Waller and Montgomery County Stories Generally
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Contact: Nick Wallingford - email@example.com
Alvin Monroe Wallingford was the first son of Thomas Ginn (T.G.) Wallingford and his third wife, Annie Tucker Wallingford. In my life, I've always referred to him as "Uncle Alvin", but he was, in fact, the uncle of my father, John Roland Wallingford.
Alvin was born 28 October 1885. After the death of his first wife Eveline in 1870, and the failure of a marriage to Fannie Suggett (a long story I've already written about!), T.G. had returned to his native Kentucky.
The trip was partly related to getting some inheritance issues sorted out, following the death of Eveline's father Lewis Debell. But on the same trip he married Annie Tucker, who was a neighbour of various of his relations in that Flemingsburgh area. The marriage was not very long in the planning - many relations of T.G.'s did not know it was going to happen.
A niece of T.G.'s referred to the sudden nature of the marriage in a letter, saying her father would have wanted to be there.
But marry they did, on 1 September 1884 in Mason County, Kentucky. Alvin was born back in Texas, not quite 13 months later. His birth was recorded in the family Bible, at the bottom left of the first page.
Alvin Monroe was almost certainly named after another Alvin Monroe Wallingford. The older Alvin was a doctor, and T.G.'s nephew (in fact, Alvin's father Mark was a half-brother to T.G.). T.G. visited with Alvin on the trip back to Kentucky, and appears to have kept up a correspondence with him for some years afterward. T.G.'s alcoholic brother Louis refered to him in a letter in 1888, saying that he hoped Alvin might help him to get to Texas to visit T.G.
So young Alvin was the first of T.G. and Annie's three children, to be followed in the next several years by John Pinckney and Minnie Devoss over the next few years. The three had three older half brothers and sisters - 'Lyde' (Eliza Owens), Annie Debell and Robert Thomas Wallingford - all well into their twenties by now.
Though 'land rich', T.G. and Annie were still quite 'money poor'. After marrying Annie, T.G. built a house - on the south side of what is now F.M. 1488, near the corner where the road makes a turn to the south. It is pretty much straight across F.M. 1488 from the Fields Store Cemetery. Alvin and his siblings would have been raised in that house.
T.G. spent quite a period in the early 1890s preoccupied with 'law' problems. He and his nephew Reuben Boulware had been involved in a gunfight, and the court proceedings dragged on through several years. I've written up that story elsewhere, as well.
In 1900, T.G. (then 72) and Annie (37) were living with the three children Alvin (14), John P. (12) and Minnie (10). Through these early 1900s the family was pretty poor, with T.G. scratching a living out of farming, and still variously selling of pieces of land holdings. He transferred most of his assets to his wife's name, and applied for a pension based on his service in the Civil War. In that application in 1908 he described himself as 'very feeble', with kidney complaints and 'badly ruptured'. Young Alvin would have assumed much of the farm work at an early age...
By 1908, Alvin was probably pretty much responsible for the work of the farm - he was an adult!
Here he is in a photo while not working - relaxing with his cousin Arthur Moore in Galveston
After T.G.'s death in 1909, Alvin remained at home. His younger brother John married Edna Hegar in June 1909 (a month after T.G.'s death). Younger sister Minnie married Harry Keys Noe in 1914.
Alvin didn't marry until 5 March 1916, when he was 30 years old. He married a neighbour, Susie Anna Heflin (just a few days before her 18th birthday). Alvin and Susie would have known each other all their lives in that close-knit Fields Store community area. The Heflins and Wallingfords had both been living there for many years.
In 1918, Alvin (along with sister Minnie and mother Annie) sold out their shares in the homestead to Alvin's brother John, who was both farming and acting as a postmaster in this period of time. After John's death in 1922, the land remained with widow Edna and her children until 1946 when they finally sold out.
Alvin registered for WWI in 1918, indicating that he was self-employed as a farmer. Interestingly, the certificate is signed by G.E. Hill, who was the local doctor who most likely delivered Alvin.
Alvin and Susie set up farming and raising a family. In the years between 1916 and 1927, they had 6 sons - Lee, Melvin, George Ghen, Clyde, Lamar and Maurice. Only then did they have some girls, Valma in 1928 and Elnor Virginia in 1932, and then another boy, Arthur in 1932. Here are the various birth certificates that I have located.
It would have been quite a busy household through those years...
In 1930, Alvin and Susie were living with all but the last two of the children in Precinct 2, Waller County, renting a farm and growing cotton.1930 census
The period in the early 1930s was saddened by the death of young Elnor (Elnora?) Virginia at the age of 20 months, from what appears to have been bronchial pneumonia. It was a traumatic time for Susie. A later story told by another family member described Susie verbally lashing out at her son George Ghen, saying she wished it had been him rather than the baby girl who had died, with George leaving home not long after that, creating a rift that lasted some years, apparently.
At some point in the 1930s, Alvin became a Justice of the Peace. When his nephew John Roland Wallingford wanted to marry Doris Corrine Ogg (my parents!) they went to Hempstead, thinking that "Uncle Alvin" would be able to marry them. For whatever reason, he was not allowed or able to, so they had to settle for someone else. Alvin seemed to take special interest in his nephew John Roland throughout his life.
Alvin played something of a role in my parents first meeting. His granddaughter, Margie (daughter of Lee and Earline) was sick, and it was through Roland's involvement in driving her back and forth to the hospital that he initially met Corinne. And there's one of those nice 'cross overs' in my families there - Roland and Lee were first cousins. And Earline was a Spraberry - her Aunt Lillie and her Uncle Lonnie married Mom's Uncle John and her Aunt Cora respectively! Roland and Alvin were close throughout this period.
Though Alvin did not receive much of a formal education, he was a respected man of the area. He became a county commissioner for Waller County in January 1945, with a salary of $150 per month with up to $25 expenses paid.
Alvin died in in April 1960, at the age of 74. He had been diagnosed with leukemia about 9 months earlier, and died in his home on the corner of St. Barbs and Red River Street in Hempstead. As he was a Justice of the Peace at the time, Susie took on that responsibility - and she was the registrar for his death certificate!
Susie lived for nearly 20 years more, dying in March 1979 at the age of 81.
Alvin and Susie are both buried in the Fields Store Cemetery - so very close to where they were both born, raised and lived most of their lives.
In the background in that picture from the cemetery, you can see the stones for Alvin's brother John Pinckney, and Alvin's nephew, John Roland Wallingford...
One of our family stories has it that my mother was surprised that when the stone was prepared for Alvin, Susie had it made with her name and birth year already on the stone - all it would need was the death year to be completed. It makes sense to me, but my Mom didn't think it was right! Families... Go figure...