Saturday, August 05, 2006
Will Yancey and Rennie Griffin
These are my great grandparents, my father's mother's parents. Since this photo was a studio shot and they look to be quite dressed up, I suspect it is a wedding photo, making it in 1893. William Rufus Yancey was born 8/8/1847 in Caswell Co., NC and was one of 8 kids. His parents were William Yancey and Demarius Oliver. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Springfield, MO. Demarius died there in 1850. Then the family moved back to Caswell Co., NC. In 1864, when William Rufus was 17 yrs. old, he was a Confederate soldier with Company G, 70th NC Regulars. He was mustered out after Appomattox. For the next 25 yrs., there is no record of where he was or what he was doing. Chances are good he was farming in NC near Yanceyville.
On 11/1/1893, in Robertson Co., TX, he married Elorenya (Rennie) Griffin. He was 46 and she was 26 at their wedding. Nine months and eleven days later, my grandmother was born - Lillie Pearl Yancey. Pearl was the oldest of six children. I was lucky enough to know four of them, counting my grandmother. They lived in Hamilton Co., TX near Pottsville, TX for years. Their family moved out to west Texas near Midland in about 1910, but they moved back to near Blum, TX (south of Ft. Worth) after only a couple of years. There lies my "almost rich" story.
In about 1990, my father and I checked the records of Midland Co., TX to find where the Yancey's had lived. Turns out they had a house in Midland and a ranch about 15-20 miles south of town. William Rufus would head out to the ranch on most Sunday nights and stay out there until the next weekend when he would return to his family in town. I wish I knew the details, but that arrangement did not work out. The family sold the ranch and moved back to north central TX near Ft. Worth. The multi-square mile ranch eventually became one of the most prolific oil fields in the continental United States - the Pegasus Field, discovered by Continental Oil Company and still producing oil to this day. Millions of barrels of oil have come from the field, none to my family. So close.
William Rufus died in 1918 in Hill Co., TX at the age of 71. My grandmother was 24 at that time and married to my grandfather. Rennie Griffin (daughter of Thomas Griffin and Angeline V. Smith of Robertson Co., TX) lived another 19 years and died in Cleburne, TX at the age of 70. She drew a Confederate soldier wife pension for many years.
For more on the Yancey family go to the Caswell County Family Tree.