Janice Williams Loves Austin And sometimes I write about it.

December 8, 2013

Cemeteries and Us

Filed under: Cemeteries — Janice @ 10:15 pm

Yesterday was the 21st anniversary of Mark giving me an engagement ring. I won’t say the 21st anniversary of our “engagement” because that truly came a week after we met in the summertime, but people tend to accept the giving of an engagement ring as a better indication of future marriage plans. I think I’ve written about the engagement ring before. There were beautiful Christmas lights all over town and they sparkled in my new diamond ring.

What does that have to do with cemeteries? No, there was no cemetery involved in our engagement at all. But I was looking through photos and a couple of good photos of us in cemeteries:


That one was near Independence, Texas, and we didn’t have any relatives there, but this one is in Mount Pleasant (Green Hill) and just about everyone around us is a relative of Mark’s:


Mostly our pictures in cemeteries don’t include us both, but we’re getting better about taking a “selfie” when we can.

People ask me about my cemetery obsession and Mark’s cooperation in my graveyard adventures. He may not be quite as interested as I am, but I was thinking about how many cemeteries he has taken me to over our 21 years and how often he’s thrown on the brakes and made a u-turn when I’ve hollered, “CEMETERY!” and craned my neck as I see one go by. I can’t recall that he’s ever said no.

I was smitten with Mark even before we had ever gone to a cemetery and I don’t think a dislike of cemeteries from his viewpoint would have made me change my mind. But it sure helped when we took our first cemetery adventure.

I’d have to check the diary to see when it happened, but somewhere in the summer or fall of 1992, there was a meteor shower that was supposed to be extra special and the weathermen were telling everyone to get out of town and see it where you could find a dark night sky. We lived in the suburbs of Dallas (Richardson for him and Carrollton for me) and there was light pollution wherever we looked. We drove out of town to find some dark sky and Mark said, “I have an idea of where to go, but I don’t know how you’ll feel about it.” Why? What could be wrong? “It’s a cemetery up on a hill.” BINGO! A guy that didn’t even shy away from going to a cemetery at night.

We headed north of town to the Zion Cemetery up on top of a very lonely hill miles from city. We crept up a very dark rutted dirt road to the top of the hill to this very old cemetery…. and found a dozen or more cars already up there. We weren’t the only ones with this idea. But it was dark and there were meteors and it was a great night, stretched across the hood of my car, talking and watching the sky.

Later, my parents moved where that cemetery was on our route to their house and we stopped there and took bluebonnet pictures. Now, I would hate to see it. I think all the suburb towns have invaded from every side.

I found this picture online and most of development seems to still be across the road at least. But I bet the night sky isn’t as dark as it was.


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December 7, 2013

Pork Stew

Filed under: At home,Food,Normal Life — Janice @ 11:34 pm

I made a pot of pork stew today to keep us warm while the temperatures stay in the 20s and 30s until tomorrow. And it turned out good! I have experimented with pork stew several times and have never been really happy. The Roaring Fork restaurant serves the most tremendous pork stew in the the world. I crave it. I want to get some right now, even though I am stuffed on my pork stew and gingerbread at the moment.

Of course, part of the reason their pork stew is so fabulous is that it comes in a little iron cauldron and is covered in cheese and there are toasty warm steamed flour tortillas along side it and, usually, at least when I go for happy hour, there is a beautiful glass of wine, too.

But I bought some cubed pork at the store the other day, the kind I usually don’t find and I have to cube it myself, so I thought I would try it again. I found a recipe online that is supposedly THE recipe from the Roaring Fork. Well, of course it has ingredients in it that I don’t have. Coriander powder, jalapeno powder, and green chile powder. I didn’t even have the garlic it called for (except now I realize I had plenty in a jar and I didn’t think of it).

All this recipe really was was green chiles, onion, and pork, and some cumin (I did own cumin!). The recipe didn’t call for browning the pork in the skillet, but I did that – dredging them in flour and spices, browning them in oil, and then putting them in the crockpot. I used 4 little cans of mild chiles and one huge onion. As it was cooking, it did NOT look that good. Oh, there was about a cup of water in there, too. It just looked like soup with bits of meat floating in it. But somewhere a few hours in, it changed and looked even worse. Now it was just one solid dark mass. But what a delicious mass it was! Surprisingly, it was very close to the Roaring Fork’s taste. I served mine with a dollop of sour cream to give it that creamy texture. Mark didn’t have sour cream and he liked it, too. And I didn’t have the tortillas and I didn’t have the cauldrons and I didn’t top it with cheese. But it was delicious, warming, and worth trying again.

