It Is About What They Can Become

“He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” ~ Psalm 1:3, The Holy Bible

Today’s blog post theme is ‘tree’. I knew right away what I wanted to write about and that’s actual TREES! A little side note about the verse above, there’s an old hymn that was one of Bart’s favorites when we attended Poynor Baptist Church. I found the version below on Youtube. I don’t think I’ll ever find a version like the one we sang at that church but here’s a link to one that’s close:

Johnny Cash- I Shall Not Be Moved

(In case you’re a statistics nerd: this is the second day in a row Johnny Cash has been featured in a blog post.)

The Heritage Tree

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” ~ Proverbs 13:12, The Holy Bible

I recently blogged a little about a trip I took in 2011 to the Boston, Massachusetts area. (See the post on the Salem witch trials here.) While in Massachusetts I was going through an ancestral chart on Ancestry that listed a lineage showing the ENDICOTT family as our ancestors. A quick search on Google showed that in Danvers, Massachusetts (near Salem) was a pear tree that was several hundred years old and was brought over to the USA by the original ENDICOTT immigrant ancestor. I went to Danvers and photographed the tree.

Endicott pear tree.

I later learned there was a whole society devoted to this tree and that they had a project going to keep the tree alive. Part of the project was grafts from the tree that they sent out to members who could then grow a descendant pear tree. All of this was an effort to continue the legacy of the tree. My parents and I got two successful grafts from the pear tree and they are growing in my orchard and doing well. Subsequent research has shown that the genealogy on that particular line was incorrect. Genealogy (especially from the early years of this country) seems to be somewhat cyclical so it’s quite possible that even though that line was incorrect and did not ultimately lead to the ENDICOTT family, a future line will lead back to them. So until a connection shows up in future research I will keep nursing the trees and hope they produce fruit. If it turns out that we simply aren’t connected to them, well then I have a very unique tree with a great history and it’s a unique memento of one of the best vacations I ever took.

My Endicott pear tree.

Granny and the Chinquapin Nuts

When I was young (elementary school-aged) I was staying with Granny BATES one day and we went for a walk. She picked up a couple of Chinquapin hickory nuts off the side of the road and told me about Chinquapin trees and how she hardly ever saw any anymore because a disease had come through and killed them all. She cracked one open and we ate it. I don’t really remember how it tasted, I just remember her talking about how sweet the “chinky pins” tasted. I kept the extra nuts in a drawer for a long time. (Yikes- I might have a “saving” problem!) I even took them to school for show-and-tell. I never saw a Chinquapin hickory after that until I was an adult. Bart and I like to plant unique trees and we were talking about a project where we could preserve a native species. I told him the story about Granny and the Chinquapin hickory nuts and we decided that was the project we wanted to take on. We ordered 5 Chinquapin hickory seeds from Ozark Chinquapin Society and planted them in honor of Granny’s 100th birthday. The seedlings didn’t make it. My dad has since tried. He gave two of the seedlings to my brother and sister-in-law, gave two to me and kept one in the hopes that one of our trees would survive. Once again- mine didn’t do so well (unless, of course, they sprout up next summer and surprise me). I hope they do. I’d love to have some Chinquapins growing here again.

Granny and I at her 100th birthday party.

While We’re Talking About Chinquapins…

“For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoot will not cease.” ~ Job 14:7, The Holy Bible

Speaking of Chinquapins, Bart and I saw a huge Chinquapin Oak tree this fall when we were traveling in Georgia. The tree was at Tunnel Hill, Georgia and it was so old th guide said it would have been there during the Civil War when my 3rd great-grandparents- John and Mary (MOBLEY) BATES lived in that area. She allowed us to take a few acorns off the tree and we are going to try to sprout them and grow trees from the nuts.

Me at Chinquapin Oak

The Orchard

“And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” ~ Genesis 1:29, The Holy Bible

Bart and I have a small orchard. I love that orchard. We order heirloom trees from Trees of Antiquity. The quality of their trees is excellent and I love that they carry varieties that are very old. They try to keep these old varieties from becoming extinct. One year I chose an Arkansas Black apple tree in honor of my 2nd great-grandfather, George BATES, who had an apple orchard in Arkansas at the time he filed his Homestead Entry file.

Homestead Entry file document for George BATES.

It seems like Granny always had an apple tree wherever she lived. If I’m not mistaken, the tree behind Uncle Butch in the photo below is her apple tree on the place that is now Junior Anderson’s outside Southwest City, Missouri.

