes woeful want," she used to say.

     Her pride and joy was her yard, an acre of ground covered with various plants.  Landscape for balance or beauty was not a consideration.  Each specimen was simply put in the spot where it would grow best.  Mama had a passion for all living plants. Each day she fought the enemies of her flowers.  In Texas, it was Bermuda grass which spread like wildfire in the moist ground;  in Utah, she dug out and piled up the "infernal rocks."  Fresh vegetables, of course, were always plentiful from her garden.  Every one of her fingers was a green thumb.

     After digging in the good earth with her hands, it was time to settle down to more intricate work.  My mother had a rare artistic talent inherited from a French grandmother, Joissine Desmaret Williamson.  French women were noted for their delicate work with the needle, and Mama learned early.  She could do the finest stitches and had an eye for blending colors and patterns for quilt tops.  Then followed the most painstaking work---quilting on each side of a tiny, one-inch square.  She would put anywhere from six to ten spools of thread (300 yards to a spool) in a bedspread size quilt.  when removed from the frames, these quilts became heirlooms, because they could not be duplicated.

The wealthy women of Beamont, Texas, heard of her work.  Mama put exquisite stitches on fifty quilts for one woman alone.  She also crocheted many beautiful bedspreads.  Her hooked rugs were done in wool, some as large as eight by twelve feet.  Old clothing had to be cut in strips and rolled in balls preparatory to rug making.  I can never remember when a rug or quilt was not up in the house.  Mama supported her family with a hook and a needle.  Many were the prizes from State Fairs and other exhibits.

     Mama loved people, especially common people.  She was gay and happy when visitors came.  She would laugh at any old joke until tears ran down her cheeks.  Stories of old friends or relatives were particularly amusing to her.  Yet we who lived with her moods every day knew how much she worried.  The deep lines in her face attested to that fact.

     Her life was a hard one.  It began on Halloween night in 1884 as the eighth child of Absalom and Millie (Williamson) Cole.  Her birthplace, in "Cole's Settlement", was located in the southern part of Jasper County, near the Orange county line in Texas.  Her grandparents, William and Joissine (Desmaret) Williamson had settled in Orange County, just two or three miles south.

     The two room, peeled pine log house, had been built by her Uncle Josh Cole about 1850.  Mud mixed with Spanish moss gathered from the trees, was used for the chimney.  The flooring consisted of small poles nailed to larger logs.  The bed legs fit into the "ruts" of the pole floor.  Sina slept in a cradle made by Absalom and used by each of his children until the next one arrived to claim the little bed.  Rocking across the pole floor would lull them to sleep.

     A year long illness as a small child prompted an old doctor to prescribe the use of tobacco.  Her Mother and Pappy smoked, so they fixed a little clay pipe with a reed for the stem.  The working men in the logging crews nearby would buy tobacco just to see her puff on the little pipe.  But, Sina got to smoking in bed and her mother, fearful she would set the house on fire said,"If you will quit smoking, I will too."  Sina took the two pipes and threw them in a mud hole in back of their house.
Sina is on the right with her pipe.

     When six years of age, Sina walked about three miles to the Palmetto school, located on the Gist road in Jasper County.  Mr. White, her first teacher had students ranging from age six to twenty years old in a one room log house.  He gave her a little brown jug, which she kept all her life.  She was so small, the older children would tie her up in a bandana handkerchief, put it on a stick, and carry her across their shoulders.  Many times the children had to take off their shoes and roll up their long drawers to wade high water going to school.  There was always danger of snake bites and of wild cattle on the open range.  The remedy for snake bite was chewed up strong tobacco to make a poultice, and to soak it in coal oil. But, the Palmetto school house was burned down by Frederick Burrell, father of John, Nathan and Marion, because the teacher would not let his boys chew tobacco and spit it out the window.

     Sina relates, "We drank the creek water near the school.  I can still remember the awful taste of the water--and shudder!  The boys were always killing snakes around the creek.  They were big, fat cottonmouth and copperhead moccasins, ground rattlers plus other harmless kinds.  Snakes were a real danger on the wet ground and in the high grass and bushes on the trails.  We carried our lunch in a one gallon syrup bucket.  All the children in a family would eat out of the same pail.  There would be beans, sweet potatoes, fried bacon and cane syrup in a jar, home-made biscuits or cornbread.

     Sitting in a peach tree, Sina had a bird's eye view of her Uncle Jasper's wedding.  Just as the knot was tied, the porch fell down from the weight of the many wedding guests.  

 She was a pert, small girl with dark hair and sparkling, brown eyes.  The social life centered around the community school house.  Programs and plays, Church Revivals and dances were held there.  This is what she loved to do as a young girl - DANCE!

     From Mormon Elders Frank Knowlton and Ralph Boyack, as recorded in their journals:  "This week we witnessed a Texas Dance.  It was something to watch them dance and hear their calls....They waltz quick around the room.....All seem to have a good time."

     Sina was not allowed to go with anyone but her brothers to the dances but, would meet lively fellows there.  One was Cefus Flurry (Uncle Cef, we called him).  Another was "Bouquet Bill" Williams; nicknamed because he always came courting Louisa with a bouquet of flowers in his hand.  "When she married Hamp Gentry then , he came after me but, I was not interested.  I went with "Ole rice Farming Johnson"(can't remember his first name).  He was young and good looking but, I had met a handsome man at one of the dances," admits Sina.

Hansford Jackson Thompson, the "handsome young man".