No picture, sadly. It would have taken a good photo stager to make a bowl of it look appetizing, I think, but it really was. Yum. 

December 6, 2013

Snow Days

Filed under: At home,Austin,Food,My Job,Normal Life — Janice @ 10:41 pm

I don’t know where you live, but I would expect that wherever you are, people are worrying about the cold arctic blast that is hitting us. The Dallas/Fort Worth area, my old home, is iced over and everyone is hunkered down. Here in Austin, we only had cold weather and even with that we didn’t go below 32 officially today.

I have been through ice storms in Dallas and they are really something to worry about. Having come from super-cold country (Amarillo), I thought I could laugh at these people that couldn’t drive in this stuff. Then I learned what ice was all about. It truly was something that was totally different in nature from the snows of the Panhandle. I think I had one glorious ice day when I lived in Dallas. After many years in radio where there is no such thing as a snow day or an ice day, I had a non-essential job and got to stay home ONE time because of ice. It was glorious.

But the best snow day ever (okay, maybe outside of as a kid because those were always wonderful) was when I lived in Amarillo with my roommates Beth and Diane and we had a snow day. Well, actually, they had the snow day because they had jobs that did such a thing. I still got up and somehow made it through the drifts and did my morning show, but turned right around after and came home so THEN my snow day began.

I suppose if three single 20-somethings all lived together and had a snow day today they would spend most of their time on their smart phones or laptops or tablets talking with friends in other places and comparing notes about the cold weather. How sad! We had just the three of us and we made fudge and probably other fattening things. We played Scrabble and probably some card games, too. Yes, we had a TV, but no movies on hand or anything particularly good to watch, so the TV stayed off and we talked and played and cooked and laughed. It was memorable. Mostly for the fudge, but for the girls, too.

Today I sort of took a snow day. I still worked, but I worked from home. Not quite the same thing because I didn’t make fudge and I had no friends with me. But I enjoyed a fire and 3 kitties and a Christmas tree and I actually got some work done, too. The weather didn’t turn out so bad that I couldn’t have made it in after all, but I appreciate a flexible boss and job that let’s me be at home like this. Next time ice is predicted, I’m gathering up the ingredients for fudge.

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December 5, 2013

Christmas Radio Memories

Filed under: My Job,Radio stuff — Janice @ 10:49 pm


Thirty-five years ago tonight I was working in this tiny little radio studio in Amarillo. It all came whooshing back to me tonight when I was working in my current little radio station (in my home) and a song on the log for my show was “Crazy Love” by Poco. We were a progressive country radio station and Poco was perfect for our format. I absolutely loved that song and looked forward to playing it every night (in a different hour each night, of course; you don’t want to be predictable). There’s nothing “Christmasy” about that song, but I feel in a Christmas mood because I played it all through that December in 1978.

I wasn’t completely alone when I was at the radio station, but it is a pretty solitary job. This was the FM station when no one listened to FM radio and we had an AM station on the other side of the building. The guy that worked over there while I was on the air, Gary, had to play many more SHORT songs than I did and he also had to take the meter readings every single hour. He was very busy, so if I needed some interaction with another person face-to-face, I had to go over to his side of the building to visit for a minute. I could do that because we had a lot of long songs in our format… most anything by the Marshall Tucker Band, some from Rusty Weir, and, my favorite, the 13+ minute song from Steve Fromholz called Texas Trilogy. I loved the song to being with, but being 13+ minutes long was a big bonus when I was new in radio and needed a break. I wasn’t allowed to play it every night, but I played it as often as I could.

I went to work at this station at midnight. I drove 15 miles at 11:30 or so and went through possibly the most dangerous part of Amarillo to get to it six nights a week. Then off at 6 a.m. to drive home, sleep deprived, in time to sleep an hour or two and then go to class. I shared a tiny house with my roommate and fellow disc jockey, Karma. This was really my first experience at living away from home (I hardly count a semester in a dorm). I remember that December being VERY cold and that house being very thin. But we had a Christmas tree in the living room and I was totally immersed in my new world of radio.

I have memories that are images and smells and feelings more than anything…  The smell of all the cigarettes that were smoked in that tiny room, the warmth of the bright lights that shone down on the little board, the beige desk telephone (with a dial and the flashing buttons across the bottom). We actually picked the phone up and talked on the handset… I haven’t done that at a radio station in more than 30 years. On that all-night show there weren’t a lot of phone calls. Boy, I would lunge for the phone when there was one, looking forward to the diversion. At 5 o’clock I had to call my boss, the morning man, to wake him up. I wonder if any morning jocks still have the all-night guy call them? Oh, I just remembered, there are no all-night guys anymore.

I was very lucky to train when there was an overnight shift where very few people were listening, especially not the boss, and I was able to do really stupid stuff and make awful mistakes. I have been listening to some tapes from that era and I cringe when I hear how truly bad I was. But I was racking up those 10,000 hours of practice they say you must have to get good at something. I don’t know that I ever made it to 10,000, but I had enough practice to make a pretty good 35 year career out of it at least.


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December 4, 2013

Back to the Hallfords

Filed under: Family,Genealogy — Janice @ 10:46 pm

I wrote before about finding my Hallford great-great-great-grandmother’s grave in Corpus Christi and what that meant to me. (What? You didn’t read it? You’ll find it here and here.)

There are so few people that really understand what that discovery meant to me. When I was addressing my Christmas cards before Thanksgiving, I sent one to a Hallford cousin and scribbled on the back, “Remind me to tell you about finding Sarah Hallford’s grave!” She got the card today and emailed and was just as excited as I was.

I don’t exactly remember when I got in contact with Joan or if she got in contact with me. I was doing a lot of work on the Hallford family and she is married to a Hallford. At one time she had put a request in a newspaper for information about Hallfords. Somehow my mother saw it and, bless her, sent everything she knew about family history to Joan. Years and years go by, but somehow I find Joan again or she finds me. Remember, this is all before the days of the internet. She lived ALL the way on the other side of DFW back then. I lived in Carrollton and she was in the far north suburbs of Fort Worth.

But we got together. I think we had had some phone calls and exchanged some letters and information. We knew that her husband’s grandfather and my great-grandfather were first cousin (I think). Not super distant, but we certainly had never been at any family reunions together. Eventually, I got to meet her. It seems weird now… having been friends for 20 years or so now, that we have only met twice, as far as I can remember. Mark had a gig in Fort Worth so I went over early and stopped by their house first for a visit.

Joe and Joan were LOVELY people. The kind of people you yearn to be related to. They were educators. Smart, good looking, a beautiful home, a great life. I was so happy to meet them. Joan had lemon bars waiting and we talked nonstop forever, it seemed. She pulled out a slide projector to show me pictures of my great-great-great-grandfather’s grave in Hays County. She, like me, knew how to climb a fence or shimmy under it to get where she wanted to go, even if it was on private property. She also gave me the greatest gift—the picture I put on that first previous post of my ancestors. I don’t know where she had discovered it, but if you are old enough to remember the days before scanning and instant gratification with photos, this was a fabulous, amazing thing. She gave me a “real” photo. She also showed me one of coolest pictures I’ve ever seen. It was a picture related to relatives of theirs I wasn’t related to. It was a picture of an old African-American man with two little tow-headed blond toddlers beside his knees and a dog laying at his feet. The picture just gave you such a sense of comfort… he was a calming presence and it was obvious the boys were as comfortable with him as they would have been with their mother. I don’t know the story of the photos or even the era. I can make assumptions about him being a slave or a servant of the family. Whatever it was, it seems to be SO unusual to have a real posed portrait photo of a black man and white children all together. Maybe there are lots, but I’ve never seen them.

But back to Joe and Joan. They had a teenage son, too, that I have still never met, but I have heard about him growing up and going into the service and he is now married. Joe and Joan have retired from their jobs. When email came along we began emailing one another with neat bits of information. She was one of my greatest sources of Hallford info and a big supporter of all that I did to put together a book back in the early 90s of family history.

Today she sent me some grave pictures of my great-great-grandmother. I have seen pictures and sort of know where she is buried, but I have not found her grave. She sent me better pictures and got me hot on that trail again.

Joan was thrilled to know the final resting place of Sarah Hallford. Sarah and James the ancestors that Joan’s husband and I have in common. It was one of those loose ends that she needed to tie up to be happy about her Hallford research.

For 20 years we have sent Christmas cards and met twice (the other time was at an historic church anniversary that our family started), and we have been emailing for a lot of those years, too. I think it is time for another visit to the Fort Worth suburbs.

