Saturday, February 21, 2009

Michael Erskine from Virginia to Texas

When we first moved to Seguin, we knew one person: the realtor who handled our home purchase and then of course, the owner of the house we bought. Well, as is often said: "It is a small world." First, I discovered a Jouett cousin. Then folks in Seguin who were 'connected' to my Sammon and Williams and Harrison ancestors. I love the research and the puzzle-solving.
I also have a connection with Michael Erskine who, according to Guadalupe County Records, at one time owned 90,000 acres of land (can that be correct??). That is a GREAT DEAL of land. The 1850 Guadalupe County, Texas census (above) shows him with 20,000 acres (which is a great deal of land, also). Mary B. Erskine Elementary School is named for Mary Browne Erskine, daughter of Alexander Madison Erskine and Elizabeth "Betty" Mainey and was a great granddaughter of the above Michael Erskine.
My connection with the Erskine family is through Eleanor Powell "Ellen" Erskine, daughter of Michael and Agnes Davidson Erskine who married John D. Anderson.
Now, the 'stuff' bores my husband silly - but those who search and research their roots find this 'stuff' quite interesting - and I always enjoy the Search!
Eleanor Powell Erskine Anderson and John D. Anderson's daughter Chloe Jane Anderson married Henry Grady Niblo - and therein lies my Sammon/Williams/Harrison connections. If anyone who happens upon this site is researching those families, I would be delighted to find another interested researcher. November 23, 1874, Henry Grady Niblo is listed as a postmaster of Gonzales County, Texas. The Gonzales Inquirer, January 5, 1878, lists Henry G. Niblo was a member of Knights Templar.
I had not thought of Michael Erskine in some time until I heard Mark Gretchen's talk at the Noon Book Talk this Thursday and he mentioned that Michael Erskine was one of the slaveholders in Guadalupe County. I knew that of course, but hadn't done any research with this Erskine family in several years (probably since we moved from Denver). Now - I'm off and running again!
Apologies to any reader who comes upon my Aimless Musings and is definitely not interested in the nuts and bolts of genealogy!
The following is an excerpt from John Gesick's Under the Live Oak Tree (Chapter 10, Twentieth Century Education).
Mary Browne Erskine, known among her many students as "Miss Mamie," was born November 17, 1866, in Belmont, Texas. Her father, Alexander Madison Erskine, helped survey the Guadalupe-Wilson County line in 1874. Her grandfather was Michael Erskine, who had bought the Jose de La Baume Ranch in the Capotes and conducted the first cattle drive to California in 1854.

Mary B. Erskine's family moved to Seguin where she spent her whole life. The family's home was on Nolte Street. As a young lady she attended General Jefferson's Montgomery Institute across the street from the present-day Sue Smith School on Jefferson Avenue. It was a school for girls.

She knew, as a young woman, that she wanted to teach young children. No college education was required in those days, but she did have to pass a test. Her excellent character also served her well. Those who knew her respected her high ideals and principles. She was hired to be the primary teacher. Later Mary B. Erskine became the principal, thus performing two functions.

"Miss Mamie" became an excellent teacher. Her first grade students learned to read by phonics and memory work. She had a knack for keeping her charges busy all day. As a strict disciplinarian she expected her students to follow the rules at all times. She wasn't mean, just firm and fair. One of her favorite phrases was "Just and Right." One story is told that some high school students made too much noise coming down the stairs. Miss Mamie came out and said "Children, you have been taught how to come down the stairs!" The guilty must have never forgotten and must have loved her, for in 1922, an issue of the high school's The Cricket Chirps was dedicated to her.

She tried to teach the children to be proud of themselves, their state, and their country. Often she told her students that when she was a young girl she had given her pennies to help build the Washington Monument in Washington, D. C. In turn, Miss Mamie collected pennies from her students to contribute to the San Jacinto Monument in Houston. She kept them spellbound on Washington's Birthday, telling about Betsy Ross and then cut out a five point star with one snip.

Mary B. Erskine was very active in St. Andrew's Episcopal Church where she taught Sunday School. She never married.

On June 27, 1926, Mary Browne Erskine died. Seguin demonstrated its love and admiration for Miss Mamie on the day of her funeral. All the businesses in town closed and the flags flew at half mast.
In the Guadalupe County, August 1860 list of Slaveholders, Michael Erskine is listed as having 20 slaves and his daughter Ellen Anderson, two.
Michael Erskine's slaves - 6 females and 14 males. The ages range from five years of age to 56.
Ellen P. Anderson owned one male, 45 years of age and one female, three years of age.
It is very sad to read of people owning - people . . .

What type of person blogs?

Not an Idealist - no imagination!!


ESTP - The Doers

The active and playful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities (nope!). The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.

The last two sentences are definitely wrong . . . but it was a fun test!