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Annie L. Windham Straley John Henry Straley

"If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance."
George Bernard Shaw

Elsie and Reba, 1969

In the cold Pennsylvania winter, heaven welcomed home Oplin, Texas' original belle of the South, Elsie Louise Durham, my mom.  

Her charm and grace encapsulated her ability to be witty and sly without being overbearing. She was extremely kind and pleasant.  Simply, everybody loved Elsie. And she loved her boys, for sure. However, Elsie really had a special place in her heart for Reba Ann (right), her first and only daughter. They were more like sisters, and certainly were best friends. 

Elsie was born April 3, 1920 in Oplin, TX to Charles Dean and Annie Laura (Windham) Straley. She grew up and attended Oplin High School, graduating in 1937.  She attended college two years at Abilene Christian College, where she met and married E. Earl Durham. After a long marriage and 3 kids, they divorced. To take her mind off things, Elsie went to nursing school and became a Licensed Vocational Nurse. She moved to El Paso, TX (to be close to Reba, who was also a nurse) and took her first job at Providence Memorial Hospital. In 1975, she moved back to Oplin to care for her aging parents. Before retiring, she worked at Clyde Nursing Home, and cared for her mother. In 2000, she moved to Camp Hill, PA with her sons.

As I wrote in her obituary, "though she moved many times to many places, she never felt at home unless her feet were on Callahan County Texas soil". And that is where she rests today, at Tecumseh Cemetery, near her Mom and Dad, and brother. And there she's closest to her beloved daughter and friend, Reba Ann.

Dearest Family and Friends,

I've created the following web pages to share to information I have on my family's ancestry. Too many memories and stories have died as time rolls by. This is my attempt to collect, document, store, pass on and revive those memories.  This is a never-ending quest to uncover the covered.  Through a lot of research, friendly "borrowing" of other's research (see "Special Thanks section" below, and the Page Sources reference on each page), and many 2 a.m. nights, I have pulled together what has become Clear Creek Genealogy.  My intent is to post factual information, and pass on the stories as they were told to me and others. I deliberately attempt to keep my editing to a minimum.

The information here is interesting, reasonably truthful, and even dramatic in places. I take great pride in recognizing my many sources throughout. This literally represents YEARS of work. It is also my choice to not use standard genealogy software (I've always kind of been a lone wolf). These pages were created using my own home-grown web talents, as limited as they are.

If you read these pages and find errors, don't hesitate to email me with new information. I am always looking for more concrete verification. Hopefully, I will respond quickly, but don't give up if I'm busy. I got a lot goin' on in these days.

Thanks, Jim at work or at home

Special Thanks to:
Reba Ann Durham Arroyo - my sweet, late sister. Without her, none of this would have happened. Love you.
Elsie Durham - My Mom, for sharing the stories and having such a wonderful Texas accent.
James Gordon "Tip" Durham - the resident expert on our Durham line.
The late Grace (Rhodes) Straley Swartz - A sweet lady who published a book on Straleys!
Cathy Straley - a real Straley expert, who prepared "The Descendants of Jacob Straley". Email her at
John B. Windham - THE expert on our Windham genealogy.
Marion Windham - my Texas cousin; sent me a copy of Dr. J.D. Windham's diary.
Paula Windham - one of Callahan Co. Texas' top historians, and my cousin, too.
Rodney Britnell
Morris & Nell George