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Gregg County
Biographies

If you have any Gregg County biographies you would like to see added, or information to add to the current biographies, please email: Etta & Elaine. NOTE: Click on a picture to see the full size.

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Utzman - George Utzman was a farmer and was also in the saw mill business. He was married to Emily Laird, sister of Dickson Henderson & Robert Houston Laird. Their children were: Monroe, George Jr. (married Mollie Lee) and Dick (married Ella Owens). (This short bit of information was found in a book titled Early Kilgore Families)

 


 

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VanSickle - Dr. R.J. VanSickle owned and operated his own large and modern private clinic in Longview. He was one of the few Physicians/Surgeons in the area that truely took an interest in the community, taking part in many civic and cultural projects to better his community. He took a genuine and active interest in the growth and development of Longview. He took an active part in many clubs and organizations.   He owned numerous properties in Longview and he built one of the city's most modern and attractive apartment houses.

 
Vernon - Dr. James Carroll Vernon was born in 1828 in Tennessee and died in 1891 in Gladewater, Texas. He was a Church of Christ preacher, a school teacher and a Doctor. He was married to Paralee Chisum on Feb. 4, 1852. She was the daughter of Thomas and Melinda Chisum of Tennessee. (They settled in Paris, Texas in 1837, then in Rusk County in 1844.) James & Paralee were baptized by J.P. Elder in Rabbit Creek seven miles south of Tyler, near the Emory Prothro home on July 10, 1853. James and Paralee had 5 children: Emma (married Charlie Reymond), Nannie, Sam H. (married Vicky ?), Frank (never married) and Carroll Kendrick (married Josephine York). 

Emma Vernon & Charlie Reymond had 3 children: Walter, Nollie & Roy. Roy married Rossie Carlisle and they had 5 children: Charlie, Olivia, George, Emma & Verna. Nollie died at a young age. Walter moved away.

Sam H. Vernon & Vicky had 4 children: Crawford, Bryan, Ione & Virginia Bell. Crawford married Maurine Wilkins and had 7 children. Bryan moved away. Ione married Frank Trawick and had 2 children. Virginia Bell married Robert Carlisle and had 4 children. 

Carroll Kendrick Vernon & Josephine York had 8 children: Jessie, Nannie, Cora, Emma, Sam L., Helen, Katilee & Exa Mae. Jessie married Josie Garner and had 9 children. Nannie married Charlie Perdue and had 1 son who died young. Cora married J.C. Jackson and had no children. Emma married C.T. Perdue and had 4 children. Sam L. married Susie Horton and had 2 children. Helen was married to T.W. Lee and had no children. Katilee married L.J. Housch and had 7 children. Exa Mae married L.P. Phillips first and had 3 children, then married second Bud Shipp. 

Update: Thanks to Michael Leamons for the below information
She was a double cousin of "Cow" John Chisum, the famous cattle baron of New Mexico who had connections to the Lincoln County War. John's family accompanied Paralee's parents from Tennessee to the Paris, Texas area.
In a book titled, My Girlhood Among Outlaws, Lily Klasner tells that Paralee's brother, Tolbert "Tol" Chisum, while living in what is now Gregg County was turned in for draft evasion during the Civil War. When he returned from the war, allegedly he murdered the informant and fled to New Mexico. He wrote to his cousin "Cow" John Chisum, who was then ranching in the Brownwood, Texas area, and advised him that he should move his operation to New Mexico. "Tol" eventually returned to Texas and settled around Medina, Texas.
James and Paralee's daughter, Emma Lee, remarried. Her first husband, Charlie Raymond (also known as Charlie Stephens---one was an alias assumed because he was a wanted man) was murdered by an uncle from Michigan (according to my Grandfather) while they were living on the other side of a creek just south of Gladewater. After Charlie's death, Emma married John Thomas "Tee" Jackson. Nelly, James Thomas "Tom", John Solon Mace, Samuel Kendrick "Sam", Vernon Franklin "Frank" (my grandfather), and Annie were all born to this union. Emma Lee died during, or shortly after, giving birth to Annie. "Tee" remarried to Rosie Lee Ray. "Tee" took up share cropping and moved his family over much of the Texas (Coryell, Concho, Blanco and Kimble Counties) and to Lequire, Oklahoma before settling down in Junction, Texas. Both Nelly and Annie died young, before the family left Gregg County. John married Annie Mae Smitherman, "Frank" married Ruby Bundick, while both Tom and Sam remained bachelors. Tom served in France during World War I. "Tee" and Rosie Lee had three children: Ottie, Fannie Bell and Robert. Ottie died of Whooping Cough in Oklahoma. Fannie married Elward Hight and Robert married Stella Mae Andrews.