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December 3, 2013


Filed under: Childhood Memories,Family — Janice @ 12:02 am

Writing every day for the Holidailies puts the pressure on. Though I can think of dozens of things to write about when I am NOT at the computer, I get here and have the old writer’s block. Or every subject is too big, or too small, or needs research, or needs a picture.

So I just pulled out an old picture of a Christmas long ago and noticed so many things (but the crotch shot is, of course, the first).


This picture is in my grandmother’s living room. I would say it is about 1967. While I was assuming it was a Christmas photo, I guess there is nothing here to really indicate that it is Christmas. But, then again, why would someone take a picture of us if it weren’t a holiday? This was long before the camera was constantly in your face.

If you can’t tell, I’m holding Mr. Potato Head and “Mr. Orange Head” (if there was such a thing). I don’t think they were Christmas gifts. I think those were brought home to me as a treat when I was very sick. I think I got them when I was home with bronchial pneumonia for a week in second grade. They were never nearly as fun as the commercials made them out to be. But I wish I still had them!

What I do have still is that little blue suitcase on the left. I have it and my sister has the red one. We used those as our doll and toy cases for a long time. We probably even used them as a real suitcase for toiletries before we abandoned them to the attic. Mine is still full of doll clothes and who knows what. My sister and I found hers last year and found some photo negatives right after I had purchased a scanner that could scan negatives. And one of the negatives was one of my all-time favorite photos of myself. That was a bit of serendipity.

The little rocker was not ours and wasn’t a toy. It belonged to my grandmother and it usually had her china head doll sitting in it. We did take it over for our Barbies when we were there. Hanging on the chair is the greatest cape a Barbie ever had. I think my aunt sewed it for us. It was really nice. A pretty tweedy purple cloth with a silk lining and a little snap at the top so it wouldn’t fall off.

On the table between the chairs there is a pipe holder. Men just don’t have pipes and pipe holders anymore, do they? I know that is a good thing, but both my dad and my grandfather had one even though neither was a pipe smoker very often. It had places for your pipes to rest when not in use and you lifted off a lid and it had a place for your packets of tobacco and your tools for cleaning and packing the pipe. It was quite an art, I guess. I can’t stand the smell of a cigar, but I have fond memories of pipe smoke.

And up against the back wall is my grandmother’s vase collection. My sister has those shelves and most of the collection. I have at least one vase of Mamma’s. She had a little book with numbers and information on each vase and then little stickers with the number on each vase. The book has become separated from the vases, I think, but, like most collections, it doesn’t have the same meaning to anyone else that it had for my grandmother.

I wouldn’t say these were “fun” grandparents. They didn’t get in the floor and play or even play games with us, as far as I can recall, but we had lots of fun times in that living room playing on our own or with our cousins.

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December 2, 2013

Thanksgivings Past – 1987

Filed under: Family,Food — Janice @ 5:49 pm

I was wondering what I would write about today for Holidailies and then came across these Thanksgiving pictures. This was the first Thanksgiving I ever cooked for my family. Growing up, we had the first dozen or so Thanksgivings with my Dad’s mother’s family—a Puckett reunion. Then as we all began going our own way, we usually had a Thanksgiving at home with Mother cooking a great meal for us. Once my sister married in 1982, we had some Thanksgivings at her house, too, because she is a great cook.

In 1987, my sister had her first little baby boy, Brandt. We had all looked forward to him and he was the center of our world that year as we anticipated his birth. He finally arrived on November 11. Mother and Dad lived near Amarillo and they rushed down, of course, to help with all that needed to be done. Thanksgiving was a full 2 weeks and a day after little Brandt was born. I don’t remember the whole order of events, but I know Mother and Daddy had decided they could leave before the actual Thanksgiving Day.

Maybe we had dinner on Wednesday, the day before, maybe it was the Sunday before. I don’t really remember, I just know that was the first time I had cooked a turkey or a Thanksgiving meal. But I think I did all right:


I loved those dishes. I let them go a long time ago and they hadn’t held up very well anyway, but they were awfully pretty. Looks like we have a sweet potato dish (and I think it has cranberry sauce on top of it?) and a cranberry salad, rolls, stuffed celery, a relish plate, turkey (with the rolls), and gravy. Anyone would say that that bowl here in front is mashed potatoes, but that has never been an important part of our Thanksgiving, so I’m not so sure. I’m thinking it might be whipped butter? It’s amusing to me to see the sweet potato dish is a Corningware dish that I am still using 26 years later. And I know I had it in the early 80s because I bought it specifically to make nachos in my first microwave. Corningware, can I do a commercial for you please? I still use those same salt and pepper shakers, too. It’s weird when you start seeing signs of being an old lady in your life.

