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Henry Franklin Ausmus

Born: July 14, 1882 Speedwell, Claiborne County, Tennessee

Died: July 8, 1937 (Age 54) Crosbyton, Texas

Henry Franklin Ausmus was born in Speedwell, in Claiborne County, Tennessee on July 14, 1882 as the first son to Benjamin Ausmus (b. 1843) and Benjamin’s second wife, China (O’dell) Ausmus (*both pictured at right). Henry’s father was a fifth generation farmer who was widowed with 3 young girls, one of which died in infancy just prior to the death of his first wife, Barbry Hunter. China can be found  Census  living with her parents Marshall Love O'dell and Sarah M. (Hopper) O'dell. at age 9 in the 1870, and at age 19 in the 1880 for Claiborne County, Tennessee.

As a young boy, when young Henry Ausmus wasn’t in school, he would help his father on the farm. He can be seen in the 1900 census for Claiborne County as the oldest son at age 17 and helping his father as a farm hand. He was listed as having attended school within the past year and was able to read and write.

Henry wasn’t the type of child to stay settled in one place and farming was not where his heart was, so he left his home at about the age of 20 and joined the merchant marines. While traveling abroad, Henry learned the trade of painting in the marines and combined it with his artistic talents to make a quick buck or pay for room and board. According to his children, Henry was a tall sandy blond handsome man and a sign painter, a trait that he learned while being a merchant marine. He had small contracts with companies especially cigarette companies which required him to move often.

Henry returned home to Speedwell about a year later and once again helped his father on the farm. Henry took odd jobs around the neighborhood painting for business owners and also taught his younger brother, Edgar Love Ausmus the trade. One of Henry's childhood neighbors was a young beautiful girl by the name of Floy Eller Ellison (b. 07/12/1894).

At the age of 28, Henry and eighteen year old Floy were married by Brownlow Rogers in Speedwell, Tennessee. Floy was the daughter of Berry Ellison (b. Sept 1863) and Adeline J. Edwards (b. 10/20/1865). Berry Ellison was the son of Henry Ellison. Adeline had died or left the home when Floy was young. As a young girl, Floy could always remember referring to her "mother figure" as "Aunt".  Adeline's parents were Malinda Ausmus who married Sampson Edwards. Berry married a second time to Adeline's younger sister, Anna Christina Edwards. They can all be seen living together in the 1910 census for Claiborne County living next to Benjamin Ausmus and young Henry.

Henry and Floy moved away from their family's farms and moved to Crosbyton, Texas to live with some family, where on February 8, 1914, they had their first child, Edward Otto Ausmus. Things didn't work out for Henry and Floy in Texas. Henry moved on his own to Grand Junction, Colorado and Floy remained in Texas. 

Sometime around 1916, Henry moved back to Crosbyton, Texas March 4, of 1918, their second child, Marguerite Anita Ausmus was born. She would later marry Ken Smith "Smitty".

1917/18 United States enters World War I

On September 12, 1918, at the age of 36, Henry signs draft registration card while living in Grand Junction Colorado. He is listed as being tall with a medium build and blue eyes with blonde hair. His occupation is listed as a self employed painter with the nearest relative as being his wife.November 11, 1918, WWI ends.

Henry and his family can be seen when the US Federal Census was taken on January 15, 1920 in Huntington Beach, California. Henry is still making a living as a sign painter and Floy would become pregnant with her third child a month later.

At the age of 38 in 1920, Henry returned home to his parent’s house [3].

On November 22, 1920, Henry and Floy’s third child, James Hulse Ausmus was born in Plainview Texas. James later marries Yvonne Patricia Caviness and moved to Sacramento, CA while in service in the Army Airforce prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. James and Yvonne retired in Milpitas, California where they lived for many years. They moved once again to Oregon where Yvonne past away. James is still living in Oregon and is currently married to German born, Irene Schlueter.

The Ausmus family picked up once again and moved to Stafford, Arizona where Robert Paul Ausmus is born in 1922. 

Family moved once again to Cortez, Colorado where he wrote this poem.

Letter from Ethel Edwards Lynch
Henry's son James and his wife, Yvonne in 1941

Knoxville, TN Jan 9, 1981

I remember Henry Ausmus who married Floy Ellison. He was a sort of an intellectual handsome, well dressed, looked up to the common run of the people. I remember Henry wanted his younger sisters, Dora and marie and Bess to learn to be useful. He had them making rugs from old clothes. They tore the clothes into strips, tacked the strips together, then crocheted the rugs with a homemade wooden hook that Henry made. I helped tack the strips so we could go and play. We didn't like the way Henry bossed his sisters around after his mother, China died. I guess that was his responsibility. So he thought. We didn't.  Your Aunt Bess could have told you much about Henry.

Possibly moved to Cortez, Colorado.

Circa 1925, The Henry Ausmus family moved once again to Riverton, Wyoming where the picture below was taken. Author of the printing is James Hulse Ausmus.

On February 8, 1927, William Berry Ausmus was born in Texas according to the 1830 Census. William died on March 31, 1991 in Sacramento, California.

September 1928, Henry’s 85-year old father, Benjamin Ausmus dies in Speedwell, Tennessee after marrying a third time to Martha A. Beeler.

July 29, 1929 in poor health from Syphilis and is sometimes mentally incoherent.

Moved to Belle Fourche, South Dakota and can be seen together in the 1930 Cenus taken on April 18th of that year. According to his Henry's son, Robert Paul Ausmus, Henry would travel with Robert to a town where he'd trade sign painting for a short stays at campgrounds. Then he'd trade his skills for a "meal ticket" at a local cafe. Then he'd hit the larger companies and farms. Some farms had silos which would advertise on the silo. Henry would climb the silos then rope down and paint the sides with advertising.

According to Henry's son, Robert, Marguerrite almost dies from pneumonia and is taken to the hospital in Lovick, Texas where she received a tracheotomy. 

Circa 1935, The Ausmus Family (minus Henry) moves to Corvallis, Oregon along with the Ellisons (Minne Wilson) and her family.

Letter from Lottie Ellison to Floy Eller Ellison

Dated February 8, 1935

My Dear Sis:

I just got your letter this morning and am so sorry you are in such a predicament. My, my, if we could only foresee the future when we are young! I have been so discouraged myself, always struggling for something only to have it and all prospects of it snatched away by one means or another, but who knows? I am quite a fatalist myself and who knows but it has happened all for the best for me!

I am expecting Mamma and Dad [Anna C. (Edwards) Ellison and Berry Ellison] out here by the first of March or maybe the 15th. I don’t think it best for them to come, but they won’t have it otherwise. Laudy [Ellison] is not working and he has been eating with me ever since he came and he sleeps with Haskell [Ellison]. Daisy is not here yet, although she is raving to come as I understand it. Haskell is working, so I have dropped him from my list of worries.

I have been looking around for a house for Mama and Dad and I will try to get one large enough to include you and the children under the condition you will swear to me that Henry [Ausmus] will not be included. I hope you understand how I feel about this – I think with all I have had to put up with the last few years I have become hardhearted. And I have denied myself the luxury of a home of my own and a family just because I knew I was not in a position to take it on. I don’t know what chance there is of work here- I believe it depends on the individual trying to get work, although I do know it is not plentiful, and it will require persistence on anyone’s part. I know what a struggle I had and one cannot be to choicy. You see I am not mincing words, but it is just as well we lay all the cards on the table and everyone pull together, I believe you know that I will be glad to do what I can, Floy, however, that is not promising a great deal, as I am not making very much myself. Yet you can live with Mamma and Dad and we will get along somehow. I am awfully sorry for the children [Edward Otto Ausmus, Margaritte, Anita Ausmus (later Smith), James Hulse Ausmus, Robert Paul Ausmus, William Berry Ausmus], as well as yourself – children deserve a better chance in life, I know from experience. You know I have had to struggle for myself ever since I was a kid and I have tried to make something of myself, although I have not succeeded very well. But let’s forget as much of the unpleasant things as possible and all work together for the future. I am with you, Old Dear, so cheer up and get ready to come if you can get your fare down here. Sorry I have not the money to send you. I will let you know when to come, it will not be before the first of March, as I won’t have the money to take a house before then, but in the meantime write me as soon as you get this letter.

Understand you are not to let Henry [Franklin Ausmus] know you are coming to me. 

Lottie, [Ellison]

Letter from Dr. Wm. T. Johnson

Physician and Surgeon

200 Rennie Building Corvallis, Oregon December 1, 1937

To Whom It May Concern:

This is to certify that on April 17, 1935, I sent in a specimen of Mrs. Floy [Ellison] Ausmus’ blood to the laboratory of the Oregon State Board of Health for a Wasserman examination. The report, Lab. #4423, was negative. On April 23, 1937, a specimen of blood of Edward [Otto Ausmus] and Billie [William Berry] Ausmus was sent to the same laboratory and the reports on these were likewise negative for syphilis. The laboratory number on Billie’s report was #4562, and on Edward’s #4563.

Yours truly,

Wm. T. Johnson

Health Officer for Benton County and City of Corvallis


July 8, 1937 Henry Franklin Ausmus dies in Crosbyton Texas.

Death Certificate.

Margaritte Anita Ausmus (Smith) who later marries Kenneth Smith.

Henry Franklin Ausmus and Floy (Eller) Ellison's children circa 1995

LtoR: Robert Paul Ausmus, William Berry Ausmus, Margariette Anita (Ausmus) Smith, James Hulse Ausmus.

Floy Eller Ellison

Henry Ausmus and son Billy in Belle Fourche, South Dakota 1928