52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #22 – Thomas Benjamin Harmon

As is often the case with ancestors, I have more questions than I have answers with regard to my great-great-grandfather Thomas Benjamin Harmon. Here’s what I know and how I know it:

1. He was my great-grandmother Rhoda Harmon Lineberry’s father. The 1850 census lists Rhoda in that family. Additionally, a Virginia marriage index for Rhoda lists her parents as T. and D. Harmon [Thomas and Delilah].

2. He was born in Virginia, probably in Grayson County. Censuses for 1850, 1870 and 1880 all confirm his Virginia birth. His father’s records beginning in 1822 reference Grayson County.

2. He married Delilah Davis August 23, 1838 in Grayson County, Virginia. Although marriage indexes list these details, Martha Fontaine Patterson uploaded a digital photocopy of the marriage license dated August 15, 1838 in which Thomas and his father posted a marriage bond.

3. His father was Patrick Harmon. Patrick was the name of the co-signer on the above-mentioned marriage license. Although that document does not provide evidence that Patrick was his father, Thomas’ second marriage application reinforces that interpretation by naming Patrick Harmon as his father.

4. Based on the 1850 and 1870 census, it would appear Thomas and Delilah had at least eleven children: Sarah, Mary “Polly”, Elizabeth, Nancy, Rhoda [my great-grandmother], Alexander, Joseph, Daniel, Henry Coulson, Thomas J., and Joseph Clark.

5. Thomas probably served as a private in the 51st Virginia Infantry, Company K, of the Confederate Army. Although I have not found his name listed in the CSA soldier record cards or roster lists, his widow [Margaret Mabe Harmon] applied to the War Department for and received a CSA headstone to place on his grave. HARMON Thomas Benjamin CSA Headstone App Melton Cemetery6. In November 1888 when Thomas was about 70, he was widowed when his wife Delilah died. The Virginia Death and Burials Index as well as Delilah’s tombstone provide support for this information.

7. He married Margaret Mabe on November 24, 1890 when he was about 72 years old; this marriage is reported in the Virginia Marriage Index.

8. Thomas and Margaret had three children: William Early, George Benjamin and Laura Louvenia.

9. Thomas died October 17, 1898, as listed in the headstone application above.

10. He lived most of his life in the same general area of Grayson, Carroll and Wythe Counties in Virginia based on census records from 1840, 1850, 1870, 1880 as well as burial records. The missing 1860 census, of course, could be an indication he was away from the area during some of those years. His father-in-law and at least one brother-in-law moved to Ohio for a few years but I have not found records of Thomas having joined in that adventure.

The records above cover a basic framework for Thomas’ life but two important details remain evasive – his birth date and the name of his mother. The evidence available for interpretation would be the 1850 census, which listed him as 32 [1818]; the 1870 census, which listed him as 51 [1819]; the 1880 census, which listed him as 60 [1820]; and the 1890 marriage license, which listed his birth year as 1822. Based on the census records, his birth year was most likely sometime around 1819. The date reported on the marriage license might be explained by a slightly prideful deception – his new wife was approximately 30 years his junior. During these years of our country’s history, births were not required or recorded unless in church minutes or family Bibles, or perhaps in wills or pension applications, so an actual date will not likely be uncovered.

Even though the license for Thomas’ marriage to Margaret listed his mother as Polly Harmon, the range of date possibilities for his birth leaves in question the full name of his mother. Thomas’ father, Patrick Harmon, married Mary “Polly” Melton on December 26, 1822. If Thomas were born in 1818, 1819 or 1820, Polly Melton Harmon was not likely his mother. On the other hand, if he were born in 1822 as listed on his second marriage record, he might perhaps have been the son of Patrick and Polly [albeit an early birth based on the marriage date].

The consistency of birth dates over the period from 1850 through 1880 lends credence to the earlier date for his birth, which would indicate Patrick had been married before his marriage to Polly Melton. At the time of the 1822 marriage, Patrick was about 32 and Polly 30, which would lend support for there being time for an earlier marriage. Unfortunately, thus far I have not found any records to support a name or date for such a marriage.