 



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Walker- A native of Muskogee, Oklahoma, he got his primary education in Oklahoma. He got his formal education at Texas College and Prairie View College. He devoted his life to the education of Longview children. His activities included: Selected for the All-American football team by the National Negro Press, a Longview High School Coach, Principal of Southside Elementary School, a member of the East Texas College Club, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, the state & national education associations, the Longview Teachers Alliance Credit Union, and a member of St. Mark CME Church.

 
Walker - Dr. E. L. Walker had a large family practice in Gladewater. He built their three story home in downtown Gladewater in 1909, which is now known as the Jack Finley home. When he built the house he had invisions of converting it into a hospital. His office was in a local drug store, called The Purity, which he owned and operated. Dr. Walker was a brother of Billie Walker.

 
Walker - Rev. M. J. Walker, the subject of this sketch, was born in December, 1866, near the town of Longview, Texas. His primary education was obtained in the public schools of Gregg County, Texas. Later he spent three and a half years in Bishop College. He as ordained to the gospel ministry in September, 1898. He served the following churches as pastor, viz.: Spring Hill,, Tyler, Texas; Lake Providence, Shiloh, New Home, Shady Grove, Jerusalem, Hebron and Red Oak. Rev. Walker was a certified teacher and served as principal of Willow Springs Public School. Rev. Walker was married to Miss. Holman. Thanks to Charles Newhouse for this bio!


Webster- A native Texan from Mr. Pleasant, Ben Taylor Webster  served as pastor of the New Bethel Baptist Church of Longview. He received his education from Bishop College (Marshall), Moody Bible Institute (Chicago, Ill) and Southwestern Theological Seminary (Ft.Worth). His affiliations are B.M.E. Convention of Texas and the National Baptist Convention. Pastor Webster strived to better his church and community.

 
Welch- Thomas Welch was manager of the Welch Hardware Company and the Welch Funeral Home. He was a tireless worker and Longview profited greatly by his progressive spirit. He gave Longview 2 up to date businesses which were a credit to the city. He was active in many lines of civic endeavor, a member of the Rotary Club, a member of the Longview Chamber of Commerce, and on the board of Deacons of the First Baptist Church.

 
Whitaker- Jason W. Whitaker was a native Texan, being born in Texarkana, Texas. He used his life to educated the children, being a teacher and a Principal of Janie Daniel Elementary School of Longview. He was Baptist by faith and was Senior Choir President and Chairman of the Community Service Committee of Bethel Baptist Church. He was a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, the area, state and national Education Association, The American Cancer Society, the Gregg County Heart Association and the Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. 