I lived in a very small apartment when we had this Thanksgiving. I pulled the table into the living room so we would have a little more elbow room, but it was still pretty tight for 5 adults. I was proud of that dining set. I stained the table myself and eventually stained the chairs, too, but I obviously had not done it by this time. I think they were pretty new. Fresh from the “unpainted furniture store.” Are there still “unpainted furniture stores”? They were quite the thing back then. When Mark and I still lived in Carrollton we were still using that table and chairs, but once we moved to Austin it didn’t fit well in our square-shaped dining area so I ended up selling it to a young girl that had no furniture.

My grandmother and aunt also dropped by that day to see the new baby. Like I said, he was the CENTER of the world. He still is (or shares that spot with his brother). Here is a picture of four generations with my grandmother, my dad, my sister, and my nephew:


I like the smiles. Dad and Mamma are both dead now. It is really weird to me to think that Daddy was only 5 years older here than I am now. Am I old enough to be a grandparent? Of course I am.

I would have to check my diaries and do some research to see how many Thanksgivings I have prepared since that day. I can remember several. Some for the whole family, at least one for the in-laws, and a couple for just me and Mark. Probably none were as good as it was that day. We were incredibly thankful that day, I know that.

December 1, 2013

Christmas is On the Way

Filed under: At home,Austin,Writing — Janice @ 7:15 pm


I’m participating in the Holidailies this year, which mainly means I plan/expect to/WILL write daily between now and whenever it ends (Epiphany I think? Maybe I will have one.). My friend Jette started the Holidailies many years ago and I have participated some years, but not others, and I don’t know that I’ve ever really written every day, but there is always a first.

This, for instance, is the first year that I have mailed Christmas cards early AND have a Christmas tree up early. I have never been a person to rush the season, but this year with the Thanksgiving weekend butting right up into December, even I felt like we needed to get on with it! Today I dropped a big bunch of Christmas cards into the mail, though I have a few more to write. And this afternoon while I watched Denver beat Kansas City, I decorated the Christmas tree and put some of my decorations around the house. The temperature outside is warm enough that we have had doors and windows open all day long and I’ve been sweating like crazy, but it does feel a little Christmasy.

The Holidailies portal is also nice in that it opens a doorway to so many blogs that I may not have discovered. Right now I don’t know that there is a single blog I check on a daily basis. There used to be many I always read, just like you’d read a column in the newspaper. Of course, that was before Facebook and a million other time-wasting sites existed. I have always been envious of the people that can blog about their crazy brother or their overbearing uncle and not worry about repercussions. Just now, as I wrote that last sentence, I thought to myself, “Okay, I’m safe, I don’t have a brother at all and no uncles are living so I hope no aunt thinks I might have been talking about their dead husband.” I worry A LOT about what people are going to think of me and I worry about hurting feelings. If I am not funny and I am flat out boring, let’s blame it on those qualities that hold me back from being hilarious and rude. Okay?

For anyone that just got here because YOU were checking into the Holidailies to see who is writing, I hope you will come back. I am a middle-aged woman in Austin, Texas, with a wildly exciting life where I visit cemeteries a lot. I am somewhat obsessed with my family history, but I do my best to not talk about it all the time. I have no children, so I still think I am in my 20s or 30s and am shocked when my body disagrees. I’m married to a man who really does have an interesting life playing music and working with really famous musicians all the time. But, before you get your hopes up, I don’t write about him much. I keep telling him he should have a blog, but he hasn’t taken me up on it yet. Oh, and I have cats.

I know blogs are lots more fun when they have pictures, so I just added the one at the top so you will know who is writing. I’m the one in color. We are both named Janice, but she spells it wrong. My husband is amazing photographer so I do have the advantage of having great photos from his camera for my blog. He took this when we went to see Dwight Yoakum last week at the ACL Live Moody Theater in downtown Austin. The drummer Mitch Marine is a friend of Mark’s and invited us. Oops, I said I didn’t write about Mark, didn’t I? But I do have a need to name-drop as much as I can.