So, for now, I have his mother listed as an unknown woman who married Patrick Harmon prior to 1818 and died prior to 1822.

Thomas was buried in the Melton Cemetery as was Delilah [the photo below was uploaded to FindAGrave by Donna Sutphin Armentrout]. HARMON Thomas B. FAG HS


This blog was prepared as a part of Amy Johnson Crow’s  No Story Too Small 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.





52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #18 – Edmund Jean

My 4th great-grandfather by way of my father’s mother’s mother’s mother’s father’s father (makes your head spin, doesn’t it?) was Edmund Jean. That’s a long way back and it is oftentimes difficult to find documentation to support the life of a person who lived in the early years of our country. Fortunately for me, my great-great-grandmother, Martha Ann Jean, married into the Sanford family of Alabama and they have researched that clan reasonably well. Additionally, an attorney from Colorado who was a Jean descendant has researched the Jean line. In both instances, I have been given access to their work.

Edmund’s parents were William Jean and Huldah Brown. He was born about 1755 in Brunswick County, Virginia. According to the U.S. Revolutionary War pension application files of two of his brothers, I know that his father William was an Episcopal minister who lived in Brunswick County until about 1772 when the family moved to Bute County, North Carolina in a section that became Warren County in 1779. Adjacent counties were Stokes, Surry, Guilford and Franklin and members of the Jean family resided in all of them.

About 1776, Edmund married, although we do not have any information on his wife, other than the fact of her existence by way of names of their children. They had nine known children, the first being Wiley who was born about 1777. There was a gap in the ages of their children between 1778 and 1783; this gap could be accounted for by as yet undiscovered or deceased children or perhaps by Edmund’s service in the Revolutionary War.

An 1818 act of Congress established a pension for soldiers who had served during the Revolutionary War and two of Edmund’s brothers applied for pensions. Since Edmund died before that time, he was unable to apply but it seems reasonable and likely to surmise that he did serve and the gap in children may support that supposition.

There is a 1790 census for Guilford County, North Carolina that likely represents Edmund, although the name appears to be Edward; however, there is not an Edward Jean listed within the known children of William and Huldah, and the 1790 census lists as neighbors, William, Sr. (his father), William Jr. (his brother), and Philip (his brother). The family has one male over 16 (which would be Edmund), 5 males under 16 and 5 females (one of which would have been the first wife), which would indicate there is an, as yet, unidentified female child, plus one slave for a total household of 12 people.

Edmund married again on October 2, 1795 to Martha “Patty” Beasley. This marriage leads to a supposition that Edmund’s first wife died, probably in childbirth since David Elroy Jean was born in 1795. Edmund was about 40 years old and Patty about 21 when they married. They had four children, the first of whom was my great-great-great-grandfather, John Jean, born in 1796.

A land transfer record dated December 13, 1797 named Edmund Jean and William Jean as Trustees to oversee one acre of land donated to Love’s Methodist Church. In addition to learning the family moved from Virginia to North Carolina, his brothers’ pension files also mentioned the fact their father was an Episcopal minister and that William was a Methodist minister [some families have Edmund listed as Rev. Edmond Jean but I have not yet found any support for that assertion]. The land transfer record does indicate Edmund was at least active within the church.

The 1800 census for Stokes County, North Carolina enumerates Edmund and his brothers William and Joseph as neighbors. Edmund’s family consisted of four males under 10, two males 10-15, one male between 16 and 25 and Edmund who was over 45 plus 1 female under 10, two females 10-15, one female between 16 and 25 and Patty who was between 26 and 44.

Edmund died in 1802. There seems to have been no will and since he was only about 47 years old, it seems reasonable to assume his death was unexpected. I have as yet found no burial records to indicate where he was interred. It is possible, since he and William were Trustees at Love’s Methodist Church in 1797 that he is buried there.


This blog was prepared as a part of Amy Johnson Crow’s  No Story Too Small 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.

Sharing Memories 2012 – My First Memory

My daughter Kay and I, in working on genealogy for the past several years, have become very aware of all the questions we have about our ancestors – what they did and why and where. In 2011 I started writing “my memoirs” so my children and grandchildren would have a record of my life, and perhaps answers to their questions when they arise.

