Lady Bird Johnson was born Claudia Alta Taylor in Karnack, Harrison County, Texas in 1912. Her father was Thomas Jefferson Taylor II, who owned a general store and used the profits to acquire farmland that he used to plant cotton. At one time he owned 12,000 acres of land dedicated to raising cotton. Claudia’s mother was the former Minnie Pattillo. Thomas and Minnie were married in 1900 and both had originally come to Texas from Alabama. Claudia was the youngest of three children and the only daughter born to Minnie and Thomas. The family legend is that a caretaker had given the nickname Lady Bird to her, saying that she was as pretty as a lady bird.
Category Archives: biography
Bass Reeves was a groundbreaking lawman in the West. Most people who know his name would be aware that he was born a slave and became a respected law officer mostly in the area that became Oklahoma, long before it became a state.
Reeves was born into slavery in 1838 in Crawford County, Arkansas on the property of former Arkansas state legislator, William Steele Reeves. His last name was that of the owner William Reeves and his first name is believed to have been in honor of a grandfather by the name of Bass Washington.
(Image credit – findagrave.com)
Frank Howard Buck was born March 17, 1884 in Gainesville, Texas to Howard Dewitt and Ada J. Sites Buck. By the time Frank was a teenager, his parents had moved to Dallas, Texas. He attended school through the seventh grade and was not considered to be a particularly good student, perhaps because he had many other varied interests. As a young adult he held a number of different jobs, including working as a cowboy. He also is said to have traveled as a hobo for a while. Buck moved to Chicago and began working at a hotel around 1900. There he met and married his first wife, Lillie West, some 29 years his senior.
Lt. Col. William Edward “Ed” Dyess was born August 9, 1916 to Richard T. Dyess, a judge, and Hallie Graham-Dyess in Albany, Texas. Dyess grew up working on the family farm and also held a number of odd jobs. He was a Boy Scout, but had trouble attending meetings while he was also working. The story is told of him that one week, a carnival had performed in Albany about the same time as he brought home a poor report card from school. He is said to have told his parents that it was all right, he was going to join the carnival anyway when he got older.
Ann Miller was the stage name of Johnnie Lucille Collier, born April 12, 1923 in Chireno, Nacogdoches County, Texas. Her father was John A. Collier, a criminal defense lawyer known for representing clients such as Baby Face Nelson, Machine Gun Kelly and the Barrow Gang. Her mother was the former Clara Emma Birdwell. As a young girl, Johnnie suffered from rickets and took dance classes to help strengthen her legs. She also studied piano and violin. The family moved to Houston, Texas where she lived until she was nine years old. Eventually her parents divorced and she moved with her mother to Los Angeles.
Paul Neal Adair, better known by his nickname “Red” Adair, was born in 1915 in Houston, Texas to Charles Edward and Mary Emeline Smith Adair. Charles was a carpenter and blacksmith. Both he and Mary had been born in Kansas where they married. By 1910, they were living in Houston. Red got his nickname from being red headed and was the middle child of at least five siblings. When he was young, the family lived northwest of downtown Houston in an area known as The Heights, where Red attended school through the 9th grade at Houston Reagan High School. He as a good athlete and student, but dropped out of high school to help support his family in the midst of the Depression.
Judge Harold Barefoot Sanders was born on February 5, 1925 to attorney Harold Barefoot Sanders, Sr. and May Elizabeth Forrester Sanders in Dallas, Texas. Sanders told of growing up during the Depression, working odd jobs to raise money for the family. He and his father were both named for Dennie Barefoot, Judge Sanders’ paternal grandmother. She was the granddaughter of Daniel Barefoot, of Tennessee, who had settled in Montague County, Texas in the 1800s. Dennie’s father Jonathan Barefoot had served in the Civil War. Judge Sanders talked about the name Barefoot and explained in a 1971 newspaper article that it was not a nickname and was his grandmother’s maiden name. He also clarified that it was not a Native American name, as some might have supposed.