The “Maker” Trees

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise.” Proverbs 11:30, The Holy Bible

My Dad (Roy DRAKE), brother Jared, and nephew Patrick, have used trees from my Papa (Eugene) DRAKE’s and great-grandfather Mark DRAKE’s old home places to make things like pens and other woodturned items. My husband cut a huge burl from an old tree on our place hoping that Dad can find some time to practice turning a bowl. Dad has made Christmas ornaments, bats, gavels, and other things out of the trees that have been cut. He does a great job!

Mechelle’s gavel

My sister-in-law Becky and I have made jellies and syrup from tree fruits/nuts. One year I picked the blossoms off our Redbud trees and gave them to Becky. She made them into Redbud Jelly. (It tastes a lot like grape jelly, in case you’re wondering. Very delicious!) I’ve helped make a couple of batches of hickory syrup and in fact, I have a pint sitting on my kitchen table ready to send to a friend in exchange for the maple syrup she sent to me one year. My friend, Kendra, and her husband tap their maple trees up north and make their own syrup. It’s heavenly! Bart and I enjoy foraging together. This year we dug up some Sassafras root for tea and picked/dried some Sassafras leaves for filé powder so we can try Filé Gumbo. We also picked up Black Walnuts but it didn’t appear to be a very good year for walnuts. In fact, it wasn’t really a good year for most wild trees and plants. I’ve even foraged juniper berries and used them in a roast. We love to try new things like that.

I Just Love Trees!

“…Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy…” ~ Psalm 96:12, The Holy Bible

Recently the weather has been windy and I’ve enjoyed hearing the wind blow through the leaves and branches. It’s a soothing sound. The solitude and peace out here in the woods is refreshing. Take some time this week to walk through the forest and enjoy the peace and quiet. It’s good for the soul.

P.S.- If you’re a Christian, you have this glorious tree to look forward to. I can’t wait to see it, too.

“Through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” ~ Revelation 22:2, The Holy Bible

Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

Sunday Scribe- Tool

Today’s theme for @genealogyphoto is ‘tool’. I chose to go with the definition of ‘tool’ as a device utilized in the practice of a profession (per Merriam-Webster online).

My tool of choice:

An Underwood manual typewriter.

This was the tool of a writer. This one belongs to me now. It used to belong to my dad. He wrote many papers on it. He wrote his masters thesis and many other papers on it when he was getting his bachelors and masters degrees. His doctoral thesis was typed on a computer. It was the first of his papers ever done on a computer. You can find his doctoral thesis paper in the archives at the University of Arkansas and you could even order a copy of it online here if you wanted to:

University of Arkansas Library Archives
My dad’s doctoral thesis: The effect of nonverbal communication training on self-esteem, anxiety and locus of control/ by Roy E. Drake

In my high school years I had an Apple IIE computer for writing papers at home but mostly I just used pen/pencil and paper back then. The IIE was for playing Conan the Barbarian or Oregon Trail (which I sucked at).

An Apple IIE desktop computer circa 1987.

After I married I used an electric typewriter and then in the late 1990’s I got a desktop PC to use. Sometime after moving back to Oklahoma, I moved to laptop computers. In 2009 I did a writing challenge and completed a stage play script on my laptop. I was so proud of that script because it was a completed project. The title of the play was Victory. Shortly after I completed the script (and before I printed it off), my laptop crashed and took my play with it. I wasn’t feeling very victorious. Since then I’ve only completed blog posts and I post those shorty after writing them. I haven’t had any major losses of blog posts. (Knock on wood.) In addition, I’ve come to love external drives.

I’m typing this blog post on my trusty (and old) Toshiba laptop. I’ve had this one since 2012 when my last laptop crashed- which just happened to be right after I started working on my comprehensive final exam paper for my masters degree (and I had less than a week to complete the 20-page exam paper). This one’s pretty banged up. My laptops tend to show wear since I take them with me everywhere.

I still write a lot with pencil/pen and paper despite having laptops. Sometimes you just need to feel pencil on paper. There are lots of tools that writers use today but my laptop is my favorite. We’ve come a long way since Underwood typewriters. I’m glad. Even so, I hope to refurbish that Underwood one day.

Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

Flawless Friday: Weathered- A Worn Bible Equals a Life Well-Weathered

It’s Friday. The photo/blog challenge theme of the day is ‘weathered’. I love these challenges. I’ve told my SIL, Becky, before that we could be given the same ancestor and the same theme and never come up with the same or similar blog post. I love that. I think that’s one of my favorite things about these challenges is seeing where the theme took her versus where it took me. You can read her ‘weathered’ blog post here.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105, The Holy Bible


That’s what I want- a life that is steady in the word of God no matter what life brings me. In the past, a family’s Bible reflected how much time they spent in the word. Today we have digital Bibles and, I confess, that’s mostly what I use now. It’s not the same as my physical Bible, though.

My Bible I received as a gift in anticipation of my high school graduation. My then-pastor, Les OSBURN, gave it to me.

This Bible has seen me through so much and sadly, it doesn’t look worn enough. This Bible was mine when I got married, when I had my children, and through all the many problems life brings. It also saw me through my successes- graduations, births of children, marriages of children, births of grandchildren, a million things that gave me joy in my life. It has been my companion for three decades. It’s well-traveled, having been to almost every state I’ve been to and even went to school with me when I was in high school. This Bible has been chewed on the corners by our puppy. It’s had pages torn and ripped out by my children (and probably a couple of grandchildren). Pages are highlighted, corners folded over- all the highlights of use and study. Lots of things are tucked in there- photographs, church bulletins, sermon notes. There were times in my life that were so scary I’ve gone to sleep with my Bible on my chest and my arms folded across it. It’s been to the hospital with me when I had a brain tumor removed. It’s been pretty much everywhere with me. My Bible should be more weathered than it is. I have purchased new Bibles over the years and now have a digital Bible, but this Bible- this one is mine and the one that I love most.


My great-grandma, Edith HUBBARD, had a Bible. Like me, she lost a son. It is said of her that she read her Bible every single day of her life without fail. When she heard her son had been in a bad car wreck she was down on her knees praying hard for his life right up until the moment they told her he had died. My heart knows why her Bible looks like it does, with no cover and tattered with use. Her Bible and in turn, her life, was well-weathered.

Edith HUBBARD’s Bible


My granny, Jessie BATES, had a large Bible on her table and also a Bible for reading. I never saw her reading the Bible and I never knew her to go to church. She was a good grandmother. Very loving and kind. She also lost a child. I can’t imagine that a person can go 8 decades without her son and never pray to God for guidance, help, or comfort. Especially while still retaining such a sweet spirit as my granny had.

Jessie BATES’ Bible- reading size.

Jessie BATES’ Bible- table size.


This is my mam’s Bible. All my childhood I attended church alongside her every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. I watched her help raise four of her grandchildren and care for my grandfather as he died from cancer. She helped care for elderly relatives as they lived out their final days and years. I know she prayed fervently and often and always read her Bible. Her Bible is definitely worn and indicative of a life well-weathered. It is missing it’s front cover.

Audrey DRAKE’s Bible


My parents, Roy and Kay, took me to church from the time I was born- every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night- and any other time the church doors were open. They made sure I was raised to know God and to love Him and I’m so grateful for that. I probably would have been a wild child if they hadn’t taken me to church early and often! I know they prayed often and always read their Bibles. They’ve had many Bibles over the years but these are ones they owned early in their lives.

Both Roy and Kay DRAKE’s Bibles


My kids had Bibles from the time they were old enough to carry one around. They wore their early Bibles out. I’m quite certain that the last time I saw those Bibles they didn’t have covers and the spines were separating from the books. They also had tiny little pocket New Testaments. Derek’s was given away years ago to a homeless man in Boise, Idaho. Shaina’s is packed away. I also have a tiny pocket New Testament packed away somewhere that belonged to me when I was young. Somewhere packed away I’m sure we also have my husband’s old Bible. These Bibles are worn with use and we’ve gotten new Bibles over the years. I don’t have pictures of any of these Bibles so I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it. Derek’s favorite story when he was a child was in Judges 3 where Eglon, King of Moab, was stabbed by Ehud. He loved the battles in the Old Testament. Shaina’s favorite story was the story of Esther.

Derek and Shaina as children


“A Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone that isn’t.”– Charles Spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon was one of my son’s favorite preachers. He is very good and I highly recommend listening to his sermons if you get a chance. You can find them in various places on the internet including, Sermon Audio, and Spurgeon Gems. Google his name and you will likely find more. He is called “Prince of Preachers”.

I’d love to see photos of your Bible. Show me your Bible-proof of a life that has been “well-weathered”. Tell me your favorite verse or favorite Bible story. Show me photos of your family Bibles and tell me their stories. I’m looking forward to it.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3: 16-17, The Holy Bible

Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

Memorial Day Military Roll Call

This is my Memorial Day 2015 Military Roll Call.  I'm only listing direct ancestors.  If I missed anyone, please feel free to leave a comment or message me.  I did not list cousins, uncles or anyone not in my direct line so if you wish to add yourself or someone that is not in my direct line- feel free to leave a comment or message me.  Happy Memorial Day and don't forget:

DRAKE Family:
Vietnam:  Roy Drake
Civil War: Sanders Littrell           
                Joseph Larkin
                Bartlett Underwood
                Quincy Bell
Mexican-American:  Ervin Drake
Revolution:  Aquilla Greer

Also don't want to forget my son-in-law who served: Timothy Easter

BATES Family:
Spanish-American:  William Riter
Civil War:  John Bates
                James Bullock
                Charles Seely
                John Davis
                Jefferson Latty
War of 1812:  Frederick Foster
                    Benjamin White
Revolution:  William Chenoweth

Bart WILLIAMS' Family:
Korean:  Bart Williams Sr.
Civil War:  Frances DeWitt
                Richard DeWitt
                William Page
War of 1812:  Isaac DeWitt
Revolution:  Peter DeWitt

~Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

Black Blizzards- The Second Dust Bowl, Abilene, Texas, 1954-1957

The Dust Bowl has always captured my attention and I especially love a well written novel set in that era such as Karen Hesse’s Out of the Dust. My ancestors seem to have (thankfully) missed the “black blizzards” (huge, black dust clouds) that rolled across the Great Plains during the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s.

Photograph courtesy of

When the black blizzards rolled through it blocked out everything – even the sun. This photo was taken at 3:00 in the afternoon on Black Sunday in 1935:

Photograph courtesy of

You can see a video recreation of black blizzards at

In the 1930’s President Roosevelt ordered the Civilian Conservation Corps to plant a “belt of more than 200 million trees from Canada to Abilene Texas, to break the wind, hold water in the soil, and hold the soil itself in place.” ( This did not stop the black blizzards from returning in the 1950’s although it did lessen their intensity. (

My grandparents- Eugene and Audrey DRAKE- and their children lived in Abilene, Texas during the mid-1950’s when the area had a revival of dust storms reminiscent of the 1930’s Dust Bowl storms. My dad was very young at that time. However, he can recall the black blizzards rolling through. He said when they hit, you couldn’t see anything around you. Everyone rushed into their homes and began stuffing wet rags into every crack and crevice possible to keep the dust out. If a crack was missed, dust poured into the home. Even with the wet rags in place, the dust was still a problem. It was like a black wall rolling toward you when the black blizzards rolled in.

1950’s Abilene, Texas

In the 1950’s, Abilene was a dry city so there would not have been any bars there. The Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra gave it’s first concert in 1950 and fine arts groups were active there during this time period. The city boasted a professional baseball team- The Blue Sox- which was associated with the Brooklyn Dodgers and operated in Abilene until 1957. Major employers in the area included the railroad and the military bases. In 1953, Abilene schools were still segregated. ( This was the environment in which my dad lived and attended school in Abilene from 1954-1957. He went to school there between his 5th and 8th grade years. He does not remember the elementary school he attended. He said at that time the family lived on North 11th Street in Abilene and they were close enough to the school that he walked to school. I was unable to tell by looking online (especially being unfamiliar with the area) which elementary school he might have attended. He does remember attending North Junior High.

In addition to living on North 11th Street, the family also lived on Burger Street in Abilene.

He was very self-conscious and felt out of place being from the country and now attending school in a city. However, he said he was well-liked and remembers being invited, accepted, and involved in school social and academic pursuits while he was there. Financially, life was very difficult. One of his prized possessions was the 1957 school yearbook his mom saved up to buy for him.

Here he is in 7th grade, 1956-57 at North Junior High:

He was in Mrs. Boyland’s Homeroom 4. Here is Mrs. Boyland in the 1956-57 school year:

The Principal that year was J. M. Anthony. He struck fear in students at North Junior High.