When I began writing, I didn’t think I remembered much of my earlier childhood – like my Uncle Joe: “I don’t remember nuthin’” – but as I began to write it down, a little snippet of a memory here and another snippet there began to emerge.

As one memory led to another, pretty soon I was having so much fun realizing my grandchildren and, in many cases, even my children, would not have a clue about things such as a wringer washer or a mangle or even Monkey Island at the Zoo. I realized the physical and social landscape has changed in ways to make the earlier world almost unrecognizable, so I did Internet research to find pictures and explanations.

One of the things that came out of my writing endeavor was recording my earliest memories and in response to Olive Tree Genealogy blog prompt for today, I’ll share from my writing. Because I have no clear grasp of which came first, I’ll record two that must have happened at about the same time.

My parents bought a home when I was three and that is where my earliest memories occurred. I suspect both these memories occurred at about the same time period, in fact, possibly on the same day, which would have been mid to late September of 1944 and about a year after we moved into the home.

Although I’ve been an extrovert as long as I can remember, many of my early memories are of me being alone and the first memory I’ll record is one of those. The house Mom and Dad bought, which I’ve previously blogged about, had a brick arch on the front west corner.

Probably one of my strongest memories of that house on Hardin Drive was playing London Bridge by myself with the arched brickwork – unfortunately, no picture shows that full arch to provide a visualization [based on the County Assessor’s website photo of the house, the arch is gone now]. I don’t remember being sad and lonely in playing by myself, but rather was singing the song and circling through the arch. I don’t know if the song was commonly sung by children in those days or if it was something connected in some way to mother’s brother, George, who was stationed in England and, consequently close to London, at the time.

One day after playing at the arch, I came through the front door and saw mother on the sofa with a crumpled piece of paper in her hands and sobbing deeply – the crumpled paper was the telegram telling her of the death of her brother, George, in Arnhem, Holland on September 18, 1944 in the largest World War II airborne operation called Operation Market Garden [Kay has written about George and his WWII experience in her blog]. In reviewing George’s letters on my daughter’s website, I can see George had written mother a letter from England on August 13, 1944 and mailed on August 23 (the letter to her brother, Johnnie, written the same day was apparently post marked on August 19). I would guess George’s letter had only reached mother a few days before she received the telegram, which likely heightened her already huge pain and loss compounded by the early deaths of her father, then mother and oldest brother, Willie.

The Joy of the Hunt

It’s a good thing I enjoy solving puzzles and tracking down minute details because that is clearly what it takes to answer questions of family history and lineage. There are any number of difficulties or crazinesses in historical records that can stymie a search. Problems as seemingly insignificant as spelling and penmanship; or use of first names, middle names and nicknames in censuses from one year to the next; or moving from location to location; or misrepresented birth dates/ages can make the search more difficult.

I’ve been searching for information on my great-grandmother’s brother, William Rufus Buckner, off and on for a couple of years. I’ve had a particularly difficult time finding information on him even though I’d discovered him early on in Wise County, Texas in the 1910 census. Because Ancestry.com searches broadly in terms of surnames, ages and locations, you can sometimes find records you wouldn’t otherwise pick up. On the other hand, because it’s so broad you often have too many to take the time to look through. Heritage Quest searches way too specifically [not even an option for a wildcard] and there is no way to account for those flukes in spelling, age or location other than in specific searches, many of which you could not even hazard a guess.

What I had learned about William Rufus Buckner during the past couple of years from multiple sources was:

He was born in about 1858 as the second child of John and Nancy M. Foster Buckner [as to the search for verification as to who Nancy was, see previous blogs on Surname Saturday – Buckner nee Foster and Follow Up Buckner nee Foster.

