family history 1
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by Charles H Tankersley, June 19, 2001


My family, like most comes in two parts, my father's side and my mother's side. Each has much "old west" and "pioneer" history woven throughout.

One story goes that my father's ancestor being banished from England to the family's colonial Virginia plantation as punishment for getting a female servant into a "family way". Naturally, he was forced to marry the stable maid but were allowed only two slaves to attend them. They had two sons, and here is where this story really begins. When the time came for the son's to seek their own fortunes, one went south, became wealthy, but was hanged as a horse thief, why the other went north, remained honest but poor, and was the ancestor to my father's father.

It seems this story could be wrong. Information has been provided that indicates that Charles Tankersley was really Charles Stropes and was adopted by possibly Richard Tankersley after marrying his mother. If the Stropes family connection is made, this would be changed as well, the father of Charles would be David Stropes, who was a blacksmith in Pennsylvania and who ancestor immigrated to colonies in 1640 from Germany.

My father's father, was an 89er in Oklahoma. He made the run, and settled on his 160 acres, and lived in a sod house until the main house was built and he was able to provide a decent home for my grandmother, aunt and uncles. My father was born in Oklahoma five years before statehood, 1903. My grandfather was a schoolteacher, taught a circuit of three schools, as was the custom of that time. He, also, served on the territorial legislature, and helped write the state's constitution. He died in 1903, from pneumonia that developed after his horse broke through the ice on the Cimmeron River one winter as he rode between schools. My grandmother lived to age 96 (later information puts death at 84 in 1942) and would baby-sit for my working parents during World War II. Although the memories long ago and quite faded, I can still see her face in my mind today.


My mother's side comes from Welsh and Irish stock, so I am told. But regardless, they did come here as religious puritans and as rebellious brothers. How the two families became one is a story in it's own right.

My mother's father was a construction engineer for the Katy railroad, building many a bridge and overpass in the western United States. At least one of these still exists, today, just north of the capitol building in Oklahoma City. The story of this side really begins with my grandmother, however, with how she met, fell in love with my grandfather, then divorced him and struggled to raise her four children alone.

My mother was the oldest, with three brothers. One, uncle Woodrow, was forbidden entry into the armed forces during World War II, he was a 4F as a result of radiation burns from working as an X-ray Technician. The other two, uncle Rugie, and uncle Charlie, both became war heroes. Uncle Rugie was a doctor in New Guinea, and had his hospital tent bombed down around him twice while he was in surgery. Uncle Charlie was a navigator/bombardier in the lead B 24, the Whiskey Kid, which alone destroyed it's target while the rest of the flight went on to the secondary target due to clouds. This story made national headlines.

This is the basis or outline of the stories I shall write. I hope to have my brother's youngest daughter to help with this. She is still in high school but wishes to write short stories or novels. I hope that my brother and sister will join in this effort as well.

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