‘Rebels and Yankees’

Here is a very heart warming story from Rama Huie about a family reunion. She entitled it “Rebels and Yankees,” and it is a tribute to all families who appreciate each other. “Rama Hemphill Huie had a very busy week last week. Starting on Saturday her friend and former co-worker, JoAnne Rose of Abilene arrived to enjoy the quiet of country living. Monday morning saw the two of them leave for Kerrville to enjoy the beauty of the countryside, especially the bluebonnets, Indian Paint Brushes, and other wildflowers. Seeing deer, wild turkey and lots of Texas Roadrunners added to their enjoyment. The Kerrville trip also had a second purpose. Cousins of Rama were meeting for the day to enjoy visiting, sharing memories, and exchanging photos of ancestors. Eighteen family members from all over Texas met in the home of Neal and Oleta Wilkerson. Fifteen of them were descendants of Levi Wilkerson and the other three were from the John Wilkerson family. John and Levi were the oldest two sons of William Steven Wilkerson and Eliza Coffey Wilkerson. William (called Billy) and Eliza had 12 children. In 1879 there was an epidemic of measles and diphtheria in the area and the four youngest children at that time died within one week. They were buried in the Hext cemetery. Four more children were born after the epidemic. Billy Wilkerson was born Jan. 1, 1845 in Crockett. He was a member of the Confederate Army during the Civil War. A picture of him in his uniform is now a prize possession of Rama as is a picture of her other great grandfather, William Stanton, when he was a young man. He was a member of the Union Army in the Civil War and the two great grandfathers met when one was a prisoner of war and the other a guard. They became fast friends and after the war each returned to their homes. Sometime later William Stanton moved to Texas to the same area where Billy Wilkerson lived and they continued to be friends. In June of 1886 their children, Levi Wilkerson and Mary Stanton, were married, forever linking the two families together. William Stanton and his first wife Rebecca White Stanton had three girls with Mary being the oldest. Rebecca died when the girls were small. He remarried and other children were born. Levi and Mary were the parents of 11 children with Rama’s mother, Lillie, the ninth child. Only one of Levi’s and Mary’s children is still living. Verna Wilkerson Sessom who lives in Stephenville will be 96 years old on May 8. Lillie met David Hemphill of Lohn through a mutual friend, Willie Jack Croft, who had lived at Lohn and then moved to Hext. They were married Aug. 16, 1926 and spent most of their married life in the Lohn community. They bought a small stock farm which adjoined his parents’ place in 1943. In 1950 David died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 47 leaving his wife and 3 children, Norma Ewing of Brady and Rama and Jeanne Hemphill of the home. Lillie lived in the Lohn community until 1972 when she moved to Leesville, La. to be nearer her family. She moved to Abilene in 1982 to be near Rama and Jeanne who both lived there. She died in Abilene in 1984 at the age of 75. Lohn was home to her. She and David are buried in the Lohn Cemetery. The Billy Wilkersons lived to be 88 and 85 years old. He was a farmer/rancher and she was a mid-wife who delivered any number of babies in the Hext are, a including some of her older grandchildren. The Wilkerson’s lived long productive lives and enjoyed relatively good health and the legacy goes on. Levi and two of his brothers were in their 90’s when the first one died. Levi lived to be 94. His children lived long lives. Rosa lived to be 98, Martha 81, Willie 92, Walter 89, Betty 94, Lillie 75 and Jack 82. Verna is still living at almost 96. Two children died in infancy and one daughter, Emma, died at 31. Billie and Eliza, Levi and Mary, Levi’s second and third wife, Mae and Maude are buried in the Hext Cemetery as well as all of Levi’s children, except Lillie who is buried at Lohn; Rosa Allison who is buried at Carrizo Springs, and Betty Knox who is buried at Ingram. Now the next generation is beginning to become the 90 year-olds. Lawrence Allison, Levi and Mary’s first grandchild, lived to be past 90. He and his wife had planned a trip to Las Vegas the day he died. Two cousins, 92-year-old Winona Davis Forbus and 90-year-old Pete Davis of Menard, are still going strong. They were both at the Kerrville get-together. Pete drove himself from Menard. They celebrated their birthdays at the home of his children, Dr. Lonnie and Karen Pollard of Menard last week with lots of friends and family members there. Winona quit driving in Houston about three years ago. The Wilkerson Rebel and the Stanton Yankee created hard working, healthy, God fearing children. Lillie once said to her daughters, ‘You don’t have to like all your relatives but you do have to love them because they’re FAMILY.’ Truly the legacy of love goes on.” Their big family reunion will be held the first Saturday in August in Junction, Texas. ‘Lohn news’ Travis and Gayla Beimer hosted a surprise birthday party for Gayla’s father, Gaylon Morris, at their home in Lohn on Saturday, February 15. Enjoying the affaire were Jason and Joshua Morris, Evelyn Morris, Jesse and Jo Morris, Peggy Turner, Brent and James Turner, Jerry and Dixie Turner, Charles and Rita Partin, William and Joan Hunt, Brian and Natasha Reeves, Valire, Vinnie, Andrew, and Veronica Engdahl, Laura and Bailey Russell, Gene and Shirley Vaughn, Garland, Debra and Genisha Roberts, Mindy and Trent Morgan, and Debra Morris. Work is finally underway toward the building of the new school building at Lohn. We have all been impatiently waiting for the ground breaking moment. Last week this took place with the turning of the soil and the pad beginning to take shape for the foundation of the building. Of course, this is only the beginning. A tentative date, May 6, has been set for opening bids on the actual construction of the building. If all goes well, our dreams of seeing a new building on the campus will be a reality.

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