1860 census for John & Nancy Buckner and Mary, William and Sarah

His father had joined Company I of the 41stAlabama Infantry and died in Tennessee as a result of illness. Some men have 12 and more status cards in their files while John only has five, one of which is made out for James, but since the information is generally the same as that for John, the archival people have filed it with John. Even the cards have differing information on them; two (one Jno, usual abbreviation for John, and one Jas) indicate he died September 18, 1862 while one (John) states September 12, 1862, although all three have the location as Charleston, Tennessee. A transcription of a card that is not visible on Footnote is available at the Alabama Department of Archives and History website shows Nancy filed for a widow’s pension. There was a similar notation on the card for John’s brother, Jesse W. Buckner, that John Buckner, father, had filed a claim (which had been mailed to Blount County). BH Williams was the probate judge for Fayette County at the time, presumably a copy of the documentation would have been at the courthouse had it not burned. I had hoped to see application papers when we visited, but nothing was available, apparently both claims for monetary support were denied, perhaps because both deaths were from illness rather than battle injuries.At the time of the 1866 Alabama Census, he and his mother and three siblings [Mary Jane, Sarah and Medora] lived in the vicinity of his grandparents [Anthony Edward and Mary King Foster]; uncle, Anthony Edward Foster; future brother-in-law, James Franklin Willis; and long-time neighbor Joshua Watson and his family. A website listing Fayette County marriages listed a marriage for Nancy Buckner to Joshua Watson in 1868 and cemetery records confirmed the death of his wife Phoebe in 1867. The 1870 census listed Joshua and Nancy and four Buckner children plus their first child, John B. Watson. As usual, there was a dilemma with that record. Mary Jane, who would have been a 14-year-old female at the time, was listed as M.J., a 12-year-old male, but since Mary Jane married two years later in the home of Joshua Watson, there did seem to be a connection between them.

1870 Census, Joshua & Nancy Watson with John B. Watson, M.J., R., S.M. & Nedora Buckner

I had a difficult time finding any record on the family for quite some time, but eventually found a census record for Holly Springs, Mississippi that showed Joshua and Nancy and their son, John B. Watson, plus three additional Watson children born after June of 1870. Mary Jane had married James Franklin Willis by that time, but the remaining Buckner children were also there in Holly Springs having been listed by the census enumerator as Rufus Watson, Sarah Watson and Dora Watson, which was why I’d been unable to locate them. I’d been unable to locate Nancy because the enumerator had listed her age as 60 instead of 42.

1880 Census - Joshua & Nancy, Rufus, Sarah, Dora, John, Etta, Walter and Daugherty Watson

With the discovery of a marriage record for William R. Buckner and Martha Ann Holliman for 1892 I was then able to track him to Wise County, Texas in 1910 with two children, Grover C. and Lona Belle.

1910 Census - William R. & Martha A. Buckner with Grover C. and Lona B. Buckner in Wise County, Texas.

So far, the listings for William Rufus had been: William Buckner for the 1860 census; R. Buckner for the 1870 census and Rufus Watson for the 1880 census. The 1910 census was for William R. Buckner with a wife named Martha A. Buckner who had been married 17 years [corresponding to the 1892 marriage record] and had two children. The bad news for that is that it makes the searching more difficult; the good news is I picked up both first and middle names for him in the process.

After many searches, I finally located a 1930 census for Rufus in Oklahoma where he was living with a son I didn’t know about – Vester. This listing was for Rufus R. Buckner. This son’s age would put his birth at about 1888, which was four years before the marriage of Rufus and Martha Ann, which led me to a further search of Fayette County marriages.

1930 Census - Vester Buckner with his family, father-in-law, and father, Rufus R. Buckner in Tillman County, Oklahoma.

I, of course, now had a time frame for the death of Martha Ann – before 1930. I searched for and found an earlier marriage between Rufus Buckner and A. J. Collins that took place in 1883 in Fayette County, Alabama. The fact that Rufus married again by 1892 would indicate A. J. died before that time and that Vester was the child of Rufus and A.J. I found no other records for Vester Buckner. However, by tracking the children in that 1930 record, I found other records that added the initials G. S. to Vester’s name – I thought Vester could be short for Sylvester but I found nothing to support that. With the 1890 census being burned, the 1900 census for Rufus would certainly be a help in adding to what I knew about him.

