Saturday, October 3, 2009

Some Travis Family History

My Travis Family.
The picture at the right is of Lula Culley Travis and her two sons, Clement Culley Travis, standing, and my father, Billie Minor Travis, sitting on her lap. Lula died at the young age of 28, on July 21, 1918. Uncle Clem would have been 4 years old, my dad, Billie was 2 years old and a baby daughter, Katie, at only 2 weeks old.

When her death was first reported in the paper, it read: July 25, 1918. Mrs. Travis, wife of County Road Commissioner and former Superintendent of schools, E. Jeffrey Travis, died Tuesday morning of child bed fever. Her remains were taken to her old home, Bells Mines for interment Tuesday afternoon. In the next week paper, Aug. 1, 1918, it report that Mrs. Jeffrey Travis' illness was not child bed fever as was reported but was quick consumption. Her sister was with her, also her married step-daughter and a trained nurse. She had never been up since the birth of her little girl two weeks ago, and for several days prior to her death was unconscious, and several physicians were in consultation over her case which had been considered hopeless for almost a week.

Being this young when their mother died, Clem, Billie and Katie were raised by different family members. My father, Billie, never talked much about these early days, I guess were just rather unhappy days for them not really having their own home and family to grow up with. I only found out in the 1980's that he really didn't know where his mother, Lula, was buried or even the exact date of her death. He supposed in the Bells Mines cemetery since that was were other family members were buried and since his sister Katie was about two weeks old, she must have died in 1918.

By this time in my life, I had become very interested in our family history and began the search for her death and burial place. I finally found her death announcement in The Crittenden Press, as noted above, and it gave me the burial location. I was able to get her death certificate and this gave us more information and dates of birth and death. Her father, John N. Culley had come to Crittenden County from Tennessee and settled in the Bells Mines area. Probably to find work in the then operating coal mines. Her mother, Katherine Snodgrass Culley, family was from the Union County area. They are also buried in the Bells Mines Cemetery. The Culley family name is now none existing in Crittenden County.

I stewed and worried for some time that my Dad's mother, and my grandmother, did not have a stone to mark her grave site and honor her name. In 2002, with the help of Henry and Henry Monuments here in Marion, I got her a small tombstone to mark her resting place. Such a sad ending to a young wife and mother, who never got to know her 3 children. I feel it is never to late to mark a grave, even if one doesn't know the exact spot, the marker could still be placed near the other family members.

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