Grayson County TXGenWeb
Noshie M. Urquhart



 

Zoo or Tex Miller (Mrs. John) Urquhart

Memories from Facebook

“I believe that was Ms. Erchhart’s [Urquhart; pronounced ERK-hart] former property,” Vivian Spears said. “She was a noted psychic and about ninety years old when the demolition was slated.”

Sharon Ward said, “I remember all the cats she had—they all were named after movie stars! Really nice lady but very strange. As a kid, I went over a couple times and had my 'cards' read!”

Ann Atnip chimed in. “A couple of us girls went to her in high school. She was eerie. Told me I would have two boys and a girl, and I wasn't even married yet!”

Judy Coder said, "She told me where my lost ring was and she was correct."

“She once told me I would move about eight hundred miles away from Denison. ‘Yeah, right,’ huh?” This was Jan Davenport Umphrey. “One year later I was living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This was in late 1978 or '79 or early 1980. I don't remember the cats, but I do remember the location.”

Paula Jean Lewis was transported back forty-plus years: 

My best friend, Sherry Powell, and I went for a "reading" when we were in high school, probably 1967. I don't remember what Sherry wanted to know or what she was told, but when it was my turn, I asked if I was going to marry the boyfriend I had at that time.

When Mrs. Urquhart told me I would not, I was very unhappy with the response and told her she was wrong!

I laugh now, remembering what she said next: "Well, don't move in next door to me when you do!" Guess she knew what she was talking about, because we broke up shortly after that, and we did not marry. 

She did tell us about going to a friend of hers and telling her that the friend's daughter and her boyfriend were going to elope. She said that the friend could go to her daughter's chest of drawers and look under her clothes to find the ring. She did that and was able to stop the young couple from making a very grave mistake."

"My parents and I used to go and give Noshi Tex food at her pink house on East Texas Street. Later she lived with me and my parents at 1209 West Gandy for a couple of years," said Paul Ontiveros. "She was around 98 years old then. My dad made her a room in the parlor downstairs with a buzzer by her bed, so she could buzz them if she needed something. Unfortunately, while staying with us, she fell and broke her hip. At 98 she had surgery to fix it. Incredible! I loved having her around. She would tell me stories of running around with Sam Rayburn when they were kids. She was the real deal for sure." 

After much thought, Doug Hoover decided that the time had come to tell what he knew about this remarkable woman, Mrs. John Urquhart (pronounced ERK-hart), also known as “Tex” or “Zoo.” This is what he said: 

This picture is not her former property, but I do know her story. She lived two blocks south of Vest Brothers Grocery on the east side of Crockett Avenue, directly across from the Negro nursing home. She lived in a pink house.

Vest Brothers Grocery (Dickie and his dog) delivered her groceries until they closed. Dickie's dog would come visit her on his own almost daily. And J. C. Cafe gave her a free lunch every day. I delivered it for many years. I also drove her to doctors’ appointments and anywhere she needed to go by car. At the time I worked the night shift, which made it possible. 



"Steps to Nowhere"
This is at or near the former home of "Zoo" Urquhart
307 E. Texas Street
Photo by Mavis Anne Bryant, ca. 2000

Tex was raised outside Bonham, adjacent to Sam Rayburn's farm. She was the daughter of a Cherokee Indian father, and her mother was from France. Their last name was Miller. She claimed her father was psychic and a man of very few words. He worked his farm and never drew attention to himself. The mother, in contrast, taught a school of dramatic arts for girls in Bonham, and the older sister of Sam Rayburn was one of her pupils. Sam tagged along to her lessons, and she taught him public speaking when he was only six years old. 

Tex herself was highly educated by correspondence, with seven different diplomas in the period around 1900. In her earlier days, before marriage, she was the planetarium director at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, California. I observed her draw astrology charts without any reference books. I also observed her tell accurate time without a clock or watch or wearing her glasses. 

In Denison, she was on the first library board, before there was a public library here. She also was one of the charter members of the Texas Humane Society. 

John Urquhart, Tex’s husband, was the yardmaster at Ray Yards and claimed to have been in the first grade with Ike's oldest brother at Peabody Elementary School. He inherited the Urquhart Castle in Scotland and donated it to the local town in Scotland for tourism. Tex only started giving “readings” after her husband died during the Great Depression and the life insurance company went bankrupt without paying on his policy. She hated being called “the fortune teller” but was unable to support herself otherwise. 

She gave credit to “God's Angels” for all the information that she was given as a reader. Oftentimes the answers she gave were in a cryptic message that only the individual involved would understand. She also would qualify her readings, saying that the future was controllable by the individual and that her predictions were relevant to the path that was being followed at the time, subject to altered directions in one’s life.

She never used cards, but she did use personal items to track missing persons. She again would credit “God's Angels” for her ability to help find missing people and also to help law enforcement find dangerous criminals. The more dangerous the criminal, the more accurate was her ability to locate their whereabouts. I know for a fact that she helped the FBI track very dangerous individuals over the course of her career. I also know personally that she made Woody Blanton (former Grayson County sheriff) famous for his ability to find criminals hiding in Grayson County. 

This aspect of her work was kept very secret for fear of retaliation. For her, the only positive aspect of being called a fortune teller was the camouflage it provided for the more dangerous work. This part of her story could have never been revealed while she was alive. Many of my stories on early Denison came from her eyewitness accounts.

According to Doug, among Tex Urquhart's friends were Charles Sherlock Fillmore (1854–1948) and Mary Caroline "Myrtle" Page Fillmore (1845–1931). The couple met in Denison in the mid-1870s, when he was a clerk for the Katy Railroad. They married on March 29, 1881, in Clinton MO. They moved to Kansas City and in 1889 founded Unity, a church within the "New Thought" movement. In 1891 their "Unity" magazine was first published. Charles and Mary were among the first ordained Unity ministers in 1906. He became known as an American mystic. To learn more:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Fillmore_(Unity_Church)

Sallie Watson wrote: "Zoo was my grandmother Sampsell's cousin and the life of the party. The 'stairs to nowhere' indeed led to her Pepto-Bismol-pink home. I was there many times."

Dana Martin Williams Blackwell now chimed in:

I remember when Nosie (pronounced NO-see, and that's the name I remember her going by) lived with the Ontiveros family in her late 90s, but I knew her years prior to then. She was an amazing woman who taught me that age is no barrier in friendship. I visited her often during my teens and twenties (late 1960s - 1970s). I could listen to her stories for hours.

She told me she was the first female state officer for the humane society.

Her husband worked for the railroad, and she had many tales of riding the rails.

She would say she had God-given psychic abilities and had studied the science of astrology her entire life. But she would physically run you off her property (usually with her broom) if you called her a fortune-teller.

She chased away city employees with a shotgun because they were ruining her yard during a street widening project. She was in her nineties and later sued the city for property damage and won.

I remember going to visit her in the hospital when she was over 100, and she refused to let me help her (still resilient and independent with whatever strength she still had). She once told me the bad thing about living to 100 was watching everyone you loved die.

Several distinct memories of her include:

--Her kazillion cats.

--Her lining up eggs on their ends all over the Ontiveros home on the Equinox.

--Her telling me who I would marry (and me trying for three years to prove her wrong).

--Me marrying him.

--She told me I would find my true love later than most people, but I would be happy. I met Bill when I was 34.

--Many other warnings and life points she wanted to share.

Links:

There is a Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum & Planetarium in San Jose, California. It has a planetarium. 

Urquhart Castle in Scotland: Google for many references or see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urquhart_Castle

* * * * *

Some Facts About the Urquharts

John S. Urquhart was born in Missouri about 1872 or 1875. He died in Grayson County on Sept. 21, 1942.

The 1920 Census has him living at 418 West Hull Street, with wife Ida, age 38, born in Texas, and daughter Evelyn, age 20 and single, also born in Texas. John’s occupation is switchman, steam railroad. Ida is a “tailoress” in a tailor shop.

The 1930 Census has him age 55, living at 815 Chandler Avenue with his wife Zoo M., age 37. John’s occupation is switchman on railroad. His parents were both born in Scotland. He first married at age 19; not a veteran. Zoo was born about 1893 in Texas. Her father was born in Texas; her mother was born in France. Zoo is a saleslady in a factory. She first married at age 18.

The 1955 phone book lists Mrs. John Urquhart at 307 East Texas Street, phone number 4875. She's not listed in the 1959 phone book. But the 1979 City Directory has her "retired" and at the same address, with no phone number. She wasn't listed in the 1987 City Directory. The Social Security Death Index says Zoo Urquhart was born on 5 October 1883 and died on 20 February 1988, making her 104 when she died.

Obituary: Zoo Urquhart
Died 20 Feb 1988 at age 104

[Source: Denison TX Herald, February 20, 1988]

Graveside service for Noshie M. "Zoo" Urquhart, 104, who died Saturday in a Denison nursing home will be 10 a.m. Monday in the Fairview Cemetery with the Rev. Emil Slovacek officiating. Arrangements are by Johnson-Moore Funeral Home. 

Mrs. Urquhart was born Oct. 5, 1883, in Fannin County, daughter of Sim and Polly Miller. She received her education in Ector schools and attended business school in Wichita, Kansas. She married John Urquhart in 1922 in Denison. She had been employed as a salesperson, a bank employee, and was an astrologer. She was a member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church. Surviving are several nieces and cousins.

        Obituary: John S. Urquhart
        [Source: Denison TX Herald, September 21, 1942]

John Urquhart of Ector, Fannin County, Texas, 70-year-old retired switchman for the Katy Railroad and former resident of Denison, died at 8:40 a.m. today at St. Vincent's Hospital, Sherman, Texas, following an illness of several days. Funeral services will be held at 9 a.m. Tuesday at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, with the Rev. Father Thomas S. Zachry officiating. Burial will be in Fairview Cemetery under the direction of Short-Murray Funeral Home.

Mr. Urquhart was born in St. Louis, MO., Aug 17, 1872, the son of Mr. and Mrs. William S. Urquhart. The family came to Denison when he was a small child, and he was educated in the Denison public schools. He first was employed with the Katy Railroad in the transportation department and later was promoted to switchman, a position which he held until his retirement in December 1939. Following his retirement, Mr. and Mrs. Urquhart moved to Ector. Mr. Urquhart formerly was a professional baseball player, playing with a Katy team and Texas and Oklahoma League teams. He was a member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church.

Surviving are his widow, the former Miss Zoo M. Cotten, whom he married June 21, 1921; one daughter, Mrs. C. W. Ellsworth, Denison; three brothers, Charles Urquhart of Denison, and Willie and Richard Urquhart, both of Dallas; and one sister, Mrs. J. C. Pressler, Dallas.

Recitation of the rosary will be held at 8 o'clock tonight at Short-Murray Chapel.

 





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