Last month I found evidence of some Buckner burials in the Frederick Cemetery in Frederick, Oklahoma; unfortunately, when I sought to find them on the transcription of that cemetery, all names from Br to the Cs were missing. I sent an email to the website administrator who said she was a new administrator but would ask the previous administrator. That person looked and was surprised to find my observation to be correct and he supplied me with an Excel spreadsheet of the missing people where I found not only the Buckner people I was looking for, but I found that elusive Rufus Buckner listed as well. Although I didn’t find his wife, Martha, I was a little suspicious that a Mary Ann Buckner who died in 1929 [before the 1930 census] and buried near him might be worth a closer look. My daughter, Kay, and I took a trip to Wise County, Texas and over to Tillman County, Oklahoma in April to see what records and burials we might find. We found the headstone for Rufus to be a double headstone with his wife, Mary Ann – back to that confusing use of nicknames. Apparently any number of females with names beginning with ‘M’ went by Mary, while those whose name was actually Mary often went by Polly or Molly [or Pollie or Mollie].

Rufus and Mary Buckner headstone

Yesterday I decided to return to the Heritage Quest site and search for the first name of William in both Oklahoma and Texas. Obviously there were going to be a lot of Williams in Texas – too many to look at as well as the possibility of having to search for Wm, Rufus or a combination of initials. I set limiters of an age range and being born in Alabama and hoped the census enumerators had been reasonably accurate for a change. I began by selecting Williams who lived in Wise County, Texas and found a William R. Ruckner. I was rewarded with a correct hit on that one. Even though Ancestry.com searches broadly, it would never have tried a substitution of Ruckner for Buckner, even though they rhyme.

This record provided verification that the 1930 census relationship with Vester was a correct one because the 1900 census listed a son born about 1888 – Guy S. Buckner [further research found Guy Sylvester Buckner in the California death index], along with Grover C. and Lone B. Buckner [close enough for the spelling capacity and/or penmanship of the census enumerators]. There was also a bonus of another son I hadn’t yet discovered, John H. Buckner, born about 1884 – a whole new thread to pull.

1900 Census - William R. & Martha A. Ruckner and John H., Guy S., Grover C. and Lone B.

Although that record gave me new information and corroboration, it also created more questions. For example, to the question “Mother of how many children,” Martha Ann answered 5 and noted that all 5 were still living. Based on marriage records, only two of the four listed children should be Martha’s and since the marriage record listed her under her maiden name it is not likely she had three children from a previous marriage who weren’t living with her. On the other hand, since A. J. died when her sons were quite young and Martha would have been their mother for eight years, she may well have responded to the question in terms of caretaking. However, it’s more difficult to wipe away their response as to the length of their marriage – 18 years instead of the 8 expected from their marriage record. Based on what I’ve seen of enumerator’s accuracy in census records, perhaps Martha or Rufus replied eight years to the question, but since the oldest child was sixteen, the enumerator decided he must have not heard the whole answer and filled in logically with eighteen. Fortunately, I have the 1910 census that indicates their marriage was  of 17 years’ duration rather than the 28 I might have expected if I hadn’t had the 1892 marriage record along with the 1910 listing of years of marriage.

After yesterday’s find of the 1900 record I have a new child I was unaware of to research. Additionally, any way I look at it, I’m still missing a fifth child who was alive at least as long as 1900, one most likely born between 1885 and 1891. Fortunately, I really enjoy the hunt itself, so back to work.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History: Week 12 ~ Movies

I was raised by a mother who loved movies. In a blog written for the 68th Carnival of Genealogy as a tribute to women, I wrote that my mother spent all her money on movies and concerts. She told me she saw every movie as well as every opera singer that came to Oklahoma City. With very little education, mother spoke impeccable English, sang hundreds of songs and arias learned completely by hearing them in movies and on recordings or the radio and she had a personal style of elegance learned mostly from watching movies.

As a small child, mother introduced me to her love affair with movies by taking me to see such early Disney feature-length cartoons as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Bambi and Song of the South. Like my mother, I learned the songs from those movies. Mother bought me the 1950’s album of Snow White. My brother, Mickey, talked about listening to that album, narrated by Dennis Day, on our record player (he’s six years younger than me and hadn’t seen the movie at that time). I still have the record though the front of the album cover is gone as well as the 24-page color booklet that came with it. I loved that album and listened to it for perhaps 15-20 years – the records are almost slick. I particularly enjoyed I’m Wishing [Snow White’s duet/echo from the wishing well] and One Song, Someday My Prince Will Come, Whistle While You Work, and Heigh Ho, It’s Off to Work We Go. I have to say, some of those Disney songs shaped my positive outlook on life and my work ethic, including these from Snow White, but also tunes like Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah from Song of the South.

Saturday afternoon at the movies.

By the time I was about ten, I lived in a  neighborhood where all the kids went to the movies every Saturday. We would walk over to the Redskin Theater at SW 29th and Western to be with other friends and watch a double feature movie. Most of those Saturday movies were westerns or comedies so I saw the Bowery Boys movies, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Tim Holt, Hopalong Cassidy, Tarzan, and Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. There were also shorts with the Three Stooges and Our Gang comedies as well as cartoons, such as Mr. Magoo and The Road Runner as well as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, or Bugs Bunny, Tweety Bird, and Elmer Fudd as well as the other Disney or Warner Brothers cartoon characters. My favorite actor when I was ten to twelve was Tim Holt, though I also liked Richard Green, and my favorite actress was Yvonne DeCarlo whom I thought was beautiful.

Every Saturday was a great day. The theaters were filled with kids and we were there from about noon to 5:00. I would have enough money to buy a drink and a candy bar (probably a quarter) and, due to the length of time I was in the theater, it needed to be something that would last a long time, so my favorites were the chewy Milk Duds, Bit-O-Honey and Tootsie Rolls. My other favorite, Milky Way, didn’t last long enough so was rarely my Saturday afternoon choice.

A movie I particularly remember was Samson and Delilah. Although it came out in 1949, I don’t think I saw it as a first-run movie. I would guess I was in junior high, maybe 1952 or 1953, when it was shown at the Capitol Theater at 2510 S Robinson, which was only two to three blocks from our house [Doug Dawgz blog has loads of great pictures and post cards from earlier years and I’ve included both an exterior and an interior photo from his website taken in the 1930s when it was still the Circle Theater]. I loved that movie – Hedy Lamarr was absolutely gorgeous as the sensuous [I doubt I had a real clue as to what that might mean] Delilah but I also thought Angela Lansbury was beautiful in a more pure way. I still remember my feelings as I watched it – feelings of loss as Angela Lansbury’s character was killed, and feelings of confused amazement that Samson would alter everything he believed in just to be with Delilah and my wonder over the loss of his power as well as the return of his strength in order to bring down the Philistine’s idol. I even remember where I sat in the theater; I sat on the left side of the theater (right side of photo) about 1/3 of the way back.

I associate movies with my mother and never with my father, but as I watched an old movie on television that starred Ann Sheridan, I remembered him telling me she was his favorite actress, which implies he went to movies, at least in the 30s and perhaps early 40s. Although I don’t remember ever going to a movie as a family, I also don’t remember going with mother either, even though she told me she took me to see any number of the movies I mentioned earlier. I remember the emotional aspects of seeing Bambi –my tears when Bambi’s mother died – and the cuteness of Bambi trying to get up and walk as a new born, and even the joyfulness of Thumper and Bambi’s friendship ~ just nothing about the theater or mother’s presence. I also have no memories of Snow White other than those that could easily be connected to the record and accompanying picture book, even though, once again, mother told me she took me to see it. Pinocchio is another one I saw when it came out and I have some recollections of watching it – particularly my sense of impending danger when those boys lured Pinocchio into doing something he knew not to do – but those recollections could just as easily be recollections of seeing it at a later time – on TV perhaps. Each of those movies I mentioned was originally made either before I was born or when I was much too young to have watched a movie, so clearly mother took me to see them at a time of re-release. Song of the South is probably the first movie I saw as a first run movie – it came out in 1946, though again my recollection doesn’t include any remembrance of mother’s presence or a theater. Song of the South was a wonderful movie that has been pulled in the United States with no intention of it ever being seen again due to some people’s interpretation that blacks were not being shown in a positive light or that some positive aspects of slavery could be inferred [it is available in some other countries but I think the formats require some sort of conversion to work on our machines]. The Br’er Rabbit stories were a collection of African-American folklore compiled by Joel Chandler Harris and were depicted in both the book and the movie as being told by an old former male slave known as Uncle Remus to the white children in the southern family that had owned him prior to the Civil War. Hiding those movies does not negate the fact that slavery was a real aspect of American history, that the stories were delightful, and that Disney’s movie version was fabulous and, in my opinion, its lack of availability is a great loss to both adult’s and children’s viewing pleasure, regardless of ethnicity.