 
White - Israel Scott White, (1885-1960), civic leader and civil-rights advocate, was born near Longview on March 15, 1885. He was the youngest of three sons of Noah and Susan White, who worked as dirt farmers. White attended the Pleasant Hill Community School near his home and was  encouraged at an early age to study law. He received his bachelor's degree from Bishop College in Marshall and in the mid-1920s entered Howard University Law School in Washington, D.C. After his graduation from Howard in 1927, he returned to Texas and established a funeral home near downtown Longview. White decided to forego a law practice and offer legal advice informally, so as to circumvent the animosity toward black attorneys prevalent in the white community. On November 6, 1937, he married Velma Isam. They had one child, Agnes Sue White. Enriched by the discovery of oil on his family's land, White served as vice president of the Universal Oil and Gas Mining Company, an entirely black-owned business. In 1948 he and his family founded the Longview Burial Association, which served as a training ground and employment center for blacks interested in the insurance business. White served as chairman of the association and also as a member of the executive committee of the State Funeral Directors and Embalmers Association of Texas. White also owned and drove an ambulance; he became angered at the obvious neglect for black patients in segregated hospitals run by whites. He persuaded the directors of the Camp Normal Industrial Institute, a vocational school for blacks, to incorporate their institution into a hospital. White drew up plans for the hospital and found a black physician, Dr. Obra Jesuit Moore, to serve as its administrator. White protested infringements on black voting rights. When the Democratic party white primary was abolished, he led voter registration and poll tax drives in Gregg County. He also held "how to vote" sessions for the Longview chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, in which he demonstrated the use of voting machines. White kept a list of eligible voters and chided blacks who were registered but did not vote. Blacks familiar with his work nicknamed him Judge White. In 1958 he ran for a seat on the board of the Longview Independent School District and received a quarter of the votes. He also joined civil-rights attorneys in a successful suit to desegregate Kilgore Junior College and led a funding drive to help finance the lawsuit of Sweatt v. Painter that integrated the University of Texas. His attempt to enroll his daughter and one of her friends into the all-white Longview Junior High School did not succeed but resulted in the construction of a junior high school for blacks. White was an active member of the Bethel Baptist Church at Longview. He died on December 22, 1960.

 
Whitehurst - Herman Whitehurst was a man that accomplished the highest success possible in his profession. He was a car salesman that ended up owning his own dealerships. He began his carreer in Longview as a salesman and set record after record in selling Dodge automobiles. He gained state and national recognition and was known throughout East Texas. He & his brother in law, Wayne Finley, went into business together in Longview, only to expand with dealerships in other towns. He and Wayne ended up with dealerships in 4 counties; Gregg, Upshur, Harrison and Marion. There were more Dodge automobiles sold in Gregg County than any other car. 

Herman was a civic and community leader, a Rotarian, a 32nd degree Mason, a Shriner, and Director of the Texas and Gulf Railroad. 


 
Whitson, Isora - (Click here for more information & pictures) Isora Whitson was born on 15 March 1860 at Mount Bethel, Panola, Texas.   She married Milton Mountain Anthony. After his death, she lived alone  on the old homestead in Tahoka, Texas.  She was visiting in Austin, Texas, with her son, John, when she was operated on for gall stones and they found liver cancer. She died on 9 June 1920 in Austin, Texas, and is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Longview, Gregg County, Texas, USA.


Wilkins - John Hall Wilkins (b.1829 d.1899) married Rebecca C. Jefferies (b.1832 d.1900) on August 11, 1870. After giving the Civil War 4 years, he moved to Smith County. From there he moved near Kilgore in 1872. They had the following children: Tennie, Dee (married Alice Roberts), John Hall Jr., Coke, Henry and Camie Carter (married John Samuel Elder). (This short bit of information was found in a book titled Early Kilgore Families)

 
Williams - Robert Bruce Williams was born September 17, 1906 in Alabama. He attended school in Greensboro, Alabama and then went on to Byrne Commercial College in Dallas, Alabama. About 1930 Robert arrived in Longview and went into the real estate business, his offices being at 212 Glover-Crim Building. He ventured out and built a service stateion at 1103 North Sixth Street. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge, a Steward of the Methodist Church and President of the Men's Bible class and the Men's Male Chorus, a Director and President of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Kiwanis Club, a member of the Retail Merchants Association, a member of the Civic Music Association and he was a Shriner. 

