This weeks 52 Ancestors post is on my great grandmother, Mamie Estelle Locke Holcomb. This is one ancestor I've heard so many stories of, that I feel as if I knew her, even though we never met! Every story I've been told about her has always been to the highest regard. She was a sweet and caring lady. Most people in our family referred to her as "Mama." Those that new her outside the family called her Ms. Mamie. We'll just refer to her as Mamie.
|Mrs. Mamie Estelle Locke Holcomb|
My mother remembers her grandmother fondly. Says she was a fabulous cook. Remembers her out tending her rose garden in her dresses, gloves, hat, and heels. My mom also remembers attending church with her as a young girl. She was a very religious woman, who would be known to correct the preacher when he made a mistake in his sermon. Being the daughter of a Minister of the Gospel, she was well educated on religion, and would sometimes teach Sunday school as well. One thing that seems obvious, is everyone seemed to love her.
Mamie was born June 15, 1888 in Rosebud, White County, Arkansas. She was the second child, and oldest daughter, of a blind preacher/piano teacher, Francis Marion Locke, and his wife Nancy Elizabeth Vines. The family resided in White County, Arkansas for several years. The last known document I've seen with their residence of White County was a letter sent to her mother, Nancy Elizabeth, from Benjamin J. Vines of Alabama in 1892. Benjamin J. Vines was Mamie's great uncle and brother to her grandfather, John H.M. Vines, who died during the Civil War. As far as we know, all of Mamie's siblings were born in White County as well. They were:
- Grover William Locke 1885 - ?
- Vida Gertrude Locke 1890 - 1974
- Pearl Locke 1892 - 1975
Census records for the family have not been found. But Mamie did have an autograph book that her friends and relatives signed. The earliest dated signature was March 9, 1898 by her mother and father, and it reads "Peaster, Texas." We believe this book was given to her by her parents on this date. It also provides us with other dates and other locations. We can't be certain the family lived in these areas, however, they must have lived nearby. Here is a list of names, dates, and places in her book (some of them are hard to read, due to the age of it):
- 3/9/1898 - Peaster, Parker County, Texas - written by her mother and father, Nancy Elizabeth Vines and Francis Marion Locke
- 1/26/1903 - Stephenville, Erath County, Texas - written by her brother Grover Locke
- 2/15/1903 - Morgan Mill, Texas - written by Abbie Davis
- 1/19/1904 - Stephenville, Erath County, Texas - written by Zuela Evans
Other names written in this book are:
- ?? Hubbard
- Her sister Vida Locke
- Ruby Owens
- 12/2/1899 - Maude (or Mando) Sherrill
- 1/24/1903 - Jessie Dickerson
- ?/20/1903 - Martin Mall
- Elsie Reeves - Peaster, Texas
- Pearl Benson ?
- Blanche Smith - looks like in Rogers, Texas
- Rudolph W? - looks like 4/10/1890, but its faded a bit, and we think it was possibly 1898
- Rupert Wilson
- Laila Ashford
Parker and Erath County are near one another, so it is safe to assume they lived around that area. With her father's job, he traveled around to different places, preaching and teaching piano. She would tell stories of how she would drive him around in the "buckboard" since he could not see.
|Wedding certificate for Benton Rogers |
Holcomb & Mamie Estelle Locke
July 21, 1908, Tarrant Co., TX
Then, at a local barn dance, she met a man playing the fiddle, named Benton Rogers Holcomb. They were married July 21, 1908 in Tarrant County, Texas. Benton, or Jake as he was called by everyone, was the son of Thomas William Holcomb and Hannah Jane Coburn. He was born December 9, 1885 in Bell County, Texas. She would say he could fit his hands all the way around her waist. From what I've been told, she was a very petite woman.
By 1910, they were living in Justice Precinct No. 4, in Shackleford County, TX. According to the Federal census, they were living next to Benton's brother Alford and his son Barney. Benton was working as a farm laborer.
Then 3 years later, they had the first of 5 children. The children are listed below:
- Clyde 1913 - 1981
- Mary Inez 1915 - 2005
- Jake Jr. (Buck) 1919 - 2000
- Chester Lee (Chet) 1922 - 1988
- Tennie Belle 1927 - 2001
|Mamie and her 2 sisters|
possibly at the funeral of their
mother Nancy Elizabeth Vines Locke
Unknown location in Texas
The family was living in the same area during the 1920 Federal census as well, but this time it says "Anson & Albany Road." Mamie's sister Pearl and her family (husband, Grover C. Dumas), were living just a few houses away. Their other sister, Vida, along with her family (husband, C.H. McAlister), were living in nearby Haskell County. Their father, Francis Marion Locke, was living with Vida and her family.
The family moved to Lubbock, Texas, for a brief time, before moving to New Lynn, Lynn County, Texas. This is where we find them on the 1930 Federal census. Benton was still working as a farmer, but for a brief time it is said he was a deputy sheriff.
The 1940 census we find them in Lynn County, again. This time, their two oldest children had moved out, and were living with their spouses. About a year later, Benton and Mamie bought a grocery store and gas station, which they ran with the help of their children.
Around 1946, Benton became sick, and was suffering from very bad asthma. He and their son Buck went to Ruidoso, New Mexico, to seek treatment. However, Benton died suddenly on March 11, 1946. They laid him to rest in the Tahoka Cemetery, in Tahoka, Lynn County, Texas.
In the 1940s, their daughter Inez, along with her husband Hurley Grady Meeks and their children, moved out to California. By the time Benton died, they were living by Long Beach. About a year after Benton's death, Mamie sold the grocery store and gas station, and eventually moved out to California too. Tennie Belle and Buck went as well. By this time, Tennie Belle was married to William Frank Gibson.
Eventually, in the early 1950s, Mamie would make her home at 4629 Center Street, Baldwin Park, CA. She shared the 1 bedroom house with her son, Buck, who suffered from his time in WWII. Mamie had the only bedroom, while Buck slept on a pull-out sofa in the front room. By 1955, Her daughter Tennie Belle, and Tennie Belle's family, moved into the 2 bedroom house next door.
|Locke sisters: Vida Gertrude McAlister,|
Pearl Dumas Maahs, and Mamie Estelle
The picture above is of Mamie in front of her little 1 bedroom home. She could be found outside in her garden tending her rose bushes or watering her apricot tree. Even though she died before I was born, Buck still lived in the little house. I remember playing in the yard with my brothers and cousins. The trees and plants were a lot bigger by then. It isn't there anymore. The little old house was torn down, and new house sits on the lot.
Ms. Mamie passed away in California on April 4, 1972. She was laid to rest next to her husband, Benton.
|Obituary for Mamie Estelle Locke|
Holcomb found in family files
If you have any questions, or concerns, about the information in this post, please leave me a comment. I'd be happy to answer any questions, or share what information I have on the individuals listed above. Thanks for reading!!
|Mamie with her children, 1971|
Clyde, Mamie, Buck, Chet, Inez, and Tennie Belle