THE FAMILIES IN PINE ISLAND MILAM THRU PENNINGTON
The family except for William and the other son (name unknown) were living in Harris County, Georgia in 1840 and in Muscogee County, Georgia in 1850. Lewis was listed as farming and Mary 19, Pamilia 17, Cinderilla 15 and Emma 12 were listed as factory hands in the 1850 census.
Lewis' son William R. Milam born in Georgia in February of 1828 and was living in Chambers County, Alabama in 1852 with the Samual Roach family. There he met his future wife, Samantha (Brooks) Milam born in April 1830. She was living a few farms down the road with her parents, Danial and Elisabeth Brooks. Danial, aged 45 and his wife Elisabeth aged 44, had five children,
Symantha (spelled Samantha in later records), aged 20 - Arbanna, aged 14 - Eliza A, aged 12 - Susan, aged 11 and William D, aged 4.All of William and Samantha's children were also born in Alabama. William's parents were born in South Carolina and Samantha's were born in Georgia.
Sometime after the Civil War, between 1865 and 1874, William migrated from Alabama to Texas. With him was his wife Samantha, two sons, James McDonough and William Jonas and one daughter, Louisa. William and Samantha had a store when they lived in Alabama. But, times were very hard after the Civil War and all they had left was a cracker barrel full of worthless Confederate money.
On arriving in Texas they settled and farmed near Weimer in Colorado county. William R., Samantha, James, William Jonas and Louisa were all listed as doing farm work in 1900. They also had a 28 year old farm hand, named J.C. Walker, living with them at the time.
Samantha gave information to the census taker when the 1900 census was taken, that she was the mother of five children, but that only three of them were still living. It is unknown at the present if those children were born in Alabama or Texas. However the Mortality Schedule from the 1860 Census for Randolph County Alabama shows that a 3 month old baby named George F. Milam died in the county in March of 1860. Chambers and Randolph county adjoin each other. But, the 1860 Census of both counties show no Milams in either county. I would speculate that it was Wiliam and Samantha's baby and they moved to another county after it died. The information regarding the death was probably given to the census taker by a relative or former landlord.
It is very probably that they came to Texas in the late 1860s shortly after the Civil War. William served as a private in the Confederate Army in Company G, 31 Regiment. The company was formed by Captain Chapman in Talladega, Alabama. He was later taken captive by the yankees and was held as a prisoner of war until the end of the war. He was paroled by Brevit Brigadier General M. H. Chrysler on May 19, 1865 at Talladego, Alabama.
Even the women did what they could to help during the Civil War. Louisa remembered helping her mother cook pies for the soldiers. The post war period very hard on white citizens of the defeated Confederate States of America and particularly hard on the ex-confederate soldiers. This caused many families living in the "Old South" to move westward to Texas and beyond in order to escape the losses in civil rights, money, lands and dignity. We do know for sure however, that the Milams were in Texas by February of 1874, because that is when their granddaughter, Kate Adams, was born, in Texas.
W. C. Munn was a well known (in the 1920s and 1930s.) merchant who had a four story department store on Houston's Main street. They all moved to Waller County and settled in the Pine Island community before 1900 because he was listed in the 1900 Census as a farmer in Waller County. There, on September 23, 1891, he bought ninety eight and one half acres from J.D. Flewellen for three hundred dollars.
Although William had been called a "City Boy", he and Mary Jane farmed the property well enough to add more land until the farm totaled 246 acres. They raised cotton, corn and watermelons as the basic cash crops, but they also raised cows and turkeys. When they bought the land, cotton was selling for four cents a pound. He used to take turkeys all the way to the Farmer's Market in Houston, to sell, during the holiday season. They also sold butter and eggs.
Most of the food they ate was raised on the farm and what was not eaten fresh, was preserved or stored in the old ways. Milk and butter was taken to the creek and stored in the water to keep it cool. The creek also furnished fish for a change in diet. Eggs were kept cool by putting them in a crock jar and burying the crock in the ground, under the kitchen. They participated in "beef clubs" in the area, where the members took turns killing a cow and dividing the meat between the members. Beef was much harder to preserve then pork. Since most families couldn't possibly eat a whole cow before the meat went bad, the clubs were created. An old black man called "Charlie" lived on their place and cooked for them, but he wouldn't allow the children in the kitchen while he was cooking.
Jonas, along with Tol and Ben Garrett (Mary Jane's brothers) used to walk all the way to the Pennington's combination Prairie View postoffice and general store to get the mail. (and maybe catch up with the latest neighborhood news). Later a mail route was started and Harold Cook delivered the mail in a buggy.
Jonas and Mary Jane often took May (the baby) in the buggy and went all the way to Reid's Prairie to spend a night or two visiting at Kate (Lousia's daughter) and Robert Hand's house. Jonas' father (William), mother (Samantha) and sister (Louisa) all lived with Kate until they died. And, occasionally the Hands would return the visit. Mae remembers Kate as always being in a starched and ironed, white dress.
The old original home place was on Betka Road in front of "Aunt" Mae Taylor's home. They later built a new house a few blocks west, among the trees on the hill, where the present "Brannon House" is now located. In later years they moved around the curve on Betka to a house about a block south of the creek to Jim Milam's old house where hey lived until they died. But even there, Mary Jane was still near her beloved creek where even in her late seventies she could often be seen still doing what she so loved to do, fishing.
Lucille (Milam) Daut remembered telling "grandma" about the speckled trout and redfish that her husband, Wheeler Daut, caught, fishing from a row boat in Galveston Bay. Grandma quickly responded with, "I don't guess he wouldn't want to take an old woman out in the boat with him. . . I sure would like to catch some of those big fish..."
The Milam's were a religious family. William Jonas Milam was an active force in the early spiritual life of the Pine Island Baptist Church. In the mid 1890's with small they often opened their home to family and friends for "Meetings" and "Singings" on the Sundays when church services were not held and other days as the need was felt. They were members of and regularly attended the Pine Island Baptist Church, but "church preaching" was only held once a month in those days. Their son Ned was often the song leader at the Saturday night "Singings" at the church.
Jonas' evenings were often spent by sitting in his rocker by the fireplace and reading his Bible. Daughter, May remembers asking her ma, why pa always stood at the mantle for awhile with his head down after reading. And, ma replied "He's praying."
He was a voice of moderation at the church and stood up when necessary and urged everyone to let bygones be bygones. Mary Jane was active in the Ladies Aid group at the church and helped in the quiltings. Brother Sellers came from Weimer once a month to preach at Pine Island. This must have been a big event for Jonas, to hear both the preaching and the news from Weimer.
Mary Jane was an enterprising woman, looking for ways to help the family. That fact is illustrated by the following letter written by her in 1923
Hempstead TexasShe also sold Blair Products, which was similar to the Watkins line. She took orders and delivered them throughout the Pine Island community in a buggy. The buggy was pulled by the family's horse, Fritz. One of her grandchildren, Mary Louise (Taylor) Fulmer, remembers riding with her to make a delivery to Mrs Lula's at the Crowhurst farm, on the old Houston highway. It was the grandchildren's delight to ride with "grandma" in the buggy to make a delivery.
R-3-B-38 July 31st 1923
Mrs John Elsivick
Port Lavaca Tex
Dear Mrs Elsivick
I have just read your letter in the Semi-weekly Farm New's. I wish to try the Bonnet making too. Would you send me a pattern or sell me a bonnet too? Then I could see just exactly how you make them. I will pay you for the bonnet and pay postage. I will enclose self addressed and stamp for envelope for a reply. Hope to hear from you by return mail.
Mrs M J Milam
William Jonas and Mary Jane are both buried in the Shiloh Church cemetery along with some of the other family members. William and Mary Jane raised seven children, Harry Lee, Lucy Ann, William Harris, (Edwin?) Ned Bufford, Charles C, James (Jim) B, and Mantie Mae. William Jonas and Mary Jane are both buried in the Shiloh Church cemetery along with some of the other family members.
They were living in Reagan, Texas (Falls County) when Frankie was born, but had moved back to Pine Island before the other children were born. They lived in the old original Milam home on Betka road for awhile after returning to Pine Island. Later they lived at the old Keeler/Wallgast place, on Cochran road where he farmed for awhile.
They moved in with Mamie's mother after John Wesley Prnnington, her husband, died to help run the house, store, farm and post office. Harry Lee carried the mail for the Prairie View post office where his mother in law, Francis Pennington and later his wife, Mamie were the postmistress. He also served as a Trustee on the Pine Island School Board and was one of the designers of the new two room Pine Island schoolhouse, that was built east of the Pine Island church on Brumlow Road, and opened in 1919 after his death. It replaced the old school that was at the intersection of Betka Rd and Brumlow Rd.. He was also an active member of the Woodmen Of The World. His devotion to his work at the post office was what killed him.
He, along with many people in the winter of 1918 - 1919, became a victim of the influenza epidemic. Just as he begin to recover, an e arly cold wet norther hit Waller county. That evening at train time he began to worry about the mail pickup.
In those days, all of the trains didn't stop at the depot and the mail sack was suspended on a pole beside the railroad track. A strap tightened the sack in the middle, dividing the sack into two separate pouches A steel hook was extended from the train's mail car, would catch the sack, in the middle as the train raced past and the attendant would pull it into the train. A wonderful system, except that sometime the train rocked at the wrong moment and the hook hit one end instead of the middle of the mail sack and only knocked it off the pole and a considerable way down the tracks.
One of Harry Lee's duties was hanging the mail sack on the pole. He was worrying whether the mail sack had been hung correctly by his replacement, as he got out of bed and stood in the open front door waiting for the train to pass so he would be sure the mail sack was picked up. The door was on the north side of the house and that short exposure to the fresh norther was enough to cause him to relapse and go into the pneumonia that killed him.
A few of you may have noticed that his son Harry Wesley was called Harry LeGrande above. That's another story. LeGrande was his original middle name. He was so named for Doctor LeGrande, who delivered him. Doctor LeGrande was also the doctor who was taking care of Harry Lee when he died. Thereafter Harry LeGrande was known as Harry Wesley. Harry Lee died on October 26, 1918 at the age of 36 and Mamie died April 27, 1970 at the age of 87. Harry Lee and Mamie are both buried in the Pennington plot in the Hempstead, Texas cemetery.
* In the 1900 census, the 8 year old boy was listed as Edwin and there was no "Ned". As Ned was a common nickname for Edwin it leaves room for the probabi lity that his real name was Edwin and lost over the years as the nickname Ned was used.
They lived in a rent house at first then moved to the old original Milam home, that was in front of her present home. In 1923 her brother "Ned" started framing her current home behind the old house. Her husband Frank and her father finished it.
Sixteen years later, in 1897, they bought the property with the general store and post office on the southeast corner of "The Old Houston Highway" and Cochran Rd. from Duncan D. Robertson, according to the book "Closed Post Offices of Waller County" but the records in the courthouse show that he bought two acres from Will Cameron (the postmaster after Robertson) on February 19, 1897. The explanation may be that Robertson was buying the land from Cameron.
John Wesley was appointed the Postmaster on February 8, 1901. After John died, his wife, Francis, was appointed the Postmistress on October 28, 1903 and she was followed as post mistress, by their daughter Mamie P. Milam on October 30, 1914.
John died October 3, 1903 and Francis died on July 31, 1919. They are both buried in the family plot in the Hempstead Cemetery.
Mamie and Harry Lee Milam were married on August 13, 1905 in Hempstead by O.M. Smith. Harry and Mamie had four children, Frankie Lee, Mamie Lucille, Chalista Jane and Harry LeGrande. They were living in Reagan, Texas (Falls County) when Frankie was born, but had moved back to Pine Island before the other children were born.
After Mamie finished high school, she attended business college in Mckinney Texas. After finishing school she worked as a postal clerk at the Pine Island Post Office. This experience and training served her well in later years when she scored higher on the Civil Service Examination for Post Master then all of the other applicants, including her brother James..
Harry died four years later in 1918 and she was able to raise the four children on her own. As late as 1930, along with the post office, Mamie was still keeping a small herd of milk cows for milk and butter, a chicken yard for meat and eggs, raised sun flowers and kafircorn for chicken feed and had two vegetable gardens.
Mamie was one of the more progressive citizens in the area, as she had gas lights installed in the new house and post office. Later she had electric lights long before power lines were brought to the area. She had a gasoline powered electric generator installed along with a system of glass storage batteries to furnish electric lights for the house and post office.
After the post office was merged with the Hempstead post office in 1938, she went to work as a clerk in the Waller County Court House. In 1940 she moved to a house that she owned in Hempstead and sold the old home place to A.W. Randall. In later years she moved to Houston, where she worked for the "Harris County Medical and Dental Bureau" until her eyes failed and she could no longer see to work.
Mamie died April 27, 1970 at the age of 87 and Harry Lee died on October 26, 1918 at the age of 36. Harry Lee and Mamie are both buried in the Pennington plot in the Hempstead, Texas cemetery.
He died at his home in West University, Texas on March 1, 1940 and is buried in the Hempstead cemetery. After he died, Blanche started working for Harris County and became the head matron for the women's section of the Harris County Jail.
James attended the University of Texas and later worked as a railway express messenger ridding the railway express train car between Austin and Houston. They lived in West University, Texas until he and Theresa divorced. After that he married Etha Davis and moved to her home in Waller, Texas. He continued to live there for a few years after she died. In 1986 when he moved to a nursing home in Livingston Texas near to his daughter "Jackie". He died December 31 1987 and Theresa died in 1979. The are both buried in the Hempstead cemetery.