The actress known as Ginger Rogers (Virginia Katherine McMath) was born July 16, 1911 to William Eddins McMath and the former Lela Emogene Owens in Independence, Missouri. Her birth father was an electrical engineer and her mother was a reporter, scriptwriter and movie producer. Her parents separated soon after she was born and Ginger was raised by her mother and maternal grandparents in Kansas City. When she was nine years old, Lela married John Logan Rogers. Ginger took her stepfather’s last name, although she was likely never formally adopted. Her mother wrote for a local newspaper in Fort Worth, Texas covering entertainment, exposing Ginger to the field and the life of entertainment. Ginger won a Charleston dance contest when she was fourteen years old and is known to have begun appearing in vaudeville shows after that.Read the rest of this entry »
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W. E. Easterwood, Jr. was a wealthy Dallas businessman who became known for his philanthropy as much as for his enthusiasm for aviation. Easterwood had been born in 1883 in Wills Point. After serving in World War I, he returned to North Texas to earn his wealth in various businesses he started in Wichita Falls. Easterwood later moved to Dallas and became an ambassador for his adopted city.Read the rest of this entry »
The Kansas City Times (Kansas City, Missouri) issue of June 20, 1897 carried the headline, “The Younger Brothers May Be Pardoned” and recounted events leading up to their incarceration. A Minnesota governor was said to be considering a pardon of Jim and Cole Younger for time served. Some twenty-one years earlier, the James – Younger Gang had attempted to rob the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota on September 7, 1876. The Youngers (Jim, Cole and Bob) and their associates, Frank and Jesse James, along with four other individuals (Bill Stiles, Clell Miller, Charlie Pitts and Bill Chadwell (a/k/a Stiles)) had planned to meet to attempt to rob the bank. They rode in and began the bank robbery with Jesse, Cole, and Pitts going inside the building and the other five standing guard outside. The outlaws were discovered and citizens began to fire on them. Cole was shot in the hip, Bob was shot in the elbow and Jim took a round to the jaw. Miller and Chadwell/Stiles were killed outright along with one civilian, believed to have been shot by Cole, and one employee of the bank. Pitts, Frank and Jesse were also wounded. A posse caught up with the Youngers, the James and Pitts. Frank and Jesse escaped, the Youngers were captured and Pitts was killed. The Youngers pled guilty to the bank robbery attempt in order to avoid being executed.
Joel Poinsett is not known to have ever resided in Texas but was a career public servant and diplomat whose efforts could possibly have led to the addition of Texas to the United States prior to the Texas Revolution.
Theodore Childress “Chill” Wills was born on July 18, 1902 to a family in Seagoville, Texas. His father was a farmer by the name of Robert Bruce Wills and his mother was the former Frances Elizabeth “Fannie” Rublee. Chill was the youngest of six children of this union and his father Robert Bruce died in 1907 when he was only forty-four and Chill was five. Robert Bruce Wills is believed to be buried in Oakland Cemetery in South Dallas. It does not appear that this Wills family is related to the family of country singer/band leader Bob Wills. Fannie Rublee Wills had married John Dunaway by 1910 and the couple were living near downtown Dallas with their family that now consisted of John, Fannie and seven children. What eventually became of John Dunaway is not known at this time. By 1920, Chill was living with his mother a little further out of downtown on Kings Highway and she was married to Allen E. Barse. The census forms say that both Chill and his stepfather Barse worked at a saddlery in Dallas.