 
Willis- Isaac Eugene Willis Jr. received his formal education at the Illinois College of Podiatry Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. He served the Longview Community well in his field of Podiatry for many years. A Methodist by faith, he was a member of the St. Mark Christian Methodist Church, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the Masonic Lodge, voted as Father of the Year in 1964 by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, appointed in 1968 to the Texas State Board of Podiatry Examiners by Governor John Conally, and the first black member of the Podiatry Society of Texas.

 
Willoughby - Michael Andrew Willoughby came from Opellika, Alabama in 1894 with his wife Mary Louise Sonneekamp and their baby daughter Hope. Michael Andrew helped to build the very first courthouse in Longview. Michael and Mary's children were: Hope (married William Lackey), Wyche (married Lynn Reynolds), Minnie (married Frank Elder), Jessie, Keener and Frank (married Cordelia Tutt).  (This short bit of information was found in a book titled Early Kilgore Families)

 
(Left Picture: Drew Wilson. Right Picture: Longview Drug Company, Inc.)
Wilson- Drew Wilson was co owner of the Longview Drug Company, Inc. with J.D. Knighton. It was one of the largest and complete in East Texas carrying one of the largest lines of sundries, five different lines of cosmetics, the latest in biological and pharmaceutical supplies, the best lines of candy, and a complete modern & sanitary fountain and lunch counter.


Mary C. Womack - Before 1888, the only facility for African-Americans in Longview was a one room, one teacher building located in the north section of town. Sometime in 1888, a four room frame building was erected and by 1908 had become a two story frame building call Colored High School and later North Ward.

Oil brought prosperity and an increase in population to Longview and a new school. Property adjacent to the colored Southside School on Gum Street to build a 14 room brick building was purchased in 1930. Destroyed by fire in 1946, a new school was built and in 1959 was named Mary C. Womack High School in honor of one of the finest black educators in Longview.

 
Wood- J. Marcus Wood was a Kilgore native, being born and raised there. In 1907 he went to Longview and began to work for the old Pacific Express Company. He stayed there until 1916 when he went to work for the Texas and Pacific and the Santa Fe Railroads in the freight department. In 1918 he was made cashier for the Santa Fe. In 1921 he bought the local Longview agency for the distribution of Gulf Gasoline and oil from C.F. Wiggins. 

 
(Pictures Left to Right: Moses Wood, Sarah Malvina Abernathy Wood, John Robert Wood, Ellen Virginia Ford Wood, Robert Moses Wood, Bettie Bell Wood.)
Wood - Shortly after the Civil War, Moses Wood (1831-1880) came to Gladewater. Sarah Malvina Abernathy (1841-1918) was his 2nd wife. She was the daughter of Sterling Gibbs Abernathy & Elizabeth Caroline Ware of Miss. Moses & Sarah produced one son, John Robert. 

John Robert Wood (1860-1925) married Ellen Virginia Ford (1858-1922) and produced 2 children: Robert Moses (married Bettie Bell) and Archie John. 

Robert & Bettie had the following children: Virginia Lavon (married J.J. Traughber), Mildred (married John Edward Barker), John Howard (married Ena Couch), Woodrow Wilson (married Opan VanPelt) and Melba Rose (married H.A. Clark). 


 
Wynn - R. Watt Wynn and his wife Ruth were in the Kilgore area in the mid to late 1800's. Watt ran a General Merchandise Store in Kilgore. They left Kilgore in the early 1900's. They had the following children: Carson, Watt (married Hattie Mitchell), Alla (married Dr. Raburn Hamilton), Ruth, Willie, Jase and Nola. (This short bit of information was found in a book titled Early Kilgore Families)

 



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Zimmerman - Percy Zimmerman was an architect with the firm of Zimmerman & Morgan. He designed many of the finest homes and public/commercisl buildings in East Texas. Longview contributed much of its beauty in the late 30's to the firm of Zimmerman & Morgan. He was very active socially, a member of the City Planning Commission, a member of the Longview Rotaty Club, and a member of the First Christian Church.



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