November 17, 2013

A Little More Hallford

Filed under: Cemeteries,Family,Genealogy — Janice @ 9:01 pm

I have thought of about a dozen things I want to write about and I want to write more often, but then I get caught up in something…

But I found this tonight that adds to the story of Sallie Hallford, who I wrote about before and finding her grave in Corpus Christi.

Most of my family of that era lived in Newburg, Texas. This grandmother Hallford was living with her son John there in the 1900 census. There is a church there, the South Leon Baptist Church, that was the church home of many of my ancestors and is still active in the sense that it exists. I believe less than 10 people attend the church each Sunday, but it is there, right by the cemetery. I found a short history of that church that was written in 1972. It gives me a little more insight into this Grandma Hallford.

The history tells about a combination church and school building that once existed (not the current building, but one near where the cemetery gate is now). Octavia Cunningham (the woman—yes, a cousin—that wrote the history) wrote:

“The men occupied the slatted pine pews in the south side of the building, the women sat on the north side and the young people, especially the young ladies with their beaus, occupied the center tier of pews. The pulpit was in the west end of the building. Near the north side of the pulpit sat Grandma Hallford (mother of J.H. Hallford) in her rawhide bottomed chair. She had to sit near the pulpit so she could hear the sermon. She was a great favorite in the community and her neighbors were always glad for her to come visit for a few days.”  

I like that. She sounds like a likeable person. Here’s one more picture of her grave and me with her. See the family resemblance?


I’ve also found her daughter’s grave in the Old Bay City Cemetery in Corpus Christi, but I hadn’t found it before we were there so we didn’t go to see it. It is a very impressive stone and has the fact that she was born in Missouri and points out more that she was a pioneer. She died only a few years after her mother.

November 3, 2013

Sally’s Corpus Christi Grave

Filed under: Cemeteries,Genealogy,Travel — Janice @ 10:32 pm

Mark and I went to Port Aransas for a very quick trip this weekend. He played a gig there for the Outdoor Dream Foundation with Tommy Alverson. Mark played with Tommy 20 years ago when we were newlyweds and this was the same four members of the band he played with then, so it was a very fun reunion for the guys. The band wives didn’t have the same kind of reunion because I was the only band wife that has stayed the same over the past 20 years. But I very much like the two band wives that were there, so it was a fun time for me, too.

The small portion of the trip I want to tell about right now, though, is about going to a cemetery (big groan from the audience—“Not again!”). Yes, we had to make a cemetery trip along with seeing the beach and friends and eating seafood.

I haven’t been to Corpus Christi or Port Aransas in a long while and in the meantime I have discovered that my great-great-great-grandmother was buried there. This is NOT a place I would have looked to find her grave since my family is centered in Central Texas. Her husband is buried in Dripping Springs, in Hays County, not all that far from our home. But he died in 1868 and she outlived him. I knew she was still alive in 1900 because she was living with her son’s family in Comanche at that time. But he died in 1902 so I could surmise that if she outlived her son she might go live with another child, but I just didn’t know much about the other children.

This trip makes me want to go back and do some more research on the Hallford family. I spent a LOT of time researching the Hallfords back in the days before I did research online. Now I can hardly remember how research was done before we did it online! Mainly what I did was write letters and people would send me good information and I compiled it. I wasn’t much of a good researcher then either. But I did write a book about our Hallford family just to give to the members of the Hallford family. That’s been 20 years and needs a good update with more of the information that is available in the world.

I had found the grave of “a” Sarah Hallford on findagrave.com at one time. The ages seemed right, but you still can’t be sure. But a summer or so ago I saw a book on Nueces County cemeteries and found just the bits of information I needed to prove that this Sarah Hallford was my g-g-g-grandmother. Of course, now I’m hunting to find what I DID with that information and I’m stumped, but I’ll come across it again.

So Sarah Hallford went to live with her youngest daughter Rebecca and her husband (and their name is the info I have misplaced). She is buried in the “New Bayview Cemetery” in Corpus Christi. I read up on it and found that the “Old Bayview Cemetery” has been protected and preserved because it is the oldest cemetery in Corpus. We found it first today. We didn’t get out to see it, but I did take this quick picture. It looked nice and cared for. The New Bayview Cemetery was established later in the 1800s and then it fell into disrepair and disuse and has not been kept up. Sadly, I also read that just this summer, most of the gravestones had been vandalized.


