Rena Priscilla Mears (-3G)
The (-3G) etc. after the names indicates the number of generations before Erven Thoma.
Her father was a Confederate soldier, serving in the 22nd Texas Infantry, Hubbard's Regiment, B. F. Parks Company from the Spring/Summer of 1862 until the close of the War. Rena's mother applied for a Confederate Pension from the state of Texas (granted on 07 Mar. 1912). James M. Mears was born in September of 1843 (or 1845) in Missouri or Tennessee. His parents were Elijah Mears and Nancy Bailey
Rena's mother was born on 03 Jul. 1846 in North Carolina. She was the oldest of 13 children of John James Bordeaux and Rebecca Priscilla Lamb. Rena's mother came from North Carolina to Texas in 1863. She married James M. Mears on 17 Apr. 1866 in Palestine, Anderson County, Texas. I have a copy of the marriage document for Rena's parents. Since Palestine is the county seat, and since John Vossler settled there, that city is probably where Rena was born and was living when she met John.
An old family Bible shows Rena's birth as 29 Mar. 1868.
The 1870 Census for Texas (Anderson County, Palestine P. O., page 112, dwelling 841, family 824, lines 37-39) shows the family of James Mears living in the Palestine postal area. He is 26 years old and was born in Missouri. He is a clerk in a store. His wife Margaret is 22 and was born in N. Caroline. She is keeping house. Daughter Rena, born in Texas, is 2 years old.
Her sister Julia (-3G) is born on 28 Nov. 1873 in Texas. Her sister Sela Kate (Katis S.) (-3G) is born in Oct. 1876 in Texas.
The 1880 Fed. Census for Texas (Anderson County, District 1, Palestine (city), supv. dist. 1, enum. dist. 1, page 13, lines 40-45, dated 09 June) shows the James W. Mears family living on Terry Street (dwelling visited #89, family visited #77). James is 35 years old, born in MO, parents born in Tenn. He is a clerk in dry goods. His wife, Lizzie, is 31, born in North Carolina, parents both born in NC. She is keeping house. Rena, marked as James' daughter, is 12 years old, born in Texas, parents both born in NC. She is at home. Another daughter of James is Julia, 6 years old, born in Texas, parents both born in NC. A third daughter is Katie, 4 years old, born in Texas, parents both born in NC. There seems to be a conflict with James' birth state: MO or NC. Also in the household is James' widowed father, Elijah, 60 years old?, born in Tenn and working as a miner. The birth-states of his parents are unknown. There is also a servant in the household. When searching the first 12 pages of Palestine Census, district I saw several people with the surname Bordeaux, which was the maiden surname of Rena's mother.
Married John Wm. Vossler (-3G) on 30 Sep. 1891 in Texas. Son, James M. Vossler (-2G), was born in Texas on 08 (or 11) Aug. 1892. Daughter, Alma Vossler (-2G), was born in Palestine, TX on 02 Oct. 1894.
In the 1900 Fed. Census for Texas (vol. 1, enum. district 5, sheet 15, line 24) we see Rena living at 814 Magnolia St. in Palestine, Anderson County, Texas. She is 32, born in Mar. 1868 in Texas. Living with her is her husband, Jas. (sic!) W. Vossler who is 36 years old, born in Missouri in Feb. 1864. Their son Jas. M. Vossler is 7 years old, born in Texas in Aug. 1892. Their daughter, Alma, is 5, born in Sep. 1894 in Texas. Also living there is Rena's mother, Mary E. Mears, 52 years old, born in July 1847 in Texas and Kate Mears, Rena's sister, 23 years old, born Oct. 1876 in Texas. This Census reports that Rena and John were married for 9 years and that Rena had 2 children, both of which are living. It says that both parents of John were born in Germany; that the father of Rena was born in Missouri and the mother of Rena in North Carolina. It reports that John is a stenographer and that they own their home.
The 1910 Fed. Census for Texas (16 Apr. 1910, enum. district 9, supv. district 7, ward 3, page 2) shows the family living in Palestine, Anderson County, Texas. Rena is 42 years old, born in Texas of parents born in Missouri and North Carolina. Her husband is 46 years old, born in Missouri with parents born in Germany. He is a clerk for the railroad and owns his house. Rena and her husband had only two children and have been married 19 years. Their daughter Alma is 15, born in Texas. Their son, Jas. M is 18, born in Texas.
Her father died on 26 Mar. 1911 in Palestine, TX.
The 1915 Houston City Directory shows John W. Vossler, clerk for the International and Great Northern Railroad, residing at 1906 Caroline. In 1915 there is a separate listing for Margaret E. Mears (widow of James M.) living with her daughter's family. There is also a separate listing for Rena's sister Miss Katie S. Mears who is an assistant bookkeeper at I.&G.N. RR, living at the same 1906 Caroline address. The 1917 Houston Texas City Directory lists John W. Vossler, stationer for I. & G.N. residing at 1603 Crawford in Houston, Texas. Alma Vossler is boarding there. The 1918 Houston Directory shows John Wm. Vossler, stationer for I & G. N., residing at 1207 Polk Ave. There is a separate listing (at the same address) for Miss Alma Vossler, student at Massey Business College. There is also a separate listing for Rena's mother, Margt. E. Mears (widow of Jas. M.) boarding with Rena and her family.
Her mother died on 03 Feb. 1920 in Taylor, TX.
The 1920 Census for Texas (vol. 88, enum. district 57, sheet 18, line 64) shows Rena Vosler (sic!) 51 years old, born in Texas, as a roomer in the home of Mattie McBride on East Rusk (#203) in Marshall, Harrison County, Texas. With them is Rena's husband, John W. Vosler (sic!) 55 years old, born in Missouri, who is an agent at a railroad station. Also there is Alma Vosler (sic!) who is 25 years old, born in Texas. Rena's sister Kate and her mother Mary and son Jas. are no longer living with them. James is living elsewhere [He married and had a son in 1918].
The 1930 Fed. Census for Texas (T626_2287, enum. dist. 1, page 4B, dated April 5) shows Rena and her husband (lines 65-66, dwelling #78, family #97). They are living at 1008 Cedar St. in Palestine city, Palestine Township, Anderson County (precinct 1, ward 1). Rena is 62 years old, born in Texas, married at age 22. Her father was born in Tennessee and her mother in North Carolina. No occupation is listed. She is not in school but can read, write, and speak English. Her husband, John W. Vossler, is 65 years old born in Missouri, married at age 27. His parents were both born in Germany. He was an employee of the railroad. He is not in school but can read, write, and speak English.
Her husband had a stroke in 1931 and moved from Palestine, TX to Houston, TX to be near his son and daughter-in-law. He then had to be hospitalized at the raidroad hospital in Palestine. He remained there until his death in 1939.
The 1935 and 1936 Houston City Directories show Mrs Rena Vossler living at 1614 Elgin Ave. with her son and his family. Her husband is not listed in either directory although he is still living [He is is a hospital in Palestine]. The 1935 Houston Directory also shows her mother as a teacher at Rusk School and living at 1802 Marshall.
She died 01 Nov. 1938 of heart failure and is buried in Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery, in Houston, in Sec. 23, lot 5
Her husband, John Wm. Vossler, died 24 May 1939, 7 months after she died, and is buried with her.
The 1900 Census shows Rena's mother living with her at 814 Magnolia in Palestine, TX. However, Rena's father seems to be living elsewhere in Palestine (ward 3, precinct 1, enum. dist. 5, sheet 5B, dwelling 91). The 1910 Census shows Rena's parents, grandmother, and sister Kate living in Palestine at #9 May St. (enum. dist. 9, sheet 8A, dwelling 133). Rena's parents both died before the 1920 Census.
Her sister Sela Katie (Katie S.) is found in the Census of 1880 (Palestine, TX, dist. 1; enum. dist. 1, page 13, lines 40-45) living with her parents and sisters. She is in the 1900 Census (Palestine, TX, enum. dist. 5, sheet 15 lines 24...) living with Rena's family. She is also in the Census of 1910 (Palestine, TX, ward 3; enum. dist. 9, sheet 8A) living with her parents. She (Miss Katie S. Mears) is also found in the Houston, TX City Directory of 1915 as an assist. bookkeeper for the I. & G.N. RR, living with Rena's family. I do not know what happened to her after 1915.
The sister Julia married J. H. Guyot and they lived in Taylor, Williamson County. Texas. Rena's mother (when widowed?) lived with Julia and her husband until she died in 1920. Julia died 22 Aug. 1970 at the Eastern Star Nursing Home in Arlington, Texas. Julia had a daughter named Marguerite.
Note that Rena's father and husband both came from Missouri. Coincidence?
Rena's son, James M. Vossler (-2G), married Miriam Genevieve McCleary (-2G) on 18 Jan. 1916 in Houston, TX. They had six children though the first was a stillborn. James died 16 Dec. 1950 in New Orleans, LA but was buried in Houston.
Rena's daughter, Alma Vossler (-2G), married Amory Earl Austin (Sr.) (-2G) on 22 Nov. 1921 in Houston, TX. They had one child, still living. Alma died on 01 Mar. 1975 in Macon, IL. Alma was a good friend of our grand aunt, Cecilia Mueller (née Thake).
Much information and the 1923 picture were contributed by living relatives. The same relative said that her mother told her that Rena was "an excellent seamstress and helped make beautiful dresses" for her granddaughters. She liked ruffles as one can see in the early picture above.
Created 27 May, 2002 Updated on 30 Mar. 2006.