It’s time again for the Carnival of Genealogy.
The topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is: A Place Called Home. It’s time for a geography lesson. Pick out a city/town/village where one of your ancestors once lived and tell us all about it. When was it founded? What is it known for? Has is prospered or declined over the years? Have you ever visited it or lived there? To a certain extent, we are all influenced by the environment we live in. How was your ancestor influenced by the area where they lived? Take us on a trip to the place your ancestor called home.
I must admit that Jasia puts me to shame on almost every Carnival topic! I don’t mean anything bad, I just mean that this topic has shown to me that I haven’t paid enough attention to the details of my family’s homes and communities. Shame on me!
I would like to write a little bit (and I do mean a little bit) about a small community called by many names but that I knew only as Blackjack Community. It was located between Marshall, Texas and Jefferson Texas. I really don’t know when or why the community vanished as it did but I do know that there are very few homes in that area and none of what I have heard about from my aunt. I must apologize now for this being such a short article.
My great-grandfather, Archibald Forbes, moved to Texas from Wisconsin somewhere around 1907. In the 1905 census for Wisconsin he was there. In 1910 he was in Texas. I don’t believe he settled in Blackjack immediately. He did eventually find his way there. He purchased 80 acres and built a home there. I’ve heard the home was a log cabin and you could feel the air blow in through the cracks if they didn’t keep them patched. The old home stood there until the early part of the 1960s or 70s. I really wish I had pictures of it but I don’t.
From what I was told by my aunt before she passed away in 2002, Blackjack was a pretty friendly community to grow up in. No one really had anything much but they all stuck together and made a nice community. There was a school, a little country store and quite a few homes there at one time. Of course, you could also expect that in communities such as this there were also some shenanigans. My aunt told me stories about how the revenoors would make raids there quite often. She even mentioned one time about how her little sister (my Aunt Ellen) went up to one of them and asked them why they were messing with Uncle Bill’s still! I can just imagine the laughter! My Uncle Bill was arrested several times for making his special brew.
There were no paved roads at this time. As a matter of fact, when we visited my Uncle Timber there in the ’70s, they had roads made of dirt and gravel. Today there are some asphalt roads but there really hasn’t been much improvement. I do still enjoy going down that way with my Uncle Jerry and visiting the Pope City Cemetery. Many of my relatives are buried there and lots of his friends are there also.
You know, I can only imagine how that community must have been. I’m sure they had those who would sit in their yards and start picking and the next thing you know there’s a party going on. Everyone knew each other, there were very few strangers. Wouldn’t it be great to live in a place like that now? I hardly know my next door neighbors!
Most of the children born there were born in their homes and the nurses or registrars would travel to the house and register the birth. The strange thing is that they were so close to the county line that some of them show being born in Marion County and others show being born in Harrison County. It just depended on who came out as to where they would be registered. I know the real story though. They were born in a little log cabin house in Blackjack Community. That’s where my mother was born on a cold February morning in 1934!