Notes from the past…

A very fruitful trip!

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My trip to Hillsboro yesterday was well worth the gas (currently $3.27/gl!). My first stop was the library. I had made a list ahead of time, so I immediately went to the microfilm reader thingy gadget (?). It wasn’t working at first, but after the very nice lady from downstairs had a stern discussion with the machine, it fired right up! Then I looked at my list and found all the roles of microfilm that I needed to search. As I already had the dates of death for the people in question, it wasn’t difficult at all to find the actual obits. These from the Hillsboro Mirror newspapers of over 100 years ago, in several cases! As I found each obit, I got out my digital camera, turned the macro on, and snapped away. Then, when I was finished, I immediately uploaded them to my laptop (which I had brought with me), and checked them to make sure they were readable (which they were). I have certainly learned my lesson on the subject of digital cameras. Once before I went to the library and used my camera as a portable scanner, but when I got home and uploaded everything to my computer, the images where too blurry to read. A wasted trip!
The person I was most interested in finding was Dr. N. B. Kennedy’s wife, Susan William Lee Martin (Kennedy). When Dr. Kennedy died in 1897, his wife seems to have fallen off the planet! I knew she was buried next to him in the Hillsboro City cemetery, but that’s about all I knew. The headstone said she died in 1918. But when in 1918, and where? From 1897-1918 was a blank.
Last summer, I had a trial subscription to GenealogyBank, and I had found several references to her in their Dallas Morning News Archives, mostly where she was trying to sell her home and property in Hillsboro, only days after Dr. Kennedy had died. So much for mourning! But I couldn’t find her any more after that, until a couple of months ago, when I found her in Ancestry.com’s Texas Death Index. She died on 27 Jan 1918 in Tarrant County! Aha, I had found her again! So, when I got to Hillsboro yesterday, she was the first person I looked for. She didn’t show up in the Hillsboro Mirror until a couple of weeks later, but there she was in the 6 Feb 1918 issue:


According this notice, there was an obituary for her in the Dallas Morning News! Now, I knew I would find her. As soon as I got home, I got online and headed to GenealogyBank. Using the date of death, I started looking, and there she was, 1 obit in the Dallas Morning News and another in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. But there was only a tiny part of the obit that was visible without a subscription, but there was enough know it was the right person. So, I signed up for a 1-month trial subscription at $9.95, and got the whole articles.
Then I did a few more searches and found that Mrs. Kennedy had a law suit against a company called Pacific Express Company. A bit of searching with Google told me that it was a railroad company:


This from February 1902. Interesting, now she was in Houston. (The initials in this article are incorrect, but I found several other references to this lawsuit, so I knew it was the right person.) I followed this lawsuit through the archived newspapers through several months, and it was apparently dismissed.
So that’s where I’m at with Mrs. Kennedy right now. I still can’t find her in the census, but she’s somewhere in Texas, and it’s only a matter of time….
Back to the reasearch trip. After a couple of hours at the library, my cousin Susan who lives near Hillsboro called, and we got together for lunch at McDonald’s. Her kids played in the play area, and we talked for about 3 hours. I really enjoyed that, as I don’t see her or her family very often. Susan also gave me a disc containing a bunch of old family pix that she was creating a scrapbook for. I had a lot of the pix, but also got several new ones! Very exciting!


Here is my great-grandfather, John Thomas Stanley (on the right) and his brother Henry Thomas Fair from about 1900! FYI: these boys where abandoned on the Hill County Courthouse steps and adopted by my great-great grandfather Miles Stanley and his wife and his wife’s sister and her husband, hence the different last names.
There are several other pre-1900 images that are as yet unidentified. Yummy! I’m really hoping one will turn out to be Dr. Kennedy. Wish me luck!

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One thought on “A very fruitful trip!

  1. This is so great! I felt excited for you just reading your psot and seeing the scans and that wonderful photo of the 2 boys!I can’t wait to hear more…

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