We found the cemetery easily. It is in a very poor, sketchy part of town. If I had been here on my own I might have snapped a picture from the car and driven on. Okay, maybe not that bad, but it wasn’t well kept. The cemetery is in two parts with a park in the middle. I don’t think that was the original plan and I’m not sure that the park wasn’t built on TOP of graves. But we found the further south section to begin with. There were very few graves visible and there were toppled gravestones, so this didn’t look good for finding her grave if there were no stones. We went on and checked out the more northern part of the cemetery and it looked much more like a cemetery should with lots of headstones… but they were almost all on the ground. It was the saddest sight. Sadder than the cemeteries I’ve been in where they have just been abandoned (well, like the cemetery where her husband is at in Dripping Springs, for instance). Huge headstones were laying everywhere and some were in pieces.

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We got out and started looking through the cemetery. There is a picture of her headstone on findagrave, so I had an idea of what it looked like. The picture appears to be black-and-white and it looked like her stone was gray and laying flat on the ground, but it was hard to tell because it had been tightly cropped. We walked in different directions and I took pictures of some of the other graves. I really didn’t think we would find it. Mark caught up with me to see if I had found anything and then he turned around and said, “There she is.”


Her stone was on the ground, not connected to the base, but it was face up so we could find her name. We took our pictures and then we put the headstone back on its base. At that point, though, we decided it was so top heavy and it wasn’t going to be firmly attached. If it got knocked over again it would probably fall face down and someone like us might never discover her. So we put it back the way we found it and will hope that vandals will leave it alone.

The cemetery is owned by the city and I think there are efforts to preserve it, but I know in tight times, money spent to memorialize someone long dead with no family is hard to come by.

Who she was:

This is just the short, off-the-top-of-my-head, version. I will go back and find all the details and make it a better history. But maybe this will help someone that is just Googling her name. Sarah Medlin Hallford was born in Bedford County, Tennessee, December 12, 1812. 201 years ago. 201! She went by the name Sally. Her husband, James Powel Hallford, was born in South Carolina. They married October 2, 1834, probably in Tennessee. They moved eventually to Moniteau County, Missouri, and both of their parents and families also moved.

In the last year of the Republic of Texas, Sally and her husband James, and her brothers and sisters and their spouses all moved to Texas as a group, by wagon train, of course. They were called The Missouri Colony and they settled near Lewisville and it was called Hallford (or Holford or Halford) Prairie. They also then settled near Southlake and Grapevine and were all charter members of the Lonesome Dove Baptist Church. I need to nail down the dates of all of these things. It’s all documented, I don’t have to dig it all up, at least.

Her oldest son, Andrew Jackson Hallford became a well-known preacher and is buried in the cemetery there at the Lonesome Dove Baptist church. He and his brother John Harrison Hallford (my great-great-grandfather) enlisted together in the Civil War.

Sally and her husband James and their children’s families and at least her brother and his family all moved to Hays County in the 1860s. They were charter members of the Friendship Baptist Church there and it, like Lonesome Dove, still exists.

Her husband died in 1868 at the age of 56. I don’t know from that point when the family moved to Comanche County. Well, at least my part of the family did. And, like I said, she was living with that family during the 1900 census. I would assume she may have moved from child to child. That was how it was done a lot in those days. But her son, John Harrison Hallford, went to Greer County, Oklahoma, to help with the cotton crop and died while he was there. I’ve always said he went to help his son with the cotton crop, but now I see that his son had already died. But that would have left his two sons to be only in their twenties so maybe they needed help from their grandfather because of that. I don’t know details, but I know he died in Blair, Oklahoma, and was buried there. That left Sally with her daughter-in-law and grandchildren in Comanche so at some point I can only assume she went to live with her youngest child, Rebecca, and her husband in Corpus Christi.

You’d think I wouldn’t have a photo of anyone that was born 201 years ago and died over 100 years ago, but, amazingly, I do have a photo. I was lucky enough to meet a cousin that was researching the family and she gave me a copy of this amazing photograph of my great-great-grandparents and his mother Sarah Medlin Hallford. The photo was made in Laredo and at one point I had a theory of why they were in Laredo. Now, of course, I can’t find the info I drew this theory from. But I believe that the wife (Mary Jane Leonard Hallford) had a brother Levi in Laredo so they must have gone to visit him. But, despite the short fat gray-headed woman looking like the oldest, she is the wife of the man, John Harrison Hallford, and the woman on the left is Sally Hallford, buried in Corpus Christi, Texas.


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