Tag Archives: family history

My stories: Week ending Jan. 9

10 Jan

Sometimes I write things for St. Louis Public Radio. Here’s what I wrote this week.

Family secrets: Weddings

12 Sep

This is the newspaper story about my great-grandparents’ wedding:

A Sad Honeymoon

Friends have just learned of the marriage of Miss Bessie Hazel Hoskins to Mr Clarence Samual Fulerson on the twenty-fifth of January. Both are young people of near Trenton and the ceremony was performed by Justice F.S Olyer of Brimson.

A great deal of romance is interwoven with this wedding. The bridegroom procured the license on January 13, and during the days intervening (and long before) the bride was being carefully watched by the members of her family to prevent the wedding Finally on the 25th a sister of the groom succeeded in getting the two young couple together long enough to have the ceremony performed. But again the parents of the bride interfered and although the couple were married they have not been allowed to see each other since the day of the wedding. Mr. and Mrs. Fulkrson are both of age and have been sweethearts for a number of years.

The announcement was published a week after they married. (The typos are original — not my doing.) I’m not sure when the couple was allowed to see each other again, but I’d guess it was soon after the paper hit the front porch.

This is the newspaper story about my grandparents’ wedding :

Fulkerson-Spillman wedding announced

Announcements are being received this week of the marriage of Miss Celia Fulkerson, Jamesport, Mo., to Mr. Grimes Spillman, Jamesport, Mo., on Dec. 13, 1948, at the Methodist Parsonage, Ridgeway, Mo., by the Rev. W.H. Ezell.

Miss Fulkerson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Fulkerson is a graduate of the Trenton High School and Platt-Gard Business University, St. Joseph, Mo., and for the past six years has been employed by the Prudential Insurance Co. in Chillicothe, Mo.

Mr. Spillman is a son of Mr. and Mrs. A.V. Spillman of Jamesport and is a graduate of Jamesport High School. He attended William Jewell College until he entered the Merchant Marines, in which he served two years. He is now in the insurance business in Jamesport.

The couple spent a week’s honeymoon in Phoenix, Ariz.

The announcement was published in April, four months after the wedding. Evidently my family likes secrets.

Family photos

21 Jul

For the last month, I have devoted one day a week to scanning in old family photos. It’s part of the squabbling over my grandmother’s estate — if the photos are scanned then everyone can at least have a copy of them.

On Sunday, I scanned and saved more than 200 photos. That’s one photo every 3 minutes. This week, most of the photos were Polaroids. They included vacation snapshots, naked lady paintings, naked man sand sculptures and a few historic family photos. And this:


I don’t remember the photo, but look how cute! (That’s my mother, sister, brother and I.)

There’s about a year of scanning left — I’m sure there will be other cuteness to post.

A trip to Texas, 1946

14 May

I’ve been working on a family history project, scanning photos, letters and postcards that we found in the basement of my grandmother’s house.

Most recently, I discovered a bundle of postcards and letters my grandmother, Celia Fulkerson, sent home to her parents in 1946 while on a trip from Missouri to Texas with her friend Dorothy Hogg and my grandfather, Grimes Spillman, whom she would marry two years later. I had letters Grandma sent to her parents from De Queen, Ark., and Houston; a postcard she sent to her brother from Lufkin, Texas, another sent to her parents from Houston; and the ticket from her flight home (only $41.11!).

I knew a few things from the letters, but didn’t know why they were taking the trip. Granddad filled in me on that tonight:

Celia and I were married on Dec. 13th 1948. The Texas trip was in 1946. I was in the Merchant Marines and was not assigned duty like the other services. I could go to any port and sign on to a ship. I always chose to sail tankers and saw a lot of the world. The “Russell” mentioned was Russell Bate a high school friend of mine. We joined together. Russell now lives in Chillicothe, Mo. I shipped from Long Beach CA. and New York City but usually from Houston or Galveston Texas. One day I was sitting in a shipping center in Galveston waiting for a ship to be posted that I thought I would like and looked across the room and there sat Calvin Porter from Trenton who I had met in Mo. a few times. We sailed together that trip to Casa Blanca North Africa and became hard and fast friends. Once Calvin, Russell and I all went to New York together to ship out but Russell and I shipped out on different ships and Calvin joined the Paratroopers.

The trip to Texas was when I was going back to ship out. I Bought a Mercury Convertible (I think a 1941 ) to drive to Texas with the intention of selling it there. Celia and her good friend “Dorothy Hogg” (Dot) went along and flew back. I traded the Mercury for a motorcycle and stored the motorcycle until I returned from the trip. Then brought the motorcycle back to Missouri. That trip was a load of Naphtha to Bremerhaven Germany.

Family trivia: Granddad has more names than I can keep up with. His kids never called my him “Dad.” Grandma always called him “Honey,” and my mother, the oldest of three, started calling him Honeyboy — because, well, he was a boy called Honey. It stuck. For years, I thought that was his name. My brother, sister and I have always called him Granddad — Grandpa was my father’s father, although he died in 1982. Granddad’s full name: Woodford Grimes Spillman. He’s gone by his middle name (his mother’s maiden name) since he was a baby; in the past few years he started going by Woody.