Grandparents – Mama’s Family

Did you have grandparents? – If you’ve been following this series, you know that so far my posts have been FULL of information and stories about my mother’s parents – Nannie and Gankie.

Where were they born? When were they born? – They were both born in southwestern Arkansas in 1888. Gankie’s birthday was July 10th, and Nannie’s birthday was December 8th.

What do you remember about them? When did they die?

William Barr Oglesby, Sr.

Gankie was born in Hope – yes, the same town where Bill Clinton was born, but many, many years earlier. His family can be traced back to the late 18th and early 19th century in this country. One of the early Oglesby daughters was taken by the Indians in a raid on their homestead in Kentucky – the same raid that Davy Crockett’s sister was stolen in. His mother died at his birth and he was raised by an aunt and later an older sister. He was a twin.

His name was William Barr Oglesby, and his twin brother was Stuart Roscoe Oglesby, Jr. They had an older brother named Micajah Oglesby, and a couple of much older sisters named Rosa and Fanny (or Fanny may have been an aunt). Their father was a banker in Hope and, also the Sunday School Superintendent at the Presbyterian Church. In those days the Sunday School Superintendent was the lay leader. Gankie went on to be a banker all his life, ending up as Vice President of State First National Bank in Texarkana, Arkansas, and an elder in the Presbyterian Church. Uncle Stuart was a preacher, and retired in an Emeritus position from Central Presbyterian Church, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Here are Gankie (on the right) and Uncle Stuart in about 1945.

When Mama and I lived with Nannie and Gankie before Papa came home from the war, Gankie used to say, “Are there any little girls around here who love their Gankie?” and I would hold up my hand and say “Here’s one!” He always called me his first little “Here’s one.”

Here he is in the living room at 2017 Laurel just before Nannie and Gankie’s 50th Wedding Anniversary in May of 1962.

Here he is as one of the four Williams – Uncle Billy (William Barr Oglesby, Jr), Gankie (William Barr Oglesby, Sr.), Billy (William Thomas Watters), and Bill (William Robert Greisser). This was taken when Billy was baptised in the spring of 1972. Gankie died just before Christmas that same year.

Annabel Eakin Oglesby

Nannie was born in Washington, Arkansas. Washington, Arkansas was where Jim Bowie made the first Bowie knife. Her father, William Eakin, was a lawyer, and her grandfather was also a lawyer and a Supreme Court Justice in the Confederate State of Arkansas. Her mother was Mary Harris Eakin – one of the Harrises of Virginia. The Eakins were Scotch-Irish and came to this country in the first decade of the 19th Century. (If anyone ever wants to get into the Daughters or Sons of the American Revolution there is an Eakin ancestor who fought in the War of 1812). She was related to many of the old Southern families – I know there’s a Searcy, as well as the Harrises in her lineage.

This is a picture of Nannie and Aunt Mary who was just a year younger than Nannie. Apparently there was a traveling photographer who went around southwestern Arkansas taking these pictures of young kids, since this is a match to Gankie and Uncle Stuart.

Nannie had two older and two younger sisters, but the youngest one died at the age of two. Her name was Elvira Searcy and we always said she died in protest to her name. Her older sisters were Florida Elizabeth – called Floy – and Pauline. Aunt Floy married a railroad man named Arthur Allen, and later moved to Colorado after he came down with tuberculosis. They had two sons – Arthur, Jr., and Nat. Aunt Pauline married Stuart Wilson – a banker, who hired Gankie to be the head Teller in his bank in Texarkana – and they had three girls – Pauline (always known as Little Pauline), Mary Adele, and Margaret (Mama’s bosom buddy and best friend growing up). Aunt Mary (also called Aunt Mamie) married an engineer, Jim Dawson, and had a daughter named Mary Lou.

There are the Eakin girls on the porch of Aunt Pauline’s house in Texarkana in 1915.  From left to right: Mary Dawson, Annabel Oglesby, Pauline Wilson, and Floy Allen.

Here’s the whole family five years later (I know the year, because Mama was born in 1920, and she’s the baby.) From left to right: Mary Adele, Little Pauline, Aunt Pauline, Nat Allen, Aunt Floy, Arthur Allen, Nannan (Mary Harris Eakin), Mary Lou and Bill Oglesby (in front), Aunt Mary, Nannie (Annabel Oglesby), Mama (being held by Gankie), Gankie, Jim Dawson.

Here are Nannie and Gankie in the fall of 1944.

And here they are for their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 1962.

This is Nannie and Aunt Mamie (in the wheelchair) in 1973, shortly before Aunt Mame died.

And here’s Nannie in 1978. She was living with Mama and Papa at the time at 1924 Laurel. Shortly after that her Alzheimer’s progressed so far that she had to go to a nursing home. She died in early January 1982.

3 thoughts on “Grandparents – Mama’s Family

  1. Pingback: Grandparents – Mama’s Family « Feeds « Theology of Ministry

  2. It’s interesting how the photographs from that period all have a similar look. Some of yours could almost be copies of some of the pictures of my grand and great-grands. All of the men seemed to have the same glasses and hair-styles. Few, if any, of the people looked happy to be having the picture made. Thanks for the memories.


  3. Love seeing your grandparents again….and learning more about their early history…. I need to do the same thing for our family. When Daddy spoke at Uncle Bob’s funeral on Sunday, he challenged us to ‘write it down’ and not rely on oral history after we’d been sharing wonderful stories all day… Thanks!


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