By the time I was a teenager, besides ‘cruising Main,’ the other thing to do on date nights was go to a movie. On my first date, I went to see Not As A Stranger at the Centre Theater in downtown  Oklahoma City. Although that theater is no longer in existence, I believe at least portions of the building were incorporated into the current Museum of Art that houses both permanent and rotating art collections as well as a large Chihuly glass collection.

In the mid-1950s, cities had not yet begun their urban sprawl and downtown areas were still places where people got dressed up to go shopping as well as for a special night at the movies. Movie premieres were a big event and I remember seeing a midnight preview of Good Morning, Miss Dove at the Criterion and seeing Oklahoma!, which had to be seen at the State Theater because it was the only theater equipped for showing a movie using the new Todd-AO. One of my choir director’s favorite musicals was Carousel, and at his recommendation I went to see that movie when it came out.

There were, of course, the mostly teenage interest movies and I saw most if not all of them. That included Elvis Presley movies made prior to my marriage, Blackboard Jungle and Rebel Without a Cause.

Another popular form of movie viewing in the 1950s, at least in reasonable weather, was the drive-in movie and I had my fair share of drive-in movie dates as well as whole groups packed into cars and meeting up at the drive-in. Although many of the movies I saw at drive-ins were B movies, I also saw The Ten Commandments at a drive-in.

As much as I was raised on movies and truly enjoy them, after my marriage, a night at the movies was a special treat – although a movie with special appeal to the interests of my husband was generally an exception. We saw 2001: A Space Odyssey at a premier in Hollywood while we were living in Long Beach. We also saw Star Wars, and Superman. We went to see Airplane!, which was a great disappointment at the time because it was a comedy and airplanes were a serious interest to my husband – I have since come to appreciate its humor. Other movies I managed to see in the theater during my marriage included The Sound of Music and Funny Girl, as well as taking our daughter to see Jungle Book.

Currently, I have a small group of female friends that occasionally get together for a movie and I remain ready to go whenever an opportunity presents itself. Otherwise, I wait to see it on television since, for me, a movie in a theater should be a shared experience.

Perfume Bottle – Treasure Chest Thursday

As far back as I can remember [1944-1946ish] Mother (Virginia Amy Lineberry) had the perfume bottle pictured on the left – it originally had a glass stopper. It has been in my possession for many years now – again, I’ve had it so long I no longer remember when she let me have it.

Though I don’t know if it was originally just an empty container to be filled with perfume or if it came with a perfume in it, I know it was a gift to Mother from Daddy [James Thomas Willis] for  the perfume Tabu. Daddy apparently liked that fragrance and gave it to her off and on for many years. I assume Mother originally like the fragrance, but in later years she seemed to grow tired of it though, according to her, it remained Daddy’s choice for a perfume gift for many years. She also had the dusting powder to go with it.

The fragrance was originally created in 1932 by Jean Carles for Dana perfumes. At the right is an early ad for Tabu as “the forbidden fragrance.” It is described as, “…an elegant, oriental fragrance. This feminine scent possesses a blend of rich rose, orange blossom, jasmine, vetiver, oakmoss, amber and musk. Tabu is recommended for romantic use.” A later ad that utilized the same picture had the  line: “and the night shall be filled with music.”

The Dana company moved from France to the United States in 1940 and the Tabu fragrance has continued to be available to the present time, though it is now mostly found as an inexpensive drugstore cologne.

Update December 2014:  This item is now only a memory.