Dad’s favorite teacher that year was the pretty Miss Cole, English teacher:

Outside of North Junior High, the drought raged on in Texas. In regard to the drought, one farmer had these things to say, “…the biggest difference was that in the `30s, it broke people financially. But the 1950s broke them spiritually.” Water arrived in town periodically in tanks on the back of trucks and people rushed to get it. One state official wrote a letter to his peer in July 1950 saying that residents in Abilene were accusing the government officials of being communists, presumably in response to the water shortage issues and other drought-related problems. 1951, 1954, and 1956 were in the top 10 of driest years on record in Texas. Crops wouldn’t grow, ponds dried up, and the ground was so dry it had 6-inch open cracks. (

In the 1954-56 time period, San Angelo newspapers reported up to 70 mile per hour wind gusts causing horrible dust storms which killed people, uprooted trees, damaged property and crops, and killed livestock; wind spreading fires that destroyed buildings; wind gusts that blew down walls; and, horrific vehicle accidents caused by low visibility due to the dust in the air. At points there was zero visibility due to the dust blizzards. Instead of finding rain in their rain gauges, residents found inches of dust. The storms were often very fast moving leaving little time to take cover.
( The drought finally broke early in 1957. That was also the year Gene and Audrey and their family moved out of Texas for the final time.

In researching my family’s stay in Abilene, I found two reasons why my grandparents chose Abilene as a residence. My father told me they went there to try and get better jobs and have a better financial situation. In addition to that information, I found a newspaper article on that helped explain what drew my family specifically to Abilene versus another city. Audrey’s brother, Ralph, moved to that area in 1953 with his wife. Their brother, Carl, was also living there. It’s quite possible that the deciding factor in favor of Abilene was that there were close family members there. You can read about the article I found in my blog post at Days of Our Lives: Close to Home, Close to the Heart, Part 2 beginning at the section heading, “Carolyn Bennett”.

I’m glad my family had that time with other family members but I’m very thankful they moved back here to Oklahoma where my parents married and created my family. Life could easily have turned out so differently. I try to be thankful for every turn mine has taken.

Remember this coming week to treasure family and love each other. For more genealogy goodness, click on over to my Sister-In-Law’s blog at Down in the Root Cellar where she is participating in the same genealogy blog challenge I’m doing this year.

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

Close to Home, Close to the Heart- Part 2

There were a couple of late entries for stories about Uncle David so I thought I would do a mid-week post. Included in this post is an article I recently found that mentioned my Aunt Carol so I thought I would include it as well.

After publishing the previous blog post, my cousin said he remembered the long drives from Iowa back to Oklahoma that his family made when his dad wanted to go fishing with David. He remembers his dad and David shooting at snakes while the kids swam. Troy and David would sit on the bank fishing while the kids swam and they would shoot at the occasional snake they saw in the water.

Memory is a strange and unpredictable thing. After reading the previous blog post, David’s sister Kay commented that she must have been wrong about David enlisting at such a young age. David was actually 17 years old when he enlisted.

David’s brother-in-law, Roy, remembers going noodling with David over in the Disney-Tiajuana, Oklahoma (Delaware/Mayes County), area when they closed the spillways on the dam. They took a gunny sack to put the fish in. Roy caught some fish and put them in the gunny sack but David made him take them back out and throw them back because David said they were too small. Afterward, David regretted that because they didn’t get too many fish that day. Roy commented that David always knew when they were going to close the spillways and he could go fishing. Overall, everyone commented how much David loved fishing. Here is a photo from the GRDA website showing the Pensacola spillway gates:

Photo found at

My Aunt Carolyn passed away a few years ago. Yesterday I was doing genealogical research on and came across a newspaper article that mentioned her. The article was from the morning edition of the Abilene Reporter-News (Abilene, Texas- Taylor and Jones Counties) dated 14 October 1954. Below is a transcription of the relevant portions of the article:

Tuscola Residents Visits in Missouri
“TUSCOLA, October 13 (RNS)- Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Larkin and children, and his brother, Carl Larkin, visited in Southwest, Mo. with Mrs. Gene Drake, sister of Ralph and Carl, and her family. They were accompanied home by Mrs. Drake and her daughter, Carolyn, who visited the Larkins and the N. J. MINITRA family.”

The Ralph LARKIN mentioned here is not our great-grandfather but rather his and Bess’ son, Ralph LARKIN, JR.. Ralph, Carl, and Audrey were siblings. I have no idea what connection the MINITRA family had to ours.

I love that old newspapers include gossip sections like this. They hold interesting information on our ancestor’s lives that can help us place them in a certain location at a certain time. This article also helps explain why Gene and Audrey moved back and forth between McDonanld County, Missouri, and Abilene, Texas, several times between 1954 and 1957. An article similar to this one that was published in 1953 helped explain why Ralph LARKIN, JR. moved to Abilene, Texas. It stated that his then-wife was a long-time resident of the area and her family still lived there.

Until this weekend,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives