I know it's the first of November, but stay with me here. I'm doing research for a book. It's set on the Lamar peninsula at a house that no longer exists. It was a house the Moore children, my husband and his siblings, visited during the summer. It belonged to James Johnson and his wife, Annie Mae Ryals Johnson. I've enjoyed talking with old friends and relatives about the house and the family. The stories about Teddy Ryals and Annie Mae bring back many memories.
There is a rich history in this family, the Johnsons. My husband's grandmother, Myrtle Elenor Johnson Linney was James Johnson's sister. Myrtle was called Heart by her children and died in 1931 at the age of forty-two, giving birth to her eighth child, a female, Agnes, also deceased on the same day. This book will be historical fiction, if I don't change my mind about that before it's published. It's a work in progress.
I ran across an article today while I was researching the Lamar peninsula and what it was like there in earlier times. I was struck by the differences and also by the fact that people and their attitudes don't change much. I would have to draw you a family tree to explain the relations and I will probably have to do that for this book, but trust me when I tell you that Margaret Emanuel Simpson, wife of Moses Simpson is an ancestor of the Johnsons and the Moores. She told a graphic story about early life in Texas that was printed in the Galveston News in the early 1900's, before her death in 1918. The story was reprinted in the centennial edition of the Refugio Timely Remarks in 1934. I will probably use part of the story in the book to capture the feel of the peninsula in the mid 1800's, but what she said about the people of the time caught my attention and I thought I should share it. It gave me some hope that things aren't as bad as they seem, but also some concern that we haven't come very far: