Out Of Our Past
Tracing Our Bosque County Roots
By:  LaDawn Garland
03 April 2002

I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful Easter. Please take a minute to send in
your queries, family stories or memories, reunion information or anything
you would like to share on your Bosque County families. Thank you to
everyone who has contributed and shared their families and stories with us
here in the column.

Bill Flemin
There's a small marker in the Riverside Cemetery in Iredell. It is easily
overlooked, it is kinda hard to find, and few are even aware of its
existence. The marker reads "Bill Flemin 1896-1918 Killed in WWI" The small
concrete marker, laying flat on the ground, was poured by John D Smith based
on information supplied by Jim McCoy. Jim used to care for some of the
graves in the local cemeteries, and Flemin's marker initially was only a
small rock with some writing on it. Most markers for veterans and soldiers
found in cemeteries are those supplied by the government, at no charge.
That's as it should be. But Bill doesn't have a government marker, and I
guess now I'm one of the few people around to tell his story.

I thought Bill should have an appropriate government marker, so I figured
I'd go to the Bosque County Historical Commission's Meridian Tribune
microfilm file and see if there was anything in a contemporary newspaper
about "Flemin". To save me some time, since Jim McCoy only lived a block or
so from the cemetery, I decided to ask Jim if he remembered the guy. That
way I wouldn't have to search for as many news articles. Jim was in his
early nineties at the time I think. Or maybe he was in his late eighties.
This was in May of 1995. Anyway, I knocked on his door and was invited in. I
told him I was seeking information about the "Bill Flemin" buried in
Riverside.

Jim said yes, he did recall that burial. He explained that in 1920 he and
his family were living at Chalk Mountain, and that in the Fall of 1920 a
Mike Flemin, said to be a former police officer in Dallas, and his wife had
moved to an adjoining 320 acre farm. Jim described Mike as being a big
Irishman who had been married three or four times. Jim said Mike was then 53
years old, and his current wife was just 23. Jim said that in 1921 Mike told
him that his son's body was being returned from France and would be buried
in Riverside Cemetery at Iredell. Mike said that his son, whom Mike always
called "Bill", was the only child of his marriage to his first wife. He said
Bill had been in the Army in World War I and that he had been wounded while
in France. He had been carried to a hospital in France, and that
subsequently the Germans had bombed the hospital and Bill was killed. This
was in 1918. Mike said that by 1921 soldiers bodies were being returned to
the states, and Mike was contacted as to where he wanted the body shipped
for burial. Mike told them to just ship it to Iredell, that it was on a
railroad, and he explained that they would be moving one of these days, and
he could have his son's body shipped to wherever they moved to. Jim said the
body was shipped back, and that Mike opened the casket, and saw there Bill's
mother's ring which Bill always wore. Jim said Bill's body was returned for
burial in June 1921 and that later the Flemin's moved away, but Bill's body
had remained at Riverside.

(As you have probably already figured out, Jim McCoy was one of those rare
folks who had a photographic memory. Jim died a year or so after telling me
this story.)

The same day I talked to Jim I headed for the Bosque County collection and
those old microfilmed Meridian Tribunes. Sure enough, in the July 29, 1921 I
found the following news article: Bodies of War Heroes Returned in County
Remains of H.T. Harris of Morgan, and William M. Fleming, of Iredell,
soldiers killed in France during the World War were shipped to their
respective homes from Little Rock, Arkansas on Monday, July 25. Funeral
services for Mr. Harris were held at Morgan Wednesday and for Mr. Fleming at
Iredell the same day.

In the Interesting Items from Iredell Community news in the same paper I
found the following article: The body of Private William Fleming arrived
home from France Tuesday night and was buried in Riverside Cemetery
Wednesday about noon. The soldier went from Dallas, but since the war began
his father has moved near here is the reason the young man was buried here.
This young man was wounded and carried to a hospital and was recovering when
the hospital was blown up and killed about four hundred and he was one of
them. The funeral service was conducted by Rev. George Smith in the presence
of a large concourse of people; after which the soldier boys took hold and
gave some military ceremonies and laid the remains to rest. This is the
fourth body of soldiers shipped here from France and buried in this
cemetery; and as far as we can recall there will not be any more shipped
here.

Using the above information, I went to the National Archives Branch in Fort
Worth and searched the World War I Draft Registration cards now on microfilm
there. In doing so I found a William Madison Fleming, 1223 Peabody, Dallas,
born Aug. 23, 1890, natural born at Dallas, Texas, occupation Painter,
employed by J.F. Fleming at the same address, described as single, slight
build, having brown eyes and black hair. He registered in Pct. 22 in Dallas
County on June 5, 1915.

Using that information, I wrote to the National Personnel Center (Military
Records) in Saint Louis and requested a photocopy of any records pertaining
to Fleming. They replied with a form and checked thereon was the block
saying they were unable to identify a military service record from the
information given.
And there Bill's story has ended for now. But he hasn't been forgotten, even
if his existence is marked only by that small concrete marker and this tale.
You might look for Bill's marker the next time you visit the cemetery. That
would be nice.
Gene Blakley
Iredell
geneb@htcomp.net
 

Old News From Around Bosque County
Bosque Citizen
Thursday, July 28, 1887
Personals:
Mrs. A N Tandy visited her relatives in Temple this week.
Miss Lorena Wirtz of Morgan with her friend Miss Mattie Nelms of Trinity
County, paid the Citizen a complimentary visit Tuesday.
Mr. E E Hudson of Kopperl was on the jury this week and honored the sanctum
with a call.
Billy Adams took in the anti grand rally at Ft. Worth.
All the members of Mr. Kinsolving's family have been down with Malarial
fever, but are now improving.
Mr. John Patton and family and Mr. Wm. Wate, old Virginia friends of the
Kinsolvings, now of McLennan county, paid a visit to Mr. Kinsolving's family
last week.
Miss Janie Johnson is visiting friends and relatives in DeLeon.
Messrs. Cicero Jenkins and Cary W. Styles will speak at Norse today.

Married
Jennings - Vickery
Seated in a buggy at the foot of the mountain just across the Bosque from
Meridian, with the young moon's silvery rays resting upon them on the night
of July 25, 1887, Mr. Robert Jennings, aged about 18, and Miss Cora Vickery,
aged about 15, both of Meridian were joined in Wedlock, E. B. Harris, Esq.
officiating.

Vickery - Welch
At the residence of Mr. John Rizer, Monday night, July 18, 1887, Mr. John
Vickery to Miss Bettie Welch by Rev. J. R. Randle.

George W. Leaverton died in his room of the Arlington Hotel, Dallas, about 5
p.m., Friday, July 22, 1887. Mr. Leaverton had for some months been working
in the office of the Western Newspaper Union and was at his post of duty
until near 4 o'clock the afternoon of his death, when complaining of
dizziness, he went to his room and was dead in an hour. He had been drinking
excessively for sometime which probably occassioned his sudden taking off.
Mr. Leaverton's home was in Bosque County, and here he had many friends who
will drop the tear of sympathy. He was a kind, good-hearted man and whiskey
was his worst enemy.

The artesian well is now cased with galvanized iron to a depth of 470 feet,
and the drilling was resumed on Tuesday. Mr. W. A. Potter manufactured and
inserted the casing and made a most satisfactory job of it.

Later

She flows! She flows! A few minutes before 5 o'clock yesterday morning the
artesian water flowed over the casing and formed minature lakes on the
street. The sand stratum was entered late Tuesday evening but the drilling
was suspended to repair the drill. As soon as the break is mended and the
stratum is penetrated five or ten feet a vigorous and bountiful flow may be
expected. Give Thanks ye suffering denizens of Meridian and ye incubi get
out and give the town a chance.

Be sure to visit the Bosque County site at
http://www.rootsweb.com/~txbosqu2/ there's a wealth of information on Bosque
County and it's families provided by volunteers and other researchers.
Contribute your family information, you might just find something on your
ancestors there. You're quite likely to find others researching your family
line as well. There you can check out the new project for the TxGenWeb
archives, you can submit Texas Family Group Sheets, be sure to submit your
Bosque County family.

The Bosque County Collection in Meridian has a treasure trove of history
just waiting to be explored. From the many newspapers covering the county
through the years, census, death and marriage records to the old deeds.
There is sure to be something there for every researcher, for more
information visit their website at http:www.htcomp.net/bcc

Good luck to all who are researching their Bosque County roots. If you would
like to submit a query, family story or reunion information on your Bosque
County family to be included here in the column in the newspaper as well as
online, please email me at garland@htcomp.net, or mail it to Bosque County
News, P.O. Box 343, Meridian, Tx 76665 or fax it to 254-435-6335.